Set forth chiefly for the directing of the simple into the living way of
Truth, as it is in Jesus Christ the Righteous, that therein they may come to the
life and power of that which the world has in words; which being received,
satisfies the weary soul, and makes the creature well-pleasing to his Maker.
(Printed in 1656)
Spiritual and living obedience, is not that of man's way and will, wherein men and women (in the first birth, and wisdom therein) read the Scriptures, and there find what the Saints performed in the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus, and from that set themselves on work to do the like; and so make an imitation instead of obedience, and set up self-works instead of Christ's works; and obey self-righteousness, instead of God's righteousness; and so cover themselves with filthy rags instead of everlasting righteousness. But all who will know true obedience, must first know a measure of God's Spirit in the light of the Lord Jesus, and therein moving and drawing towards Christ Jesus, wherein the faith is, which lays hold on God's righteousness which is in Christ Jesus, and by the moving of His Spirit in the light, the truth is seen, and the obedience that is one in Christ Jesus the second Adam. And as the creature is joined in the light to that Spirit of Christ, and in believing, there is the life of Jesus made manifest, quickening the body unto that one obedience, which is contrary to the will of man; and the mind being kept spiritual in the measure the Seed is raised, and the new is born, of that Spirit; to which Seed the promise, and power is, wherein the creature is joined heir with Christ Jesus, who is God's righteousness; and so in the faith is the glad tidings of good things preached to the soul, and by the power of the Gospel preached to the creature; the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, and the Just lives in that faith, and Christ is manifest for obedience to the faith: And all that are in this faith, are in the one obedience, which is in Christ Jesus, which He learned of the Father for us, that in that obedience many may be made righteous, and all that learn Christ, learn His obedience; which was not what He saw or heard from men, but what He saw and heard of the Father; not in His own time or will, but in the Father's, could He do anything, but what He saw the Father do, in that work He was found, doing the same, as He was taught of the Father in His obedience to Him; not what the Scribes and Pharisees did, though they sat in Moses?seat, nor what the world approved, but was contrary to all the world, and contrary to His own will; only submitting to the moving of the Spirit of the Father that dwelt in Him, by which alone He was guided and furnished to every good work.
And all that believe in Him, and follow His light, He leads them by degrees into the same knowledge and obedience, out of all carnal knowledge, power, and obedience; and by faith the creature is made partaker of His obedience, and the power thereof from faith to faith. And all that have learned Him, As He is, so are they in this present world, both in love, and life, and power, and Spirit; and in all this in the measure as He is learned; and as any come to the unity of the faith in Him, to a measure of His fullness, so the obedience is but one, the power one, the way one, and the Son one, and the Father one. And this is not anything from without, but in Spirit it is learned and obtained, and the mystery of it is hid from all who are without, and the ministration of it is spiritual within, whereby that obedience is known, which is to the truth, through the Spirit, which is in life, and not in imitation; but in the will of God, and not in self-will; which obedience stands not in anything seen from man, or by man done, thereby to imitate or do the like, but it stands in Christ Jesus, and in His own obedience to the Father, seen in the light, and in the faith received, whereby the believer is made one in it, and it in him; that as the same Father calls for the same obedience in Spirit, so in the same Spirit does the believer offer up himself, and all he has in the same power and obedience in Christ Jesus: And so as the creature by faith partakes of that one obedience, in the second Adam, he is made righteous, and no farther; even as all are made sinners, as they partake of the obedience of the first Adam, and no farther.
And who knows to partake of this obedience, knows the eternal Spirit in which all the children of God have been taught, and enabled to this one obedience, in their several measures, ever since the world was, which is not works by them done, but the everlasting righteousness of God, obeyed in that Spirit, according to the motions thereof seen in the light of Christ, which none know who are heart-blind, and who minds the motions of the flesh, and obey them, their mind being gone out to carnal pleasures, the call to this obedience is not by them heard; nevertheless the same carnal spirit that leads out into the world, teaches to make an imitation of this obedience, and so deceives the simple, by setting up a likeness without life; and so glories in appearance, but not in heart. And the Witness of God in the heart or conscience of such, testifying to the face of such, that their obedience is not perfect or accepted; they conclude, that there can be no perfect obedience attained in this world; they not knowing the mighty powerful working of God in Spirit, which works in them perfectly who believe and walk in the light; whereby such become His workmanship in Christ Jesus, wrought into His obedience, and His obedience into them, in their measure, till they become of one heart, one mind, one soul, one Spirit, one flesh and bone, and blood, and one obedience, and one life, that it is no more we that live, but Christ that lives in us, and the life that we now live is by faith in the Son of God. And though the fullness of this obedience is not attained at once, yet the least measure of it is perfect, and accepted, and so accepted of Him, in whom it is wrought, as the obedience of a child is as pure, clear, and willing, as the strong man's; even so is the new birth in Christ Jesus, according to what God requires thereof, who never requires, but what He gives; and never gives, but what is perfect, and what He perfectly accepts, which gifts are all in His Son; and in Him, the least is accepted; and everyone that therein exercise themselves without mixture.
As there is but one chief good, so there is but one principle worker of good in heaven, and in earth, who by the word of His power, made all good in the beginning; and in this good work and will was man made in the will of God; in His image and goodness he stood, but falling from this steadfastness that was in God, and betaking himself to self, thereby to become wise, he became subtle and proud in himself, seeking to be as God, for which he was cast out from God, His power, love, and goodness, and being fallen into the dark imaginations of his heart; and finding himself under the curse (whereof the light of Christ in the conscience is a witness) he has set himself to make a likeness of God, and Christ, and God's worship, and good works, faith, hope, patience, love &c. but being under the powers of darkness, neither knows God, nor His work; but is deceived by the prince of darkness, and so does please himself with an imitation of God, and His works, but without power, and so, as he imagines, is doing good: but the testimony of God in his heart, bears witness against him, that his work is not perfect, nor accepted.
He also imagines that he is redeemed, but is still under the commanding power of satan, led captive at his will; who that he may the more strongly bind him, he leads him sometimes into a seeming worship, that so he may not so much suspect his way, nor be too much troubled at his other unrighteous practices: So that the worst of men in this state, have a worship; and each fort think they are right, though there be but one way, and they all without it, and each in their thoughts, are not so bad as others; but have their several pretended good works, though there be but one good work to make men good, and they all out of it in their own works.
And it is no small work to deceive the least of these who are thus conceited, though men of greater wits and parts (as they call them, which is but a higher deceit) may lead them from one deceit to another; yet all the world's wisdom cannot bring them into the good work, nor the way wherein it is wrought. Only such who mind the light of Christ in their dark hearts, which manifests to them the evil deeds, and reproves them for them, and can believe it to be the light of Christ, and thereto take heed to follow it out of the world, and carnal mindedness, and in that light wait, till the living Word they come to receive in their hearts, only such come into the good work and will of God: For without the Word was nothing made, nor without it can any be redeemed. For it is the Word of the Lord, heard and received, that quickens the dead, and raises to life that which is dead in trespasses and sins; and the spiritual man being quickened, the power of the Word brings forth in him the works of God's righteousness, which was from everlasting; which, in the measure thereof, confirms the creature to God in righteousness, who lost his image in unrighteousness; and so is the creature renewed in the spirit of the mind, and inward parts, to receive wisdom and power in the hidden man, , how to escape the evil, and resist it, and to bring to light what God begets in the heart, and so the new creature is seen created in Christ Jesus unto good works, to walk therein, as was foreordained of God.
And as the believer is found diligent in the light waiting, and in the Spirit obedient to this work, in this work he comes still more to learn God's power and teaching, and Christ's obedience, and God's wisdom and care over him, in leading into the sufferings, and tribulations, trials, and temptations, and the faith and fellowship with Christ therein; in which, if the creature stand, not a hair can fall, but he is sure to come out more pure than gold; and so in all this work, he grows in the knowledge of Christ, and his sonship, toward the measure, and stature, and fullness of the perfect man, into the likeness of God: and thus the Saints were made conformable to God, by His mighty working, whereby He wrought powerfully in them, after His good pleasure, contrary to their fleshly pleasures. And what is thus wrought, is good, because it comes from the Fountain of all good, and this is not a new work, but the everlasting good work of God, manifest to the creature, and through the creature to the world, by which God is glorified, who is the Father and Author, and Finisher thereof in everyone that truly believes.
And this is no self-work, nor can it be wrought in any but where self is denied, and a cross to self taken up; so boasting is excluded, the creature having nothing but what he has received, neither by his own will nor deed, but by believing in the light, and in obedience of faith. And with this faith and work are all the world judged, who are in their own works, and all that are without works, whose faith is dead, are to every good work reprobate: and whose works are their own, their prayers are abomination, where the works come not from this everlasting work and workings. For though there be many works, as to the creatures obedience and measure, yet they all complete but this one work of the creatures redemption, and God's praise therein, the beginning and end of all.
And of this work of God is all the world ignorant, who are preaching, pressing, and acting their good works (as they call them) but all their works do not manifest a power that brings them out of sin, and the world's conformity, and service thereof in his ways and worship; but every good work of God in His Saints, who become obedient to His working, as they subject to bring forth the good work and will of God; every work begets the creature nearer to God, and into His likeness and nature, and this is the reward of good works to everyone who is exercised therein, that thereby they are wrought out of the world's likeness and conformity, and so out of their friendship, till they suffer all manner of evil for the name of God, and the nature of His works that is in them, which is opposite to the world's works, and the world to them. And so their name being cast out as evil among men, they are received into the love of the Father of the work, for which they are hated of the world, and so the reproach of the world becomes great riches to all who love God, and are obedient to His work, which none who stand in their own wills can inherit.
And so self-works, and God's works are manifest in the light. The one is, that which men see, or hear, or imagine, and so set themselves to imitate the same in their own wills and ways, which they have conceived in their fallen wisdom, and earthly minds, not in Spirit, new born, but in the oldness of the letter, or tradition from men: But God's works are those which are from everlasting, before the will of man, or the world's customs, and therefore must conform to neither: but everyone who into this work will come, must deny the world and their own wills, and all that is in them must bow, and conform to the motion of the Spirit, and to its workings, which is seen to such as in the light dwell, and in its way and time must bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in due season; not the works of the flesh, nor to the flesh, but the working of the Spirit to God, to the sight of God; and the praise of such is not of the world, who bring not forth to the world; but of God, who bring forth to God, and the world praises its own.
This is that doctrine which is sealed from all the world; nor can any know it, or receive it truly who are in the reprobate state; though many be disputing about it in the dark, which none know but the children of light. So, as one who had obtained favor to have this mystery revealed, I shall according to permission write a few words, as, it is received in Jesus, yet can be received by no man's wisdom nor any who only are born after the flesh; but who knows what it is to walk in the Spirit, shall witness me herein.
And I deny all of that spirit who would foolishly charge God to have concluded the condemnation of some persons before they come into the world, and though they seek after God, yet they cannot be saved, because God has purposed the contrary: And on the contrary, some are concluded to salvation, though they live and die in their sins. And this is the spirit of the world, which knows not the secrets of God revealed in Spirit, and therefore judge carnally from the letter, from the figures, and shadows, but know not the uprightness that lies in the mystery; for being without, so they imagine. But none know the purpose of God, according to election, but who come to see that the election and reprobation are in the two seeds, that after the flesh, and that after the Spirit, and he that can judge of these two, he knows the two vessels, ordained to honor and dishonor: And as everyone is found in these, so is God's purpose touching them.
Now in the fall all are in the dishonor, and so children of wrath under the curse, and heirs thereof, and so without God, or the promise; and so not having the indwelling of God, no vessels of honor, but reprobate concerning God. Now in Christ Jesus is the election, and the elect Seed, in whom the election is obtained, and in whom alone it is established; and in the midst of all the dishonor His light is tendered to lead out of the dishonor, the curse, and the fall: And whosoever he be that will believe in His light, without respect of persons, He leads out of the world, and to the cleansing and purging of the body, soul and mind, till the vessel be changed, from the oldness of the will, and affections and lusts of the flesh, till the newness of the Spirit be witnessed, and so the creature in heart and mind is brought out of the flesh, wherein the dishonor lodges, and which is prepared for dishonor, and is brought to live in the Spirit, where the lusts of the flesh are not fulfilled, and so the vessel of honor is witnessed, prepared for the Master's use; who while he lived in the flesh, was prepared for dishonor, and fitted for destruction, not knowing the Master, nor His use; though God with much long-suffering endures such vessels, that He may at His pleasure show His wrath thereon, who will not own the mercy showed in His Son. And for this purpose had He long endured Pharaoh, suffered his oppression, till he was fit to show His power upon him, who had long been setting himself above the Seed of God. As also He did the Amorites, till their iniquities were full; and so do many at this day, who proceed to one wickedness after another, till they fill up their measure, that He may make known His wrath upon them that will not own His Seed.
And so shall it be with all, who own not the light of Christ, and whose day of visitation is past; such have a measure of sin to fill up in the other seed, which they shall not pass. And for this purpose is that Seed raised up, and prepared, that He may show His power upon him who does not retain the knowledge of God, that they all might be damned, who take pleasure in unrighteousness, serving the creature more than the Creator, whose hearts are filled with all lasciviousness, and fleshly lusts; and these are the vessels of dishonor. But if any man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work, which they who live in these things are to the good work reprobate, to God, and to the faith of God. And so here is the election and reprobation, they that are after the Spirit, and they that are after the flesh; and they that are after the flesh are not the Seed, but they that are after the Spirit are accounted for the Seed, and these have obtained, but the rest are hardened.
And so there is no unrighteousness with God, but the unrighteousness is with men, who reject the counsel of the Lord against themselves, and choose to abide in that which God has cursed, and wherein all that continue will be hardened to their own destruction, notwithstanding all their endeavors, and labors, prayers and tears that are in this nature, it's not accepted: this being the seed which God has put the enmity between it and His own Seed, it cannot be well pleasing to Him. For against this He has placed His displeasure, but in the other mercy, wherein He is well pleased for His mercies sake: So it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of Him that has showed mercy, and this mercy has He set above all His works; so he that stays in the world cannot obtain it, but the light which leads out of the world, leads up to it; and whosoever comes to Him, He will in no wise cast off; but who comes not to Him, are cast off already, because they will not come to the light of life.
So read your condemnation, you vain babblers, who spend your time disputing about election with your reprobate minds. When you find that the light of Christ condemns you for your lusts and earthly delights, and the Spirit of God moves in you against your evil deeds, but you will not be obedient thereto; but you still harden your hearts against the light, that is the reprobate state, and that is the Spirit of God that strives in you against it, which would not you should die in it; then let that of God in your conscience, which reproves you for your wickedness, be a witness against you that God delights not in your destruction, but rather that you should repent: and so has given you His light to reprove you, and lead you to repentance, showing that He has not concluded your condemnation before you were born: and let the same light that checks you for your sin, and lets you see in your heart, that the righteous God has appointed a day wherein all shall receive after their doings, be a witness against your vain thoughts, that God has not concluded to quit you in your wickedness; nor do your selfish imaginations make your sins any less in God's account. And so the righteous Judge of all the earth will proceed to do righteousness. And therefore to make way for the same, He has placed His pure light in the heart of everyone that will mind it, which will clearly show you all, whether you be in the elect Seed, or in the seed of evil-doers; and this light is that which being believed, and followed, does reveal the election and reprobation; and without it, none know the elected or reprobated, nor can judge thereof: But if the light be minded, it will reprove the reprobate and his way, (which is contrary to God in his own heart) for his own works, but whose work is wrought in God, with the light is justified.
There is the old man, and a new man, which are known in the light, and their several births, and their several natures, and kindreds according to that whereof they are born: That which is of the earth, earthly, fleshly, carnal, and corrupt; this is the state of the old man, and all that are in that state are fallen from God; and His covenant, and are in the curse, and wholly blind in heart, as touching the mysteries of God, yet in the sensual wisdom of the flesh, make profession of God and His Gospel: But being heart-blind, neither knows God nor His power, but is alienated from the life of God, and led captive in the dark at his will, who is the prince of darkness, and whatever he does is cursed in this state. And in this state did Cain sacrifice, but could not be accepted; for he was out of the state of well-doing, or well-being, yet would have been accepted. And in this state Esau sought the blessing, and wept for it, but could not obtain it: And in this state came Nicodemus to Christ, but could not enter into the kingdom in that state, nor knew the new birth, though he loved Christ, and believed Him to be sent of God; and this is that state David speaks of, when he says, If I regard iniquity, God will not hear my prayer. And in this state you all are, who are worshipping in your carnal minds, and sensual wisdom in the flesh.
But that which is born of the heavenly, is heavenly, spiritual, eternal, and incorruptible, which is the state of the new man, which of God is begotten of the divine nature; and as is his nature, so is his works; and so his delights are spiritual; for as is the man, so are his works; and as is the tree, so is its fruit: And so he that is born of this Seed, is born of God; and he that is born of God, sins not, in whom that Seed remains. And all who remain in this Seed, and it in them, this has the promise and power that puts off the old man with his deeds, lusts, and affections; and so the body of sin being put off through the body of Christ, the redemption is witnessed; and as the creature passes from the old to the new, so they pass from the death to the life; for the life is in the new, and so the victory is received in the new, over sin, the grave, and hell, which the world's birth talks of in their fallen nature, but cannot receive the power and victory, whereby to enter into that kingdom, nor to see the glory of it, and so takes up their rest, and delights in visible things, and so encumbers themselves with that, the end whereof is destruction; which those who are born of the Spirit tread upon, and cannot set their minds upon, nor bow to, nor be conformable to such vanities. And so those who are of the heavenly cannot have communion with the earthly, they being contrary minded in all things. So that which is wisdom to the one, is foolishness to the other, and ever was.
So the spiritual Seed could never worship the heathen gods, nor can it bow to their imaginations; for that Seed which is of God, leads the heart up to God; and that which is of the earth, to earthly things; and so those that are the children of God, are led by His Spirit of which they are born; and the children of this world, by the spirit of this world, are captivated into the world's ways, and fashions, and love of it, wherein is the serpent's seat, and kingdom where he rules, and wherein his power is seen in all who are disobedient to the light of Christ the heavenly Man; so being given up (because of the blindness of their hearts) to his power, which is always in the dark, in such he brings forth his enmity against the Babes of God born after the Spirit, children of the light, of the immortal Seed, who bear the image of the invisible God, and have the spiritual worship, into which they are led and guided with the eternal Spirit, of which they are born; which can no longer stay in any form of worship than God stays therein; but by His Spirit is led to follow Him into whatever He goes, and out of whatever He departs; which those who are born after the flesh, and see but the outside, and form, and there abide when God is departed, such are become the seat of satan, where he sits and persecutes such as follow the Spirit's teaching, into its several ministrations: And therein has the serpent beguiled the creature, by getting into somewhat of the form once used with the Saints (while God dwelt therein) and to that add inventions of his own, called decency and order, and the like, and with this has deceived the creatures, so as to serve his ends, to shed the blood of their brethren, under a pretence of error and blasphemy, and denying ordinances, and worships, and as being leaders of dangerous sects and heresies, denying government, turning the world upside down, and the like. So that the children of light have been ever numbered amongst transgressors, but were never so, further than to transgress the wills of men; to observe the will of God: yet none of these did ever suffer as well-doers in the world's account, but as not worthy to live in this world, being born of a Principle above the world, which the natural man knows not. So he that is born after the flesh persecutes him that is born after the Spirit, as it is at this day, thinking they do God service, because they know not the Father, nor the Son, but live in darkness, not owning that whereof the children of light are born, so become their enemies.
And this is your state who resist that measure of light that shines in your dark hearts, that shows your evil deeds. So being against the light of the Spirit, you are enemies to all who are born of that Spirit. And so far as you see the ground and root of your disobedience to the light in yourselves that reproves of sin, so far you may see the ground of your enmity, and no farther. And until you join to that light, you cannot be one with that Seed, but hate it; for that which is born of the will of the flesh, is in enmity to that which is born of the will of God; and that which is born of God, has enmity against the evil of the world, and conformity to it. And with the light are you judged to be of the flesh, who love the things of the flesh, and mind them, and who conform to this world are of it; whatever you profess to the contrary, the light will find you out: which light leads above all these things, up to the Father of lights; which light is one with all who are born of the Spirit, but a Witness against you who are born of the flesh.
So they that are in the flesh cannot please God, that in your conscience is witness, the light which is the condemnation of the world. But who is born of the Spirit, with such He is well-pleased, the testimony of their conscience bearing them witness in the sight of God, that they are His children, and born of Him, and their envy, and reproach, and suffering from the world, for testifying against the deeds thereof, are as a cloud of Witnesses, that they are not of it, for it loves its own, and so the enmity is seen, put between the seeds; that of the serpent seeks a word, or a form without, whereby to murder and destroy the creature which God has made, under a pretence of serving God, but the Seed of God strikes at the head of that enmity, and root of sin, but saves the work of God alive.
Concerning the Baptism of Christ, from that the World so calls.
In the world there be many sorts and forms of baptisms, but in Christ there is but one, and that is that of the Spirit; and this is the baptism of Christ, and all that are baptized with it, are baptized into His death, buried with Him to the world, its ways and worships, loves and friendships, and to all that is in them which would conform or bow thereto; and through this death is the Seed of God raised up out of the grave, quickened by the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead. And all that are baptized with this Spirit (and the old man dead and buried) they are raised a spiritual Seed to God, holy and zealous of good works, being begotten again of another nature from above, which is but one; and all, as they are baptized herein, grow into one in God the Father, and the Son Jesus Christ. And so all the Saints were baptized by one Spirit into one body, out of that nature in which all differences are, sects and opinions, and so come to put on Christ, which is but one: for as many are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, and His love, mind and affections; and such know a further prize than contentions about elements of the world, or washings without, neither do they stand laying again such foundations, as stand in times, and seasons, and customs, and persons as the world is contending about, who are in the many baptisms, and many fashions, and some contending for sprinkling infants, some for dipping them; some for sprinkling them over again, and some for dipping them over again, when they are grown; and are in such a confusion of words, and many outward ceremonies, that they keep themselves disputing and jangling about from the letter, in an imitation of John'?ministry, calling it the baptism of Christ, though out of the Spirit and power of Christ, or John either; yea, so far from the power, as not to come to the form either.
And this effect this has taken in all who are gone out into the world, in these imitations and imaginations, that so many baptisms, so many religions and sects; and every sect-master and his followers, set themselves against all other in the way they have conceived to be right, and to that way must all bow, or else no agreement, though never so near in other things, nay, so zealous they are for their likeness, that if any come not into it, though the Spirit of God be in them, and they themselves confess it, yet He must not speak in that creature in their Churches, without bowing to their forms of water, which are all different one from another; though the Spirit of God be but one, and cannot be limited to any visible form or rudiment of the world. And thus the form is set above the power, and not the true form neither; but as men have conceived from the letter, by the counsel of their own brain; some in the Popish councils, some since, but none from the mouth of the Lord: And therefore they are scattered in their imaginations and baptisms. But they who are baptized with the baptism of the Spirit, are baptized into one body. But all that are without, who are the nearest, are in error, not knowing the Scripture nor power of God herein, for all who have not their law, Guide, and rule in the Spirit, are in that generation who have erred, and lost the Saints Guide; and such are scattered, with what they from the letter imagine, into divisions.
And this was that which Paul saw getting in amongst the Churches in his time, setting up sects, and the person by whom they were baptized; puffed up for them, and against the other Apostles, some of Paul, some of Peter, &c. Which Paul seeing, thanks God he baptized no more of them, and plainly says, Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, though he could use it, until he saw them make an idol of it, thereby to make divisions and parties, and to puff up one another, as it is now used at this day, yea, far more, for it is now made the key to let in, and shut out of that they call a church; yea further, some say none can be saved without it, but all that have it are believers, and shall be saved: And so set it in the place of Christ.
But others are more moderate, who finding it practiced in the letter, they say It is an ordinance, and that they who practice it not, deny an ordinance of Christ. To such I say, All that is in the letter, is not ordained there to be taken up by all that read it; for the Saints had their call to their particular ministrations in Spirit, and not in letter: for else they had not witnessed differences of administrations, but the same Lord: But by the Spirit they were led from carnal administrations, and through them, not sticking in the letter. What letter had Paul to deny circumcision, which the letter said should be as a sign forever? Or, by what letter did he declare, That he was not sent to baptize? Did he deny an ordinance of Christ in either of these, and diverse more rudiments, which were commands in the letter, which he preached and practiced in Spirit, putting an end to the shadows of things to come, and leading to the body, as is plain, Colossians 2.
Further I say, if it were so, that all that was done in the letter, was to be taken up, then the form thereof must not be changed, if the letter be the rule: But not any that I know at this day are called of God into the form, as John did it, who had a call from heaven. So you that have your certain dwelling places, and live in your worldly estates and fashions, are out of this call. But the Apostles baptized into the name of Christ Jesus with the Spirit, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. But if you say, Some had it not in right form or manner, nor by persons rightly called and qualified, &c. I say, Nor can they have that form from you, who are not called out of the world, but live in its fellowship, professions, fashions and customs, in which the Saints never lived after they were called to teach, baptizing. So you do but add another false form to what they had before, but still out of the power, nor any change of faith or qualification, only in that thing of water over again, differing in some circumstances, as you have conceived from the letter, but still, with the rest of professions, in covetousness, pride and contention, vain words and heathenish customs, and manners of the nations in which you live; you that can live in lawsuits and revenge; you that swear at mens wills, and so deny the commands of Christ and His Apostles, who say, Above all things, swear not at all; you that can uphold the high places of popery, which yet remain in the land, and such a worship therein, as Christ never commanded, with tithes, and offerings, and all the rest of popish inventions, whereby Christ is denied to be come in the flesh, the everlasting Priest, and something set up instead of His way, like unto the Jewish priesthood, which is not it neither, but an imagined thing from men of corrupt minds, &c. You can do these things and much more of that nature, rather than you will suffer the loss of all things, you are far unlike those you would imitate, or those they baptized.
And was baptism in you manner as great a cross to you now, as it was in the time of the persecuting Jews, or as these other weightier things are now, you should find few to contend for it, as for the other things: for did you know the right ends of that ministration of water, you would know that it was a forerunner of Christ's baptism and kingdom, and a witness to all men, that the Jews ceremonies, and heathenish prayers and worships wherein they were grown into divisions, were to have an end, and the spiritual ministration and baptism was to be set up in the downfall of carnal ordinances and elements, of all which they were to repent, for the kingdom of God was at hand, even within all that would believe it; who did deny all the Jews worships, circumcisions and ordinances without in the letter, and preached the mystery and end of them in Spirit; but your baptisms, which come not to an end, of tithes and offerings, and Jewish ceremonies, and Gentiles also, that baptism we deny; for herein was the cross of Christ, and the power of God manifest; for they suffered for this all the envy that the Jews and professors could do to them, who upheld the same in the letter, but denied the power and Spirit; which could they but have bowed to their ceremonies outward, the cross of Christ had ceased, and then the power of Christ had ceased also. And the same is now seen of you at this day, and the same cross; for could but those whom Christ had called out now bow to your several forms of baptisms and worships of yours, that are zealous for them, and bow to mens wills, and worship the persons of such as are zealous for their pride, and willfulness, we should not suffer by you, but the offence of the cross would cease, as it is ceased to all who preach baptisms, carnal ordinances, respect of persons, conformity to mens wills, and the worlds customs and manners, who preach up pride, swearing, and imperfection and sin for term of life, &c.
I say to you, who can conform to the ways of men, and please them, the cross of Christ is ceased, and so the power also; and therefore are you ever preaching against the world's way and wickedness, but never able to lead out of them; like those who minded earthly things, who were enemies to the cross of Christ, ever learning and teaching, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, that makes free, to those the cross and sufferings are ceased, and they and the powers of the earth are one against such as take up the cross, to follow Christ in the way of the Spirit; and such being without in the letter, are become spiritually blind, and so cannot see that the appearance of Christ was ever cross to all who were got into the rudiments, pleading for outsides, but had lost the power, wherein this generation exceeds, having lost both power and form also.
And to you I say of all sorts of baptisms, as the Apostle says of circumcision, We are the baptism, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though we might have confidence in the outward washing, being that we have had it from such as gathered it from tradition, and yours is no more. But this we have learned, That it is not baptism which is outward in the flesh, but that is baptism which is in the Spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God; whereby we are baptized by one Spirit into one body; and as many as are baptized into Christ, are baptized into His death, and have put Him on, and are become new creatures. And this is that which avails to save us, not the washing the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus.
And this baptism we witness, that whosoever is therewith baptized shall be saved; but for other baptisms, which men are contending about from the letter, we find the end thereof and what they bring forth. But which of you can show, that you come in the Spirit and power of John's baptism; or have a call from God thereto? For that any have power from the letter, to take up and impose it upon others (yea, though it were the true form) that I deny; for that they who are not sent to baptize, that the leaving the outward water, and going on to the spiritual baptism, is a slighting or contemning of an ordinance of God, that I can deny also: for this might as well have been charged against Paul, who denied it in his time, and preached baptism in Spirit in its stead; the same thing for which we are accursed (to deny an ordinance of Christ) whom He has not sent to dip or sprinkle in water, but to preach the Gospel of light and life, and the spiritual baptism of Christ Jesus, to the bringing all that receive our testimony into the one body, by one Spirit, not making divisions about carnal things, for to us the day is come, and the shadows fly away.
And your baptism we judge, and the end of it, which has not led you out of tithes and offerings, swearing, suing and contention, out of the world's worships, manners and respect of persons, and to suffer the loss of all to witness Christ: That baptism we see to be out of the faith of Christ Jesus, and not worth contending about; for he that is in the world without it, is as good as he that is in the world with it, if not much better; for that baptism which preaches not repentance from all the ways of fallen man, and manners there set up, is none of John's; And they who walk in the flesh, are none of Christ's. So with the light of Christ, if you mind it, you will see yourselves out of the true baptism, both as to the matter, manner and the end, which are crying up ordinances in the world, which lead not out of the world, and when the world comes to judgment, that baptism will not save you from the world's portion.
But this I say to those, who would know the truth herein, as we have received, we do not despise any ordinance of God, which He has called any of His people to in any generation; nor dare we take a tradition upon us, which God has not required at our hands, lest we keep people in that which God is departed out of; and it be said to us, Who has required it at your hands? But God has showed us a more excellent way, The light is come, and therein have we found Christ Jesus, the Guide of His people, and the Leader of ages, even by the Spirit of truth, which leads into all truth, even into all that God requires; the obedience to which is better than sacrifice. And to direct people to this Spirit are we sent, that Christ may be all in all, who gives power in the creature to perform what He leads into; that thereby all that believe in the light, may learn Him, who begets the will and the deed also, who is the Author and Finisher of their faith, who look to Him alone, and to His light, that all may see their righteousness to be of Him alone.
And by this which we have received of Him in Spirit, do we all see you, who read what the Saints have done by call from God, and from that set yourselves to do the like, to be in the imitation and self-righteousness, and will-worship both in this, and all other things, into which you are not led by the Lord, and by a call from Him: For this I say, That the Father has given His Son for a Leader and Guide to all ages, and into and out of forms He pleases, in His way and time in every generation.
And therefore it is, That all who know His will herein, cannot endure that any visible thing should be set up, to limit His leading in Spirit, or His people from following in Spirit. So no form we deny, into which Christ leads in Spirit; but all forms we deny, that are imposed by men to keep people from following the Spirit; for those only are the children of God, who are led by the Spirit of God, to whom they, who are led by the letter, were ever enemies: for it is the spiritual ministration that gives the knowledge of God, and His glory and power, and not the literal; for he that is born after the flesh, has his way in the visibles, but he that is born after the Spirit, has his food the world knows not of, and therefore becomes his enemy. And in that state you are, who set up the shadow to oppose the body, which is the end of the shadow; and take the letter to oppose the Spirit, which is given to declare the sufficiency of the Spirit's teaching alone; and so pervert the Scriptures out of their place and end, which are set to testify of Christ, the life and end, to set them in the place of Christ, and think to have life in them.
And this is the error of the wicked, who are gone into the world, sensual, not having the Spirit. And in this state, wherein the Spirit leads not, both Scriptures and ordinances, and all the other gifts of God, are abused, wrested out of their places, and made unprofitable. And therefore you that take up from the letter, cannot bring forth their fruits, who were spiritually called into their several ministrations; Therefore your ordinances are left to you desolate, you and they in the world together, out of which God is leading His people in Spirit, to get Himself a name, in such a way as is foolishness to your wisdom, yet the hidden wisdom of God to the children of light, who have believed therein.
And you that use great swelling words, crying, that We deny an ordinance of God. To you I say, To neglect that which is altered from what God ordained, both in call, manner and end, is no neglecting an ordinance of God. 1. God never called any to teach but first He called them out of the world, and their habitations there, to follow Christ, as into the wilderness, which were Prophets and Apostles called immediately. 2. And they did not baptize believers over again with water, who had had it, because they had it not before in their fashion; but they went to disciple unbelievers; neither did they lay it upon all, as of absolute necessity, but could forbear in case it was idolized. 3. Their ministry and end was to gather all into one, out of all the shadows and ceremonies, and fashions of the world, to follow Christ alone, as He walked, bearing His cross daily, suffering the spoiling of their goods joyfully, and their lives unto death, rather than to conform to any but Him alone, for whose sake they were hated of all men; which ministry and end, how your baptisms answer, let your pride, and pleasures, and conformity to the world, in their fashions, manners and worship, and upholding thereof; at your lawsuits, and contentions about carnal things manifest, and your rents and divisions about outward forms of baptisms and worships, and upholding that in others which you know is false, by tithes and offerings, whereby Christ is denied, and the popish inventions held up, with much such like; I say, let these things judge you before all men, and the light in your consciences answer thereto, until the Lord appear to judge your unfaithfulness herein.
This is the thing that the world's professors are contending about; and indeed, is a great mystery to them who have not yet seen the Lord, for bringing them into one body and blood, mind and heart, and soul and spirit: But since the mystery of iniquity began to work, the world's teachers and professors having lost their indwelling in the body of Christ, are run out into the imaginations, and are so far from the life of this, as that they have lost the form, and the first institution of the shadows, as it was by Christ performed, and therefore are so far from being made one in the blood of Christ, that they are shedding one anothers blood about the form, which they are all out of (and have lost it, and the power also) as held forth by Christ, as they sat at meat and did eat the Passover, and drink of the cup He gave of, they were to do it in the remembrance of Him, showing His death till He came.
And this mystery was that the Apostles received of the Lord, in the purity of the Church, before they ran into confusion, they who did continue steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, breaking bread and prayer, daily breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, in the fear and favor of God. And this was to be done at all seasons, when they ate and drank; in their eating and drinking they were to do it to the Lord, and to have communion with His body, and His blood; and for that end were to keep themselves pure from all pollution: yea, when they were to eat with the Gentiles, they were to partake of the table of the Lord as is plain, 1 Corinthians 10. And therefore they were to keep their consciences pure from things offered to idols; for they could not partake of the table of the Lord, and eat that which was sacrificed to devils; though, in some cases, they might go to feast among unbelievers, yet whether they ate or drank, they were to do it to the Lord, as at His table, and not at the table of the Gentiles, whose feasting is in the lust, and so their meat they sacrifice to devils, and eat not to God; and so do all who eat to the lust: To keep from which, there is no other thing can, but to eat in the remembrance of Christ's death till He come; who, when He is come, He takes the ordering and government of the creature Himself upon His shoulders, and so ever keeps them out of the lust in all they do.
And so is the creation restored and reconciled to God in Christ Jesus at His appearing. The Apostle exhorted that both in their eating and drinking, &c. They should do all to the glory of God, and warned of the contrary, as Jude, who saw some crept in among the Church, who did turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, walking after their own hearts lusts, whereby they defile the flesh, living in sensuality, not having the Spirit to order them, they fed themselves without fear, and these were spots in their feasts, who being once enlightened, and again giving way to the lusts and excess, they became twice dead, plucked up by the roots, yet had they great swelling words.
And of such like, are many examples at this day, who have had something quickened in them to hope for the appearance of the Lord, but fullness and excess having overtaken them, for want of eating always in fear, they are become dead again to any hope of His appearance at the present; and have put His coming afar off into another world, yet are contending about the shadows and figures of His coming, as they have imagined: but are become reprobate from the faith, as to His appearance, and plucked up by the roots.
But the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to show forth His death till He come, and they knowing this from the Lord, gave example and warning to those who were convinced, that in all fear and moderation, they might wait for His appearance; who at His coming would bring to light the hidden things, and manifest the counsels of the heart, and all its deceits, and become the Worker in them; and then they should have praise of God; and these things were transferred to the Apostles in a figure: And so they exhorted the believers to whom the Lord was at hand, to let their moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand; which they knew, all who get up into the liberty of the flesh rioting and excess, will put afar off, as it is at this day with many, who are in observations outward, who have a day to go into the idols temple, and there to eat bread, and drink wine in a self solemnity, once a month, or three times a year, or as they imagine, some affirming the body and blood of Christ to be in the creature after confession (as they call it), some saying: Nay, but it is spiritual after consecration: Others saying, It is still carnal, and not changed, because of words; and one imagines the body of Christ real in it, another , not real, but by faith, (as they say). But, in this they all agree, that they return back into the pleasures of the flesh, and fashions of the world, there to eat and drink the rest of God's creatures, to spend on their lusts; and it will be so with such as do not discern the Lord's body in their eating, who is the Life and Upholder of all creatures, and fills all things in heaven and in earth, which they who stick in observations never knew; and with such He is always to come, or past.
But the carnal eye, which sticks in the visibles can never see Him present to order the creation out of the lust, and therefore it is that all the creatures of God are turned to feed the lust, in that state, as is seen in all the world's profession, and therefore accursed: The more riches, the more pride, the more fullness, the more lust, in that state where Christ is not discerned present. And so their eating is not the supper of the Lord, nor does He sup with them in the new, but in the old lustful spirit such become the table of the devil, where the creatures are sacrificed to his use; so he keeps them in observation of a day from the letter, which they think is worship, but he bears rules in their whole lives by his spirit; and so much of the creation as is in their hands, is used at his will.
And hence is all lasciviousness, wantonness, strife, fighting, suits, and violence, sports, and vanities, too many here to mention, all which the creation is spent upon, (given not to that end) for which they shall account, who are in that state, when shall be required His corn, and His wine, His wool and His flax, which He has made for His use, and to be ordered by His Son, who is the fullness and virtue of every creature, which all know who come to His supper, where the Father and the Son are come in, and sup with the creature, which all the imitators and observers of times are ignorant of, whose contention is about outsides, and shadows.
And for the sake of such who are lost in this thing, and troubled in mind concerning it, what I have received of the Lord, that I shall declare to you, which all shall witness to, who come to partake thereof, as the truth is in Christ Jesus. If you intend to sup with the Lord, or show forth the Lord's death till He come, let your eating and drinking, so oft as you do it, be in remembrance of Him; and in His fear, that a death you may witness to the lust and excess, which is that which slew Him from the foundation of the world; and is the great enemy of His appearance, and that by which He is crucified spiritually in the great city which is called Sodom and Egypt.
For all you that live in the pleasures of the earth, and are wanton; you that nourish your hearts, as in the day of slaughter, you have condemned and killed the Just, and He does not resist you; and you must know a death to this, before you can sup with the Lord, or He with you: But if you eat in the remembrance of Him, and so come to die to that which slew Him, then you do show the Lord's death till He come; and when He comes, He shall not find you eating and drinking with the drunken, nor beating your fellow-servants.
And this is known from the Lord in the eternal light, to be the true end of the supper of the Lord, that at His coming they may be found fit to receive Him; which they who feed without fear do deny, and crucify afresh to themselves.
And therefore in another place, speaking of His coming, He warns them to take heed, lest at any time in eating, their hearts be over-charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon them unawares, and so become a snare to them; for so it is to all who are in that state, when He should appear to them, and they cannot receive the day of His visitation, whose hearts are gone out into these carnal things.
And this He knew, that till that Man be born, which lives not by bread alone, that man that lives only on the creatures is soon drawn into them, and so to forget His coming, who is the Maker thereof, who is the Sanctifier thereof: And so orders the outward food as to God, and not to carnal things, the mind grows thereby, and so to the pure all things are pure: But where the pure is not, all things are defiled, when they are not sanctified by the word and prayer; and therefore are to be received in fear; and therein remembering His death till He come, who is the word and the power, which at His coming restores all things to God, which till then are subject to be used to the lust, which was the thing Christ in tender love to His disciples, before His departure, warned them against, knowing that their nature would draw to the earth-ward, not yet being fully changed, nor having Christ born in them to keep them, and for all this His warning and leaving this as a sign, how soon they had forgot the promise of His coming, till He renewed the remembrance of it, making Himself known in breaking of bread again after His resurrection; and so charging them to wait for His coming at Jerusalem, the promise of the Father, of which He had told them before His death; which they were to show so oft as the broke bread till He came; and after He was come to the Apostles, they condescended for their sakes, who were weak in the faith, to whom He was not yet appeared; and to those did break bread from house to house, and eat with singleness of heart to Christ, and not to the lust; which was another thing than the world's observation of bread and wine, or wafers in the idols temple, where the Lord's death is not showed till He come; where some are hungry, and some are drunken; where the covetous, the proud, the liars, swearers, whoremongers, fighters, scorners, and all evil workers meet, to eat bread and wine so often a year, and return into the corrupt lusts again; which is not to eat the Lord's body, nor His supper, nor at His table, but the table of devils.
And this shall all know, that you who do this for a hour, or a day, and then feed without fear, not showing the Lord's death till He come, you are they who eat judgment to yourselves herein: And all your will-worship will not be found at that day to be an ordinance of Christ, as you have limited it; nor can you know His coming to your salvation. And of this sort are you who now say, The Lord delays His coming, and have put it to another generation; if not, till doomsday, as you call it; and so have settled yourselves in your worldly pleasures, and high notions, with the drunken spirit eating and drinking, and beating your fellow-servants, mocking, whipping and imprisoning them at your will and pleasure, having forgot His coming; which if you did remember to show forth His death so often as you eat and drink till He come, you should not have been found in blindness and opposition to His coming, (as to yourselves) nor persecuting Him now who is come in others; nor should your table have been made a snare to you, that that day should overtake you unawares, (as it is seen at this day) upon whom the words of Christ are to be fulfilled.
This is that which many boast on, and glory in, who never knew what it is to be redeemed farther than in words, and imagination thereof; nay, there are few who are come so far as to know what it is to want redemption, and what the promise is to, and wherein only it is seen and received, for there is a Seed in which the promise of redemption to the soul is, but you who take delight in sin, and plead for it, are not in that Seed.
You that can take pleasure in the flesh, and fashion yourself thereto, are of another seed, who are at liberty in the world, to conform yourself thereto in your own will and way, and time, who are at liberty to do what you list, and when you list, and as you list: You see no need of redemption who are at ease in sin, nor Physician who are not sick; and so a talk of redemption little changes your condition in that state, who are of this world, and obtain that you love, and therein take pleasure; building a seat, and blessing yourself therein, laying up your treasures here below; He that redeems Israel's Seed is no glad tidings to you, who speaks woe to all in that state.
But if you find something in you, that in all these worldly delights cries vanity, and emptiness, and can find no satisfaction therein, nor can conform to this world, nor take pleasure in wickedness, that cannot plead for sin, but cries woe to you because of your wickedness, and mourns because of the abominations of your times, wherein you have followed the world's customs, and foolish fashions; if you find that in you, that cannot take delight in decking the outside with pride, nor worship of the creature, nor bow to any but God alone, but condemns you if you do so: If you find that which breathes in you towards God for life and strength against all these vanities, and all other evils, that which would have you follow God out of the world; I say, if such a Seed you find in you, though it be the least of all seeds in you, yet that is the Seed of the kingdom, to which the promise is; and no farther than that principle is raised to reign in you above all that is contrary to it, no further are you redeemed by Christ Jesus: for that is the Plant of God's renown, the lily among thorns; which with the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and pleasures, is choked, that it may not bring forth to God, who has placed it in you for Himself, that therein He might teach you to profit, and from thence you might receive wisdom and strength, yea, all that is needful for you in your measure to which you are called.
And this lying oppressed and vailed under your lusts and pleasures, is the cause you know not God the Father, nor the Son, for to this birth He is revealed, though you talk of redemption, yet you know not God, nor His power, nor life, nor Presence with you to guide you out of the evil, and to give you victory over the prince of this world, and his dominion; but are captivated at his will, to do his works, and so under condemnation that he is in; and the talk of redemption does not deliver you from his temptations; but into it you fall, and commit the sin that is of his moving, and so are of the devil; but that which is of God suffers for you; death and captivity, and bonds of iniquity being over you, and so you cannot have power, nor the promise, nor salvation, which in the Seed is placed, which is not of you, nor with you, while you are in these delights, but against you, and you sinning against it, and so are not of the promised Seed, but an enemy to it, and by your lusts and pleasures, and self-will, are in Pharaoh's state, and nature, resisting the Seed of God, and are in the house of bondage, and do not pity nor regard the cries thereof, which cries against your pride and excess, envy and wrath, and all your wickedness, by which you oppress the Seed of God in you, (in that state where death reigns) for which the wrath of God comes upon the world for iniquity; who are enemies to that Seed which is of the covenant; and are not joined to it, (but to the contrary, in the contrary nature) to which all who are joined in the light, come to partake of God's love, and life therein by Christ Jesus; who took upon Him that Seed after the flesh, not of the seed of the evil one, nor the nature of angels, but the Seed of Abraham, to whom the promise is.
And all who know this, quickened and raised by the Spirit of Jesus, know the Plant of God's renown, and God's own planting, in which the fruit is found; and such know where to wait for a supply of all wants, and counsel in all straits; where the law is received that is spiritual, and the righteousness of faith; from which God's righteousness is manifest in the world, not of self nor self-works, nor of that corrupt seed, but of the heritage of faith, a free gift.
And in this Seed men are redeemed, and the Saints have fellowship with the Father, and the Son in the light, and all the gifts and graces, whereby that creature becomes free from the law of sin, that they may be married to Christ, in Him to serve the living God, set free from the service of sin and satan: And this is their freedom, even their righteousness, which is everlasting, as the soul is redeemed out of the pit of corruption; for where this Seed is raised up, there the creature receives from God of His fullness; but where the soul is in the grave, the curse is between, upon him where the sin is, and the trespasses, by which it is slain: but where this is raised, and the immortal birth born, the creature is blessed of God for the Seed's sake, throughout all the nations of the earth, for in this is God worshipped, but where death reigns, the sacrifice is an abomination, for they that are in the grave cannot praise God; it's the living that He accepts, and not the dead.
And this I say to all you that find such a thing as is holy, thus moving in you against your lusts and worldly pleasures: Take heed, and do not deceive yourselves with a talk of redemption, while this is in prison, and not brought above all your lusts; but in the light of Christ wait, which lets you see this, that you may see His power in Spirit to raise this to reign above all in you that is contrary, and so shall you reign with it over all the world, and its wicked ways; but if you have found this breathing towards God, and you have no regard thereto, take heed, lest He that gave this for your salvation, take it away from you in wrath, and leave you to your lusts without reproof; (for His Spirit will not always strive with you) and then it had been good you had not been born.
And this has befallen many after many reproofs and motions to good, who are now left to fill up their measure with greediness; who now glory in their shame, and boast of their filthiness; and this day is coming upon many more, who now little mind the measure of God's grace moving in them, but live in the world's lust, sinning against their conscience for self-ends, and yet please themselves with a talk of redemption: as the greatest profession now set up by many, is to make the redemption of Christ a cover for licentiousness, and fleshly liberty, and say they are to that end redeemed; which redemption the Son of God needed not to come from heaven to purchase for them, man being thither fallen, by nature subject thereto; but all who know the redemption of Christ, by His precious blood, are redeemed from the vain conversation received by tradition, into the holy conversation of Him that has called them to be holy, and not vain, as the world is vain. And this is true redemption to all that know it, whereby Christ has received redemption for us, who were transgressors, even to purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. And for this end He gave Himself for us, to Redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify to Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works: Who has redeemed us to God by His blood, out of kindreds, tongues, and sinful nations, from among men, to follow the Lamb, and not the worldly lust. And all whose redemption leads not out of this world, will fail you, when you look for another, and this all that are redeemed know; but who live in the lust are blinded with the god thereof, as the light in every conscience shall testify, that he that lives to the flesh is not redeemed.
So with the light of Christ which lets you see your transgressions, search your hearts, that you may see if the just principle that moves to righteousness be not oppressed, and burdened by the seed of the evil-doer, and that nature which loves carnal delights; and so you be led captive to do the works of satan; than what redemption have you farther than a talk? Like a man that has a conceit of eating, but still hungry: So you conceit freedom, but still serve sin; and while servants of sin, you are free from righteousness; as he that is a servant of righteousness is free from sin; for it is an easy thing to conceit righteousness and redemption, but he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous: But this is not seen, while the Seed of God is oppressed, and not regarded.
The wisdom of men in the fall finding these several words in Scripture, has in their imaginations run them into divisions, and separated that which is in one, and cannot be divided in the possession; for it is one Spirit that works all these, where He is present, according to the measure received. And this is the Just One, who by faith lives in the creature, and the creature in him, and so becomes the Justifier and Sanctifier of all that believe, and the mortifier of that nature which is out of the faith; and one of these is not alone without the rest. For that which sanctifies, that mortifies, and the same justifies; and all that know what it is to have these in the life, know this.
I know there a people who have a desire to heaven more than to holiness; and they, lest they should spoil their carnal delights, have in their brain-imagination conceited a justification without sanctification, or mortification; wresting those Scriptures which condemn the works of the law, and therewith they would exclude the righteousness of faith also.
And because the Scripture says, God justifies or pardons the ungodly through faith, therefore they conclude themselves justified in their ungodliness by a fancy which they call faith, but are without faith in Christ: For that faith which lays not hold upon God's righteousness, is not the faith of Christ, but a dead thing; for so far as any have the faith of Christ, so far it reveals the righteousness without the law, from faith to faith; by which righteousness of God, the just live, and the unjust die; and so justified, as they are sanctified, and mortified, and no further; even as the righteousness of God without the law is manifest, being witnessed by the law, and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all that believe, without respect of persons.
No righteousness, no faith in Christ; but where God's righteousness is unto all, and upon all, there the belief is witnessed, and the faith is showed by the works, which cannot be showed without the works; for that faith that has not works is dead, being alone; as the body without the Spirit, so is your faith without works; and so is your justification without holiness, and mortification of life.
And you will find in the end, that he that justifies the wicked in you, is the same that condemns the just, and they are both abomination to the Lord: And this is your state who plead for sin, and live in pleasure, and wantonly on the earth; you slay the Just, and Holy One, and save the unjust alive; and so know not Him that is just; who justifies, mortifies, sanctifies and redeems; who of God is made so to us, that in all things we are and have, we may glory in Him.
And although the Scriptures mention these three, yet not to divide them so, as to make people believe they may have one and not all; but as to show the several effects of that one work of man's redemption, all wrought by one thing in the creature. For the blood and Spirit of Christ washes away the filth, and so puts off the old man, and mortifies the deeds of the body, and so sanctifies, and justifies, the Spirit it mortifies, and sanctifies, and justifies. Now though the Saints named both these, it was not to divide them; but being one, they might declare it by either; for none could have the one without the other, and all that have them, are thereby mortified, sanctified, and justified. Yet none of these without man's obedience, being works of faith, and not of self: For by the law of faith is self-sanctification, self-mortification, and self-justification excluded, though they who have received the Spirit were called to all these by faith in His blood, yea, it is the work of God wrought by Christ in the believer, and in the light are they called to behold the work of God, which He will work in all that believe in the light, that they may receive His Son, in whom the promise is, and the power to mortification, sanctification, and justification as by faith He is received, who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification: but such who share in His justification, but not have fellowship in His sufferings and obedience, are such as are justified in conceit, but sin reigns, and the unjust lives and acts in them, and this is self that justifies self, but is not just before God, man being dead in trespasses and sins; but God justifies the living, and not the dead.
Therefore the Saints suffered the loss of all things, counting them as dross and dung, that they might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death: These through death came to the power and fellowship of His resurrection, whereby they are justified, being raised with Him to newness of life; by faith receiving the gift of God's righteousness, and becoming servants thereto; and thereby became free from sin: And this is true justification, where there is no condemnation, where the deeds of the flesh are mortified, and the creature walks no more after the flesh, but after the Spirit: For the condemnation is to him that walks after the flesh, but he that walks in the Spirit is justified: For he that walks in the Spirit shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and there is mortification to that nature that breaks the law; and the Just is seen who fulfills the law, in such as walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. So, not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. In the first or earthly man's state, the law is broken, and there mortification, and sanctification is denied, and there the man would be justified from the guilt of sin, but not from the love and power of sin, but would have his carnal delights in the world, and heaven also, but this is vain hope, and will perish: But in the second man's state, the law is fulfilled, through mortification, sanctification, justification of the Spirit. And no man can be justified where the Just lives not; for that by which the Just lives, is that by which the creature is justified.
In this thing are many people confounded, yea all who know not the ministration of the Spirit; for such going into the Scriptures, and finding the ministration of the letter, and the ministration of the Spirit, and themselves being under neither of these, but in notion, as they have received it, in their imaginations, and not from the mouth of the Lord, some say they are under the law, and that it continues still: others say, but some part of it, which is moral; others say, Nay, but it is done away, and they are not under any ministration of law, but under grace; and so by their faith make void the law, not knowing what they say herein. And this is, all such know, either of law or Gospel, who in their carnal wisdom read the letter, and from thence imagine what is law, and what is grace, not having the Spirit by which they were ministered to the Saints, and by them received, who had the law in their hearts, and grace there also; and such do know that the one of these does not make void the other, but establishes the other; for the coming of Christ was not to make void, but to fulfill the law; and He does not come to put the law afar off, but to bring it near, that with His light all may see it, as it is written in the heart, by the living God; and He is so far from destroying or taking away the law, that He declares it in its force and purity, saying, that one jot or tittle should not pass till all be fulfilled.
And whereas it was said in the letter, You shall not commit adultery, He says, You shall not lust: In the letter it was said, You shall not swear falsely, but in the Spirit, He says, Swear not at all: In the letter, You shall not kill, but in the Spirit, You shall not be angry; and whosoever does any of these things is guilty before God, and this is far from making it void, which declares it in its purity, so they who might seem to be clear in the letter, might be found guilty in the law of the Spirit; that by Christ Jesus, who is the end of that law, they may come to see their condemnation, and by faith in Him come to be set free, not by the blood of bulls, and goats, and the ashes of an heifer, and carnal sacrifices, oracles, legal temple or altar, or days, or Sabbath without in the letter, but by Christ Jesus the end of all these, ministering to the soul, and conscience, to wash away sin, and purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God, which the ministration of the letter and carnal ordinances could not do.
And for this cause is the ministration of the letter done away, because it could not make perfect the comers thereto, as pertaining to the conscience. And the ministration of the Spirit preached in its stead, which gives perfect knowledge of sin, and perfect redemption from it, and from all things, from which the law without could not do, and the same Spirit does testify it perfectly, in the conscience, which the letter cannot, though the letter may show a man his condemnation, yet it cannot give life, it can show the duty, but not give power to perform it; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
And hence it is that all you who read your duty in the letter, but want power to perform what you read, you set up your imaginations instead of performance: and some say the law is done away, and now none shall be condemned by it, others say Christ fulfilled it in His own person, and to believe what He did sixteen hundred years since, is all we need to do, others say, nay, but we must do what we can do of what the Scripture commands, and He will do the rest, with His Father, others say, that what we do He makes it accepted with the Father, as though He did perform all that is required; but none in that state knows His commands in Spirit, which give life and power to perform what is commanded in Spirit, which none know who read what others did, but want their Spirit and power to perform the same; This was the self-righteousness, and is the self-righteousness which is by the letter of the law, taken on without the Spirit of life, which is in Christ Jesus.
And here is the weakness of the law taken on through the flesh, but the power of the law, to such as receive it in Spirit and life; for the law is fulfilled in Spirit, and not in the letter; and so in Christ, and not in self; and so by faith, and not by works; even by the everlasting righteousness of God, freely given and received by faith, and revealed in the creature from faith to faith in everyone that believes; and not by works of the law which the creatures see in the letter, and set themselves a doing, who are carnal, and sold under sin, not quickened by the Spirit of righteousness; for the letter of the law gives a knowledge of sin; but the law in the Spirit gives not only the knowledge of sin, but the knowledge of God, and His righteousness in Christ Jesus, for fulfilling the law, which is life eternal, according to His promise, I will write My law in your hearts, and put it in your inward parts, and you shall all know Me, from the greatest to the least.
So all you who read the commands in the letter without, from thence you may fetch your own condemnation, but from thence you cannot fetch power for obedience, to justification of life. From within is the life in Spirit, and not in the letter. And here is a change of the law to that which is spiritual, the priesthood spiritual, the temple spiritual, the altar, the circumcision, the offering, the blood, the oracle, the anointing, the washings, and the whole worship, which was without, and could make nothing perfect, changed and become spiritual and within; to the better hope, being more perfect than that without could be, for He is perfect.
Now the law was added because of transgression till the promised Seed should come, of whom it is prophesied in types and figures; which Seed is Christ, the end of the law to everyone that believes, without respect of persons, and so it is in the Spirit.
A law has God written in the heart, whereby the transgressor is condemned in his own conscience, and this law is upon the first man, who is the transgressor, and has power over the man as long as he lives, judging, reproving, and condemning; and prophesying of One that is to come to fulfill the law in everyone who minds the light, and so is a Schoolmaster, to bring to Christ; and till He come to fulfill it, who is the end of it, there is condemnation upon the creature; because the pure law of God is broken; and this is testified by the light in the conscience, a Witness against the old man and his deeds, which is contrary to the perfect law of God; and so by that which is perfect is he condemned who is imperfect, where the image of God is lost, and death reigns, because of trespasses and sins.
For God did not give a law to condemn His own work, but the work of the devil. And where the transgressor is, there is the work of the devil. And the law has power over that man as long as the transgressor lives. And all his works are by the law condemned, until the resurrection of the Seed, and the image of God be witnessed, and all things subdued to Him, who is the end of the law, by whom the fruits the Spirit are brought forth, against which there is no law. And so by His resurrection, and the virtue thereof, that which is of God in the conscience is answered, and so the creature saved from the condemnation of the law of God, which respects no man's person: but has respect to His own Seed, but condemns all who are in death, and where death reigns.
So the law that lays hold upon all transgressors, we witness to endure, spiritual, just, and good; given forth against the first man, and his works good or bad, (as people call them) yea, though he set himself to do the works of the law never so zealously, yet a witness of condemnation the pure law of God is against him in his conscience, until the promised Seed and Birth thereof be born, which is not of the will of the first man, nor after the flesh, but after the Spirit, after the will of God (one with the law) and by His grace, who shows the mercy and glad tidings. Now Israel after the flesh, who received the law in the literal ministration and carnal ordinances from them, was Christ to come, who was made of a woman under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, if they did believe.
Even so now Israel after the Spirit, who receive the law in the spiritual ministration written in the heart, such shall witness the Child born of the Royal Seed, Heir of the promise, even of God's righteousness, for the fulfilling of the pure law of God, for that end given forth; Whereof there are many witnesses at this day, who have patiently waited in what God has written in their hearts, seen with the light of Christ; who have therein received the faith of the Gospel, and the end of that faith, even God's righteousness revealed from faith to faith, whereby the pure law of God is fulfilled in many, and fulfilling in others, who abide in their measure of faith which God has dealt to them, walking in the light, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and so by the law of the Spirit of life, which is in Christ Jesus, see themselves set free from the law of sin and death, and so witness the Gospel, which you cannot do, who cast the law of God, and His light behind your backs, and in your vain mind say you are not under it; in the day of trial you will be found under the condemnation thereof, and that in every conscience shall witness thereto, at that day.
This is He whom the world much talk of, but few there be that know Him, though it be He by whom all things were made, who is the life of all creatures, who was before all creatures, without beginning of days, or end of life, a Priest forever, and a King, of whose dominion there is no end; by Him kings reign, and dominions are cast down, though they know Him not where self is standing, who is hidden from the world's wisdom, and the depth of prudence cannot find Him out, yet does He reveal Himself to such as walk in His light, which is contrary to all the dark paths of the world, nor can the will of man walk therein; but who deny themselves, that they may learn the way of the Lord, to such He freely reveals His way to their return, that He may bring them down from the seat of exaltation, and make known to them the beginning, and from whence they are dug, that they may see Him that bears up the pillars of the earth, and has laid the foundation thereof; who has set the world in their hearts, so that they who stood not in His counsel; cannot find out the beginning, nor the end of the work of God; yet will vain man in that state be imagining touching Him, and from whence He had his beginning who is the eternal Word, before all time, glorified in the heavens with the Father, who in time was manifest, which Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and took upon Him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the death, that He might become a living Example to all generations, which no creature could be, the whole creation being in the fall, and having finished the work, and offered up Himself for man's redemption, given Him of the Father to do, and for which He was begotten, He ascended far above all heavens, to prepare a place for all that follow Him by faith in His light; and that from thence all such as wait for Him, may see His appearance as a Savior. And only such know Him for their Redeemer, who know Him for their judge and Lawgiver, who love Him, and keep His commandments; to such He comes, and the Father also, and make their abode with him.
And this is He who is the Light of the world, and lights every man that comes into the world, who stands at the door and knocks, and if any hear His voice and open, He will come in and sup with him; and such know Him, and He knows them who hear His voice, by which they are quickened out of the trespasses and sins, and the Seed of God raised over death in man, but where death reigns, Christ is rejected, and the wisdom by which He should be known is foolishness.
So if you desire to know Him who is not of this world, but who is before the world was, a Witness against all the world's ways and wickedness, then mind that light in you that thus witnesses; for as Christ is, so is His light that leads to Him; for that which bears testimony against the world, is not of the world, even as He is not of the world, and so leads out of the world, to Him that is not known in the world; for the world by wisdom knows Him not. And as you feel the Light of the world, you will come to see the Seed, which to the world's wisdom and glory is crucified; to which Seed are all the promises, and wherein is all the knowledge of God and Christ. And as that Seed is raised, and man born thereof, therein is the Father revealed, and His power and Godhead in His Son Jesus Christ, which in Him dwells, and without Him is not revealed, but being known is life eternal, and eternal power, and eternal glory and riches, made manifest in the light; for as you know this Seed raised by the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead; so shall you see Him, to whom all power and judgment is committed in heaven and in earth, and for whom, and by whom all things were made in heaven and earth, of whom it is said, When He brings His only begotten Son into the world, let all the Angels worship Him; who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire, whose flesh is the life of men, and His light is as a law that goes forth; whereby man is led to his spiritual food, and the sons of men see out of darkness. And this is He who cannot be limited, nor restrained in one place, who fills heaven and earth with His Presence, and appears at His pleasure to His own (though the wise of the world know Him not, and therefore limit Him only above the stars) who dwells in His Saints: But as for the reprobates, they know Him not so, who have put the good day far from them, and hate reproof, that they may spend their days in folly, and feed themselves with the wind, and fill their hearts with carnal delights. When the hearts of the children are established with grace, yet these will be disputing about the body of Christ; but the body of sin rules in them, whereby they are darkened, and become heart-blind, past feeling the measure of God's grace, whose hearts are overcharged with surfeiting, and cares of the world, and their minds corrupted with earthly things.
To such I say, cease your imaginations, as to find out what Christ is in that state; for He alone reveals Himself in Spirit, to such as wait in the light, and love that which is pure; to such His Appearance is as the sun, whose rising is not by the will of man, but for His appearing all the world must wait, if they'll be saved and refreshed with the beams of His glory: And to all that are yet in the night shall He appear, if you look towards the place of His rising, which is not, Lo, here, lo, there; but within you, in your hearts. And all who are come to the sure word of prophecy, as to a light that shines in a dark place, to which you do well to take heed, till the day dawn, and the Day-Star arise in your hearts, you shall see the Sun arise, where the Day-Star appears in your hearts, if in the light you wait that shines in the darkness; and you shall feel the virtue and life of Him, and receive thereof to live in the same with Him; and you shall see Him as He is, and know Him to be the Son of righteousness, whose arising is with healing in His wings, and whose breaking forth is upon all His enemies which over the Seed have reigned; whose spiritual weapons are mighty through God, to the pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Himself, and having in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
And thus the Saints know the Son with His light, His power and dominion over all things in heaven and in earth, who rules in righteousness in the hearts of His people, trampling down satan under their feet, which Son of God hypocrites call, Lord, Lord, but the devil they serve and obey; and though such have got the words of the Lord, and Christ, and Jesus, yet they know not His light, His power, His kingdom and dominion, over sin and the devil in them, to set them free therefrom, by His light and life; nor this blood of Christ to wash them from their pollutions, and to present them without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. And so you have made the name of Christ a reproach among the nations, who call Him a Redeemer, but live in your sins: So such as profess not the syllables of Christ and Jesus, even from a Principle of God within them, many of them become your judges, as to moderation, faithfulness and honesty.
Nay, it is manifest among you, that the name of Jesus, which gives the Saints victory over sin, you know not, who have it in words, and therewith make a cover for your sin, your pride, your lust and excess. What covetousness, and all manner of unrighteousness is covered over with a profession of the name of Christ, which redeems from those things all that know Him? For none know Jesus further than they know a Savior from sin, and not a cover for sin, and live in t: for the promise of the Father is, He shall save His people from their sins. And the children of the promise know this to be so without a cover or meaning to live in sin. And none know Christ, but who know the Anointing, and such need no man to teach them, but as the Anointing teaches them all things that are true, if they abide therein, and there is no lie in it.
But who say they know Christ, and are redeemed, and commit sin, not keeping His commands, are liars, and so abide not in the truth and Anointing; and so are of the devil, and not of Christ; for he that abides in Christ, sins not, for the name of Jesus Christ is power over all sin, as it is known, and the creature baptized into it by faith. So all that know Christ, know the Seed, the promise, the Word of life, the covenant, the heritage, the righteousness, the kingdom, the power, the glory which is not of this world, and the Father of all; which you that commit sin have not seen. Neither can you say, That Jesus is Lord, but by the Spirit, so you whose knowledge is without, another lord rules within.
The ministers of Christ are ever called out of the world, and contrary to the world, contrary to their own wills, and the wills of all flesh, for such have the Word who are begotten of the Word, and such are begotten contrary to the will of man, and through such came the Scriptures, which came not by the will of man, but by the Spirit, and so are of no private interpretations, nor are His ministers of any private call, but of Himself, who has all creatures in His hand, to choose whom He will, to go on His message, nor would He ever send by any whom the kings of the earth did choose, nor the powers thereof, but such as they called and set up without His immediate call, were ever the great enemies to such as He sent. And this is evident in all the Scriptures, and in all histories since, that whenever the mystery of iniquity had spread over, and darkness had passed over His Seed, and His people had broken His covenant, and lost His Word, then He in love to His people sent out some immediately, who had His Word in them, to bear witness to the Lord, against all their backslidings and self-ways, and formal worships, and to such the world's ministers, or rather masters, were ever enemies, and sought to stir up the powers of men against them, to devour them, under the name of blasphemers and heretics, and destroyers of worship, and peace-breakers and enemies to authority, when they were sent of God to testify against their false worship, and break the peace of the wicked one, who keeps his house in peace till a stronger than he comes. And this you shall find recorded through the Scriptures, and all histories of persecution in all ages, and at this day. And you shall never find that ever any of these could join in with the world's worships, but cried them down, their priests, their prophets, their days, their times, their places, their whole worship, who were gone out into the world, from the Word and Spirit, for which they were envied of them who were therein, and such as they had deceived thereby; for the world ever loves its own, but he that is of God testifies against the world, and the deeds thereof, that they are evil, thereby hated for the truth's sake.
And as the ministers of Christ are ever called out of the world, and the things thereof, so they are not careful for the things of the world; but He who is their Minister, is their Maintainer, whom they preach. And so they that preach the Gospel live of the Gospel: So never any of His sought to the people for means, nor bear rule by it, nor sought for their gain from their quarter; nor taught for the fleece, preached for hire, nor prophesied for money, for pieces of bread, nor handfuls of corn, none of Christ's ministers ever lived in personages, nor lived upon tithes, nor ever went to the law with their flock for carnal things; they never loved to be called masters of their hearers, but servants; they were never approved, or commissionated by men to whom they were to preach, but sent of God to preach to such as sought Him not; and among such they in all things approved themselves to be ministers of God (that the ministry be not blamed) in much patience, in affliction, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the Word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and yet alive; chastened, sorrowful, poor, having nothing, wandering up and down, having no certain dwelling-place. And in this sate their care was, that they might keep the Gospel without charge, and yet they were ever hated by such as were approved of men, who stirred up such as they preached to for their hire, to persecute them that preached freely, to such as are so far from hiring them, as they would rather devour them than hear them, yet will hire and hear them of their own choosing. And this must be, that the grace of God may appear to be free, and He be found of them that sought Him not.
And this was ever His way, who will be taught of none, nor shall any choose for Him, by whom He shall send, nor shall any whom He sends ever want, nor take care for ought beforehand, that they may follow their Master, and be as their Lord, who shall feed many, but seek to none for food, but what God gives: for it is not the like that they should feed others with everlasting food; who dare not trust God for carnal food; for God will not have such as are of His family, and His ministers, to take care for food and raiment, nor wherewith to feed others; for who love the Word in them, in which all fullness is, need not study to say, nor have a divination to make, what to preach, like them who have not the Word in them, but what they steal from another, or to fetch out of the bottomless pit by divination and witchcraft, who can have the words in their own time and wills, against whom they will, and to flatter whom they will; who cry peace to such as put into their mouths, else they prepare war against them, who mind earthly things, whose god is their belly, who talk against pride, and live in it; against covetousness, and live in it; who preach against sin, but cannot cease from sin. And such as they are, such are their hearers, who in words confess Christ, but in works deny Him. And these are they who for their pride, pleasures, and carnal ends, have changed the Lord's worship from what it was, both in matter and manner, means and maintenance, and so have scattered the Lord's people into sects and opinions, forms, customs and traditions in every nation, as may best suit their wicked wills; for which they pretend decency, order and necessity, so that they are not found in the way of God, nor form of true worship, as the Scriptures will own without wresting. And now the Lord is appeared in the true way, as Christ left it with His disciples, to gather His own from all these mountains where they are scattered, all the idle shepherds are gathering against Him to battle, of all sorts, not willing to hear of the living way, which is but one, in which there is no rent, sect or error, but Christ in all; nay, one can scarcely grieve a town teacher worse than to tell him of the Apostles way of preaching, their call, their Spirit, their wanderings, their wages, their Word, and way of walking in this world, and among their hearers, as is declared in Scripture without a meaning, or liberty to change it according to the times.
Nay, though all their parish be believers (as they call them) yet can they not believe they shall get their wages from them without a law to compel them, so that though they have begot a larger faith in their hearers than the Apostles ever taught, (to wit) That though they commit sin while they live, yet they may be saved and set free when they die; Yet have not they so much faith themselves, as to believe they will pay them their wages, without it being forced from them, that which none of Christ's ministers ever did, either in law or gospel. So we may not say that these are ministers of Christ, or like them, if we will speak truth, and take Christ's rule to judge by, who says, By their fruits you shall know them.
Nor should I have spoken thus much of them in this place, did they but call themselves the ministers of men, made so by them, and so upheld and maintained, but such as call themselves ministers of Christ, and walk so far unlike Him and His in all things, I say, to such as are found in these things; your ways testify to your faces, and before all men, that you are no more like the ministers of Christ, than they that walked in your steps before you. So, search the Scriptures, and search your hearts with the light of Christ, and know your portion, and count me not your enemy for telling you the truth; however, I have cleared my conscience in love to your souls, though such as are deceived through blind zeal and envy cannot receive it.
There is no will free for God, but that which is turned against (and free from) sin, which will man lost in the fall, when he let in the will of the devil, and entered into it; wherein man became in bondage. And all that man in that state knows of the free-will, is by that which moves in him against the will of the flesh and of the devil, which is seen in the light of Christ. And this is according to the will of God, whereby He wills not the death of the sinner. God calls man to be willing and obedient, and this will of God is manifest according to the Spirit, which is free, always moving contrary to the will of the flesh, which is in bondage to the devil. And this will that is free, only those who abide in the light do feel the moving of it present in the Spirit; and as the spiritual man is quickened by the word of God, and man born of that which is not of the flesh, nor of the will of it; so is that will seen in man which is free, wherein the creature is made free from the will of the flesh, which is bondage. So the spiritual man has the spiritual will, which is free, and that is from above. And the carnal man, which is from below, his will keeps in bondage, who is contrary to God in all things; but who is begotten again of the word from above is free-born (when he is born) who is born of the Spirit; for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; but where the spirit of the world rules, there is bondage: for as is the man, so is his will. So with the light of Christ, which shows you the thoughts of your heart, if you diligently mind it, you may see the two motions of the two wills, each contrary to the other; the one after the flesh, the other after the Spirit. So whether of these wills you are a servant to, that you may be said to have, and to the other you are an enemy; for no man has free-will further than he is joined to it, though he that is in his own will, may feel the will of God contrary to him, and that will he is in; yet can he not come to it, until he owns that which leads him to take up the cross to his own will, and in the cross to his own will is He born, who has the will of God, wherein God works to will and to do of His good pleasure, in the male and in the female, even the Plant of God, who has the will of God, the mind of God, as in measure he it forms in the creature. So man has not free-will further than he is free born from above, of the Seed that sins not, and the growth in the Seed is mans freedom; but while this lies under the earthly will and self, thereby it is denied, though the free-will may often move in the creature to holiness, and be felt in the light of Christ, as a tender of healing, where it's minded and obeyed, for that will which is of God only, leads to God; by which will we are sanctified and saved. But you that stand in the will of the flesh resist it, and so you will not come to Christ, that you may have life, for the will of God, which is life, is free, and freely tendered in Christ Jesus to every creature; and in the light, which reproves the evil deeds, it is seen: for that's free grace which shows man his sin, and reproves for it, which would lead to God, calls to be willing and obedient, and to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and so to live godly, righteously and soberly in this evil world. And that's free-will, which wills not that you should commit sin, which will is, that you should not die. So man's destruction is of himself, and self-will, by which he resists the will of God; but salvation is of the will of God which is free, and in the measure of God's gift is this freedom found and enjoyed. So that in Christ I have free-will, but in the flesh is bondage. Therefore the flesh must be denied by all that will own freedom in the will or deed; for none have free-will but who in the light of Christ have learned to deny their own wills; and such know, that in the first man is neither will or deed that is free from sin, nor for God, and His work or worship; for God has concluded the whole man under sin, that the gift of grace might appear to be free, that all might glory in the Lord, and the whole treasures be found in Him, to whom every tongue shall confess, when the glory of man shall come to an ed, to His praise who is blessed forevermore.
I am the resurrection and the life (says Christ) he that believes in Me though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Blessed is he that knows and believes in Him, who is the first resurrection, for on such the second death shall have no power. Yet the day comes, in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Judge, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation.Think of this, you wicked workers, who live and die in your sins, and yet please yourselves with talking of the resurrection, and what a glorious day it will be, a woeful day to you will it be, who are found in your sins, and in the love of the world, you profane Esaus, and cursed Nimrods, and proud Hamans, who trample upon the despised Seed of innocency, you must not then stop the mouth of truth any longer, but right must be heard and pass, as to the high, so to the low; you hypocrites, who confess God in words, but in works deny Him, what will this be to you, when your fair covers must be taken away, and by your works you must be judged? Will He say to you, because you have been great talkers of Me, therefore your deceits shall not be laid open? Or, I will first make you clean before I judge you; but all others will I judge as I find them? You that are pleading for sin while you live, and holiness when you are dead, you will not then find it as you have conceited, but as you are found. A terrible day will this be to you who die in your sins; and this the children of light know, whom your envious minds are accusing, as though they denied the resurrection, though you see them preparing for it, by casting off the deeds of darkness and works of the flesh, and all the ungodly ways of the world, the pleasures and vanities thereof, and esteeming more of the cross of Christ, and the reproach of the world, counting that greater riches than the present glory of the world, and friendship thereof: But were our hope only in this life, we were of all men most miserable, who have denied all these things for the Lord, that in Him we might be found at that day, in whom we look for a better resurrection; which did not we see to be an unsearchable reward, we have an opportunity to return: But a better country we desire, and we know that a city is prepared for us, whose Maker is God, a durable habitation in the heavens, which such who love the world cannot receive: And therefore in your carnal hearts imagine carnal things, comparing heavenly things with earthly and praising the present world, and conforming to it; loving and worshiping the creature more than the Creator; therefore has God appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world in righteousness, and give a just recompense when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the Arch Angel, the quick and the dead to judge, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, as says the Scripture: wherefore Blessed are they that die in the Lordaith that you cannot be set free from sin while you live; for this is not the faith of Christ, nor did ever any of His profess it, or die in it, But believed in Him that is able to save to the utmost all that come to God by Him. So as is your faith unclean, so shall you be in your resurrection; for all that die in that faith, die in their sins.
But to such busy minds who are saying, How are the dead raised? And with what bodies do they come? I say, to such the Apostles words are very suitable, Thou fool, that which you sow is not quickened, except it die: So to such I say, Go to the figure, and read if you can with all your curious wisdom, which is foolishness with God, for to such the parable is, but the mystery is sealed with the sons of God; nor can any ever know with what bodies they shall arise; but who comes to the flesh of Christ, and discerns His body, the sight whereof, in the life, slays the serpent, and opens the mystery, till then cursed is he that, by his earthly wisdom, presumes to reveal that which God has sealed and hidden from the serpent's wisdom. So you that are wise in your own eyes, you may read 1 Corinthians 15. And you may see the Apostle speaks plain words to that purpose; and if you cannot understand his speech, neither can you do mine: yet do the sons of God (who are born of the incorruptible Seed) believe, and in measure understand the incorruptible body that shall never wax old: Therefore do give up the corruptible to be tortured by the wills of the wicked and bloody persecutors, for the honor of Him who has called us thereto, by whom the inward man is daily renewed, though the outward man perish, and from whom we have assurance that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, we shall be clothed on from above; which clothing we see by faith, not by what the carnal can see or comprehend; for that which is seen is temporal, but that which is not seen is eternal; and all flesh is not the same, nor are all bodies earthly, for there are heavenly bodies, and there are earthly bodies; yet cannot the earthly reveal the heavenly, nor judge of them; even so is the resurrection of the dead: he that has an ear let him hear; but flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
And this I say to all, who desire to attain the resurrection from the dead, and to be counted worthy thereof, consult not with flesh and blood about it, nor seek to comprehend it in your reason, lest you lose it, and become brutish in your judgment; but in the light wait, which shows the old man's deeds, that out of darkness you may be led, to obtain the new birth and the first resurrection in Christ; and as you become conformable to the image of the heavenly: So shall you see the resurrection, the power and purity thereof: but the woeful estate of the wicked, who die not in the Lord, who are talking of the resurrection, but the old man still living, so live, and so die, that resurrection is to eternal destruction. Hearken all you busy minds, whose ear is open to mischief.