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The Missing Cross to Purity


SOME PRINCIPLES GUIDING OUT OF THE APOSTASY,
TO THE CHRISTIAN SPIRIT AND LIFE AGAIN

1. That there is no salvation but by the true knowledge of Christ. The Jews had received the ordinances of God, and knew of the Messiah to come, and believed it, and were very zealous in their worship, in observation of circumcision, the passover, new moons, and sabbaths, etc , ("Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?"), and yet God complains of them by his prophet, "My people perish for lack of knowledge." And the state is the same under the antichristian apostasy, in which the whore has made all nations, kindreds, tongues, and languages drunk with the cup of her fornication. The true knowledge and worship have been lost; though the eyes of those who have been in the apostasy, and drunk with the cup, could not see it, no more than the Jews could in their day.

But to come close to the thing.

The knowledge of Christ is not literal, traditional, or fleshly, nor can it be received by the natural understanding; but it is spiritual, and the understanding must be given by God which receives it. "He has given us an understanding, that we may know him who is true." 1 John 5:20. A man may read scriptures, hear sermons, etc., and thereby gather a knowledge into the old understanding: but neither this understanding into which the knowledge is gathered, nor the knowledge itself that is gathered, are spiritual, but fleshly, and so cannot save. He who comes once to receive an understanding from Christ, and to have the knowledge of Christ poured forth from Christ into his heart, knows the difference between that and the understanding into which he gathers things. The knowledge of Christ after the letter, (and a faith in him answerable to such knowledge), will not save; but a man must know him in that Spirit, life, and power in which he lived, if he is firmly established in hope to be saved by him, (2 Cor 5:16-17)

[All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no man knows the Son but the Father, neither does any man know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal him. Mat 11:27. The Father and the Son are only known through revelation, by the son revealing him; for the Son and the Father are one. Because what may be known of God is revealed in them; for God has shown it to them., Rom 1:19; not reading about God, not hearing someone talk about God, for God and Christ are known by only revelation in your heart, where you hear him and see him teach you about sin, righteousness, and himself.

Jesus said, "Come to me... learn from me," Mat 11:28-29. Jesus said, "come to me many times." You must go to Him by sitting quietly and listening for Him to speak to you. You do not learn from the Spirit by reading scripture, going to "church," going to prayer meetings, prayer circles, discussions with other fleshly "Christians," listening to sermons spoken by unperfected preachers, singing hymns, etc.

From the Word of the Lord within:

2. That Christ saves by the new covenant: not by anything gotten into the mind by the oldness of the letter [Bible]; but by a life begotten, which is new. There are two covenants made mention of in scripture, one of which is called the old, the other the new. The old belonged to the Jews, which has been cancelled, and dealt with their ceremonies, state, and government. The new is better than the former, and Christ is its Mediator, (Heb. 8:6). By mediating between God and man, or by bringing them together in, and according to, this covenant, he saves. Man, by his disunion and distance from God, perishes; but by being brought again to God, [in union with God] he lives again; which Christ produces through the new covenant. Anyone not led by Christ into that covenant, is not in the state of salvation.

[Christianity teaches that Christ being the mediator, is like a defense lawyer that is going to excuse their life of sin because they "believe;" but that is not the function of Christ the mediator. The mediator's function is not to excuse, it is to change a man so that he becomes holy and pure, freed from all sin by the mediator, perfected forever, and in union with Christ and God, speaking and working according to the will of God, not their own wills any longer.

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made ready a cleansing of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb 1:3

Notice! Jesus then was ready to cleanse sins, not excuse sins, not ignore sins, but for true disciples, to purge sin from them, freeing them from the slavery to sin to totally cleanse and perfect them, sanctifying them and making them holy forever, Heb 10:14. That is what true grace does; true grace "redeems from all iniquity (sin, lawless deeds), and purifies a people who are His very own, zealous for good works," Tit 2:11-14, which works are by His direction in what to do and what to say. This is Jesus' role of mediator of the new covenant.

From the Word of the Lord within:

3. That the new covenant is written in the heart; without this, there is no other way of coming into the new covenant, of which Christ is High-priest and Mediator, but by having the laws of God written in the heart. "This is the covenant.. I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts, .. They shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest," (Heb 8:10-11). He is speaking of the covenant of which Christ is Mediator, (Heb 8:6) which he calls a new covenant, (Heb 8:8) and said it is not like the old, (Heb 8:9), instancing in two main particulars, in which it is very unlike: 1) The old was written outwardly in letters, to be read by the outward eye; but this is written inwardly in the heart and mind, and so can only be read by a spiritual eye, and 2) Under the old they needed teaching from men; the priest's lips were to preserve knowledge, and they were to seek the law at his mouth; but now they should have the law so near them, so clearly written in them, that they should need none to teach them. From the law is the knowledge of God; the law is in the heart; and from the law in the heart springs up the knowledge of God in the least and in the greatest that are within this covenant, that they need not say, Know the Lord. — This is the state of the new covenant, which the Christians came to in these days, (1 John 2:27). But it has been a strange thing in this dark night of apostasy, and is still a strange thing to many. But let such consider: Can a man be a Christian, and be out of that covenant in which Christ is the Mediator? Can a man be brought back again to God by Christ, and yet be out of that covenant by which Christ brings back men to God? Oh! How Satan has deluded poor souls in this thick night of darkness, to make men believe they have faith in Christ, and shall be saved by it; while they are quite ignorant of and strangers to that covenant by which Christ the Mediator saves. "They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest." Mark! There the least man in this covenant has the law so written in his heart, that he does not need to seek outwardly for knowledge.

[When you hear a command from the Spirit, speaking from within your heart, that imparts the life of God to you; and that command is established as a new law in your heart, added to the existing inner law of God on the heart of every man. From the Word of the Lord within: "When you have heard the dead words in the Bible and recall them, heed what is said; always obedient to His commands. You must obey every law the Spirit establishes."]

4. That the Spirit of God alone can write the covenant in the heart; or that Christ writes the covenant by his Spirit, — Man, by all his wisdom, cannot attain it. Man is driven out from God, and cannot find the way back again to him, without the teachings and leadings of God's own Spirit. It is not being educated in any way of religion from one's childhood, or the leaving of that, and running into any sect afterwards, that will produce any benefit; but only by listening to the true voice of the true Spirit. It is written in the prophets concerning the children of this covenant, that they shall be all taught of God; "And all your children shall be taught of the Lord." It is the Lord alone, who by his Spirit teaches them to come to Christ, and to receive the new covenant into their hearts from Christ; for man is incapable of knowing or receiving Christ, or his covenant, until the Spirit has prepared and taught him, (John 14:17). — But when he has prepared and fitted his heart, then with his own finger he writes the pure law of the nature and life of Christ with that; by the receipt of which he comes out of his own dark spirit and nature into the true knowledge of God, and union with him. "I will put my Spirit within you," (Eze 36:27). This is part of the covenant, and indeed that part by which all the rest is wrought.

5. Therefore, the first proper step in religion, is to know how to meet with God's Spirit. There is no progress, no true progress, to be made in the true religion, until a man comes into the covenant; and there is no coming into the covenant but by the Spirit: therefore the first thing that is absolutely necessary to be known in religion, is the Spirit, his writing [in the heart], or at least his motions and stirrings, in the heart. It may further be evidenced thus: all things in religion, acceptable to God, flow from the Spirit; all knowledge is to come from him; for he alone has revealed and can reveal truth, and is appointed by Christ to lead into all truth. All worship is to be offered up in him. They that worship the Father, must worship him in the Spirit and in the truth; for the Father seeks such to worship him; but rejects all other worshippers and worship, however glorious their worship may seem to them; particularly praying is always to be in the Spirit, (Eph 6:18. Jude 20). So also singing, etc, yes, the whole life and conversation is to be in the Spirit, (Gal 5:25). The mortifying of all corruption is to be done by the Spirit. "If you, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live," (Rom 8:13). Indeed a Christian is nothing, and can do nothing, without the power and presence of the Spirit of God in him. So then, if nothing in religion can be done, (with acceptance to God), without the Spirit, then the Spirit is the first thing to be looked after, by him who would be truly and well-established in regard to religion.

6. The first way of meeting with the Spirit of God, is as a convincer of sin. Here is the true entrance; this is the key that opens into life eternal; he who can receive it, let him. It is not by soaring aloft into high imaginations and forms of worship; but by coming down to this low thing. This is the first and most proper work of the Spirit of God towards fallen man, by which he makes way toward the writing of God's law in the heart; namely, to convince of sin. And where should man look first to meet with him, but in his first work upon him? When Christ promised the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, he said this concerning him, "that he should convince the world of sin," (John 16:8). They who have been created anew in Christ, and have become his disciples, receive comfort from the Spirit; but what is he to the world? Or how may they feel any operation of him? Why he is to them a convincer of sin, and they may find him checking them for, and convincing them of, their sins. So that the great work for man, while he lies in the darkness, (for when he is translated into light it will be easy), is to distinguish the movings and stirrings of the Spirit of God.* And this is the best way for man in this state to know them by: what discovers what is evil, THAT is good. That which discovers what is spiritually evil, THAT must be spiritually good; for evil is darkness, and cannot make itself manifest. That which discovers what is undoubtedly pure, and inclines to it, THAT must be of God. Now to know this, and be joined unto it, is a joining of the creature unto God, by somewhat of him who comes from his Spirit, and so is a true beginning of life eternal.

[* "the great work for man, while he lies in the darkness, is to distinguish the movings and stirrings of the Spirit of God" (from his own mind and from Satan). All men sit in darkness and walk in darkness until their hearts have been purged from the evil that defiles them. When a man "is translated into light, it will be easy" to distinguish the movings of the Spirit of God from those of the enemy.

From the Word of the Lord within:

7. That by which the Spirit of God convinces of sin, is his light shining in the conscience. Fallen man is darkness; the light shines in the darkness, and shows man the evil, which otherwise would lie covered in him. Man fell from God, lost the image of God, and became wholly darkness; but the Spirit of God is light, and shines in the darkness, and strives with man to reduce him back again to that light from which he fell. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God," ... 2 Cor. 4:6. Where did the apostles and Christians in those days meet with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ? God shined in their hearts. He who made the light to shine out of the dark deep (Gen 1:2), by his Spirit, he by the same Spirit made the light of the knowledge of life shine in their dark hearts; and there it is also that the work of conviction is wrought by the same Spirit. He who perfects the good work in the heart, the same is he who begins it there; and his beginning is, by reproving and convincing of sin, and so turning the heart from it unto God, and unto the obedience of that righteousness which he makes manifest. And he who meets not with the Spirit in the beginning of his work, or slinks back, and goes not on with him, but smothers his reproofs, not forbearing that, or parting with that for which he is reproved, is never likely to meet with him in the end. And then it will be too late for him to blame that religion in which there was only a dead form, but not the living power of God. He who will come to life eternal, must be translated out of his dead understanding, and all his dead ways and worships, which please that understanding, into a living principle, and keep in that principle; and then he shall know life indeed, and the true food of that life, and the true worship and service from that life, and the reward belonging to all.

8. That this light convincing of sin, shines in every conscience. "He has showed you, Oh man, what is good," (Micah 6:8). "The life," which was in Christ, was "the light of men," (John 1:4). Christ is "the light of the world," (John 8:12). God, as he loved the world, so he manifested his love to the world, by sending his light into it, to enlighten every man that comes into the world, that with the light they may see his Son; and as many as receive him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God. As God would have "all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth;" so he has given that light to all, which may bring to the knowledge of the truth which saves. He is "the true light, which enlightens every man that comes into the world," (John 1:9)." The grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared unto all men," etc. As the enemy got possession of every man's heart, by filling it with darkness; so Christ pursues, and seeks to dispossess the enemy, by the light which he sends after him into every man. And this is the condemnation of man: not that he lacks a light to witness against, and draw him from the enemy; but that he loves the enemy, and chooses to be one with the enemy; but hates light, and turns from it, John 3:19-20. He listens to the reasonings of his mind against the light, and so smothers and chokes it; but does not turn to the light, to have all the reasonings of his mind subdued by it, and subjected to it.

[Men reject the gentle pleadings of the light because they love their selfish life-style's passions and pleasures; they have no interest in change and so reject any suggestion of change.]

9. The true way to life eternal, is by believing in the light of the Spirit, which shines in the conscience. Man is in darkness, which keeps him in death; and there is no way to come out of the death, but by coming out of the darkness; and there is no way to come out of the darkness, but by following that light which discovers it, and calls forth from it; and he who does follow that, cannot remain in the darkness, but must come out. There is an evil principle in man, calling for evil; and there is a good principle calling from the evil to the good; now he who follows the good, cannot follow the evil, but departs from it. "I am the light of the world, (said Christ); he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life," (John 8:12). But this is what undoes man; he loves the darkness, he loves the world, the course of the world, the worships of the world; he loves his own understanding, and his own will, and so hates that light which crosses these, and which would teach him, by the denial of them, to crucify that nature from where they spring, and to which they are suitable. And from here it comes to pass, (the love to sin within being strong, and Satan, the strong man, keeping the house), that the motions of God's Spirit are easily overborne, either by reasonings of the understanding, or by perverseness of the will; but if any man dared trust himself to them, he would quickly find of what nature they were, by the strong opposition of the strong man against them. It is indeed a strait and narrow way, into which no flesh can enter and walk; and yet it is the only way for there is no life in God, no peace with God, while the enemy lives in the heart. But when the light is received and turned to, then the power begins to work, which slays the enemy in the heart; and that being done, there is no more war, but peace. Then the true peace, which passes understanding, fills and refreshes the heart; at which point the peace which was in the soul before, was but the peace of the enemy, and will abide no longer than the enemy is allowed to keep possession quietly.

10. That believing in the light of the Spirit, which shines in the conscience, unites the soul to God, and opens the springs of life to it. Belief in darkness, (which is unbelief towards God), disunited the soul, and closed up the springs of life from it. Belief in the light, which is sent to lead from the darkness, unites again, and opens the springs again. God is light; he dwells in the light, and there enjoys the fullness of life. He gives a measure of his own light to draw from the darkness. He who believes and follows this, is led by it unto God, from whom it came; and being come out of the darkness unto him, he begins again to feel the springs of life, the fresh springs of life. which are in him. He who believes comes to the well of salvation, and draws living water out of it, and drinks of the living water continually, so that he can thirst no more; yes, "out of his belly flow rivers of living water." This is the fruit of the true faith; but this is not the fruit of the faith of the apostasy; but there the soul remains still disunited to God, and united to the darkness, and drinks not of the living streams, but drinks dead water. The fountain of pure life is not open to it, only the fountain of iniquity is open to it; and that blood which cleanses and takes away the sin is not known. There is only a dream of these things in the dark night of apostasy; by which dream the conscience is slightly quieted for the present; but when the witness awakes, and the light of the day shines, the soul, which is lean, will find itself in the hands of the enemy, in the bonds of sin, and feel that it never knew that power that could redeem it; but the subtle serpent deceived it with a name, instead of the substance of the name.

This is the true way, the narrow way, (I can, in the presence of the living God, set my seal to the truth of it), which it has pleased God to discover, and make manifest again, after the long dark night of apostasy. We do not come to it by hearing or receiving any new notions or apprehensions of things; but by feeling what puts an end to all of man's notions and apprehensions; and we grow in it by the increase of that thing in us. The seed to which the promise was made, the seed that was before Abraham was, is felt, and his day is seen and rejoiced in; and by the light of it the darkness is discovered, and the kingdom of darkness is assaulted. As it daily falls in many particulars, so it shall at length fall in the general; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign upon the earth, where sin and antichrist have long reigned, and kept him down. And though there is a great rage and outcry among the people and heathenish professors, yet the decree is gone forth, and Zion's king shall reign in the holy hill of Zion, and the hills and mountains shall melt before him, and the earth shall shake round about him.

Therefore gather yourselves together, muster up your strong forces, Oh you several sorts of carnal professors! Let all your differences one against another fall, and join together against him who is against you all. Improve the serpent's wisdom, and form arguments out of the Scripture thereby with the utmost skill and understanding of flesh; get the kings, rulers, and magistrates of the earth on your side too; handle all the weapons of the flesh skillfully; dispute, reproach, revile, whip, stock, imprison, starve — no, put to death. See if you can uphold your kingdom for there is a mighty one come forth against you, who will take the vineyard, the kingdom, the inheritance from you, and give it to another; and on you shall come that death and darkness, that misery and destruction, which you have put far from you; and slighted as the portion of others. Therefore consider your condition in the fear of the Lord; and if you feel not yourselves able to fight it out, make your peace in good time, and let your greatest crowns, (your choicest wisdom and strength in the flesh), be laid down at the feet of Christ, at the lowest appearance of his light in the conscience. Let not the least check of his Spirit be slighted there; but esteemed above the highest notions of light that you have gathered in, or can gather with your fleshly understandings. -- And indeed it is no less than its due; for this which runs fresh from the Spirit is more living in itself, and more proper to that man's present estate to whom it comes, than whatever he himself by his understanding can gather from the letter.

There has been a precious seed of God long stirring in this nation; but it has been oppressed, and kept in bondage by the spirit of Pharaoh and his wise Egyptians, who would subject it to their laws and worships, and not let Israel go out of Egypt at God's call, to worship him in Spirit and truth; but would keep him in forms and ways of man's invention. The Lord has poured out his plagues upon this spirit, and more and more wrought out the liberty of his people; but as the plagues cease, this spirit hardens itself, and essays the reducing of Israel into bondage again. And as Pharaoh renews the bondage of Israel, so God renews the plagues on Pharaoh and his Egyptians. Pharaoh has a stubborn will, and a great wisdom and power, and is loath to let Israel go; but the Lord also is wise and strong, and has a will more righteous than Pharaoh's; and by his wisdom and strength will he effect his will, and Pharaoh's shall not stand.

Who is such a stranger in Israel, that has not observed, that as God began to raise up the seed in this nation, and call it into liberty, so the spirit of the wise Egyptians rose up against it, exclaiming of error, heresy, blasphemy, new ways, new lights, etc.? And doubtless many tares have sprung up; but the aim of the enemy was not so much to pluck up the tares, as to destroy the one good seed of wheat. Herod did not aim at killing all the infants in Bethlehem; but he would rather kill them all, than have Christ live. What preaching on the one hand! What running to the magistrate on the other hand! And all to destroy this young babe. When any different way of worship did appear, as of Independency, Anabaptism, or of seeking and waiting for the truth, how did they make a head against them, and cry out against them, for fear the young child should be born and appear there! And now they see their own image brought forth there, they are at peace with them. And having discovered that, where no part of the image or mark can be received, but there is another nature in life and truth brought forth, and no form without life will go down; now they knew where to shoot all their darts; now they knew against whom to invent and speak all manner of evil, and against whom to direct all their envy, rage, and out-cries, and to prepossess all sorts of persons everywhere, with all manner of prejudices, that the truth may not spread anywhere, but be opposed everywhere. And all persons' minds there, are so filled beforehand with the venom of the serpent, that truth cannot come anywhere, but it finds the enmity already stirred up, and prepared to withstand it.

This is a new way, a new light, says one; we knew a religion before this came up, and we will keep to that, let who will run after these new sects and ways. A natural light, the old light of nature, says another, or the corrupted light of Adam, which has run along through all his posterity. Another outcry is, that it makes the Scriptures void and useless. Others cry out, that it teaches things contrary to the Scriptures; that it sets up free-will; that it leads to a covenant of works; that it breaks down relations, laws, governments; takes away due respect from magistracy and superiors, and turns the world upside down. Thus the worldly spirit is everywhere up in arms, and a zeal kindled everywhere to keep it out of every heart, and out of every place and country.

Now these are not real things; but such kind of slanders and reproaches as always have attended truth. The prophets of God, Christ, and his apostles, though they have been spoken well of afterwards, yet in their time they were hated, spoken ill of, and persecuted by the generation of professors of their age. The Scribes and Pharisees could not with so great advantage have persecuted Christ and his apostles, without a seeming zeal for the law and prophets; and yet it was the same spirit so that vehemently cried up the law, the prophets, the ordinances of Moses, that persecuted the Spirit and life in Christ and his apostles, from where the law, the prophets, and ordinances came. And so it is the same today; though that spirit is as blind now as it was then, and cannot see through its own cover; though it is as weak and narrow as theirs' was. The guilty charges the innocent, that it might hide its own guilt, and keep its covering. The guilty Jews, and the guilty Scribes and Pharisees, charged the prophets, Christ, and his apostles, that they might not be found guilty by them, and have their formal covering taken from them. And so it is the same today; truth has risen to show men's false coverings, and the guilt and hypocrisy that lie hidden underneath. Now to save themselves, they are prepared beforehand to lay that charge against truth, which truth has against them.

Search your heart, resist not the light, you that have charged the truth with any of these things, and you will find it your own condition. The truth is no new light, or new way; and they that hold it forth, do not hold forth any new way, or new light; but it is you that have left the good old light, the good old way, which was before the apostasy, and has fallen in with some new light, some new way, invented and set up since the apostasy. It is you again that sets up the natural light, the fallen wisdom, the wisdom which is out of the life, and in enmity with the life; with this you feed that understanding which is to be brought to nothing; and when you have done this yourself, then you call the spiritual light, by which God has pursued it in all ages, a natural light. It is you that with this wisdom searching into the Scriptures, and gathering the oldness of the letter into the old understanding, makes the Scriptures void and useless to your soul, and cannot meet with that life and power which they speak of; but are still alive in your sins, and dead unto God; and then you cry out against what comes to discover this to you, and to bring you out of the dead knowledge into the life of the Scriptures; you cry out against this, as if this made the Scriptures useless. And when you has set up a whole body of knowledge, religion, and worship, quite contrary to the Scriptures, which the truth comes to make manifest, then Cain's nature rises up in you, and you take up Cain's weapons, and willingly would you kill your brother, because his sacrifice in the faith testifies against your, which is out of the faith, and contrary to the true testimony of the Scriptures. Again; for a free-will and a covenant of works, you have set up a religion in the old will and works; not according to the new covenant of life, but according to the old covenant of death. And by this you preach that will to be free, which is in bonds; and sets up the works of man's righteousness, and conformity to the letter, for the works of the new covenant. And for governments and laws, what is according to God, which is a terror to the evil, and a praise to those who do well; what is liberty to the just, and a curb to the unjust; this you are against, and cry out daily for the turning of the magistrate's sword against the innocent, because they are a light to discover your deeds of darkness, which are out of the light, and disturb your peace and your settlement in what is fleshly, and of man, and not of God. So for relations, and honor to magistrates; the transgressing nature has brought up a wrong thing, a fleshly thing, a honor and a duty which are of the flesh, and please the flesh, and are not according to God. And this is not honor indeed; not a honor that will stand; not a honor that will be justified in the sight of God; but it is a shame to those who give it, and a shame to those who receive it; discovering that they are servants to the flesh, giving to and receiving from the fleshly part what the fleshly part, (which crucifies the life), calls for, and is pleased with.

All that the light does to these things, is to discover and condemn them; and the end of its discovery is, that they might be removed, and truth and righteousness brought instead of them. But man's evil heart, which is the cause of them, cries out against the light, as if the light brought them. Whereas if man could be quiet and still, and suffer the work of the light upon him, he would find that the same light which discovers them, would also purge them away, and leave neither root nor branch of iniquity, either in men's hearts, or in relations, or families, or towns, or cities, or laws, or governments; and there would be no want of honor. Now though the serpent's wisdom is irreconcilable, and that understanding which stands there cannot be satisfied, but must be confounded and brought to nothing, 1 Cor. 1:19, yet because underneath all this there is a simplicity in some, which is betrayed; for the relief of that, somewhat further may be spoken in answer to these things.

Objection: 1. To the first objection, that this is a new way, or new light, I answer:

Answer: It is new indeed to them who have laid long in the apostasy, and set up another light; but it is not new in itself, but the same that was in the beginning; yes, and before the beginning also. Christ was the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and the light that comes from him is like him; that also is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. It was the same under the law, the same before the law, the same since the law. As the darkness all along has been the same, so the light all along has been the same also. It was the same in the Jews, and the same in the Gentiles. It was this God expected obedience to from the Jews; and the prophet, (in the name of the Lord), disdains their sacrifices, and brings them to this; Micah 6:8. "He has showed you, Oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Their eye was upon sacrifices and oil; but the prophet points them to what would bring them to the right sacrifice, and to the true oil. And the Gentiles, so far as they were obedient to this, were accepted, and excused in their own consciences; the faithful witness of which is of God, and will stand in the day of Christ. Rom. 2:15-16. "That which was from the beginning," said the apostle John, "declare we unto you." 1 John 1:1. And "this is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." verse 5. And the end of preaching this message, is to draw out of the darkness into the light; to bring men to the feeling of the light of God in them, and so to union with it; which being turned to, draws out of the darkness. God, who is light, is near to every man, who is darkness; though man's sense is very thick, and can hardly see or feel him. And a light from him shines in man's darkness; but man's darkness comprehends it not. So that this light is not new in itself, but only new to the old spirit, which has long laid hidden in the region of darkness and death, and has not known the light of life.

[Christ the light was the new covenant, prophesied to come to the Gentiles, to be God's salvation to the end's of the earth:

I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles, Isaiah 42:6 [Isaiah lived 778 years before Christ was born.]

He says, 'It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the ends of the earth.' Isaiah 49:6

And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3

A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2:32


For the Lord commanded this, saying, 'I have given you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.' Acts 13:47

That the Christ would suffer, and that he would be the first who would rise from the dead and proclaim light to the (Jewish) people, and to the Gentiles. Acts 26:23]

Objection: 2. That this is a natural light, or the light of old Adam's nature.

Answer: It is in one sense a natural light; it is of the nature of him from whom it comes; of the nature of God, and of his Christ, whom it appears for: but it is not of the nature of corrupt Adam, whom it always reproved, and against whom it still stands a witness, and condemns all corruption. Man is darkness; and when Christ comes to redeem him, he finds him darkness: and Christ finds no light in him to help him to discover sin to him; but all the discoveries of sin that are made in the heart, are by the light of Christ, and not by any light of man's nature. The Lord is the searcher of the heart, and he searches it with his own candle, and not with any left in man's nature. Man fell into darkness, and knew not where he was; but the Lord comes after him with his candle, and discovers his state to him. It is the light from which man fell, and against which he sins, that is alone able to make his disobedience manifest to him. "We know" says the apostle, "that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal." Rom. 7:14. The law is the lowest part of the light; and yet that is spiritual, and of Christ's nature, and not of Adam's nature; "we know it," says the apostle. Such as know the nature of what manifests sin, know it to be spiritual. It is the fallen man from the light, the man in the darkness, that calls the light darkness: but what discovers the darkness, and reproves the darkness, and wars against the darkness, is not darkness, but the light of life. And those who are spiritual, and feel the nature and power of it in their spirits, know it to be so. But man has set up a light of his own; has raised up a light by his study and invention, in the strength of the fallen wisdom: and now setting up this for light, he must call the true light darkness, as the Pharisees did Christ.

[Because the false prophets have never seen the light of God, they insist that Bible references to the light refer to a natural light, but the Bible makes a clear distinction between the natural light of the sun and moon, and the light of God or Christ:

I saw no temple in the city. For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
And the city had no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God illuminates it, and the Lamb is its light.
And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in the light of it; Rev 21:22-24.

The sun shall no more be your light by day; nor shall the moon give light to you for brightness; but the LORD will be an everlasting light to you, and your God will be your glory. Isa 60:19.

Yes, the darkness does not hide from you, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to you. Psa 139:12
]

Objection: 3. That it makes the Scriptures void and useless.

Answer: It came from the Spirit that gave forth the Scriptures; it is of the same nature with the light that shone in those who gave forth scriptures; it speaks the same thing with scriptures, it leads to the same thing, and it opens and witnesses to the words which the scriptures speak; and so it brings the scriptures, which have been long abused, into their true use. Indeed it puts an end to the corrupt use of scriptures, to man's inventing and forming things out of them, and brings them into their true use and service. It takes the scriptures out of man's hand, who has slain the life by them, and puts them into the hands of the Spirit, who makes the words again pure and quick and living; purging away man's defiled and dead conceivings and interpretations of them.

A man must know the Spirit, come to the Spirit, be joined to, and be in union with the Spirit, before he can have the true understanding of the scriptures. The scriptures of truth are the words of God, or various expressions of his mind; which he who searches into, before he has his Spirit, cannot know: and so man, in this state, can only guess and imagine at things, but cannot see the truth. And from here it is so that many sects and heaps are sprung up in the world, according to the variety of their imaginations. One sort of men cry: This is the way, this is the truth, this is the church, this is the worship. Another sort cry: That is not it; that is superstition and error; but this is it: and so a third and fourth, etc. So about scriptures, one says this is the meaning; another says it is not so, but that is the meaning. The Papists say, the church must judge of the meaning of scriptures; and the Protestants, who take more scope, how do they doubt and differ, and oppose one another, about the interpretation of scriptures! Which plainly shows that they do not plow with the right ox; for then there would be unity and certainty. They let their own reasonings and imaginations loose, and there is no foundation of certainty. But had they waited for the Spirit to begin with, and gone on no further than he opened to them, all these doubts and dissensions would have been choked in the birth, or womb, or not have come so far as either birth or womb. Yet do I not altogether deny the reading of scriptures, even in this state, if man read with fear and trembling; not setting up his own understanding, or the understanding of any man else; but waiting for the Spirit, which can alone give him an understanding to receive the true knowledge. But this I dare boldly affirm, that men's reading of the scriptures in their own wisdom and self-confidence, (or confidence of what interpretation others have given), does them no good at all, but much harm, tending to the building up of what God will again destroy. But he who begins with the Spirit of God, giving himself up to that light which comes from him, comes to true union with God, and to the feeling of the life, and so to a true growth and knowledge of the Spirit of God, by which he comes to know and understand the scriptures, which came from the same Spirit; and hereby also he comes to be able to measure the deceit of his own spirit, which formerly led him aside, and also to see and measure the spirits of deceivers. But he who is in the deceit, in the imagination, out of the true knowledge, he cannot know the deceit of his own spirit, or the spirits of deceivers; but calls the truth deceit, and the deceit truth.

[In 1456, before the Bible was printed, there were far less than 100 sects in Christendom. Five hundred years of studying the Bible later, there are 41,000 sects. It is man's fleshly mind, rather than the Holy Spirit, that controls learning from Bible study; for the Holy Spirit's purpose is to have oneness of faith; yet there are 41,000 sects in Christendom, each with a different set of beliefs in what the Bible really means. This is massive evidence that studying the Bible creates the opposite of what the Holy Spirit desires, (one faith) and does not result in truth. Instead of Bible study, we need to be taught directly by the Holy Spirit [by listening] who desires and promises to teach us all things. John 14:26.]

Objection: 4. That this light teaches things contrary to the Scriptures.

Answer: That light which comes from the same Spirit which the Scriptures came from, cannot teach things contrary to the Scriptures. But man, who has taken the tools of his understanding, and formed images and likenesses out of the Scriptures, (I mean invented meanings and senses, and judged these agreeable to the Scriptures), he must judge what is contrary to these, as contrary to the Scriptures: at which point the truth is one in itself, and agrees with whatsoever is true in this age, or in former ages; and differs only from that which is not true. And we know that there is that true unity with that Spirit from which the Scriptures came, and with the Scriptures, and with one another, in that light which the wisdom of man cannot but despise, as has not been in any age since the apostasy until now.

Objection: 5. That this sets up free-will. When persons are exhorted to embrace the light, to let in the light, and told that condemnation comes for not believing or receiving the light, then they cry out, Can man believe? Can man receive the light? Does man have free-will?

Answer: The will of man is bound; but there is liberty, power, and freedom in the light which visits man, and comes to unbind and save him. And man feels this power, tastes of this liberty, feels somewhat disengaging him from the evil, and drawing him from it; but he being in love with the evil, draws back from the drawing, shutting his ears against the wisdom of the light, and opening his ears to the reasonings of the serpent; and then the liberty and power which were in the light, withdraw with the light, and the bonds are strengthened upon him. And this is the condemnation; not that there was a lack of power from God, but that he chose the power of the enemy, not loving the light, in which the power of life lay. God knows the state of man in the fall, and knows the strength of the enemy; and the Savior that he sends has sufficient power against him; and the light that the Savior sends is stronger than the darkness, and can overcome the darkness, and cannot be overcome by the darkness. And if you join with the darkness, and will not yield to the drawings of the Father, but yield up yourself to the drawings and reasonings of the darkness; yet the strength of the light remains in itself. And though for the present you have struck it down and slain it; yet it will rise up a strong and living witness against you, and the darkness to which you have joined. When a man goes from the light, he goes into the will voluntarily; then takes and chooses in the flesh. When a man follows the light, the will of the flesh dies in him, another will rises up, and chooses for him. There is the true liberty.

But as for your speaking of free-will, you do not know what you speak of; for the will, with the freedom of it, either stands in the image and power of him who made it, or in a contrary image and power. While it is in the image and power of him who made it, it is free unto good, and not to evil; while it is in the image and power of him who corrupted it, it is free unto evil, and not to good. The will is not of itself, but stands in another, and is servant to that in whom it stands, and there its freedom is bound and comprehended. For there is no middle state between both, in which the will stands of itself, and is free to both equally; but it is a servant, and under the command of one of these powers. If it is under the command of sin, of the power of darkness, it is free from righteousness; and if it is under the command and power of righteousness, it is free from sin; but such a free-will as men commonly speak of, is mere imagination, and has no foundation in the true state of things.

And this may answer another objection, which lies as a great block in the way of many, who feel a conviction, but are withheld from obedience, under a pretence of lacking power; at which point the power lies in that light which convinces, and is received in the obedience, and in the cross. As the power of the enemy creeps in, in listening to him; so the power of truth is received in listening to, and receiving the reproofs of truth. That which checks the evil, what stands against the mind, smiting it in its course of vanity and pleasure in the fallen state, in that is the power. That comes from the power, goes forth in the power, and the power is in it, and cannot be severed from it. So he who lets that in, lets in the power; and he who shuts that out, shuts out the power. And in this state a man may complain all his days for lack of power, and not meet with it; for how can he, when he refuses it in the way in which the power seeks him, and waits for it in a way in which it is not to be found? The appearance of the power at first is small, and contemptible to the eye of the fleshly wisdom; and it is not received in any such great, overpowering way, (though that also is known afterward), as man is likely to expect; but all lies in one little seed, where the day of small beginnings is known. The light, the life, the power, the purity, the wisdom, etc., lie hidden there; and in receiving that little thing, all is received; and in the growth of that, all grows up. But by being tempted by the enemy to neglect this, and wait for some great power and appearance of God, the soul is held in the bonds of iniquity, and kept from the life, as strongly as by the grossest form.

Objection: 6. That this sets up a covenant of works; for a man is told to do, told to obey the light; and when he does, when he obeys, he has peace; and when he obeys not, he has not peace.

Answer: This does not set up the works of the law; but it leads through the works of the law to the righteousness of faith. "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died," Rom 7:9. The apostle was alive in his worship and Jewish state, until the law came; but when the law came, it slew that life that he had there, and he became dead, both to that life by which he lived before, and to the law that slew him; and then there arose up a life in him which answered the law, and could fulfil it, and lead to a righteousness beyond it. Then his life and righteousness were not any works of the law, but of faith, and in the faith. Gal 2:19-20. But yet there is no passing to this, but through the administration of the law in the heart, in the hand of the Mediator. When the life is risen and received, yet even then there is no peace but in the obedience to the life. The peace lives in what brings the peace; and if there is a departing from that, there is a departing from the peace. Any fleshly thought, any fleshly motion, as it is out of the life, so it is out of the peace; and the mind joining to it, feels the death and trouble of it. Thus said the apostle, Gal 6:15-16. "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace is on them." The peace comes to the new creature, and to man walking according to the rule of the new creature; and there is no condemnation to those who do not walk after the flesh, but [instead walk] after the Spirit. Rom 8:1. But if there is a listening to the flesh and a fulfilling the unrighteousness of it in anything, God is righteous, and therefore he cannot speak peace to the wicked, or to him who joins with the wicked. Therefore, where there is true peace, there must be a coming from the wicked nature, and a living out of the wicked nature, in him who is the life, the righteousness, the peace. I know there have been curious fabrications in men's minds about the covenant of grace; but they have not known the nature of it, and of the works that flow from it, and so are likely to call the works of the new life, springing from the covenant of life, the works of the old covenant. But wisdom is justified of her children, and they know her birth. In the true light the true nature of things is seen, and the true name and description given, which he who is out of the light cannot receive, but stumbles at. The wiser he is, in his own devised way and knowledge of things, the more stumbling-blocks he has, and the more he stumbles.

Objection: 7. (and last). That it breaks down relatives, laws, governments; takes away due respect from magistracy and superiors, and turns the world upside-down.

Answer: Iniquity has reigned, unrighteousness has wound itself into, and twisted around every thing. And now the truth comes to discover and purge out the iniquity; the strong man, who previously has kept possession of the house, cries out, as if the destruction of the thing were aimed at him. No, it is only the evil that is aimed at; but the thing itself is not to be destroyed, but to be set free from the evil, and preserved. Relatives are good, laws are good, governments are good, of God; but the unrighteousness of flesh, the pleasing of the flesh by the pretence of these, the giving liberty to the unjust, this is not good. And is it not thus in relatives, in government, in the execution of laws? If a man will be fleshly, and walk in them according to the flesh, the law takes not hold of him, his relatives are not offended at him; but if he comes once to feel the power of God and withdraw from the evil, and stand a witness for God against it, then relatives, and powers of the earth, and laws, all strike at him; and the reason is, because they are in union with the evil, and so cannot bear the rending of the evil from the thing. From here it is, that wherever the gospel comes in power, it kindles a flame round about, setting father against son, and son against father, husband against wife, and wife against husband, etc. Yes, it goes closer than so; it sets one part in man against another; and the fight is very bitter and sharp, until one of these is subdued, and then there is peace; fleshly peace, if the wise, fleshly part prevails; spiritual peace, if the weak, foolish thing, (to the world), in the heart, which is of God, prevails.

As for honor to magistrates and superiors, it is not denied; but fleshly honor, corrupt honor, honor from the fleshly part, and to the fleshly part, this cannot but be denied by those who are of God. What is born of God is not of this world, nor can it give honor to what is of this world; but it honors all men in the Lord. Whatever is of God in magistracy, it honors; whatever is in superiority according to God, (as a father, a husband, a master), it honors with true honor. Christ, the only begotten of God, could not receive honor of men, nor could he give honor to men; and he said to the Jews, "How can you believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?" The receiving of honor from man cannot stand with the true faith, (when you know the faith you will know it). He who respects persons, commits sin, and is a transgressor against the law of faith, which leads to the life which stands in God, out of the world's honors, worships, customs, and whatever else which is not of faith, but of the world. Mordecai did not bow to Haman; no, he sat in the king's gate, where Haman was to pass, and yet did not stand up, move, or bow to him. What an affront was this to that high, proud, lofty spirit! Yet it was of the Lord. This was a type, (as the Jewish state in general was a type), of what God would do in the world, and is now doing. The Lord has raised up Mordecai's nature, and he has discovered Haman's nature, and has given the command to Mordecai, that he should not bow to Haman. If you could search your hearts, you would find, that it is not that of God in you which is offended for lack of what you call honor; but the Hamanish spirit, the fleshly pride and loftiness, which the Lord will lay low; and he alone will be exalted in this day of his mighty power. Man shall only be honored as he comes from him, and as he is found in him; but the honor which the fleshly part has sought and gained in the transgression, shall fall with the transgressor, whom the Lord has furbished his sword to smite.

As for turning the world upside-down, it is acknowledged: the power of the Lord has come forth to do it. What is high, what is wise, what is strong, what is rich, what is full, what is fat, the Lord will lay low, make foolish, weak, poor, empty, lean; for it lies in wickedness. He will feed the fat and strong cattle with that judgment which shall make them lean and weak. The humble, the foolish, the weak, the poor, the empty, the lean, he will raise up, and make wise, and strong, and rich, and full, and fat, with the true honor, the true wisdom, the true strength, the true riches, the sure and living mercies of David; who sets his feet on the top of the high places of the earth; of whom Christ came according to the flesh.

Thus I have in plainness of heart, and plainness of speech, set the truth and the error before you, and lent my hand toward the removing of some blocks which lay in your way, in love and pity to your souls. Now if any, in the reading of this, feel a secret touch upon their hearts, startling them, and giving some testimony to the truth, though very small, and through a thick, dark covering, there is that to which I speak; there is the witness within the veil; and there is the testimony rising up, which leads to life, if given heed to. Keep to this, and this will prick and wound, judge and condemn the contrary nature, though ever so strong. When it does prick and wound, keep the wound fresh and open, as you love your life, until you meet with the true healer. For the false prophet will rise up in you, and fill you with reasonings, and perhaps multitudes of promises and comforts from scripture, skinning over the wound, and crying Peace, peace, when there is no peace. And when you have thus gotten over the trouble, then the false prophet, which brought you this peace, will stir you up against the witness, exalting the wisdom and reasonings of the flesh, and making merry with you over the witness, which witnessed against you and him, and over the trouble that came thereby; and this will bring you to that hardness of heart which is for destruction. When you have slain the witness in yourself, and exalted your fleshly reason and understanding over it, then the false prophet that seduced you will kindle a zeal in you against the witness in others; and you will prove a persecutor of the life, under the name of deceit, error, heresy, and blasphemy; at which point you yourself are fallen into the deceit, into the error from the life, and into the blasphemy against it, and are in Cain's nature, and would willingly be handling of Cain's weapons to destroy it.

Therefore take heed of the fleshly wisdom; take heed of your own understanding; take heed of your reasoning or disputing; for these are the weapons by which the witness is slain. That wisdom must be destroyed, and that understanding brought to nothing, and you become a child, and learn as a child, if ever you know the things of God. "Where is the wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the disputer of this world?" Did they ever, from the beginning of the world to this day, attain the knowledge of the things of God? Where are the councils? Where are the great convocations? Where are the synods? Where are the assemblies of scholars in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin? What has become of them all? What have they done? Have they been ever able to lead out of the apostasy from the truth into the truth again? No: that wisdom is cursed; it is of the earth, and fixed in the earth, and is the grand enemy to the wisdom that is from above: and where that wisdom stands, there is no entrance for the other. This made it so hard for this sort of persons, in all ages, to own truth. Your wisdom and your knowledge has perverted you. This made the whorish spirit so able to use sorceries and enchantments from the life in all ages. And it is easier for publicans, harlots, drunkards, swearers, and all sorts of sinners to own truth, and enter into life, than for these. For it is easier to empty them of their profaneness, than it is to empty these of their settled, conceited religion and devotion. And yet these, with their religion and devotion, cannot enter, no more than the other with their profaneness. You have a knowledge, a righteousness, a hope, a faith, etc., founded by your pretence to scriptures. Who can shake down these, you say? And yet these must fall, before you can build upon, and grow up in, the life that the scriptures came from. For the scriptures were not given for men to gather out of, and lay a foundation of faith there, by their own wills; but to discover and testify of the foundation. And he who comes there, and is built there, knows the truth; not because the scriptures say so, but because he feels the thing, is founded upon the thing, grows up in the thing, and the thing in him, of which the scripture speaks. And this knowledge shall abide, and this faith, and this righteousness, and this holiness, and this redemption; at which point the other is but a name, put upon what is not the thing.

These are precious and faithful words, (though through a vessel weakened, and weak beyond measure); and happy is he who has an ear to hear them; but woe from the Lord to the eye that is closed, to the ear that is shut, to the heart that is hardened, in the inventions and imaginations of man's fleshly mind, against the truth of God. Let the witness of God in you stir and speak, it shall answer me now; but if you, through the strength of the flesh, and the vain imaginations which you hug in your heart, stifle the voice of it now, yet I know it shall answer me one day; but then it will be too late for you to hear it.

The Lord is now gentle and tender, pursuing you with his love, and following you up and down with his light. Although you run from him into sin and transgression, and listen to the wisdom of the flesh; yet his voice comes after you to reclaim you. If you will hear and only yield yourself to him, he will not put you to do anything; but subdue all your enemies for you; yes, he will slay the serpentine wisdom in you, with all its inventions, and dash all the children of Babylon against the stones, without pity to them, though with great pity to you. But if you refuse, and choose the pleasure of the flesh, and the gross flesh-pots of Egypt, and turn your ear from his voice, giving way to the reasonings of the flesh, and keeping down the witness, the day of wrath and severity, which all the scriptures have spoken of, will come, and you will have your portion with hypocrites, who, in all ages, have covered themselves with a form of religion, pleasing to the flesh and the world; but have withheld their hearts from the power of life. Therefore prize the love of God to you in giving you this warning; and be not uncircumcised in heart and ears, as this generation of professors have always been; but let Christ reign in your heart, and let him trample all man's invented forms of knowledge and worship under his feet, and give up yourself to be led by him into the true knowledge and worship in the spirit and in the truth.

And now you who find your hearts touched and convinced of the truth, and find any desire kindled in you after the living God, and a hungering and thirsting after his righteousness, take notice of these three things, which I have upon my heart to say to you, by way of advice:

1. Know and take up your cross, the cross of Christ, the daily cross of Christ. The cross of Christ is what crosses the natural; and this is the power of God to deliver from the natural. How should the earthly understanding, the earthly will, the earthly affections, with the elementary nature, (which have had their swing in the earth), be crucified and slain, but by the cross of Christ? He, therefore, who wishes to have a religion to please himself in anything, must not come here; and he who, after he has come here, admits of anything pleasing to the earthly, and departs from the cross, which would deny and turn from it; so far as he does so, he goes backward, and not forward. It is no wonder that there is such an enmity in all sorts against the truth; for it strikes at their life, yes, at the very root of their life. If there were any new way or form of religion held forth, men's understandings and affections might by degrees be wrought up to it, and find pleasure in it; but this [the cross of self-denial] is direct death to that nature and spirit that has lived in any form of religion, and to the whole course of that nature and spirit; yet through this death, the true life springs up, in those who receive the strokes of it. Therefore be willing, and learn to die daily, and bring everything which is contrary to Christ to the cross. Deny self in everything, take up the cross in everything, follow Christ in everything. This is the way which Christ himself prescribes to become his disciples by: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." Seek not ease in the flesh, no, not in the least; but take up the cross every day, in everything, until the earthly spirit within you is slain; until the wisdom and strength of the flesh is wholly subdued, and then the wisdom and power of God will become natural.

2. Keep to the sense, keep to the feeling; beware of the understanding, beware of the imagining, conceiving mind. These cannot be for God, nor bring forth anything for God, until they are newly cast, and newly molded. The one seed of life lies in the invisible, in the hidden man of the heart, among multitudes of seeds of death; all which have their growth up into, and strength in, the corrupted natural. So that this seed cannot shoot up into any part of the natural, but the other seeds shoot up with it, and endeavor to choke it. Now the other seeds spring up two ways, either in a way of opposition against the true seed, or in a way of imitation. There cannot be a good thought, or desire, or beam of light, enter into the understanding or will, but multitudes of evil thoughts, evil desires, or fleshly reasonings against it, will spring up with it, and strive to overbear it. And if the enemy is at length overcome, by the power of God fighting with him and vanquishing him, then he has his garment of light; then he brings in thoughts and desires, and motions like God's, which easily pass for good, if the soul does not keep close upon the watch. The forward understanding is likely to present to own them, and the forward will to embrace, and the forward affections to let themselves forth into them, until the soul come to feel a loss in life, and miss the power and presence of God, and find the enemy strong again. Yes, the enemy has yet a more subtle way; namely, to raise motions like the motions of God's spirit, and suddenly, before the light has given the discerning of them, to raise oppositions and reasonings against them; so that by the opposition, which is manifestly evil, the motion itself, which is also evil, (though good in appearance), might be the less suspected, and swallowed. Now the only way of safety is to keep out of the natural, of which the enemy has possession, and where his strength lies, and to keep in the sense and feeling of the invisible seed, and only to come forth with him into the natural, in that sense and feeling. And when he comes, he will come with strength, above the strength that the enemy has in the natural, and by degrees conquer him. But by no means rest or abide in the natural, but retire with the Lord, (who will not dwell there until it is cleansed), into the resting-place. These words may be hard to you at present; but hereafter, (as you come into the exercise), you will feel them. And this is the reason why the formal and outward part of religion does so commonly eat out the life, because things there are suitable to, and exercise, that part in which the strength of the enemy lies; and there can never be perfect freedom and safety until that part is subdued, and all that belongs to that part removed. The Lord is risen to shake, so the kingdom that cannot be shaken may appear; and happy are those who are shaken by his hand in all that is outward, and established in the inward life, power, and rest, which remains for ever, and cannot be shaken.

3. Wait patiently the Lord's leisure. Be not hasty after life and salvation in the will of the flesh; but leave the Lord to choose his own season for the showering down of his mercy and blessing. The Lord will not presently entertain that spirit which has adulterated from him, (prostituting itself to strangers, and defiling itself), into his bosom; but there must be a time of sorrow, a time of purifying and cleansing. The soul must know and feel that it has been an evil thing and bitter, that it has forsaken the Lord, the living fountain of living mercies, and has sought life from vanities, and among dead idols. And all the idols must be thrown away, and the heart washed from that nature that ran after them, and become a pure virgin, to bear and bring forth the living seed; and by faithfulness to that seed, and waiting in that seed, in the Lord's season it shall receive the mercy and the blessing and the inheritance which belong to that seed. The husbandman does not presently reap, but waits long, even until the seed be grown up to maturity. Jacob, the type of the seed, said, "O Lord, I have waited for your salvation." It is the election that obtains; it is to the seed, and for the seed's sake, that the mercy is bestowed; and there must be a waiting until the seed be grown up to age, and able to defend his portion from his elder brother, who otherwise would be ready to seize on it, and waste it upon harlots again. Therefore lie still, and bear the indignation of the Lord against what has transgressed, until he judges it, and delivers from it, and lead into the innocence and righteousness, and then he will find a time to arise, and plead the cause of the innocent, and give the crown of immortal life to what he has prepared for it. Therefore think not the race long, nor the battle hard, nor be weary of the afflictions and chastisements in the way; but follow the Captain, the Guide, the Leader; whose light, strength, courage, and wisdom, will overcome all, and bring the soul which abides in it into his own throne.

Now as you thus wait, taking up the cross, and keeping in the feeling; so the corrupt natural, the mortal, in which Satan's throne and power has been, will wither, decay, and grow weak daily; and the tender plant of God, the immortal seed, will shoot up, and gather strength daily; and you will come to a will in God, and an understanding in God, and what is of God will manifest itself; and you will come to know, and desire, and take delight in the things of God. Then the soul, which is immortal, will come to hear, and receive, and feed on the immortal word, which is the bread of life, and which alone is able to preserve and nourish up to eternal life. Then you will know what it is to tremble at this word, and to have all the powers of nature melt and fail before it. Then you will know the faith which gives the victory, and the knowledge which lets into life, and the fear which keeps the heart clean, and the hope which anchors the soul immortal in the immortal God, and the patience which wins the crown. So you will come to witness the several conditions of the saints in scripture as you grow up into them, and will not need men to give you meanings of scriptures from their brain-studies, and acquired arts and understandings; but will know the meaning from the thing itself in your own hearts, and hear the words from the living voice of that spirit that first spoke them, who alone is able to interpret his own mind, and open the words which he himself spoke. Then you will know and love life and need no more exhortations to depart from all dead, corrupted, and corrupting forms, which ever were, and ever will be, enemies to, and betrayers of, the life. So the peace of God, the rest of God, the true sabbath of God, the everlasting light and life of God, will come to be your own, and enjoyed by you, past all gainsaying or dispute in you; while the natural understanding in others is reasoning, contending and disputing about them, but can never know, while they are from the thing within for that mind is not the heir, nor can it inherit the kingdom of God.

POSTSCRIPT

To those who have had a seriousness and depth in their religion, who could not sit down in empty forms and shadows of things, but have been pressing after the living substance; and missing of that, through error of judgment, (the true eye being not fixed in the head), have come to a loss; and so are returned to, overgrown with, and hardened in, the old nature; and have taken up a pitiful rest and center in the earth, having let fall the pursuit of their spirits after the true center of rest in the life: a word to such from the love in the life.

THERE was a spirit, soul, or image of God brought forth, and standing in his life, before the fall.

This soul was brought into death, under the burthen and bondage of corruption, out of its proper center and resting-place, by the fall.

Now as there is in this state a true loss, so there is in this spirit a sensibleness, a groaning under the burden, a feeling the bitterness of the captivity, and panting after redemption and restoration to its former state.

Now though the whorish part, which seduced from the life, make a great noise in the flesh about saints' words, and tempt to pleasures of the outward part, and pleasures in the mind, and draw into forms and religious worship, and frame deep centers of satisfaction in the understanding, (perhaps from true openings of the life, quenching it), and so seek to quiet the soul, and still the cry; yet the lost state remaining, the soul being not truly redeemed, but a false rest taken up by the way, in the false part, this will fail, and the sense is again renewed in the day of trial and sore trouble. For the soul, by any imagination or notion or feeling of a center in the corrupt mind, cannot be healed or restored; but only by having the true life raised up again in it, and itself brought into its proper place and mansion in the fountain of life.

There have been, in the shakings of this nation, great stirrings, the seed springing up, and great opening to the seed; the spirit of prophecy has been enlarged in us, above what many of our forefathers felt; but the way into the spring of life has not been known, where the preservation is. So the whorish part, the corrupt part, the understanding which was not purified, and brought into subjection unto the truth, this harlot caught the openings and prophecies of the true spirit, conceived with them, and brought forth children to the flesh; bringing forth a more inward apprehension of things, a more spiritual kind of knowledge, as of God to be all, all to be good, and in God, and all sin and evil done away there, etc. Those who center here, form the fleshly mind, as it were, in him, as it was not known before. And now the redemption is forgotten, the pantings after life slain, and the flesh can lie down quietly in the unredeemed estate, and say, it is his will, it is good; and it can rest satisfied there in that will of his which is good. Thus the great abomination from the subtle flesh sprang up, which made many hearts desolate of very precious springings-up and buddings-forth of the true life and power of God.

But after this great loss and betraying of the life in them, it has pleased God to raise it up in others, and to discover the hammer, the sword, the fire, which can knock down, cut down, and burn up this whorish part; and there the whore is brought, when she comes to betray again, and the springings-up of life shrink back, and lie safe in the center, while the whore is burning. As the whore is burnt, the heir comes up, and the spirit, (which is the portion of his inheritance), descends and rests upon him; and by this he is known; and that which is in union with him knows him. Therefore, if you will live, come to that hammer, that sword, that fire which flesh dreads, and let the flesh be delivered up to it; and do not despise the day of small things, waiting for some great appearance; but know it in its lowest knock for its power of redemption is as truly there, as in its greatest appearance. He who has an ear let him hear, and his soul shall live.

Let those therefore whom this concerns consider their ways, (as the grace that appeared to me has taught me to do), and try this foundation, upon what they stand; and that they do not kill what is opened, and live in the slain openings, and so in the end become dark, airy, dry, withered, wheeling about, and turning into the earth, it becoming their rest and foundation again, and so losing the joys which formerly the opener did open. This, with me, many of you may witness; for whom my desire is, that they may also witness the return to what then opened, and live in the opener, and be preserved by him from abusing his precious openings any more.

For though I had a true taste of life and power from God; yet not knowing the foundation, there could be no true building with it; and so the spirit was quenched, the life wasted, the portion spent upon harlots, the true bread lost, and chaff and husks fed upon, without the least satisfaction to the soul; the sense of which, when the spirit of the Lord awakened me, did almost overwhelm me. Yes, the bands of death were so strengthened upon me, and the spirit of the world had taken such hold of me, that I found my return very difficult. Yes, when living words of hope were mentioned to me, to draw me back to that principle of life from which I had gone out, I could receive nothing; but cry out, Impossible! impossible! impossible! I felt myself like a tree twice dead, plucked up by the roots, without the capacity of life, sense, or motion in the eternal being any more. But at length it pleased life to move in a low way in the midst of the powers of darkness in my heart; and by sinking low out of the wisdom, out of the reason, out of all high imaginations, and trusting myself to it; though dreadful strokes and oppositions were felt from the powers of darkness; yet at length there was some appearance of the deliverer, in such a poor, low, weak, despicable way, as could never have been welcomed, had not the soul been first brought to distress,* and the loftiness of the imaginary part brought down. And then coming out of that into the feeling, in another part, there was a seed sprung up into a child; and as the child grows, and feeds on the milk of the immortal Word, I live, and am strengthened in him, and daily weakened in that part which lived before. These are true words, from a honest heart, for the relief of those who may have been entangled in the same snare.

*[From the Word of the Lord within: "No one can come to me unless they first have had a life shattering experience."]

A TESTIMONY of great concern to all those
that call themselves Christians,
but have not known the true church,
of which alone the true Christian can be born.

THERE has been a great war between the woman and her seed, and the harlot and her seed, from the beginning to this day; and they have each had their prevailings in the war. The woman and her seed have been made strong in God, to conquer some of the territories of death, and to set up their life in the world. Thus, in the Jewish state, God prepared a heaven and earth for the woman and her seed, and when that heaven and earth were shaken, he prepared a more glorious heaven and earth in the Christian state. Now no sooner were the church and her seed seated in either of these, but the dragon made war against her, and in the war had power given him to recover her seat from her. Thus the devil got possession of the Jewish state, so that there was no room for the true church there, but all was in idolatry and corruption; and the Lord was not served by their ceremonies, by their sacrifices, by their sabbaths, by their new moons, by their temple-worships, etc., rather the devil was served. The devil also got possession of the heaven and the earth in the Christian state; so that in their ordinances, and in their worships, in their duties, in those which they call their churches, God has not been worshipped in the truth, but the devil, for these many ages. For mark: who was it that got into the temple of God? Was it not antichrist? Was it not the spirit of Satan? 2 Thes 2:4. And who was it that was worshipped in all the world, that had power given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations, and whom all that dwell upon the earth worship? Was it not the dragon? Rev. 13:7-8. Did not all the world wonder after the beast, and worship the dragon which gave power unto the beast? ver. 3,4. of that chapter. The woman was assaulted here, her strongholds taken from her, so that she could not stay safe in that heaven and earth which God had made for her; therefore there was another place prepared for her by God, in the wilderness, and she had wings of an eagle given her to fly there; but the dragon got into, and held possession of, the heaven where she was before. Rev. 12. So that none has known the church all this time but he who has been born of her in the wilderness; which was a place the world never dreamed of, but looked for her in the heaven and in the earth, which the devil had gotten possession of. And here they cry up the ordinances! the ordinances! duties! the church! the ministry! etc., (as the Jews did "the temple of the Lord! the temple of the Lord!"), not knowing in whose hands these were, and whom they worshipped hereby. Now consider this, Oh you Christians! I speak what I assuredly know, that God could not be truly worshipped in any of these, while they were in the devil's hands; but the whorish spirit and her seed worship here; and the worship of the church and her seed was a wilderness worship, or a worship which she learned of God in the wilderness. Mark now, and consider my testimony, Oh you Christians! I deny all the worship, all the ordinances, which were taught the Christians of old, now practiced by the whorish spirit; for the devil had gained it and corrupted it; and having corrupted it, God could not be any more worshipped in it; but the antichristian spirit sat there, giving forth those things as his law. He sat in the temple of God, and there made use of the vessels and ordinances which he had carried captive into his Babylon; and I deny it to be possible to have any true use of these until the time of the recovery. And now the time of the recovery has come, and the restitution has begun; people know it not, but cry up the old heaven and the old earth, which Satan had corrupted, setting it up in opposition against the new, which God has newly formed, and is bringing forth in true beauty and glory.

Now in this war, though the devil, though the harlot and her seed got the woman's seed from her, and banished her seed as it were out of the earth, yet they were not able to touch the woman, nor to overcome the life of God in her seed, but only to kill their bodies; but the life was still conqueror over them, and not subjected to them. They could raise up churches, and ordinances, and ministers, and duties, and cause all that dwell on the earth to worship in some part or other of his Babylon; but they could never make the seed bow to any of their images; nor could they hurt the woman hereby who was in the wilderness, out of the reach of all these; and there she did eat the bread of life with tears, mourning over her desolate estate, and her loss of children. And here alone was the true bread of life, which was not to be known or tasted of in any of the ordinances of the apostasy. You will all one day acknowledge this to be a true testimony, held forth to you in true love; if you could see it now, it would be good for you.

A brief account of what we are,
and what our work is in the world

WE [the early Quakers] are a people whom God has converted to himself; a people in whom God has raised up the seed of his own life, and caused it to reign over the earthly part in ourselves; a people whom God has divorced from the spirit of whoredom, and joined to his own Spirit. We, many of us, sought truly and only after God from our childhood; our consciences bear us witness in the sight of God; but the honesty of our hearts was still betrayed, and we led aside by the whorish spirit, and knew not how to turn to that of God in us, which inclined us towards God. By this means we came to great distress and misery beyond all men. Not that all men were in as great a lack of God, his life, power, and presence as we; but the sense thereof was not so quickened in others as in us. Now it pleased the Lord at length to pity us, and to inform our minds towards himself; to show us where life lay, and where death lay; and how to turn from the one and to the other, and he gave us his helping hand to turn us; and by being turned to him, we have tasted of the truth, of the true wisdom, of the true power, of the true life, of the true righteousness, of the true redemption; and by receiving of this from God, and tasting and handling of it, we come to know that what the world has set up instead of it, is not the thing itself. Now mark, we are not persons that have shot up out of the old root into another appearance, as one sect has done out of another, until many have come up one after another, the ground still remaining the same from which they all grew; but that ground has been shaken and shaking, destroyed and destroying, removed and removing in us; and the old root of Jesse has been made manifest in us, and we have been transplanted by the everlasting power of life, and a real change brought forth in us out of that spirit in which the world lives and worships, into another Spirit, into which nothing which is of the world can enter. And here we have met with the call of God, the conversion to God, the regeneration in God, the justification, the sanctification, the wisdom, the redemption, the true life and power of God, which the world cannot so much as bear the name of. And what we are made of God in Christ, we know to be truth, and no lie; and when we testify of this to the world, in the measure of the life of God in us, we speak truth, and no lie; though the world, which knows not the truth, cannot hear our voice.

Now our work in the world is to hold forth the virtues of him who has called us; to live like God; not to own anything in the world which God does not own; to forget our country, our kindred, our father's house, and to live like persons of another country, of another kindred, of another family; not to do anything of ourselves, and which is pleasing to the old nature; but all our words, all our conversation, yes, every thought in us, is to become new. Whatever comes from us, is to come from the new principle of life in us, and to answer that in others; but we must not please the old nature at all in ourselves, nor in anyone else. And walking faithfully thus with God, we have a reward at present, and a crown in the end, which does and will countervail all the reproaches and hardships we do or can meet with in the world.

We are also to be witnesses for God, and to propagate his life in the world; to be instruments in his hand, to bring others out of death and captivity into true life and liberty. We are to fight against the powers of darkness everywhere, as the Lord calls us forth. And this we are to do in his wisdom, according to his will, in his power, and in his love, sweetness, and meekness. We are not to take ways according to our own wisdom, (but there must be a strict watch set in the life, to prevent that getting up again); nor must we speak such words as man's wisdom would call wise; nor may we go in our own will to seek any; but the Lord must go before us leading. Nor may we make use of our own strength, but feel his arm in our weakness. Nor may we go forth in that love, sweetness, or meekness, which is pleasing to the fleshly mind; but we must be true to God, handling the sword skillfully and faithfully, judging and cutting down the transgressor in the power and authority of God. And when the meek, the lowly, the humble thing is reached and raised in another, then the true love, the sweetness, the tenderness, the meekness must go forth to that. The Lord God is rough with the transgressor, and throughout the scriptures hews and judges him; and if we come forth in the same Spirit, we shall find the same leadings to do the same thing; for the Lord God will never be tender there; nor can what comes from him, lives in him, is led by him, be tender there, where he is not.

Now the very root of this severity is good, and of God, and has love and sweetness at the bottom of it. Yes, in pity, love, and bowels do we use the sword. It is in pity to the poor captive creature, so that we might cut down what keeps it in bonds and captivity. And though we seem to be enemies to all sorts of men for the Lord's sake, yet we are not enemies, nor we could hurt in least any of them in any way; but are true friends to their souls, and bodies also. Our only controversy is with what captivates them and makes them miserable; for we fight not at all with flesh and blood, but with the principality and power which led from God, and rule in the person against God, to the poor person's ruin and destruction. Yes, if we had all the power of the earth in our hands, we could not set up our own way, (if, after the manner of men, I may so call it), or so much as disturb others in their way by such power; but we would have to wait in patience until God gave us an entrance by his power.

Now let not men run on in arguments against us; but let them seriously consider whether we are of God or not. Let them consider, not with the reason and understanding which are alienated from God, but with the witness which lies hidden in the heart. There is one great palpable argument that we are of God, which is this: all the world is against us; the worldly part everywhere fights with us; the worldly part, in every sort and sect of men, opposes us; the rage of men everywhere rises up against us. But those that are so hot against us, if at anytime they became meek and calm, patiently considering our cause, and consulting with the testimony that they find in their own hearts concerning us, they would soon become pacified, and see that we are no man's enemies, against no righteous law, not against relatives, not against governments, not against anything in the world that is good; but only against what is evil and corrupt. And of a truth, the corruption of things God has shown us, and daily he calls us forth in an immediate manner to witness against.

Therefore let men be sober, and take heed what they do, for fear they are found fighters against God; for the reproaches, the scoffs, with other persecutions, which they direct at us, actually land on him. It is not as we are men, but as we are obedient to him, as we stand witnesses for him, that we meet with these things. Now, as it is not we ourselves that do these things, but the life and power of God in us; so it is not we that are struck at, but that life and power. If it were not for the life and power of God, we might be as acceptable as other men. It is because we are not of the world, but that God has called us out of the world, that we are so hated of the world. This is the true cause; though the world will no more now acknowledge it, than it would in former ages. Yet I do not speak this for my own sake, to avoid my share in the cross; for the reproach of Christ is our riches; yes, far greater treasure than is to be found in the palace of Egypt. Yes, the presence of God, the sweet power of life, makes up all our losses; so that we have no cause to complain. It is very sweet, pleasant, and profitable for us to be found sufferers for God; but we know it will not be profitable for you to be found persecutors. This is told you in true love and good-will, by one who wishes no evil to you, for all that evil that you have exercised toward the dear and precious people of God for these many years. Oh that God would open your eyes, that you might see whom you have opposed, and against whom you have hardened and strengthened yourselves, that you might bow to him, and receive life from him, and not perish in your contention and opposition.

An Addition concerning the Doctrine of Justification

BECAUSE the doctrine of justification is of great concernment, and the enemy of mankind has exceedingly endeavored to corrupt it, and in the apostasy has greatly prevailed; and the darkness which springs up in the fleshly wisdom is exceeding thick at this day concerning this thing; therefore, in true love to souls, it is laid upon me to search into that scripture which chiefly speaks thereof, and from there to clear it up to such, who have not yet attained the life that gave forth the Scriptures.

The apostle Paul does largely and fully treat of it, in his epistle to the Romans, and lays down several things concerning it, which if well heeded, may dash men's present apprehensions about it, and bring them to wait for the opening of those scriptures to them, in another light than they have yet known.

1. He affirms that justification is not "by the deeds of the law." Rom 3:20. If a man could say with the young man: All these things have I done from my youth; or as Paul, that he was as touching the law blameless; yet could he not be justified thereby.

And the apostle gives a great reason; "for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Now justification is not by the making of sin known, but by what saves and delivers from it. The knowledge of sin may motivate a man to seek for justification; but it cannot justify him, but rather condemn him; but that which delivers him from the sin, which the law makes known, that justifies him.

2. He affirms that "the righteousness of God", (which is the justification), "is manifested without the law." Rom 3:21. The law makes sin known, and shows the sinner the need of justification; but the justification itself is not from that, but is manifested without it. The law commands the nature to act that pertains to similitudes, figures, types, and shadows, to the obedience of them; but the seed takes away the nature that pertains to similitudes and shadows and the works of the law. So to the obedience of those things the law commands, there is justification by the law in the obedience to the works it commands; but the justification, Christ, removes the nature that pertains to those things the law commands; so that justification, the law, ends in Christ.

3. That this righteousness or justification is "witnessed by the law and the prophets." ver. 21. The law, though it is not the justification, nor can the justification be by obedience to it, or by the deeds of it; yet it gives testimony to the justification: for the substance of what the law and all the prophets witness is, that nothing can justify but the righteousness of God.

4. That this righteousness or justification is "by the faith of Christ," Rom 3:22, by believing or entering into what justifies. As condemnation was by unbelief, by joining unto, and entering into, the spirit of enmity; so justification is by joining unto, and entering into, the Spirit of love, by true union with Christ in the Spirit; which union is by the faith which comes from Christ.

5. That this justification or righteousness is "upon all that believe." Rom 3:22. He who receives the faith, believes; and he who believes has righteousness; and he who believes not cannot have the righteousness; but the condemnation and wrath abide on him.

6. That this justification is "freely by the grace." Rom3:24. There is no way to come to this righteousness but by the gift of grace; which gift is given freely. Therefore, if ever man will be justified, he must know the grace, and the gift which comes from the grace, and receive it; and receiving it, he cannot miss of justification; and not receiving it, (but either being ignorant of it, or resisting of it), he cannot possibly be justified.

7. That this justification is by the "redemption of Christ." Rom 3:24. Christ is the redeemer; the redemption, (in which is the justification), is in him, and there is no way of meeting with the justification or redemption, but by receiving of him in whom it is; and he who has him, has the justification, and is made partaker of the redemption; and he who has not him, has it not.

Mark then, the justification or redemption is not by believing of a thing done outside a man, (though that also is to be believed), but by receiving him into the heart. For the virtue of all Christ did without, is within him; and I cannot be made partaker of that by believing that he did such a thing without, or that he did it for me, except by receiving the virtue of it into me, and feeling the virtue of it in me. This is what saves me, and makes what was done without to be mine.

8. That Christ is the "propitiation," Rom3:25. or what pacifies and makes way for sinners to God; so that he who truly receives Christ has the atonement; but he who has not received him, only dreams of peace with God; but still remains in the enmity, and is liable to the wrath, having the bond of iniquity over him, and is in the night, [and has no peace, still being subject to lusts and passion of the natural life].

9. That this propitiation is by "faith in the blood." Rom3:25. There is nothing that pacifies God but the blood of his Son; and there is nothing that feels the blood but the faith, and what is in the faith. A man may read scriptures, and gather notions about justification, and think he believes right, and shall be justified; but he never comes to feel the blood, nor the life which is in the blood, until he receive the faith, and then he knows the true propitiation and the true peace, which before he only talked about.

10. That this faith is "the righteousness;" faith is the gift of God, and this gift justifies; this gift is the justification; this is what God "imputed for righteousness." Rom 4:3-5. The faith is in the blood, and the blood in the Son; and in the true receiving of the Son, both the faith and the blood are known and felt. These are true words, though hard to the fleshly ear. Do not stumble in the wisdom, but calmly wait for the revelation of the spirit, and then you will say, the price of this knowledge is not to be valued; and if once you come to taste truth here, all your knowledge in the letter will be but trash to you. "You have come to the blood of sprinkling." Oh, do not rest in an outward way of believing, an outward thing; but seek out the way of coming to the blood of sprinkling.

11. That the justification is of the "ungodly." ver. 5. He whom God makes righteous, was ungodly before he made him righteous. There was nothing but unrighteousness could be imputed to him in transgression, before he gave him his Son, and made him righteous in his Son; for nothing is righteous with God but Christ, and man only as he is taken into his righteousness; which is done not by a believing from the bare letter, but by a receiving of faith in the life.

12. That the justification of the ungodly is by believing in him who justifies. ver. 5. The gift of faith goes forth from him, and is received into the heart. Now both by the gift itself, and by the exercise of it, is the justification; by receiving of the gift is the person justified; by the exercise of the gift are all his actions justified. Christ being let into the heart, justifies the heart into which he is received; and Christ being in the heart, justifies every motion and action that comes from his life; and any other motion or action is not justified; for it is out of what is justified, and is in and from what is condemned. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." ver.3. God promised him a seed; he believed God. God told him sacrifice this type; he believed. This was it which was imputed unto him for righteousness. Now if he had not believed; if he had not received the gift, or not exercised the gift, could he have been righteous? So that Abraham was not justified by any work he did, or could do; but by receiving and exercising the faith in the seed: by going out of his country, kindred, and father's house, not of himself, but by faith, and by living to God, and obeying his voice in that land to which he was led; not in his own will or power, but in the faith. And by hearing the call of God, and receiving the faith, and living out of self, out of a man's own understanding, will, and power, in the faith, and living power, and wisdom of God, is the justification now: and they that do thus are children of Abraham, born of the free woman; when as they who take up practices from the letter, without being engrafted into the life, are but children of the bond-woman; but such children of Abraham as the Jews were, (if so much); and cannot inherit that promise which belongs to the spiritual seed, while they live in that state.

13. That where the faith which is imputed unto righteousness is found, there "sin is not imputed, but covered;" which is a blessed state. ver. 6,7,8. Sin cuts off from God, who is life and blessedness. Sin lays open to the wrath of the Creator which is too great for the creature to bear. Woe and misery will be his portion to whom God imputes sin; but happy is he who has his sin covered! This is a happy condition; life and immortality will soon be opened to him. Now this blessedness comes not by the works of the law, for they cannot remove the sin; but by the righteousness of faith, which is able to cover the sin even from the pure eye of God. Oh Christians, Christians! do not imagine yourselves covered from sin; but know it, feel it; [hear him tell you of your righteousness and his approval of you], never rest until you are so made partakers of the true righteousness, that, by its virtue in you, you may be past all doubt that it is it. Believing from the letter without you that you are justified, may easily deceive you; but if once you come truly to feel in yourselves the thing which justifies, and so find the power and life of it in you, above the power of all what condemns, casting out the condemned thing, and the condemner, with all his works, out of your hearts; this cannot deceive. The virtue of life was lost in the apostasy; and what was living did not so much enjoy life as mourn after it; and the power and safety of life did then appear most in mourning; but now the apostasy draws towards an end, and the virtue begins to shoot up again; and he who will be a Christian now, must be so, not by retaining his old notions, but by feeling this new virtue, and by growing up in this new-sprung life and power of the Lord, whose appearance is new to us, who have not been acquainted with it, but have been brought up in the darkness of the apostasy, and lived in the waters where the great leviathan ruled, and who was able to make war with him there? But he who seeks, is joined with, and keeps to, that power which dries up the waters, and puts a hook into the nostrils of the leviathan; shall find the world, with the whole course of it, ending in himself, and the beginning and growth of an endless life; and in whom that life lives, they shall live also; but where death keeps the power of life down, such shall not live, or know the blessing, but abide under the curse of misery and death, and under the powers of darkness. Therefore look about you, and make a wise choice; for his servants you are whom you obey, whether the prince of darkness, in his invented forms of godliness, or the prince of light, in the living power; and your reward shall be according to your choice and work, either death in the death, if you choose and join to that; or life in the life, if you join to that. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.

This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.

 


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