THE WAY To the CITY of GOD Described, OR, A PLAIN DECLARATION How any man may within the day of Visitation given him of God, pass out of the Unrighteous, into the Righteous state: As also, how he may go forward, in the Way of Holiness and Righteousness, and so be fitted for the Kingdom of God, and the beholding and enjoy­ing thereof.

WHEREIN Divers things, which occur to them, that enter into this way, with respect to their inward Trials, Tem­ptations, and Difficulties, are pointed at, and Directions intimated, how to carry themselves therein: and how to apply themselves to the Works and Exercises of Re­ligion, so as to find Acceptance with God. With divers other weighty particulars, which may be of service to Inquirers and Beginners.

Written by GEORGE KEITH, in the Year 1669. In the time of his being a close Prisoner in the Tolbooth at Edinburgh. Whereunto is added,

The way to discern the Convictions, Motions, &c of the Spirit of God, and Divine Principle in us, from those of a man's own Natural Reason, &c.

Written in the time of his Confinement in Aberdeen, in the Year 1676. With a Preface to the whole, written this Year.

Printed in the Year, 1678.

Isa. 62.10. ‘— cast up, cast up the high-way, gather out the stones, &c.

& 57.14. ‘— Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, &c.

& 40.3. ‘— Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the Desart a High-way for our God.’

1 Ioh. 2.6. ‘He, that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’

1 Ioh. 3.2. ‘— but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’

Ioan. Picus mir and. Conclus.

‘Qui perfecte in animam redierit, primae formae suam formam aequaverit.’

Englished thus.

‘He, that shall perfectly return into his own Soul, shall make his own frame [or mould] like unto the first.’

Friendly READER,

IF thou art brought unto any sense of thy inward state, and art come to feel thy absolute need of Christ, so as nothing less can satisfie thee than the true and real enjoyment of him in thy Heart and Soul; and thou canst no longer content thy self with the bare report of Christ, until thou feel the vertue of his Blood to sprinkle thy Conscience from dead works, to serve the Living God: And, if thou breathest for Life, and to have the living knowledg of God, and art weary of all that know­ledg, which thou hast gathered by bare hear say, or reading, while thou wast ignorant of the Life of Christ in thy heart: And if thou desirest Holiness it self more than a naked form or profession of it, and hungrest and thirstest after Righteousness, and so art a true inquirer after the Kingdom of God: To thee I hope this small Treatise will be acceptable, and of service, and indeed to such as thee it was mainly directed and intended. I wrote it some years ago, when I was by an outward restraint for divers months separated, for most part, from the company of all men, for my testimony to the Truth. But the Lord was near unto me, and in the enjoyment of his Pre­sence I had more satisfaction, than all worldly things could afford me. And being made use of by some in Manuscripts, to whom it was serviceable, they desired it might be made publick for a more ge­neral good, and the rather, because there was little or nothing, after the manner of controversie with any particular adversary in it, but that for the [Page] most part it was practical and experimental; (which some, who have not a desire to read controversie, are willing to read) and that the whole aim and scope of it was to help and assist such, who desire sincerely to live a godly life in their journey and travel, as the title of it imports, which is, A Description of the Way to the City of God, for thither should all our endeavours and labours tend, for we have here no abiding City. And, seeing, without Ho­liness none can see God, and unless a man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God: therefore this whole Treatise doth hold forth divers necessary and useful things, concerning the Nature of Regeneration, how, and after what manner, it is begun, and carried on. So that the va­rious steps of the Spiritual Traveller, are set down from the beginning, until a good growth and progress be attained in the new birth or life of Holiness it self. And who are thus far advanced, they are more s [...]fe, and more out of danger to miscarry and miss their way, than beginners are: And therefore it is mainly intended for beginners, and such as have made no great progress as yet in this Divine Travel.

What I have here delivered of the practical part, or of experience, is my own; and my Spirit and Soul have travelled, in some measure, in all these steps, herein mentioned: and I have found the experimen­tal good and advantage of all those advertisements, cautions, warnings and considerations delivered in the same. And, because it was not fit to burthen the understanding or memory of Readers with many [Page] things, I have only aimed, for the Readers good, to set down some clear and plain directions, concern­ing the most needful things; and those, which al­though they be most necessary, are most neglected, and especially to call back transgressours to the heart, according to Isaiah, 46.8. as the Hebrew hath it; or as otherwise it is rendred, but to the same purpose, Return unto the heart, O ye trans­gressours! and that is the import of the word [in­troversion] which is a turning-in to find and feel after God and Christ in the heart, to wait to see him, as he appears there, and to hear him, as he speaks there, and to be sensible of his walkings, go­ings, and movings, as he is found there; as he hath promised, I will dwell in them, and walk, in them, saith the Lord, Lev. 26.12. 2. Cor. 6.16. For we are to seek after Wisdom, as Silver, and to search for understanding, as hid treasures, Prov. 2.4. Which seeking and searching, in the first place, must be in our hearts, and inward parts, for there hath God placed this hidden treasure, which is Christ Jesus, to wit, a measure of his Di­vine Spirit, Life, and Light: and, if thou findest it in thy self, thou wilt then find it in others, and also thou wilt savour of that Divine Life and Spirit, both in the Scriptures, and also in all writings, that in the least measure, have proceeded from the same Spirit in others. And whatever testimony hath, at any time, proceeded from him, and remaineth upon record, the same witnesseth unto that testimony in all, unto all, to whom it cometh; and all, who [Page] have a sense of that Divine Spirit and Life in them­selves, can, and do fell and discern that it hath proceeded of God, and is owned by him. And to such the Scripture, or any other writing, that hath been written, in the least measure of a Divine motion, or drawing are no dead Letter, but a living Testimony in [...]heir place and order: for to none is the Testimo­ny of Truth a dead thing, but to such as are de [...]d, and are alienated from that life, which gave it forth. Yet thou art not to rest in any sense or savour of Life, that thou feel'st in the outward testimony, but by the same thou art to be led in, into thy own Heart and Soul, to wait for the arising and springing up of it, within thy self, for thou needst Life to be nearer thee, than in any outward testimony, that thou mayst enjoy it, as a Fountain, and Well of Living Wa­ter, springing up unto eternal Life, in thy Belly and inward parts; and, as this Fountain springs up in th [...] it will flow forth into all thy senses, and into all the powers of thy Soul, and make them a­live, and it will quicken thy understanding and me­mory, as also thy will and affections, and give Life unto thy thoughts and meditations; and it will cause thee, when, at any time, thou readst the Scriptures, as this Living Fountain opens in thee, to read them livingly, and with a living sense and understanding; a [...], when thou hear'st them read, to hear with Life also, and in a living sense; and when thou dost me­ditate upon them, or upon the things declared in them, as upon the Love of God, and Christ Jesus, and what Christ hath done and suffered for thee, [Page] and how he died, and rose again, and is gone to Hea­ven, there to appear in the presence of God for us, and that he is to return again to judge the quick and the dead, and to give the reward of Everlasting Life to all that have served him, but to punish with everlasting destruction all, that have not be­lieved in him, nor been obedient unto his Gospel, or whatever other things, recorded in the Scriptures, the Fountain of Life in thy self will give Life unto all those Meditations, as thou wait'st for the free openings of it; and they will be living and sweet unto thy Soul, yea, sweeter than the hony and the honey-comb, and thou wilt be truly edified, refreshed, and strengthened, in the Scriptures Testimony. But, if thou goest about to seek Life in the Scriptures, as the Iews did of old, and in the mean time neglect to come unto Christ, who is the Life, and the Foun­tain of it, thou canst not expect to find Life in the Scriptures, or any blessing of God in thy reading or me­ditating in them. For, as none can enjoy the light and good of the outward Sun, that shineth without, or abroad, who shut their Eyes against it, and let it have no place in them; so no more canst thou enjoy the Light and Good of Christ Jesus, that Sun of Righ­teousness, if thou shut'st thy inward eyes against his Light, that shineth in thee.

Moreover, I must inform thee a little further, why I have not, in this Treatise, insisted upon, or scarcely so much as mentioned, many particular duties, that are altogether necessary unto every true Christian, As, giving alms to the poor, visiting the sick and im­prisioned, [Page] the widow and fatherless; Nor the many respective duties, that we owe to one another, as we stand related together in the world: Nor have I set down a particular enumeration of all the commands, prohibitio [...]s, promises, and threatnings of God, con­tained in the Scripture: Nor have I mentioned all the Christian Vertues, far less defined or described them, in a particular manner: Nor have I set [...]own a catalogue of all the sins and vices, recorded in the Scripture: Nor have I recommended unto people the reading of the Scriptures, conference, and meditation upon them, nor frequenting the Assemblies of God's People, where the Lord is waited upon, the Word of God is preached, and living worship, prayer, and thanksgiving is offered up unto him in Spirit and in Truth.

Now, the reason, why I have not so particularly mentioned these things, was not any wilful omission or neglect, as if I did not lay any weight upon these things, or made any [...]light of any of them: Nay, all this was, and is, far from me; but my design being only in short, and as briefly, as well could be, to point at some general things, and also at these particu­lars, which are the main, and are the most neces­sary, for the right and acceptable performance of those other things, above mentioned. My great care was to l [...] the Foundation well, and to put my Reader in mind of the first and most necessary things, which I [...]id find so much neglected by most of Pro­fessors of Christianity: my end singly being, that people might be brought to have the true Nature, [Page] Life, and Spirit of Christianity to abound, and have place in them, and then all these other things will easily and naturally follow. And I could not well mention these things, without having insisted more largely upon them, than the nature of so small a Treatise would admit. For I did not design a com­pleat system of Practical Divinity, but only, as it were, to put a Primar or Rudiment into the hands of a young beginner. And as for many of the above men­tioned Particulars, they are generally acknowledg'd among all, that profess the Name of Christ. But yet the right hearing, the right reading, the right me­ditating, the right preaching, the right praying, and singing, either private or publick, the right giving of alms, the right visiting of the sick, the prisoner, the fatherless, and widow, and the right practising of all other Christian duties, is a great and rare thing, and few there are, among those, called Chri­stians, who do indeed rightly practise them, and go about them. Now, though all these, and other parti­culars be not expresly mentioned in this Treatise, yet the right manner and way, how they are to be gone about and performed, is not only expressed here, but it is the main design of the whole, and that is, that People may come to know the true Life of God, and of Godliness to live in them, and the True Spirit of Christ, and of Christianity to reign and rule in them, and in all things to order and guide and inable them, that so, whatsoever they do, they may do it in the Life, in the Spirit, in the Power, in the Light, and in the Love of God, and then they do it in the [Page] Name of God, and of Christ, and in Faith, and so they do it aright, and it is acceptable unto God, and serviceable unto men.

There is one thing further, which I cannot well omit, and that is, to answer an objection, which may be strong in the minds of some, who have not expe­rience in the case. That, whereas I recommend so much the place of silence, and of being so passive, still, and quiet, to wait for and attend unto the Divine working and moving of God and of Christ, by the Holy Spirit in the Soul, it is like some will be ready to say, that

Obj. Such a thing leadeth into a stupidity or lethargy of mind, if not into something worse; for the mind of man, striving to bring it self into such a composure and quietness, and not attain­ing unto it, is the more disquieted, and this may be feared to turn into rage, or natural distemper; for which c [...]se some have both had a great a­version unto such a thing, and also have dis­swaded others from attempting it, and some have concluded it, as an impossible thing, to attain un­to a perfect silence from all our own thoughts, seeing it is as natural to the mind to think, as it is for the fire to burn, or the light to shine.

Answ. To the last part of this objection I answer, that by a perfect silence from all our own thoughts, do not understand, that the Soul is to be without all sense, or remembrance, or thoughts of all kind: for I distinguish of thoughts, thus, There are thoughts, which are brought forth in us, without any Divine [Page] or Supernatural Concurrence, motion, and as­sistance of the Holy Spirit, which are but the bare and meer product of our own minds. Also there are thoughts, which arise in us from suggestions of Satan, and of the Flesh, which when we consent unto them, and entertain them, may be called ours. And thirdly, there are thoughts, that are begotten and excited in us by a Divine and Supernatural motion, concurrence and assistance of the Holy Spirit, which l [...]st kind of thoughts are only profita­ble unto the Souls Spiritual growth and progress: but the former, especially the second kind, which are too frequent, are hurtful and evil.

Now, when I say, the Soul, or mind of man should be silent from all its own thoughts, I mean, all thoughts of the first and second kind, which are meerly natural, carnal, and devilish; and, when all these thoughts are silenced, the other thoughts, which may be well called divine thoughts, as having a Divine Original, to wit, the Divine Spi­rit, Life, and Light of Christ in the Soul, do instantly spring up, and abound, which are unspeakably sweet, refreshing and pr [...]fitable. And therefore we per­swade none to abst [...]in from such Divine Thoughts, or shut them out, but, on the contrary, we exhort all to entertain them, and abound in them, as much as possible: in order to which, they must diligently ab­stain from all their own thoughts, especially such as arise in them, from Satan and the Flesh, for they are contrary to one another, and wa [...] against one another in the Soul. And whatever thoughts are [Page] most loved, received, and entertained in the Soul, these do most prevail, and bear sway, to the exclud­ing the contrary.

Again, Of Divine Thoughts there are sundry kinds, as when we meditate upon any subject in words, and propositions that are mental, or when we dis­course mentally, as the Divine Spirit doth move and assist us; which kind of thoughts are very precious and useful unto us. But there is also another kind of Divine Thoughts, which is many times wholly abstract from all words, terms, propositions, argu­mentations, so much as mental, and are simply Di­vine Sensations, as seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling, whose object is not words, nor discourse in the mind, but simply the Divine Spirit, Power, Light, and Life of God, and his Divine Goodness, Love, Mercy, Kindness, and Compassion, revealed to us in Christ Iesus: and this kind of divine thoughts (if so be it is proper to call them thoughts, for they are as real sentations, as the outward and natural sentations are) are the more excellent of the two, and, when they do most abound in the Soul, they, as it were, swallow up the former, as the greater Light and Glory doth the lesser.

And to the first part of the objection I answer, that the blessed experience of many thousands at this day, who are come to such a silence, and silent waiting upon the Lord, is testimony sufficient unto the contrary, who have found, and do find conti­nually the unspeakable advantage of it, on a Spi­ritual account, and that it is so far from having any [Page] real tendency to work a natural distemper upon the mind, that we, who have tried and experienced it for many years, never found any thing more profita­ble unto us, to work a right and solid natural com­posure and settlement of mind, as well as Spiritual, whereby our very natural strength is renewed, and we made more fit for outward occasions and affairs, than by meat, drink, sleep, or any other bodily re­freshment whatsoever. And to our experience we can add the experience of the Holy Men of God, recorded in Scripture, especially the Prophets and Apostles, to whom the Word of God came immediately, and in w [...]om the Lord did immediately appear, and who, on that account, waited in silence for the same, as Habakkuk said, I will stand upon my watch Tower, and will watch to see what he will say in me, Hab. 2.1. and Psal. 85.8. I will hear what God the Lord will speak, said David: and said Jeremiah, It is good both to hope, and quiet­l [...] [or, in si [...]ence] to wait for the Salvation of God, Lam. 3.26. And, though such a posture of mind be exceeding tedious, unpleasant, and irksome to the carnal part, yet let us hear further what the Prophet saith, ver. 27. It is good for a man that he bear the yoak in his youth, he sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath born it upon him. And by bearing the yoak, in this particular▪ as well as in other things, many can say, It is now become light and easie unto them, the carnal part, that made it so uneasie, being overcome. And we are not ignorant how all seriousness, and indeed the [Page] whole practice of self-denial, and mortification of the deeds of the flesh, is equally liable to the same exceptions. (which yet hath no just ground) For do they not readily object, when any man becomes seri­ous, and effectually sets about the work of mortifica­tion, Such a man i [...] become melancholick, he is in some distemper, and is in hazard to turn fool, [...]o [...], or distracted? And indeed to forsake our own thoughts (which the Scripture saith are all only and continually evil, Gen. 6.5, 12.) and to kill and crucifie them is no small part of true mortifica­tion. For what is a man's own thoughts, but the product and fruit of a carnal mind? And there­fore they are but flesh, which must die and be crucified.

But to prevent all hazard of receiving any hurt, I say unto all, who desire to attain unto the said Si­lence, that they apply themselves diligently unto out­ward affairs, in a sober way, and in the fear of God: for nothing is a greater enemy or hinderance to the true Silence or Peace of the Soul, than to be idle, and have no business or labour: whereas to be ho­nestly and soberly exercised in business, and to la­bour with the hands is a great help and furtherance to attain unto it. And let none strain, or use any vi­olence or force to nature, to compass it, for no m [...]n, of himself, can attain unto it, but as he is assisted and enabled of the Lord, who is near at all times, to help the travelling Soul, but yet there are some times more especially, wherein the Lord doth give more abundant access and opportunity unto the Soul, which every one is to observe within himself, and improve the same.

[Page]Let none therefore strive, or wrastle, in their own will, or natural strength, to attain to this Silence, but let them be faithful to God, in what they know to be his will, and be diligent in some honest and lawful imployment, and carefully attend the meetings of the faithful, when they meet together to wait upon the Lord, and speak the Word of the Lord to one another, as they are moved, and to worship and call upon him in Spirit and in Truth. For the Life of the faithful and of such, as are near unto the Lord, who are become strong men in Christ, hath an exceed­ing great influence upon the weak, to help them, and gather them to the true silence, and the presence of the Lord is more abundantly manifest, where the faithful meet together in his Name, as [...]e hath pro­mised, whereunto many can set their seal.

And thus every one, who is sincere and faithful to what they know and have received, will naturally, and, as it were, by a natural growth in the Truth, attain by degrees more and more unto such a state, until they perfectly come to enjoy and possess it, so as to see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, and to behold the King in his beauty, and see his goings in the Sanctuary: which will cause the Soul to sing with David, and to say, as it is Psal. 84. ver. 1, 10. How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! For a day in thy Court is better than a thousand.

But of this I warn thee, that, if thou hast time enough to spare, as thou think'st, to rest from all out­ward affairs, that thou mayst, the more abundantly, [Page] apply thy self to this Silence, and silent waiting: yet thou mayst exceed▪ through a wrong and blind zeal, and so mayst indanger and hurt thy self. For such a silence, as doth not allow us to mind and be em­ployed in our honest and lawful affairs, is not alwaies required of us, but at certain times, that we set apart unto that end, either in private, or publick, as the Wisdom of God doth teach us, and his Spirit doth move. Which times, although they be fre­quent, yet ordinarily are not to be of long conti­nuance: for it is the will of God, that, so long as we are in these earthly tabernacles, we be exercised in bodily and external actions, whereof Christ him­self gave us an example, who went about doing good, and at times retired with his Disciples, and sometimes alone, to watch and to pray, and again returned unto the people to minister unto them, both in Soul and Body, what they had need of. Nor doth the moderate use and exercise of the body in lawful af­fairs hinder, as is said, the true silence, in some de­gree, that is sufficient for the present time, but doth rather help and contribute unto the same: but the highest degree of it is neither alwaies required of us, nor is indeed at all times possible to be performed by us, for unto all things there is a measure, and what is within measure is good, but to exceed is hurtful and dangerous.

GEORGE KEITH.

The Way to the CITY OF GOD.

CHAP. I.

Holding forth

Certain Doctrinal Principles of the TRVTH, whereof a M [...]n being convinced by the Spirit of God, it contributes much to his making a right entrance into the way of Holiness.

A Man doth not (nor can he) enter into the way of Holiness, but he must first have his understanding some way opened by the Spirit of Truth, so as to receive some con­vincement of certain Principles of Truth. For how can a man enter into a way, and know no­thing thereof, neither more nor less? It is the u­sual method and order of the Spirit of God, first to convince a man of divers things before he pro­ceed further, so as to convert him into the way of Holiness, or carry him on wards therein.

Therefore I shall in the first place lay down a few certain Principles, the knowledg of which is of great advantage unto beginners for their [Page 2] first entrance into Holiness: and I shall at this time but name, and suppose them as known, rather than prove them, referring their proba­tion to other Treatises. And though I may not say that none ever attained unto any measure of Holiness, without the clear, distinct and ex­plicit knowledg of all these Principles hereafter delivered; yet I am very free to say, that the knowledg of them all doth very much conduce to beginners for their entrance into Holiness, and the ignorance of them hath been a grievous let to many a Soul, which, though it hath not made the entrance absolutely impossible, yet hath it made it extream difficult, even much more by far than it is indeed and in Truth, or is found to be by those, whose Understandings are well informed in these Principles.

I. That all men in their natural and unregene­rate state, are unholy and unrighteous altogether, and so as such, unable to do any thing acceptable to GOD, and unfit for fellowship and commu­nion with him.

II. That GOD hath not left men wholly in this condition, but hath given unto all and every one of them an occasion in a day or time of Visita­tion, whereby it is possible for them, to come out of their first state of unholiness and unrighteous­ness, which is also a state of Spiritual blindness and death, into a state of holiness and righteous­ness, which is a state of enjoying spiritual Light and Life of GOD.

[Page 3]III. That this occasion is ministred unto every one, through Jesus Christ, who is freely given of the Father, unto every man that comes into the world for Salvation, as attainable by every man through him.

IV. That the coming of Jesus Christ into the world both outwardly and inwardly, was neces­sary unto mans Salvation, so that the one is not to be understood in opposition to the other, for that both have their great uses and blessings un­to men. Hence all, who are saved, are saved no less by the benefit and grace of his outward com­ing, in his becoming man, suffering, dying and resurrection, then by that of his inward coming as a Light, and quickening Spirit, &c. Yet that the knowledg of his inward coming is that which is the more needful, and in the first place, as being that, by which the true and comforta­ble use of his outward coming is alone sufficient­ly understood.

V. That the Lord IESVS according to his in­ward coming, is come a Light into the world, lightning every man that cometh into the world, that all through him might believe, and by believing might have eternal life.

VI. That his coming in the inward is in a Di­vine and Heavenly SEED, which the Father hath given from Heaven unto every man, and hath sown in the heart of every man. In, and through which Seed, the Divine Light, Life and Power or Vertue and Glory of Jesus Christ, is only re­vealed [Page 4] unto men in a saving way, by the Holy Spirit.

VII. That this SEED in the hearts of unholy men, is the least of all Seeds; but as the mind comes to be turned towards it, in faith and love, it grows up to become greater and greater, till it be the greatest of all.

VIII. That according to the arising and growth of this Seed in mens hearts, the Divine Light and Life, &c. of Jesus Christ comes more and more to be revealed, and made manifest even unto the perfect day.

IX. That there is some manifestation and re­velation of the Divine Light and Life in this Hea­venly and Divine Seed in the hearts and minds of the most unholy and unrighteous, unto their Salvation, in a day or time of Visitation given them of GOD.

X. That the nature of this Seed is so un­changeable, holy, pure, and incorruptible, that it can admit no unclean thing to enter into it, nor unite therewith, nor can it be defiled with any uncleanness of the spirit of man, but work­eth alwaies against the uncleanness, and every unclean, unholy and unrighteous thing in man, through that Divine Vertue and Power, that is in it, to destroy and consume the same, and work it out of the heart and mind of man.

XI. That the manifestation, revelation, and shining of the Divine Light in this Divine Seed in unholy men, is not of the same manner and [Page 5] kind, as in the holy; for in the holy the Divine Light shines in the immediate manifestation of the love, joy, peace, goodness and glory of God, which doth (after a manner unconceiveable to unholy men) refresh and comfort the Souls of the holy, and doth admit them to approach thereunto, and unite therewith, so as to live and walk therein, and have the fruition thereof. But the Divine Light shineth in the unholy, but in remote manifestations of the love and mercy of God, and that also but as it were by glimpses and flashes, and as through a vail. The mani­festation of the Divine Light in an immediate way, that is proper unto unholy and unrigh­teous Souls, being that of judgment, reproof, con­victions and condemnation, the Divine Word working in them, as a Hammer, a Sword and a Fire, even as the Refiners Fire and the Fullers Sope ▪ for their mortification and cleansing.

XII. Now it is fit, that in this place I should give some description of Holiness, seeing it is im­proper to declare of the way of attaining unto Holiness, and yet not to declare what Holiness is. Therefore at present (referring the more large description of it, to what will be afterwards more fully treated of) I shall only in these few words describe it.

HOLINESS (as a man can be partaker of it) is a mans being like unto GOD, so far as he can re­ceive a likeness unto him, which is by receiving the Image of God in its compleat form, and having [Page 6] his heart, soul, mind and spirit, with the under­standing, will, affections, and all the powers thereof, according to the capacity of each, impressed or stamped therewith. So that the whole Soul, in all its powers answer unto this holy Image, as the wax answereth unto the seal, or as the Cloth that is put into the Diers fat, answereth in colour or die unto that, in which it is dipped, which is the baptism that saveth, not the putting away the filthi­ness of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience, or mind, towards God, as aforesaid.

XIII. This Divine Image is (according to the Lord's ordinary way of working in the hearts of his people) not found or begotten in an in­stant, but raised up by degrees from the Divine Seed; the formation of which, as it requires the Divine and Supernatural Concurrence of God as a Father, and as the principal cause and worker, so doth it also require the Concurrence of the Soul on the other hand (so to speak) as the Mo­ther to conceive it in its most inwards (as the Mother conceiveth the Child in her Womb) which is a Divine Birth, and in Scripture is cal­led Christ formed within, and, the Flesh and Blood of Christ, because his Divine Light and Spirit dwelleth and tabernacleth therein, and there through conveigheth the manifestation of it unto the Soul.

XIV. Now a mans regeneration is not simply the having this Divine Image raised and formed in him, but it is somewhat consequential there­unto; [Page 7] for it is by this Image, through the mighty operation of God therein, that the Soul comes to be regenerate: And so the regene­ration of the Soul is distinguishable therefrom, as the effect from the cause; yet where ever this Image is raised or formed, in any measure, in a mans heart, that man in some measure propor­tionable, is thereby regenerated and renewed; for the Divine Image is no sooner formed in any measure, but it doth in some measure effigiate or impress the Soul, and infuse its pure tincture, Blood and Spirit into all its Powers, which the Soul drinking in, it becometh assimilated or l [...]kened thereunto, yet still retaining its own original essence. A very plain and clear Exam­ple whereof we have in Cloath, which being dipped in the Diers Fat, drinketh in the tincture or die, even substantially, and yet it retaineth its own essence, so that it is the same Cloath still, only hath another die and colour from the tin­cture, which it hath drunk in, and substanti­ally got it incorporated in it self.

XV. But before this Divine Image can be formed in the Soul, or that the Soul can be tin­ctured or leavened therewith, the Soul must be cleansed and purified from the pollution and de­filement it hath received from the contrary I­mage, which is that of the Serpent; even as (ac­cording to the former Example) before the Cloath can receive the die, it must be washed and made clean; also the Image of God and [Page 8] of the devil, are of so contrary natures, that they cannot live in one and the same place of the Soul, wherefore there must be some room pre­pared in the Soul in its most inwards, out of which the Serpentine Image must be expelled, before the Divine can spring up: and there must be some place in the Soul cleansed and purified for it to be conceived in, for it cannot be conceived nor grow, but in a clean and pure matrix or womb, according to which doctrin it's evident, that mortification must go before re­generation, in some measure. But I do not say, that the mortification must be total, and pass ove [...] the whole Soul, and all sin and unrighte­ousness in it, before it attain unto any measure of regeneration, for that is contrary unto all ex­perience, for that we find both the Images having some place in us for some time, but they cannot have one and the same place to live in, because of their exceeding contrariety: and indeed the mortification and regeneration of the Soul go on proportionably, so that where the regeneration is but in part, it is because the mortification is but in part, and where the mortification is be­come whole, there the regeneration becometh whole also: for that which hindereth the Image of God to spring up in its whole growth and statu [...] readily and speedily, is the contrary I­mage, which will let, till it be taken out of the way.

XVI. And the Divine Power and Spirit ap­peareth [Page 9] in the Divine SEED, and worketh there­in, even in the Souls of those who are wholly unholy and unrighteous, in whom Satan's I­mage possesseth the whole place: First to mor­tifie some place in the Soul, and to cleanse and purifie it, and to expell the Serpents Image out of it, that so the Divine Image may begin to be formed and conceived. The Divine Seed therefore (through the Divine Power, which worketh therein) must first destroy and consume its contrary, before it can take root, and plant it self, and spring up in the heart, which is dili­gently to be observed, and of this the Seed of God in the outward, viz. Israel after the Flesh was a type, for before they could plant them­selves in the Land of Canaan, they behoved to destroy their enemies, which inhabited the same, and gradually as they consumed their enemies, they planted themselves in it, and took root, till they filled it all over, like a great tree over­shaddowing the whole Land with its Branches, and filling it with its Fruits.

I shall not add more particulars at present, being unwilling to burthen the weak under­standing of a beginner with many things at the en [...]rance. There are many more Doctrinal Principles, but they will come in time enough afterwards. These well known and understood will satisfie to begin with: of the truth of which things let none imagine they can be sufficiently certified through this declaration, or any other [Page 10] that can be outwardly given, only it may be an occasion for them to observe the truth of these things, sprung up in their own understanding, from a measure of the same Spirit, from which they are declared.

CHAP. II.

Shewing,

That the Soul converting it self unto GOD in the Divine Seed within its self, through the Influ­ence of the Divine Power upon it, for that effect is the very first thing that is requisite unto it, in order to its entring into the way of Holiness.

I Say the very first thing, the Soul is to do in order to its entring into the way of Holiness is, to convert or turn it self unto the Divine Pre­sence of God, and of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Divine Seed; for this was the message which Paul received to declare unto the Gentiles, to turn them from darkness unto Light, and from the power of Satan unto God. So he preached God near, even unto them, who were yet in dark­ness and unbelief, as among the Athenians, who were Idolaters. Him (said he) whom ye ignorantly worship, I declare unto you, &c. who is not far from every one of us, for in him we live, and move, and have our being, &c. Also unto the Lycaonians, who were Idolaters, he preached after this man­ner, that they should turn from their vanities unto [Page 11] the living God. Now it is that, which generally passeth among People, that men should turn un­to God, and that conversion is a turning unto God and unto Jesus Christ. But that they are to turn unto him, as he doth inwardly manifest and reveal himself by his Holy Spirit in mens hearts, this they have not been instructed in, for that generally all of them, except those called the Mysticks, deny that there is such a thing in these daies, as the Immediate Revelation of God in mens hearts; and as for the Mysticks, though they grant that the Divine Presence doth immediately reveal it self in mens hearts, and that men are to turn in their minds unto it, which they call Introversion; yet they deny that men are to do this at first, as while they are polluted in their gross abominations and lusts, to turn in unto the Divine Presence, they judge a thing both presumptuous and vain; presumptuous, because it is altogether unsuitable and unbecoming, that a soul polluted in its gross abominations and lusts, should approach and draw near unto God, and vain, because though they should attempt to do it, they will find it as impossible, as for a Bird that is tied with a strong Cord to the Earth, to flee upward to heaven from Earth. Where­fore they require that the Soul have attained un­to some qualifications and dispositions, which cleanse it from its gross impurities, particularly the abnegation of all Creatures, and of its own self, before it adventure to convert or turn it [Page 12] self inwards unto the Divine Presence. But this proceedeth from a great mistake in them, for that they do not judge aright of the divers ma­nifestations and workings of God in the Souls of Men, according to their different states and con­ditions, for though the Presence of God be one, yet it hath its manifestations, after different man­ners, in the unholy and unclean, and in the ho­ly and clean souls, as is somewhat above de­clared, for in the holy, he revealeth himself immediately, in great love, peace, joy, meek­ness, sweetness, and beauty, and suffereth the Soul to approach so near unto him▪ as even to join in an union with him; after a ma [...]ner un­conceiveable to unholy Souls. And indeed for unholy Souls to approach unto God, so as to find him after this manner, I confess, were both presumptuous and vain, as aforesaid. But in the unholy and unclean, yea, even in the worst of men, who are most averted from God, the Lord is present in them in such a manifesta­tion, as is not unsuitable to his Glory, nor im­proper to their present conditions, whose merci­ful and gracious visitation reacheth towards all men in Jesus Christ, even the worst, in a day, or time, given them of him for their conversion and turning unto God, according to which Paul said, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Which manifestation of God in them, in Jesus Christ, is in wrath and judg­ment, yet mixed and qualified with mercy, so [Page 13] that the Lord doth appear in them, in the Di­vine Seed, as in a Fire, not simply to consume and destroy them, but to consume and destroy the corruptions and evils [...]hat are in them, to kill and destroy sin in them, even that birth and body or sin and death, which is in every unholy man, and is the Image of the Serpent and of Satan, yea, and is that Serpent, whom the Seed of the Woman bruiseth in the head, and destroy­eth. For, as is formerly said, this Serpentine Image and the Image of God, cannot live to­gether in one place in the Soul, nor can they flourish both in one and the same Soul, because of their enmity, for they are in continual strife, waring against each other, and as the one loseth ground, the other gaineth, and on the contrary.

The first thing therefore that a man is to do, after he is convinced of the Truth, that God in Iesus Christ, is so near him, as to be in him in a Seed, as in fire, for his cleansing and delivering of him from this woful Image and from the im­pressions and dispositions it hath wrought in him through Satan) is to turn his Soul and mind inwards unto God, and Christ, as he doth there manifest himself. Even as the Father of the Child▪ which was bodily possessed with the Devil, brought him unto Christ, that he might cast him out, so the Soul is to come unto Christ, who is spiritually present in it, that he may cast out this Devil out of it; for this wo­ful Image is a very Devil, and by it the Devil [Page 14] possesseth the Souls of the unholy. The Soul must not bethink with it self that because it is so unclean and sinful, that therefore it ought not to come unto Christ, for indeed one main end of Christ his coming into the world, is to do good unto such, to cleanse the unclean, and to save the sinful from their sins. Therefore let not the consideration of thy uncleanness and naughtiness prevail, to let or hinder thee from coming▪ or turning inwards to him.

Perhaps the Soul may say, I do not find God or Christ in me, how then can I turn unto him whom I cannot find? If I could once but plainly find him, I would think it a great step. Answ. Dost not thou find somewhat in thy very heart discovering the evils and pollutions thereof in some measure? Is there nothing in thee, that in some measure manifests thy condition to be evil and naught, and gives thee some know­ledg of it, upon which thou art made at times to say, Oh! I am unclean, unclean and evil? Yea further, dost not thou find somewhat, se­cretly stirring in thy heart, and moving in thee against particular evils, which are under thy observation, and in some measure pricking, and smiting thee? And yet further, hast thou never observed it drawing thy heart inward, unto it self, though faintly and weakly? Also are there not times, wherein thou canst observe this to manifest it self more strongly, then at other times? Yea, are there not times that thou [Page 15] find'st it lie as a burden and load upon thy very heart? Yea, wouldst thou not think thou feltst something in thy heart cutting it, and making gashes therein, yea, and that as a fire burning in it, which greatly paineth and afflicteth thee, so that at such times no outward pleasures can comfort or ease thee? Furthermore, dost thou not find at times somewhat arising as it were in the midst of thy heart, and sending forth a se­cret vertue, whereby it seeketh to pierce thy whole heart, and so far as it pierceth or entreth, it somewhat softeneth thy heart, and worketh some little relenting in thee; but because of the badness of thy heart, it is hindered from entring so far as it essayed to do? Sure I am there is no man, however bad, but hath had some expe­rience, more or less, of these and such like workings in him: Thou may'st say, I find in­deed somewhat working in my heart, after the man­ner as is declared, and that frequently; but most especially when I am most quiet, and still in mind, but I never apprehended this to be any other thing then the light of nature checking me in my con­science, as I have been alwaies informed by my Teachers. But I say unto thee, therein thou hast been mis-informed, as in many other par­ticulars; for this thing that worketh in thee, after the aforesaid manner, is the very Seed of God, or the Divine Seed, in which God in Ie­sus Christ is really present in thee, and in, and through the Seed worketh in this manner in [Page 16] thee, for the Salvation of thy Soul: neither ought'st thou to think it so strange that he worketh, in thee, in such a small and weak manner of manifestation, for this is in great part because of thy weakness, for thou art not able to bear great and powerful workings and manifestations in this state. And seeing that the way which the Lord taketh for the saving of Souls, is after the sort of a real generation (such as regeneration is) it is most proper to be­gin it from a Seed, and it were an easie thing for the Lord to appear in this Seed, by such manifestation of power, as on a sudden to re­move all impediments, and instantly to cause it to spring up into its full stature, growth and proportion. But it hath pleased him to do o­therwaies, for he can bring Glory to himself the more in the Creatures Salvation, that he beginneth it, yea, and carrieth it on in a weak and foolish appearance to the natural eye. Now this is it which Christ himself taught, that the Kingdom of God in man, at first is like unto a grain of Mustard-seed, the least of all Seeds, but after it is grown up, it becometh the greatest of all Herbs. Wherefore despise it not, though it be a very little thing in thee, for as little as it is, it is the Kingdom of God, for God and Christ is present in it, and manifesteth his Power therein, as a King doth in his Kingdom. And because the Seed is little, therefore the Power of God worketh but in little and small manifestations, [Page 17] to bear a proportion unto the Seed, and accord­ing to the growth and increase of the Seed, by the same proportion the Divine Power becometh greater and greater in its manifestation. But how small and mean soever the working of the Divine Power in this little Seed doth appear, yet it is abundantly sufficient to begin the work of thy Salvation, and still where more power and more powerful working from God, is need­ful to carry on this work, it will be seasonably afforded.

But a man may readily object, that he doth essay to convert or turn himself unto God, but can­not get it done, because of his weakness and impo­tency, finding himself bound, as with a strong Iron Chain, yea, with many Chains, which doth so avert and hold him back, that he cannot convert himself. Answ. To require any man to con­vert himself, as by himself, without power gi­ven him from God for that effect, were to lay a burden upon the Soul, too grievous to be born; but indeed the Lord, who is present in this little Seed, sendeth forth at times, yea, very frequently, some secret Divine influence and ver­tue upon the Soul, through the Seed, to enable it to convert or turn unto him, and he toucheth the bonds and fetters, in which it is bound, at times, and shaketh them off, so far, that the Soul may turn unto God; yea, the Lord is the chief and principal Worker here, and man but the instrumental. So that the Soul its convert­ing [Page 18] it self, is through the Lord's converting it, that is to say, inclining it, by a Divine and gra­cious touch, and influence upon its will, to con­vert; and in a manner I may call it, upon the Souls part, rather a suffering it self to be turned by the Lord, according to these words, in the Scripture, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. But now many, when the Lord toucheth them, and by his touch infuseth a certain secret ver­tue, sufficient to turn them, or whereby they may turn, yea, when he draweth and pulleth them very sensibly, do resist and continue in their aversion, and of such the Scriptures say, they draw back, and that they resist the Truth, and resist the Holy Ghost, whose damnation is just, seeing he would have healed them, but they re­fused. Be not therefore discouraged, or driven into despair, because thou find'st such weakness and inability to convert thy Soul unto God, as aforesaid; nor yet because thou find'st so little vertue or power administred unto thee, from the Divine influence, for thy enabling; for, by what is from the Lord administred unto thee, it is possible for thee, to convert, though at first, and for a considerable time afterwards it will be difficult, for strait is the gate, and nar­row is the way, that leads unto life.

This converting the Soul, after the manner declared, unto the Divine Presence, is the true faith and believing in God and Christ, so much required in Scripture, in order unto Salvation; [Page 19] which is the Soul's coming unto God and Christ, as he said, Come unto me, &c. and the Soul's taking hold of him and cleaving unto him. And indeed the Latine word Credo doth signifi­cantly express it, which is as much as to say, A giving the heart unto God. And how doth a man give his heart unto him, but by turning it towards him? Which conversion, or be­lieving, is not simply of one power of the Soul, but of both, viz. the understanding and will, yea, of the whole Soul, with all its powers, when the conversion is through and total.

CHAP. III.

Shewing,

How the Soul ought to persist and continue in its Conversion towards God and Christ: and of the effects, which follow at first thereupon: as also of the inward trials and troubles it usually meeteth with therein.

NOw after the Soul hath got it self converted or turned inwards, by the Divine influence and assistance, unto the Di­vine Seed, and to God and Christ present therein; then it is to be careful that it persist and con­tinue in its conversion: and the LORD, who by his Divine Grace hath enabled it to convert after the former manner, doth, and will also enable it to persevere therein.

[Page 20]For it is in the Soul's persisting and continu­ing in its conversion, and application unto the Divine Word, Light, and Life in the Divine Seed, that it comes to receive and be partaker of the blessed effects thereof. An outward ex­ample whereof we have very plain in our holding any thing to the Fire, which if sud­denly we remove again, it scarce produceth any effect in it: as if we would purifie or refine any Metal from its dross, by the Fire, we must not only apply it intimately to the Fire, but hold it in it a good time, that it may melt, and the dross may separate from it. So thou must not only turn thy Soul to this Fire of God in thee, but must persist and continue in so doing, and by that means thou wilt quickly begin to be a partaker of its blessed effects.

Some of which effects, as they follow at first upon the Soul's converting unto this Divine Principle, I find it with me to mention.

As first: Thou wilt by thy conversion there­unto, receive a more clear and full convince­ment and discovery of thy sins, and sinful pol­luted nature, then formerly; so that thou wilt come to see sin to be exceeding sinful, and how thou art compassed about with it, as with a thick cloud, which hinders thee from enjoying the sweet and comfortable presence of God; yea, thou wilt come to feel thy poor Soul im­bodied or incorporated in a very body of sin, having many members, and how near and [Page 21] dear they are unto thee, some as a right Eye, some as a right Hand, &c. Then thou wilt know that such things are sins, which have place in thee, more than by any words, even of Scripture; for the manifestation of the Spirit and Light of Christ in the little Seed, will greatly convince thee thereof, and let thee see thy sins, and the nature or root that brings them forth, in their monstrous and hellish forms and shapes.

II. Thou wilt also feel and perceive how the displeasure, wrath and indignation of God, is against every sin in thee, even all ungodliness and unrighteousness, the whole body of it, with all its members, root, and fruit and branches: and how also the wrath of God is against men, because of sin, to which they are joined. And so thou wilt find how all men, in a sinful and unrenewed condition are miserable, as being under the wrath and displeasure of God, and how sin is the root and fountain of the whole misery of man, and how man stands before God, in a state of judgment and condem­nation while in sin, imbodied and drowned in it; as it were over head and ears.

III. Thou wilt have occasion to observe the mercy of the Lord, in the midst of all this wrath and judgment, after a wonderful man­ner, which will raise in thy mind amazing and astonishing thoughts, whereby, thou wilt won­der and admire, that thou art not consumed [Page 22] in the midst of all this wrath: yea, then thou wilt be made to see somewhat like that of Moses, how the Fire burnt in the B [...]sh, and it was not consumed.

IV. Thou wilt find that this fire is only sent down from Heaven to burn and consume that beastly and sinful nature, wherewith thou art inwardly cloathed as with a body; and that the fruit of all this burning and kindling is to take away thy sin, and purge away thy filthiness and dross.

V. And so as thou remainest and continuest introverted, or converted towards that Divine Principle, aforesaid, thou wilt find it as a Sword, a Fire, and a Hammer, in thee, knocking down, and killing and consuming this body of sin with its members; yea, a flame will issue forth from it, and will enter into the body of sin, killing and burning so far as it entreth.

VI. By the operation of this Heavenly Fire thou wilt find a very sensible and grievous pain in thy inward man, as verily, as if the out­ward fire were burning in thy outward body. So thou mayst conceive how thou wouldst be af­fected, if the tenderest and most sensible part of thy outward body were held close unto a burn­ing flame; even such sensible and grievous pain wilt thou find inwardly: for indeed thy Soul dwelleth as really in the body of sin, and is united with it, as it doth in the outward body. Therefore it is sensible of whatever hurteth it, [Page 23] and findeth pain, till it have put it off, and then it hath no more sympathy with it.

VII. Great fear and terrour will take hold upon thee, because of these things, which thou wilt have occasion inwardly to observe, the like whereof before thou wert never acquainted with; for this doth answer unto the ministration of the Law by Moses upon Mount Sinai, where the ap­pearance of God on the top of a Mountain was dreadful, in clouds, and darkness, and fire and the sound of a Trumpet, and a Voice, that did shake the earth, where the sight was so terrible, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake. For all these things had a signification of the in­ward ministration of the Spirit, in its first work­ings in mens hearts. Hence are these quakings and tremblings, which are witnessed to come upon many, through the inward dread and ter­rour, which ariseth in them, through the work­ings of the Spirit of God upon them in this state and condition. Now the fear and terrour is a most certain and infallible effect, in all, who do truly convert or turn in their minds unto the appearance of God in them, as aforesaid. But as for the bodily tremblings, some may have them in a great measure, others in a less, and some have none at all, so as to fall under outward ob­servation, and yet the work of God in them may be as real and true, as in others, who have them most. For it is much the same with bo­dily tremblings, as tears, some will be made to [Page 24] shed tears in abundance, others but little, and others perhaps none at all, where the work may be real, even as much as where they are most abundant.

VIII. Also this Heavenly and Divine fire, as thou continuest in the application of thy mind and heart unto it, will kindle in thee some be­ginnings of true and real repentance towards God; for even as the fire melteth the Wax, and softneth it, and maketh it to run and flow, so will this Divine fire melt and soften thy heart in­to a true tenderness, and thou wilt find a true sor­row and grief in thee to arise, because of thy dege­neration from God. Also thou wilt even loath and abhor thy self in the presence of God, and count thy self most unworthy of his mercy and favour, yea thou wilt judge and condemn thy self, because of thy sins and sinful nature, so as to reckon the most grievous afflictions and punishments from the Lord (should he inflict them upon thee) to be less, than thy deservings. Also thou wilt become humble in thy own sight, and be apt to judge thy self as bad, or worse than any▪ yea thou wilt be greatly ashamed of thy self, seeing and beholding thy self imbo­died in such a monstrous and filthy body, as the body of sin is. Furthermore, thou wilt be made even to hate sin in its body and mem­bers, root and fruit, as a most vile and abomi­nable thing, so that an indignation will rise in [Page 25] thee against it, and the very sins, which have been dear and pleasant unto thee, as thy right eye and right hand, thou wilt willingly devote them, and give them up unto the devouring Flames of this Heavenly fire, and sacrifice them before the Lord, as a sacrifice of a burnt offer­ing. As I remember it is reported of one of the Martyrs, who having shrunk from his Testimony, and afterwards recovered strength to own it, and so was condemned to be burnt, he stretched forth his right hand (which had subscribed some Paper against the Truth) and with a certain holy indigna­tion thrust it into the fire. So thou wilt even find to do the same with thy lusts, which the Apo­stle calls the members upon Earth, to devote and give them up to the fire, that they may be mor­tified and consumed, sparing none of them more than another: yea and some tender breathings and desires will arise in thee towards the Lord, that he may yet more discover and pursue Ini­quity in thy heart, and kill it, sparing nothing, no not a hoof; yea thou wilt even desire to be dis­solved, and freed from the whole body of sin, with all its members, saying in thy heart, Mi­serable man that I am, who shall deliver me, &c. And thus thou wilt find in thee some beginnings of a true aversion from sin, so that thou wilt witness a change both in thy judgment and will, in relation to sin, so as to have contrary thoughts of it to what thou hadst formerly, and thy affe­ctions [Page 26] to run and flow in another path and chan­nel than formerly.

IX. Also thou wilt begin to find some true and real beginnings of mortification, or of a spiritual death unto sin, whereas thy heart was formerly wholly filled with sin, which oppressed and bur­thened the Divine Seed, and hindered it to con­ceive, or bud in thee; thou wilt now begin to find some little and small emptyness in thy heart, e­ven in the most inwards of it, called by some the fund of the Soul, that is to say, the ground or bot­tom of it, and there will be some little room or place in thy heart mortified and purified, through the operation of the power of God in the Divine Seed, which, through its mortification and pu­rification from sin, becometh a fit and prepared matrix or womb for the Divine Seed to conceive and bud therein, an to receive some formation. For, as is said, the Seed cannot conceive but in a pure matrix and womb. Indeed it may be as a fire, and is so in that part of the heart, which is unclean, but it can never grow, bud or con­ceive in it as a plant, till it be cleansed. There­fore is it, that it worketh as a fire in the heart, as aforesaid, to the end it may prepare some place for it self to take root in, and therein to bud and conceive, that it may spring up and blossom, and bring forth its precious fruit.

X. And as the heart and mind persisteth in its conversion aforesaid, there will be by this time, some tender buds of the Divine and Holy [Page 27] Seed appearing, so far as way is made for them, through the purification or mortification afore­said, and some real and true beginnings not on­ly of some, but of all Christian Virtues will ap­pear, such as of love, joy, peace, gentleness, meek­ness, patience, temperance, &c. and other fruits of the Spirit; for even as it is frequently in natu­ral operations, so in this spiritual it is also, that after the destruction of one thing, immediately fol­loweth the generation of another, life hastening as swiftly after death as possibly as can be conceiv­ed, so that no distance or space of time is admit­ted betwixt them.

Thus I have briefly pointed at divers good and precious effects, which do follow upon the Souls converting unto the Divine Pre­sence, and the Light and Power thereof in the Holy Seed, and upon its continuing or abiding therein. If there be any other not expresly mentioned, they may be reduced unto them, or implicitly understood in them, which are par­ticularly mentioned; of all which the Soul must expect at first, yea and for some considerable time afterwards, but some certain beginnings, which will increase and become more and more observable, according unto its continuance in the conversion aforesaid.

And much of all these effects, excepting some­what as to the latter, do answer rather unto the ministration of the Law, than of the Gospel, yet we must not too nicely or subtilly distinguish [Page 28] them, far less divide them, for the ministration of the Law in the Spirit is never administred in that rigour or severity by the Lord, unto men, in order to their Salvation, but it hath some­what more or less of the Gospel mixed with it, even as in the midst of wrath he remembreth mer­cy: and so as Law and Gospel, Iudgment and Mercy are mixed and complicated together, in like manner the effects are mixed also, partaking of both, but most of the former at first, and for some considerable time following.

Now these and such like effects, as do follow upon the Souls first converting unto God, in the Divine Seed, we do usually comprehend un­der this term the work of Iudgment. And as the Spirit of the LORD hath its divers names, according to its divers workings, so in this it is called the Spirit of Iudgment and of Burning, as in Isa. 4.4. Others also not unfitly (if rightly understood) have called it the work of the Law, and Legal ministration in Spirit: also it may be called Repentance, or the baptism of repentance in Spirit and by Fire. And tho I have mostly insisted upon comparing the operation of the Spirit in this administration, unto fire, which similitude is most used in Scripture, yet it is not to exclude other resemblances, as that of Water and of Soap, mentioned also in Scripture: and it is also likened unto that of a Hammer and Sword, and that also of a Cross very significant­ly: in relation to which term, the work of the [Page 29] Spirit here is fitly called a crucifiction or being crucified, oft also used in Scripture; and Morti­fication, which, tho it taketh its beginning from the Law, yet is consummated or perfected by the Gospel.

As touching the inward trials or troubles, the Soul usually meeteth with, in this state, they are divers, proceeding partly from its own weakness, partly from its corruptions, and partly from Sa­tan. First, from its own Weakness, for the Soul entring into a new way, it knew nothing of formerly, and meeting with many strange and wonderful things, with which it was never ac­quainted heretofore, cannot but occasion great inward trials and troubles unto it, even as if in the outward a man should be brought unto some violent bodily death, as Burning, or Crucify­ing, &c. Yea, it is represented in the Scrip­ture, under such terms, as of the Suns losing his light, the Moons becoming black, the Stars fal­ling from Heaven, the Earth shaking, and such like dreadful and astonishing things. 2. From its corruptions, which beginning to be assaulted and set upon, for their destruction, will com­bine all their forces, to avert and turn back the Soul from its progress in this new way: also they will call in for the aid and assistance of flesh and blood, which in its corrupt state is a very great impediment to the poor Soul in this way, whereof flesh and blood has no liking at all, for it perceiveth it will be greatly straitned and re­strained [Page 30] from its wonted liberty it rrceived by sin and corruption, and put to endure great and ma­ny hardships, through the Souls entring into the way of mortification and holiness. 3. From Satan, who, as the strong man, has formerly kept the house in peace, and now another coming to cast him out, he will use many me­thods and waies with the Soul, to turn it aside and divert it from it's new way, that he may keep his place in it; for it is as torment to him to be cast out, and lose his usurped possession. He will suggest unto the Soul the novelty of its way, the difficulty of it, and how few take such a course: Also he will alledge unto it, that it may get to Heaven, by easier means; yea he will endeavour to perswade the poor Soul, that the Light within is but some fancy or Imagination, or at best some insufficient thing, and that the very works the Soul feels begun in it, by and through the Power of that Light, are but melancholick imaginations, and that the fire the Soul finds kindled in it, is but the heat of the fancy, or sparks of its own kindling: or if he cannot prevail that way, but that the Soul still persists in its conversion unto this Sacred and Divine fire, then especially, when he perceives that the Souls feels it great force, he will be tempting to despair, telling it that God has kindled this fire in it, for its ut­ter destruction and torment. And if he can­not prevail thus, then he will tempt it with [Page 31] hard thoughts of God, as if the Lord were too severe and rigid, in using such waies with it. Also he will endeavour to stir up in it impati­ence, grudging and fretting, weariness and dis­content, and a longing to return unto the flesh­pots of Aegypt, even to its former evil and li­centious way of life in sin. These and many such like troubles and trials will the poor Soul meet with, besides many outward occasions from the World, both of pleasures and afflicti­ons, to divert it and turn it aside from its per­sisting in its conversion unto God, in the Di­vine Seed. By reason of these and such like inward trials and troubles, divers after some measure of a real and true application and conversion of their minds unto God and Christ in the Divine Seed, have turned back again, and not continued in their begun conversion, even like some unwise and cowardly patients, who at first give themselves up unto the Physi­an, to be lanced and tented and scarrified, but afterwards finding the pain and anxiety there­of, shrink back and chuse rather to remain in their wounds and distempers, though it should cost them the losing of their life, then indure a little trouble and pain for their cure. There­fore it's said, in relation to this, Mal. c. 3. v. 2. Who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth, for he shall be as the refiners fire and fullers Soap? Which words do import, that some may receive his first ap­pearance, [Page 32] but not abide it, nor stand it out, nor indure unto the end of the fiery trial, which comes by it; for to abide and to stand are words signifying continuance and persisting.

But notwithstanding all these things, thou must persist and continue therein, with a stout and bold resolution, which will be given thee of the Lord, if thou be not wanting on thy part to receive it, and if thou persist not, the work of thy Salvation will be stopt. It is much better for thee to indure these inward trials and difficulties, then to lose thy own Soul, and be cast into endless torment hereaf­ter for thy negligence and carnal ease: bet­ter thou go maimed into Heaven, losing a right eye, a right hand, then that thy whole body should go into Hell fire. The cure is worthy all the pain and much more: A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow and pain, but after she hath brought forth her Man-child, she remembreth it no more, for her gladness swalloweth it up, so that she doth not rue nor repent of her Travel and Labour she indured.

Now methinks I (as it were) hear some poor souls objecting after this manner, which indeed hath been of the objection of my own heart, and I know also of others. Oh! (say they) that we could find this Divine fire kindled in us for the consumption of our sins, and the pu­rification of our Souls therefrom; we are so wea­ry of sin, and have such a desire to be rid of it, [Page 33] that we would rejoyce with great joy, to feel this sacred fire burning in us, tho it should pain us, as if our outward bodies were cast alive into outward flames! We find (say they) somewhat as Light from God in our hearts, letting us see many vile and abominable things in them, but as for this fire, we do not as yet find it! To which I Answer, that ye find that which discovereth and maketh ma­nifest these evils in your hearts, is matter of en­couragement, for that is indeed the true Light, Eph. 5.13. Joh. 3.20. Now turn in or convert your minds unto it, and persist therein, as afore­said, and ye shall find in due time that this Light shall become a fire in you, according to these words, which I may well apply at least by way of Analogy unto this matter, Isa. 10.17. And the Light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Ho­ly One for a flame, and it shall burn and destroy his thorns and his briars in one day. For this self same Light of God, which ye find in your hearts, hath in it the vertue and property of fire, no less than of Light, yea much more at first, and for a good time following: but the reason why ye do not find its operation of fire to burn and con­sume the evils in your hearts, as ye find that of Light to discover them, is, because your hearts are not so nearly and intimately applied and converted thereunto, as is requisite, even as it is in relation to the outward fire, for if we stand at a distance from it, and but look to it afar off, it will only make us perceive its light, so as to [Page 34] give us a discovery of things, but we will know nothing of its fieriness, more than if it were not fire at all; but if we come nearer unto it, so as to hold our hand or any other member of our body, nigh unto it, we will then find it to be a fire, and be very sensible of its fiery ope­ration, so that if we take not away the mem­ber applied, the fire will kindle in it, and con­sume it, which is a plain and fit example of this thing, to represent it by. Therefore it thou wouldst find this Divine Principle, and the ap­pearance of GOD and of CHRIST therein, to be as a fire in thee, turn in thy mind and heart unto it yet more nearly and intimately, and per­sist therein, and thou wilt find it not only to be in thee a shining Light, but a burning Light also, yea at first and for some time following, rather burning than shining. Wherefore turning in and converting not only thy understanding unto it, but thy will and affections; thou wilt find its Power, even to kill and destroy the evils of thy heart, no less than to discover them, and hereby thou wilt receive, not only an informed judgment and understanding, but a reformed will and affecti­ons. And this Divine Principle will work mightily in thee, to work out the errours, as well out of thy will, as out of thy judgment, for the errours are great in both. And now many are greatly de­ficient in this matter, who do somewhat apply their understanding unto the Divine Light, and thereby they receive some discoveries of things, [Page 35] far beyond others, but they do not apply their wills unto it, and so they remain as bad and evil in heart, as the most ignorant, yea many times they are worse, for what they know natu­rally as brute beasts, they corrupt themselves there­in, these are they who hold the Truth in unrigh­teousness, more then any others, they impri­son it in their understandings, but will not per­mit it to sink down into their hearts, and dif­fuse it self into their wills and affections. These are they also, of whom the Apostle speaks, who receive not the Truth in Love: they would have it to shine in their heads, but cannot endure it should burn and diffuse its sacred flames in their hearts, yet the knowledg of all such persons, though even from the openings of the Principle of Truth, is not the solid, substantial, pure knowledg, which those have, who receive this Divine Principle into their hearts, and suffer it to diffuse it self into their wills and affections, as aforesaid, for the solid, substantial and holy know­ledg is only received from the Light of that Life, which is seated and implanted in the most inwards of the will and affections, and from thence dif­fuseth it self into all the powers of the Soul.

CHAP. IV.

Shewing

How the Soul, after its converting unto God and Jesus Christ in the Divine Seed, must, in its per­sisting and continuance therein, stand in great passi [...]eness, stillness and quietness, bearing and forbearing, before it enter upon its operative ex­ercises.

I Say the Soul, after its first converting unto the Divine Presence in the Divine Seed, must, in its persisting and continuance therein, stand in great passiveness, stilness or qu [...]terness (otherwise called Silence) for that its place, at present, is more to be passive than active, yea, excepting only its simple act, or acts of Conversion, for sometime, as much as possibly it can, to be wholly passive. The reason of which is very evident and demonstrative, as I do thus make appear: If it would be active, and give it self unto operative exercises, as to matters of Holi­ness and Religion, it must first be somewhat de­livered and freed from the positive impediments and lets, which hinder all such actions and ope­rative exercises, which belong, or pertain unto Holiness. 2. It must be cloathed or endued with such a power, as whereby, it is impossible for it, in some measure, more or less, to perform them, as for example, I cannot perform the ope­rations [Page 37] of sense, but I must be endued with the [...]en­sual powers, as I cannot see, but I must be endued with the power of seeing, also I cannot walk, or go but I must be endued with the loco-motive [...]aculty or power, without which also I can not move my hands to write, or do any other bodily occupa­tion; also without the power of speech I cannot use my tongue, to express or declare my mind: Moreover, I cannot exercise my self in opera­tive acts of Reason, unless I be endued with the power of Reason: Hence it is, that a tree cannot perform the sensual operations of a beast, be­cause it hath only the life of vegetation, and not of sensation: therefore, tho by its growth it can shoot upwards, from the vegetable life, yet it cannot remove its whole body from the place it stands in, for that it wants the sensual life and lo­co-motive power. Again, among these creatures, who are endued with the sensitive and loco-mo­tive powers, we find a great difference, as to their motions, and bodily exercises; some are beasts, which go upon all four, and some creep upon the belly; others are Fowls flying in the Air, and others are Fishes swimming in the Sea and Rivers. Now, tho the Beasts, such as the Horse and Ass, can move upon four, and run with a good pace, yet they cannot fly, as the Fowls of the Air: neither can the Fishes move upon dry Land? and we would judge it a most unnatural and ridiculous thing, to observe a Horse essaying to mount up into the Air, and Fly like a Fowl, or a Fish to move on dry land: [Page 38] the reason of all which, is, because these moti­ons are of different kinds, and proceed from different powers of the sensual life, and require different organs, for their performing, as the Fowl its wings, the Fish its fins or scales, &c. Beasts their four feet or leggs. Furthermore, a Beast cannot perform the natural operations of Man, even as a natural man, such as to build, plant, write, speak, discourse, for these are the operations proceeding from the reasonable pow­er, which beasts want. Now as to the other part, to clear it also by example, Suppose I have the locomotive power, and organs, yet if there be such strong impediments, as do univer­sally hinder either the one, or the other, I can­not move, as if the body were in some Lethar­gy, or Swarf, or universal Gout, which stops the power of motion, or if the power were free, yet if some external impediment be on the or­gan, as the hands, or feet bound with fetters, they cannot move, &c. I have the more fully insisted on these examples, because they do very pertinently hold forth the thing in hand, for in­deed as impossible as it is for a man to perform the works and operations of Holiness, without he be endued and cloathed with the life and power of holiness, and receive the organs requisite thereunto, as it is for a tree to walk, or an horse to flie like an eagle, or a fish to run up­on dry land, or for a brute to understand and discourse the things of reason, like a man: for [Page 39] the life and power of holiness standeth in a regi­on above the life of the natural reason and the natural powers of man-hood, as much i [...] not more, as the life and power of natural reason and man-hood standeth in a region above the sensual life and powers of brutes. Now man in his natural, or unrenewed, or unregenerate state, doth not live the life of holiness, is but a natural man, and not a Saint. Therefore it is as impossible for him, to do the works of a Saint, as it is for a beast to do the works of a man. Indeed a natural and unrenewed man may counterfeit the works of the Saints, speak and do something like them, as to outward appearance, but they cannot truly perform; there is as great a difference betwixt the actions and motions of the one and the other, as be­twixt the flight of a living Dove, which comes from a principle of life in her, and the flight of that Mechanical dove of Architas, which he is reported to have made flie, from some in­ward Mechanick springs and devices very artifi­cially composed: The motion of the one be­ing living and natural, and that of the other dead and artificial: So it is, as to the Motions and works of the Saints, and those who are not Saints; the Saints works and motions are living, and do savour of that holy and precious Life, which produceth them, but the motions and works of the unholy and unrenewed, are dead, having no savour, nor vertue of the holy life [Page 40] in them. Every man acteth, according to that principle and power of Life, with which he is indued; [...]o the holy man acteth from the power and life of holiness, which endueth and cloatheth him, and putteth a seal or impression of it self upon every work, more or less, which proceedeth therefrom, that he, which hath the spiritual eye, can read, without any difficulty; but the unholy man, the life and power of un­holiness enduing and cloathing him, and being predominant over all in him, all his works and operative exercises are unholy, and have their seal and impression also; VNHOLINESS is written in great lette [...]s upon them all, let them Preach, Pray, Confess, or do any other work, as to Religion, all is unholy and unclean, and so are neither accepted of God, nor profitable to themselves, nor any other.

Yea, they are so far from being profitable unto him or them, who use them, that they are a great hurt and impediment, which will let them from their entrance into a holy life, or making progress therein; for whatever works of that kind they produce, its from that princi­ple, life and spirit, which is contrary unto the Principle of God, and therefore choaks and bur­dens it: also the Soul being so inwardly conver­ted to this evil principle, through its workings thereby and therefrom, cannot so convert it self, or persist in its conversion, till it come to pas­siveness, or forbearance.

[Page 41]So from all this i [...] is manifest, that the Soul ought to be passive, and forbear its workings, and operative exercises, until, at least through its conversion unto the Divine Presence in the Di­vine Seed, and i [...]s cont [...]nuance therein for some time, it come to be endued and cloathed with the power and life of Holiness in some measure, which it drinketh in from these Divine touches of God and Christ present in it, in the Divine S [...]d, as it abideth in its conversion thereu [...]o, even as the needle, by its being touched by the Load-stone, and being for some time applied thereunto, drinketh in a Magnetick power, and vertue, whereby it moveth toward the North, and tho by some violence it should be moved out of its line, it returneth to it again, through the innate i [...]clination begot in it, by the vertue it hath drunk in from the Load-stone, wherewith it was touched.

Now such is the state of the Soul, before it hath drunk in this vertue and power of an holy life, from the Divine Presence in the Divine Seed in it, that it not only wants altogether these powers, whereby it can move in holy actions, but it is also cloathed with many powers of a contrary life, which in no wise would permit it to move truly in any holy action, tho we could suppose it otherwise to have both the powers and organs requisite thereunto. There is a body of sin and death, with many members, which hang upon it, and cover it all over, and lies so [Page 42] heavy upon it, even as so many talents of lead, that it cannot move in holy actions, more than a body, that hath an hundred stone weight of Iron, loading it, can walk: indeed with these weights of sin it can move swiftly and vigorously in unholy actions and exercises; also it can use Legerdemain, and by hypocritical tricks and knacks, counterfeit holy actions, but it cannot perform them by any means, till it begin to re­ceive some measure of deliverance from these powers of sin, which hold it in bondage; its Tongue is bound, that it cannot speak the holy language, so is its heart, that it cannot meditate or conceive holy thoughts, nor exercise it self in these operative exercises of the will and affecti­ons, which holy Souls have power to do.

Now in the Souls being thus passive and quiet, standing still in a cessation from all its operative­ness, but simply persisting in its conversion, the Divine fire receiveth a great opportunity more and more to enkindle it self in the Soul▪ and so to kill and consume the lusts and evils, that are in it, for by its activeness and operative exercises it quencheth this Divine Fire, and hindereth it to burn, and by its doings and workings, it is like unto a man, who coming unto a Chyrurgion, to get some infectious member of his body cut off, when the Chyrurgion comes to cut off the member, or grate it off with his Tool, be it a Leg, or an Arm, should with all his power struggle and work to resist the man he comes un­to [Page 43] for his cure, whereas he should be passive and still, and busied in nothing, but in holding the infectious Member steadily and stoutly unto the Chyrurgions hand, bearing patiently the pain of the Cure, and forbearing all these things, which do any waies hinder its more speedy ac­complishment. So shouldst thou come before the Lord, and convert or turn thy infectious Members of sin, which hang upon thee, to­wards the LORD's hand, and arm of power revealed in thee, to destroy them, yea thou shouldst stand as passively, and receive the stroke, as the condemned person, to have his head cut off, standeth, or applieth himself quietly, with­out wrangling, or moving, to receive the blow: and it will be a great happiness for thee, so to be killed and slain by the Lord, for if he kill thee▪ it is but as unto sin, which separateth thee from enjoying him, that he may make thee alive unto holiness, so as to live in him, and with him, in blessedness everlasting.

Besides, the Souls being so operative doth not only weaken, and quench the Divine fire, that is ki [...]dled in it, for its mortification, but doth also strengthen the life of sin and unrighteous­ness, for even as the fire goeth out, if it be hin­dred from its motion, and the life of any thing dieth, if it be not suffered to breath, or per­form its vital actions, but if it have scope and liberty to act and move, it gathers strength, so the life of sin is greatly strengthened by its being [Page 44] permitted to act, for its actions are like unto the pouring of Oyl upon a flame, which causeth it to burn more vehemently. Wouldst thou have therefore this unholy fire to be extinguished in thee, then keep Oyl from it, that is to say, keep thy self from thy operative excesses, as a­foresaid, which, in this thy present state, are but the works of th [...] unholy life and power, the holy life not yet being formed or begotten in thee. Behold how a fowl keeps it self up in the air, by its motion, and waving of its wings, whereas, if it ceased to work, and wave, as it doth, it would suddenly fall down to the earth, or water. Now thy thinkings and willings and doings keep thee aloft in that unholy and im­pure air, where Satan hath dominion, cease but from them, and as the bird falleth down, so thou shouldst find thy self, after a wonderful manner, to sink, and fall out of that element, thou wert in, into another, even into a river of living water, which killeth every unclean thing, but afterwards reviveth and quickeneth it again, with a pure and holy life; by which River I understand the Divine Power and Spirit, that is nearer unto thee, then the air, thou breathst in, but because of thy impurity at present, thou ca [...]st not enjoy the sweetness and glory thereof; thou must first fall into it, and die ere thou canst live.

But perhaps some may say, Is not Conversion a being operative, how then dost thou require us to convert, and cease from being operative?

[Page 45]The answer to this is plain, for the conversion of the Soul to this Divine fire and Principle in it, is so simple and so little operative upon the Souls part, that it is rather a being (so to speak) passive, then active: and if it offend, or seem harsh unto any, that I bid them convert, in the A­ctive Mood, then it may be converted into the Passive, as Peter said unto the Jews, Be conver­ted, saith he; so I say, I thou canst not convert thy self, be converted, or suffer the Divine Pow­er to convert thee unto it self; and whether the first step of conversion be active, or passive, or whether most of the two, this is certain, that by the touch and attract of the Divine Power upon any Soul, were it never so impotent and lame, it is possible for it, to convert or turn thereunto, and may be able to convert it self, by such a simple act, by the Divine and gra­cious touch, and yet at that present not able for any other acts.

The example of the needle and the loadstone will here be of use, for though the needle, be­fore it be touched by the loadstone, cannot di­rect or move it self, towards the pole, albeit being influenced by the stone, it be brought near unto it, yet in vertue of that influence it can convert it self unto the stone.

Thou mayst perhaps say, It doth not convert it self, but is by the load-stone drawn or attracted to it.

[Page 46]But be it so, the matter is not much: for whether it be said, that, the Soul in the first step of its conversion, doth not actively convert, but is converted by the Divine touch or influence: o [...] that she is both passive and active, in that step; Passive as being touched or influenced by the Divine Grace; Active as receiving and drinking it in, and so may be understood to have that inclination begot in it, by which it can actively convert or turn it self unto God. The matter, I say, is not much, for the Children of Light have large experience of it, that they find an ability given them many times, to perform simple acts of conversion, when they are not able to do others, as to speak, or pray, or meditate divinely, or spiritually; yea when we find an inability, as to these things, and some impediment in our way, or any hurt or blemish, by converting or turning in our minds unto the Divine Power, we will find our strength renewed, and ability given us to do these things, which formerly we could not, and the impediments removed, and the hurt or bruise taken away, and so in like manner pro­portionably, it may be with beginners.

Again, it may be objected, that the Soul would willingly come unto this passiveness and for­bearance and silence of mind, but it cannot at [...]ain unto it, the powers of nature and sin so strongly set it upon working.

Answ. Indeed the difficulty is great, because both the powers of nature and sin work strong­ly, [Page 47] and joyn their forces together unto acting and doing; and besides, nature is so unacquain­ted with such a thing, that it is very impatient of it, yet, I say, it is not impossible, and if thou dost rightly perform the simple acts of conversion, turning thy mind still nearer and nearer unto the Divine Prefence in the Holy and Divine Seed, thou wilt find by degrees thy heart to come into this passiveness and for­bearance, and to continue or persist therein for a time.

CHAP. V.

Shewing,

How the Soul, after its Conversion unto GOD, and continuance therein, in passiveness and for­bearance, for some small time, becometh a par­taker of the Holy and Divine Life, and the Powers thereof, in some measure, through some beginnings of a Spiritual Death and Regene­ration, by which it attaineth unto some measure of union with God and Christ, and thereby is put in some capacity for operative exercises of Ho­liness, unto which it ought to apply; and that any other way of entring upon these exercises is but freigned and hypocritical.

[OPerari sequitur esse, that is to say] Working followeth being, is a maxime in Naturals; it holdeth as much in Spirituals. So that, before [Page 48] a man can do the works of [...]olines [...], he must be a partaker of the Life and Power of Holiness, and that not in a notion, or imagination, but in substance, or being: And before that a man can work his works in God, he must have a being in God, in some measure, through his attaining an union with him; for even as the body cannot co-operate with the Soul, in natural actions, un­less it be a partaker of the Soul's Life, and be in union with it, so nor can the Soul co-operate with God, in spiritual and holy actions, till it be a partaker of his Life, and attain unto some union with him.

Now I have shewed above, that the Soul, through its converting unto God, and conti­nuance therein, in passiveness and forbearance, as aforesaid, were it but for a very small time, becometh a partaker of some beginnings of a spiritual Death and Regeneration. For, when the Soul converteth unto God, and Christ, in the Divine Seed, and persisteth, were it but for a little, therein it beginning to feel the Di­vine fire to inkindle in it in the Divine Seed, which mortifieth and purifieth some place in the heart, whereby it becometh a fit matrix or womb for the Divine Seed, to take root in and for to spring up, and p [...]t forth some tender buds and beginnings of a Holy and Spiritual Life, which do no sooner appear, but they do im­press and endue the Soul, in some measure, with their powers and vertues, by which it is put in [Page 49] some capacity for operative exercises of Holi­ness, unto which it ought to apply.

It is generally granted, that Faith is, as it were the Root of all holy and spiritual actions; and the Scriptures do hold it forth plainly that, Faith or believing is the first step unto a holy life, and the very entrance thereinto, and that Fa [...]h, by a natural order, is to go before Works, for for without Faith it is impossible to please God, though men should do never so many things; for it is Faith, which, drawing Spirit and Life from God, infuseth the same into works, which maketh them living: and therefore, as the A­postle Iames said, — Faith without works is dead, so it is no less true, works without faith are dead. Faith without works is dead, because, if it want works, it is an infallible sign, that it is but a dead and false faith, for the true and living faith is operative and working, and cannot forbear, but it must be breathing forth its life in holy actions. Works without [...]aith are dead, because it is faith, which, drawing life from God, infuseth it into them: and, as I have shewed above, this faith is the Soul's converting or turning unto God, through the Divine and gracious touch and influence of the Spirit of God upon it, in the Divine Seed, by which a man cometh to be partaker of Holiness and Right [...]ousness; according to which the ungodly are said to be justified, not by working, but by be­lieving, which is to be understood unquestiona­bly [Page 50] of these works, which men endeavour and go about to perform, in the natural and uncon­verted state, whereby they seek to work them­selves into holiness, which is impossible, for that were to invert the very order of Na­ture, both in Naturals and Spirituals, which setteth the being of a thing before its operation, but not the operation before the being, as who would say, The Fruit makes the Tree, whereas on the contrary, it is the Tree which makes the Fruit. And hereunto will agree these words of Augustin, Bona opera non praecedunt justifican­dum, sed sequuntur justificatum, that is to say, Good works go not before the making of a man righ­teous, but do follow a mans being made righteous. Also when the Jews came unto Christ, asking, what they should do, that they might work the works of God, he bid them believe, This, saith he, is the work of God, that ye believe in him, whom he hath sent. Furthermore he said unto them, While ye have the Light, believe in it, that ye may become the Children of the Light. And thus Peter exhorted them, who were come to be partakers of the precious faith, Add unto your faith vertue, &c. Whereby it appears, that faith (which is the mind's turning in unto God, with both its understanding, will, and other powers) is the first step or entrance into a holy Life. And when these Jews, Acts 2. inquired of him what they should do to be saved, he bid them Repent and be baptized ▪ And p. 3.19. [Page 51] he said again unto others, Repent and be con­verted. So that Faith (which is one and the same with conversion) and Repentance a [...]e the two first principles of the Doctrin of Christ and his A­postles, and are plainly so called, Heb. 6.1. and are said to be the very foundation or first begin­ning of the Christian Life, of which foundation or ground-work Iesus Christ is the foundation; for the word foundation signifieth sometimes the ground, whereon a House is built, and in this sense Christ is the alone foundation: other whiles it signifies the ground-work, or, as it were, the first beginnings of the building on the founda­tion, and in this sense Faith and Repentance are the foundation or fundamentals of a Christian Life.

Now Repentance is the Soul's entring not only into a sorrow for sin, and an aversion therefrom, but also into a spiritual death unto sin, and a regene­ration into a new life: and so much doth the Greek word [...] (which is rendred into Eng­lish, Repentance) plainly import, for its as much as to say, as a change of the mind, which change is nothing else but its dying into sin, and be­coming alive unto holiness, which is also the true Spiritual Baptism, that christeneth or maketh a Christian in Spirit and in truth.

And of these two Principles, to wit, Faith and Repentance, Faith is the first, in the order of Nature, for by it Repentance comes to be wrought in the heart, as is above declared, how [Page 52] that by the Soul's converting unto God, in the Divine Seed, and turning it self unto the Light of Jesus Christ, therein it cometh to find that Light to become a fire in it, which, by its ope­ration, produceth some beginnings of a spiritual death and holy life, as aforesaid.

But notwithstanding that Faith and Repen­tance, are commonly acknowledged both by Papists and Protestants, to be the foundation or ground work of a Christian life, as also that Faith is the first step unto a holy life, and as it were the spring and root of holy actions; yet how contrary unto this acknowledgment is, not only the common practice, but also the common principle, that goeth currant among them, whereby they set the unbelievers and ungodly, who have not so much as tasted of the least be­ginnings of true Faith and Repentance, upon working and operative exercises of the Christian Religion, such as to pray and to sing psalms, which are holy and spiritual exercises, and can only be performed by a holy life, and no other­wise. Their principle is this, that even unbe­lievers and ungodly, who have not the least measure or grain of saving Faith and Holiness, should pray and sing Psalms, in the very state and frame they are in, and that this is a probable way to attain unto Holiness, wresting and abusing that Scripture, to prove it by, The Fathers will give the holy Spi­rit to them, who ask him: ask and ye shall find. But it is neither here, nor elsewhere said in Scripture, [Page 53] that the Father will give it to them, who ask in unbelief, but plain contrary Iames saith, Let not him, that asketh not in faith, think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. Indeed I wil­lingly acknowledg all unbelievers and ungod­ly should pray, and worship God, but I say it should be in the order and way commanded of God, and not as they practise, viz. They should convert and pray, repent and pray, believe and pray, &c. for God hath joyned these together, and forbids that any man should attempt to se­parate them, yea they cannot be separated.

This woful errour both in their principle and practice, is a most grievous let and impedi­ment unto Peoples attaining unto holiness, for as much as their praying and singing, or any other exercises in relation to the service of God, are not the true and real practices of Religion, but a meer counterfeit formality and shew, or imitation of these things; for true prayer and thanksgiving can only commonly proceed from the true and real power of a holy Life, even as singing and writing naturally can only proceed from the power of a natural life.

And besides, They most lamentably cheat their own Souls, for by these and such like o­perative exercises and practices, which are but hypocritical formalities and shews, as is said, and through their continuance therein, they acquire a certain natural habit or disposition more and more and easily and finely to perform [Page 54] them, which natural habit they set up in their hearts, as it were, as the great power of God or Godliness, and many, no doubt, apprehend it to be so, so that when at any time they are act­ed or enabled to perform such and the like ex­ercises somewhat more finely and easily, than at first, and with some heat perhaps in the im­agination and inferiour powers of the Soul, they impu [...]e it to the very principle of Godliness, and look upon themselves as grown or ad­vanced Christians in the way of Godliness, for by the power of this acquired habit, they will find many times thoughts spring up into their understandings, of God and Christ, which will seem unto them as Divine contemplations and acts of true adoration. Also by the same the affections will be stirred sometimes greatly, and as it were a fire kindled in them, yet it is but the sparks of their own kindling, and not that true Divine and Sacred fire aforementioned, which cometh down from Heaven, however it may appear to them so to be.

Such men are not unfitly by some called Ha­bitualistae, or Habitualists, who go about to frame or form unto themselves the power of Godli­ness, whereby to perform holy exercises, through working themselves into a habit, by such coun­terfeit and hypocritical actions, as aforesaid.

But true and real holiness is not attained unto, by the frequent workings (tho never so sublime) of the meer natural powers of the Soul, neither [Page 55] is it a habit produced of these workings, but is a spiritual and supernatural power springing up from the Divine Seed, as it comes to take root and bud in the Soul. Yet if we shall take an impartial view of that, which is called and ac­counted Holiness amongst Professors commonly, we shall find it to be no other but such a habit, as is demonstrable from these two or three In­stances.

1. How have they come by this Holiness? Was it by a true or real converting or turning in their minds unto the Light and Power of Iesus Christ in­wardly revealed in them in the Divine Seed, by which they felt the Divine fire kindled in the very ground or bottom of their hearts, which purified a place in them for the Divine Seed to conceive and bring forth the buds of a holy life and the powers thereof?

Nay, Such a way they have not known, and they commonly call it fancy, errour, and what not? Or did they attain unto their holi­ness by falling instantly upon working and ope­rative exercises, as their Parents, or Masters have taught them? Being nothing acquainted with these waies of inward conversion or recollection of mind unto a Divine Principle in their Souls objectively present, never expecting nor looking after it, as judging it to be ceased. If so, then I say, there is no difference betwixt their pray­ing or plowing, or writing or singing common musical Songs or common purposes; for the [Page 56] power of doing both the one and the other is but an habit acquired by natural working, for such kind of actions, as to plow, write, sing, re­quire no other principle but the natural powers of a man, which at the first can begin to do a little, and so by degrees, through repeated acts, acquire a habit, which becomes a power in them, to enable them the more readily and finely to perform them, and with greater ease.

A second Instance is this, that this power, whereby they exercise themselves in the opera­tive exercises, as in Praying, Singing, Preach­ing, or the like, they can use in their own wills and times, they have it wholly at their own dispose, and can command it as they list, pray when they will, meditate and preach when they will: which is an in [...]allible instance that it is but a ha­bit, meerly acquired by the on [...]y work­ings of the natural powers of the Soul; for the supernatural power to do these things is never subject unto mans command and will, but a­lone unto the will and command of God. And thus we find it to be in our experience, as did the holy men of Old, who spake and preach­ed▪ and prayed and wrote declarations of the Truth, as they were moved of the Holy Ghost, so their using this power stood in the will of God▪ and not in their own.

A third Instance is this, that this power in them, judged by them to be the power of God­liness, in its greatest growth and heighth is very [Page 57] compatible and consistant with many evil thoughts, desires, words and actions, yea, it can very easily be reconciled unto many sins, and hath not so much as an appearance of enmity at such sins as are not contrary unto these acts, which have produced it: as ye shall find, that a man who hath got a strong habit or custom of praying twice or thrice a day, if he omit this practice at a time, how will he be troubled for it? and what is the mat­ter of his trouble? his habit strongly inclines him to it, and gives him no peace nor rest till it be done; and this inclination he may readily judge to be from the Spirit of God (whereas it is but from his own habit) and so be the more troubled, as supposing he resisteth the Spirit by this forbearance: but now if he omit the neces­sary performance of other things he is not ac­customed to, he will not be troubled at all. And thus how many care not to omit the du­ties of Faithfulness and Righteousness towards their Neighbours, who are at a great care to say their Prayers. But verily that power in man, which inclines him to some things good in them­selves, and not to all other good things and practices, and which is not as a fire, a sword and a hammer in him against every evil way and work, yea, the least evil motion in the mind, is not the true power of godliness; it may well be a habit, as afore­said.

Yet by what is said let none suppose that I judg all, who have not in such a clear, distinct [Page 58] and explicit way, been acquainted with these aforesaid steps of inward conversion to the Light, continuance therein, and passiveness and for­bearance above-mentioned in the said continu­ance, as if they were utterly devoid of the power of godliness, having nothing but a natural ha­bit, in the room of it. For as I am fully per­swaded that many, or most, have no other but the natural habit, so I verily believe there are some hidden ones (hidden many waies) who are truly partakers of some measure of the power of godliness, which at times stirreth and moveth hiddenly in them, and by which they act divers practices of Religion, as by a certain secret in­stinct, as it were, unknown to themselves: but they are such babes (poor souls!) who know not the right hand from the left, that is to say, cannot distinguish plainly betwixt the true power of godliness, and that which is but the natural habit, and so act sometimes from the one, and sometimes from the other, yea, more from the habit, then from the true power, ten or an hun­dred to one perhaps: and many times that, which they are aptest to judg to be the true power, is but the natural habit; for the habit is great and strong in them perhaps, but the true power is a weak and tender thing, even as a smoaking flax and bruised reed, to which the habit is an enemy always in its actings, and the devil seats himself in the habit, and fights against the true power in the Soul, by the acts of the habit, he concur­ring [Page 59] therewith. And truly ere the true power can become strong in the Soul, so as to have the dominion, the habit, or habitual power, must be broken down, for it is but an image of the beast. And glory to the Lord for ever, who is giving to a remnant the victory over this Image, and raising up the power of his own Holy Life over it, to its brusing and destroying. Now albeit such souls have not (as to a distinct reflection and knowledg of the way of their attaining unto these small beginnings of the true power of holiness) passed through these steps of inward recollection, conversion, passiveness and forbearance; yet after some secret and hid­den manner unknown to themselves, in some measure, they have no doubt flid through them, the darkness so far prevailing, that they could not observe their way: but surely where one hath got through this way, a thousand have missed, stuck at the entrance, and never got truly into it. Therefore I may warrantably say, the want of the plain and clear understanding of these steps, hath made the way unto Holiness, if not altogether impossible, yet very difficult, and much more, then it is in deed and in truth.

CHAP. VI.

Wherein divers things, needful to be known by them, who do, or would, enter into the way of Holiness, in relation to the nature of Conver­sion, Regeneration, of the Life and Powers of Holiness, and of Vnion with God, are opened; and the gross mistakes of most Professors, touching these things, discovered and cleared.

GReat and woful have been the mistakes and misconceptions of the Professors, whe­ther of one sort or another, touching these tings, which have occasioned great hurts and impediments both unto their entrance into Ho­liness, and progress therein; the clearing of which would be of great use and profit.

Therefore I find it with me to declear some­what touching them, according to the under­standing given me of God: not that any thing said by me, can suffice simply to the clearing of any, it being the Spirit of the Lord who only can do that; yet the declaration hereof may be an occasion, as the Lord shall bless it, for them to weigh and consider these things in the true Light, whereby they may come truly to judg of them.

I. As touching Conversion and Regeneration, It is supposed simply to consist in the Lord's infusing certain supernatural habits of Grace into the Soul, [Page 61] which sometimes they express under this term, the Seed of Grace or the Seed of God: so that that they judge that instantly at the infusing of this Seed the Soul is converted; and that all these Souls, into whom this Seed is infused, are instantly converted and regenerated, which is a gross errour.

II. They suppose that Conversion and Rege­neration is wholly done in an instant, and that at the very first instant the Seed spreads it self, or is spread and diffused through every power of the Soul wholly, which is another great error.

III. They suppose that God works so irresi­stibly in all men, in whom this Seed is sown or in­fused, that it is impossible for them to resist, but converted or regenerated they must be, which is a third. For though the Lord can so work, or may do so in some, yet it is certain, he doth not so in all, but in this they contend among them­selves.

IV. They judg that this Seed of God is only some supernatural accident or quality, but not a substance; and that the life of Grace or Holiness is no substantial life, such as the vegetative, sen­sitive or rational Life or Soul is, which is a fourth error, and is indeed the foundation of all the other three above-mentioned, otherwise it might be thought no materal thing, nor worth the while to contend whether the Seed and Life of Grace and Holiness, be a substance or accident, it seems rather to be a question of Philosophy, [Page 62] and so not needful to be determined the one way or the other by them, who meddle not in such matters. But I say, this makes the thing the more needful to be opened, because the o­ther three errours, and divers others, are built on it; for say they, If the Seed of God be an ac­cident, it cannot be in the Soul, but it must deno­minate it according to its own qualities or proper­ties, so that the Soul must be Holy, Righteous, Pure, &c. because the Seed is such. Also, it cannot be in the Soul but it must be in union there­with, because the essence or being of every accident, consists in its being in union with its subject. But, say they, the Seed of God is an accident, There­fore, &c.

Now the first proposition of this Argument is certain, and cannot be denied; but the se­cond is false, which is the foundation of divers other gross errors, and so their whole super­structure false.

And for the refutation of it, and the confir­mation of the Truth, viz. That the Seed of God is a Substance, and the Life of Holiness and Grace is substantial, I shall no [...] enter into Philosophical niceties, but produce a few plain Arguments, ob­vious to any clear and sound understanding, as

  • 1. Even as we do infer from the variety and nobility of the operations of the rational life and soul, that it is a substance, and no accident; So both from the great variety, and also the great nobility (much greater than that of the rational [Page 63] soul or life) of its operations, we conclude that it, to wit, the Seed of God, is a Substance.
  • 2. It is the root and sp [...]ing of the spiritual senses, whereby we see, hear, tast, savour, and feel spiritual and heavenly Objects, therefore it is a Substance.
  • 3. And seeing it is commonly granted that the life of vegetation, the life of sensation, the life of Reason are all substances, shall we deny that the life of Grace or Holiness, which is far above all these lives, and doth passingly excell them, yea is the very crown and glory of Man, is a Substance?
  • 4. When God made Man, he made him according to his own Image; and this was mans dignity above the Beasts, that he was made ca­pable to receive the impressions of this Divine Image, which the brutes were not. Now this Image is the holy and Spiritual Life, by which as by a s [...]l, he doth impress, or effigiate the Soul of man, Therefore it is a Substance. For it were absurd to say, that the Soul of Man, or Man himse [...]f was made according unto or after the pattern of an accident.
  • 5. This Seed, and that by which it is nou­rished, God giveth from Heaven, as the Scrip­tures do plainly declare, Therefore it is a Sub­stance: for, if it were an accident, it could not come from Heaven, because the Maxime is an Accident cannot pass from one subject into another.
  • [Page 64]6. It is called oft in Scripture the body of Christ and his flesh blood, which the Soul feeding up­on, it becometh cloathed therewith, as with a body, and thereby dwelleth in Christ, and liv­eth in him, as the branch in the Vine; There­fore it is a Substance, and hath a substantial life and spirit: For what an absurd thing were it to call the body of Christ an accident?
  • 7. The Saints feel it in them as really to be a part or particle of the very substance of Hea­ven, viz. of that spiritual and invisile Heavens where the Saints live, as they do feel the body of their outward man to be a part or particle of the sustance of this outward world.
  • 8. It receiveth the names of all these things which are substances, but never the name of an accident, in Scripture, Therefore, &c.

But some may say, that by this it would ap­pear, that we judg the S [...]ed and Divine birth, as we call it, not only a Sub [...]tance, but that it is a composed Substance of body and Spirit.

To which I answer: Yea, it is so: for its bo­dy is the vehicle or vessel of its Spirit; for as e­very natural seed and birth hath its body and pirit, so hath this Spiritual Seed, and it is the body that is the vessel, which containes or conveighs the Spirit. And so the Seed of Corn hath its Spirit or Vertue in its Bo­dy; and so every other Seed and Herb and Tree of the Field, as the Apple-Tree, the Vine-Tree, whose fruit have both Body and Spirit. [Page 65] As Wine hath its Spirit, and so any other Li­quor, which evaporated or extracted, leaves its body dead: so this Spiritual Seed and Vine hath its Body and Spirit, containing in it manifold most noble and excellent Powers and Vertues, which Spirit is a measure of the Spirit or Soul of Christ the Heavenly Man.

And thus having got through this Particular, I pass unto another, which is to shew that rege­neration is not simply the infusion of the Seed of God into the Soul: For indeed as it is in natural seeds and births, so is it here in the spiritual. Now in naturals the seed is not the birth, nor is a thing said to be generate, when its seed is sown; the seed of an Apple-tree is not [...]he Tree it self, but a principle, out of which the Tree with its spirit, life and powers doth spring: And the seed of a man is not a man, yea the seed may be cast into the womb, and by some impediment no conception follow, and in the very conceiving may be marred: And indeed the words of Christ are plain, how that the Seed of the Kingdom, after it is sown, springeth up like the Corn, which may be choaked by impediments; but where it is not choaked, it springeth up first to the Blade, then the Ear, then to the full Corn, and that is its g [...]ration. Now [...]hen a thing is but in the See [...], the Life, Spirit and Powers or Vertues of its nature are hid, and as it were buried within the body of the Seed, which, because the Seed hath not a [Page 66] body so large, nor so organized, as they re­quire; therefore they do not appear, till it have received, in some measure, a larger and orga­nized body, and the more the Body groweth up, and becometh organized, its Spirit Life and Powers do manifest themselves more and more, which in the Seed lay as it were dead and bu­ried, and altogether unable to perform their o­perations, as being confined, as in Fetters in so narrow a room. Yea further, their being is so little and diminutive, that, though they had room, they could not perform the operations of their nature, till by their more through gene­ration and formation they be encreased and augmented. And thus the little embryo or con­ception in the Womb, be it of Man or Beast, cannot perform the operations of a Man or Beast, nay, though the Child be born and come into the world, how little do the powers of man­hood appear in it? But as the Body of the Child groweth up, the powers of manhood do more and more appear, as of Vnderstanding, Speech, Memory, and the like. And so it is much what, in some manner as to the Divine and Spiritual Seed: or if the Soul doth not receive it and con­vert unto it, as aforesaid, and that it be not per­mitted to take root and plant it self in the Soul, its life and powers will not be generated or raised up. And so the Spiritual generation of the Seed is the raising up of its life and Powers, and bringing them into manifestation in the Soul, which the [Page 67] Soul drinking in, it comes to be regenerated or renewed thereby, and still more and more, ac­cording to the growth and increase of the Seed, endued therewith. Now the Powers of the Seed of God, which proceed or flow from its Life and Spirit, are these noble and heroick Christian Ver­tues, enduing both the understanding and will, yea, and all the other powers of the Soul, ac­cording to the capacity of each, such as love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, temperance, righteousness, fortitude, patience, and holy wis­dom and understanding, and the like; upon the distinct and particular enumeration of all which, I shall not now insist. These are the powers of the Holy Life, which are as natural to it, as the natural passions and affections are unto the natural Life and Soul, and by these Powers man can only perform the exercises and practices of Holiness and Righteousness, which powers, and the Life, which is their root, are not in all men, though the Seed of them be in all, as is said, and is elsewhere demonstrated.

Now it is through the generation of the holy Life and Powers thereof in the Divine Seed and Birth, that the Soul cometh to have union with God; for the Divine Birth with the Life and Powers or Vertues thereof, is that noble chain, which tyeth and joyneth the Soul unto God, being of a middle or mean nature, betwixt God and the Soul, and so the more apt for such an ef­fect. For as it is inferiour unto the Godhead, so is [Page 68] is superiour unto the Soul, being Christ the I­mage of God, according to which the Soul is made, and by it enobled and dignified. And the excellency of this Holy Life and Seed above the Soul appears greatly in this, that, whereas the Soul can corrupt and degenerate with all its gowers, this holy life can never in the least admit of any corruption, for it ever abhorreth all sin, it may indeed be killed or crucified by it, but never corrupted. And so it is a most fit me­dium or mean to unite the Soul unto God, and the Powers and Vertues thereof are as so many Chains, whereby the Lord doth unite the pure and righteous Souls unto him. Ye must under­stand therefore the Soul's union with God, is not simply immediate but mediate, through this Seed, for no Man, nor Soul, save Jesus Christ alone, by his Soul and Manhood conceived by the Power of the Holy Ghost, in the Womb of the Virgin Mary, hath this dignity to be im­mediately united with God; for which cause God hath highly exalted him, even the whole Manhood of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Je­sus Christ, above every Creature, not only Men, but Angels, that at the Name of Iesus every knee may bow, to whom be Glory, Power and Do­minion for ever.

This union of the Soul with the Seed, and the Holy Life and Powers thereof (through which the Soul becomes united unto God) is gradual, and becometh more and more inti­mate [Page 69] and near, as the Soul advanceth in Ho­liness and Righteousness, and, until the leaven of the Holy Life hath diffused its pure Vertue through the whole Soul and all its powers, the u­nion cannot be total nor through, but in part, even until all sin and iniquity be wrought out, for there can be no union with that which is holy with that which is unholy. Wherefore if there be but a part of the Soul, as it were, puri­fied only, that part receiveth union with the Holy Seed and with God therein. Therefore the first step and degree of the Soul's Conversion unto the Holy Seed, and to God and Christ therein, is not, to speak properly, union, for the Soul at its first step of conversion, bringeth it self or converteth unto God, as it is, viz. all filthy and unclean with sin, yea, it bringeth its sins and sinful Members unto God, that he may kindle his Fire in them, for their destru­ction; but there is no union, until the Soul be cleansed in some measure: but when the Soul converted unto God, in that part or measure of it which is purified, its conversion so far may be called, and is truly, an union with God.

Furthermore, it is to be observed, that the Soul's union with God, consisteth not simply in meer acts, as when it exerciseth acts of con­version towards God, these and other acts of the Soul, by the powers of the Holy Life, do con­tribute and conduce unto this union, and begets it, yet the Soul enjoyeth a more constant and [Page 70] permanent union with God, then by acts whe­ther of one or all its powers: for if the Soul's union consisted only in acts, then, when it did not act, but were wholly suspended in its actings towards God, the union should cease, which is false, for when a righteous man sleeps, so that perhaps his Soul exerciseth no acts, yet his u­nion remaineth with him: bu [...], because the Soul enjo [...]eth an union with God, by its acts of con­version, as aforesaid, proceeding from the Ho­ly Life and its Powers, therefore this union en­joyed by acts, may be called Actual Vnion, and the other, which abides without acts, or while acts are suspended, may be called Potential, be­cause the Soul remains in union with God, simp­ly through its powers, being as it were glewed unto or cemented with the powers of the Holy Life. Now any sin, which the Soul committeth, doth certainly break off its actual union with God, but though the infinite mercy and Grace of God, doth not quite break off the potential, though it weaken, and many sins weaken it much, yea, some sins may break it quite off; but the [...] it hath been but partial and not through and total, for if it had been total, the Soul could not have committed such sins, as could occasion the breaking it quite off.

Moreover it is to be noted, that, when at times we say God is the Life of the Soul as to its Spiritual Actions, and at other times, the Life of the Soul is begotten of God from a Seed, we understand [Page 71] this in different respects; as thus, God is the Life of our Souls, as an efficient c [...]use of Life, and that originally and immediately, but not as the informing or formal cause thereof, such as the Holy Life begot of the Holy Seed is, which is, even the formal cause of it.

CHAP. VII.

Shewing

How the Soul is to reflect upon it self, and enter into Trial and Examination of it self, whether it hath truly passed through the aforesaid steps of Conversion, and continuance therein in pas­siveness and forbearance: and whether it hath attained unto any beginnings of the Divine and Holy Life, and the powers thereof, before it en­ter upon other operative Exercises, and how, or by what Rule or Touch-stone it may infallibly know the same.

THe service which the Lord requireth of us, and which we ought to perform unto him, is our reasonable service, as the Scriptures de­clare, and expresly call it; which (beside other things, which might be mentioned) doth im­port this especially, that, whatsoever service or work we go about to do unto the Lord, we do it with a true and certain knowledge that we are indeed serving him, and not our selves, nor any other. For, if I do any work, and yet do not know [Page 72] certainly to whom I am working, my work cannot be called reasonable, for to do a thing rea­sonably is to do it with a certain knowledg and judgment; and herein is man's excellency above the other Creatures, which are unreasonable, that, whereas they work only according to that, which either inwardly or outwardly moves them, not knowing what they do, so as to make a judgment of discretion betwixt causes and cau [...]es, man is to do all his works with such a discretive judgment and understanding, that he certainly knoweth both the end, unto which he worketh, and also the principle from which, o­therwise his work is rather brutal than rational. And so, as we are required to praise the Lord with understanding, as the Scriptures declare, so we ought to serve the Lord in every particular step with understanding also, so as to be able to give a rational account of our service, that it is indeed unto the Lord; and this we cannot do, unless we certainly know that what we do is by the Power of his Holy Life and Spirit as­sisting us, for it is the Lord, who giveth us both to will and to do, and without him we can do no­thing, not so much as say that IESVS is the LORD, but by the Holy Ghost divinely and super­naturally assisting us: indeed we may repeat the bare words without any supernatural assistance, but here they are no wise regarded of the Lord; for, if they be not expressed with the superna­tural assistance of his Spirit, as aforesaid, they [Page 73] are but dead and empty of that Life and Ver­tue, which renders them acceptable unto him. And so any other work, if we do not work it in him and by him supernaturally assisting, we do it not to him, and if we know not that we do so, it is not our reasonable service, which he requires.

Moreover, whatever we do as a service unto the Lord, we ought to do it in faith, but, if we do not certainly know from what principle or power we do any thing, we are left in a sus­pense and doubtfulness, and have nothing but conjecture at best to build upon, which is far from faith. Also he that doth a thing doubt­fully, doth both displease the Lord, who for­bids it, and brings weakness and confusion up­on himself, for he, that doubteth, is damned, as saith the Scripture.

Now to the end that a man may know whe­ther the work, or works, which he is about to do, be indeed unto the Lord, he is to reflect upon himself, and to enter upon an impartial examination and trial of his own Soul, whe­ther he hath passed truly through the afore­said steps of conversion and continuance there­in in passiveness and forbearance, and so whe­ther he hath attained unto any true beginnings of the Divine and Holy Life and the Powers thereof, and that before he enter upon other operative exercises, because that, unless in some measure he hath truly passed through these steps, [Page 74] he cannot perform any work rightly and accept­ably unto God.

And this examination and reflexion is the more needful, for that even these steps may be counterfeited, no less then other things. A Soul may even seem to it self to have converted or turned it self inwards unto the Divine Presence, &c. and yet not have truly converted thereun­to. Yea I will say a great word, but that which is a very certain truth, Many do inwardly convert as unto God, but it's not to the true God, but a false, even an Image of their own framing and devise­ing, and as unto Christ, but indeed it is unto An­ti-Christ. And surely this is, as it were, the very beginning of the working of the Mystery of iniquity, when Satan putteth on the appear­ance of God, and Anti-Christ of Christ, sitting down in the Temple of God, and being axalted a­bove every thing that is called God.

Now to open this a little more, we are to consider, that all men have some notion or image of God in their minds, by which when they speak hear, or read of him, they some way think, and form their thoughts and conceptions of him, according to that objective notion or Idea with which they are acquainted. Now though it is also certain, that there is in some measure a true objective concept or Idea of God put or plant­ed by God himself in every man's mind, which is in and of the Divine Seed, sown in every man, yet the usual knowledg that men commonly [Page 75] have of God, doth not proceed from this true Idea in the Divine Seed, nor is it the pattern or example, according to which they usually frame the thoughts and conceptions of their minds, when they usually speak, read, hear, or con­sider of him in their minds, forasmuch as the Divine Seed, in and through which the true Idea is received, in most men, yea in all wick­ed men and unconverted, is greatly burthened and oppressed, through the lusts and iniquities, which prevail in them; whereby it comes to pass, that frequently that true object concept or Idea or manifestation of God in the Divine Seed, which in Scripture is called [...] i. e. that which may be known of God, is vailed and clouded in them, so that the Soul doth no more apprehend it, then if it were not. And when by the Power of the Lord in his Visitation up­on the Soul this objective concept, as aforesaid, is brought into some measure of manifestation, yet the Soul is so intently taken up with its sin­ful lusts and pleasures, that it doth little observe it, and many times not at all; even as if some friend passed by before me in my view, yet I being much taken up with looking at some o­ther persons or things, should know nothing of his being so near: And indeed it is even so as to this matter, the Lord doth often visit the Soul, and passeth by it, and so far draweth by the curtain or vail, that he maketh somewhat of himself plainly manifest in the Soul, calleth, [Page 76] yea pusheth and pricketh it, as it were, with a sharp pointed goad, that it may be made sen­sible and convert the intention of its mind un­to him, which calleth and toucheth it; and if at any time the Soul converteth or turneth it self towards him, that so calleth and toucheth it, how speedily doth it turn back again? For it liketh better to be taken up with its sinful pleasures, then to remain in its conversion to hear the Lord expostulate with it, by the re­proofs and convictions of his Spirit. Where­by it may appear, that it is a great matter for the Soul to convert unto the true and real ap­pearance of God in the Divine Seed, for some­times it is so vailed, that it cannot perceive at all, as is said, and at other times, when it is made manifest in some measure, it is so intent upon other objects, that it doth not observe it, tho it could.

And thirdly, Though at sometimes it be made to observe it, even will it, nill it, yet it is so un­pleasant and ungrateful a thing, to convert or turn unto it, that it is very unwilling, even more than the School-boy, whom his Master findeth at his play, and calleth him back to be reproved or whipped therefore.

But now as for that Image or Idea, which the Soul hath framed unto it self of God, the God of its own making, which it hath made like unto it self, the Soul can without difficulty con­vert or turn it self unto such a God, and conti­nue [Page 77] in its conversion therewith long enough, and so be taken up with the contemplations of it, that it, as it were, standeth in great passive­ness, and forbearance from all these exercises which would avert it from the contemplation thereof. So that with great reason and wisdom the Lord put this, as the first of all the Com­mandments engraven in Stone with his own Fin­ger, Thou shalt not have any other God before me, and this the second, Thou shalt not make unto thy self the Image or likeness of any thing, which doth plainly import, that among all sins, which men are readiest to commit, the very first is to have some other God then the true, and to make and frame a God like unto themselves. And though many do not this outwardly, as others who are more gross, yet how many do it inwardly? So that the object of all their con­templations and adorations is in no wise the true God, but an Idol: And in this Idol Satan seats himself, as God, yea he hath helped the Soul to form it after a very sublime and artifi­cial manner; and truly this is the God, whom many in their conversions do contemplate and adore, and with whom they do converse at times with great intentness of mind, yea are, as it were, so occupyed with their interior re­collections towards him, as if they were whol­ly taken up therewith, and stood in a total pas­siveness and silence and forbearance as to other things.

[Page 78]Again, The Soul may be altogether defective in the way and manner of its converting it self, even while it endeavours to do it unto the true God, as if it labour to perform its acts of con­version simply by its own natural Powers, which is impossible for it to do: For only when the Lord visiteth and calleth it, and moveth and toucheth it inwardly, is it put into a capa­city to convert and turn truly, and unto the true God, as aforesaid, which times of the Lord's visitation are frequent enough within the day of their continuance, yea many times in one day, or one hour, yea they are so fre­quent, that they cannot be numbred, or par­ticularly determined by us, how often they come, and how long they continue, being much what like unto the lightning, which of­ten appeareth and disappeareth in a short space.

Some may say, If these things be so, then who can be saved? We are almost quite discouraged, to hear of these difficulties and hazards of being deceived in the very entrance.

ANSW. This is no more but what Christ hath taught himself, Strait is the gate, and nar­row is the way, which leadeth unto life, &c. Yet these things are not mentioned for the discour­agement of any poor Soul, but indeed to be an occasion unto it, that it may apply unto these steps, with the more diligence and circumspe­ction, and may get the more safely into the true way, and not divert into some by-path. [Page 79] And for thy more encouragement (poor soul [...]) I have this to tell thee, the Entrance though somewhat difficult, yet is not impossible for thee, yea it is very possible, and on some ac­count very easie and plain, forasmuch as he, who offers himself to be thy Guide and Lea­der, is the Lord strong and mighty, even IM­MANVEL, God with us in Iesus Christ, whose Spirit is given even unto the blind, and to those who are out of the way, to lead them into it, and no less to begin them in the way of Holi­liness, then to carry them on therein. And yet for thy further encouragement, I say unto thee, Many have found this way, and have got a safe and sure entrance into it, and do walk safely and surely therein, who at first were as unacquain­ted with it, as thou art now, yea as blind and dark, and as weak and indisposed every way, as thy self. And seeing the same help is admi­nistred unto thee, which was unto them, why mayst thou not find it, and enter thereinto as well?

But thou mayst say, Are there not some signs and marks, whereby I may discern whether I have truly converted unto the true God, and to his true appearance in his own Seed, yea or nay? As also, Whether or not I have passed truly through the o­ther steps aforesaid, in some measure? And, whe­ther I am become a partaker of the Holy Life, and Powers thereof, yea or nay?

[Page 80]Answ. Yea, there are certain infallible signs, which, if thou canst truly and plainly read them, will discover unto thee, if thou hast truly converted unto the true and real Presence and Appearance of God in his own Seed, and these are the aforesaid effects and consequences of the true Conversion, which are particularly men­tion'd in the 3 chapter. And if thou hast truly these effects in any measure, thou mayst be sure thou hast truly converted or been converted, and passed truly through the aforesaid steps, in some measure.

But thou mayst reply, that yet the difficulty remains, how the Soul may know that it hath such effects wrought in it, yea or nay, seeing there may be counterfeit resemblances and likenesses of these effects wrought in the Soul, by its own hammerings and toolings, and the sparks of its own kindling, the enemy concurring therewith.

Answ. Indeed this is a very weighty objecti­on, for there may be counterfeit effects, inso­much that the Lord scarce doth any thing in the Soul, but Satan labours to counterfeit it, that he may deceive the Soul: therefore it is said in the Revelation, that he shall work lying and false wonders, and cause Fire to come down from Heaven, videlicit, in appearance, to deceive them who dwell upon the earth. Yet we have a plain and ready answer to this objection, which is this, The Presence of the Lord in the Soul, in the Divine Seed, doth send forth such a mani­festation [Page 81] of his own Light and Spirit in it, which discovereth infallibly the works and deeds, which are wrought in the Soul, whether they be of God, yea or nay; and putteth the Soul into a capacity infallibly to discern them, and to know whose they are. And though the Enemy be never so near in his subtle workings to deceive thee, the Lord is as near, and nearer, to reveal him. But as for them, who deny Immediate Revelation in these days, they leave the Soul at an utter un­certainty, that it cannot know the work of God in it from the work of the Enemy. For, seeing they deny that the operations of his Spirit are ob­jective and objectively manifest, they are but as cer­tain blind or blank lines and impressions drawn upon paper, which no man can read or perceive. But having shewed this at more length elsewhere, I shall not further proceed in it at present.

Now, if thou wouldst desire to know the truth of thy Conversion, by a way prior to that of effects, which is needful, yea, it were needful for thee to know in the very first in­stant, in which thou setst about to perform thy acts of Conversion, whether they be true, yea, or no; Also whether that be the true presence or manifestation of God, unto which thou dost convert, or but that false and framed god above-mentioned, or Satan transforming himself into the likeness of God; thou shalt know thus:

If it be the true God and the true Christ, he doth manifest himself so to be, for God is Light, and [Page 82] Christ is the Light of the world, which lightens eve­ry man that comes into the world, that they may believe and turn unto God. Now as there is no way to know the Light (even that which is outward) but by it self, and the manifestation that comes from it, so there is no other way, so cer­tain, to know God and Christ, but by the Light and Spirit of manifestation which pro­ceed from them. And of this I am verily per­swaded, that there is no man upon the face of the earth, but that there is some manifestation of God so plainly and evidently set before him, as that he cannot but be convinced that it is the LORD, and that frequently, whose appea­rance in the heart is so far different from every false appearance of Satan, or any god or image of him, which the Soul makes to it self, or can make, that it may very plainly and infallibly di­stinguish the one from the other, and needs not to be deceived, unless it wittingly and wilfully give up it self to be deceived.

And if thou ask, Wherein doth the appearance of the one from the other so far differ, that it may be so easily discerned?

I answer, In this, the true appearance of God and Christ Jesus is against every sin more or less in thee, whether of Flesh or Spirit, and by it thou art reproved of every sin in some measure, yea, and it worketh (as Fire against the Bria [...]s and Thorns) against every sin in thee, and the body and root of it, though at first thou wilt [Page 83] not be so sensible of it, as to have a particular observation of all thy sins, yet thou wil [...] find it working against them all, as it were, in a heap, sparing none of them, nor reconcileable to any of them. So that, what ever particular sin is brought under thy particular observation, thou wilt find the appearance of Christ against it, as much as any.

But now the false god, which a man maketh unto himself in his mind, is very reconcileable to many sins, which thou art plainly convinced to be sins, and he can dwell with them, and let them flourish and grow largely in the heart, and not be a devouring fire against them, yea, the false and counterfeit god is an enemy t [...] no sin at all, and would never reprove or disswade thee from any sin, but o [...] thee. And this is the hypocri [...]es [...], and the high flown notionists god, whom they in some sort stand in awe to offend, as to some [...]ross outward acts, or even some inward also, be­cause they have shaped him in such and such a form, as is contrary in appearance to such and such sins. But as for thee, love him that re­proves every sin in thought or desire, word or work, and is dreadful unto every transgressour more or less, yea, is as a devouring fire against them, for that is the true God.

Now this appearance of God thou shalt ob­serve to manifest it self in a little small Seed, the least of all Seeds, in the very inwards of thy [Page 84] heart, which is meek and holy, and pure and harmless, and is contrary unto nothing but sin, can be reconciled with any thing save sin, but with no sin in any measure.

I have found it with me the more to insist on this particular, for that I certainly know, there are many, who are wofully bewitched with a mystery of Iniquity, in relation to this mat­ter, being like Capernanum exalted to the Hea­vens, as it were, in their notions about God, so as to think they daily contemplate and enjoy him: and yet it is but an Idol, and by the chil­dren of Light they are seen and felt to be it▪ darkness, and the Seed is felt to suffer in them, and to [...]e in the very bonds of death, notwith­standing all their high and lofty imaginations.

Now, if the Seed be raised in thee, so that the Holy Life and Powers thereof become formed, though but a little, thou wilt feel it and its powers as manifest to move, stir and spring in thee, as ever the Mother felt the Child to spring in her Womb; so that thou canst no less doubt of the one, then she can of the other, and so by the stirrings and movings thereof thou wilt begin to be acquainted with the Spiritual refreshments and joyes of the Children of God.

CHAP. VIII.

Wherein divers Advertisements and Cautions are given unto the Soul, in relation unto its apply­ing it self unto Works, or operative Exercises, inward or outward, through the Holy Life and the Powers thereof.

WE are his Workmanship (said the Apostle) created unto Christ Iesus unto good works, that we should walk in them. So that the Lord giveth not unto any man the being of a holy life, with its powers in vain, or for no effect, but that he should make use of it and them, to bring forth good works, even as the Husband­man planteth his Vines and other Trees, that they may bring forth Fruit. We must improve and make use of our Masters Money, to profit withal, that our Talent may encrease to the honour of him, who hath given it unto us, and to our own happiness and comfort: and unto this that maxime in Naturals doth well answer, Esse est propter operari, Being is for work­ing, for to that end hath every thing received its being and powers of a Natural Life, that it may reduce them into act, and perform the operations, which are proper unto them.

So if we shall take a survey of the whole Crea­tion, and of all things in it, in the Heavens, the [Page 86] earth, and the other elements, we shall find them all upon motion, and working the works, which belong unto the powers of their natural being. And thus the crea [...]ures do in some sort re­semble their Maker, who not only wrought the creatures into a being by creation, but continueth still working, to preserve, uphold and govern them, according to which the Lord said, My Father worketh hitherto and I work.

Now if thou hast in any measure passed through the aforesaid steps of Conversion and continuance therein in passiveness and forbear­ance, were it but for a very small time, thou art by this time become a partaker of the holy Life and its Powers in some measure, and so art en­tred at [...]east into the way and path of holiness, and art come unto a true and sound beginning, being come unto Chri [...]t, who is the Beginning and the End, both the Alpha and the Omega, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Door into the Sheep-fold and House of God. So having entred by him, thou art no Intruder, no Thief, nor Robber, but a true Servant of the House of God; wherein thou art to work the works of God, and having received Christ, so must thou walk in him ▪ being now planted into him, as the branch into the Vine-tree, and made a real partaker of the vertue of the Root, and hereby joyned to the tree as a natural branch thou must now bring [...]orth the fruit of good works, and being come to live in the Spirit, thou must also walk in the Spi­rit, [Page 87] and work and do all thy works in him and through him.

But some may say, According to this method and way of proceeding, a man is kept long off from working, for it may be a long time ere he pass through these steps, and so during this time (sup­pose it were a years time, or more) shall he pro­ceed to no operative exercises of Religion, but re­main as a cypher or blank, till he has got through these steps? May it not be said unto him, Why standst thou so long idle?

Answ. This is an Objection, which is much with many, and hath deep place in the minds of some newly convinced ones, and who are but beginning, they would fain be a doing and work­ing, as others, yea and the hypocritical part and spirit, which hath its life in dead perfor­mances and works, will still be dogging and pricking them forward unto the doing of things before the time.

Now learn a Parable of a Fruit-tree, be it an Apple-tree, or the like, into which a graft is imped, being cut off from another Tree, where it did grow as a natural branch, and did bud green, and flourish, and bring forth Fruit, but such Fruit as was naught. Now suppose that such is the good nature of the Tree into which it is grafted, that it makes the graft bring forth other sort of fruit than formerly, even good fruit and that in abundance: it's true it is not so with the common Trees in the outward, for [Page 88] they do not change the grafts, imped on them, into their own nature, but rather the imp chan­geth the sap and vertue of spirit of the Tree, that it causeth the Tree to bring forth fruit, ac­cording to the kind of the graft it self. But it is otherwise betwixt Ch [...]ist and us men, for we be­ing planted or grafted into him, he changeth the nature of our Fruit, from evil to good, other­wise the comparison holds very well. Now when the graft is cut off from its natural stock, it was very g [...]en and full of life, yea suppose it was full of blossoms or fruit, yet when by the hand of the Husband-man it is cut off from its natural stock, and grafted into another, it doth not instantly spring, and green, and flourish, as before, far less bear new fruit, but first of all dy­eth, its greenness and flourish withereth, and its fruits fall off, so that it remaineth very bare and empty-like for some time: yet the powers of nature are not altogether idle in it, for by little and little the power of life in the Tree, into which it is ingrafted, doth infuse and insinuate it self into it, by which it uniteth and knitteth the graft to the Tree by a natural union, and then in process of time the graft beginneth to green and flourish again, and bring forth fruit, both much better and more abundant, as is said. And here we may observe somewhat of all these steps in a similitude, which the graft passeth through, before it cometh to bear fruit, as 1. The power of the life in the Tree insinuating it [Page 89] self into the graft taketh hold of the faint and dead powers of nature in the graft, and con­ve [...]teth or turneth them into it self. 2. The graft being thus turned or joined to the Tree not by any outward bonds, but by the influence of the Tree continueth and persisteth therein, which if it did not, it could not receive life from the Tree. 3. In this continuance it remaineth very passive, doing nothing, but secretly drinking in the vertue and power of life from the Tree, in­to which it is grafted; and so by this means it becomes in due time as a natural branch of the Tree, and brings forth its fruits, as aforesaid: now such is the discretion of the Husband man, that he requires not present fruit from the Tree, neither is he offended with it, that it yields not present fruit, but patiently waits for the fruit in the season of it.

Even such is the discretion of the Lord (yea and much more) towards men, that if they convert and turn into the true Vine and Tree of Life, not resisting the Power of Life therein, but suffering it to work in them, to kill the unholy life, by which they live and bring forth fruit un­to sin; and if they continue thus converted, in a passive and forbearing way, suffering the Spi­rit and Power of God in the Divine Seed in them, to do in it what him pleaseth, this is ac­ceptable unto the Lord, even thus to die in him, and blessed are such, for their works shall follow them in due time. And this is according to what our [Page 90] Lord taught himself, Vnless, said he, a grain of Wheat fall into the ground and die, it remaineth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit: this he spake in relation to himself, but it holds good also in relation to others. Wouldst thou indeed bring forth the fruits of good works unto the Lord? then thou must fall into the ground and die like a grain of Wheat, and afterwards thou wilt live again, and spring up, bearing friut both good and abundant, and the Lord, who is the Husband-man requireth not fruit of thee before the season, but patiently waiteth for it.

Yet the time is not so long betwixt the time of the first converting and the season of bearing fruits, and producing good works, as thou maist think, if thou pass truly and faithfully through these few steps, thou maist come to bear some fruit, that is to say; to be able and fit to do some good works in a very short space, much less than a year, yea much less than a Month, yea what if I say, than the space of one day? Nay I add further, it may be possible for thee within an hours space, and yet less, after thou hast truly converted unto the Lord, and touched, as it were, the hem of his Garment, and drunk in vertue therefrom, to do some good works, in a true measure of acceptance unto the Lord: yea the time may be so short, wherein, after thy con­version, thou maist be put into a capacity to do something both inwardly and outwardly, that [Page 91] we cannot determine the least bound or limit of it, for it is an easie thing for the Lord to raise his holy life in thee in an instant, or the twinkling of an eye. And indeed the waies of the Lord, with men, in this respect, are very wonderful and past finding out, as in many others: in some he raiseth life, as it were, instantly, in others he taketh a longer time to do it, in others yet a longer, &c. For he is the unlimitted Holy One of Israel, who limiteth us, but will not, nor ought he to be limited by us. And tho he may raise this life sooner in one than another, where that other is no more wanting, as to the aforesaid steps, than his Neighbour; yet usually these, who with most diligence and faithfulness cleave unto the Lord in his appearing in them in his own Seed, do most readily and speedily find the ho­ly life raised in them, and the Powers thereof sensibly moving in their inward parts.

Now I find it with me yet more particularly to point at some advertisements and cautions in relation unto the Souls applying it self unto works and operative exercises, after it hath attained unto some measure of life and power, whereby it is put in some capacity to perform them, which I may not call Rules and Prescriptions, as pro­ceeding from me, (tho herein I know the mind and counsel of God) but advertisements, being only of use to point the Soul inwards unto the manifestations of Truth in the springings up of life in its own particular, where it will see the use [Page 92] and need of these things, more than what it can hear or read of them, from anothers decla­ration. And truly they are such things, that the want of the true knowledg, sense and ob­servation of them has been a grievous block in the way of many in their pro [...]ress in holiness, yea has hindred them from growing up to any considerable pitch or perfection in holiness, that they have continued as Weaklings and Babes there-through, whereas otherwise they might have been strong men in Christ.

I. Having now attained unto a measure of the Holy Life and the Powers thereof, so that thou findst the Powers of this Life in thy heart, as it were a wheel within a wheel, or as a Soul within a Soul, (yea it is truly so) and that also thou findst thy Soul in a measure of pure union with it, and every power of thy Soul affected and touched with the powers of this Holy Life in pure embraces, every one, as it were, kissing each other; and hereby thou wilt feel thy self strong, in some measure, to do some things pertaining unto a holy Life, yea thou wilt even so find it with thee, as if thou wert cured of a bodyly lameness, or as if thy tongue were loos­ed, which was formerly bound: then thou art to stand in great fear and reverence, and be very cauti­ous that thou fall not upon doing any thing, or things, less or more, at all adventures or hand over head, as they use to say, as to set about any performance in thy own natural and selfish will, [Page 93] because thou findest strength in thee, as thou conceivest, to perform it, for if thou so do, thou wilt provoke the Lord, and grieve that holy life, which hath sprung and appeared in thee, not at all to be ruled or led into any action by thy will, but by the will of the Lord alone. And if thou goest about to do any thing in such a manner, though thou findst both clearness and strength of mind with thee at first, yet after­ward thou wilt, to thy great loss, feel weak­ness and confusion to enter thee, and a thick cloud of darkness will come betwixt the eye of thy Soul and that pure Light of Life, which shined in thee, yea a vail of death will come over the tender Life in some measure: and thou wilt find the pure Life in thee burthened and oppressed, which will occasion pain and grief of Soul unto thee, which cannot be ut­tered. And of these things we have had expe­rience divers times, so that had not the Lord in tender mercy recovered us, we had gone down in­to the grave, after some measure of quicken­ing.

The reason of all this is, because of man by his own will usurping and presuming to lead forth the holy life, which usurpation it cannot endure, so as to yield or consent unto it: There­fore it withdraweth its holy powers of Light and Life from the powers of the Soul, concen­tring them within its own particular being. And thus the Soul is left in darkness, confusion [Page 94] and weakness, and the tender Life is both grie­ved and burthened, as aforesaid: For whatever seeketh to move it from its perfect unity with the will of God, doth hurt it, for it standeth for ever incorruptible with the Divine will, and that which seeketh to move it to the contrary may well bruise and wound, yea kill it, while it is but young and tender, but it can never draw it to consent. When therefore at any time thou findest it well with thy Soul, and thy heart is strengthned as with bread, or with some strong cordial or liquor by the springings forth and effusions of the streams of this holy Life in thee, then thou art to stand in a passiveness and forbearance, waiting upon the will and motions of this holy Life, which is for every one with the will of God, that thou mayst do such or such things, which that Life requireth of thee, and then whatever thou sets about to do, not in thy own natural will, but in the will of this which is the will of God, thou shalt find thy clearness, thy peace and strength, which for­merly thou hadst, not only to be continued with thee, but to be multiplyed and abound.

II. And yet more particularly know, or con­sider it, that thou art to do nothing without a clear and infallible knowledge of thy warrant, and that from this inward Guide, the Holy Life of Christ, and his blessed Spirit now raised and formed in thee. For this is he, whom the Lord hath given thee for a Leader and a Commander, [Page 95] and he is worthy to have this place, for that he is an infallible Guide, Instructor, Counsellour, and Teacher, which never sinned, nor can sin; and him hath the Father given unto thee for a Head that in all things thou shouldst obey him, and do nothing but in his will. Even as it is in the natural body and life and powers thereof, for the powers of Life, which are in the head and heart being supream over the powers, which are in the other members, do rule and com­mand them, and the members, in which they are. And so it should be here: and where the inferiour powers of the natural life do not obey the superiour powers of the same, there is confusi­on and disorder in nature, as indeed it hath fal­len out through mens disobedience to this holy Life, because man's supreamist power of Life, videlicet, his will hath not stood in subjection to the Powers of this Holy Life, which is its su­pream; therefore hath its power been taken from it in great part, that it cannot rule its in­feriour powers, as of the natural passions and affections▪ but they often rebell against it. So that many times a man is led by his very ani­mal passions into things against his very will, which would not be so, were his will brought into a perfect subjection unto the will of this Hol [...] Life, its supream and higher power, for then it would give it a perfect victory and do­minion over them.

Now when I speak of the absolute need, that [Page 96] the Soul hath, to know its warrant from its in­ward Guide and Leader, viz, this Holy Life, and God, who is so therein, and so in conjunction therewith that, when I speak of the one, it is never to be understood but in conjunction with the other. By this warrant, I say, I do not conceive that the Soul for every thing it doth, is to have an absolute and possitive command? nay, but it must have either that, or at least an inward felt permission, allowance or liberty given to it, in and from the same; and where this is clearly and distinctly received and known, it is warrant sufficient unto such, who have it. And whosoever do any thing, or things, in this inward and felt liberty of the Holy Life and Spirit of Jesus Christ, do the same in true faith, and gruonded upon the known will of God, either mandatory, or permissory. And if this permission or liberty be not granted unto thee, thou wilt sensibly feel in thy heart the Holy Life, with its powers repugnant thereun­to, so that it will sensibly move and stir in thy heart against the thing, thou hast before thee to do.

III. And as thou art not, forwardly or rashly in thy own will, to do any thing without the warrant aforesaid, of the Holy Life, mandato­ry or permissory; [...]o thou art to be as careful that thou be not backward, negligent, or unwil­ling to answer the will of this Holy Life, in doing those things, which it moves and in­clines [Page 99] thee unto, and requireth of thee, for the hurt is one and the same in both, viz. in going about to do a thing, or things, contrary to the will of God, and forbearing to do that, or those things, which he requireth of thee; the one is the sin of commission, the other is the sin of emis­sion, both of them the sin of disobedience against God, and so both of them provoke the Lord, bur­then and grieve his Holy Life and Spirit, and both of them bring weakness, con [...]usion, dead­ness and darkness upon the Soul.

IV. Do nothing doubtfully and with unclearness and confusion of mind, but exercise a perfect pas­siveness and forbearance as to all these things, which are not cleared up unto thee to be the mind and will of the Lord. The right knowledge, use and observation of this, is of both great comfort and advantage unto the Soul, as we have often found by great and good experi­ence.

1. It is of great comfort, for it signifieth the great lenity and moderation of the Lord towards us, that, if we be singly given up in our minds, having a willingness of heart, in simplicity and uprightness to know the will of God perfectly in all things, if some things (even of great im­portance) be unclear unto us, he spareth to charge the guiltiness of disobedience upon us (till we be clear) tho we be [...]ound in the forbearance of them, which is great gentleness upon the Lords part.

[Page 100]2. Again, It is of great advantage to us, for

First, It riddeth us of many superstitious fears, which others have, whilst one while they sup­pose they should do this; other while the contra­ry, and still imagin God to be angry with them one way or other, which begetteth most woful superstitious fears in the Soul; and indeed I may say, the ground of all superstition is the unclear­ness and confusion of mind as to the understanding the will of God, one while over-rating things, and judging it self bound in things, wherein the Lord hath left it free; and then again, imagining (but both doubtfully) to please the Lord, in things he doth not regard.

Secondly, It reduceth our whole work, as it were, within a narrow or small compass, and yet not narrower than the Lord alloweth; for according to this advertisement concerning the many things, that come before us as duty by way of consideration, if we stand in a true and sin­gle resignation unto the will of God in all things, or truly aim thereat, we may thus reason with our own hearts.

Either such a thing is made clear unto me from the Lord, by the manifestation of his Holy Life in my heart, or, after singly waiting upon him, it is not as yet made clear unto me: If the former, then it is my work to do it, and I must not forbear, what­ever trouble from the enemy without, or within, I meet with, in the practice thereof: If the latter, I have nothing more to do with it, at present, but [Page 101] to wait upon the Lord, if he shall afterwards clear it up unto me, and so I may let it alone, with a quiet and peaceable Conscience.

And thus ye may see there is a great difference betwixt doing and forbearing; for unclearness of mind in the thing may be a ground for me to forbear it, but I must not do any thing upon the ground of unclearness.

A third advantage is, that thereby our minds are kept clear, and pure, and open, even like a free and clear air, which doth with readiness receive the light, that shineth in it, and every impres­sion made in it thereby: whereas doing things in the unclearness, and doubtfulness confuseth and disordereth the mind, yea maketh it mud­dy and gross, bringeth darkness and death over it, for he, that doubteth, is condemned in his own heart.

Fourthly, It giveth us an opportunity to cut short the work in righteousness, touching the doing or forbearing of divers things, which are called in question and debated among people in this day.

But now for the further opening of this Par­ticular, I find it with me to add somewhat more, as

1. When I say Do nothing doubtfully, I do not understand it so, that thou art not to do a thing, if there be any objections, which thou findst arising against it, either from thy carnal reason, or unbelieving part, till thou get rid of them: for notwithstanding them, thou maist find a [Page 102] good clearness in thy mind, which shuts them out, or puts them under. And so thou maist pro­ceed upon thy clearness from the Lord in thy mind, notwithstanding these objections, altho' thou canst not give them any direct and positive answer, but this, that thou art clear of the Lord to the contrary: yet if the objections should so far prevail, as quite to cloud thy clearness, so that thou losest sight of it, this is indeed thy sin so to have permitted them to do, yet, till thou get them in some measure removed, and clearness in some measure be given thee from the Lord, thy safety is to forbear.

Again: Whereas some wrong Spirits may take an occasion from this unjustly to shelter them­selves under a cover, in their omissions and neg­lects of those things, which the Lord requires, saying, they find not clearness to do them, there­fore I must add this also, that if thy unclearness proceed from a wrong and deceitful part of thy heart, which is unwilling to be cleared, because it is unwilling to obey, it is another case, for then thy forbearance is thy sin, though thou be un­clear, because thou mightst have been clear, hadst thou stood singly, and yet if thou dost things in this unclearness, thou sinst also.

Thou maist say then, What shall I do? For this is a strait [...]se.

I answer, Come unto the Light, and turn to it, in singleness, and that will clear thee, and so thou art to do them.

[Page 103]V. Be careful to keep thy heart and mind in a sense and feeling of the Holy Life and Powers there­of, at all times, as much as is possible. I know, at first, and for some time, it will be hard for thee; yea at times, till thou witness a further growth, and become more inwardly acquainted with the enemies workings, thou wilt, as it were, lose much what all and clear and distinct sense, feel­ing and discerning of the Life, as if it were not in thee. But this is, as it were, a fit of a Lethar­gy, a fainting or falling into a swarf, for even the Spiritual Life suffers these things at times, especially when it is young and tender, no less than the natural. But now as one live in the na­tural Life, doth what in him lies to be kept out of such fits, which bereave him of the present use of his natural senses, and doth greatly de­sire alwaies to have the free and lively use of his natural senses, which are very needful unto him, for his preservation from outward dangers, even so one, who is come to live in the Spiri­tual Life, and hath once received the powers of of the Spiritual Senses, whereby to hear, see, taste, smell, and feel heavenly objects, as also to have a sense of what hurteth from the con­trary life and powers thereof, he will and ought to be very careful to preserve the free and lively exercise of them, for they are given unto him both for his comfort, and also to be helps unto him, whereby he may know things good and evil, profitable and hurtful unto his spiritual con­dition, [Page 104] that so he may chuse and imbrace the good, and refu [...]e the evil. Now if he run out from the inward sense and feeling of the Holy Life and its Powers, till he be restored again into the sense thereof, he is out of any true capacity to know either the things he should do, or the manner how to do them.

Therefore it plainly appears how needful it is unto a man, who is come to be a partaker of the Holy Life, to be very careful to live al­waies in the sense and feeling of the same, and the powers thereof, and this he shall the more readily attain unto by the due and right use and observance of the former Advertisements, and those which yet remain to be mentioned.

This particular is contrary unto the Doctrin, that passeth generally among the Professors, who are taught to say, that they should not seek to live by sense, but by faith, alledging the A­postle's words; but this is a meer abuse of his words, for he doth not say, We walk by faith, and not by sense, but thus, and not by sight, whereas a man may have the exercise of divers other senses, and yet at present have not the exercise of his sight.

Now there are divers other spiritual senses be­sides the sight, whi [...] is the clearest manifesta­tion, and it's true that many times the Children of the Holy Life can believe, when in some sort they do not see, yet I altogether deny, that any can believe without some inward spiritual [Page 105] sense or another, whereby that which they should believe, is proposed unto them objectively, for otherwise it were a groundless faith. Also by these works, We walk by faith and not by sense, may be understood the outward senses, or the inward, which reside only in the lower parts of the Soul, which are wrought upon by natu­ral and outward objects: by these we are not to walk, nor expect to have the Lord to propose himself unto us, in order to satisfie us, by our outward senses, or by the inward sensible af­fections in the lower parts of the Soul, for it is the excellency of a Christian Life, that gives us to walk with God, both confidently and comforta­bly, to follow him in the waies of obedience, when we have nothing from these inferiour sen­ses, to help or encourage us, but many times to the contrary. And as for that, which they call sensible devotion, which some say, we must not much seek after, if by sensible devotion they un­derstand that, which only affecteth the inferi­our sensible powers of the Soul, such as the phancy and imagination, whereby the inferiour affections of love, joy, fear, grief, &c. are moved and stirred, which can be do [...]e by some pathetick discourse or de [...]cription of things by a form of words, I agree unto what they say. But if by sensible devotion they understand that, which moveth the very spirit and will of man with the supream affections of the Soul, by the workings of the Holy Life and the powers [Page 106] thereof, upon its spiritual senses; I say this, De­votion is most needful in some measure, and is to be sought after, by all, for it is the highest and noblest kind of Devotion, and the most rational, even that we have a real sense and feeling upon our hearts, of the power of the Holy Life, of the only and true God, when we worship him, so as to be inwardly melted into a holy tenderness before him, through what we feel and taste, and savour of his Divine Power and Goodness. And if the inferiour powers and affections of the Soul be also there­withal moved, and with the words, which pro­ceed therefrom, it is a good thing and comfor­table in its place, but not too much to be looked after. But we are to be careful that we keep them in such stedfastness, as not to suffer them to be moved simply, or barely by meer words or outward works, when the Holy Life doth not move upon them, and that principally, for all such motions are hurtful, and not profitable. It is the Coal from the Altar, that is to say, such a heat or warmth, that comes from the Holy Life, th [...] doth only work the true impressions on the affections, whether by words or without them, or doth only qualifie and concoct them, (so to speak) after the right manner, working out the evil, crude and beastly humours and dispositions out of them.

VI. Thou art also to know, that, though thy present condition admit thee to do some [Page 107] things, yea, divers works, both inward and outward, pertaining to a Holy Life, as being come in measure to be a partaker thereof, yet thou art in this time of thy weakness and child­hood in the Spiritual Life, more to be passive than active, except as to the simple acts of conver­sion, wherein thou art constantly, so much as possible, to be found: for thereby thou wilt be still drinking in from the Living Fountain the Waters of Life, by which thou wilt live and increase more and more in the Holy Life, so as to grow up from childhood unto youth-head, and from that unto a perfect man in Christ Iesus. Therefore it will be altogether fit and needful for thee, to be often repeating these former steps of conversion, and persisting there­in in great passiveness and forbearance, not only from all evil things, but even from these, which are not clear unto thee to be good, or at least harmless and innocent. And as thou knowst that the several ages and states of a man, of in­fancy, childhood, youth-head, and perfect man-hood, have their several works and ex­ercises proper unto them (beside what is proper unto all these four) so it is much what here: for indeed the spiritual man also hath his four states, as, his infancy, his child-hood, youth-head, and perfect manhood. Now if thou be yet but in the infancy of a spiritual Life, thou canst do but little, unless to turn thee to thy Mother's Breast, which hath conceived thee, that is to [Page 108] say, to the Divine and Holy Life, and abide in thy conversion thereunto, drinking in the sin­cere milk of the Word, that thou mayst grow there­by. And if thou be come up to a state of child­hood, as out of infancy, yet thou canst as yet not do many, nor great things; but this is a good time for thee to go unto the School of the Holy Ghost, and learn the things of God, in his immediate teachings, so as to drink in a solid sound and digested knowledg of them, in some measure, before thou much speak of them to others, being swift to hear, but slow to speak. But if thou be come up to the state of a young man, yet thou canst not do all those things, which a man of perfect age can, neither is it given, nor required of thee.

VII. Be very mindful to regard thy own mea­sure of Life, so that thou be not drawn forth, or lifted up to do greater things, or any things, in a greater or higher strain, then thy present ability of Life permits; for if thou bend, or screw, or wind up the Powers of thy Soul too high, above thy measure, yea, if in any thing above it, it will much mar and spoil the work that thou art about, and displease the Lord, and grieve his Holy Spirit and Life, even as the winding of some string or strings, on a musical instrument, above what may keep in true concord with other strings, doth quite spoil the harmony, and render it ungrateful unto discerning ears. Yea, many hereby have suffered great loss, and [Page 109] brought many grievous burthens upon that Ho­ly Life, and also upon their own Souls in so doing. And let not the greater measure of ano­ther be an occasion to draw thee forth from thy own, as seeking to do things equally with him, or to go beyond him; also to mind and re­flect by an inward observation, when the Life or Powers thereof begin to cease or shut up, that so thou mayst therein also follow them, so as to cease at their ceasing, to be shut up with them, and opened with them, and keep time and measure and touches with them, that thou mayst not be left doing alone; for if so, thou art not doing the Lords's work but thy own.

VIII. Thou art to learn to distinguish betwixt the powers given thee from the Holy Life to do such and such things, and the exercise of that Power; for, though the Power may be said, after a sort alwaies to remain with thee, while the Life it self remains, yet thou hast not the exercise of this Power at thy will and dispose: and so thou mayst observe a great difference be­twixt thy exercising thy natural Powers, and these Spiritual, for the natural thou canst use, when thou wiltst, as to speak, write, sing natu­rally, &c. But thou canst not use the spiritual powers (though they be in thee) in thy own will. Therefore thou art to wait upon the Lord, that he may give thee the use of them, by the new and actual influence of his Spirit upon them, which is, as it were, the key, [Page 110] which opens them, otherwise they are shut up and locked.

IX. And lastly, Watch against the enemy, who lieth near thee, in all thy workings, one way or other, to mar them. For indeed so long as the body of sin lives in thee, in any measure, so far hath Satan a place in thee; for this body with its members, and powers of its unholy life, is the very Kingdom and Throne of Satan, in which he lives and rules, after a sort, as the Lord doth in his Kingdom, which is the hea­venly Body and Birth with the Members and Powers thereof: and as the Lord doth work mightily in his own Kingdom and place, which he hath gained in the Soul, and strongly moveth the Soul with its Powers, to concur and co­operate with him: so the enemy worketh strongly in opposition to the Lord, and also moveth the Soul with its powers, to concur and co-operat with him. And thus the poor Soul is set, as betwixt two contrary streams, the one seeking to carry it one way, and the other to carry it to the contrary: and on this account it is, that the Soul sometime obeyeth the one, and sometime the other; sometime it is carried forward, and sometimes backward, yea, and sometimes it doth the Lord's work, and some­times the work of the enemy; and at other times the works, which it doth, are (so to speak) mixed, or standeth in a mixture, so that one part of its work may be of and in the Lord, [Page 111] and done in his Power and Spirit, and the other part may be of the enemy; yea, the Soul may begin to do something well, and in the Spirit, and yet end it in the Flesh, through its weak­ness and inadvertency.

Nevertheless we must not conceive any such mixture possible, as if what the Lord doth in the Soul, and what the Soul doth with him and by his Power and Spirit, could be corrupted and defiled by the Enemy. Nay, for the work of the Lord is still pure, so far as it goeth. But now the Soul giving way to the Enemy he enters, and so putteth a stop to the Lord's work at that time, but he can never defile or corrupt it. And thus the Lord's part of the work is still his, and the Enemy hath no share in it, nor any influence upon it, so as to defile it, but he may stop it, as the Lord permits him, and as the Soul gives him way so to do.

Now one may readily object, According to this, it would seem, that so long as sin hath any life or power in the Soul, it being as is said, the Devils Kingdom, it were impossible for it to do any work unto the Lord, and in him, from fi [...]st to last, but that it should be marred, and stand in the mix­ture as aforesaid, for the very state and condition of the Soul being in the mixture, as partly the Holy Life and its Powers having place therein, and partly the unholy life and its powers, How can it be, but that the work it self should stand in the mixture also, and that proportionally, according [Page 112] to the mixture of the Souls own state and condition? For while the Soul is working that, which is good, by the Powers of the Holy Life, in and with the Lord, will the powers of the unholy life be idle and asleep, or rather will they not work in opposition? Yea, will not the Devil move strongly in them, to resist and mar the work of the Lord?

Answ. This objection indeed doth evince, that the things is somewhat difficult, but not impossible; It's true, the powers of the unholy life, do of their own nature, incline to work in opposition to the work of the Lord, and Satan will never be wanting, as much as he can, to move and stir them up; but this answers it plainly, that, as the Soul turns unto the Lord, and breaths unto him, through the Powers of his own Life and Spirit, for preservation, and continueth thus inwardly, turned and converted unto him, in fear, watchfulness, and singleness, the Power of the Lord God cometh over the unholy Life and its Powers, yea, and over the whole power of the enemy therein, and doth bind and captivate them, that they can no more prevail, to hinder the Soul from doing the work of the Lord, in purity and perfection, in a measure, then if they had no such place in it. Even as in the outward, if I were doing a piece of work, and some strong bodied man, had a resolution to stop or mar me, yet if a stronger than he come, and bind him up, I may do the work compleatly, maugre him, he [Page 113] may fret, and make a noise, like a mad Dog, or Lion upon a Chain, but he can do no more. And truly we have found the truth of this ma­ny times in our own experience, that, as we have kept diligent nigh unto the Lord, with our minds towards him, in tender breathings and desires, that we might be preserved, we have found him chained as aforesaid. But when we have but a little become remiss, and suffered our minds to slide back from that dili­gence and watchfulness, as was requisite, then the Lord suffered the enemy somewhat, as it were, to break loose upon us, and use his strength, in some measure against us, to the end that thereby we might be stirred up unto the more watchfulness. And indeed many times we find it so with us, in this matter, as it was with the Jews, at the rebuilding of the City, who were so put to it; that, while they builded with the one hand, they behooved to fight against the adversary with the other. Thus ye may see that there is a time, wherein sin and its powers may be captivated, before it be utterly slain, and the strong man may be bound, before he be utterly cast out.

CHAP. IX.

Shewing

How that, though Works can have no great in­fluence upon the very first beginnings of a Holy Life, that being only received through a re­ceptive Faith, yet they do greatly conduce unto the growth and continuance thereof, also unto the killing and mortification of the sinful and unholy Life, with its powers more and more, till it be utterly slain: where also the distinction of a twofold property of Faith, viz. Receptive and operative, is somewhat opened.

WOrk out your Salvation (said the Apostle) with fear and trembling: It is observable, he did not bid them begin their Salvation with works, but that they should work it out, or pro­ceed in it through works; which is a manifest proof, that works have a great use and service, promoting and carrying on the Salvation of the Soul, though they cannot begin it; and con­cerning the great use they have unto this effect, Paul the same Apostle said again, Rom. 8. If ye live after the fl [...]sh, ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mortifie the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Wherein these two things are plainly implied.

1. That carnal and evil works (that is, a living after the flesh, occasion death upon them, who [Page 115] are come to some measure of spiritual life: evil and unholy works are deadning and killing, they are like a canke [...], which eat out the life of the Soul.

2. That good and holy works serve not on­ly to preserve the measure of the holy life al­ready attained, but to increase and improve it.

And this same the parable of the Talents doth plainly hold forth, for he, who received but two Talents, yet improving the same, and put­ting them to use, they became multiplyed into four, so he, who received the five, by using them gained other five. Many other Scripture exa [...]mples could be brought to prove the Tr [...] of it, but these shall at present suffice.

Moreover the very nature of the thing doth also demonstrate it, for it is here the same as to the spiritual life, as it is in the natural, for the na­tural life and the powers thereof become stronger and stronger, the more it is upon motion and exercise, as we see by dayly experience, but there is this difference, that the natural Life, after it hath come to its heighth, doth decay, and even spendeth or consumeth it self, in its motions or workings, for it is but a temporary thing. Where­as the spiritual life is eternal, and doth never at any time decay, or diminish through its workings, but is thereby perpetuated. It is such a good plant, that it ever groweth and flourisheth, and bringeth forth twelve manner of fruits every Month, where it is well occupyed or improved, [Page 116] and never of its own nature decayeth, or wax­eth barren, but the more abundant fruit it bring­eth forth this Month, or year, the yet more abundantly it bring forth the next. Yea its life is so much in working, and bringing forth fruit, that if it be hindered in its movings and work­ings, it dyeth, even as the fire goeth out, if it be stopt from burning, and the water dyeth, if it be kept from running.

Besides, The Lord is so well pleased in the Soul, that is diligent in good works through his own holy Life and Spirit, that he doth re­ward it with a further measure, and taketh de­light to water the Soul, that is fruitful therein, the more abundantly, with his heavenly ver­tue and Spirit, even as the Husband-man doth his garden, which yieldeth him good fruit. But the Vine-yard, which bringeth not forth Good Grapes, but the Sowr and Bitter Grapes of evil works, see what he doth to it, Isa. 5. I will lay it wast, saith the Lord, it shall not be pruned nor digged, &c. I will also command the clouds, that they rain no rain upon it.

But it may be said, Is not faith a work? and is not believing working? And yet thou grants, that the Soul comes to attain unto the first begin­ning or beginnings of a holy and spiritual life through faith and believing.

Unto this I answer, that there is a twofold property of Faith.

  • [Page 117]1. Receptive, or receiving.
  • 2. Operative, or working.

Now the Soul doth not attain unto the be­ginning of a holy Life, through the property of faith, which is opperative, but through that, which is receptive. And least any should think this distinction too nice or subtile, I shall prove it from the express words of Scripture.

1. That faith is operative, is clear from that Scripture, where it is said, Faith worketh by Love; and where it is said to purifie the Heart, and do a great many good things, in many o­ther places.

2. That it is receptive, I shall go no further then Ioh. 1.12. For proof, To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. And that this receiving Christ is a be­lieving in him, is plain from the words imme­diately following, even (said he) to them, that believe in his Name. So here is the receptive faith, for receptive is as much as to say in Eng­lish, receiving. Nor are there many examples wanting in natural things, to shew that a thing may have the receptive power, when as yet it hath not the operative, yea that the receptive maketh way for the operative, as to instance in some.

1. The needle of the compass must first re­ceive its vertue from the load stone, being touch­ed with it, before it can direct it self towards the pole.

[Page 118]2. The branch, that is cut-off from its own na­tural stock, and grafted into another, it first receiv­eth life and vertue from the stock, into which it is grafted, and drinketh it in, before it proceed to send forth either leaves or flourish, or fruit.

3. The womb first receiveth seed, before the powers of nature in it proceed in their operati­on, for its conception and formation.

4. The Stomach first receiveth the meat in­to it, before by the powers of nature therein, it digest and turn it into the nourishment of the body. And indeed this last example doth with great clearness hold forth the thing in hand. For suppose now a man through hunger were even faint, and as it were, dead, so that he were able to do nothing, yet receiving a little food, the vertue of it doth suddenly revive him, and gives him natural strength, where­by he may do and work, as formerly. And thus the Soul receiving and drinking in that divine vertue of life that is in the divine Seed, is thereby quickened and strengthened to do the things, that pertain unto an holy Life, in some measure.

All which examples, and many more, which could be adduced, prove, that a thing may have a receptive power, and not the operative, yea that the receptive maketh way for the ope­rative. And to this purpose, these words of Christ are observable, He that believes in me, (saith he) though he were dead, yet shall he live: [Page 119] which imports, that a Soul, though it be dead, may believe, that is to say, receive the Seed and principle of Life into it; for this Divine Princi­ple is of an insinuating and penetrating nature, it doth make way for its own reception in the heart, insinuating, and, as it were, wind­ing it self thereinto, as the Fire doth into Wood, or any combustible matter. But now when this Principle doth labour to work it self into the Soul and its powers, the Soul may resist, and doth so many times, whereby it remaineth dead, though otherwise it might have lived, by giving way unto, or receiving this Divine Principle and Seed.

And thus that subtle objection may be an­swered, which is thus:

Believing, or Faith is an act of Spiritual Life, indwelling in the Soul, and can only proceed from the Soul, that liveth a Spiritual Life. For as a dead Body cannot walk or move, so nor can a dead Soul believe.

From this it is inferred, That the Soul must first live, before it can believe, or have Faith, and consequently, that none others can have Faith, but they, who are already partakers of a Spiritual Life, which is contrary to what ye say, that it is possible for all men to believe, while yet ye grant, all men are not spiritually alive.

But this is answered by the former distinction of the twofold property of Faith.

Therefore unto that proposition, on which [Page 120] the whole strength of the objection lieth, viz. that Faith is an act of Spiritual Life indwelling in the Soul, I thus answer:

That the Operative Faith or Believing, is an act of Spiritual Life indwelling, I grant: but as for the receptive property of Faith, through it the Soul is made a partaker of the Spiritual Life, by which it comes to indwell in the Soul, and therefore the Soul cannot be conceived to live Spiritually, before the receptive Faith.

This receptive Faith is the same with the Soul's converting or turning, or being con­verted or turned inwardly by the Lord, unto the Divine Seed and Principle in it, and to the Divine Presence of God and Christ Jesus therein, whereof I have said somewhat, chap. 4. And whether the Soul be supposed only to be pas­sive in this receptive Faith, or partly passive and partly active, the matter is not much, provided it be acknowledged, that it cannot so much as believe, even according to the re­ceptive Faith, but as it is enabled and assisted, after a supernatural manner, by the Lord.

Also some may object, This Doctrin seemeth contrary to what ye seem to hold, when ye say, That it is possible for all men to do the things, that God requires of them, and that no man perisheth for want of power to do the will of God.

Answ. There is no contrariety herein, for when we say, it's possible for all men to do the things, that God requires of them, we understand [Page 121] not this simply and absolutely, but conditio­nally, to wit, upon their believing: for they, who believe, receive power to do the will of God, whereas the unbelievers want this power, be­cause of their unbelief, and forasmuch as it's possible for all men to believe, at such times when the Lord doth visit them, and touch their hearts, by the gracious influence of his Holy Spirit, therefore we do justly say, that all men may do the will of God, according to the restricti­on aforesaid.

CHAP. X.

Of the great Influence, that the Coming of our Lord Iesus Christ in the outward, in his Birth, Life, Doctrin, Works, Sufferings, Death, Re­surrection, Ascension, Glorification, &c. Hath upon our mortification to sin, and regeneration unto Holiness, even unto Perfection: and after what manner we should improve the same effe­ctually, in order thereunto.

GReat and excellent are the Benefits, which do come upon men, through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, even in the outward, but through a Spirit of Deceit and Hypocrisie; which hath deeply entred the most of Pro­fessors, and leavened them. Great and woful are the abuses, which they have put both upon his outward coming, and the benefits thereof, [Page 122] while they do both grievously misunderstand and misapply the end of his coming.

For, whereas the main and principle end of his coming is, to reconcile Men unto God, and make peace betwixt them, through his purging their Consciences from dead works, taking away the Sins and Pollutions of their Hearts, and de­facing and blotting out that unholy Image of Sa­tan, begot in them, through unrighteousness, and enduing them with the Heavenly and Righteous Image of God; they on the contrary have sup­posed, or dreamed, that his end, in coming, was to reconcile them to God, and justifie them, while remaining in their sins. Yea, and so far they have proceeded herein, as to imagine, that there is no need of Holiness at all, for Iusti­fication and Reconciliation, but only for making them meet for Heaven, as they term it. Where­by it would seem, they suppose, that, whereas Heaven can be at no peace with unholy men, yet God can; as if God were more reconcileable with Iniquity than Heaven is. But surely nei­ther Heaven, nor the God of Heaven (much less) can ever be reconciled, or at peace, with unholiness, or those, who live in it.

Now the ground of this their supposition is an unfound [...]otion, they have drunken in, that Christ is come, or put in their stead, to fulfil the Law of God, for them, in his own person, both actively and passively, by which they are wholly justified [...]n the sight of God, through his satis­faction, [Page 123] though they remain in much sinfulness and unholiness in their own particular.

But tho we do truly acknowledg the full and perfect satisfaction of Christ unto the Father, both in his doings and sufferings; yet we deny that notion of it, as unsound and unscrip [...]ural. For the true sense of the satisfaction of Christ, both as we read it outwardly in the Scriptures testimony, and feel and know it inwardly, in the work and testimony of his Spirit, Light and Life in our hearts, is after, and according to the manner, as follows.

I. When man sinned against God, and be­came corrupt and unclean in his heart before him, through transgession, the peace betwixt God and him was broken; and so man, who in his innocent state was justified and at peace with God, now through his sin became unju­stified, and the wrath of God kindled against him both in his Soul and body, in great measure.

II. This wrath of God would have burnt, in such a violent and forcible manner, had not he provided a way in his infinite mercy, in some measure, to abate and qualifie it, that it would have sunk man into endless and irreco­verable torment and misery. But God prepa­red a way both to qualifie this wrath, and also in due time wholly to quench it, and bring man into perfect peace and reconciliation with God, as at the beginning, yea and to establish him therein for ever.

[Page 124]III. Now the way and remedy, he provi­ded, both for the qualifying it at first, and afterwards for the total quenching of it, was the coming of the Lord Iesus Christ his only begot­ten Son in a Holy Seed, conception and birth, out of which should spring such a gentle, meek, and qualifying Spirit and Life, that it should stand up in the way betwixt the wrath of God and men, first to abate and qualifie the wrath towards men, even while they are in their sins, but not to remove it, and that for a certain time or day of visitation, given them of God, to repent and come out of their sins and sinful nature and spirit, into holiness and the nature and [...] thereof; and then quite to remove and quench it, at their being made free from sin, an [...] perfected in holiness. And truely this great and unspeakable benefit from Christ have all unholy men, in the day of their visi­tation, that through his sweet and quallifying Life, the wrath of God is in a great measure born up, from falling upon them, to the utter­most, which if it did, would instantly sink them into the pit, from whence there is no re­covery. Nevertheless the wrath of God abid­eth upon all unholy men, but through the meek Life of Christ in the Holy Seed, it is greatly suspended or born off.

IV. Now that the Lord Jesus might be, the more universally and throughly, a Saviour un­to man, for his recovery out of the misery and [Page 125] bondage and vanity, into which he had thrown himself, it pleased the Father, yea and the Son both, that he should come (to wit, Christ) in a holy Seed both inwardly, and outwardly, for the deliverance of both the inward and outward man, yea and for the deliverance of the whole outward creation, from the vanity and corruption it was made subject unto, through the sin of Man. And thus even from the be­ginning, yea upon mans fall, God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, and Christ was manifest in the holy Seed inwardly, and so stood in the way to ward off the wrath from the sinners and unholy, that it might not come upon them to the uttermost, during the day of their visitation. For even at man's fall, the Seed of the woman was given, not only to bruise the Serpents head, but also to be a Lamb or Sacrifice, to atone and pacifie the wrath of God, towards men. And this is the Lamb, that was slain from the beginning of the World.

V. And through the coming of Jesus Christ thus in the inward, even before he was out­wardly come, or manifest, many were saved, and attained unto perfect peace and reconcilia­tion with God in their Souls, yet not in unho­liness, but in departing therefrom, and becom­ing holy and sanctified unto God. Now, tho from the beginning he was not outwardly come, nevertheless his purpose of coming out­wardly was from the beginning: and also he [Page 126] had a certain fore-knowledg and sense of what he was to suffer, and how he was to be deli­vered up into the hands of sinners, to be so dealt with, as it came to pass in the fulness of time. And according to this in a true sense it may be said, that he bore the weight of his outward sufferings, in great measure, from the very beginning. As even among us men, what we do certainly foresee of sufferings or trials to come upon us for the future, doth affect us with no less weight many times in the foresight of them, then in their accomplishment, yea some­times more, as every one knoweth by some experience. And that he was given up and resigned in the very beginning to come into the World outwardly, and suffer those indig­nities and cruelties with many other deep tri­als, was certainly a sacrifice of a sweet smell be­fore the Lord, and was very acceptable and sa­tisfactory unto him.

VI. And thus according to the plain and genuine sense above mentioned, obvious to the weakest capacity, we may truly say, that all the benefits and blessings, which come upon men or have come upon them from the very beginning, for either their justification or san­ctification, have a spiritual relation and respect unto Jesus Christ, both in his inward and out­ward coming, and his doings and sufferings in both, by which he gave perfect obedience unto his Father; and thereby he hath obtained the [Page 127] free Gift to come upon all, unto justification of life.

Therefore we are not too nicely to distinguish betwixt the influence of his inward and outward coming and the effects thereof, but rather to take them conjunctly, as in a perfect conjunction, having a perfect influence upon all mankind, for their reconciliation and renovation unto God, as obtaining that measure of Light and Grace from God unto all and every one, whereby it is possible for them in a day to be saved.

VII. And indeed we do very freely and wil­lingly acknowledge, that the [...] aforesaid by his obedience and suff [...]ngs, even in the outward, hath by his satisfaction un [...]o God obtained it, that man may come into justificati­on and favour with God, but not any other­wise, but upon these terms, viz. upon their Faith and Repentance, Mortification or dying unto sin, and living a new life of holiness and righteousness unto God, otherwise all p [...]etence unto Justification, by Christ his Satisfaction, is but a deceit, and a cloak for men to sooth and gratifie themselves in their sins and lusts: for the Lord justifieth only his own Seed, and them, who are begotten and born of it, in whom the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled through the Power, Life and Spirit of Christ manifest in them, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, to whom there is no condemnation. And these terms, videlicet, Faith and Holiness are very gentle and easie, forasmuch as Christ is [Page 128] freely given of the Father unto all men, to en­able them to the full performance thereof.

Also here is another great errour and mistake among Professors generally, that they do not con­ceive that Christ did really suffer, for, and by mens sins, but only at his outward coming; which mistake is grounded upon this other mistake, that Christ had no being, as man, but at his coming into the outward, and consequently could not suffer; which consequence behoved to be admitted, if the ground on which it was built were true: but it is utterly false, for it is most certain from the Scriptures Testimony, that he suffered all along by mens iniquities, as where it is said, I am pressed under them, &c. Amos 2.13. and that he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World, yea that he endured the old world with much long-suffering, and many other places. For even from the beginning he was Mediator: therefore he is said to be the beginning of the cre­ation of God, the first-born of all creatures. And why might not Christ suffer in men, before his outward coming, as he doth now suffer in them, long after it? even as Paul speaketh of the sufferings of Christ, which remained to be ac­complished in him, for the Seed (which is Christ, according to his participation with the Crea­tures) hath been the same in all Ages, and hath had its sufferings under, by, and for the sins of men, in them all, for the removing and abo­lishing of them.

[Page 129]This outward coming of the Lord Jesus and his Conception, Birth, Life, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, &c. is one of the greatest and profoundest mysteries of the Chri­stian Faith, and hath an exceeding much deeper sense and consideration, than most apprehend, or than any can apprehend, but as it is opened unto them in the Life, Light and Spirit of Christ in their own particulars.

And therefore I do admonish and warn all, yea I obtest them, in the Power and Spirit of Jesus Christ, that they do not make any slight account of it, or undervalue this great and glo­rious mystery, that shall be the eternal object of the Saints contemplation, for which (as among other things) they shall eternally adore, and admire the infinite goodness, wisdom, mercy, and power of the Lord in and over all his works. And if the mystery be not opened unto them, as aforesaid, let them be silent, and hold their peace, not meddling to measure the mysteries, nor this mystery of God, with the weak and shallow capacity of their own apprehensions. And seeing the Lord has given me some in-sight and knowledge thereof in a measure, and that by the Revelation of the Spirit and Life of his Son in my heart, I may not forbear to mention and declare somewhat of it unto others, which I warn and admonish all, that shall read or hear of it, to beware of judging of the same, but in the express sense, feeling, and opening of the [Page 130] same Life and Spirit in their own particulars.

It hath been commonly taught and supposed, that the coming of Iesus in the outward, and his becoming man, had no further in it, but that the WORD, which was from everlasting, did as­sume the true nature of man in Soul and Body [...]nto an immediate union with it self, (commonly cal­led the Hypostatical or Personal Vnion) and that this Manhood of Chri [...]t was conceived in a miracu­lous way, by the Power of the Holy Ghost in the Virgins Womb. All which is willingly granted, and truly and cordially believed by me. But I say, there is yet a further thing in it, than they yet speak of, or apprehend, and it is this,

That even that holy Birth and Conception, as it had the real and true nature of man, so it had much more, viz. a certain Divine Perfecti­on, (as I may so call it, through the wisdom given me of God) whereby it was not only the whole and intire Nature, or Birth of Manhood, but was more, yea much more than a man. It's true, it is commonly granted, that Christ was more than a man, yea both God and man, which is true: but yet they do not apprehend the thing, whereof I speak. For, tho they grant Christ was both God and man, yet they do not apprehend nor acknowledge, that that Birth had any thing of its own nature, more than the Birth of any other man, which, I say, it had, according to the Revelation of God given me, concern­ing it. And this is demonstrable also from Scri­pture: [...]

[Page 132]But I shall soon put an end to both these rea­sonings, and yet also speak or declare freely that which is given me concerning the same, (and in plainness so far as the nature of the thing can ad­mit.) I say then, that neither is the God-head it self conceived or born in this Birth, nor yet is it a particle or portion thereof. For I confess, to say either of these two, were very unsound, and is al­together contrary unto and inconsistent with the dignity and Glory of God. And as for the God-head (to speak properly) it is not discerpible into particles.

And thus I have plainly cleared my self of the least ground of suspicion of Blasphemy or un­soundness, as to the nature and dignity of the God-head, that is, without all variableness or sha­dow of change.

And now to that question, viz. If that Birth have in it, (and that substantially) and in its very nature somewhat above the common nature of man, what can it be but the God-head it self.

I answer: Yea it hath, and yet it is not the Godhead it self, but a certain middle nature, sub­stance, or being, betwixt the God-head and man­kind, that is as far, yea and much farther trans­cendent in Glory above the common nature of man, as the nature of man is above the nature of the beasts; yea it is even above the nature of the Angels.

This will be thought the more strange of by many, because they have been commonly taught [Page 133] and have commonly received it, that there is no middle substance betwixt the God-head and us, at least as to the inward; for they have supposed, that the spirit or mind of a man or an Angel, is next unto the God-head, which I deny, for the Heavenly or Divine Substance or Essence, of which the Divine Birth was both conceived in Mary, and is inwardly conceived in the Saints, is of a middle nature.

Now this middle Nature I call a Divine Sub­stance or Essence, not as if it were the God-head it self, or a particle or portion of it, but because of its excellency above all other things next unto the God-head, as on such an account men do call other things Divine (which are very excellent) yea some call Holy men Divine, and some call these, who teach the things of God, Divines, as Iohn, who wrote the Revelation, is called Iohn the Divine.

Also, this excellent and intermediate being may be called the Divine Being, on such an ac­count, as because the God-head is most imme­diately manifest therein, and dwelleth in it, as in the most Holy place, or Holy of Holies. For thus, even according unto the manner of men, we commonly say, such a place, in the outward, is such a man's being, because of his dwelling or a­biding there. And so it may be called the Divine Essence or Being, for that God doth dwell in it, though he dwelleth in himself also, and so did from everlasting. And truly I cannot but in [Page 134] Charity construe this to have been intended by some in some other places, who affirmed, that Christ as man, was born of the Divine Essence or Substance, for so say I, according to the foresaid explanation, that he was not only born of it, but of the essence or substance of man also, thro' Mary.

And thus he was both the Son of God and the Son of Man, according to his very birth in Mary: and therefore even according to that birth, he hath a Divine perfection and virtue, and that sub­stantial, above all other men that ever were, are, or shall be, who is the Heavenly Man, by vertue of which Divine Perfection he was united with God in an immediate manner, and replenished with such a fullness of the God-head, as no other man, or men are capable of: yea by vertue there­of the fullness dwelt in him bodily, as the Scriptures declare.

And this Divine and Super-eminent perfection of this birth above the common nature of man, yea of Angels, is that wonderful nexus, tie, or bond betwixt God and him, through which he hath immediate union with him; yea it is, and may be called the union, viz. that by which God and man is made one, and such and union as no other Creature hath, or ever shall have, for that the union of God with all other creatures is but mediate, whereas this is immediate. Wherefore he, and he alone ought to be called Iesus Christ, both God and Man, and no other. And by this [Page 135] Divine Perfection he carrieth the Image of God, in his very outward birth: as also he carried in the same the true nature and image of Man, through his partaking of Marys substance.

And thus he hath our whole, and perfect true nature, as man, being like us in all things with­out sin, in Soul and Body, so he hath also some­what, even as to his Soul and Body, much more excellent, than all other men, and that substan­stially: so that his body hath not only the per­fections of our body, but also much more, be­cause of its being generate, not only of the Seed of Mary, but of a Divine Seed, and his Soul hath all the perfections and properties, which the Soul of man in innocency hath: but it hath also much more excellent properties and perfections, and that substantially. And therefore his body tho it could suffer death, yet it could not suffer corruption, and his Soul could not sin, nor be corrupted with Iniquity, but did ever suffer under it, and by it, which Soul of Christ is the Quicken­ing Spirit, as Paul hath declared, 1 Cor. 15.

Now because of the wonderful and Divine ex­cellencies and perfections of this birth, therefore it is ordained and appointed of God to be that Universal Balsam or Medicine, to cure and re­store, not only all these of Mankind in Soul and Body (who shall receive him inwardly by Faith and Love) but also to cure and restore the whole outward Creation, from its Distempers and Cor­ruptions, that are come upon it, through sin. [Page 136] Yea this is the little leaven, that shall leaven the whole lump of this visible Creation, by its Pure, Heavenly, and Divine Vertue, into most won­derful Sweetness, Purity, Vertue, Beauty, and Glory, whereby all things shall be made new, and that which is but natural, shall be, as it were, spi­ritual. Yea this is indeed that Stone of the Wise-men, which by its touch shall in due time change, not only the Bodies of the Saints, but the Body of the whole Creation, and purge it from all its weakness and impurity. And truly another Philosophers Stone, even in the outward (at least to that Latitude, as it is commonly defined) shall men never find, but this, even this Holy and Divine Body and Birth, which now 1669 years ago was brought forth, through the Power of the Holy Ghost, in and by the Virgin Mary. For what can perfectly cure and restore the sick and diseased Body of Nature, either in man, or other things, but his incorruptible body, through the Power of the Spirit that dwelleth in it, who said, Behold I make all things new, and for whose coming to renew them all, the Creation is in­vited to rejoyce, because of their being to be de­livered through the same, from their Bondage and Vanity? Yet I shall not deny, but that it may be possible for men, through the Wisdom of God, to find out such a substance, as may do great cures on the Body of Nature, but I say it can never perfectly cure it: otherwise the Body should become immortal, which never shall be [Page 137] through the Vertue of any other Body, but that of Jesus Christ, as is said. And, though such a Substance have been found, or may be (as supposing it, which could turn the other Metals into Gold) yet this were not the univer­sal Bal [...]om or Stone, for even the purest Gold on Earth hath its Corruptions and Distempers, from which when it is refined, it will more excell, what it is now, than it at present doth excell the basest Metal, Stone, or Sand, or Turf.

And to the end that this excellent Body or Birth of Jesus Christ might be the more prepa­red forsuch an effect, viz. To cure and restore all things, therefore it pleased the Father to give him up, both in Soul and Body, to suf­fer such deep inward afflictions, sufferings and trials, for by these that hidden Divine Vertue and Perfection, which was in the center both of his Soul and Body, was raised up and brought forth (as into the circumference) even unto its fulness and perfection. According to which it is said in the Scripture, that he (the Captain of our Salvation) was made perfect thro sufferings, for so it is indeed as to all other things, which have any perfection or vertue further in them, than is manifest, as it were, hid in the centre, which perfection is raised up and brought into view or manifestation, through its suffe­rings, as by mortification, calcination, melting it in the fire, heating it, pounding and pressing [Page 138] it, bruising and squeezing, boiling, and many such kind of things, well known to Chymists and Physicians. And thus was our Blessed Lord used, both in his Soul and Body: his deep suf­rings in both were like a Wine-press, which served to squeeze and press out the hidden Wine, that was in his Grapes, even that pure and pre­cious Water and Blood, which came out at his Side on the Cross, and when in the Garden he sweat, that drops of Blood fell to the ground, these very drops of Water and Blood had a most excellent vertue in them, beyond what man's heart is able to conceive of, whereby they entred into the very kernel and quinte­scence of the whole Creation, to its very heart, for its deliverance and restauration. And this was as a Seed, that was then sown in the very heart of the outward Nature, by which it is blessed of God in some measure, and through which it shall in due time be perfectly deli­vered and cured of its vanity, corruption, and bondage.

Therefore it was, that at the sufferings of Christ, the whole outward Creation fell into a wonderful passion and suffering, in so much that there was a great darkness over all, and the very Earth was, as it were, rent, for that secret and excellent vertue, which went forth from him at his Sufferings, even in the Water and the Blood pierced into the heart of the body of the World, and wrought in it, like Physick [Page 139] that worketh strongly, against the corrupt hu­mours in man's body, that doth greatly affect the body with sufferings. And thus it was even fit, that the Creation should, after its man­ner, suffer with him, which was to partake of such glorious effects, through his sufferings. And though the outward Creation be not yet cured, through the secret Vertue of that Wa­ter and Blood, no, nor yet the Bodies of the Saints, yet in due time they shall, even through and by the Vertue of these Suf­ferings.

But as I have said above, so do I again re­peat it, that it may have the more weight, viz. that we are not too nicely to make a diffe­rence betwixt the Influence and Effects of his outward and inward Sufferings, but to under­stand them in a perfect conjunction, and that the end of his Suffering in both was this, viz.

1. Both to quench and allay the wrath of God, which was kindled both in Mens Souls and Bodies, and also in the whole Body of the Creation. And

2. To purifie and cure both Men, and also the outward Creation, from Corruption, Va­nity, and Bondage. And so, in relation to Men, this I say, that the Sufferings of Christ, and his Obedience, Life and Righteousness, both inwardly and outwardly, hath a very blessed influence upon Men, both to remove the Wrath, and also to remove Sin the cause [Page 140] of it, and to bring in everlasting Righteous­ness, to cover the Soul with, by a real parti­cipation of it, over and beyond all imaginary reckonings and imputation of man, (though the imputation of God unto man, [...]we own.) And this I say further, that the Wrath is no further removed from Men, by Vertue of Christs Obedience and Sufferings, than Sin, that is the cause of it, is removed: and thus Justification and Mortification, and Sanctifi­cation, go on equally. And by what is said, way is also made for clearing of that concern­ing Christ, his bearing the Wrath and Anger of God for us; to which I say, he did so bear it indeed, that he bore it up from fal­ling upon us, in its full weight, which if it had done, it would have sunk us into an eternal state of misery, and he stood in the way and bore it off, that it did not drown and consume us with everlasting Death and Destruction; but that he did bear the Wrath of God, ei­ther in that manner or measure, which the damned in Hell do, or we should have done, had not the Lord recovered us, I altogether deny, for he could, and did satisfie the Father well and acceptably, without bearing it in that way.

But if it be queried, If he suffered by that wrath, when he stood betwixt us and it.

I answer, He suffered a trial and chastise­ment by it, and so it is called a Chastisement, [Page 141] but it could never be said, that the Father was offended or displeased with him, even while he suffered for us, for the Father was satisfied and well pleased in him in his greatest suffer­ings, which he did bear, in most perfect re­signation, love, and willingness, both to please his Father, and also to save and reconcile men unto God. And tho the Lord did not with­draw that sensible comfort from him, when he suffered on the Cross, it was not for any dis­pleasure towards him, but for a trial, and as is said, to raise up and draw forth that excellent vertue and perfection, that was in him, the more. So it pleased the Father to bruise him, and press him with sufferings, as in a Wine­press, to the end that sweet Wine might come forth, that hath the vertue in it to cure men of their wounds, both in relation to wrath and sin. And so when he cryed forth with a loud voice upon the Cross, My God, &c. even there­in and there through Vertue went from him, in that holy Breath or Spirit which had, and hath, a most effectual Influence upon both men and the creation, for their deliverance, as aforesaid, for nothing, that he ever did or suffered, was in vain, or without vertue and influence unto mens Salvation.

And thus having declared the great influ­ence, which the very outward coming, Birth, Life, Sufferings, and Death, &c. of Christ, hath upon men, both for their Justification [Page 142] and Sanctification; let us now see how and in what manner we should improve the same ef­fectually, in order thereunto: For indeed we shall find how the Apostles did greatly improve and make use of it, in order unto Mortificati­on, or dying unto sin, and living unto holi­ness, and making progress therein, unto perfe­ction. As to instance in some few examples.

Rom. 6.2. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not that as ma­ny of us as were baptized into Iesus Christ, were Baptized into his death, &c. See throughout the whole Chapter.

2 Cor. 5.14. For the love of Christ constrain­eth us: Because we thus judge, that if one dyed for all, then were all dead, and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, bu [...] unto him, who died for them, and rose again.

1 Pet. 2.24. Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, but we being dead to sin should live to righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed, Vers. 21. Because Christ also suf­fered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps.

1 Pet. 4.1. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suf­fered for us in the flesh, arm your selves likewise with the same mind. For he, that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin, that he no lon­ger should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

[Page 143]By all which places, and many other, which could be mentioned, we may observe that the Saints made the chifest use and improve­ments of the Sufferings, Death, and Resur­rection of Christ, for the Mortification of Sin, and living unto God, in holiness and righteous­ness, and that unto perfection; and did not sooth or please themselves to live in much sin and unholiness, and speaking peace to them­selves therein, because of what Christ had done and suffered for them.

And now I shall sum up in a few words the particular uses and benefits, which the Saints receive, in order to a growing and proceeding in holiness, through the improving the Coming, Sufferings, Death, and Resurrecti­on of the Lord in the outward, through the Power and Light of his own holy Spirit and Life, in and by which only they can improve them aright.

I. As his Coming, Birth, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection, &c. are presented and set before us, in the evidence and vertue of his own Light and Spirit in our hearts, so it is made a great occasion to strengthen both our faith in God, and our love towards him, forasmuch as our Lord God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath given, by his outward coming, &c. as aforesaid, a very great and large testimony of his love and good will towards all men, for their Salvation, and of his patience and long-suffering, [Page 144] in permitting men so to use his own dear Son, which was, as if it had been unto himself. Yea, herein he gave a most convin­cing Testimony how he had born and suffered, with wonderful long-suffering the iniquities of men, which struck against his inward Life and Spirit of his Son in all ages and generations, be­fore the wounding and crucifying it in them, as now they did against him in the outward. By which men might be greatly convinced, that the will of the Lord was their Salvation, in so bearing and suffering them, for had he not intended love to them herein, he might have eased himself of his adversaries in a Mo­ment, and altogether delivered that tender Life and Spirit of his Son from its sufferings in them, and brought intolerable sufferings upon the transgressors themselves. Also herein the Lord gave a great testimony of his Power to save, in as much as tho he delivered up his Son to suf­fer most deep affliction in and under sinners, yet in due time he raised him up again, even from death, and did manifestly set him over all his adversaries, according to the working of which mighty power he is able to save unto the uttermost all, that come unto God by him. And so these things being inwardly presented and set before the Soul in the Spirit and Light of Jesus Christ, are indeed very forcible and prevailing to work faith in it, both upon the mercy and power of the Lord, and so to rest [Page 145] and stay its faith upon him, for its full and perfect Salvation, as also to work and beget love unto him, in the inward sense and feel­ing of the wonderful love of God, as mani­festing it self even so in the outward.

II. And yet more particularly the coming, sufferings, and death of Christ, as presented by his Spirit in the Soul, as aforesaid, have a very special influence to kindle most ardent love in it towards him, in the sense of that love of his so wonderfully manifested in the outward, whereby, for the Souls saving from sin and wrath, he so humbled himself by so many steps and degrees, and bore such indignities and sufferings as never any one did; and all in love to the Soul, and for it, and for its deli­verance, as aforesaid, and that he should be manifest in the outward body, and suffer so deeply therein, even for the delivering our outward bodies also from sin and wrath; these things, I say, as presented and set before the Soul in his own Spirit, as it were, himself tel­ling it in a particular way how he had hum­bled himself, and what he had done and suf­fered for it, are strong and prevailing occasi­ons to work most ardent and dear love in the Soul towards him and his Spirit, and towards the Father also, whose free Gift of Love he is.

III. And they have indeed a great influ­ence, when presented in his Spirit, as afore­said, [Page 146] to work in our hearts true and real re­pentance from all our sins, yea and a perfect and universal hatred against them, as having a sense that our sins were the occasion of his sufferings, yea his deepest and heaviest suffer­ings, even in his Soul in the outward, was through the burden of our iniquities, which he then did bear, so that the wounds, he got in his blessed Body, with the Nails, and the Spear, and the Thorns, and the violent Hands of Men, were nothing comparable to these wounds he had in his righteous Soul and Life, through the burden and weight of mens iniquities.

But how Christ did suffer under the iniquities of men and the spirit and power thereof, can ne­ver be understood in any true measure, but by these alone; who are come to be acquain­ted with a measure of his righteous Life in their own particulars, and to know a mea­sure of redemption from sin thereby; such will feel how that righteous Life of Christ Jesus suffers by sin, and the spirit and power thereof, so that many times we have felt the Life of him in us to be deeply smitten and wounded, and deeply to suffer, through and by iniquity and the spirit of it, even in o­thers, and in a whole country and nation, yea in some measure through the whole world. The reason of which is, because of that deep and near Sympathy, that his Life in the Saints [Page 147] hath with the Seed of that Life, that is oppres­sed in others, till it be raised. So that many, in whom this righteous Life is raised to reign in perfect dominion over all, its contrary in their own particulars, yet witness many times its deep sufferings, through its Sympathy with that Seed of its own nature oppressed and murder­ed in others. So that indeed upon the matter this Righteous Life in none of the Saints will be wholly delivered from its Sufferings, till that of its own nature over all the World be raised up in all hearts, to reign with it in dominion, either in full love, or wrath.

And truly these deep Sufferings of Christ un­der the burden of mens Iniquities really felt and witnessed by him, as in the Garden, and on the Cross, &c. I find the Professors know little or nothing of, for they conceive not that Christ suffered any other way by the burden of sin laid on him, then in that he suffered the Wrath of God, that was due to men for sin, and so they understand his bearing our sins to be only in re­spect of the Wrath of God he did bear, which was not so, for he suffered much more deeply by the sins of the World and the Spirit thereof, because of that great and implacable contrariety and enmity, which sin and the Spirit thereof hath against his tender Life; which at that time had mustered up all its forces against him, the Lord permitting it so to be, that by his patient and meek sufferings, he might overcome it, as [Page 148] indeed he did; and even upon the Cross Tri­umphed over it, and gave the Spirit of Trans­gression the greatest blow and wound that ever it got, which shall in due time by the Vertue and Power of his Sufferings be utterly slain, and extinguished in the Earth, and it filled with his Holy and Righteous Spirit. And this Spirit of Iniquity wrought what it could so to Eclipse and Vail the presence of God from his Righte­ous Soul, as to take away that comfort and joy from him, which at other times he had, yet his Faith pierced through this Cloud, that it did not overcome him, but he overcame it, and sig­nified his Faith in God, saying, My GOD, my GOD, Why hast thou forsaken me? which re­spected that sensible joy and comfort: yet in the midst of this deep trial the Father was with him, in love, and in the Power and Vertue of that Love the Wrath became mitigated and qualifi­ed towards men. And to speak properly, the Wrath was indeed against men, but never on any account directly against Christ, who did indeed intervene, and intermediate betwixt it and us, to bear it off, and qualifie it, as is above­said; yet he could never suffer it, as the damned do, for he qualified it both in the Father's Love, and in his own; but the Wrath which the damned suffer, hath no such qualification. And truly we cannot judg that the Father was (to speak properly) offended or displeased with him, nay not on our account, nor do the Scriptures [Page 149] speak any thing so, only it pleased the Father thus to try him, and make him perfect thus by sufferings, to the end he might overcome Sin and the Spirit thereof, in the more Glory, and might be the more fitted to help them, that are under Trials, as being touched with the feeling of our Infirmities.

IIII. Being presented in his Spirit, as afore­said, they have also great influence, to raise in our Souls most fervent Breathings and Suppli­cations unto the Lord, not only for his pardon­ing and forgiving Grace, (for and because of his Son's Blood-shed, his Sufferings, and Death, &c. by which he procured or purchased it) but also for his Sanctifying and Mortifying Grace, even for an abundant measure of the Life and Spirit of Grace, whereby we may be enabled to die perfectly unto sin, and live unto God, in perfection of Holyness; so th [...]t the Soul may strongly plead with the Lord upon the account of Christ, that he may pour forth abundantly of his Grace, Life, Light and Spirit, because that the Lord Jesus hath purchased it abundantly, and hath opened the Fountain of the Father's Love abun­dantly, by his Obedience and Righteousness, to the end that all Souls may come and draw out of that fulness of his, which he hath purchased, and is in him, even Grace for Grace, Joh. 1.16. both to justifie and sanctifie, and as much the one as the other.

V. Also these things presented in the Spirit, [Page 150] as aforesaid, and in and thereby applied to the Soul, become very strong and forcible motives unto it to war against sin universally, and the Spirit thereof, to the utter killing and destroy­ing of it, seeing it is the greatest enemy of that tender Life of Christ, which suffered so much on this account, even to the mortifying of the Soul unto sin, and saving it therefrom, so that if the Soul do not diligently apply it self unto a total mortification of sin, it doth nothing answer unto that love and good-will of Christ, in his sufferings, nor to the end thereof. They are also of the same force to move the Soul to follow after Ho­liness, till it attain unto it, so as to be pure and holy, as Christ its Beloved and Spouse, who gave himself for her, that she might be holy, and to present her unto God, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, Eph. 5.27. Also how can the Soul but be moved to press after Holiness, seeing it inwardly feels, that the Righteous Life of Christ is as much eased and refreshed, and de­lighted in its becoming Holy, as ever it was formerly Grieved and Burthened with its Ini­quities?

VI. Our Blessed Lord in his outward com­ing, Life, and Way of Conversation, Doctrine, Sufferings, and Death, &c. is a most noble and perfect example unto us, even the best that ever outwardly was, is, or shall be, that we might imitate his Vertues, and follow his Steps, in all Godliness, Temperance, and Righteousness, who [Page 151] taught us most excellent Documents and Instru­ctions of a Holy Life, both in Doctrine and Ex­ample, and sealed the same with his most Holy and Blessed Sufferings, who knew no sin, yet so willingly suffered Death for Sin, gave us a most convincing Example, that we should Die unto it, and suffer it no more to live in us.

Now it is to be observed and remembred, that in all these Steps, the Sufferings and Death of Christ, &c. have these Influences upon us, not as they are presented unto us barely in our own Spirit, or as we do bring them to our remem­brance thereby, and so make a working upon our selves, in our own thoughts and motions, for in so doing we shall never profit our own Souls, either in Dying unto Sin, or Living in Holiness unto God. Indeed we may thereby raise sparks of our own kindling, in the affectionate part, and work some effect in our hearts, which may be a shadow or likeness of these things, but can never be the things themselves, but as they are inwardly presented to the Soul in the Light, Life, and Spirit of Christ Iesus, and applied thereby, and that instantly and continually. For it is his Light, Life, and Spirit alone, which both gives the true Understanding of the Vse and End of these things, and also gives un­to the Soul the living sense and feeling of them, and in a living and effectual way doth only, and can apply them unto the Soul, and whole Powers thereof, for the Working such suit­able [Page 152] Effects and Impressions, as are proper there­unto.

But some may say, Seeing the outward Com­ing, Sufferings and Death, &c. of the Lord Iesus Christ, as it is known and improved by the Soul is so effectual to work Faith and Love in it towards God, and for its Mortification unto Sin and living in Holiness unto God, would it not therefore seem that the knowledg of the outward Coming, Sufferings and Death of Christ, as aforesaid, is of absolute necessity unto every one, for the attainment of these things? For how can a Soul believe that God will be Gracious unto it, or is reconcileable with it, but as it looks upon that Testimony of his Mercy and Love, in sending his Beloved Son outwardly into the World, to Suffer and Die for our Sins, in or­der unto our Reconciliation and Peace with God? Also how can it love God with that Purity and Fer­vency of Love, which is according to the Gospel, but as it regards and considers that Testimony of his Love, in the Coming, Sufferings and Death of Christ in the outward?

ANSW. Indeed the knowledg of this out­ward Coming, Sufferings and Death, is of very blessed use and advantage, and all who have it, should be very thankful unto God, who hath given us this Testimony of his Love, Good-will, Long-suffering and Power, in the outward com­ing of Jesus Christ, for the more abundant help­ing and enabling us to believe in him and love him. Yet this I say, though express knowledg [Page 153] of his outward Coming, Sufferings and Death, is very profitable to beget Faith and Love in men towards God, as aforesaid, and ought to be highly valued in its place; nevertheless this ex­press knowledg is not of absolute necessity unto Faith and Love, forasmuch as the outward Coming, Sufferings and Death of Christ may have, and hath a real and true Influence upon them, who know it not expresly. For, seeing he hath tasted death for every man, and given his Life a Ransom for all, it cannot be but that it should have an Influence upon all. Yea the A­postle expresly mentions what it is, Rom. 5.18, 19. how that by the Righteousness and Obedience of Christ the Free Gift is come upon all, to Iustifi­cation of Life. Look then, as many of Adam's Posterity suffer disadvantage by his disobedience, who never knew it expresly, so why may not many receive an advantage by Christ the Second Adam's obedience, even in the outward, who never knew it expresly? Yea, certainly they have, for how many Thousands have been Sa­ved before Christ's coming in the outward; who knew it not expresly? And many, who knew something of it, it was but very darkly and un­der Vails and Figures: yea, the very Disciples did not for a good time know of his Death, so that when he told them of it, they were asto­nished, and yet they had both Faith and Love in some measure: seeing then that some had Faith and Love to God, and were saved, with­out [Page 154] the express knowledg thereof, before he came outwardly, why not also after his com­ing, where his coming outwardly hath not been preached nor revealed? Yea has not God a way of saving Infants, and the Dumb and Deaf, who have not that express knowledg?

For now Christ is inwardly come in a Seed of Life▪ and Light in all, which is the Word of Re­conciliation, by which men may be Reconciled with God, as they joyn and apply their minds thereunto: and in this the Lord God doth give a sufficient testimony of his love, mercy, good-will Long suffering, and Power unto every man, for his Salvation, whereby it is possible for him to attain unto the true Faith in God, and the true Love towards him, even according to the Gos­pel. And in this Holy Seed the Sufferings of Christ, and how he bore the Iniquities of the Soul, and makes Intercession or Attonement unto God, may be learned in some measure, with many other things concerning Christ, in relation to him and his doings and sufferings in the outward, which was an outward and visible Testimony of his inward doings and sufferings in all ages in men and women in the Holy Seed.

And indeed we find, that this is only the true and effectual way of knowing the use and work of his Coming, and Sufferings, and Death in the outward, by turning, and having our minds turned inwards unto himself near and in our hearts in the Holy Seed, to know by an inward [Page 155] feeling and good experience his doings and suf­ferings in us, by being made conformable there­unto. In which Holy Seed as it ariseth in us, such a clear Light shineth forth in our hearts, as giveth unto us the true knowledg of the Vse of his inward Doings and Sufferings, hence also such a precious, sweet, and powerful Life springeth up from and in the same Holy Seed, which doth with much sweetness and comfort, enable us to follow his example in the outward, in Faith, in Obedience, in Love, in Purity, in Patience, in Godliness, in Righteousness and Temperance, and all other things, wherein we are required to imitate him.

And this is the great loss we find people at generally, who seek to know the Vertue and Vse of his Coming, Doings, and Sufferings in the outward, by what they can outwardly hear or read of him, while as they remain estranged from his Light, Life, and Spirit, in the Holy Seed in their hearts; and yet they can never know the same but in this. And, Oh! at what great pains have many poor Souls been to imitate Christ in his Heavenly Vertues, by setting him as their Example be­fore him, but meerly as the Letter or History declares of him? By which way yet they can never attain unto the true imitation or fol­lowing of him, for there is required an inward Spring and Power of the same Life of Christ, [Page 156] by which he did these things, to enable them to follow his Example, and all imitation, without the Soul attain to be endued with this Life (which it attaineth unto, through the arising of the Holy Seed in it) is, as if a man would, by much pains, set himself to mount up towards Heaven, and fly through the midst of it, like an Eagle, or Bird of the Air, which were impossible for him to do, even so as im­possible is it for him to follow Christ in his Hea­venly Vertues, Doings and Sufferings, but by being endued with a measure of his Heavenly Life and the Powers thereof, which are as Wings, whereby the Soul may indeed mount up as an Eagle, and follow Christ, flying with him through the midst of Heaven, yea, walk­ing with him, and that without wearying, and running without fainting.

And therefore this is the true method and order, which we have found greatly blessed of God, which the Lord hath taught us to hold forth unto people, whereby they attain unto Holiness, to a being made conformable unto the Holy Life of Iesus Christ, and come to know the true and great End and Vse of his outward Coming, viz. In the first place, to point and turn their minds unto the Light of Iesus Christ, who hath inlightened them, and Every One, and hath sown a Seed of his Light, Life and Spirit in every one, unto which Seed [Page 157] they should give the most inward of their Hearts, as a Ground for it to grow and spring up in, abondoning and forsaking all those things, which hinder its arising: whence then in due time such a measure of Light and Life ariseth therein, as gives them both truly to know Christ and to follow him.

GEORGE KEITH.

How to discern the CONVICTIONS, that proceed from the LIGHT of Faith, or Divine Princi­ple in us, from those, that proceed from the Light of Nature, or meer Natural and Hu­mane Reason, assisted by Arguments drawn from Scripture.

THis question I find weighty on my heart to answer, for the sake of some, whose minds, through the subtle workings of the Enemy, may be perplexed with the same, as my mind was, for a considerable time, after I was in great measure convinced of the Truth. The Enemy of my Soul did exceedingly work in me, to cause me to believe, that I was still, but where formerly I had been, to wit, that, although I had changed my judgment concerning many things, yet the principle, that swayed my judgment, was still but the natural principle, helped with Scripture Ar­guments, and so my Faith, touching these things, was but meerly Humane and Na­tural, not Divine and Supernatural, and con­sequently was nothing but opinion still, and that I was still but a natural man, and no true believer, and that, though I should join with the People of God, who have the true Divine Faith, and should do the things that they do, I could not be accepted of God, my Obedience not proceeding from the true [Page 159] Divine Faith, which is the effect of the true Divine Light, nor having received the true Divine Call.

This Objection did so trouble, perplex, and disquiet me, through the working of Sa­tan, as it were, under ground, and hiding himself and his design from me, that none, but the Lord alone, did, or could, know the great anguish of my Soul; and, had not the Lord, in his wonderful Mercy, broken this snare, I had been held in it, unto this very day, and perhaps had died in that sad and la­mentable condition. And I do certainly know, the Enemy doth assault many in this day, and doth prevail over them by the same tentation, who are truly convinced of Truth by the Divine Light, and Principle of God in their Hearts, which Divine Conviction is a sufficient Divine Call, being alwaies accom­panied with a secret Divine drawing, to give Obedience unto God, in all things, whereof they are convinced. The sense now of such Souls condition being brought upon me, my Bowels are moved in great tenderness towards them, and my Heart is opened by the Lord, to say somewhat unto them, that may be of service, to whose hands it may be ordered to come. And the breathing of my Soul, in the Spirit of Lif [...] [...]s, that God Almighty may bless it [...], and make it effectual.

The [...] between these two [Page 160] Principles, and their respective operations in the Soul, doth not proceed from this, that they are not in their own nature, widely distinct or discernable to be so, by them, who have the true eye of discerning opened in them, and are come to a clear inward sense and feeling, through a living growth in the Truth, for indeed no things in the whole Universe do more clearly appear to be of a differing nature, unto those, who have the Spiritual Senses raised and opened in them, than the two aforesaid Principles, or Lights, which dif­fer as widely, as Heaven and Earth: for the one is of the Earth, Earthly; the other is of Heaven, Heavenly; the one is of the first Adam, the other is of the second Adam; Iesus Christ: yea, the one is meerly Humane and Natural, the other is purely Divine and Supernatural.

The cause then of the great difficulty to dis­cern betwixt these two Principles, and their respective Operations, is that Darkness and Con­fusion, that is over the Hearts and Vnderstand­ings of those, who are but first convinced of the Truth, and not as yet really so converted unto it, as to be leavened by the Power of it, and transformed into its nature. Yea, after some beginnings of true Conversion, wrought in the Soul, the difficulty doth, in some measure, still remain, but not so great, as formerly.

The greatest difficulty therefore belongeth unto those only, who are but beginners, and [Page 161] beginning to travel out of Egypt and Babylon, and Sodom, into the Holy Land, the Land of the Living, and the Holy Hill of Zion, with their faces thitherwards. To whom also it is a great difficulty how to distinguish not only betwixt the Natural [...] Vnderstanding, and the Divine Light of Faith in them, but to distinguish betwixt the true Divine Light, and Satan trans­forming himself into the similitude of an Angel of Light, in all which notwithstanding the difficulty is not so great, as the Enemy of the Soul doth represent it to be.

Now to help any distressed or perplexed Soul, that may be in doubt concerning this thing. To such I say, Since thou art really convinced that God hath given a measure of the true Divine Light, of his Son Christ Jesus, unto every Man and Woman, and consequently unto thee (for to such only at present do I write, who are convinced of this Truth, but do question the nature of their Convincement) why shouldst thou question that thy Convince­ment doth only proceed from the Natural Light and meer Natural Vnderstanding of thy Soul, as influenced by Scripture Arguments, and other outward helps, and not also from the Divine Principle of the Light, Life and Spirit of Christ Jesus? For certainly this Divine Principle, which is in thee, is not altogether idle, or without Operation, it is of a most active or operative Nature, even as Fire and [Page 162] Light in the outward. Can the outward Sun shine, and inlighten the Earth, and have no operation, nor influence upon it? or, can the Fire burn and have no operation, or influence upon what is next unto it? Nay surely. And therefore no more can this Divine Principle and Light be in any Soul, but it must certainly and infallibly have some Influence and Operation upon that Soul, in whom it is, and that in order to Salvation, whose day of Visitation is not ex­pired. And the most proper operation of it in the first place is to convince the Soul of Truth, I mean of somewhat of the Truth, of somewhat of God, and of his mind and will, of what he doth accept, and is well pleased with, and what he doth reject and abhor.

The Word of God (said the Apostle, Heb. 4.12.) is Living and Powerful, or operative, and sharper than any two edged Sword, piercing even to the di­viding asunder of Soul and Spirit, and of the Ioynts and Marrow, and is a Discerner (Judge, or Reprover) of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart. And this Word is in all, even in the mouth and in the heart of every man, and is that Word of Faith, as Paul did expound it, Rom. 10.8. Now, if it be the Word of Faith, it is also the Light of Faith, for in that Word is Life, and the Life is the Light of men, and this is the true Light that doth lighten every man, that cometh into the World, as Iohn declared, 1.9. Now mark the word [lighten] which doth import its active and [Page 163] operative Influence and Vertue in all men, in some measure or degree, really to convince them. And, although there be great darkness over the Hearts and Souls of all Unconverted Men and Women, that they are said to be dark­ness, yet as Iohn hath declared, the Light shineth in Darkness, although the Darkness comprehends it not, 1.5. so the Light not only is in the dark­ness, but it shineth in the darkness, and work­eth against the darkness to reveal it, and remove it, even as the darkness doth work in the Soul, to hide and obscure the Light, and as it were, to extinguish and quench it in the Soul. And it is a most absurd thing to acknowledg that the natural Principle hath its operation in the Soul, and is not without its influence and force to move and act the Soul, as also that the princi­ple of darkness, to wit, the Diabolical or Hellish Principle, even the very Spirit of Satan hath its operation and influence in all men, in whom it is, and yet to deny that this Divine Principle, that is in Nature more powerful, and more o­perative, than either of the other two, hath any influence or operation in them at all. And this I would have thee also to consider, that it plea­seth God in his great condescension many times, together with his Divine Light and Spirit in thy Soul, to make use of the Scriptures, and argu­ments drawn therefrom, making them of Ser­vice in the Hand of the Divine Light and Spi­rit, as also to make use of thy own natural un­derstanding, [Page 164] and the natural principle or light by shining upon it, and raising up in it pure and holy convictions and openings of Truth, together with pure and holy desires in the Soul, which as they are entertained, become a true begin­ning of Conversion in that Soul. But the way of the Lord is not one and the same alwaies to the Soul in this State, for sometimes as is said, he maketh use of the natural principle it self, to wit, the natural understanding, and reason of man (by shining upon it) in a more active way and man­ner, so as it may seem to be nothing else, but the natural principle it self, helped with Scripture Arguments and Reasons, or some outward helps, that doth convince the Soul of those things, which it is forced to acknowledg to be true, while yet it is Divine Light working in the Soul more secretly and hiddenly, that hath the main stroak and hand in the business. At other times the Divine Light appeareth more immediately in the Soul, and more openly, and scarcely at all maketh use of the natural principle or under­standing; further than in a passive way, as when the Eye looketh towards an object, or as the Ear heareth a voice or sound, wherein the Soul is rather passive than active. And sometimes all the natural powers of the Soul are drawn into a deep silence, by the mighty, and yet secret working of the Power of the Divine Principle and Light, so that the Soul by none of its natural or humane powers or faculties doth apprehend what is in­wardly [Page 165] revealed in it by the Divine Light, but they all being silenced, bound, locked up, and as it were, made asleep (both imagination and Reason, or whatever else can be called a natu­ral or humane faculty of the Soul being wholly suspended and laid by, as of no present use) and the Soul, as it were, wholly dead for that present time unto them all, as so many dead Members, the Divine Light and Spirit doth raise up, and awaken, in that Soul, a new Sense and power of discerning, of which it former­ly had no experience, or at lest made no re­flexion upon the same, which is the Spiritual sensation of God and Divine things, as inward­ly revealed by the Divine Light. But this kind of experience is more rare to new begin­ners, and to whom it is given, is a most singu­lar and choice mercy and favour of God, which yet is most ordinary to all those, who in any considerable measure, are truly converted unto the Truth, and leavened into the nature of it. And if it shall please God at any time to give thee such an experience, who art not yet so considerably converted unto the Truth, thou art to receive it, as a singular favor and Grace of God, but, if it be denied at present unto thee, God not judging thee worthy of so high a favour, thou ough [...]st to be content with that other way. And such a convincement is a true Divine and Spiritual convincement, proceeding originally and principally from the true Divine [Page 166] Light and Spirit of Faith, and there is vertue sufficient in that, which doth thus convince thee, to enable thee to believe and joyn unto it, and to obey its requirings, according to the present measure, and that is a true sufficient Divine call for the present, which if thou dost slight or neglect, in expectation of a greater, or more clear, thou dost tempt the Lord, and provoke his Holy Spirit.

Moreover, I would have thee to know, that thou oughtst not to expect that measure or de­gree of clearness, or clear and distinct discern­ing, as perhaps thy own mind doth judge to be requisite. God is wiser than thou, and doth better know, what is fittest for thee, than thou dost. And indeed this is no small engine of the Enemy, to keep thee in a state of Unbelief and Disobedience, under a pretence that thou art not so fully and sufficiently clear as is requi­site: and, if the Enemy can prevail with thee here, he will continually keep thee in it from day to day, yea from one Week, Month, and Year, to another, until thou lose the pretious opportunity and day of thy visitation, to end thy miserable life in this sad estate of Unbelief and Disobedience: and so, in place of getting more clearness and more distinct and clear dis­cerning of the true Divine Light, and Divine Voice and Call, thou wilt come to have less, until what thou once hadst be altogether taken from thee, and thou left in great darkness, and [Page 167] deadness, and hardness of Heart. Therefore thou oughtst to improve that small clearness, which thou hast, and not to despise the day of small things, Zach. 4.10. nor overlook and contemn the little small grain of the Kingdom of God in thee, which is as a Mustard Seed, the least of all Seeds. The least measure of the true Light, that shineth in the darkness in thee, is a most precious treasure, even when it is but as the light of a Star, that shineth in a dark night. Some people travel with the help of Star light, till the Moon arise, and after the Moon is risen, they travel on, until the day dawn, and the clear day appear, and the Sun rise up, and then they have great comfort, and see much more clearly than before, and many things are clear­ly discovered unto them, far and near, which they saw nothing of formerly, or but very dim­ly and obscurely. But he is certainly a very un­wise Traveller, who, having a great Journey before him, which he must accomplish in one day, or else suffer an unexpressible and irreco­verable loss, resolves in himself to lie still in Bed till the Sun be up, and that he hath not time enough to accomplish his Journey: on the contrary the discreet and diligent Traveller gets up betimes, and even while it is yet night, sets forth on his Journey, and contenting him with the morning or Star light, goes on, in­expectati­on of the approaching day, when the Sun will arise upon him, and then his Travel will be the [Page 168] more comfortable, easie, and pleasant to him. As it is then in the outward, so ought it also to be in the inward, or rather much more; for thou hast a great and long Journey before thee, ere thou arriv'st at everlasting Salvation, and thy time is but short, thou hast but one day, or rather, piece of a day, to travel it in. For all men spend a great part of their day in other Travels, yea in Travelling the contrary way, which must be all Travelled back again, and therefore when thou, whoever thou art, be­ginst to see and turn thy face to thy Journeys end, thou hadst need gird up thy Loyns, and Travel with all thy might, with all circum­spection, making use of every help, thy Guide affords thee, for, if thou dost not accomplish it within this one day, or the remaining part thereof, I mean the day of thy Visitation, thou art undone for ever. Herein only lies the dif­ference 'twixt these two Travellers, in the out­ward, and in the inward. That in the out­ward, when one hath mispent, slept, trifled, or rioted away his time, how deeply soever he become affected with his mistake, he is past all remedy of getting to his Journeys end in that small pittance of time left him. But in the in­ward 'tis quite otherwise, when the Lord, by his pure Judgments manifested in the Soul, awakens her, shewing her that she is even at the brink of the pit of misery, ready, as it were, to drop in, and yet would, did not his Mercy prevent: [Page 169] I say, if the Soul in a deep sense of her error turn to the Lord, flee unto him, lamenting her by past strayings and present miserable state, void of all capacity of helping her self, expe­cting from him his Power and Assistance, to carry her through to [...]her Journeys end. Be­hold! she will find Iesus, that Mighty Saviour (who is able to save unto the uttermost all, that come unto him, Heb. 7.25.) at her right hand to uphold and carry her through. And as the Soul comes diligently to wait upon him, in the Light, in the true self-denial, forsaking every evil way, and taking up his daily Cross, in all things, his Light, Life, Power and Vertue will break forth in the Soul, and cut short the work in righteousness, and so the Soul, in and by, and with his Power, and strength, will redeem the Time lost. For which cause it was that Christ said, Work while ye have to day, the night cometh, wherein no man can work, Joh. 9.4. & 12.35. But if any man will neglect the small measure of Light, that Jesus hath imparted to him, in the night state, and refuseth to follow and obey it, but saith, in himself, I will stay untill the Sun arise, he provoketh the Lord against him, in­stead of giving him more Light, to take that from him which he hath already received: for the promises of more Light and Grace are only to those, who improve what is already given, in how little measure so ever.

[Page 170]And now, in what I am further to say unto thee, take heed unto it, and observe it, for it is from the Lord, and by the opening and moving of his Spirit, Light, and Life in my heart, I declare it unto thee, which is this. The Di­vine Light of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, which is in thee, hath a true and innate clear­ness in it, and a self-evidencing power and ver­tue, whereby it can and doth sufficiently disco­ver it self to be what indeed it is, namely to be a Divine Light given of God to guide and lead the Soul in the way of Life and Salvation. And it doth at times and seasons sufficiently ap­pear in every Soul of man and woman, up­on the face of the Earth, with a sufficient clearness and self-evidence in some measure more or less, according to the good pleasure of God, whereby to convince every Soul, that it proceeds from God and leads unto God: by the innate clearness and self-evidencing Power of which Light and Grace, Seed or Principle, all men (Fools or Idiots, and Infants excepted, in whom yet this Divine Principle is, tho they do not actually understand it, with whom there­fore how the Lord dealeth, in order to the Sal­vation of their Souls, he alone best knoweth, nor is it for us curiously to enquire) by this Di­vine Principle, I say, all men shall be left with­out excuse, who have not believed therein, nor obeyed it. Nor shall their pretence of wanting clearness and evidence sufficient avail them in [Page 171] the day, when God shall call them to an ac­count, for he will then bring to their remem­brance the particular times and places, when and where he caused his Divine Light to shine in their hearts, in such manner and measure as was sufficient to enable them to know, whence it was, what was its tendency, and wherefore it was given them.

If then thou be but diligent in thy mind to observe, and give attendance to the inward Operations, Motions, and Shinings of the Di­vine Light in thee, and Breathings of the Di­vine Life, in the silence and quietness of thy Soul, out of the many wanderings, vain thoughts, and imaginations of thy mind, thou wilt certainly come to a true measure of clear discerning of the true Divine Principle, Life, and Light, and of the operations thereof, so as to distinguish it from all that, which is but Natural and Carnal, as also from all that is of Satan in his cunning transformings. And al­though in the beginning it will be very hard to thee to attain to that perfect, and absolute inward silence of mind, from all thy own thoughts and imaginations (which will after­wards become easie and familiar unto thee, as thou dost experience any considerable growth in the Truth) yet, as thou pressest after it, thou wilt find they self helped by the Lord, to come into some measure of true silence. And al­though thou canst not say, that all vain foolish [Page 172] thoughts, and idle imaginations, are put out of thy mind, yet, if a considerable part of them be gone, and evanished, so that thy mind is somewhat more cool, and quiet and still, and empty of such things, than it's wont to be, here thou wilt find thy self at some advantage, and in some capacity to discern the Divine Light, and working thereof, even, as it were, in this imperfect state of Silence, or half Silence, as we may call it.

To help thee then a little further in this in­quiry and search, that thou mayst come to know, discern, and be acquainted with the true Divine Light, and working thereof in thee, which is indeed a very necessary know­ledg, and without which thou art liable to sit down in a false rest, and build upon a false foundation, as many do at this day, taking the Natural Light and Principle for the Divine and Supernatural. And so what the Socinians and Pelagians, are in profession (who profess no higher Principle, in them necessary, than the Natural) these Men▪ are (whatever they profess of the necessity of having and being il­luminated and led by the Spirit) really in pra­ctice. Therefore that thou mayst avoid this snare, and come to the true knowledg of the Divine Light and Principle of God in thee. I shall briefly point at some distinguishing marks and characters, whereby the Divine and Super­natural Principle, is truly distinguishable from [Page 173] that, which is but Humane and Natural. As

1. The light, influence, and operation of the Humane and Natural Principle is cold, saint, and dead; but that of the Divine and Supernatural warm, living, and powerful, and the warmth, power, and life thereof, reacheth not only the Brain or Head, or the animal part, and affections (which the natural can do, and often doth) but it reacheth also the heart, and most inward parts, even the most inward affections of the Soul, and is of a Heavenly and Divine Nature, as the Principle is, of which it proceedeth. It is said of Christ, when he preached outwardly, he spake with Authority or Power, and not as the Scribes, Matth. 7.29. and he said himself, The words that I speak unto you, are Spirit and Life: It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the Flesh profiteth nothing, Joh. 6.63. And thus it is in the inward: what Christ speaketh in the Soul or Heart of any Man, or Woman, is with Power, even with a Hea­venly Power and Authority, that raiseth an awe and reverence in the Heart, by which the Soul is convinced, that it is indeed the Voice or Word of God, and not of Man, by rea­son of that innate Majesty and Glory, that is in it, as it is said in Psalm 29.4. The Voice of the Lord is Glorious, the Voice of the Lord is full of Majesty, &c. And, although many Souls be so dark, blind, deaf, and stupid, that many times they have no sense of any Divine Power, [Page 174] or Principle, yet, when it pleaseth God to speak in the most deaf and stupid Soul, he causeth it to hear, and raiseth up some small sense of the same in it, at that present time, although, soon after, darkness and death doth prevail over them again, and they forget any such experience, as if they had never had it. How did God speak unto Cain, and expostulate with him? We read not that it was by an outward Voice, nor is there any need to suppose, that, when God reproved him for his anger against his Brother, it was by an outward Voice, and not rather by the Spirit of God inwardly in his Heart and Conscience, as he doth reprove men at this day, and as he did strive in man, before the deluge, and did judge and reprove him for sin, Gen. 6.3. My Spirit shall not alwaies strive (or contend) in Man, for so the words should be translated; and Christ promised that he would send the Comforter unto his Disciples, to wit, the Holy Spirit, and he should reprove the World of sin, Joh. 16.8.

Now, although a man by his own reason­ings may reprove himself for sin, yet there is a great difference betwixt man's reproving him­self, and God's reproving him by his Spirit and Divine Principle, in his Heart, that of Man being saint, cold, and dead, as is said, but the inward reproof of the Spirit of Truth, powerful, hot, and living, which goeth to a man's heart, and pricketh him to the quick, [Page 175] woundeth him deeply; and of this no man but hath some experience, at times, especially before sin be come to such an heighth, and hath power in the Soul, that it is become past feeling. Now that some are so become, doth plainly imply, that once they had a feeling.

Again, when a man reproves himself, he doth it too partially, although he will be ready to judg himself, in the general, a great sinner, yet there are many times many particular sins, whereof he is guilty, that he will not reprove himself for, by any reasonings whatsoever, or Arguments drawn from Scripture, but will ra­ther justifie and defend himself: for the natu­ral light and natural understanding is exceed­ingly corrupted by the fall, and therefore it can­not impartially witness against sin, but is most ready to call many sins, vertues, and to call many vertues, sins, and so to put light for dark­ness, and darkness for light, and call good, evil, and evil good, Isa. 5.20. Yea, the Natural Light or Understanding is so dim and dark, that it is no where in all Scripture called Light; but I find that unconverted men are ealled dark­ness, in Scripture, and that by reason of the darkness of their understandings. It is said in Scripture, the carnal mind is enmity against God, and the wisdom from below is carnal, earthly, and devilish. All the natural powers of man's Soul are so corrupted by sin, that he is but dark, foolish, blind, and deceived in his most su­blime [Page 176] and refined reasonings in Spiritual mat­ters.

But the inward Conviction, Judgment, and reproof of the Spirit of Truth, and Divine Principle, is wholly impartial, and is a most Faithful Witness, in man's Heart and Consci­ence, against all manner of Sin, reproving and condemning those Sins in man, which man him­self by his corrupt reasonings doth excuse and justifie.

2. The operation of the Natural Principle in man, as concerning God and Divine things, con­sists only in bare Speculation and Notion, and mostly, if not wholly, in tedious and laborious Reasonings by drawing Conclusions from Pre­mises, which weary the Soul, even as a long and tedious Travel doth weary the Body. Hence Ratiocination is not unfitly called Discourse, whereby the Soul runneth through many things from one to another, before it can come to any certain determination, or conclusion. Hence they that go about to prove that there is a God, by the light of Nature, or a Natural Principle, how many tedious Syllogisms and Argumenta­tions are they forced to make use of, especially against an Atheist, if he be of a cunning and subtle Wit? And when a man is inwardly pur­sued with Atheistical Thoughts, and tempted in his heart, to think that there is no God, if he go to reason the matter, and essay to overcome that tentation by his meer natural reasonings, [Page 177] he will find the Devil a stroug Adversary and Disputant against him, he will suggest unto him [...]any subtle and crafty answers, to the most cun­ning reasonings, he can invent. Not that I judg that it cannot be truly and convincingly demonstrated by reason, that there is a GOD, but I say, such a conviction and knowledg of God by meer reason, and the hammering and work­ing of the meer natural Principle is still but a bare and naked Theory or Notion, it hath no life in it, it giveth the Soul no true sense or feeling of God, no intuitive knowledg of him, but only that which is abstractive and notional, even as the knowledg is, which a blind man hath of Colours, or which a deaf man hath of Musick and pleasant Sounds.

Whereas the operation of the Divine Princi­ple, the Divine Spirit and Light in man's heart exciteth and begeteth in him a true living sense and feeling of God, and of his Goodness, Love, Mercy, Power, Holiness, Purity and Justice: and this is more effectual, than all demonstration of Reason, or of the Natural Principle, for I cannot doubt of the being of that, which I have a real sense of, which I see, taste, and feel; nor do I need any exercise of my Reason, to per­swade me of its true real existence. And although unconverted Souls feel little, or have little sense or tast of the Lord's Love, Goodness, and Mer­cy, by reason of their great sins, that do so di­stemper and corrupt the true capacity or faculty [Page 178] in them, which can have a true sense and feel­ing of the same, even as a Feaver doth corrupt the natural tast of the Mouth, that it cannot tr [...]ly rellish the sweetness of Wine, or Honey, but it seemeth unpleasant. Yet, in the Unconvert­ed and Corrupt State, men are truly sensible of the inward work and operation and appearance of God in the Divine Principle of his Light, Life and Spirit, in Judgment, and Wrath, and Terror, so that they can feel the Word of Life in them, as it pricketh and woundeth them in their hearts, and is as a Hammer, an Ax, a two-edged Sword, and Fire, in their most inward parts, against not only all manner of actual Trans­gression, but against the very habits and habitual Inclinations of Sin, laying the Ax to the Root of the Tree, and striking at the very nature and be­ing of sin in the heart.

Blessed is the Soul, that, being truly sensible of this inward work of judgment, hath a true love unto the same, and doth patiently lie un­der the judgment, the pricking, the hamme­ring, the wounding and bruising, and breaking in pieces, vea, the killing and burning, and, as it were, utterly consuming, and destroying the Soul, until the life and nature of sin be slain therein, and the Soul be throughly cleansed and redeemed thereby?

Now whatever Soul hath the least experience of this kind, it may certainly conclude, it is the true and infallible effect of the Divine Light [Page 179] and Principle, and not of the Natural and Hu­mane, for even as the light of the Moon has no heat, nor can burn any thing, though never so combustible, but is sensibly cold, even so the Natural Principle in its utmost extent, has no true heat, to tender or melt the Soul, can kin­dle no true Fire in it, to purifie or refine it from sin, or consume truly the least sin hence.

3. The Operation of the Divine Principle, in its very first appearance, by an innate purity and perfect contrariety to sin, doth work in the Soul against all sin, and the nature of it, and hath a wonderful antipathy against it, even as good Physick doth work in the Body against a Disease, and this contrariety is most sensibly felt in the Soul, and, as it is entertained, causeth powerful and unusual motions to seize upon the Soul, and sometimes on the Body also, until Sin be utterly vanquished and overcome.

But the Natural Principle hath no such per­fect contrariety to Sin, as being it self exceed­ingly corrupted and defiled therewith.

4. The Divine Principle worketh most pow­erfully and sensibly, when the mind is silent, and doth rest from its own meer natural work­ings, and especially from its soaring imagina­tions and lofty reasonings. And, although in the unconverted state it seldom, or never, is per­fectly silent, yet, at sometimes, it is more silent, quiet and calm, than at other times (for even [Page 180] the Sea doth not alwaies rage, although it al­waies have some motion.)

5. The Divine Principle never worketh at, or in, the will of man, but only in the will of God. Whereas the corrupt and depraved will of man can set the Natural Principle on work, when and how it pleaseth.

6. There is somewhat, that is unexpressible, and cannot be named in words, but can be in­wardly felt, both in the Divine Principle, and all its Operations, whereby, through an innate self-evidencing Power and Authority, it doth really distinguish it self, and may be really dis­cerned, as distinct from the natural and hu­mane principle, and all its workings, as also from the more subtle and cunning transformings of the Enemy, if the Soul be but diligent and watchful to observe the same, and have a true desire to understand the difference, and clearly to distin­guish the one from the other.

And indeed, this innate self-evidencing Power of the Divine Principle, is that principally, whereby it can be discerned from the Humane and Natural; for, although it is truly distin­guishable also by its effects, as Christ said, Ye shall know the Tree by its Fruits, yet the question at present relates to the state of those who are but newly convinced, and so have but little expe­rience of its effects in them. Also seeing there are counterfeit effects, as a counterfeit Holiness, Purity, Humility, &c. The true effects cannot [Page 181] be infallibly discerned from the counterfeit, which proceed only from the meer Natural Principle, or together with the same from Satans transformings, but as there is a regard unto the Principle, from whence the effects do proceed, for the true Divine Principle, as the mind is du­ly applied thereunto, doth infallibly discover its own effects, and also the counterfeit workings and effects of the Enemy.

And therefore all outward rules do fail, and come short, to give an infallible discerning be­twixt these two Principles, where the inward living discerning, which the true Divine Princi­ple begeteth, is not attained. But where this inward living discerning is attained and kept unto, in any measure, outward rules may be useful in their place, but they only, who have this discerning, that proceedeth from the Prin­ciple it self, can sufficiently make a due appli­cation of any outward rules, or other outward helps, that can be given in the case.

GEORGE KEITH.
FINIS.

ERRATA.

IN the Preface, Page 6. line 20. after made dele any; p. 8. l. 18. r. into some; l. 28. r. I do; l. 29. r. kinds; p. 12 l. 20. f. or r. and.

In the Book, p. 26. l. 18. f. an r. and; p. 30. l. 27. f. souls r. soul; f. it r. its; p. 32. l. 26. f. of r. oft; p. 39. l. 15. after perform r. them; p. 44. l. 6. f. excesses r. exercises; p. 45. l. 22. after here r. also; p. 48. l. 22 f. beginning r. begin­neth; p. 50. l. 18. f. saith r. said; l. 31. f. p. r. cap; p. 66. l. 25. f. or r. for; p. 69. l. 7. f. with r. of; l. 30. f. be­gets r. beget; p. 70. l. 20. f. though r. through; l. 22. after weaken r. it; p. 75. l. 12. f. object r. objective; p. 85. l. 7. f. unto r. in; p. 90. f. the r. thy; p. 103. l. 8. after all dele and; l. 14. f. live r. alive; p. 105. l. 4. f. works r. words; p. 108. l. 29. r. the other; p. 109. l. 7. f. or. r. and; l 16. f. powers r. power; p. 112. l. 9. f. things r. thing; p. 113. l. 5. r. diligently; p. 116. l. 4. f. bring r. bringeth; p 121. l. 17. r. and how and; p. 134. l. 26. f. and uinon r. an union; p. 142. l. 21. f. but r. that.

The CONTENTS.

CHAP. I. CErtain Doctrinal Principles of the Truth, whereof a man being convinced by the Spi­rit of God, it contributes much to his making a right entrance into the way of Holiness,
Pag. 1
CHAP. II. That the Soul converting it self unto GOD in the Divine Seed within its self, through the Influence of the Divine Power upon it, for that effect, is the very first thing, that is requisite unto it, in or­der to its entring into the way of Holiness,
10
CHAP. III. How the Soul ought to persist and continue in its conversion towards God and Christ: and of the effects, which follow at first thereupon: as also of the Inward trials and troubles it usually meeteth with therein,
19
[Page] CHAP. IV. How the Soul, after its converting unto GOD and Jesus Christ, in the Divine Seed, must, in its persisting and continuance therein, stand in great passiveness, stilness and quietness, bearing and forbearing, before it enter upon its operative exercises,
36
CHAP. V. How the Soul after its Conversion unto GOD, and continuance therein, in passiveness and forbea­rance, for some small time, becometh a partaker of the Holy and Divine Life, and the Powers thereof in some measure, through some beginnings of a Spiritual Death and Regeneration, by which it attaineth unto some measure of union with God and Christ, and thereby is put in some capacity for operative exercises of Holiness, unto which it ought to apply; and that any other way of en­tring upon these exercises is but feigned and hypocritical.
47
CHAP. VI. Wherein divers things, needful to be known by them, who do, or would, enter into the way of Holiness, in relation to the nature of Conversion, Regene­ration, of the Life and Power of Holiness, and [Page] of Vnion with God, are opened, and the gross mistake of most Professors, touching these things, discovered and cleared,
60
CHAP. VII. How the Soul is to reflect upon it self, and enter into a trial and examination of it self, whether it hath truly passed through the aforesaid steps of Conversion, and continuance therein, in pas­siveness and forbearance: and whether it hath attained unto any beginnings of the Divine and Holy Life, and the Powers thereof, before it enter upon other operative Exercises, and how, or by what rule or touch-stone it may infallibly know the same
71
CHAP. VIII. Wherein divers Advertisements and Cautions are given unto the Soul, in relation unto its applying it self unto Works, or operative Exercises, in­ward or outward, through the Holy Life and the Powers thereof,
85
CHAP. IX. How that, though Works can have no influence upon the very first beginnings of a Holy Life, that being only received through a receptive Faith, yet they do greatly conduce unto the [Page] growth and continuance thereof; also unto the killing and mortification of the sinful and un­holy Life with its Powers, more and more, till it be utterly slain: where also the distinction of a two fold property of Faith, viz. Receptive and Operative, is somewhat opened.
114
CHAP. X. Of the great influence, that the Coming of our Lord Iesus Christ in the outward, in his birth, life, do­ctrine, works, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, &c. hath upon our mor­tification to sin, and regeneration unto holiness, even unto perfection: and how, and after what manner we should improve the same effectually, in order thereunto.
121
How to discern the CONVICTIONS, that proceed from the Light of Faith, or Divine Principle in us, from those, that proceed from the Light of Nature, or meer Natural and Humane Rea­son, assisted by Arguments drawn from Scrip­ture,
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