[Page] A Weighty Question, Proposed to the KING, And both HOUSES of PARLIAMENT: Together, with some QUERIES ABOUT RELIGION, For the good of mens Souls, that they may seek after, and be established in that which gives Life.


LONDON, Printed for R. Wilson, 1663.

A weighty Question, proposed to the KING, and both Houses of PARLIAMENT.

The Question is this which followeth:


VVHether Laws made by Man, in Equity, ought to extend any further, than there is power in man to obey? Is it not cruel to require obedience in such cases, wherein the party hath not a capacity in him of obeying?

Now in things concerning the Worship of God, wherein a man is limited by God, both what Worship he shall perform, and what Worship he shall abstain from, here he is not left at liberty to obey what Laws shall be made by man contrary here­unto.

The New-Testament Worship is to be in Spirit and Truth, which is a principle above man's reason, and cannot righteously be limited by a lower principle; but the lower principle in every man should be subjected to the higher, both in himself and others.

These things I write, not in pride or conceitedness, but with an humble heart and in love, that God may have his due, Cesar his, and all men theirs, and that Wrath from God may not break forth upon this Nation: for surely it cannot but greatly provoke him, to see his People so deeply suffer, for their obedience to him in what he requireth of them.

I am a lover of Peace, Truth and Righteousness, and an hearty desirer of the Welfare and Prosperity of this Nation, and that it may no more be broken up in the Wrath and Indignation of the Lord; but that the peaceable and righteous Seed, which he hath [Page 4] sown in the hearts of many, may be quietly suffered to grow up, to the praise of the Lord, and to the good of mankind.

This is from one, who was a Mourner over You in your af­fliction, and is now also a Mourner over those whom ye afflict. I. P.

Some Queries about Religion.

Query 1. VVHat is true Religion? Is it a gift from God, bestowed on those whom he begets by the power of his Life? Or, is it a profession or worship of the nature of this world, which a man by natural parts and industry may attain to, as well as to other things?

Query 2. What is the sum and substance of the true Religion? Is it not Love from a principle of Life? Is it not a travel out of the Enmity of the creature, into the Love of God? Doth not the Light of Life spring in the Love, and gather into the Love? Doth not Christ revealed in the heart, and leavening the heart with the savour of his Life, teach love to Enemies; to bear with them in love, to seek them in love, to forgive them in love, to pray for them in love, to wish good to them, and wrestle with God for mercy towards them, even while they are hating and persecuting?

Quer. 3. Are the Papists, or Protestants, or any other sort of religious persons, found in this Love? Do they manifest by it their Discipleship to Christ, and the Power of Christ in them? or rather, do they not set up their several Forms, and maintain them in wrath and enmity against each other? Nay, would they not destroy each other, if they could? Surely this spirit is in too many of them. And doth not this give a strong evidence against their Religion, that it hath but a Form, and not the true Power in it, and that in heart they are not the Disciples of Christ? for if they were such, they would of him learn the Love.

Quer. 4. Whether any Form of Religion (if not held in the [Page 5] Power, and subjected to the Power) doth not fight against the Power, keeping up an outside shew without the substance, and thereby crushing the substance? What form of Religion, at this day in the world, can suffer the Love to grow, and the Life to lead and rule in the Love, and the Lord of Life to exercise his Authority in the hearts and consciences of men? And this is for want of Power within, and because of Forms forcibly set up without: for the Religion of the Gospel began in Spirit and in Power, and it never can be restored and preserved, but by the same Spirit and Power. The renting of the Protestants from the Papists was no further good, than it was in the power of the Life: and the renting of others from the Protestants is no further good, than it is begun and held in the same Power: Nay; any Party, though beginning never so uprightly, and by never so true and clear a leading of the Spirit of God; yet so soon as it begins to invent and turn aside to a Form of its own chusing, and is up­held by the reasonings and understanding of man, it presently corrupts.

Quer. 5. Whether the power of Religion (and the true Love) if it were raised up and restored again, would not make the world happy, and set every thing in its proper place, both inwardly and outwardly? Is not Sense an excellent thing in man, if it be guided by Reason? And is not Reason a much more excellent thing, if it be guided by an inward Principle of Life? But Sense left to it self, without the guidance of Reason, how bruitish is it? and Reason left to it self, without the guidance of a Principle of Life, falls below Sense. How cruel, how blind, how selfish, how unrighteous is man, that follows the dictates of his own corrupt reason, without knowing and becoming subject to that which should enlighten it, and give him the right use thereof!

Quer. 6. Whether God will restore Religion again in the Power? whether he hath such a work to do in the world? and whether the time be near, that God is about such a work? and whether he hath already begun it, and made any progress in it? Is there such a thing as the Power of Religion sought after? Do men grow weary of their Forms of Worship, and find them emp­ty, and unsatisfactory to the hungry soul, that pants after life? Nay, have there not been some touches and appearances of Life [Page 6] and Power, and of the true Love in some poor, weak, despised ones? O that men knew the times and seasons, and then per­haps they would see, that this is not a day for setting up of Forms, but of longing and crying out after Life and Power.

Quer. 7. When God restoreth Religion and raiseth it up in power, whether then Forms and Wayes of Worship without the Power, must not needs wither and decay? When the Power first appeared in the dispensation of the Gospel, did not all the shadows of Moses's Ceremonies fly away and vanish before it? And when it appears again, shall not all the shadows and inven­tions of man, which have sprung up since in the time of the Night, vanish before the brightness of the Light of the Day? Where the Power ariseth in any heart, what becomes of the man there, with all that springs from him? where is his wisdom? where is his former Worship? what becomes of all his Forms of Religion? do they not all moulder and come to nothing, and he become as a little child, to be formed again in the Power of Life, and born of the Spirit of Life, that he may enter into God's Kingdom? Do not all the old things pass away, and new things spring up from the Seed of Life, which God sows and pre­serves in the hearts of his by his Power?

Now, who is wise to understand these things? who hath the Key to open the Mysteries of Life? who knoweth the times and the seasons? (the times and seasons of Forms, and the times and seasons of Life and Power?) Who seeth what God is about to do in the world, and prepareth his heart for his administra­tions on the earth? Who is a friend to God, and to mankind, and willing to travel in spirit out of this dark, corrupt, earthly state of things, into the heavenly nature and being, where man was at first, from whence he came, out of which he departed, and can never be happy till he return thither again; and can never return thither by his own strength and reason, but only by the power and leadings of God, revealed in him in an inward Principle of Life? And he that will follow this, must first feel it in his heart, and then turn his back upon the earthly nature and wisdom, and war against his own corrupt reasonings, in and with the Light of the Principle of Life, as it ariseth and is fur­ther and further made manifest in his heart, through the Grace [Page 7] and Mercy of God, which thereby offereth its help to miserable lost man, to redeem him out of his misery and undone estate.

Man hath a time to hear allotted him by God: and when that time is over, it is determined concerning him. He is a Seeds-man in this world; and what he sows here, he must reap hereafter. He soweth either to the flesh or to the Spirit; either to his own will or to Gods will. He followeth either the ways of his own heart, or of Gods spirit. He either feels the power of Religion, and is renewed thereby and fitted for God, or contents himself with a form without the Power, and in effect remains what he was.

He that is renewed, he that is changed in heart and life, he that soweth to the will and nature of God, shall inherit life with God. He that liveth in a form of Religion without the power, and followeth the vanities of his own mind (going out of this world unrenewed and unfitted for God) shall be cut off from God, and lie down in sorrow and anguish of soul, where he will bitterly bewail his mis-spent time, and the losing of his souls life and happiness, for the injoying of a few earthly lusts and pleasures, suitable only to the earthly nature and spirit, in its corrupt and degenerated estate.

O man, whoever thou art, that art drowned in the lusts and pleasures of this world, which answer only to the sensual and corrupt part; O remember that thou hast also a precious soul, which wants redemption, by the power of God, to make thee happy. And one day this soul will be awakened in thee, and when it is awakened it will feel its want of God. This is the day of Gods stretching out his Arm to thee, O slip it not out, for if thou dost, Terrible will the day of thy awaking be, and thy misery unavoidable and intolerable. And if now the pains of thy body be so dreadful to thee, what will the tearings of thy soul be by the wrath of the Almighty? Lay it to heart and retire inwardly, seeking to feel somewhat of God gathering and guiding thy soul, out of thine own worldly nature and spirit, into the nature and life of his Spirit, that thy soul (at present seperated from God and drowned in the earth) may return to and be happy in the center of life, from whence it came. For there is a center of souls as well as of the earthly nature: and the spirit of man re­turneth [Page 8] to God that gave it, as well as the body to the earth. And then the Lord appointeth it to its proper place, which is ac­cording to the nature it is found in. If it be Wheat, if it be of the renewed nature, if it hath taken up the Cross and followed Christ in the Regeneration, then he gathereth it into his Garner. If it be of the chaffie nature, of the earthly spirit, the mind remaining unrenewed and unreconciled to the Nature of God, then to the unquenchable fire (even to the fire which will burn and scorch unquenchably) and to the worm which dieth not, but gnaweth per­petually, and bringeth to mind all the former vanity & nis-spent time, to encrease the heat and flames of the fire. O where is the soul, that if it were not wholly bewitched and lulled into a dead sleep, by the stupifying spirit of this world, would run so great a hazard, for the enjoying of a few momentary pleasures in the sensual part, and lose thereby the inward enjoyment of Peace and Reconciliation with God here, and of the pleasures of his Kingdom of true Glory afterwards.

Now for a close, let me say one word (in the upright love and true good-will of my heart) to this present generation, that they may consider and take heed (if possibly, if possibly) it is this.

Even as a Father after the flesh, is tender of the Children he begets according to his nature, and would not suffer them to be wronged or destroyed, if he could help it: So is the Lord tender of those whom he begets in the Nature of his Life, and in his due season will appear for them as surely as he is God, and as surely as he hath begotten them out of the worldly nature unto himself, by the Spirit and Power of his Life. Therefore, O touch not any whom the Lord hath in the least measure anointed with his holy oyl: For what is done unto the least of these poor, naked, sick, imprisoned ones, &c. he looketh upon as done unto himself; Be­cause he is one with them in the sufferings of their flesh, whom he hath made one with himself in Spirit.


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