Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

self with a traditional historical profession of God in words, and denies him in works. And all the knowledge and experience he hath of God, his purity, oneness, and Almightiness, is but as some body hath told him, or as he hath in an unsanctified and unprepared heart, read in the holy scriptures, which knowledge avails nothing, except accompanied with a living experience of the same power, working after the same manner as it did in others in times past, who have left their testimonies thereof upon record.

II. The True Christian's Faith and Experience concerning the

Lord Jesus Christ.

The true Christian believes in one Lord Jesus Christ, who came from the bosom of the Father, who is the son of the true God, by whom he made the world, and that this Lord Jesus Christ is his saviour, redeemer, sanctifier, and cleanser, by his precious blood, and is to him as a king, priest, and prophet, &c. And he demonstrateth his faith in this manner, in being obedient to him as he is Lord, in being saved by him from sin as he is Jesus, and by his learning of him, and being taught by him, as he is Christ, or the anointing. So he can call him Lord Jesus Christ in truth and righteousness, having truly learned his name and nature, through obedience to his cross and a cleansing by his precious blood. And so he not only reads, hears, and professes the benefits and privileges which the primitive Christians partook of and enjoyed by believing in and receiving of Christ, but experimentally partaketh of, and enjoyeth the same; and the spirit of God beareth witness with his spirit,* that he is a child of God, and a joint heir with Christ, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; and that he hath the mind of Christ, and that Christ lives in him, and is greater in him than he that is in the world. And as the old adversary, the devil, is strong and powerful to tempt, and ready on the one hand, and on the other, to draw and allure into evil; so he knoweth his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as near, and as ready, and more powerful to deliver, save, and preserve him from falling into evil and temptation. And he is not only enabled to resist the devil, but to make him flee also. Thus in truth can the true Christian call Christ the captain of his salvation; who being armed with his power, fights as he did, and followeth him, and sits down in heavenly places with him, triumphing over sin, death, hell, and the grave. So the true Christian proveth himself so, by denying himself, and taking up his cross daily, and following of Christ; and that he be

Rom. viii. 16.

lieveth in him, because he enjoyeth everlasting life, and abides not in death and darkness, but hath overcome the wicked one. And that he is his Lord, because he doth the thing he saith or commandeth; and that he loveth him, because he keepeth his commandments, and hath received power to become the son of God; and further, hath a name better than the name of sons and daughters.

The titular Christian saith, he believeth in one Lord Jesus Christ, the son of the true God, by whom he made the world. And that this Lord Jesus Christ is his saviour, redeemer, and sanctifier by his precious blood, &c. and professeth him as king, priest, and prophet; and in all his attributes and offices. But how doth he demonstrate and show forth his belief and profession? How is he his Lord? Doth he do the thing he saith? How is he his saviour? Is he saved by him from the committing of sin, and redeemed from a vain conversation? How doth he believe in him as Christ, or the anointing? Is he taught by him? How is he his king, priest, and prophet? Doth he rule in his heart as king? Are all his services, sacrifices, and offerings offered up by and through his hand, as priest? Doth he hear him in all things, as the prophet whom God hath raised like unto Moses ? No, the titular Christian hath no knowledge of him after this manner, neither doth he believe it is attainable on this side the grave, nor possible to obey him as Lord, nor to be saved by him from sin, as Jesus, nor taught by him, as Christ or the anointing, nor that he can be washed, cleansed, and sanctified by his precious blood, from the stains, spots, and defilements of the world, flesh, and the devil, while he bears about this body of clay. He contents himself with a corrupt, traditional faith, which hath sprung up in the dark night of apostacy; which is certainly a very venomous, pernicious weed of the devil's kingdom, which hath poisoned and destroyed the souls of many, and is now grown to such maturity, and clothed with such beauty to the eye of the titular Christian, though thereby he is taught to believe that it is not possible to cease from sin, nor to have his heart purified, nor to overcome the devil, and gain victory over the world. And further, that notwithstanding he committeth sin daily, and liveth in the act of it, term of life in this world, he is hereby taught to believe, that Christ will save him from the guilt and punishment of it in the world to come. It may be said of this titular Christian's faith, as it was once said of Saul and David, looseness and atheism hath slain its thousands, but this its ten thousands.

So, although he hears and reads what Christ did in and for those that believed in him, and of the powerful virtue and operation of that ancient Christian faith, which was once delivered to the saints, and borne witness to by the holy scriptures. Yet he neither hopes, believes, nor expects to witness the same wrought in him, and for him. They

[ocr errors]

bear witness of some, in whom Christ wrought* all their works, and that "through him they were able to do all things." And many glo rious things were spoken of, and were enjoyed by the true believers in Christ, while upon earth. But the titular Christian puts off all till he is dead, and pleads for the continuation of the devil and his works, term of life, and saith the devil works strongly in him, and prevails over him; and causeth him to sin in his holy duties; and that he is so captivated by him, that he cannot live one day or hour without sin. So notwithstanding his profession of Christ, he knows him not greater in him than he that is in the world. So the strong man keeps house, and is furnished with his goods; and though he cries Lord, Lord, he is a worker of iniquity, and is bound in chains of darkness, and his feet stick fast in the mire and in the clay; even while he talks of Lord and saviour, he is led captive at the devil's will, and is a stranger to that power which is able to resist him, and make him flee, and to that faith which gives victory. So he cannot in truth call Christ the captain of his salvation, nor approve himself one of his soldiers, who is armed with the same power, and with it fights against the same enemy, and gains the victory, and followeth him, who rides on conquering and to conquer; so never comes to sit down with him in his Father's kingdom, triumphing over sin, death, hell, and the grave, but remains under the power thereof, through the fear of which he is “all his life time subject to bondage,”4 let his profession of liberty and redemption by Christ be what it will. His fair talk will avail him nothing; though he saith he believeth in Christ, and loveth him, yet if he keepeth not his commandments, he is a liar, and deceiveth himself, and hath not eternal life abiding in him. Profession and name of Christ, without possession and nature, is of no worth.

III. The True Christian's Faith and Experience concerning the

Holy Spirit.

[ocr errors]

The true Christian believeth in the holy spirit, being one of the three which bears record in heaven, which three are one. And he showeth forth his faith by his obedience thereto. He hath received the spirit of adoption, whereby he can call God Father; not as the Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites did, but in truth and righteousness. And he witnesseth a being led by the spirit in the way of holiness, and so cannot fulfil the lusts of the flesh, but by the same doth mortify them, and gain victory over them, and is sanctified and cleansed

* In whom Christ works all, the devil works nothing. † Heb. ii. 15.

from them, and is taught by the spirit the true knowledge of God, and how to worship him aright in spirit and truth, and so prays with the spirit and with the understanding, and sings in the spirit, and praiseth God in the spirit, and the law of the spirit is in his heart, and this law of the spirit of life makes him free from the law of sin and death; and the spirit of God which raised up Jesus from the dead, dwelleth in him, and quickeneth his mortal body. And this true Christian is the spiritual man which discerneth all things, but is not discerned by another out of the same spirit which searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. And he is led by the spirit from under the law, and through the law, to him which was before the law, and so is under grace, and brings forth the fruits thereof, which are love, peace, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against this Christian there is no law.

The titular Christian he saith, he believeth in the holy spirit, &c. But how doth he demonstrate his faith and belief? He is ready to make a mock of receiving the spirit and being led by the spirit, and moved and taught by the spirit; this seems strange doctrine to him, that he should know his lusts mortified by the spirit, and that he should walk in the spirit, and be sanctified by the spirit from all sin and uncleanness, and that he should attend the motion and guidance of the spirit, and in all his conversation to do nothing but what will stand justified by this holy spirit, and that he should pray in the spirit, and sing with the spirit, and worship in the spirit, &c. These are new doctrines to the titular Christian, he knows not what to make of them, except it be to brand them with despicable names. And the law of the spirit of life, which should free him from the law of sin and death, he is a stranger to, and wholly ignorant of the in-dwelling of that spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, to quicken his mortal body. This he counts fanatic doctrine, &c. And instead of being a spiritual man which discerneth all things, he is carnal, and seeth not far off; the veil being over his heart, cannot see nor regard the glory of God when it appeareth in the inward temple, but opposeth and slighteth the appearance of that holy spirit which searcheth his heart and all things. And so is not led by it from under the law, which law was added because of transgression. And this titular Christian which liveth in the nature and act of transgression, and that knows not the cursed ground removed, which bringeth forth briars and thorns, from whence all evil thoughts, words, and works, proceed, and is a stranger to the mortification of them by the spirit; he is under the law, and liable to the punishment thereof, and not under grace. Let him profess what he will, if he brings not forth the fruit of the spirit in his life and conversation, he clearly showeth he doth not believe in it, nor walk in it, neither hath received it, nor come to any true knowledge of it by its work and operation in

his heart; he only talks of it with his tongue, as some book or body
hath told him. This is the property and state of a titular Christian.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

IV. The True Christian's Faith and Experience concerning the

Holy Scriptures.

[ocr errors]

The true Christian truly honoureth the holy scriptures in their places, and believeth and receiveth their testimony, and is a living witness of the truth thereof, and he demonstrateth it as followeth: by believing, receiving, and obeying him, viz. Christ Jesus, of whom they testify, whereby he receives power to order his conversation according to them. And the true Christian believeth that they were spoken and written by the motion and inspiration of the spirit of God in holy men, prophets and apostles; and that it is his duty to wait upon God to receive the spirit of grace and glory, and the gifts thereof, of which they testify; that thereby he may be enabled to read them with understanding, and to receive the comfort of them, and to be made wise through faith in Christ unto salvation by them.

And this Christian knows right well, that all the university or academical learning in the world is not able to give the true knowledge of the mind of the spirit in the holy scriptures; they are as a sealed book to all the wit, reason, comprehension and acquired parts of all mankind in the fall, learned and unlearned. And until man comes to receive, regard, and improve the manifestation of the spirit, which is given to every man to profit withal, as the scriptures witness, he is wholly ignorant, and a stranger to the key of true knowledge; and the treasures of life and wisdom are hid from him, and secured as with seven seals; and the cherubims, with a flaming sword, turn every way, and guard the tree of life, with the fruits thereof, from the fallen wisdom of man. And this the true Christian knows by experience, having tried what the wisdom of this world, in all its perfections, can do; and hath seen it confounded and brought to nought in himself, being discovered to be no part of the key of true everlasting knowledge; but rather that which hides it, and makes the veil the thicker, and shuts the door of the kingdom the faster; and those that abound in it, neither enter themselves nor suffer those that would. And this the holy scriptures testify.

The titular Christian, he saith, he honoureth the scriptures, and believeth the testimony of them, &c. But how doth he demonstrate his honour to them, and belief of them? Doth he order his conversation according to them? They exhort, “ to abstain from every appearance of evil, and from every fleshy lust, which wars against the soul; and to

ܪ

« ПредишнаНапред »