« PreviousContinue »
bad dominion over us; but (now henceforward) by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
Query 11. Was it not a brand of ignominy on those who had got the good words and high notions about Christ, but were not in the authority and power of his Spirit, that they had eyes full of adultery, and could not cease from fin? Can any cease from sin but he that receiveth the power? And he that receiveth the power of the new life, is it not natural to him to cease from sin, and unnatural to him to commit it?
Query 12. Is not the Lord the teacher of his people under the new covenant? Was it not promised of old concerning the gospel-times, and is it not fulfilled in the gospel-times, that all thy children Mall be taught of the Lord? And what doth the Lord teach? Doth he not teach to cease from doing evil, and to learn to do well ? And shall his children never learn this lefion of him?
Query 13. Whose servants are they that obey unrighteousness ? Are they cloathed with the strength of God? Do they stand in the power of his might againft the power of the enemy? Are they overcomers of the wickedone? Or are they not rather daily overcome by him?
Query 14. What is the whole armour of God provided and appointed for? Is it not to keep out the enemy wholly ? And is it able to do it, or no?
Query 15. Will not Christ say to all men upon the earth, profefs they what they will, hope in Christ, and cast themlelves upon him for salvation ever so much, and ever so often; yea, though they have received such power from him as to preach in his name, and to cast out devils in his name; yet if they have not so received the power as to overcome fin in their own hearts, and to cause them to cease from working iniquity, though they call him Lord, and cry to him with confidence, Lord, Lord, open to us, yet will he not say to them, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I know ye not; ye are not of the birth of my power ; ye are not those which have done my will; ye were never by me redeemed out of the evildoing; but have still all your days (notwithstanding your profeffion, notwithstanding your knowledge, notwithstanding your owning me as your Lord, and preaching in my name) been workers of iniquity.
Query 16. He that receiveth the spiritual circumcision and baptism of Chrift, doth it not cause him to cease from fin? And doth not the new life spring up in him, which causeth him to live holily to God ? He that hath the offending eye plucked out, the offending hand cut off, is not that taken away from him which caused him to fin? And he who is created a new creature in Christ, doth he not naturally do that which is holy and righteous ? 1 John ïïi. 7, 8.
Query 17. Doth not the true faith, the faith of the Son of God, give victory over sin ? Can any believer be conquered by the enemy, he standing in the faith, abiding in the covenant? Doth not the power stretched
out by the Father of life defend the foul in the way of the covenant against all the assaults of the enemies, so that the gates of hell cannot prevail against any here, but the name of the Lord is felt a strong tower against them; and though they encompass like bees, yet in the name of the Lord victory is witnessed over them, and against all that they can do? And doth not the Lord teach and enable his to keep covenant?
Query 18. Was not such a thing witnessed by Paul (and may not such a thing be witnessed by the believing and obedient travellers now), I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I know how to want, I know how to abound; every-where, and in all things, I am instructed, &c. I am armed with the whole armour of God, and taught to stand so upon my guard in the power of his life, that the enemy cannot come at me; but the power of the endless life so preserveth me, as that the evil-one cannot touch me, cannot enter me with any of his temptations in any condition ?
Query 19. Was there not such a condition once witnessed, and may it not be witnessed again, of being more than conquerors through the love and power of Christ? When the life doth arise in its power and dominion in the heart, doth it not foon scatter the enemies ? Do they not fly away, and are chased at the blast of God's Spirit ? When the soul is filled with the love and with the power, is not the land cleansed of what annoyed it? And this, which is sometimes felt by many of the travellers, may it not be an abiding state? Are there not dwelling-places on Mount Sion (on the Mount of God's holiness in the gospel-time), and is not there security from sin, Satan, the soul's enemies, and dangers ? They shall not burt nor destroy in all my boly mountain, saith the Lord; and will he not fulfil it to those that wait upon him in the way of his covenant ?
The C O N C L U S I O N.
HERE is a principle of darkness in the hearts and minds of men,
which is as a feed or root of corruption in them, bringing forth in them fruits of sin and unrighteousness unto death.
And there is also a principle of the pure heavenly light, as a free gift from God, to discover the darkness, turn man's heart against it, and lead him into the way and path of life.
Now as Satan rules in the principle of darkness, and there is the power of death therein ; fo God rules in the principle of light, and there is the power of life and redemption manifested by God therein.
For this principle is of the Father, of the Son, of the Spirit; yea, the Father, Son, and Spirit are in this principle; and here the soul meets with them, and is brought into union and fellowship with them, and feels the everlasting arm revealed and stretched forth for its delivery from corruption, and the captivity thereof, into the liberty of the Sons of God. R 2
And he that is here meets with the substance of things, and that which all the types of the law shadowed out; meets with the one offering, the cleansing which is thereby, the imputation of righteousness, or of faith unto righteousness; yea, and with somewhat more, even with the everlasting righteousness itself brought into the heart, and dwelling there; insomuch as his nature is changed (truly changed) his spirit changed, his mind, heart, soul, and conscience changed, his conversation changed, the leopard's spots and the Ethiopian's skin washed away, the deceitfulness of the heart removed, and the new garments of righteousness, life, and falvation put on in the stead thereof; fo that he is uncloathed of the evil, unholy nature and spirit, and cloathed with the Spirit of the Lord.
For Christ is really made unto him wisdon, righteousness, fanctification, and redemption. How is that? Why he that once was a fool, is now made wise unto God, and the things of his kingdom, by the mystery of his Son's life and power, revealed in him. He is a child of wisdom, and he hath heard the wisdom of his mother, and learned wisdom of her. So putting on Christ, who is the righteousness, being ingrafted into him, being brought forth in him, he partakes of the sweetness and fatness of the olive-tree, and is renewed into the image of the true righteousness and holiness, and drinks in the virtue and life of the precious promises, wherein and whereby he is made partaker of the divine nature, and so cannot but witness redemption from the earthly corrupt nature.
Now it is not any striving, believing, or obedience of man's own spirit, which can effect this; he may will strongly, he may run hard, and yet never obtain ; he may so cast himself upon the mercy of God, and hope concerning his mercy in Christ, as to miss of it.
But the principle of life which is from God, and faith in God from that principle, without fail effects this, and no other faith doth. But out of this are the mysterious images and idols, and subtil workings and devices of the cunning-one, to take up the mind with somewhat which appears as substantial and truly excellent, but is not so indeed. : His birth hath desires after the kingdom (and makes no question but it shall be his), wills, runs, strives, believes, hopes, prays, reads scriptures, obferves duties and ordinances; and in these they meet with a wrong knowledge, a wrong sanctification, a wrong joy, a wrong confidence and affurance, a wrong rest and peace; in which there may be a great warmth, and seeming life and pleasure, from the fire and fparks of their own kindling and blowing up, which the mind that is blinded by him can hardly suspect that it is not true ; yea, may be taken with it, and strongly justify it in its own thoughts for the true, and set it above that that is indeed the true. This, this is the great mystery of iniquity, which hath great subtilty of deceivableness in it, to pick up and steal away the good feed out of the heart, and to steal in a false image and likeness thereof, which may have a more glorious appearance to man's eye than the true feed itself (for that is the least of all
seeds, feeds, makes the least shew of any), but hàth not the same nature, virtue, and power.
Ah! the Lord God of tender mercy help all the poor souls that breathe after him, that they may not be thus deceived. And those that are thus deceived, and in the snare of the enemy (and do not witness the faith which hath the Son's dominion in it, and gives victory over sin, Satan, and the world, and wherein the blood of sprinkling, which livingly washeth, is felt, in the light of life, wherein the redeemed walk to the praise of their redeemer); the Lord guide them also to that wherein all deceits are made manifeft, and where the truth, which is of the Son, is made to shine in such who were once in the barren places, and in the thick darkness, but now are light in the Lord, and who have a dwelling-place with the Lord in his light, which is the pure and everlasting habitation. Amen.
Some further Queries concerning the New Covenant. Query 1. HAT is the new covenant ? Is it not an agreement be"WH
tween God and the soul in Christ, according to the law of faith, as the old covenant was an agreement between God and the people of the Jews, according to the law of works?
Query 2. Who is the Mediator of this covenant? Is it not the Lord Jesus Christ? Doth not he prepare the heart for the covenant, bring into the covenant, keep in the covenant, preserve peace between God and the soul, and keep the foul in the way of truth and peace ?
Query 3. Who is the Shepherd, King, and Prophet in this covenant ? Is it any other than Christ the Mediator? Is not he the King and Prophet railed up to rule in righteousness, and to instruct in the path of life? And is not his Spirit able to teach and instruct in all things, and able to govern and rule in righteoufness all that are subject to his breathings, quickenings, and holy movings, and instructions in their hearts, who writes his law there, and guides and governs by the law which he writes?
Query 4. How come men into this covenant or holy agreement with God? Is it not by repentance and faith? Is it not by turning from the darkness, which is not of him, to the light, which is of him? Is it not by turning from the spirit of Satan to his Spirit ; from the standard and power of the wicked-one, to the standard and power of the Holy One? What is it that God lifts up against the darkness of the enemy, but the light of his Spirit, which discovers where a man hath been (and what he hath done) and gives him to repent thereof; and forsake all his dead works, and turn to the life and power which instructs and quickens him, in and by the Holy Spirit ? And this is true converfion; and thus a man feels the covenant of fin, death, and hell broken, and enters into a new covenant, a pure covenant, a living covenant, a powerful covenant, and comes to feel those things which the covenant contains, as his condition requires, and as his capacity is made able to receive.
Query 5. How do men come to abide in this covenant? Is there any abiding but according to the entrance ? Is there any staying in the covenant, but in and by the faith that lets in ? Doth not unbelief and difobedience keep out from it at first? And doth not unbelief and disobedience cut off from it afterwards ? For there are fins against this covenant, as well as against the old; and the sins against this are more dangerous to the soul than the sins against the old. Take heed (said the apostle) left there be in any of you an heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God. And faith Moses, speaking of the prophet, or angel of this covenant, Beware of him, and obey bis voice ; for be will not pardon your transgresions, for my name is in him ; and whosoever hearkeneth not to this propbet, be shall be cut off. How can it be otherwise ? For he speaks life, and he speaks it in the covenant to the circumcised ear, to the soul in the faith, in the obedience. Hear, and your souls shall live. So then he that hears not must needs abide in death ; and he that departs from hearing him, must needs return to death.
Query 6. Whether there be any purifying of the heart, or any juftification, or keeping the vessel clean, out of the obedience of the truth? If a man keep my sayings (saith Chrift) be fall never see death. If ye (faith the apoftle) through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. But if the deeds of the body be not mortified by the Spirit, if a man do not keep the sayings of Christ, doth he, or can he live then? Is not this then the main thing in religion, that a man receive the truth in the faith, and that he feel the power of the Spirit of life bringing him into, and keeping him in, the obedience thereof." For it is the truth that saves; the living truth, the living knowledge, the living faith; the law of the Spirit of life that makes free from the law of fin and death; and it makes free by its
powerful working in the mind, working out, and preserving from, that which defiles, captivates, and destroys.' For Christ comes with his power to fave, with his power to break the bonds of darkness, and to set the captive free: with his power to dislodge and dispossess all the enemies, and fanctify the vessel to himself; and the effects of his power in and upon the heart are his salvation ; and he that falleth short of the ministration of the power of life to his soul, and of the effects thereof in his soul, is so far defective in point of salvation : for no man is saved farther than he is redeemed and delivered from that which Christ comes to save him from.
Query 7. Whether the first thing of all to be witnessed in religion is not the Spirit of Christ? Is not the whole work to be done by him ? And