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haftily springeth up, but soon withereth) because they either never rightly learn, or keep not to the cross. For that alone hath power from God to bring down and keep down that which is contrary to him. So that from under the cross of Christ, there is no witnessing salvation or preservation from the Lord; but out of the limits of the cross, the enemy hath power to recover and bring back under his dominion again. And whosoever in his travels leaves the cross behind him, does draw back unto perdition, and not travel on, in the living faith and newnefs of obedience, towards the falvation of the foul.
X. Concerning the Mystery of Life, and the Mystery of the Fellow
ship which is therein.
God is hid from man, as he lies in his finful and fallen ftate; and no man can find or know him, but as he pleaseth to reveal himself by his own blessed Spirit. And Christ, being God's image, there is no knowing or confesfing him, or right calling him Lord, but in and by the same Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 3. When he appeared in the days of his fesh, felh and blood could not reveal him, but only the Father. And he is the same to-day as he was yesterday. He is not to be known now, but in the same Spirit; in his own grace and truth, in a measure of his own life. The dead cannot know him ; they only know him, who are his sheep, who are quickened and made alive by him. And this life is a mystery: none can understand it, but they that partake of it. Can a man that is naturally dead, know what the life of nature means? No more can a man that is spiritually dead, know what the life of the Spirit means. The natural man may get the words that came from life, and cry up them, and speak great words of the fame of wisdom, and of her children; but the thing itself is hid from them all. Oh! it is a strait gate, at which the birth enters, at which none else can enter. The wise and prudent knowers and searchers after the fielh (and of the scriptures, as they can put meanings upon them and comprehend them) are shut out in every age; but there is a babe born of naked truth (born of the pure fimplicity) admitted by God, while men disdain and despise it.
And the fellowship of the saints is in the life, and in the light, which is this mystery. The fellowship is not outward, but inward. All they that meet together in the outward place, are not in the fellowship or worship; but only they that meet together in the inward life and Spirit. They that worship the Father, must worship him in Spirit and truth. Look, there is the worship, there are the worshippers; they that are in the Spirit, in the truth; they that meet in the Spirit, in the truth, they meet together in the one spiritual place, as I may call it. And so we own no man after the flesh, no man according to the appearance; but in the righteous judgment of the Spirit, those only who are of the Spirit. Indeed we are tender, where there is the least beginning of the work of God in any heart; yea, where there Gg 2
is but so much as a conviction of the understanding; but men are not presently of us, who own our principle in words or outward appearance, but only such as are inwardly changed thereby in the heart. It is true, persons may walk among us, and afterwards go out from us, who were never of us (as it was in the apostles days) that were never in the fellowship of life with us, whom we could never own in the light of the Lord, as being born of him; though we were willing to wait and watch for their good, that they might come to witness the true birth. Now from such come the offences, even from the falling off of such as never were truly ingrafted, and also from the Nips of such who are not watchful to that which preserves. And woe is to the world, because of the offences which cannot but come. For they which are to be approved in the light of the Lord, must not somewhat or other happen to make them manifeft? And when they are made manifeft, the world's eye is offended, and is apt to think hardly of, and reproach the , truth itself, because of them. Blessed is the eye which fees into the mystery, into the life itself, where there is no offence. Truth is one and the fame for ever.
XI. Concerning judging according to the appearance, and judging righ
teous juugment. Judge not according to the appearance (faid Christ) but judge righteous judgment, John vii. 24.
What is it to judge according to the appearance ? and what is it to judge righteous judgment? I shall speak what I have experienced, having been deeply exercised about this thing. Mark then;
The holy Spirit of Life breatheth upon the heart; and, by his breathing and working there, he quickens and begets life, John iii. 8. And that which is begotten and born of him, is begotten and born in his nature, and so is of the same nature with him, as verle 6 of that chapter.
Now to that which is born of the Spirit, the Spirit is the leader, the preserver, the supporter, the comforter, the daily, quickener. He can do nothing without the Spirit, without the present life and power of him that begat him: so that all the judgment which the birth of life hath, is from, and of, and in the Holy Spirit of the Father.
And here is true judgment, both concerning righteousness, and against all unrighteousness; fo that keep to the life, keep to the Spirit, keep to the birth, keep to the power, then is the wisdom and righteous judgment of God revealed: but any that go out of this, and measure without this, they measure in the unrighteousness; and though they search the scriptures, and think in themselves they measure from the scriptures, yet they are mistaken, and measure but from their own knowledge and apprehensions upon the scriptures, as the scribes and pharisees did, when they seemed to conclude, upon searching the scriptures, that Christ could not be the Messiah, John vii. 52. Search and look (said they). for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
How then can this Galilean be he? See by the scriptures if this can be the Christ.
It is said of Christ, He shall not judge after the fight of his eyes, nor reprove. after the bearing of bis ears, but with righteousness shall be judge, &c. Ija. xi. 3, 4. Christ judged righteous judgment. How came he to judge fo? Why; he judged in and with the Spirit. He kept to the Spirit's judgment. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon him, and made him quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord, ver. 2, 3. And no man can judge aright concerning the things of God, but in and by the fame Spirit
. How shall I know whether my duties be right, my prayers right, my ways right, my worship right, my faith right, my hope of the right kind, my knowledge and understanding of the scriptures right, &c.? Why there is none but one can determine. He who begetteth life, knows whether that which is in thee be from his life; and whether that which thou offerest to him, be truly living or no: and when the Lord separates the living from the dead; what will remain in many that make great professions at this day?
I would have no man mistaken about these things; I know many are deeply mistaken, as their own hearts will one day acknowledge, when the Lord shall make manifest to them, how they have called evil good, and good evil; and put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Indeed it is just as it was in the days of Christ's appearing outwardly in a body of Aesh. The same life, the same Spirit, is denied now as was then. Then the Jews cried up Christ to come; but they then spiritually saw him not. They saw the flesh (or outward form) but they saw not him who dwelt in that Hesh. And though the world of Christians now acknowledge Christ is come, and did appear, yet neither do they know him who did appear, but deny his life, liis Spirit, his virtue, his power, which is revealed in this day of his love and goodness to the eyes of the children of the true wisdom. 'Oh! let not flesh judge: be filent, Oʻall flesh, before the Lord, and cease judging, for he is arisen to judge. He is judge in the midst of his people, and be will judge the beatben also.
And every one bring this near. Wait to feel fesh judged in thee, and brought down in thee, that it may not judge in thee; but Spirit and life may be exalted, and sit upon the throne in thy heart : and when life is exalted, and doth begin' to judge, Oh! take heed of hearkening to the flesh, of letting in the judgment of Aesh afterwards, left the Spirit be grieved and quenched! For the wisdom of the flesh is near, and will be striving to get in and recover its seat again; and if the watch be not singly kept to God's Holy Spirit, somewhat else will be judging in thee, which will judge according to the appearance of things to thy mind, and so thou wilt miss of the true and righteous judgment of God's Spirit.
XII. A question answered about knowing God's Spirit. Quest. How fball I know God's Spirit? How mall I know the motions thereof? How may I know whether the faith and hope in my heart be from him? Whether my prayers and desires arise thence, &c.
Answ. No man of himself, or by any way he of himself can take, can know God's Spirit: there must first be a capacity given before any man can know the Spirit of the Lord; his life, his power, must first be felt, and somewhat quickened, somewhat formed by him, somewhat begotten of him, which is Spirit, and this can know him. Now man in this may
know him, but out of this can never know him. Therefore this is the great skill, and diligence, and wisdom of a Christian, to keep to this, to wait for this, to have his eye toward the pure spring of wisdom, that, when it springs, he may discern and receive it; and when that which is of a contrary nature springs, he may discern it under all its deceitful appearances, and turn from it. For out of the heart are the issues both of life and death. There is all manner of deceivableness of unrighteousness in the unrighteous nature, in the unrighteous spirit; and if the watch be not diligently kept, it is easy to be deceived at any time: but the true seed, the holy seed, the living seed, the elect seed, the immortal seed, is never deceived. Oh! blessed are they who have their eyes opened and kept open in it, to discern the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity, that they may be preserved safe in the one, out of the reach of the other !
XIII. Some queries concerning the feed of the kingdom, in which the
kingdom itself is contained (as the nature and substance of things is contained in the feed thereof) and out of which it Springerb up and ariseth in the beart. Quer. 1. What is that seed which is spoken of, 1 John iii.
which remaineth in those that are born of God, and preserveth out of fin those that are led by it and comprehended in it? Is it not the seed of the kingdom? - Juer. 2. Do not the natural herbs and flowers, the natural plants and trees, grow from a natural feed ? Do not the spiritual plants, the spiritual trees, the trees of righteousness, grow from the seed of righteousnefs ?
Quer. 3. Was it not the great doctrine of Chrift to preach the kingdom ? and how did he preach it? Did he not preach it as a feed, as a grain of mustard-feed? and did he not liken this spiritual seed to leaven, to a precious pearl, to treasure hid in a field, to a piece of filver loft, &c. Oh! how happy is he who knows and enjoys the thing itself which Christ preached! All the prophets prophesied concerning him; and when he came, this was his doctrine, that men should mind this, look after this, purchase this, poffels
this, feel this planted and grow up in them, and themselves ingrafted into and growing up in it.
Quer. 4. Can any man be born of God, and not born of this seed? Can any man be born of this seed, and not be born of God?
Quer. 5. How doth grace and truth come by Jesus Christ ? Doth it not grow up from this seed? can it grow up any other
in Quer. 6. Is not falvation felt and witnessed in every heart (of those that are in any measure redeemed) as this feed grows up and overshadows them? Was not this the falvation ready to be revealed in the last time, i Pet. i. 10. whereof the apostle Peter himself was made a partaker? chap. v. 10. In the law were the shadows of good things to come; but in the gospel the substance, the feed itself, is revealed.
Quer. 7. Is it not the right beginning in religion to begin in the Spirit ? and can any begin in the Spirit, but he that begins in and with the seed of the kingdom ?
Quer. 8. Is it not the main and chief thing in religion to know this seed, to feel this seed, to be joined to this seed, and abide in this feed ?
Quer. 9. Is not all that flows from this feed true and certain ? is not the knowledge certain here? the faith here? the love here ? the peace here? the joy here ? the righteousness here? From this true root, can there grow or shoot forth any thing but that which is true ? Oh! every breathing here is from pure life, and precious in the eye of the Father.
of the Father. Is there any certainty elsewhere? Oh! when the Lord appears, will he not disown all the religion and worship which is not of this growth ?
Quer. 10. But some may fay, how may I know this feed, and how may I be joined to it ?
Answer. In the quickening life mayest thou know it, and no-where else. Didst thou ever feel that which quickened thy heart towards the Lord ? Therein and thereby, at that time, thou mayest feel an eye and heart opened, which can truly see and know somewhat of God: and, keeping thy eye to the quickening power of God, as that stirs, moves and operates, in thee and upon thee, thou mayest know again and know more.
Therefore eye the power which quickens, and eye the feed which it reveals and raiseth in thee, and wait to feel the power subjecting thee to the feed, that thou mayest come under it, and it may come over thee, and press down in thee all that is contrary to its pure nature.
And as thou comest hither, thou wilt find that which death hath no power over; and, as thou abidest there, thou shalt find it to have no power over thee. For, of a truth, in the holy covenant of life and peace, death never had nor can have power; but he who abideth in him who is the covenant, who is the shepherd, who is the love, who is the wisdom and power of God, witnefseth there a sure defence and strong tower, where salvation is for a wall. and bulwark against the enemy.