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law, and the prophets; wilderness, Jerusalem, and temple-worship, which stood in divers bodily exercises, outward works and services, variety of offerings, observing of times, days, months, and years, meats, drinks, outward washings and purifications, new moons, fasts, feasts, solemn meetings, and general assemblies, once a year at Jerusalem; all these things were but shadows and typical: and this is the anti-type and substance* shadowed forth by them all. To come to the worship in the spirit, in the truth, to Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and to come to the general assembly and church of the first-born, written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, &c. and to know the heavenly city that comes down from God out of heaven, even Jerusalem the mother of all the living citizens thereof, whose law and covenant are spiritual, and writ in their hearts; whose love, fear, and obedience to God, are engraven in their inward parts: and from hence ariseth the true worship in the spirit, and in the truth.
And this is the worship the primitive Christians came to, and were exercised in; they prayed in the spirit, not at any set time or appointed place only, but at all times, and in all places, according to the exhortations, " Pray always," " Pray, continually," " Pray without ceasing," "I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting," always breathing to the Lord in spirit, though never a word be uttered—in the closet when the door is shut. The Lord heareth, and answereth this prayer. And many times they were and are ako led forth to pray in words publicly, but mostly for the sake of others, and in behalf of others, as Christ Jesus did.
The true Christian is also a preacher of righteousness, not only in words, sentences, and long sermons, at set times, and appointed places, but in life and conversation.f In this he is always a preacher, å teacher of that which is good, always as a candle burning, and set in the right place; his lamp trimmed, and his light shining, always as a city upon a hill, as the salt of the earth, and light of the world, to season and give light to others, by holy example, which preacheth louder than words.
The true Christian's singing or rejoicing is also in the spirit, and in the truth, and not in iniquity, and with a good understanding. He needs no art nor invention to bring words into metre or rhyme, that they may make a pleasant sound, and a joyful noise; his music doth not stand in outward sounds, made by art and air, I but his melody is in the heart, in the spirit, in the inward man, in the hidden man of the heart, which is the
* The substance of all shadowy services under the law,
anti-type and substance of all outward music used in the time of the law, under the first covenant, in the worship and service of God; and as far exceeds it, as the substance of a thing doth the shadow thereof. And he that hath this heavenly inward rejoicing, and pleasant melody in the heart, will never invent to himself instruments of music, like David, nor delight in the sounds thereof. Where this heart-melody is lost, the outward invented music is set up, among Jews, Gentiles, and apostate Christians, for the true Christian is come to know Christ Jesus, as a prince of peace, as a peaceable saviour, as the consolation of Israel, and joy of generations; as a giver of peace, which the world cannot give Ror take away, which far surpasseth all the delights of the sons of men, which by nature, art, and invention they can attain unto.
Now the spirit of God is universal, and the truth is universal, and the true Christian worship that stands in it, is also to be universal; that is, at all times, and in all places; not only when people meet together in a solemn manner to wait together upon God, and to hear his word, preach, and be preached to, and to hear a prayer, psalm, song, or hymn, even from his own pure motion and spirit, one hour in seven, or one day in seven, (which is good and profitable in its place,) but every hour, and every day, bowing in spirit, worshipping in the truth, which makes free from all error, from all evil, from all vain observations, literal traditions, and human inventions about the worship of God; from all carnal ordinances, as music, meats, drinkings, washings, feasts, fasts, days, and times, which end, vanish, or perish with the using. Though holy and significant in their first institution, these things are not to be touched, nor tasted, no nor so much as handled by the true Christian; these things are but beggarly elements, and worldly rudiments which had a beginning, and must have an end.
And the root or cause of a Christian, which is Christ, is the end of the law, and all the types and shadows of it, and fulfils all the righteousness of it, of the prophets, and of John also, and is a bringer in of a better hope, a better law, a better covenant, a better worship; which hope, law, covenant and worship are inward and spiritual, and not outward and carnal, formal nor traditional. And all that are come to this worship in the spirit and in the truth, which is one pure, eternal principle of light, life, and power, and have their hearts tendered by it, and their minds exercised in it, their thoughts and meditations guided by it, they are come to the mystery of the fellowship of the gospel,t to the blessed unity wherein is no strife, no wrangling, disputing, or contention; no
The true worship of God stands not in any outward observation of time, or place, or any bodily exercise therein; but in doing the will of God, bowing in his spirit and obeying the voice thereof.
† Let the professors of Christianity try themselves hereby.
treachery, wars, cruelty, or violence; because they are minding one thing, learning of one teacher, following of one guide, viz. the grace and spirit of God. And though they have diversity of gifts, and are attained to different degrees of faith, of grace, of knowledge, growth and salvation in the same, and are some as a foot, some as a hand, eye, ear, and mouth, yet are all as members of one body; and the meanest hath unity with the more noble, the greatest with the least, the lowest with the highest, the strongest with the weakest; nor is there any jar or schism, in this well framed body,* of which Christ, the unction, the anointing, is the head and teacher, &c.
This heavenly unity is the anti-type of the seamless coat of Christ, wove from top to bottom, (which the soldiers did not rend, tear, or divide, but cast lots for,) and of that law that forbad weaving linen and woollen together, and sowing mingled seed.
Now there is no unity, no agreement, no concord betwixt light darkness, sin and righteousness, (Christ and Belial,) these things of a different and contrary nature, cannot unité, cannot agree, though they are nigh to each other, sown in one field. God hath sown a good seed in the field of mankind, the enemy hath sown an evil seed, and in many it hath taken root, and sprung up above the good seed, even among those professing Christianity itself;t and from hence ariseth and groweth all the evil will, envy, hatred, strife, cruelty, violence, bloodshed, wars, and murders, in whole Christendom; and till the head of this evil seed be not only bruised by the promised seed which God hath sowed, but rooted out also of the heart of man, all these things will grow up; these evil effects can never cease till the cause be removed and taken away, as the true Christian knoweth right well by experience.
Now the Christians indeed, as they live and abide in this pure internal principle of light, life, spirit, and truth, they have unity one with another, and fellowship with God; they are the brethren whose living together in unity is comely to behold, who have the one mind, one heart, one soul, and have their minds, hearts, and souls always governed, ruled, and ordered by the good spirit of God. As every one lives and keeps this order, and under this heavenly government they cannot choose but live together in unity, in love, in good will, in peace, heavenly concord and agreement, every one within himself, with God and with each other, and in love to all mankind. Here is the end of strife, wars, and fightings come unto, both within and without, and this is the time and state wherein instrụments of war and cruelty, are turned into instruments of necessary use; and as they abide herein, they can learn war no more,
• Different states and growths in the truth, no cause of disunity.
+ Before there can be true unity in and among mankind, the seed of the serpent must be bruised and rooted out of the heart.
according to the blessed sight and prophecy of Isaiah, that evangelical prophet. Here Jerusalem is known a quiet habitation, the inhabitants thereof being established in peace and righteousness, far from oppressing, the cause of war and oppression being taken away, which is evil thinking, evil speaking, and evil doing. And this every one must know and experience before they can be established in peace, before they can know the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, to keep their hearts and minds, and to rule in their hearts, and to know the aboundings of it, and to delight therein; as it is written,* “ The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace;" the earth, nor earthly things shall not inherit them; they tread upon the high places of it, and reign like kings and princes over all the glory thereof. Oh! this is a blessed state indeed; wait all to possess and enjoy it more and more. This is the blessed end of the gospel of peace, and of the Christian religion. My breathing is, that all that possess it, may come to inherit peace, righteousness, and joy in the inward man; even to lie down in that peace where none can make afraid, and to dwell on that holy mountain, where no destroyer is, and to inhabit that city whose builder and maker is God: to whom be praise and glory for evermore.
A few words added to the sensible reader.
Thou who art awakened out of the sleep of death, and risen out of the grave of sin, and sea of corruption, and art come to the exercise of thy spiritual senses, so that thou canst hear, see, taste, and handle the things of God, thou well knowest that the blessed end of all holy men's words and writings, testimonies and declarations, proceeding from the love of God, is, that others that are yet unholy, wandering about in and after the vanity of their minds, thoughts, and imaginations upon the barren mountains, even as sheep without a shepherd, may come to be gathered and brought home to the fold of rest, where safety, peace, and satisfaction are to be found for their weary souls, who have long wandered in desolate places, seeking rest, but finding none; spending their time, labour, and money for that which doth not profit, feed, and nourish up to eternal life. I say, to direct these strangers, wanderers, labourers, and unsatisfied travellers into the way of rest and peace, is the blessed
The enjoyment of those things men do, and may witness, on this side the grave. | Read the twenty-fifth and thirty-fifth chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, and wait in the precious faith thou hast received, till thou enjoy the fulfilling thereof.
end of all words and holy writings, even that such may come to possess, enjoy, and inherit the things spoken and written of; without which, all hearing, reading, seeking, 'inquiring, toiling, labouring, spending time and money is to no purpose.
Now it is the mind, the soul, the spirit of man that wants rest, that is gone from its centre, that hath lost its stay, habitation, and dwelling place in God; and innumerable are the thoughts, imaginations, devices and inventions, willings and runnings that poor mankind in this estate are exercised in, and carried away with, both Jew and Gentile, professor and profane, upon the face of the whole earth. For in all sects and sorts of religions, those who are sincere and devout therein, propose this end to themselves in the exercise thereof, viz. to attain a state of happiness and felicity at last. Many are the ways, means, and precepts, prescriptions, directions, and observations, that men give and receive from one the other, enjoin and persuade one the other, and sometimes compel one another by violence, to walk in, and make use of, in order to arrive thereto, as they think and imagine. But it is in this age, as of old, the guides and teachers of the people cause them to err, cause them to go astray, and wander from the right way of the Lord; they err in vision, judgment, and understanding themselves, and cause all that follow and obey them to do the same; being unskilful guides, and blind watchmen, they are but the blind leading the blind, and so both fall into the ditch together.
Now the way to everlasting happiness is but one, both to Jew and Gentile; which way is Christ, who is wisdom and power of God, the truth, and the life; and the appearance of this Christ of God, is within men, in their hearts. Its first appearance is as a light shining in darkness, and as a pure spotless spirit, that consenteth to no evil, but reproveth and convinceth all that are found in it; and to this light or spirit, all who write or speak for God, and the good of mankind, do turn and direct the minds of men, and endeavour to persuade them to give regard unto its reproofs of instruction, as being the way to life, and to obey its counsel and teaching, as the only means of salvation, and way of returning to the rock from whence they were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence they were digged, to their habitation and dwelling place in God again. And many thousands in this island, and other places, can give testimony that this is the only way and means God hath ordained for the recovery, return, and restoration of lost man; and that all other ways and means which they had been wearying themselves in, availed nothing; but walking in this heavenly way, the light, the spirit and grace of God within, and learning of the anointing within, they come to witness salvation come to their house, and to surround them as walls and bulwarks, and to witness the fulfilling of that divine prophecy, . My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and