« PreviousContinue »
man, which is created and formed in man? And then God owneth fuch to be his people, Isa. li. 16. i
No man can do that which is righteous, but he that first partakes of God's righteous nature and Spirit. The tree must first be good, before the fruit can be so. A man must first be renewed and made righteous, before he can bring forth righteousness. So that he that doth bring forth righteousness, without doubt he is inwardly renewed, without doubt he is inwardly righteous. Did the Gentiles do by nature the things contained in the law? Then, without doubt, they were partakers of another nature than the old corrupt nature, which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Little children, let no man deceive you; be that doth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous, i John. iii. 7. This is the true and weighty judgment of God's Spirit; and he that judgeth otherwise is deceived, and erreth in this particular, and sheweth that he doch not yet know God's righteousness, and Christ's righteousness, which is one and the same. Fur, If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him, i John ii. 29. Mark; the new birth precedes the doing of righteousness; and the doing of righteousness is a certain evidence of the new birth. He that doth righteousness is born of God; this fruit can arise from no other but the pure, living, heavenly root.
Of the Grace of the Gospel. T HE prophets of old prophesied of the sufferings of Christ, and the
I glory that should follow, i Pet. i. 10, 11, Now what was the glory which should follow ? Was it not the setting up Christ's inward and invisible kingdom in the hearts of men ? Was it not God's abundant pouring out his Spirit, and filling vessels therewith; so that the Spirit of grace and of glory should reft upon believers, as it had done upon Christ? Was it nor God's tabernacling in men, and becoming their God, and making them his people? Was it not the fulfilling the precious promises concerning the gospel-itate, whereby men should be made partakers of the divine nature
of the heavenly image), and be changed from glory to glory, by the renewing Spirit and power? Was it not to have fellowship with Christ, not only in his sufferings and death, but also in his resurrection and kingdom; where the bread and wine of the kingdom is eaten and drank, and the feast of fat things partaken of? Is it not a glorious state to be translated out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of the dear Son ? And to dwell with Christ in the kingdom; and sup there with him, and he wich them? To have fellowship (pure fellowship, living fellowship) with the Father and the Son, that the blessedness and joy of the soul in the gospel-state may be full?
The law was a ministration of shadows; for under it were the various and many shadows of the good things to come, which were to be possessed and enjoyed in the days of the gospel. In the law there was an outward people (the Jews outward), an outward covenant, an outward land of blessings, plenty and rest ; an outward Sion, outward Jerusalem, outward temple, outward ark, outward table, outward laver, outward candlesticks, outward lamps, outward oil, outward anointing, outward circumcision and sacrifices, outward new moons and fabbaths, outward kings, outward priests, and outward victories over outward enemies, &c.
But now, in the gospel, there is the substance of these things inwardly revealed, and inwardly poffeffed and enjoyed ; even the Jew inward (the new man of the heart) an inward covenant of life and peace, an inward land of blessedness, of rest; an inward sabbath or day of gospel-rest (which the true believer keepeth in the faith, not bearing any burden, kindling any fire, nor doing any work of the filesh therein); an inward Sion, an in
ward Jerusalem or holy city, an inward temple (in which is the Holy of Ho· lies), an inward ark, in which the law of life is treasured up; inward table,
inward laver, inward candlestick, inward lamp, inward oil, inward anointing, inward circumcision and sacrifices, and" folemn seasons; the inward King of Glory, inward prophet and priest known, even Christ within, who giveth victories and dominion over the inward enemies, and giveth his to partake of his kingdom and priesthood, Rev. i. 6. Yea, and (by' his Spirit poured out upon them) maketh his seers and prophets also, as it is written, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your fons and your daughters mall prophesy.
Now, was not this fulfilled after the sufferings of Christ in the flesh? And. is it not daily more and more fulfilled, as the sufferings of Christ, which are yet behind, are filled up in his body the church? Did not the glory. then succeed? Was not the gospel-spirit and power then revealed and bestowed? And did it not bring into the gospel-state ? Were not the precious promises fulfilled therein ? 2 Peter i. 5, 6. Are they not all yea and amen in Chrift? Is not the veil or covering taken away in him? Is not the glory revealed in him? Is not the Lord one, and his name one in him ? Is there not glory then in the highest, on earth peace, and good-will among men, as well as good-will in God towards men? Where is then the enmity and wars; the luits and fightings ? Where is the envy of Judah or Ephraim, or the vexing one another here ? Are not these things drowned in the love and in the peace, in the life and in the power which is revealed in the gospel. ftate, and springs up in the gospel-spirit? They know not what spiric they are of, who would have fire come down from heaven upon the disobedient and gainfayers. To be sure, they are not of the gospel-spirit, not of Christ's Spirit, who came not to destroy mens lives, but to seek and save that which was lost, and to overcome by the overflowings of his love and tender visits VOL. II.
of his life. And how do his children make war in this day? Is it not wich innocency, with meekness, with patience, with bowels of love, with longsuffering, with truth, with righteousness, like the followers of the Lamb, like the children of him who abounds therein ? Indeed there is a sword given, there is a threshing instrument, there are darts and arrows to be shot into the hearts of the King's enemies, Psa. xlv. 3, 4, 5. But it is not to destroy the creature, but rather to smite and wound that spirit which captivates it, that the creature may witness deliverance and freedom therefrom: though it is true, that they who join with that spirit, must partake of its judgments and plagues, even to destruction, if they so continue.
Now this glory is wrapped up in the grace which is miniftered by the gospel; and where grace is fown, the glory is sown (there is a true feed of the glory); and where grace abounds, the glory abounds. It was said concerning the first gathering of Christians by the apostles, that great grate was upon them all, Acts iv. 33. and indeed, it was a precious and glorious ftate, which they were gathered into and brought forth in. Now the grace is revealed again, the grace is poured forth again, the grace hath appeared, teaching and bringing salvation again ; doth it not behove every one to know it and partake of it? Not to be content with words concerning the grace, but to know the grace itself, receiving it from the hand of him that giveth it, and hearing the voice, reproofs, and instructions of it? Hear, and your souls Mall live. Whom should they hear ? Are they not to hear Christ, the great prophet? How shall they hear Christ? Is there any other way, than by hearing his grace teaching them ? Than by hearkening to the measure of the gift of grace, which is by Jesus Christ? The law was given by Moses (all his people, all his children, all his family were to come under the law, to be governed by the law). Grace and truth comes by JeJus Christ (all his children, all his people, all his family are to come under the grace, to be governed by the grace), who is faithful in all his house, dispenGing of his grace and truth to all his, as Moses did of the law (committed to him) to all under him. So then, all that delire to be truly Christians, let them wait to know what the grace and truth which Chrilt giveth is, and to partake of it and come under it ; under its teachings, under its influences, under its protection, under its government (by being subject to it; and in every thing guided by it) that they may know what that scripture means, in the true and weighty experience : Sin shall not bave dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. vi. 14.
1.1. A Quěstion answered concerning real Holiness. 5 Quest. A RE not persons to be really holy (really fančtified in Chrif Jesus)
a who would be received by the Lord, and enjoy fellowship with him e as fons and daughters, in the gospel of bis Son?.
Answ. Under the law, that people of the Jews were to be separated from in the Heathen, to be outwardly circumcised and cleansed by the water and
blood of purifying (which sanctified to the purifying of the flesh), and not i to touch any dead or unclean thing; for any such thing polluted them, and
those that were unclean must be kept without the camp, as unfit for the holy bi communion with God and his people, till cleansed.
Now what did this signify? Did it not signify that pure and clean state inwardly, which God requireth under the gospel ? Did it not signify the inward circumcision of the heart and spirit before the Lord, and the cleansing of the soul, mind, and body, before its appearing to worship in the inward and spiritual temple? Heb. x. 22. Is there not a Jerusalem under the gofpel, into which no uncircumcised or unclean thing is to enter, or appear before God there ? Mark what the apostle saith, Heb. xii. Ye are not come to the Mount that might be touched, to outward Mount Sinai, or Sion, to the appearance of God there, but ye are come to the inward Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to fellowship with God and Christ there, ver. 18.-22.
Now what is the way to this holy fellowship and heavenly communion ? · Doth not God himself prescribe it?' 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17. Wherefore come out from among them, and be separated, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you ; I will be a Father unto you, and ye mall be my sons and daughters, faith the Lord Almighty. For God would have a people representatively holy in the time of the law (yet not destitute of inward holiness), and he will have a people really holy in the time of the gospel. He that defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy: but keep the temple pure, holy, and then the Holy God will dwell and appear there, according to his promise; I will dwell in them, and walk in them. And this is eternally true, and witnessed by certain experience among them that know the Lord; that if any thing that is unclean be touched, there is a defilement thereby, and there must be a cleansing felt, before an admittance into the presence of the Holy God, and enjoying fellowship with him again.
. Concerning the Law of Sin in the Fleshly Mind, and the Law of Life
and Holiness in the Renewed Mind; and whence, each have their
Strength. T H AT is the law of fin? Who writes it in the mind? And what is
VV it when it is writ? When luft hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and jin when it is finished, bringeth forth death, James i. 15. So that the first beginning of fin is evil luft; and the whole corruption that is in the world, is through loft, 2 Peter i. 4. Now whence cometh that lust? Is it not begotten in the mind and spirit by the tempter? And what is the law, both of the lusting, and of the fins committed through the lust? Is it not the lustful nature, the luftful will, the lustful wisdom, the lustful desires and passions, which the God of this world begetteth in the worldly part ? So on the other hand, there is an holy law in the holy and renewed mind. Whence cometh that law? Doth it not come from God? Doth it not come · from the Holy One? Is it not he that blots out Satan's law, and then writes his own law in the hearts of his ? Now, what is his law? Is it not of a contrary nature to Satan's law? What God writeth in the hearts of his, teaching them holiness, requiring holiness, enlightening the mind unto holiness; manifesting the good, perfect, and acceptable will, is not that his law ? Under the old covenant the law was at a distance, writ in cables of stone; but under the new covenant the law is nigh, written in the heart by the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. For he is King, the inward King, the spiritual King of his people, who cometh to reform, and amend by his covenant, what was amiss under the former. Now, because he found under the old covenant, that laws outwardly written would never bring men into, and keep men in, subjection to his Father; therefore he writeth inwardly by his Spirit and power, and visiteth with the inward eternal day, even the day of his power, and so maketh his people willing to receive the law of his Spirit of life, which maketh free from the law of fin and death. For this law being inward and spiritual, and more powerful than the other, overcomes the other law, even the law of fin and death (though it be inward and spiritual, and inwardly written also), and fetteth free from it; Rom. vi, 18. and viii. 2. ,
Now these laws have each their strength from him that writes them. The law of fin and death hath its strength from the god of this world, the prince of darkness, who ruleth in all that are disobedient to the Spirit and power of Christ. The law of holiness, the law of life, the law of faich in the power, the law of obedience to God's Holy Spirit, hath its strength from the Holy One, from the prince of life and peace; for Satan is near his sub ojects, and dwells in them, to act them, and to make his laws of