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the righteous is unto the Lord, that he would take away the veil that is spread over the hearts of all people by transgression, and open the blind eye, and unstop the deaf ear, that his glory may be seen, and his voice heard, and the two great mysteries of godliness and iniquity revealed.
And that people may come to look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn over him, even him whom they have kissed with their lips, but betrayed in their hearts, and so come to that godly sorrow which leadeth to repentance, and a turning unto him who redeemeth from all these things, and bringeth into favour with God again, and giveth right to eat of the tree of life and to enter through the gate into the city, even the heavenly Jerusalem; which, that all may partake of and inherit, is the desire of the true Christian, who hath received the gospel of peace and good will to all men; the which, that thou may attain unto, take the counsel of one who was a child of wrath as well as others, and once lived in the nature of Cain and Esau; and was one of them in whom the whore sat, and was deceived by her golden cup, and drank of the wine of her fornication; and once took the whore for the lamb's wife, the harlot for the true woman, Babylon for Jerusalem, antichrist for Christ, the titular Christian for the true: but now knoweth that the son of God is come, and a good understanding given whereby he knoweth him that is true, and is in him that is true; and hath received wisdom to trace the eagle in the air, and the serpent on the rock, and the adulterous woman, who eatheth (the forbidden fruit) and wipeth her mouth, and saith, She hath done none evil; and is now acquainted with the wiles and mysterious workings of him, who is more subtil than all the beasts of the field; and is come to the rending of the veil, and the taking off the covering, and to the falling of the scales from his eyes, and to the revelation of the two great mysteries of godliness and iniquity, I say unto thee, whosoever thou art that readest these words, and knowest not the same, turn thy mind inward, commune with thy own heart, and be still. Stand in awe and sin not; fear to offend that holy spirit which searcheth thy heart, and love the reproofs thereof; for its the way of life; and wait low in the same, until that eye be opened in thee that can see God's salvation, that he hath appointed unto the ends of the earth; then wilt thou rejoice therein, and cease from man, whose breath is in his own nostrils, and speaks the studied inventions of his own corrupt heart, and the traditions of his fore-fathers; and yet saith, that he might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of his people, Jer. ix. 1, 2. This made Christ to weep over Jerusalem, and Paul to wish himself separate from Christ for his brethren's sake. This made the prophets, apostles, and ministers willing to spend and be spent, and to run to and fro, that knowledge might be increased, and people undeceived.
"Thus saith the Lord, when he hath not spoken unto him, nor heard his voice, nor seen his shape;" but speaks the conceivings and divinations of his own brain, and the uncertain notions of his own spirit. The* listening and harkening to this and following of this in the particular and in the general, is the universal ground and root from whence spring all the diversities of sects and erroneous opinions upon the face of the earth; and from this ariseth all the willing and running, self-righteousness, will-worship, voluntary humility, and intrusion into things which are not seen in the vision of God, but being vainly puffed up in a fleshly mind. Now this thou art to cease from in thy own particular; for thou wert not created to follow thy own thoughts, conceivings, and imaginations, nor the motions of the flesh, nor enticements of the serpent; but another guide is appointed for thee, which all that are ignorant of, go astray from their youth.
Now, this guide is not afar off, that thou needest say, Who shal ascend, or descend, or go beyond the seas to fetch it; but it is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayst hear it and obey it, and be guided by it.
And that thou mayst know its voice, and teaching, and guidance, from all other voices and teachings, I will in a few words set before thee an infallible
and show the certain marks and tokens thereof; for it is known by its work and operation.
First, If thou art, (as all are before the new creation is known,) without form and void, darkness being over the face of the deep; if thou art as the waters, or one covered with darkness; yet the spirit of God moveth upon the waters, and is ready to work in thee, and to form thee into a comeliness: and the true light shines in thee, though thou art darkness, in order to show thee the way out of it: and thou mayst know this holy spirit that moveth upon the waters, and the voice of it from thy own spirit, thoughts and imaginations, and from the voice of the serpent; because it always moveth against every appearance of evil,t and calls out of it; showeth thee the very secret thoughts and intents of thy heart, reproveth and judgeth every vain thought and imagination. And when thou goest before it, and walkest in the paths of darkness, sin and disobedience, thou mayst hear it as a voice behind thee, reproving thee, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” And this holy guide consents to no evil thou doest; but is given of God to lead thee out of it, and to bring thee to him that saves from it. This is the great ordinance of God, and the means of salvation, that he hath appointed; the which if thou slight and disregard thou wilt remain without form, void and empty of the heavenly treasures, and never be
• The root of all division, erroneous opinions and sects. † An infallible mark of the holy spirit of God in the hearts of men, Jew and Gentile.
able to say in truth, as the primitive christians did, and the true christians now can, viz. “God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;" and so wilt continue ignorant of the new creation of God, and of the experimental work of regeneration, profess what thou wilt, and live under what ordinances and means thou wilt, and hear what teachers thou wilt, and follow what other guides thou wilt, if thou learnest not of the grace of God within, which hath appeared to thee and all men, if thou walkest not in the light which shines within, and art not guided by the good spirit of God, which was the saints' guide in all ages, thy profession is vain, and thy religion a lie, and thou deceivest thy own soul; in sin thou livest, and in sin thou wilt die, and where Christ is thou canst not come. This is the experience of him that hath tried the traditions of men, the teachings and invention of men, books, and studied sermons, and carnal ordinances, and hath found them not able to lead one step in the narrow way, or give perfect victory over one sin. Neither is all the wisdom, understanding, prudence and knowledge among all the children of men, that are strangers to the new creation and work of regeneration, wrought by the spirit of God within themselves, able to direct or bring any so much as to the gate or entrance of true wisdom, life and immortality; bụt rather hedgeth up the way, and leadeth more and more astray from it.
This is the wisdom and knowledge which the righteous in former ages testified against, which is of this world, fleshly and foolish, earthly and sensual; and whoever increaseth in it, increaseth in that which brings sorrow; (for, as the fool, so dieth this wise man;) and whosoever sets himself up in this wisdom, as a teacher of the ignorant, and as a guide to the blind, though allowed by the universities, (or general schools,) he runs before he is sent, and doth not profit the people at all; but is as the blind which leadeth the blind, and they both fall into the ditch together; out of which there is no redemption, but by the knowledge of the effectual working of the holy spirit, and son of God in thee, to open thy eye, that thou mayest see where thou art, and beget a desire in thee, and a cry in thee for deliverance, and minister strength unto thee, and to pull thy feet out of the mire and clay, and to set them upon a rock, and be as a light unto thee, to guide thee in thy way, that thou stumble not again. All which I testify he is ready and willing to do for thee, and all that love his appearance. And those only love his appearance, that love the spirit of truth in them, and believe in it, and receive it, which reproveth them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and this is an infallible proof, that people love this spirit, believe in it, and receive it, when they walk* in it, and obey
• A true proof that people love the spirit.
it, and bring forth the fruits of it, and are led by it out of sin, and that righteousness and judgment which it did reprove them of while they lived therein, and are led by it into that holiness and everlasting righteousness (through true judgment) which is the white raiment, fine linen, and clothing of the true Christian, who is come to know the same holy spirit of truth, which once convinced, reproved and judged him for sin and ungodliness, to make him free from it, and become his comforter and leader into all truth, according to the promise of Christ Jesus, John 16; the which to possess and enjoy, is the end, sum,
,* and substance of the Christian religion, and the end of all hearing, reading, preaching and believing. And that thou mayst know whether thou art a possessor hereof, or whether thou only talkest of it, and professest it, I in the bowels of love entreat and beseech thee seriously to weigh, read, and consider what follows, as the faith and experience of a true Christian, which is written in true love and good will to all that have the veil over their hearts, and the scales before their eyes, when they are reading the holy scriptures, and professing God, Christ and Christianity, and the doctrines thereof, which are but briefly hinted at, or spoken to in few words, in what follows.
And whether thou art a bare professor, or a real possessor, thou mayst reap profit hereby: if the one, thou art invited to inherit substance; if the other, thou art exhorted and warned to beware, lest thou lose thy inheritance again. So to the light, grace and holy spirit of God in thee, (be thou professor, profane, or believer,) I do commend thee, with it to read, and with it to judge, and by it to be taught and guided into a good understanding, and into the true knowledge of the two great mysteries of godliness and iniquity.
And that thou mayst truly understand and receive the one, and discover and avoid the other, is the desire of him who is a lover of the Christan religion, and of all that walk therein, and hath good will to
READER-The scriptures following, having a good esteem in my mind, as sayings worthy greatly to be noted, and weightily considered, I have committed them to the press; wishing thou mayst enjoy the end wherefore.
And this I will assure thee, if thou canst understand, believe, and receive these divine and heavenly sayings, precepts, exhortations, promises and testimonies, in these and other scriptures mentioned in this brief declaration of a true Christian's faith, &c. thou wilt not stumble
* The sum of Christian religion.
at, nor reject his testimony, &c. but embrace and have unity therewith. But if thou understandest not, nor believest the one, neither wilt thou the other; for the true christian bears testimony to the holy scriptures, and the scriptures to him; and the titular Christian's testimony is against them, and they are against him, because he doth not obey them, nor live the life they call for.
Eccl. xii. 1, 2. "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not: nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain."
“Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; for many false prophets are gone out into this world.” 1 John iv. 1, &c.
“Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them, for greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” v. 4.
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 9.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” v. 13.
“ To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace: because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the spirit of God, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up. Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit, that dwelleth in you.” Rom. viii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
“ Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure; but even their minds and consciences are defiled. They profess that they know God, but by works they deny him, and are abominable; and to every good work reprobate.” Titus i. 15, 16.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” John xv. 7.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John viii. 32. 34.
“ Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” v. 51.
“Father, I will, that they also whom thou hast given me be with me