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these main facts, as plainly as it is possible for a man's mother tongue to express them, are made to say and mean everything else but what they do say and mean.
Certainly there are words strong enough and powerful enough in the English language, and every other language, to convey a full idea of the necessity of an inward spiritual and holy preparatory state, without making these virtues (however important by a system of spiritualizing) the coming redeemed kingdom itself—or without making a man's feeling the ascendancy of the inward Divine Life, the Resurrection of the Saints, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or Baptism and the Lord's Supper, or the only restoration of the true Jew, that coming kingdom.
If the ascendancy of the divine life in the soul of man is the only second coming of Jesus Christ that will ever take place, and constitutes the resurrection and true baptism and true communion, and all the restoration of the true Israelite that will ever take place, as the Shakers, Quakers, and many other sects declare, we may throw away more than one half of God's written word—for the greater part would be useless repetitions and tautology—it is only present inward state now in possession, and "faith is _ (not) the substance of things hoped for, neither is it the evidence of things not seen." For how can a man hope for what he already hath; and thus Satan, by transforming himself into an angel of light, has robbed us of Faith and Hope, of Christ's second personal coming, of the literal Resurrection, of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and of the glory and blessing at the restoration of the literal seed of Abraham, the Jews, to the land of Palestine.
But enough has been said on this important point to convince any enlightened mind of the impropriety of making inward principles and qualifications all and every thing that is prophesied of in the coming visible kingdom and the resurrection, &c. &c.; for God's providence declares, in fulfilment of his written word, that he is now about to restore the second time his Israel: as Isaiah xi. 11, 12, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign* for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
I therefore honestly and sincerely recommend this little book to all men, because it has so much of the word of the Lord God in it, and so little of my own word, and because "the word of the Lord is as a strong tower, unto which the righteous flee and find safety."
* The Shechinah.
THE GREAT POWER OF FAITH.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence (i. e. assurance) of things not seen." (Heb. xi. 1.)
"By faith, Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
"I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me." (Psalm lxxxvii. 4.)
There is but one principle to all right action, and but one foundation to all righteousness, and that is faith. Without it no effort can be put forth; without it the will cannot act, not having motive or inducement. There must 6rst be an evidence, an assurance that something can be effected, or no effort of the will can be made—the will must lie dormant.
It is the evidence, the assurance that it is possible for a thing to be achieved or effected, that is the cause and inducement to all effort. It may^ therefore, well be said that there is but one principle of action, and that is faith.
By this principle of faith, and this principle alone, the righteous in all ages (the present as well as the past) knew, and know, the designs of God; declared them to the world in which they lived; acted, or shaped their lives and actions, according to their faith; and thus "condemned the world" that lived and acted in their own wisdom, without faith.
By this principle alone, a man has the evidence or assurance that God is true, and that what he has spoken is the truth, and will be fulfilled; and this causes man to throw his will upon God, by which God's word and wisdom act in him, and he is saved, temporally and spiritually, as Noah was, and becomes heir of the righteousness which is by faith, as he did.
By this principle, the world is and will be condemned, and all that is in the world—because without it, all communication through and by God's Word and Spirit is broken off, and they are without the wisdom of God, and consequently know not the will and designs of God; and so perish in their own wisdom, which is only another word for their short-sightedness or folly. So it was with the inhabitants of Sodom, and the antediluvians at the time of the flood; so it was at the destruction of Jerusalem, when the saints fled to Pella; and so it will be at Jesus Christ's second personal coming to destroy the nations, and set up his everlasting kingdom, and make Jerusalem the centre and joy of the whole earth.
And the reason these all perished was not that God had not done his part, and warned them by his word and by his servants, but they were filled with man's wisdom and man's words, and this kept them from believing God's word, or having any evidence or assurance that faith was the only medium of intercourse between God and them—by which God's words could have any place in them.
By this blessed principle, the poor "harlot Itahab perished not with them that believed not," but said, "I know (i. e. have assurance, faith,) that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you," (Josh.ii. 9), and so she received the spies in peace.
And thus, by this principle alone, some in this generation know and are assured, that the prophets are seers and spies of the judgments and good things to come, and that the Lord God will give his saints the land, (the whole earth); and these know, and have an evidence, thatgreat terror has fallen and will again fall upon all the inhabitants of the earth; and therefore they are children of faith, and receive the testimony of the prophets (God's spies and seers of the future) in peace; and they are assured they hear the footsteps of their Beloved's feet at the door, and by this blessed principle they will find an "hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the storm," (Isa. xxxii. 2); and these will enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb, for they are the "wise virgins," and it is their faith that makes them wise. They are the just, that live by faith, and shall for ever live and reign with the Bridegroom through faith.