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Now, O England ! consider; haft thou has the guidance of God ? Hath the light which hath guided thy steps been lighted by him, or by his and thy souls enemy ? For there is a spirit (of a contrary nature to God) near man, which he suddenly taketh counsel of, when his heart is not acquainted with, nor receiveth counsel of the Lord. And this counsellor is the destroyer both of persons and nations, leading them in ways of ruin and subversion, under an appearance of being the proper ways of peace and settlement.
It is true of nations, as well as persons, that what they fow, that shall they also reap. God measureth out their time unto them, and when that is over, his time of judging and pleading with them comes. And woe is then unto them who have acted in their own wills and wisdoms, out of the pure counsel and fear of the Lord, wherein they should have stood and been guided.
It is a day of trouble and distress. The weight of the iniquity of this nation begins to be felt upon it. Oh! let every one search and bow before the Lord, under his righteous judgments ! that there may be no going on in that which bringeth and will increase the judgment; but a turning towards that whiɔh intercedes, and opens the springs of mercy.
Two things lie heavy on this nation; to wit, a running on in transgressions of several kindsag ainst the Lord (forgetting his tender mercies, with the days of former distress) and an amicting others whom he loves, and hath led, and is leading out of transgreslion. Oh! that these things might come to an end, that the anger of the Lord might cease, and the ways of his judgments and pleading with this nation be stopped; for who can stand before him when he riseth up in controversy against them?
There is but one eye which can rightly see the hand and judgments of the Lord; yea, it pleaseth the Lord so to manage them, that only the eye which is of him may see them. Man must be taken in his wisdom, and caught in the snare of his own understanding. He that will see the things of God, the ways of God, the counsels of God, the love and sweetness of God (yea, the very judgments of God) must receive from him the eye that seeth them. Oh! that men might feel after, and come into, that wherein they might be pitied, and spared by their Maker. Man must bow; that which is of God in man (which hath long lain under oppression) must be exalted. It is the day of his power, and he will reign in it. Oh! happy they that bow to his scepter, and kiss the shinings of his light (even the Tharpest rebukes of it in their hearts) that they may turn from, and travel out of, the 'darkness (where is death, destruction, and misery, even in all the counsels and ways of it), and come into unity with that which is pure, and live.
A faithful Guidance to the Principle and Path of Truth,
wherein eternal Life is witnessed, by those who are born thereof, and walk therein.
W H ERE must be somewhat let down from God into a man's heart, to
I change his heart, and redeem it to God, or he cannot be saved. He must receive a seed, be born of a new and incorruptible feed, or he cannot be renewed from his corrupt nature and state. He must be born of water and God's Spirit, or he cannot enter into God's kingdom.
Now this is the true religion ; namely, to experience and be subject to that power which redeems to God; which breaks the power of the wickedone in the heart, first casting him out, and then taking possession of the vessel, and filling it with the holy treasure.
Quest. But how may a man meet with such a thing as this?
Answ. The scripture (which gives a faithful testimony concerning the truth) faith, Christ, the Word of faith which the apostles preached, is nigh. Insomuch as a man need not say, who shall go up or down to fetch it? But what faith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy beart. This is that which reconciles to God, cutting down and saying the enmity by the power of the cross, and bringing up the seed. This is the adversary in the way of the sinner, which he that maketh peace with shall be remitted all his trespasses past, and find power and strength against sin for the time to come, as he is gathered into, and brought forth in his pure life and nature.
Queft. But how shall I know and receive this?
Answ. That in the heart which is contrary to sin, which discovereth sin, which witnesseth against sin, and is drawing the mind from it, furnishing those with a new and holy ability, who wait upon the Lord in it; that, that is the thing, though in ever so little a seed or low measure. Now he that minds this, hearkens to this, turns from what this in its pure unerring light) thews to be evil, follows (in the will, strength, and ability which is of this) what this shews to be good, he receives it, and waiting upon it, and becoming daily subject to it, shall grow up in it, increase in the knowledge of it, and acquaintance with it, and receive of it daily more and more. And thus the man whose way was vile, whose heart was naught, formed in wickedness, filled with corruption, daily bringing forth sin and fruits unto death, shall find these (by the pure light, and holy instructions of life) daily purged out of him, and Christ formed in him, and the holy fruits of righteousness brought forth through his vessel, by the power and Spirit of Christ, to the glory of God the Father. VOL. II.
And then being in Christ, being in the principle of his life, and acting therein, here is peace in the foul, rest to it from its enemies and God's judge ments, and acceptance with the Father in what the soul thus is and works.
But then the world will persecute and hate exceedingly; because this foul, who thus submits to God, and is thus changed by him, is not of the world, but of the Father, which begat it in Chrift, and formeth it in his image and likeness. .
Likewise in this light the eyes are opened to read the scriptures, and to understand therein the conditions of the people and saints of the Most High in former generations, and how the wicked spirit wrought then, to oppose the truth and people of God, and to draw men into deceit. Yea, and many other ways the scriptures are exceeding sweet and useful, being read in that which gives the true sense and understanding of them. :
But let him that once putteth his hand to the plough (beginning to feel somewhat of God, and to subject unto it, and fo to taste of the peace and pureness of it) never look back to the world, nor mind the temptations and oppositions he will meet with from that nature and spirit, either in himself or others; for if he do, he will never be able to travel on, but rather consult with flesh and blood, and fo return back into Egypt, and lose the crown which is laid up for those who pass on through the wilderness, through the trials, through the temptations, through the wants, through the various exercises to their journey's end.
This is the path of life in brief; happy is he who feels the guider into it, and faithfully follows him therein to the end.
There is another question springs up in my heart, which is this:
Quest. How may a man come to have his fins washed away by the blood of Christ?
Answ. By coming into the light, and walking in the light, which discovers the blood, and wherein alone it is sprinkled by God, and felt by the foul, he may receive the cleansing which is by it. This is according to the testimony of scripture, as I John i. 7. If we walk in the light, as be is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Chrift, bis Son, cleanseth us from all sin. By the light the darkness is dispelled, and in the light the corruption and filth is washed away by the blood, and the soul (mind and conscience) cleansed from it.
This then is the message that we have beard of bim, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all, ver. 5. What then? Why then they that will know God, and walk with God, must by the virtue of his truth be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God (as Atts xxvi. 18.); and in that light he shall meet with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, and have fellowship with them, ver. 3. and shall be washed (both with the water and with the blood) and kept clean and pure thereby in the light of God.
hreth the destroyer, and he tipoftles had to deliver une concerning
Quest. But how shall I come into the light, and how may I walk therein ?
Anfw. Christ is the light. (He is the light of the world, the light of men, the light of life.) And thou needît not say in thine heart, Whoshall go up to heaven, or down into the deep, for him ? For he is near, in thy mouth, and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which thou art to believe in, love, and obey; that in the love, faith, and obedience thereof, thine heart may be circumcised, and thou mayest live. This is the gospel of our salvation, even this Christ, this word, this light, this life, which redeems from fin, which destroyeth the destroyer, and fetteth the soul free to serve and live to the Lord. This was the message the apostles had to deliver in their day, as Rom. x. 8. And this was Moses's message too, when he spake concerning the new covenant. For Moses did not only deliver the old covenant, but he also spake concerning the new, even another covenant than that of Mount Horeb, Deut. xxix. 1. And the word of this other covenant was not the law written in tables of stone; but the word nigh in the mouth and heart, chap. xxx. 14..
Object. But that place speaks of doing (which is the voice of the old covenant, do this and live); but the new covenant stands in believing.
Answ. The end of faith is obedience. Why do I believe Christ, but that I may receive the law of his Spirit, and walk before him in the newness of the obedience thereof? And he that obeys is of the faith, and in the truth; and he that obeys not, is out of it; is not in the power, not in the life, which brings forth the obedience ; fo out of the thing which redeems, and in which the redemption is witnessed: but he that obeys, he that doth the will, he is in the righteousness, in the power, in the life, from which the obedience springs.
And here the washing and purifying of the soul is truly known and witnėssed. Outward sacrifices under the law were vain, as to cleansing the foul; and an outward belief of what Christ did and suffered, effects not the thing now. What then? The new creature doth; the pure faith doth; the pure obedience doth. It did it formerly, it doth it still, and nothing else can do it. Bring no more vain oblations ; but wash ye, make you clean ; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do well, &c. But how should this be? Could they ever attain this by the old covenant ? Nay ; but Moses had not only delivered them the old covenant, but also had directed them to the new, to the Word of faith, to the Word of life and power in the heart and mouth, through the obedience whereof they might wash themselves (as Perer, even in the gospel times, speaketh, i Pet. xxii.), put away the evil of their doings; cease to do evil, learn to do well, &c. And what then? Why then they should receive the cleansing through the blood of the Lamb; for then, though their fins were as scarlet, they should be as white as snow; though they were red like crimfon; they should be as wool, Ijai. i. 16, 17,' 18. :
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So Micah tells them (when they asked how they might come before God to please him :) He hath bewed thee, O man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God, Mic, vi. 8. Where or how doth God shew this to man? Had not Moses told that before; to wit, by the Word nigh in the mouth and heart? There is somewhat near man, even in his mouth, which divides his words one from another, she'wing him (at some times, and would do it oftener if he heeded it) which are bad words, and which are good words. What is that that doth this? The same thing also is in his heart, as a discerner of the thoughts and intents thereof, thewing him when there is a good thought, desire, or intention in his mind, and when there is a bad or wicked one. What is this? Oh! that men knew what it is! Oh! that they could fear the Lord, and become subject to it, and they should know what it is!
Every man that will be fanctified, and inherit God's kingdom, must be born of the will of God. He must deny his own will (as Christ did; not my will, said he, Father, but thine be done) that must be crucified. He must suffer in the flesh, die to the flesh, and live in and to the holy nature and Spirit of God.
Now thus a man comes to be born of the pure will; to wit, by hearing the word nigh in the mouth and heart, and becoming subject to it. This cuts down his own will day by day, and brings up the will and nature of God in him, through which he is changed and sanctified, and becomes a new creature. For the old creature is made up of the old understanding and will; but the new creature is made up of the new,
Wherewithal fall a young man cleanse his way? By taking beed according to thy word, saith David. What word was that? Was it the word of the old covenant, or the word nigh in the mouth and heart? And thy word, faith he, is a lantborn to my feet, and a light to my path. What word was that, the word of the first covenant, or the word of the second ? The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the foul. What law is that? The testimony of the Lord is fure, making wise the simple. What testimony is that? The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. What statutes are they? (Were not the statutes of the old covenant heavy and burdensome ?) The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. What commandment is that? Yea, what is that which is sweeter than the honey, and the honey-comb, which overcomes with sweetness ? Oh! that men could read! Oh! that men could fee the thing which is pure, and maketh pure; which is righteous, and maketh righteous. After men have seen the thing, there is a great way to travel to it; but how far are they off, who do not so much as fee it, but are in the darkness and prejudices of that nature and spirit which is, contrary to it.
Now if the Lord, in his tender mercy and love to thy foul, bring thee to a sense of this thing, and thou beginneft to feel this precious search