« PreviousContinue »
their fins ? And have these leaves any of the blood of Christ in them or
Query 27. Is not Christ the true vine, the true olive-tree ; the living vine, the living olive-tree; the spiritual vine, the spiritual olive-tree; into which all the spiritually-living are ingrafted ? As the Father is the husbandman; so is not the Son the vine ? And hath not this spiritual this eternal vine in it juice and sap of an eternal nature ? And is not this sap its blood ?
Query 28. Is there not a choice vine, to which the foal and afs's colt of the feed of Judah is tied ? And are not the garments and clothes of the true Jews washed in the wine, and in the blood of the grapes of this vine? Gen. xlix. 11.
Query 29. What is that which the earthly nature slays ? And what is the blood which the earthly nature shall disclose, and the nain which it shall no more cover ?
Query 30. What are the robes which are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb? And how are they washed and made white therein ? And what is the blood (of what nature ? earthly or spiritual ?) wherein they are washed and made white?
Query 31. What is it to have, or how come we to have, fellowship with Christ in his death, and to suffer and be crucified with him ? Is it by having our natural bodies crucified on the same cross of wood (or some fuchlike one) as his body was crucified on? Or by having the fleshly nature crucified, subdued, and worn out of our fouls, minds, fpirits, &c. by the power of the Spirit ? Rom. viii. 13. Now if the flesh we are to put off, be of such a nature and kind; to wit, inwardly and spiritually corrupt; must not the flesh of Christ, which we are to put on instead thereof, be of as deep, inward, and spiritual a nature? What is the Mesh whereof we are to be uncloathed, before we can be cloathed with Christ? Is it outward or bodily? And what is Christ's Alesh we are to put on? Is that any more outward or bodily, than that which we are to put off?
Query 32. Is not the flesh and blood, which they that have eternal life feed on, and which nourisheth them up to life eternal (they continuing to feed thereon, and not feeding afterwards on strange flesh, and strange blood); I say, is not this felh and blood Spirit and life ? For that is it which profiteth, John vi. 63. Is it not the Aesh and blood of the word ? Was not the word made felh? And did not the word, who was made flesh, dwell and appear in a tabernacle of Aesh, and cause the glory of his own divine Aesh, to shine through that earthly flesh? Oh! read and consider, that ye who have stumbled and murmured against the truth, may stumble or murmur no more, but now at length receive the pure and precious doctrine thereof (and so come to witness the fulfilling of that promise, Ifa. xxix. 18.-24.), and praise him who giveth understanding.
Query 33. Is not the true church, Alesh of Christ's flesh, and bone of his bone ? Is not the false, or antichristian church, flesh of antichrist's fesh, and bone of antichrist's bone? What is the flesh of the spiritual whore, which is to be stripped naked and burnt with fire ? Shall ever the church, which is of Christ's Aefh, be stripped naked and burnt with fire ? Nay, doth not his flesh make able to abide the devouring fire, and to dwell with the everlasting burnings ?
Query 34. What is the pure milk of the word, which is milked out to the babes from the pure breast ? And what is the breast from which it is milked out? Is it of the flesh of Christ or no ?
Query 35. Are not the wicked of the feed and flesh of the serpent? Is not that the body of flesh, of sin, of death, which is to be put off? And are not they who are renewed in fpirit, of the feed and flesh of Christ? Is not that the body or garment of holiness, of righteousness, of life, which is to be put on?
Query 36. Is it not as neceffary that the eternal word be made feth inwardly, that so the children may feed on him, as it was for him to take on him an outward body of flesh, to suffer and die for them, and to fulfil all righteousness, both of the law of the letter, and of the law of the Spirit in?
Query 37. Is there not that which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt? And do not they which dwell there, instead of eating Christ's flesh, and drinking his blood, put his Alesh to pain, crucifying it in and to themselves, trampling under foot the Son of God, and counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing? Read the figure. Did not outward Israel fuffer in outward Egypt? Did not just Lot suffer in Sodom? Doth not the spiritual seed suffer in and by spiritual Egypt? Doth not the flesh of the holy and just one fuffer in and by spiritual Sodom?".
Query 38. What is that which the Gentile-Christians, who are not Jews inward, circumcised in heart and fpirit, who know not the inward temple (the place of the true Jews worship, where they worship the Father in Spirit and truth), but only worship in the outward court, which God hath cast off, and left out of his measure, Rev. xi. 2. I say, What is that holy city which these Gentiles tread under foot forty-two months ? Is it the church, which is of the Aesh and bones of Christ, or no?
He that knoweth the substance, the feed of the kingdom, the birth of. the Spirit, knoweth the flesh and blood which is of the seed. And this flesh is Aesh indeed, this blood is blood indeed, even the flesh and blood of the seed's nature; but the other was but the flesh and blood of our nature, which he honoured in taking upon him, in which he did the will, in which be offered up the acceptable sacrifice; but yet did not give the honour from his own flesh and blood to it. For the flesh and blood of our nature, was. not his own naturally, but only as he pleased to take it upon him and. make it his. But that whereof he formeth us (and which he giveth us to.
eat and drink), is the flesh and blood of his own nature ; and this was it wherein was the virtue, and wherein is the virtue, life, and power for ever. Happy! oh! happy is he who is of it, who is taken out of and formed of him (as Eve was of Adam), and so becomes Aeth of his flesh, and bone of his bone. Then will he know the mystery of life, feed on the thing itself, and not stumble about appearances and expressions, as those that are out of and from the thing itself do, through the darkness of their mind, and because of their ignorance of the thing spoken of in the scriptures.
An Incitation to Professors seriously to consider,
Whether they or we fail, in the true Acknowledgment and Owning of the ChrisT which died at JERUSALEM.
TE, who are commonly called QUAKERS, being a people whom the
Lord hath gathered (out of the wanderings, out of the many professions, out of the several scattered estates and conditions, wherein his eye pitied us, and his love found us out) into a measure of the eternal rest; where we have found that life, that power, that manifestation of the eternal Spirit, and that redeeming virtue, which we never were before distinctly acquainted with ; I say, having tasted of this, having known this, having felt this, and come to a real enjoyment of it, in some degree, in our feveral measures; we could not possibly conceal this treasure, but in bowels of love (and in the movings of the life and power of the Spirit) have been drawn to testify of it to them who are left behind, groveling under the burthen of corruption, and crying out because of the sin and bondage from the powers of darkness, who have in a mist with-held their eyes from beholding that living virtue, which is able to save (and doch save, blessed be his name) therefrom. .
Now this we have often found; That this our testimony hath not been received in the same Spirit and love wherein it hath gone forth; but the enemy (by his subtilty, hath raised up jealousies concerning us, and prejudices against us, as if we denied the scriptures and ordinances of God, and that Christ that died at Jerusalem ; professing him only in words (to win upon others by), but denying him in reality and substance.
To clear this latter (for my heart is only at this present drawn out concerning that), we have folemnly professed, in the light of the Lord God (who hath given us the knowledge of his Son in life and power) these two things.
be his nis that living wikness, who
First, That we do really in our hearts own that Christ, who came in the fulness of time, in that prepared body, to do the Father's will (his coming into the world, doctrine, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, &c.) in plainness and simplicity of heart, according as it is expressed in the letter of the scriptures.
Secondly, That we own no other Christ than that, nor hold forth no other thing for Christ, but him who then appeared, and was made manifest in flesh.
Now it would be nakedly enquired into by professors, what is the reason that their jealousies still remain concerning us, and why they are still so ready to cast this upon us ? Certainly if they did know and own the same thing with us in the Spirit, and in the power, in the life, and in the love, which is of the truth) this prejudice and these hard thoughts could not remain. But if they themselves do not know Christ in the Spirit (but only according to a relation of the letter) no marvel though they miss both of the Spirit, and of the true intent and meaning of the letter; and likewise be liable to clash against the truth, as it is made manifest in others.
And indeed the Lord hath shewn me in Spirit several times, that they themselves are guilty of that very charge (and that he will so implead them at his judgment-leat) which they cast upon us, even of denying that Christ which died at Jerusalem to be the Christ. For he that ownech the words of scripture, as he apprehends or conceives them in the reasonings of his mind, and doth not wait to have them revealed in the Spirit, keeping out of his own reasonings and conceivings, and waiting patiently till the Lord open the thing in the Spirit, le fetteth up his own conceivings, or an image in his mind, of the mind of the Spirit, but miffeth of the thing itself, which alone is known in the Spirit, by them who wait upon the Spirit, there to receive it, and are not hafty to set up their own reasonings and imaginations concerning the thing in the mean time.
No man can in truth call Jesus the Lord but by the Spirit. But any man that is any thing serious, and weighs the scriptures in the natural part, may fo learn to acknowledge his coming into the world, and that he is Lord and king, &c. and may thus call him Lord, yea, and kindle a great heat in his affections towards him; but all this out of the life, out of the Spirit) is but man's image, which he forms in his mind, in his reading the scriptures, and observing things therefrom. But the true calling Jesus Lord, is from the feeling of his eternal virtue in the Spirit, and finding the scriptures opened to him by the Spirit, in a principle which is above the reason, comprehends the reason, and confounds and brings it to nothing.
Again; there is no true knowledge of Christ, no living knowledge, no saving knowledge, no knowledge which hath the eternal virtue in it; but that which is received and retained in a measure of light given by God to the creature, in the faith which is the gift, in the grace which is supernatural and spiritual ; whereas the reasoning part is but natural. And such as have received the VOL. II.
spiritual understanding, know it to be distinct from the natural; and we experimentally find a very clear distinction, between scriptures searched out by the reasonings of the mind and so practices drawn therefrom) and scriptures opened by the Spirit, and felt in the life.
Now that professors generally have not received their knowledge of Christ from the Spirit, or from scriptures opened in the Spirit (and so know not the thing, but only such a relation of the thing as man's reasoning part may drink in from the letter of the scriptures) is manifest by this, in that they are not able in fpirit and understanding to distinguish the thing itself from the garment wherewith it was cloathed, though the scriptures be very express therein. Speak of Christ according to a relation of the letter, there they can say somewhat, but come to the substance, come to the spirit of the thing, come to the thing itself, there they stutter and stammer, and shew plainly that they know not what it is.
Now the scriptures do exprefly distinguish between Christ and the garment which he wore; between him that came, and the body in which he came; between the substance which was veiled, and the veil which veiled it. Lo! I come ; a body bast thou prepared me. There is plainly he, and the body in which he came. There was the outward vessel, and the inward life. This we certainly know, and can never call the bodily garment Christ, but that which appeared and dwelt in the body. Now if ye indeed know the Christ of God, tell us plainly what that is which appeared in the body? Whether that was not the Christ before it took up the body, after it took up the body, and for ever?
And then their confining of Christ to that body, plainly manifesteth that they want the knowledge of him in spirit. For Christ is the Son of the Father; he is the infinite eternal being, One with the Father, and with the Spirit, and cannot be divided from either ; cannot be any-where where they are not, nor can be excluded from any place where they are. He may take up a body, and appear in it; but cannot be confined to be no-where else but there ; no, not at the very time while he is there. Christ, while he was here on earth, yet was not excluded from being in heaven with the Father at the very same time; as he himself faid concerning himfelf, The Son of man, which is in beaven, John iii. 13. Nor was the Father excluded from being with him in the body; but the Father was in him, and he in the Father: whereupon he said to Philip, He that hatb seen me, batb feen the Father, What! did every one that saw that body, see the Father also ? Nay, not so; but he that saw Christ, the Son of the living God, whom flesh and blood revealed not, but the Father only (Matt. xvi. 16, 17.) he saw the Father also.
O Friends ! look to your knowledge of Christ, and to your faith and knowledge of the scriptures, and to your prayers also; for it is easy missing of the living substance in all these, and meeting with a shadow; which may please and make a great shew in the earthly part, in the natural understanding and