SOME QUESTIO [...] AND ANSVVERS▪ For the opening of the Eyes the JEWS NATURAL, that they may see the Hope of Israel, which hath so long been hid from them.

WITH Some QUESTIONS and ANSWER [...] for the Direction, Comfort, Help and [...] therance of God's Spiritual Israel, in [...] Travels in Spirit from Spiritual [...] through the Spiritual Wilderness to Spi [...] al Canaan, which is the Land where [...] Redeemed Soul flourisheth in the Life [...] with God and worshipping him [...] and Truth.

By Isaac Penington, the you [...]

London, Printed for Robert Wilson, [...] Le Grand, 1661.

The Preface.

SEveral things hath the Life, begotten by the Eternal vertue, breathed in me towards my Father for, in relati­on both to my self and others, from my Childhood. As touching my self, First, that I might be a Vessel for Him, that I might be freed from the bondage of Cor­ruption and brought forth in the Image of his Life. Secondly, that I might be filled with his Life, that I might be satis­fied in the presence and with the fulness of the Spring of my Life: even that I might have enough of my God in my heart con­tinually. Thirdly, that he would of his own meer goodness both preserve the Ves­sel and dwell in it for ever: that so my Tenure and Possession of him, and fitness for him might be of his Grace, of his Love, of his good Will, of his own Na­ture, depending wholly and altogether on him, and not at all on any thing that can [Page] be expected from the Creature-hood in its purest State. And likewise, that if he pleased to use me in any service, it might be of him, and for him, and to him: that he would bring me so low in my self, that I might not be able to detain any of his Glory and vertue from him, but the mean­ness of the Vessel might still so appear to me, and also be so sensibly discerned and acknowledged by all other eyes also, that the Excellency of the Power and of the Glory might run back entirely into his pure Bosom.

Besides these, there have been Vehe­ment desires in me concerning others also. First, towards Mankind in general, that they might have an exceeding merciful and powerful day of Visitation, even that the whole Earth might be touched with the Power of Life and drawn out of the Darkness. O how hath my Soul breath­ed for poor lost mankind, and how hath my Spirit travelled (with unutterable pangs and earnestness) for unheard of, un­thought of, and altogether unexpected [Page] mercy and good will towards the Sons of Men in general! Secondly, towards my Brethren in Spirit, that they might know the day of Redemption and Power in Spirit, and not alwayes lie groveling on the Earth, and groaning and mourning because of the Lusts and Corruptions, but might know Deliverance in Power, and might sing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb (because of their feeling Victory over Pharaoh and the Dragon) and might serve and worship the living God in Spirit and Truth, without fear of interruption, and Captivity from the Enemy any more. Thirdly, towards the Jews after the Flesh, that their Ini­quity might be blotted out, their wound healed, the pure Eye opened in them, and the pure Glory revealed to them: that they might know the Shepherd of Israel in Spirit, the Spiritual Tents of Jacob, the Beauty of the Footsteps of the Spi­ritual Flock, and might Travel out of their Darkness, Earthliness and litteral Knowledge into the Land of pure Life, [Page] Rest▪ Peace and fresh Joy in the living God (whereof their Land of Canaan, with all the good things thereof, was but a shadow) and might be Annointed with the fresh oyl of the Salvation of the Messiah, and might become indeed an holy Nation, yea, a Kingdom of Priests to offer up Spi­ritual Sacrifices on God's spiritual Altar.

My Soul still breatheth to the Lord, and waiteth on him, for all these things: and as he draweth my Spirit forth, so am I ready in Spirit to be serviceable unto him therein. These present drawings and openings of my Life, in the Questions and Answers following, are both towards the Jews in Flesh, and also the Jews in Spirit; that they may meet in one, even in the One Path and Pasture of life, where there is one Shepherd, one Seed, one Flock, one Spirit, one Beginning, one Progress, one End in one and the same Circle of Life. The Lord my God take it into his own Hand, dispose of it for good, Mannage and Bless it according to his Pleasure.

J. P.

Some QUESTIONS and ANSWERS for the opening of the eyes of the Jews natural, that they may see the Hope of ISRAEL, which hath so long been hid from them.

Question. WHat was the Rise of that Peo­ple the Jewes?

Ans. They came of Abra­ham after the Flesh, who was God's Friend, whom God took from his Father's House and from his Native Country (where he was worshipping and serving Idols) to be the Stock and Pattern of the Faithful, both of the Jews according to the Flesh, and of the Jews in Spirit. Of this Root, of this Stock came this People according to the Flesh, who were an Holy Nation, a Circumcised People, a Sanctified People outwardly: and (as long as [Page 8] their day lasted) were the Beloved of God, the Pitied, the Pardoned, the Re­deemed Ones, even until the Shadows were finished, and the Season came, for the Substance to appear and be set up in the World; whereof they had the first offer also, and out of whom was the first gathering for the Spiritual building. But they generally harden­ing their hearts, and cleaving to the Wisdom and Knowledge which their wise Ones had taught them (from their mis-understanding the Letter of the Scriptures) missed of the Spirit, Re­belled against the Redeeming Power, and so lost their share in the Inward Glory, and by God's Righteous hand were cut off from their outward also, their day being spent, and the Blood not onely of the Prophets, but of the Son and Heir himself also required at their hands.

Quest. How came this People to be the chosen People at first, and so long to continue such?

[Page 9] Answ. It was not for their Righte­ousness, not for their Loveliness, or plyableness to God above other Peo­ple: but because it pleased the Lord freely to love them, and to pitch up­on them for the People of his Choice after the Flesh, in the free Covenant which he made with Abraham. The Earth is the Lord's with the fulness there­of, and he may chuse whom he will to fill with his Inward and Spiritual Glo­ry (even with the manifestations of his pure Love, Life and Presence) and he may also chuse whom he will to make outwardly or typically Beloved, Great and Glorious. He chose Abraham freely, he gave to Abraham an Heart to follow him, he gave him the Faith and Obedience which made him ac­cepted with him: and he chose his Seed after the Spirit to be his Eternal Heir, and his Seed after the Flesh to be his Temporary Heir. Thus of Isaac in Spirit came the Children of the [Page 10] Promise in Spirit, and of Isaac after the Flesh came the Seed of Promise after the Flesh. Sarah after the Flesh bare one of these, the Sarah repre­sented by her (or the Free Woman which is from above) bare the other. And of Isaac comes Jacob, Worm Jacob, who serves for his Wife, who flies from the face of Esau, yet afterwards finds fa­vour in his Eyes: from this Worm do the Twelve Patriarks branch forth, who were the Heads of the Tribes of Israel. Thus hath it been with that Nation according to the letter; & thus it hath also been and is still inwardly in Spirit, as the Israel of God, the Jews in Spirit (who are Learned in the Law of the Spirit of Life) can very well read. Thus outwardly Israel was God's Child, Ephraim his Dear, his Beloved, his pleasant Son; Judah his Praise, whom his heart was towards, and to whom he stretched forth his Arm of [Page 11] Salvation all the day long. In all their Affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them: and he said, Surely they are my People, Children that will not lie, so he became their Saviour. Thus it was with them till the day of Israel after the Flesh expired, and the day of Israel in Spirit was to succeed in the sight of the World.

Quest. What was the end for which God chose that People?

Answ. It was to be a Vessel for him to form, to try and experiment what his Love could bring them to, and bring forth in them in that way of Ma­nifestation and Operation. This God opens to Jeremiah concerning them, bidding him go down to the house of the Potter, where, in a Parable, they might read their own State, and what they were to expect from God, even to be formed by God unto the ut­most, untill he had made a perfect try­al of them, and then to be broken and [Page 12] laid aside, as a Vessel that could never be fitted for the Master's use in this way of Dispensation, Jer. 18.4. On the Lord's part there was no defect to­wards his Child, his Spouse, his Vine­yard, his Garden of pleasant Plants (as this People was in that Dispensati­on:) for he was still a Father to them, Faithful in Covenant, Tender in Bowels, abundant in Loving Kindness and Mercies: Yea what could be ex­pected from the Lord towards a Peo­ple, according to that Dispensation, which the Lord failed in? But they were still faithless, continually break­ing Covenant, Erring from his Dear and tender Love, and drawing down the strokes of his Wrath upon them, forsaking the guide of their youth, for­getting the Love of their Espo [...]sals, continually starting aside from the right State, wherein God pleased at first to set them, or at any time after­wards in any measure to reduce them.

[Page 13]Q. How did God exercise and try them to the utmost, even till at length it was plainly manifest, that there was no firm keeping a People to him by Vertue of that Dispensation, but he must necessarily cut them off, chuse another People, and take another course, if he would have a People for his Heart to love and delight in, and for them to injoy and possess him?

Answ. He tryed them several ways, and in several States and Conditions: as First, in a State of Captivity in the Land of Egypt. Secondly, in a State of Straits and continual Dependance upon God, even for Necessaries, in the Wilderness. Thirdly, in a state of Enlargedness in the Land of Canaan, which flowed with plentiful provisions for the outward man (which were also shadows and instructions concerning the inward Blessedness.) Fourthly, in often Captivities. Fifthly, in Returns to their Land again, with Settlement and Peace and many Blessings therein.

[Page 14]Quest. How did God try them in Egypt?

Answ. First, with sore Bondage and Oppression from Pharaoh and the E­gyptians. Secondly, with giving them the feeling of their state, the sence of their bondage, and causing them to cry unto the Lord for Deliverance. Thirdly, in raising up a Deliverer, and giving them a Sign of the Deliverance by the hand of the Deliverer, in his smiting of an Egyptian and saving an Hebrew. Fourthly, in sending the Deliverer to them with Promises of Deliverance, and with Signs and Symptoms of the Delivering Power. Fifthly, in Pardoning their Unbelief and Rebellions against him in Egypt, and shewing many Signs and Wonders for them in that Land, till at length he had brought them forth by his Mighty outstretched Arm, even a­gainst the will and mind of Pharaoh and their Task-masters.

[Page 15]Quest. How did God find them in Egypt upon this Tryal?

Ans. Very unbelieving, very stub­born, mis-interpreting his Sign of De­liverance, reasoning against his Pro­mise, because it came not so soon and after the manner they expected. When he lift up his hand to them to redeem them from under Pharaoh, to bring them forth of the Land of Bon­dage, to the good Land he had espied for them, and bid them forsake the Idolatrous worships of Egypt, and not defile themselves any longer there­with; because he was now to become the Lord their God, & to appear in his Power for them; yet they would not, Ezek. 20.5. &c. When Moses would have reconciled and Hebrew to his Bro­ther, he would not hear him, but upbraided him for slaying the Egypti­an, not waiting on God to understand the Figure, but mis-interpreting and abusing it in the Fleshly Mind. When [Page 16] the Deliverance succeeded not ac­cording to their expectations, they Murmured against Moses and Aaron: and when God sent them again with a fresh Promise, they would not mind it. Yet God bare with all this in them, and did not cast them off, but asswaged his Wrath, and stirred up his Love to make a further Tryal of them.

Quest. How did God Try them in the Wilderness?

Ans. By many Temptations, Signs and Wonders; by Powerful Appear­ances for them against their Enemies; by bringing them into many straits; by unexpected and impossible supplies (I mean impossible to the sight or ex­pectation of the outward Eye) as with Bread from Heaven, Multitudes of Quails, Water from the Rock, keep­ing their Cloaths and Shoes from wea­ring out and decaying. Likewise he gave them an Holy and Righteous Law to Inform their Minds in Equity [Page 17] and Righteousness, directing them in an holy way, walking with God, and one towards another, and chalk­ing out unto them an acceptable path of Worship: and this Law was deli­vered in great Majesty, dread and terrour, to cause a deep impression thereof upon their minds.

Quest. How did God find them in the Wildernesse?

Answ. Full of discontent, full of murmuring, full of self-will, full of doubts and questionings concerning God's Power. They did not wait on him, who had delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh, and from under the Egyptian Task-masters, but they murmured against him. They did not wait for food, or wa­ter when they wanted, but distrust­ed and complained, repining at Mo­ses and Aaron, and sometimes talking of making a Captain to lead them backward. Neither were they con­tent [Page 18] with the Provision which God allotted them (that was mean in their eyes) but they would have flesh: Though the Manna, the light Bread (as they esteemed it) of God's choice and with God's Blessing, had been far better for them, then the flesh with his curse, upon that lust which asked it, and would not be content without it. Again, They would not go on to­wards Canaan or Fight when God would have them, and when his strength would have gone along with them: but when he forbad them, of their own will, and trusting to their own strength, they would go on and Fight. It is a sad record which Moses their tender Shepherd (who with the Eye of true Light had faithfully ob­served them) left concerning them, Deut. 9.24. You have been Rebellious against the Lord, from the day that I knew you.

Quest. How did God deal with them in reference to the Land of Canaan?

[Page 19] Answ. First, he prepared them for it. Secondly, he dispossessed their Enemies, and placed them in it, giving them an Inheritance according to his will. Thirdly, he poured down Bles­sings upon them therein.

Quest. How did God prepare them for the good Land?

Answ. Eirst, By many Afflictions and Exercises in the Wilderness, wherein he judged and wore out the Rebellious Generation (who were consumed with dying) and raised up their Children in the awe and dread of his Mighty Power. Secondly, by giving them a Righteous Law to walk by in every respect, that they might not be to seek how to please God, or how to walk one towards another, or towards the Heathen among them, or round about them, but in every thing might be rightly in­structed. Thirdly, by warning them of their own proneness to err from God, [Page 20] and of the Danger thereof, both in Relation to the loss of Mercies and drawing down of Judgements, that they might watch against the Erring Nature and Transgressing Spirit in their hearts. Fourthly, by appointing a way of Sacrifice and Mediation, whereby God might be atoned ei­ther for Particular Persons, or for the Land in General. Fifthly, by directing them to a Principle as near to them, and more strong than the unrighteous Principle; whereby they might be preserved in the Obedience of the Law, and from out of the reach of the Curse.

Quest. How did God find them in their own Land?

Ans. That Generation which was thus Prepared, thus Taught, thus Di­rected, walked sweetly with the Lord, and was a precious savour in his Nostrils: but soon after the evil thing sprang up again in the Genera­tions [Page 21] following, and they did quick­ly corrupt themselves, departing from the Lord, and running a whore­ing after their own hearts lusts, Judg. 2.7, &c.

Quest. How did God deal with them then?

Answ. He brought Judgment up­on Judgement, still Weightier and Weightier upon them, according as their need required, exercising loving kindness and Mercy towards them, as much as possibly their Estate could bear. He sent his Prophets to fore­warn them of the Wrath, that they might be spared, if possible: and when his Judgments and Severity came, he mingled Mercy therewith, that by both he might try to the ut­most, what they might be wrought to. He tryed them a long while un­der the Judges, and a long while under the Kings, often recovering them and setting them to rights, ex­pecting [Page 22] the Fruit of his Rod and of his Love towards them.

Quest. What was the result of God's trying them under the Judges and Kings?

Answ. They wearied out God's Prophets, yea, they wearied out the Lord also in that way of his Dispen­sation. They chose the false Prophets before the true, lying Divinations before the openings of Life, and dead Idols before the living God. The Kindnesses and Mercies of God were wasted upon them, for with his Love they were not drawn: the Bel­lowes also were burnt, the Lead con­sumed, the heat of the Furnace spent upon them, and yet their Tin and Dross not purged away. Under the Judges they tired out the Lord's Pa­tient Expectation of Good from his Delivering hand, insomuch as he re­solved to deliver them no more, Judg. 10.13. Under the Kings they [Page 23] were as unruly (whether good Kings or bad Kings, given in love or wrath) insomuch as the Lord said, Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more, Isai. 1.5. There was indeed no bending of Israel af­ter the Flesh & keeping him Strait to God, in that way of Dispensation: therefore must he be cast off, even becoming Reprobate Silver in the sight of the whole Earth, because the Lord would reject him.

Quest. How came Israel after the Flesh to be rejected?

Answ. His day of Flesh was out, and the day of Spirit was come, wherein the Spiritual Glory (which was to succeed the Shadows of the Fleshly) was to be set up: and so he not seeing that, nor entring into that, his own Sun set, and he hath abode in the Darkness unto this day.

Quest. How came he not to see the Spiritual Glory?

[Page 24] Ans. Because the Eye of the Flesh was open in him, which Eye cannot see it. He Read the Law in a ga­thered Light, in the Light of the earthly Wisdom, and not in the Light of the Spring from whence it came: and then how could he possibly un­derstand the Law aright? Could he then chuse but set up the Shadows of the Law, in the stead of the Substance which was vailed therein? He read Moses with the Eye which can see but to the vail, and not to the Glory which was revealed to Moses, & which Moses hid under the Vail. And thus like­wise he beheld the Prophets, in the dayes of their Appearance; not in the Light in which they appeared, but in the Light of his own Reason and Imaginations: and upon this ground the Jews still chose and cryed up the false Prophets, but Persecuted the True. Now not seeing Moses in Spirit, nor the Prophets in Spirit, [Page 25] how could they see Him who was greater then the Prophets, he look­ing so Contemptibly to the Sight of that Eye, wherewith they expected to see him? It is the Jew in Spirit, who alone can see and own the Messiah in Spirit: yea, no fleshly Jew could pos­sibly discern him then, whose Eter­nal Life (Light and Power) was hid under so mean a Vail. He must be more than a Jew after the flesh, who can own so much as the Law, or any of the Prophets in Spirit: and then surely it can require no less than Inward Jewship, to discern the Mes­siah himself. They knew by the Letter, that then he was to come and to ap­pear; but they could not know by their Observations from the Letter, which was he, but alone by the point­ing of the Finger of the Spirit, which they were unacquainted with.

Quest. What did they do to him, not seeing his Glory?

[Page 26] An. They dealt with him as they had dealt with the Prophets before him, disdained him that he should Claim to be the Son of God, Slighted him, Reviled him, Reproached him, pre­ferred Moses and the Prophets above him (who all did but declare of him) yea at last they preferred a Thief and Murderer before him, and put him to Death after that manner that the Prophets had foretold they would do.

Quest. Did the Prophets foretel that the Jews would put the Messiah to Death?

Answ. Yea, very manifestly, with the manner and Circumstances there­of. Daniel said plainly that the Mes­siah should be cut off; though not for himself, Chap. 9.26. Isaiah shews the Cause why he was cut off, to wit, for the Transgression of my People was the Stroke upon him, Chap. 53.8. He was the Lamb without Spot, there [Page 27] was no Iniquity found in his Heart, nor guile in his mouth, but he offered up his spotless Soul (through the Eternal Spirit) as a Ransom for the Souls of Transgressors, and with his Bruise are they healed. David shews yet more particularly how he should be cut off, They Pierced my Hands and my Feet, Psal, 22.16. and Zachary saith, that afterwards in the Day of their Visitation, they shall look upon him whom they have Pierced, Ch. 12.10. Was he not Betrayed by one of his own Table? (Psal. 41.9.) Did they not cast Lots for his Garments? (Psal. 22.18.) Was not Gall also given him, and Vinegar to Drink? (Psal. 69.21) Were not his Bones kept from being broken, according to the Paschal Lamb the Type? (Exod. 12.46.) O that the Jews could read the words of their own Prophets in the Light of the Prophets, and not in the Light of man's Imagination, and [Page 28] then they could not but Bow before the Spring & Fountain of that Light, as it was Revealed in Flesh according to the Scriptures, and see how that Body was prepared for the Light to shine in, and for it to do the Will in, and to offer up the Sacrifice which God would have, that so an end might be put to all the Sacrifices and Offerings which God would not have, Psal. 40.6. Dan. 9.27.

Quest. What was to befall the Jews for refusing the Day of their Visitation by the Messiah, and for the putting of him to Death?

Answ. They were to be cast off, to become no People, their Cove­nant to be broken, their Glory turn­ed into shame, their Light set in ob­scurity, their House made Desolate, and the hand of God pursuing this desolate People, making them a Scorn and Reproach throughout all Nati­ons (Dan. 9.27. And is not this come [Page 29] to pass upon them? for what Person hath been more hateful and hated than a Jew, who was once the Glory and Envy of all Nations? yea, hard­ness and blindness hath so happened to them, that they cannot see the plainest things written in the Pro­phets, concerning the Expiration of the Day of Moses with all his Sha­dows, and the succeeding of the Spiritual Glory in the dayes of the Messiah, but their Eyes and Hearts are still blinded and held Captive in the Figures of things.

Quest. Is there any Scripture of the Prophets, which declareth that they should be thus blind and hard?

Answ. The Spirit of the Lord in the Prophet David (the Beloved King and Figure of the Messiah) prayed for this Righteous Recompence to them. Let their Table become a Snare before them, and for Welfare a Trap. Let their Eyes be Darkned that they see [Page 30] not, &c. Let their Habitation be Deso­late, &c. Psal. 69.22, &c. What is their Table? where and on what do they Feed? Is it not on the Writings of Moses and the Prophets? Now all the Meanings, Observations and Hopes which they gather from these (being under the Curse, and out of the Spirit of the Prophets) cannot but be their Snare and Trap: and that which entangleth them deeply to this day is, their mis-understanding and mis-interpreting of Moses and the Prophets. O Lord my God, in the abundant Riches of thy Goodness at length Pity them, and let the fierceness of thine Indignation abate towards them, and in thy Love open their Eyes to see their state, & what they have refused, and against whom they have lift up their heel in their conceited Wisdom & Know­ledge, which they have gathered from Moses and the Prophets Writings, that they may mourn after thee, and wait for thee in the way of thy Redemption.

[Page 31]Quest. How long is this Desolation and Hardness to abide upon them?

Ans. Until God visit them with his Spirit, and open their eyes to see his Spiritual Glory, and turn their hearts towards it. Then their outward expectations, and desires after an out­ward Glorious Kingdom, will soon come to an end; and the Messiah will be known, owned and received by them in Spirit: yet any outward Glory that the Lord God sees good for them, they shall not want neither. This the Prophet Isaiah plainly Re­lates to the Ear that is Spiritual, Chap. 32.15. (Until the Spirit be pour­ed upon us from on High, and the Wil­derness be a Fruitfull Field, and the Fruitful Field be counted for a Forrest.) They must lie wast, until the Lord God please to let forth his Spirit up­on them, to gather them into his Spiritual Glory: for the Day of their outward Glory did end, and a Spi­ritual [Page 31] succeeded, which they are to be gathered into, when the days of their Distress and Tribulation are ac­complished.

The Spirit was once poured down from on High on the Disciples of the Messiah, upon his Ascending into his Glory, and the Wilderness then be­came a Fruitful Field, and the Fruit­ful Field was accounted for a For­rest: but over that Glory the De­fence was not so stretched forth, but that a night overtook that day, and the Wild Beasts made a Prey of that Vineyard and Fruitful Field also, as well as of the former. But there is to be a more general pouring out of the Spirit, even upon all Flesh, and the Wilderness is more generally to be visited & become a fruitful Field, and the fruitful Field is more generally to be blasted & made a forrest: insomuch as all Flesh every where shall appear Grass, and the Glory thereof as the [Page 33] Flower of the Field, which shall fade and wither before the breath of God's Spirit. Then Judgment shall dwell in the Wilderness which is then visit­ed, and Righteousness shall remain in the Field which is then made fruit­ful: and Righteousness shall be Powerfully-operative, working out the lasting Peace, and the effect of it shall be Quietness and Assurance for ever ▪ No more War, no more Fighting with Creatures, no more burthening and oppressing of the Creation, no more sinning and of­fending against the Creator, no more being dispossessed of his Life and Glory, but the Dwellings, which God reareth up in the last dayes for Israel his People, shall be Peaceable Habitations, sure Dwellings and quiet Resting-places for evermore. O let Is­rael feel that which is able to awaken him, and wait for this.

Quest. How shall they be visited and gathered?

[Page 34] Answ. By the new Covenant, by by the new Law of the Messiah, which is to go forth out of the new Sion, and by the Word of the Lord, which is to issue out of the new Jerusalem. Not by the Covenant of Moses (their Eyes may fail in hoping and looking out that way) but by the Covenant of the Messiah, where the Law of Life is Written, not in Tables of stone or outward writings of the Letter, but in the heart by the Spirit. There they shall be cleansed by inward Water, receive the inward Circumcision and Mark of the inward Jew, be sprink­led with the everlasting Blood of the Lamb, and taught to offer up the spiritual Sacrifice, and shall hear the Voice which will tell them of the Way, and which will lead them in Paths they have not known. There the spiritual Seed, the spiritual Israel shall find the Shepherd of Israel, who leads into the Land of Life, puts forth [Page 35] his Sheep into the Pastures of Life, gives them of the living Streams to drink, begetting them as Heirs of, and bringing them up in the ever­lasting Power and Dominion of the Life.

Quest. How may old Israel enter into this Path, and so become new Israel?

Answ. By waiting on the Lord for the closing of that Eye, which is wise according to the Flesh; and for the opening of that Eye which is at first weak in Spirit. There must be a low beginning. Israel must know and not despise the Day of small things, if ever he will grow up into the Riches and Inheritance of this Glory. There is a Light in every heart, which gives a sound in the natural Vessel, which is very hard­ly at first distinguishable from the natural, till (by obedience and sub­jection thereto) its living Touch, Vertue and Power comes to be felt and distinguished: but in the Meek, [Page 36] Humble, Believing and Obidient, it daily appears more and more, and makes it self more clearly manifest to them, who are walking on unto the Kingdom and Inheritance in it, while others are disputing about it.

Quest. How may Israel believe, and become subject to the Light?

Answ. When there is a drawing felt in the heart, either to good, or against evil, he must not dispute con­cerning it on the one hand, nor run on in the forwardness on the other, (for both these wayes, the breathings of the Spirit on him, and springings up of the good Seed in him are easily quenched) but in the Fear he is to trust himself with what his heart cer­tainly feels in the drawing Vertue, and in the Humility to give up the Members to the Good and to with­hold them from the Evil, waiting for strength from the Fountain of strength towards both. By this means [Page 37] there is a Travell and removal, out of the corruption and filth of the heart, into the pure holy Law, Nature, Image and Will of God.

Quest. Where doth God find the heart, when he first visiteth it with his Light?

Answ. In Egypt, in the Darkness, in the Bonds and Captivity of Death.

Quest. What doth the Lord do with it there?

Answ. He Exerciseth it a while there, till he hath made it fit for a Wilderness-state.

Quest. What doth he do with it then?

Ans. He bringeth it into the Wil­derness, which he hath fitted it for.

Quest. What doth he do with it in the Wilderness?

Answ. He prepareth it for, and leadeth it towards the Land of Life.

Quest. What doth he do with it then?

[Page 38] Ans. He giveth it an entrance in­to the everlasting Kingdom (which is the Land of Life) according as he hath prepared and fitted it. That which is new-begotten, new-crea­ted and formed, new-born in the Messiah's Eternal Light, find­eth an Entrance into and an Ha­bitation in the Light, and is not turned back into the Land of Dark­ness, it abiding in the Vertue and Principle of its Life, although sometimes it may be exercised with the Darkness for its further advantage. Thou art our Habi­tation from everlasting to everlasting, saith the Child of Light unto the Father of Spirits, in all Ages and Ge­nerations.

Now that Israel after the Flesh may the better understand the Path of the spiritual Israel in the way of Redemption, by the powerful visi­tations of the Light of the Messiah in [Page 39] their hearts and Consciences; & may know the Gospel of his Salvation, which is able to effect that, which the Law of Moses could not, because of the weakness of the Flesh on their parts; let them in fear and silence of the natural wisdom, and in waiting on the Lord in Spirit, consider these Questions and Answers following, re­lating to spiritual Israel.

Some Questions and Answers, for the Direction, Comfort, Help and Fur­therance of God's Spiritual Israel, in their Travels in Spirit from Spiritu­al Egypt, through the Spiritual Wil­derness to Spiritual Canaan, which is the Land where the Redeemed Soul flourisheth in the Life, walking with God and Worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth.

Quest. WHat is the Gospel?

Answ. A good Message or [Page 40] glad Tydings to man in the fallen estate, concerning a Promise of Re­demption out of it.

Quest. Is man then in a fallen Estate?

Answ. His present Temper, Con­stitution, Disposition and whole Course, upon the least touch of God upon his Spirit, do in some measure discover his fall unto him; though the insensibleness, which is come up­on him by his grievous wound and death through the fall, maketh him very unapt to take notice thereof.

Quest. What was his Estate before his fall?

Answ. A State of Glory and Bles­sedness, wherein he came pure out of the hands of his Creator, was fit­ted for his use, service, enjoyment and delight, even for him to appear or disappear in, and exercise accord­ing to his pleasure.

Quest. Wherein did his Glory and Blessedness consist?

[Page 41] Ans. Chiefly in these four things, to wit, In the Light; in the Life; in the Liberty in which the Vessel was formed; and in the Indwelling and appearing of the Creator there, ac­cording to his pleasure.

Quest. Open this a little further.

Answ. Man was made a Vessel of Light, a Vessel of Life, a Vessel of pure Freedom. He was formed in the Eternal Image, and had a pure being in that Image. He was Light in the Lord, living in the Lord, free unto all Good, and from all Evil in the Lord. This was the state of his being at first, and thus was he made in the Image a pure resemblance of the E­ternal Purity and Blessedness: but be­sides this he had the Eternal Life, the Eternal Substance, the Eternal Purity it self dwelling in the Vessel, shining in it, and manifesting it self from it according to its pleasure.

Quest. How came man to fall from this Estate?

[Page 42] Answ. Not willingly, not of an inclination of his own, but he was deceived, through the subtilty of Temptation, to entertain a desire of enlarging his blessedness, out of the limits of the will of his Creator.

Quest. How could such a Tempta­tion enter man, he being Pure and Holy, inclined to Good and against Evil, after the Image of his Creator?

Answ. Man was not made to en­joy a Perfection in himself separate from his Creator, or to live of him­self, but by dependance. Now though he had no inclination in him not to depend, or to seek a Life in himself out of the Fountain, yet there was a Capacity of so doing: before which Capacity the Tempter laid his bait of advancing him to a greater Wisdom, Glory and Excel­lency, than his Creator had placed him in; with which he consulting out of the dependance upon his Creator, fell from that which alone [Page 43] was able to uphold him in the pure state, wherein he was made. Thus was he taken in the snare of misery and brought to that loss, which all the Sons of Adam lie groveling under to this day, when the Lord at any time awakens the sence thereof in them.

Quest. What was the State of man in and since the fall?

Answ. A state of Darkness, a state of Death, a state of deep Captivity, wherein his Soul, Body and Spirit are become dark as to the Light of God, dead as to the Life of Righteousness, and Captive unto that spirit which hath entred them by their hearkning thereto, who dwelleth and ruleth in them in the Darkness, as God did be­fore in the Light.

Quest. How is man dark? how is man dead? is his Soul or body dead as to their being? or how else is it?

Answ. Man is not dead as to his being either in Soul or Body, but as to the right, pure and sanctified state [Page 44] of each. The Vessels still remain the same in being, but they are emptied of their proper Liquor, and filled with other Wine. The Understanding is the same, the Reason the same, the Will the same, the Memory the same, the bodily Members the same as to their being or matter: but they are all otherwise leavened, and another King now dwells in them and Reigns over them.

Quest. Then there needs not any dis­solution of man's Reason, or bringing it to nothing, in relation to man's Re­covery, but onely a changing of the Leaven.

Answ. Man is become another thing by degeneration from the Life. He is so poisoned by Sin and Cor­ruption, that he is to be wholly bro­ken down and brought to nothing, even in the very Naturals, that he may be new made and built up in the newness of the Spirit. Thus he is to become as a Fool, as a little Child, or [Page 45] rather as a Seed to be cast into the womb of Life, there to be formed and born of the Spirit. And as he springs up in the Life, he is to forget his own Country, living in the Spirit and walk­ing in the Spirit: where watching to the Spirit, and against his own Reason in the pure Childishess, in the simple instinct and naturalness of the Life, he shall at length find a Reason new formed and springing up in him, which waiting on the Lord in Obe­dience and subjection, shall be taken into Unity with the Life: but if the Eye of Reason open too fast, and be not kept down to the Light of Life, the Betrayer will enter again at that door, and bring the Soul into Death, after it hath had sweet and Precious Tasts of the Redeeming Vertue and Power.

Quest, Can Man in the fall see his fallen Estate, and so seek after a re­covery out of it?

Answ. It is not possible for him [Page 46] so to do, without some Light shining upon him from the Re­deemer. How can Darkness discover Darkness? That which maketh ma­manifest the Darkness is Light. When the Vessel is dark, and the Prince of Darkness filleth it and dwelleth in it, what can that Eye see but according to the Darkness, judg­ing Evil Good and Good Evil, bitter sweet and sweet bitter?

Quest. But there is no man but hath some Light, no man but at some time or other seeth Good or Evil in some mea­sure.

Answ. That ariseth not from the light of Man's Nature, as it now stands in the fall (which being whol­ly in the Enemie's hands, and being it self become darkness, cannot at all give man notice of or light him out of the darkness) but from a fresh Visitation of the Life, which giveth all men a day of Visitation by the shining of its Light, wherein is some [Page 47] manifestation to man, and some cer­tain sight by him both of the Good and of the Evil: and not onely so, but there is also the living Spirit striving with him, and attracting him from the one to the other, according to the Lord's good pleasure, whose is both the Light, and also the deter­mination of the proportion of every man's Visitation by it.

Quest. But hath not man naturally a Light in the fallen Estate, which disco­vereth unto him Good and Evil?

Answ. Not a true Light, not a true Discovery, but onely somewhat which the Enemy setteth up in man as such, to keep him in the entangle­ments of the Deceit, and out of the suspition of it. For the Enemy en­tring into him, by his subtilty blind­eth and deceiveth his Eye (that he may the better hold him Captive in the deceit) insomuch as he discerneth not the false Image which the Enemy hath stamped upon him: for though [Page 48] the Enemy bringeth man into a state of real Darkness, Death and Capti­vity; yet these do not at present ap­pear to man what they are, but are mis­coloured or Painted to appear what they are not, the better to deceive, bewitch and entangle man therein. The Enemy did not represent Dark­ness in its Black hue, Death and Captivity in its dreadful Appearance to Adam; but as Wisdom, as Light, as a better Life, as a greater Freedom. And thus he still enters man, and af­ter this manner he still dwells in man, until the true Light pursue him, open­ing and discovering his Deceit, and drawing man back from this false Paradise of pleasure in wisdom and liberty out of the Life, into a sence of his want of, and breathings after the true Garden of the living God.

Q. Is man then mistaken in his Judg­ment of Good and Evil since the fall?

Answ. Yes, altogether: and by this means doth he so pleasingly scituate [Page 49] himself, and take up his Habitation in the Kingdom of Darkness, wherein are strong holds and wise reasonings against the true God, and for the false Appearances of good, which the Enemy of the Soul strongly makes men believe to be such as he repre­sents them for, in the darkness. Thus in particular persons, and also in So­cieties evil is pursued after, and ad­vanced for good, and the true good suppressed as evil, through the wor­king of the Mystery of Darkness in mens hearts.

Quest. What then is the proper E­state and Condition of man in the fall?

Answ. A State of false light, of false life, of false liberty. He seemeth to himself advanced in Wisdom a­bove the low, empty, naked Estate of Innocency, which is nothing and hath nothing, but by a continual de­pendance on the Goodness of the Creator. He seemeth also advanced [Page 50] in Life, advanced in Liberty. He can speak his own words, think his own thoughts, do his own will, seek himself, please himself, satisfie him­self. The life of Righteousness is a yoak, a bond in his Eye: He is free from the restraint of it. He hath Life in himself, and is exceeding wise in the compass of his own dominions. Thus doth the Enemy transform the Kingdom of Darkness and Death, gi­ving fallen Man a share with him in it, while he remains his willing Subject. And here the Goods of the Enemy, the Heart estranged from God, yea, not onely the devout and zealous Worshipper in invented Forms, but also the gross Sinner, the envious, lustful and wicked Mind, the perverse Tongue, the bloody Hands and Feet are at peace, and have joy and plea­sure in their course and circuit in the Earth. But all this is but the Deceit of the Enemy, wherewith he hath [Page 51] cheated Man, with false appearances and representations instead of the true, as man himself will see, when ever the Eye of his Soul comes to be throughly awakened by the Eternal Light, whether here or hereafter.

Quest. What is the Work of Redemp­tion?

Answ. To purge this old Leaven out of the Vessel, to purifie the Ves­sel from all the false Appearances of Light, to batter down all the strong holds of the Enemy in the Mind, all the Reasonings, Thoughts, Imagina­tions and Consultations, which are not of the pure nor in the pure; and so to New-create and New-form the Vessel in the Image of the Wisdom and Purity, wherein it was at first for­med.

Quest. Who doth this Work, or who is Man's Redeemer out of the Fall?

Answ. The Eternal Word or Son of the Father, even the Wisdom and [Page 52] Power which went forth from the Fountain in the Creation, the same goeth forth from the Bosome of the Father to purifie the Creature, and so bringeth the Creature back (being purified and cleansed) into his bosom again.

Quest. With what doth this Word or Redeemer redeem?

Answ. With his own life, with his own blood, with his own Eternal vir­tue and purity. He descendeth into the lower parts of the Earth, becomes Flesh there, sows his own Seed in his prepared Earth, begets of his flesh and of his bone in his own likeness, and nourisheth up his Birth with his flesh and blood unto Life Everlast­ing.

Quest. What is this Life, or how doth it first manifest it self in the dark­ness?

Answ. It is the Light of Men. It is that which gave light to Adam at [Page 53] first, and again to him after the Fall, and to all men since the Fall. It en­lightens in Nature, it enlightened under the Law: it did enlighten under the Gospel before the Aposta­cy, and again since the Apostacy.

Quest. How doth the Light enlighten?

Ans. By its shining. The Eternal Word moves, the Life opens, the Light shines. This in the least degree is a beginning of Redemption; in its fulness it is Redemption perfected.

Quest. How doth the Light work Redemption in its shining?

Ans. Two wayes. First, by turn­ing the heart from the darkness to­wards it self. Secondly, by exercising the heart being turned.

Quest. How doth it turn the heart from the darkness?

Answ. The Light by its shining and enlightening findeth out its own, openeth it, toucheth it with a secret Virtue, which perswades out of, and [Page 54] draws the heart, from the principle and power of Death and Darkness, towards its own native spring.

Quest. May not these drawings be quenched, and the Work of God stop­ped?

Answ. The Plant of the Lord is exceeding tender, his pure Spirit jea­lous, the Enemy very strong and sub­til; insomuch as the Plant it self may easily be crushed, the Spirit grieved and quenched, and the Captivity re­doubled.

Quest. If Adam was betrayed in his full strength, how shall this poor weak Plant spring up and grow, without be­ing supplanted by the violence and trea­chery of the Enemy? Or how shall the grieving of the Spirit be avoyded, by an heart so full of corruption and provoca­tions, us man in the alienated state is, when the Light first visits him?

Answ. The Lord God is nigh to help, nigh to pitty, nigh to pardon, [Page 55] nigh to watch over and support Worm Jacob, yea nigh to revive life and spirit in him freely, and to heal his backslidings and multiply par­dons, or it could never be. Yea, the Creature can never be brought so low or so far lost, but there is still help in the nature of God concern­ing him, though there may not be help in any revealed Promise.

Quest. How doth God exercise the heart that is turned?

Ans. In Faith and Obedience through very great varieties and changes of conditions. He exerciseth it in believing his voyce, and in obey­ing his voyce and following him, in what ever and into whatsoever he draws and requires.

Quest. How is the Voyce of God known? Doth not the Enemy speak in­wardly also, and resemble his voyce? how then is the voyce of the Redeemer distin­guished from him, who counterfeiteth [Page 56] the Shepherd and his voyce?

Ans. By these two means.

First, The Soul lying low, out of the Wisdom in which the Enemy ap­pears and forms his likenesses, in the Simplicity which the Lord hath be­gotten, the Life opens to it, and the true Light appears, which manifests the false light and false appearances of the Deceiver.

Secondly, In that which is begot­ten of God there is not an hastiness or suddenness to determine, but a silent waiting on the Lord in Subjection, till the Life speak and make things manifest. Thus the knowledge and light of the Child is held in the will of the Father, and received from his hand and according to his pleasure. Thus what he will he hides, and what he will he makes manifest, and the Child which is born of his will is con­tent with his will; and lying down there, it keeps out of the Enemie's [Page 57] Territories, and out of the reach of his Temptations.

Quest. What are the several Estates or Conditions, wherein God exerciseth the Spirit of man in Faith and Obedi­ence?

Answ. The particular Estates and Conditions are innumerable, but they may be referred to these three general heads. First, An Estate of breaking down the former Build­ing. Secondly, An Estate of De­vastation or Preparation to be New-built. Thirdly, An Estate of Re­building. God doth not forget, but exercise his People in Egypt, even while they are in Bondage, before they come to receive his Law: he is visiting them in the dark Land, open­ing the Eye that can see the Captivi­ty, causing groans and sighs in their oppressed Spirits; and then holding forth to them the Promise, and prepa­ring them for a departure from that [Page 58] Land. Secondly, He hath a time of stripping them, of Nurturing and bringing them up under his Disci­pline and close exercises, wherein they are Desolate and ready to Sin and perish every moment, but as they are wonderfully provided for and abundantly helped and Pardoned. Thirdly, There is a state of rebuild­ing the Stones, when they are pre­pared therefore, into a New-build­ing for the Life to dwell in, and for their entrance into the Land of Life.

Quest. Declare these Estates and the exercises therein more plainly, and first shew what is the Estate of the Soul in Egypt Spiritually, when the Lord visit­eth it there with his Light?

Ans. An Estate of deep Bondage and groaning under the Powers of Darkness, whose bitter Oppressions thereof increase, even as the sensi­bleness and tyredness of the Soul in­creases. The Soul then sees its Cap­tivity [Page 59] from the Life, and finds a build­ing of Death and Corruption raised up in it, in which the Prince of Dark­ness dwells and bears rule: and then O how it groans and longs after de­parture from that Land, and waits for the Promise of Redemption out of it! but yet it is still left in the hand of the Enemy, and dayly feels the bitter Bondage, from the Powerfull Law of Sin and Death springing up in the heart, and issuing out through the Members.

Quest. How is Faith and Obedience here exercised?

Answ. In believing the Promise, in waiting for the Promise, in feeling some remote drawings of the Life and Uniting therewith, so far as is possible in this Dark and Captived Estate. There is an acknowledge­ment of the true Prince, and a bow­ing to him even in this Estate of Cap­tivity, until he please to break the [Page 60] Bands thereof and receive under his guidance.

Quest. What is the Estate of the Wilderness Spiritually?

Answ. It is an Estate of waiting for the guidance of the leader, of re­ceiving direction and Laws from the leader, of following the leader as he pleaseth to lead, through the En­tanglements, Temptations, Straits and Necessities, which he seeth fit to exercise the Spirit with, for the wear­ing out of that which is not to inherit, and for preparing the Heir for the Inheritance.

Quest. How is Faith and Obedience here exercised?

Answ. In waiting on the Light for the leadings in the Law of Life, and then in subjecting to the leader, being content with all his Dispensati­ons therein: with the time he chuseth for standing still, and with the time he chuseth for Travelling on, with the [Page 61] Proportion of Light and leading that he judgeth fit, with the food and cloathing which he prepares and pre­serves, with the Enemies which he sees fit to have avoided or encoun­tred with. Hereby the own Wis­dom, the own will, the own Strength, the own Desires, the own Delights, with all the murmurings, weariness and discontents, which arise from the earthly part, are by degrees worn out, and a pure Vessel prepared for the pure Birth to spring up and ap­pear in.

Quest. What is Spiritual Canaan, or the Heavenly-built State or State of the Gospel?

Answ. A State of Regenerating or renewing in the Life and pure Image, where the building is reared up which is made without hands, where there is a sweet and peaceable growth in the Life, and a fresh and sa­tisfactory enjoyment of the Life.

[Page 62]Quest. How is Faith and Obedience here exercised?

Answ. In abiding in the Vine, in drawing from the Vine, in returning the Sap and Vertue back into the Vine, and living according to the Will and in the free Dispensation thereof. Thus Works are excluded with Self from whom they proceed, and the Vine becomes all in all.

Quest, Are Egypt with the Wilder­ness and Canaan Spiritually as distinct Estates, as they were Litterally?

Answ. There are such distinct se­veral Estates Spiritually, wherein a man may be Spiritually in Egypt, and neither in the Wilderness nor Canaan. So there is an Estate in the Wilder­ness, which is out of Egypt and not in Canaan: and an Estate in Canaan, which is beyond both Egypt and the Wilderness. Yet these Estates in Spirit are oftentimes inter-woven, with the exercises thereof: insomuch [Page 63] as the Soul may in part, or in some respect (to his own understanding) be in Egypt, in part in the Wilder­ness, and in part in the rest, Life and Peace. But these things are not to be curiously sought into, lest a wrong Wisdom and Knowledge get up; but abiding low and little in the little Seed, the Kingdom and everlasting Inheritance grows dayly in the Soul, and the Soul dayly shoots up into it and is enlarged in it.

Quest. Is there any return back into Egypt or into the Wilderness, after the State of the Soul is advanced higher, the entrance into the everlasting Inheri­tance being administred, and the Soul partly taken into and having found a place of rest in the Life?

Answ. The Enemy lies near to deceive: and while he hath Power to tempt, if there be an hearkening to his Temptations, there is a depar­ture from the pure Life, and a re­turn [Page 64] of the Captivity or bewildering in some measure. In the Faith and in the Obedience to the Light of Life is the preservation, out of it is Death and Destruction Eternally.

Quest. Is not the pure being un­touched by Death and Destruction? and shall not the Creature, when it is Re­deemed into him, be as he is?

Answ. The pure being cannot be impure, evil cannot enter upon him, it hath no place in him, his nature ex­cluding it: nor can it enter into the Principle of Life that comes from him, and is always preserved by him: nor can it enter upon that man, who is begotten of that Principle, abideth with it and is preserved in it. But so to be in him, as to abide and not go forth is a great State, even higher then the first Adam knew.

Quest. But is not Light and Dark­ness, Good and Evil all alike to God? & shall they not be so also to him, who is in [Page 65] perfect Unity and Fellowship with God?

Answ. All the Light and Dark­ness, Good and Evil which can issue from the Creature, cannot reach God's being as it is in it self, but only so far as he hath pleased to expose his Life (in the various manifestations thereof) to be reached thereby. Yet his Eye seeth the Evil and the Good, the Perfection & the Imperfection, and his Nature is perfectly excluded from all Evil and Imperfection; in­somuch as he cannot possibly lie or deceive, or be unrighteous or un­merciful in any of his Dispensations: and that which is gathered into him, is thus one with him. But that which can do any thing which is sinful and evil in it self, is not in the true Unity with the Eternal Being, but in the deceit of that Spirit which Erreth from him, and centereth the creature in the imagined likeness of his Life and Happiness.

[Page 66]Quest. How far may Persons go, and yet be lyable to the Enemies snare?

Answ. Very far. They may come out of Egypt, they may pass through the Wilderness, they may receive an Inheritance or Portion in the Holy Land, they may have Houses and Vineyards which they Builded not nor Planted, they may have had deep Draughts of the Life, deep Incomes of the Love, large Riches of the Grace, and precious Tasts of the Fulness: They may have been in the Paradise of God, may have been Anointed by God, may have stood upon his Holy Mountain, and walked up and down in the midst of the stones of Fire, &c. and yet the Ene­my may have leave to tempt, and may find entrance for his Temptati­on, advancing above this Estate in the Deceiveableness, and increasing the Glory in the Eye of the wisdom which he steals in, and so hold the [Page 67] Spirit Captive in his Golden Chains, and lead it back again to the Cham­bers of Death.

Quest. How doth or can the Enemy prevail over Persons in so Glorious an Estate?

Answ. By opening a larger Eye in them, than is given them in the Life to see with. The Eye of Life is limited in man, and man is to be held within the limits and openings of Life, and his Heart and Mind to be bounded within the Desires and Delights, which arise from the Life: he is to wait on the Life for its living, moving and being all in his Being: and here he shall be large enough, and full enough, and wise enough, and happy enough. But there is somewhat which presents to him a Kingdom, a Riches, a Dominion, a Vastness of Perfection in himself & at his own command; the which he be­ginning to listen unto, the same opens [Page 68] an Eye in him to see the Beauty and Glory thereof, and then Immediate­ly his heart is taken, and he cannot avoid the snare: nor can he hence­forth know where he is, until that which he hath forsaken, again please to visit him, and to discover to him his Iniquity and Errour from the true Root.

Quest. What is the way of safety, when God enlargeth the Territories of Life in the Soul, and causeth his Love and Grace to abound?

Answ. To Drink the Draughts of Joy and Sweetness in the pure Fear and Trembling, not departing there­from in what ever it doth for God or receives from him, till the Salvation be wholly wrought out and perfect­ed, the Habitation of unspotted Love prepared, and the Soul led into, and seated in its compleat Mansion therein. And then the Name of Fear is no more heard of in the Land [Page 69] of Life, though the Principle from whence the Fear sprang, and the Birth and building (which was begot­ten, raised up, formed and perfected in the Fear) abideth for ever. So that the pure Love doth not cast out the pure Fear (wherein is no Bondage of the Life, but the preservation of the Life from the Bondage) but swal­lows it up and comprehends it: for the pure Fear is but Love descended, and the pure Love is but Fear ascend­ed, the Eternal Principle or Substance being one and the same in both.

Quest. Is there then such a State of Safety, upon which the Enemy cannot Intrench?

Answ. There is a State of such Union with the Life, as the Enemy cannot come between, where there is lying down and rising up in the Power of the Life, and no Beast of prey can make afraid any more; nor can any Root of bitterness spring up [Page 70] from within, to trouble or make any disturbance between the Life and the Soul any more.

Some Questions and Answers con­ducing towards the further manifesta­tion, and opening the Path of Re­demption and Eternal Life to the Eye of Spiritual Israel.

Quest. HOw doth the Son of God, or Eternal Word, in whom is the Light of Life, Redeem man out of the fallen Estate, out of the Kingdom of Darkness and Death, into the Kingdom of everlasting Righteous­ness and Peace in the Life?

Answ. Three wayes. First, by wounding him in the Natural and corrupt Estate, and so breaking his Peace and Pleasure in the Kingdom of Darkness and making him weary thereof. Secondly, By weakening him [Page 71] under the Teachings and Chastize­ments of the Law. Thirdly, By heal­ing and binding him up with the Oil of Salvation in the Power of the end­less Life, which is the Gospel.

Quest. How doth God wound him in the natural and corrupt State?

Answ. By pursuing him with his Light, which letteth him see what it is, discovering the Evil and Danger of it, and so weaning his heart from it, and making him look out after, and long for a Redeemer. O how Burthensome is the Captivity to the awakened Soul, when he hath a glimpse of what man was before his fall (when he had a place and being in the Life, with a Spirit suitable to the Life) and what he is now in his Estate of estrangedness and alienati­on from the Life, and whither he is going in his Paths of unrighteous­ness, estrangedness and alienation! And while his heart is thus turning [Page 72] from the Land of Death and Capti­vity, and longing after the Redeem­ing Power and Vertue of the Life, the Enemy (the Power of Darkness) layes load upon him, drawing him more and more under the Chains and Bonds of Iniquity to the utmost of its strength. So that now Lusts abound, Evils increase, Temptations and Snares multiply; and in the Land of Captivity their strength is great, the Soul weak and faint, and the Re­deeming Power and Vertue seems very far off. Now this is the Estate of Conversion; when the Lord, in the midst of the Powers of Death and Darkness, turns the heart from them towards himself, causing it to wait (under the Captivity) for the Appea­rance of the Arm of his strength, to break the yoke of the Oppressor from off the Necks of the oppressed, and so to bring out of the Land of Death and Darkness, into the Tra­vels [Page 73] towards the Land of Promise, where the Peace, the Life, the Liber­ty in the Lord, the Rest, the Joy, the full Content and Happiness is reaped by the Soul, which follows the Lamb thither.

Quest. How doth God weaken the Creature under the Teachings and Cha­stisements of the Law?

Answ. By exercising him towards Good and Evil, and correcting him for his unbelief and disobedience, as he finds good, just and necessary for him.

Quest. How doth God exercise him towards Good and Evil, and correct him?

Ans. When he hath brought him from under the Power of Darkness in some measure, and in some measure set the Spirit free there-from, by the Vertue of his Life springing up in the heart, then he exerciseth the Heart and Conversation towards the Good [Page 74] and from the Evil: then he giveth out Laws for, or against things, ac­cording as he findeth most Proper to the Estate of every Particular Soul. Now upon the giving forth of the Law (the Life being in some measure raised) there is that which loves its Teachings and pure Path, and there is that also which draws back from it; and that being yet strong, there come many strokes and Chastise­ments from the Lord upon his own Dear Child. And these are bitter; and to be forced into the Sin which it loaths and in Heart is turned from, and to be kept from the Good which it longs after, & in heart is United to, (partly by the strength of the Ene­my, and partly by reason of its own weakness and negligence) this is bit­ter also: insomuch as it cryeth out Day after Day, and findeth this Ad­ministration of the Law almost as heavy a yoke, as the Land of Capti­vity [Page 75] it self was, because of the weak­ness of it through the Flesh, and the strength and advantages which the corruption of the Heart and Prince of Darkness gather thereby.

Quest. What is the benefit of these Exercises upon the Soul?

Answ. They melt, they break, they make the Heart Tender and fit to be moulded by the Eternal Vertue and Power, into a Vessel for the Power.

Quest. What frames of Spirit do they work the Heart or Mind into?

Answ. Into very many precious Ones. As for Instance,

First, They make the Spirit poor. The daily inroads of Sin and Cor­ruption dashing against the Holy and Righteous Law of Life, the over­bearing the strong Desires after Puri­ty and forcing into the Defilement, hindring the Soul from doing what it loves, and making it to do what it [Page 76] hates and would not; this makes it become poorer and poorer, and more Afflicted Day by Day. Upon some Visitations of the pure Life and some fresh Vertue received, Oh how strong doth the Soul seem! but when it sud­denly Forfeits its Mercies, loses its freshness, and is Plunged deeper in the Pit than before, how poor and weak doth it then feel it self, Trem­bling at the next openings of the Life and Springings up of the Vertue thereof in it, not knowing what Weakness, Captivity, Entanglements and Misery from the Snares of Death remain to follow!

Secondly, They bring into a mourn­ing Estate. They fill the Eyes with Tears and the Heart with Sorrow, yea they cause an entrance into the House of mourning. To be accustom­ed to Wounds, Bruises, Snares, grieving of the Spirit, provoking of the Deliverer, furthering and giving [Page 77] Advantages to the Enemy, &c. the sence of this overwhelms the Heart with grief, and causeth continual Sorrow and Lamentation to that which is upright towards God.

Thirdly, They bring into a meek, merciful and Tender-hearted frame to­wards others. He that is tempted, he that often falls, and is so often woun­ded and made miserable, he pitties those that err, he mourns over the mi­serable. His heart is broken with the Sins and Afflictions of others, and he knoweth not how to be hard to­wards them, feeling such continual need of abundant mercy himself. It is the rich man, the sound man in Religion, that is rough and hard: but he that is once throughly melted in the Furnace and made up again, is made up Tender, and retaineth the impression of the Meekness, Love and Mercy for ever. Now a broken Estate in Religion, or a state of wait­ing [Page 78] for the Life is much more preci­ous, than that which is rich and full by what it had formerly received and still holdeth, out of the Immediate feeling and fresh Vertue of the Life.

Fourthly, They bring into an hun­gry and thirsty state after Holiness and Righteousness. O how the Soul, that is sensible of its filth, longeth to be washed! how it panteth after the Pastures of Life, the food of Life, the living Waters: to appear before and enjoy God in the Land of the living! O how doth the heart, that is dayly afflicted with its Unbe­lief, and Disobedience, long for the Faith that stands in the Power, and the Obedience that flowes from the Power! O Teach me thy Sta­tutes, shew me the pure Path of Obedi­ence in the way of Life, guide my feet in the way everlasting: O write thy Fear in my Heart, that I may not depart from thee: Create a clean heart in me, and put thy Spirit within me to be my strength. [Page 79] O continue thy Loving-kindness to them that know thee, and thy Righteousness to the upright in Heart. O what un­utterable Breathings dayly issue out from the broken Spirit, towards the Spring of its Life!

Fifthly, They bring into a pure frame, into a cleanness of inside. Cleanse first the inside of the Cup and Platter, said Christ to the Pharisees, and he doth so in his Disciples. With the mind I serve the Law of God, said Paul when he cryed out, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver! It is not conceiveable what purity of heart is Formed by God in his Israel, by the fire which he kindleth in his Sion, and by the Furnace which he setteth up in his Jerusalem: for though in the Furnace the Dross still appears, the sight whereof is apt to grieve and af­flict the precious Heart, yet the melting and purifying sweetly goes on, and the Soul (which abideth the heat) is effectually cleansed thereby, [Page 80] as is very manifest afterwards, when Righteousness springs up with the quiet Fruit thereof; but this cannot be discerned, while the flames are dis­covering and taking hold of the Un­righteousness.

Sixtly, They bring into a Patient Frame; fit to bear Reproaches and Persecutions from the World, who in the midst of all this weakness (misery and distress) lay load upon the Poor Soul, Persecuting him whom God hath smitten, and speak­ing to the grief of him whom God hath wounded. God smites for want of Obedience, for too much pro­pensity to please the World, for not coming soon enough out of their Customes, Vanities, Earthly wayes and Worships: and so soon as the Heart and Conversation is given up in Obedience to the Lord, the World is discontent, and they smite and Persecute because of the Obedience. Now the more the Spirit is broken [Page 81] by the hand of the Lord, and taught thereby to fear him; and the less strength it hath in it self, to grapple with the Persecuting Spirit of the World, the fitter it is to stand in God's Counsel, to wait for his strength and preservation, which is able to bear up its head, above all the rage and swelling of the waters of the worldly Spirit in the men of this World.

Much more might be said, but this may suffice. What is behind will be felt inwardly, as the Soul waits on God in the leadings of his Spirit, through the Teachings, Chastise­ments and Distresses of the Law.

Quest. With what kind of things doth the Lord exercise the Spirits of his Israel, to bring their hearts into these and such other like precious frames?

Ans. With several sorts and kinds of things both outward and inward. As,

[Page 82] First, With oppositions, reproaches and interruptions from the earthly part, both in the men of this World and in themselves. There is abun­dance within and abundance without to resist, disdain and interrupt the Work of God in the heart to oppose and withstand that which he hath be­gotten there, his leadings of it and its Obedience to him.

Secondly, with Temptations from the Enemy, even of many Kinds, Natures and Degrees, according to the present temper and Condition of the Soul: as either to doubt and so despaire, or be Confident in the Flesh from Knowledge received, out of the pure Fear and fresh feeling of the Life: so again either to halt and draw back, or to be over-hasty and forward: so likewise either not to obey and Act for God, or to Act in that Will and Wisdom which is a­gainst God. Now these, with such like, are very Numerous, Frequent, [Page 83] and sometimes very violent [...] [...] ­petuous.

Thirdly, By withdrawings o [...] [...] Life and sweet presence of God [...] the Soul. These are very frequ [...] from the Lord towards his peop [...], insomuch as he is called by this Title; "the God that hideth his face from the house of Jacob," Isai. 8.17. chap. 45.15.

Fourthly, By Buffettings and pre­vailings of the Enemy. When the Spirit is grieved, the Life wounded and withdraws inward, the Enemy often gets ground, giving wounds and causing Bruises to the Soul; not onely tempting, but finding entrance and taking in the snare the Bird, which once escaped & was delivered.

Fifthly, By doubts, Fears and confused reasonings concerning the voice of God and the voice of the Enemy. In the hour of Darkness (when the Lord seeth good to let forth the Power thereof, and to with­draw the Beams of his Light) how [Page 84] [...] [...]at be clearly distinguished, [...] alone is known and seen in the [...]? how can the motions, draw­ [...] and pure low-workings of the [...] be discerned, from the false Images and Transformings of the Enemy? O the misery and anguish of the Poor Soul in this Condition! how is the Poor upright-heart pained between Faith and Unbelief, Obedi­ence & Disobedience, &c, not know­ing when it is drawn forward or Back­ward, or by whom!

Quest. When do these exercises be­gin, and how long do they continue?

Answ. The Lord doth begin to exercise the Soul even in Egypt: for after the Promise (of Deliverance from Spiritual Pharaoh) the bonds in­crease, the yoke grows more heavy, Pharaoh grows more Violent and Fu­rious, the Captivity increaseth much; but there is no sight of Redemption at all, save to that Eye which is weak and easily over-born in Israel. But [Page 85] the exercises are much more full [...] sharp in the wilderness, where Is [...] is led about, tried, afflicted, c [...] ­sumed Day by Day, as if he sho [...] never come to the Holy Land, [...] any of Israel be left to enter therei [...] ▪ Yea in Canaan, in the rich possession, in the plenteous overflowings of the Life, there is still somewhat left to try Israel and bring him low with, if at any time he be exalted with the Glory and fulness of his own Estate, and begin to forget his God.

Quest. Why doth God thus exercise his Israel? why doth he lead them in such a knotty, and not in a more easie and ready way to the everlasting posses­sion, and to the fulness thereof?

Answ. Because their Estate and Condition requires it. They could not be so purified and fitted for the Life, their Vessels would not be so inlarged to receive it in, nor they so safely enjoy it, were it not for this course of Wisdom, wherein God [Page 86] [...]ises and tryeth every cranny of [...] Spirits, until he hath perfected [...] and stopped up the entrance of [...]th every where.

Quest. How do these exercises puri­ [...] and enlarge them?

Ans. First, They try the strength and vertue of the Life in them, and discover to them their further want thereof. In the time of the Soul's prosperity there seems to be enough: but the Day of distress maketh mani­fest the Estate and Condition as it is. Then the Faith, the Love, the Pa­tience, the Meekness, the Constancy and Chastness to the Spouse (loving him, and cleaving to him above all, and in all) many times is found to be less, then it was judged to be.

Secondly, It brings to a waiting on God for support, and for receiving of more from him. Then the Life breaths vigourously, and the Soul hankers after, cleaves to, and sees its need both of the presence and in­crease [Page 87] of the Vertue of the Life. Then he that was rich becomes poor, and he that was full becomes empty and nothing: yea he that had enough to live on and to spare, is now pressed with hunger, want and penury.

Thirdly, It prepares for a clear [...] entrance into and safer enjoyment of the fulness. As the Soul is more emptied of the strength and Riches it received from God: so it is more prepared to enter into and live in the pure Being it self. For nothing can live there, which Vails. In the Life God was, and is, and is to be all in all for ever. That therefore which enters there, and lives and abides there, must be poor, empty, naked, nothing, and remain nothing for ever. As it gathers any thing from the fulness and becomes any thing in it self thereby, it is shut out.

Quest. How doth God heal and bind up that, which he hath wounded and broken to pieces with his various and frequent exercises?

[Page 88] Answ. By opening the Power of the endless Life, in the Vessel which he hath throughly purified and pre­pared, and filling it with the Power. The free Power of Life, that's the Gospel. To the meek, to the broken­hearted, to the cleansed it is Pro­mised: and when the work of clean­sing is finished, the wound made wide enough and kept open long enough, and the Death to the first Husband fully accomplished, then the perfect oyl is perfectly poured in, and everlasting health and Sal­vation obtained. This is the end, which God Aims at in the Visitations and leadings of his Seed: happy are they that pass through the Vail of Misery, and drink off the dregs of the Cup of Trembling, not fainting nor sitting down by the way, but fol­lowing the faithful Shepherd and leader of Israel, till they Arive here.

Quest. What is the great danger in the Path of Life?

[Page 89] Answ. The great danger is of As­cending a step higher, then the pre­sent Estate and Condition will bear: for by this means the aspiring Mind gets up, and is exalted and holdeth somewhat received from the Life, out of the pure fear which preserves the heart clean, and out of the senci­ble feeling which keepeth fresh and living to God; and then the simpli­city is betrayed, and a wrong Spirit lives, and a wrong Eye is opened: so that there is nothing now but Whoredom from the Life, and the heart exalted and conceited in the way of its Whoredoms, as if it were the pure Bed and most excellent way of enjoyment of the Life.

Quest. What way is there of preser­vation here-from?

Ans. Watching to the Life, keep­ing low in the fear and close to the feeling. Here the aspirer is shut out, or soon espied at his beginning to [Page 90] enter, and then the living Cross re­ceived, which Crucifieth and driveth him back. And indeed there is no way of safety in the Travels towards the enjoyment of Life, or under any enjoyment before the state of per­fect Death, but under the Cross to that Spirit and Nature which would dwell there, and please it self there­with, and be somewhat therein, and so forget the pure everlasting Spring. Adulterating with the streamings forth of it.

Man was made for God, to be a Vessel of his pleasure, and to receive his content, Enjoyment and Happi­ness by reflection. So that man's pro­per work was to watch to the spring from whence he came; to be dis­posed of, ordered, and to be ac­cording to his pleasure. This was Natural to man before his fall, till a corrupt spirit by deceit entred him & corrupted him. And while any thing of that corrupt spirit or fallen nature [Page 91] remains, he is apt to aspire in the Self­hood, and to seek the enjoyment of what comes from the Fountain (yea and of the Fountain it self also) in and according to the will and Wisdom of the selfhood. And here let man re­ceive what Gifts soever from God, be advanced to never so high an Ha­bitation in the Land of Life, yea have the very Fountain it self given him, yet by this means he will corrupt, lose the Gift or Spring, be separated from it, and Adulterate with what he can still retain or gather in his own Principle. And here do deep Travellers lose their way, fal­ling from their Portion in the Land of Life and from their enjoyments in the Paradice of the Pleasure of the Life, into the earthly and sensual Spirit, holding things wisely and richly there in the earthly Principle, not knowing the remove of their Habitation thither, nor thinking that they are there.

[Page 92]He that readeth these things, let him not strive to comprehend them, but be content with what he feeleth thereof suitable to his own present Estate: and as the Life grows in him and he in the Life, and he comes to meet with the things and exercises spoken of, the words and experiences concerning them will of themselves open to him, and be useful and ser­viceable to him so far as the Lord pleaseth, he keeping to the leadings, savour and Principle of Life in in himself, wherein alone his know­ledge, sight, growth and experiences are safe.

Now he that would travel safely in Spirit unto the Land of Life, let him wait to have these things follow­ing, written by the Finger of God in his heart, and the sence and Im­pression thereof preserved fresh in him.

First, It is the Free Grace of God [Page 93] which begins the Work of Re­demption, which causeth the Light to shine, which worketh the Re­pentance or turning from the dead State, and also the belief in and turn­ing towards the living God.

Secondly, It is the same grace a­lone, that can preserve and cause the Plant of Grace to grow. If there be a withdrawing of the Light, a with­holding of the free influence, that which depends thereupon cannot re­tain its freshness: which the Lord may do as often as he pleaseth, for the chastisement of the Rebellious part, or for the Tryal of his Pure Life and Vertue in his Plants.

Thirdly, The grace of God visiting the Soul in the Death, in the Darkness in the fallen Estate, begetteth Life a­new in it, maketh it in some measure Light in the Lord, openeth an Eye in it to see the things of God, an Ear to hear and distinguish between the [Page 94] sound of Life and of Death, an heart to turn from and refuse the vanity, and to turn towards and abide in the living Substance.

Fourthly, The Spirit of God car­ryes on the Work of Redemption by drawing, leading and acting the quickened Soul, by exercising that which he hath begotten in the Life, under the Law of the Life. Thus the Life draws the Soul dayly nearer and nearer towards the ever­lasting spring, and from the fading emptiness of Sin, Vanity and the Creature-hood; and the Soul, by the enlivened Vertue, dayly follows on after the Life, in the leadings, Spirit and Power thereof. There is a living Soul begotten by the Vertue of the Grace, and the living Soul dayly lives in the Grace, and travels in the Vertue thereof from the Unbelief to the Faith, from the Enmity to the Love, from the perversness to the [Page 95] Straitness, from the Iniquity to this Righteousness, even from all the territories of the Darkness, and also from the weak Measures and De­grees of the Grace and Life towards the Fulness it self, even until it per­fectly Center in, and be fully filled therewith.

Fifthly, Where there is a stopping of the Vertue received from the Grace, and not an Answer of it in the heart, there the Work of Re­demption is stopped. If the Soul fol­low not in the drawing, the drawing is lost, as to it. If the Ear open not to hear the voyce of the Word, or if it be not mixed with Faith in the heart hearing, it proves ineffectual. If strength issue forth from the Lord, yet if the Soul receive not the strength which issueth forth and Bubleth up in it, or answer it not in giving up to it and Travelling on, the Soul abideth where it was at least, if [Page 96] it also retire not backward from that Estate and Condition, whereto the Life had advanced it: for if the Ver­tue of the Life and Grace be refused, there is an advantage given to Death to re-enter, and gain ground by its contrary Vertue and Power.

Sixthly, Mark therefore diligent­ly, how the Lord doth carry on the Dispensation of his Love and Free Grace, even as if there were much done by the strength and Diligence of the Creature. What wounding of it self by Repentance! what striving to believe! what wrestling against Enemies and for the Influen­ces of the Grace, and to keep the hope up and the distrust out! what strict watching and waiting, even as if the Creature did work out its whole Salvation!

Seventhly, Though the Creature seemeth to do much it self (having received Life from the Grace, and [Page 97] acting abundantly towards God in the Grace) yet it is the Grace and Vertue which comes from the Crea­tor (who is also the Redeemer) which indeed doth all: for though the crea­ture repent really, and turn from the Darkness with its whole heart, yet the Repentance is of the Vertue which flows from the Grace, and not of the creature which receives the Grace: and so likewise is the Faith, the Love, the Obedience, the Meekness, the Patience, the Watching, the Waiting, the Hoping, &c. Yea the very receiving the Grace, is not of the creature, but of the Grace: for the creature is dead, until it be visited by the Grace; and by the Visitation of the Grace alone is made alive, and able to receive it.

Behold then the mystery of Re­demption. God is all in Redemption. God doth all therein as fully as in Creation (it is a new Creation) even [Page 98] the whole Work thereof; yet the creature quickened and renewed is in Unity with him in his Operations, Phil. 2.12, 13. He whose Eyes are opened can read the Mystery, and in true understanding say (if he hath been led and hath proceeded so far) I am able to do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me; yet not I, but the Grace of God in me. Now to bring the creature to this, the Lord exerciseth it dayly in Obedience un­to him, in the Life and Vertue which floweth forth from him, causing it to feel its weakness as it forgets the Vertue, or aspires to live of it self on the Vertue received, out of the sen­sible feeling of its Dependance upon the Spring. And indeed, the Vertue that comes from God can alone An­swer God, and the creature is onely accepted with the Spring and Father of Life, as it is found therein.

Quest. But if the Work of Re­demption [Page 99] be wrought by God's creating Power, how cometh it to meet with so many rubs and interruptions, and some­times overturnings? can any thing stop God's Creating Power?

Answ. So far as God absolutely pleaseth to Create, nothing can stop or hinder: but the entrance of that, which he beginneth to Create, into the creature and its getting a being there, as also the growth and pre­servation of it there, may be hindred by the force of Spiritual Enemies, if the Lord please to permit, or by the grieving and provoking of that Free Power, which alone begetteth and preserveth Life in the Heart.

Object. Then the Work of Redemp­tion is not carryed on by an absolute free-creating Power.

Answ. The Creating Power and preserving Power is the same, but the work is somewhat different, both in the outward visible Creation, and in [Page 100] the inward New-Creation. The preservation of that which is Created and Planted (unto its growth and Perfection) is by the same Power which Created and Planted: but ra­ther in a way of Care, Industry, Art and Skill, than of such Immediate Force and Power, though by the ex­ercise and putting forth of the same Vertue and Power.

There are Three things in Re­demption.

First, There is the issuing out of the Free Grace, Love, Vertue and Divine Power towards the Crea­ture.

Secondly, There is the opening of the Estate of the Creature thereby, convincing and drawing it out of the Alienation from the Life, towards Unity with the Life.

Thirdly, There is the following of the creature after the Life, in the quickening Vertue of the drawings, [Page 101] through all the Snares, Temptations, Diversions and Oppositions of the Enemy.

Now there is no hindring of the issuing forth of the Free Grace to­wards the creature, or of those con­victions and inclinations of the crea­ture to follow, which necessarily en­sue thereupon. But the Pursuit and Progress of the creature (or its abi­ding with the quickening Vertue and Power) may many wayes be inter­rupted and diverted, and so the crea­ture drawn from under the influence of the free Covenant: for though the Covenant be free, yet the creature onely partakes of it, as it is drawn in­to it and preserved in it.

Therefore let those Fear, who feel the Power and Redeeming Ver­tue, and know, that notwithstand­ing the free and certain Promise to the Seed, yet the creature is as Clay in the hands of the Potter, which may [Page 102] be made a Vessel of Honour or Dis­honour, as he pleaseth to favour it or take occasion against it. And who ever would pass through the Work of Salvation and Redemption, unto the Salvation and Redemption it self; in the living Vertue received from the Life, let him keep fast hold on the good Pleasure, and in it give all diligence to make his Calling and Election sure, working out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling, because God worketh in him both to will and to do of his good Will. And walking diligently and industriously in this Path, he may attain the Seal of the Redemption, even that Mark which can never be worn out, and to full Assurance of Faith in the Re­deeming Power: though it is also possible for him afterwards, through much negligence & grieving the Spi­rit whereby he was sealed, to lose the sight of the Mark and the comfort of [Page 103] the Assurance, which was once fresh and clear in his Spirit.

For a close at this time, I shall add a few words concerning the Unity of God's Grace (or free Light of his Spirit) notwithstanding the various Estates and Conditions of man whom it visits, and the variety of its Ope­rations.

There is a threefold state of Man, wherein the Grace of God vi­sits him.

First, The Gentile-state, or state of Nature.

Secondly, The Jew-state or Ad­ministration of the Law, wherein God takes him under his own Tuiti­on, making known his will to him, and requiring Obedience of him: and not only so, but also directs him to the inward Teacher, and to the Principle of the pure Fear, which is the place of Wisdom's teaching and instructions.

[Page 104] Thirdly, The Gospel-state, or state of Faith, where the Principle is rai­sed, the Seed lives, and that is felt springing up, known and enjoyed, which does the Will and receives the Promise.

Now in all these the Law, the Light, the Life, the Wisdom, the Power is one and the same; but the Administrations are different.

In the Gentile-state or state of Na­ture, the [...]ight which man receives there (to discover Evil and work him into Good) is of the Spirit and by vertue of the Promise. For he had been everlastingly shut up in the Darkness, had it not been for the Promise: and it is for the Promise sake and from the free Grace, that he hath any Visitation in the state of Nature, and any desires after or lead­ings towards the good and from the evil; which spring not nor can spring from corrupted Nature, but from [Page 105] the free Fountain of the new Life.

In the Law-state the Light grows more clear, the Teacher is there dis­cerned and acknowledged, his draw­ings, warnings, instructions and re­proofs felt more distinctly, and the Soul (that is watchful) continually exercised therein.

In the Gospel-state the Principle of Life is raised, the promised Seed come, the Power which doth the Will received, and the Light of Life entring into and possessing the Ves­sel.

Now this is the whole of Man, to wait on the Ministration of the Life to him in his present-estate, whether he be yet in the estate of Nature, or under the Law or under Grace. To know whence his Redemption springs, and to wait on the Redeem­ing Arm for the beginnings, progress and perfecting of it: And if he be in the feeling of that Vertue, it is [Page 106] enough: or if he be but kept long­ing and panting after it, it is well: yea, if there be but a desire in him after a thirst, there is hope: nay, if there be but the least feeling of his dead, bar­ren and sensless Estate, there is some Life in him, which the Lord loves and will find a time to express his bo­wels towards: yea, that which is wholly in the Darkness and shut up in the Pit, the Lord hath bowels in him towards, and after many dayes may please to visit. Oh the height, the depth, the length, the breadth of the Riches of the Mercy and Love of God! who knows his yearning to­wards Souls, and his wayes of visiting and redeeming! O my Soul, hope thou in the Lord for evermore, and leave not breathing towards him, till thou and his whole Creation be filled and satisfied with him; and then fetch the full breath of Life in him for ever.

THE END.

A Post-script.

I Have been Treating of the In­ward Work, as it is wrought in the heart by the Power, and brought to the sensible Experimental Knowledge of the Creature; yet would not be so understood, as if I made void what was done without by Christ in his own Person, or any of those ends and purposes for which it was wrought, and appointed so to be done by the Father: though this I know, that the knowledge of those things with the belief therein, or any Practices and observations therefrom without the Life, can no more pro­fit now, than the Jews literal know­ledge of the Law could profit them, when they were rejected therewith. And since the Apostacy, of this lat­ter [Page 108] Age especially, I have clearly seen in the Spirit of the Lord, that the Professors Knowledge of the Letter of the Gospel, and cleaving to their apprehensions which they gather therefrom, is become a Snare and Trap to them, to keep them from feeling the Power, and living in the sensibility of the Vertue of the Grace, even as the Jews Table (or gathered knowledge from Moses and the Prophets) became their Snare and Trap. The Lord open their Eyes in his due time to discern it, that they may not withstand that Mini­stration and Revelation of his ever­lasting Gospel, which God seeth good to visit the Apostatised world with, after this long dark night of the Apostacy; whereof those that stick in Forms, or knowledge of things from the Letter without the Power, cannot but prove the greatest [Page 109] Enemies, Opposers and Persecu­tors.

Now to help them a little, if the Lord please, in the rouling of my bowels towards them I find my heart opened, to lay a few things before them.

First, With my heart, in the sight of the Lord do I own that Principle, which formerly wrought in some of them, which I my self was wrought upon by, and knew not onely the outward knowledge which they were acquainted with, but also the inward work: and I also knew what I called the Light of Nature, and what I called the Light of the Spirit, the one whereof was not the other, but differed as far as Spirit and Flesh.

Second [...] I also own all the Open­ings and Refreshments which they received from the Lord in reading of the Scriptures, in their Publick or [Page 110] Private Exercises, and the Experien­ces which they had from God in their own hearts: and I know that these things in themselves were true, in their Proportion; however their pre­sent sence, and holding of them out of that wherein they received them, may justly be judged by the Spirit of the Lord in his Servants.

Thirdly, Though those things were true in their day, and in their Proportion and Measure, yet in them they might lose their vertue and die; and so they not retain the thing in its Life, in its own Principle, in the newness of the Spirit, in that Birth to which God gave it, but onely an Image of it in the Natural under­standing, in the earthly part, in the dead Principle: and then their knowledge of God and their Experi­ences cannot but be corrupted, and now become the possession of Death, and the Engines of Death in their [Page 111] hearts. Again, God had somewhat further to manifest, even to bring forth that, which they so earnestly prayed for in that Day; which they, having abided in that Vertue wherin they prayed, might easily have dis­cerned and embraced: but being out of that, and pleasing themselves with the litteral knowledge of the things they then received, holding them in the wise earthly part, that part cannot but stumble at the low and contemptible Appearances of God, which are still offensive to that part. The great Glory of God is hid in a little Seed, and how can the great Eye of the fleshly-wise see it? We have Moses and the Prophets, said the Jews after the Flesh; But as for this man, we know not whence he is. Even so it is now: We know the Re­lation which the Scriptures have gi­ven of Christ by the Apostles, we are sure this is of God, say the Pro­fessors; [Page 112] but as for this little Seed of the Kingdom, or Light of God in the heart, we cannot believe that all we want is to spring up in it.

Now Fourthly, there is a neces­sity both of the knowledge of Per­sons to pass away, and also of their Experiences to be given up and let fall, in these two cases following.

First, When the Vertue is with­drawn from them, when Death hath caught them, when they become Death's goods. For that which is received from the Life, is onely profitable to the Soul in the vertue of the Life. When the earthly part hath caught them and seated it self there, they then become the strong holds of the Enemy, and the Engines of Death to the heart; so that then Life and true Relief is not to be had in them, but where the Eternal Ver­tue pleases next to appear.

Secondly, When God hath some­what [Page 113] to bring forth further in the world or in any particular heart, to make way for it, he brings Death upon that which was before living. Thus when God is pleased to bring forth a greater Measure of Faith and Power of his Spirit, he distresseth the heart, making the fore-going Faith and Power appear weak and pass away, and many times for a season shutteth up the Soul in the un­belief, until the Fresh Faith and Fresh Power spring up and arise. And this causeth the necessity of the further Dispensations of his Eternal Vertue to appear, and the Beauty of them to shine, which they would not have done so abundantly, had it not been for the fore-going distresse of the hea [...]

The [...]e yet some things further weighty upon my heart to lay before them, needful for them to consider of, which may be serviceable and [Page 114] helpful to them in their present Con­dition, if the Lord please to open their hearts and impress them there­on. They are four Propositions, relating to the right Knowledge of the things of God, which are these following.

First, That the Knowledge of the things of God comes from the Spirit. As the Scriptures themselves came from the Spirit: so the true Know­ledge of them is alone given, to any man which receiveth it, by the same Spirit. And no man living can know the mind of the words which the Spirit spake, but as the same Spirit which spake them, gives the mean­ing of them.

Secondly, That the Knowledge of God (the living Knowledge the ser­viceable Knowledge) is [...] held in the Spirit and in the Birth which is of the Spirit. Man's natural part is not the true Treasury, nor is man's Reason [Page 115] to be Master of any of the things of God's Spirit; but that which holds the Knowledge of the Kingdom, the Grace of the Kingdom, the living Experiences, is that which is born of the Seed of the Kingdom; and man's Reason is for ever to be shut out of the things of God, further than it bowes, is limited and sub­jected.

Thirdly, That the Knowledge re­ceived from the Spirit, is still to be tryed by the Spirit. The Spirit alone can keep it living, and the Spirit alone can tell whether the Life and Vertue be still in it, or whether Death hath caught it: whether it be Manna fit for the Soul's Food; or Manna once given, but now corrupted. O my Dear Friends, wait to under­stand my Experience concerning this thing, which is this. That which I had certainly received from God, and which the true Birth at first had [Page 116] fed on, the earthly Birth would be catching at, laying hold of, and trea­suring up to feed on at another time. Likewise in my reading of the Scri­ptures, I lay open to this great snare of reading in my own will, and of ga­thering from thence in mine own un­derstanding, & so growing wise con­cerning the things of God after the Flesh: for though, at that time, I was not without living Knowledge and Experiences of God, yet I knew not how to turn from the Death, nor to keep to the Life; and so the bad, the lean, the earthly, the ill-favoured overgrew the good and wel-pleasing to God, and brought it into bitter misery and Death. O that ye knew being begotten of the Will of the Father, and keeping the Will of the Father, & receiving the Bread dayly from his hand. That which man con­ceiveth concerning the Scriptures, is not the pure Milk of the Word, but [Page 117] that which the Breasts gives out: that is it which hath the Immediate Life, Vertue and true Nourishment in it. And this must be returned back into the Treasury, and not held in the earthly part, in the earthly will and understanding, but received from the Life again when it is again need­ed: yea, this have I often known, that when I have been in great di­stress, I have received fresh comfort from the Lord: but running to that afterwards, it never was able to comfort me, but more deeply woun­ded me. And thus hath the Lord been Teaching me to live upon himself, and not upon any thing received from him, but upon the Life it self, the Mercy, the good Pleasure, which Proportions out the living Bread dayly to the living Birth.

Fourthly, It is easie receiving of Knowledge in the earthly part, in the [Page 118] earthly Wisdom, out of the Spirit and living Vertue. When one readeth a Scripture, it is easie conceiving and apprehending a meaning ones self, or taking in another man's meaning; but it is hard abstaining from all con­ceivings and reasonings of the mind, and waiting for the pure Will and Opening of the Spirit therein. Also it is easie retaining of Knowledge, and making use of it in the will and wisdom of the earthly mind (for both these are natural) but it is hard denying the reason, the thoughts and imaginations, and watching to the Spirit.

O Professors! wait for the living Appearance of God, even for the freshness of his Spirit in your spirits, that in that which cometh from the Spirit ye may know the Spirit, and may also know how to turn to him and abide with him, having the [Page 119] watch set against that wisdom in your selves, which in all Ages and Gene­rations is eternally shut out of the things of the Kingdom, although it may gather, get and hold a vast Knowledge of the things of the Kingdom in the earthly Treasury. Thus Fleshly-Israel hath the Wisdom of the Letter, but Spiritual-Israel the Wisdom, Vertue and Life of the Spirit in all Ages and Generati­ons. And though he that is born after the Flesh, despiseth him who is born after the Spirit, yet this is God's Heir: and the bond-woman, the earthly wisdom, with all her Children (even the greatest Giants in Knowledge, Profe [...]n of Re­ligion and Scripture o [...] [...]) must be cast out, and [...] Inherit the Land of Life. This is written that that might be raised in you by the Power, which is to Inherit the [Page 120] Life Eternal: and ye not find your Souls deceived when the Light of that Day fully opens, which hath al­ready dawned.

I was in a poor low Condition, when the Lord formerly visited me; as lost, as undone, as miserable as any. What Knowledge, what Life, what precious Vertue I then re­ceived, was from God's Grace; which was still his own, and he might call for it at his pleasure. And surely, he which hath received from the Fountain, ought to trust and to give back again to the Fountain, when he calleth for it; and then to remain Empty▪ Naked and Desolate, until he be [...] freely visited. This is an hard [...]ss [...]n, who can learn it? Who can trust his Life with the Fountain, and lie open to what fol­lows? Yet this did the Lord require of me: and my heart being not [Page 121] willing to part with my Life, but striving to retain it, and grow in the first way of the Dispensation of the Grace unto Perfection, he brake it after an unutterable manner, and brought such a Misery & Desolation upon me as I could not possibly have suspected, having been sealed by him. And now he is Teaching me to live more fully upon his Grace, or rather upon the Spring, where I am nothing, where I can be nothing for ever: but he is and will be what he will be, and when he will be; and nothing in me can be satisfied with him, but what is of him and lives in him. And here all that I have known, or formerly tasted of him, springs up again at his plea­sure; and I drink of the old Wine and also of the new, but have no­thing at my own dispose. And when I catch at any thing or would be any thing, I lose the Spring and [Page 122] am Corrected for my Backsliding and Adultery of spirit, but am still again visited with fresh Love, and the springings up of the fresh Power and Life, and fresh Visitations of the rich Mercy and Grace, which the everlasting Fountain naturally openeth in its own. The Pearl is exceeding Rich, the Treasure of Life unutterable; and he that will possesse it must sell all for it, even all his Lusts and Corruptions, yea all the Riches of his Nature (the best of his Will, the best of his Wisdom most refined) nay not onely so, but all the Riches of his Spirit, all that he hath held or can hold out of the Life. Then, when he is poor in Spirit, and hath no­thing in himself but emptiness, no­thing so much as to receive or retain the Life, but what is formed, grow­eth up in, and is preserved in the Life according to its own meer will [Page 123] and good pleasure; then alone is h [...] fit to be comprehended and brought forth in the Eternal Spring. Per­fectly happy is he, who is perfectly possessed thereof: yet he is not with­out a Proportion of blessedness also, who is mourning after it and Tra­velling towards it; which can never be attained by the Natural Part's re­taining the Letter of any Spiritual Revelation or Knowledge, but one­ly by beginning in the Eternal Ver­tue, abiding in it and Travelling from Death to Death, and from Life to Life, till all be slain which is to die and perish in the way, and all be raised and perfected which is to receive, and live in the Kingdom and Crown of Life for ever; which the Lord layes before all to run af­ter, but none but the Spiritual Seed (begotten of and abiding in the Spirit) can obtain. Mind then this brief Summ.

[Page 124]The lost Creature, the undone Creature, is graciously sought after and visited by the Fountain of its Life and being.

Being visited with the Mercy and Grace, and impressed, it receiveth somewhat of the Grace and Living Vertue from the Fountain.

Having received somewhat, the Creature is apt to retain it in the Creaturely Vessel (even in the own will, and to inlarge the own Wis­dom thereby, and so to become somewhat again in it self) forgetting the Spring.

As the Creature retaineth any thing in the Natural part out of the Immediate feeling of the Living Vertue, it corrupts, it Adulterates [...] the living Spring.

[Page 125]And that, which any one hath thus Adulterated with, must be taken from him, and he be made dead to it, and it to him, before he can be re­covered into a Living State, fit to enjoy what he formerly received, or further to receive of and grow up in the fresh Living Vertue.

THE END.

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