Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A Door Opened to the Imprisoned Seed
Every creature being born of corrupted nature2 hath that spirit in him that lusts enviously3 against God, and that seed in him, & growing up with him, which daily seeks to ensnare his soul further into wickedness and vanity, and to increase his separation from God, by drawing in iniquity, and filling the temple where <184> God should dwell and be known, with the accursed things which God hates and cannot behold; for this evil seed being subtle and forward prevails above the pure life4 and leads out the mind from it5 into many several temptations, presenting them with delight unto the carnal part and outward senses, whereby the seed of God becomes continually6 veiled and hid from the creature, so that man knows not that word of life by which he was created, nor can he come to be guided by it in himself, till the head of this evil seed be bruised, through believing in that light which comes from the life, by which the world was made; and this is that rock which follows man with its unchangeable testimony, bearing witness only to that which is of himself, and against all the ways of that evil seed, calling and reproving the world because thereof, which call as many as receives and hearkens to by faith comes to hear the word of life, wherein power is received to become the sons of God, which power of life as it arises in the promised seed, the head of the evil seed is bruised, and he comes to be brought under, who had taken the soul captive at his will to every vain and evil work; and so as the creature comes to be redeemed from under the power of darkness, so he comes to be guided in the light of that life by which he came into the world;7 and that light which before reproved him for his deeds of darkness (following him from one to another, condemning him in all), being turned to by faith and obedience now becomes his leader out of the world, to the son of God, in whom God's righteousness is revealed from above, to justification, which righteousness being received into,8 and abiding in, sin is remembered no more; and thus man being changed into that9 nature which changeth not in10 the inward man, comes to love that light which before he could not, for no man can love that which is of God until he hath received God's love.
Now the light of the world is God's love to the world; for God so loved the world when it was in the power of darkness that he gave his Son into the world, a covenant of light, that whosoever followeth him should not abide in darkness, but <185> should have the light of life. Now God's love stands in11 the light of the world; that's his covenant with the world, which whosoever rejects and receives not is out of God's love and in the enmity, out of God's covenant, neither can he in that state believe that God's love is in it. And this is the cause why all12 men speaks evil of the light who loves their evil deeds, and cannot receive it as God's love, and the way to life; to such it is condemnation, not that it was intended thereto, but men loving darkness rather than light, it becomes condemnation. But to him that believes and is obedient, to him it is precious; for who follows it out of the13 world there14 receives the nature of sons and the love of the Father which the world cannot receive, and the power of godliness and treasure of eternal life, and this is not given to any till they come out of the world, as he is not of the world, for therein stands God's covenant with Abraham's seed forever.
So God's love to the world (while men are in that corrupt nature) and the witness of the Spirit of truth is to reprove the world of sin, and testify condemnation against the deeds thereof; but to such as have received it, it's a leader, comforter and savior, and this is the cause why the one loves, and the other hates, each nature speaking that state in which it stands towards God, and as it hath obtained from him in Christ Jesus, love, or condemnation; and he that will not receive God's love that calls him out, must abide under the power of that seed which God hates; and this is he that seeks to murder him that is in God's love, the evil one having power to blind that mind (who denies the light) so far, till he cannot see that the murderer is of the devil, but thinks he is doing God service; and this in the end hath ever befallen such professors as reject the light of the world, for he that walks in darkness knows not whither he goes, but God is light, and in him is no darkness at all, nor hath darkness any fellowship with him; here is known the children of God and the children of darkness; he that loves the light brings his deeds to the light and hath fellowship with God in his deeds, and this15 works the work of God; and he that denies the light works in darkness, and cannot believe the power that is in the light, being under the power of darkness.<186>
And therefore he that is born after the flesh knows not him that is born after the Spirit of light, nor can judge of his ways, which are strange and wonders in his carnal sight, neither knows he by what power and love that is, by which he overcomes the world and takes pleasure in denying the pleasures thereof, and vanquisheth all its vanities out of the heart and mind, and can no more rejoice in the world nor make merry with its mirth, but rejoiceth in the truth and is made glad with that which saves him from such folly; the wicked knows not the life of the righteous, nor the spring whence his virtues arises, nor the power of his change, nor the end of all his patient sufferings and trials, but stands wondering at it as folly and madness; that eye being blinded by the god of this world, which should give the sight thereof, and that seed16 in bondage under the prince of darkness, which should give to17 inherit that immortal treasure; and this must be, till there be a denying and coming out of the world to receive that inheritance of divine light and understanding, which none can receive nor be one withal but as they come out of the world from under that seed of enmity which seeks to pervert all the right ways of God and wrest all his gifts to man's destruction as far as he can prevail.
Now this destroyer or seed of enmity against the life of man and his salvation, is kept from that sudden effecting his purpose upon the creature in whom he is head, by no other thing but the patience and longsufferings of God, who willing that none of his creatures should perish, but that if by any means all might hearken to the truth, and so recover themselves out of the snares of this subtle deceiver and be saved; wherefore he doth many times long bear and forbear with much patience and diligence,18 striving by the Spirit of truth,19 upon all occasions, whenever the creature doth but mind it,20 checking and reproving and warning, even many times, at that very instant when the act of sin is committing, and if the evil one have got such power in the creature that he will not suffer him to mind reproof before nor in the act of sin, then afterwards when the heat of temptation is cooled, then he shows the <187> evil and danger of such wickedness, that so he might preserve fear in him against the next temptation. And thus (in many) he keeps back destruction a long time, so that some are long ere the wicked one get them to fill up their measure; and some in that time of God's patient forbearing and suffering21 comes to repentance, and turn to that which reproves and are saved, and others go on to destruction, which swiftly they draw upon themselves after once the Spirit have ceased striving and reproving, for then the fear is lost, and the evil one hath his liberty at his own will (the creature being given up of the Lord, and the Spirit of truth being wholly departed),22 naught but deceit is left to guide him23 who hath dealt deceitfully with the Spirit of truth, which at the best hath but24 a form of godliness without the power, for the power of God is in that Spirit, and in that life which is known, by withstanding the evil one, which are fallen and covered25 in such in whom death reigns; only such who are born of the Spirit hath the life and power and knows its strength and virtue unto eternal salvation; the rest are left to their26 thoughts and notions.
And here is the cause of that strong contention that hath ever been betwixt the children of light, who are born of that Spirit of truth and have their light and strength in the inward man, and the world's professors, whose expectation stands in something without them which others have spoken of who had it in them; and so not knowing the power and mystery of the living faith which is holden in a pure conscience, which only hath the call and27 power to bring out of the world's darkness, they are kept captive therein, contending against the spiritual light; and so while they are in the world go about to comprehend and measure that Spirit of truth, which the world cannot receive, neither knoweth, thinking that Spirit of light and life to have no other operation in such who are led out of the world and born thereof, and in whom Christ lives, than they find it to have in themselves, who stumble at it and are disobedient and unbelieving in heart; whenas indeed <188> to us that believe, it is elect and precious who comes to it for all supplies; but to the wisdom and profession of the world it is a rock of offense and stumbling stone, yet is it the head of the corner. And in them who revile it and reject it, it is become all they have in them that is good, true, and faithful towards God or their souls, as their hearts in secret doth witness to them and leaves them without excuse many times.
For even they that reject this light and Spirit have nothing else that can show them so much as one of their thoughts, or divide to their understanding the evil from the good, either in thought, word, or action, or that can really show them what is of God really, and what is of him, who doth but show himself to be God to deceive withal, and is not; nor without it can they perceive the several motions of every several spirit that is in them, to receive the good and deny the bad; nor can they know the several roots of life and of death, which plant to pluck up and which to feed on, and how can such labor in God's vineyard? and indeed without28 this light the body is a house of darkness and a habitation of every deceitful spirit, and the heart desperately wicked, and no man knows it but he in whom the light of truth shineth; and he that declares to man his thoughts, his name is the Lord of hosts. Thus is he the head of the corner, which the stumbler cannot comprehend in his wit, and so rejects him, without whom there is no building nor working the work of God.
And therefore you sons of the darkness of this world, mind in yourselves what it is you set yourselves against; is it not that light which would limit and chain the evil one in you, that which condemns you for every evil work, secret and open, which will not let you be proud and wanton and lustful? that which in your own hearts testifies against you for deceit and falsehood towards God and towards men, deceit in religion, hypocrisy and falsehood, making a form of that you are not? deceit in your dealing with men, in your tradings and speakings, and several actings, both as rulers, priests and people without respect of persons, nor any other thing? but hath respect only to that of God in you, which is of his nature, given to you to guide man in the light of <189> God, out of all the ways of this deceiving spirit.
And now he that comes to you with this doctrine comes near you, being manifest in spirit to that of God in your own hearts, you are pricked therewith, and then the evil one is stirred up in you to fight against that which is truth in yourselves, and answers to the truth which is spoken to you, by another without you, from the same Spirit of truth, which by you is rejected. And thus you joining with him that rises up in wrath against the truth in yourselves, and denying that which should chain and bind the evil one, you deny the Lord of life and give strength to the evil one to murder29 the just in you, and quench the Spirit of truth, and weary the Lord with striving, till you be given up wholly to the power of darkness, who will then keep you seeking salvation without, whilst he is heaping up evil within.
For that which seeks to devour your souls is within you, whilst he is leading you out to seek salvation; and naught can damn you but what30 is in you. Sin is within before it be acted, so must salvation be within before you be cleansed, though the old deceiver hath taught people to think they are saved by believing God31 at a distance, who neither know nor worship him in the Spirit and truth, nor is their bodies his temples, nor can the Holy One dwell or walk in them, because of uncleanness; but their vessels being filled with all32 the powers of darkness, and the heavenly place with spiritual wickedness, hath caused God to depart from the children of men for this uncleanness; and yet the liar speaks peace and preaches salvation, and the creature believes so, being filled with darkness. But the children of light receives not this doctrine, who sees and feels and cannot be content with words, but with power. A talk of God satisfies not the soul of a good man, till he feel his presence and power: God33 without and the devil within is not the saints' faith nor salvation; but God in them and the devil cast out is their glory and strength, and they are bold through the might of his Spirit in them to war daily against the prince of this world, because they know him who is greater in them and more <190> holy34 than he that is in the world. And this is the faith that overcomes the world, and he that's born of the Spirit hath the Father and the Son, and he that hath the devil is his enemy and knows him not whence he is, but judges him after the flesh and outward appearance; but the child of light wars not after the flesh, but after God, that he alone may have the glory who is all in them that they have to glory in, who gives their souls the holy victory.
And now, were not you wholly blind in your minds and past feeling, you could never sit down so besotted as to believe you are saved while you are daily captivated in sin and forced35 many times to do that which you know you should not, and this by the power of lust in you, enticing and leading you into every temptation, and causing to fall into many hurtful evils, which gathers strength and rooting daily in you, heaping wrath and vengeance by adding sin unto sin, which must all be accounted for in the end thereof, when you have filled your vessels to a full measure. And can you say you are redeemed from the devil, while he hath this power in you, that you are not able to resist him, but are led captive at his will, contrary to all fear of God, or power of righteousness? Is your bodies redeemed to God, and are you members of Christ, whilst you yield your members unto unrighteousness? or are you saved who are servants of sin? In what stands the life and power of your redemption, of your faith, and of your salvation, seeing naught can stand in36 God but that which brings forth to him? Is not he in the bonds of iniquity, who is bound to bring forth iniquity? Is not he a servant of sin in whom it reigns? Is not he the child of bondage, who is bound to bring forth what the evil one begets in him, and to serve him in what he moves him unto? mind this you who are born after the fleshly spirit, who act according to his will, who worketh in your flesh to bring forth unto death. Doth your profession save you, who are not turned from dead works? The foundation of repentance is not yet laid in you, and therefore death reigns above37 the life, that should bring forth to God; & this is the servant of sin's state & spirit of bondage, and not the heir's state, who inherits God's righteousness and brings forth thereof unto that <191> Spirit which pleaseth God, as you bring forth to the flesh and please the world. And these two seeds are within, and are at enmity and disagreement, and there can be no concord betwixt them, no more than light and darkness; and their several fruits are made manifest with the light, which condemns the one and confesseth the other to be of God and wrought in God.
And as many as are quickened with the Spirit of life have the feeling of this before they bring forth the fruits thereof into the world, and are come to the discerning of things that differ in nature and effect, by the tasting and handling of the word of life, and knowledge of that election which is before the world was, by which they are made able to judge the ground and end of every motion in them, or to them, which abiding in, they need not man to teach them, neither can they be deceived, which makes them with boldness bring forth openly such words and works as are begotten in them by the word of life, which shows the whole world to lie in wickedness, and makes it manifest in the light of life, by whom the prince of this world is judged and condemned, and the secrets of hearts made manifest, according to the nature of every several spirit, which comes up to the day of the Lord's appearance. And to this Spirit of truth must an account be given by all flesh living, for this is he that lives to all generations and is unchangeable in his witness against the evil seed, into whatever form he transforms himself, in words and profession; yet is there no agreement betwixt their several natures, be they in one person or be they in a family, or be it in a nation, there is not agreement, nor can any one person, family or nation serve them both, but whoever serves the one hates the other, and condemns him; so he that serves deceit condemns the just and so condemns that which should save him and must judge him in the end. And here is the cause of that fleshly liberty that some have got (for the present) where the witness is slain, & also of the horror of conscience, where the just appears towards judgment: the unstable estate of such who are faithful to neither,38 the everlasting peace and power in such where the just hath dominion, and the present sorrows of such who are diligent in waiting and wrestling to the end of the <192> world, and the beginning39 of Christ Jesus, through faith and patience. And all these are comprehended with him who hath learned Christ, by being faithful to that Spirit of truth, sent in his name to testify what is of him in every vessel, and what is of the spirit that lusteth against him and keeps the creation in bondage.
And this is that one way to life and salvation holden forth freely by the Spirit of truth, sent forth by the Father in the name of Christ Jesus, who hath its several operations in several vessels according as he finds them towards God: in some he is a condemner, in some a leader and teacher towards God, in some a perfect justifier, in the sight of God presenting them, who also gives several gifts & power to such as receive this testimony of Jesus Christ; yet is he but one in all, unchangeably just, equal and holy, who by the power of his word changeth all things that are changeable, and bringing all things to the beginning, before people, nations and tongues were divided, where man lives by the Spirit of a pure life.
The Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, by whom the world was made in the beginning, hath a law that is spiritual, proceeding from himself, which law gives light in spirit to good and bad, testifying against the power of sin and death, which light, as many as receives by faith and obedience, are brought thereby under the law of life, which whoever is faithful in are led in such ways, whereby that part in man in which the law of sin hath its power is crucified and slain, and the seed of the covenant thereby comes to its right freedom, which40 by the man of sin41 is kept in bondage, while the strong man keeps the house, whose strength is in such things as the carnal mind takes pleasure in, which things the law of the Spirit calls them from, who minds it in the light thereof, and leads to <193> exercise the mind in spiritual things, and to feed on the word of life, whereby the inward man is strengthened and made to grow up into the stature of a spiritual man, filled thereby with spiritual power, life and virtue, to bring forth42 unto God, and to live to him, as the other lived to the flesh and brought forth unto death.
Thus the Spirit of life draws with the light and saith "Come," to all that mind its voice, and as many as hear and43 obey he changeth and feedeth with the new,44 whereby they become new creatures, born of freedom.45 And the fleshly spirit it draws, and saith "Come," holding forth visible idols to take the carnal affections, and to captivate the mind from the Spirit of life into carnal objects, which46 promises much to the eye of earthly wisdom, and have a likeliness47 of a substance in them, but the end is death, and the48 whole life is49 captivity to vanity and eternal50 separation from God. And here are the children of freedom, which is in Christ Jesus, made manifest to the world by their coming out of it, and the children of bondage manifest, who cannot deny to serve it, and betwixt these two is no agreement; for he that is a servant of sin is free from righteousness, and the servant of righteousness is free from sin, and as he that is in the flesh cannot please God, neither can he that is in the Spirit please the world; these are children of several kingdoms and several natures. And he that's born after the flesh hath that spirit which lusteth enviously and seeks to devour the creation, and he that's born again after the Spirit of life is brought into the restoration, as in the beginning, and bringeth forth to God the fruits of eternal life and salvation in the creation.
And as by the creature's yielding and consenting to the subtle one, the life is lost, and the evil seed gets strength in man to rule and bring forth after the power of darkness. So by the creature's believing in the light, and by yielding to the motions of the life of holiness and the law thereof, comes the evil seed to lose its strength and feeding, which is upon carnal things; and that life which is by faith hearing51 comes again to be renewed in the <194> vessel, and arises through the Spirit, and reigns above death; and the righteousness and virtue of that life is not of the nature of flesh and blood, but of God; and is made manifest in the earthen vessel by the life and power of the Spirit, against the will of the flesh and the lusts thereof. And thus comes man again into the restoration and redemption of the body, into the free service of that Spirit and life of whom it52 is the offspring, and for which and by which it52 came into the world; and here is true reconciliation and peace with God, and no condemnation, but unity in Spirit and life as the Father and Son are one, the lust being slain, the enticer denied, and the accuser cast out, and all things become new, and all things of God; here is no more the house of bondage to sin, but the glorious liberty of the sons of God, that nature being quickened that is spiritual, it doth not feed on carnal pleasures but upon God; so the inward man becomes a natural branch of the holy root, and a plant of the living God, bringing out freely what the root sends forth, in which God is glorified, and the vessel made honorable, and the soul filled with peace and fatness, and hath no more sorrow and death to oppress it. And the light and life which is in Christ Jesus, manifest in the Spirit of truth, is the first and last in this work; and here is seen how unnatural man driven from God is become, to that pure life which gives him breath and being and would preserve him from destruction, who is so wholly fallen from it, and become contrary to it, in nature and judgment, that of all things in the world it's the greatest cross to be guided by that light which arises in him from that holy life, and daily calls him in Spirit thereinto, being degenerated into a contrary nature, more subtle and selfish, is willing to join with the enemy thereof in any way against the pure light that's in himself, it to revile, reproach, murder and turn into darkness, by covering it with deceit, though man in this state hath nothing in him but it, that is of the nature of God, holy and just, or that will call him from the paths of the destroyer into the way of life, or bring forth through him any fruits of obedience or spiritual worship that God will own, nor hath he any other thing in this world that is always present with him, to give him to see when he is enticed with his lusts and <195> tempted to sin, nor the way how to escape the temptation; yet is man so exalted in the contrary nature that he hath forgotten his creator, and lifts up the heel against the reproof of his Spirit, trampling upon the lowly motions of the Holy One, and the law which out of his mouth proceeds, counting the light and virtue of his life to be a low and contemptible thing, not able to save; thus doth lost man daily despite the Spirit of grace and truth in his inward parts and rejects53 the Holy Ghost against their own souls, and denies his pure and single eye and holy movings in them,54 by which the holy men of God spoke, saw and discerned in all ages, as the Scriptures doth testify; all which is lost in55 that man who is exalted above the pure light and lowly Spirit, in which God meets man to teach him the knowledge of the truth.
And therefore you teachers and people of all sorts and sects, who so violently have set yourselves against the light of the Spirit within you and within others, when it calls to you for a return to it; how long will you kick against that which pricks you at the heart for your contrary walkings and dissembling professions? why will you not be still and commune with it in your own hearts, that you might come to a true feeling, and discern what nature it is of, and from whence it is, and what way it works, and against what? And also what nature that is in you which it chiefly condemns and works against, and from whence that is? that so with the light of truth you might come to judge things that differ in the ground and in the end, that you might so come to walk in the light, in judgment, and in truth of heart towards God and man. And let the single truth of God without mixture answer these things following, feelingly in you. What is the cause that while you are professing to seek God and serve him, you should be so unwilling to serve him in that which is of his own nature, and to worship him in Spirit and truth, in your own vessels, whose bodies should be the temples of God, who is not worshipped in temples made with hands nor in a nature contrary to himself? Or will the talking of what he is or was in others in whom he was known to walk and speak deliver your souls from the power of the prince of darkness and deceit that is in yourselves, unless you <196> can by faith receive him in you also, as they received him, and feel his power overcoming and casting out him that hath you captive at his will, against your faith and conscience? Or will God be found of56 you or accept your worship, whilst his temple is possessed with his enemy, and a contrary nature acts you therein? Can you meet with God in anything but that which is holy, who hears not the prayer of him that regards iniquity?
Wherefore your first work should be to know him in you whom God accepts, for he alone must present you to the Father, who appears without sin, understand what I say, he that appears without sin, else you are reprobate in God's sight; there is no hope without57 Christ in you and you in him,58 the everlasting priest, to offer up upon the altar of atonement; holiness must make one in Spirit, and though by the height of your minds he that is without sin be low and little in you, yet without me you can do nothing, saith Christ Jesus, mind what he saith, you can do nothing; then what are you doing who are not in the holy Spirit? Can you worship by tradition, or be saved by the letter? Will you make Christ a liar, who saith, "without me you can do nothing"? "I am the light of the world," "every branch" (saith Christ) "that abideth not in me is cast out and withereth, and is for the fire." Mind this, you that reject holiness in Spirit, and light from the holy Spirit in you. Are you not cut off, who are not in that which is holy? are you not withered and for the fire? Are you not cast out, who have no abiding place in that which is holy, and a light in that which is holy? Mind what is withered in you and what is fruitful;59 have you power, light60 and knowledge in you to do evil, but not to do well? Are you not withered then unto God?61 Are you not cut off from the natural Son62 and planted into a wild vine of a contrary nature? Your light is withered, and your seed corrupted, and your63 tree is known by its fruits, which now is green and64 brings forth, <197> but not to God, nor from God, who are cut off and withered, without light in you,65 without Christ in you,66 without God in you to keep you; not so much truth in your inward parts as is able to teach you and to67 make you free; here is your loss and nakedness manifest, and the short bed, and the narrow68 garment, who have not so much of the holy Spirit as will69 cover you, nor bear you harmless; now, will you say, you hope you are born again of the Spirit, and are baptized into the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, and worship in Spirit, and then are gone out for salvation and light, and speak evil of that70 within as not able to bear you71 against him that is of the world? Now your hope is not an anchor, nor your faith in that which overcomes by birth,72 as the saints' doth; who is born of God overcomes the world. And he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, that the evil one toucheth him not; now mind, where is he that keepeth himself? and where is the evil one? let truth answer in you, if there be any knowledge of God in the house. Is not that he who gives you light, that would keep you from the evil one? and should you not be one in him that would keep you from evil? Who is your keeper? Watchmen that are blind, do not you watch in vain who knows not the Lord to keep your city? Else how should the evil one have his liberty in and out without a powerful resisting? Consider in yourselves: where is he that gives you to see when the evil one toucheth you, and when he tempteth but toucheth not? what nature is he of that doth this for you, and where is he? Is he not light and understanding, and is he not in you? and is he not of a contrary nature to the evil one that tempteth? And doth he not show you the temptation before you consent thereto (if you mind him)? then what is the cause that the evil is committed, seeing a light and nature73 appears against him? Is it not because you join to the evil one, and likes his motion better than his that testifies it to be evil? And so you deny the holy one and the just, and become one with the evil one. <198> And then you say, the light is not able, when you have denied it, and have not been faithful to join to it in counsel and strength, but have given your strength to the contrary; but they that are born of it do not so, but when they are showed the evil one and his temptation, be it whatever it be to, or under what pretense soever, if the light testifies against it, then is there74 diligence, watchfulness and sobriety,75 in the fear of God, lest they should be drawn from the light and enticed, and with all their power they join in obedience to the way of the light, so that there is a war and wrestling ere the thing be over, and being resisted steadfast in the faith, he flies, and the glory returns to God who dwells in the light. And if at any time the evil one prevail, the creature comes to see the cause to be in himself and not in God, and for it is humbled and warned; and this he comes to see when the temptation is over and the enemy fled, and he is come again into coolness, with God in the light, which while the darkness was up and the enemy in the house, he saw not.
And thus is experience gained through tribulations and trial, which they who endure not the temptations never come76 to learn of God, but fall under the temptation77 through unfaithfulness to the light, and so are ever78 captives at his will who tempts to evil, and the enemy of all righteousness ever78 reigns over all the members, leading out the eyes, ears, hands and heart to iniquity and vanity, and the tongue to plead for it, against every reproof, having denied the reproof of the Spirit of truth within yourselves, it cannot be received from others, for in that house the contrary spirit wholly reigns, which turns away the ear from hearing of knowledge, and the heart from good understanding in Spirit.
And this is the cause why you are kept always79 without the feeling of God and his power, and knowledge of his word, and the mysteries of his powerful counsel is hidden from you, which he reveals to the faithful, who have overcome through faith and patience, in whom Satan is subdued and trodden under foot; for in whom this devourer is above, whatever God gives or reveals <199> to the creature, the deceiver is ready to pervert it quite to a contrary end, that God never intended in the giving thereof, and to lift up a wrong nature, and exalt a contrary spirit, which God hates; and this is evident in the light of truth throughout the world. What is the gift of God which the spirit of the world abuses not? If God give wealth, where that spirit is above, how is the creature puffed up therewith above the rest of his brethren, as though he were no more of the same mold and blood, but as God would he be worshipped? If he give beauty, it's turned into lust, pride and wantonness, begetting and deceiving adulterous eyes; wisdom is turned into folly and wickedness, scorning the simple and overreaching the plain-hearted, and such as have most of it, are but most able to compass their corrupt ends; if80 God give grace, it's turned into lasciviousness, and God's long forbearance into hardness of heart; religion and profession into a cloak for sin and hypocrisy; fasting and praying, to accomplish men's self-ends against such as they would swallow up, &c.
And not one thing that God can give which this evil one will not subvert and turn against the giver, so that though God be free in himself and good and plentiful by nature,81 yet he cannot82 so show himself to such in whom the strong man keeps the house, who makes the creature thereby but more wanton to kick against his creator, and puffs him up to forget his maker and feeder, and so a fruitful land maketh he barren, for the wickedness of him83 that dwells therein, which from the beginning was not so.
Neither is it so with the children of light and counsel, who have the giver in their hearts above the gift, where the pure counsel sits to order the pure84 gifts, where every good and perfect gift is brought forth in its own nature, form and manner, undefiled or disfigured with the spirit of the world; but the springs runs forth from the clean fountain, and the plant and fruit is holy like the root, where the spirit is clean and the flesh undefiled, and everything as it comes from God, as in the beginning, where the world is ended,85 and the old man put off, and all things of God, there every gift of God is known by its fruits and nature, and <200> ends, in such vessels. The gifts of God return to God by glorifying him here on earth, where riches brings forth good and merciful works, and not pride and vainglory; wisdom stands up against oppression and not to deceive; and through grace doth righteousness reign unto life eternal; their religion is pure and unmixed with the world, but separated from it, whereby the sons and daughters of God are known in the streets, by his virtue and comeliness put upon them by him with which they are covered over, as a garment, even with all the fruits of the Holy Spirit of faith and truth, which is in Christ Jesus who is Lord over all in such vessels; and these are the vessels of honor fit for the Lord to shine through, against his adversary (the world's spirits) in fruits that cannot be condemned, being not defiled in the vessel but manifest as they come from above, answering to that of God in every heart, in which the evil one hath neither part nor power; these are sons of God without rebuke in the midst of an unclean generation shining as lights; and this alone honors God, which is of God, and this answers the end of man's creation and God's bounty, who is rich in such, till they come to be filled with all the fullness of God, which he withholds not from such; but from the unclean and slothful, such who defile the flesh with lusts, from such he withholds this86 riches and fullness; therefore the world knows not the sons of God, nor whence they are, nor whither they return, who follows Christ out of the world, never returning thither again, but to testify against it, whose vessels are no more filled with lust, and the spirit of this world to bring forth thereto, but are filled with the Holy Ghost who hath made them new creatures for himself to walk in, and shine forth in fruits of the Spirit.
And now you wild colts and barren earthly-minded professors who have filled your vessels with wantonness and deceit and all sorts of fleshly minds; in vain do you hunt about with your old bottles and think to retain the heavenly treasure; you gad about, but to no purpose in the sight and esteem of God, for you are in the wrong work while you are in the world's nature and in the old creation; your words and your ordinances are empty of the life of God, and his fruits you cannot bring forth nor receive <201> till you be renewed; nothing you can do will avail you but a new creature. Your old vessels are full of the old wine from the wild grape, and that's above in you which defiles the pure,87 so God withholds his gifts from you which abounds in his new creation, and you know naught of it but what condemns you, so you fight against it and says there is nothing now perfect, and so would condemn the new with the old and judge them alike; and thus you err, not knowing the gift of God nor the works of his hands, which are all perfect as he is perfect, who walks not in the defiled temple nor lies in the bosom of harlots, who are out of his power and perfect way of a holy life. Therefore,
Your work would profit you most to take the candle of truth and sweep the house at home and cast out the old leaven and whatever is of the world, and wait in that which works in Spirit against the old till therewith all be made new; and the new vessel which will not receive the old, nor mix with it; that is it which will hold the new, which God will fill with himself; there the seed may spring and not be devoured,88 and the lily grow without being choked. There the lamb may be safe from the fox, and the pure from pollution, which can never be while your covetous, proud, lustful, earthy89 minds are alive in you, or aught that therewith you have treasured in or grows up in that ground; the plant of God is more pure and tender than to grow amidst such pollution; so to judgment you must first come, and own your condemnation upon all the old, before you can receive of the new or it grow in you. What agreement hath the spirit of meekness with the spirit of pride, contentedness with covetousness, holiness with lust, Christ with Belial, light with darkness? Read and understand, here is the cause why you have sought and labored many years, & many of you further off than at first, but none hath found freedom indeed, nor that rest where the thief and unclean comes not to devour. Consider these things while they are near you, lest your hearts harden in you through unbelief & the deceit of lusts; and if you will come, then refuse not him that calls and gives you light in the dark, but faithfully manage the watch and the war on his behalf with all your power, till all be brought under his feet which <202> he testifies against in you; and do not answer the truth when he calls with deceit and excuses, lest he turn away from you and call others more worthy. If you say the world holds you back, then it's time you should not delay to break those bonds that's grown so strong already; they will be stronger every day, and what will the end be? Consider and understand like men, and say not you have not strength, but turn with that strength with which you have long served the world, and you will find God (that gave it you) the better master; and the Redeemer is served with less vigor than the spirit of bondage; and do but faithfully give the strength you have of God unto the service of God in the light, and he requires no more than he gives; it's deceit that makes these excuses and not a willing mind; and were you in the fear of God, these words you would not utter against yourselves a witness; for these are not the words of children of love, nor obedient servants, but of such as are without.
Therefore in truth of heart consider what state you are in, and who is your father and hath power in you, who thus speak; can you do evil with both hands, live to your lusts, serve the world, compass the earth for your profits and pleasures, with power, wisdom, and delight, and have you not power to do well? Now should you see your strong captivity and how you are degenerated from God, and the end of your creation, with your whole strength, and become altogether reprobate to God's service, and for this should your hearts be smitten with sorrow did you love God or his true worship; and that evil tongue you would bridle, and your eyes you would limit from vanity, your ears from pleasure, and your hearts from deceit, that so you might only hearken to the light, if by any means you might come to hear the voice of him that's sent into the world to call you from under the power of Satan unto the living God, by preaching light to you who sit in darkness and are dead while you live, neither can you be quickened till you hear the voice of the Son of God, which the deceiver keeps you from in your worldly pleasures, long prayers, and a lying profession, taking the saints' words to cover you from true judgment, but have not their spirit nor power to live their lives, nor are you plants of that root and nature which brings forth to God, as he is in whom there is no change; and <203> this is not the sacrifice that God accepts, which is brought in the unclean vessel without his power and renewed strength.
Wherefore that nature which is become so wholly unprofitable should be denied its will, and its way stopped; and to that seed you should die which rules in that strength you have, and runs to and fro to seek for itself, but seeks not God first; and to that which is pure must you turn and therein wait for the anointing and the rising of the holy seed; for it's the most holy that must be anointed90 in you ere you can know Christ in you, and without Christ you can do nothing, and that seed which is neither willing nor able is not he but is the seed of the evildoer, as is manifest by his fruits which must be denied, his thoughts, his words, his profession, his prayers, his lusts, his sin and his righteousness; for it's all of one nature and stands up in you to withstand the coming of the seed of the covenant, Christ Jesus the life of God and light of men, which hath God's power which was in the beginning, God's righteousness, and is to all generations, whom the heavens must retain91 until the end of all these things and the restitution of the creation to God, till which you cannot know his appearance in you without sin, who died for sin.
Whose light (as is before declared) shows you his law, and the Spirit of prophecy testifies of him to come, whose way before his face must be prepared (if you have ears to hear and understand); and all your crooked, untoward, wanton ways must be made straight, and your hidden subtle ways made plain; and the refiner's fire must pass through your house and take hold on all that will burn till it be consumed; for till the filth be purged out and an end made of sin God comes not to92 his temple, nor is everlasting righteousness brought in for an inheritance to eternal life.
And here will you come to learn the first principle of pure religion and doctrine of the beginning of Christ; and the foundation of repentance from dead works will be laid in you, then will you see what kind of treasure your wanton careless minds hath treasured up in your vessels & your deceitful and unprofitable words and works; you will then see by that which will not lie; <204> then will you find that all will fail but truth, and what you have gathered by craft and deceit will stand in no stead but to deceive you; truth in the inward parts must be your stay, if any you find, for to that rock you will be forced to fly in the end for refuge, when all else is weighed & found too light to abide the trial, though now it be lightly esteemed, and you say it's not able to save. It's that93 within that must give you the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus; naught without you will make your peace, but that which works in you, that must cleanse the house of your adversary and ordain peace for you.
And this is that which makes the holy men of God, who hath gone before you in this regeneration, to preserve a clean house and a pure conscience above all that the world can afford or promise, knowing that in the day of trial all will prove a lie but what is truth in the inward parts, and that none are true worshippers but who worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, and the whole mystery of faith and of godliness is learned within, and holden in that which is pure, and the pure in heart only sees God, and hath heard and learned of him, and such are sons indeed, who are born of the Spirit and led by the Spirit and filled with the Spirit, and these hath power, light and understanding to do well, who have94 God in them, who is holy, and that Spirit which the devil is not able to resist. And every child of God hath this in their measure, by which they resist the world and overcomes it, even that which is born of God that only overcomes, which is faithful and will not forget himself, blessed only are they who have of this in them in the evil times, which God cannot forget nor suffer to be tempted above measure. Such only have that election for whose sake the flesh95 is saved; and in this only doth the creature find favor in the sight of God in the day of vengeance, when God ariseth to plead with all the earth for their wickedness; a seed shall be saved, but that is not it which saith and doth not.
And therefore think of this, all you who mock at a pure conscience and reject that of God within, and speak lightly and reproachfully of it; did you know whom you reproach and against what it is you sport yourselves you would rather gnaw your <205> tongues than utter a word against it; you would change your minds and seek it with those that sell all that they may find it, though it be little in you96 so that you dare not trust to it, yet all that have proved it, prize it as the great power of God to salvation; and whether you can receive it or no, you have no election but what is in it. In this did Noah find grace in the sight of God, when the earth was corrupted; and Noah walked with God and was just and perfect in his generation, and in that which was just and perfect he was saved; and in the righteous seed which was grieved with the uncleanness of Sodom was Lot saved. Now if you can read your election, you may; it's only that which was before sin was that is grieved at sin and testifies in man against uncleanness; and this seed stands elect before the world was. If you can receive it and make it sure, you may; but you which say you have not power to do well and denies his call can never97 do it.
He that calls out of sin, and the soul that is vexed because of sin, is little and lowly in you; but the god of this world is lofty, strong and powerful in you, and hath lifted up your hearts on high to seek great things far above that pure principle of true light and understanding, which God hath chosen and elected to himself, and wherein he will commune with man, and teach him his fear and knowledge, and give him renewed strength, and of his spiritual power and salvation from sin.
And now your lofty looks are too high for this door, and the day of this small and simple one you despise, these waters are too still for you to drink on, and to stay and wait for great things where so little is seen, you have not faith. So you outrun your rest, and the poor in spirit takes the kingdom before you, to whom the election and blessing belongs. Now consider, you that are lofty, rich and high-minded, mind the calling of God and his election: hath he elected the rich in notion and high in profession, the proud and the wanton? Hath not he chosen the weak and poor, foolish and contemptible to confound all this? But he doth not confound the election, the poor, lowly and meek; the pure and holy in heart and soul he doth not confound nor shut out, but he that is pure, meek and holy calls, and the soul that is meek, <206> lowly and loves holiness, it answers, in all conversation obtaining grace to be holy, as he that calls is holy; here is the calling made sure, and the election by answering thereto, who keeps in the call and in the election, which was in God before transgression was; but you that denies him that calls you out of darkness into light, by the power of his holiness, lowliness, meekness and truth, manifest in Spirit in you, according to the gift of God in his tender mercy, by which this springs from above, as was in the beginning—I say, you that reject this, to lay hold on something that is set up without you since the beginning, you deny your calling and election and betake yourselves to a changeable thing, which the election is not, nor he that calleth thereunto. For the election hath been preserved in God, when all the world else, professions and people, have been deceived, defiled, destroyed and changed. And that is it which is always pure (as God is pure) and changeth not, and he that goes out from this doth not make it sure to himself by welldoing. For the election is in the light and power of holiness and truth, which they that say and do not, are out of.
Therefore return from off the mountains, you that have lift up yourselves on high without God, who have a form without the power of God. And feel after that which is pure, lowly and just in you, for God is a Spirit, and in the Spirit and truth is he known and served, and there is his counsel received, in that which is truth in your inward parts, feel that which never sinned near you; then you draw near to God in Spirit, and keep there, and wait and hearken (what the Spirit saith, which never sinned) with that principle in you which would not sin; with that wait upon the holy Spirit and mind his motion continually, and be obedient thereto, that you may once come to serve the living and not the dead, that you may be able to say your redeemer liveth, and that you know him and have heard his voice that is holy, as God is holy, that is lowly and meek, and that you have learned and do always learn of him, and are joined to him, that you may become conformable to him that liveth and sinneth not. And this appearance will be your daily salvation and peace and daily growth and increase in God, and make this sure to you, in that principle which would not sin for gaining the whole world, so shall you not lose your election nor your calling, but an entrance <207> thereby will be daily ministered into the kingdom everlasting, which is in Christ Jesus the light and truth and power of God.
But if you go out to any other thing for help or counsel, then that Spirit which is pure, which is just, which is meek and lowly by nature,98 as God is, which is righteous by nature and springs in you to bring forth fruit of itself to God alone, in that principle which is pure and clean, then you go from the fountain of living waters to dig for yourselves, and into your own works, and what you bring forth is your own righteousness, and not that which is revealed from above to all generations of God elected. And you will go through your work hard bestead, and when you have brought it forth it will not satisfy that in you which hungers towards God and is of him,99 only it will puff up that nature which is selfish and exalt that which is too high already to receive life from God; and this righteousness God accepts not, nor is it everlasting to all generations, which is brought in by works and not by virtue of the divine nature, springing freely in you from an eternal Spirit, which those who are entered into rest, and keeps the sabbath holy, are freely fed with and covered over, who are ceased from their own works, whose works are wrought in God and in him are brought to light, where the holy Child is born and the Son of God manifest, through that Spirit which the world neither seeth nor knoweth, which gives to see and inherit God and godliness in a clean nature and vessel.
Which birth if you desire to be born of, then cease from flesh and blood and whatever that can do for you within and without that is defiled; and in that which calls and convinceth you of sin, wait and be faithful, till you find a life and desire quickened in you which can savor or delight in nothing but that which is as God is, pure, just and holy, and loathes whatever is contrary, and cannot join to it in thought, word, nor action; for this is the life of the holy Child,100 if ever you feel it move and breathe in you, and that101 spiritual birth which as it grows in the vessel is to be heir of the heavenly treasure, which though at first it be weak, as a child without understanding or full strength; and you not knowing <208> what way it is ever like to come to have all the power and dominion in you, by reason of the abundance of corruption that is above in you and the strong bonds of iniquity that rules in your flesh, which all war against the resurrection of this innocent life,102 and by which the strong man keeps the house with much subtlety and spiritual wickedness against the pure and simple life; yet if you do but abide in that which first gave you light to the quickening of it, and be obedient thereto, it will bring you a way you know not; and though you may come through great travails and temptations, and many fiery trials and tribulations, where you may come to103 be sifted and winnowed, yet shall not one grain of that pure seed perish and fail in the way, for that Spirit of light and truth will lead you in his light and in his truth, which hath been tried in that way for many generations, for this is he that comes in the name of104 Christ Jesus, the light and salvation of ages, who105 hath overcome the devil and the world, and all the power of darkness for all that are sanctified; and now is come to do it in you, that you may inherit your106 purchased possession and sit with him in heavenly places also; so that your work is faith and obedience, and patience towards him who is that Spirit and light in you; and to him must you give up life and all, who will confound your corrupted wisdom and blind his adversary, that he may give light to that seed that's107 yet under the shadow of death and build up in you the way of peace, and you shall no more live by your works and gifts natural, but because he liveth in you shall you live also, and your life will be that which is begotten of God which never dieth, and this will he do for as many as give up themselves wholly to him, whose light leads out of sin; this is the king of saints and holy life, if you will receive him; he hath the power of God.
But you that pray and profess, and seek abroad and cry for help, but know not him who hath help in his hands for you, in him alone to wait, that in all things you might observe him, you worship you know not what nor where; and while in words you talk of God that liveth, in works you deny him and give your <209> strength to the dead and not to the living; should not every man know his God liveth in him, and go to his own God for life, according to the manifestation of the Spirit of truth given to profit withal, in every creature to Godward? And this God that liveth who is just, holy and true, should you hear and know and learn of—not of dead forms, but the power of the Spirit of life, whose word giveth life to as many as have that ear open to hear the living Spirit, and can savor the living from the dead; now whatever you look to for life and salvation, which is not in this Spirit and power, it's that which kills and devours your strength to no purpose, for nothing gives life but the Spirit: it's the pure Spirit that feeds the hungry soul with bread of life, and to that you should give up all you have and are; in hearkening and obeying spend your time and all your strength to increase in the life that's bread indeed; but when you give your strength to customs and forms and carnal rudiments, vain pleasures and delights, and set your minds on these visible things, then you spend your strength for that which is not bread, and labors for that which profits not to life eternal, nor can carnal things give you108 an entrance into the most holy; but in that which is pure should you wait, that he may open to you the door of life. I am the door, the truth and the life, saith Christ Jesus, who is not carnal, who is pure, clean, and lowly, and meek in spirit, who is in you except you be reprobates; and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Mind and consider well, the Spirit of Christ in you, that's he109 lowly in you, that's meek in you, that's just and holy in you; mind this Spirit in you, and then whither will you run and forsake the Lord of life? Will you leave Christ the fountain which should spring in you and hunt for yourselves? Should you not abide within and drink of that which springs freely, and feed on that which is pure, meek and lowly in spirit, that so you might grow spiritual men into the same Spirit, to be as he is, the sheep of his pasture? For as is your pasture so are you filled; high carnal minds seek high things, and so they grow lofty and proud, and such God resists and keeps them afar off, but the poor in spirit seek truth and meekness and are fed thereof at the table of <210> the Lord; meek and lowly and just and faithful are all his household who feeds and sups with him. Now mind and consider your ways, who are gone out unto the mountains to worship and feed yourselves; you may read of Israel's sin in going out from the temple, in which the Lord had said he would dwell and be inquired of, and they builded altars without him, and there called upon him but found him not, for which he rejected their worships and their temple also; and where hath Christ said he will now be worshipped, is it not within? For saith Christ, the true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit & in truth; mind it professors, not at Jerusalem will he be inquired of, but in Spirit and truth, and the body is the temple, as he hath said: I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will put my law in their inward parts, and all shall know me from the least to the greatest; not in temples made with hands doth the Godhead dwell, whose offspring we are; not in your high places and steeplehouse churches, but in that which springs of him; can you read this and understand it aright? In that which springs of him is the Godhead and power known, but the high-minded are too far off it to feel it; it's the poor and lowly in spirit that are near it, and he that's become as a little child can only understand it who is not too great in his thoughts to hearken to that which is little and pure in him; by birth and nature that springs of God, and not the height of that mind which hath notions divine,110 but not nature, life, and sonship begotten and born of God. A sanctified life and vessel is God's offspring; but he that saith and doth not is not born of truth but of fornication and falsehood, so read your birth and nature and kindred with the truth. It's not the uncircumcised in heart, nor the bastard that's God's offspring and child of his love, but the pure and clean in heart and mind and spirit hath his image; and if you look to be godly you must know this in you, else you are without God in the world, having neither seen him nor known him whom you seem to worship, but are alienated from him in your minds and in your members, and111 your whole strength, so that you have neither power nor understanding to do well, being taken captive of a contrary spirit in all your abilities of spirit, <211> soul and body, your wisdom perverted, and understandings darkened, and parted from the root, whose offspring man is.
And now this should be your return, to sink down to that which is holy and pure in the light, and to that give up your whole man and all you are and have, and no more consult with your wisdom nor follow your own understanding, but let the little thing112 in you that's pure and simple lead you, and thereto bow and bend and confess; and this will be your restoration to God, to give all you have to the holy, who when he hath befooled your cursed wisdom and brought down your high conceits, and bound the strong man, and tied the colt to the vine; then will he arise in power who is meek and holy, and rule in your strength, parts, and wisdom, having purged the enmity out and renewed your abilities, and you will have all restored again manifold, all new and clear and able, by the power of the holy one who will reign and govern therein, and you shall know the Lord whose offspring you are to be both root and head and all in you, and you shall say no more I am weak and can do nothing, but all things through him that gives you strength; for the devourer shall no more pervert it, but great shall be the Holy One in the midst of you, if this you can believe and receive; and you shall no more as you have done sow for the devourer, nor bring forth unto blasting, but your fruits shall arise to God, who will receive them with good will, and your prayers shall not return empty when he hath bent you for himself and taken away the accursed113 from amongst you; and then will you know the Lord's redeemed, and that seed which is elected and blessed, which brings not forth as other men, and you will see that all who despise the day of small things neglect their own mercy (to follow the teacher of lies) who turns not at his reproof who is holy and therefore worship without power.
Then will you know the life and power of redemption and sanctification and justification, and renewing of the Holy Ghost in you, when your strength is redeemed to God, your wisdom redeemed, your hearts, tongues, eyes and ears, and all you have redeemed into114 God, into that which is holy, to be guided and exercised in all your conversation, possessing your vessels in <212> sanctification; here is that renewing of the Holy Ghost known, which sanctifies & justifies through the redemption of the body and mind, and reconciliation which is in Christ Jesus, who is not known to be Lord but by the Holy Ghost, that Spirit of truth which leads into all truth, which truth is a witness in you against you who say you are redeemed to God by Christ Jesus when another lord rules in you and leads you captive into sin, by which Christ Jesus is denied and suffers in you, and by which you are separated from God and in a nature contrary to him; wherefore to that must you come which changeth your nature and not your words and forms and teachers,115 but which begets another seed and kills that which is begotten of whoredom and lust, which is after the prince of this world, that God may be served in his own Spirit, in his own truth of his own nature, of his own begetting, holy as he is holy in every measure and growth thereof, that so the least of his children may be known to be of him, and separate from the world, in soul and in body, coming out of the world, bearing his image and reproach.
And as many as honestly desires to be heirs of this holy power and kingdom, patiently wait till you feel that move in you which is of this pure nature; and having felt it alive in you, rejoice in it with hope and faith, and keep therein, and be not discouraged because of the littleness of it in your present sight, neither do you judge and measure it thereby, for you know not what power it hath with God, and how precious it is in his sight, and what it will obtain for you at his hands in the time of need you have not yet proved, nor can you, while you have things greater in your thoughts than it to run to; the power of holiness and truth in the inward parts is not known but in the depth, when the fire of wrath comes upon all vain hopes and hypocritical confidence, when all that is without a man is removed far away, when all relations, friends and acquaintance is become farther off than strangers, and whatever thing the creature seeks to for comfort turns against him and adds to his grief; then is known the power of holiness and truth in heart with God, and a clean conscience will speak peace; and none can take it away from you if you abide but in it. He that <213> hath proved it commends it to you, who hath116 been stripped of all that he117 might learn and know the treasure of life and holiness with God, wherefore judge not that which is holier and lower than yourselves, but let that which is just and holy judge that which is above it in you, which is not of that nature. The cause why it is so little esteemed in you is because you are so great in the contrary nature, and the proud despises the poor, and the rich undervalues him that is better than himself. And this you will find in you if you measure with that which God esteems and weighs all flesh by (to wit) by that which is his own, and as he is in every creature; so do not you judge the most holy but believe and obey, for the time for you to judge is not yet come, till the most holy and just118 be king in you, and you in him, so keep in that which is holy and just, and grow in him that he may grow119 in you and arise through death of his enemies to be greater than the greatest, greater than the world and the prince of it, which is the devil, wherein is all unbelief, false fears and doubting, and exaltation against the holy one; and as these towers falls which are lifted up against the Lord, so his way will become a plain, and truth will take his place in you as king and Lord, which God loves, which the unbelief is out of and against; and as the pure arises you will find a change in your mind, in your nature and in your judgment, and in your government, and you will come to know that your kingdom and power with the highest stands in the anointing of the most holy, and the kingdom of God is within you, and the poor takes it.
So you must not fix your faith upon that which is120 great and strong in you, because it is so, nor because it is likely, nor because it promiseth great things; but believe in that which is most holy, true and just in you, that to the anointing of the most holy you may come in your particular, and he will bring you into the assembly of the sanctified where the holy one reigneth over all; for it's he that's sent out121 into the world that lies in wickedness, to gather them one by one into sanctification, therein to present unto God as many as receive him, who is without spot or blemish.
And all the world take notice of this wherever it comes: this is <214> he whom the Father of lights hath now sent into you that are in the world; the holy one of God sent to call you and give you light, who saith, "I am the light of the world." Hear him and believe, that you may become children of light and truth; this is the glad tidings and gospel of Christ Jesus, who is preached to you in the world; professions and forms would limit the holy one to themselves and exclude others, but God's gift is free in Christ Jesus, and his tender is to all men, who would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; none he excludes, none but who will not receive his gift, his Son, the most holy which calls you, who through the preaching of the gospel is come near you; yea he is in you with his light, giving you to see the way out of darkness, which no other thing could do for you, and without money or price you have him. If you receive him and keep his sayings and obey his movings he will dwell in you and take up his abode, and you shall know that the Father hath sent him to call you out of the world into the light of life; if you deny him he will deny you; if you receive him the Father will love you, and power from above will be given to become the sons of God; wherefore mind that Spirit which calls you out of sin, out of the world, and gives you light to see what is sin and deceit in your own hearts; hearken to that which is holy and would not have you do evil, that's of the holy one, and the most holy122 in you; believe in him and follow him. Believe not them who would make you believe you have him not in you, who are past feeling in themselves and have already rejected him; but you who feel him, abide in him who is holy in you, against all unholiness a witness; cut not yourselves off through disobedience and unbelief, and he will in no wise cast you out, but will increase your light through obedience and purify your souls and cleanse your bodies, and work in you mightily in truth to salvation, and you shall see that his working is pure and good and that which none else can do for you; and this is the Lord your righteousness, though yet you know him not as he is.
And if you will receive the most holy, this is your time and the day of your visitation by him, whose light is now rejected of the builders of this world, and the wisdom of the wise will not <215> know him nor suffer him to rule above their carnal rudiments, nor to be all in their hearts to guide with his light to salvation; so to the outcasts he is preached, who are afar off and have not sought him; you is he seeking with his light; if you reject him not he will make you to see light who have sat in the region of death, and gross darkness hath covered you; wherefore hearken to him that saith "come," and feel that Spirit that draws, that you may answer his love freely, as it is freely tendered; and know him by his holiness that it is he; and let his unchangeable witness in you in the night and in the day persuade your hearts that he is the Lord who changeth not; and he that declares unto man his thoughts; his name is the Lord of hosts; and you that withstand this123 appearance in Spirit and tells people that this is not to preach Christ, and yet profess Christ in you, tell me what Christ is in people, if not light and holy life, and a faithful witness against the contrary in all in whom he liveth, and by what other thing he may be known in Spirit, life, and power, if this be denied? else let the mouth of antichrist be stopped, that the simple may pass on the right and living way, free from such who will neither enter the kingdom themselves nor would suffer others, who have always resisted the Holy Ghost.
Children of this world, who have the form but not the power of godliness, and have got notions of life, but not the nature and spirit thereof: in your dark thoughts from an unfruitful spirit you judge the children of light; and when you see us acting in the life of Christ Jesus, then you say we are under legal performances, and that we think to be saved by our works, and that we do it to merit, and the like; but you are greatly mistaken in yourselves and are not in that Spirit which doth see us or can judge the nature of our works, nor our end therein; wherefore be silent and hear what is said to you if you have an ear to hear withal; for though yourselves be dead, withered branches cut off from the tree which is good by nature and there abides, yet it is not so with such as are born again and ingrafted into the <216> natural126 good olive; for he that is really born of God knows two several seeds and natures, which springs and brings forth from several roots, and after their several kinds.
Now the first127 of these is in bondage with its branches and brings forth unto self, from some outward observation or literal command, or something that is carnal or visible sets on work; and being thus set on work to do things contrary to your life and nature, you go hardly through it, and if you attain the outward performance the boaster gets up to glory in what you can do who doth all for self-ends, and so looks for reward above such as you think cannot do as you have done. Now you who have gone no further, but wearied yourselves herein, and found naught but bondage, are turned back into liberty again; and you judge as you have found in yourselves, so you say all good works are from the spirit of bondage, boasting and128 merit, and the like.
But you should not judge the children of light after the flesh; your measure will not reach that birth; for he that's born of God is a branch of another root and seed than you know, which hath another nature, inclining to God from whence it is, as the first129 inclines to the world whence it is; and as the natural man doth evil naturally with delight, his root and life being so, so the spiritual man (in his measure) doth good naturally after his root and life, which is his pleasure and joy to bring forth from the good root that which is good by nature, as it is the delight of the other to bring forth that which is evil by nature; for as is the heavenly such are they that are heavenly, and it's no bondage for the heavenly to bear heavenly fruits, but to the earthly man it is, being against his nature; wherefore saith Christ, "either make the tree good and his fruits good, or the tree evil and his fruits evil"; so good trees, evil trees and fruitless trees are known to be of several natures, and for several ends.
So this is but your own darkness that thus thinks, and with evil thoughts you judge amiss. Will you say of such as are really planted into the living vine that their fruits which freely springs from thence is legal and bondage, and that we think to be saved by our works, and by our own righteousness, &c.? Nay <217> this is the fruits of such who are saved already, and the righteousness of God is given to us who are ceased from our own works, whose works are no more legal but spiritual, free and not bondage, and he that's in Christ is fruitful in good works and free therein by birth; and he that abides in Christ sins not, nor is his seed of the evildoer. Could you understand this, you would not condemn the fruits of the living, with such as are dead while they live, whose fruit is withered, being broken off from that which is good by nature and planted into that which is wild by nature, but the spiritual man you cannot judge his fruits nor freedom, his offspring nor his end, whose fruits judges all fruitless trees, yet is he judged of no man; and it's hard for you to do good who are accustomed to do evil, as the leopard to change his spots; but it is otherwise with such as are changed already, born of the light, and heirs by birth and right nature to everlasting righteousness and truth; it's hard for such to do evil, being against nature, seed and Sonship which is in God; and though this you cannot believe, yet he that's born of faith can, and the least child of God can read it in his measure, who knows the old Adam and the new; and as in the first all are in sin and bondage, so in the second are all made righteous and free to God's work; and in the second is known the new creation wherein dwells righteousness, as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and will you call this self-righteousness, where all things are of God, and all things new, is this legal and bondage? And if any man be in Christ, all things are of God, and it's God that worketh in us of his good pleasure to will and to do; and this is not the spirit of bondage but good will & pleasure which God worketh freely in us; so you reproach what God worketh by the hearing of faith and not by the letter, which righteousness wrought in Abraham, which was in God before Abraham was, which is wrought from everlasting, and elect of God in Christ Jesus before the world was, and is a free gift to all that by Abraham's faith come out of the world, to him who is not of the world, which you that abides in the world inherits not, who are in self and seeking yourselves in what you do to God or men, who seek for rewards and honor from men;130 "how can you <218> believe?" saith Christ. And you that look for rewards are not in that Spirit which worketh freely; so you look for rewards and honor, teachers and people are all for rewards, honor, and respect of persons, and in that nature is all the bondage,131 merits and rewards, in this nature out of the faith of Christ Jesus who went from place to place doing good freely and preaching freely, and so will all do who are born of132 freedom, as he is free, whose life you speak evil133 of, but knows it not by birth and virtue, which is naturally good as the first134 man is naturally evil.
And the bondage is in that which is against the pure nature, and not in that which is freeborn; and the law is upon the transgressor and him that is degenerated into that nature which is carnal and sensual; and if this man do anything as to God, it is from something that is laid upon him, not in spirit but from without, and this is legal and in bondage, which is not in the free Spirit, which doth by nature the things contained in the law.
And little it is that such would either do or know, were there not a law or a letter, a heaven or a hell to put them upon works; and here is the bondage and fear that hath torment; but with the spiritual seed it is not so who are begotten and born of God in Christ Jesus, in whom they receive freely as the branch of the root, and what he sends forth through them is fruits of the Spirit, against which there is no law, and this is not legal but spiritual and free, who are a law unto themselves, and there is no law against the seed, but is added upon the transgressor because of sin till the seed be come; and where the seed is born and rules, that creature is not under the law, letter, nor tradition, nor bondage, but led by the Spirit and born of that nature which was before transgression was, by which the fruits of righteousness is brought to light by the working of the Holy Ghost, who worketh the will and the deed of his good pleasure, and with the same good will and pleasure it is brought forth, without bondage or constraint.
And in whom the bonds of iniquity are broken, the135 world ended, and all things become new, and all things of God, there dwells not self-righteousness nor spirit of bondage, but that is the new creature which is in Christ Jesus created unto good works, <219> and not in self, and the heavens new, and the earth new, wherein dwells righteousness, as it is in Christ Jesus revealed from God in Spirit and power without the law manifest, to which the law and the prophets bears witness, having foretold what glory and freedom should be revealed in the latter days at the seed's appearing; and the letter136 testifies of this life and power but is not this life, but the Spirit gives this life and freedom, that it may be of grace freely and the glory of the Lord, who is that Spirit, & here is the boaster and self excluded, and all fruitless trees condemned and seen to come short of the glory of God, of whose works he is not both root and offspring.137
And before you can judge of this freedom or the nature of the works that springs thereof, or inherit the power that brings forth this righteousness, you must own the judgment of him that condemns the man of sin in you, & receive him for your lawgiver, which will break you off from the world and would have you to deny the forms and images, and bring you from under its power, that's he that breaks the house of bondage and sets the righteous seed138 at liberty to bear the fruits which are of God. And thus hath Christ sent his servants to seek the lost and to gather them from among briars and thorns and bring them to Zion one by one, and as they were gained out of sin, so the devil's kingdom fell and grew weaker by every servant he lost, and Christ's kingdom increased until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of righteousness, wherein the righteous King reigns. And out of cruel mockings, scorning and bloody persecutions they gathered the lost and gained them to God, yea sometimes pulled them out of the fire, such hath been their faith and zeal for Christ and his holy kingdom and their steadfastness to that work to which they were called and hired, and the fury of the adversary, and his opposite power against him in his servants hath often reached unto blood, rendering evil for love to their souls.
Wherefore take heed to yourselves, you that name the Lord and call him master; depart from iniquity and obey the good; this is his work, if you be his servants; he hath called you to <220> holiness as he is holy; and that you turn from the world, and repent of his works who is the prince of it, and deny him and them openly and in secret. If you will serve the holy one you must bear his mark and open your heart to him and your mouth for him, as confidently as the servants of sin do for it, that your light might shine against the darkness of this world in the face of the perverse and crooked generation, that it may appear to all men that the ways of the Lord and the world are not one, nor their servants one, nor their words one, nor their garments one, nor their table one; in all things bearing his image and glory above his adversary, that it may appear whose family you belong to; and what is his glory who hath hired you, and what is the work of your Lord in the world.
And herein may all people, as in a glass, see yourselves and what you are to God in this his day, & what against him; these are the two masters which Christ tells of, which none can serve, but the one he hates who serves the other, so now who hath hired you? Whom do you serve, and whom do you hate? Is it the world you serve? then you hate Christ. Is it Christ? then you deny the world. And these are plain things, and you may read as you go, if you will, whose business you go about and whose hand you strengthen. If you commit sin and plead for it, then you war against him that is manifest to destroy sin. And if you say sin must live in you while you live, then while you live the devil must have a place and power in you, and a kingdom as long as you live. And if you believe to overcome sin, then you wait for the kingdom of God, which consists in righteousness and believes to see it, and seek it daily with your whole heart, for it is not words which takes the kingdom, but power of faith against the evil one.
Neither is it forms and professions or any outward thing that can vanquish the devil, for he is a spirit, and by a spiritual power must he be resisted, and the weapons must be spiritual and mighty through God, which casts down his seat in man, though many are led out from form to form and denies that power of God in them, and obeys the power of sin in them; not knowing that power which lays the axe to the root of the evil tree, out of which all the evil springs; and these are manifest to be such as are not hired, whatever your forms may be, which you choose <221> and change; you are but in the market place at the best, not yet come into the vineyard of God, till you be set on work against sin, and to pluck up and cut down every evil thing that offends in the kingdom of God, with his spiritual light and power, which kingdom is within you, and that which offends is within you, and that which is offended is within, and that which is lost and fallen139 is within, and there to be sought; and the pearl, and the seed, and the word, and the law of the Spirit of life, and the covenant is within, and this is not seen nor believed, nor can it shine forth till the house of God be swept, and the fruits of darkness denied, and the light of Christ turned to, and the just obeyed, which gives to see the unjust and power against him, when the ground of darkness is removed by the working of faith.
And as many as be called to this work and entered into it in truth and faith must not be idle, but obey the Spirit of life, till the house be cleansed, the unclean wrought out, and the pure exalted, and then is the rest holy, and then you will find your rest within you, and your God near you, and your souls to dwell at ease with God in your own habitation, whose temples you are, if this you obtain by faith in him that calleth and quickeneth you to holiness; and the fruit is the Lord's, and so is the seed, and the safety forever, to all and in all that abide therein.
And this is not self-works, nor self-will, but pure faith and obedience to the seed140 of God, which in you wars against the world and every selfish fleshly lust and delight, which is the seed of the holy covenant, which seed is Christ, the holy and just one, if you can receive it. This is he that makes clean and keeps you so, as many as obey and walk in him, and from his Spirit receives your law, which Spirit giveth you his life to inherit here on earth; if you walk in the Spirit you shall not live to the flesh. And in this life and knowledge truly learned is answered that common objection which the Spirit of the world makes against the holy life and kingdom, saying, if it were possible that we could live without sin, then we need no savior, yea the same that cleanses the house must keep it so; and he that's the death of sin is the life of righteousness, and the same light and fear of God which leads to the <222> putting off the old man with his affections and evil works leads to put on the new man which is Christ, and so to walk in him,141 which is renewed after the image of him that created him, where Christ is all in life and guiding, and the good man keeps the house, not the strong man; and how can that man say he needs no savior who can do naught without him, whose righteous life is both food and raiment, and his light their armor daily against the evil of142 this world in every thought, word and work? And in whom this is not so, Christ is not all; and in whom it is so, they are complete in him and do not say they have no need of him but confesses him in them their head and glory; and this is the kingdom of God upon earth, and the king in his kingdom, which you that resist in your faith and practice denies the Lord and his power, and his faith and his prayer, which is "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," where no sin is.
And this further, to all you that in words profess Jesus Christ to be your Lord and master, let it be in truth and righteousness, that you may have his witness thereto, who is pure and clean and cannot join to evil, but is an open witness against every appearance of it; and so is all his servants, whom he hath hired and sent into the world, in what place or employment soever you are in, if you be his servants you are chiefly about his work and not your own; now his work is manifest in every appearance of his in this world; it is against sin, and to destroy the works of the devil out of this world. Mind this: to destroy the works of the devil out of this world, that so the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of Christ Jesus, and the most holy one may rule and bring forth fruits therein. Now his servants are known by this, that they stand for the kingdom of Christ in this world and his works, and against all the works of the devil in this world, to143 destroy and bring down, and make an end of sin in this world; and the servants of the devil are known in the contrary, by being in his work, which is to keep sin in this world while people lives, and this is the strength of his kingdom. Take away sin, and take away his kingdom here, and his power here, <223> and his place here, for where he is resisted he flies, but where he is received he sets up his throne and takes pleasure in his servants, and they in his works, which is to increase deceit and vanity in them, and to fill their hearts with every lust, and so strongly carrying out their hearts thereto that they have no delight in that which is contrary, nor can believe that ever any can receive power in the Spirit of Christ against him, or such redemption as to overcome him and be freed from him in all his works in this world. And here is an agreement with death in your faith, and a covenant confessed with unrighteousness.
And you that are in this mind and belief, you are not yet144 hired of Christ Jesus the righteous, nor have you received his faith, which is pure as he is pure, and believes unto righteousness and unto victory, and not unto sin; and that's his faith which overcomes the world and the prince of it, and resists him145 steadfast in the faith, in hope of victory in the end, and this faith his146 servants confess openly, which faith the world cannot receive, but confess the contrary openly, and so you are kept captive at his will, and you believe you must be his servants while you live here in this world. And this faith you confess openly against the victory of Christ, and herein you are faithful to your own master whose works you do, and pleads for, and confess his faith, which none of the servants of Christ ever confessed such a faith, that they must needs serve sin as long as they live; for the youngest and the weakest servant of Christ Jesus, that knows themselves hired of him, they know his work is to destroy sin out of the world and to subdue the devil, & to this work they are set in themselves, by faith and power, which is in Christ Jesus the Lord, and they labor in hope having their hearts turned in them and their faces set towards holiness and from the world, and are set on their way out of the world, which is Christ the life that's holy and light that's pure, & to this the mind is kept in all their travails and tribulations and temptations, which worketh in them by faith in Christ, more hope, and more strength daily, and everything147 that happens them in the way gives experience and renewed strength against their adversary the devil, while they keep close to Christ in faith <224> and love; and though they feel the devil in the sensual part to be strong & powerful, and past their strength at present, yet they yield him not the kingdom for that, but into the faith and hope and patience of Christ Jesus they sink down, waiting for the resurrection of that life which never sinned, but died148 when sin took his kingdom, and there waits for the appearance of Christ without sin to save them from that power of death which wars in their own members, to bring forth sin in this world; and this is to be true in their service and faithful, who waits for the kingdom of God within them, and righteousness thereof, and the coming of their Lord, with their minds girt up with holiness and hearts steadfast, not to consent to the least work of the devil, if it would gain the whole world in the apparition of the sensual reason and wisdom.
And if these be overtaken with a fault, it is not willingly, but as a servant of Christ they stand against it to the utmost they then see, and sin being a work of the wrong master, they abhor it and themselves for it, and denies it, and will not plead for it or seek to hide it in them, but confess it, and cannot have peace till it be cleansed out; and these are the little children who have an advocate with the Father, to whom sin is as death, and dare not speak a word for it but against it in themselves and in others, and these appears against sin openly and confess to him that is holy, with all their hearts and words.
But what a difference is there betwixt one of these, who when they either see it or are told of their offense against the Lord are broken before the least reproof into tears or sorrow, condemning themselves for it, and it in themselves, openly; and you who when you are reproved for sin, which is both open and known, you set yourselves with all your strength and wisdom to plead for it, and like the devil brings the letter to strengthen yourselves against just reproof, and with hearts full of envy and mouths full of reproach, you stand up, seeking to ensnare them that reproves you in love to Christ's kingdom and your souls, and to recover you out of the works of Satan, that his kingdom might fall in you and so he have fewer subjects left in his power; and you be added unto the kingdom of Christ, by being brought <225> under his commands, through denying your old master, and confessing and condemning his evil works; for a denying of the devil and his works there must be ere Christ will receive you.
And thus it is that Christ hath ever149 taken his kingdom out of the hand of his adversary in the world, by sending his servants into the highways and hedges to gather his creatures out of the devil's works, by true reproof and testifying against them wherever he led them, for which they were torn and scratched and evil entreated by that evil spirit in whom it had power, as you now do who rise up against reproof.
You who look for the kingdom of Christ Jesus, it stands not in observations, words and forms, but in the power of the Holy Ghost, in judgment, in truth and righteousness; if you would know his appearance to salvation, wait for it without sin, in that Spirit and power which is holy to judge and condemn sin; this is his kingdom with men if you can receive it, that he be known in his spiritual power in the bodies of holy men and women to dwell and walk in a holy life, a witness against all sin by the breath of his mouth and sword of his Spirit. And therein that he have power and consent to judge all contrary spirits within and without, and all contrary actions; and whatever opposes him in this his kingdom is antichrist, which denies Christ in his temples and house, whose house and temples is the new creation of holy men and women in whom he speaks and dwells and walks, as saith the Scriptures, in whom he judges the prince of this world and all his outgoings in the children of darkness, and in his own temples shows forth his nature and virtue a witness against him and all his works; and he that would let this is antichrist, who sits in the temple of Christ to resist the holy one and cannot receive the judgments of Christ against sin in his temples, nor his witness against sin to salvation, but cries do not judge, when truth speaks, and the Spirit of Christ testifies against sin in true judgment, and this is <226> he that lets and withstands the coming of Christ without sin, who withstands him in his temple and denies his righteous judgment against sin, and blasphemes, and says it is not he; nor is he now on earth, nor speaks in anybody now against sin, but saith thou must not judge lest thou be judged, and so through deceit would turn Christ's words against his work, who saith "I will redeem Zion with judgment"; and Christ did not speak those words to save sin from judgment, when he saith, "Judge not that ye be not judged," nor to stop the mouth of truth and righteousness, for then had he contradicted himself who in another place commands them to judge righteous judgment; and he is manifest to destroy sin, and not to save sin, in whomsoever he is manifest, and for this end he liveth in his people, which antichrist would make as though he lived not, nor heard or spoke, but as a dumb idol would he make the living God, for people to talk on, or set up a form of him, to make void his present life and spiritual power in his people, that he should not show forth his virtue and give forth his laws and judgments by the mouth of his servants, against the works of his adversary wherever they appear in his eye.
Therefore you professors of Christ in words and forms, seek his kingdom in you, and take heed that your forms withstand not his powerful appearance in Spirit; his kingly authority stands in his heavenly holy nature and virtue in Spirit and not in perishing rudiments and shadows without. Read in Scriptures how often antichrist have deceived people by turning these outward forms to let the spiritual power, and so have kept people in words without life, opposing Christ in his kingdom; so in the first place mind to know his spiritual nature and virtue, and what hath power against sin in word and in deed; therein is his kingdom & there is his glory, & there he reigns; so take heed how you let that Spirit which goes out against sin in judgment and in victory in the least of his people; and this know, that his kingdom is spiritual and within, and holy, and there is his testimonies, laws and judgments which he sends out by the mouths of his servants as he sees fit, and it's against the works of the evil one he testifies in judgment and virtue, for that is his nature, and to that end he appears on earth to destroy the devil and his works through the sword of his Spirit, and none will let this but antichrist and <227> his servants, whose works are evil and so would stop the mouth of truth and voice of Christ Jesus.
So you may come to know his voice from his temple when you hear judgment from the Spirit of truth passing against pride and lust and all the works of the flesh, to destroy out of the world; this is his voice from his temples in which his throne is, his holy kingdom and power, and that's the voice of antichrist who would let this, and says thou must not judge when sin is judged, and so with the words of Christ would save the works of the devil from shame and destruction, and now there be many antichrists in this work to withstand the word of God in his temples, and who sets the letter against the Spirit to keep up sin, and to silence the word of the Holy Ghost that comes out of his house against it, and here is the children of the holy God known, and the children of this world; the one seeks to cut down sin, the other to save it, and both profess Christ in words, but the end of their work makes them manifest.
And you that are talking of Christ's appearance, where will you allow him a place to rule in, if not in the heart and chief place in man, therein to judge and govern and speak and give out his laws; will you allow the evil one to utter his voice openly in man, in swearing, lying, and cursed speaking, and every evil work, and must Christ be silent and dumb thereat in his vessels when he sees it? Is not this his privilege in his redeemed ones, as the other hath his power in his captives, that in them he may judge sin as openly as in the other it is acted? and this is the reasonable service of his chosen vessels, to give up their bodies that he may speak and act and show forth his virtues and life and power therein against the spirit of the world in his vessels; and were it not for this, none of the holy men of God need to have suffered nor been hated, but for the words of God spoken by them, as Christ hath said, It is not you that speak but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you; and this is the voice which the world knows not and so would stop it, and says it is not the Lord, not knowing that justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne in the hearts and mouths of his people; what, must not the Spirit of truth in whom he lives judge deceit and falsehood where it lives? Must not that which is holy judge the unclean? <228> Must not the lowly one judge the proud? the chaste one judge the lust? Must not he that is spiritual judge all things? Must not saints judge the world? What a nation would you have this to be who would root out judgment and yet profess Christ in you? Is Christ in that people where there is no judgment against sin? What, none to judge pride and excess, lying, swearing and cursed speaking, false ways and false worships? Would you have all sin to pass openly without reproof? Is the land wholly become as Sodom? Mind what was their words to Lot in this case: this one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge, whose righteous soul was vexed daily with their unclean conversation; so would you have sin to go openly in the streets without reproof and shame? Where is the holy one? In whom doth he dwell who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity? Is Christ a king, is he a judge? Is he pure and clean in heart? Doth he live? Can he see sin and be silent, where he hath a mouth to speak by? Did he ever take up his abode in a people where none would allow him a habitation and a mouth to speak by? Mind his walking aforetime in his servants, and what he did and spoke in them, and against what; and is he not still a God of judgment at hand against his adversary, though such as know not his voice put him afar off?
So you who say you are for Christ and his kingdom, mind whose kingdom sin is in and whose work it is to defend it from judgment, and take150 Scripture to plead for it, that is he which condemns the just who would clear the guilty, and that is abomination to God and withstands his appearance; and you that yield your members thereto are not for Christ but against him in his members, who have yielded themselves servants of truth, and such as you were they who slew the just one, his prophets and apostles (in whom the word of God spoke against sin) and151 had the Scriptures, and served sin.
Wherefore if you love the appearance of Christ Jesus, you must not love sin, but in that principle which would not sin, feel him that suffers because of sin, and yet is without sin and against sin, and if to him you come whose appearance is in that which is holy, just, and true, and therein join to him, you will love that <229> which condemns sin by which he is grieved and oppressed, and then are you for Christ, when you can feel and suffer with him, by that which he suffers; and you will then see that naught is it that is offended at sin being judged, but he that is guilty thereof.
The grace of God is that which brings salvation to man, all men being natural152 darkness, as they are in the world without God, so the grace of God is tendered to all without respect of persons. And that's it in every man which gives him a sight of truth in himself, which truth153 God by his grace154 accepts in every man, who would have all men to come to the knowledge thereof that they might be saved. Now this grace in itself155 is one in every man and is of God in every man,156 and doth not spare the evil nor deny the good in any, out of respect either to person, wisdom, strength or riches which is of this world, but hath respect to the truth of Spirit in all, and their obedience thereto, therein to teach and lead to salvation, and the true worship of God in Spirit which leads to life eternal, and to the strengthening of the holy seed157 in man, quickening the soul which by sin hath suffered, and this it doth by condemning sin in every motion, that it may never arise against the holy seed, and also by ministering comforts and promises & power in Spirit to the soul in the way of its arising above the power of the son of wickedness, still ministering light and understanding in the hidden part to the holy seed158 that hates sin, opening that eye daily through the obedience of truth, which the god of this world hath blinded, and purifying the soul by putting off the body of corruption, and blinding him that saith he sees but knows not the way out of sin, ministering the law upon him.
And this is the ministration of free grace to every soul that receives it, and this it worketh powerfully in all that abide in it, through the Spirit of Christ Jesus; and this grace (as saith the Scripture) hath appeared to all men; yea, and doth daily appear <230> in all who truly wait in Spirit for its appearance, and gives to all such a sight of truth in themselves, testifying with or against every motion in their hearts according as it stands in the sight of God, whether it be good or evil, whereby the conscience doth accuse or excuse, even as God shall judge them by Christ Jesus; so that there is no cause in this grace why any are not saved thereby from sin and condemnation; but being rejected of some it becomes their condemnation, and the same thing159 which saves him that receives it in faith and obedience condemns him that rejects it in his disobedience; and this is the grace of God that changeth not, which appears to all men, but only reigns to salvation through righteousness, wherein it is believed to be sufficient and obeyed, in the truth therewith made manifest.
So that is the grace of God which is of God in man, ministering in Spirit light to the soul in the midst of darkness, ministering life to that which is dead in sin, leading that160 through the vale of death up to God from whom the grace hath appeared, and of whom it is; and the light thereof is judgment and discerning in everyone that receives it to be led with it in judgment, and condemnation to such as turn it into lasciviousness, denying the life thereof and the truth that leads thereto, and so cannot be saved through it, but he that receives it and joins to it in Spirit becomes one with it, and by his daily sinking into it in counsel it grows in him and he in it, until it becomes a habitation and cover for him against all evil, and so he becomes gracious in words and works, daily receiving grace for grace, of his fullness.161
And he that hath received of this grace and is faithful therein must not minister of it to strengthen the transgressor, who loves his sin and so is under the law, for that is to162 cast the pearls to swine; but to such as are heavy laden and weary of sin, to encourage against sin and temptations, which all that turn from the devil must be sure163 to meet with; and judgment it ministers to the wicked, that therewith he may know his condemnation with the light of truth,164 in whom grace is denied to reign, it is their <231> condemnation, that he is165 come into the world, who is full of grace and truth, but the kingdom of grace is salvation, in whom it reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ the Lord.
So he that receives the teaching of grace comes therein to the leading of the Spirit, and so becomes free from sin, is no more under the law but under grace; but the law hath power over him that walks after the flesh, and every appearance of grace is witness against him, by declaring him to be under the law of sin and death, and not in covenant with him that appears against sin in the power of grace and truth, which is Christ Jesus the Lord.
1. Whitehead inserts "or, captive souls."
2. Whitehead changes "Every creature being born of corrupted nature" to "All men in the fallen state, through sin and transgression."
3. Whitehead omits "enviously."
4. W. changes "above the pure life" to "over them."
5. W. omits "from it."
6. Whitehead omits "continually."
7. W. changes "came into the world" to "was created."
8. W. omits "into."
9. Whitehead inserts "divine."
10. Whitehead omits "not in."
11. Whitehead inserts "Christ."
12. Whitehead omits "all."
13. Whitehead inserts "evil."
14. Whitehead omits "there."
15. W. omits "this."
16. Whitehead changes "that seed" to "the soul being."
17. Whitehead changes "which should give to" to "wherein it cannot."
18. Whitehead omits "and diligence."
19. Whitehead inserts "with man."
20. W. omits "upon all occasions, whenever the creature doth but mind it."
21. Whitehead changes "suffering" to "longsuffering."
22. Whitehead changes "being wholly departed" to "departed from them."
23. W. changes "naught but deceit is left to guide him" to "being left to deceit."
24. Whitehead changes "which at the best hath but" to "having only."
25. W. changes "are fallen and covered" to "is hid."
26. W. inserts "own."
27. Whitehead omits "the call and."
28. Whitehead inserts "obeying."
29. Whitehead changes "murder" to "crucify."
30. Whitehead changes "naught can damn you but what" to "that which condemns you."
31. Whitehead inserts "only."
32. Whitehead omits "all."
33. W. inserts "only."
34. Whitehead omits "and more holy."
35. W. changes "forced" to "led."
36. Whitehead changes "in" to "with."
37. Whitehead changes "above" to "over you contrary to."
38. Whitehead changes "faithful to neither" to "not faithful: but."
39. W. changes "and the beginning" to "from the beginning of the work."
40. Whitehead changes "to its right freedom, which" to "into dominion, for."
41. Whitehead inserts "the soul."
42. W. inserts "fruit."
43. W. omits "hear and."
44. Whitehead inserts "life."
45. W. changes "freedom" to "the Spirit."
46. W. changes "which" to "who."
47. W. changes "likeliness" to "likeness."
48. W. changes "the" to "their."
49. Whitehead inserts "in."
50. W. omits "eternal."
51. W. omits "hearing."
52. Whitehead changes "it" to "he."
53. Whitehead changes "rejects" to "resists."
54. Whitehead omits "in them."
55. Whitehead changes "in" to "as to."
56. Whitehead changes "of" to "in."
57. Whitehead inserts "knowing."
58. Whitehead omits "and you in him."
59. Whitehead omits "and a light in that which is holy? Mind what is withered in you and what is fruitful."
60. W. omits "light."
61. W. omits "Are you not withered then unto God?"
62. Whitehead changes "natural Son" to "true vine."
63. Whitehead changes "Your light is withered, and your seed corrupted, and your" to "Your corrupt."
64. Whitehead omits "now is green and."
65. Whitehead omits "without light in you."
66. Whitehead omits "in you."
67. W. changes "in you to keep you; not so much truth in your inward parts as is able to teach you, and to" to "in the world, who would teach you and."
68. 4Whitehead changes "narrow" to "short."
69. W. changes "so much of the holy Spirit as will" to "the holy Spirit to."
70. W. inserts "light."
71. W. inserts "up."
72. W. changes "by birth" to "the world."
73. Whitehead changes "a light and nature" to "the light."
74. W. changes "there" to "their."
75. Whitehead inserts "used against it."
76. Whitehead changes "the temptations never come" to "come not."
77. Whitehead inserts "to evil."
78. W. omits "ever."
79. W. omits "always."
80. W. changes "if" to "when."
81. W. changes "by nature" to "in mercy."
82. W. changes "cannot" to "doth not."
83. W. changes "him" to "them."
84. Whitehead omits "pure."
85. Whitehead omits "where the world is ended."
86. Whitehead changes "this" to "his."
87. Whitehead inserts "conscience."
88. W. changes "devoured" to "hindered."
89. Whitehead changes "earthy" to "earthly."
90. Whitehead changes "that must be anointed" to "that's anointed to rule."
91. Whitehead changes "retain" to "receive" (following Acts 3:21).
92. W. changes "comes not to" to "dwells not in."
93. Whitehead inserts "light."
94. Whitehead inserts "that of."
95. Whitehead changes "flesh" to "spirit or soul."
96. Whitehead inserts "as to you."
97. W. changes "can never" to "cannot."
98. Whitehead omits "by nature."
99. Whitehead omits "and is of him."
100. Whitehead changes "of the holy Child" to "which quickens you."
101. Whitehead changes "that" to "its."
102. Whitehead changes "life" to "birth."
103. Whitehead omits "come to."
104. W. omits "this is he that comes in the name of."
105. W. omits "who."
106. Whitehead changes "your" to "the."
107. Whitehead changes "that seed that's" to "them that are."
108. Whitehead omits "you."
109. Whitehead inserts "that's."
110. Whitehead omits "divine."
111. Whitehead inserts "in."
112. Whitehead changes "the little thing" to "that."
113. W. inserts "thing."
114. Whitehead changes "into" to "unto."
115. Whitehead inserts "only."
116. Whitehead changes "hath" to "have."
117. Whitehead changes "he" to "ye."
118. Whitehead inserts "King appear to."
119. W. changes "grow" to "rule."
120. Whitehead changes "is" to "seems."
121. Whitehead omits "out."
122. Whitehead changes "holy" to "high."
123. W. changes "this" to "his."
124. W. omits "Also."
125. W. omits "own."
126. Whitehead omits "natural."
127. Whitehead changes "first" to "one."
128. Whitehead changes "and" to "about."
129. W. changes "first" to "other."
130. Whitehead omits "who seek for rewards and honor from men."
131. Whitehead inserts "pretended."
132. Whitehead changes "of" to "to true."
133. W. omits "evil."
134. Whitehead inserts "(or fallen)."
135. W. inserts "evil."
136. Whitehead changes "letter" to "holy Scripture."
137. Whitehead changes "both root and offspring" to "either root or offspring."
138. Whitehead omits "seed."
139. Whitehead omits "and fallen."
140. Whitehead inserts "or living word."
141. Whitehead changes "which is Christ, and so to walk in him" to "and so to walk in Christ."
142. Whitehead changes "of" to "in."
143. W. changes "to" to "that Christ may."
144. Whitehead omits "yet."
145. Whitehead changes "him" to "the devil."
146. W. changes "his" to "Christ's."
147. W. changes "everything" to "every trial."
148. Whitehead changes "died" to "was oppressed and grieved."
149. Whitehead omits "ever."
150. W. changes "take" to "mistake."
151. W changes "and" to "yet they."
152. W. changes "natural" to "in."
153. Whitehead omits "truth."
154. Whitehead omits "by his grace."
155. W. changes "in itself" to "of God."
156. W. omits "and is of God in every man."
157. W. changes "of the holy seed" to "that which is of God"s begetting."
158. W. changes "holy seed" to "soul."
159. W. changes "thing" to "grace."
160. Whitehead changes "that" to "man."
161. Whitehead changes "grace for grace, of his fullness" to "of Christ's fullness grace for grace."
162. W. changes "for that is to" to "nor."
163. W. changes "be sure" to "expect."
164. Whitehead inserts "which is their condemnation."
165. Whitehead changes "it is their condemnation, that he is" to "he being."