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Queft. What is false Liberty?
Anfw. A departing from this bleffed Spirit of Truth, and a rebelling against this perfect Law of Liberty in the Heart, and being at Liberty to do our own Wills; upon which cometh Reproof and Judgment.
Queft. But are there not fome Things wherein we ought to be left to our own Freedom?
Anfw. We are not our own, for we are bought with a Price; and in all Things ought we to glorify God with our Bodies, Souls, and Spirits, which are the Lord's.
Quest. But must we have a Motion or Command from the Spirit of Truth for all Things that we do?
Anfw. That may be according to the Truth, which may not be by the immediate Motion or Command of the Truth; for that is according to the Truth, that is not against the Mind of the Truth, either particularly or generally expreft. The Truth commands me to do all to the Praise and Glory of God; but not that I fhould wait for a Motion to do every particular Thing. For Example: The Variety of Actions in Trading, Commerce, and Hufbandry, the Variety of Flesh, Fifh, and Fowl, for Food, with more of the fame Nature, in all which there is a Choice and Liberty, but ftill according to the Truth, and within the holy Bounds and Limits of it.
Queft. Then it seems there are fame Things left to
Anfw. Yes; but it muft ftill be according to the Mind of God's Truth: There are Things enjoined, fuch as relate to our Duty to God, to our Superiors, to the Houfhold of Faith, and to all Men and Creatures, these are indifpenfible. There are alfo Things that may be done or left undone, which may be called indifferent; as what Sort of Meat I will eat To-day, whether I will eat Flesh, Fish, or Herbs, or what Hours I will eat my Meals at, with many fuch
fuch outward Things of Life and Converse; yet even in these Cases I ought to act according to the Truth, in the Temperance and Wisdom of it.
Queft. But doth not Freedom extend farther than this? For fince God bath given me a Manifeftation of bis Spirit to profit witball, and that I bave the Gift of God in myself, should I not be left to alt according as I am free and perfwaded in my own Mind, in the Things that relate to God, left looking upon myself as obliged by what is revealed unto another, though it be not revealed unto me, I should be led out of my own Measure, and act upon another's Motion, aud fo offer a blind Sacrifice to God?
Anfw. This is true in a Senfe; that is, if thou art fuch an one that canft do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth, then mayft thou fafely be left to thy Freedom in the Things of God: And the Reason is plain; because thy Freedom stands in the perfect Law of Liberty, in the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jefus, and in the Truth, which is Chrift Jefus, which makes thee Free indeed; that is, perfectly Free from all that is bad, and perfectly Free to all that is holy, juft, lovely, honeft, comely, and of good Report; but if thou pleadeft thy Freedom against fuch Things, yea, obstructest and flighteft fuch good, wholefom, and requifite Things, thy Freedom is naught, dark, perverfe, out of the Truth, and against the perfect Law of Love and Liberty.
Queft. But must I conform to Things whether I can receive them or no? Ought I not to be left to the Grace and Spirit of God in my own Heart?
Anfw. To the firft Part of the Question, nay; to the laft, yea. But now let us confider what is the Reason thou canst not receive them: Is the Fault in the Things themfelves? Are they inconfiftent with Truth, or will not the Truth own or affent unto them? Or is the Fault in thee? That is to fay, Is it thy Weakness, or thy Carelefnefs? If thy Q 3 Weakness,
Weakness, it is to be born with, and to be informed; if thy Carelefnefs, thou oughtest to be admo nifhed; for it is a dangerous Principle, and pernicious to true Religion, and which is worse, it is the Root of Ranterim to affert, that nothing is a Duty incumbent upon thee, but what thou art perfwaded is thy Duty for the feared Confcience pleads his Liberty against all Duty, the dark Confcience is here unconcerned, the dead Confcience is here un condemned, unless this Diftinction be allowed of, that there may be an Ignorance, or an Infenfibility, from Inability or Incapacity, or a dark Education, and an Ignorance and Infenfibility, from Carelefnefs, Difobedience, Prejudice, &c. So that though thou art not to conform to a Thing ignorantly, yet thou art seriously to confider, why thou art ignorant, and what the Caufe of fuch Ignorance may be, certainly it can't be in God, nor in his Gift to thee; it muft then needs be in thy felf, who haft not yet received a Senfe for or against the Matter, about which thou art in doubt. To the fecond Part of the Question; Qught I not to be left to the Grace of God in my own Heart? Anfw. That is of all Things moft defireable, fince they are well left, that are there left; for there is no Fear of Want of Unity, where all are left with the one Spirit of Truth; they must be of one Mind, they can't be otherwife. So that to plead this against Unity, is to abuse the very Plea, and to commit the greatest Contradiction to that very Doctrine of Scripture, viz. That all fhould be guided by the Grace and Spirit of God in themselves; for the End of that Doctrine is, Certainty, They fhall all know me, faith the Lord, from the Least to the Greatest. And I will give them one Heart, and one Way, that they may fear me for ever, for the Good of them, and of their Children after them, Jer. xxxii. 39. And I will give them one Heart, and I will put a new Spirit within you, and I will take the ftony Heart out of their Flefb, and will give them an Heart of Flesh, Ezek. xi. 19. And
And the Multitude of them that believed were of one Heart, and of one Soul, Acts iv. 32. Is not this: Unity too? I will restore unto you a pure Language they shall be of one Heart, and of one Mind, and great shall be their Peace. Therefore I muft fay to thee, Friend, what if thou wilt not be left with the Grace and Spirit of God in thyself, nor wait for its Mind, nor be watchful to its Revelations, nor humble and quiet till thou haft received fuch neceffary Manifeftations, but pleadest against the Counsel of the Spirit of the Lord in other faithful Perfons, under the Pretence of being left to his Spirit in thyfelf; by which Means thou oppofeft the Spirit to the Spirit, and pleadeft for Dif-unity, under the Name. of Liberty, I afk thee, May not I exhort thee to the Practice of that I am moved to prefs thee to the Practice of? If not, thou art the Imposer, by reftraining me from my Christian Liberty; and noc only fo, but away goeth Preaching, and with it the Scriptures, that are both appointed of God for Exhortation, Reproof, and Inftruction.
Queft. But are there not various Measures, Diverfities of Gifts, and several Offices in the Body?
Anfu. True: But therefore are not the Members of one Mind, one Will, and one Judgment, in common and univerfal Matters, efpecially relating to the Family and Church of God? And indeed there can't be a falfer Reafoning than to conclude Difcord from Diversity, Contrariety from Variety. Is there Contrariety of Bloods, Lives, Feelings, Seeings, Hearings, Taftings. Smellings, in one and the fame Body, at one and the fame Time? No fuch Matter Experience is a Demonstration against all fuch Infinuations. So that though it be granted, that there is Diversity of Gifts, yet there is no Difagreement in Senfe; and though Variety of Offices, yet no Contrariety in Judgnient concerning thofe Offices. Well faith the holy Scriptures of Truth, there is but One God; the Lord our God is but One
Lord; there is but One God and Father of all Things (that are good ;) and there is but One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptifm; and his Light, Life, and Spirit, is at Unity with itfelf in all; what comes from the Light, Life, or Spirit in one, it is the fame in Truth and Unity to the rest, as if it rise in themselves: This is feen in our Affemblies every Day, and will be throughout all Generations in the Church of God, among thofe that live in the lowly Truth, in which the pure Senfe and found Judgment ftands; God is not the God of Confufion, but Order: Every one in his Order is fatisfied, hath Unity and true Fellowship with whatever comes from the Life of God in another; for this precious Life reacheth throughout the Heritage of God, and is the common Life that giveth the common Feeling and Senfe to the Heritage of God. Degree or Measure in the fame Life, can never contradict or obstruct that which is from the fame Life, for the common Benefit of the Family of God. The Lord is the unmeaJurable and incomprehenfible glorious Being of Life, yet have we Unity with him in all his Works, who are come to his divine Measure of Light and Truth in our own Hearts, and live therein; and shall we not have Unity with that which proceeds from a Fellow Creature? In fhort; the Saints Way is in the Light, wherein there is neither Doubts nor Difcord; yea, they are Children of the Light, and called Light, and the Lights of the World; and can it be fuppofed that fuch fhould difagree, and contradict each other in their exterior Order and Practice in the Church, before the World: Oh, the bleffed Seamless Garment of Jefus! Where that is know these Things can never rife. But yet again, The just Man's Path is not only a Light, but a shining Light, Brightness itself: Certainly there can be no ftumbling. It is also faid, That Light is fown for the Righteous; then the Righteous fhall never want Light upon any Occasion: And faith that beloved Evan