FAITH IN GODS PROMISES, THE Saints best Weapon: OR, The great Use and Availableness of Faith, both for the support and growth of Saints in times most perilous. Plainly discovering that the want of Faith in the way of Gods Promises, is the great cause of the want of Gods Presence. With several Considerations for the encrease of Faith, that henceforth the Saints may by Faith▪ so draw nigh unto God, and in Faith so wait upon God, as with certainty of receiving from him. Whereunto is added something concerning the great Errour and Mistake of many men concerning the True Christ, and how he is said to be in his People; with other things very necessary to be known in order to Saints resisting the Temptation of the present Times.

Set forth as (useful for all People, but) especially intended for the good of such as are returned to the Good Old Way of the Lord, By MATTHEW CAFFYN of Horsham in Sussex.

And it is of Faith, that it might be by Grace, Rom. 4.16.

LONDON, Printed by S. Dover, for F. Smith, at the Eleph [...]nt and Castle, without Temple-Bar.


Christian Reader,

FOrasmuch as there are many among the number of Profes­sors, that have somewhat considerably laid out them­selves in a Holy pursuit after the more excellent degrees of Christianity, hoth frequently and fervently, seeking the Lord in order thereunto, who nevertheless yet remain short thereof; and much below the desired estate, to their great dissatisfaction, even, sometimes tending to the begetting such temptations as are of a very dangerous consequence: These things therefore write I unto you, whereby you may (as some already have) come to see that there is one thing yet much lacking, even Faith, to believe that God is a gracious Rewarder of them that seek him; without which, 'tis impossible to please God. For though it be true that men have alwayes spo­ken of, and readily acknowledged, Faith to be that, which great­ly engages Gods grace and goodness for their help; yet Oh! how far have men been from living by Faith indeed, so as to esteem Gods Promises their ALL in every condition, and at all times? Whereupon these also are to direct you unto such enlargednesse of heart in believing Gods Promises, as may with certainty reach the prayed-for Blessings from God; that so having sweet experi­ence of Gods Faithfulness to your Souls, you may be encouraged [Page] for the future, and made able to say (with the Saints of old) I love the Lord, because he hath heard my Supplications; therefore will I call upon him as long as I live, Psal. 116.1,2.

But as there are some who have diligently sought the Lord, that, for want of believing him to be a faithful Rewarder of such, have notwithstanding been much without the things sought for; so also there are some, yea, very many that are apt to say (with Israel of old) that no evil shall come unto them; and very confident, that the Lord is among them, that have indeed no real ground to depend upon the Lord; such and so great are their miscarriages to God-ward, as that their seeming Faith and Confidence is ren­dred thereby to be meer imaginations, groundless perswasions, and so they found such as think themselves to be what they are not, and so are deceived: These are therefore also to discover and lay open their great miscarriages and corruptions, even in such perfor­mances of theirs, as are supposed by them to be the best of their a­ctions, that henceforth they may upon better terms draw nigh unto God, even so as that they may enjoy Gods drawing nigh unto them, which is the onely real cause of Soul-satisfaction.

True it is, that the dayes wherein we live are perilous, and much more may be; yet sure may you be, that no condition may possibly befal you, wherein you may not by Faith so lay hold of Gods Promises, as nevertheless to be greatly supported, and in­wardly comforted: Wherefore above all things take the shield of Faith, and in every condition let the gracious Promises of God be the ground of your hopes, and no longer visible things; that the presence of the invisible God may be (with all certainty) experien­ced by your Souls: Which, that you may, is, and shall be, the Prayers of,

Your Brother in the Lord, MATTHEW CAFFYN.

FAITH IN GODS PROMISES, The Saints best Weapon.

IN the beginning when God made the Heavens and the Earth, it seemed good in his sight, to make and or­dain Mankind to be head over all other his Crea­tures; to whom he freely gave the glory of Paradise (a present possession of happiness) which he (during his innocency) enjoyed, not as an inheritance first obtained upon con­ditional terms, but as a free gift, given him of God, without any con­dition required of him in order to his first entrance thereinto, Gen. 2.8,15,16. Which possession when he had lost by his tra [...] ­gression, and thereby made himself and all his posterity sub [...] the first death; such was the Fathers love, as that he freely gave his Son (in due time) to dye for the world, that is, for every man, Heb. 2.9. By means whereof was procured a Re­surrection of all men from the first death, with the gift of Eter­nal life, and glory, 1 Cor. 15.22. Mat. 19.14. Which gift of eternal (and more excellent) life, was as freely given to Man­kind, now since his fall, as was that first life of happiness in Paradise, before his fall; not upon terms or conditions, nor any fore-seen Faith in, or works of Righteousness done by the Crea­ture; but meerly, and alone the goodness, and richness of grace dwelling in God himself, moving him thereunto: which life of glo­ry all mankind have right to, and are in sure capacity thereof, du­ring their infancy (wherefore, of such, saith Christ, Mat. 19.14. is the Kingdom of God) till by their own personal transgressions they procure to themselves the severity of Gods wrath; that is, the se­cond death, which is Eternal, John 3.19. Rev. 20.14. Under the desert of which death, all persons quickly come; all goes out of the way, following the lusts and desires of the flesh, which draws, and vehemently inclines to its first estate of present pleasure, ease, and delight, which mankind enjoyed (while he stood in his first [Page 6] created estate) without those many bodily miseries which now at­tends them, which flesh and blood would fain be freed from; and so it comes to pass that in all men, in one measure or other (accor­ding to every mans experience) there ariseth such natural lusts, and desires in the flesh, as greatly provokes them to follow after these present things, and too too often prevails with them to break the known Laws of God, that something (like to their first enjoyments) might be attained: but to follow the present glory of this life, so as to delight in, and love the same (though once lawful for Adam in Paradise, who undoubtedly might then as well love, delight, and take pleasure therein, as Saints may take pleasure, and delight in the heavenly glory, when in the real possession thereof, though then lawful, yet (I say) is not now lawful for the posterity of Adam, because God hath now commanded (as in very reason 'twas meet) that mankind, having lost (by sin) the glory of present enjoyments (once enjoyable in Paradise) and Christ having freely purchased a more excellent, even, a Heavenly and Eternal glory; (I say) God hath now commanded that mankind should deny themselves and take up a Cross: that is to say, that men should not now follow their own natural lusts, which so greatly inclines to this present world, but should deny and cross them, and settle their affections and delights upon the more excellent estate of glory, purchased by the Lord Je­sus, 2 Cor. 5.15. Col. 3.2. And therefore the sons of men now following the natural lusts of the flesh, become by nature the chil­dren of wrath; led by the Prince of the power of the Air, who also stirs up them to follow their own lusts and hearts desires, with endeavours (by deceit) to enlarge the same; and thus all men go out of the way, there is none Righteous, no not one.

But such, and so great was the Fathers love to the world, consi­dered thus miserable, lying under the burthen of their own personal transgressions, as that he willed, and accordingly commanded (by the Lord Jesus) that the Gospel should be preached to every Crea­ture thereof, Mark 16.15. that is, The Glad-tydings of the Par­don, and Remission of their sins, so as that whosoever of the world (thus miserable by reason of sin, now repenteth of the same) be­lieveth and is Baptized, shall be saved, Ver. 16. But this purpose of God concerning Election (that is in English, choosing out) all such as believe to life Everlasting, was not in the least arising from, or begotten in God, by, or because of any fore-seen Faith in, or works of Righteousness done by the Creature; but meerly, and alone from the purpose of his own gracious Will, nothing in man [Page 7] first, or last, moving him thereunto; for the purpose of God according to Election is not of works, but of him that calleth; I (with the A­postle) bear Witness, Rom. 9.11.

And whereas the glory and excellency of Gods presence, is such, as cannot admit of any unholy or unclean thing; for that Cause his Decree of Election or Predestination, reaches the holy Ones, or the number of Believers onely; and not because God saw any worth or excellency in mens Faith, or Holiness, whereby to provoke him thus graciously to decree, but according to the good pleasure of his Will (saith the Apostle) hath he Predestinated us, (that is in English) fore-appointed us unto the Adoption of Children, Ephes. 1.5.

Now whosoever of you (that bear the name of Saints) hearing this so gracious Gospel of Jesus Christ, did in your hearts acknow­ledge the truth thereof, verily believing, that there was remission of sins to be had in Christ; And that Christ therefore (being the Ju­stifier, and so the most amiablest Object in the World) was most worthy your affections, and Soul-desires, and thereupon resolved (with godly sorrow for the sins past) for the time to come to serve him with all affections and faithfulness, and no longer your selves; and so committed your selves to his grace, confidently depending upon him, for that which you verily believed was to be had in him, even the remission of your sins, and eternal life; whosoever of you have So believed in Christ (publickly professing the same by being Baptized, that is in English, Dipped in his Name) by Faith you were justified from all your sins (past;) and being thus reconciled, the gift of eternal life, freely purchased by Christ Jesus for you, with­out any respect of Faith fore-seen in you, or any condition required of you in order thereunto; I say, the gift of eternal life remained your portion.

This Faith being professed by you, next thereunto (O Friends) you may remember, that you with others, and others with you, and for you, made application to the gracious God by Prayer and Suppli­cation, with the Laying on their Hands (according to the Scriptures speaking in that case, Heb. 6.12. Acts 8.15,17.) That you might receive the holy Spirit, by the gracious supplies of which, you might be both furnished to continue the Faith professed, and also to bear much fruit therein to the honour of him, who had called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

But since 'tis the receiving of the holy Spirit, and not the bare ask­ing of him, nor the much talk of him, that makes men thus happy, and the more and more receiving of him that makes men, men in­deed, [Page 8] even strong in the Faith; it remains a work (none of the least) for all such who have so believed, and so practised, well to consider what they have received from God, and how they may come to re­ceive more from him; for it were a lamentable weakness (even greatly tending to the provoking of God) for men practising as a­foresaid, to rest, and lye still secure, as if all were well, barely be­cause they have called upon the Lord for his holy Spirit, when (for a long time) they know him not received; nothing of this work upon their own heatts, whereby they can declare to others, what the Lord hath done for their Souls. David (that heavenly pattern) being in the profession of the Law of God, rested not in that, but followed hard after the Lord therein, Psal. 63.8. to whom having diligently sought, and Prayed often, he abode waiting upon him, till the Lord gave him ground to say to his Soul; Return unto thy rest, O my Soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee, Psal. 116.7. and as elsewhere he saith, Psal. 63.8. Thy right hand upholdeth me. How good a thing were it for Professors in this day, to take pattern here­by, so as henceforth not to content themselves, in that formerly they have prayed (with subjection to the Laying on of Hands) for the gift of Gods Spirit; nor in that they continue (sometimes) yet to pray for the same, for most surely 'tis the known hand of God upon the Soul, that onely can give real cause of satisfaction, the certain experience of Gods bountifulness renders poor Souls (otherwise rest­less) to be at rest and true peace: And then how boldly may such speak of Gods goodness to others, having themselves sweet experi­ence of his goodness to their own Souls? And how boldly may such stand up and exhort others to keep under, and mortifie the deeds of the body; they in the mean while knowing the deeds of the Body mortified in themselves, through the operation of Gods Spirit upon their Souls? Yea, and how boldly also may such reprove them, that shall notwithstanding live after the flesh? whereas otherwise the re­proof of the reprover, reflects and sticks fast on himself; and not onely so, but there is this mischief also attending, even that thereby the fleshly part in the reproved, hath occasion given it to follow its lusts; and so how great are the retortings and reflections of such up­on the reprover?

Sure I am that for men to have, long after the practice of Gods Ordinances, no other plea nor ground, to contend for the same be­fore Adversaries, but barely because such Ordinances are spoken of in the Scriptures, is that which verily tends to discouragement, and Soul-faintings therein; yea at length to say, (with those careless ones [Page 9] of old) What profit is it that we have kept his Ordinances? Mal. 3.14. When as men hearing the Gospel of Christ, which promi­seth rest and peace to the Soul, through the Remission of sins, with the gift of Gods Spirit; have thereupon subjected to the Gospel with such a renewed mind, as would not be satisfied with hearing of the good things thereof, till they were able to say, that as they had heard, so they have seen; that which was promised, our Souls have tasted; rest and peace we know, the fruits of Gods Spirit we experience, &c. Whenas (I say) men, thus following hard after the Lord, have this knowledge of Gods goodness and powerful pre­sence in his Way, as a great Argument, together with Scripture Ar­guments, to embolden them to contend for the Way, and to esta­blish them against all oppositions.

'Tis common amongst men to look upon themselves, discharged from duty of love to such Beggars, who after their asking for Almes, shall presently turn their backs, and mind other matters of trifle, more than their reasonable waiting to receive what they have asked for. Now may any so much as once think, that God will turn his face (in love) to such, who sometimes shall ask of him Spiritual Almes, but presently are found (as it were) turning their backs to the Throne of Grace, and not waiting there; as if their receiving of Grace were little minded by them (which is onely the Christian mans life) but rather other things more, meer trifles, compared to what they have asked for of God; their hearts (may be) running af­ter covetousness, as the hearts of Israel were, who neverthelesse would be spreading forth their hands before God, but they flattered him with their lips, and lied before him with their tongues, and he re­garded them not, Psal. 78.36. May any (I say) once think that God will turn his face (in love) to, and not rather withdraw him­self far from such, as persons greatly unworthy of his benevolence to whom he is no wayes engaged by promise to do any thing for them, since they come not up to the terms of his goodness? Sure­ly, delay to consider these things is very dangerous, even nigh to, an irrecoverable estate.

There hath been indeed much contending for this Principle of Laying on of Hands, and great pains taken both by speaking and wri­ting for the same; and I bear them record, that they therein have had zeal for the Truth (for so I do, and hope ever shall, believe it to be) but (alas!) their zeal hath not been according to true know­ledge; if they have not as well, yea, and much more too, in the mean time, endeavoured that the great end of this Ordinance might be [Page 10] obtained, to wit, the sanctification, strengthning & guidance of their Souls in the Truth of God; without which both their subjection to the Doctrine thereof, and also their much pleadings for the same, would be of no effect.

But I hope better things (at leastwise of many) though I thus speak, being perswaded that there are such who (knowing them­selves in a justified Estate through faith in Christ) have a clear sight and deep sence of their souls wants, as not knowing how to live, nor to work in Gods services, without the gracious supplies of Gods Spirit: (which sight and deep sence of want is seen through their great (Heaven-born) desires to honour God, which desires springs from their Souls great love to God, which love in them to God-ward, is begotten by Gods great love first to them, 1 John 4.19.

And that these hereupon have a very high esteem of Gods spiritual presence (being the true Bread from above, which onely will satis­fie their Souls born from above) valuing it far above the presence of all things whatsoever, seeing more worth and excellency therein, than in any thing of the world. True it is, that most Professors confesse and talk of such things, but these experienceth the same in their Souls, and so their Righteousness exceedeth the Righteous­ness of those many lifeless and senseless Professors, who as much as others talks of these things, but knows it not in themselves.

And that these hereupon do greatly desire the presence of Gods Spirit; and so both frequently and fervently are found praying for the same, lifting up holy hands to the Lord, and (being in Davids sence) with all earnestness (David-like) beseech the Lord to make hast for their help, and to make no tarrying, Psal. 40.17.

And that these, till the Lord doth visit them with the special Graces of his Holy Spirit, are found mourning before the Lord, and greatly complaining against themselves, as being wonderfully short and low in their own apprehensions, as to what God requires, and which they know is due to his Name: Wherefore their souls (like David, Psal. 77.2.) refuseth to be comforted with any thing, though the very chiefest of this worlds enjoyments; they looking upon themselves as such who want all things, while the supplies of Grace is wanting.

And that these, during the time that the Lord withholds the visi­tations of his Grace, are not onely continuing in Prayer, but walking therein, communing with their own hearts, and (like Da­vid in such a case, Psal. 77.) making diligent search, fearing least there should be some secret sin, for which cause the Lord may for­bear to draw nigh to their Souls.

And that these (while in this capacity) think it not much, but ra­ther delight to spend dayes in the Closet, there to humble themselves with Fasting and Prayer before the Lord, not as Pharisees do, to be seen of men, neither as sluggards do, because they read that Saints formerly did, and now sometimes doth so; but purely and zealous­ly are led out thereunto, from that vehemency of desires and Soul-affections which they experience in themselves, after the more ex­cellent estate; for as God hath graciously opened their understand­ings, to know that there is an excellent estate attainable; their sa­tisfaction is not in the knowledge thereof, nor in the much talk thereabouts, nor in the ready Confession, that the same is excellent, and of a special goodness (as is too much the satisfaction of some) but rather in living the life thereof, even, that their Souls may be spiritually framed, nnd wonderfully strengthened with might, both to the pure doing what is spiritually good, and also to the renouncing of the hidden things of dishonesty, 2 Cor. 4.2.

Now forasmuch as there are such that are found (to some conside­rable degree) thus prizing, and so following hard after spiritual Blessings, that thereby they (having so far tasted of the Lords good­nesse, as to know themselves in a justified estate from sin by his Grace) might now for the time to come bear much fruit to the ho­nour of his Name; who notwithstanding yet come short, and are much below that more excellent estate, which they have longed for, and which is certainly to be attained: These are therefore to inform (or remind) all such, that there is yet one thing much lacking, namely, Faith, or the stedfast believing Gods Promises, graciously made in order thereunto; for they that come to God, must believe, not onely that God is, or that he is diligently to be sought unto; but also that he is a Rewarder of such as thus seek him, (mark) you must believe (saith the Apostle, Heb. 11.6.) shewing plainly, that notwithstan­ding what measure soever of holinesse in point of conversation, dili­gency of seeking, or importunity of praying there is, unlesse it be accompanied with faith in the Soul, that God will reward, accord­ing as he hath Promised, all other virtues found in the Creature will not reach the desired Blessings from God; For without Faith 'tis impossible to please God.

To which also agrees the Advise of the Apostle, saying, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of Faith, &c. Heb. 10.22 Moreover, I will, (saith the Apostle) that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting, 1 Tim. 2.8. Shewing that it is not enough for men to lift up holy hands to God, though [Page] attended also with Charity, so as to be without wrath (both which are very special things) unlesse attended also with that (more special) vertue of Faith, so as to be without doubting; not enough (I say) whereby to reach the prayed-for Blessings from God: for as 'tis the duty of Saints alwayes to be ready to do Gods Commandements, thereby to acknowledge and declare him to be the Supream, and Almighty God; so also 'tis their duty al­wayes to be ready to believe Gods Promises, thereby to acknow­ledge and declare him to be a just and faithful God; for they that receive his Testimony, sets to their seals that God is true, John 3.33. Both which being experienced by the Prophet David, caused him boldly to pray, and confidently to conclude, that he should not slide, saying, Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in mine integrity, I have also trusted in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide, Psal. 26.1. Both which also being found in the Prophet Daniel, did (as it were) fetch from God an extraordinary power for the stopping the Lyons mouths, so as that he had not (though among them) the least hurt? And why? Because of his innocency towards God and man, Dan. 6.22. and because he believed in his God, ver. 23.

True it is, that God hath promised his Spirit to them that ask him; but 'tis worthy all observation (and I pray you to mark) what kind of asking it is, which the Promise is made to; which you may observe from Christs own words, where he saith, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them, Mark 11.24. To which agrees Pauls Testimony, to wit, That we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit, through Faith, Gal. 3.14. Plainly discovering what kind of Prayer it is, Gods ears are open unto, which I wish all your hearts may be open to consider, even that it is the Prayer of Faith, that reaches the Blessing from God, whereby to strengthen the weak and sickly Soul: for when Gods Pro­mises shall be so magnified in the heart, as that (like Abraham) there shall not be so much as a considering the deadness of its own body, (that is to say, its own weakness and inability to bring forth fruit to God) but shall confidently relye upon his Promises, considering that he is both able and willing to cause the barren womb to bear (even, the unlikeliest of men, the base things of the world, things that are not, to confound the things that are, even, the Wise and Prudent of the World) surely, Gods ears are open to hear the Prayers of such, they shall not go empty away; but rather (as 'tis written) shall be like the Tree planted by the waters, that shall not see when heat cometh, whose leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year [Page 13] of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit, Jer. 17.7,.8

When Israel of old distrusted the help of the Lord, and so went down into Egypt for help, the Lord spake unto them, saying, In quietness and confidence shall be your strength, Isa. 30.2,3,15. Shew­ing, that if Israel had been quiet, so as not to have stirred for Egypts help, but in confidence (or Faith) stayed upon the Lord, he (even the Lord) would have been their strength and Salvation, so as that they needed not to have feared, though an Host had risen up against them; but (alas!) because of their unbelief, God could do no mighty work of deliverance for them; for, said they, We will flee upon Horses, and ride upon the swift; and therefore God (in his wrath and great displeasure against them) said, That those that should pursue them should be swift, a thousand (of them) should flye at the rebuke of one, and the shadow of Egypt should be their shame, ver. 3, 16, 17. and he would wait that he might be gracious, ver. 18. If peradventure, when they had tasted of his Judgements, they would thenceforth believe in him, and confidently relye upon him, that so he might be their strength.

So much to do hath Faith with the powerful Vertue of the Lord, (it being the Lords pleasure that it should) as that when the Wo­man, that had an issue of blood twelve years, was cured by means of the Vertue that was in Christ, he casts her Cure upon her Faith, saying, Daughter thy Faith hath made the whole, Mark 5.34. So likewise the Sanctification or Cleansing of the heart, is ascribed un­to Faith, Acts 26.18. Yet not in the least, as if Faith of it self, or in its own strength, could sanctifie or cleanse any heart (or cure any mans body) for that is the proper work of that spiritual Vertue and Power which is in the Lord: but inasmuch as the good pleasure of his good Will is, that the same powerful vertue shall serve for the cure of none, but such as shall touch him by Faith, whereby to draw the Soul-healing Vertue from him; therefore 'tis said, that through Faith men are sanctified; and kept by the Power of God through Faith to Salvation. So tha notwithstanding the readiness, and great willingness that there is in God, to cure the distempered and disea­sed Souls (as his many Promises and gracious Protestations in order thereunto plainly declares) yet unless they shall make selious and [...]arty Applications unto him, together with a holy dependance up­on him, and a serious waiting in Faith for the same; they may ne­vertheless remain very much out of frame, and greatly unhealthful in their Souls; there being not ground otherwise for the Lord (the great Curer of Souls) to say, Sons and Daughters, your Faith hath [...]ade you whole.

When the Church of the Hebrews were likely to faint in their Minds, the Apostle (being greatly desirous of their holding out) could find no better way (it appears) then mightily to presse them to a close dependance upon God by Faith; and therefore he begins his account from Abel, who through faith obtained witnesse that he was Righteous, and being dead, yet speaketh; and so down to Enoch, A­braham, and the rest of the Fathers and Prophets, who through Faith obtained a good report, wrought Righteousness, obtained Pro­mises; mentioning many other also, as well extraordinary as ordi­nary deliverances obtained by Faith, and yet he mentions not all he could touching the Power of Faith; for himself saith, That the time would fail him to tell thereof, Heb. 11. Now what less is there to be learned, by this so large an account of the Apostle touching Faith, then that Faith is somewhat more concerned in the receiving spiritual Power and Divine Light from God, in order to their stand­ing and thriving in his way, than any other thing (on the Creatures part) whatsoever? As elsewhere, the Apostle mentioning divers pieces of Armour, wherewith Christians are to be attired (not one of which but that is of special concernment) yet (saith the Apostle, Ephes. 6.16.) Above all things take the s [...]ld of Faith, wherewith you shall be able (through the Grace handed to the Soul by Faith) to quench all the fiery Darts of the wicked; for none of them that tru­steth in the Lord shall be left desolate, saith the Prophet, Psal. 34.22. So much doth Faith carry the sence and scope of the Gospel-Cove­nant, as that sometimes the Apostles called it, the Faith, as you may read, Jude 3. Act. 6.7. Gal. 3.23. And it is of Faith (mark it I pray) that it might be by Grace, Rom. 4.16.

Now then if it be so, that mens prayers to God, though never so many or largely performed, renders them not happy; but that their happinesse consists in their receivings from God what they have prayed for; and that the way (proposed by God) wherein persons may come to receive from him, is not onely for them to lift up Holy hands to God, but that also they be without doubting; that is to say, such as believe that they shall receive what they have sought for; it remains a weighry work for every Gospel-professing Soul, well to consider of what nature and kind their applications have been, which they have made to God; considering that his grace and good­ness is no otherwise engaged for their Souls help, but as they shall rely and depend on him, to receive the same by Faith: which con­sidered, and believed as true, may well remove all doubts and su­spicions concerning the way of God, which sometimes arise in the [Page 15] Professors thereof, upon the account of so little received from God; for undoubtedly the Lords hand is not shortned, his way he hath not left, his Promises thereunto are Yea, and Amen, in the Lord; but alas! How short have men been in coming up to the terms of his goodness? That part of Gods Word which consists of Command­ments, men indeed have been somewhat busied about; but as for that part which consisteth of Promises, Oh how little hath it been minded! they have been indeed often read of, and sometimes tal­ked of; But how are they that have seriously pondred them, and in their hearts magnified them, so as to wait in, and live upon them, counting them all things to them, in every condition?

Hast thou then (O thou that out-strippest some others in thy zeal after spiritual things) hast thou (I say) often visited the Throne of Grace (as a work most pleasant to thy Soul) beseeching the Lord to draw nigh to thee, in the large givings forth of his Grace to thy Soul (well knowing that without it all thy drawings nigh to him is nothing) and hast thou there waited in the sight of the worth and excellency thereof, and so in the sence of thy great need of the same; thy Soul (as it were fainting, and thine eyes (like the Pro­phets) failing for the Word of God; that is, the Word of his Pro­mise to be fulfilled to thy Soul, saying (with him in thy Soul-long­ings after the desired Bread from above, to refresh and strengthen thy Soul, born anew from above) when, Lord, wilt thou comfort me? Psal. 119.81,82. (I say) hast thou thus waited upon God, and art thou yet often with God in thy most solemn and serious Medita­tions? O do but now give the Lord, (who waiteth to be gracious, being as willing to do good, as thou art desirous of good) give the Lord (I say) ground to say to thee (as once the Woman of Canaan, Matth. 15.28.) O man, great is thy Faith; and then, O then will the Lord readily say to thee, Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt: according to thy faith be it unto thee. But if otherwise, the account will be a sad and doleful account, even, that the Lord could do no mighty work of love for thee, because of thy unbelief, Matth. 13.58. Mark 6.5,6. O that all were wise (that bear the name of Saints) even with the Wisdom which is from above: So that the bare knowledge of these things, or the much talk (or preach­ing) of them to others, might not be their satisfaction, but that all would rather carefully and speedily endeavour to know, and be satis­fied, that they themselves doth so wait upon God by Faith, and con­sequently doth so receive from him, which to know, and experience within, is real cause and ground of peace, and Soul-satisfaction.

In order whereunto, even, that Faith may grow and flourish in your Souls, consider (O Friends) whether we are not to believe that a Son shall be given, when God hath promised it, without gi­ving the least heed, to what the deadness of body on either hand may say? Rom. 4.19,20.

Are we not to believe that the promised Seed shall be as the Stars for multitude, when God hath spoken it? Gen. 15.5,6. notwithstan­ding all the fleshly opposition arising from the Commandement to slay Isaac, the onely promised Seed, from whence the multitude should come forth.

Are we not to believe that the Israel of God shall be brought into the good Land, flowing with Milk and Honey, when God (that cannot lye) hath spoken it, notwithstanding all the gain-sayings of the red Sea before, and the Egyptian Host behind?

Are we not to believe and confidently to expect a great plenty, even, a measure of fine Flower for a shekel, and two measures of Bar­ly for a shekel, and that so soon as to morrow, when the Lord God hath spoken it, 2 Kings 7.1. notwithstanding the many and great oppositions and contrary speakings of this dayes poverty, even, that an Asses head is sold for fourscore pieces of Silver, and the fourth part of a Cab of Doves dung for five pieces of Silver? Chap. 6.25. And was not unbelief in this Promise the cause of sudden Judgement ta­king hold upon the mighty man, upon whom the King leaned? Chap. 7.2,19,20.

Are we not to believe that the mighty Hosts of the Midianites, and Amalekites, who for multitude are as Grashoppers, and their Camels as the sand by the Sea-shore, shall be put to flight, when the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it, notwithstanding all the strong reasonings of flesh and blood (that is for walking by sight) because there is no more than three hundred men allowed by God to do it? Judg. 7.

Are we not to believe that the Meal in the Barrel, and the Oyl in the Cruse shall not waste nor fail, when the faithful God hath spoken it, though never so much contradicted by the nature of flesh and blood, because that at present it is but a handful of Meal in a Barrel, and but a little Oyl in a Cruse? 1 Kings 17.

Are we not to believe that the great Walls of Jericho shall fall down flat, there being a Promise of God that they shall, without giving any heed to the many fleshly gain-sayings, because of their height, or great strength, or because of the low means (as blowing in Rams-horns) appointed of God in order thereunto? Josh. 6.

The sum of all which is, whether such as have attained to a state [Page 17] of Justification from their old sins by Faith in Christ, are not in Faith and full assurance to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, whereby to carry on, and work through the work begun (which other­wise will never be finished) there being a plain and most certain pro­mise of God to pour out the same, John 2.28,29. Act. 2.38. With­out the least hearkning to fleshly gain-sayings, or yielding to fleshly dulness or any mistrust, because of the low means (as Imposition of Hands, Heb. 6.1.2. Act. 8.12,15,17.) appointed of God in order thereunto, or whatsoever else shall attempt the making his word of Promise of no effect? Yea, and not onely a Promise of God, but also very strong provocations whereby to believe the same, being assured from the Lord Jesus, that he doth not onely as readily as Fa­thers that are evil, give to their Children, but how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, Luke 11.13.

That is, the Scriptures compared, the Lords good pleasure and great freeness is to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him, with lifting up of Holy hands unto him, in Faith, that they shall receive from him, Mal. 21.22. And so waiting with opportunity, till they do receive him, Luke 11.8,9. so as to know his Power, and enjoy his Comfort and Light in their Souls: that as uncleanness, wrath, strife, with many other such manifest fruits of the flesh, heretofore reigned in them; now love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, with many other such like Vertues, the manifest fruits of the Spirit, may ap­pear in them, Gal. 6. for where such things are designed by the Soul, so as that all other enjoyments of the world gives no satisfa­ction to it, while this spiritual frame is wanting, which it desires of any thing, yea, above all things that the world can afford, and there­upon have diligently sought the Lord for it, and now setting to its seal that God is True, by believing that he is a Rewarder of them that so seek him: where (I say) spiritual things are thus designed, Gods ears are open to hear their Prayers, he will be nigh unto them in all conditions.

Moreover, for the growing and flourishing of Faith, consider that the Lord sought after you, when you sought not after him, and said to you when you were in your blood, turn, turn, for why will ye dye? Turn at my reproof, and I will pour out my Spirit unto you, Pro. 1.23. And all this before you saw any beauty or excellency in the Holy Spirit, and so had no desire after him, and therefore sought not God for him; and yet even then God thus magnified the riches of his Grace in the kind tenders thereof to you, while such; And will [Page 18] he not now much more take care for you, and possess you with that, which he before tendered unto you, even, the comfortable presence of his Holy Spirit? Since you are now turned unto him, and be­come his servants, not seeking the honour of the world as before, but his Holy Spirit, whereby to do him service for the honour of his Name; Will he not much more (I say) tender such? Will he with-hold his good Spirit from such, He, the Lord the Righteous God, that hath said, He will with-hold no good thing from such as walk uprightly? Psal. 84.11. Surely no; Hath God begot by his Word of Truth, brought to the birth, caused the Man-child (the New-creature) to be born into the world, to whom he saith, Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, Psal. 81.10. and may you judge, and not desperately sin through unbelief, that God will now starve this New-creature of his own begetting, and bringing forth, that he will with-hold the spiritual Bread, which onely will satisfie it, and so famish his own adopted Children, as starve they must, and starve they will, if God give not his Holy Spirit unto them? No, sure­ly no; carnal men will not starve, but nourish and cherish their Children; And will not God, who is rich in mercy, and deligh­teth in mercy, nourish his? Yea, how much more will your Hea­venly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him (as abovesaid.) Moreover, consider that God having promised his Holy Spirit to such as seek him with Faith to receive the same, both his Faithful­ness and Righteousness is engaged for them that so seek him, which the holy and believing man fears not to make mention before the Lord, saying (with David) Hear me O Lord in thy Faithfulness, and in thy Righteousness, Psal. 143.1.

Moreover, for men highly to esteem Gods Promises, and so to mag­nifie them in their hearts, as that all pleading of Flesh, World, or Devil, because of, the deadness of body, or barrenness of the womb, shall be utterly rejected, as not worthy to be considered, when God hath spoken: (I say) for men thus to esteem Gods Pro­mises (there being every whit as much reason for them so to do, as to esteem and keep his Commandments) is not onely the way leading to their Happiness, but also that which mightily gives glory to God. Abraham staggered not at the Promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in Faith, giving glory to God, Rom. 4.20.

These things write I unto you (O Friends) that henceforth your sences might be much exercised, and your minds more and more bu­sied in the consideration of these (and such like) things, that the know­ledge which you have of Gods Promises, may be a word so planted [Page 19] in your understandings by Faith, as that all fleshly staggerings and carnal oppositions may fall down before it, and by such endeavours on your part, you shal appear to be such who are obedient to the whol­som Counsel of the Apostle, who exhorted Timothy to follow after Godliness, Righteousness, Charity, Faith, Meekness, Patience, 1 Tim. 6.11. Who questionless knew how Faith was to be obtained, as well as any of those that speak so much of Faith's being the gift of God; who being almost, if not altogether, silent concerning mens following after Faith, have thereby (I greatly fear) been a means to freeze up the desires of men, and wholly to stop their endea­vours, after Faith, which (if so) I could wish that henceforth they would hearken unto the Apostle, who puts men upon following after Faith, equally (observe it) as he puts them to follow after Meekness, or Patience, &c. Which considered, may be a means to thaw them out of that benummed and frozen estate, even unto due considerations and serious stirrings on their parts, in order unto the growth and en­crease of Faith.

And withal be sure that your Prayers and Supplications be not wanting to the Lord, that he would be pleased to encrease your Faith, and so shall you in due time come to experience the being of Faith in you, after special degrees, wrought there by the operation of Gods Spirit, according to Pauls words to the Galatians, Chap. 6.22. while you diligently sought, and carefully followed after Faith, ac­cording to his words to Timothy, Chap. 6.11.

Together with these things, let it not be thought a needless work, or besides the business in hand, to consider whether Saints are not now (in these latter dayes wherein 'tis evil, as appears by the Apo­stle, to depart from the Faith professed in former Apostolical dayes, 1 Tim. 4.1.) whether Saints (I say) are not now to seek for, and in Faith to wait whereby to receive the Spirit, with the same parti­cular gifts and operations which Saints formerly enjoyed, in order to their carrying on the great Work of the Gospel, both among them­selves and others? Since God in his making Promise of pouring out the Spirit upon his People, (which Promise we in these latter dayes flye unto as the ground of our Faith) makes mention also of several gifts of the same Spirit, John 2.28,29. And withal considering, that the Apostles exhorted the Churches earnestly to covet, and follow after the several gifts of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12.28,29,30,31. 14.1,39. Which exhortations, if they reach us, and speak to us▪ [...] much as any other Scripture-exhortations (which for any to deny is hard) then, Oh then! great need have all to pray, Lord, [...] Faith.

But in reference to the fore-mentioned drawing nigh unto God by Faith, I suppose that which is a very general hinderance thereof, is the great unworthiness that persons find in themselves by reason of sin, by means whereof they are (as it were) afraid to draw near un­to God; or however if they do, 'tis very coldly, having little or no hopes of acceptance with the Lord; and so being not in a justified estate from sin, are without Faith in reference to the special Graces of Gods Spirit: but among these there are some, much more wor­thy than others, who by reason of the strength and subtilty of temp­tations, sometimes (as well as others) transgress the Laws of God, but not as such who overtake sin, but rather are overtaken with sin, Gal. 6.1. Not allowing themselves therein, as their great trouble, and Soul-heaviness, with daily complaints because thereof, plainly declares; and yet these for want of a right understanding Gods Way to justifie sinners, and his readiness to justifie them; alas! even these go mourning all the day long, rather decaying than flou­rishing in the Way of God. You, even you in particular (the beloved of my Soul) do I hereby exhort:

First, That ye alwayes abide watchful, and abundantly careful that ye sin not: But,

Secondly, If any man sin, that you remember there is an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is a propitiation for our sins, by whom way is made for you boldly to come to the Throne of Grace, that you may find mercy; that is to say, for all you that having sinned, feels the stroke of sin, and forgets it not (as Sluggards do) and so in the sence and godly sorrow for sin (in particular) attended with holy Resolutions, with humble and hearty Confession of the same, with fervent desires, leading unto earnest Prayer to God for the Remis­sion of the same, you forgiving them that have trespassed against you; and not onely this, for one thing is yet lacking, even, that you in Faith also commit your selves to his Grace, Believing that as he hath in mercy promised, so in faithfulness he will perform what he hath promised, even, the Remission of sins; for what things soever ye de­sire when ye pray (saith Christ) believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them, Mark 11.24. And who then can lay any thing to your charge? It is God that justifieth such; Who, (or what) is there then that condemneth? It is Christ that hath died? yea, rather that he is risen again, who also maketh intercession for you through Faith in his blood, Rom 3.25.

Thus you being very serious and diligent in your Applications to God, laying hold on his Promises of Pardon and Remission of sin [Page 21] by Faith, and so standing alwayes justified by Faith, quitted and freed from all your sins through Grace; have (so considered) no ground or plea, because of your unworthiness (being now made wor­thy in the Beloved, the Lord Jesus) any longer to mistrust or que­stion the good Will and Pleasure of God, in reference to your re­ceiving from him the more special Discoveries and Operations of his Spirit, but may now boldly go to the Throne of Grace for the same, being such whom God waiteth to be gracious unto, you having that Faith which his pleasure is to account unto you, for Righteousness.

This being considered, how speedily should every Soul (not as a thing by the by, but) as their greatest work, when at any time overtaken with sin, to draw nigh unto God, and that in the sence of every known sin, with godly sorrow for the same: not daring to de­lay, (heaping up sin like the wantons) there being every way as much cause of Repentance and Faith for the latter sins, as there was for the many former sins committed in ignorance; which though persons are ready to acknowledge, yet are (I fear) too apt to neglect the same, upon the account that they have renounced their former wayes, and their now being in the Way of God, and that Christ is now a Mediator for them, and the like; not considering that the Soul-sa­tisfying benefit of Christs Media orship is enjoyed according to mens Applications unto the Father by him: But O what comfort can a Soul have in any thing, or with what boldness shall he walk, talk, or com­mit himself to his Bed, that having sinned against his God, hath not as yee been with him, and so by Faith received a Pardon from him? True it is, that such, while they neglect the great Soul-searching work, and are tossed up and down with the cumbrances of this life, may have an imagined Peace and supposed Comfort, and so may go on (somewhat cheerfully) in their thoughts and thinkings, as if all were theirs; but alas! these (though they may talk of Gods Love and Mercy) are not able to say, upon sure experience (with the Prophet) that the Lord hath crowned them with loving kindness, and tender mer­cies, Psal. 103.4.

O let him then that readeth understand, that every Soul that comes by Faith to be justified from their old sins, have a great work to do, requiring much watchfulness, care and circumspection, in order to their maintaining and keeping themselves in a justified estate.

But moreover, let men consider, whether they do not (while wanting in their Applications to God for the Pardon of sin) ignorantly go on in a way very dangerous, while the true Fountain of Grace is neglected; 'tis greatly to be feared, that they have hewed to themselves broken [Page 22] Cisterns that will not, yea, cannot answer their expectations; that is to say, persons being made sensible that they have sinned against God, have thereupon resolved for the time to come to be more watchful, and to walk more wisely before God; and then, having a little while in measure reformed themselves, have thereby spoken peace to themselves, thinking all is well: And why? Because they are reformed: And thus do they, as it were, make their own works of Reformation, the ground of their peace and satisfaction. True it is, that works of Reformation in such that have sinned, is good, for the Lord calls for it; yet sure I am (and I pray you to consider it) that 'tis not that, no nor any work of Righteousness that they can do; yea, though they should for ever afterwards so exactly walk, both in words, thoughts and actions, as not again to sin; yet I say, and confidently conclude, that 'tis not in the least that, which can justifie or cleanse them from the sin already committed: And therefore it remains a work, none of the least, for persons that have sinned against God, speedily to draw nigh unto him, that by humi­liation (attended with holy resolutions) and Faith, they may reach his promised Grace and Mercy, the onely sure ground of peace and satisfaction; which whosoever attains, may understandingly (with the Prophet) say, Return unto thy rest, O my Soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee: And so then (as persons justified and quitted from sin) are to endeavour (with calling upon God for his Grace to help them) some real and thorow Reformation, answering to their former resolutions, (far exceeding what is, or can be in such who neglect the true means of Justification) in which Reformation of theirs they may rejoyce, but not as imagining peace from thence, but rather upon the account that God is thereby more honoured, even, God who hath justified them from all their sins.

Now forasmuch as 'tis Saints great work to keep themselves in the way of Gods Grace and Mercy, that they may alwayes stand quitted and justified from sin, without which they cannot go to the Throne of Grace with confidence to receive the special presence of Gods Spirit; I would pray all such (who are in the godly sorrow, because of their sin) to weigh these following considerations, that henceforth there may be a more apt and ready closing in with Gods Promises, in re­ference to Pardon and Forgiveness of sins.

Namely, that the Lord, the Lord God against whom ye have sin­ned, is a gracious God, abundant in goodness, keeping mercy for thou­sands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, plenteous in mercy, rich in mercy, abundant in mercy, that will abundantly pardon; all which the Scriptures witnesseth.

Consider also, That God delighteth in mercy, Mic. 7.18. and taketh pleasure in such as hope in his mercy, Psal. 147.11. and is full of compassion, ready to forgive, Nehem. 7.19. but slow to anger, Psal. 145.8.

Consider also, That Gods mercies endureth for ever, and is from E­verlasting to Everlasting, to such as keep his Covenant, reaching over all his Works, as the Heaven is high above the Earth, so great is his mercy: even also as a Father pitieth his Children; so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, Psal. 103.11,13,17. Psal. 145.9.

Consider also, That God who spared not his own Son, but deli­vered him up for us all, will with him freely give us all things, Rom. 8.32. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more shall we be saved, (and justified from sin) by his being alive for evermore, making intercession for us, Rom. 5.10.

Consider also, That notwithstanding the great backslidings of Is­rael, even playing the harlot with many lovers, upon every high Moun­tain, and under every green Tree, and that after God had drawn near unto them in much mercy and love; yet even to them after they had done all these abominations, saith the Lord, the gracious God, turn thou unto me, Jerem. 3.1,6,7. And that in a day when they cal­led not for mercy, even then said the Lord, return O backsliding Is­rael, for I will be merciful, and not keep anger for ever, v. 12. Much more therefore will God extend his mercies unto such who mourn in the sence of their sins, and call upon him for mercy whereby to be healed.

Consider also, That to believe the Record of God touching the forgiveness of sins, is a setting to our seals that God is true, John 3.33. But contrariwise, not to believe, is (as much as in us lyes) a making God a lyar, 1 John 5.10,11.

Consider also, That if we confess our sins, God is just and faithful to forgive us our sins, 1 John 1.9. Shewing that we may as well question the justness and faithfulness of God, as question his readi­ness to forgive the sins of such as confess the same: (but let none question the necessity of Faith in order to the forgiveness of sins, because the Apostle here assures it to such as confess their sins, with­out the least word concerning Faith; let none (I say) question it upon that account, for by the same reason they may question the ne­cessity of Prayer, for that neither is mentioned in this place: To this therefore I say (as in many other cases must be concluded) that it is such that shall find mercy that are qualified, not only as saith [Page 24] one Scripture, but as saith the Scriptures compared together.

Consider also, That we have an High Priest, passed into the Hea­vens, sitting at the right hand of God, for that very end to shew mer­cy, even to save to the uttermost, by making intercession with his blood, Heb. 7.25. That speaketh far better things than that of Abel, not for vengeance, but for mercy, for all such as have Faith in his blood; and therefore (saith the Apostle) Let us come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy.

Consider also, That we have not such an High Priest, which can­not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like we, Heb. 4.15. and being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted, for he is a merciful High Priest, to make re­conciliation for the sins of the People, Heb. 2.17,18. God knoweth our frame, he remembreth that we are dust, Psal. 103.14.

Consider also, That in thy desiring of God the blessing of Remission of sins, thou desirest not more of him, than what he did freely for thee, before thou desiredst it of him; yea, when thou wast an enemy to him.

And with these Considerations consider, That if you shall distrust his mercy, it renders you altogether uncapable to please God; For without Faith 'tis impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

From these and such like considerations, how may you be encou­raged to throw your selves upon Gods Grace, rejecting all fleshly staggerings at the Promises of God through unbelief, that you may receive what is promised by Faith in the Promises, even the sure and certain Pardon of all your sins; that the hands which have hung down by reason of sin laying upon the Soul, may be lift up with prai­ses to God, and the feeble knees now made strong and lively, in the true sence of the Fathers love shining to the Soul; and then, Oh! then, with what boldness, courage and confidence may you go to God for the manifold Operations and Discoveries of his Holy Spirit, your sins being pardoned, and your iniquities washed away by Faith in Christ? What state or condition is there, that possibly you can fall into through the utmost rage, either of the world or Satan, or both, wherein there is not a Promise of God, either to be delivered out of it, or wonderfully to be supported and comforted in it? All which Promises lyes before, as tendred to such that by Faith are justi­fied from sin, whereon they by Faith, may take hold, and so therein rejoyce for evermore, in all conditions.

If at any time the believing man fall into calamity and great tri­bulation, he presently considers where his Refuge is, and believes in God, who hath said, that he will be with his People in all their troubles; and so (during his continuance in the tribulation) he ex­periences the truth of that within himself, which he hath read was in others, even, tribulation working patience (in him) and patience, experience (in him) and experience, hope (in him) which makes him (bold, and) not ashamed, before all those that trouble him, Rom. 5. and at length (possibly) is delivered from all his troubles, and so made able to say (with the Prophet) I trusted in the Lord, and he hath delivered me.

If at any time the believing man, through the unexpected events of things, come to be clouded with many piercing cares, and Soul-vexations: he considers that 'tis written, we should cast all our care upon God, for he careth for us, 1 Pet. 5.7. And through Faith he receives this word (and so it becomes to him an engrafted word, planted in his understanding) concluding that he, having on his side a word from God to care for him, hath more on his side to free him from those piercing cares, than if all the world were joyned toge­ther for his freedom; so mightily doth he magnifie Gods Word in his heart: Thus he believingly commits all, and casts all his cares upon God; and while others onely talk, and read of being careful for nothing, this believing man experiences the condition, being supported in his serious consideration, that God who hath declared himself willing to care for his People, is every way more able to care for them, than they for themselves: And also how unsafe it is for them to trust to, or lean upon their own understandings, as for­mer experiences sufficiently declare; therefore this man believing in God is delivered, and cared for by God, and so made able to say what the Lord hath done for his Soul.

If at any time, by reason of Wars, and rumours of Wars, or the great frowns of great men, many fears shall assault the believing man, he well remembers that these things must first be before the possession of the Kingdom, and he (while others that are not in Davids integrity, and so not in his Faith, yet talks much of his words, but out of his life:) I say he, even the believing man truly in both Davids Integrity and Faith, in Davids words boldly saith, The Lord is my Light, my Strength, and my Salvation, of whom shall I be afraid? though an Host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear, though War should rise against me, in this will I be confident, Psal. 27.1,2,3.

If the believing man at any time fall into reproaches & persecution for Christs sake, by Faith he takes hold of the good and powerful hand of God to support him, and in the greatest of afflictions to comfort him: Faith so acquaints the Soul with the unspeakable riches and glory of Christ, in the time of his suffering for him, as that (Moses-like) he esteems the reproaches of him greater riches than the pleasure of sin for a season; so he endures the persecution by Faith, seeing him (and his glory which he hath promised) even him who is invisible.

If the believing man fall into temptation, he remembers how 'tis written, 1 Cor. 10.13. that God is faithful, and so will not suffer his People to be tempted above what they are able to bear: Which word (while among others onely talked of) this man embraces, often considers, upon it leans, and in it is comforted: not suffering the violence of the temptation, nor any unlikeliness of deliverance by other means, to take the least place in his heart (which is not an evil heart in departing from the living God, Heb. 3.12. but a true heart, drawing nigh unto God, Heb. 10.22.) whereby that should make the word of Promise of no effect, but rather considers, that God knows how to deliver the godly, (and that he is every way able to de­liver them) out of temptations.

If at any time Trading fail, or loss of Goods come, or Lands and Livings be taken away, and he that is the believing man there­by come to be indebted; yet he considers that Gods Promises fail not, though all these things somewhat frown upon him, and there­fore he shelters himself in Gods most holy Word, and waites patient­ly by Faith, yea, though he may see little or nothing in sight, yea, and no wayes able to conceive how he shall be in a capacity to live for the future, which more than a little will trouble flesh and blood, (which would live by sight) all which makes not him stagger, or if stagger he do, yet he falls not, but keeps close to Gods Word, mag­nifies it greatly in his heart, knowing no reason why he should more esteem Gods Commandements, than his Promises; he therefore prises them above Gold, yea, fine Gold, concluding that they are a more surer maintenance, than the possessing of Kingdoms; and so speaks peace and much satisfaction to himself through believing, taking joyfully the loss or spoiling of goods, rejoycing that he hath a merciful God on his side, that knows all his wants; yea, and that is able to make that little Pot of Oyl, which yet onely remains, so wonderfully to encrease, as that he therewith may be able both to pay his debts, and to live comfortably on the rest, 2 Kings 4.2,7. [Page 27] Wherefore he makes it his great work, to seek first the Kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, being that which is required on his part, in the doing of which he believingly waits for the fulfilling of that promised on Gods part; namely, that he will add all such things: being also encouraged in this his confidence with those weighty consi­derations published by the Lord Jesus, for that very end, to beget Faith in his Disciples; namely, that God doth feed the Sparrows, and richly cloath the Lillies of the Field; and therefore surely will much more take care for those that are his adopted children, for whom he spared not his own Son to do them good; and therefore (as the Apo­stle reasoneth) most surely will with him (the mercy of mercies) freely give all other good things: Also this believing man considers, that if he should care and carp, doing what possibly can be done, yet cannot add one cubit to his stature, as Christ witnesseth; as his own former experiences witnesseth; and as the apparent event and issues of mens carping cares and intemperate thoughts witnesseth; therefore he with all seriousness and readiness of mind commits his condition to the gracious God, who hath promised never to leave nor forsake his People; so that he boldly prayes to God for his daily bread, and as confidently expects it of him, yea, and as certainly receives from him, which he receives with thanksgiving, being one of them that believes and knows the truth.

And thus while others depend upon visible things, and so have them (to wit, Lands, Livings, Tradings, Relations, Powers) often in their minds & affections, and consequently under many piercing cares, and Soul-vexations while depending thereupon; while others (I say) are thus, the believing man (whose dependance is not up­on things that are seen, but upon the Lord) contrariwise hath the Lord often, and much in his mind (for men are apt to mind that which is their constant help) and so this man having the Lord much in his mind, is thereby wrought into his fear, kept tender of his glo­ry, and greatly affected with, and much desirous of the much-wan­ted presence of his good Spirit; and thus his mind, and the Medi­tations of his heart is much in Heaven with God, in Faith praying unto him for the same, and much there expecting what in Faith he hath prayed for, and having received, much there also in praysing his Name therefore; by all which he is become much heavenly-minded, spiritually framed, able to say (as they of old) My con­versation is in Heaven, (when others onely reads of it, and talks of it, but knows it not in themselves) O therefore, how much more blessed is it to live by Faith than by sight! it being both a [Page 28] [...] [Page 29] [...] [Page 28] God exalting, and a Creature-comforting state and condition.

But why do I speak these things? Not because I think that any will say in words, that 'tis better to live by sight than by Faith. But alas! What is it for men to acknowledge what is best, and yet still abide in what is worst? For I would pray you to consider, whe­ther or no it be not some visible thing in present being that gives you your hopes of daily bread, rather than the sure Promises of God? Is it not both your words, and in your inward thoughts, that you hope to live comfortably, and to bring the year well about, in that you have either Lands in possession as your own, or a good Farm, or good Trading; or good Friends, or the like? If not so, I would know what means then the usual complaints, discontents, great fears and vexations of spirit, when at any time these outward things fail, or begin to fail? If your hopes did arise from the onely pure foun­tain, to wit, Gods gracious Promises; Why then should you be so disquieted? For the decaying or failing (in measure) of these outward things, doth not make Gods Promises to be no Promises, he abideth faithful, and all his Promises are Yea and Amen in Christ: You indeed may sometimes in the time of need, and in the day of trouble, pray unto God that he would give you daily bread, and that he would deliver you out of trouble (it being generally known that Saints should do so) and from hence conclude that your dependance is upon God, and possibly you may be a telling others that you desire; and Oh! how good a thing it is, to trust in God, and rely upon him in all conditions, &c. When alas! (and for the Lords sake consi­der it) you all that while may be far from trusting in God indeed; and even such who draw nigh to God with your mouths, when your hearts may be far from God, even depending upon, and trusting in things visible, instead of a heatty believing in God whom you pray unto, with a serious and constant waiting upon him for to receive that which you have asked of him.

Contrariwise, as the Faith of the Faithful, renders them happy, and in all conditions comfortable; so the Unbelief of the Unbelie­ver, renders him miserable, and in all conditions comfortless; it be­ing a most bitter root from whence springs many, yea, a very great multitude of corrupt branches, the fruit whereof hath so mightily corrupted the earth; for the purging of which there is but little hopes, till such time the bitter root (to wit, Unbelief) be plucked up out of the hearts of the Sons and Daughters of men; which re­maining in the hearts of the Children of Israel, kept them out of the promised Land; for although their sins were many, bearing divers [Page 29] names, yet by the Apostle, Heb. 3.19. 'tis said, They entred not [...], because of their unbelief; as if that were the root or cause of all, (or most) of the rest: And again, those that did enter in, in after­times were broken off, because of unbelief, Rom. 11.20. In some certain places Christ did not do many mighty works, because of their unbelief, Mark 6.5. Mat. 13.58. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he believeth not in the onely begotten Son of God, John 3.18.

For what (consider I pray you) is the cause of mens so dishonou­ring God by transgression? Hath not Israel heard, doth not Israel know? Yes verily, they have both heard and known, but the Word preached doth not profit them, not being mixed with Faith in them that hear it, Heb. 4.2. They well know that they should improve their time to the best advantage, sometimes in the Closet in serious and sober Meditations, sometimes in solemn Prayer and Supplications to [...]od, and sometimes in Praying with Fasting; but alas! Un­belief riseth up, and too much keeps under the Light of Truth in their Souls, filling them with distrustful thoughts, even, how then they shall live and maintain their Families, Wherewith to eat, and wherewith to put on, if thus they should spend their time: And so it comes to pass, that men too too much are found dwelling, as it were satisfied, in their own cealed houses, while the House of God wants perfecting, and much of its original Ornaments.

'Tis well known, that Saints should be rich in Good Works, willing to communicate, and ready to distribute: But Oh! How doth Un­belief choak the inward movings hereunto, possessing Souls with many fears, touching what may happen in the time to come, though at present they enjoy all fulness? and so the bowels of compassion are too much shut up.

'Tis well known, that Righteousness and Just-dealing is comman­ded of the Lord; but saith the unbelieving Steward, I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed, and what then shall I eat, or what shall I put on? (being discharged of my place) Wherefore Unbelief drives him un­righteously to account with his Lord, even fifty, for that which was (in Righteousness) a hundred measures, Luke 16.

But I forbear instancing in Particulars, concluding that as living by Faith, is a God-honouring, and Creature-comforting state and condi­tion; so not to live by Faith, but by sight, is a God-dishonouring, and Creature-discomforting state and condition.

But having spoke something touching the great use of Faith, with provocations thereunto, which probably may be for advantage to [Page 30] some: yet very possibly for disadvantge to other some, for want of a wise understanding every thing in its place: Therefore in the next place, I do hereby warn, and strictly charge all such, who are carnally minded, who have so embraced this present world, as that the growing in the knowledge of Jesus, is little minded by them, or regarded: and yet are apt to lean upon the Lord, and seem to be very confident, and (with Israel) ready to say, Is not the Lord a­mongst us? being as it were offended with those that shall question their condition, they think it so good, and therefore are ready to conclude (as some of old have done) that no evil shall come unto them; when alas! they are poor and miserable; And all such I ex­clude as being none of them (while such) whom I hereby perswade to lean and stay upon God by Faith: Therefore, O ye sluggards and carnal-minded men, think not to say within your selves, because you profess, and have practised some of the Ordinances of Christ, and still do own them, that therefore you have ground to believe that Gods Promises reaches you, for this did Israel do, and the Church of Laodecea, who nevertheless were miserable, and their leaning upon the Lord rendred of no effect, because of their unworthy walking in other things.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you do (as well as others) acknowledge that it is not enough to come into the Pro­fession of Ordinances, and Church-fellowship, with a heavenly and spiritual walking therein to the glory of God, that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you; for alas! though you in words deny such a condition, yet your conversation plainly declares to others (and to your selves also, if you would seriously heed it) that you own it: 'tis not mens saying, that there must be, nor their much talking of, a heavenly and spiritual walking in the Profession, that proves them to be such, even, heavenly-minded men, or spiritual walkers; to talk of Life, Light, Spirit and Power of Godliness, is now become a meer Form among men, ma­ny getting the words, but have not the thing it self; and such are most apt to declare against others, even to slight and disdain little ones that believe in Christ, calling them carnal, literal and low professors; Yea, some of this sort in the Apostles dayes, were grown up to such height of spiritual pride and arrogancy, as that they thought Paul and the rest of the Ministers of Christ, did walk after the flesh, 2 Cor. 10.2. and so they looked upon their bodily presence weak, and their speech contemptible, ver. 10.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you walk honestly [Page 31] among men, so as to abstain from gross and publick evils, that there­fore the Promises of God reaches you; for all this you may do, and continue so, and yet go to Hell among the unprofitable servants, that have not gained by trading with the Talent committed unto them: this kind of common honesty you have possibly for a long time manifested in your conversations; But where are the fruits that God justly looks for to be brought forth in the Power and Light of his Grace? If you know these things, and can talk of them; happy shall you be if warned by them.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you assemble with the Saints at their meetings, that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you; for so did Israel, yea, they seemed to take delight in approaching before God, to tread his Courts, Is. 58. Whose practises nevertheless was not regarded by God; neither may yours, being (possibly) to prevent the reproof of men, more than Gods; or at best to remove trouble of Conscience, which sometimes possibly you have undergone for neglect of meetings, but now frequenting them, you thereby speak peace to your Souls, though for years you experience no advantage, or Soul-profit reaped thereby (which is the true end of meeting) a true Testimony (O ye) that your satisfaction is not in the right thing.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you confess your sins and iniquities before the Lord, that therefore the Promises of God reaches you; for you may in words confess sin, having at that time little or no sence, either what sin you have committed, or when committed; and so your words of confession may proceed rather from a notion that such a thing is spoken of in the Scriptures, and that others do so, than from a spirit wounded with the stroke of sin, and broken in the deep sence of sin, from whence the words should flow; and so having made confession of sin, presently imagine that all is well, speaking peace to your selves, barely because you have spoken words as Saints did formerly, and now do; but alas! are far from ha­ving any real ground to say (with the Prophet) Bless the Lord, O my Soul, for the Lord hath forgiven thee all thine iniquities, Psal. 103.2,3.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you pray some­times, both publick and private, that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you; for many and long Prayers were found among the Children of Israel, who nevertheless were a sinful Nation, laden with iniquity, Isa. 1.15,4. And so may you be notwithstanding your many Prayers, and that not onely upon the account of your unworthiness in other things, but also upon the [Page 32] account of imperfection (or rather corruptions) that may be in these your prayers (supposed by you the best of your performances) for in­stead of speaking words of Prayer, proceeding from a serious sence of the want of Grace, which flowes from a great desire to honour God, because of its love to God; I say, instead of this kind of sensible praying to God, which is alwayes attended with (as its constant com­panion) a serious and constant waiting to receive from God, what is prayed for; alas! there may be by you words uttered proceeding from a meer notion, which may be exercised (as upon narrow search may be seen) to find out words and expressions, and to utter them in such a way & manner, as may to the eyes and ears of men render you fervent and zealously affected after the things prayed for, rather than from any real and internal sence begotten in you of God, leading you up nearer to God; your words (may be) importing more longings after Grace, than really is in you, and greater desires, and larger affections after the Wisdom and Power of God, than (indeed and in truth) is in you; your words (may be) importing also more dete­station of sin and transgression, than may be true from your hearts; and if so, What shall I say of this? Is it an acceptable service in the sight of God? Nay, it is in truth, a speaking lyes before the Throne of Grace; a dead work timely to be repented of.

Moreover, when you for some time neglect Prayer, probably are somewhat troubled; but then coming to a more frequent practice thereof, you thereupon put the trouble from you, and seem to be satis­fied, though for a long time you experience no answer to your Prayers; which proves that your satisfaction is not in that which is bread in­deed: Yea, doth it not prove, that either yet you have not attained un­to the New Birth; or if you have, that it is now even languishing, and almost senceless? for that (if in health) will not be satisfied with asking for the bread which is from above, unless it also receive it: no more than the birth which is after the flesh, will be satisfied with asking for outward bread, unless it be also received, and enjoyed within.

Moreover, when you joyn with others Praying in publick, it may be a small occasion, as a persons coming in, or going out, or the like trifles, presently causes the ear to listen, and the eyes to gaze up and down; which if so, account not that an acceptable approach­ing to God: What, no more reverence in speaking to the Almigh­ty? No more sence of your conditions, and of the necessity of re­ceiving from God, to keep your minds more close to God? In the true fear of God consider these things.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you sometimes [Page 33] praise God, and give thanks unto his Name; that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you; for this may you do (as Israel did) and yet far from that kind of praising God, which God accepts of, and which glorifies his Name: which proceeds from a true knowledge and sence of mercies received, and so hearty desires thereupon to set forth his praise: you being (it may be) onely led forth to speak words of praise (possibly the very same, which the sensible man doth) from a naked apprehension that such a thing is spoken of in the Scriptures, and that others do so; and therefore you cannot quiet Conscience, unless you do so too: and it may be herein also utter expressions importing a greater and larger receiving from God, than indeed and in truth you have received; which to do, is hypocrisie and iniquity.

Neither think to say within your selves, because you sometimes read the Holy Scriptures, that therefore (with what is above said) you have ground to believe the Promises reaches you; for so did the sinful Jews do, yea, & thought that they had in the Scriptures Eternal Life; who nevertheless were such to whom Christ said, How can ye believe, that receive honour one of another? John 5.39,44. And may I not say to you touching this your practice, as touching the rest of your performances? That is to say, when you read not, then are you disquieted; but when you sometimes read; then the trouble is re­moved and you at quiet, though little or no experience of profit rea­ped thereby, which is the proper end thereof: should you not (even as your principal care) when you read Commandements, have an eye open within to see whether you have obeyed them, and kept close to them, yea, or nay? And when you read Promises, to consider whether you have or still do believe them with all the heart, yea, or nay? Most surely this becometh such as wait for the real substance of things.

Neither think to say within your selves, Because when you at any time sin against God, you can remember that there was something within you that testified against the sin, and opposed it; and so judge your selves in Pauls condition, Who did that which he would not; that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you, as well as they did Paul; for alas! how great may be your mistake herein, the ground of your confidence, of be­ing in Pauls condition, it may be no more than what the Drunkard may have to say, that he is in Pauls condition, who purposing to go to a merry meeting, is warned by his Friend not to go, who neverthe­less with full purpose of heart goes, and is drunk with the drunken; [Page 34] yet may he say, and truly too, that he was warned not to go, and that his friend opposed it; which (may be) is all you can say, even that the Word of God in your hearts, testified against the sin which you were tempted unto; who nevertheless with full purpose of heart committed the sin, without the drawings back, and contradictions of any regene­rate part in you, but onely the knowledge you have that such and such things are sin and evil, contradicted it; which even the wicked and abominable in some measure have: Which if so, you are not able to say with Paul, from sure experience, that your inward man delighted in the Law of God, Rom, 7.22. And that you were carried captive to the evil, by the Law in the members, ver. 23. And that you were over­taken with sin, Gal. 6.1. And not that you overtook sin; though possi­bly you may have these words in your mouths; but alas, if they are not true as to your condition, you do but deceive your selves thereby, thinking your selves to be what you are not.

Neither think to say within your selves, Because you do nothing but that you are able to shew some seeming ground and reason for your so doing; that therefore you have ground to believe Gods Promises rea­ches you; for that you may be able to do (as could Saul and the people with him for their sparing the best of the Sheep and Oxen) and yet nevertheless live after the flesh; the which whosoever doth, shall die eternally. My meaning in many cases of this nature, more clearly you shall understand by this one instance; namely, A certain carnal man, beholding a very new and curious fashion in matter of Apparel, presently falls in love with it, enters into Bed, and commits Adul­tery therewith; but having received some Light from the Word, that Saints should not fashion themselves according to their former lusts, and also living (possibly) among a people that are ready to reprove such fashions: Hereupon is led forth by the hand of the old corrupt man, to search for some reasonable account that may be given, both to himself (a little troubled through the Word bearing testimony against it) and also unto others; and while searching with this corrupt mind (Satan being not wanting) he findes that in some respect this new fashion may be profitable (whereat he is glad) and so hastily casts out all former questions, and so procures it (though it cost him a great deal more, than at any time he is willing to bestow on the poor) and then with a loud voice, and much carnal disputings, he stands to plead for it, for (saith he) 'tis thus and thus profitable, which possibly may be true in some small sense: But alas he considers not how the lust first conceived in him, by his assent with love and delight there­unto: He considers not, that though there be some small profit there­in, [Page 35] that 'twas not that which lead him to get it; for 'twas the love, and heart-delight which he had to it, as being a fashion pleasing the eye of flesh, and whereby he might seem to others to be thus and thus; that first moved him thereunto. The worldly man will say, that he must spend much time, and take a great deal of care, to get this Worlds goods, that he may have somewhat considerably to give to the poor; but he lies in his heart before God and men.

Neither think to say within your selves, Because you sometimes di­stribute something to the poor Saints, that therefore Gods Promises reaches you; for alas, sometimes that may be onely a matter of con­straint, and not willingly, and so not rewardable: I mean by con­straint, so as that you may rather than you will publickly oppose such and such works of Charity, whereby you may think that people will speak hardly of you, and you thereby come to have an ill name; rather than this, you may be constrained to give something, though little or no heart to it otherwise: and sometimes upon the account, that conscience with such a loud voyce calls for works of Charity, you may be perswaded to part with something to quiet conscience, having all that while but little real and hearty love and compassion on the poor Saints; as appears (among some:) First by their being quiet­ed, and altogether satisfied, in that they have distributed something; never considering whether they have done what is their duties to do, whether the poor Saints have food and raiment sufficient, yea, or nay. Secondly, As appears by their much more diligent eye over such as are poor, than over others; whereby to find some kind of flaw or other in their walkings, that so they may quiet conscience thereby, while they administer not to them; this savours of much carnality where ever it is, for should you not be merciful, even as your Heaven­ly Father is merciful?

Neither think to say within your selves (some of you,) Because you are more kind, milde, and more meek than others, that therefore the Promises of God reaches you: For although these things be good qualifications, yet may be no certain testimony to you of your stri­ving, and labouring in the grace of God, whereby these qualifications in you may be truly said to be the fruits of the Spirit; though they be­ing found in others may be so, yet (I say) not in you, because it is but the same which was alwayes in you naturally; and you in the mean while may be far from it, and a great stranger unto any experi­ences of Conquest, and victory (through Divine help) over those other Passions that have reigned in you, to the great dishonour of God. Oh that you would remember Christs words, as thus, Every [Page 36] Branch in me that beareth not fruit, God taketh away.

Neither think to say within your selves (some of you,) Because you are able to preach, and to dispute for Truth, that therefore you have ground to believe the Promises of God reaches you; for all this may you do, (as some of the Jews that were become Teachers of others, but were not taught themselves) and yet at last may be inexcusable, (as they were) while the life of Godliness preached to others, is not li­ved up to by your selves: For alas, what availeth it men to Preach unto others, that they must be new Creatures, if in the mean while they themselves have not put off the old Man with his Deeds? And with what comfort or boldness can men Preach to others, that they should Repent, Believe, and be Baptized for the Remission of sins, and so shall receive the gift of the holy Spirit; if in the mean while they know not their own sins remitted, nor the gift of the holy Spirit received? Or with what comfort can any Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ to others, if they in the mean while know not themselves out of the Kingdom of Darkness, and so have themselves (by faith) inte­rest in the Kingdom of Christ? What, men talk, talk of life and eter­nal glory, and in the mean while, do the works that leads unavoid­ably to eternal death? Oh horrible blindness! Oh what a lamentable condition is this! How great is the disproportion betwixt it, and the condition of the Gospel-Preachers in dayes of old, who perswaded others to have fellowship with them (saying) Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Iesus Christ? 1 John 1.3. And so were such as were able to tell others what the Lord had done for their souls; how God had comforted them in all their tribulations, and so were made able to comfort them which were in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith themselves were comforted of God. 2 Cor. 1.4.

These things write I unto you, not because I slight you, (under what name or Title soever you are, on whom these words may take hold) neither for your destruction do I thus speak; but rather desire you, and (with the holy Spirit speaking to the Churches) do I hereby exhort you (O Laodiceans) timely to repent, and be zealous, that so Gods Promises may reach you, as well as any other; (for the Lord is not willing that any of you should perish) and that so his people may with all freeness have fellowship with you.

The great Errour and mistake of the Quakers, concerning the true Christ; and how he is said to be in his People: And con­cerning the Rule of Man-kind.

MOreover, Since 'tis not the Talker, nor ready Disputer, nor the Busie Preacher of this World; but the single-hearted doer of what is Preached, Disputed, or Talked of, that shall enter into the Kingdom: It remains a work very great, for every Professing Soul to abide very circumspect and watchful, together with a constant trusting in, and dependance upon the Lord, (who waits to be gracious) that thereby they may be more and more wrought up unto a well-pleasing the Lord in all things. But lest any soul should be deceived by the subtilty of the evil One, of whose devises (through grace) I am not altogether ignorant: I hereby also present before you the experiences of some men, as thus:

Certain men being somewhat troubled about their present conditi­ons, and thereupon following after a more excellent estate, (though possibly not with that care and watchfulness, as was meet should be) have on a sudden been greatly carryed forth with inward Power and Zeal, and wonderful quicknings after some matters of holiness, so as scarce able to bear with the least appearance of Pride, Covetousness (or the like) in others, without reproof; yea, scarce content without a leaving their Callings in order to the reproving others; who at length (while in this state) have been secretly informed, That the powerful workings within them, was Christ come in them the second time to sal­vation; he being a Spirit, and not man, and so no other coming to be looked for but within; and that the Scriptures was not the Rule; and that the Ordinances of Christ were ceased, being imposed onely till the time of Reformation, which time was come; and such like.

But being somewhat fearful of delusions, did thereupon give up themselves diligently to pray unto the Lord, who at length graciously delivered them from the strong delusion: I say, the strong delusion; for is it not so indeed, when an evil spirit shall carry forth persons zea­lously, to some things that is Just, Holy, and Good, (though he no lo­ver of Holiness or any Goodness; but that being really an Angel of Darkness, he may seemingly appear to be an Angel of Light, 2 Cor. 11.14.) thereby to gain their affections? That then having got the affections, he may the better drop into their understandings, Princi­ples of Errour in matters of Faith, with likeliness of acceptance.

Whereupon (dear Brethren) as I have here briefly proposed to you the ready and plain Way in order to the Life of godliness, without which, all profession thereof is little; together therewith I hereby also counsel you (in the words of John) not to believe every spirit, for there are many false spirits gone out into the world; the one and true Spirit of God, being plainly to be known by his guiding and mo­ving the Saints, not onely to be Just, Holy and Zealous in point of con­versation; but also to be stedfast in the Principles of Faith, yea, and as zealously to contend for the same, as for any other things: as was the Apostles of Christ, in whom the true Spirit of Light was, as ap­pears by their Writings, for that a great part of it consists of matter tending to the instruction and regulation of the Saints, concerning their Faith, as in reading is observable: Wherefore, for the remo­ving all doubts and scruples which (through the subtilty of the de­ceived Quaker) possibly may arise, or already is risen in the hearts of any well-minded people, I here next offer a little of that much, which might be said, touching Principles of Faith, the errour where­of is abundantly dangerous.

First, Whereas 'tis owned by the Quakers, (and as to me hath plainly been declared) that the Eternal Spirit of Light and Power which dwelt in the Man whom the Jews Crucified, is the Christ, the Saviour of the world; and not the Man that was Crucified, that was seen with visible or carnal eyes; according to which you may observe the words of Wolrich (the Quaker) in his Book, entituled, A De­claration to the Baptists, pag. 13. saying, That Christ was never seen with any carnal eye, nor his voice heard with any carnal ear. And in the Book, entituled, Sauls Errand to Damascus, pag. 14. (the words of George Fox the elder, I suppose) 'tis said, That the flesh of Christ is a figure. And Joseph Fuce (in his Book entituled, The fall of a great visible Idol, pag. 14.) saith (by way of reproof to us) these words, The Baptists (saith he) make flesh their Arm, and therefore look with­out to know Christ after the flesh; although the Apostle said, They were to know him so no more: (mark) thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his Arm, Jerem. 17.5. (as if they were a cursed people that trust in the man Christ.) Where­as (I say) this is asserted by them, I here offer several grounds from the Holy Scriptures, whereby to prove, that the Eternal Spirit which dwelt in the Man, whom the Jews Crucified; which Spirit the Apo­stles afterwards received in them, is not the Christ, the Saviour of the world; but the visible man, to whom the Spirit was given, John 3.34. The offering it self, (no figure, but the substance of figures) is the Christ of God.

First, Because that the Eternal Spirit never died, when nothing is more plain than that Jesus Christ died, as appears by a Cloud of Witnesses.

Secondly, Because the Apostles (with one consent) declare that the Jews Crucified (that is fastned to a cross) the Lord Jesus, the Lord of Glory, Act. 2.36. 1 Cor. 2.8. and killed the Prince of Life, Act. 3.15. Whom they crucified not, nor killed, if the Eternal Spi­rit that dwelt in the visible man, be the Christ: and so the Quakers by this their opinion do as much as in them lyes, declare the Holy Apostles to bear false witness to the world concerning Christ: but let them be true, and every one of these men lyars, in the judgements of the Wise: But to evade this, sometimes they will say (whereby to deceive) that the Jews did crucifie Christ, that was, they opposed and resisted the Spirit of Light within them, which they call Christ: and withal will say (whereby to deceive) that the Jews did Crucifie a man without; I say to deceive, because that in their confession of this, (which seems sometimes to the Hearers to be sufficient) they intend not the Truth, namely, that that visible man whom the Jews crucified without, was the Christ; as appears by their own words above signed.

Thirdly, Because that not onely the Apostles, but also Christ him­self by his Institution of those two Ordinances, Baptism, and the Lords Supper, hath plainly declared Gods Way, graciously provided for mans Redemption and Justification contrariwise, even, by a bro­ken, blood-shedding, dead, buried and risen Christ, as saith the proper signification of these Ordinances: neither of which is either proper or true in relation to the Eternal Spirit, who was (all may know) neither dead nor buried, and so not risen again, nor broken, nor at any time shed blood; all which these Ordinances testifie concerning the true Christ: and so the Quakers by this their opinion are found also such, who in effect do say, that these Ordinances of the Lord (which once they say were in being) were lying Ordinances, bearing false witness to the Saints, touching the Lord Jesus; but to all such as fear the Lord, Let them be true, and every one of these lyars.

Fourthly, Because not onely the Apostles, Christ the Son, but also God the Father himself, most plainly declared from of old by his Commandement, for the killing and slaying those many Sacrifices, and sprinkling the blood thereof, that Jesus Christ should be slain, and his blood shed, as the glorious substance thereof: all which part of the Fathers Law, was, and is of no effect; God thereby bearing false witness to the world; if the Eternal Spirt, which dwelt in the visible [Page 40] Man, and which the Apostles afterwards received in them, be the Christ, which Spirit never was slain, nor never had blood to shed: but let God be true, and all these men lyars.

Fifthly, Because he most plainly is said to be the Christ, Ordained of God to be Judge of quick and dead, to whom all the Prophets gave witness, he (I say) with whom the Apostles did eat and drink, and that after his Resurrection from the dead, Act. 10.38,41,42,43. which must needs respect the visible Man.

Sixthly, Because the true Christ blamed his Disciples when they supposed him to be a Spirit, saying to them, Handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have, Luke 24.37,38,39.

Seventhly, Because the true Christ was seen with visible and carnal (that is fleshly) eyes; for 'tis written, the eyes of all them that were in the Synagogue were fastned on him, (to wit, Christ) and sure I am that the Quaker cannot imagine (from any show in the Scriptures) that these had any other eyes, as invisible and spiritual eyes, be­cause 'tis said also, that all they in the Synagogue were filled with wrath, and thrust him out of the City, Luke 4.20,28,29.

Eightly, Because he is declared in the Holy Scriptures, to be Je­sus Christ, who was Circumcised; which were also a false account, if the Quakers opinion were true, namely, That the Eternal Spirit in the Man, and not the Man, was the Christ.

Ninthly, Because the Eternal Spirit which dwelt in the Man Christ, which afterwards the Apostles received in them, is called another Comforter, and that by Christ himself, which would not come unto the Apostles, unless he (the true Christ) went away, John 14.16,17. 16.7.

Tenthly, Because 'tis said, Jesus Christ lift up his eyes to Heaven, and Prayed to God his Father, John 17. Both the action and the manner thereof shewing, that the visible Man is the Christ: And besides, if the Quaker shall suppose that 'twas the Eternal Spirit in the visible Man Christ that prayed, and that the same Eternal Spirit is one essence or being with God the Father, and Christ his Son, without distinctions; I then would demand of them two things; first, Who it was that the Spirit Prayed unto? And secondly, For what he prayed, or what he stood in need of?

Elevently, The Eternal Spirit which was given to, and received by the visible man, cannot be the Christ, that is in English Anoin­ted, because he is said by the Apostle to be the Anointing with which the Saviour was anointed: as 'tis written, how God anointed Jesus, [Page 41] (that is, the Saviour) of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, Act. 10.38. If the Eternal Spirit, as Spirit, was anointed, I would know with what, and wherefore?

Twelfthly, Because the true Christ, even Sions King, is said to come sitting and riding upon an Ass, meek and lowly; who also in lowliness washed the Disciples feet: all which proves that the visible man is the true Christ, Zecha. 9.9. Mat. 21.5. John 13.14.

Object. Henceforth know we no man after the flesh, yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him (so) no more.

Answ. What Paul intends by these words I verily believe, but that Christ is departed from and without that outward body of flesh, which once was visible on Earth, and so not to be known after the flesh; that is, not now having that body of flesh, this indeed I believe not.

First, Because that then, and upon the very same ground, we are to know henceforth none amongst men to be the Children of God, but such onely as are departed from, and without their outward bo­dies of flesh; and where those men are, or what kind of men they are, I verily know not: I thus speak, because in like manner as the Apostle saith, Henceforth we know Christ no more after the flesh; so also he saith, even, in the same words, that henceforth know we no man after the flesh; if true in one, then in both: but that it is untrue in one, you have hereby a weight of reason forbidding; that the other is also untrue, consider the Scriptures forbidding it: As,

Secondly, Because those that were of the number of Gods Elect in Ages past, Waited for the Son of God from Heaven, who was rai­sed from the dead, 1 Thes. 1.4,10. Now sure I am, that 'twas the visible body of flesh which was dead, and so raised from the dead, that which was raised from the dead, the Saints of God waited for; and therefore they ceased not to know Christ as having the body of flesh, which once he had, though both they and we believe that 'tis glorified.

Thirdly, Because the same Apostle that speaks these words, is so far from such an opinion of undervaluing the fleshly body of Christ, as that he tells the Church, they were reconciled to God in the body of his flesh through death, Col. 1.21,22. And surely, neither Paul nor the Church was at any time to cease knowing or honouring, that through which they were reconciled to God, His flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed; and although in one sence it profited nothing; yet such is it in another sence, as that whosoever eateth and [Page 42] drinketh the same (that is, believeth in the Lord, John 6.35.) shall never hunger nor thirst; And therefore for the constant remembrance thereof, we have that Ordinance of Breaking Bread, which surely was never instituted to hold forth an unprofitable thing.

But true it is, That neither Christ nor men, are to be known after the flesh; and how once men were known after the flesh, is plain from the same Apostles words, as thus, We are the Circumcision which worship God in Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, wherein if any might trust, I more (saith Paul:) Now what he means by this, is manifest, to wit, being Circumcised, of the Stock of Israel, of the Tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, &c. Phil. 3.3,4,5. But he well knowing that the Ministration of the Law (under which persons were thus known after the flesh) then done away, and a more glorious Ministration in being, which forbids men to plead, we have Abraham to our Father, we are his Children after the flesh, of the Stock of Israel, of this or that Tribe; and therefore let us be Baptized and known among you (according as you may read the Pharisees did, Mat. 3.7,8,9.) Paul, I say, well knowing this, declared that he had no confidence in the flesh, as in reference to himself; neither henceforth would he know any other man after the flesh, as once during the time of the Law men were known and ac­counted, even, the Children of Promise (in respect of temporal enjoyments) being such as descended from that fleshly, birth-privi­ledged Seed of Abraham: Therefore (saith he) If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature, the Seed of Abraham, according to the Faith of Abraham, either Jews or Gentiles: In like manner as there was a time when Christ was esteemed and known, upon the account, or because of his being born of the Tribe of Judah, and of the birth-priviledged Seed of Abraham; yet now henceforth (saith the Apostle) know we him (so) no more; that is, as to esteem him upon that account, or for that reason meritoriously the Saviour of the world, but rather upon the account of his coming down from Hea­ven, his being the Son of God reconciling the world unto himself, in the body of his flesh through death.

Object. The first man Adam was made a living Soul, the last Adam was made a quickning Spirit.

Answ. True it is, that the Apostle thus speaketh; but consider how he is, or can be called the last Adam, or the second Man (as afterwards he is called) if Christ be so a quickning Spirit, conside­red as he was before the world was: for if the Spirit (as Spirit) be the last, or second Adam, then it follows that the first man Adam, who [Page 43] was of the earth, earthy, was first, and before the Eternal quickning Spirit; which were very absurd to think: and therefore Christ of necessity must be understood to be the last Adam, upon the account of his being become visible man, a condition that he was not alwayes in, but since the creation and fall of the first man Adam, and so is truly and very properly the last or second man, made a quickning Spi­rit: yet not so a spirit in the Apostles sence, but that he is also spiritual (ver. 46.) and also the man, by whom came the Resurre­ction from the dead (ver. 21.) and also the Christ that died, was bu­ried, and rose again (ver. 3, 4.) and therefore not so a quickning Spirit, as in the Quakers sence: for the Spirit considered as from Eternity was not man, and so was never dead, and so not buried, and so not raised again: all which Paul testifies in that very Chapter concer­ning him, whom he calls a quickning Spirit, (in reference to his now being a spiritual glorified man) which considered, it remains, that all the House of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom the Jews Crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Moreover, as the Quaker holds, That the Spirit which was in the visible man (and not the man) was the Christ: So also he holds, and indeed it leads him to hold, that the second coming of Christ is in men, and not otherwise; and therefore Humphrey Smith in his Book, entituled, A true and everlasting Rule, pag. 19, 20. com­pares such, who look after the body of Christ, to those young men that sought in vain the body of Elijah, and plainly saith, that such (whom he calls wandring stars) shall never find the body they look so much after: he also speaking of Christ, pag. 30. saith, That he is come, whom we long waited for, and we do not look for any other; who now (saith he) appears the second time without sin, to the sa­ving that which was lost; and so (saith he) we confess Christ come in the flesh, and do not look for another, pag. 32.

Now as their perswasions concerning Christ being a Spirit, and not man, leads them to expect the coming of Christ in them: so con­trariwise our Faith and full perswasions, that Christ is a visible glori­fied man, leads us to expect his second coming as a distinct appea­rance from, and not in, his People; whereupon I forbear to urge those many Scripture-grounds which with all plainness ane loud­ness of voice reproves these mens swelling words of vanity, and shall onely speak something touching those Scriptures, which speaks of Christs being in his People, whereat some, for want of understanding, may possibly stumble.

True it is, That the Apostle tells the Church of the Colossians, [Page 44] that Crist was in them, the hope of Glory, Col. 1.27. Yet not so in them, but that he could also say, and that at the same time, to the same Church, that when Christ who is our Life shall appear, then ye shall appear with him in Glory, even, in the possession of that Glory which then they had hopes of, ver. 3, 4. The Apostle also declares Christ to be in the Corinthians, except they were Reprobates: Yet not so in them, but that they were also waiting for the coming of Christ, 1 Cor. 1.7. Yea, at that time when they were sanctified in Christ, ver. 2. and in every thing enriched by him, coming behind in no gift, ver. 5, 7. Paul also testifies concerning himself, That Christ lived in him; yet not so, but that he looked also for the ap­pearing of Christ, Tit. 2.13. Yea, and at that time when he had finished his course, and the time of his departure at hand, he speaks to Timothy of a Crown of Righteousness, which the Righteous Judge (saith he) shall give me at that day, even, at his appearing, 2 Tim. 4.1,6,7,8. The Apostle John saith, Christ is come; that is, the first time; which John might well say, for he had seen him with his eyes, and handled him with his hands, 1 John 1.1. But Christ afterwards ascended, from whom John received great things, yea, much of the special presence of Gods Spirit mightily working with him; yet did he not say, that Christ was come the second time, for himself (after those many Visions and Revelations we read of was discovered to him) readily prayed, even so, come Lord Iesus, Rev. 22.20. Stephen a man full of the Spirit, yet looking up into Heaven, testified that he saw (in Heaven) Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God; and the truth of this, he sealed with his blood, Act. 7.55,56,58.

Moreover, as Paul bears witness of Christs dwelling in the Saints; so also he declares, that the Saints were in him, even, as it is meet (saith he) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, Phil. 1.7. And elsewhere saith, that you are in our hearts, to dye and live with you, 2 Cor. 7.3. Now 'tis out of question, that the several persons of the Churches were not in the Apostles heart, but onely they were deep in his affections, and much in the Thoughts and Meditations of his heart, even, so as to dye and live with them (he believing them to be the beloved of God) So the Saints, having Christ deep in their affections, much and often in their Thoughts and Meditations, (believing him to be their most precious Redee­mer, Who is gone into Heaven to prepare a place for them, John 14.2.) So, I say, Christ dwelleth in his People, or in the hearts of his Peo­ple by Faith: And this kind of Language is both proper and common [Page 45] to this day, for persons that are deep in each others affections, in their personal absence one from another, to say that such are in their hearts, or that such are often in their mindes, &c.

Moreover, as 'tis said, that Christ is in his Saints, so likewise 'tis said, and that more frequently in the Scriptures, That the Saints are in Christ, and in God; as thus, Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ, unto the Saints, and faithfull Brethren in Christ that are at Colosse, ch. 1. v. 2. Ʋnto the Church of the Thessalonians, which is in God, the Father, and in the Lord Iesus Christ, ch. 1.1. Unto all the Saints in Christ Iesus which are at Philippi, ch. 1.1. Unto the Saints and faithfull in Christ, which are at Ephesus, ch. 1.1. Now, that the Saints are in Christ, after the manner that these men plead for Christs being in the Saints, judge ye that fear the Lord and serve him with uprightness of heart; remembring that he is the true Christ, who was dead, but is alive for evermore, a Mediator betwixt God and Men, the man Christ Iesus.

Moreover, hear what the Lord Christ saith, as a most clear resolve to this case, as thus, John 17.21,23. Thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; compared with these his words, John 15.10. If ye keep my Commandements, ye shall abide in my love, as I have kept my Fathers Commandements, and abide in his love. Most clearly shewing, that Christs being in the Father, is meant, in the Fathers love, as himself witnesseth: and so the Fathers being in the Son, is meant, in the Sons love: so likewise our being in the Eather, and in the Son, is meant, in their love: So, even so Christs dwelling in the Saints, is meant, his dwelling in their love, in their affections (as hath been said.) Now, whereas the Son was in the Fathers love, there was given unto the Son, from the Father, the Holy Spitit, (without measure) working in him, whereby he did the works that no man ever did, to the glory of the Father: So in like manner the Saints being in Christ, in his love and affections; there is also given to the Saints, (through Christ) the Holy Spirit (in measure) working in them, whereby the deeds of the body are to be mortified, Rom. 8.13. and the fruits of Righteousness brought forth to the Glory and Praise of God, by Jesus Christ.

Obj. From these words of Christ, John 14.16,17. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. From these words (I say) 'tis conceived, and declared by the Quakers, that Christ that was then with the Disciples, should afterwards be in them, &c.

Answ. He that hath an ear to hear, may easily understand, that he, who is said to be with the Disciples, and should afterwards be in them, was not the Christ, but another Comforter, whom the Christ would pray to the Father for, even, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world could not receive, because they saw him not, nor knew him to be the Spirit of Truth, from God, (though through him was done such works as no man ever did,) yea, they were ready to say, that he had a Devil (in him) but the Disciples knew him to be the Spirit of Truth, and acknowleged the mighty works to be done through the Spirit of God in him; therefore saith Christ, Ye know him, for he (the Spirit of truth, another Comforter,) dwelleth with you; (that is▪ the Spirit, being in Christ, and so with the Disciples, for he was not then given to them, as he was afterwards, Joh. 7.37.) and shall be in you, that is, the Spirit of Truth, another Comforter; which, when Christ was exalted, having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, he made good to his Disciples, by sending his Holy Spirit in them, which before was with them, being in Christ that was with them.

These men say, Christ is come in them the second time, and they look not for any other; and withall have good words and fair speeches, crying, Grace, grace, Light, light. But let all assuredly know, that they themselves are not in the True Light, nor Grace of God that brings Salvation, wherein the Saints of old walked; for they thereby were taught to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to look for the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, Tit. 2.11,12,13. But saith Humphrey Smith, Christ is come, and we look not for any other, another voice from another Spirit.

Moreover, the Quaker utterly denyes (as most men I suppose knows) the Holy Scriptures to be a Rule: whereunto Humphry Smith, in his Book intitlued, A true and everlasting Rule, pa. 29. in the face of men and Devils affirmeth, That there is no other Rule, Wayes, Means, or Name, by which man shall ever come to walk with God, but by that which is manifest of God in him, which (say they) is sufficient to guide in all the wayes of God without Scripture, or any other outward means.

Answ. The time was, (and that not long since in our Nation) when it was no lesse then ridiculous, and a matter of contempt, for men and women to go to the publick Place of their Worship, with the Bible under their Armes, whereby to search whether those things they heard were so or no: such and so great was the Romish cloud of darkness then spread over the faces of the multitude, they being informed by their blind Guides, that Ignorance was the Mother of Devotion: But Satans device [...] discovered in this, and the Scriptures very generally searched into, [Page 47] he hath now found out another way, whereby to produce a low esteem to the Holy Scriptures, even by his manifold endeavours to perswade people that there is a Light placed in them, which is to be their Rule, and is sufficient without the Scriptures, or any other outward means, to guide them in all the wayes of God; which being believed unavoidably leads people to have a low and slender esteem of the Scriptures; and by this means it is become again a very rare thing to see (among these people called Quakers, when they are assembled together (the Book of the Holy Scriptures diligently searched, whether those things spoken be agreeable thereunto, yea or nay: and thus the Ministers of these people are hereby put into a capacity greatly to deceive their Hearers while in their preaching up their manifold Errours, they make use of (with their own) some Scripture Expressions also, seemingly favouring their Opinions, (but not really) as to instance; Say they in their Doctrine, Ordinances, to wit, Baptism in water, and the Lords Supper, are now ceased, for Christ hath blotted out the hand-writing of Ordinances that was against us, and nailed them to his Cross, Col. 2.14. which being heard by the People, they remember well that they have read such kind of words, and for the tryal thereof they (according as they have been taught) begin to look within them, to see what Testimony is there; now the Devil being a Spirit, and so working within, being also an Enemy to Christ and his Ordinances, he, even he bears testimony within them, that what they have heard is true, even that the Ordinances are ceased, &c. whenas those that search the Scriptures according to the commandment of Christ, quickly see, that 'tis the Ordinances of the Old Testament, and not of the New, that Christ nailed to his Cross: Now if you observe these men, being first deceived concerning the Rule, thereby are greatly disinabled to descern the Evil spirit speaking within them; for by what should he be tryed, if the Scriptures be not a Rule? and so these (alas poor creatures!) finding such and such perswasions within them, greatly fear to contradict or gain-say it; it being no lesse to them then to contradict or gain-say the mind of the Lord Jesus, they believing that it is Christ the Light that speaketh within them; yea although their inward perswasions never so much contradict the Scriptures, yet they adhere to them, not daring to question the Light (as they call it) within them, but presently concludes that they have understood the Scriptures, and so perverts the plain meaning thereof into some kind of (imagined) Mystery, that so they may one way or other cause the Scriptures without to speak agreeable to that they call Light within them: And that I wrong not these men hereby, consider one thing of many that might be instanced, namely, touching Women, who in all plainness are forbidden (by the [Page 48] Scriptures) to teach in the Church: but since the Spirit in these men sayes, that women may teach, they adhere thereunto, and perverts the plain Scripture into a Mystery, and so declares, that the woman which is forbidden to teach (1 Tim. 2.12,13.) is the wisdom of the flesh either in man or woman, and not the Female kind, as you may read in Farnworths Book, intituled, A Woman forbidden to speak in the Church, page 3.

But that there is no such Light in every man, as aforesaid, appears in that Christ gave commandment to his Apostles, to go into all the world, and teach all Nations, to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded them, Marke 16.15. Mat. 28.19,20. And Paul witnesseth, that he had declared all the Counsel of God, Acts. 20.27. whereupon 'tis required, that men incline their ear, and hear, that their Souls may live, Isai. 55.3. and such as turn away their eares from the truth are re­proved, 2 Tim 4.4. All which were empty and useless things, both Christs Command, That all things whatsoever should be taught the Nations, the Apostles obedience to that Command in Preaching all things, and also the Nations lending their ears to hear what is preached to them; if it were true that there were such a Light in every man of the Nations, as were sufficient to guide in all the wayes of God, and were placed in the Nations for that very purpose, and that no other Rule, or Means could lead to God, (which Humphery Smith affirmeth) 'Tis indeed said by the Prophet, that Christ should be given a Light to the Gentiles, from whence these men plead, That Christ is a Light in every one of the Gentiles, without any other outward means: But Paul and Barnabas (well understanding the Scriptures) pleaded another thing from thence, directly contrary, namely thus, Lo, we turn to the Gentiles, for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a Light of the Gentiles, &c. Acts 13.46,47. because 'twas said, Christ was set to be a Light of the Gentiles, therefore they would go and preach to the Gentiles: And what were they to preach to them? not that one thing of turning to (a Light) their Teacher within, but ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER, Mat. 28.19,20. all the Counsel of God, Act. 20.27. I then (with the Apostle) conclude thus, How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? How beautifull therefore are the feet of them that preach the Gospel! So then, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, Rom. 10.

Among many things contradicting this Opinion, That every mans Rule is within him, and that there is no other Rule, Means, or Wayes that leads to God: this is none of the least, namely, Because when there was asfair occasions given, (as well can be conceived) for the Doctrine [Page 49] of turning to a Light within, to be preached; as fair occasions I say, as well can be conceived, through the many enquiries of men, even what they should do; that then 'twas not preached, neither by God, Christ, Angel, nor men; as to instance,

In the dayes of the Prophet Zechariah, Sherezer and Regem-melech were sent by the Children of Israel to enquire of the Priests and Propets which were in the House of God, whether they should weep in the fifth Month, separating themselves as they had done many years before?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But God speaks by the Prophet, saying, Should you not hear the Words which the Lord hath cryed by the former Prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited, and in prosperity, Zech. 7.2,3,7.

Also John the Baptist, who is declared to be a burning and a shining Light, sent two of his Disciples unto Jesus, saying by them, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But (saith the man Christ) Go, and tell John what things you have heard and seen, how that the blinde see, the lame walk, the Lepers are clensed, &c. such outward means was returned by Christ, the true Light, for Johns satisfaction, Luke 7.19,20,21,22.

In the Dayes of John came the people unto him, saying, What shall we do? also the Publicans, saying, Master, what shall we do? also the Souldiers demanded of him, saying, What shall we do?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith John (having another Spirit) He that hath two coats let him impart to him that hath none, exact no more then that which is appointed you, do violence to no man, neither accuse falsly, but be content with your wages, Luke 3.10,11,12,13,14.

Also a certain Young man came to Christ, saying, What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith Christ, Keep the Commandements, and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, &c. Matth. 19.16,17,21.

Again the Jews demanded of Christ, saying, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith Christ, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent, that was Christ himself that talked with them, and was not in them, that afterwards dyed for the sins of the World, John 6.28,29. Lord, What wilt thou have me to do, saith Saul?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith the Lord Christ, (and this after his Ascension) Arise, and go into Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do, and that not by a Light within him; for when he was come to Damascus, Ananias (a certain Disciple) told him many things, as you may read; and said, Why tarryest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord, Act. 22.10,11,12,13,14,15,16.

Moreover, when Peter had preached many things to the People at Ierusalem, 'tis said, when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the Apostles, What shall we do? and (saith the Jalour) What must I do to be saved?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith Peter, Paul, and Silas, (being led with the Spirit of Light indeed) Repent, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be baptized every one of you in his Name for the Remission of Sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Act. 2.37,38. Act. 16.30,31.

In like manner when the Angel of God appeared in a vision unto Cornelius, he said, What is it Lord?

Turn to the Light within (saith the Quaker.)

But saith the Angel of Light, Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, who is surnamed Peter, he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do; and when Peter was come, he preached unto him Christ, whom the Jews slew, and hanged on a tree, with whom they had eat and drank, &c. and at length said, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, and he commanded them to be baptized, &c. Act. 10.4,5,6,38,39,41,47,48.

Object. John saith, That the anointing which ye have received, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, &c.

Answ. Consider, The Churches unto whom the Apostles wrote their Epistles, were gifted with the Holy Spirit, the anointing, as themselves acknowledge in their Writings; yet nevertheless, they saw need for them to write: but it appears that this Church, or Churches, to whom John speaks these words, were so enriched with spiritual gifts, so many gifted Brethren among themselves, in whom the anointing so mightily wrought, as that Iohn doth as it were say, that these things I have written indeed unto you concerning them that seduce you, but I look upon you so furnished with the gifts of Wisdom and spiritual Understanding, as that there was no absolute necessity for any man, either I Iohn, Peter, or Paul in remote places, [Page 51] to write unto you, whereby to instruct and teach you: Furthermore, the anointing abode indeed in them, Iohn saith, but that every par­ticular person had the anointing so in them, as that not any of them needed to be taught, Iohn saith not: the anointing Spirit abode in them (in the Body, the Church) so as that there was (it seems) several able (through the anointing) to teach and instruct the rest, which is the Will and Mind of the Lord, even for spiritual men so to do, Col. 3.16. 1 Thes. 5.11.

Object. 'Tis said, That ye shall not teach every man his Brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least to the grea­test, Heb. 8.

Answ. 'Tis to be observed, that those whom the Lord sayes, shall not teach every man his Neighbour, are such onely as have their sins forgiven them, (by Faith in Christ) and not all men in the world what­soever (which is the fence of these men) I say, onely such, because in that very place 'tis said as from the Lord, even, that all shall know me from the least to the greatest; for I will be merciful to their unrigh­teousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more, Heb. 8.12. And this pardon I am sure (and I think none opposes) reaches not every particular man in the world: Therefore all those that have so repented of their sins, believed and obeyed the Lord Jesus, as to know this gracious pardon reaching them, they indeed need not teach one another, saying, know the Lord, (as the Children of the old Covenant had need to do, they being Children thereof by generation.) These, I say, that are Children of the new Covenant by regeneration, have no need so to teach one another, saying, know the Lord, as if they knew not the Lord to be their Lord and Sa­viour; for 'tis most certain, that he is the Lord and Saviour of all such whose sins and iniquities he remembreth no more; but though these have no need to say to one another, know the Lord, upon the account aforesaid; yet even these have need to be builded up in the knowledge of the Lord, and that by outward means; for Timothy knew the Lord as his Saviour, and so needed not to be taught to know the Lord, in that sence; yet Paul sends Scripture unto him, That he might know how to behave himself in the Church of God, 1 Tim. 3.14,15. And Peter saith to them that knew the Lord, 2 Pet. 1.3. Grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord, Chap. 3.18. Therefore you that serve the Lord in simplicity of heart, and fear to offend him, receive the Word of Exhortation, even, That you stand fast, and hold the Traditions which you have been taught, whether by Word or our Epistle; (heed it well, 2 Thes. 2. [Page 52] 15.) And as for such who will not hear Moses and the Prophets, you may be sure will not be perswaded, though one rose from the dead, Luke 16.31.

But withal, let each Soul take good heed, that while they be care­ful to avoid this extream concerning the Light within, the Quakers sence, they do not run out into another extream, also dangerous, even, little to mind, or wholly to neglect walking up to the Light they have received within their Souls, according to the Scripture sence, or Gospel way of enlightning men; for alas! 'tis not enough for men to know and talk of what is good, what are spiritual things; but to do good, and to be spiritual: Oh how much more excellent is that! there is the peace known, that others onely hear of, even, the Peace of God which passeth understanding.

Above all things take the shield of Faith, whereby ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of Satan, and to open the Windows (in your service to God) as afore-time, Dan. 6.10. For should such a man as I flee? I will not go in, saith Nehemiah, Chap. 6.10,11,13.


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