A Short WORK, But of Greatest CONCERN.

By William Tomlinson.

Rom. IX. 28. For he will finish the Work, and cut it short in Righteousness; because a short Work will the Lord make up­on the Earth.

London, Printed and Sold by T. Sowle, in White-Hart-Court in Gracious-Street. 1696.

A Short Work, but of Greatest Concern.
The Lord will cut his Work short in Righteousness.

TIme hath been where­in there have been many Precepts; Pre­cept upon Precept, Line upon Line, under the Ministration of the Law, Isa. 28.13. But under the Gospel the Lord doth contract them, and bring them under one Head; and that is the Spirit of God, to be [Page 4]led and guided thereby. And he shall lead into all Righteous­ness and Truth, John 16.13. and out of the Lusts of the Flesh, Gal. 5.16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the Lust of the Flesh. And this Guide and Leader is promised to abide with the true Servants of God for ever, John 14.16, 17. So that if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9.

The time cometh, and draws near at hand, wherein People shall not be look'd up­on as the People of God, be­cause they are of such or such an Opinion; or because they are in such or such a Society; [Page 5]or belong to such a sort of Peo­ple, and walk with them, let it be under whatsoever Name is extant, whether Papist, or Protestant, or any other Name.

Nor shall Eminent Gifts and Parts shelter any Man. Many will say, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name? And in thy Name have cast out Devils? And in thy Name done many wonderful works? But what's the Answer to them that can plead thus, from the Ability of Gifts, and live not Righteously? The Answer is this, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity, Mat. 7.22, 23. Iniquity dashes all Excellent Abilities, and [Page 6]puts one out of God's Ac­knowledgment of their Per­sons.

Whereby we may observe, That it is not Eminent Gifts and Parts that states a Man in a happy Condition, although these are good, and to be pri­zed.

Query, Some may say then, perhaps, What is it then that makes us happy, if such Eminent Gifts and Parts do not?

Answer. I answer, It is hum­ble walking with the Lord, as a Child in his holy Spirit, Mat. 18.3. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be Converted, [Page 7]and become as little Children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is also plain­ly exprest in other words, (be­fore-named) where the Apo­stle saith expresly, If any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9. But on the contraty, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.

So then it's plain, That our Sonship is established in the Spirit. If we be led by the Spirit of God we are in the Sonship; but if we be not in some measure led by that, we are not in the Son­ship, but remain Strangers to God in our Spirits. But [Page 8]if we be led by the Spirit of God, the Spirit it self will bear witness with our Spi­rit, that we are the Children of God, Rom. 8.16. And here now is the Work cut short in Righteousness.

And hereby it is plainly ma­nifest, That our Happiness lyes herein, namely, in being led by the Spirit of God, and walking humbly with him therein.

And this is the chief ten­dency, and the very substance of the New Covenant, and of the New Testament which te­stifies of it, to bring us to this, and build us up in this; name­ly, [Page 9]to bring us into subjection to the Spirit of God, and to build us up therein, that so we may come to walk in Fel­lowship with our God. 1 Joh. 1.3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may have Fellowship with us; and truly our Fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And the words of our Lord and Savi­our Jesus Christ are very a­greeable hereunto, John 14.23. where he saith, If a Man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

O happy State and Condi­tion, to have Fellowship with our God! This makes happy both here and hereafter. And this the true Sons of God en­joy, who walk humbly with him in Spirit.

And in this short work now, in walking with him in the Spirit, and having Fel­lowship with him in the Spi­rit, all Iniquity is cut off, and all Righteousness is compre­hended and established; for he leads into all Truth.

I say, all Iniquity is cut off: So that he that walks in the Spirit, gives no real occasion of stumbling. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the Lusts of the Flesh, Gal. 5.16. [Page 11]And so hereby that which gives real offence is cut off.

It's possible some may take offence where none is given, as the Jews did against Christ. So some may do now in these Days, who are wedded to Tradition: They may take offence at the Truth, when their Traditions in which they are rooted, and grounded, are discovered, reproved or con­tradicted thereby. But this is not Truth that gives the of­fence; but their Errour, that take offence where none is re­ally given; as the Jews did take offence against Christ without just cause.

And as walking in the Spi­rit of Truth cuts off all Iniqui­ty, [Page 12]and all corrupt Lusts of the Flesh, so it establishes the Obedient in all Righteousness. For the Spirit leads into all Righteousness where he is faithfully followed and obey­ed. He will guide you (or lead you) into all Truth, John 16.13. That is, by degrees, as he is obeyed.

There be many false Spirits gone forth into the World, but the Spirit of Truth will discover them; and by their Fruits they shall be discover­ed. For saith Christ Jesus, By their Fruits ye shall know them, Mat. 7.16, to Ver. 20. A good Tree cannot bring forth evil Fruit; neither can a cor­rupt Tree bring forth good [Page 13]Fruit; therefore their Fruits shall discover them; for God hath so appointed it.

Now then what are the Fruits of the true Spirit, that thereby in some measure we may be able to discover false Spirits, and may discern a dif­ference? For Christ Jesus tells us, By their Fruits ye shall know them.

I answer with the Apostle's words, Gal. 5.22. The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance; against such (saith he) there is no Law. The Af­fections and Lusts of the Flesh they are hereby cut off, as the next Verse expresses, viz. [Page 14]Ver. 24. in these words, And they that are Christ's, have Cru­cified the Flesh, with the Affecti­ons and Lusts.

This is the happy state of the true Children of God, who walk humbly with him in his Holy Spirit, and grow up therein to the stature of a perfect Man in Christ Jesus. They are led by the Spirit of God in these true Fruits of the Spirit. And they have the Testimony of the Spirit of God witnessing with their Spirits that they are his.

And here now is the King­dom of God set up; God ru­ling by his holy Spirit in our Hearts, and Man obeying, and walking humbly with him in [Page 15]Obedience; and so enjoying his Comfortable Presence, and Witness of his Holy Spirit, as it was promised, 2 Cor. 6.16. That he would dwellin his holy People, and walk in them. And thus the Kingdom of God is set up in his People: For saith Christ Jesus, The Kingdom of God is within you, Luke 17.21.

Now the way to this King­dom is to be minded and en­tred into, if Men would come into it. For strait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way that leads to it, and so to Life, and few find it, saith Christ Jesus. And on the other hand, Broad is the Way, and wide is the Gate that leadeth to Destruction, and ma­ny [Page 16]there be which go in thereat. And here many fall short of the Kingdom, because they take the broad and easie way, and forsake the strait and nar­row way that leads to Life, Mat. 7.13, 14.

But they that do humble themselves before the Lord, and seek with their whole Heart to enter into the King­dom of God, to them God will open a way for them to find what their Souls long for. For saith Christ Jesus, Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you, Mat. 7.7.

There be many that mind not their future Condition, what will become of them? [Page 17]They mind not another World to come; and therefore they run on as it were hoodwinkt, and mind not the way that leads to Eternal Happiness; and so remain Strangers to God in their Spirits; not con­sidering the true state of Chri­stianity now under the Gospel, which is this, namely, To know the Lord, and to walk in Fellowship with him in Spirit, Heb. 8.11. and 1 John 1.3, 6. But they think if they keep on in their Form, all shall be well with them; not con­dering, that a Form of Godli­ness, without the Life and Power of Godliness, (which consists in Living in the Spirit and Fruits thereof) will not [Page 18]be sufficient. For some had a Form of Godliness in the A­postles Days, but yet without the Spirit and Power of Godli­ness; from such (saith he) turn away, 2 Tim. 3.5.

Now lest any tender Spirits should be discouraged, and think with themselves, that they are far from this happy state of being the Children of God, because they find them­selves loaden and burthened with Corruption, and with many Frailties and Infirmities which they are often overta­ken with; let them consider how low the Lord hath conde­scended to Mankind, in order to bring us to Happiness. He hath not spared his Beloved [Page 19]Son, but hath freely given him up to become a Sacrifice for us, that we might have boldness through him to draw near unto God. And so far doth the Lord condescend to Mankind, that he despises not the least faithful Drawings of Man's Heart towards him. He will not quench the smoaking Flax, nor break the bruised Reed. The least true motions that are in the Heart of Man towards him he doth not de­spise, but nourishes them, and cherishes them, that Men may grow up in his Holy Spirit, which begets those holy Mo­tions, and Inclinations in them, and Breathings after the Lord. Therefore let none [Page 20]think the Lord a hard Master to serve. For he hath said and affirmed, that he delights not in the Death of a Sinner, but that he should turn from his Iniquities and live.

But the great difficulty lies here, Men are so glewed to their sinful Courses, that they will not be separated from them, and so put the Lord from them afar off. For he will have no Fellowship with Iniquity. For what Communi­on can Light have with Dark­ness? Or Righteousness with Ʋnrighteousness? But he will draw near to them that draw near to him, Jam. 4.8. And he will acquaint them with the true Paths, and Teach­ings, [Page 21]and Leadings of his Holy Spirit; and will give them a Discerning to see a difference between the true Spirit and false Spirits. And without all doubt, this was one reason of giving forth the several parts of the New Testament, that false and Erroneous Doctrines and Spirits might thereby (with the Spirit of Christ o­pening them) be detected and made known. And there­fore they that judge aright of Doctrines and Practices, they judge according to the Holy Scriptures, and not by Tra­dition, or common Practice, as too many do.

I may safely say, That the Holy Spirit is the Standard of [Page 22]the Gospel, and new Cove­nant; and to that we must repair, if we would come un­der the protection of the New Covenant. For therein (name­ly in the Spirit of Christ) is the Sonship or Adoption esta­blished, as is manifest from Rom. 8.9, 14, 15.

For further Confirmation of this, that our Happiness lyes in having Fellowship with God in our Spirits, and in be­ing led by his Spirit, let these Scriptures following be well minded.

Rom. 8.1. There is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh, but af­ter the Spirit. This Chapter [Page 23]ought carefully to be minded, especially the former part of it, which speaks of being led by the Spirit of God, unto Ver. 18. to which you may add Ver. 26, 27. whereby you may see that the truly happy state of a Christian lies in be­ing led by the Spirit of God, and in having Fellowship with God therein.

Another Scripture to this purpose is this, 1 Cor. 3.16, 17. Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God? And that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any Man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are.

Add to this the 19th and 20th Verses of the sixth Chap­ter, where the words are these, What, know ye not that your Body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost, (or Holy Spirit) which is in you, which ye have of God? And ye are not your own, For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorifie God in your Body, and in your Spirit, which are God's.

Again, 2 Cor. 1.22. and Chap. 5. Ver. 5. It's there expressed, that the Spirit is the Seal and the Earnest of our Inheritance; that is, of our Heavenly Inheritance. Now an Earnest is the ensu­ring of a thing to one; and so is a Seal. And Men are very [Page 25]careful to keep their Seal en­tire and safe, tho' it be but for an Earthly Inheritance; how much more ought we to be very careful to keep abiding in the Spirit, which is our Seal and Earnest for an Eter­nal Inheritance.

Again, let these words be well minded, Gal. 4.6. And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your Hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

And again, Gal. 6.8. it's there said, He that soweth to the Flesh, shall of the Flesh reap Corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap Life Everlasting. So then our Everlasting Life must [Page 26]spring from the Spirit; how careful then ought we to be, to be acquainted with the Spi­rit of God, and to walk hum­bly with him in the Holy Spi­rit!

And therefore Eph. 4.30. the Apostle admonisheth us, saying, Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the Day of Redemp­tion. And in 1 Thes. 5.19. we are admonished not to quench the Spirit. And there­fore again I say, how careful ought we to be, that we do not grieve or quench the Spi­rit of God, which is the Seal of our Heavenly Inheritance.

Lastly, I shall add to these but one Scripture more, which [Page 27]is, 1 John 4.13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, (that is, in God) and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Thus you may see, that the Spirit of God is the great thing that we are to labour for, and submit unto; and to seek of the Lord to be endowed there­with, that we may be led thereby now under the Go­spel, which if any Man have not, he is none of Christ's, saith the Apostle plainly, Rom. 8.9.

But Christ Jesus hath pro­mised for them that love him, and keep his Commands, That he will pray the Father for them, and saith he. He will give you another Comforter, that he may [Page 28]abide with you for ever, 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, John 14.15, 16, 17. Here he makes a clear distinction be­tween the World and his Peo­ple who love him, and keep his Commands. The World seeth not, neither knoweth the Spirit of Truth; but ye know him, (saith he) for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Here's a comfortable Promise to the true Servants of Christ. And happy is that Person that submits to such a Companion, which will be a continual Guide to him; and which [Page 29]will check him when he turns to the Right Hand, or to the Left, out of the way.

Thus we are in those times wherein the Spirit of God is made the Guide and Leader of his People who know him.

And therefore so many false Spirits are come forth to divert Man from following the true Spirit. For Satan hath bestirred himself to with­stand Man's Happiness.

I say we are in the times of the Ministration of the Spirit, (which gives Life to them that obey him) as you may read plainly expressed in the third Chapter of the second Book to the Corinthians. The whole Chapter is worthy to [Page 30]be minded; for it speaks ma­nifestly of the change of the Ministration or Covenant. And there the first Covenant is called the Ministration of Death written and engraven in Stones, Ver. 7. And the New Covenant (which we are or ought to be under) is called the Ministration of the Spirit, Ver. 8. And again, the first Covenant, (that is the Law) is called the Ministration of Condemnation: and the New Covenant (that is the Spirit) is called the Ministration of Righteousness, Ver. 9. of that Chapter in these words, For if the Ministration of Condem­nation be glorious, much more doth the Ministration of Righ­teousness [Page 31]exceed in Glory. And Ver. 11. it said thus concern­ing these two Ministrations; For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Thus you may see it very plain, that there is a change of the Covenant; and that we are under the times of the New Covenant; which is the Spirit. And further, That none are actually in the Son­ship or Adoption, and reputed the Sons or Children of God under the New Covenant, but those who are led by the Spirit of God; or hungring and thirsting after Righteous­ness, which the Spirit is the Author and Nourisher of.

And this is the true state of Christianity; in the which God hath a number who walk with him therein, tho' little discerned by the World. He hath also others who are pres­sing forward, striving to over­come; and them he carries as Lambs in his Arms, Isa. 40.11. And these are as little Chil­dren whose Sins are forgiven, 1 John 2.12.

And others there are who did run well, but faint and flag before they come to their Journeys end. And some turn back with the Dog to his Vo­mit, and with the Sow that was washed, to her wallow­ing in the Mire, 2 Pet. 2.22. And some content themselves [Page 33]with a Form of Godliness, without the Life and Power thereof.

The Law had many Pre­cepts, but the Gospel hath contracted all good Precepts under one Head; and that is, (as hath been shewed) under the guidance of the Spirit of God. And this was their Rule they were guided by and led by, in the Primitive Time; as it is plainly expressed, Gal. 6.15, 16, Verses, in these words, For in Christ Jesus nei­ther Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Ʋncircumcision, but a New Creature, (or New Crea­tion, as the words [...] do properly bear, Mark 10.6.) And as many as walk according [Page 34]to this Rule, (viz. this of the New Creation) Peace be on them, and Mercy; or Peace is upon them, and Mercy; for so the words do as well bear; and they do enjoy Peace and Mercy, who walk according to that New Creation of the Spirit of God in the Heart; and they are now the true Is­rael of God, Rom. 2.28, 29. I say, this was their Rule they were guided by in the Primi­tive Time: For the Scriptures of the New Testament were not fully writ until a many Years after Christ's Ascension; but the Spirit was their Guide and Leader; and then from that Holy Spirit they gave forth the Writings of the New Te­stament; [Page 35]not to divert Men from following the Spirit, but to guide Men in Obedience to the true Spirit, and to avoid those false Spirits that were then come forth into the World. For that's the chief tendency of the New Testa­ment, to direct and guide us in our Obedience to the true Spirit of God, and to avoid all false Spirits.

In the time of the Law they were under the Letter; but when Christ the Minister of the New Covenant came, he brought them on by degrees to the Ministration of the Spi­rit; giving forth, first of all Precepts suitable to the Spirit, while he was here in Person [Page 36]upon Earth. And then after his Ascension, he ministred to them by the Spirit, as he had promised while he was with them, John 14.15, 16, 17, 18. and Chap. 16.13, 14. and Chap. 15.26.

This is the great condescen­tion of the Lord to Mankind, to lead gradually those that love him, as they are able to bear.

For as there is a gradual go­ing forward of his publick Di­spensations, so also in his lead­ing of particular Persons, from step to step.

When he had chosen a Peo­ple out from the rest of Man­kind, namely the Israelites, the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, [Page 37]and Jacob; he gave them Car­nal Ordinances suitable to their Condition, Heb. 9.10. and after that he raised up Prophets among them, to raise their Minds and Hearts a little higher, after a more Spiritual Walking with him. Then after that he sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for greater things which were to follow. For the Kingdom of Heaven was then at hand. And thus way was made gra­dually for the coming of Christ Jesus, that Men might believe on him when he came.

Thus the Lord carried on his publick Work gradually; and thus also he frequently carries on his Work in parti­cular [Page 38]Persons, from step to step. And it is well for them that follow him in his Lead­ings and Drawings, and take not up their Rest, or stop in the Way, but hold on to fol­low the Lord. For he doth not usually communicate all at once to his People, altho' he may give much Comfort sometimes at the first turning of Man's Heart faithfully to him. But he communicates by degrees to them that truly follow him, and as they are capable to receive, and able to bear. To his Disciples Christ said, I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now, John 16.12. so he communicated to them as [Page 39]they could bear. And so he did to Paul, Acts 26.16. he did not make him a Minister and a Witness of all at once, but appeared to him, to make him a Minister and a Witness of those things which he had seen, and of those things in the which he would afterwards appear to him. Thus the Lord doth condescend to take us by the Hand, as it were, to lead us on from one degree to another, where there is a willing Heart to follow him. And there may be still a going forward, and growing up in the Lord while we are in this Life. Paul, that Eminent Ser­vant of the Lord, after all his Visions, and great Attain­ments, [Page 40]and Perfections, still saith, I press forward, Phil. 3.14, 15.

And thus the Ministry of Christ was and is to lead us forward by degrees: Not on­ly to bring us on thorough the Ministration of the Law, or of the Letter, (as it's called) but to bring us under the Mi­nistration of the Spirit, so as to be led thereby, and to grow up therein; and so to establish us in the Sonship or Adop­tion.

Thus under the Ministrati­on of the Gospel, the Work is cut short in Righteousness; namely, in subjecting the Heart of Man to the Spirit of God, which works all Righ­teousness [Page 41]in us gradually, if we be faithful thereunto. And it will admit of no Iniquity, if we faithfully follow the gui­dance thereof. For God hath comprehended all Righteous­ness in the Spirit, and in the Fruits thereof. It is the Spirit that leads into all Truth.

This is the great Dispensa­tion of the Lord under the Go­spel. This Satan knows, and therefore was he, and yet is so busie to suggest other Spirits, whereby to divert Men, and turn them aside from the true Spirit, by appearances of other Spirits, and with some resem­blance of the true: This he did very early in the Apostles Days, as we may observe by [Page 42]the Writings or Epistles of the Apostle Paul, in which we may see how he was con­strained to vindicate himself, and his Ministry, against those false Teachers, who de­sired occasion against him, 2 Cor. 11.12. False Apostles may despise and vilifie them that are in the Truth, and may transform themselves as the Apostles of Christ: Satan himself can transform himself into an Angel of Light; there­fore it is no great thing if his Ministers also be transformed as the Ministers of Righteous­ness, 2 Cor. 11.12, 13, 14, 15.

I do not speak this to vilifie any faithful Ministers; but to [Page 43]shew the great subtilty of Sa­tan: And for this end, that we may be all careful to keep close to our true Guide, the Spirit of God, which leads in­to all Righteousness, and out of all false Appearances, and gives the comfortable Testi­mony of his presence in the Hearts of those that faithfully obey him, and walk humbly with him.

But some perhaps may say, How shall we know these deceit­ful Workers, these false Spi­rits?

I Answer, I write not this so much to discover any such, but that every one may be [Page 44]careful to examine themselves, and be stirred up to beware of Satan's Wiles. It is a hard matter to know deceitful Workers by their good Words, or fair Speeches, or Ministeri­al Gifts and Parts, which they once had given them. It's said, That Gifts shall be given also, even to the Rebellious, Psal. 68.18. Thou hast ascend­ed on high, thou hast led Capti­vity Captive, thou hast received Gifts for Men; yea, for the Rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. And some will so rest upon their Ministerial Gifts, and not upon the Giver, that they will make them a plea for themselves when the Lord [Page 45]comes to judge, as hath been shewed before, from Mat. 7.22. But the Excellency of Ministerial Gifts will not shel­ter Workers of Iniquity; al­tho' such Gifts be very ser­viceable, and worthy to be desired. And it is the Apo­stle's Exhortation. 1 Cor. 12.31. to covet earnestly the best Gifts. But yet (saith he) I shew unto you a more excellent way; and that more excellent way he expresses at large in the whole Chapter following, that is, in Chap. 13. where he saith thus, Though I speak with the Tongue of Men, and of Angels, and have not love (for so it may and ought to be Translated from the Greek [Page 46]words [...] and have not Love) I am become as sounding Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal. [That that word [...] ought to be Transla­ted Love in this Chapter, I shall shew by and by, with Reasons for it.]

If any insist still upon that Query before mentioned, and say, How shall we know these false Spirits, these deceitful Workers that have been spoken of? We would fain know them.

I Answer still, Where it may be a hard matter for us to distinguish aright of others, Our best course is to approve our own Hearts to the Lord; [Page 47]and to walk so that we may have the Testimony of a good Conscience in our selves, that we are approved of the Lord: Then shall we have rejoicing in our own Bosoms from the comfortable Witness of the Spirit of God. For the Spirit will witness with our Spirits, (if we walk in Obedience) that we are the Children of God, Rom. 8.16. As for others, it will be a hard matter to di­stinguish aright between Tares and Wheat: They may take Tares for good Wheat, or good Wheat for Tares, if they keep not to the Holy Spirit.

True it is, that some Mens Sins are open beforehand, and [Page 48]go before unto Judgment, and some Mens they follow after, 1 Tim. 5.24. Some are so openly and manifestly wick­ed, that they are judged of all Men; but others, they fol­low after.

I come now to shew, that the words [...] men­tioned before, ought to be Translated thus, in my Judgment, viz. And have not love.

And in the first place, I shall shew that the word [...] is most frequently Tran­slated Love, which is the first great Fruit of the Spirit, of which we have been speak­ing, and springs immediately [Page 49]from the true Spirit of God, as an inseparable Fruit thereof, Gal. 5.22. The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, &c. [...] &c. And so you may find the word [...] Tran­slated Love in all these places following, besides others, Mat. 24.12. John 13.34, 35. and Chap. 15.13. And again, Chap. 17.26. Rom. 8.35. and Chap. 12.9. and Chap. 13.10. 2 Cor. 2.4, 8. and Chap. 5.14. and Chap. 6.6. and Chap. 8.7, 8, 24. and Chap. 13.11. Gal. 5.6, 13, 22. Eph. 1.15. and Chap. 2.4. and Chap. 3.19. and Chap. 6.23. Phil. 1.9, 17. and Chap. 2.1, 2. Col. 1.4, 8. [Page 50]1 Thes. 1.3. and Chap. 4.9. and Chap. 5.8. 2 Thes. 2.10. 1 Tim. 1.14. and Chap. 6.11. 2 Tim. 1.7. Heb. 6.10. and Chap. 10.24. 1 John 2.15. and Chap. 3.1. and Ch. 4.7, 8, 10, 16, 17. 2 John 6. Jude 2. Rev. 2.4. In all these places, besides more, the word [...] is Translated Love.

And why it should be Tran­slated Charity, as it is rendred, 1 Cor. 13. throughout the whole Chapter, I see no rea­son. But I shall shew what reason I have to the Contra­ry.

We take Charity some­times in this Case, to have a good Opinion of one; or to [Page 51]have a good Affection to one; and so to have a Kind, Civil Society with them, and this is good in its place. And some­times it is taken for a Natural Love, as among Relations, which is also good. Some­times also it is taken for an Af­fection of Pity to such as are in Distress; and not only to pity them, but to distribute to them; and this is also cal­led Charity; and this is very good also, and very accepta­ble with the Lord, and agree­able with that Precept, Heb. 13.16. To do good, and to communicate, forget not; for with such Sacrifices God is well pleased.

But still there is something above these, which is of a more uniting Property; and that is the Love of God shed abroad in the Hearts of them that truly fear and love him. And hence arises a more Spi­ritual Love, and therein, uni­on of Spirit, not only with the Lord, but also with all those that love and fear him, and walk in Obedience with him. And this Love is not restrain­ed to any one distinct Society only, but extends it self to all that fear him, and walk hum­bly with him in every Society of People.

True Spiritual Love is an Affection of Complacency a­rising from union of Spirit in [Page 53]true Spiritual Obedience. Or to speak more fully, True Spiritual Love (which is here spoken of in this 13th Chapter of 1 Cor.) is a Reflexion of God's Love shed abroad upon the Heart, and springing up in our Hearts. And it arises from Faith, and is a true Fruit of Faith, For true Faith works by Love, Gal. 5.6. Neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Ʋncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love. And we love God, be­cause he first loved us, 1 John 4.19. He gives some sense, (or understanding) of his Love, into our Hearts; or sheds abroad his Love into the Hearts of them that truly [Page 54]fear him; and thence springs our right, true Spiritual Love to him, and to all Men.

And this is that more ex­cellent way which the Apo­stle said he would shew in the last Verse of the 12th Chapter immediately going before this 13th Chapter, where he speaks so much of Love, which he prefers before the best Gifts. For, saith he, Covet earnestly the best Gifts, and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Observe! A more excellent way than the best Gifts; and that is Love. For it follows immediately, Though I speak with the Tongues of Men, and of Angels, and have not Love, ( [...]) I am become as sound­ing [Page 55]Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal. And so it's Love that is the more excellent way above the best Gifts and Parts, viz. pure Spiritual Love. It's above the Gift of Prophecy, (tho' that be very desireable and profitable) it's above the Knowledge of all Mysteries: It's above Faith. Oh! the high Value that is set upon pure Spiritual Love by the A­postle Paul; and so also by the Beloved Disciple John: For, faith he, He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is Love, 1 John 4.8. And a­gain, Ver. 16. God is Love, and he that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. This pure Love is a Re­flexeth [Page 56]of the Love of God shed abroad upon the Hearts of them that truly fear, and love, and obey him, as hath been said. As the Sun in the Firmament shining upon the Water, gives a Reflexion of it self in the Water, so the Love of God shed abroad upon the Hearts of them that truly fear him, begets a Resemblance of it self in some measure, where Clouds of Sin or Unbelief hin­der not. And so our true Love of God arises hence, even from his Love in some measure made known to us, and shed abroad in our Hearts; that is, in the Hearts of those that walk in Obedience and Faith before him.

Now this Love is a higher thing than Charity, and is more extensive than Charity. For Charity reaches but to Man, but true Spiritual Love reaches forth to God, as well as to Man. He is the Object of the purest and highest Love; and he is the Fountain from whence such Love flows. We love him, because he loved us first, (1 John 4.19.) and gave his Son Christ Jesus our Lord for our Redemption.

This Love that is so much spoken of in the 13th Chapter of the First of Corinthians, is above Faith, and above Hope. Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love, Ver. 13.

[...]
[...]

Again, the word [...] be­ing Translated Charity in this place, seems to bear a Con­tradiction in it to Ver. 3. of the same Chapter, 1 Cor. 3. where it is said, Though I be­stow all my Goods to feed the Poor (what's this but Chari­ty? And yet saith the Tran­slation) and have not Charity; but it were better exprest (I think) and have not Love, ac­cording as the word [...] fre­quently signifies, and is for the most part so rendred, as hath been shewed.

And so that word Love would better agree with all the other Expressions follow­ing, in Verses 4, 5, 6, &c. than the word Charity; and [Page 59]might be Read thus, Love suffereth long, and is kind, Love envyeth not, Love vaun­eth not it self, is not puffed up, doth not beh [...]ve it self unseemly, seeketh no her own, is not easi­ly provoked, th [...]nketh no evil, rejoiceth not in Iniquity: but re­joiceth in the Truth, beareth all things, beliveth all things, ho­peth all things, endureth all things: And then, ver. 8. its said, Love never faileth (or endeth) [...] But Prophecies they shall fail, Tongues they shall cease, know­ledge it shall vanish away. But Love shall never fail. There­fore this [...], this Love here spoken of, shall remain for e­ver, even to all Eternity when [Page 60]all Objects of Charity shall cease, and not be found.

This Love here spoken of is greater than Faith, or Hope; for Faith and Hope cease, when the things believed and hoped for the enjoyed; but Love shall never cease. And therefore I say, this Love here spoken of is a higher, and more continuing thing, than that which is commonly called Charity: And so therefore I say the word [...] in this place ought to be Translated Love.

I would not have any one to think that I speak against Charity, because I speak a­gainst that Interpretation of the word [...] in this place; [Page 61]I wish Charity were more a­bounding than it is, among all Persons. And that there were more tenderness in the Hearts of People towards the Poor, and towards them that are in Distress, than usually they meet withal. For they that are open-hearted and o­pen-handed towards such, they will not lose their Re­ward, if in singleness of Heart they supply their Necessities. I shall only set down two or three places of Scripture to encourage People thereunto, and so proceed, Mat. 6.1, 2, 3, 4. 1 Tim. 6.17, 18, 19. Heb. 6.10, 11. which places of Scripture those that have a mind may see at their leisure.

But to return to the Subject I was speaking of, which was pure Love; it is of that power that it produces unity, and so makes one: As we commonly say of Persons that entirely love one another, They are all one. And so our Lord Jesus Christ prayed to his Father for those that believe on him, That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, John 17.21. And a­gain, Ver. 22. he saith, And the Glory which thou hast given me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. And again still further, Ver. 23. he goes on in his Prayer for those that believe [Page 63]on him, saying thus, I in them and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one; and that the World may know that thou hast s [...]nt me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Thus we may see how Love bends or inclines towards Unity, and brings into Unity. And so herein it is greater than Charity, and muchabove Cha­rity: For there may be Chari­ty to a Person, or for a Per­son, with whom we cannot have Unity. Charity doth not make one, as Love doth. And therefore the word Charity doth not so fully agree with the Expressions here used by Christ Jesus as Love doth; neither doth it so fully agree [Page 64]with the Expressions used by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. as Love doth.

Now this true and pure Spiritual Love springs from hence, even from God's Love in some measure shed abroad in the Heart, as hath been shewed before; or which comes all to one, from being made Partakers of the same Spirit of God. And so there­by we are taught of God to Love one another, 1 Thes. 4.9. and not only so, but to Love all Men, yea, even our very Enemies.

Oh! what an excellent Spi­rit and Temper doth the Spi­rit of God form in the Hearts of those who are brought [Page 65]down into Subjection to him; as we may observe to have been in the Apostles of Christ Jesus, after they were brought fully under Subjection to the Holy Spirit.

Now where this Foundati­on (of the true Spirit) is laid, many sweet and precious Fruits thereof will follow be­sides Love; as namely, the comfortable sweet Dictates of the Spirit, with many Open­ings of Truth, and Enlighten­ings, and Enlivenings of the Spirits of his Servants that walk with him in Faithful­ness, so as to make their Lives comfortable, tho' they meet with outward Distresses and Troubles; as we may see in [Page 66]the Apostle Paul's Example, who though he met with great Troubles, yet was born up in them all, and above them. And therefore this ought to have a deep impression upon our Spirits, to beget a care­fulness in us to walk faithfully and humbly with the Lord, who is able to carry through all Difficulties with Comfort.

After the Lord hath Con­vinced the Heart of Man of Sin, and turned it against it in Truth (which indeed is true Repentance) there is a fear and a care begotten in the Heart, not to offend the Lord again, together with a Sor­row for their former negligent and offensive Life. And this [Page 67]fear of offending the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, Prov. 9.10. And this fear of the Lord is to hate Evil, Chap. 8.13. And so it keeps the Heart of Man abiding with the Lord, as it's said, Jer. 32.40. I will put my fear in their Hearts, and they shall not de­part from me.

Now this true fear of the Lord mortifies and deads the Heart to Sin, and awakens it to Righteousness; and till then Men are said to be dead in Sins and Trespasses, even while they live; and are as Stran­gers to God, altho' they can talk of him, and of the Holy Scriptures.

But they that come really and effectually into Obedience, the Fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, and such like) will spring up in their Hearts by degrees, as the Lord sees good to nourish them up therein. And thus the King­dom of God, (which is with­in us) begins in little begin­nings many times, but it is of a growing Nature; it's like a Grain of Mustard-seed at first, but it grows to a great Tree, Mat. 13.31. And thus by degrees usually we come to enjoy the comfortable pre­sence of the Lord with us, or (which is all one) the sweet presence of the true Comfor­ter in our Hearts, that is the [Page 69]Spirit of God. For true Com­fort springs up from the Spi­rit, in Obedience to him. And this is that which makes the Lives of the true Servants of the Lord Comfortable, what­soever Adversity or Contra­diction they meet withal from the World.

For our Happiness and Con­solation doth not depend upon an Opinion, but upon our U­nion and Fellowship with the Lord, which is enjoyed in O­bedience and Faith, which the Spirit of God works in the Hearts of the truly humble. And this is agreeable to that which the Apostle saith, 2 Thes. 2.13. that we are cho­sen to Salvation through San­ctification [Page 70]of the Spirit, and Belief of the Truth; which in effect is the same with Obedi­ence and Faith. For the Ho­ly Spirit sanctifies in Obedi­ence, not in Disobedience; and Faith, and Belief of the Truth, or true Belief is one, above such Belief as the Devils have, who tho' they believe and tremble, yet still unsan­ctified; but such Faith as works by Love, and hath Love springing up in it: Such Faith with Obedience, is that which accompanies (or is a ground of) our Justification, Sanctification, and Salvation.

POSTSCRIPT.

SInce this was writ, I have seen in the Hands of a Neighbour a Bible Printed in the Year 1 [...]87. wherein the word [...] is altogether Translated Love in this 1 Cor. 13. as I have rendred i [...]: Therefore I hope my rendring it so will not be look'd upon as a Novel Con­ceit.

And let this be noted, that I do not impute any blame to the Translators, who have in our Bibles rendred the word [...] by the word Charity. For the word [...] comprehends Chari­ty; and it may be they might [Page 72]see that at that time there was need to reade it so, to stir Peo­ple up to so good a Work. But that word Charity doth not fully reach to all the Expressions or Significations of the word [...] here in this Chapter as Love doth; for Charity re [...]ches but to Man, but Love r [...]aches [...]o God as well as to Man, 1 John 4.19. Charity ceaseth when the Objects of Charity c [...]ase; but Love sha [...]l never cease or fail, 1 Cor. 13.8. For so it may truly b [...] read, Love never fail­eth or ceaseth.

William Tomlinson.
FINIS.

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