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in the everlasting ordinance, which is the pure light of his Son; which was before the letter, brings the soul nearer to the Lord than the letter can, and gives a fuller communion with the Lord in Spirit, than can be had or enjoyed through words or conceptions of things. And the end of the letter's testimony is to bring into the Spirit and power, which is the administration of the gospel.
Concerning inward Impressons.
God, are of the gospel administration, and are of great use and virtue, and he that is gathered out of the dark power, into the pure power of God, who is light, and who gathers into the light, by the message and ministration of the gospel, in that light hath a discerning of the power into which he is gathered, from the power out of which he is gathered. And here he neither can nor dares receive any impression of the dark spirit and power (which is known and experienced to work in great subtilty and deceiveableness) nor refuse any motion or impression which is of the Pure and Holy One. But ye lay the great stress upon owning doctrinals according to your apprehensions of them; whereas ye must come much further out of Babylon, out of man's spirit and wisdom, more into the pure fear and waiting upon God, more into the sense and power of truth, and into the light and knowledge which is thereof, before your doctrinals can be owned and subscribed to, by that which is of God. And this springs in my heart in true love, and tenderness, and melting bowels concerning you : Oh! that ye held the head! I question not, but that ye hold notions about the head, according to your understanding of things; but to hold the head is a far deeper thing than so.
As for that passage about communion with God, apply it; Oh! apply it, or rather wait for the Spirit of the Lord to apply it close to your hearts !, For it is posible, by his light and Spirit in his own due season, he may may make manifest to you, that much of that which goeth with you for communion with God, is not really fo: and, indeed, in the true love and upright tenderness of my heart towards you, I would not have you mistaken about these things. As for raptures, the error is easy; but in that which lies low in the pure fear is the preservation. And, friend; I pray consider this question, which now is in my heart to thee. Thou speakest of departing from the faith: Ah! friend, art thou yet come to the faith? Do not aniwer it Nightly; for I put it not nightly to thee, nor without a cause. For through the faith of the Son of God, an other-guise knowledge and iense of things, in this day of the Lord's power, is received, than thou hast
That a man's doctrinals are right according to scripture in all the main substantials, is no infallible rule to try what power it is that works in him,
or what his spirit is; because deceit works in a mystery; and the spirit of error may come in sheep's cloathing, and may get good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple. And
there were those that held a form of godliness, and had not the true power, but denied it'; and fuch were to be turned from; because, denying the true power, they denied the Lord that bought them, and so held not the head; and he that doth so, whatsoever he holds of the doctrine of scriptures, hath sufficient cause to question his communion with God, and also the truth of his ravishments and spiritual enjoyments, and all his duties and graces.
Again ; a man may apprehend his doctrinals to be right, as to the main substantials, when indeed they are not so. For the doctrines of the gospel are mysteries. Faith is a mystery; the love of and in the Spirit a mystery ; obedience to the truth a mystery; the right confession of Christ in and thro' the Spirit a mystery; the worship of God in Spirit a mystery; justification, sanctification, and the peace and joy of the Spirit, mysteries of the kingdom, &c. and it is easy missing and misunderstanding these things, but hard to come to the true knowledge of them; and if any of the true
, inward, spiritual knowledge of these things be received at any time, it is hard retaining it, nay impossible rightly to to do, but in that which gave it. And indeed this is the great mystery of religion ; to wit, to begin in the Spirit, and so to travel on in the pure light, life, and knowledge thereof, and not to entertain or mix with any thing of the fesh. But now if a man have not the Spirit of Christ, or if he be not able to distinguish the Spirit of Christ, in its voice, motions, and workings, from the other Spirit, and from his own wisdom and understanding; when he reads a scripture, he may easily err and mistake about the doctrines thereof, and let in fomewhat of his own, or the other spiric's forming, instead of that which is the pure truth of God. And then this which he hath so let in, will cause him to misjudge concerning the truth, when God manifests and brings it forth purely and unmixedly in others, and make him a great enemy to it.
This was the case of the Scribes and Pharisees and great priests, in the time of Christ; they studied the law, gave interpretations of it, being appointed by God to preserve the people's knowledge ; and by their understanding of the law and prophets, Christ could not be the Messiah; for, plainly, that appearance of his disagreed with the law and the prophets, according to their understanding of them. Christ was to abide for ever ; but he said, the Son of man must be lifted up. Yea, the very disciples themselves understood not this for a long time; and if the sense of the life and power of the Father in him, had not bowed down their spirits, they also would have reasoned against him in many things. When Christ cometb, no man knoweth wobence he is : but we know this man whence be is. And when Nichodemus (who was touched with the sense of his power) seemed to favour him; what said they to him ? Search and look, for out of Galilee orifeth no prophet. And they themselves, in searching, and looking, and try
ing by the scriptures, found him not agree with Moses, and the law which
But the way of trying doctrines by the unerring Spirit, and pure light of truth in the heart, is certain and infallible. He who is truth, and no lye, never deceives about truth ; yea, the very instinct of his life and nature distinguishes things truly, and never teaches the heart to err, who is acquainted with it, and keepeth to it. And what is the Spirit which is given, and why is he given ? Is he not above the letter? And where he is received, is he not to be acknowledged above it? Is not his law of light, written by his finger in the heart, above any literal description or command of it? We must let the Spirit above the scriptures, and the ministration of the Spirit above the ministration of the letter. We cannot be clear before the Lord, in giving way to any professors on the earth herein, but must testify for God against them. Yea, he that hath received the anointing, and knoweth how it teacheth, and how it preferveth from all that seduceth, cannot but give the honour to it, and acknowledge that it is the great ordinance of God in the gospel, even above and beyond the letter. And till he is so known and received, inen can never be able to distinguish the truths of God, as held forth by him in the scriptures of truth, from their own conceivings and apprehensions about things, but will be ready to take their own apprehensions and conceivings for truth; and having so done, they cannot bụt mif-see, mistake, and misjudge about that which is truth indeed. So that the doctrine which they thus set up, is not indeed the doctrine of truth according to the scriptures, but rather that which they conceive and have imagined fo to be.
So that, whereas thou sayeft, “ Your religion consists, first, of right apprehensions, &c." we, on the other hand, cannot but teftify, as we have been convinced by the Lord, and felt and understood in him that is true, that a man must first receive the Spirit, before he can have right apprchenfions about the mystery of God, Christ, &c. becaule the Spirịt searcheth the VOL. II.
- deep things of God; and the things of God knows no man but by the Spirit; therefore, there is a necessity for people forft to be turned to the Spirit of God, as being the first step in the way to true faving knowledge.
Concerning the Light.
to send forth messengers to preach the gospel of his salvation, he fent forth his apostles and servants to testify and declare of it.
That which they were to preach and testify of, was, That which was from the beginning ; even the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto them. And this is the message which they heard of him, and were to declare to others, That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all
. And this word of faith, this word which was from the beginning, this word · which reconciles the foul to God, they were to preach, as near in the heart and in the mouth. And the intent of their preaching and testifying of this
, was to turn men to it; from the darkness within to the light within ; from the power of Satan within, to the power of God within. Thus was the gospel preached before the apoftafy, and thus is it again preached after the apostalý; and this light, this life, this power of the invisible word, is witnessed again to become the salvation, as it was before the apoftasy.
Now here, being turned to this, this discovers the darkness, the loft estate, the captivity, the bands, the misery of the soul, and gives to long after the Saviour ; and not only so, but it also sheweth the Saviour whom it causeth the soul to long after; and in the waiting upon the Saviour in the light which is of him, giveth to partake of his falvation.
And so here we come to have that work of God renewed in our hearts and spirits, which at any time was formerly wrought; and wrought more clearly and effectually; as it must needs be, as the mind is turned toward and gathered into the pure light, life, and power. And in this we are taught to own Chrift, as he appeared in that body of Aesh, and what he did in the life and virtue of the Father ; yea, the preciousness of that his sacrifice, both in its own nature, and in the eye of the Father; and we bless the Lord for him, and believe in the Father through him. Yea, we bless the Lord for the declarations of the good things in the scriptures, and read them with joy and thankfulness to the Father, and in the watch against that which would imagine about them; for we know any such thing (let into the mind) darkens. So that we do not fall short in a true owning of Chrift, as he appeared in that body; and also we know and own the same word of eternal life appearing in us ; so that we can say truly with the apostle, it bath pleased the Father to reveal the Son in us, and it is the eternal life, it is the Son indeed of the Holy God, and not another.
Now, for that way of working which thou speakest of, of seeing a man's nakedness, filthiness, wretched, loft, undone condition; of being convinced
of his own impotency; that his help is not in himself; that all his righteousness is as filthy rags ; 'of crying out, what shall I do! Woe is me, I am undone! What shall I do to be saved? How shall I appear before the Lord ? And so of mourning in secret, and the fore running, &c. and the discovery of Christ, as was in that day, as offered without money, without price, &c. and so the soul's humble and cordial casting itself upon him, &c. and defiring to know him, not only as a Saviour, but as a Lord also, reigning over it, &c. All this we knew, in the true and sensible experience, as it was revealed in that day. But we knew not the word of life within to be the word (though we felt operations from it); and so were not founded upon the rock, upon the word of life, as revealed within ; and so when the storm's came, they had greater power upon our fpirits than we believed they could possibly have. And now in the Lord's fresh visiting of us, we have not loft any thing we had before, nor do deny any thing that God wrought in us then ; but have it again with advantage, and precious additions, from the Lord God, in that pure light of life wherewith he hath visited us.
And now God having demonstrated this thing to us, shewing us what it is, and giving us to partake of the precious virtues of it; how can we call it less than a measure of Christ, of his Spirit; than the feed of the kingdom; than the heavenly leaven, &c.? knowing and experiencing it assuredly to be that very thing which Christ so called in his parables; and that in you which is offended at us for it, we know to be not the true birth, buc the birth of another wisdom, which is to be cast out with its mother: and it will be a happy day with you, if ever ye come to witness the casting of it out ; which ye can never do, till ye come to know, and own, and be subject to, Christ within, to the pure commandment and Word of life in the heart, to the law which cometh out of Sion, and to the testimony and word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And they that come not to know it cast out of them by the power, they thereby will be cast out with it.
But that there are some glimmerings of light remaining in fallen man, directing concerning many things morally good, as to honour parents, to deal justly, to do as we would be done unto, &c. there is, thou fayest, a light discovering these things as duties, and the contrary to be evil, and there is also fome answerable strength to come up to such moralities. If thou meanest a light distinct from the Spirit and divine nature of God, I desire thee to manifest it from scripture: for Adam was to die the death that very day that he sinned. And the death and curse came upon his pofterity, who are dead in trespasses and fins; but the light that discovers and leads out of evil is from Christ. That which maketh sin manifest, is his light. . I read that the grace which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men; and that that teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and gives them strength so to do; and that'it is the work of the Spirit to convince of fin; and that the Spirit of the Lord strived with the old world to reduce them from their evil ways; and that he gave the Jews his good Non 2