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the dejected frames of the children of God; yea, even enemies have seen it, much more friends. For, after the witnesses and churches had long suffered in sackcloth, they are represented as slain, or silenced, and lay unburied in the street of the great city: but after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and set them upon their feet, and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them, Rev. xi. 12. This ascension, under the power of the spirit of life, is no more than rising up out of trouble into a glorious and powerful state of heavenly mindedness. And, if their enemies could behold this, much more their friends; especially such as Nathanael, who was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.
The religion contained in this small piece, Reader, is but little known in our day, for the general work carried on is drawing people into a profession, and setting them down short of Christ, short of the Holy Spirit, and of the grace
of God, and of course short of the promised rest. Tho work of too many is that of making hypocrites, not enforcing the Spirit's work, nor insisting upon a new creation in Christ, a new nature by regeneration, service in newness of the Spirit, and a walk in newness of life. It consists in a few dry notions of truth, a little decent deportment, attendance upon the ministry of the letter, and to be armed with malice against every appearance of the power of godliness, and a hatred to all that
enforce it, and to all that are in possession of it: it stands in varnishing the old man of sin; in dressing, adorning, and swaddling, fallen nature. All of which will leave the sinner worse than it found him. Stirring up the natural passions of sorrow, of grief, and of love, which some too much admire, will stand for nothing in God's account. There are natural affections, 2 Tim. iii. 3; inordinate affections, Col. iii. 5; and vile affections, Rom. i. 26. The best of these belong to corrupt nature. Nothing short of life by the quickening power of the spirit of God can give you hope, and nothing short of the love of God shed abroad in the heart can ever cast out that fear and torment which have death and judgment, wrath and ruin, for the objects of it. The errand of the Son of God into this world was to give his poor lost sheep eternal life, and his gospel is still continued to this end; and every preacher that is destitute of this divine life is no more than a minister of the letter. And all such preachers will aim to set convinced sinners down destitute of this divine life; and surely such are the friends of Satan, and the enemies of Christ. If
Reader follows after this thing which good is, he must expect to be loaded with calumny and reproach. Spiritual-minded men, and a spiritual ministry, have ever been treated with contempt. You have it both in the Old Testament and in the New; “ The prophet is a fool, the spiritual
man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred,” Hosea ix, 7. Iniquity had blinded their eyes, and the carnal enmity of their minds broke forth into opprobrious language, charging inspiration with folly and madness. And they acted the same part with Christ himself; for, when they saw his miracles, and heard the mysteries that he preached, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself; and others said, He hath Beelzebub, Mark iii. 21, 22. So they said of Paul, that much learning made him mad: but in Christ Jesus is life, “ And the life is the light of men,” John i. 4. This life is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, which is given us in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. This life, which is the light of men, is that salvation to men which is a lamp that burneth, Isai. lxii. 1; and that never goes out. He is the light of joy to men. “ The light of the righteous rejoiceth, but the lamp of the wicked is put out,” Prov. xiii. 9. This life in Christ is the light of love, which teaches the children of God to love one another; and, “ He that loveth his brother abideth in this light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him,” i John ii. 10. This life in Christ is the light of our every deliverance, which brings us forth to the light, in which his righteousness to our justification appears, Micah vii. 9. And if this life in him is the light of men, then to be without it is to be in the darkness of death, in the darkness of ignorance, and in the darkness of carnal enmity; without the lamp of salvation, without the oil of joy, without the light of God's countenance, without the light of saving knowledge, and without the light of love, which casteth out fear and torment. So I write, and so my Reader shall confess sometime or other.