The mysterie of God, concerning the whole creation, mankinde. To be made known to every man and Woman, after seaven dispensations and seasons of time are passed over. According to the councell of God, revealed to his servants.
By Gerrard Winstanley (1609 – 1676).
London, Printed by I. C. for Giles Calvert, at the Black-spread-Eagle, at the West end of Pauls, 1649.
“Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy Dominion endureth throughout all generations.” (Ps. 145:13)
“And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, that shall turn away ungodlines from Iacob.” (Rom. 11:26)
To my Beloved Countreymen of the County of LANCASTER.
Dear Country men, when some of you see my name subscribed to this ensuing Discourse, you may wonder at it, and it may be despise me in your heart, as David’s Brethren despised him, and told him it was the pride of his heart to come into the Battell, &c. but know, that Gods works are not like mens, he doth not alwaies take the wise, the learned, the rich of the world to manifest himself in, and through them to others, but he chuseth the despised, the unlearned, the poor, the nothings of the world, and fills them with the good things of himself, when as he sends the empty away. I have writ nothing but what was given me of my Father; and at the first beholding of this Mystery, it appeared to be so high above my reach, that I was confounded and lost in my spirit; but God, (whom I believe, is my teacher, for I have joy and rest in him) left me not in bondage, but set me at liberty, and caused me to see much glory in these following truths; and when God works none can hinder. It may be some things herein may seeme very strange at the first reading and you may crie out, an error; an error; for this is usuall, when the flesh cannot apprehend and be are a truth of God, it brands it for an error, and rejects it as a wicked thing; as the Jewes, because they could not behold God in Christ, did breake out in bitternesse of spirit against Christ, calling him a deceiver, and that he preached blasphemy, and error, & never rested till they had killed him; & our Lord Christ told his disciples, that he had many things to speak to them, but they were not able to bear them as yet. And this I speak in experience, that many truths of God, wherein I now see beauty, my heart at the first hearing rose against them, and could not beare them; and therefore, if what I have writ meet with such hard entertainment in any of your hearts, it is no wonder, for I know that the flesh that is in you, lusts after envy, but it is part of your bondage which God will deliver you from in due time: You shall finde that I call the whole power of darknesse by the name Serpent, which dwells in, and hath taken every man and woman captive, and that God through his Sonne Christ will redeeme his own workmanship, mankinde, from it, and destroy the Serpent onely; but do not count this a slight thing; for when God lets you see into the Mystery of this iniquity, in the least degree of it, it will prove too hard for you, and you will be nothing but death, curse, and misery. Therefore, as you desire that God would manifest love to you, and make you free, be not offended to hear, that God, who is love it self, hath a season to manifest his love to others that are lost, and quicken them that were killed, while you were made alive, and that fell further under death, when you that were lost are redeemed an houre or two before them. Iesus Christ shed his bloud wilingly for them that did put him to death; and the Saints of God rejoyced, that Paul their bitter persecutor, was received to mercy with themselves: Why then should you be offended, and thinke you are miserable, if your persecutors and enemies should in Gods time be delivered from under the curse, and partake of the glory of the City, together with you. It is much for the glory of God for him to redeeme, not part onely, but all mankinde from death, which his own hands made, it is his revealed will so to do, therefore let it be your joy that the will of your Father is, and shall be fulfilled; and do not thinke the Saints are made unhappy, and God dishonored, if he heale them that were lost, and that did not enter into the City, in the beginning of the great day of judgment, for as he is honored in saving you of the Citie that were lost: so he will be honored in redeeming these that lye under the power of the second death. and that entred not into the City, seeing there was no difference between you and them, till the will of God made the difference, in taking you at the first and leaving them till the last houre; for Christ gave himself a ransome for all, to be revealed in due time. God doth not reveale his love to all at one time but when he will; and God hath some thing to do after the resurrection, as he hath, and will yet do much before that day. Well, I leave, not questioning, but if any of you be unsatisfied with what I have writ, that you will speak to me, and I hope God will be my wisdom and strength to confirme it; since I had writ it, I met with more Scriptures to confirme it, so that it is not a spirit of private fancie, but it is agreeable to the written Word. Farwell.
Your Country-man, that loves the life of your Soule, Gerrard Winstanley.
These Particulars, and such like are contained in this Discourse.
What Mankinde was, is, and shall be.
What the Serpent is, that caused Adams fall, and whence he sprang.
The Serpent is not Gods Creature.
What the bondage of death is, that Adam or all mankind lies under.
What the good, and what the bad Angels are.
God hath cast the twofold murderer out of heaven, and what that is.
God will subdue the Serpent, not under part, but under the whole Creation, Mankinde.
When all creatures, except Man, are to be dissolved into nothing.
Seven Dispensations which God will have Mankind to passe through before he subdue the Serpent under the feet thereof, and what they are.
The Citie Sion, or the Elect, are in gathering up to God in six of those dispensations, in every season of time; and in the seventh the mystery of God shall be finished, and not till then.
The Citie Sion, or the Elect, shall first be taken up to God, afterwards they that were cast into everlasting fire, while the Elect were in gathering, shall be redeemed, and partake of the glory of the Citie.
What is meant by everlasting fire, and the word, for ever and ever, so often used in Scripture.
God is honoured in the salvation of Beleevers, and in the losse and shame of unbeleevers.
Gods judging the serpent, is mankinds redemption What the day of Judgement is.
Though lost man drink the top, yet the Serpent shall drink the dregs of Gods judgment, before the Son can deliver up the Kingdom to the Father.
What the first and second death is, or the first resurrection, and second death.
What the Bookes are that must be opened at the great day of judgement.
God hath been judging the Serpent since Adams fall, and will still sit upon the Throne till the last day be finished, & yet all but one day of judgment
God hates none but the Serpent and his seed; hee loves every branch of mankinde, and in his owne seasons wil manifest his love to every one, though to some at the ninth, some at the tenth, and some at the last houre.
God hath given a time, times, and halfe time to the Serpent now in the latter dayes to reigne in these.
How the Serpent under the names of Beast, Whore and false Prophet, makes use of that time God hath given him.
The bitternesse that is in mens spirits in these dayes, is the smoak of the Serpents torment, the restlesnesse of that wicked one day and night, and beginning of his sorrowes.
Three scruples against this mystery of God answered
A seasonable advice in the close.
The Mystery of GOD, concerning the whole Creation, MANKINDE.
What mankinde is, was, and shall be.
When God had made Adam, there was then two Beings, distinct the one from the other, that is, God himselfe, that was an uncreated Being, and the Humane Nature, that was a created Being: And though Adam was (Gen. 1) pure and spotlesse, yet he had no other wisdome, (Gen. 1:31) beauty, and power, but what God had created. God himself, who is the infinite & endless Being, did not dwell bodily in Adam, as he did dwell (Col. 2:9) bodily in the Humane Nature, Jesus Christ, the second Adam, in after-times; but a pure created wisdome, beauty, and power, did rule, dwell, and act in that created Humanity.
And after God had made Adam, he put him into a Garden, called Eden, which was full of Trees, Hearbs, Creatures, for pleasure and delight (Gen. 2:8-9), that he should dresse it, and live contentedly in the use of all things therein; which indeed is the History to the creatures capacity.
Yet thereby God declares, That Adam himselfe, (Cant. 4:12-16; Isa. 58:11) or that living flesh, mankinde, is a Garden which God hath made for his own delight, to dwell, and walk in, wherein he had planted variety of Hearbs, & pleasant Plants, as love, joy, peace, humility, knowledge, obedience, delight, and purity of life.
But all these being created qualities, and a Being distinct from the Being of God; God knew and saw, that there would spring up as a weed, and the first fruits of it likewise, an inclinable principle, or spirit of self-love aspiring up in the midst of this created, living Garden, and in the (Gen. 3:6) midst of every plant therein, which is indeed, aspiring to be as God, or to be a Being of it selfe, equall to, and yet distinct from God; as we see by visible experience in every creature, as Horses, Cowes, Beares, and the like, there appeares an inclinable disposition to promote it selfe, or its own Being: But this is but the fruit or invention of the creature after he was made, (Ecc. 7:29) God did not make it.
Now as the purest water being let stand, does in time putrifie, so I say, God knew that the first fruit that this created Being would bring forth, would be an aspiring desire to be equall, or like (Gen. 2:17) to God himselfe, which if the creature delighted in, and so ate, or satisfied himselfe in his own fruit, he should die; but if he forsook his own invention, and stuck close to God, acknowledgeing his Being to be his life, and all in all, then he should live.
Therefore God made it under a law, that the creature might know himselfe to be a creature, and acknowledge God his maker to be above, (Gal. 4:5) to whose command he was to subject himselfe; for when God had made him a pure living creature, very good, and a being distinct from the being of God, yet in the image of God, like two trees from whence fruit should grow, for Adam would bring forth fruit to maintain his created being equall with God; and God would bring forth fruit to maintain his uncreated being, and to swallow up all other beings into himself, and he to become all in all to every Creature that (2 Cor. 5:4) he made.
Now saith God, I have made thee the Lord of all my Creatures, and for thy use I made them; and thou mayest make use of any that pleases thine eyes, and eat of the fruit of any tree that delights thy taste, excepting the tree of knowledge of good and evill that stands in the middle of the Garden, and of that thou shalt not eat; for in that day that thou eatest thereof, thou shall die the death. And this is the Law or Covenant that I have made between me, that am a Being of my selfe; and thee, that art a Being created by me.
Now when Adam had taken of the tree of knowledge of good and evill, that was in the Garden of Eden, the History, and did eat of it: It declares, that he did eat likewise, and especially of the forbidden fruit that aspired up in himself the living Garden of Eden the mystery, and gave way with content and delight to that aspiring selfishnesse within himselfe, to be as (John 4:34) God, knowing good and evill; for eating implies delight and satisfaction: for Adam did not onely eat of the tree in Edens Garden, but he had a secret tickling delight arising in him, to be a more knowing man then God made him, and thereby began to reject God; and not being content with the Being God made him in, which if hee had been content with, he had acknowledged God all in all, and the onely infinite and one Being, that shall stand unmoveable.
But he eats, delights in that aspiring Weed, (or Mystery of Iniquity) for himselfe to have a Being above, equall to, or distinct from God: So that the ground of Adams fall, arises up first in Adams heart, as fruit growing up from a created Being; for in that it was in * his heart to doe evill, God imputes it to him for evill.
Well, this selfishnesse in the midle of the living garden, Adam, is the forbidden fruit, and this is called the Serpent, because it windes it selfe into every creature, and into every created faculty, and twists it self round about the Tree, Mankind.
And when Adam put forth his hand to take, and eat of the fruit of the Tree, in the History, his hand was guided thereunto by this Serpent, whose secret whisperings he delighted in: And truly this delight in selfe, was the eating, and it was the chiefe forbidden fruit that grew up in the middle of the living garden, Adam, which God forbad him to eat of, or delight in: But Adam did begin to delight in that inward fruit of wickednesse; and then by the motion thereof, took the fruit of the Tree in the middle of Eden, and delighted his outward senses therewith, and so brake the Law and Covenant of God, fell from his purity, and died, according to the word of his Maker, That in the day thou (Rom. 8:7) eatest, thou shalt dye. And all the faculties and powers of that living created Being, Adam, are now become absolute rebellions, and enmity it selfe against the Being of Godl•…
And that garden of pleasant plants, Adam, is become a stinking dunghill of weeds, and brings forth nothing but pride, envy, discontent, disobedience (Gen. 6:5), and the whole actings of the spirit, and power of darknes.
And if the creature should bee honoured in this condition, then God would be dishonoured, because his command is broke, and yet the creature remains glorious, therefore he died.
And if so be the creature be utterly lost and perish, and this garden should never be so dressed, as to bring forth fruit to Gods delight, then likewise God would suffer dishonour, because his work is spoyled in his hand, and there is no hopes of recovery. But the work of God shall be restored from this lost, dead, weedy, & enslaved condition, and the fruit of the created Being shall utterly perish and be ashamed (Jer. 18:4).
And things being thus considered, God is pleased to lead us to see a little into these two (Col. 1:13) mysteries: First, the mystery of Iniquity, or work of the Serpent, which was the aspiring (Is. 66:5) fruit of pride, and selfe-love, that sprung up in the created Being, to be as God, and so to be an absolute Being of himself, as God is an absolute (2 Thes. 2:4-5) Being of himselfe; and so this selfe-honouring would sit in Gods Temple, that is, the humane (1 Cor. 15-25) Nature, which God made a Garden for Himselfe to walk in; and if that Spirit of Self-love (Heb. 1:13) could not be destroyed, and the Humane Nature recovered from that bondage, God would suffer much dishonour; because he being glorious and happy in himselfe, hath made a creature to be a vexation and scourge to him, and cannot subdue it. And this mystery of iniquity, or power of darknesse, hath, does, and will fight against the Being of God, till it be taken out of the way, and quite subdued; as the Father hath promised he will subdue it under the feet of his Sonne, the Humane Nature.
Then secondly, God leads us to the mystery of himselfe, and makes us able to see into the knowledge of that great work that hee is in working: and that is, to destroy this Serpent out of the flesh, and all Beings, that is enmity against him, and to swallow up his Creature (1 Cor. 15:28-54) Man into himselfe, that so there may bee but one onely pure, endlesse, and infinite Being, even God himselfe all in all, dwelling and walking in this garden, Mankinde, in which he will plant pleasant fruit trees, and pluck up all weeds. (Cant. 4.:16).
Since Adam fell, to this present day, wee see the wisdome, power, and affection that dwels and rules in Man, leads him any way, either to just or unjust actions, so that Selfe may be preferred, not caring whether God be honoured, yea, or no.
Now the mystery of God is this, he will destroy (Is. 61) and subdue this power of darknesse, under the feet of the whole Creation, Mankinde, and (Luke 4:18) every particular branch, Man and Woman, deliver him from this bondage and prison, and dwel (Jer. 23:6) in his own House and Garden himselfe; so that the wisdome, power, love, life, beauty, and Spirit of truth that dwels and rules in Man, may be God himselfe, even the Lord our Righteousnesse, and no other being or power, but himselfe. And as God did dwell bodily in the Humane Nature, Jesus Christ, who was the first manifestation of this great mystery of God, so * when his work is compleated, he will dwell in the whole Creation, that is, every man and woman without exception, as he did dwell in that one branch, Jesus Christ, who is the pledge, or first fruits.
And therefore you shall finde, that when Adam had broke the Covenant, and died by the Law, God did not denounce an utter destruction, without recovery to the Creation, Mankinde, which was his own work, which his own wisdome and power did produce and bring forth. But he pronounces the finall curse against the Serpent, or mans work, which was the fruit that sprung up in, and was acted both inwardly (Gen. 3:15) and outwardly by the Creation, or created Being, in rebellion against the Being of God: Therefore sinne is properly mans owne act.
The words of the Father run thus, speaking to the Serpent: I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it stall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heele: So that the Serpent must be killed; for bruise his head, and he dies. Now the curse that was declared to Adam, was temporary: That he should undergoe sorrows, and suffer a bruising in his out-member; but not a killing, though Adam had killed himselfe: so that he hath brought himselfe under the bondage; God will not strike him now he is downe, and make his death without recovery, but God will destroy death, and quicken Adam, or Mankinde againe, (Heb. 2:14) that we may all see our salvation is from God, though our misery was from our selves, that so whosoever glories, may glory onely in the Lord.
And now by the way mind one thing, That when this Serpent rules, and causes the creature to act, such actings become the creatures losse & shame; but when God acts in the creatures life, glory, and redemption; to advance * selfe, and deny God, is the creatures death. But to deny self, and to acknowledge God, is the creatures life; before Adam acted Rebellion, this aspiring spirit of pride, to be as God, * led the humane nature, to disobey God; And ever since the fall, the same selfish spirit, leads every man and woman captive at his will, and inslaves them in that prison, and bondage, and darkness, to walk in wayes directly contrary to the God of light: and yet many times perswades them, that they do God good service; let a man read, hear, study, preach, pray, perform actions of Justice; yet if God be not mercifull to the man, this power of darkness will deceive him; making him to conceit or think he pleases God, when the truth is, he serves but selfe all the time, it is so full of secret strong delusions.
Therefore I say, the mystery of God is this, God will bruise this Serpents head, and cast that murderer out of heaven, the humane nature, wherein it dwels in part, as in the man Christ Jesus: And he will dwell in the whole creation in time, and so deliver whole mankind out of that bondage.
This I see to be a truth, both in my own experience, and by testimony of scripture, as God is pleased to teach me.
As first, by experience, I shall instance in my self, who am a branch of Adam; or part of the humane creation: And I lay under the bondage of the Serpent, my own invention, as the whole creation does from Adams fall, and I saw not any bondage; but since God was pleased to manifest his love to me, he hath caused me to see that I lay dead in sin, weltring in blood and death, was a prisoner to my lusts, for though through his grace, I saw pride, covetousness, envy, uncleanness, ignorance, injustice, and the whole body of unbelief, working and ruling in me; yet I was ashamed men should know it, this selfish spirit sought to hide himself so close; and still made provision to have the will of these lusts satisfied in me.
And before God manifested his love to me, I delighted in the favour of these weeds, but since God revealed his Son in me, he lets mee see, that those things wherein I did take pleasure, were my death, my shame, and the very power of darkness, wherein I was held, as in a prison; so that although I felt this deadly body, or wicked one act within me, and although I have been troubled at it, sighed and mourned, strove against it, and prayed against it; yet I could not deny self, and the more I used meanes to beat him down, as I thought, the more did this power of darkness appear in me, like an overflowing wave of wickedness, drowning me in slavery, and I saw I was a wretched man, wrapped in misery, I mourned that I was so rebellious against God, and I mourned to see I had no power to get out of that bondage of selfishness. And so I continued till God was pleased to pul me out of selfish striving & selfish actings, & made all meanes lie dead before me, and made me dead to such means as I made use of, and thought that deliverance must come that way: And so made me to lie down at his feete, & to waite upon him, & to acknowledg, that unless God did swallow me up into his own being, I should never be delivered, for I saw that the power within me strived to maintain its being, against the being of God; and all that while I was a stranger to God, though among men, I was a professor, as I thought, of God.
But now God hath set me free from that bondage, so that it rules not, though sometime it seemes to face me, like a daring corquered enemy, that cannot hurt. And likewise God causes me to see with much joy and peace of heart, into this mystery of himself, that his eternall councel, which was grounded upon the Law of love, himself, was not to destroy me, nor any of his own creation; but only the Serpent, which is my work, or the first fruit that sprung up out of the creation; which is our bondage, and that he himself will become my self, and liberty, and the life and liberty of his whole creation. And in these two things he hath caused me greatly to rejoyce.
First, I see and feele, that God hath set me free from the dominion and over-ruling power of that body of sin. It raines not as a King, * though sometimes it appeares creeping in like a slave, that is easily whipped out of doores by strength of God.
Secondly, I rejoyce in perfect hope and assurance in God, that although this Serpent, or murtherer do begin, by reason of any temptation, or outward troubles, to arise, and endeavour to act in rash anger, in pride, in discontent, or the like, as sometimes it does, yet every appearance of this wicked one in me becomes his further ruine, and shall never rise to rule and enslave me as formerly; for God thereby takes the occasion to call me up higher into himself, and so makes me to see and possess freedom, in my own experience from him, every day more and more; I am not still a captive, in a being of darkness distinct from God, but God hath freed me therefrom, and taken me up into his own being; so that now his wisdom, his love, his life, his power, his joy and peace, is mine, I glory here, I can glory no where else. And here I wait upon God with a sweet peace, under reproaches, under losses, under troubles of the world, being that dispensation of his patience which God will have me wait upon him under, till I partake of the full enjoyment of this inheritance, which I have fully, in hope and assurance, but in possession, but in part.
And as God is pleased thus to deal with me, or with any branch of Adam, in the same kind; so he hath caused me to see, and to rejoyce in the sight, that he will not lose any of his work, but he will redeem his own whole Creation, to himself, and dwell, and rule in it himself, and * subdue the Serpent under his feet, and take up all his Creation, Mankind, into himself, and will become, the only, endless, pure, absolute, and infinite being, even infinitely for ever all in all, in every one, and in the whole, that no flesh may glory in it self, but in the Lord only.
But this mystery of God is not to be done all at once, but in severall dispensations, some whereof are past, some are in being, and some are yet to come; but when the mystery of God is absolutely finished, or, as the Scriptures say, The Son hath delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, this will be the upshot or conclusion, * that Gods work shall be redeemed, and live in God, and God in it; but the creatures * work without God, shall be lost and perish, Man, Adam, or whole Creation of Mankind, which is Gods work, shall be delivered from Corruption, Bondage, Death, and Pain, and the Serpent that caused the fall, shall only perish, and be cast into the lake; and God will be the same in the latter end, accomplishing what in the beginning he promised, that is, to bruise the Serpents head, and subdue him under the feet of his Son, the humane nature, wherein he will walk, as a Garden of pleasure, and dwell himself for ever.
I shall now in the next place mention some Scriptures as a Testimony that does countenance this truth, that God will not lose any part of his Creation, Mankind, but will redeem and preserve it, both in particular, & in whole, and will destroy nothing but the Serpent, that wicked one, that would be a being equall to, or above God; but Gods work shall stand, and the creatures work shall perish and suffer losse.
The first Scripture I shall mention, is, 1 Cor. 3. 13. Every mans Work shall be made manifest,*for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every mans work, of what sort it is. That is, whether it be of God, or of the Serpent. If any mans work abide, he shall receive a reward, that is, he shall live in God, and God in him, because God in the man, was the strength of his work, If any mans work shall be burned, he shall suffer losse, but he himself shall be saved, (mark this) yet so, as by fire; not by materiall fire of purgatory, but by the bright, and clear coming of God into this man, whose indwelling presence, like fire, burnes up the stubble of mens own inventions, and purges the drosse from the gold, & divides between the marrow * and the bone, that is, makes a separation between his own work and mans work.
So likewise Rev. 20. 10. And the Devill, or murderer, that deceived the Nations, was east into the lake of fire and brimstone, and v. 14. And death and hel were cast into the lake of fire: the Nations were not cast in at this time, for this Scripture I believe points out the great day of Judgment, when Nations shall be delivered out of that fire, and there shall be no more curse, death, sorrow, nor pain lie upon any part of the Creation, but all teares shall be wiped from its eyes, and the Serpent only shall perish in the Lake; for after that the City-work is finished, and the number of the Elect gathered in, and established in glory; then the dispensations of God, who is the tree of * life, send forth a healing vertue to the Nations, and then the Nations likewise that are * saved, or those that were lost, while the City or Elect was in gathering, do now bring their glory into the City likewise; for every man shall be saved, saith God through Paul, without exception, though some at the ninth houre, some at the tenth houre, and some at the last houre; and this salvation of every man, or the making of the whole creation, a pure River of the water of life, cleer as Cristall, proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb, that is, from the judgment seat of God, judging, condemning, and killing the Serpent, and so restoring his own creation to purity and life.
So likewise 2 Cor. 5. 4. For we in this Tabernacle do groane, being burdened, not for that we would be uncloathed, but cloathed upon: that mortality might be swallowed up of life. By mortality here, is not meant the laying of the body in, or raising of it out of the dust or grave, but it is the very death which Adam, by disobeying, fell under, and that is the death of his purity, or pure being, which is a falling from God into a being directly opposite to the being of God; as rottonness of flesh, is death to soundness of flesh, darkness is the death to light; for whereas before the fall, Adam knew God, loved and acknowledged God, and was in every part so pure, as God said, Behold, it is all very good, but after the fall he became envious, proud, disobedient, full of all lusts and concupiscence of evill, even as we find by experience our bondage; and so from a friend, he fell to be enmity against God, of a pure creature, he became unclean, and of a Child of Gods delight, he fell to be a Child of wrath; and of a pure garden, he became a stinking * dunghill; and this is the death or mortality, which not only Adam in particular, but all the branches of Adam, men and women, lie under. Even under a corrupt Being.
Now this rottennesse, or death, under which the whole Creation is fallen, and lies in bondage too, it is that Serpent, or power of darknesse which Paul desires might be swallowed up of life; that is, that God, who is life, would be pleased to come and dwell in him, and in his creation, and so cast out that mortality, or strong man that is so strongly armed: and this is the Serpent that God hath pronounced the dreadfull curse against; for this is mans work, and it must bee destroyed. I conceive God calls it mans own invention, because it was the first fruit that the creature brought forth; after he was made, and left to himselfe, even this aspired and sprung up in him, to which he gave consent to promote Selfe, and become as God.
I shall onely mention one Scripture more, though I beleeve I could bring above a hundred Scriptures that doe countenance this truth. And if you seriously minde what you read, you shall finde that this is the Royall blood that runs through the golden veines of the writings of the Prophets and Apostles: It is Rom. 8. from vers. 19. to 26. but for shortnesse sake I shall mention onely the 21. * and 22. verses, Beeause the creation it self also shall be delivered (as well as we that are members of the elected Citie) from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God: For we know (by our experience) that the whole creation (of which we are branches) groaneth and travelleth in pain together untill now. By Creature, or whole Creation, I see it to be a cleare and soul-comforting truth, to be only mankinde, for whose use, or for the time that God hath determined to finish this great designe, to make his garden Man, a garden of pleasure to himselfe, when he hath plucked up all the weeds, and so husbanded the ground, that weeds shall never grow again. I say, all the time, God hath made all other creatures for mans use, or rather to serve his own providence, while he is in working this great mystery about man, and when the work is finished, then all other creatures shall bee dissolved into nothing as at first; for as God is a Spirit, he delights in spirituall things, but these outward * creatures were made for the pleasure, profit, and use of man, while he is carnall, and * stands in a Being distinct from God: and when man is made spirituall, and swallowed up in life, or taken up into the Being of God, there will then be no more use or need of these outward creatures, as Cattell, Corn, Meat, Drink, and the like; nor of Sunne, Moon, nor Starre, nor of Creature-light, either literall or mysticall; for God and the Lamb shall dwell in the Citie, and in the whole Creation, and be the light thereof, as the Lord Christ said, In that * day you shall know, that I am in my Father, and*you in Me, and I in you. And, labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endures to eternall life.
Some may say, If this be true, that God will save every one, then I will live, and take my pleasure in sin, and eat, drink, and be merry, and take all delights while I live, for I am Gods workmanship, and he will not lose his own work, I shall be saved.
But if he will not lose his work, yet thy work shall perish, think upon that; and truly I beleeve that the Serpent in thee, will make such a merry conclusion, and cry down this truth of God for an errour presently in others, because it beares testimony of his destruction, as the Jewes called Christ a deceiver, or a man of errors *, and killed him, because he bore witnesse that their deeds were evill.
Well, make that conclusion and take liberty to sin, yet for all that know, thou enslaved creature, that thou shalt be brought to judgement, and thou shalt not escape punishment; for though sinne be sweet in thy mouth, as it was in Judas, to take the 30 pieces of silver, and to act treachery against his Master, it wil be bitternesse in the belly, as it was to him; for the jealousie of the Lord shall burn hot against thee, so that thou shalt cal upon the mountains * to cover thee from his presence, and wish that thou hadst never been born; and all the sorrowes spoke of in Scripture, shall overtake thee, and such presumptuous sinners as thou art; and thy joy shall be turned into mourning, and thou shalt be cast into the everlasting fire, which God hath prepared and appointed * for the Serpent and his seed, or for the Devil and his Angels: and while thou art in it, the worm of thy gnawing conscience shall never die, nor the fire of Gods wrath, or the sense of his anger upon thee, shall never goe out, and shall be a pain more intollerable, then the plucking out of the right eye, or the cutting off the right hand.
But now lest scruples should arise in others, as though I writ contradictions, or as though I made God changeable. First, to bid a sinner depart into everlasting fire, and yet afterwards take him out again. Now to give answer hereunto.
First know, that this was and is the great mystery, worke, and counsell of God, after he had made a visible creature, in a pure Being, distinct from himselfe, his purpose being to destroy all the inventions and actings of this creature, that did spring up and arise from the creatures Being, as a creature, and not from Gods acting in the creature: and God foresaw that the first buddings of this creature would be a desire to maintain it Selfe, or Creature-Being, and so cast God off; therefore God made him under a Law, that if his creature did consent to that selfish desire, he should die; if not, he should have lived a pure Being still, though distinct from God, yet under his protection, as a Creator. Now every thing that is in, or about the Creature, that is of God, shall stand; but every thing that is in, or from the creature, that is not of God, shall fall and perish.
Therefore to proceed a little further, that this truth may shine in its own beauty, God does teach me to see, that every action, or dispensation of God, is called a Spirit, or an Angel, and every action, or aspiring principle that rise up in Adam, which led him to disobedience, it pleased God that it should have a Being, and likewise be called a Spirit, but it is a dead Being, and a Spirit of darknesse, quite opposite to the God of Light and Life, and God gives it the name of Serpent, Dragon, Murtherer, wicked one, and unclean Spirit, because it twisted it selfe into the middle of the Creation, and was an aspiring to be like God, but God did not make the nature of it; for it was the first fruits of a created Being, without God.
Now God is pleased to make known himself in divers dispensations in the carrying on of this great work of his.
As first, he declares himselfe by way of a Law, In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die; now * this Law, though it was holy, just, and good, yet it was a killing word, or the killing Letter, for it took hold of Adams disobedience, and flew him; so that word, Thou shalt dye, because flesh, for all flesh broke the Covenant in Adam, and all flesh died, and all humane flesh was cast under that dispensation of death, and the more we stirre to climb up to God by the workes of the Law, the more we intangle our selves in death; for by the workes of the * law no flesh shall be saved.
And here is two murtherers which mankind is to be delivered from, before it can live again; First, this word of the Law, which is holy, just, and good, which ties the creature onely to acknowledge the Being of God, and no other: when the creature began to minde another Being, this righteous Law killed him; for it is not the King, but the Kings Law that hangs an offender; and if the rigorous Law stands still in force, no flesh can be saved, because every man and woman are selfish, and minds a sinfull Being, opposite to God, therefore the condemning power of the Law is to be taken away.
The second murtherer is the Creatures own invention, or aspiring spirit to be as God, knowing good and evill, or to maintain Selfe, and this killed the creature, and threw him under the curse of the righteous Law, because this would be a Being equall with God, and acknowledge another being besides God, whereas there is no other righteous Being to be acknowledged, but onely God, or what is in God, or God in it.
Now in the first discovery of Gods counsell and purpose to the Creature, if he be redeemed, this compound murtherer must be cast out of heaven by a strong hand, and out-stretched arm of God, so that the Being of God might be preserved, the Law of God kept pure, and yet fallen man redeemed. As first, this dispensation of death, Do this, and live; Do not this, and die, must be cast out of Heaven, that is, out of Gods hand, and God must not, in the redeeming of him, appeare to the creature under that dispensation: for if he doe, it will still hold the lost creature under death and bondage: and if the creature were made pure again, and left still to deale with the Law by his created strength onely, as Adam was, truly he would fall again; for a meere created strength, being distinct from God the Creator, would fall again; for no Being can stand pure, but such a created Being as God is pleased to dwell bodily in; for every opposite Being will seek to advance it selfe.
Therefore if God redeem his creature from death, he must appeare absolutely a God of * love, under no other dispensation but the law of love, doing all in, and for the creature, and * thus in the Gospel he does; for this is the Spirit that quickens and saves the creature: and * when this Word of Love was made Flesh, it was the first discovery from God, to assure the creature of his redemption from death; and this was when Jesus Christ, or God was manifested in flesh, working, doing, suffering all things for the creature, pardoning, accepting, and taking the creature freely into communion with God, by Gods own power, and for his own name sake, promising never to remember disobediences any more, but would blot out that hand-writing, the Law, of Doe and live, not doe and die. And now the killing letter, or murderer is cast out of heaven, out of Gods hand, God will never have that to stand between him and his creature any more; but hee himselfe, who is the Law of Love, even Love it selfe, will dwell and rule a King of Righteousnesse in the Creature, and be the Creatures wisdome, * strength, life, joy, and comfort, and his All in All.
But secondly, the other murderer, which is worse then this, must be cast out of heaven too, or else the creature cannot live, and that is the Serpent, or this aspiring spirit in him to promote Selfe: for so long as the creature * acknowledges any other being but Gods, he is lost; and truly I think none can be ignorant of this, that the spirit of selfishnesse is in himself, and in every man and woman, therfore it must be cast out of this heaven, Mankinde, before it can live again to God.
When Jesus Christ, or God in Man appeared, * then the word of Love was made flesh, That the seed of the woman shall break the Serpents head. And when Jesus Christ fought the great battell, or rather God and the Serpent* did fight in heaven, that is in the creation, the man Christ Jesus, and God, or the anoynting, prevailed, he cast the Serpent out of heaven, out of that humane flesh which he took up as a part for the whole, or as an earnest of the Fathers love to all the rest; for I beleeve that all temptations that Jesus Christ met withall, *(for in all things he was tempted like unto us) they were but the strivings of the Serpent, as he did strive in Adam that fell, to maintain its being opposite to God; but Jesus Christ, or the anoynting in flesh, being not a created power, but the power of God in that created * humanity, did not consent as the first Adam did, for he with strong hand resisted the whispering of the Serpent, and would acknowledge no other Being but God, and so prevailed, and cast the Serpent out of flesh, and hath obtained a legall power to quicken whom he will, or * to cast the Serpent out of what man or woman he will: so that it is this anoynting that sets us at liberty from the bondage of sin and the Serpent, and he himselfe becomes our life and strength, and the Lord our Righteousnesse.
And when Michael our Prince had prevailed * over the Dragon, then there were voyces and Songs heard in heaven, that is, in the creation, Mankind; Now is come salvation and strength, and the Kingdome of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our Brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night. This song, I conceive, was sung by the Elect, the Citie Sion, or Saints of God, who are first enlightned, and they sing Glory to God in the name of the rest that shall be redeemed; for the Serpent that accused the Creation before God, is cast out in part for the whole, or a part for an earnest peny to the whole.
So that now mark, The Law of God that did accuse and condemne the offending creature, this is cast out of Gods hand, and hereafter he will be a God of love, in an intire dispensation of love; I speak as God doth manifest himself now under the Gospel and as he ever will be when the creature is perfectly redeemed.
And the Serpent, which is the Sting, or Worme to the Creatures conscience, because it was still acting a self-being, opposite to God, and then accusing the creature before God day and night, by the force of a condemning Law, for disobediences, which is the creatures bondage and misery; for the spirit of sin within, this enslaves him, and the condemning Law, this casts him from God, and so throwes the sinner under utter darknesse and sorrow. I, but for the creatures comfort, this Serpent is cast out of heaven, the Creation likewise, and though for the present many poore creatures lie under the bondage, yet the time is drawing neer that they shal be delivered, and the wicked one himselfe, the Serpent, shall be cast into the Lake, and perish for ever. Indeed the Serpent would have Gods created work to die with him, for he knowes he must dye irrecoverably, but God will redeem his creature, and the Serpents head only shall be bruised, which will be his death.
Well, this two-fold murderer is cast out of Heaven, that is, the condemning Law is cast out of Gods hand by Jesus Christ, the Law of grace and love; and the Serpent is cast out of the creation in part, and shall be cast out of the whole when the Mystery of God is finished by the power of the same anointng, Jesus Christ; for God the Father is reconciled, and he hath taken the creature into fellowship with himselfe: For God was in the Man Christ Jesus, re¦conciling*the world, that is, mankind, to himself, not imputing their sins to them.
Now this Mystery, or work of God is finished fully and compleatly in a two-fold sense, but not in a third, as yet; and when this third term is finished, then the whole work is finished, and not till then.
First, in Gods everlasting counsell and purpose, this worke was done from all eternity, before the foundation of the world was laid, and God declared so much, when he uttered this word, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, & between thy seed & her seed, he shall break thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heele. Here the Curse and Death is sealed up to the Serpent, but here is Mercy and Redemption sealed up to the creature; the creature shall bee redeemed, but he shall goe through bruisings, or pain:
Secondly, it is compleatly done in action, in the pledge and earnest-penny. When God was manifested in flesh, in the Man Christ Jesus, who was born of a woman. And this is the first fruit of the Fathers love manifested and sealed up to the whole Creation, Mankinde, * that as he dwels bodily in that part of humane nature, Jesus Christ, so in time, according to his own counsell and pleasure, hee will dwell bodily in the whole creation likewise; therefore saith Christ, I goe to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God; and he doth not onely speak to his twelve Disciples, but to all others that shall beleeve through their word. And when the Kings of the Earth, and the Nations are healed by the leaves of the Tree * of Life, and so bring in their glory into the City Sion, as it shall be in the latter end; I beleeve * there will not be a man that partakes of humane nature, nor woman neither, that shall not partake of faith & so beleeve in God through Christ the anointing, that fils all, and is all in all.
But now in the third sense, the worke is not yet compleated in the whole Creation; for God is pleased to doe this worke in length of time, by degrees, calling some at one houre, and some at another, out of the Serpents bondage, * and the times and seasons God hath reserved to himself.
Therefore in the further clearing of this Truth, God is pleased to shew forth six dispensations or discoveries of himselfe more, which he will have the creature to passe through before he finish his work, to cast the Serpent, Death, and Hell, into the Lake, and before he * himselfe appeare to be the Tree of Life on each side, and in the middle of the pure River of the water of Life: which I conceive is the * whole creation, Man, perfectly redeemed; which River proceeded out of the Throne of God, and of the Lamb; take notice of that.
The second Dispensation, for there are seven Dispensations in the whole▪ the first I have spoken of already, which was, when God gave the Law to Adam, as soon as hee had made him: And now the second lies in that first promise, or manifestation of love to the Creature, and curse to the Serpent, in these words, The seed of the woman shall bruise the*Serpents head, and this continued from Adam till Abraham.
Then the third dispensation or discovery of God is more cleare then the former, for to Abraham he speakes more particularly; he doth * not still say in generall termes, The seed of the woman, &c. But in thy seed, Abraham, all nations of the earth shall be blessed, and so points-out more directly in what linage and generation of mankind, God would first appeare in to bruise the Serpents head; and this dispensation continued from Abraham till *Moses time, and our Fathers embraced these promises, and rejoyced in them.
The fourth dispensation is from Moses, till God manifested himself in flesh, or till Jesus Christ was born of Mary, that was one of the house of David, of the linage of Abraham; and this dispensation is more then the former, for * God, by types, figures, ceremonies, and shadowes, did more manifestly set forth his love to his creature, and his wrath to the Serpent; when the sacrifice was slain and offered, God received an attonement, it being a type of Gods in-dwelling in flesh, or a shadow of Christ, the Lamb, the substance of all those sacrifices.
And when Achan that troubled Israel was * put to death in the valley of Achor, the fiercenesse of Gods wrath was turned away. And I believe God doth teach us by the Prophet Hosea 2. 14. where he saith, I will give the valley*of Achor for a doore of hope, which was the place of Achans death; so when the Serpent, who is our trouble, is subdued and killed in the valley, humane flesh, then the dispensation of Gods anger is turned away from us.
The fifth dispensation is from the time that God was manifested in flesh, in the person Jesus Christ, to the time that he appeared in the flesh and person of his Saints likewise; and this is more cleare then the former, for Jesus the anointed, was the substance of all those types and shadowes of the Mosaicall Law, for now God doth manifestly appear to dwell in flesh, in his creature, and he hath broke the Serpents head, and cast him out of heaven (his creation) and now this Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, that is, destroyes the Serpent, who is the sin that dwells in mankind, for now the life of God doth visibly appear to swallow up the death of the creature, and a manifest beginning to set the creature free from bondage; and this dispensation of God was spoke of by the Prophets very often before it appeared, that a Child should be borne, a Virgin should have a son, which should be called Emmanuel, God with us; and God would bring forth his branch, and the Redeemer should come out of Sion, that is the anointing that is in Sion the Church, shall in Gods time go forth to heal the Nations likewise; now God throws down the shadowes of the Law and drawes his creature to eye Jesus, the anointed, or God manifested in flesh, and this is the appearance of visible Gospel, or of God himself, * bringing glad tydings to men, and so worthily deserving everlasting honour and praise from all creatures.
The sixth dispensation is, from the time that God appeared in the flesh of Saints, till the perfect gathering up of the Elect, which is called the Resurrection day, or the great day of Judgement. And this is still more cleare then the former, for though God appeared in the person Jesus Christ, who was a branch of mankind, yet we might still be in doubt, and lie under death still, if he there remain; But God did not appeare in the man Christ Jesus only, but in the Saints likewise, according to his promise by Joel, in the latter dayes, I will power out my spirit upon all flesh, upon my Sons and Daughters, and young men shall see visions, and old men shall dreame dreames, and this was fulfilled in the Apostles, for the same spirit of Christ was sent down upon them, Acts 2. And I know, saith Paul, that I have the spirit of Christ; And know ye not that the anointing dwells in you, except ye be reprobates. And again, We, saith Paul, that have received the first fruits of the*spirit, we groane within our selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.
Now the Apostles in their first preaching, they preached Jesus, the anointed, or the Lamb, or God manifested in flesh, and this * they saw and heard, and they could not but speak in the name of Jesus, and God commanded them so to do.
But when God had fully declared himself in that dispensation, he sent forth his Apostles then to preach more spiritually; and now, saith Paul, though formerly we have known Christ * after the flesh, that is, God only manifested in that one man Jesus, the anointed, yet henceforth know we him no more, (in such a restraint) for now the mystery of God, which hath been hid from ages and generations past, is now revealed to his Saints in these last dayes, * which is Christ, or the anointing in you, the hope of glory; not only God manifested in the man Christ Jesus, but the same anointing, or tree of life in you likewise, according to that of the Prophet, A King shall reigne in the earth,* that is, in mankind, and his name shall be called the Lord our righteousnesse: and again, The anointing*which ye have received abideth in you, and ye need not that any teach you, for the same anointing teacheth you of all things. And truly I believe, that whosoever preaches from his book, and not from the anointing, and so speaking in experience what he hath seen and heard from God, is no Minister sent of God, but an hireling, that runs before he be sent, only to get a temporall living; therefore O England, mind what thou dost, leave off to imbrace hirelings, that come in their own name, and *receive such in love whom Christ hath sent in his name, and his Fathers.
And in this dispensation we are to note two things; first, when as John the Baptist prophesied, it was neither light nor dark, for it was between the legall worship that was falling, and gospel truths that were rising, upon the very parting of time between the shadowes of the Law of Moses, and the appearance of Christ the Lamb, who was the substance thereof; and troubles and vexations began to arise in and among the strict professors of the Law, so that they could not be satisfyed till they had killed * Christ, whom they called the man full of errors, that deceived the people.
So now the Church is at a stand, and the worship is partly light, and partly dark; some resting upon the bare letter, according to the example of Christ, and the Apostles only, which is a worship after the flesh, and was true, and was of God in the time of its dispensation.
And others do acknowledg God, not exemplarily, but by the faith, the name, and anointing of Jesus Christ, ruling, teaching, acting, and dwelling in them; therefore think it not strange, though some old professors, and the book-hirelings especially, be offended hereat, and brand the Saints for men full of errors, and seeke to suppresse their testimony; it was so then, it will be so now, for the same spirit of the world, the Serpent, does still persecute the same anointing of God in this, as in the former dispensation; but you Saints of God, be patient, waite upon God, this troubled sea, the Serpent, shall not over-whelm you, for stronger is he that is in you, then he that is in the world; rejoyce, * the time of your redemption drawes neere.
And againe, think it not strange to see many of the Saints of God at a stand, in a wildernes, & at a losse, and so waiting upon God to discover himself to them; many are like the tide at full * Sea, which stands a little before the water runs either way; and assure your selves, I know what I speak, you must be dead to your customes before you can run in the Sea of truth, or the River of the water of life; some walk still according to example, and have either seene nothing, or very little of the anointing in them; and some walk more in spirit and truth, as the same anointing of the Father, which dwells bodily in Christ, teacheth them, and leadeth them into all truth. *
The same anointing unites Christ and the Saints, and makes them but one mysticall bo¦dy: * I pray not for these alone, saith Christ, but for all that shall believe through their word, * that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, that is in thee, who art the only pure and holy being.
Secondly, not, that under this dispensation is the time that the elect, which is so much spoken of in the Scriptures, are to be gathered into one City, and perfected, and this anointing is the Angell which God hath sent forth in these last dayes, to gather together his elect, from one end of heaven to the other, or out of every nation, kindred, tongue & people, in the earth. And where it is said, that God will send forth not his Angel, but his Angels, to gather his elect together, it points out the * severall measures, or dispensations of the anointing, to every Saint, as God will, according to the measure of the guift of Christ.
Now sometime God calls his elect by the name of one, in the singular number, and hereby God declares his first born, Jesus Christ, who is the head in the name of the whole body. As the Prophet writes, behold my Servant whom I have chosen, mine elect, in whom my soule delighteth: God hath not chosen the Serpent, or creature-invention to dwel in flesh, for this he hath rejected, and takes no delight in. But he hath chosen the anointing, or his own power and name to dwell in flesh, and * this he delights in, therefore Jesus the anointed, is called the Son of God, in whom he is well pleased.
And sometimes God calls his elect in the plurall number, as many, and then he declares * the mysticall body, or the City, Sion, or those that he hath given to Christ, and whose names * are written in the Lambs book. And in this 6. generall dispensation, these only shall be gathered * into the City, and whosoever is not writ in the Lambs book of life, shall not enter in at this time and season of the Father, though there is a time and season known to the Father, when they shall be healed likewise, and enter in; and eat of the heavenly Manna, the * tree of life, that is in the middle of the City.
Now this City Sion, which consists of head and members; Jesus Christ and his Saints, who are all baptized into, and knit together by one spirit of God, the anointing. And this City God will redeeme first, or he will subdue the * Serpent under the feet of this his Son first: All that do his Commandements, that is, have * faith and love, these shall enter into the City, but the fearfull and unbeleevers, murderers, Idolaters, and every one that loveth, and maketh a lie, are without, and are cast into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death, or the death of the Serpent, and the Serpent ruling in man is the first death which God redeemes us from.
All those that were not found writ in the * Lambs book of life, were cast into the lake of fire. Or as Mathew calls it, into everlasting fire. Or as Matthew calls it, into everlasting fire, and shall lie under that dispensation of wrath for ever, that is, all the time of this dispensation, or till the day of judgement be ended, that the Serpent, Death, and * Hell, are cast into the Lake of fire, and that there shall no more curse lie upon the Creature *, but from the judgement seat, or Throne of God; the whole Creation being redeemed, shall flow forth a pure River of the water of life; for every Dispensation is called a full period, or tearme of time, and an everlasting season.
All this time that God is gathering together his elect, he hath given a time, times, and halfe time to the Serpent. Which in those threefold shapes and a halfe, or in those three dayes and halfe, he is called the Beast, or the Whore, and this time is given him to make warre, and to fight against the Prince of Princes *, and his Saints, and to overcome them, and to waste and destroy the holy people mightily.
And this appointed time is the yeare wherein the Beast lives, and God gives all advantages * to the Beast, as riches, outward liberty, worldly power, and generally humane Authority into his hand. And puts no weapons into the hands of his Saints; but faith, or the anointing, to fight against the reproaches, slanders, * oppressions, poverties, weaknesse, prisons, and the multitude of temptations which the Beast, through her wit, malice, and power, casts upon the Saints, like a flood of water to drowne them. And to overthrow the work of God by great hand, if it were possible.
Likewise the Serpent stirs up some, whom she deceives, to be seeming professors, outwardly religious, having a form of godlinesse, but through hypocrisie, pride, and selfishnesse, might dishonour God, discourage the tender Lambs of Christ, and bring an ill report upon the wayes of God.
And hence it is that Israel of old were trampled upon by the Gentiles that were not in covenant. And hence it is, that the Beast must * tread the holy City under foot 42 moneths. That in the day of judgement it may be said, that the Serpent had faire play given him, hee had all advantages, he had a long time given him to ingage warre. I, but God did beat him with his own weapons, and encounters * with all the temptations, malice and hypocrisie of the Serpent, by the faith and patience of his Saints, and thereby fairly destroyes him, himselfe may be judge.
But in the latter dayes, when the time, times, and halfe drawes to an end, then God sends forth severall dispensations, or Angels, as assistances to this sixth and great Dispensation, to poure out Vials of wrath upon all the glory of the Beast, and curses all his glory by seven degrees, and sounds forth seven Trumpets of glory to God, one after another; which implies perfection of ruine upon every particular, blasting, cursing, or downfall of the * Beast.
And when these dayes appeare, then the rage of the Serpent increases, because his time growes short, and his violence, wrath, reproach, oppression, provocations and murders against the Saints are multiplied, and times grow very bad: for now iniquiry abounds, and the love of many in whom the Serpent dwels, waxes cold, and extreamly bitter, and mad against the Saints, in whom the anointing dwells, so that they gnash their tongues with vexation of spirit, and the smoak of their torment ascends upwards (towards God and his Saints, that are above, not so much downward to such like themselves) and that for ever and ever. By the doubling of this word, ever and ever, he declares that this misery continues untill the sixth Dispensation be * ended, that is, the one for ever; and all the time of the great day of judgement, that is the second for ever, and so they have no rest, day nor night, who worship the Beast and his Image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name; here is the patience of the Saints, here are they that keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus: for truly the faith and patience of the Saints are tried to some purpose, while the Beast thus rages, and swels with malice against them.
And I beleeve it will appeare more generally visible in time, to me it appears very plain, that the great bitternesse, envy, reproachfull languages, and expressions of malicious wrath, in and among men and women in these dayes, against others whom they brand Sectaries, by severall names, will prove part of the smoak of her torment, and part of the restlesnesse of her Spirit day and night, which is the beginning of her sorrowes; for this is the raging Sea that casts out its own shame: and men in whom * the Serpent dwels, speak evill of that they know not.
Now all the time of this sixth Dispensation, God is declaring his great power, in pulling what fire-brands he will out of the Serpents hand, and he will take here one, and there one, as he pleases himself. And let the Serpent put forth all his wit and power, he shall not hinder the salvation of one man or woman, whom God hath chosen, and purposes to deliver from his bondage; but he will save under every dispensation whom he will, and bring them into Sion, Neither shall the Serpent, nor any of his seed, ever attain communion with God by all his wit, learning, study, actings and power, but he shall perish, and all creatures in whom the Serpent reignes and acts, shall be lost and ashamed * in their work, yet every man shall be saved in the end, yet so, as by fire.
And here mind two things, First God is honoured in the salvation of beleevers, because he hath undertaken to pull them out of the Serpents hand, and to bind that strong man, and to bring in the Citie to himselfe, and to appeare in them first; therefore it is said, That judgement begins at the House of God first, that is, God judges, condemnes, and casts the Serpent out of his elect, and saves the whole, and every member of that Citie, before he judge, condemne, and cast the Serpent out of them, that did not enter into the City, but were without, * because their names were not written in that Lambs Book of life.
Now for God to save some at one houre, and some at another, both when he will, and whom he will, and those scattered sheep of the House of Israel whom God hath chosen, these shall enter into the Citie, though all the wit and power of the Serpent strive to hinder them from entring, And those whom God hath not chosen, shall not enter into the Citie, though all the learning, study, and selfish and meritorious actings of the Serpent, strive to enter in never so much: It makes much for the honour of his Wisdome, Power, and * Name.
Secondly, God is honoured in the losse, death, or as the word is interpreted, damnation of unbeleevers; for faith, or the anointing, which is born of God, and whereby the Saints overcome the World, is the power of God dwelling and ruling in Man: And unbeliefe is the Serpent, which is born of the flesh, and persecutes Christ till the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled; and this power of darknesse is that which dwels and rules in the children of disobedience.
Now both these are grinding at the Mill, and are at work for life in humane flesh; and it advances the glory of God, That they shall live in whom his Divine power dwels, though they be full of weaknesse in themselves, and though they be compassed about with divers temptations,*being despised of all, and regarded of none, but are the weak, the poore, the foolish things of the world. And it makes for the glory of God, that unbeleevers, in whom the power of the Serpent dwels, shall die, though they have all advantages, and means outward, as may be, and though they strive much by learning, study, & actings, as Israel of old did, who attained not to righteousnesse, though he sought after it greatly, because he*sought for it as it were by the workes of the Law, and not by faith, that is, he sought for it in the strength of the Serpent, or selfishnesse, but not in the strength of God.
Well, this sixth Dispensation is the gathering time, wherein God summes up the whole number of his elect; and as every beleever hath fought his fight, kept the faith, and finished his course, they return to dust; and the unbeleever he returns to dust, for as the one dies, so dies the other; and as in this world all things come alike to all, we cannot tell either love or hatred by any thing that happens in this life; and both return to dust alike, as if there were no other reckoning to be made of either.
And so from Adams time, til the whole number of the elect be taken up to God, out of * every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, out of which God in all ages of the world is pleased to choose some to be Members of his Son, or Citizens of Sion, and hath appointed in his Councel, that mankind shall increase in the world, and act a while, and then return to dust, and one generation passe away, and another come in the place; but when the elect are gathered as wheat into Gods store-house, and the City made compleat, and the chaffe burned in the fire, and none enters into the City, but such whose names are written in the Lambs book of life; and none enters into the lake of fire, but such as are not writ in the Lambs book; so that Gods will under this dispensation is done; then followes immediately the great day of judgment▪ or the resurrection of mens bodies out of the graves.
And this day of judgment is the 7. dispensation of God, and this day windes up the whole mystery of God, and makes the eternal councel of God compleatly manifest and true; That the Serpents head is bruised, and the whole creation, Adam, redeemed from the bondage of death, and in this dispensation we are to mind two things.
First, in this great day of the Lord he raises up the bodies of believers, and unbelievers out of the dust again, wherein he hath reserved them all the time of the battel, between the anointing and the Serpent, as a man would keep his jewels in a box for an appointed time.
Secondly, God brings every man to judgement, * and rewards every man according to his work, some rises to the resurrection of life, and others to the resurrection of losse and * death: and the bookes were opened, as John writes; that is, first the book of the mystery of iniquity, or the nature of the Serpent in flesh laid open, and made manifest to be a power and spirit of darkness, that strived to be a being equal with God, nay, above God; but being weighed in the ballance, it is found too light.
And then the book of the mystery of God, or the anointing of God in flesh, this is made manifest, and laid open to be the great power of God, and the spirit of truth, which hath advanced God to be the only one infinite being; even God, all in all, and that besides him there is none.
And then another book was opened, that is, the book of life and death, or the book of the Law, and of Judgment, which gives the sentence, Come ye blessed, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the*world: and to unbeleevers, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire: And now every man is judged according to his works; the anointing, or the righteous one, is rewarded with life, and all they in whom the anointing did dwell, who are the elect City, and spouse of Christ, are called blessed, and taken up into Gods Kingdome, that is, into love never to fall again.
But the Serpent, the wicked one, is rewarded with death, and all those disobedient ones, in whom the Serpent dwelt, are cast into the everlasting fire, prepared for the Devill and his Angels; this is a second part in the day of judgment, which is a trying of every mans work, and the establishing the City, which is the Lambs wife, in perfect glory, and in justly condemning the rest: and here God is glorified in the salvation of believers, and in the damnation, or losse of unbelievers; for his work stands, and abides triall; but mans work suffers losse, and is ashamed: But this is not the end, for as yet the Son hath not delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, for he must raign till all enemies be subdued, but death, curse, and sorrow is not yet quite subdued; for it raignes over part of the Creation still, even over those poor creatures that were lost, or that did not enter into the City, but were cast into the lake of fire. The Serpent as yet holds * a power, for there is part of Gods work not yet delivered from his bondage: And the Serpent would be glad, and it would be some ease to his torment, if any of Gods work might die and perish with him. As I have heard some say, that they would be content to suffer the misery of a new war in England, so that such as they mentioned, might suffer as well as they; this is the spirit of the Serpent. I, but the Serpent only shall perish, and God will not loose a hair that he made, he will redeeme his whole creation from death. The spirit of darknesse cannot beare this speech, therefore reader observe thy heart, as thou readest, it will either close with a tender spirit of pitty and love herewith, or else swell and fret against it.
Therefore in the third part of this great day of judgment, after the City work is finished, * and the triall over, then does the tree of life, God himself that dwells in the City, and is the light, and life, and glory of it, send forth dispensations, or Angels, bringing love to heale the Nations, and to bring their glory into the City; likewise that for the present lies under the dispensation of wrath, and throws the Serpent that deceived them, death, and hell, into the Lake, but there is no mention that the nations are cast therein, in this last casting in, for they are redeemed from it; as the tree of life brought forth fruit every change of time, and age of the world, to heale the elect, the lost sheep, or City; so in this last and great day it brings forth leaves to heale the Nations, or such as were not of the City; their turne to receive mercy comes, though it be at the last houre; And then all Israel, or whole creation, * that groaned under the bondage of death, shal partake of the glorious manifestation of the Sons of God, for now the deliverer comes out of Sion, and shall turne away ungodlinesse * from Jacob.
Therefore saith John, I saw a pure River of the water of life, cleare as Cristall, proceeded out of the throne of God, and the Lamb. Now I conceive clearly that this pure River, is the whole creation, mankind, fully and compleatly delivered from death, and curse, as in that 3. verse. And this pure redemption proceedes from the throne of God and the Lamb, that is, from the judgment seat of God, judging, condemning, and bruising the Serpents head, and so setting his own work, mankind, free from that death and bondage.
I shall mention one Scripture more that countenances this truth: And I looked, and * behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sate like the Son of man; having on his head a Crown of gold, and in his hand a sharpe sickle: And another Angel came out of the Temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sate on the cloud, saying, thrust in thy sickle and reape, for the harvest of the earth is ripe; and he that sate on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. And then another Angel came out of the altar, and cryed in the same manner, to him that had the sickle, as you may read.
By a white cloud, I conceive is meant the City Sion, or spouse of Christ, that is arayed in pure and white, in whom there is no spot, for she is perfectly redeemed; by him that sate upō this white cloud, is ment the whole anointing, or the great manifestation of God in one person, Jesus Christ; And the severall Angels that cryed one after another, are severall dispensations, or discoveries of God, that proceed from Christ at several times, and seasons.
Therefore the City being made white, now * the manifestations of Gods love begin to appeare towards the earth, or nations, which entred not into the City; now the time and season * requires, that the sickle of Christ should be thrust into the earth, that is, that the brightness of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, might appear and shine forth upon the Nations also, as it did shine upon the City,
And we see the conclusion in the 20. verse, And the wine-presse was troden without the City, (mind that) and blood came out of the wine-presse, even unto the horse bridles, &c. This phrase I conceive points out the utter ruine and destruction of the Serpent, that held the earth or Nations which were without the City, in bondage. But now the anointing, or the great dispensation of the love of God, hath reaped the earth as well as the City, and destroyed the Serpent there, as well as in the City; the wine-presse, or the bruising of the Serpents head, and shedding his blood, was without the City; and so both City and Country, City and whole earth of mankind, is made a pure River of the water of life, which proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb.
But here arise 3. scruples: First, is not God changeable saith one, In saying, go ye cursed into everlasting fire; and yet afterwards takes them out againe?
I answer, this fire is the dispensation of Gods wrath; and it is everlasting, without end to the Serpent; it was prepared for him and his Angels; and though God bid the unbeleevers depart into it; yet he did not say, you shall lie there, and never be redeemed.
But the scruple lies in the word everlasting, which I as well as you have taken it to be a misery without end to the creature. But I answer, that in scripture phrase, every dispensation of God was called an everlasting time; as in the day of Moses, every service in the Temple that Aaron was to perform, God said * it should be a Statute and a Law for ever, which notwithstanding ended to be a Law in * the beginning of the next dispensation, or the appearance of Christ in the flesh; and so, though God send unbelievers to lie under the dispensation of his wrath, and call it everlasting fire, it is but for the time of his dispensation, while he is finishing City work, and judging and rewarding every man, that is, the Serpent, and the anointing, according to their works: and after this, comes in their healing time and season, and these times and seasons the Father * hath reserved to himself, the Son knowes them not.
A second scruple is this; Shall a man be ever delivered out of hell? out of hell, saith some, there is no redemption.
I answer, first, that there is no Scripture, as saith, out of hell there is no redemption, therefore the scruple is raised upon it without ground; indeed the Prophet speaking, how that the living praise God, and the dead cannot, hath these words in preferring life before death: The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot*celebrate thee, they that go down into the pit, cannot hope for thy truth.
But secondly, to answer more directly, let us consider what hell is, and then whether any shall be delivered out that is there: Hell is called death, or a condition below life; and this is twofold, either a death of purity, far below the nature of God, or a death of sorrows, which is a condition far below the comfort and joyes of God. Now every man and woman, as they are branches of Adam, have no purity in them, and therefore are in a hell far below the life and nature of God; and likewise they are unavoidably subject to the sorrowes of that death, as an effect following the cause, therefore unavoidably subject to a condition far below the comfort and joyes of God. This is the condition of every man and woman, and they have no power for to deliver themselves, for God only is our Redeemer.
And then it followes, that a man may be in hell, and yet may be delivered out; for as in all this discourse past, it appeares, that as we spring from Adam, we do all lie under the bondage, and death, and power of the Serpent, which is one part of hell, and yet God delivers his elect from out of it; and therefore it followes cleare, that if men are capable of so much mercy, being Gods creatures, as to be delivered from sin and death, which is one part of hell; or of a condition below God, they are capable to be delivered through the mercy of the same God, from the sorrowes and paines that follow sin, both which are but the bondage of the Serpent, which God will deliver his creature from: this twofold death is the Serpents head, which God will bruise.
A third scruple is, concerning the day of Judgement: Some think it is but one single day, of twenty foure houres long; nay, some make it lesse, but the length of the twinkling of an eye, because the interpretation of Scripture runs thus, That in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last Trumpet, the Dead shall be raised up to judgement. But to answer this phrase, Twinkling of an eye, it onely shewes that the day of judgement is very short in comparison of the dayes by-past; like that in Rev. 8. 1. And there was silence in Heaven for the space of half an houre, which is not a direct halfe houre, according as men account, but it declares a very short time.
Therefore I conceive, this is not a single day, of 24. houres, but a longer time; while the Judge sits upon the judgement seat, judgeing the Serpent, so long time it is called a day of judgement, because that is the work of this day, or tearm of time, or the full length of that dispensation; as formerly it was called the Day of Moses, which was the time while that dispensation of the Law continued in force, whereof Moses was the Mediator; and so Abraham desired to see my Day, saith Christ, and*saw it, that is, the day and time that Christ reignes as King in the power and law of Love, in and over the Saints, and this Paul calls the Day of Christs rest.
And this in the truth of it, is that which we call the Sabbath Day, or Day of a Christians rest; and it is not one day in seaven, still typicall, as the Jewish Sabbath was, but it is the constant reign of Christ in and over the Saints, which is their rest, and which indeed is the substance of the Jewish typicall Sabbath; as David saith, Let the earth rejoyce, the LORD reignes. And, a King shall reigne in the earth, saith Jeremy, and his name shall bee called, The LORD our Righteousnesse. Now Christ, or the Anointing, doth not reigne one single day in the seaven in his Saints, but every day constantly, which is the substance of the Jewish single Sabbath; therefore I wish that the Gentile-Christians could understand, that what the Jewes did in the type, these are to perform in the substance, and it is not for the Gentiles to worship in Types, as did the Jewes.
Again, the time of the indignation, or while God suffers the Beast to reigne, is called, The Day of the Beast; and God hath given her *three Dayes and a halfe to tread the holy Citie under foot, or the space of 42 moneths, which is * three shapes, three discoveries of the reigne of the Beast, or three degrees and half of the Serpents reformation from bad to worse, from open prophanenesse to close hypocrisie; and not the single dayes of a week. And so here it is called the Day of Judgement, from the work and businesse of the day, or full length of that Dispensation, so that the great and generall day of judgment, from the time that the bodies of beleevers and unbelievers are raised out of the grave, till the Son deliver up the Kingdome to the Father, I beleeve is a long time, of divers yeares; the full length or shortnesse of it, God onely knowes, and reserves the time and season of that secret to himselfe; but it is called the day of judgement, while the worke * of judgement lasts; as in our language it is called the Day of Assizes, though the Sessions or businesse continue divers dayes.
Now all this day the condemned creatures lie under the dispensation of wrath, under the curse, and under weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth for anguish, and this Hell, Sorrow, or Punishment, or Death, is everlasting, because it continues the full time of the dispensation, & the worm never dies all the time, the fire and sense of wrath shall never goe out all the time, the fire of lust shall still be burning, and the smoak of blasphemy shall ascend upward, * and they shal have no rest day nor night, and the fire of Gods wrath shal still be scorching and consuming, which shall be an intollerable pain to the creature.
Therefore if any man or woman take liberty to sin, let them know this is a truth, they shall be condemned and die, and depart into everlasting fire, and punished in that Hell, lie under the dispensation of wrath, and lie at Gods mercy for delivery, so that those that will not now wait upon God in his time of long-suffering, or in the dispensation of his patience; they shal wait upon God whether they will or no in the dispensation of wrath, in sorrow, which is intollerable, which is the second death. The first death I conceive, and I clearly see a truth in it, is Adams death, or Adams bondage to the Serpent; the second death is the Serpents death, after God hath judged him, which is to lie under the wrath of God without end.
Now he that hath part in the first resurrection, that is, to be delivered from the bondage of the Serpent, and raised up from the death of sin, and so made alive to God through the Anointing; over such a man, the second Death, or the endlesse dispensation of wrath, which is prepared for the Serpent, shall have no power. But if a man have not part in the first resurrection, and so enter not into the City new Jerusalem, he shall then tast of the second Death, which is the everlasting fire, prepared for the Serpent & his seed, and it shal have power over him, and he shall lie under it for ever, that is, till the dispensation change, or till the mystery of God be finished, that the Serpent, Death, and Hell is subdued, and cast into the Lake, and the whole Creation be set free, and the Son deliuer up the Kingdome to the Father, and God become all in all, as at the beginning he was, before any opposite power appeared against * him.
But doth not God sit upon the Throne of judgement before this great day of Judgement appear? Yes, God & the Lamb have sate upon the judgement seat, or Throne, ever since Adam delighted in his own fruit, or consented to the Serpent, and God hath been judging the Serpent, and bruising his head in every dispensation of his, ever since that time, and casting the Serpent, that strong Man, out of his Elect.
And by the powring out of the seven Vials, and the sounding of the seven Trumpets, declares how God hath been subduing the Beast, the Whore, and the false Prophet, which hath been the severall appearances of the Serpent under those names, by which he hath made warre with Christ and his Saints, so that * God hath been about this work of judging the Serpent long before this day of judgment * came.
Then it seemes God hath two judgement dayes: No, it is all one; for from Adams time till the Son deliver up the Kingdome to the Father, God hath sate upon the Throne, judging the serpent; but it pleased God so to establish his counsell, that he would not finish this mystery in a short time, but in severall degrees of times and seasons, which he hath reserued in his own power: And this great and last day, is the conclusion of this work, that the serpent shall be subdued under the feet of the whole Creation, and be destroyed everlastingly, as it is written, Judgement begins at the House of God;*and if it begin at us, saith Peter, who are his Temple, his little Flock, his Royall Nation, his peculiar people, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel? Why truly they must come to judgement too, but in the last day, or in the end of time; so that it is not two judgement dayes, but all one day.
And so to wind up all, I shall desire men to mind one thing, That though God hath in Scripture declared seven great dispensations, or discoveries of his Counsel, and each one clearer then the other; yet in every one of these God sends forth severall other dispensations, or Angels, for the carrying on of the work of that time, or season, which are discoveries of his glory; for whatsoever comes from God is a Spirituall power, not a dead work, but a living.
As whatsoever came first from Adam, it was a spiritual power, as pride, discontent, envie, and the whole body of unbeliefe, which slighted the being of God, and seekes to preferre a Creature-being before him. This discovery of Adam was a spiritual power, which is the very bondage which all creatures lie under, and it is an unclean and dead power, but not a living power.
But whatsoever comes from God, is a particular Angel, or lesser dispensation, as an assistant to the greater. As for example, when God took flesh, and appeared in the Man Christ Jesus, it was the fifth great dispensation, and the Angel of Gods presence, and Michael our * Prince, that stands before God for us. Yet his sufferings in that day, or season of time, was called the Dispensation of Gods patience, wisdome and love, &c. The strength of patience is an Angel of God.
I mention this, because I know in my own experience, that if God set it home to others, as I find, it quiets the heart under what condition soever. If thou lie under sorrowes for sins, now know, that it is Gods dispensation to thee, wait patiently upon him, hee will work a good issue in his time, but not in thy time. If thou lie under the temptations of men, of losses, of poverty, of reproaches, it is Gods dispensation to thee, wait with an humble quiet spirit upon him, till he give deliverance. If thou lie under darknesse, emptinesse, and in a lost and wildernes-condition wait patiently (it is his dispensation to thee) till God speak; for he will speak peace when thou thinkest least of it. If thou be filled with joy and peace through beleeving, wait with an humble thankfull heart still upon God, it is his dispensation to thee, and assure thy selfe, that now God begins to dispense out love to thee, he will still be feeding thee in dispensations, or discoveries of his love; and he will never let thee lie under the sense of anger any more, for his freedome is a freedome indeed, to a full satisfaction; the peace that he gives, none can, nor shall take away: And be sure he will never take it again, For the gifts and callings of God are without repentanct. And this is all I have to say concerning this truth. And I have done.