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Concerning Chrift's Ministry, or Priesthood.
HRIST is made by God a minifter, or high-prieft, over the spiritual Ifrael of God. Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life (as Heb. vii, 16. and chap. viii. 2.); and he minifters with his Spirit and power unto and in all his. So that he that knows Chrift's miniftry, knows the power, the life, the Spirit in which he minifters; but he that is not acquainted with thefe, is yet to learn to know Christ aright, and to believe in him unto life and falvation, which are wrapped up, comprehended, revealed, and communicated in the power wherewith he minifters. For the very beginning of Chrift's miniftry is in the Spirit and power of God, whereby he redeems out of the Spirit and power of Satan; and to this men are to be turned, if they will witness falvation by Jefus Chrift, even to the light and power of God's Holy Spirit, which breaks the darkness and strength of the kingdom of Satan in the heart. For indeed all literal profeffions, beliefs, knowledges, and practices, out of the life and power, Satan can transform himself into, and uphold and maintain his kingdom under, in the hearts of men; but the inward light and power of life breaks it, where the minds of people are by the Spirit of the Lord turned thereto, and subjected under its rule and govern
Concerning the true Knowledge of Chrift.
T was faid, in the time of the prophets, under the miniftration of the law, that the priest's lips fhould keep knowledge, and they (that is, the outward Ifrael, Ifrael after the flesh) should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the meffenger of the Lord of hofts, Mal. i. 7. And doth not Chrift, our Highpriest, and the Apostle of our profeffion, keep all the people's knowledge? And are they not all to feek the law of life, the law of the new covenant, at his mouth? Is not he the meffenger of the covenant, who brings tidings of the covenant of life and peace; and must not the foul that will live hear him? Isa. lv. 1, 2, 3. Is not he the sealed and Sent-One of the Father, to open the blind eye, and to bring the prisoner out of the pit? Is not he the Shepherd of the fpiritual flock? And are not such as are called out of the world (and fanctified by him) his fheep? And are not all his fheep to hear his voice, and follow him? Is not he the prophet, like Mofes, appointed by God, for all the fpiritual Ifrael to hear in all things? (Is not his Spirit to teach and lead into all truth? Can any elfe lead into truth; or can any come into truth unless they be led?) And they that will not hear the voice Uuu 2
of his Spirit in these latter days (seeing God, in thefe laft days, fpeaketh by his Son, and faith to all the true difciples and followers of the Lamb, Hear ye him); are they not to be cut off from the comforts of his Spirit, from the pure refreshments of his Spirit, from the life of his Spirit, and from the living Ifrael, and fo to be numbered among the dead and unredeemed?
Chrift faith, I am the way, the truth, and the life. It is he alone that is the living way, which leads to the Father. Now how is Chrift the way to the Father? How is he the truth? How is he the life? Is he fo by any literal and outward knowledge of him; or by the inward, fpiritual, and living knowledge of him? They that know his Spirit, know the way; and they that walk in his Spirit, walk in the way. This is moft certain: they that walk not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness and life of the Spirit, they walk in the new and living way. How is the letter old; and how is the Spirit new? How is Chrift known after the flesh, and so to be known no more? And how is he known after the Spirit, and fo to be known for ever? Man is but flesh, and his knowledge and understanding of things, of his own fetching from the literal relation and defcriptions of them, is but the knowledge of the fleshly part; but there is a new eye, a new understanding, a new heart and mind, to which the Father reveals him; and that knowledge which the new-birth receives of the Father, that is fpiritual, true, pure, heavenly, living knowledge. And fo the children of the kingdom are to dwell in that light wherein the Father reveals the things of the kingdom; and this differenceth them from all the literal knowers of the things of God upon the face of the earth. Now this is it which fatisfeth my heart concerning my knowledge of the things of God, even that I have fo learned to know Chrift, and to believe in him (and to repent from dead works, and to obey him, and fuffer for him) as I could never have learned, unless the Father himself had taught me. And now seeing and partaking of the difference, I cannot but teftify against all dead teachings, unto the Spirit's teaching, which is living; knowing affuredly, that no other teaching or learning the things of God will amount to true knowledge, or be owned in the day of the Lord, but that which is of and in the Spirit.
A few Words more concerning the Right Way of Knowing, as it is witnessed unto in the Scriptures, and experienced in the Hearts of . thofe that truly and livingly know the Lord.
ISDOM is juftified of her children, faid Chrift, Matt. xi. 19. Now, who is wisdom? What is wifdom? Is it not the heavenly mother of all the living? It is the Spirit which begets all, who are truly begotten to the Lord? Now where, and into what, doth he beget them? In the earthly nature, in the earthly wisdom, in the earthly fpirit, or out of it; in and into that which is heavenly.
Now all that are of this heavenly begetting and birth, they know (own and justify) that wisdom, wherein they are begotten. They juftify the nature of truth, the light of truth, the life of truth, the power of truth, the appearance of truth in their age and generation. The falfe birth will own and justify the words of truth which were formerly spoken, and the former apppearances thereof (as the Scribes and Pharifees did Mofes and the prophets, who denied Chrift, who was truth, and fpake truth beyond them); but the true birth knoweth and juftifieth the present words, and the prefent appearances of truth, which the false birth still flighteth and despiseth.
If any man therefore will judge aright concerning the things of God, he must be fure to be of the true birth (a child of the true wisdom) and that he keep to that nature, Spirit, and birth, to which God giveth the difcerning. For there is an eye of difcerning, and a way of difcerning, which is a gift; and he that will know aright, and judge aright, muft keep to the gift of light, the gift of grace, the gift of the Spirit, the gift of the holy anointing; and be watchful and careful to judge in it, and take heed of judging out of it. For though a man be come to a spiritual state, and hath received the gift of grace, knowledge, and difcerning; yet if he be not watchful to keep to the gift, he may eafily err, and judge amifs.
Concerning Chrift's Righteousness, which is the Righteousness of all
HRIST is the head, his faints the body; and do they not all partake of one nature, one Spirit, one virtue, one life, one righteousness? Doth not Chrift give them of his own righteoufnefs, even of the righteoufnefs which his Father gave him? And is not that righteoufnefs which Chrift giveth them, their righteousness? What was Chrift's righteousness? Was it not the righteousness of God revealed in him, communicated to him, and made his? And what is their righteousness? Is not the fame righte
oufness revealed in them, communicated to them, and made theirs, in and by Chrift? Are not they made partakers of the divine nature, in and thro' him, and made the righteoufnefs of God in him? Christ trusted his Father, and obeyed his Father in all things. Now was not that an effect of the righteous nature and Spirit of his Father in him? He became obedient unto death, even the death of the crofs. And, Oh! how was his Father pleased therewith! Did not he fay to him, as to Abraham in the like cafe? Because thou haft done this thing, in bleffing I will bless thee; and in multiplying I will multiply thy feed, and thou shalt fee of the travail of thy foul, and be fatisfied: for thou shalt not only gather the difperfed of Ifrael, but inherit the Gentiles alfo; and have the uttermoft parts of the earth for thy poffeffion.
Confider now seriously, in God's fear; Is Chrift's obedience to the law of Mofes the faints evangelical righteoufnefs? Or is his righteousness revealed in them, from faith to faith? Was his being circumcifed outwardly, their circumcifion? Or is his inward circumcifing them, their circumcifion? Which of these is the gofpel circumcifion; the circumcifing of his flesh outwardly, or the circumcifing of their hearts inwardly? Again, was his being outwardly baptized, their baptifm? Or is the inward baptifm of the Spirit, the gofpel-baptifm? Doth he not fulfill the righteousness of the law of the Spirit of life in them, who believe in his Spirit and power, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Was not Christ justified in the Spirit? And are not all his juftified in the Spirit alfo? Whatfoever is of God, whatfoever is wrought in God, doth not God juftify? Is not the perfon here juftified, the faith juftified, the works juftified with the juftification of life, and of God's Holy Spirit, from whence they proceed? And here Chrift's words are verified, He that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifeft, that they are wrought in God, John iii. 21. And are not his deeds then juftified? He that is united to the Spirit of God (and acquainted with the Spirit of God, and knows his voice) hears, and fees, and feels, and understands what God condemns, and alfo what he juftifies; who never condemns any thing that arifeth from himself, and is wrought in himself; but only that which cometh from the flesh, and is wrought in the flesh. And here he fees (in the true light) what faith is imputed for righteousness, and what faith is fhut out; and what works are accounted righteous, and what works are shut out: and how Enoch walked with God in the righteous Spirit and life, and was therein justified; and how Noah built an ark in the faith, being moved with fear, and was therein with his family faved. So Abel facrificed in the faith, By which he obtained witness that he was righte us, God teftifying of bis gifts, Heb. xi. 4. Mark; his facrifice, his gift, came from a righteous Spirit, and fo the righteous God teftified of his gift, and fuch are all the facrifices now, that are offered up in God's Spirit, and in the true faith. And fo we also fee how Abraham (the father of the faithful) was justified by works, James ii. 21. and how God was pleased with him, because he had done that thing of offering up his only fon at God's
command. Alfo Phinehas's zeal for the Lord, in executing judgment, was highly esteemed of the Lord, and was counted to him for righteousness, unto all generations for evermore, Pfa. cvi. 30, 31.
But alas! How do men mistake about the righteousness of Chrift, about the gospel-righteousness; and, in effect, make it but the righteousness of the law, but the righteousness of the old covenant, performed in the perfon of another for us, and imputed to us? Whereas it is the righteousness of another covenant, even of the new and living covenant, which the Lord Jefus Chrift worketh, both in us and for us. Now whoever receiveth this righteoufnefs from him, and is cloathed with it by him, he findeth it to be the righteoufnefs of the gospel, the new and living righteoufnefs, the true and everlasting righteoufnefs, both of the Father and Son, which the fouls of thofe that truly believe, partake of in them and with them.
Now confider a fcripture or two, to evidence this further.
The apostle faith, 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. The Lord is that Spirit (the Lord Jefus is the fecond Adam, the quickening Spirit) in whom the veil is done away, ver. 15. And fo the true Chriftian (in whom the veil is done away, who is come into the true liberty of the Spirit) with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, is changed into the fame image.
Now mind: if man be changed into the heavenly image, if he partake of Christ's image, is he not made righteous, and become truly righteous therein? Was not the image of the firft Adam holy and righteous? And is not the image of the fecond Adam holy and righteous alfo? And are not they that are changed from the image of fin and Satan, into Chrift's image, holy and righteous in that image? Are they not changed from unrighteouf nefs to righteousness? And is not this image, whereinto they are changed, and wherein they are new created by God, their righteousness? Whoever is ingrafted into Chrift, is he not ingrafted into righteousness? Cut off from unrighteousness, and ingrafted into righteoufnefs; even into the righteous nature and Spirit of the Lamb? And doth he not partake of the righteousness of the vine or olive-tree, into which he is ingrafted? And doth not that become his righteousness? If the root be holy, then are also the branches; and if the root be righteous, fo are alfo the branches; and that is the righteousness and holiness of the branches, which they have from the
The other fcripture is that of Eph. iv. 22, 23, 24. which fpeaks of putting off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lufts; and of being renewed in the spirit of the mind, and putting on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Mark; here is the new creation. Now confider well, what is the holiness and righteousness of the new creation? Is not that which is put off, old, corrupt, unholy, unrighteous? Is not that which is put on, new, holy, righteous; even the image before spoken of, Chrift the heavenly image, the new