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Of the Effects.
HAT are the effects of this feed?
Anfw. The effects of the pure feed in the heart are very many, very great, very sweet, precious and blessed, which every one comes to experience, that experienceth the growth and fpreading of it. I fhall inftance only in fome few, to give a taste thereof.
The firft I fhall mention is, union and communion with God the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, and the Father of this feed, and of all that are united to it. Union and communion with God is ftill in this feed, and never out of it. For as in the feed of the Serpent a man is feparated from God, alienated from his life, and can never come near him, nor have fellowship with him; fo in the holy feed, in the feed of life, and in the feed of righteousness, in the feed of faith, the soul is united to God, hath access to him, the living fountain, and hath fellowship with him in that which is living and holy of him. Men may imagine an union and communion with God out of this, but none can truly unite to God, or have fellowship with him, but in the gift, in the grace, in the light, in the fpirit which is of God.
Secondly, This feed felt fpringing in the heart, and joined to, brings down and keeps down all that is contrary to God. This honour and power God hath given to the feed of the woman (even to the least measure of it) that it should bruise the Serpent's head, and free the foul from captivity and flavery to the wicked one. So that the foul, in the living fenfe, authority, and virtue of this, may refufe yielding its members, its faculties, its will, its mind, its understanding, its affections to fin and unrighteousness. Yea, the devil, the great red dragon, the god of the world, the mighty fpirit and power of darkness, being refifted in this, is still overcome. When any refift the devil in their own ftrength (in the strength of their own defires, abilities, and refolutions) he still overcomes them; but they that resist the devil in the faith that springs from this feed, ftill overcome him. So that fin is brought down, and temptations kept out of, by the virtue and power of the life and authority of the Saviour, that fprings up in this feed of God, which the foul that is joined to (leavened with, and tranfplanted into) par
Thirdly, As it fprings, and its operations are felt and received, it brings into the image and nature of God. It blots out the devil's image in the mind, and makes like God and like Chrift. Yea, here we have the very mind of Christ, and are one with the mind of Chrift. As in the Serpent's feed, the Serpent's image and nature is put on; fo in this feed, the image of God and Chrift is put on. Yea, the ferpent, the dark spirit, the wicked fpirit, the deceitful fpirit, is here put off, and Chrift is put on; and whoever would know the real putting off of the old man, and the putting on
of the new man, which is created in the righteousness and holiness of truth, must know it in this feed. Here the truth is known as it is in Jefus, in its effectual power and virtue, putting off the old image and nature, and putting on the new, even the heavenly divine image and nature.
Fourthly, It brings the mind, the heart, the foul, the fpirit, into the new obedience (into its own obedient nature), even to do the will of God with great delight and pleasure. I delight to do thy will, faid Chrift. This feed is of his nature. It is a measure, a proportion, an heavenly talent of his grace and truth; a gift of light and life from him, the fullness, given to make willing (like him) to do the Father's will, and it really doth fo, infomuch as the foul, that is throughly leavened and one with it, can also say, I likewife delight to do thy will, O God! it is become my meat and drink; for I am nourished, refreshed, and delighted with the virtue that I feel spring in me, in doing thy will. Indeed, it is not so at firft, while there is a nature, a will, a wifdom contrary to the nature, will, and wisdom of God; -obedience is then hard, the crofs is then a fore yoke upon my neck. But that nature being fubdued, and the nature of the feed coming up and prevailing, what can be more delightful to this new nature, than to do the will of its heavenly Father, and to find the heart of the Father pleased with the child, which it always is, while the child is in tenderness of spirit, in the holy faith, and in the holy obedience to him!
Fifthly, It brings into the understanding, fenfe, and enjoyment of all the precious promises, and to the partaking of all the fpiritual bleffings in Christ Jefus our Lord. All the promises are to the feed, and Yea and Amen in Chrift; and the least measure of his life hath a fhare therein. The feed, the everlasting feed is the heir; and we joined to the feed, born of the feed, growing up in the feed, are joint-heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Chrift. So that every promife comes to be understood here, tafted of here, enjoyed here. How full are the fcriptures of fweet and precious promises! Alas! what is it for men to apply them to themselves, when they have no right to them, nor indeed rightly understand them, nor were they intended by the Lord to their prefent states and conditions. But to come to the true understanding of the promises, to be led by the Lord into that condition, and preferved by him in that condition, to which the promises belong, and to have him bring home the promises to the heart, and drop in the sweet, healing, delighting, refreshing virtue of them; oh! how fweet, comforting, and gladding is this! Indeed in this feed all the curfes of the book pafs away, and all the bleffings flow in, and multiply on the foul day by day. So that this may well be called the bleffed feed; for in it the foul is bleffed, and filled with bleffings by him who is able to multiply them upon the foul, and to guide the foul in the fafe and right use and enjoyment of them.
But what need I mention any more? Here is light, here is life, here is righteousness, here is peace, here is heavenly joy, here is the holy power, springing and bringing forth their fruits, and precious operations and effects
in the heart; and here is affurance of the love of God in Chrift for ever, and that God will never leave nor forfake that foul which is joined to him, and abides with him in this feed; but it shall be kept by the power of God, through the faith that springs from this feed, unto perfect redemption and falvation. Amen.
Whereby the SEED thereof may be the better Illuftrated and Understood.
Query 1 preach to other cities allo? For therefore was he sent, Luke
HAT is of God, which Chrift faid he must
Query 2. What is the kingdom of heaven, which firft John the forerunner, and then Jefus himself, when he began to preach, bid men repent, because it was at hand? Matt. iii. 2. and chap. iv. 13. What would repentance advantage men? Would it fit men for entrance thereinto? Did thofe that truly repented and believed, come out of the kingdom of darknefs and Satan, and enter into the kingdom of the dear Son? 2 Peter i.
Query 3. What is the kingdom of God, and the righteoufnefs of God, which Chrift (the everlasting, wife, and holy counsellor) adviseth men first to feek? Luke vi. 33. Where is this kingdom to be found? Where is this righteousness to be found? What is it hid and wrapped up in? Can it be found in any thing but what it is hid by God and wrapped up in?
Query 4. What kind of poverty of fpirit is it, and who are thofe poor in spirit, to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs? Matt. v. 3.
Query 5. How may men know, when the kingdom of God is come unto them? Is it not then manifeft, when the ftronger than the ftrong man, not only knocks at the door of the heart, but cafts out Satan thence, and maketh spoil of his goods? Matt. xii. 28, 29.
Query 6. Who are they that fhall enter into the kingdom of God? Are they not they who are born of water and of the Spirit? John iii. 5. Of what water? And how muft they be born of the Spirit? Were not this worth the knowing? And they that become as little children; fimple, innocent (not wife or knowing after the flesh) that know the breaft that is natural and proper for them, and thirst after and drink in the fincere milk of the word of life, from the breaft of the heavenly wifdom? Luke xviii. 17. 1 Peter ii. 2.
Query 7. Who fhall in no wife enter into the kingdom of heaven? Shall not all they be excluded who want the wedding garment, who want the true righteousness? Matt. v. 20.
Query 8. What are the glad tidings of the kingdom of God? Is it not that the kingdom of God is come, and that his reign is fet up, and setting up therein? Luke viii. 1. Ifa. lii. 7.
Query 9. Who are they, before whom publicans and harlots fhall enter into the kingdom of God? Matt. xxi. 31. Who were they in that age? And who are they in this age? Oh! that men had hearts rightly to confider and understand!
Query 10. Who are they that the kingdom of God fhall be taken from, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof? Are they not the wrong builders in every age, and such as are taught, by the wrong builders, to reject the living ftone? ver. 42, 43.
Query 11. Who are the children of the kingdom that shall be caft out into utter darkness, where fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth? Matt.
Query 12. Who are those God reveals the myfteries of the kingdom to in every age? (Are they not his begotten ones, his babes in the Spirit?) And who are thofe that he hides the mystery of the kingdom of life and falvation, and the way thereof from in every age? (Are they not the wife and prudent in their own apprehenfions of the letter, without the Spirit?) Matt. xiii. 11. and chap. xi. 15.
Query 13. Who are those that are nigh the kingdom of God? Are they not those who know that love is the fulfilling of the law, and that the subftance is beyond fhadows? Mark xii. 33, 34.
Query 14. Who are those that shut up the kingdom of heaven against men? Are they not those who take upon them to expound the letter to men, and do not turn men to the Spirit, but quench it both in themselves and others? Matt. xxiii. 13. Luke xi. 52. Îfa. xxii. 22.
Query 15. What kingdom is that, wherein he that is leaft is greater than the greatest prophet? Wherein he that is feeble fhall be as David, and the house of David as God, as the angel of the Lord before the inhabitants of Jerufalem? Matt. xi. 11. Zac. xii. 8.
Query 16. Who were they in the apoftles age (and are there any fuch in
this age?) Who fhall not taste of death outwardly, till they have feen the kingdom of God come with power inwardly? Mark ix. 1.
Query 17. What kind of looking back is that, which makes a man unfit for the kingdom of God? Is it not a looking back from the plough, and not forward to the plough? And what plough is it a man muft put his hand to, and not look back, that he may be fit for the kingdom of God? Luke ix. 62.
Query 18. What hand, what foot, what eye is it, which a man may enter into the kingdom of God with? And what hand, what foot, what eye is it, which a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God withal? Mark ix. 47.
Query 19. What is it to eat bread in the kingdom of God? Is not there the feast of fat things, and of wines well refined, made to the foul; and doth it not there fup with Chrift, and Chrift with it? And is not the wine of the kingdom there drunk new and fresh with Chrift? Luke xiv. 15. Ifa. xxv. 6. Rev. iii. 20. Mark xiv. 25. Luke xxii. 16, 18. Shall not the mountains there drop down new wine, and the hills flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah flow with water? And fhall not a fountain come forth out of the house of the Lord, and water the valley of Shittim? Joel iii. 18.
Query 20. How may one become as a little child, that he may receive the kingdom? Muft not that man be born anew? Muft he not be unborn. after the flesh, and born after the Spirit? (And not only fo, but he must receive, and enter into and abide in the kingdom in that child-like fimplicity, and innocent wisdom, whereof he is born)? Luke xviii. 7. John
Query 21. What is that flesh and blood which cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and that corruption which cannot put on incorruption? 1 Cor. xv. 50. (Let him that readeth understand the thing, both in the letter and in the Spirit).
Query 22. Who are the unrighteous, that fhall not inherit the kingdom of God? Are they not both the manifeftly unrighteous, and alfo the fecretly unrighteous; who, though they may preach faith in Chrift, and the righte oufness of Christ, and may think themselves believers in him, and cloathed with his righteoufnefs, yet have not received power to become the fons of God, nor through the Spirit have mortified the deeds of the body; but, at laft, notwithstanding all their profeffion and pretence to Chrift's righteoufness (out of the faith that works by love, and out of the fine linnen, in their own filthy rags); are found by him workers of iniquity, 1 Cor. vi. 6. Luke xiii. 26. Rom. viii. 13. 1 John iii. 7.
Query 23. Shall any enter into the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the will of Chrift's Father which is in heaven? Is it enough to pray, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven? Is it not neceffary alfo to receive Iiii that