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fin and difobedience forcible in them. Every motion and temptation to fin he kindles, and adds vigour to, that he may fet on flame the wicked fpirits of men after fin, vanity, pride, luft, uncleanness, cruelty, and all manner of wickedness, that they may draw on iniquity as with cart-ropes, and drink it in as the ox doth water (James iii. 6.) And the Lord alfo is near to the foul; the king of holiness, the king of righteousness and peace is near, to give ftrength to every holy defire in the heart, and to every motion of his Spirit towards that which is good and holy. Hence it is, that he that trufts God's Spirit, watching to, and following the movings and drawings thereof, finds life flow in, virtue and ftrength flow in, to carry on effectually in that which the Spirit of the Lord moves to. So that come but truly to know a motion, to understand the drawings and leadings of God's Spirit, ftrength is never wanting to him who giveth up in the faith to follow the Lord in that which he moves and draws to. And this is the great fkill of Christianity, to come inwardly to know the Lord; to know the inward appearances of the Shepherd, his leadings out into the pastures, where eternal life is fed on; and again into the fold of reft, which is no less than the bofom of love, and life eternal. How the growth of the new man, the growth of the Christian state, is in the exercise under the law of life, under the law of the Spirit. For the Spirit exerciseth the mind by his law, and the mind is to give up to the exercise thereof, and to wait upon the Lord in it day and night; finding itfelf never without, but ftill under the law to Chrift in every thing. And indeed how can a man do any thing aright without the fenfe and knowledge of the law? How can a man fight aright with his fpiritual enemies without understanding the law of fighting? For there is a lawful fighting, and an unlawful fighting, against the foul's enemies. The unlawful fighting is in the felf-will, wifdom, and ftrength, according to one's own apprehenfions and conceivings, which gains no real ground; and therefore they that fo fight cannot overcome. The lawful fighting is in the faith, in the wifdom and guidance of the Lord, in his Spirit and power, and this is ever fuccefsful. So there is a lawful running, and an unlawful running the race, which the apoftle plainly implieth, when he faith, So run that ye may obtain, 1 Cor. ix. 24. So likewife there is a law of prayer, a law of faith, a law of love, a law of new obedience, a law of liberty (for the liberty under the gospel is not boundlefs, but bounded by the Spirit) a royal law, which the king of glory writes, and keeps living in the heart; by which his will is understood, and the way of life known, which never can be understood by any but thofe in whom this law is written, even the law of the new covenant, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jefus.
Read and confider this ferioufly: for indeed it contains the very mystery of Christianity and redemption. For redemption is not by a notional knowledge of Christ (it is not fo witneffed by any), but by receiving and fubjecting to the law of his Spirit. And mind and wait, to know and underftand whether this be not the law which David speaks of, when he faith,
Pfal. xix. 7, &c. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the foul. The teftimony of the Lord is fure, making wife the fimple. The ftatutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the Lord pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord truth, altogether righteous. Certainly the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jefus is all this, containing in it the commandment which is life everlafting, and the fure teftimony, and all the holy ftatutes, judgments, and fear, which the foul need to learn; and is indeed perfect, and able to convert and inftruct perfectly the converted foul. And here the fcripture is fulfilled under this holy law of the Spirit and power of life, They shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, faying, Know the Lord (they fhall not do fo in this covenant, under this miniftration, which is a miniftration not of the letter, but of the Spirit); for they shall all know me, from the leaft of them to the greatest of them, by the teachings of my own Spirit, by my writing my law in their hearts, by my holy unction, which fhall teach my children, my anointed-ones, all that they need to know, 1 Job ii. 27. Jer. xxxi. and Heb. viii.
Come, be not deceived about the new covenant; but wait to find the entrance thereinto, and to feel the virtue thereof, and to know and receive the law and power thereof, as becometh Chriftians.
Concerning God's gathering us home to himself, who are a People defpifed and rejected of Men, and in fcorn by them called QUAKERS.
pleafed the Lord, who is rich in mercy and goodness, to pity our
fiss, and at
light and Spirit of his Son, which was the gofpel-standard in the apostles days.
Now that by which God gathered us was the power of Chrift, and the preaching of the everlafting gofpel by the miniftry which he hath railed up in these latter days. For as the Lord raised up a miniftry to preach it at first, when he had fome of the Jews and many of the Gentiles to gather; fo he hath raised up a miniftry to preach it again after the apoftafy, that he may cause the found thereof to go through all nations. And this miniftry hath been raised to go forth in the fame virtue, power, and Spirit wherein the foregoing miniftry was fent.
God promifed of old, that he would feek after, fearch out, and gather home, his scattered sheep himself, and become their Shepherd, Ezek. xxxiv. Now this was fulfilled in a great measure in the days of Chrift and his apostles, when Chrift came himself, and alfo fent his apoftles after him, to feek and gather the loft fheep of the house of Ifrael; and not only so, but alfo to preach the gofpel to all nations, that he might be God's falvation to
the ends of the earth, gathering and saving loft and scattered fouls out of every quarter and corner thereof.
But afterwards (after the spreading of the gofpel, and Chrift's gathering of many thereby) there was a great apoftafy, and scattering from this holy standard of life and falvation, and darkness overfpread the nations again, and an antichriftian reign and kingdom got up, under a form and forms of godlinefs, without the life and power; in which forms people generally have been scattered from the life and power, which indeed is the gospel.
Now, in this cloudy and dark time, great hath been the lofs and distress of the poor hungry fheep; their thepherds and watchmen not being able to preach the gospel diftinctly to them, and direct their minds to the Spirit and power which faves: therefore God, in pity to this fad and loft condition of his sheep, fends his angel to preach his everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth; to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, Rev.
Now as the former publishing of the gospel began at the scattered Jews, who were God's people under the law; fo this begins at the scattered Christians, who had fome true defires, and had been seeking after the Lord (from mountain to hill, and hill to mountain), but could by no means find him; nor by any of the watchmen hear any certain news of their fouls beloved. But the Lord, in his tender love and rich mercy, in the appointed time, fends forth the Shepherd of Ifrael to feek and find them out. And, bleffed be the Lord, he fought them effectually, and hath found out many, and perfuaded them to follow him; and hath brought their weary fouls home to their proper refting-place, where they dwell under the care of the Shepherd and Bishop of their fouls.
But if any shall yet further enquire, How, and by whom, the gospel was preached unto us? My answer is, By the Shepherd himself. God himself gave forth the found, and great hath been the company of them that published it; and our ears and hearts were opened by the Lord to hear the found, and know the Shepherd's voice.
And mind my words (which the Spirit of the Lord is now uttering forth through me; for they are words of truth, and certain understanding): they that do not hear and own the found thereof now (from this miniftry which the Lord hath now chofen, and sent forth), would not have heard nor owned the found thereof in Chrift's and his apoftles days, had they lived therein; but have reproached and opposed them, had they lived then in those days, as they do now in thefe days. For of a truth it is the voice and found of one and the fame Spirit and wisdom; and they that do despise the one, would have despised the other, had they lived in the day of the appearance and manifestation thereof.
And then, for the manner of its preaching, it was juft fuch as is defcribed, ver. 7. of Rev. xiv. For we are commanded to fear God, and give glory to him, because the hour of his judgment (the great and terrible day of
the Lord) was come; and therefore to leave off all falfe ways and worships, and learn to worship the living God, the Creator of all, in Spirit and in truth. And truly it was a terrible day to the man of fin in us; for the judgments of God were revealed against him, and we in fear lay under the judgment, that we might learn righteoufnefs, and witness the redemption of Sion thereby.
Now being thus turned to that light, and Spirit, and power, which judgeth, it wrought effectually in us against the darkness and power of Satan; fearching, trying, manifefting, judging the fecrets of our hearts daily. It tried all our knowledge, all our faith, all our defires, all our thoughts, words, ways, and worships; fo that all things were naked and open before him with whom he had to do; and what had gone before, as glorious and taking in our eyes, was now manifefted to be loathfome and abominable in the fight of God. For indeed the axe was laid to the root of the tree, and every plant which the heavenly Father had not planted was he now plucking up, that they might no longer cumber the ground; but he might have room for his own feeds and plants of holiness and righteousness, which he was ready to fow in his own garden.
And fo at length we came to witness (abiding the trial of this dreadful day, wherein our God appeared to us as a confuming fire) a new heaven and a new earth inwardly; and no more fea of wickednefs, no more fea of inward trouble; but righteousness, peace, and joy inwardly; and our God becoming a rich portion to us, watching over us in moft tender care and love, and delighting in us to do us good, making known to us the riches of the gofpel, even the feaft of fat things; and giving us to partake of the well or fountain of living waters in our own hearts, which springs up freshly in us daily unto life eternal. So that we were not only invited to the waters, but taught alfo to come thereto : and when we came, we were not fent away empty, but had the water of life given us; which became fuch a well, as out of it flow ftreams of living water. Ah! bleffed be the Lord! Did we ever think, in our dry, dead, barren, estate, to have seen such a day as this?
And all this we met with in the way of felf-denial, and taking up the crofs; in denying our own wifdom, our own knowledge, our own faith, our own righteoufnefs, and all that we could call our own; and owning a little feed of light and life eternal, even the feed of the everlafting kingdom, which the Shepherd of Ifrael difcovered to us, and helped us to search after, and taught us how to find; which was indeed in a way very defpifeable, even to the eye of our own wifdom. For thus it was:
We had been long looking out abroad, fearching very diligently the fcriptures, and other ferious books, for great, full, certain, and undoubted wisdom and knowledge; but now we were directed to turn inwards (even thither where we thought no good was to be found) to mind the appearance of God there, the Spirit of God teftifying to us (according to the
fcriptures of truth) that the kingdom was within; and there we were directed to search for the least of all feeds, and to mind the lowest appearance thereof, which was its turning against fin and darkness; and fo by minding and obferving that in us which turned against fin and darkness, we came by degrees to find we had met with the pure, living, eternal Spirit; and by obferving the movings, ftirrings, guidings, directions, and law thereof, we found, ere we were aware, that we had met with the law of the new covenant, the law of the Spirit of life, which had life and virtue in it, to enable us to do the holy will; and then our hearts rejoiced, being made truly fenfible that we had found that which we had mourned after, and longed for all our days. And then we began to fee our way more clearly, and to wait on our God for his teachings, and to follow the Lamb, our leader, with joy and comfort. For indeed this experience greatly settled our fpirits; knowing affuredly, that as none but Chrift could do those works outwardly which he did in the days of his flesh; fo none beneath his Spirit could do thefe works inwardly, enlighten inwardly, enliven inwardly, bind up and heal inwardly, open the inward eye, the inward ear, the closed heart, and loofen the dumb tongue, fo as the touch of his power, and virtue of his life and holy prefence among us, hath done very frequently and livingly.
And now is this teftimony nothing to you, O ye profeffors, that we have found him by God's holy guidance (or rather have been found by him) whom we could never find in your ways and gatherings? But still that which God had quickened in us was there unfatisfied, weary, panting, and gasping, for want of, and after, the breath of life.
Oh! come and fee if this be not he indeed! Wait to feel the closing of that eye which cannot fee (which God hath ordained fhall never see), and for his opening the eye which is as yet blind in you (to which he giveth the true fight), that ye perish not from the way of life, through mistakes and deceits from the mifts of darkness, which are yet over all who have not feen the light of God's day. To the law, and to the testimony (to the inward law, and inward teftimony, if ye be inward Jews; for the law inwardly written is light, even the light of the living, and the teftimony of Jefus is the Spirit of prophecy); for he that knoweth not thefe, nor walketh according to thefe, nor fpeaketh according to this Word, it is because there is as yet no morning in him.
Oh! come to the morning light of the everlasting day! Come to the Son's light, to the Son's Spirit! Wait for the dawning of the day of righteousness, love, and peace, and for the arifing of the day-ftar. COME, DIE TO YOUR OWN WISDOM (it was the word livingly spoken to me, and entered my foul when it was fpoken; never departing from me, though I was long in learning it), and know what it is to fuiler with Chrift, that ye may also reign with him.