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Two Questions answered; one concerning others not learning what God teacheth us; the other concerning the Way of his Teaching us.
Anfw. The reafon is, because they do not learn the fame way that God teacheth us; and fo, though they have many advantages above us of parts, learning, &c. and ftudy hard to know much; yet not coming into the right way, wherein God's Spirit teacheth, they never come to learn the truth, as it is there taught.
HAT is the reafon that others cannot learn nor become fub
W ject to the fame fpiritual truths, which God makes manifeft to
Queft. 2. But what is the way wherein God teacheth you? may fome fay. Anfw. Thus God teacheth us, by giving us an understanding to know him that is true, and by opening an ear in us to hear his voice; and fo, being kept within the limits of that understanding and ear, we come to hear and know aright.
Take heed (faid Chrift) how ye bear. Oh! the Lord hath made us fenfible of the weight of that fcripture; and we liave often experienced, that it is eafy to hear amifs, and read amifs, and pray amifs, and believe amifs, and hope amifs; but hard to do any of thefe aright. Therefore, we are taught ftill to wait for the ftirring of the waters, for the moving of God's HolySpirit upon our spirits; and then healing virtue and ability is felt and received from him, to perform what he requires.
Thus, when we read the fcriptures, our eyes are towards him, and we watch against our own understandings, againft what they could gather or comprehend of themselves, and wait to feel how he will open our fpirits, and what he will make manifeft to them, being opened; and if he drop down nothing, we gather nothing; but if he give light, then in his light we fee and receive light. So in praying, we wait to feel the birth of life (which is of the Father, and which the Father hears) breathe in us; and fo far as the Spirit of the Father breathes upon it, and it breathes to the Father, fo far we pray; and when life ftops, we ftop, and dare not offer up to God any facrifice of our own, but what the Father prepares and gives us. So in eating and drinking, and whatever we do, our heart is retired to the Lord, and we wait to feel every thing fanctified by his prefence and bleffing; and, indeed, here every thing is fweet unto us. And in whatever God enables us to do, we narrowly watch to that direction of Chrift, not to let the left band know what the right hand doth. For we are nothing of ourfelves, nor can do any thing of ourfelves; therefore whatever is done in us, as we feel the grace of God, the virtue and power of his life working all in us; fo it is ftill given us to attribute all the honour and glory thereto..
And in this temper of fpirit we find nothing too hard for us; for the strength of Chrift is ftill at hand, even in the midst of our weakness; and the riches of the kingdom is ftill at hand in the midst of our poverty and nothingness; and his ftrength works, and our weakness doth not hinder the glory of him that works through it. So being beaten to it, by conftant fense, and daily experience, that it is not by our willing or running, according to our wisdom and ftrength, that we can attain any thing; but by God's fhewing mercy to us in Chrift; we therefore daily wait at the pofts of God's heavenly wisdom, to feel the gate of mercy and tender love opened to us, and mercy and love flow in upon us; whereby we may, and daily do obtain what our hearts defire and feek after, bleffed be the Lord for ever.
And truly here in the fpringings of love, and openings of mercy from our God, we have fellowship and converfe with the Father and Son, and one with another, in the holy Spirit of life; and we teftify of these things to others, that they alfo might come into the fame fellowship, and be of the fame faith which flows from, and abides in, and makes living, in the power and life eternal.
The Lord guide all tender, breathing, panting fpirits hither, that they may be fatisfied in the goodness and loving-kindness of the Lord, and may eat abundantly of the fatnefs of his houfe, and drink of the rivers of his pleasures, and not wander up and down any longer in their own barren thoughts, apprehenfions, and conceivings upon the fcriptures.
Of the threefold Appearance of Chrift; to wit, under the Law, in a Body of Flesh, and in his Spirit and Power.
IRST, Under the law. Various were the appearances of Chrift; fometimes as an angel, in the likeness of a man; fo to Abraham, and fo to Jacob, when Jacob wrestled with him, and prevailed, and had overcome; fo to Jofhua, or the captain of the Lord's hoft, at his beliege. ing Jericho; fo to Mofes in the bufh, he appeared as an angel, Alts vii. 35. fo likewife in vifions. Thofe glorious appearances of God to the prophets in vifions, were the appearances of Chrift; as particularly, that glorious appearance of God fitting upon a throne, and his train filling the temple, and the Seraphims crying, Holy! holy! holy is the Lord of bofts; bis glory is the fulness of the whole earth! Ifa. vi. This was an appearance of Chrift to Ifaiah, as is manifeft, John xii. 41. where the Evangelift (relating to that place) ufeth this expreffion: These things faid Ifaiah, when he faw his glory, and fpake of him. So he was the angel of God's prefence, which went before the Jews, in all their journeyings and travels out of Egypt, through the fea, and in the wildernefs, and in the time of the Judges; and wrought all their deliverances for them, as is fignified, Ifa. Ixiii. 9. In all
their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his prefence faved them, &c. So with the Three Children, he appeared in the midst of the fiery furnace in a form like the Son of God, as Nebuchadnezzar judged, Dan. iii. 25.
Now indeed the whole law was a shadow of him, who was to come to be the substance of it, and to perform that inwardly in the hearts of his, which the law figured forth, and reprefented outwardly. Thus Mofes and all the prophets were forerunners of him, the great prophet of the spiritual Ifrael of God. All the priests, especially the high-prieft, were types and forerunners of him, and to end in him, who is the high-prieft over the houfhold of God for ever. The judges and faviours were types of him, the great Saviour and Redeemer : for they faved not by their own ftrength, but by his Spirit and power coming upon them; fo that the yoke (which was made and brought upon them by their rebellion against the Lord, and difobedience to his law) was still broken, because of the anointing.
David, Solomon, and the good kings, were types of him. David, of his conqueft over his fpiritual enemies; Solomon, of his ruling his Ifrael in peace, after he had conquered their enemies.
Circumcifion was a type of his circumcifing the heart, that his children, (his holy feed) might love the Lord their God with all their heart, and live.
The paffover, and blood of the lamb, was a type of his blood, and fprinkled upon the confcience, which preferveth against the stroke and power of the deftroyer; and fo God paffeth over all fuch, when he vifits for fin and tranfgreffion.
The outward fabbath was a type of the pure reft, which Chrift gives to those that believe in his name: for indeed they that truly believe in him do enter into reft, and ceafe from their own labour and workings of themfelves, and witnefs God's working in them, both to will and to do of his good pleafure.
The outward law, in the letter, written in tables of ftone, was a fhadow of the inward, living, pure, powerful, fpiritual law of love and life, which God writes in the hearts of his children, which conftrains them to obedience, and enables them to do all that God requires of them with eafe and delight. For truly the yoke of his law is eafy, and the burden of his commandments is light; fo that they are not at all grievous to them that are under, and in fubjection to, his Spirit.
When the mind is gathered, and brought from under the fpirit and power of darkness into his Spirit and power, oh! how eafy is it to believe, to love, to obey, &c. Indeed there is nothing but love, and faith, and obedience, and life, and righteoufnefs, and holinefs, and pure power, and peace, and joy here. For the old things are passed away, and all things are become new in Chrift, to them that are in the new creation in him.
So Canaan, the Holy Land, reprefented the Land of life, or country of life, into which God gathers, and in which he feeds and preferves all the VOL. II. Ccc
living, whom he gathers out of the territories of death and darkness. And the plenty and fullness of the land of Canaan, and the fweet rivers therein, fignified the abundance of rich things, and the rivers of God's pleasure, whereof his redeemed-ones drink, as they come to live, and dwell, and walk, and fup in and with him.
Jerufalem, the holy city, was a figure of the new Jerufalem, the fpiritual Jerufalem, the heavenly Jerufalem, which is the mother of all them that are born of the Spirit; and the hill whereon Jerufalem was built, fignified God's holy mountain, whereon this his city is built, and the inhabitants of the outward Jerufalem fignified the inhabiters of the new and inward Jerufa lem; and the temple fignified Chrift's body, and the bodies of the faints, which are temples, which the Holy One dwells in the midft of. And that altar in the outward temple fignified the altar in this inward temple, which all the true, inward, fpiritual Jews have right to partake of, and none elfe. The fire in the outward temple, and the candlesticks, and the lights. which were never to go out, fignified the holy fire in the fpiritual temple, which comes from heaven, wherewith all the fpiritual facrifices are to be offered up; and the candlestick is to hold the light (and the priests to keep the lamps burning) or God will remove it out of its place. So the holy garments of the priests fignified the robes of righteousness, innocency, and purity, wherewith the people of God under the gospel (who are a royal priefthood to him) are to be cloathed.
And the ark fignified that which holds the law of the new covenant; and the pot of manna, with which kind of food God fed and nourished the foul in the wilderness, before he brought it into the Holy Land, must be for an everlasting memorial in the land of the living. For indeed Chrift appeared to, and was with, that people in the wilderness, in a cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; which fignified the leadings of God's Spirit in the day of the gospel, Ifai. iv. 5. And he was the rock that followed them; and he was the manna of which they did eat, and the water of which they did drink; for they did eat and drink of the heavenly things in a figure, and (as their fpirits were at any time opened) had a tafte and fenfe of the true food, in and through the figure; yea, doubtless, at fome times, they had all fome fenfe, and did all eat of the fame fpiritual meat as we now eat of, and did all drink of the fame Spiritual drink as we now drink of, 1 Cor. x. 3, 4. for they were not only all under the cloud, and did not only all pafs through the fea, but they were also all baptized in the cloud and in the fea, having a fenfe of the pure power of the Lord, and of his outstretched arm made bare for them; in which fense they fang his praife, though they foon afterwards forgot his works, Pfal. cvi. 11, 12. So likewife there was Aaron's rod, that budded, laid up in the ark; which is the evidence of the true priesthood and miniftry for ever; and that which is fo, is not to be fpurned against, but still to be acknowledged and honoured, as of God.
In it alfo were the tables of the law, in the reprefentative ark; in the true ark are the tables of the law of life, which God writes by the finger of his Spirit, and appoints to be kept in the spiritual ark for ever.
Above the ark was the mercy-feat, with two cherubims of glory, one at each end of it, spreading their wings on high over the mercy-feat, between whom God dwelt or fat, where God met with and communed with Mofes, and the priests under the law, when they came to worship him, and enquire of him; which figured out the true mercy-feat under the gofpel, where the true priests (the true circumcifion of the fpiritual Ifrael of God) have accefs with boldness to the throne of grace, that (through the highpriest of their profeffion) they may obtain mercy and grace, to help in time
So under the law, all the facrifices (the fin-offering, the peace-offering, the thank-offering, the heave-offering, the wave-offering, the whole burntoffering, the meat-offering, the drink-offering, &c.) fignified Chrift, the one offering, who comprehends them all; and the holy, fpiritual, heavenly offerings, which the spiritual people (the priests of the gospel) are daily to offer up to God: and the fweet fpices, frankincenfe, and odours, fignified the sweet seasonings of the gospel facrifices with grace, with falt, with the Spirit, with the fresh breathings of life, with innocency, with meeknefs, with tenderness, with zeal, with faith, with love, &c. which yields a moft pleasant scent in the noftrils of the Lord.
Now in the bullock and goat for the fin-offering, the blood was to be brought into the holy place, to make atonement; and the fat and inwards burnt on the altar; and the flesh, skin, and dung, carried forth and burnt without the camp. What means this? Oh! how precious is it to read the figures of the heavenly things with true understanding! but to read through the figures (with the eye of life, with the eye of the Spirit) into the invifible fubftance, this is fweet, precious, and heavenly indeed!
Secondly, Concerning Chrift's appearance in a body of flesh. When the time of these fhadows drew towards an end, and the fullness of time was come, he who thus appeared in several types and fhadows among that people of the Jews under the law, he now came down from the Father, debafed himself, and cloathed himself like a man, partaking of flesh and blood; and was in all things made like unto us (excepting fin; for he was the Lamb without fpot) humbling himself to come under the law, and under the curse, that he might redeem thofe that are under the law (and under the curfe) by fulfilling the righteoufnefs thereof, and bringing them through into the righteoufnefs everlasting.
Now while he was in the body, his glory did fhine to the eyeof the children of the true wisdom: his difciples (to whom not flesh and blood, nor the wisdom and knowledge which they could get from the letter, but his Father revealed him) they faw the hidden glory; they faw through the veil of his fleth, and beheld him as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.