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comfort of a short illness, and the blessing of a clear sense to the last and we may truly say, with a man of God of old, that "being dead, he yet speaketh" and though now absent in body, he is "present in Spirit;" neither time nor place being able to interrupt the communion of saints, or dissolve the fellowships of the spirits of the just. His works praise him, because they are to the praise of Him that wrought by him, for which his memorial is and shall be blessed. I have done, as to this part of my preface, when I have left this short epitaph to his name, Many sons have done virtuously in this day; but, dear George, thou excellest them all.'

CHAP. VI.

Containing five several exhortations. First, general, reminding this people of their primitive integrity and simplicity, Secondly, in particular, to the ministry. Thirdly, to the young convinced. Fourthly, to the children of friends. Fifthly, to those that are yet strangers to this people and way, to whom this book, (and that it was preface to in its former edition) may come. All the several exhortations accommodated to their several states and conditions; that all may answer the end of God's glory, and their own salvation.

AND now, friends, you that profess to walk in the way that this blessed man was sent of God to turn us into, suffer, I beseech you, the word of exhortation, as well fathers as children, and elders as young men.

The glory of this day, and foundation of the hope that has not made us ashamed since we were a people, you know, is that blessed principle of light and life of Christ which we profess, and direct all people to, as the great and divine instrument and agent of man's conversion to God. It was by this that we were first touched, and effectually enlightened, as to our inward state; which put us upon the consideration of our latter end, causing us to set the Lord before our eyes, and to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. In that day we judged not after the sight of the eye, or after the hearing of the ear; but according to the light and sense this blessed principle gave us, so we judged and acted in reference to things and persons, ourselves and others; yea, towards God our Maker. For being quickened by it in our inward man, we could easily discern the difference of things, and feel what was right, and what was wrong, and what was fit, and what not, both in reference to religious and civil concerns. That being the

ground of the fellowship of all saints, it was in that our fel. lowship stood. In this we desired to have a sense of one another, acted towards one another, and all men, in love, faithfulness, and fear.

In feeling of the stirrings and motions of this principle in our hearts, we drew near to the Lord, and waited to be prepared by it, that we might feel drawings and movings before we approached the Lord in prayer, or opened our mouths in ministry. And in our beginning and ending with this, stood our comfort, service, and edification. And as we ran faster, or fell short, we made burthens for ourselves to bear; our services finding in ourselves a rebuke, instead of an accept. ance; and in lieu of well done, "Who has required this at your hands?" In that day we were an exercised people, our very countenances and deportment declared it..

Care for others was then much upon us, as well as for our selves; especially of the young convinced. Often had we the burthen of the word of the Lord to our neighbours, relations, and acquaintance; and sometimes strangers also. We were in travail likewise for one another's preservation; not seeking, but shunning, occasions of any coldness or misunderstanding; treating one another as those that believed and felt God present. Which kept our conversation innocent, serious, and weighty; guarding ourselves against the cares and friendships of the world. We held the truth in the Spirit of it, and not in our own spirits, or after our own will and affections.

They were bowed and brought into subjection; insomuch that it was visible to them that knew us. We did not think ourselves at our own disposal, to go where we list, or say or do what we list, or when we list. Our liberty stood in the liberty of the Spirit of truth; and no pleasure, no profit, no fear, no favour could draw us from this retired, strict, and watchful frame. We were so far from seeking occasion of company, that we avoided them what we could; pursuing our own business with moderation, instead of meddling with other people's unnecessarily.

Our words were few and savoury, our looks composed and weighty, and our whole deportment very observable. True it is, that this retired and strict sort of life from the liberty of the conversation of the world, exposed us to the censures of many, as humourists, conceited and self-righteous persons, &c. But it was our preservation from many snares, to which others were continually exposed, by the prevalency of the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, that wanted no occasions or temptations to excite them abroad in the converse of the world.

I cannot forget the humility and chaste zeal of that day. O, how constant at meetings, how retired in them, how firm to truth's life, as well as truth's principles ! and how intire and united in our communion! as indeed became those that profess one head, even Christ Jesus the Lord.

This being the testimony and example the man of God, before-mentioned, was sent to declare and leave amongst us, and we having embraced the same, as the merciful visitation of God to us, the word of exhortation at this time is, 'That we continue to be found in the way of this testimony, with all zeal and integrity; and so much the more, by how much the day draweth near.'

And first, as to you, my beloved and much honoured brethren in Christ, that are in the exercise of the ministry: O, feel life in your ministry! let life be your commission, your well-spring and treasury, in all such occasions; else, you well know, there can be no begetting to God; since nothing can quicken or make people alive to God, but the life of God: and it must be a ministry in and from life, that enlivens any people to God. We have seen the fruit of all other ministers, by the few that are turned from the evil of their ways. It is not our parts, or memory, the repetition of former openings, in our own will and time, that will do God's work. A dry doctrinal ministry, however sound in words, can reach but the ear, and is but a dream at the best : there is another soundness, that is soundest of all, viz. 'Christ, the power of God.' This is "the key of David, that opens, and none shuts; and shuts, and none can open : as the oil to the lamp, and the soul to the body, so is that to the best of words. Which made Christ to say, "My words, they are spirit, and they are life;" that is, they are from life, and therefore they make you alive, that receive them.' If the disciples, that had lived with Jesus, were to stay at Jerusalem, till they received it; much more must we wait to receive before we minister, if we will turn people from darkness to light, and from Satan's power to God.

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I fervently bow my knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may always be like-minded, that you may ever wait reverently for the coming and opening of the word of life, and attend upon it in your ministry and service, that you may serve God in his Spirit. And be it little, or be it much, it is well; for much is not too much, and the least is enough, if from the motion of God's Spirit ; and without it, verily, never so little is too much, because to no profit.

For it is the Spirit of the Lord immediately, or through the ministry of his servants, that teasheth his people to pro

fit; and, to be sure, so far as we take him along with us in our services, so far we are profitable, and no farther. For if it be the Lord that must work all things in us for our salvation, much more is it the Lord that must work in us for the conversion of others. If therefore it was once a cross to us to speak, though the Lord required it at our hands; let us never be so to be silent, when he does not.

It is one of the most dreadful sayings in the book of God, that, "he that adds to the words of the prophecy of this book, God will add to him the plagues written in this book." To keep back the counsel of God, is as terrible; for “he that takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life." And truly, it has great caution in it, to those that use the name of the Lord, to be well assured the Lord speaks, that they may not be found of the number of those that add to the words of the testimony of prophecy, which the Lord giveth them to bear; nor yet to mince or diminish the same, both being so very offensive to God.

Wherefore, brethren, let us be careful neither to out-go our guide, nor yet loiter behind him; since he that makes haste, may miss his way, and he that stays behind, lose his guide. For even those that have received the word of the Lord, had need wait for wisdom, that they may see how to divide the word aright: which plainly implieth, that it is possible for one, that hath received the word of the Lord, to miss in the dividing and application of it, which must come from an impatiency of spirit, and a self-working, which makes an unsound and dangerous mixture; and will hardly beget a right-minded living people to God.

I am earnest in this, above all considerations, as to public brethren; well knowing how much it concerns the present and future state and preservation of the church of Christ Jesus, that has been gathered and built up by a living and powerful ministry, that the ministry be held, preserved, and continued in the manifestations, motions, and supplies of the same life and power, from time to time.

And wherever it is observed, that any do minister more from gifts and parts, than life and power, though they have an enlightened and doctrinal understanding, let them in time be advised and admonished for their preservation; because, insensibly, such will come to depend upon a self-sufficiency, to forsake Christ, the living fountain, and hew out unto themselves cisterns, that will hold no living waters and, by degrees, such will come to draw others from waiting upon the gift of God in themselves, and to feel it in others in order to their strength and refreshment, to wait upon them,

and to turn from God to man again, and so make shipwreck of the faith, once delivered to the saints, and of a good conscience towards God; which are only kept by that divine gift of life, that begat the one, and awakened and sanctified the other, in the beginning.

Nor is it enough, that we have known the divine gift, and in it have reached to "the spirits in prison," and been the instruments of the convincing of others of the way of God, if we keep not as low and poor in ourselves, and as depending upon the Lord, as ever: since no memory, no repetitions of former openings, revelations, or enjoyments, will bring a soul to God, or afford bread to the hungry, or water to the thirsty, unless life go with what we say, and that must be waited for.

O that we may have no other fountain, treasure, or dependence! That none may presume, at any rate, to act of themselves for God, because they have long acted from God; that we may not supply want of waiting with our own wisdom, or think that we may take less care, and more liberty in speaking than formerly; and that where we do not feel the Lord, by his power, to open us and enlarge us, whatever be the expectation of the people, or has been our customary supply and character, we may not exceed, or fill up the time, with our own.

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I hope we shall ever remember who it was that said, “ Of yourselves you can do nothing :" our sufficiency is in Him. And if we are not to speak our own words, or take thought what we should say to men in our defence, when exposed for our testimony; surely we ought to speak none of our own words, or take thought what we shall say, in our testimony and ministry, in the name of the Lord, to the souls of the people for then, of all times, and of all other occasions, should it be fulfilled in us," for it is not you speak, but the Spirit of my Father that speaketh in you." And, indeed, the ministry of the Spirit must, and does, keep its analogy and agreement with the birth of the Spirit; that as no man can inherit the kingdom of God, " unless he be born of the Spirit," so no ministry can beget a soul to God, but that which is from the Spirit. For this, as I said before, the disciples waited before they went forth; and in this, our elder brethren, and messengers of God in our day, waited, visited, and reached us; and having begun in the Spirit, let none ever hope or seek to be made perfect in the flesh for what is the flesh to the Spirit, or the chaff to the wheat? And if we keep in the Spirit, we shall keep in the un ty of it, which is the ground of the fellowship. For by drinking into that one Spirit, we are made one people to

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