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about God, and about his Son Christ Jesus, to this inward sense and experience of them?
God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, bath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. Oh! how precious is it to be able to witness this in measure! to experience God shining upon my tabernacle (as Job speaks, Job xxix. 2, 3.) and by his light my walking through darkness! It is true, Christ was the light, he had the fullness of light, and the apostles a very great proportion: but, blessed be the Lord, I have received fome, and am changed by it, and become light in the Lord; and walk with God, and dwell with God in the light, even as he is light, and dwells and walks in the light. Is not this a blessed testimony? and is not he blessed who can set his seal to it?
Which veil is done away in Christ, 2 Cor. iii. 14. It was promised of old, that in the mountain, where God would make the feast of fat things, he would destroy, swallow up, or do away the veil, or that which veils the life and glory of the Lord from man, and hinders it from being revealed in him, Isaiah xxv. 6, 7. Now in Christ there is no veil; in his light, life, fpirit, and power, there is no veil: where they are inwardly manifested and received, the veil is done away, and the glory of the mystery revealed and beheld.
If ye continue in my word, then cre ye my disciples indeed ; and ye mall know the truth, and the truth bell make you free, John viii. 31, 32. What is this word which the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are to continue in ? Is it any less than Spirit and life? And what is it to be a disciple indeed, but to learn the law of life at his mouth, and to continue therein ? And what is the truth which makes free? Is it not the living Truth (the Word which lives and abides for ever) the powerful Truth, the operative Truth? This cuts between a man and his lovers; this divides between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and makes the soul free from that evil spirit which hath embondaged it. It sanctifieth, it cleanseth, it reneweth, it quickeneth, it giveth strength, it maketh free from the soul's enemies, from the bondage of sin and corruption, and brings into the glorious liberty of the fons of God: and they that are made free from sin by that which is contrary to fin, and which subdues, overcomes, and destroys sin, they doubtless are free indeed. Oh! precious is it to experience this, even the truth that is free from sin, and makes free from sin all that truly know it, and are joined to it, and live and abide in it!
For fin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, lut. under grace, Rom. vi. 14. What's the law? what's the ministration of the law ? Is it not the ministration of the letter? of that which is holy and righteous, by an outward or literal command ? What's grace? Is it not the inward teacher, which inwardly instructeth to deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, &c.? Is it not the mini
stration of the Spirit and power? Is it not the ministration of the new covenant, where the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is written in the heart, and the commandment of life made easy by the power of the Lord Jesus, who manifests himself within to make willing unto, and to strengthen to obedience ?
Now they that are under this grace, under this Spirit, under this power, doth it not break the power and dominion of fin in them, and let them free therefrom? Can sin break in upon those who dwell under the shadow of the Almighty ? Indeed a man may be under a literal dispensation of holy commands against sin, and yet be under the power of fin: but he that is gathered under the wing of Christ, under the grace and Spirit of the gospel, turned from Satan's power to God's power, and within the wall and bulwark thereof, he witnesseth this true, Sin hath not dominion, sin cannot bave dominion, fin ball not have dominion over you. No device of the enemy shall be able to hurt or destroy on God's holy mountain; for his light shines there to dispel the darkness, and his power is revealed there, to scatter and dash in pieces the strength of the enemy whenever it appears.
Upon all the glory shall be a defence, Isaiah iv. 5. Oh! the Lord God, by the Spirit and power of the gospel, in the day thereof, is bringing many fons to glory, into great, inward, spiritual glory; yea, into exceeding glory (for the ministration of the Spirit exceeds in glory). And as God hath ordained this glorious ministration for his sons and daughters under the new covenant, so by the Spirit and power of the new covenant, when it breaks forth, he is daily working, translating, and changing them, out of the earthly nature and image, into his own divine nature, into his own heavenly glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18. And, blessed be the Lord, the defence of his power is spread over the glory of his holy mountain, so that nothing can make a prey of, or devour the birth of life, or deprive of the inheritance of life there. The Lord doth not only give a blessed lot and lines in pleasant places, but he maintains the lot of his children; so that they can dwell in their Father's house, and feed on the heavenly food and rich dainties of the kingdom, in the majesty of the name of the Lord their God; which is such a dread unto the enemies, and such a defence about then, as none can make afraid: but they are kept in perfect peace, in perfect reft, in pure love, out of which life springs and flows continually.
And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Febovab is my strength and song, be also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy all ye draw water out of the wells of salvation, Isaiah xii. 1, 2, 3. Oh! precious to witness the inward spiritual day of redemption and deliverance, wherein praises from a living sense naturally spring up to the Lord ! to witnels the reproofs at an end, the anger, indignation, trouble, and forrow at an end, and the Comforter come, ministering peace, joy, and comfort to the soul!
Ab! the water of
d known, and then with joy; ah! then
Ah! when the Lord is felt, the salvation (his presence, his power, his life, his virtue the salvation); when faith springs towards him, and the fear of the enemy (or concerning the enemy) is banished; when he is experienced to be the soul's daily strength against him ; yea, and doth so deliver, that instead of the former fear, because of the fury and oppression of the enemy, the soul can now sing, because of that strength and heavenly authority, which the Lord putteth forth and exerciseth in the heart against him! When the well of life, the well of salvation, the Saviour's well, is kept open, and the Philistines, the uncircumcised spirit, power and nature, cast out, that they can stop it no more ; but the soul can draw the water of life out of the well and fountain of life with joy; ah! then the gospel-dispensation is indeed known, and the blessed estate thereof witnessed and experienced !
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be cloathed, and that the same of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest fee, Rev. ii. 18. What is the gold tried in the fire, which man is to buy of Christ, that he may be made rich therewith? What is the white raiment which the soul is to be cloathed with, without which it is naked in God's. light, and in the light of the truly discerning (and there is a time when the shame of its nakedness will appear more generally, as it doth already to the eye of the spiritual man who judgeth all things)? What is the eye-salve wherewith the eye is to be anointed, or it cannot see ? Is it not precious to purchase this gold and raiment of Christ, and to have this eye-salve to anoint the eye with, and to keep it open that it may daily see its way, and walk in the light of the Lord ? Certainly this is all inward and spiritual, as a remnant witness it this day; glory to the Lord God.
But the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you : but as the same anointing teăcbeth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lye; and even as it bath taught you, ye shall abide in him, i John ii. 27. The outward anointing was a shadow of the inward, and had a glory in it under the dispensation of the law; and the inward anointing in the gospel-dispensation is spiritual and divine, and exceeding glorious. Christ, the anointed one, anoints all his. No being a son, without being begotten by the Spirit and power of the Father; and no abiding a fon, but by the virtue and power of the fame Spirit, remaining in and with the soul; fo that every lon receives of the anointing of the Father: Christ received the Spirit, the fullness, that he might give to them a proportion. Now to experience this anointing, and to experience it abiding and teaching all things, and to know this voice, the voice of the shepherd, the voice of the anointing, which the sheep still finds to be true, and no lie; and to abide in the vine, in the life, in the Spirit, in the power, as this Spirit or anointing teacheth : Oh! here's the sweet state, the clear state, the blessed state! Here the promises and blessings are Yea and Amen in Chrift:
fpiritu chers withe thed with
and the soul can fay, he is faithful and just who hath promised, who hath opened the treasures of life to his family, to his house, to his children, to his servants, and blesieth them with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly things, in Christ.
. . . Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him, that glory may dwell in our land: mercy and truth are met; righteousness and peace bave killed. Truth all spring out of the earth; and righteousness all look down from heaven. Vea, the Lord fall give that which is good; and our land hell yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him, and fall fet us in the way of his steps, Pfal. lxxxv. 9. to the end. Is it not precious to witness that fear of God in the heart to which falvation is nigh, and the land wherein glory dwells ? Where mercy and truth meet, righteousness and peace kiss? Where truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven? Where God gives that which is good, and the land of the living yields the increase of life to him? Where righteousness goes before him, and he sets his in the way of his steps ? Where the Lamb goes before, and the way is not known, but as the Lamb goes before and leads into it? Where God is the shepherd, and the soul doth not want, because he maketh it to lie down in pastures of tender grass, and leadeth by the waters of quietness (where it drinks of the brook in the way) and in the paths of righteousness for his name's fake? See Psal. xxiii. Is there not a kingdom of darkness, a land of iniquity inwardly? and do not they that dwell there, and fit there, dwell in darkness, and fit in the region and shadow of death? And is there not a travel out of this land into the holy land (the land of light, the land of the living) and a translation out of this kingdom into the kingdom of the dear Son ? And is not God the shepherd there? Chrift the bilhop of the soul there? and doth not he oversee and take care of souls there, leading them into fresh pastures, and by the soft flowing waters? Is not falvation nigh there, yea, round about that land? Do not mercy and truth meet there? righteousness and peace kiss there ? yea, doth not the glory of the Most High dwell in, and overshadow that land ? Is not the eye of the Lord upon it for good, from one end of the year to the other? doth not he watch over it night and day, that none hurt it, and water it in the proper seasons ? Oh! who can utter the goodness and glory of the Lord which is revealed and shines here!
Rev. iii. 20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man bear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with bim, and be with me. Here are several things, which, in their order and seasons, the living come to a certain and sensible experience of.
As, First, Christ standing at the door and knocking. What is the door at which he stands ? and how doth he knock? How doth the contrary spirit knock? how doth his Spirit knock?
Secondly, What is his voice and how is his voice heard ? To hear Wildom's cry within, in the inward streets; his call at the door, at which he would
enter; must not the true ear in some measure be opened first ? Can any one bear without an ear?
Thirdly, What it is to open the door ? There is a door-keeper's state to be witnessed, and the right door-keeper knows how to open and how to thut the door, and is exercised in opening and shutting the door. The king of glory is to be opened to, and let in; but no wolf, no ftranger, no strange spirit, is to be hearkened or opened to
Fourthly, What Christ's coming in is at the door opened to him? When he knocks, would he not come in? Would he stand always at the door knocking? Nay, nay; when the door is opened at which he knocks, he who is the resurrection and the life enters; the king of righteousness, the king of peace, enters; he who is the wisdom and power of God enters; and what becomes of the power and goods of the enemy then? Doch he not kill and destroy them? Doth he not consume and devour them ? Doth he not empty the house of them, and garnish the house with that which is truly pure, glorious, and beautiful ?
Lastly, What is it to have him fup with the soul? And what is it for the soul to sup with him? Is not here eating and drinking in his Father's kingdom? Doth he not first destroy the devil's kingdom, and then set up his own kingdom? And doth he not fast with the foul, and feast with the foul, in the kingdom which he sets up there? Oh! that all men knew how near he who is eternal life is to them! Doth not God search the heart? Is not he near the heart? Doth not his light shine there, in the midst of man's darkness and corruption? Doch not his power reach thither, and assault and trouble the enemy? Doth not his pure love wherewith he loveth man pierce thither? Doch he not knock? Doth he not call ? Doth he not touch? Doth he not draw ? Doch he not give, at times, some living tender sense to many hearts, who too much neglect and despise him, and regard not the day of his tender visiting them, and calling after them? Oh! how is the love of God, the Spirit of God, the life of God, the wisdom of God, the power of God, the drawings and instructions of his grace day by day resisted by the wisdom and will of the flesh, in those that are born thereof, and hearken thereto, and fo live after the flesh, and not after that which reproves the flesh ?
Many more scriptures might be mentioned, and also fenfibly and livingly witnessed to; but these are enough to give a taste. The Lord open mens understandings into the thing itself, and give them the key which opens into the truth, even into the mystery thereof, wherein is the hidden life and virtue. Amen.