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- sin and disobedience forcible in them. Every motion and temptation to fin
he kindles, and adds vigour to, that he may set on fame the wicked spirits of men after sin, vanity, pride, lust, uncleanness, cruelty, and all manner of wickedness, that they may draw on iniquity as with cart-ropes, and drink it in as the ox doch water (James ïïi. 6.) And the Lord also is near to the foul; the king of holiness, the king of righteousness and peace is near, to give strength to every holy desire in the heart, and to every motion of his Spirit towards that which is good and holy. Hence it is, that he that trusts God's Spirit, watching to, and following the movings and drawings thereof, finds life now in, virtue and strength flow in, to carry on effectually in that which the Spirit of the Lord moves to. So that come but truly to know a motion, to understand the drawings and leadings of God's Spirit, strength is never wanting to him who giveth up in the faith to follow the Lord in that which he moves and draws to. And this is the great skill of Christianity, to come inwardly to know the Lord; to know the inward appearances of the Shepherd, his leadings out into the pastures, where eternal life is fed on; and again into the fold of rest, which is no less than the bosom of love, and life eternal. How the growth of the new man, the growth of the Christian state, is in the exercise under the law of life, under the law of the Spirit. For the Spirit exerciseth the mind by his law, and the mind is to give up to the exercise thereof, and to wait upon the Lord in it day and night ; finding itself never without, but still under the law to Christ in every thing. And indeed how can a man do any thing aright without the sense and knowledge of the law? How can a man fight aright with his spiritual enemies without understanding the law of fighting? For there is a lawful fighting, and an unlawful fighting, against the soul's enemies. The unlawful fighting is in the self-will, wisdom, and strength, according to one's own apprehensions and conceivings, which gains no real ground; and therefore they that fo fight cannot overcome. The lawful fighting is in the faith, in the wisdom and guidance of the Lord, in his Spirit and power, and this is ever successful. So there is a lawful running, and an unlawful running the race, which the apostle plainly implieth, when he faith, So run that ye may obtain, i Cor. ix. 24. So likewise there is a law of prayer, a law of faith, a law of love, a law of new obedience, a law of liberty (for the liberty under the gospel is not boundless, but bounded by the Spirit) a royal law, which the king of glory writes, and keeps living in the heart; by which his will is understood, and the way of life known, which never can be understood by any but those in whom this law is written, even the law of the new covenant, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Read and consider this seriously : for indeed it contains the very mystery of Christianity and redemption. For redemption is not by a notional knowledge of Christ (it is not to witnessed by any), but by receiving and subjeeting to the law of his Spirit. And mind and wait to know and understand whether this be not the law which David speaks of, when he faith,
Pjala Psal. xix. 7, &c. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the foul. 7'be testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the beart; the commandment of the Lord pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of tbe Lord truth, altogether righteous. Certainly the law of the Spirit of life in Chriit Jesus is all this, containing in it the commandment which is life everlasting, and the sure testimony, and all the holy statutes, judgments, and fear, which the soul need to learn; and is indeed perfect, and able to convert and instruct perfectly the converted foul. And here the scripture is fulfilled under this holy law of the Spirit and power of life, They shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man bis brother, saying, Know the Lord (they shall not do so in this covenant, under this miniftration, which is a ministration not of the letter, but of the Spirit); for they fall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, by the teachings of my own Spirit, by my writing my law in their hearts, by my holy unction, which shall teach my children, my anointed-ones, all that they need to know, i Job ii. 27. fer. xxxi. and Heb. viii.
Come, be not deceived about the new covenant; but wait to find the entrance thereinto, and to feel the virtue thereof, and to know and receive the law and power thereof, as becometh Christians.
XII. Concerning God's gathering us home to himself, who are a People despised
and rejested of Men, and in fcorn by them called QUAKERS.
TT pleased the Lord, who is rich in mercy and goodness, to pity our
wanderings and fore distresses, and at length to gather us home to the light and Spirit of his Son, which was the gospel-Itandard in the apostles days.
Now that by which God gathered us was the power of Christ, and the preaching of the everlasting gospel by the ministry which he hath railed up in these latter days. For as the Lord raised up a ministry to preach it at first, when he had some of the Jews and many of the Gentiles to gather ; so he hath raised up a ministry to preach it again after the apostasy, that he may cause the found thereof to go through all nations. And this ministry hath been raised to go forth in the same virtue, power, and Spirit wherein the foregoing ministry was sent.
God promised of old, that he would seek after, search out, and gather home, his scattered sheep himself, and become their Shepherd, Ezek. xxxiv, Now this was fulfilled in a great measure in the days of Christ and his apostles, when Christ came himself, and also sent his apostles after him, to seek and gather the lost sheep of the house of Israel ; and not only so, but also to preach the gospel to all nations, that he might be God's salvation to
the ends of the earth, gathering and saving lost and scattered souls out of every quarter and corner thereof.
But afterwards (after the spreading of the gospel, and Christ's gathering of many thereby) there was a great apoftasy, and scattering from this holy standard of life and salvation, and darkness overspread the nations again, and an antichristian reign and kingdom got up, under a form and forms of godliness, without the life and power, in which forms people generally have been scattered from the life and power, which indeed is the gospel.
Now, in this cloudy and dark time, great hath been the loss and distress of the poor hungry sheep; their thepherds and watchmen not being able to preach the gospel distinctly to them, and direct their minds to the Spirit and power which faves : therefore God, in picy to this sad and lost condition of his sheep, sends his angel to preach his everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth; to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, Rev. xiv, 6.
Now as the former publishing of the gospel began at the scattered Jews, who were God's people under the law; so this begins at the scattered Christians, who had some true desires, and had been seeking after the Lord (from mountain to hill, and hill to mountain), but could by no means find him; nor by any of the watchmen hear any certain news of their souls beloved. But the Lord, in his tender love and rich mercy, in the appointed time, sends forth the Shepherd of Israel to seek and find them out. And, blessed be the Lord, he fought them effectually, and hath found out many, and persuaded them to follow him; and hath brought their weary fouls home to their proper resting-place, where they dwell under the care of the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls.
But if any shall yet further enquire, How, and by whom, the gospel was preached unto us? My answer is, By the Shepherd himself. God himself gave forth the sound, and great hath been the company of them that published it; and our ears and hearts were opened by the Lord to hear the sound, and know the Shepherd's voice.
And mind my words (which the Spirit of the Lord is now uttering forth through me; for they are words of truth, and certain understanding): they that do not hear and own the sound thereof now (from this ministry which the Lord hath now chofen, and sent forth), would not have heard nor owned the found thereof in Christ's and his apostles days, had they lived therein ; but have reproached and opposed them, had they lived then in those days, as they do now in these days. For of a truth it is the voice and found of one and the fame Spirit and wisdom; and they that do despise the one, would have despised the other, Irad they lived in the day of the appearance and manifestation thereof.
And then, for the manner of its preaching, it was just such as iş defcribed, ver. 7. of Rev. xiv. For we are commanded to fear God, and give glory to him, because the hour of his judgment (the great and terrible day of
the Lord) was come ; and therefore to leave off all false ways and worlhips, and learn to worship the living God, the Creator of all, in Spirit and in truth. And truly it was a terrible day to the man of Gin in us; for the judgments of God were revealed against him, and we in fear lay under the judgment, that we might learn righteousness, and witness the redemption of Sion thereby..
Now being thus turned to that light, and Spirit, and power, which judgeth, it wroughe effectually in us against the darkness and power of Satan; searching, trying, manifesting, judging the secrets of our hearts daily. It tried all our knowledge, all our faith, all our delires, all our thoughts, words, ways, and worships; so that all things were naked and open before him with whom he had to do; and what had gone before, as glorious and taking in our eyes, was now manifested to be loathsome and abominable in the sight of God. For indeed the axe was laid to the root of the tree, and every plant which the heavenly Father had not planted was he now plucking up, that they might no longer cumber the ground; but he might have room for his own feeds and plants of holiness and righteousness, which he was ready to low in his own garden.
And to at length we came to witness (abiding the trial of this dreadful day, wherein our God appeared to us as a consuming fire) a new heaven and a new earth inwardly; and no more sea of wickedness, no more fea of inward trouble; but righteousness, peace, and joy inwardly; and our God becoming a rich portion to us, watching over us in most tender care and love, and delighting in us to do us good, making known to us the riches of the gospel, even the feast of fat things, and giving us to partake of the well or fountain of living waters in our own hearts, which springs up freshly in us daily unto life eternal. So that we were not only invited to che waters, but taught also to come thereto: and when we came, we were not sent away empty, but had the water of life given us; which became such a well, as out of it flow streams of living water. Ah! blessed be the Lord ! Did we ever think, in our dry, dead, barren, eítate, to have seen such a day as this?
And all this we met with in the way of self-denial, and taking up the cross; in denying our own wisdom, our own knowledge, our own faith, our own righteousness, and all that we could call our own; and owning a little feed of light and life eternal, even the feed of the everlasting kingdom, which the Shepherd of Israel discovered to us, and helped us to search after, and taught us how to find; which was indeed in a way very despiseable, even to the eye of our own wisdom. For thus it was:
We had been long looking out abroad, searching very diligently the scriptures, and other serious books, for great, full, certain, and undoubted wisdom and knowledge ; but now we were directed to turn inwards (even thither where we thought no good was to be found) to mind the appearance of God there, the Spirit of God testifying to us (according to the
scriptures (criptures of truth) that the kingdom was within; and there we were directed to search for the least of all feeds, and to mind the lowest appearance thereof, which was its turning against sin and darkness; and so by minding and observing that in us which turned against sin and darkness, we came by degrees to find we had met with the pure, living, eternal Spirit ; and by observing the movings, stirrings, guidings, directions, and law thereof, we found, ere we were aware, that we had met with the law of the new covenant, the law of the Spirit of life, which had life and virtue in it, to enable us to do the holy will; and then our hearts rejoiced, being made truly sensible that we had found that which we had mourned after, and longed for all our days. And then we began to see our way more clearly, and to wait on our God for his teachings, and to follow the Lamb, our leader, with joy and comfort. For indeed this experience greatly settled our spirits; knowing assuredly, that as none but Christ could do those works outwardly which he did in the days of his fesh; so none beneath his Spirit could do these works inwardly, enlighten inwardly, enliven inwardly, bind up and heal inwardly, open the inward eye, the inward ear, the closed heart, and loosen the dumb tongue, fo as the touch of his power, and virtue of his life and holy presence among us, hath done very frequently and livingly.
And now is this testimony nothing to you, O ye profeffors, that we have found him by God's holy guidance (or rather have been found by him) whom we could never find in your ways and gatherings ? But still that which God had quickened in us was there unsatisfied, weary, panting, and gasping, for want of, and after, the breath of life. ::.:.
Oh! come and see if this be not he indeed! Wait to feel the closing of that eye which cannot see (which God hath' ordained shall never see), and for his opening the eye which is as yet blind in you (to which he giveth the true sight), that ye perish not from the way of life, through mistakes and deceits from the mists of darkness, which are yet over all who have not seen the light of God's day. To the law, and to the testimony (to the inward law, and inward testimony, if ye be inward Jews; for the law inwardly written is light, even the light of the living, and the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy); for he that knoweth not these, nor walketh according to these, nor speaketh according to this Word, it is because there is as yet no morning in him.
Oh! come to the morning light of the everlasting day! Come to the Son's light, to the Son's Spirit! Wait for the dawning of the day of righteousness, love, and peace, and for the arifing of the day-star. COME, DIE TO YOUR OWN WISDOM (it was the word livingly spoken to me, and entered my soul when it was spoken; never departing from me, though I was long in learning it), and know what it is to suiter with Christ, that ye may also reign with him.