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not, nor hast had any experience of; and also, to deride and mock at the frequent testimonies and exhortations to the light within, grace within, spirit within, power of God within, word of God within, law within, &c. consider what thou dost, and against what and whom thou openest thy mouth, and dread the living God, whom in words only thou professest to be a spirit, infinite, omnipresent, and Almighty; which spirit searcheth thy heart, and judgeth thy ways, though thou at present be ignorant and unbelieving concerning him, and his being so near thee. And also consider within thyself, how that if thou knowest not light shining within, and a walking in it, thou art no child of it, but darkness abounds in thee, and thou knowest not whither thou goest, nor at what thou stumblest. If grace thou knowest not to rule and reign within thee, sin ruleth, and death, the wages thereof, is present with thee. If the spirit of God thou knowest not teaching and ruling in thy heart, and sitting upon the throne thereof, the spirit of satan, devil, and antichrist rules there, and teacheth there, and thou art a poor captive, and bond-slave thereof, profess what thou wilt. And if the power of God thou knowest not working within thyself, and operating in thy heart, not only to shake, pull down, and remove that which can be shaken and removed, but also to bring in that which cannot be shaken nor removed, viz. everlasting righteousness; I say, if this thou knowest not, the power of the enemy of God (and thy soul) worketh in thee, and prevaileth over thee, by working in thy imaginations, will, and affections, mind and members, that which is evil, either in self-sinning, or self righteousness, which are both abomintion to the Lord. So if thou knowest not the word of God within thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, with the virtues and properties thereof, as a hammer, as a fire, quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, and hearest and obeyest not the voice thereof; I say, if this word thou knowest not within, thou art not made clean nor sanctified by it; but those things stand in thee, against which it is as a hammer, fire, sword, sharp and powerful; and the word and commands of the old serpent, that betrayer, sounds loud in thy ears, and pierceth deep into thy heart, and thou art carried away with the wind thereof, and enterest into his temptations daily, and knowest not power against them; so thou canst not say, as David once did, "I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee:"* neither hast thou received with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save; but art of those whom Christ spoke to, "Ye have not his word (speaking of his father) abiding in you.”+
And if thou knowest not the law of the spirit of life within thee, written in thy inward parts, thou art a stranger to the new covenant, and the law of sin and death hath power over thee, and the
Psalm cxix. 11.
† John v. 38.
+ Jer. xxxi. 33.
law that is in thy members leads thee captive thereto, and the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to his law, reigns in thee; and though thou professest the law of God with thy tongue, thou dost not love it, nor delight in it in thy heart; neither is it bet in thy esteem than thousands of gold and silver.
So, in short, if thou art not partaker and possessor of the heavenly treasures in thy earthen vessel, thou art freighted with earthly trea- · sures and vanities. If thou knowest not thy body the temple of the living God, and thy heart his throne, then is it as a cage for unclean birds, and as a habitation for wild beasts, and as a nest for venomous creeping things; and the prince of darkness sits upon the throne of thy heart, and rules there, let thy opinion and talk of religion be what it will.
Now, be thou warned and advised, to watch against that spirit in thyself, which moveth thee to slight, deride, and mock at the appearance and manifestation of the light, grace, spirit, power, word, and law of God within.
And learn to cease also from those teachers without which have caused thee to err, who hate the light within, and despise the shining of it, and give it despicable names, as ignis fatuus; uncertain or false fire; natural light; and the checks and reproofs of it, but the checks of a natural conscience; and despise the grace that appears to all men, and call it common, and not saving grace; and slight and reject the power and spirit of God within, which moves and works against all evil, and to all good, not allowing it to be the principal rule and guide of a christian; and also endeavour to demolish and raze out the word and law of God within, under pretence of directing thee to a more sure word and law without, viz. the holy scriptures, which contain divers words, precepts, and commandments, &c. spoken by holy men, to whom the word of the Lord came, (which was before the words were,) and by this word and spirit that came to them, and was in them, were they moved to speak them, and that is greater than the words. And till thou knowest a measure of the same word and spirit within thyself, thou canst neither truly understand nor obey the words, nor holy precepts and exhortations that proceeded from it; that indeed being the original cause, root, and ground, from whence all the good words and good works that ever sprang up in the heart of mankind proceeded. Such teachers have ran, but God hath not sent them; so people are not profited, but spoiled by them. They shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; they neither enter themselves, nor suffer those that would; and under the name of ministers of Christ, are direct ministers of antichrist. From such turn thou away, and learn of the grace of God, which teacheth to deny ungodliness, &c. and love the light,
and bring thy deeds to it, and walk in it;* so shalt thou become a child of it, and have right to inherit the precious promises, and possess and enjoy the glorious privileges, which thou hast hitherto only professed, heard, and read of in the holy scriptures. So wilt thou come to inherit substance, and soon be wiser than former teachers; and of a titular Christian thou wilt become a Christian indeed, an Israelite indeed, a Jew inward indeed, whose praise is of God, and not of men. W. S.
FAITH AND EXPERIENCE
CONCERNING GOD, CHRIST, THE SPIRIT, &c.
FIRST, CONCERNING GOD.
*God is infinite and incomprehensible in himself, and all the words of men and angels cannot define him, as he is, being in all, through all, and above all. And the various names given him throughout the holy scriptures, were according to the manifestation or appearance and operation of his spirit in their hearts that wrote them, and according to the state it found them in, when it appeared to them; hence he is called a consuming fire. Our God is a consuming fire, and his word as a hammer, and as a fire, and a jealous and angry God, who as a devouring fire goes
The true Christian believes there is one God, who is a spirit, pure in essence, omnipresent in being, incomprehensible and almighty in power.* And he demonstrateth his faith and experience after this manner; he has received a manifestation of him in his own heart, mind and spirit; and so is come to know him pure, and omnipresent by his work and operation therein; he can say, that God is pure of a truth, because he findeth his appearance so pure and holy in his heart, that it will not allow nor suffer so much as a vain thought to lodge there, nor no unclean thing to be touched.
• John iii. 21.
And this true Christian is a true witness of the truth of those scriptures, Hab. i. 13. Jer. xvii. 10, and 15, 19, which saith, that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and that he searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, "and divideth betwixt the precious and the vile," betwixt thought and thought, word and word, work and work. And further, he is a true witness, that God is Almighty in power, because he hath, by his mighty power, broken down those strong holds formerly builded in his heart by the enemy of his soul; cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God; bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ. And he knoweth the dark mountains, at which his feet stumbled, removed, and the rocks rended, and the raging wave stilled, and that tongue and nature bridled, which no man could tame. But before this be witnessed, he hath known him to sit as a "refiner's fire, and fuller's soap, and as aspirit of judgment and burning;"* and so became a living witness of what he hath seen, felt, heard, and understood, by the mighty working of his holy spirit in his mortal body.
The titular Christian, he saith he believeth in one God, who is pure, omnipresent, and Almighty; (take his word and there is no difference.) But how doth he demonstrate his faith, that to him there is but one God? Why, he hath heard a rela
through the briars and thorns, and consumes them; and the day of his appearance among these briars and thorns, thistles, and stubble, is compared to the burning of fire in an oven, in which the wicked cannot dwell. And others could call him by quite contrary names, even according to the operation of his spirit in them, and by the same could say, that God is love, and his word was as milk, and sweeter than honey or the honey-comb, and that the light of his countenance was better than the increase of corn, wine, and oil; and that he was a shield and a shadow of a rock in a weary land; and his name as a strong tower, and a safe dwelling place, and as a precious ointment poured forth; and his face or presence, glory and power, which is terrible to the worker of iniquity, is pleasant and desirable by those that witness Sion's redemption, by the spirit of judgment and burning, from iniquity. These things are known now, as in former ages. The same ark, whose presence troubled and plagued the Philistines, was the glory of Israel. The same hand and power that smites and destroyeth the Egyptian, saves and delivers the Israelite. The same spirit of truth that reproveth the world of sin, is the comforter of those that are made free by it from sin. The same breath that breathed life in the beginning, before sin entered,
* Mal. iii. 3.
kindleth the fire that tormenteth tion of him, his oneness, his purity, the wicked. He that can under- and Almightiness in the holy scripstand, let him. tures, and he hath been educated and trained up in the traditions of his forefathers, and so his knowledge of God he professeth is acquired therefrom. He hath read in some book, or some body hath told him, that God is one, pure, omnipresent, and Almighty, and he grounds his faith and knowledge upon this tradition and history, and professeth God and his attributes, in words, but is not a living witness of the same within himself. And so, notwithstanding he professeth one God, he liveth in the world which hath many Gods, and worships and falls down before them. Every beloved lust, obeyed, is a God. Let the titular Christian profess what he will, he that committeth sin is the servant of it, and therein is no believer, worshipper, nor knower of the true God, his purity nor Almightiness; because his heart remaineth corrupt and rocky, and the mountains of darkness and ignorance remain unremoved, and the strong holds of satan unbroken down, his thoughts and imaginations unsubjected to the obedience of Christ, his will, tongue, and nature unbridled, the dross, tin, and rubbish remains, and is as a grave to the pure metal. This titular Christian contents himself to hear or read of God, as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap, and as a spirit of judgment and burning, and of his cleansing and purifying some in former generations; but loves not, nor cares not to know him so in himself; but rather despiseth and hateth his pure appearance in him, (whose first work is to convince him of sin, righteousness, and judgment,) which is compared to a little silver amongst much dross, a little seed amongst many great ones, and to a little leaven hid in three measures of meal; which silver cannot be parted, separated, and enjoyed, but by the appearance of God within, as a refiner's fire, to purge away the dross, and take away the tin also, which is somewhat like the silver, whereby the titular Christian is deceived. Neither can the little seed grow up till the rubbish be taken away, and the ground that is cursed removed, and the heart made honest, which is the good ground wherein the seed of the kingdom grows to perfection. Neither can the little leaven work through and leaven the three measures of meal, till that be taken away which lets and hinders, viz. unbelief and hardness of heart. Now this day of small things, this day of Jacob's troubles, wherein he goes through the refiner's fire, this little seed, this little leaven is overlooked, despised, and slighted by the titular Christian, who in his own conceit is exalted and puffed up above the pure appearance of God in his heart, which to know and obey is the gate of all true wisdom and knowledge; and is grown so tall, great and wise in his own thoughts and imaginations, that he cannot walk in the straight way, nor go in at the door of the sheep-fold, but would climb up some other way, and so contents him