« PreviousContinue »
heart, and begetting, preserving, and increasing faith there (as is daily experienced plentifully, blessed be the Lord), is therefore called the word of faith, Rom. x. 8. • Thirdly, The pure fear, the holy fear, the heavenly fear, which is of a clean and heavenly nature, and endureth for ever, is also in this feed. The child-like fear is in the nature of the child; and the more it grows in the true child-like nature, the more it grows in this kindly fear, wherein there is no torment, but the pure pleasure of life, and of holy obedience to the Father of life. The child-like fear is a promise of the new covenant; and given to the children of the new covenant, by virtue of the new covenant; God putting it into their hearts from the seed of life fpringing up in them, which preserves them from departing from the Lord, Jer. xxxii. 40.
Fourthly, The pure divine love is in it. As this springs, love to God springs. As God is love, so the feed that is of him partakes of love. There is no enmity in it, nor no enmity or ill-will springs from it. This is it that makes it so natural to the children of God to love, because they are born of that seed which came from the God of love, whose nature is love. Oh! how daily is it found, by sweet and certain experience, that this feed (springing up) teacheth and enableth to love! And they that have this feed springing up in them, need not to be writ to, or outwardly taught to love with the brotherly love ; for in it, and by it, and through it, they are taught of God to love one another. So that there needs nothing but the circumcising of the heart, the purifying of the heart, through the obedience of the truth, the cutting off of that fleshly mind, nature, will, and wisdom, which cannot love aright; and the pure love will spring up fully, towards the Lord, and towards the brethren, Deut. XXX. 6. Peter i. 22. yea, it will be natural to love all, and that command of Christ's will not be grievous; namely, to love enemies, even the greatest revilers, curfers, and persecuters, Matt. v. 44.
Fifthly, The pure hope, the hope of the upright, the hope which makes not alhamed, the hope which goes within the veil, and is a fure and stedfast anchor there, staying the mind upon the Lord, who keeps such in perfect peace; this hope is contained in, and springeth from, the feed. For nothing but that which comes from God (from the holy feed of truth and righteousness), can stay the mind upon God. So that he that feels the feed, feels the hope ; and keeping to the seed (to the holy root) to the end, the hope remains to the end. So the mind being turned to the light, being rorn. ed from Satan's power to God, being turned to Christ, being turned to the appearance and voice of the word of life within, being turned from the seed of wickedness and darkness, to the holy and rigliteous feed of the kingdom, it is turned to the hope, it is turned to that which begets a trk and right hope in the heart; which hopes in God's love, hopes in God's mercy, hopes in God's kind, tender, and faithful nature; and hath 10 confidence nor hope in the Aeth, but in the holy and heavenly seed, and work of righteousness and of the kingdom ; which is God's battle-axe and weapud
yea, ious; namutatt. v. 44
of war, whereby he brings down the flesh. This hope stays the mind in every temptation, in every distress, in every trial, in all the winds, storms, and waves of persecution that it can be assaulted with. For in this feed the rout of Jeffe is felt, the everlasting rock and foundation of life is felt; and here the God of hope fills his, that are gathered hither, and abide here, with all joy and peace in believing, that they may abound in hope, thro’ the power of the Holy Ghost, Rom. xv. 12, 13.
Sixthly, The true patience, which obtains the crown, which makes perfect and entire; so that there is nothing wanting, where it hath its perfect work (Jam. i. 4.); the patience which enables quietly to suffer any chastisement from God, or any affliction, or hard dealing from men, it is contained in, and given with, this seed. As God is patient, and long-suffering, so this feed is also. It is man that is of the brittle, fretful, impatient nature; but he that receiveth the Word of faith, the feed of faith, in it he receiveth faith and patience also: so that to him it is not only given to believe, but to suffer also for the sake of Christ; and he that abides in the seed, and feels the seed remaining in him, and its nature prevailing, can never be impatient, whatsoever the Lord suffers to befal him.
Seventhly, The Lamb's meekness is in it. Where should the Lamb's meekness be found, but in his Father's seed, or in the seed of his Father's kingdom? Here the meek and quiet Spirit is received, witnessed, and enjoyed, which in the fight of God is of much price. This feed is sowed or begotten in the womb of the heavenly wisdom, and the meekness of wisdom, the true meekness of the true wisdom, is found in it. Here the still, soft, gentle, lamb-like nature grows up, wherein there is none of Efau's roughness.
Eightbly, Here poverty of Spirit, true poverty of Spirit, is witnessed. He is poor indeed who hath fold all, and hath nothing left him but this seed, and the appearance and help of God in this feed; which is not in his own hands neither, but in the will and disposal of God.
Ninthly, Here mercifulness towards others is experienced : for he that is brought hither lives only by mercy; and he that lives by mercy, and is daily what he is by mercy, cannot but be merciful unto others.
Tenthly, Here the true mourning and lamenting after the Lord, and his precious life and presence, and because of the presence or power of that which hinders the growth of the feed, and the soul's union with, and enjoyment of the Lord in it, is witnessed. For the true mourning, to which the blessedness. belongs, is of God, from the living sense that ariseth from his pure seed in the heart; and blessed indeed are they that thus mourn, for they shall be comforted. • Eleventhly, The true hungering and thirsting after righteousness ariseth from this feed. It is the feed of God, the birth of God, that which hath the sense of the excellency of his righteousness, that hungers and thirsts after his righteousness.
Twelftbly, The true sobriety, moderation, and temperance ariseth from this feed; and they that are joined to the feed, and are and act in the VOL. II. H h Ꮒ Ꮒ
feed, easily learn such fobriety, moderation, and temperance, as they that are out of it cannot possibly learn.
Lastly, To name no more, the cross which mortifies and ctucifies to the world and to sin, can only be taken up in the seed, or by virtue of the feed. Indeed the feed is a cross; yea, enmity to the serpent's nature, spirit, and course; and he that takes it up, its will, its nature, its law of life, takes up the cross to the other nature, will, and the law of fin and death. So that fly the holy feed, and thou hast only a shadow or appearance of the cross; but in a sense of, and subjection to the feed, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is felt, working pow ly against fin, and the whole course of the evil and sinful nature, effectually crucifying and subduing it.
Fourthly, The fourth thing which is hid or wrapped up in the precious seed, which is the last that remains to be mentioned by me at this time, is this; The new covenant, which God makes with the new Israel, by which he makes the heart new, and writes his law in it, and takes away the ftony heart, and heals all their backslidings, and loves them freely, and puts his Spirit within them, causing them to walk in his ways, and to keep his ftatutes and judgments, and do them; even the holy agreement of the foul with God in Christ Jesus, is in this feed. . God gave Chrift for a covenant, and the seed of grace and truth comes by Jesus Christ; which is of his nature, of him the covenant; and all that receive this grace and truth from him, this holy feed of the kingdom, they receive the covenant; and they that walk in it, walk in the covenant.
Here, and here alone, the new creation in Christ Jesus is known. Here, and here alone, the coming to God by Christ is truly understood
and witnessed. Here, and here alone, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is writ
in the heart. * Keep here, thou never goest out of the holy agreement with God and with Christ; for in this grace and truth, in this feed of life, there is nothing that disagrees with them. Here thou livest in the Spirit, walkest in the Spirit, and doft not, canst not, fulfill the lusts of the Aeth. There is nothing here that will either displease God, or lead thy soul aside from him; but here the Lord guides the feet of his faints, and teacheth all of them (from the least babe of them, to the highest growth), and puts his law of life and new obedience, and his holy Spirit, into their hearts, that none of their steps may slide. Here the way of holiness, wherein God preserves his from erring, Isa. xxxv. 8. is known and walked in. Yea, here Chrift is known and felt to be the way, the truth, and the life. The sheep that are gathered hither, and come hither, are returned to the Bilhop and Shepherd of their souls, who watcheth over them, and powerfully preserveth them, that they run aftray no more. For whither should they go, or whom should they hear, when they have found him, and know his voice, with whom are the words of eternal life?
I shall conclude this head with that precious scripture, 1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, ,who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and San&tification, and redemption. How are we of God in Christ Jesus, but by this feed of God, by being born of the Spirit of God, by being begotten out of the spirit of the world, into the nature and Spirit of Christ, from this immortal and incorruptible seed of life, cruth, grace, and Spirit? And how do we put on Christ, but by putting on this feed ? And how do we grow up in Chrift, but by the growing up in this seed, and feeling this feed grow up in us? And here, in truth and demonstration of God's Spirit, we are formed in Christ, and Christ formed in us, as this seed groweth up into a form and shape in us, and we into a form and shape in it. Now we cannot receive this seed, but as we part with and deny our own wisdom and Aeshly confidence; and denying that, and crying to God for wisdom, God brings up the wisdom of the feed in us, and makes Christ become unto us wisdom therein. And we cannot hunger afçer the true righteousness, the heavenly righteousness, the righteousness of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but as we see the loathsomeness of, and put off, our own righteousness; and then becoming naked, we are taught of God to buy white raiment of him, which is the righteousness of the saints, and so he becomes our righteousness, made fo of God to us.
And he is the purger and cleanser of fin and unholiness out of our hearts and lives, and the holy leavener and sanctifier of our hearts; so that we have nothing of holiness, but what we have of him and in him,'· And he is our redemption ; our redemption is by him and through him, our redemption is wrought and preserved by him, and enjoyed in him, yea he is made of God unto us redemption. So that having him, we have redemption through his blood; yea, he is our redeemer and redemption for evermore. Alas! what is it to get notions of these things into the outward comprehension! but to feel them livingly in the heart, is life and peace for evermore ; and the knowledge of this leed of the kingdom, and of God and Christ in this seed, is the most precious knowledge that can be desired, obcained, or enjoyed,
The Nature of this Seed. ..::::) W H AT is the nature of the feed of God, or the feed of the kingdom ?
Answ. Though the nature of it hath been largely signified already, under the foregoing head. (for the mentioning of what is wrapped up in it, abundantly sheweth its nature), yet I shall speak a little more pung tually and expresiy of it in several particulars, according to the scriptures, that the reader may have the more distinct sense and inward apprehension of it, the Lord opening his heart in reading these things. First, It is of an immortal, incorruptible nature, 1 Peter i. 23. It is a Hhh h 2
feed feed that can never die in itself, though it may be as it were dead in man, or unto man, not putting forth any of its hidden life or virtue in the man that hath Nain it as to himself; who having Nain that whereby God gives life, is dead in trespasses and in fins, and cannot live any more, till God breathe upon and quicken this feed in him, and him by this feed. This is a great mystery. Doubtless the feed of life and godliness, wherein the life and godliness of the soul lies hid, must needs be a great mystery, and cannot be known but as God reveals it.
Secondly, Its of a gathering nature. It is of the nature of a net, Matt. xiii. 47. It gathers out of that which is contrary to God, unto God. It gachers out of the world, out of the sea of wickedness, out of the king. dom of darkness, out of a man's own nature and spirit, into God's nature and Spirit, and his light and kingdom, wherein the foul should dwell, and walk, and be subject, with God.
Thirdly, It is of a purging, cleansing nature. It is of the nature of fire, of the nature of water, inwardly and spiritually. This feed is Spirit and life in a measure; and by it, or by God's Spirit which dwells and is revealed in it, he washeth and purgeth away the filth of the daughter of Sion, and the blood of Jerusalem from the midft thereof. There is strength in this feed, and virtue in this feed, against all the strength of deceit and wickedness in the other feed; and as it fprings up, and is received and joined to in the holy fear of the Lord, it prevails over it, and cafteth away its darkness, and purgeth away and burneth up its filth, chaff, and corruption.
Fourthly, It is of a seasoning, leavening, sanctifying nature. It is like salt, it is like leaven. It seasons and leavens with life. It feasons and leavens with righteousness. It feason's and leavens with the image of God. So foon as ever it springs in the heart, it begins to leaven it; and if it be not snibbed, or grieved, or hurt, or quenched (for it is of a most sensible tender nature), it will go on leavening more and more with the nature of truth, into the likeness of the God of truth. Mark ix. 50. Luke xül. 21. Col. iv. 6.
Fifthly, It is of an enriching nature. It is a hidden treasure or pearl of great price. It makes the wise merchant very rich, who sells all for it, and buys the field and it. He that buys the truth, and will by no means fell or part with it, but gives up to it, and makes it his treasure, oh! how doth it enrich his heart with that which is holy and heavenly! How rich doch it make him towards God! Matt. xiii. 44. 46.
Sixthly, It is of an improving, growing nature, of a nature that will grow and may be improved. The one talent may be increased into more. The little feed, like a grain of mustard-feed, will grow in the good ground beyond all herbs, and become a tree, a tree of righteousness of the Lord's planting, that he may be glorified, Matt. xiii. 31, 32. chap. xxv. 16. chap. viii. 23.