Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing gathered, the rest were cast off; and the enlign was carried among the Gentiles, and the great gathering was there among them.

Query. How is it manifest that the great gathering to Shilob was to be from among the Gentiles?

Anfw. By many express prophecies of Scripture, and promises to the Messiah, that he should have the Gentiles for his inheritance and possession. When God established his king, the Messiah, upon the holy hill of spiritual Sion, notwithftanding all the heathen's rage against him, and the people of the Jews imagining a vain thing (thinking to keep the body of him in the grave, who was the resurrection and the life) what faith the Lord to him? Ak of me, and I will give thee the beathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy polleshon, Pr. i. The Lord faid, in another place, It is a light thing that thou mayest be my Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore ibe preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth, Ifai. xlix. 6. Again the Lord faith further, From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering ; for my name hall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts, Mal. i. 11. Sing, o barren! thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that did/t not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, faith the Lord, Ifai. liv, 1. Who was the married wife? Who was the mother in the days of the first covenant? Was it not the Jerusalem below, who was then desolate and barren ? Was it not another Jerusalem, which is free, and the mother of all the spiritual children? Why was she now to rejoice and sing? But because he was to break forth on the right hand and on the left, and her seed was to inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited, ver. 3. The covenant of Mount Sinai did bring forth a great people, whereof Jerusalem, that was below, was the mother. The covenant afterwards made, besides that in Horeb, whereof the Word nigh in the heart and mouth is the foundation (by which Word God circumciseth) was as yet barren, and did not bring forth a people to the Lord. But this covenant was to have a time; the Jerusalem above was to have a time, wherein her feed should inherit the Gentiles; and the Maker, the Husband, should be called the God of the whole earth, ver. 5. Read Gal. iv. and see how the apostle of the Gentiles expounds the mystery, shewing which is the free woman, and her free children, and which is the bond woman, and which the bond children, who are cast out in the day of God, and in the shining of his heavenly light inwardly, and cannot inherit the glorious kingdom of the gospel, with the children of the free woman. And consider who were the people in the time of the first covenant? Who obtained mercy then ? Were they not the Jews? And who were not a people, and who did not obtain mercy, but were left out of the love and mercy of the first covenant ?

. Were Were they not the Gentiles? And did not the Lord promise that he would have mercy on them that had not obtained mercy? And that he would say to them that were not his people, THOU ART MY PEOPLE ; and they Thall say, My God, Hof. i. 23. compared with Rom. ix. 26. Was not this once gloriously fulfilled in the firft visitation of the Gentiles? And is it not again glorioully fulfilled in his now visiting them again with the fresh found of the everlasting gospel, as was promised, Rev. xiv. 7.

Oh! what a promise is that concerning the day of God! that in that day there shall be a root of Felse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it fall the Gentiles seek, and his rejt shall be glorious, Ifai. xi. 10. Is not this the day wherein the holy mountain is known, and that nothing can hurt or destroy there? And doth not the knowledge of the Lord cover his land, his earth, as the waters do the sea ? And doth not the root of Jeffe, the rock of life and salvation, stand for an ensign, placed so by God; and who can displace it, or shake them that are built on the inward Mount Sion? Yea, is not the rest of the weary foul, when he comes hicher, found to be very glorious ? And when this ensign is more fully lifted up, shall not the Gentiles more abundantly come unto God from the ends of the earth, and bewail their dead and estranged estate from God? (saying, Surely our fa. thers inberited vanity, and things wherein is no profit, Jer. xvi. 19.) And shall they not turn from all their idols to serve the living God? Thel. i. 9. And concerning the Messiah it was promised, that in his name should the Gentiles trust, and the illes should wait for his law, and he should bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, Ifai. xli. 11. with Matt. xii. 21.

But what should I mention any more scriptures unto you concerning this thing, when-as ye have fo large, full, certain, and daily experience of it in that which is pure and living of God, which never deceived nor can deceive any; for ye are begotten by his Spirit into his own image and nature, and have received the Spirit of adoption, wherein ye cry Abba Father to the Father of spirits. He found you indeed in a strange land, under great captivity, and alienation from him. Ye have been in Egypt, in Sodom, in Babylon spiritually; but the mercy of the Lord hath followed you thither, and the arm of the Lord hath reached to you there, and hath cut Rahab, and wounded the Dragon: yea, he whom the Lord hath given for a light to the Gentiles, hath shined to you there, in the midst of your darkness. So that God fent among you the prophet like unto Moses (tho' far above Moses) and hearing him, he led you out of Egypt, and by the rod of his power did signs, and wonders, and valiant acts there, breaking that power which with a strong hand held you captive there, and oppressed you. And you have known the travel, trials, and temptations in the fpiritual wilderness, and the falling of the carcases which were to fall there, and the holy leading by the pillar of cloud and fire through all the entanglements and dangers therein. Yea, and the faithful among you, the tried and prepared among you, have passed over Jordan (the river of pure

002

judgment) judgment) into the good land, and come to witness David and Solomon (who are one in Spirit) your king, who rules in righteousness, and ministers to you peace everlasting. And ye have an high-priest there, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedeck, who is made the everlasting high-priest of God; not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life; whose lips preserve the knowledge of the law for you, in that endless power of life; who ministers for you, and to you, in the endless power, and intercedes with power and efficacy, and sprinkles the blood of the covenant upon you, which takes away sin from your hearts and consciences. So that ye know the inward Jew's state, the inward Holy Land and kingdom, the inward circumcision, before ye enter into that land; and the inward Lamb, the inward passover, the inward Mount Sion, and Jerusalem; the inward facrifices and incense, the inward tabernacle, temple, and ark of the covenant, the inward shew-bread, the inward manna, the inward rod that buddeth, the inward candlestick and the lamps, which are never to go out in God's temple. And what should I say more? All that that people were to be outwardly, in an outward way and state, hath God made inwardly in the substance; and what God would have been to them outwardly, had they obeyed his voice, and kept his statutes and judgments, that he is to you inwardly, who are the called and chosen, and faithful followers of the Lamb; and ye are the enjoyers of their blessings and promises inwardly. Oh! the glory of your state to the eye that is opened to see it!

Now somewhat doth remain on my heart unto you. ..

Oh! be daily sensible of the tender goodness and mercy of the Lord, which is broke forth among you! What mercy, what love hath the Father thewn unto you, that ye should be thus accounted the children of God! That they which were once nigh, should be removed fo far off; and ye which were so far off, should be brought fó nigh, and should for ever inherit the sure mercies of David! For of a truth the Lord will never forfake you ; but his mercy endures for ever towards you, and your stakes shall never be removed; but this inward building shall stand for ever. This Sion is the place of God's rest, where he will dwell for ever; whereof the outward Sion was but a figure.

Secondly, Remember what the Lord promised himself concerning you. When he was weary of that people, and continually complaining of them, oh! what did he promise himself concerning the people he would bring forth by the Spirit and power of the Messiah in the latter days! Did he not promise himself that they should be an holy people, an inwardly circumcised people, a people that should please him; theep that should hear the shepherd's voice, and be healed by him, gathered home to him, and so follow and learn of him the shepherd ; that they should all know him from the least to the greatest; and that he would forgive their sins, and heal their backslidings, and they should not return to folly, or back side

any any more, as the children after the flesh always did ? Is not this the people whom indeed God hath formed for himself, who shall shew forth his praise.

Thirdly, Remember what a covenant God hath prepared to make with you, as ye incline your ears to him, and are led by him into the holy agreement with him ; even a covenant which is not weak, as the old covenant was; but is full of virtue and vigour, to enable you to do whatever God requires of you. Mark what it contains, putting God's fear into you: not the fear which is taught by man's precepts, which man may get into his carnal mind; but which God places as the treasury of life in the heart; as it is written, The fear of the Lord and his treasure, Ilai. xxxvi. 6. And oh! who knows the preciousness of his treasure ! How it cleanseth the heart, and keepeth it clean, and will not suffer the mind that is seasoned with it, and kept to it, to depart from the living God! It fenceth from unbelief, it fenceth from disobedience; it will not suffer the foul so much as to meddle with any appearance of evil. Oh! precious, glorious, blessed treasure ! happy is the man that feareth always with this fear! Another precious thing this covenant contains, is the law written in the heart, that it Thall be as near, yea, nearer than sin is, in the heart that is made tender, and hath the law of the Spirit of life written in it. Who knows what it is to have the law of love, the law of life, the law of the Spirit, the law of faith, the law of new obedience, livingly written by God in his heart! Surely none can but they in whom God writes it! And such cannot but desire to have it written in their hearts by his blessed finger daily more and more. But this covenant contains yet more, even the putting of his own Spirit within them, to be a fountain of life there, a fountain of strength and wisdom there, to make them more and more willing in the day of his power, and to cause them to walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and judgments, and do them, that the Lord their God may bless them, and delight in them.

Oh! who would not long after, and take up the cross and shame, to enjoy the glory of this state! Oh! what hath God done for a poor despifed remnant among the Gentiles! Oh! who would not desire to keep this blessed covenant with the Lord, that he might fully enjoy the Lord, that the marriage with the Maker might be witnessed in his loving-kindness and everlasting righteousness, and all unrighteousness and uncleanness might be put away, removed, and separated from the heart for ever. Ah! the virgin spirit which the Lamb loves, and delights to marry with! He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, and he must part with all that is old, evil, unclean, and corrupt in him, that would be joined to the Lord, and become one Spirit with him. Oh! who would lose the precious fear of the covenant, which is clean, and endureth for ever, and keepeth clean and chaste to the Lord for ever! And who would miss of one law which God hath to write in the hearts of his children, when every law is a law of

to be a fountain of litsven the putting of

and wisdom there

life, and changeth the mind into the nature of the law-giver! And who would grieve God's Spirit, which is our Comforter? Or quench that which kindles the pure flame of love and life in our hearts? Much less can any of his dear and tender children be willing to vex him, by manifest carelessness and disobedience, who giveth us to drink of the river of his pleasure !

Oh! my dear friends, ye do not know the great travail of my heart, that all the children of the Lord might walk before him in all well-pleasing, that we might come all into covenant, into the full covenant, and walk fully with him in the covenant, that his anger might be for ever turned away from us all, and he might never be wroth with, nor rebuke any of us any more. It is written on my heart the breaking forth of this glory would reach the Jews : and though they be cast off as to their outward state, and not so to be owned, or come into that glory any more; yet there is a day of mercy and love for them, as to that inward state of life and redemption, which their outward state typified: and the breaking forth of the full glory of the Gentiles, and the manifestation of God's mighty power and presence with them (they being made by God a people to him, and so walking with God, as none possibly can but those who are created anew, and so made by him), this might provoke the Jews (the poor, scattered, forsaken Jews) to seek after the Lord their God, and David their king, inwardly to be revealed in them, and rule among them.

The Lord God of our life and tender mercies, carry on to perfection this blessed work of his, which he hath so mightily begun, and so mightily hitherto carried on; and keep us in the sense of his good Spirit, and in tender and holy subjection thereto, and in unity together in the life, wherein we have been gathered and preserved, and in pure judgment over all the workings of the enemy every-where, and in the gospel love one to another, and to all men, even our greatest enemies, that we may seek the good of all men, even the rescuing and preserving all out of fin and wrath, as much as in us is possible; that the pure light wherewith our God and heavenly Father hath enlightened us, may shine in us; and the life wherewith he hath quickened us, may live in us, and we may feed on nothing but life, and grow in nothing but life and truth, to the great glory of our heavenly Father, and to the great joy of our hearts. Amen.

A few

« PreviousContinue »