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Now magiftracy was never ordained of God, nor power given to men by him, to force people to fin against him.
And is it not a great fin to worship against one's faith, according to the wills and precepts of men, contrary to the teachings and requirings of his Holy Spirit? Are not they that do thus hypocrites? Was power given unto magistrates to make them hypocrites; or to encourage people unto truth and uprightness both towards God and men? To wait upon God in his fear, to be taught by him the true way of worship, is not this good and right in his fight? And to worship in Spirit and truth as he teacheth, is not this to do well? And was not the magiftrate ordained of God to be a terror to evildoers, and a praise to them that do well? The magiftrate faith we do not obey him; but he fhould rather enquire whether he doth not require that of us wherein we cannot obey him, without finning against the Lord, and against the light of his Holy Spirit in our own hearts and confciences, and fo bring God's wrath upon us, and provoke him to destroy us both body and foul? But if men will needs be angry with us for ferving the Lord, and worshipping him according to his holy law and will, we had better undergo their anger and unjuft punishments for obeying our God, than come under his wrath for difobedience. And God is our witnefs that no ftubbornness, wilfulness, or contempt of authority, engageth us in the least to continue through many fufferings in this way of meeting together to worship our God; but only obedience to the gospel and power of Chrift, which we have found this vifitation and miniftration of life from on high to be to us, by its redeeming us out of fin, and from the spirit of this world. And the fame that hath redeemed us in fome measure, hath required us thus to wait on the Lord to have our redemption perfected; and in thus waiting upon him, it is daily added to, and carried on; blessed be the name of our God. But if we should forbear thus to meet, we fhould turn from, fin against, and provoke our God (who hath already redeemed us in part, and is ftill further and further redeeming us), and turn back to Egypt, Sodom, and Babylon, where is the darkness, luft and confufion, and not the holy order of God's Spirit, neither in the converfations nor in the worships of those that dwell and abide there.
Some Queries concerning knowing and owning the Lord Jefus Chrift
truly and aright, who hath been the only Saviour and Redeemer in all Ages and Generations; and there never was, and never shall be, any other.
Query 1. HETHER they know or own the Lord Jefus Chrift truly and aright, who only know and own him as outwardly defcribed and related of in the fcriptures, but know him not inwardly revealed in their hearts, as the Word and power of eternal life? Or whether they are the true knowers and owners of Chrift, who know and
own him not only according to a literal defcription of him in the fcriptures, but alfo as inwardly revealed by the Father, witneffing him formed in them, and their hearts changed into his holy and heavenly image, by virtue of his inward appearance, and operation of his Spirit and power in them?
Query 2. Whether they truly and rightly know the death and refurrection of Chrift, who know only the relation of them in the fcriptures, but are not made conformable to his death, nor raifed by him in the power of his life? Or whether they are the true and right knowers of his death and refurrection, who are buried with him by the holy baptifm of his Spirit into death, who through the Spirit have mortified the deeds of the body, and witnefs the holy feed of life raised and living in them, and themselves raised and made alive to God, in and through the power of the Father revealed in them?
Query 3. Whether they truly and rightly confefs Chrift to be the Lord and king, priest and prophet of his people, who confefs it only from the reading of it to be fo in the fcriptures? Or whether they are not the true and right confeffors of Chrift's kingly, priestly, and prophetical offices, who witness him exercifing them in them; who witness him overcoming and reigning over fin and death in them; over whom other lords, even the fpirits and powers and darkness, have not dominion now, but Chrift only; and in whom he miniftereth as in his temple, offering fpiritual gifts and facrifices to his Father, and who alfo prophefieth. there, opening and revealing the mysteries of his kingdom to them, as he doth to the leaft babes that are truly begotten and born of his Spirit?
Query 4. Do they or can they truly know Chrift's voice, who never experienced the Word of life fpeaking in their hearts? Where doth the falle prophet fpeak? Doth he not fpeak within? And where doth the true Shepherd fpeak? Doth he not fpeak within alfo, even in the heart? And do not the sheep hear, know, and diftinguifh his voice there?
Query 5. Who knoweth the truth as it is in Jefus? Do any do fo but thofe that have felt the drawings of the Father; come unto the Son in the drawings; and received life from and abide in him? Do any know the truth in Jefus but thofe that witnefs virtue, freedom, life, and power, by the truth in fome measure? Doth not that faying and promife of Chrift (John viii. 31, 32.) stand firm in every age? If ye continue in my words, then are ye my difciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Query 6. Who are ingrafted into Chrift? Can any one be ingrafted into him but as he is inwardly revealed and made known? Yea, is not he in them who are ingrafted into him, and are not they in him? Is not he that is truly regenerated cut off from the old ftock within, from the root of bitterness within; and is not he implanted into the new ftock within also; infomuch as he fenfibly feeleth the pure holy root of life bear him, and the
ap thereof fpringing up in him, caufing him to bring forth fruit to God in due feafon?
Query 7. Who prayeth in the name of Chrift? Doth he who faith these or fuch-like words in the beft ferioufnefs and fenfiblenefs he can in his own will, "Hear me, O Lord, for Chrift's fake: I confefs I am unworthy; but "I beg of thee in his name who is worthy, &c." or he who prayeth in the child's nature, on the Father's breathing upon him, in the Spirit of the Father which is given him, and in the time and will of the Father? He that doth but figh or groan in and from the Spirit, doth not that figh or groan afcend up to the Father in Chrift's name? Alas! how outward is mens religion! But the inward ftreams and current of the true, pure, and heavenly religion they know not.
Query 8. Who receiveth Chrift? Do any but those who receive and bow to the light of his Spirit inwardly revealed? Can any receive him but they that hear his knocks and open to him? Do any know the inward voice of the Shepherd, befides the Sheep? And can any receive his voice, and not receive him? And can any who are ignorant of, and refuse his voice, receive him?
Query 9. Who do truly and rightly believe in Chrift? Do any do fo, or can any do fo, but they who firft feel life, from whence the true faith fprings? Ah! that all the faith in men were dashed, but what comes from life, unites to life, and abides in life!
Query 10. Whom doth Chrift gather from the barren mountains? Are they not his fheep; his poor, diftreffed, fcattered, wounded, fainting, and almost famished sheep? What are the mountains he gathers them from? Are they not the several dead ways, worfhips, and gatherings without life? And out of whofe mouths doth he refcue them? Is it not out of the mouths of the fhepherds that made a prey of them; who fed them not with life, with virtue, with pure living knowledge; but with words, with dreams, with apprehenfions of their own, concerning the things of God? And whither doth he lead them? Is it not to his own holy mountain (which is exalted by God, and established over and on top of all those other mountains) where the fresh pastures are, and where the streams of life flow, and run plentifully?
Query 11. Who are Chrift's kindred according to the Spirit? Who is his mother, fifter, brother? Are any fo but they that do the will of the Father? And is this obedience a working according to the law, or of the righteouf nefs of the law? Nay; is it not rather of the nature and righteousness of the gofpel? Is not that which floweth from him who is righteous, righteous alfo; even as he is righteous.
Query 12. To whom doth Chrift give power to become fons? Is it not to as many as truly and rightly receive him, and believe in his name? To as many as received him of old, to them he gave power to become the fons of
God. Doth he not do fo ftill? What is it to receive power to become a fon? Let the heart that hath received it anfwer; for the Notionift cannot.
Query 13. What is the reafon fo many who are high in notion and -profeffion, cannot own this precious appearance of the Spirit, power, and glory of our Lord Jefus Chrift, in this our day, in the hearts of his children, after the long night of darkness, which hath fo long covered the earth? Is not this the very reason, even because they do not truly and rightly know either the Father or the Son? Can any fee or know him that begets, and with the fame eye not fee or know him that is begotten of him? Can any love Chrift, and not love his brethren? Is not wifdom, in her appearances, juftified of her children in this age, as well as formerly?
Query 14. Are there two Chrifts, one manifefted without, and another revealed within; or is it the fame Lord Jefus Chrift who in the days of his flesh appeared outwardly, that was afterwards manifefted within as the myftery of life, and hope of glory; who alfo in this our day is revealed and made known within unto his, by the fame eternal Spirit?
Query 15. He that truly and rightly knoweth the Spirit of Chrift, doth he not know Chrift alfo? Even as he that knoweth Christ must needs know the Father alfo. Are not the Father and Chrift one? Could any one fee Christ, even in the days of his flesh, and not see the Father alfo? (fee John xiv. 9.) So is not Chrift and the Spirit one in like manner? And are not all that are truly of Chrift, begotten by, gathered into, and do they not live and walk in, that one Spirit of his? And do they not there know the things of God as they are, and teftify of what they have seen and known? Though they that are out of that Spirit and power know neither him, nor the teftimony of life that comes by him, no more than the Jews knew his appearance outwardly in their day.
A Query added concerning Imputation.
Query N what ftate was Abraham when faith was imputed to him for righteoufnefs? Was he in the ungodly ftate; in the state of unbelief and disobedience to the Spirit and power of the Lord; or was he in the fenfe of God's power, in the belief of him who could raise up his fon from the dead, and in the performance of obedience unto him, giving up his fon at the Lord's command?
And in what state muft we be, when we witnefs faith imputed to us allo for righteoufnefs? Muft we not be in the fenfe of the fame power, and in the belief of it, and in the obedience of faith? Read Rom. iv. and confider for the righteoufnefs of the gospel is not imputed in or by the works of the law, but in the obedience of faith.
It is true, God juftifieth the ungodly; through faith he makes them juft and godly; but doth he juftify or accept them in the ungodly ftate? Doth The not first make a change in them by his power? Doth he not firft in fome measure purify their hearts by faith?
HERE are a great many who profefs the gospel ftate, and that they are in Chrift, and under grace, and freely justified by grace; fo that they look upon their fins as covered by the Lord, and not imputed to them, they believing (as they pretend) in the name of his Son, and obeying his gofpel, &c. I fay, many profefs these things, who do not at all know what they mean truly and rightly, as in God's fight.
For it is a great matter to be in Chrift, even to know him that is true, and to be in him that is true; to come out of darkness into his light, out of death into his life; out of Satan's kingdom, and out of fubjection to fin, into his kingdom, and into fubjection to his Spirit. If any man be in Chrift, he is a new creature; old things are paffed away, and all things become new. Is this true? Doth he that is in Chrift witness this? And he that doth not witness this, is he in Christ?
Ah! how many then are deceived about their being in him, and of their hope in him! For how few of those who talk of being in Chrift know what the new creation in him means, or what it is to have Chrift formed in them! How few know his Spirit by receiving it, by union with it! which yet if a man have not, he is none of his. How few know how to try fpirits by the holy anointing, which is only able to try, and discover fuch falfe fpirits as come in the theeps cloathing, and as minifters of righteoufnefs, and yet come with the deceivableness of unrighteousness, to draw men from the Spirit and power, or to keep them in a dead form of knowledge and worfhip, without true life.
So for being under grace, few truly know what it is; for grace is that which hath dominion over fin, and which giveth dominion to those that are under it. Sin fhall not have dominion over you, faid the apoftle; for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Therefore yield not your members fervants or inftruments to fin. Ye did fo when ye were free from righteoufnefs; but now let not fin reign in your mortal bodies, feeing grace gives you power over it, and makes you free from it unto righteousness.
So juftification by grace is only to them who are taught by grace. The grace of God brings falvation, redemption, juftification to them, and no others; for their fins only are blotted out, covered, and not imputed, who receive grace, hear the voice of it, and obey it. Hear, and your fouls shall Live. In hearing the grace which teacheth from God, fouls come to live in his fight; and the living are juftified by him; and in the living way and path of life are the fins blotted out, and the garment given which covers the nakedness; which garment is to be girt about the foul, and kept close on, or the nakedness and fhame will appear, and be seen again.
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