An evident Demonſtration to
Which clearly manifeſteth to them,
- I. How neceſſary and expedient it is for them to come to
witneſſe True Faith.
- II. That after they have attained to the Faith, it muſt be
tryed as gold is tryed in the fire.
- III. It ſhews how many have departed from the Faith and
- IV. That the ſtanding of the Saints is by Faith in
- V. How ſtrong Abraham was in the Faith,
and how all
that believe are to look unto him.
That the tryal of your faith being much more precious then of gold that periſheth, though it be tryed with fire, might be found unto praiſe and honour and glory at the appearing of Jeſus Chriſt, 1 Pet. 1.7.
And this is the victory that overcometh the World even our Faith.
Friends of God and of the Living Truth as it is in Jeſus, who are called to be Saints and to live godly in Chriſt Jeſus as becometh Saints.
There is ſomething upon me as from the Lord to write unto you concerning the precious Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints, which (may be) you may be called to contend for; times of Tryal thereof ſeeming to approach; but the onely intent and deſire of my Soul is, that you may be brought into it, in the Truth and ſoundneſs of it, which indeed is a Myſtery, and cannot be held but in a pure Conſcience void of offence towards God and towards man; And being that it is ſo, that without Faith it is impoſſible to pleaſe God, and that whatſoever is not of Faith is ſin; This being weighed and read in the pure Eternal Light which every one hath a meaſure of to try withal, it will nearly concern every one to ſearch and try narrowly and throughly, whether they be in the Faith which is of Gods Elect yea or no: This may be lightly looked upon with many, as though it were needleſſe and below BA their 2 A1v 2 their condition and ſtate, as if it were eaſie to be in the Faith of God, yea the very World, the Apoſtatized Chriſtians will talk of a faith though it be dead and they yet in their ſins; But truly Friends I ſee in the Eternal that it is a great Miſtery to be made partaker of the precious Faith, which gives the victory over the World, and Faith is the gift of God.
And I find in the Scriptures of the Prophets that there was few that witneſed and ſpoke of Faith, though there was many faithful men which by Faith obtained a good report, and died in the Faith, by which they did the commandements of God, according to his Eternal purpoſe, yet the Fathers were under the cloud, and the appearance of God in their day was in a cloud, and all paſſed through the Sea and were all baptized unto Moſes in the cloud and in the Sea, and they did drink of the Rock which followed them, which Rock was Chriſt; while Moſes is Read the vail is over the heart, which vail is done a way in Chriſt.
When God called Moſes and Aaron and Miriam he ſaid, Hear now my Word if there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my ſelf known unto him in a Viſion, and ſpeak unto him in a Dream: This is the State which muſt be paſſed through; but the Lord ſaid with Moſes my Servant it is not ſo, who is faithful in all my houſe, with him I will ſpeak mouth to mouth, even apparently and not in dark ſpeeches. Here Moſes was faithful to God as a Servant, and his Miniſtration was glorious, yet this glory was to be done away, by reaſon of the glory that excelled, which glory remains where the Spirit of the Lord is the covering. And ſo Friends, come into the Light of the Son of God, which gives the Light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Jeſus Chriſt, the brightneſs of the Fathers glory, which Moſes could not ſee and live; And here you will come to ſee and to read through the myſtery of the faith of the Goſpel in the miniſtration of the Spirit; And now that none may think of themſelves above what they ought to think, let every one with the Light of Jeſus ſeriouſly and ſingly ſearch and try your ſtanding, for it may be that times of tryal of faith may come. The Apoſtle bad the Corinthians examine themſelves whether they were in the faith, prove your own ſelves (ſaith he) know you not how that Chriſt is in you except you be Reprobates: This he ſaid to the Corinthians who were a gathered people; And to the Galathians ſaith he, If a man think of himſelf to be ſomething when he is nothing he deceives himſelf, but let every man prove his own work, and then he will have joy in himſelf and not in another.
Friends, be not offended that you are put to a ſearch and warned beforehand, that your foundation and ſtanding may be ſure when the day of tryal comes, for the Lord hath ſaid, Zech. 13.9. I will bring the third part of them through the fire, and will refine them as ſilver is refined, and try them as gold is tryed, and they ſhall call on my name and I will hear them, I will ſay it is my people, and they ſhall ſay the Lord is my God.
And Peter ſaith, Ye who are kept by the power of God through the faith unto ſalvation ready to be revealed in the laſt time, wherein ye greatly rejoyce, though now for a ſeaſon ye are in heavineſſe through manifold temptations, that the tryal of your faith being much more precious then gold that periſheth though it be tryed by fire, might be found unto the praiſe honour and glory at the appearing of Jeſus Chriſt; O bleſſed will ye be if you be found 3 A2r 3 found here, for then will you not think it ſtrange concerning the fiery tryals which are to try you, but you will even rejoyce, inaſmuch as you are partakers of the ſufferings of Chriſt.
Truly Friends my care is, with the deſire of my ſoul, that you might come into the faith of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and that the ſame mind may be in you that was alſo in Chriſt Jeſus, who made himſelf of no reputation, but took upon him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeneſſe of men, and being found in faſhion as a man he humbled himſelf, and became obedient to the death of the Croſs, and through that he is exalted; And this is the path that the faithful in Chriſt Jeſus must walk in, which may be found ſtrait and narrow to the firſt man which is rough and hairy, Eſau-like: And though (as I ſaid before) you may think ſtrange that you ſhould be exhorted to come into the Faith of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, yet this is above the Diſciples condition, for they were often reproved for the want of this of their Lord and Maſter, when he was exhorting them to take no thought for their meat nor for their drink, neither for their body what they ſhould put on, for ſaith he, ſhall he not much more cloath you O ye of little faith. And again when the tempeſt roſe upon the Sea, they begun to be afraid, Then ſaid he unto them, why are ye fearful O ye of little faith? And again when he ſhewed them the Fig-tree how it was withered, Chriſt ſaid unto them, If ye have faith and doubt not, ye ſhall not onely do this which is done to this fig-tree, but alſo if you ſay unto this Mountain be thou removed into the Sea, and it ſhall be done, and whatſoever you pray for, believing, ye ſhall receive. And again he ſaid unto Peter when the Sea was boiſtrous and he afraid, he ſaid unto him, O thou of little faith why doſt thou doubt? Yet after this Peters faith was ſhaken. Again when that the Diſciples could not cure the man that was Lunatick, then Jeſus ſaid unto them, O faithleſſe and perverſe generation, how long ſhall I be with you? how long ſhall I ſuffer you? bring him hither to me; And one of the Diſciples ſaid, Why could not we caſt him out? Then Jeſus ſaid unto them, becauſe of your unbelief, For verily I ſay unto you, if you had faith as a grain of muſtard ſeed, you ſhould ſay unto this Mountain remove hence to yonder place, and it ſhould be ſo, and nothing ſhall be unpoſſible unto you; And unto Thomas he ſaid, Be not faithleſſe but believing.
So here is the very life of your life, that you believe on the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, for whoſoever believeth on him ſhall not be aſhamed, for there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the ſame Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him and believe in him.
And ſo now Friends, ſeeing that many, when tryals come upon them, have been ſhaken, as you may ſee in the Scriptures more fully, Therefore in the fear of the Lord God keep close and near to the word of Faith which is nigh in the heart, and neither aſcend nor deſcend, but keep to the Righteouuſneſs of faith, and then you keep to the ſubſtance of things hoped for, and to the Evidence and Teſtimony of things not ſeen. Through faith you may underſtand that the Worlds were made by the Inviſible Word of God, ſo that things which are ſeen are not made of things which do appear, but by the Immortal and Eternal Word which was in the beginning, here you will ſee him that is inviſible, as Abraham did who believed, and it was accounted unto A2 him 4A2v 4 him for Righteouſneſſe, not when he was in the Circumciſion, but when he was in the uncircumciſion, and ſo he received the ſign of Circumciſion a ſeal of the Righteouſneſſe of his Faith which he had before he was Circumciſed, that he might be the Father of all that believe though they be not Circumciſed outwardly, that Righteouſneſſe might be imputed unto them alſo, not of the Jews onely but alſo of the Gentiles; for all who walk in the ſteps of that faith of our Father Abraham, for the promiſe that he ſhould be the Heir of the World was not to Abraham or to his Seed through the Law, but through the Righteouſneſſe of Faith, therefore is it of Faith that it might be by Grace, to the end that the promiſe might be ſure to all the Seed, not to that onely which is of the Law, but to that alſo which is of the faith of Abraham which is the Father of us all, who againſt hope believed in hope, that he might become the Father of many Nations. Oh the Infinite Love and Wiſdom of the Lord God, and the depth of the Myſtery that hath been hid but now is revealed by his Spirit.
Know ye therefore that they that are of Faith are the Children of Abraham, and the Scripture which cannot be broken, foreſeeing that God would Juſtifie the Heathen through Faith, Preached before the Goſpel unto Abraham, ſaying, In Thee ſhall all Nations be bleſſed. The promiſe of the bleſſing to Abraham and his Seed, this is the glad tydings of the Everlaſting Goſpel, the liberty to the Captives, the deſire of all Nations which is now come and riſen, manifeſted and fulfilled what he hath promiſed in this his day; And all they that be of the faith, are bleſſed with faithful Abraham, and this is the Goſpel which the Apoſtle was not aſhamed of to preach, which is the power of God unto ſalvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew firſt, and alſo to the Greek, for therein is the Righteouſneſſe of God revealed from faith to faith, for the Juſt lives by faith, whether they be Jew or Greek, bond or free, there is neither male nor female here but they are all one in Chriſt Jeſus: and if they be Chriſts, then are they Abrahams ſeed, and heirs according to promiſe. And here is the fountain opened for the houſe of David and for the Inhabitants of Jeruſalem for ſin and for uncleanneſſe, Chriſt Jeſus the Everlaſting Covenant, who in the laſt day of the great feaſt ſtood and cryed, ſaying, If any man were athirſt, let him come unto me and drink he that believeth on me, out of his belly ſhall flow Rivers of living waters, but this he ſpake of the ſpirit, which they that believed on him ſhould receive, according to the words of the Apoſtle, who ſaid unto the Jews, Received you the ſpirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing of faith? for we through the ſpirit wait for the hope of the Righteouſneſſe of faith; for in Chriſt Jeſus neither Circumciſion nor uncircumciſion availeth, but faith that worketh by love, and obedience unto him, who ſaith, I am the Reſurrection and life, he that believeth on me, though he was dead yet ſhall he live; And he that liveth and believeth ſhall never die, and he that believeth worketh the works of God, he that believeth ſhall never thirſt; And this is the will of the Father that hath ſent the Son, that every one that ſeeth him ſhould believe on him, & have everlaſting life, and he would raiſe him up at the laſt day; and bleſſed are they that believes and lives in the freedom of the ſpirit, for to the ſpiritual mind is life and peace, and no evil tydings can come to ſuch, ſuch reckons not the ſufferings of this preſent time worthy to be compared to the glory that ſhall be revealed,ed, 5 A3r 5 ed, for the Juſt lives by his faith; but if any man draw back, my ſoul hath no pleaſure in him.
Now Friends, ſeeing it is ſo, that the ſpirit ſpeaketh expreſly, that in the latter times ſome ſhall depart from the faith, giving heed to ſeducing ſpirits and Doctines of Devils, and that ſome have caſt off their firſt faith, and ſome through the love of mony have erred from the faith, and pierced themſelves through with many ſorrows, and ſome have denied the faith, and ſome have had their faith overthrown by others words, and ſome have made ſhipwrack of faith, and Jude ſpeaks of many (and ſundry) that fell away and left their firſt love, and did not keep their firſt Eſtate, as you may read; And therefore did he exhort them that they ſhould earneſtly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints.
And ſo friends, this is the very end of my writing, that you even would contend for the precious faith in every particular, and alſo in the general; And call to mind how that God after he had brought the children of Iſrael out of Ægypt, yet they fell in the Wilderneſſe becauſe of unbelief: Therefore fly all ungodlineſſe, and follow after Righteouſneſſe, Faith, Love and Patience, fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on Eternal Life; Conſider the Apoſtle and High Prieſt of our profeſſion, Chriſt Jeſus, who was faithful to him that appointed him, as alſo Moſes was faithful in all his houſe as a ſervant, and Chriſt as a Son over his own houſe, whoſe houſe are we, if we hold faſt the confidence and rejoycing of our hope unto the end, here will every one be preſerved clear in his condition, who through the ſpirit wait for the hope of the Righteouſneſſe of faith, and take heed there be not in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief departing from the living God, for we are made partakers of Chriſt if we hold faſt the profeſſion of our faith without wavering; And unto us the Goſpel is preached as well as unto them, but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it, Therefore did he ſwear in his wrath that they ſhould not enter into his reſt, they entered not becauſe of unbelief.
Now this being ſo fully proved and manifeſted to you, lay aſide every weight, and run with patience the Race that its ſet before you, looking unto Jeſus the Authour and finiſher of our faith, who is the corner ſtone and Rock of Eternal Salvation, who is rooted and grounded on him will not be ſhaken though the ſtorms and Tempeſts beat; Conſider him that endured ſuch contradiction of ſinners, leaſt you be weary and faint in your minds; For all the promiſes of God in him are Yea and in him Amen, in whom we have boldneſſe and acceſſe with confidence by the faith of him who worketh all in us and for us; For none are juſtified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jeſus Chriſt, and by faith you ſtand, for God hath put no difference betwixt the Jews and the Gentiles, if their hearts be purified by faith, whoſe eyes are opened, and who are turned from the darkneſſe to the light, from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveneſſe of ſin, and an inheritance among them that are ſanctified by faith in Chriſt, even the Righteouſneſſe of God which is by faith of Jeſus Chriſt unto all, and upon all them that believe; For there is no difference, for all have ſinned and come ſhort of the glory of God; For if the firſt fruit be holy, the lump is holy alſo, and if the Root be holy ſo are the branches, and if ſome of the branches be broken 6 A3v 6 broken off, it is becauſe of unbelief, and thou ſtandeſt by faith, be not highminded but fear:
Oh friends, conſider that your ſtanding is by faith in Chriſt Jeſus, even we have believed in Jeſus Chriſt, that we might be juſtified by the faith of Chriſt, For whatſoever is born of God overcometh the World, and this is the victory that overcometh the World, even our Faith, who is he that overcometh the World, but he that believeth that Jeſus is the Chriſt, here ſhall we be more then Conquerers, as we abide and grow from ſtrength to ſtrength, and from faith to faith, building up one another in our moſt holy faith, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the meaſure of the ſtature of the fulneſſe of Chriſt, that we henceforth be no more children toſſed to & fro, and carried about with every wind of Doctrine, by the ſlight of men and cunning craftineſſe whereby they lye in wait to deceive, but ſpeaking the Truth in love, may grow into him in all things who is the head, even Chriſt, that ſo we might make all men ſee what is the fellowſhip of the myſtery which from the begining of the World hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jeſus Chriſt, in whom we have boldneſſe and acceſſe with confidence by the faith in him, that ſo Chriſt may dwell in your hearts by faith, and you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the height, breadth, length and depth, and to know the Love of God, which paſſeth knowledge, unto whom be eternal glory, honour and Dominion for ever.
Now dearly beloved Friends and Brethren, be ſtrong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, take unto you the Armour of Righteouſneſſe, that you may be able to ſtand againſt the wiles of the Devil, for now you come not to wreſtle with fleſh and blood, but with principalities and powers, and againſt the Rulers of the darkneſs of this world, and againſt ſpiritual wickedneſſes in high places; Wherefore let your cloathing and Armour be Light, that you may be able to ſtand in the evil day, and above all take the ſhield of Faith, in this will you quench the fiery darts of the wicked: Stand faſt in one ſpirit ſtriving together for the faith of the Goſpel, and in nothing terrified by your Adverſaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of Salvation and that of God; For unto you is given in the behalf of Chriſt, not onely to believe on him, but alſo to ſuffer for his ſake, and that you holding faſt the Word of Life, may cauſe us to rejoyce in the day of Chriſt that we have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain; Yea if I were offered upon the ſacrifice of your faith, I could joy and rejoyce with you all. And now that you may come to the ſoundneſſe of the Truth of the Goſpel of Chriſt, who is the beginning, the firſt born from the dead, that you being rooted and grounded in him, and that through the Spirit you may wait for the hope of Righteouſneſſe by Faith, and ſo grow up as living plants, which are called Trees of Righteouſneſſe, the planting of the Lord.
And truly Friends, there is none that believes but he knows that God is, nor there is none that believes but he hath the witnes in him that he is in the unity of the Faith, and he that believes hath his heart purified by Faith, he that believes is entered into the reſt, and he is ſealed with the ſpirit of promiſe.
So, Friends, ſearch your ſelves, for a ſinner in Zion will be afraid and 7 A4r 7 and fear will ſurprize the Hypocrite, and truly none can dwell with the everlaſting burning but he that worketh Righteouſneſſe, and every mans work muſt be tryed by fire, and he that is ſaved in the day of the Lord, it is ſo as by fire, it is not offerings that will burn that will ſerve in this our day, but it is the perfect offering of Righteouſneſſe that will paſſe the fire that is now accepted. The God of Eternal power and life ſtrengthen you by his grace in the Inward man, that ſo you may be True and Faithful Warriours in the Work of the Lord, that you may fight the good fight, and finiſh your courſe, and keep the Faith, that a Crown of Righteouſneſſe may be laid up for you.
For certainly the day is come in which the Lord with his ſore great and ſtrong ſword will he puniſh Leviathan that piercing crooked Serpent, and he will ſlay the Dragon that is in the Sea; And though there be a Song of a Vineyard of Red Wine, yet the Lord will keep his plant, he will water it every moment leaſt any hurt it, yea he will keep it night and day, if Bryars and Thorns be ſet in battel againſt him, he will go through them and burn them together, for the Lords people is his portion, Iſrael is the lot of his inheritance, and though he hath found Jacob in a Deſert Land, and a waſte howling Wilderneſſe, yet he hath led him about and inſtructed him, he hath kept him as the Apple of his eye, as an Eagle ſtirreth up her Neaſt, fluttereth over her young, ſpreadeth abroad her Wings and taketh them, ſo doth the Lord with the Seed of his Covenant; And the day is come that they do ſing in the Land of Judah, the Lyon of which Tribe hath opened the Book and unlooſed the Seals; We have a ſtrong City, Salvation God hath given for Walls and Bulwarks, the Gates whereof are opened that the Righteous Nation may enter in, who are as lively Stones built up a Spiritual Houſe, an Holy Prieſthood to offer up Spiritual Sacrifice acceptable unto God by Jeſus Chriſt, whoſe foundation is laid in Zion the chief corner Stone elect and pretious, and he that believeth on him ſhall never be confounded, unto all that believe on him he is pretious, but unto them which be diſobedient, the Stone which the builders diſallowed, the ſame is made the head of the Corner, and you that do believe on him are the choſen Generation, a Royal Prieſthood, an Holy Nation, a peculiar people, ſo will you ſhew forth the praiſes of him that hath called you out of darkneſſe into his marvelous Light, here abiding with God, whoſe immortality dwells in the Light, and whoſe power and ſweet pretious preſence is in the Light, all things here are poſſible, here will you inherit all things, ſo while you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may be the Children of the Light begotten into it, born of the Spirit which is Light, here you will be preſerved ſitting under your own Vine, where none can make you affraid, while that Babylon is falling, and all the graven Images of her Gods is breaking unto the ground, I will riſe up ſaith the Lord God of Hoſts, and will cut off from Babylon the Name and Remnant, Son and Nephew ſaith the Lord, I will make it a poſſeſſion for the Bittern, and I will ſweep it with the Beſome of Deſtruction; The Lord of Hoſts hath ſworn ſaying, ſurely as I have thought ſo ſhall it come to paſſe, as I have purpoſed ſo ſhall it ſtand, that I will break the Syrian in my Land, and upon 8 A4v 8 upon my Mountains tread him under foot, then ſhall his yoak depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their ſhoulders; This is the purpoſe that is purpoſed upon the whole earth, and this is the hand that is ſtretched out upon all Nations, for the Lord of Hoſts hath purpoſed; and who ſhall diſannul it? And his hand is ſtretched out, and who ſhall turn it back? So all wait in the Faith of Gods Elect for the fulfilling and bringing to paſſe of his great Work, for God is faithful that hath promiſed unto Abraham, before him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth thoſe things which be not, as though they were.
Abraham againſt hope believed in hope, and ſo was the Father of many Nations, he ſtaggered not at the promiſe of God through unbelief, but was ſtrong in Faith giving God the Glory, and this was counted to him for Righteouſneſſe; Now ye that ſeek the Lord, ye that follow after Righteouſneſſe, ye muſt look unto the Rock whence ye were hewen, and to the hole of the Rock whence ye were digged, ye muſt look unto Abrabraham your Father in the Faith and unto Sarahs Womb who bare you, For I have called him alone, Saith the Lord, I have bleſſed him and encreaſed him, here is Zion comforted, and the waſte places and Wilderneſſes made like Eden, and her Deſarts like the Garden of the Lord, joy and gladneſſe is found therein, Thankſgiving and the voice of Melody to this ſafe habitation of reſt and peace which is eternal and doth endure for ever, do I commit you.
The believing Jews and the believing Gentiles are the Children of Abraham, and are bleſſed with faithful Abraham, for of a Truth God is no reſpecter of Perſons, but every one that believeth and worketh Righteouſneſſe is accepted of him, whether they be Jews or Greeks, Barbarian or Cythian, Bond or Free, if they believe in the Lord Jeſus Chriſt and walk in him they are all one, and this is the Salvation that is to the ends of the Earth the Covenant of Light.
Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Sign of the
Bull and Mouth near Alderſgate, 16601660.