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What The Possession of the Living Faith Is, 
And The Fruits thereof

by James Nayler
Street Corner Society


What The Possession of the Living Faith Is, And The Fruits thereof

{Printed in 1659}



What The Possession of the Living Faith Is, And The Fruits thereof

Who they be that are under the law, and who they be that have made void the law against themselves, and who they be that are under grace.

On the Way of Life, from the knowledge that devours the life.

An opening of light to all sorts of rulers and people that wait for the kingdom of God, that you may not oppose Him in His appearance, nor set up another to reign upon earth in His stead.

A candle lighted, to give the sight of the good old way of God at His coming, from the ways that now ensnare the simple.

The living God glorified in His Temples, the true worshippers, that worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

To the Ranters

Deceit discovered by its fruits.




What The Possession of the Living Faith Is, And The Fruits thereof

Forasmuch as a right faith is the only ground of man's eternal happiness, and the only thing which gains the creature an entrance towards his Creator, and without which it is impossible to please God; though much has been said of it already, yet I having found by learning the true and living faith, which has the living power, different from that faith which is dead and without that power; and seeing that so many at this day are at ease in a dead faith, and their souls in the grave, in tender love thereto I am stirred up, to declare something of the faith of Christ, which I have found only effectual to salvation and reconciliation with God. And somewhat the rather in regard the enemy has spread so many false reports of me, touching my faith in Christ Jesus, which here I shall declare in plainness, for the satisfying of simple minds, who desire to know the truth rather than to reproach it; and for those who seek occasion, I choose rather to bear their reproach who are in that nature, then contend therewith: for my work is not with flesh and blood, nor is it in my spirit to strive with any about words, that stir up strivings and contention, and edify not; but with God I strive daily, and to that of God in all I seek to be manifest, which resists not evil, but seeks to overcome it with good, waiting for the kingdom of God in all, and the soul's redemption out of death, and the Seed out of bondage, and where that is not effected in measure, I look not to be owned, nor my witness received, though it be not of myself, but of Christ Jesus in me.

And first a faith, or belief I have found in the world, of which I shall say little in this place, having found indeed a little in it to the salvation of life. It's a literal faith, grounded upon the history of the Scripture touching God and Christ, and what Christ did in that temple which the Jews destroyed at Jerusalem &c. But do not know Him in Spirit, nor believe Him as His name is Immanuel to all generations, and so do not necessarily work the believer into a conformity to Him in His then walking, by His coming again in the same Spirit and power, working in them the same will, mind and affections, and obedience to the Father in their measure which were in Him the Example, Author, Worker and Finisher of the true and living faith.

And of this faith (being somewhat dressed by the several opinions of men) are all the unclean spirits, living in whatsoever abomination is to be mentioned in the world, all sects and opinions, or whatsoever may be found in all colors in these Northern Parts of the world, with this faith they are covered, and this is their strength, and here they take comfort to themselves, against all reproof within or from without, though living openly in the greatest whoredoms against the Spirit of holiness, either carnal or spiritual, that can be mentioned, even at a distance from Christ in His whole life; yet they believe Christ came to save sinners, of which they are chief; and they that are whole need not the Physician, &c. As if the greater their wickedness is, the nearer to Christ they believe. And by this faith, He that came to save people from sin, and to lead out of sin, both by example and Spirit, is made a cover for all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and to strengthen the heart of wickedness against the life of holiness, some in one sin, some in another; but with this faith do all sorts strengthen themselves, and harden their hearts against the light of Christ, and that Spirit which reproves the world for sin, and convinces of it, and would lead out of it. And hence it is that the Witness of God, which is holy in all, is trampled under foot in all, and little regarded in any, but by this faith believed on in none to be the Way to the Father, though the world have no light but it, nor is there a promise of life in any other. And this to me appears to be that faith of the devil, or dead faith the Apostle speaks of in James ii. though more hardened in it against God's fear, for the devils when they believe tremble at it. So this faith I leave, being judged already by its fruits, with the light of Christ in every honest Heart that loves holiness.

And of that faith I shall speak something, in which I have found a measure of the Life of Christ made manifest in my mortal body, in which life alone is the true and eternal union and atonement with the Holy God, into whom no unclean thing can enter. And this is not a notion of what was done in another generation, past or to come, hundreds or thousands of years distance, but that which leads to the beginning of the work of a new creature at this day, and a new birth spiritually begotten, and born and brought to light, without which none can see the kingdom of God, nor enter therein. And this faith does not work by the comprehensions of brain knowledge, that because I could here conceive or declare of Christ Jesus, from the beginning of this age, in words or thoughts, that thereof I have learned Him, or know Him as I ought to do, or am grown up in Him to a perfect man; and so to deceive others by declaring and boasting of what God has not wrought in me, as a man may easily do, and deceive his own soul, and bewitch others also, by leading them out of their measures of God's present work in them: But of the living faith, which now works powerfully in Spirit by love thereto, the mystery whereof is held forth in a pure conscience, working out the old leaven, purifying the Heart, and making all things new, judging, and killing, and crucifying with Christ in Spirit the works of the flesh, and casting out everything in me that is not of God, and renewing in me the things of God in their order, by His mighty working in me, in which the soul is raised out of the grave, and the dead restored to life, actually and not in conceit. Of the grounds and workings of this living faith I shall speak something.

And though the foundation of this faith or beginning of it was, that I did really believe, in that which Christ did and suffered at Jerusalem, and that there in that body He bore the sins of the world, and satisfied the wrath of God for sins past, and overcame death, hell and the grave, and made way for the Seed to arise in all, through the whole world, who would believe in His light; which then shined through Him to all men, wherein He might be seen to be the way, the truth and the life apparent, openly triumphing over all that had passed above the Seed. And much more might be said of Him there finished, all which I did believe according to Scripture, which was as an opening of me to receive Him from heaven in the same Spirit and power; without which I could not have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, God having so purposed from the beginning, that the covenant of eternal life, and power should be received no other way but by faith in Him, who in the fullness of time was there manifest in the flesh, for the taking away sins past, and making a way for the resurrection of Life over all, to save from sins for time to come.

The effect of which faith, when in the light I first received it, did turn my mind out of all my sins past, and took my mind out of them, and turned me towards God, and holiness of life I then believed to attain in that faith, and receive power therein, to grow up in Him to the measure of the stature and fullness, which then I saw no less faith could save me, then the perfect faith of the Son of God, which before I had not received, but then received with such gladness of heart, that it set my face and delights out of sin, towards the perfection in Christ, in which I then believed, which was the joy thereof before me; yet was not the work done and finished in me already, though (I having received the faith and hope of the Son of God, and was turned from my former sin, and my own righteousness; so that) if I had departed this body, I had died in no less faith than the holy faith of Christ Jesus. And so being turned to His Spirit, out of the works of the flesh, I was turned from my sin, and so from condemnation; yet was there a great work to do in me, before I could witness freedom from the body of death, and the root and ground of evil removed, and the Seed raised to reign, and the soul brought into the Holy City, the resurrection of the dead, and fellowship in the Father and the Son, &c. and that glorious liberty of the new creature, and all things to be of God in me, as the Scriptures do witness: So this faith did not work me into a conceit of myself, glorying in knowledge, and so to become a teacher of others, what I had conceived below the life, but it led me down, into the obedience of the Spirit of light, to wait therein for the resurrection of Life. And I came to see in that light, that the motions of sin did still work from the old ground and root, and that must be removed by the power of Christ working in Spirit, and my obedience and watchfulness therein was required; and that without obedience to this faith I could not come to perfect victory over the enmity, nor to the glorious liberty of the sons of God: for though this faith had turned my heart to Christ, and given me hope to attain Him, yet I had not then learned Him, nor was He yet formed in me. So was I led in the light of Christ, to see what I had of this treasure in the earthen vessel, which I found to be in me very little, and that Seed the least of all seeds; so I became little in my own eye, and that which told me the truth, though I had been high in my own thoughts formerly.

And so to the word of the beginning, or the first principle of the doctrine of Christ I was led, that with that which teaches Christ, I might learn Christ in every measure of Him, as I grew therein: So was I brought to know Him that was made under the law, and to the foundation of repentance from dead works, and to the doctrines of baptisms, and to eternal judgment. Then came I in truth and life to see what they were doing, whom the Apostle exhorted to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, after they had fully believed what Christ had done for them at Jerusalem in that body, and many other Scriptures did He open to me, as I learned Him, which before to me was a mystery, while I learned them in meanings without the life of Christ, which then were opened by the revelation of Christ Jesus, as they came to be fulfilled in me, being led by the same Spirit in that work of faith. Then came I to see, that I through the law must be redeemed from the law, and that my redemption from it must not be by making it void, but by fulfilling of it; and till then it had power over me, and sin took occasion by it to strengthen itself in me; But as I came to grow in the Spirit and Power of Christ, I was in Him brought through it, it in Him fulfilled, and I dead to it as it came to be fulfilled; and the words of Christ I found true, I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it; and it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than one jot of the law to pass away till it be fulfilled; and I needed not a meaning to that Scripture, but a fulfilling thereof in Christ Jesus: And the Schoolmaster that brings to Christ I learned, and Christ formed, and the heir under tutors, before I knew the liberty of the Son of God, or perfect freedom; and then I saw the Scripture could not be broken nor wrested; but it must be learned in the Life of it to salvation, which the unlearned wrest to their own destruction, by meanings without life, and that it was of no private interpretation; but this one Spirit must open it all in the fulfilling thereof, and this faith in Christ Jesus only was able to make wise unto salvation of eternal life.

Then came I clearly to see Christ Jesus set before me in all things that I was to go through, in that faith which I had first received, and that the attaining of Him was the hope of glory, and no hope without Him: And this hope an anchor in all hardships and temptations, which were not a few I was led through; but all were counted little while I stood in this faith, for the hope that was in me to win Christ. And I clearly saw, that notwithstanding my first faith, in what He had done at Jerusalem; yet if I did not continue therein, to follow the same Spirit in obedience thereto, believing therein, in all its leadings, hoping to attain to Christ Jesus the end of that faith, in daily growing towards His stature and fullness, but had turned aside, or sat down short of the leadings of that Spirit in the way, I had made void my hope of glory, the work of my redemption, and that which Christ did at Jerusalem (as to me) and had denied my first faith, and could not have been saved from wrath to come. That being the end of that faith committed to me, that therein I might faithfully, without doubting, follow Him in Spirit through all trials and temptations, of which way He was a perfect example in His walking in the flesh at Jerusalem, that through the Scriptures I might have hope, seeing He went the same way before me there, in which He now leads, and that therein I might see Him to be the same to all generations, as He was there, and in His Saints that followed Him. And as they exhorted one another to look unto Him in their travel, who was the Author and Finisher of their faith, and to consider Him as an example, who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest they should be weary of suffering, and faint in their minds, and so their faith and hope was strengthened. So also I looking to the same in Him, and also in them after Him, my faith and patience might be doubled, and my obedience made without doubting, and my hope firm to the end, which end was the winning of Christ in me the hope of glory, the great mystery of faith, which is hid from all till the revelation of Christ Jesus. And so when the Saints and Apostles had Christ revealed in them, they were able ministers of Him, and had the mystery opened, and preached it without doubt, that mystery of godliness which was great, yet hid from the world, but to them without all controversy, God manifest in the flesh, not God flesh, but manifest in flesh; which mystery of faith they held in a pure conscience. And so I knew my faith to be the same faith once delivered to the Saints, and the good fight of that faith I came to know; and that faith which overcomes the world, which has the promise and inheritance of eternal life, which all that go back from deny the faith of Christ, and set up a faith without Christ, which is not the faith of Christ: And so in learning of Christ, I came to see the faith of Christ from faith to faith, and also the faith of devils; the living working faith, and the dead faith without works: And I find, that it is not the faith of Christ, to believe that men could never be perfect, nor overcome the devil or sin; it was never the faith of Christ, to make void the law of His Father unfulfilled in Him; it was never His faith to revenge evil, but to overcome it with good; It was never His faith to respect persons, or that we could commit sin, and not be servants of sin; it was never His faith to sue, contend, fight, or persecute any; to judge for rewards, or preach for hire, or any way to serve the mammon of this world, it was not His faith to observe His own will, His own times or the world's customs, but to observe His Father in all things, and only what He received from Him that He did, and could do nothing of Himself, He never owned them to be children of God, who said and did not.

And many such like things as these were never by Him believed, but is the world's faith to uphold them in sin and lusts, who are enemies to the faith of Christ which presents perfect to God by working out such evils; all which I came to see, not by man, but in the revelation of Christ as in His faith I learned Him, growing into His faith, into Him and His life therein made manifest in my body; So I see what is His in truth, as the truth is in Jesus, and what is the world's, and but called His to oppose Him; and I see that which loves the things of this world to be none of His love, nor that His joy that takes pleasure in carnal things, nor that His liberty which is in works of the flesh, nor that His peace that is in sin, nor that His patience that seeks its own revenge, nor that His glory that's in pride, nor that His worship which stands in carnal things, nor that His honor that's sought of men, nor that His knowledge that's sought after the flesh, nor that His fear that's taught by the precepts of men, these are in the world, and not in Him, but have only got the name to be His, but are enemies to His Life, and were never begat of His Father, nor learned in the Son; all which and much like stuff I came to see the deceit of, by that truth and simplicity I found in Christ, contrary to the will of man.

And so in the Life of Christ I have learned to know the growth of the faith of Christ, and the riches of it, and the end of it, which is Christ Jesus in all its workings; and I also knew the world's faith, its uncleanness, whose end is not to attain the holiness of Christ in life, but would live in the world's delights, and have Christ for a cover, and be saved by the righteousness of another, which they have no mind to walk in themselves; and so that faith works not by love, which loves not the life of Christ, but are enemies to His cross, minding earthly things, and this is the earthly faith; but the living faith works by love to holiness of life, and therefore purifies the heart, and the mystery of it stands in a pure conscience within themselves that have it, and not in telling and comprehending what was in another, for the devils believe the holiness that was in Christ, and can preach it, but cannot inherit it, because they love not to live the life of it, and by this I know them both forever, and all that prove them in the life of Christ shall witness with me; the end of the one is the life of Christ, in which Himself walked, and the same obedience of the same Spirit to the same Father by the same power, according to the proportion of faith received from God, which faith is from above, and so lays hold on heavenly things for its strength, and so brings forth heavenly fruits: The other professes and promises great things, but ends in the world and minds earthly things, and does not purify the heart, nor believes ever to attain the life of Christ, His stature or fullness, but counts it an error in such as press after such attainments, and so the end of the conversation of one is Christ Jesus to hold forth in life and power, the same yesterday, and today and forever; The end of the other is a liberty to sin while they can take any pleasure in it, and sanctification and salvation when they are dead. And according to the end of each faith so it works, for it's impossible for him that cannot believe holiness, to work holiness; but according to each man's faith so must he inherit in this world, and that which is to come.

And in the workings and attainments of this living powerful faith I have found several measures according to my growth therein, from the word of the beginning of Christ, or the first principle of Christ, and the fullness, and stature of Christ, as between a babe and a man grown in strength, and much working in Spirit I found between faith received of Christ Jesus, and Christ learned in me; for though I received the faith of His fullness in what He was at Jerusalem, in His flesh there at once, yet had not I so learned Him in Spirit and life in my mortal flesh, nor put Him on at once, but in the light of faith I saw I was so to run as to win Him before I could put Him on, wherein I came to see and know myself begotten of the Father manifest in measure in me in the pure image of a Holy Child, separate from the fleshly sinful seed, or Christ formed in me as the Scriptures witness; and when I did behold His pure image and His pure mind and nature so contrary to my own, yet then was He not in His kingdom, nor all things put under His feet; nor could I say that Jesus was then Lord in me, but by the Spirit's working by this faith I had received, and in hope thereof, was I made to endure the loss of all things, and to deny all things that ever this Holy Spirit did war against in me, which might any way oppress this Holy Plant, or hinder its growth, owning His judgment in the light, upon whatever was in my heart or affections but Him alone, though never so much gain in my account in the world; which judgment being owned and consented to against myself, and all my self-lovers, therein was I parted from them in judgment, and so then were they subdued by the powerful workings of that Spirit, and put under His feet, and I set free from them, to arise with Him above them, being brought from under them; and this was not done all at once, but in order as He appeared in the light to manifest every particular evil: And as that faith I had received worked by love to Him, a consent in my spirit to His just judgment upon them, and I made willing to give them up to the fire, and to come out of them, and join to Him in the execution, lest He should consume me with them, as it must have been had I stayed in them; and here I found the benefit of the light which goes before His face to prepare His way, and the salvation of faith which saved me through hope of Him, that I was not destroyed in my sins; which faith and hope gave me an entrance within the vail, or a hiding place in Him while the indignation was over, which was to pass upon the man of sin.

And so a voice was heard in the wilderness calling out of sin, into a way I knew not, but as the light of His covenant led me in the Spirit, turning my heart towards Him, that He might not smite the earth with a curse at His coming; in which way e're I came into the kingdom of Christ, my pure rest, I met with many hardships and great travails, and many temptations and trials within and without, but the greatest enemies were yet within me, which would upon every hardship be tempting with unbelief to destroy this faith and hope, which was all that I had set before me to encourage me to endure such hardships, and to follow the light in a way I had not known, and to walk in the clouds to meet the Lord, and to leave my former knowledge and wisdom, and glory and riches, to go in a way I had not walked, and to abide such assaults on every hand; every foot the world which I was called out of ready to overtake me and compass me about, and to turn me back again into what I had seen and enjoyed, behind me, ever seeking to persuade me that I should never attain to Him that was set before me in the faith and hope; then came I clearly to see, that though I had received the faith of Christ as a shield in this war, by which I was saved that the wrath of God took me not away in these temptings, and murmurings, and reasonings and doubtings which did arise in the fleshly part, yet was not I at present brought to enjoy the purchased possession, though I had heard and believed the gospel of salvation, and was sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise till I came to be built up with Christ for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

And I found by daily experience that my salvation was not complete so long as my soul was subjected under any earthly lust or passion, nor the war over, but as by the mighty working of God in me by that Spirit these came to be subdued under the feet of Christ, and the soul set above it with Him to reign in the heavenly place; so was my salvation nearer than when I believed, for the soul is not safe while sin lives, or the flesh lusts, for that wars against the soul, and every sin wounds it, and this shall all know who are not past feeling, whatever their faith be touching Christ Jesus, or what was wrought in another, while sin defiles the soul it is not safe, nor the honest heart has peace and rest, for the rest and peace is placed in the Holy City where comes no unclean thing, into which the soul enters not till that all righteousness be fulfilled upon earth, and the soul singled from all corruption, and have put on immortality, and death swallowed up in victory, when the sting is taken away, which is sin, and the strength of sin, which is the law, which is not taken away but where it is fulfilled, there only grace reigns through righteousness; and this I found to be truth, as the truth is found in Jesus, as I came to learn Him and put Him on by faith which I had believed; and I saw the folly of such as would make void the law by talking of faith and grace, where sin is yet standing, and the soul taken captive therewith, which I had often sought peace therein to myself, but could not inherit liberty to my soul any other way, but as it came to be purified in obedience through the Spirit

And this work was not wrought in me by the knowledge of Christ after the flesh, but as I came to learn Him in Spirit, for spiritual wickedness had taken my soul captive, and by the Spirit it must be sanctified and set free. And I came to see that if I had been in His company here on earth as long as His disciples were in the flesh, and seen as much as they did, and heard from His own mouth, I should have been short of this work as they were, in whom the Child was unborn when He went away in the flesh, and they knew not what spirits they were of, until He came again to them in Spirit and was revealed in them; then could they preach the resurrection of the dead and the soul's redemption, and desired to know Him no more after the flesh, when once they had received Him in Spirit, but preached Christ within the hope of glory, who till then looked for an outward kingdom and glory, until they had received His promise, He that dwells with you shall be in you, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you; the world sees Me no more, but you see Me, and because I live, you shall live also; at that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you: And this was His promise, which they received, whom the world sees no more, whose expectations are carnal; neither can any see the kingdom of heaven but who are born of this Spirit, and heirs of this life, and he that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son has not life, but the wrath of God abides upon him, whatever he may say he believes; and none have the Son but as they receive this Spirit, and are led by this Spirit, and born thereof.

And this I found also, that the Son of God does not appear in (works of righteousness,) but as He conforms them to His own image, which He has always born in this world, as says the Scripture, when He shall appear we shall be like Him, who shall change our vile bodies and make them like His glorious body, from glory to glory by the same Spirit; And herein we have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is so are we in this present world; and this is not obtained with thoughts of believing without, but by a lively working of His power, which works out the earthly image and nature, and conforms man to the heavenly in that spiritual birth which is not of flesh and blood, nor could flesh and blood ever discern it in whom it was, but ever hated it in whom it has appeared in all ages; which is of a shining nature where it is begotten of the Father, and cannot be hid where it is formed, but by his fruits gives light to the world contrary to the world's ways, showing of his coming to judgment against the deeds of darkness: And this heavenly begetting of the Father is to be held forth in that clear image of the Father, according to every several measure as He grows therein without mixture, that all may see that He is not of this world, who also takes them out of this world as He grows in any, or they in Him, forth of the world they must go bearing His reproach, that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, they are not of this world, even as I am not of this world, and this is the world's light and condemnation, even His coming.

And so I find that faith which joins to the world where it is, and does not overcome the world, is not the faith of Christ, though faith may believe the history of the Scriptures concerning Christ, which faith alone sets not up the kingdom of God in the heart, nor casts out the world there; nor saves the soul from the pollution of the world through lust, and so is but a notion of salvation, and not the power of salvation, as says the Scriptures; Whosoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith; and the faith which works not thus, is like a body without a spirit, which is dead; But the living faith that stands in Christ Jesus, that Spirit purifies the heart and conscience, and makes toward God in Christ the example of all good things, overcoming whatever would let the appearance of Christ in His temple, or hinder the bringing forth His virtues, which are believed to be in Him, to the utmost whatever He has received of the Father for such believers, who believe not in a lie, but in the truth and power of God as it is in Christ Jesus, and has been declared in Scripture, not for a discourse, but for an inheritance of life, of whose fullness we all receive according to our faith, till His coming, and we be complete in Him, and He in us; and so not come short of the glory of God, the end of our faith and conversation, that to the world He may be manifest in life and power to be the same that ever He has been, though He has appeared in several forms, yet one in Spirit to make up a complete body.

And therefore we find those who were of this faith witnessed Christ present (which the world's faith could never receive under any form or profession, but counted it blasphemy, and that Spirit the spirit of the devil.) And so Isaiah witnessed this Child born to them that so believed in his time, who was the mighty God, the everlasting Father, &c. whose name they knew to be Immanuel, and this was before He appeared in that temple at Jerusalem, and Ezekiel was called the son of man before that time also; and Paul said He was revealed in him, and spoke in him, and wrought in him, and in his flesh; that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ was to be filled up for His Body's sake which is the Church: And to whom he forgave anything in his time, he forgave it in the person of Christ; and many more might be noted who confessed the same Christ in them present, both before and after His time at Jerusalem, which testimony could never be received (by the wisdom of the world) in His servants before nor then, nor since to this day, for the god of this world being king in the heart, and having blinded the eye of the mind that should see His spiritual glory through the light of the gospel, he persuades the world that He is either past, or to come, but never present; and as many as are brought to confess Him before men find it so at this day, who are hated of all men for His name's sake, that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, and His testimony finished.

And this faith which confesses Him present, is that which the world cannot bear nor receive, who will preach Him themselves at a distance, what He was and will be, but this faith cannot reach His coming at present in any measure to receive His appearance now, nor will this faith ever give an entrance into His kingdom upon earth, nor the holy rest, nor is this the faith of Christ (that puts Him thus afar off,) which fills with all the fullness of God.

And by what I have learned, this is clear to me forever without anymore controversy, That the faith that admits of sin is not Christ's faith, nor has any share or possession in Him; that faith which is not holy came not from God, and so cannot build up to God; this is not saving faith that does not save form sin; but is deceiving faith which deceives the soul, and suffers lust to defile it and destroy it, and so brings it under condemnation, by believing lies, and so letting in sin upon the soul by consent, persuading that it cannot be otherwise; and so gives the devil victory, and sin victory over the soul, which should give the soul victory over all: And what greater deceit can there be to the soul than this? And therefore forever that which I have seen and learned do I declare openly, that this is the deceiving faith, and indeed rather unbelief than the faith of Christ, which makes way for the god of this world to reign, and act in things contrary to the life of Christ in the creature, and the Life of the soul; and that faith which gives way to the least sin is not the faith of Christ, whose work and coming is to destroy the works of the devil, and redeem the soul from sin, and the least measure of that faith that stands in His life overcomes the world and sin in that measure; and he that commits sin goes out of that faith, and acts against it.

And a lying faith I have found that to be which persuades the soul of freedom from condemnation, but gives it not freedom from sin which is the cause of condemnation, and all shall witness this with me now, or hereafter, that where sin has power, there death has power, and the grave and hell and condemnation have power also, for these are the wages of sin; then shall you see you were deceived who believed the contrary; and may not such truly be said to be past feeling in deed, who can commit sin and feel no condemnation for it already?

And this is the effect of their false faith, to harden themselves against the faithful Witness of God in their own conscience, and the seared conscience has made shipwreck of the faith of Christ, and the doctrine of devils preaches the faith of devils to give way to the works of the devil, which all sin is from the least to the greatest, and he that pleads for it is a father to it, and he that commits it a servant, and may look for the wages there of if he repent not, notwithstanding he believe the contrary.

And many may feel this truth at this day, who have a long time believed with this faith, deceiving their own souls day after day, believing they shall not be condemned, when they are condemned already in their own hearts, and feel the weight of sin daily pressing their souls, and burdening the pure conscience; and the fear of death and sin keeps their souls still in bondage, and lies upon them all their lives, and yet they will force themselves to believe contrary to holy faith and a good conscience that they are saved and redeemed, and thus make shipwreck of saving faith and a good conscience, by believing a lie contrary to their own daily feeling, no other thing to encourage them therein but this persuasion, which suits well with such as take pleasure in unrighteousness; which persuasion comes not of God, but is condemned by that of God in themselves; and this is the state of many at this day, though some there be whose consciences are seared, and feel not this Witness living in them, yet their damnation slumbers not, though they have lost their calling and election also.

And this have I learned in Christ, that there is a great difference both in effect and nature between that faith which is the gift of God, and that faith which men make to themselves; for that which is the gift of God is of His own nature, clean, pure and perfect as are all His gifts, and so it works naturally the work and will of God in all who receive it freely, and mix nothing with it to darken it or stop its working, and by this faith I am saved from sin and condemnation, and begotten to the Father thereof in Christ Jesus; which faith is not of myself, but is the gift of God, to perfect holiness in the sight of God, and whatever is done in this faith is not sin; and whatsoever is against this faith, or not of this faith is sin, and brings condemnation, and this faith approves not of it. And if I act nothing doubtingly nor against this holy faith, in this faith I am justified in my own heart, and my own conscience kept clean, and I approved in God's sight, and I have boldness through the obedience of faith in the day of judgment, that it is not my own work, but the righteousness of faith which is in Christ Jesus, and this effect has saving working faith, and this is its nature and grace.

But another faith I have found which is not so in nature or effect, being not freely received from above, but is feigned, and has its ground here below, and its ends also: The earthly man in his wisdom from the letter, reason or comprehensions, sets up an opinion or image in his mind touching God or Christ, or religion, worship, doctrine or manners, or any other thing, and then looking upon the likeness of it in the reasoning part, gathers strength to believe it must needs be so, and so forms a faith in himself: And though this faith be not perfect when he has formed it and made it with all his strength, but many things in the Scriptures and the practice of the Saints (but especially that of God in his own conscience will not suit with it) yet the strong man being above in the strength of his comprehension, forces a faith against all these, and causes all to bow under it. So this faith brings not forth the birth of Christ, not His pure image and life, neither in matter of worship nor manners, but what he may imitate Christ and the Saints in worship, and keep the world and escape the cross, and save his life and credit and glory there, that he will conform to, and glory in, and for the rest, he believes it concerns not him now, in all things at this day so to walk as they did. And as this faith is not perfect in worship, so in practice also; for that evil he is not addicted to he condemns in all, but that which is in his own heart and eye, and brings him profit and pleasure, that he will cover, and believes it may stand with true belief at this day, though formerly it could not. And this is the faith made after man, and not after God, and serves in respect of persons, times and things; but bows not all these forever to worship in Spirit, nor brings them under the foot of Jesus, that Spirit, and God does not own that with His power, nor goes forth with that which man makes, but with His own gift, which is good and perfect in every measure thereof. And this also I have learned in Christ Jesus, and declare to all that seek faith in Him, That I never received any measure of this faith of Christ in vain, but whatever I acted or suffered therein, from the least measure to this day, in it I prevailed against whatever the light of the Spirit led me out of therein, and a shield I have found it, and a growth in it towards Christ Jesus in every work of it, wherein I have stood single to the end, however tempted or tried before the end appeared; yet in the end of that faith I was ever a conqueror through the Spirit, and whoever proves it to the end in singleness of heart, shall be witness with me herein, with a cloud of witnesses that have gone before, who by this holy faith have prevailed over the powers of sin, and entered into the holy rest, who have not sought their own kingdom, but the kingdom of Christ.

And only this pure faith, which works towards the appearance of Christ in all actions and sufferings, is that which orders all things in their place and time, and fits all relations for His appearance therein to glorify God; for God is not glorified in anything upon earth, but in whom the Son appears, who is the express image and glory of God, and in whom alone He reveals Himself, and the glory of His judgments and mercy, the grace and truth of God is in His face in whomsoever He appears. And so every measure of the heavenly faith works towards the heavenly appearance, and the earthly faith to the earthly appearance: And so faith in God is that which works effectually by love, to the image and life of God in this world, which is seen only in His spiritual begettings, which being believed in, and set above, shines forth in every measure showing the virtue and glory of the Spirit of God. But the feigned earthly faith admits of some earthly thing in the heart for its end, in love to which it works disobedience to the Spirit, and so comes short of the glory of God; for it cannot hold forth the fruits of the Spirit to glorify God, with an earthly lover in the heart; nor can one faith serve God and mammon. So he that loves the things of this world is God's enemy, whose faith withstands the appearance of Christ in His actions or sufferings, and so withstands the glory of God, which therein should be manifest to all men: And this is that faith which ever of old has put Him afar off, yet gets the forms and words to withstand the life and virtue: And of this sort they are, of whom the Apostle speaks, having a form of godliness, but deny the power of godliness, whoever were the greatest enemies to the coming of Christ, being not of the faith of Christ, nor of the Spirit of Christ; but being from below, withstand His coming from above, to be brought forth in His virtue, or worshipped in His Spirit, this is antichrist.

And this spirit and this faith it is that wrests the Scriptures to seduce from Christ, and destroy the way of His coming; and to that end, what Christ really commands to be brought forth of His life and virtue in real appearance, this spirit serves himself with a meaning, instead of serving Christ with real actual obedience; and so His birth is a meaning instead of the life of Christ, and this he sets to oppose that life, lest it should be born into the world. As for instance; when Christ says in the Scriptures, He that smites you on the one cheek, offer him the other; and he that sues you, and takes your coat, forbid him not your cloak also; and he that takes away your goods, ask them not again: Resist not evil, but overcome evil with good; and love them that hate you. And many such like commands, which Christ means really and indeed, and led an example in Himself, and whoever received the same Spirit, moves to the same things, as it grows in any, and being obeyed will bring forth the same fruits, to glorify the Father thereof to all generations; which Spirit waxes not old, nor in its fruits barren, where it is really received in the faith thereof, and obeyed. But says this other faith in the earthly spirit, Christ did not mean as He spoke, you must not take it literally, those words must have a spiritual meaning: And this spiritual meaning of his is to devour the life of this obedience, both in the letter of Christ and Spirit of Christ, and to set up a subtle meaning, without the life of Christ, and contrary to His example; and this he will have to take place in all, both against the plain words of Christ, His example in His walking, and the working of His Spirit in others. And if he cannot destroy this faith and fruit before it be brought forth, then his work is to render him a high blasphemer, in whom this Child is born, and brought forth to light, and counts it high presumption for any to witness the life of Christ in him, and the Spirit of Christ in him, and his body the temple of God, &c. because he finds these words in Scripture: But if any worship in that temple, so as to believe and obey unto life openly, that he cannot own without a meaning instead thereof. And so he sets the form to deny the power, and Christ's words he wrests to deny His coming. And how long this faith has professed Him to come (and His life and glory at His coming) in its own carnal comprehensions, many may witness; but is never like to receive Him in the same life, and Spirit, and power in which He ever appeared. And so to that generation is He ever to come, but never present, further than to make a cover for sins past and present, and an encouragement for sin to come. And thus the devourer turns the best of things into a lie, in all that believe him, that he may keep Christ and the soul from their present union, which there being that gift of God in everyone which daily draws towards Him, where it is not quenched by believing lies, whereby such as receive not the truth in the love of it come to be damned, as it was in the days of old. And a strait passage I have found into the way of truth and life, which misses all his subtle pretences; and I have seen His words true, who says, Few there be that find it, the enemy being every way ready to meet them that seek with a shadow, meaning, or some deceit to believe instead of the Substance, handling the words of God deceitfully, using the gifts of God to withstand the life of the Giver, and turning grace into lascivious liberty.

And thus have I learned in the Light of the world, that in my turning towards Him at His reproof, when I knew Him not, and believing in His light whom I had not seen, I found that faith given, which did declare the righteousness of God in Him, wherein He perfectly walked upon earth, both in doing and suffering, which being turned towards, I found the propitiation that God had sent forth, through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remitting of my sins past, that God might be just, who would not have past by my sins past, had He not accepted His sufferings; nor have I had liberty from sin past to have followed Him, nor could I have been accepted therein, but in the faith and hope of the same righteousness; so God was full in justifying, and His forbearance magnified to me therein. And in turning to this righteousness of His, declared in the light of faith and hope, my face was set towards God's righteousness in Christ Jesus, to be attained for life and salvation for time to come to walk in. And so being turned towards God, all my sins past were behind me, and God's righteousness before me; and so from henceforth was I to be found in God's righteousness, walking in a measure of it, and in the faith and hope of the fullness of Christ, and attainment of God for my inheritance. And this great redemption I found in Christ Jesus at that day was in such things as these following: As first, His calling of me with His light; His holding forth to me His life and suffering, which were so holy, that I could not but confess to them, His turning me towards the same in hope thereof by believing, His begetting a Mind in me towards that same life, and the increase of His light that way to lead me, and the setting of me free from the wrath of God, for all my sins of ignorance past, which else had laid upon me as a weight or chain, binding me that I could not have walked in the way of His light, &c.

But I do not say, that if I turned to commit sin again, that that sin was cast behind my back also; I learned otherwise, I found that sin then before my face greater than the rest, and stood in my way to God, and stopped me from following His light, or growing in His life, that I could no way escape it but by repenting of it, and receiving the just sentence of condemnation in myself, and bearing His indignation, till He that wounded me for it healed me again; which I never found, but as I turned from the evil with my whole heart, and accepted the punishment, till the Advocate did arise to intercede, whose blood I had trampled on, and whose precious life I had pierced, and His Holy Spirit grieved, by turning away from His leadings.

Nor do I say, that all my sins, which formerly I had committed, of which I had been convinced by the light of the world, when I was in the world, before I believed it to be sufficient, that they were wholly taken away, as my sins of ignorance were; for this I found, that God in this was just and merciful: merciful, in that He did not lay them all at once before me, lest they should have pressed me down, that I could not have followed the light, nor gotten any strength; but must needs have perished under them, had He not spared. And just I have found Him also; for as they were not committed all at once, against the light of His Spirit; so He has at one time or another visited for them, and laid them before me; yet not all at once, nor no way so heavy as those committed after I believed, and gave up myself to follow the light, and yet to an account He has brought me for them. And coming to feel the terrors of God, I have learned to fear and love, and have found the ground and the rise, and deceits of that faith that believes Christ to have taken away the sins of believers, past, present and to come, with which many at this day make merry over the Witness of God, and the Just is slain in them, and that Scripture I have learned without a meaning, If we sin willfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation to devour the adversary; though none know how but he that comes to it in the fulfilling, and then shall be seen, he that's born of God sins not, and he that believes is born of God, but he that sins, turns his back both on the faith and Birth that's towards Christ, and becomes adverse thereunto in his work, whatever he says he believes. And this I have found an everlasting truth, whatever men believe or imagine, that no longer than a man keeps his face towards the light of God; no longer is his sins cast behind his back, whether they be sins past, present or to come; but if he turn from God's righteousness, his own iniquities will arise and meet him, both new and old, and in vain do such believe, they are then blotted out of God's sight, whose eye shows him his way, in which he then walks, and condemns him for it in his own heart.

Nor was the ground and root of sin removed, so soon as my mind was turned by the light from sin towards God, but the motions thereof I found, and the lust seeking to go forth to its objects, to bring in to conceive sin again afresh; that ground was but removed, as I grew in Christ and He in me, and as I came to learn Him, that was in the beginning before sin was, who was learned in the faithful following and serving of His Spirit, in watching, in fastings, in prayers, and in all spiritual wrestlings, as I came to be led into with the light; in which warfare I came to see the hardship of him that will be a soldier of Christ Jesus, and the baptisms into His death, the slothful servant and the faithful, and their reward, and the parables and figures of the kingdom opened, as that Spirit grew in me which interprets the Scriptures in the life; and opens the sealed mysteries thereof in their season, as they come to be fulfilled. And so I came to the gift of the Scriptures by inspiration, which only profits to the perfecting of the man of God, which the man of this world not having learned, wrests to his own destruction, getting the words of them in the earthly part, before they be fulfilled in his heart through the Spirit, and such receive them not by inspiration, nor the gift of the Holy Ghost.

And in this journey I have seen the slothful servant overtaken in a fault, which he had once cast behind him, and never intended to join to again, of which the diligent servant is kept free; and I have seen the wages of each servant according to his diligence, in that which he has of God entrusted in him, and not by his own strivings, in the thoughts of himself, his worth or wisdom. And in diligent hearkening and obeying of the Spirit, have I found the right faithfulness towards God, though getting knowledge be highly esteemed with men, and I have found that, as I have the Spirit manifest in me to profit withal: So the time of my profiting are only in His hand, and my waitings upon Him when He moves not, is my reasonable service, and a profiting time to me as if He moved, though I see it not. And this I found a great cross to my hasty will, which is indeed the true worship in Spirit, which, when I knew not this Spirit to hearken and bow to, and obey and observe in all things as His will leads, I worshipped I knew not what, and my fear towards God then was taught by the precepts of men, and I was not taught of the Lord, not being born of that Spirit: And so all the children of the Lord are taught of the Lord, and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. These Scriptures I then could read, and understand without meanings, not by that which my wisdom taught me, but which the Holy Ghost taught me; and the Scriptures, thus learned and received, was no more a notion to be lost, but a possession; and I came to have an inheritance therein among them that are sanctified in all ages, and no subtle man could either steal them, or change them, or anyway beguile me of the truth of them, by wresting them, nor take away my comfort I had in them, my comfort and fellowship therein being in the same Spirit and Life that gave them forth; and the Word of God thus grew and endures forever, and the Spirit of truth, that leads into all truth, endures forever, and the Seed of God is one therein to all generations, and that is one which perfects the spirits of all just men, and God Himself is judge over all, and Leader of all, by His own begettings in all that enter into this rest of the faithful, which remains to all His children, out of which false faiths and disobedience shut themselves.

And that which declares the righteousness of God for remission of sins past, and for an inheritance against sin for time to come, have I found to be faith without falsehood, which righteousness though in faith and hope beyond declaring, yet inherited but as the virtues that are in Christ Jesus come to be received in the life of them. And that faith which has not that righteousness for its ground and end, and the virtues, and several measures of the growth of Christ for its life and increase, that I have found upon trial to be a feigned fancy, after man's mind, and not after God's and is without the hope of this righteousness for his inheritance; or says he has Christ further than he has His virtues, for his life and growth towards this inheritance, when he comes to be weighed with the truth, will be found too light to stand in the judgment, or abide the fire, or to dwell with everlasting burnings; the trial of that faith will leave him without faith: then shall it be read as it is written, When the Son of man comes shall He find faith on the earth?

Who they be that are under the law, and who they be that have made void the law against themselves, and who they be that are under grace.

Grace reigns through righteousness, and the law through transgression; and he that says he is under the law, and the transgressor alive, he makes void the law against himself, but is under it in the account of God.

For the seed or image of God being fallen, the transgressor is above, to whom there is no grace nor life promised, who has no true obedience but for self-ends; upon this is the law added till the promised Seed arise, and a Schoolmaster the law is till it bring to Christ, who of the woman is made under the law, who takes upon Him the seed after the flesh, the soul to redeem from under the transgressor, that the natural Plant of God may grow. So we can witness the teachings and chastisings of the law, to bring him so low till he come under the Seed, so as the Seed be set above the head of the transgressor, and have bruised it, and so taken away the strength of sin, there the strength of the law is taken away also; And as the soul is raised up through the law, the law being fulfilled by the Seed through the Spirit, so it arises above the law, into the kingdom of grace, which reigns through righteousness, and not by making void the law; for the grace is to the Seed, and the law to the transgressor: And as these reign in the creature, so is he under the law or under grace, for the law has power over the man of sin as long as he lives, then is the Seed of the promise in bondage; but he being dead by which the Seed is held captive, the Seed rises under grace, which as it rises through the law fulfills it, and being fulfilled it loses its strength, as sin dies, and so has no more power, the law being the strength of sin till it be fulfilled by the Seed through the Spirit; so he that is dead to sin, is free from sin, and under grace: And he that casts off the law while he is alive that sins, makes void the law against himself.

So he that's under grace is dead to sin, and dead to the law which is the strength of sin, and sin has no more dominion over the soul, the power of it being subdued, which was the law unfulfilled; but where the law is made void, the strength of sin yet remains, and the law will overtake them in the end.

And he that learns this in the death and resurrection, and eternal life, shall in this work learn what the transgression is, and how the law is added upon him, and how it is the strength of sin in him, but not in the Seed, and what it is that makes the entrance through the law, and how grace comes to abound where sin has abounded, and to reign through righteousness to eternal life.

So where the transgressor is slain, there the law is at an end and fulfilled, and the Plant of God brings forth, against which there is no law, but the law is against the man of sin, and the man of sin against the law as long as he lives, and power it will have over him, and one jot of it will not pass away till it be fulfilled: And he that would cast off the law and make it void, is far from grace, but in him that fulfills the law, does grace and truth abound.

On the Way of Life, from the knowledge that devours the life.

Would you know the way of life from that knowledge which devours the life; then be no longer as the wild asses colt, but take up the yoke of the Son, in whom you say you believe, that the life of faith you may feel and know, for only in the obedience is the life made sure to you of what you believe, and thereby is faith and knowledge made perfect.

But until you attain power for obedience of faith, you are dead, and know but words, in which your faith stands without life, which accomplishes nothing, but will arise to condemn you when your time is out.

Therefore in all your seeking, mind that which works in a lowly mind, calling you into the obedience of what is there made manifest in the begettings of the Father, and not in the conceivings of the brain, but in the Son; for in the brain-knowledge the boaster rules who glories in the wisdom of words, but not in the words of life; but in the obedience of the Son is the Father known and glorified in such as walk in the Spirit and not in the wind, whose praise is of God, and their lives hid with Him from all knowledge, but what is revealed in the obedience of the Son: So from man you may learn the knowledge of words, but the knowledge of life is only in the begotten of God; so that he that has the Son has life, not of the disobedient nature, for the begotten of God is conformable to Him that begets him in all things through obedience.

So feeling your measure of the begettings of God, in it be obedient, and seek not to be above it in anything, lest the enemy thereby get power in you to puff up your mind in your knowledge above your life, which devours the life.

Therefore as you feel faith, love, meekness, gentleness, patience, or any godliness move in the Spirit, therein become obedient with all diligence, and thereby shall you know the power thereof against all the contrary motions in your flesh, so shall you learn the salvation of grace unto life eternal, which you can never attain by talking or any other way but in the obedience thereof, so shall you not receive the grace of God in vain, nor words without the working power of life, whereby the living knowledge of the mystery of godliness will daily increase.

For by obedience of the Spirit is the soul purified from its darkness and pollution, and made fit for the further manifestation of the hidden mystery, and the receiving the fullness thereof, and walking therein; and so by the Holy Ghost you shall be able to confess Jesus Lord over all powers in heaven and in earth, the opener of all secrets, and only revealer of the Father who begets, by whom you become wise in your knowledge unto salvation, not unto vain babbling, whose words shall rise and condemn them who glory therein.

But you, if in Spirit you hearken diligently and obey, shall know that He who sometimes spoke by the Prophets, does now speak by His Son, the everlasting power of godliness, the only begotten of the Father, and in all things like unto Him, in whom He is made manifest; and the Prophets have prophesied of glory to come, but the Son declares the Father in this present life, according to the measure of Him formed; and as He arises in fullness He opens the heavens, and gives the inheritance thereinto.


Sections yet to be added:

An opening of light to all sorts of rulers and people that wait for the kingdom of God, that you may not oppose Him in His appearance, nor set up another to reign upon earth in His stead.

A candle lighted, to give the sight of the good old way of God at His coming, from the ways that now ensnare the simple.

The living God glorified in His Temples, the true worshippers, that worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

To the Ranters

Deceit discovered by its fruits.


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