Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

fome of the worthieft of their own ancestors, viz. < That an unerring, certain or infallible judgment, in things necessary to falvation, is both poffible and requifite, and that God communicates it, by his fpirit, to the fouls of men.'

[ocr errors]




O conclude: Emmanuel, a word fuited not only to that appearance, but the whole difpenfation the gofpel, imports, God nigh to, or with men: "The tabernacle of God is with men; he will dwell "in them, and walk in them: they fhall be all "taught of me, and in righteoufnefs fhall they be "established:"" that is, by the fpirit of his Son. And this admits not of any book, or literal rule or judge, to come between that indwelling fpirit of light, life, and wisdom from God, and the foul, as its rule of faith and practice.

And because it is the unutterable goodness of God to people in these latter days, as the fum of fcripture prophecy, thus to make known himself; we are inceffant in our cries unto them, that they will turn their minds inward (now abroad, and taking up their rest in the externals of religion) that they may hear his heavenly voice and knocks, and let him in, and be taught of him to know and do his will, that they may come to be experienced and expert in the school of Chrift; for never man fpake and taught, as he livingly speaks and teaches in the confciences of those who diligently hear him, and are willing to be taught of him the knowledge of his ways. The priest was outward, but he is now inward; the law outward,

Rev. xxi. 3, 7. Ifa. liv. 13.



but it is now inward. And now "he is no more a Jew that is one outward, nor that circumcifion " which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew "who is one inwardly, and circumcifion is that of "the heart, in the fpirit, and not in the letter, whose "praise is not of men, but of God." Which is fo far from leffening the authority of the fcriptures of truth, that unlefs this be man's rule and judge in the reading and believing of them, he can never underftand them rightly, or keep their fayings faithfully. And indeed, as before I have expreffed, I cannot but fay, that man (whilst unregenerated) fetting his wit and wisdom to fathom and comprehend the intention of the Holy Ghost in many of those writings, hath occafioned that confufion, darkness, and perplexed controversy, that now fo lamentably pefters the world: in which state, for all the external imitations of the ancients in fome temporary and figurative parts of worship, I am to tell fuch, and from the spirit of the Lord God of all truth, they will never be accepted.

The utmost of that literal knowledge, historical faith, and outward religion, is but as the old heavens, that are to be wrapped up as a fcroll, and the old wine and bottles, that belong not to the kingdom of God. Such believers may йatter on themselves, and at laft cry, Lord, Lord; but alas! they fhall never enter into the reft that God hath referved for his regenerated and redeemed children. For under fuch a faith and religion, envy, wrath, malice, perfecution, pride, paffion, covetoufnefs, worldly-mindednefs, &c. may and do prevail; yea, and are cloaked, as with a fecure cover, from the ftroke of God's fpirit; infomuch, as when any are moved of the Lord to decry fuch fair and hypocritical fhews of religion, they are reputed rash and cenforious, and presently a plea must be made on this wife; Do not we follow the commands of the fcripture Did not such and such do

• Rom. ii. 28, 29.

[ocr errors]

fo and fo?' Which at beft are but the duties of facrifice, and not of obedience: never regarding from what ground the performance fprings, whether it be according to the rule of the new or of the old creature; but abuse and vilify us for making fuch diftinctions as if the prayers, preaching, fingings, outward baptizings, and fuppings, &c. of men in their own unfantified fpirits, ftrength, and will, were required and accepted of God for evangelical worship. Thick darkness, and a dangerous prefumption! Thus are men out of the way concerning both faith and practice, while they imagine the first to lie in an affent of the understanding to fuch propofitions, and in an imitation of former obfervations, that were at best but figns of good things to come, and the duties of facrifice (which is far from the Emmanuel ftate); and the latter, viz. the rule and judge, to be the fcriptures; which are but an account of thofe things that others were ruled to, and directed in, by the Holy Spirit, before they were ever recorded or made fcripture; and no other rule or judge can fo regulate: for as the faith and experience, fo the rule and judge of that faith and that experience, must be one. God by his fpirit begets faith; God by his fpirit rules faith, and governs the life of his children;" for as many as are chil"dren of God, are led by the fpirit of God." The fcripture, much of it, is but a declaration of faith and experience; therefore not the rule, or judge: for as faith and experience were before fcripture, (because, as I faid before, there must be a rule and judge where there is faith) therefore the fcripture is not that rule or judge: and before that declaration be answered or fulfilled by any, they must come to the faith, rule, and judge, of which that is a declaration. faith is yielding up to the requirings of God's fpirit

So that

in us, in full affurance of the remiffion of fins that


are paft, through the Son of his Love, and life

Rom, viii. 14, 15.

‹ ever

everlasting;' from whence daily flow works of holinefs, well-pleafing to God: which is more than a mere affent of the understanding to a verbal, though a true propofition. Again, the life of a true Chriftian ftands not in bodily exercife, which, fays the apoftle, profits little: nor in an imitation of the ancients in temporary and fhadowy things, which the hypocrite, as well as the faint, can do; but in selfdenial, and walking in the fpirit, to bring forth the fruits thereof unto all godlinefs, which is the pure and fpiritual obedience, refulting from the living fpiritual faith of God's elect; and the rule and judge thereof is their author and begetter, even the Spirit of truth, which alone gives faving understanding, faith, and obedience, and fearcheth the deep things of God,

O ye profeffors of religion, that you would but seriously weigh these things, and examine yourselves in God's fight (for he refpects none for their fair outside), if this faving faith be your faith, and this heavenly life be your life, and if the Holy Spirit be your ruler and leader? If not, you are but legal, formal, and in the oldnefs of the letter, and will-worshippers, which obtains not with God: in which state, not the wisdom from above, but that which is from below, of the old creature, is your rule: in it you read fcripture, expound it, pray, preach, fing, and perform all your duties; and this is not to walk according to the rule of the new creature, h but in a legal spirit to make a gospel profeffion; the end of which, from the Lord, I am to tell you, " will "be a bed of forrow." Therefore refift not the light and spirit within, but turn at the reproof thereof, that you may come to walk in the way of life, daily life to your fouls; that fo you may be quickened and made alive to God in all your duties, and


1 Tim. iv. 8. Col. ii. 20, 21, 22, 23. Gal. v. 16, 22, 23. Gal. vi. 16. Prov. vi. 23.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

live to him, while you live in that life which is hid
with Chrift in God; that being thus born again, and
become renewed in your inward man, you may per-
form that pure and fpiritual worship, which is of a
fweet favour with the Lord; fo fhall he blefs you with
his heavenly bleffings, and daily replenish your fouls
with the unspeakable joys of his love and falvation.
This I heartily defire, and through all difficulties
inceffantly travel for, in body, foul, and spirit, that
the All-wife, Good, Omnipotent God may be known,
ferved, and obeyed by you, to your comfort, and his
eternal honour, who alone is worthy to receive it, now
and for ever.




I i

« AnteriorContinuar »