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Spirit to instruct them, but they rebelled against him: but that there are fome glimmerings of light distinct from the Spirit of Christ, teaching fallen man to do this, and some answerable strength in him to walk up thereto, I read not.
It is the promise of the new covenant, that God will write his laws in the heart; and whatever of his law is written in any man's heart, it is by virtue thereof; for man is dead unto God's law naturally, and his eye blinded by the God of the world ; but that which opens his eye to fee what the law faith, is the light of the Spirit. For that which maketh manifest is light; and that which may be known of God in the Gentiles, is made manifest to them by the light of God in them; which shineth in their darkness, but their darkness cannot comprehend it; but it fathometh and comprehendeth the darkness, and is able to gather the mind out of it, being subjected to it, in the will which it creates and begets, through the eternal power which visits by it, and is present with it, to work the mind out of, and deliver it from, the darkness. And as this light comes from Chrift (for be is the true light, that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world) so it discovers and maketh manifest Christ, in his nature and Spirit, and leadeth and guideth towards him; and he that is led to him in Spirit
, and born of him in Spirit, cannot miss of the benefit and virtue of what he did in that body of flesh; being gathered into, and found in, that which is of him, to which all belongs. And in and by this is received that nature wherein the law is answered; and the work of answering the law, is through the renewing of the mind, and an evidence of somewhat of a new nature; every degree of which nature is begotten and maintained by Christ
, the power of God; who is over the fall, and the whole corruption thereof. But by the old corrupt nature or mind, can no man do the things contained in the law; for it is enmity against God, and is not subject to his holy law ; neither indeed can be. But the law is fpiritual, holy, just, and good, converting the foul, and making wise the simple; which work it effecteth, where-ever it is written in the heart, by the finger of God's Spirit.
Then again, as touching God's imputing Christ's active and passive obedience, &c. we do not lay the stress of juitification in believing a notion, concerning Christ's active and passive obedience; but this we know, that Christ did obey and suffer, and that it was for our sakes; and that, for his fake, there is a gift given us from the Father, to draw us to Christ; and that he that is overcome to God, by the gift of his light, is thereby drawn out of the darkness; and that that gift brings every man (that hears the heavenly voice thereof, and follows it) into the Son's light, into the Son's nature,'into the Son's life, into the Son's Spirit ; in which, the Gentiles might partake of remission of fins for his fake, being gathered thereby out of the darkness, into his light and power. For though they had never heard the outward found or name Christ; yet feeling the thing, and being gathered to God by the thing, the value and virtue of it could not but redound to them: for it is not the outward name, but the inward life and power, which is the Saviour.
And whereas the voice of the Spirit faith, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters ; what are the waters to which the thirsty are invited to come ? Did we not believe in Christ, and cast ourselves on Christ in that day, according as thou apprehendest ? And yet the thirst and cry of our souls was not satisfied. But the living waters fatisfy the thirst. Nor is it a believing a relation concerning the thing; but a receiving of the thing, of the milk, of the wine, of the living water, which answers the desire of the thirsty soul. And by coming to the living waters, and hearing the living voice, and eating and drinking the living food, the foul lives, and the everlafting covenant is made with it, even the sure mercies of David, which are fure in the covenant of life for ever. And those that are living, in and by the true life, cannot defire to reap or enjoy any thing out of the new covenant of life, but only in it.
This is in my heart concerning you: Ye lay the stress upon a notion, and upon an act of the creature from and upon a notion; which they that are out of the life may perform; and who (that hath any sense of a man in him) would not perform, to avoid perishing ? That is, who would not thus cast himself upon Chrift, if believing after such a manner would fave him? And yet there is also a difference, a very great difference, between doing of it now, when Christ is generally owned as the Saviour, and doing it then, when he was generally dilowned. In them who thus believed, it argued the teachings of the life and power fo to do; but now the form of owning Chrift is far more common than any form or way of disowning him.. So that now, not the word, nor the form, nor the outward owning, or the casting of the foul upon Christ, is so much to be considered or valued; but rather the power, the light, the life, the gife, wherein and whereby this is alone rightly and truly done. And he that owneth Christ aright, will own that which is of Christ, the manifestation and gift of his Spirit, the shining of his pure light, firit in the darkness, and then out of the darkness, to that mind which it hath gathered and preserveth out of the darkness.
And then for being compleat in Christ in a relative way, while the heart is unmortified, and unsubdued to God; it is a dangerous mistaking about these things. I do confess that fins are pardoned upon a true belief, and the soul enters into the covenant of life, and is accepted with the Lord, as it finds entrance thereinto, and walks therein. And there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ, who walk not after the fiefh, but after the Spirit. But if there be an hearkening to the flesh, and walking after the lults and desires thereof, is there no condemnation then? Is not the justification in the covenant, and according to the laws of the covenant ? Alas! alas! how do men imagine concerning things ! and fo in their imaginations justify themselves wherein the Lord condemns them; and know not the way of the covenant, and of the justification thereof. For there is a new covenant,
as well as as an old (and the new is not like the old)ş and a walking with God in the new covenant; and every step in it his life justifies, and
every step out of it his life condemns; and the Mediator of the new covenant jultifies it according to the new covenant, and never otherwise. For the way of God is perfect (the way of life, the way of reconciliation, the way of redemption), and the foul is only accepted and justificd of the Lord therein. Yea, justification is a mystery to man's wisdom and understanding, with all his knowledge he can gather from scripture : and he only knows it who feels it, and hath the experience of it, in that which is true, and which cannot deceive.
and not by faith only; and his words were from God's Spirit, and are true, and the Lord saw an use and service of them. There are works which are excluded the covenant of life, and there are works which are not excluded, no not to justification. There are works required by the covenant; works wrought in the faith and by the power of God; and when they are brought to the light, it is made manifest that they were wrought in God; even works that are of his Son, wrought in the life and by the Spiriç of his Son, and these the Father always justifieth. Yet we do not say this is a man's juftification for his sins past, but they are forgiven for his name's fake: nor do they expiate fins afterward committed, &c. but the advocate intercedes, and his blood walhes them away. But this we say, that alone in the faith, in the obedience of the new covenant, the justification of the new covenant is witnessed : and the new covenant justifieth no fin, nor the foul in fin; but purgeth away the fin, and justifieth from it, washing off the venom and defilement of the wicked fpirit from the conscience, which the Lord purgeth by the faith, and by the virtue of the water and blood which the faith brings in.
Now having been led by God into the pure covenant of life, and having there had the true sense, knowledge, and experience of things, even of the truth as it is in Jesus, we cannot but speak and testify of it as we have felt and received it; and here we know and find certainly and infallibly, that it is not the law of works which justifieth the believer, nor the obedience or righteousness thereof; but there is a righteousness revealed, of an higher nature and kind than the righteousness of that law, which is made the foul's in and by the faith. And this is Christ's righteousness, the righreousness of his life, the righteousness of his nature, the righteousness of his Spirit, which is revealed in the soul, and which, in the union with Christ, becomes the soul's, and Christ thereby is made of God unto us righteoufnefs. And the works which are wrought in man by this righteous Spirit and holy power, are of far more value in themselves, and of more acceptation with God, than man's obedience to che law could be, could he obey ever fo exactly; for these are from an higher principle, and of a far more excellent nature, fpirit and kind, than man's nacure and spirit is; and yet the acceptance is not for the works' fake, but for the sake of the worker of these works.
Concerning God's Love to Mankind
struction, but their redemption and salvation from that which destroyeth. Now from and according to this love, he sent Christ as a ransom, a propitiation for the fins of the whole world: and not only so, but he hath given him as a light to enlighten all the dark parts of the earth, that every foul might believe in his light, and by its guidance and power come out of the darkness: and the free gift is as large and as powerful to save, as the offence or offences are to destroy. So that God hath not only said it, but he hath manifested that he desireth not the death of a finner; but would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of his truth, and gift of his grace, that they might be saved thereby. And this is the gospel, even the grace which bringeth salvation, and the power of eternal life, to all mens doors; by and in which the Spirit of the Lord God (who is able to save) strives with them and in them (according to his pleasure) against the enemy.
Now for men to interpret a feripture so as to overturn this, contrary to the very drift of the gospel, and contrary to the very nature and heart of God, they do not well, nor by the guidance of his Spirit in so doing. And now in love to thee, though I have not much freedom to open these things, knowing that they are above the state of most people to understand, and that it is rather proper for them to wait in what is clear and manifeft, than to meddle with things hard to be understood, and deeply mysterious, before the Spirit of the Lord opens them to them : yet I say, in love I find freedom in the Lord to say a little to thee. Mind the words of the apostle, in fear and reverence towards the Lord. What if God, willing to fbew his wrath, and to make bis power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of his wrath fitted to destruction ?
Now consider, how is God willing to shew his wrath, and to make the power of bis destroying a vessel known? Is it a thing natural to him ? Is it not contrary to his nature to destroy? Any who can testify any thing of the life of God in their hearts, do they find any thing of a destroying nature in it? Christ, who was the express image of God, did not he come to save ? Did he come to destroy any? And when any resisted the counsel of God against themselves, was it not grievous to him? O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered thee! Here the heart of God towards the fons of men may be read, as in a true glass. And before the Lord gives them up to destruction, doth he not endure them with much long-suffering? And is it
not the proper intent of the goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering of God co lead men to repentance ? Rom. ii. 4. And they that are led by the long-suffering to repent, do they not witness it falvation ? 2 Pet. ii. 15. Ah! wait on God, that thou mayest understand these things from him as they are ; and not according to the imaginations and reasonings of thine own wildom and understanding. It hath been a long night of darkness
, wherein many misapprehensions and false conceivings upon scriprures have been (wallowed down, which the Lord pitied us under, and bare with us in them; but now it is high time to bow down to and receive that light which purgeth the vessel from all such misapprehensions and misconceivings, which are as really hay and stubble in the fight of God, as the groffest darkness of
Concerning Baptism. E own the one baptism; and, blessed be the Lord, are baptized therewith into one body. That of water was but the forerunner's
, but the shadow of Christ's baprism, which is with the Holy Spirit and fire
, Now when Christ sent his apostles to preach and baptize, did he send them to baptize with the forerunner's baptism, or with his own baptism, when he said, Go teach all nations, baptizing them into the name, &c. ? Paul profeffeth openly he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Was he not an apostle? Had he not seen the Lord? Had he not his commission from hin? Did not the apoftolick commission contain baptism as fully as preaching? Is it not faid, He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved?
Yes, without doubt, it did contain Christ's baptisin (without which there is no falvation) as well as preaching; but the baptism of water, which was a figure of the thing (which Paul did find freedom to do to some) Paul faid he was not fent to do. He did it not by commandment, but he might do it by permission, as well as circumcise ; which was another figure of the same thing.
Concerning Perfection. CH
(HRIST is a perfect physician, and is able to work a perfect
the heart that believeth in him, and waiteth upon him: yea, he came to destroy the works of the devil, to cleanse man's mind of the darkness and power of Satan, and to fill it with the life and power of truth; and he fent forth a ministry not only for the beginning, but for the perfecting of the work : yea, his Word in the mouth and heart is powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, and he can cast out the strong man, and cụt down all that is corrupt and contrary to himself, and break down every Itrong-hold in the mind, and spoil all the goods of the enemy. Christ likewise bids his disciples be perfect, as their beavenly Father is perfest; and the apostle bids