« ElőzőTovább »
how it is with me in reference to them; for indeed I have not been taught to deny any testimony the scriptures hold forth, concerning the Lord Jeius, or any of his appearances, but am taught by the Lord more certainly and fully to own and acknowledge them.
The first is concerning the Godhead, which we own as the scriptures express it, and as we have the sensible, experimental knowledge of it. In which, There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are One, i John v. 7. This I believe from my heart, and have infallible demonstrations of; for I know three and feel three in spirit, even an eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which are but one eternal God. And I feel them also one, and have fellowship with them (through the tender mercy of the Lord) in their life, and in their redeeming power. And here I lie low before the Lord in the sensible life, not defiring to know and comprehend notionally, but to feel the thing inwardly, truly, sensibly, and effectually; yea, indeed, this is to me far beyond what I formerly knew notionally concerning them, and I cannot but invite others hither.
Now consider seriously, if a man from his heart believe thus concerning the eternal power and God-head; that the Father is God, the Word God, the Holy Spwit God, and that these are one eternal God, waiting fo to know God, and to be subject to him accordingly; is not this man in a right frame of heart towards the Lord in this respect ? Indeed friends, we do know God sensibly and experimentally to be a Father, Word, and Spirit, and we worship the Father in the Son by his own Spirit, and here meet with the seal of acceptance with him. Nor would we contend with you about your crimes in this respect, but that ye provoke us thereunto, in laying to our charge as if we denied the thing; whereas we do not, nor can deny the expressions which the scripture useth, nor our own sense and experience concerning the thing. I pray let this fuffice, and let us all strive to know God (and his Son Jesus Christ) in his life, Spirit, and power, wherein is unity and true demonstration, and not contend about such expressions concerning things, as are beside the scriptures. For would not ye yourselves think it hard (I mean such of you as read the scriptures seriously, defiring to understand and observe what is written therein) to have a belief of things imposed on you otherwise than is there written, and otherwise than ye have the sense, knowledge, and experience of them from the Lord ?
The second is concerning the offering of the Lord Jesus Christ, without the gates of Jerusalem. I do exceedingly honour and
esteem that offering, believing it had relation to the fins of the whole world, and was a propitiatory sacrifice to the Father therefore. And surely he that is redeemed out of the world up to God by Christ, cannot deny that Christ was his ranfom, and that he was bought with a price, and therefore is to glorify God, with his body and spirit, which are God's, 1 Cor. vi. 20. And, faith the
apostle Peter, ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, &c. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, i Peter i. 18, 19. who fo offered himself up to God through the eternal Spirit
, Heb. This we do own singly and nakedly, as in the fight of the Lord; though I must confess we do not lay the sole stress upon that which is outward and visible (though we truly and fully acknowledge it in its place), but upon that which is inward and invisible; upon the inward life, the inward power, the Spirit within ; knowing and experiencing daily, that that is it which doth the work. The outward felh is not the meat indeed, nor the outward blood the drink indeed; but it is the Spirit, the life, the substance, which the birth that is born of the Spirit feeds upon and lives by. Oh! consider seriously, and wait on the Lord, rightly to understand that scripture, John vi. 63. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life. What doth this scripture lay the stress upon ? Is it not upon the quickening Spirit, and the words which the quickening Spirit speaketh to the foul, which are living, and give life to those that hear them? Hear, and your soul fball licu! Hear his voice who giveth life, and your souls shall live by him ; but can any one live without hearing the voice of him, who alone is able to quicken and raise the soul from death, and out of the grave of sin?
The third thing is concerning the imputation of Christ's righteousness, to such as believe in his name and power, which we have felt, witnessed, and own to be thus.
God visits men by the light and power of his Holy Spirit, in their dead and dark eftate, even while they are ungodly. Now, they that feel life, and in the quickenings of life, by the faith which comes from life, turn to the light and power which visits them, by this faith in the power, they are in measure transplanted out of the unholy root, into the holy root, where they partake of the nature and virtue of the true olive-tree; and the mercy of the Lord in and through his Son Jesus Christ, is spread over them, and their iniquities are pardoned, and their transgressions done away for his name sake, and they are reckoned by God, not as in the old-root and unholy nature, but that whereon they lay hold by faith, and are in union with, they are reckoned by in the eye of the Lord; and they are accepted and beloved in him in whom they are found, by him who transplanted them there, and ingrafted them thereinto. So that Christ is really theirs, and they his; and what he did for them in his body of Aesh is become theirs, and they have the benefit, and reap the sweet fruits of it. And if they fin afterwards, they have an advocate who pleads their cause with the Father, and who breathes livingly upon them again, and quickens faith in them, and gives them to turn from that which ran after them, and overtook them and defiled them. So that in this state of true faith in, and union with, the Son, the fountain is felt fet open for sin and for uncleanness, which daily walheth away the pollutions and stains of the mind, which it is liable to in the travelling state.
But now to every faith this doth not belong, but to the faith only which Aows from the power of the endless life, and which stands in the power, The faith which is from the power is precious, having a precious nature and virtue in it, and very precious effects flow from it. For it is the substance of things hoped for; it is of a pure nature, which hath dominion, and giveth dominion over the wicked one. There is no overcoming of the faints here; for as it came from the power, so it stands near the power, and engages the power of life against the enemy, and so is still too hard for him. . For he that resifteth the enemy in the true faith, still overcomes him and makes him fly, James iv.-7. But that belief on Christ, and applying his righteousness, which is not of this faith, nor in the true light of life, but according to the creature's apprehensions concerning things, that is not of the same nature with this, nor hath the same virtue, nor produceth the fame effects ; but notwithstanding such a believing and hoping, men are still in their fins, and they are not waihed away from them by the blood of Chrift, nor remitted or covered by the Spirit of the Lord. And oh! that men were wary, and did take heed in this matter, that they might not miss of true pardon from the Lord, and so find their fins bound by him, in the days of his refreshing others !
For there is a state, wherein there is an imputation of Christ's righteousnefs to persons reached to by the power of the Lord, and coming up out of the ungodly state, and fo a real bringing into the righteousness. For in the true growth the soul daily grows more and more out of its own righteousness, out of the dark, corrupt image, into the righteousness of Christ, and into his pure image. Thus Christ is formed in the hearts of them that truly believe, daily more and more; they receiving him as an heavenly leaven, and giving up to be leavened by him, are changed daily more and more into the newness of Spirit, even until they become a new lump, even a lump wholly leavened, so that old things are passed away, and all things become new; that is, not of old Adam any more, but all of God in Chrift, all of the new nature and Spirit, which is all of it righteous in the fight of God. Now this is it all should labour for and seek after, even the kingdom of God and his righteousness, to find an entrance ministered to them into the everlasting kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, that they might really put off the old man with his affections and lufts, and put on the new man ; the new man's nature, the new man's image, the new man's spirit, the new man's righteousness, the new man's holinels; that they might have the wedding garment on to be married to Christ in, and might be as a bride prepared for the bride-groom. Oh! it is precious for any one to feel his foul in this state! And who would not travel and wrestle, and strive and watch, and pray and wait, that he might be thus fitted by the Spirit of the Lord for his Son Jesus Christ ? For, friends, there is a coming under grace, Vol. II. Kkkk
under grace's wing, and out of shame and confusion because of fin, into the glory which is in the pure image ; and there is a being changed from grace to grace, and from glory to glory, by the Spirit and power of the Lord. Oh! that such as take upon them the profession of Christianity, might feel the power, and wait upon the power, and know what it is to believe in the power, and live in the power; for without this, the oppressed state of Christianity is but dead, and dry, and cold, not having the true living rap and warmth in it. There are great deceits in the world about these things, but he that knoweth the truth as it is in Jesus, who was visited by the power, gathered to the power, and abides in the power, he hath that with him which anoints his eye and heart, and strengthens them against the most subtile devices and deceits of the transforming fpirit. But whoever he be that professeth Christianity, and is not here, he is not lafe, but the enemy hath ways of bewitching and deluding him, which he hath not wherewith effectually to withstand and avoid.
Now having nakedly expressed these things unto you, as they are in my heart, there is a question lies before me to propound to you, which deserves your serious consideration of, and ability to answer in the light of the Lord, which is this:
Queft. Do ye rightly, truly, and fully (as the Lord requireth of you) know, esteem, and honour the Son? Do ye own him as God hath revealed him in the spirits of his children, since the apoftasy? Do ye feel him as an horn of salvation lifted up there? Do ye find and experience him revealed within by the Father, as the seed of the woman, bruising the head of the serpent ? 'Oh! this is precious knowledge, and the right way of truly knowing him as he came from the Father, lived in obedience to him, fuffered for the fins of the whole world, ascended again to the Father, and now fits with him in glory! For, indeed, it is the chief thing, and that whereon the soul's rest depends, to know and feel him near. Oh! that we were one here (I mean in the inward sense and acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus Chrift), and we should foon be one in the other allo!
For we, who are reproachfully by many called QUAKERS, are (for the most part) a people who have much and long fought after the Lord, and after the experimental knowledge of those truths, which are testified of and related in the holy fcriptures. We fought not after a new Chrift, or a new Spirit, or new doctrines concerning Christ or his Spirit; but to know Chrift, so as to receive life from him, and to live to him in the life and spirit received from him; this hath been the single aim and desire of our souls. And if men could with patience consider what we hold forth, and wait till God open their understandings, they would not lay such blame upon us aš they do in many respects, but find that we reverence the scriptures, believing and holding concerning the things of God according as is there exprefled, from a true understanding received from the Lord, and in the true light and guidance of his Spirit. There is another question springs in my heart
"unto you, I beseech you consider of it seriously, perhaps there may be a bleffing to you in it.
Queft. Do ye rightly and weightily consider and embrace that counfel of Christ, Matt. vi. 33. Seek ye firft tbe kingdom of God, and bis righteousness? Do ye mind what.Chrift likens the kingdom to? Even a grain of mustardfeed, a pearl hid in a field, a little leaven, a loft piece of glver, &c. Do ye know, and are ye acquainted with that little thing which is like unto these? And do ye really and rightly seek after it? Do ye feek it where it is to be found ? Do ye know the place where it is hid? And do ye take the right way to buy and purchase it? How is that? Why not by outward obfervation, faith Christ, but by inward sweeping the house, by keeping the eye upon it, and sweeping out the rubbish that covers it, this is the way to find it, purchase and possess it. Oh! that ye could all learn thus, and be thus exercised by the Spirit of the Lord daily. Surely they that thus Seek shall find, and they that thus alk shall have, and they that thus knock, to them the everlasting kingdom shall be opened.
For mark the difference between the state of the law and gospel. The law was a shadow of good things to come. The gospel is a state of enjoyment of the good things shadowed out under the law. The law was a type of the kingdom, of the spiritual kingdom of Christ, which is set up under the gospel. In John's day the kingdom was at hand; but in the day of Christ's power the kingdom is come. Under the law there was a tabernacle pitched by man;
but under the gospel the true tabernacle and temple is witnessed, which God pitcheth and not man; and the holy, spiritual, heavenly sacrifices, and the living covenant, whereof Christ is the mediator, and the law written in the heart, and the Spirit of the Lord put within, fo that his presence is as really witnessed inwardly, in that which is truly his tabernacle and temple now, as ever it was witnessed outwardly, in his outward tabernacle and temple under the law. Oh! that Christians might not have the name only, but might be in the life and in the power, wherein these things are felt and experienced ; for indeed the wonders of the Lord are seen in his temple, and his name is praised there, Selah. There he breaks the shield and the bow, the spear and the battle, Selah. There the enemy is overcome; the holy victory that bringeth him under, iffueth out thence, Selah. There the well is opened, and the Philiftine nature hath power to stop it no more, Selah. There the treasury of life and wisdom, and the riches of God's goodness are made manifest for ever.
Truly, friends, I have not loft any thing that ever I had, or acknowledged of God in the days of my former profeffion, by believing in the light which God hath now revealed in me, but have it still with me, and in greater clearness and plainness, and fuller demonstration than I then had it ; but that of the flesh which mixed with it, and hindered it from being rightly serviceable to the Lord, and fully comfortable to me, that the Lord hath been removing by his searching light, and by the demonstration of his Spirit
K k k k 2