Concerning the WORSHIP of the Living God, which he teacheth Israel his People, who know him to be the only true God, and the Worship which he teacheth them, to be the only true Spiritual Worship.
With some Questions and Answers relating to Conversion, and to Tenderness of Conscience.

BEcause the Worship of God is a weighty thing; and there have been (and still are) so many Errors about it, and the Errors therein are of such dangerous consequence, both in relation to mens Eternal Estate hereafter, and to their right Constitution, Peace and Welfare in this World: and because I have had deep experience concerning the Worship of God from a Child, having travelled in spirit with my God for the right knowledge thereof, and in singleness of heart giving up un­to him, according as he hath taught and led my poor, needy, de­pending soul: I say, Therefore is it on my heart, to answer some few Questions concerning the Worship of God, for the service of such, as both desire and need instruction therein.

Quest. 1. Who is the Worshipper, the acceptable Worshipper in the sight of God? Or whom hath God chosen out, to hold forth his Worship in the sight of the World, since he rejected the Jews with their Worship.

That God hath appointed a chosen People to Worship him, that I presuppose: though, if need were, the proof thereof might be ready at hand. It is not every man that would thrust himself upon the Lord, whom the Lord will accept: but the Father seeketh such to worship him, John 4. 23. There is a capacity to be found in man, to make him a Worshipper, even such a capacity, as may enable him to perform that Worship, which God requireth of him. Now that is the thing to be enquired into, What this capa­city is, and who are the persons that are found in this capacity?

Answ. The Worshipper in the times of the Gospel, the Wor­shipper under the New-Testament is he that is born of God. He [Page] that is drawn out of the dark spirit of this World, and formed a­new in the light of God's Spirit. He that is a Jew inward, he that hath the Uncircumcision of his heart cut off by the power of God. This is the Worshipper, whom the Father seeks to worship him. This is the sort of Worshippers God chose, when he cast off the Jews. God did not chuse any one Nation, or many Nations, instead of that one which he cast off: but he sent his Apostles and Ministers among all Nations, to gather a Spiritual seed instead of the natural. And these alone are capable of setting up, and hold­ing forth his spiritual Worship unto the World, and to provoke them to wait for, and press towards the capacity of coming into the same spiritual Worship with them.

Quest. 2. Which is the place of VVorship?

Answ. The only place of Worship in the New-Testament, is where the Spiritual Worshippers meet together. The place is spi­ritual. As the Worship is spiritual: so is the place where it is to be offered. It hath a spiritual consideration, not outward as under the Law. It is to be offered in the Spirit, that's the place. Where doth my soul offer its private Worship to God? Hath it relation to any outward place? Or is it in the building, which God hath reared up in my heart by his Spirit? which building stands in, and is comprehended in his Spirit. And I can offer his publick Worship in no other place, but in a building of the same nature, in an house built of more of the same Stones. This then is the way of Worship in the true Light; Divers living Stones meeting together, every one retiring in Spirit into the living Name, into the Power which begat them, they all meet in one and the same place, in one and the same Power, in one and the same fountain of Life: and here they bow down to the Father of Life, offering up living Sacrifices to him, and receiving the bread and water of Life from him, and feeding in the rich pastures of his infinite Fulness. In the holy City, in the living Temple which is built by God, of the Stone which all other builders re­fuse, is the place of the Worship of the living God, where the true Jews meet to offer up their spirits, souls and bodies, a living Sacrifice to the Father of Life, and where they meet with such a glorious presence and power of the Father, as none but the true Jews were ever acquainted with.

Quest. 3. What is the Worship, or what are the Sacrifices, which the true Worshippers offer up to God, in this holy place?

Answ. The Gifts of his Spirit. These they offer up, and no­thing else. The breathings which the Father gives into the heart of the Child, they are breathed back unto him in the same spirit of Life, in the living Sense, in the quickening Power. Nothing of Man's Wisdome, nothing of Man's Invention, nothing ac­cording to Man's Will, nothing that would please the Flesh, or seem glorious in its Eye, is offered up here: but the Exhortations or Directions, or Reproofs that spring up in God's Light, in God's Wisdom, they are given forth in the Leadings, and by the Guidance of his Spirit, and they reach to the hearts of those, to whom he pleaseth to direct them. And this is the ground of such meltings, and breakings, and convictions of soul (and such like inward operations) as are frequently found in such Assemblies. For the living God is there, and the dread of his Power over­spreads the hearts of such, as are gathered into and assembled in his Name; and the Life springs in the earthen Vessels, and the favour is precious to all that have their spiritual Senses.

Quest. 4. What is the season of offering up these Gifts?

Answ. The seasons of the true Worship stand in the Will of God. They are Gifts, and the time of them stands in the will of the Giver. Prayer is a Gift. A man cannot pray when he will: but he is to watch and to wait, when the Father will kindle in him living breathings towards himself. So the Word of God (whe­ther of Exhortation or Instruction) is a Gift, which is to be wait­ed for, and then to be given forth in the life and strength of that Spirit, which causeth it to spring. Indeed it is an hard matter either to speak the Word of the Lord, or to hear the Word of the Lord. A man may easily speak what he invents, and another may easily hear and judge of such words: but to speak the VVord of Life, requires the Tongue of the Learned in the language of God's Spirit; and to hear the VVord of Life, requires a quicken­ed Ear: and to know the times and seasons of the Spirit, re­quires both being begotten of the Spirit, and being acquainted with it.

Quest. 5. Was this the Worship of the former Christians, in the Apostles dayes?

Answ. Search the Scriptures: Were not they come to the new [Page 4] Jerusalem? And where did they offer their Sacrifices? Did they offer them in the old Jerusalem or at Samaria, or the Mountain where the Fathers Worshipped? Or did they not rather offer them at the Mount Sion to which they were come; where the Male of the Flock (even the Lamb without spot) is known, and the blood of Sprinkling felt? Heb. 12. 22, 23, 24. and 1 Pet. 2. 5. O read, read in the life of God, the nature of the things them­selves, and do not feed upon your own imaginations, or the ima­ginations of any other men concerning them. Sweet is our God: his living presence is exceedingly nourishing to the Soul: preci­ous is his power felt in the heart: it is no less then Life Eternal to Worship him in his Spirit. O let not the Enemy of the Soul cheat your Souls any longer of the precious things of his King­dom, with husky and dry food instead thereof, which only gra­tifieth the earthly part, but nourisheth not the immortal life.

Quest. 6. How came the VVorship of God to be transformed, and changed so from the Living Power, into such dead formal wayes, as generally VVorshippers in the world are found in?

Answ. The Enemy hath done this, by God's permission. The Lord pleased to suffer him thus far to prevail against the Truth; even to get into the Form of it, and there to beget men into the Form, and then deny and turn against the Power. And this is the way of Antichrist in Kingdoms and Nations, even to set up a formal way of Worship, and by it to fight against the true Power.

Quest. 7. How long hath this been done, and how long is it yet to last?

Answ. From Anticrist's beginning, all the time of his reign, until his overthrow. The formal way of Religion will never be overturned, nor the Power of Religion find place in the Earth, but there will be still countenancing of formal wayes of Worship, and turning head against the power and life of the Spirit, until Antichrist's time come to an end, and the Lord consume him by the Spirit of his Mouth, and destroy him by the brightness of his coming.

Quest. 8. When shall this be?

Answ. The Lord is about this Work. He hath already raised up that, which hath not been raised up for many Generations: and the Lord hath sorely smote down the Spirit of Antichrist in [Page 5] many hearts already; and he is fetching a great and universal blow at him: which stroke, when it cometh from the Throne of God, the Nations shall tremble before him; and it will be as honourable to wait for the movings of his Spirit, and to Worship him alone therein, as now it is reproachful.

Some Questions and Answers relating to Conversion, and to Tenderness of Conscience.

Quest. VVHat is the way of Conversion?

Answ. To turn men from Darkness unto Light, and from the Power of Satan unto God.

Quest. When is a man Converted?

Answ. When he is gathered into the Light and into the Power, out of the darkness of Sin and dominions of Satan.

Quest. How is man Converted?

Answ. By the operation of the Light and Power of God upon his Conscience.

Quest. In what Condition is the Conscience, before God works up­on it?

Answ. Hard and corrupt: hardened by selfish reasonings and dark imaginations against the convictions of the Light and opera­tions of the Power of God, and corrupted with the sin and iniqui­ty that dwels in it.

Quest. What doth God make it, in his working upon it?

Answ. Gentle and tender, fit to receive the impressions of his Spirit. By the influence and power of his Spirit on the Consci­ence, he openeth the ear to hearken to his voyce, and prepareth the heart to follow him in his leadings.

Quest. How doth God carry on his work in the converted Soul?

Answ. By keeping it low and tender, out of the self-wisdom and hardening reasonings of the humane understanding: by this means he keeps it plyable to the light and power of his Spirit.

Quest. Is only the tender Conscience then, fit to be wrought upon by God?

Answ. Yea indeed, that alone. The heart that is hard, is in­considerate of the voyce of God, and stiff and stubborn against it, having ever at hand some wisdom or will of the flesh, to withstand the voyce and leadings of God by.

Quest. Who is it that preserves the Conscience tender?

Answ. The Lord of the Conscience. He, who made it, know­eth the proper temper of it; and his Light and Power is alone able to preserve it in that tenderness, which he formeth it in.

Quest. What is it that hardens the Conscience?

Answ. The Wisdom of the Flesh. Man having gained a wis­dom out of the Light of God; by the imaginations, reasonings and strength thereof, hardens himself against God.

Quest. What is most necessary for a man to be vigilant in, that de­sires to have the work of Conversion go on in his heart?

Answ. To be careful to turn from and avoyd the reasonings of man's Wisdom, and to have his eye and ear open to the light and voyce of God's Spirit, that his Conscience may be kept upright and clear before the Lord.

Quest. What stains the Conscience?

Answ. Any disobedience to God's Spirit, any hearkening un­to or following the voyce of a strange spirit. This lets in the darkness, which defiles; even as the Light cleanses.

Quest. Is a man then to expect such a thing as the Leadings of God's Spirit in his Conscience?

Answ. A man cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, but he must be first born again, even born of the Spirit, (so saith the Scripture, and so saith the experience of every one who feels the New Birth) And when he is born of the Spirit, he is to abide with him, and learn the Law of the New Life, and receive Power from him dai­ly; or the Spirit of darkness will soon get ground upon him, and by degrees be recovering him back again into his Domini­ons.

Quest. Surely if it be thus; Hard is the Way of Religion, and few there be, who are found in the truth of it.

Answ. The Way of Religion is hard indeed, and wholly con­trary both to Man's Wisdom and Will, insomuch as he cannot en­ter into it nor walk therein, but as they are cut down. He that [Page 7] will be a Disciple to Christ, and follow the leadings of his Spirit, must deny himself wholly and become anothers, and be content to stand or fall to his own Master. He cannot please men, no not in his Worshiping of God, but must turn from that which is Glo­rious in their eyes, and sacrifice that which is to them an abomi­nation. So that he must look to be condemned by men, who will be approved in the sight of God.

Quest. Why hath God put his People upon such hardship, as still (in all Ages and Generations) to walk in a Way contrary to the World, and still to be the Object of its Hatred, Scorn and Persecution?

Answ. How can it be otherwise, He begetting them in a Spirit contrary to the World, and which testifieth against the World, shewing that the Deeds thereof are Evil? How can the Spirit of the World but still turn against such, and Hate and Persecute them?

Quest. How long shall it be thus?

Answ. Till truth be raised by the Power of God, into Dominon over the Spirit and Power of Drakness. The Spirit of Life now suffers under the burthen of man's corruptions, in love to them striving to save them there-from. There is somewhat in every Sinner, that at seasons groans under the weight of his Sins, and in some proportion strives against the burthen thereof. This shall not alwaies lie underneath, but in the Day of the Lord rise over the Transgressor: and in that day shall Israel be Glorious with his God, and receive Praise of Him, and be eased of all that hath Oppressed him.

Quest. Is there such a day to be?

Answ. The Scriptures testifie of such a Day, wherein the Lord alone shall be exalted, and wherein He will take away the Rebuke of his People from off all the Earth, and bring down all that is High and Lifted up above the Fear and Spirit of the Lord: And in this our Age, the Lord hath chosen many Messengers to run up and down and Proclaim this Day. And as sure as the Lord liveth, what he hath spoken shall come to pass, and not a Tittle of it fall to the ground. God did not make man for him to serve his own Lusts; nor this Creation to serve the Lusts of Man: But he made Man [...] Fear before and Serve his Creator; and He made the Crea­ [...] to be ordered by Man in the Fear and Wisdom of God, to [Page 8] the Glory of God. The Spirit of God now groaneth under Man's Iniquity, the Spirits of his People mourn and sigh also, yea and the very Creatures groan under the Bondage of Corruption: And the God of Bowels heareth their Cry, and a Day, even a mighty day of Redemption and Deliverance is determined, wherein the Spirit of the World shall be sunk down with all its weight of wick­ednesse, and the Spirit of Life and Righteousness rise in its Glory.

Amen, Halelujah. Everlasting praises to the Omnipotent One, Who was, and is, and is a coming; Who hath reigned, doth reign, and will reign over all the Powers of Darkness, in the pure Power and Glory of his Life for evermore. Let all the Lambs skip for joy, let all the Stars of the Morning shout: For the Darkness vanisheth and is passing away, and the Light of Life shall cover the Earth, as the Waters cover the Sea, Amen, Halelujah.

Happy is the Eye that seeth this, and the Heart that prepareth for it, overlooking all that stands between. This is the Hope of Israel, and the Expectation of all that wait for the Lord, which he is hastening upon the Earth.

Isaac Penington.

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