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the heart, and might feel his redeeming power and virtue there, and so be brought into union and fellowship with him!
The ConclUSION of the FIRST
THERE is a precious promise of God's making a feast of fat things
on his holy mountain, and of destroying there the face of the covering, cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations, Isaiah xxv. 6, 7. Now, what is this mountain ? Was there not a Mount Sion under the law, which was figurative ? and is there not a Mount Sion under the gospel, which is the substance of that figure ? and did not the christians in the apostles days, who were called of God and sanctified, come to this Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where they had fellowship with God the judge of all, and with Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, &c.? Heb. xii. 22; 24. And was not the veil here done away in him who was their Lord, their light, their life, their strength, their fun of righteousness, their bright and morning-star? so that with open face they could behold the glory of the Lord, and were changed thereby into his heavenly image, from glory to glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18.
But alas ! how hath that life, Spirit, and power been lost, since the days of the apostles! Men have still owned the apostles words, and formed many notions and apprehensions out of the letter, but lost the apostles Spirit, loft the knowledge of the holy mountain, where the veil is taken away, and where the feast of fat things is made; and so are only dreaming about eating and drinking spiritually, but know not what it is to feed on the living substance. And so (being ignorant of that) the veil is over their hearts while they read the prophets words, and Christ's and his apostles words; and the mystery of life, and of the redeeming power, is hid from their eyes: and that which God intended to them for a table, is become their snare (as it was with the Jews); and their back is to bowed down under the loads and burthens of the enemy, that they cannot so much as hope or believe in the power of life for redemption therefrom, but conclude it must necessarily be fo with them all their days.
Oh! where's the faith that gives victory over the enemies? Where's the ability in the faith, fo' to resist him as to make him fly? Where's Satan's falling like lightening (Oh! his strength before the power of the Lord is but a flash!) and the God of peace his treading him under the feet of his saints ? Oh! where's that truth, or that knowledge of the Son, which makes free from him ? (John viii. 32, 36.) Where's that Spirit wherein liberty from his power and Inares is felt? 2 Cor. iii. 17. Where's living in the VOL. II. L1
Spirit, Spirit, and walking in the Spirit, and in the pure light of the Lord, where he cannot come? Where's reading of the scriptures in that which gives to witness them, and which fulfils them in the heart ?
Oh! the mystery of godliness, the power of godliness, where the life is revealed, and the veil taken away, and an understanding given, opened, and kept open, to read and understand the scriptures aright; yea, and the hidden glory also! Where it cannot be said in truth to those that are there, Ye know not the scriptures, nor the power of God; but ye have received power to become fons of God, and ye are in him that is true ; who truly opens the scriptures in your hearts, and gives you the enjoyment, inheritance, and possession of the precious promises, whereby ye are made partakers of the divine nature, and live in him who is the head and spring of that nature. Oh! that people that profess Christ were here! Oh! that they did know him who begets ! and then they would not be so ignorant of those that are begotten by him ; but would come into the true faith, into the true love, into the true knowledge and obedience of him, whom God hath appointed to guide and govern, and build up the whole living body. The Lord guide me inwardly thither, where the mystery is revealed, and the fellowship with God, and his Son and saints, held in the mystery! For our fellowship is not in a notional knowledge concerning Christ, but in the life itself; which the Lord God gather his people more and more into, and build them more and more up in. Amen.
A BRIEF A
B R I E FAC CO U N T
The PEOPLE called QUAKERS,
Reference both to PRINCIPLE and Doctrine.
We are a People of God's gathering, who (many of us) had long
waited for his Appearance, and had undergone great Distress for want thereof.
UT some may say, What appearance of the great God and Saviour
did ye want? Answ. We wanted the presence and power of his Spirit to be inwardly manifested in our spirits. We had (as I may say) what we could gather from the letter, and endeavoured to practise what we could read in the letter ; but we wanted the power from on high, we wanted life, we wanted the presence and fellowship of our beloved; we wanted the knowledge of the heavenly seed and kingdom, and an entrance into it, and the holy dominion and reign of the Lord of life over the Aesh, over sin and death in us.
Queft. How did God appear to you?
Answ. The Sun of righteousness did arise in us, the day-spring from on high, the morning-ftar did visit us, insomuch that we did as really see and feel the light and brightness of the inward day in our spirits, as ever we felt the darkness of the inward night.
Quest. How did God gather you?
Answ. By the voice of his Son, by the arm of his Son, by the virtue of his Son's light and life inwardly revealed and working in our hearts. This loosed us inwardly from the darkness, from the bonds of sin and iniquity, from the power of the captiver and destroyer, and turned our minds inwardly towards our Lord and Saviour, to mind his inward appearance, his inward shinings, his inward quickenings; all which were fresh from Godz. and full of virtue. And as we came to be sensible of them, join to them, receive and give up to them, we came to partake of their virtue, and to witness the rescuing and redeeming of our souls thereby. So that by hearing the Son's voice, and following him, we came to find him the way to the Father, and to be gathered home by him to the Father's house, where is bread enough, and mansions of rest and peace for all the children of the Most High
Now as touching the blessed principle of truth, which we have had experience of, and testify to (for how can we conceal so rich a treasure, and be faithful to God, or bear true good will to men!) it is no new thing in itself, though of late more clearly revealed, and the minds of men more clearly directed and guided to it, than in former-ages. It is no other than that which Christ himself abundantly preached, who preached the kingdom, who preached the truth which makes free, and that under many parables and resemblances ; sometimes of a little seed, sometimes of a pearl or hid treasure, sometimes of a leaven or falt, sometimes of a loft piece of silver, &c. Now what is this, and where is this to be found? What is this which is like a little feed, a pearl, & c. and where is it to be found? What is the field ? Is it not the world, and is not the world set in man's heart? What is the house which is to be swept, and the candle lighted in? Is it not that house, or heart, where the many enemies are ? A man's enemies, faith Christ, are those of his own house. Indeed the testimony concerning this was precious to us; but the finding and experiencing the thing testified of to be according to the testimony, was much more. And this we say in perfect truth of heart, and in most tender love to the souls of people, that whoever tries, shall find this little thing, this little seed of the kingdom, to be a kingdom, to be a pearl, to be heavenly treasure, to be the leaven of life, leavening the heart with life, and with the most precious oil and ointment of healing and salvation. So that we testify to no new thing, but to the truth and grace which was from the beginning; which was always in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and dispensed by him in all ages and generations, whereby he quickened, renewed, and changed the heart of the true believers in his inward and spiritual appearance in them, thereby destroying the enemies of his own house, and saving them from them. For indeed there is no saving the creature, without destroying that in the creature, which brings spiritual death and destruction upon it. Israel of old was saved by the destroying of their outward enemies ; and Israel now (the new Israel, the inward Israel) is saved by the destruc-: tion of their inward enemies. Oh! that people could come out of their own wisdom, and wait for God's wisdom, that in it they might come to see the glory, the excellency, the exceeding rich virtue and treasures of life, that are wrapped up in this principle or feed of life, and so might receive it, give up to it, and come to partake thereof.
And as touching doctrines, we have no new doctrines to hold forth. The doctrines held forth in the holy scriptures are the doctrines that we believe. And this doth farther seal to us our belief of this principle, because we find it a key by which God openeth the scriptures to us, and giveth us the living sense and evidence of them in our hearts. We see and have felt in it to whom the curse and wrath belongs; and to whom the love, mercy, peace, blessings, and precious promises belong; and have been led by God's Holy Spirit and power through the judgments to the mercy, and to the partaking of the precious promises. So that what should we publish any new faith, or any new doctrines for? Indeed we have none to publish; but all our aim is to bring men to the ancient principle of truth, and to the right understanding and practice of the ancient apoftolick doctrine and holy faith once delivered to the saints. Head-notions do but cause disputes ; but heart-knowledge, heart-experience, sense of the living power of God inwardly, the evidence and demonstration of his Spirit in the inward parts, puts an end to disputes, and puts men upon the inward travel and exercise of spirit by that which is new and living, which avails with God. Now whereas many are offended at us, because we do not more preach doctrinal points, or the history of Christ, as touching his death, resurrection, afcenfion, &c.; but our declaration and testimony is chiefly concerning a principle to direct and guide mens minds thereto; to give a plain account of this thing, as it pleaseth the Lord to open my heart at this time in love and good will to satisfy and remove prejudices where it may be ; thus it is in brief,
First, That which God hath given us the experience of (after our great loss in the literal knowledge of things) and that which he hath given us to testify of, is the mystery, the hidden life, the inward and spiritual appearance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, revealing his power inwardly, destroying enemies inwardly, and working his work inwardly in the heart. Oh! this was the joyful sound to our souls, even the tidings of the arising of that inward life and power which could do this! Now this spiritual appearance of his was after his appearance in the Aesh, and is the standing and lasting dispensation of the gospel, even the appearance of Christ in his Spirit and power inwardly in the hearts of his. So that in minding this, and being faithful in this respect, we mind our peculiar work, and are faithful in that which God hath peculiarly called us to, and requireth of us. Secondly, There is not that need of publishing the other as formerly
The historical relation concerning Christ is generally believed and received by all sorts that pretend to Christianity. His death, his miracles, his rising, his ascending, his interceding, &c. is generally believed by all people, but the mystery they miss of, the hidden life they are not acquainted with, but alienated from the life of God, in the midst of their literal owning and acknowledging of these things.