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Concerning the Temple and Sacrifices under the Gospel.
OD's temple under the gofpel is the light of his Son, the Spirit of his Son, and thofe fouls which are renewed, and built up an habitation for him in the Spirit of his Son, and those bodies in which renewed minds and fpirits dwell. God is light, and he dwelleth in light; God is Spirit, and his building is holy and spiritual; for he dwelleth in nothing that is dark, or corrupt, or unclean.
And that which is facrificed or offered up to God must be clean and pure. No unclean thought, no unclean defire, nothing that is earthly, or fleshly, or selfish, must be offered up to God; but the pure breathings of his own Spirit: for whatsoever is of him, and comes from him, is accepted with him; but whatever man can invent, or form, or offer up of his own, or of himself (though it be ever fo glorious and taking in man's eye), yet it is but abomination in the fight of the Lord.
Thus all the facrifices of the Gentiles (or heathenifh nature) are rejected. Thus all the facrifices of the Jews outward (or of the profeffing mind and nature, without the true life) are rejected also.
Wherewith fhall I come before the Lord (faid the prophet of the Lord of old) and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burntofferings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firft-born for my tranfgreffion; the fruit of my body for the fin of my foul? Mic. vi. 6, 7.
What faith the answer of God? No, no; this is not the way to come to pardon of fin, or to acceptance with the Lord; but come to that which teacheth what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee, O man; which is to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk bumbly with the Lord. Come thither in the teachings of God's Spirit, and worship there, and there thou fhalt witness forgiveness of fins, and acceptance with the Lord, Mic. vi. 7, and Ifai. i. 16, 17, 18. For it was not offering facrifices of old (appointed under the law) that would do the thing, nor mens pleading the facrifice under the gospel; but coming to that Spirit which teacheth holiness, and being fubject to that Spirit, and offering in that Spirit (to the Father) what proceeds therefrom. So that his building in the Spirit is the only temple, and the facrifices or offerings in the Spirit are the only offerings of the NewTeftament.
And here every groan or figh towards the Lord after that which is pure, every fupplication in the Spirit, every acknowledgment of the goodness of the Lord in a true and pure fenfe, are of a fweet favour in the nostrils of the Lord: yea, ufing hofpitality, relieving the poor, or doing any thing that is good from the good and holy root, are facrifices acceptable to the VOL. II. Lord.
Lord. Read thefe fcriptures following (and if the Lord open thine eyes, thou mayeft thereby come to fee both what the temple and facrifices are), 1 Cor. iii. 16, and 2 Cor. vi. 16. Ifai. x. 7. 15. Ephef. ii. 21, 22. Heb. iii. 6. Rev. xxi. 22. John iv. 23. Pfal. xc. 1. These places foregoing are for the temple: then for the facrifices, Pfal. 1. 14, 15. and li. 16, 17. and cxli. 2.. Mal. i. 11. Heb. x, 8, 9. Rom. xii. 1. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. 1 Pet. ii. 5. Heb. xiii. 15. Phil. iv. 18..
Some Questions concerning the Light of CHRIST's Spirit anfwered, according to the Teftimony of the Scriptures of Truth, and according to Experience.
HAT is the meffage which Chrift fent his apofiles to declare, whom be fent to preach the gospel?
Anfw. This is the meffage which they heard of him, and which they declared unto others, That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Queft. 2. What was Chrift's intent in fending them with this message; and for what end were they to declare it to others?
Anfw. For the opening of mens eyes and hearts, that men might come to a fight and fenfe of the darkness, and to a fight and fenfe of the light; and might be turned from darknefs to light (and fo from Satan's power to God); and might come out of the one into the other (that is, out of the darkness into the light), and fo might walk in the light, as God is in the light.
Queft. 3. What is the danger of abiding in darkness
Anfw. In the darkness is fin, death, condemnation, and deftruction of the foul, and feparation from God and Christ for ever.
Quest. 4. What is the benefit of being turned to the light, and of coming into the light, and walking in the light, as God is in the light?
Anfw. The benefits are great and many; three whereof I may now mention, which comprehend and contain in them many more.
First, In the light, remiffion of fins is received; for there is the blood of fprinkling, wherewith thofe are fprinkled that come thither; and indeed none can walk and abide there, but they come to witness the blood of Jefus Chrift, God's Son, cleanfing them from all fin; and true, real cleansing is no-where else witnessed.
Secondly, They have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and come also into fellowship with the faints in light; which are great mysteries, and none knows what they mean but fuch as are in that holy fellowship.
Thirdly, They there receive the earnest of the everlasting inheritance, and the fealing up by God's Holy Spirit unto the day of full redemption. Queft. 5. Where is the darkness which men are to be turned from?
Anfw. It is within, chiefly within; there is Satan's kingdom; there is the house, which the strong man armed keepeth; where his goods are in peace, till a stronger than he cometh to trouble and difpoffefs him.
Queft. 6. How or where is the light to be met with which man is to be turned to?
Anfw. It appears within also; it fhines in the darkness: for thither Christ (the stronger) comes, with the light of his Spirit, to overcome and difpoffefs the ftrong man of his house and kingdom.
Queft. 7. When doth the light of Chrift's Spirit fhine in the darkness of man's heart?
Anfw. When, and as God pleaseth. For the light is his, and he causeth it to fhine (in the hearts of the fons and daughters of men) according to his pleasure; and therefore men are to wait for the fhining of his pure heavenly light in their hearts, that with it the darkness may be refifted, overcome, and fubdued in them, and scattered and difpelled from them, and their hearts filled with the light and power of life.
Quest. 8. How may a man perceive or know the light when it shines?
Anfw. By its fhining: for light (both outward and inward) manifefts both itself and other things by its own fhining. And as there is no difcerning the things of this world but by the light of the world; fo there is no dif cerning the things of the other world but by the light of the other world; that is, there is no difcerning fpiritual things but by the light and Spirit of our Lord Jefus Chrift, which God caufeth to fhine in the heart; which light searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, and difcovereth the most hidden things there.
Object. But the heart is deceitful above all things, and Satan can transform himself into the likeness of an angel of light; fo that he fhines inwardly too by bis feigned appearances: how then may I know the fhinings of the true light of Chrift's Spirit in my heart, from his falfe fhinings and transformings?
Anfw. God hath a witnefs in mens confciences: For as God hath not left himself without witnefs outwardly, but all his works teftify of him (his works of goodness, love, mercy, power, &c. teftify of his goodness, love, mercy, power, &c.); fo he hath not left himself without witness inwardly; but there is fomewhat in men to teftify of God, and for God, and against his enemy, and all deceitful appearances; which witness always fpeaketh faithfully, and teftifieth truth.
Therefore he that cometh to difcern that, and mind that, fhall find that near him which will always witness for God upon every occafion, and against all the appearances and devices of the enemy.
Now no man can come to difcern or diftinguish in cafes of this nature, but as that which is of God, and for God, gives the judgment in him; and he that judgeth thus fhall never judge according to the fhews and ap pearances of things, but fhall ftill judge the true and righteous judgment.
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Queft. 9. What is the nature and properties of the light of Christ's Spirit; and what will it do in the hearts of thofe that turn to it, receive it, and walk in it?
Anfw. It hath a most excellent nature and properties, and it will work wonderfully in the hearts of those that receive it, and walk in it towards the redeeming and faving them from fin, and the powers of darkness: fo that following this light, and abiding and walking in it, they cannot be overcome by the enemy of their fouls; but muft needs conquer and overcome him. To inftance in fome:
First, It hath an enlightening or manifefting property. It will difcover all that is of God, and likewife all that is against him. It will discover the very mystery of death, and the moft fubtil workings of the enemy in the myftery of darkness, and deceivablenefs of unrighteousness. And it will discover the mystery of life, and the mystery of the way of holiness. So that not only the precepts of holiness, but the way of the precepts, the way of obeying the holy will and Spirit of God in every thing, is here
Secondly, It hath an awakening property. This light will not let a man fleep in fin, or grow heavy and dull (if he hearken to it); but it awakens him that fleeps: and whoever is truly awakened at any time, is awakened by this light, by the fhining thereof in his heart; by the manifeftation of God to his fpirit by it. This teftimony Paul gives, Ephef. v. 13, 14 Whatsoever doth make manifeft is light. Wherefore he faith, Awake, thou that fleepeft, &c..
Thirdly, It hath a quickening property. For it is the light of life, the light of Chrift's Spirit, which is living and powerful; and it hath life and power in it, and quickeneth and raiseth the man to whom it reacheth, and giveth him ability to arife from the dead.
Fourthly, It hath a cleanfing, a fanctifying, a purifying property. Oh! how clean it makes within! The light is pure, and it maketh pure. All the defilement and corruption is in the darkness; none of it is in the light; but the light purgeth it away, where it findeth entertainment.
Fifthly, It hath an uniting and separating property. It unites to God; it unites to that which is pure; and it separates from fin, Satan, darkness, and whatever is impure.
Sixthly, It hath a preserving nature and property. It preferves the man in whom it dwells; and where it hath power, and rules, it keeps out the darkness, so that darkness cannot break in where it hath place, and is kept to: nor can the mind break out from the Lord, which keeps in the sense, favour, and seasoning of the light of his Spirit.
Indeed time would fail me, to speak of the excellent nature, virtues, and properties thereof; but come, tafte, and fee how fweet the light is, and what a pleasant thing it is to behold the fhinings of this Sun..
Queft. 10. Doth God vifit all men with this light?
Anfw. Yes; as God loveth all men, and would have all men faved, fo he vifiteth all men (more or lefs) with that which is able to discover the darknefs, to them, and to fave them therefrom.
Queft. 11. What is the reafon then that all men are not faved by it?
Anfw. Because they do not receive it, and join to it against the darkness; but join to the darkness, and hearken to the wisdom and reasonings thereof, against the appearances and difcoveries of the light.
Queft. 12. How comes it that men do fo?
Anfw. From their love to the darkness and to the deeds of darkness; which they know they fhould not love, because they have fomewhat near them, which often fhews them the evil, both of the darkness that is in them, and of the deeds that come from it. So that this is the condemnation, that men love the darkness, cleave to the darkness, and follow the darkness; but hate the light, and turn from the light, which in the love and mercy of God follows them, to bring them out of love with the darkness, and to bring them into the sense of, and fellowship with him in the light.
Queft. 13. How come fome to love the light?
Anfw. God affords a capacity therein to all, and God is Love; and from the flowings of his love, and aboundings of his mercy to all, are men begotten to him; and the obedient are kept by him in fubjection to that, which many refifting the ftrivings of his Spirit with them, are finally given up to hardness of heart, who turn from and hate the light. So that to God and his grace is to be attributed the falvation of all that are saved; and to man, his own destruction and perishing from the way of life, notwithstanding the tender vifitations of God, to recover and reconcile man to himself, through the blood of his Son.
Queft. 14. Against whom do they rebel, that rebel against the light?
Anfw. They rebel against Chrift, from whom the light comes; and will Chrift fave fuch as rebel against him? Oh! that men did aright confider this thing! for it is a greater matter to know, and be fubject to the light of Chrift's Spirit, as it fhines from him in the heart, than men are aware of. Now that which difcovers the hidden things of darkness in the heart, and reproves for it, is the light of Chrift's Spirit, and not another. Oh! that all that defire to know what and where the true light is, did understand fo!
Queft. 15. What do they mifs of, who do not know nor heed the light of Chrift's Spirit, nor mind the reproofs thereof in their hearts, but look on it as inferior in kind and nature to what it is?
Anfw. They mifs of many great and precious privileges, which they that know it and have received it, and fo walk in it, and are subject to it, do experience and are acquainted with.
First, They mifs of knowing the ways of it: for in this light there are ways or paths of holiness, paths of life, paths of righteousness, paths of