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God, and stands irreversible for ever, that in his own (in his own knowledge, in his own faith, in his own obedience, in his own righteousnefs, in his own willing and running, &c.) shall no flesh for ever be justified in his sight; but only and alone in the nature, Spirit, life, righteousness, faith, obedience, and holiness of his Son. Therefore wait for the seed, that ye may know the seed, feel the seed, the pure seed of life (the leaven of the heavenly kingdom) and may witness it arising and come in you to do the will, and you in it quickened and enabled to live to and serve the living God. And when ye know this seed, ye know Christ; and when ye receive this feed, ye receive Christ, and if it live in you, Christ lives in you; and in it (being in it, and abiding in it) are ye heirs of the life, kingdom and power, which hath no end; and shall daily feel the promises and blessings belonging to the seed, flowing in upon your spirits. But if ye content yourselves with the knowledge of Christ, which the erring and apoftatised spirit of man from the life and power, may gather out of the letter of the scriptures, and feed thereon ; that will not nourish you up to eternal life, but death, and sin, and the gates of hell will have power over you notwithstanding that; but if ye, through the Spirit, receive power over that which is contrary to God, and through him mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Therefore wait for the manifestation of the pure power of the endless life, which is now dispensed from on high (blessed be the name of the living one) and wait to know and be joined to that feed of life, wherein and whereby it is dispensed, that ye may witness Christ's kingdom come to you, and the reign of your spirits with him therein, over all that captivateth from him, loadeth the foul, boweth down and oppreffeth.
A POST SCRIPT,
Concerning Deceit and being Deceived. T!
HERE is that which deceives (where it is hearkened to) and there is
that which is liable to be deceived by it. There is likewise that which deceiveth not; and there is also that which cannot be deceived. So likewise there is a pure fear and watching in the truth against the deceit, . left by any means it should enter and betray. As also there is a fear that is a snare (which the true faith preserves out of), whereby many are entangled in the very bowels of deceit, even concerning those very things about which they are afraid they should be deceived. This hath been experienced by those, who have been acquainted with the Lord's precious truth, and thereby are come to know and discern the wiles and devices of Satan ; who often hath quenched what the Lord hath kindled, by his stir
ring up a fear, lest it should not be of the Lord, but from the spirit of deceit.
It is true, that in the apostasy from the life and Spirit of truth, deceit did generally prevail and overwhelm the minds of people. And so far as people are yet in the apoftafy (not being gathered and redeemed out of it, by the Spirit and power of the Lord), they are yet under deceit; though perhaps they little think so. Little did we think formerly (and little do they think now, who are now in that state we were then in), that while we lo much feared being deceived, we were already deceived, being short of the life and power of truth, which alone is able to make free and preserve from deceit. When the Lord cometh to bring to the primitive light and principle, that he might perfectly deliver out of deceit ; what can the enemy do more advantageously towards keeping his hold in the thind (and towards keeping the mind in the deceits wherein he hath already entangled it), than to stir up and heighten a fear in it, left the precious truth, which God maketh manifest to deliver the soul by, should be deceit? And they that hearken to and let in the voice of the deceiver, must needs believe it to be so. And thus with them light cometh to be called darkness, and darkness light. Yea, who is it, at this day, who escapeth this snare, of calling evil good, and good evil ? Surely none but he, whose soul is led into and lives in the light and power of truth.
For most men take up principles (according to their own, or other mens understanding of the scriptures), and judge according to those principles ; and so the Spirit and light of the Lord judgeth not in them, but they themselves judge according to an assumed knowledge. So that flesh is not silent, the man is not dead in them and brought to nothing, but only lives in an higher region than he did before. Before, he lived in an apparent unrighteousness; now he lives in an imagined righteousness and faith; but not in the Son's righteousness, not in the Son's faith, not in the Son's power, not in the Son's dominion; but at beft only in that which he apprehendeth and strongly imagineth to be so.
Oh! happy is he, who is come through all his own imaginings and conceivings about the things of God, and his own apprehensions about scriptures and promises, and is come into the thing itself, into the Spirit of life (into the truth and into the power), and who walks with God therein, daily witnessing the redemption which is of him through his Son Jesus Christ, who is known and partook of in the pure quickening Spirit, and not otherwise. And he that is truly begotten of God, and dwells with him in the light which is eternal, knows that he is of God; which others may strongly imagine they are, but none else can truly know it, but may easily err and be entangled in the deceits of the enemy (about the new birth, and other weighty things) while they are greatly afraid of being deceived by him, and so (through that fear) Ay the pure truth, which frees from deceits, left it should deceive them.
A Brief Account of my Soul's Travel towards the
Holy Land, and how at length it pleased the LORD to join my Heart to his pure, holy, living Truth; wherein I have vitnessed the New Covenant, and Peace with the Lord therein. With a few Words concerning the Way of Knowing and Receiving the Truth: which is not done by Disputes and Reasonings of the Mind about it; but in waiting aright for the Demonstration and Power of God's Spirit to open
the Heart and Understanding, and by submissive Obedience to it, even in its lowest Appearances in the inward Parts.
Y heart from my childhood was pointed towards the Lord; whom
1 feared and longed after from my tender years; wherein I felt, that could not be satisfied with (nor indeed seek after) the things of this
perishing world, which naturally pass away; but I desired true sense of, and unity with, that which abideth for ever. There was fomewhat indeed then still within me (even the seed of eternity) which leavened and balanced my spirit almost continually; but I knew it not distinctly, so as to turn to it, and give up to it, entirely and understandingly. In this temper of mind I earnestly fought after the Lord, applying myself to hear sermons and read the best books I could meet with, but especially the scriptures, which were very sweet and savoury to me; yea, I very earnestly desired and preffed after the knowledge of the scriptures, but was much afraid of receiving mens interpretations of them, or of fastening any interpretation upon them myfelf, but waited much, and prayed much, that from the Spirit of the Lord I'might receive the true understanding of them, and that he would chiefly endue me with that knowledge, which I might feel fanctifying and saving. And indeed I did sensibly receive of his love, of his mercy, and of his grace, which I felt still freely to move towards me, and at seasons when I was most filled with the sense of my own unworthiness, and had least expectations of the manifestation of them. But I was exceedingly entangled about election and reprobation (having drunk in that doctrine, according as VOL. II.
it was then held forth by the strictest of those that were termed Puritans, and as then seemed to be very manifest and positive from Rom. ix, &c.), fearing left, notwithstanding all my desires and seekings after the Lord, he might in his decree have passed me by, and I felt it would be bitter co me to bear his wrath, and be separated from his love for evermore; yet, if he had fo decreed, it would be, and I should (notwithstanding these fair beginnings and hopes) fall away and perish at the last. In this great trouble and grief (which was much added to by not finding the Spirit of God so in me and with me, as I had read and believed the former Chriftians had it), and in mourning over and grapling with secret corruptions and temptations, I spent many years, and fell into great weakness of body; and often casting myself upon my bed, did wring my hands and weep biteerly, begging carnestly of the Lord, daily, that I might be pitied by him, and helped against my enemies, and be made conformable to the image of his Son, by his own renewing power. And indeed at last (when my nature was almost spent, and the pit of despair was even closing its mouth upon me) mercy sprang, and deliverance came, and the Lord my God owned me, and sealed his love unto me, and light sprang within me, which made not only the fcriptures, but the very outward creatures glorious in my eye, fo that every thing was sweet and pleasant and lightsome round about me. But I soon felt, that this estate was too high and glorious for me, and I was not able to abide in it, it fo overcame my natural spirits ; wherefore, blefsing the name of the Lord for his great goodness to me, I prayed unto him to take that from me which I was not able to bear, and to give me fuch a proportion of his light and presence, as was suitable to my present state, and might fit me for his service. Whereupon this was presently removed from me ; yet a favour remained with me, wherein I had sweetness, and comfort, and refreshment for a long season. But my mind did not then know how to turn to and dwell with that which gave me the favour, nor rightly to read what God did daily write in my heart, which sufficiently manifefted itself to be of him, by its living virtue and pure operation upon me; but I looked upon the scriptures to be my rule, and so would weigh the inward appearances of God to me by what was outwardly written, and durst not receive any thing from God immediately, as it sprang from the fountain, but only in that mediate way. Herein did I limit the Holy One of Israel, and exceedingly hurt my own soul, as I afterwards felt and came to understand. Yet the Lord was tender to me, and condescended exceedingly, opening scriptures to me, freshly every day, teaching and instructing, warming and comforting my heart thereby : and truly he did help me to pray, and to believe, and to love him and his appearances in any, yea, to love all the fons of men, and all his creatures, with a true love. But that in me which knew not the appearances of the Lord
in my fpirit, but would limit him to words of fcriptures formerly written, that proceeded yet further, and would be raising a fabrick of knowledge out of the scriptures, and gathering a perfect rule (as I thought) concerning my heart, my words, my ways, my worship, and according to what I thus drank in (after this manner, from the scriptures) I practised, and with much seriousness of spirit and prayer to God fell a helping to build up an Independent congregation, wherein the favour of life and the presence of God was fresh with me, as I believe there are yet some alive of that congregation can testify.
This was my ftate, when I was fmitten, broken, and diftreffed by the Lord, confounded in my worship, confounded in my knowledge, stripped of all in one day (which it is hard to utter) and was matter of amazement to all that beheld me. I lay open and naked to all that would enquire of me, and strive to search out what might be the cause the Lord Mhould deal so with me. They would at first be jealous that I had finned and provoked him so to do; but when they had scanned things thoroughly, and I had opened my heart nakedly to them, I do not remember any one that ever retained that sense concerning me. My soul remembereth the wormwood and gall, the exceeding bitterness of that state, and is still humbled in me in the remembrance of it before the Lord.'. Oh! how did I wish with Job, that I might come before him, and bowingly plead with him ; for indeed I had no sense of any guilt upon me, but was sick of love towards him, and as one violently rent from the bofom of his beloved! Oh! how gladly would I have met with death! For I was weary all the day long, and afraid of the night, and weary also of the night-season, and afraid of the ensuing day.. I remember my grievous and bitter mournings to the Lord; how often did I say, O Lord, wby baft thou forsaken me? Why bast thou breken -me to pieces? I bad no delight but thee, no defire after any but thee. My beart was bent wholly to serve thee, and thou hast even fired me (as appeared to my fense). by many deep exercises and experiences for thy fervice; why doftbou make me thu's miserable ? Sometimes I would caft mine eye upon a fcripture, and my heart would even melt within me; at other times I would desire to pray to my God, as I had formerly done; but I found I knew him not, and I could not tell how to pray, or in any-wise to come near him, as I had formerly done. In this condition I wandered up and down from mountain to hill, from one fort to another, with a cry in my spirit, Can ye tell news of my beloved? Where doth be dwell? Where dorb be appear? But their voices were Atill strange to me, and I should retire fad and oppressed, and bowed down in spirit, from them.
Now surely, all serious, sober, sensible people, will be ready to enquire, how I came fatisfyingly to know the Lord at length; or whether I do yet certainly know him, and am yet truly satisfied?