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He faith further, But this is the bounty, the freeness, the munificence, the riches of the grace of God, to call things that are not as though they were.
Anw. Take heed of abusing that scripture. God sent Christ to renew, to redeem, to change, to make holy and righteous, to make people such as the Father might be pleased with, accept, and justify; and as Chrift maketh them fo, the Father receiveth and accepteth them as such. But God doth distinguish and call things as they are. He doth not call an ungodly man an holy man, a justified man; but when he hath changed him, newcreated him in Christ Jesus, took him out of his old stock, and planted him into the new; then he accounteth and calleth him fo, and not before. It were better for men to wait upon God to understand what his Spirit meant in what he spake, than to put formed meanings of their own upon his words.
He wrests my words, charging and reproving me, as if I said, The love of God was a bare thing.
Answ. Those were not my words, nor did my words so signify; but my words were, That it is not by bare loving (or mere loving, or only loving) that God makes a man righteous; which is very true and manifeft: for there is, besides his love (in and through that love) the sending of his Son, and revealing of his Son, drawing to and transplanting into his Son, to make holy and righteous in him. For holiness, though it may be distinguished, yet it cannot be divided from righteousnefs; nor can a man possibly be righteous in God's sight, unless he be also holy in some measure. His reflecting words hereupon I pass by, though very unjustly and unchriftianly cast upon me (without any just occasion given him by words) which I desire the Lord may make him sensible of, that he may be forgiven it. • He blameth me for saying, We make no finite thing our righteousness; and yet he faith, We make the measure of the Spirit (which each member of Christ receives) our righteousness.
Answ. A measure hath the same nature with the fulness. A measure of the Spirit and life, of the grace and truth which comes from Jesus Christ, hath the same nature that the fulness hath. All the life, all the new creation that comes from him, and dwells in him, is righteous, and found righteous where ever it is found. Yet I do not remember that we have thus expressed it, that that measure is our righteousness; but it is he who is the fulness, who is revealed in that measure ; and it is he who is our righteousness, our wisdom, our fanctification, our redemption; but it is in the holy pure measure of the heavenly gift that he is made thus of God to us, not out of it. • He faith, The Lord our righteousness redeems us, not properly by the life and Spirit of his Godhead; though that was in the work, fupporting, enabling bir and carrying him up, in that great undertaking; but by the death and sufferings of bis manhood.
Answ. This is strange doctrine, to make the manhood the main Redeemer, and the life and Spirit of the Godhead but the supporter and carrier up of the man in the work of redemption; whereas it was the Word which created all, which also redeemed; he that left his glory, and made himself of no reputacion, but came in the form of a servant, to do the will. It was the Spirit and life of the Father (even the eternal Son) which took up that body, appeared in that body, offered it up a pure and acceptable sacrifice to the Father, finishing the work therein which the Father gave him to do, John xvii. 4, 5.
He faith, Sball we think to answer the law by our obedience ? · Answ. We do not look upon the law of Moses, which was given to the Jew outward, to be the dispensation of the new covenant, or to be the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus; but those who are in the new covenant, and have God's law written in their hearts, and his fear put there, which preserveth from departing from him, and his Spirit put within them, to cause them to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes and judgments, and do them; and who live in the Spirit, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in these. Yet they do not magnify and cry up their own obedience (nor call it their righteousness) but him from whom their obedience comes. "For in the measure of his grace and living truth the soul is one with him; and all that he is, and all that he hath done, is theirs; and it is he himself that is the righteousness of all that are in him: and they that abide in him partake of his righteousness from day to day, which floweth in like a stream upon them.
I wish he could consider in what spirit it is that he calls the white stone a ticket for the righteousness. Doth he know the white stone with the new name? It is no less than the foundation-stone, than the righteousness itself; and what doth he talk of bringing that as a ticket for the righteousness?
He seemeth to pass by some things (which I speak in tender love and weightiness of spirit to him) as the judgment of man in his day ; but let him take heed, when he comes to appear before God, he then find it was the judgment of God's Spirit in the light of his day; which day is inward and spiritual, which believers are to haften to, and which approacheth in every heart, as the night spendeth and passeth away. And all true Chri-, ftians and believers ought to wait for the passing away of the night, and the dawning of this day, and the arising of the day-star in their hearts.
He faith, Christ is now ready to be revealed.
Anfw. I believe he is to be revealed further, and in fuller glory; but he is truly already revealed as the Saviour, shepherd, and bishop of the soul; and many are gathered home to their refting-place in him, which, while they were scattered up and down upon the barren mountains (before the Thepherd appeared and made himself manifest) they could not find..
He seems to strike at the peace and joy which is of God, and to give it a dalh, Because minds estranged from the enlightnings and convi&tions of God, bave much peace in their ways, and such are under delufions.
Answ. We do not tell men of the peace and joy we have in our God boastingly; but in a faithful way of testimony concerning, and invitation to, what we once wanted, but now have found, under the leadings of the true Shepherd. And the peace and joy which he gives, is an evidence and assurance in the hearts of those to whom it is given by him. And they that have been greatly distressed for want of the Lord, and his powerful arm of salvation, having met with it, it riseth up from life in them to testify and say to others, Lo! this is our God, we have waited for him, and we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. And oh! that ye also were stripped of this dead, notional, comprehensive knowledge concerning the Saviour! That ye might meet with the Saviour himself, and receive that knowledge from him which is life eternal. And this, with the true peace and joy thereof from him, ye would find no delusion.
He speaketh, of suffering loss, and of phrases and expreshons : Better (said he) to suffer loss in these, than themselves to be destroyed.
Answ. Let him apply this home. Oh! that he saw how those phrases and expressions, and imaginary knowledge, which he hath brought forth in this letter, stands in his way to hinder the true knowledge; and that he cannot possibly receive the true knowledge without being emptied of these, and parting with them for the excellency of the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus; and without the true knowledge of Jesus men cannot but perish, and be overtaken with destruction.
Then for being helpful to establish persons in grace.
Answ. Such kind of doctrines as these do not tend thereto. . They may establish men in such a notion of grace as he hath formed; but they neither tend to lead to, nor establish in, the grace itself, but keep mes from it. Nay, I can truly say it from him that is true, that he himself cannot receive the grace, the thing itself, till he part with these notions. And oh! that he might know the stone cut out of the mountain without hands to dash his image! that the Living One (who gives life) might be received by him, in that measure of grace and truth which he inwardly dispenses to all that travel out of the darkness of their own imaginations and conceivings upon the scriptures into his pure light.
The main reason he giveth why he is not satisfied with that which I sent him, concerning the sum and substance of the true religion, is; because it fights with his notions, even a stating of our righteousness with God, according to his imagination, which is absolutely a meer dream, which he hath dreamt of in the night, and not seen in the light of the day. For the cry of the Spirit of the Lord is in the gospel-day, Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, may enter in. This is the truth, as God hath revealed by his own Spirit, in this our day; but to say this speaks of our ftate in him, without witnessing it in ourselves, is but a meer dream; and men cannot bring forth fruit to God, nor be lovely and pleafing in his eyes, but as their fallow ground is ploughed up, the thorns, thistles, briars, and that which is unclean and unholy, removed.
Christ, he faith, is the beavenly man, and manfion in whom we are thus blessed, and in whom we fit down in a state of reft and reconciliation, heavenly and divine, before and without the confideration of any works of righteousness which we have wrought, &c.
Answ. If he means this concerning the full fitting down in rest; it is directly contrary to fcripture: For none sit down in that full reft, before and without confideration of works of righteousness wrought by them. For that great judgment is a time of rendering to every man according to his works. Rest is the reward of the traveller, and his travels are not despised, but considered in his reward. Mark; every one that improved, the talent, had a reward from his Lord. And come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you : for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat, &c. Matt. xxv. And the apostle is of the fame mind with Christ, when he faith, It is a righteous thing with God, to recompence tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you reft, &c. 2 Thef. i. 6, 7. So that persons do not fit down in eternal blessedness in Christ, before or without confide ration of any works wrought by them .'.
And then for sitting down in an heavenly divine state of righteousness, rest, and peace in him here; it is a glorious state to be travelled to. There inuft be a translating out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of the dear Son first. The kingdom must first be come, and the soul prepared to enter into it, at the gate which the Spirit opens to him in the way of the gospel. For it is one thing to know somewhat of Christ, and to begin to become a disciple; and another thing to learn of him so to deny a man's own wisdom and will, as to come to receive and be born of that which is true and living of himn; and to learn to wait aright for the opening of the gate, and entering into the kingdom and land of life, and to be prepared to sit down with him.
For there is a state of discipleship, wherein al man hardly knoweth a settlement, so much as how to watch with Christ rightly and constantly; but it is a great matter to be able to dwell and abide with him. None can do this, but be that can dwell with i devouringi fire and everlasting burnings : for the pure word of life is a fire, and he that fits down in the heavenly place in him, muft sit down in that fire.
This he reckons the firm Itable state, which indeed is no state at all. There is not a state in Christ without being in Christ'; and then the state is according to the soul's being in Chrift: for then the work of regeneration, the work of sanctification, the work of justifying, &c. goeth on; and a man is with God, according as he is framed and new created in Chrift; and not otherwise. So that the life and power of the Lord Jefus Christ is found Vol. II.
judging judging and condemning whatever is not of God; and justifying only what is of God in him. For the soul then comes into the new covenant, which requireth and justifieth that which is new, all that is wrought in God; and condemneth all that is wrought out of him. And so here is the true sense and knowledge of fin, by the new and pure law of the new covenant; and the advocate kuown, and repentance given by him upon all occasions, to those that wait upon him, and the sprinkling of the blood, and the remiffion upon repentance. This is the new living way of the Lord Jesus Christ, which he hath confecrated for all his (made known in the demonstration of his Spirit) which will stand for ever; whereas mens apprehensions about those things, which they have gathered and comprehended of themselves out of the scriptures in the supposed light of their natural reason and understanding) are but dreams, and will vanilh even in their own hearts, if ever the true light arise there.
He faith, Tbis state can never fall, nor be finally fallen from. - Answ. There is a way of corning to Christ, and there is a way of preservation in Christ. For there is a power that redeems; and men are preserved by that power in subjection to it. And so every one, that thinketh be Standetb, is to fear, and to take beed left be fall; and not to boast and say, I am in a state of justification, which is firm and cannot be moved; and it cannot fall, nor be finally fallen from. For ye are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. Keep to the power which preserves, bold that fast which tbou bast, let no man take thy crown. Keep the faith, make not shipwreck of it, and of a good conscience. Oh! that men knew the right doctrine and way of coming to Chrift! which they cannot do, till they are taught of the Father, Jobn vi. 45. and the right doctrine and way of standing and abideing in him. For truly mens professed coming to Christ, believing and standing at this day, is generally notional, outward, without; but not in the inward life and power itself, without which no man can come to him, nor stand nor abide in him
He chargeth us, With setting up a covenant of works; always doing and never done ; a covenant to be performed by us, for oarselves ; not by Cbrift for us.
Anfw. I would he saw in the true light how unjust and untrue this charge is. For the Lord God of life knoweth that he himself hath taught us the new covenant, and thereby taught us to wait upon himself in his Son, to work all our works in us and for us, and this we daily experience, that we can work nothing, but as he works in us. Therefore our whole course is a waiting on him in stillness, to witness him appearing and doing all in us; and blessed be his name, we do not wait in vain. But if he think all works are excluded out of the new covenant, he greatly erreth ; for the works of God's Spirit are required and have a place therein; and God and Christ (the King and Shepherd) is the judge of his people in the Bew covenant, and justifieth or condemneth according to the law thereof.