Page images

įnstruct and inform those to whom this my testimony may come, how they may attain thereunto, and how they may come to be rid of those troublesome companions, viz. evil thoughts and imaginations, that do, may, or shall arise in their hearts, while corrupted; and how the same may be purified and made a holy habitation for God, as it was before sin entered, before innocency was lost, before the serpent deceived the weaker vessel; when all was good, yea, very good.

The way that leadeth thereto, I affirm and declare to be as followeth: and whoever thou art that hast a mind or desire to find that which is lost, observe, believe, and receive what I say or write, as truth, not received or learned by tradition, but by the experimental, powerful work and operation of the spirit of truth in my own heart, mind, and conscience. And what I have said, or shall say, is, and shall be according to the holy scriptures, and witnessed to by them; for I cannot write contrary to them, being in unity with them, and with the just men's spirits that wrote them. First then, know thou, O man! whoever thou art, and whatever thy thoughts and imaginations are, how far sqever thou art run into corruption, darkness, and degeneration from the state of innocency, purity, and holiness, yet there is a measure of divine light attends thee; though thou art darkness, it shines in thce, in order to show thee thy way out of it; though thou art degenerated and run from God into the earth, yet this pure light and spirit of God follows thee, and calls thee back again; and thou mayst in this state hear it as a voice behind thee, saying, “Return, return, this is the way, come and walk in it.”* This is the kindness and love of God to thee in his

who is the light of the world, and lighteth every one that cometh thereinto; if thou hear and obey this voice of the light of the son of God, though thou wert dead in sin, and buried as in a grave, thou shalt arise and come forth and live before him; the bars and gates of hell shall not be able to retain thee. But if thou slight and despise the light of God that visits thee, and shuttest thy ear against its voice, it will be as a thousand witnesses against thee, while thou rebellest against it, and art found following thy own thoughts and imaginations, and doing the thing that is evil; for this light I speak of, is the eye of the Lord, that runs to and fro through the earth, beholding the evil and the good, and that discerneth the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is the word that is nigh in the mouth and in the heart, which is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. This is the candle of the Lord that searcheth Jerusalem, and gives light to the sides of the earth and


* If men would hear and obey the voice of the son of God, neither death, hell, nor the grave, could hinder them from salvation.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

corners of the world, from whom the shadow of death cannot hide, nor the rocks and mountains cover or defend; for he that formeth the mountains, and createth the winds, and declareth or showeth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord, the God of hosts is his name. This is the spirit of truth that convinceth the world of sin, and that sets men's síns in order before them, and reproves and smites in secret for evil, and that brings to judgment the hidden things of Esau. From this eye or light of the Lord, thou canst not hide thyself no more than Adam and Cain could; though thou shouldst hate the light* which showeth thee thy thoughts, and love the darkness so as to dwell in it, yet the light or eye of God will pursue thee and find thee out. Hell nor the utmost parts of the earth, and darkness, cannot secure thee from the just condemnation of God;t because thou hatest the shining of this light, and stoppest thy ear against the voice and teaching of it, and lovest the darkness, and dwellest in it, while thou doest so, thou choosest the way of death, and neglectest the means of salvation that God hath ordained: for this is the “condemnation of the world, that light is come into it, and men love darkness rather, because their deeds are evil.”

Now as the first step towards restoration and everlasting happiness, I thou art required to turn thy mind from the darkness in which thou dwellest, to the light, eye, or spirit of God, and to decline the power of satan that works in the darkness, and embrace the power of God; and when thou dost but begin to do so, thou wilt find the scales to fall from thy eyes by degrees, and the veil to be taken off thy heart, and the fetters and chains of darkness to be loosed, and the prison doors opened; so when thy candle is lighted, and thy eye opened, thou wilt discern thy way out, and see the angel of the Lord go before thee, and guide thee in the same. And thou wilt also perceive what is in thy house, and clearly understand what hath lodged in the dark room of thy heart; and when thou comest to see things as they are, thou wilt receive wisdom to give them names according to their nature, and to judge righteously concerning them: and as thou lovest this light, thou wilt be enabled by it to divide betwixt thought and thought, and begin to make conscience of a thought, and to hate every vain thought; and when thou canst not be easily rid of them, nor remove them from their

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

* No hiding from the eye of God.

+ Man's condemnation is just, because he hates the light, the way and means of salvation.

# The first step in the way to life, or towards everlasting happiness.

$ Mistake in the understanding concerning the nature of things that do present themselves before mankind, is the cause of error. Thence it is that some call darkness light, and light darkness.

cry to

old lodging place, thou wilt breathe and cry to the Lord in the spirit, as one of old did, who was burthened and oppressed with their company: “Search me and try me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is the cry which the Lord hears, and will answer in due and needful time. And Jeremiah's Jerusalem, was: “Wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayst be saved: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" Now the only way to dislodge them, and to be rid of their company, * is to show them no countenance, make no provision for them, give them no entertainment, but by the light of God which discovers them to be thy enemies, judge them, and keep thy mind exercised in the light and power of God that it is turned to; and in thy thoughts and imaginations, give them no regard. And though they do and may arise, pursue, and compass thee about like bees, yet thou keeping thy eye fixed in the light and power of God, which is as nigh thee as thy thoughts are, and showeth them unto thee, thou wilt see them in due time scattered as chaff before a fierce wind, and destroyed as stubble before a devouring fire.

Now as thou comest to be a believer in the light and to trust in the power of God, to which thy mind is turned, thou wilt become in very deed a child of it, and soon be able to say, darkness is past, and the true light now shineth; by which thou canst see and judge every thought and motion that ariscth and stirreth in thy mind, whether evil or innocent, hurtful or harmless, and have wisdom to order them accordingly. And this is that primitive wisdom man had in the beginning, but he abode not in it, through looking at the temptation and beauty of the thing presented to the eye of his mind, or through receiving from the woman: (for he was not deceived with the beauty of an apple, or some other outward fruit, nor by the talk and persuasion of

any crea, ture; like our English snakes, or the devil in the shape of it, as vain man in his carnal mind imagines when he reads the history thereof; but the temptation was more mysterious and inward.) The woman was deceived in her thoughts, in her judgment and understanding was she beguiled, before she obeyed the tempter; it appeared good for food, pleasant and desirable,and able to make one wise, before she eat, or gave to her husband. Paul saith, the woman being deceived, was in the transgression subjected to vanity; not willingly, but through hope ;S she hoped to find the serpent's words true, and to become more wise, and more happy, by taking the serpent's counsel; but instead thereof, fell into the depth of misery. The same danger attends the children of

* The

way to be rid of evil thoughts and to see their destruction. † Adam's temptation was inward and mysterious. I Gen. iii, 6.

$ 1 Tim. ii. 14. Rom. viii. 20.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

light, the sons and daughters of God; for Adam was a son of God before transgression. And it is only such who are in the restoration, children of the light, and of the day, that are capable to fall as Adam and Eve did, and to sin after the similitude of Adam's transgression, and to lose innocency, purity, holiness and uprightness, as they did, and be driven out of the garden of God, as they were.* Such as were never in it, nor ever dwelt in the state of restoration, innocency, purity, and holiness, . cannot be said to fall from, or lose it, &c. Children of darkness, and children of the devil, who have gone astray from the womb, and always dwelt in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, never knew what a harmless innocent estate is, what the life of purity and holiness is, nor what the simplicity of the gospel and Christ is; so cannot be beguiled, as the serpent did Eve, of that they never knew nor had, (as men and women now in the world;) yet such are beguiled by the serpent in another sort; not of what they have had, and did once enjoy, but of what they might have and should enjoy. And this he effects by keeping the eyes and minds of people abroad, and by persuading them to follow any thing, and walk in any way, rather than to turn the eye of their minds inward to the light, word, power, and spirit of God,t which shines, which speaks, which works in man, in order to lead, to teach, to guide and direct him into the way of life, and salvation, and to bring him into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, into a perfect translation from darkness to light, and from the kingdom and power of satan, to the kingdom and power of the son of God, and to know Christ made unto him wisdom, sanctification, and redemption.

This is the blessed end of God in sending his son a light into the world, even to enlighten the Gentile, Jew, professor, and profane,s and that through him they might believe and receive eternal life, and enter into that blessed rest that God hath prepared, which the primitive Christians who believed, entered into; where they did not speak their own words, nor think their own thoughts, nor do their own works; their heavenly Father spake in them, and their thoughts were thoughts of God, and he wrought all their works in them and for them. This is a blessed state indeed; and none are entered into the rest which God hath prepared, but such as are come to witness and experience these things now in this age, as the primitive Christians did in ages past,

For while any are found thinking their own thoughts, speaking their

The sons and children of God, of the light, and of the day, are only capable to fáll as Adam did; and not the children of the devil and darkness; they are to be restored into innocency, into uprightness, before they are in danger to fall from it as Adam did.

+ The way and work of the devil to keep men in the fall, in the degeneration, in death and darkness, slaves in his kingdom.

# The precious love of God in sending his son.

own words, and doing their own works, though under a profession of Christ and Christianity, they cannot enter into the rest which God hath prepared; though they may create to themselves false rests, and kindle a fire, and walk by the light of their own sparks, but in the end lie down in sorrow.

True rest and peace are obtained, or come through a true self-deniał: a dying to self-sinning, and self-righteousness, self-thinking, and selfworking, contriving, and inventing, self-wisdom, knowledge, and understanding also: all these things must be denied, annihilated or brought to nothing, and confounded. The feeding upon these things occasioned, and occasioneth the curse, and all the labour and turmoil, trouble, sorrow, * and torment that have attended, and do attend mankind since the fall; to the death must they all come before a sitting down in the kingdom of God can be witnessed, or before any can cease from their own works, as God did from his.

· Now thou who art a child of light, understand this one thing for thy comfort and encouragement in thy warfare against evil thoughts; that notwithstanding multitude of thoughts do arise in thee, and troops thereof attend thee, which are in themselves sinful; yet if thou join not with them in thy mind, will, and understanding, they are not thy thoughts, neither shall the evil thereof be imputed unto thee; if thou lovest the light, and keepest thy mind joined to the spirit of God, or appearance of Christ in thee, that discovereth all temptations unto thee, in the very thought and first appearance of them, then thou art helping the Lord against the mighty; being joined unto him, art becoming one with him in thy mind and spirit, (though in thy members there is a law, a power that wars against thee,) and as thou abidest with the Lord, waiting upon him, even


of maid waits upon the hand of her mistress," he will save and deliver thee, and subdue all thy enemies, even those of thy own house, which are the greatest enemies.

Though temptations may, and will attend thee, yet it is no sin to be tempted, though with inward temptations; neitheir art thou to account thyself, nor to be accounted a sinner, because sin and vain thoughts may present themselves in thee, in thy warfare estate, yet thou mayst say as Paul did, “ It is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me; and that in me,, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing:"I which flesh thou art now in the way to know, withers as the grass, and the glory of it becomes as the faded flower of the field, and sin that dwelleth therein

as the


[ocr errors]

• The feeding of the forbidden fruit which was good in itself, though not for food, occasioned and occasioneth at this day all the miseries that attend mankind.

It is no sin to be tempted. * Flesh, and sin that dwells in it, may be destroyed, and the earthen vessel cleansed, and the creature delivered from bondage, even on this side the grave.

« PreviousContinue »