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how can a man be certain concerning any work wrought in him, unless he be certain that it is he that works? How can I be certain concerning the knowledge given me, unless I be sure it be he that gives it? How can I be certain concerning any prayers or breathings arising in my heart, unless I be sure they be from him? How can I understand any scripture concerning Cnrift, or the knowledge of any spiritual thing, unless I be sure he open it to me? And how can I be sure of any thing that he giveth or openeth to me, further than I know him, and have the true sense of him in his nature and operations ? So then, if the Spirit be my leader, guide, teacher, instructor in the way of life, in the covenant of life, in the things of the kingdom, in the knowledge of scriptures, &c, it is of great concernment to me to receive that ear and heart from God, which knows and understands his voice; for, for want of this, are all the defects, miltakes, miscarriages, and errors, in and about religion. But as men come to this, they come out of error into certainty, and know the one Christ, the one faith, the one baptism, the one body, the one church, and assembly of the first-born, the pure love, which is of and in the truth, the pure path of the kingdom, the way of holiness, which the ranfomed and redeemed walk in; yea, the Lord is One, and his name One among all that are here, and the pure One language, which is of the Spirit, wisdom, and teaching, is here received, and the One voice of the shepherd heard, &c. But out of this are the janglings, ftrifes, contentions, debates, disputes ; fubtil, wise, entangling reasonings of the earthly, one with another, and all as one against the heavenly and spiritual.
Query 8. Did not the message which Christ sent his apostles to preach, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, contain the sum of the covenant? What doth God require of the foul, but believing in his Son (which includes repentance from the dead spirit and works), and receiving his baptism? To be baptized into him, into his death, into his life, into his nature, into his spirit; to take up his cross, to bear his yoke, to be circumcised in him and by him, that he may love the Lord his God with all his heart, that the power, virtue, and life of love may constrain him to live wholly in and to God. And then doth not the promise of salvation to him that believeth and is baptized into Christ contain writing the law in the heart, putting the fear into the heart ; putting the Spirit within to become the teacher, guide, strength, and comforter, and whatsoever else is necessary to the soul in the way to the kingdom ?
Query 9. How is God merciful to men's iniquities, and remembers their fins no more ? Is it not in the covenant, and according to the covenant ? Is there not a warfare to be accomplished before the foul come to witness the perfect blotting out of sin ? Is not Christ the Mediator, the judge to whom all judgment is committed ? And doth not he judge his people for their transgressions again the law of his Spirit and life? And must not the soul, who will witness the days of refreshment, and the perfect blotting out
of fin therein, wait upon the Lord in the way of his judgments, even till sin be judged and brought under, and God's righteousness perfectly revealed? Under Moses's law every transgressiorf received a just recompence of reward, and shall he escape in the gospel who grieves the Spirit, who despises the Son, and gives ear to the enemy? Nay, nay; the fame covenant that holds forth mercy to the tender broken-hearted, to the believing, to the obedient, contains also righteous judgment against the transgressor of this covenant. Yea, judgment begins at the house of God, and ceaseth not till that cease which judgment is to. The Lord shall judge his people ; shall not Christ judge his own family? Yes, yes; they that are of the family, and in the true sense, feel the Lord pleading with whatever is contrary to him in them, and they can rejoice therein, and sing of mercy and judgment, after the Lord hath done his work in them, and brought forth the quiet fruit of righteousness in their hearts thereby.
Blessed is he that experienceth these things, witnessing that from
the Lord which preserveth out of all mistakes and deceits about them.
ENQUIRY after Truth and RIGHTEOUSNESS,
After the People whom the LORD establisheth, and will
establish therein ;
In fome QUERIES on ISAIAH lviii. and also on Chap. liv.
Query 1. RE there any people to be found who exceed the state spoken
of in ver. 2. of seeking God daily, and delighting to know his ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God? They ask of me, said the Lord, the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Are there not many professions and sorts of professors at this day, who in God's fight fall short of this state, and yet think highly of themselves ?. Yet these the prophet of the Lord was not to spare; but to lift up his voice like a trumpet against them, because of their transgresfion and fin which they committed, notwithstanding their thus daily seeking the Lord.
Query 2. What was the transgression and the sms which the prophet was not to spare them in, but lift up his voice like a trumpet against them for? Was it not (among other things) for their wrong fafting, their wrong amicting their souls, their wrong seeking of God, out of the meek, tender, merciful spirit ? Doth God require such fafting or praying of any man? Or will the Lord accept such fafting or praying at any man's hand? Ah! how many taft and pray at this day, who never rightly considered, nor truly understood, what the fastings, and what the prayers are which God requireth, and which alone he will accept!
Query 3. What is the fast which God requireth, and will accept in all ages ? Is not this it, To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the beavy burdens, to let the oppressed go. free, to break every yoke ? &c. ver. 6, 7. Who can understand or learn this fast but he that is taught of God?
Query-4.. Are there any whole light. breaks forth as the morning, and whose health springs forth speedily, and whose righteousness goeth before them, and whom the glory of the Lord gathereth up, or is a reward to Vol. II.
(as is promised to those who observe this fast), and whom the Lord is ready to hear and answer in all that they call upon him for, as ver. 8, 9.? Doth not God teach his children in the new covenant to observe this faft? And they who are taught by him to keep it (and do faithfully keep it), do they not inherit this promise ?
Query 5. Are there any now among the sons of men, whose light hath risen in obfcurity, and whose darkness hath become as noon-day? Whom the Lord guideth continually, and whose soul he satisfieth in droughts, and makes fat their bones; and makes them like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not? Surely if there be any, who are truly taught of the Lord to observe that which leads hereto, they cannot miss of enjoying these precious promises; for he is faithful and true who hath promised, ver. 10, 11.
Query 6. Are there any at this day, whom God honoureth in building the old waste places, in raising up the foundations of many generations ; in repairing the breach, and restoring the paths to dwell in ? What are the paths that are to be dwelt in ? Are they not the same which the soul is to walk in? Is not the just man's path and his dwelling-place all one, even the light of the living, which he is both to walk and abide in? See 1 John i. 7. and Prov. iv. 18.
It is said concerning Chrift, He that saith be abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked, 1 John ii. 6. How did Christ walk? Did he not walk in the light of God's Spirit? In subjection to God's Spirit ? Was not the fulness given him? Was not the Father always with him? And did not he act in the Father, and the Father in and through him? Now, doth not he give forth a measure of the fame Spirit, of the same anointing, of the fame power to become fons, unto all his ? and are not they to walk according to the measure of light and life they receive from him? And he that walks according to this rule, can he err in so walking? Is not this the pure path, the living path, the path for the ransomed in the days of the gospel, who walk nor after the flesh, but after the Spirit; not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit ? Oh! that men could consider this with the true understanding, and know the way of life in the true sense and experience thereof! That which enlightens and gives life to my foul, is somewhat from Christ, even a measure or appearance of his pure Spirit; it is no less: and the law of life written inwardly is more to the soul than words written outwardly, though all the words that ever come from God's Holy Spirit are very precious, and greatly useful, to those to whom he vouchsafeth to give the understanding of them.
Query 7. What is the fabbath spoken of, ver. 13. ? Is it the law-fabbath, or the gospel-fabbath ? Is it inferior in nature to the fast before-mentioned? What is God's holy day, which is the foul's delight, the holy of
the Lord, honourable, wherein the soul's that enter into the true rest (by faith in him who is life) honour the Lord, in ceasing from their own ways, pleasures, and words ? See also Heb. iv. 3. and 10.
Query 8. They that keep God's holy fabbath, do they not delight themfelves in the Lord ? Do they not feel the pleasure of his day, and of his appearance in his day? Are not these of the true seed of Jacob (who prevail with the Lord for the blessing)? And doth not the Lord feed them with the heritage of Jacob their Father, even with the blessing of the covenant of life and peace for evermore.
U E R I E S
Query 1. S there such a state to be witnessed, either in the particular, or
in the general, wherein the womb that was barren shall travail and bear, and fing for joy of heart and spirit before the Lord ? See ver. I.
Query 2. Is there fuch a state to be witnessed, as of the Maker to become the husband? Is not this a glorious state indeed, and a name better than of fons and daughters, fignifying nearer intimacy and union than any other relation with che. Holy One, the redeemer of Israel ? And do not such as come to this state (even to be married to the Lamb), partake more abundantly of his redeeming power and holy presence ? See ver. 6.
Query 3. Are there fome fo visited and redeemed by the Lord, as that they fhall never be cast off more, as that the foods of wrath fhall never overtake theny more, nor the covenant of their peace be removed? Ah! precious state ! Blefied are they doubtlefs, who have been fo vifited and redeemed by God's mercy, as to be made partakers of it.
Query 4. Who is this that hath been afflicted, tofled with tempeft, and not comforted? Have there been any such in our days, who have been deeply amicted, for want of the presence of the Lord God of their life, who have been tossed up and down with tempest after tempeft, and could meet with no comforter to speak a word in seafon to their weary fouls ? And