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tures, and yet not come to Chrift for life; and men may get defcriptions and a knowledge of things out of the scriptures, and yet not receive from him the rule of the new life.
Concerning the Light, wherewith Chrift the Life enlighteneth every Man.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light fbineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. JOHN i. 4, 5.
HAT is the darkness which comprehendeth not the light? Is it not man in the unregenerate ftate? Ye were darkness, faith the apostle, fpeaking concerning them as they had been in that state.
Now it pleaseth the Lord that in this darkness his pure light should shine, to gather man out of the darkness. For unless light fhould thine on man in his dark state, he could never be gathered out of it; but he that is turned to the light, and followeth it, cannot abide in the dark nefs; but cometh into that which gathereth and preferveth the mind out of it.
But of what nature is this light, which fhineth in man in his dark ftate? It is of a living nature; it is light which flows from life; it is light which hath life in it; it is the life of our Lord Jefus Chrift, of the Word eternal, which is the light of men. And he who cometh to the true underftanding, may thereby diftinguish it from all other lights whatsoever.
There is a vaft difference between it and the reafon and understanding of a man for the natural man, with his understanding, is dead; but this is living and powerfully operating in man, as it finds entrance, and as his mind is joined to it. He that is dead, indeed, knows it not; but he that is alive unto God, feels the virtue of it. This light is above all gathered knowledge whatsoever, and above all defcriptions of things whatfoever: for it is the thing itself, even of the nature of him from whom it flows. A man may get a notion from this into his mind, which he may retain the dead knowledge of, yea, his notion may quickly be dead in them; but he that dwells in the thing itfelf, knows that, and dwells in that which never dies.
A few Words further concerning Perfection.
HAT was the intent of God in commending Job to Satan for a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil? Was it not to reprefent him as a perfon whom he could not make any breach upon, or prevail upon to fin? Thou hast been ranging up and down the
earth, tempting many, defiling many; what fayeft thou to my fervant Job, Satan, is not he perfect? Is not he upright to me in his heart, and all his ways? Canft thou make any breach upon him?
What faith Satan hereto? Doth he object any fin against Job? He is the. accufer of the brethren; and if he have wherewith to accufe, he will not fail to lay it to their charge, even before the throne of God. But what hath he to say against Job? What can he object (either against his uprightnefs, or against his perfection) to the Lord? Oh! fays he, thou haft fet an hedge about him. He ferves thee indeed perfectly and uprightly; I confefs. I have nothing to lay to his charge: but doth he ferve thee for nought? But take away thy hedge, fuffer me to winnow him, and thou thalt quickly fee I fhall have fomewhat to lay to his charge, and that no fmall matter neither for do but take away thy bleffing from him, wherewith thou hast so abundantly blessed him, and he will foon curie thee to thy face.
Well, the Lord giveth him leave to try if he can ftain Job's uprightness and perfection: and now begins the trial, whether the devil's temptations fhall bring him to fin, or the fear of the Lord prevail to preferve him from fin.
First, the devil hath power to touch all he hath; which he foon doth. What doth this produce? Doth he fin against the Lord, doth he murmur, doth he blafpheme, as the devil had faid? No; he fell on the ground and worshipped, acknowledging all to be the Lord's, and blessing his name. So thar, in all this fore affliction, he finned not, nor charged God foolishly, Job. i. 20, 21, 22.
But the commendation which God had given him, of being a perfect and upright man, fearing God and efchewing evil, ftill remains and ftands good against Satan, chap. ii. iii.
Satan gets leave to try him yet further, infinuating against him, that if he may have liberty to fmite his body, he fhall eafily prevail upon him to fin; not being able at prefent to bring in any plea against his perfection and uprightness, against his fearing God and efchewing evil. But this hath the fame fuccefs with the former; for he could not bring Job to fin with his lips, ver. 10.
Now mind, Can any man, that hath his heart made upright by the Lord, keep that integrity, and fin? Is not every fin a departing from the purity, from the integrity? Was not every tranfgreffion against the first covenant, out of the first covenant, even a departing from the limits of it? Is not every tranfgreffion of the fecond covenant a departing out of the limits of the fecond covenant? He that abideth in Chrift, doth he fin? Can he fin? Doth not he that fins depart out of his light, out of his life, out of his power, into the darkness, into the death, into the temptation of the enemy? Is it not promised, I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me: while the fear which God puts into the heart abides there, can that man fin? Doth not the pure fear cleanse the heart, and Rrr 2
keep it clean, that the confcience may be void of offence, both towards God and man? Is the confcience void of offence, where fin is committed either against God or man? When the blood flows in the pure light, doth it not wafh? Doth it not wafh clean? Doth it not make whiter than the fnow? When fin is entered into afterwards, and committed again, doth it not defile? Oh! read in the true fenfe, in the true experience, with the true understanding, which God gives.
HE fcripture faith, that Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness; and that fo it fhall be also to all that believe as he did, even in the fame power which he believed in, Rom. iv. 23, 24.
Now thus we witnefs the thing: our minds being turned from fin, and turned to the pure gift of God, that works a change in us. Herein we feel faith fpring up, which faftens our fpirits to the power of life; and then we feel that (in the power of life) flow upon our fpirits, which washeth away our fin; and all that is done in this holy and righteous faith, is of the holy, righteous life and power, and accepted with the Lord; and that which condemns fin in us, never condemns any work which is wrought in God, but juftifies it. So that the root of fin, with all that flows from it, is condemned by the righteous principle of life; but the root of holiness, with all that flows from it, is juftified. And this is our righteousness, even Christ the holy power of life, who condemns and cafts out fin: and it is great joy to any of us to feel the root of fin ftruck at, and condemned by his power, and him cafting fin out of us, and the root of righteousness growing up in us, and bearing us, and caufing us to bring forth fruit to God. And here we fenfibly find we have right to the fcriptures, to the promises, to all that Chrift did and fuffered for us, and witness the propitiation by and through him, and blefs God for all the difpenfations of life, wherein he hath appeared to the children of men in any age, which were all glorious and excellent in their feafon; but the difpenfation of the Spirit is the ftanding difpenfation, which excels in glory, which Chrift, in the days of his flesh, pointed his difciples to wait for, which his going away was to make way for. This difpenfation was revealed and fet up before the apoftafy from the life and Spirit of the apoftles, and is again revealed and fet up in power and great glory, after the long night of apoftafy; bleffed be the name of the Lord for ever. For the darkness is already paffed away from many fpirits, and the true light again fhineth. Glory in the highest to the God of life and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Some QUERIES concerning the Time and Work of Reformation.
Query 1. HAT did the time of Reformation and Subftance (fpoken, of Heb. ix. 10.) fignify and point at in relation to the mystery? Was it not for the bringing in of the gospel; the day of Chrift's Spirit and power; the day of his inward renewing and reforming; the day of his taking his fan into his hand, to purge his floor; the laying his axe to the root of the corrupt tree, that he may deftroy the works of the devil in mens hearts, cafting down and plucking up what his heavenly Father hath not planted there? When he cometh as a refiner's fire, and fuller's soap, to purify the fons of Levi, as gold and filver is purged, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteoufnefs; is not this the time of reformation?
Query 2. Who is the reformer? Is it not the Lord Jefus Chrift? Doth not he create anew? Doth not he blot out the old image, and form into a new lump? For if any man be in Christ, there is a renewing there; a new building there; yea, old things are paffed away there; there is nothing in him but what is new. He is faithful (in all his house) inwardly to judge, condemn, crucify, fubdue, deftroy whatsoever is contrary to the nature and Spirit of his Father, and to form and build up the fpirits of his in that which is new and pure.
Query 3. How, or by what, doth Chrift reform? Is it not by his Spirit and power, by the light thereof, by the life thereof, by the virtue thereof? For nothing can change and reform the heart but that which is more powerful than him who corrupteth it.
Query 4. Where doth Chrift reform and new-create? Is it not in the new covenant; in the faith and obedience thereof? Doth he not, by the laws thereof, break and difannul the laws of the old covenant, and make void the covenant of hell and death; and fo make an everlasting covenant of life and peace; even an holy, pure, living agreement, between God his Father and the fouls of his? Thus by his light he overcomes darknefs; by his life he overcomes death; by his pure nature and Spirit he overcomes (chains down, fubdues, and destroys) that which is impure, breaking the bond of fin and iniquity, and letting the opreffed go free from under it. Thus he manifefts himself to be the Saviour by his holy anointing, breaking the yoke of the oppreffor, Ifai. x. 27.
Query 5. Whom doth Chrift reform? Are they not those who take his yoke upon them, and learn of him? Are they not those who are turned to the light of his Spirit, inwardly made manifeft; turned from the darkness, walking no more therein, but in his pure light? They that own his inward appearance in their hearts, and turn (from the enmity there) to him, receiving his light, his law, his life, his Spirit, them doth he exercise daily, and is daily reforming their hearts and ways thereby. But if any man receive h
not his light, his life, his Spirit, within, fuch an one is none of his; and he may reform himself as much as he can, but he knoweth not yet the day of the true reformation.
Query 6. How are they to walk whom Chrift has begun to reform? Is it not in that light, in that Spirit, in that covenant, in that grace, wherein and whereby he hath in fome measure reformed them? Is it not in the newnefs of the Spirit, and in the newness of the law thereof? Here Christ walked before the Father in all well-pleafing (Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart, faid he, Pfal. xl. 7, 8.) and here all his are alfo to walk, 1 John ii. 6. For indeed there is no pleafing the Father, or Chrift our Lord and mafter, out of the virtue, life, and newness of his own Spirit.
Query 7. What was the glory that was to follow the sufferings of Christ, fpoken of, 1 Pet. i. 11? Was it not the glory of his inward reformation in the hearts of the children of the new covenant? Doth not Chrift give of his grace in the gospel? And doth not his grace make a glorious change? Doth not he give of his Spirit to his children? And doth not his Spirit change from fin, from fhame, into holiness, into true beauty, into the heavenly glory, and fo from glory to glory, tranflating more and more into the glory? Doth not Chrift appear gloriously in the hearts of his, and in the affemblies of his, who meet together in his name, and wait upon him in that which is pure and living of him? And is there not a covering, or defence of the wing of the Almighty, upon the glory? Ifa. iv. 5.
Query 8. Was not this glory brought forth in the days of the apostles? Was not great grace then upon them all? I mean fuch as received and held the truth in the love of it). Did they not witness the peace which passeth man's understanding? Had they not received the holy and fpiraual understanding from him that is true; and were they not in him that is true? Did they not know victory and dominion over fin and death? Did not the little babes witness pardon of fin, and know him who preferveth from fin? Had not the young men overcome the wicked-one; and were not the elders ftrong in the Lord, and in the power of his might? Were they not come to the fpiritual Sion, and heavenly Jerufalem; and did they not walk in the light of the lamb, and of the holy city, before God the judge of all? There is no man, in these our days, can fo much as conceive the glory of that ftate, but he that hath tafted of a measure thereof.
Query 9. Was not this glory eclipfed, and did not a great darkness come over it, hiding it from the fons of men, so that (for ages and generations) they knew not the true Spirit, the true light, the true life, the everlasting covenant, the holy gofpel, the true church, the man-child, &c. but these, with many other heavenly myfteries, have been hid from their eyes.
Query 10. What hath got up fince thefe have been hid? Have not the fhadows of the night took place, and overspread the Christian state, inftead of the light of the day? Hath not antichrift got up, and a false church