An evident Demonstration to
Which clearly manifestetch 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 denyed it. IV. That the standing of the Saints is by Faith in the Son of God. 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 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 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 Righteousness 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 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 reveal- 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 is 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 off, it is because of unbelief, and thou standest by faith, be not high-minded 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 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 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 Abraham 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, 1660.
In adapting the text for on-line presentation, the original page breaks have been indicated by placing the notation [Page x] at the start of each numbered page. The original spelling has been retained, rather than modernized. The exceptions to this are the use of the long s, which has been transposed to a standard s, and use of "W" for "VV".