tender frame, in the midst of my crying to God for them, those queries, from a true sense and understanding, sprang up in my heart, even to neceffitate them, if possible, to some sense of the mystery, which there is an abfolute necessity of unto true christianity and salvation. This was the very intent of my heart in the several queries, which generally speak of one and the same thing, under several metaphors and figures

. And that this was my intent, these words following, in the second page of my preface to that book, do plainly express; the words are these : Now to draio mens minds to a sense of truth, to a sense of that which is the iping, that they might know ibe bread indeed, that they might know the living waters, come to them and drink thereof, and find Christ in them a well of water springing up to eternal life; therefore was it in my heart to give forth this question and the ensuing queries

, which he that rightly onswers, must know the thing ; and he that doth not know the thing, by his inability. to answer, may find that he doth not, and so may wait upon God, that he may receive the knowledge of it, and come to it, for the eternal life which it freely giveth.

And that I did mean the mystery, when I spake of bread, water, the wine, the live coal from the altar, the leaves of the tree of life, the putting on Christ, the flesh and blood of Christ, &c. is very plain to him that reads singly. But to make it manifest, particularly concerning the flesh and blood of Christ, I shall recite one query; it is the 33d query, page 29. The query is thus : Is not the true church flesh of Christ's fies, and bone of bis bone ? Is not the false or antichristian church flesh of Antichrists flesh, and bone of Antichrist's bone? What is the flesh of the spiritual whore, which is to be stripped naked and burnt with fire? Shall ever the church, which is of Christ's flesh, be stripped naked and burnt with fire ? Nay, doth not his flejo make able to abide the devouring fire, and to dwell with the everlasting burnings? Can this possibly be understood of outward Hesh and bone ? Is it not manifestiy intended of filesh and bone in the mystery? Yes, that it did relate to the mystery, in that very query, out of which he takes the four first words, and no more, is very manifest by the following words of the same query. It is the 17th query, page 25. The query runs thus : Can outward blood cleanse the conscience ? Ye that are spiritual, confder ; can outward water wash the soul clear? Ye that have ever felt the blood of Įprinkling from the Lord upon your consciences, and your consciences cleansed thereby, did ye ever feel it to be outward? It is one thing what a man apprebends (in the way of notion) from the letter concerning the things of God, and another thing what a man feels in Spirit. Is it not manifest, by the express words themselves, that I spake of the inward feeling of the blood in the mystery?

Fourthly, This query, Can outward blood cleanse the conscience, &c. doch not necessarily, nor indeed at all infer, that the blood of Christ

, as to the outward, was but a common thing, or useless. If I had been to answer this query myself, he doth not know what my answer would have been. It was put to the professors to answer inwardly in their hearts, who I did believe,

upon teousness,

[ocr errors]

upon serious consideration, could not but confess, in way of answer thereto, that outward blood itself (or of itself) could not cleanse and purge away the filth that was inward; but that must be done by that which is inward, living, and spiritual. Then hereby they had been brought to see the necessity of the mystery, the Spirit, the power, the life of the Son, to be in wardly revealed in them; and then I had obtained my end. Nor was I their enemy in desiring or aiming at this for them, or in setting queries before them, which to my eye (as in the sight of God) seemed proper and conducible in themselves (however they might fail as to them) towards the obtaining of this end. And if they could once come to this, to own the fleth and blood in the mystery, and so come to partake of its cleansing and nourishing virtue, and not fix and appropriate that to the outward which chiefly belongs to the mystery; I say, if they could but go thus far with me, in owning the inward life and power in the sensible feeling and operation thereof, I could meet them a great way in speaking glorious things of, and attributing a cleansing or washing virtue to the outward, in, and through, and with the inward. For I do not separate the inward and outward in my own mind; but the Lord opened my heart, and taught me thus to distinguish, according to the scriptures, in love to them, and for their fakes. For that was not my intent to deny the outward, or make it appear as a common or useless thing. There was never such a sense in my heart, nor was ever word written or spoken by me to that end; which, to make more manifeft, I shall now plainly open my heart, how it hath been, and is still with me in this respect, since it pleased the Lord and Father of mercies to reveal the mystery of himself and of his Son in me.

In the first place, I freely, confess, that I do own and acknowledge, as in God's fight, our LORD JESUS CHRIST, HIS FLESH AND BLOOD IN THE MYSTERY. The apostle Paul speaks of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, Colof. ii. 2. The Son was revealed in him, Gal. i. 16. and so he knew the mystery of Christ, and preached the mystery of Christ, Coloff. iv. 3. He was made an able minister of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit or mystery; and so he preached the wisdom of God in the mystery or Spirit, 1 Cor. ii. 7. 2 Cor. iii. 6. Colol. i. 25, 26, 27. and he had great conflict to bring people to the rich knowledge and acknowledgment of the mystery, chap. ii. 1, 2. He was sent to turn men from darkness, and from the power of Satan (which is a mystery, and works in mens hearts in a mystery) to the light, to the Spirit and power of God, which is a mystery allo; and remission of fins is received in and through this mystery, Aets xxvi. 18. And I desire every serious and tender heart to consider, whether this knowledge of Christ in the mystery, was not that which he called the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ his Lord, Phil. iii. 8. Certain I am, that the knowledge of God and Christ in the mystery, is the most excellent knowledge, and no less than life eternal, inwardly revealed and felt from God in the heart. And here no legal righteousness, no self-righteousness can ftand; but the virtue and power of Christ's death and resurrection, inwardly revealed and felt in the mystery, subdues and destroys it all. Indeed self-righteousness may be given up in the way of notion, or seemingly destroyed as to mens apprehensions, with out the revealing or working of the mystery ; but it cannot be destroyed in reality but where this is felt: but where the mystery is known, is received, and throughly works, felf-righteousness can have no place there. Now the apostle, who was acquainted with the mystery of Christ, he speaks of his body, Aesh, and bones, in the mystery, Eph. v. 30. (and if there be flesh and bones in the mystery, is there not also blood in the mystery ?) yea, the apostle John speaks of the Spirit, water, and blood, 1 John v. 8. Now consider seriously, are all these of one and the fame nature or are they of a different nature ? the Spirit of one nature, and the water and blood of another nature ? Blessed be the Lord, the birth which is born of the Spirit

, and is spiritual, knoweth the nature of the Spirit which begat it, and knoweth water which is inward and heavenly, and blood which is not at all of an inferior nature to it: and Jesus Christ, our Lord and teacher, speaketh of flesh which came down from heaven, which flesh is the bread of life, which he that lives, feeds upon, and none can feed upon but they that live. And by this it is manifeft (to all to whom God hath given understanding in the mystery) that his fefh and blood in the mystery is intended by him, in that he faith, He that eateth my flesh, and drinkeib my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him, John vi. 56. This dwelling in each other is an effect of the mystery, and is witnessed by none that know not the mystery. And to this effect Christ himself expressly expoundeth it, ver. 63. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing : the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life. As if he had said, I am speaking of the soul's food; speaking of the heavenly bread; I am speaking of Spirit and life; I am speak: ing of the mystery, which ye look upon and understand as outwardly intended by me, and so miss of the mystery of the Spirit, wherein is the quickening virtue, and look only at the outward body or flesh, which, without the Spirit

, profiteth not, nor ever can profit man.

Secondly, I confess further, that I have the sense, experience, and knowledge of this also, that in the mystery is the quickening virtue, the cleansing virtue, the nourishing virtue, unto life eternal. The Spirit, the water, the blood inwardly sprinkled, inwardly poured by God upon the foul, inwardly felt and drunk in by the thirty earth, do cleanse, do feed, do nourish, do refresh. Doth not God promise to sprinkle clean water upon his Ifrael in the new covenant, and they shall be clean ? and to pour water on him that is thirsty, and foods upon the dry grounds ? Is it not by the spirit of judg. ment and burning, that God washeth away the filth of the daughter of Sion, &c. Isai. iv. 4. Doth not the live coal from the altar purify and take away the iniquity? Ifai. vi. Oh! read inwardly! Oh! wait to be taught of God to read inwardly, that ye may know what these things mean!


I am

to your souls?

Why should ye.quarrel at the precious and tender openings of truth, in love

Thirdly, I have likewise this sense, and have also had this knowledge and experience, that the outward without this cannot avail. A man is not cleansed by notions or apprehensions concerning the thing, but by the thing itself. Let a map believe what he can concerning the blood of Christ, and apply to himself what promises he can, yet this will not do (Oh! how grievously do men mistake herein !) but he must feel somewhat from God, somewhat of the new creation in Christ Jesus, somewhat of his light (shining from him the Son into the heart, somewhat of his life, somewhat, of his power, working against the darkness and power of the enemy in him. Now a man being turned to this, joined to this, gathered to this standard of the Lord, translated in some degree out of himself into this : here somewhat of the mystery is revealed, and found working in him; and so far he is of God, and hath fome true understanding from him. And here also he hath right to Christ's fleih and blood in the outward, and to all the benefits and precious effects that come thereby. For by owning the mystery, and receiving the mystery, we are not taught of God to deny any thing of the outward flesh and blood, or of his obedience and sufferings in the flesh, but rather are taught and enabled there rightly to understand it, and to reap the benefits and precious fruits of it.

Fourthly, The Lord hath shewn me this also, very manifestly and clearly, that in former times in this nation as well as elsewhere) before professors ran so into heaps (I mean, into several ways and forms of church-fellowship so called) they had more inward sense of the mystery than now they have ; and were a great deal more tender (both unto the Lord, and one towards another) than now they are. For then grace in the heart, and the inward feeling, was the thing that was most minded among the stricter sort. They did not mind so much bare reading, or hearing, or praying, or any outward observation whatsoever, as what they felt therein. "Let men have spoken ever so many glorious words concerning the things of God; yet, if the had not been spoken warmly and freshly by him that spoke them, there was little satisfaction to the soul that hungered after that which was living, but rather an inward grief and disfatisfaction felt : so that in that day there was an inward sense of the mystery (though not a distinct knowledge of it) which was precious in the eye of God, and very favoury inwardly in the heart. But now, in so long time, by looking so much outward, and beating their brains, and disputing about the outward, many have very much (if not wholly) lost the sense of the inward, and are found contending for the outward, against the very appearance and manifestation of the inward and so are in danger of being hardened and sealed up in that which is dead and literal, out of the limits of that which is living and spiritual. It is a dreadful thing to fight against the living God, and his living appearance in the hearts of thofe whom he chuseth, in any age or generation. The Lord hath been pleased to bring us (a. poor despised remnant) back to that which first gave us life, in the days of our former profession. Oh! that ye were brought thither also, that that might remove the veil, hardness, darkness, and deep prejudices from you; which can never be removed while ye stick in literal apprehensions, without the light and teachings of God's Spirit! Now as touching the outward, which ye fay we deny, because of our testimony to the inward, I have frequently given a moit solemn testimony thereto; and God knoweth it to be the truth of my heart; and that the testifying to the inward (from which the outward came) doth not make the outward void, but rather establish it in its place and service. God himfelf, who knew what virtue was in the inward, yet hath pleased to make use of the outward; and who may contradict or fight his wisdom and counsel therein ? Glorious was the appearance and manifestation of his Son in fesh; "precious his subjection and holy obedience to his Father; his giving himself up to death for finners was of great esteem in his eye! It was a {potless facrifice of great value, and effectual for the remission of fins : and I do acknowledge humbly unto the Lord the remission of my sins thereby, and bless the Lord for it; even for giving up his Son to death for us all


, and giving all that believe in his name and power to partake of remission through him.

And seeing it is thus with me: seeing the root of the matter is in me, Oh! how can any man, that hopes to be redeemed by my Lord and Saviour, reproacli me for speaking of the mystery, without the least derogation to the outward, or what was done by him in the outward! But if I thould speak vehemently concerning mens neglecting the mystery, and setting up that which is outward instead of it and without it, I should not be condemned, but juftified of the Lord in so doing. Indeed there is a great and weighty charge from God's Spirit upon the professors of this age, for departing from the inward (I mean that sweet sense, which, in some measure, God gave them in former times of the inward) and magnifying and striving to establih that which they apprehend concerning the outward, without it, and against it. Oh! that it were otherwise with them, that God may not have this charge to manage against them, when at the great day they are to appear before him, and be judged by him! When all that have lighted or spoken contemptuously of his Son's appearance in flesh, and have not come to a sense thereof, and repentance for it, shall be condemned; and they that have Nighted or spoken contemptuously of his appearance in Spirit, shall not be justified: which appearance is now made manifest in the hearts of many, bleffed be the Lord for it! Oh! what cries have been in my heart many years concerning you, O ye professors of all sorts who have had any tenderness towards the Lord! that ye might see and know the Lord Chrift; and confess him in Spirit, in the mystery, even in his inward appearance in


[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »