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Death Overcome, and Drowned, in the Life of Christ, &c.
S E C T. 1.
HAVING an Excitement from the Superiour Wisdom of God to Recollect, and make Observation of the various Passages, and peculiar Providences, relating to my self and some others; and more especially since December 1700. (by which great Experiences and Improvements may be made) in reference to the Prize of the Heavenly Calling; in which, with several Worthy Souls with me ingaged in the Spiritual Warfare, I am obliged to go forward on, till as the finishing Part the Victory shall come: I do therefore according to the Divine Excitement leave This as my Memorial and Testimony.
§ 2. Now whereas in the Year 1699, the Prophetical Spirit did foresee a War to be commenced of a Spiritual kind, (as the Wheel within the Wheel, that had the foreseeing Eyes of what was to come to pass, and must have its time of Fulfilling upon such Subjects, or Persons, as were to be counted worthy to follow the Lamb, as Valiant Batteliers under his Standard) verily, so it happened to be. Whereupon chosen out I was, with some other Precious Stones that were to be tried with me, to put on Armour of Proof against this Great and notable Time; in which the Fight of Faith was to be maintaind against all those great Potentates, acting by such in whom the Evil One did find place and matter to work upon, so perniciously as might reach to the Afflicting and Wounding the Soul, that would not have been distressed, nor put by from Riding on in the Chariot of Loves Peaceable Kingdom, against which such great Strife and Contest was made. The Blessed Vine that had been spread upon the Walls of the Mind, by the Arrows shot still from the anger of the Evil One, was made to bleed often fresh again: but not thus left was I without relief, because the Olive-Tree still dropped most Soveraignly and Sweetly, and poured into these Wounds all-Healing, as from a Spring which gave great refreshing and support, with renewed strength, all the Assaults from the Furious Warriours to repel, and still to stand on the Foundation of Faiths unshaken Ground, not doubting but to see, (as hereof some Evidence already given is for encouragement) that a total Rout shall come upon all that has Confederated against the Peaceable and Love-Reign of the Great Immanuel: whose Kingdom can never be supplanted, while in this World Heroes in the Faith impowerd in Spirit as mighty Champions, shall go forth with their Captain who commandeth all the Angelical Hosts.
§ 3. Thus far it may be observed, That Agents may be taken up to do Violence, by laying Waste; and making Spoil, as it was in Jobs Case; The Evil One stirring up and tempting God, thus far to permit such Calamitous Things to fall upon those that are Beloved and Precious to Him; and God Eying the great advantage that all these Sufferings shall produce. For if that Just one must not be spared, till he have past through the hottest Furnace, tho he had no Dross therein to lose, yet tried and perfected hereby this Green flourishing Tree was to be; much less the Dry Trees: that hereby we might come to know what is lacking in our Patience, and entire Resignation, and Reconcilableness to what we are to be proved withal. The Loving design of God our Father is to melt, and dissolve, what in Reluctancy in his own Children may be found, into a silent Nothingness; quite Abnegating and losing their own Will, whereby they may be made meet Subjects, as Wax, to take such an Impression as may render them of a meek Nature like to the Lamb of God, and bearing his Inscription.
§ 4. What fault now then can be found, or exceptions made against Chastisements, or Afflictions from our Fathers hands? When so great a Good is designd hereby, to make us meetly qualified, through all Humbleness and Pliableness in being brought to the foot of our Suffering and now Glorified Head, so as we may from this low Degree be raised up, and be made Partners with him in his Crown-Dominion.
§ 5. Tis observable, That when ever any great Blessing and Advancement is intended by God to his Children, he prepares em by Exercising and Proving of em through manifold and various Conflicts Within, and Onsets from the Outward Principle. Hence then have I been Admonished hereby my self, who would willingly have been at ease, and have put off the knowing any further what might molest or disturb the desired Rest of my Soul in the inward Kingdom, that had opened it self in me. But now being made to see further, the Great Immunities that will follow, I do excite and perswade all my dear Fellow Members, and Branches, that from the true Root of Life do grow, that if they be exercised and proved through manifold Assaults without, and Temptations within; they may look upon it so necessary and needful, as to bear it without murmuring or repining at it. Considering that without following the process of our Suffering Jesus; and being Baptized with him into his Dying Cup, we cannot otherwise drink with him out of that Cup, where nothing of Death nor Sorrow mingled is: but where, from a bubbling Spring of Immortality of Life, and Joy, and Glory, as we shall drink with him, in his (and our own) Kingdom.
§ 6. Therefore how expedient is it to keep full pace in that way that leadeth up to him, who has Overcome, and has entered not only for himself, but for as many as shall keep the Word of his Patience, and so possess the same Glory with him. Now for support and encouragement, we must look through that Prospective Glass, that sees afar off what is the issue and the event of the various Passages of the Love, and Divine Providences, as to what they will conclude in. For if we take but a part of the whole Scheme and Scene of what is intended by the supreme Wisdom of God, we might then be cast into many Suspensions, and Fears: As sure thus it was with those precious Worthies, Joseph, Job, and David, till the accomplishment of the great Good that God designd em herein; which when brought about, how amazing and surprizing was it, and what matter of Admiration and Love-Adoration did it give?
§ 7. And thus by later Instances also, I cannot but for my self and others, bear Witness: that so for the future, whatever may happen to the Children, that are brought up in the School of Trials and Afflictions, they are not to fear or mistrust, but all shall turn to a most happy and blessed Issue, as under the Management and Government of such a tender and compassionate Father of our Spirits.
§ 8. I shall now add further for Memorandum to my self, and improvement to others, that in this present flight that (as a Cloud) did spread over me, and those bound in the same Bark with me, an additional Exercise of the Outward Corporal, and Elementary Part; which for some Weeks was under the Dolorous feeling of a violent Predominant Humor, sharply piercing through all Parts. This gave me opportunity of Consideration of the brittleness of the Tabernacle, which thus under Suffering was brought; and hereby great Teaching I had for lying low and humble, as one that in some respect had enterd upon Dissolution. So that calling to mind that State, Prophesyd to me of, wherein Sicknesses, Diseases, Penuries Persecutions, and Death it self shall be all swallowd up in the Reigning Life of Christ compleated, as reaching to the full and mature Age appointed herefor; I much reflected hereupon, how far remote yet I was from attaining to this Mark, so that herefrom I make this Observation.
"That God may take up some Vessels chosen for this purpose, to make known to em, and give a discovery of the great and wonderful Powers of Christs Kingdom; that shall move, and rest, upon some Persons thereto ordained and elected, but haply to be under Concealment till time shall shew it."
§ 9. Therefore the use that the true Monitor, the Spirit, has Counselled, is, that we be always found, in a waiting posture, whether to entertain the appearance of Christ in his Kingdom visibly in its Grandeur and Glory, or as now, carried on hiddenly and privately without such publick Manifestation; not excluding our selves from the hopes thereof, because it is left in a suspension; for it may be upon us before we are aware. However nothing can debar or hinder the present Enjoyment of the Kingdom of Heaven within us, which nothing of Mortality, or even Death it self can hinder.
§ 10. The Sufferings and Symptoms of which upon the Mortal Part gave a very good occasion, for a further inquiry and searching into the Mystery of the Corporeal Change: even as in the Volume of my Writings, much has been treated of the Mystical Death, in order to the preparing a safe and a sure Passage into Immortality of Glory. But as there is a Dying into Christ, so then the Resurrection does follow; which those who do obtain, may truly say, That now for me to Live, is Christ; and to Die is Gain.
§11. From which Words I had a precious Opening and an Explaining thereof; First, what this Life of Christ does imply. And it was made out to be a Living Quickening Seed, which in the refined Mould, and inward Ground, of the Soul doth put forth and spring gradually in every Branch, till it comes to a full grown Tree, which has Life in it self from its own Root. And this assignd, and appropriated is to each one that has passed through the inward Spiritual Death, according to the saying of the Apostle, I am Crucified to the World. And I Live; yet not I, but Christ Liveth in me. And thus the Soul enters into Eternal Life, from that nourishing Sap which it feeds upon, for indeed, great is that Mystery which Christ spake of, They that eat me shall live by me, as I derive my Life from the Father: which expresses no less than that the Humanity of Christ was fed from the Deity: And thus it must still be, running through this Line of Eternal Life, that we may be Co-partners with him in the same Eternity of Life, which drowenth and swalloweth up the Death of Sin. O Happy Translation from this Death! Blessed are those that are come here, so as to know no other Feeding but what they draw in from this Tree of Life in themselves: by which Exempted they shall come to be from sucking in that Venom which the Serpent had introduced into Natures Tree: Upon which did ensue the miserable Sting of Sin, that brought in Mortality.
§ 12. Now, then seeing Christ the Lord has offered himself to become this Tree of Life in each holy and believing Soul; who would not refuse the Bitter Deaths Tree, and open the Ground of their Hearts to take in this Seed of Immortal Life: and so no more Debtors be to feed on that Tree, upon which the Curse of Misery and Death is pronounced?
§ 13. But here it may be Objected; That the most perfect and greatest of Saints, both in the Ages before, and after Christ, were not excused, nor Redeemed out of the Persecution and Suffering-State, both as to violent and natural Death which happend to them.
To this there is a twofold Answer, The First is, That they were to fill up the Measure of the Sufferings of Christ, which were left to be performd by his Members, in succession of Time, in conformity to their Head. But it is not to be concluded that the least of the Curse, or Displeasure and Wrath of God, should mingle herein; because the Obligation to the Demands thereof is made void, by the finishing of a Triumphant Redemption in us, as he in his own Person did make an open show over all Principalities and Powers of Darkness.
§ 14. Secondly, It is answered, There is a Time and Age coming on, in which all of these Sufferings, Calamities, and Death it self, shall be turnd into a Victorious Overcoming; wherein the Life of Christ shall so swallow up the Corporeal Death, as that it shall not be reckond a Death; but a putting off the Elementary Part; the Elements only being Untied, to set the Spiritual Body free from what is Natural; so that it does but change its vile Figure of Corruptible Cloathing, that it may put on its change of Raiment, which is the AEtherial Body, in which Christ did appear after his Resurrection, that could come in and out when the Doors were shut. And this may well enough consist, while in the Body Elementary we do remain: and so hereby the Natural Day of Outward Life may be lengthened out longer, in all readiness for the great Appearance of Christ in his Glorified Body. But for this there must be an extraordinary Spirit of Faith; which Christ says at his Coming would so rarely be found: which does infer it will be an extraordinary and choice gift that will be given to some against his Appearance.
§ 15. But nevertheless we must conclude, according to that saying of St. John, Blessed also are they that Dye in the Lord: Albeit they do not live in the Body to such an Age, and Time, as to see him in his Personal Majesty and Glory, to set his Foot here again upon the Earth. For such as can say with that great Saint, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; to such Death can be no Loss, but great Gain, and Advantage. For (I.) tho we do live such a Life in Christ, as to enjoy many Familiarities, and Immunities, of Divine Manifestations, and Openings of the Heavens upon us; with the Ministration of Angels ascending and descending for strengthening and support; yet all of this is much below and inferiour to that, which separated Souls from this Elementary Body do possess and enjoy; such as Dye in the Lord, who before their departure hence, have attained to the First Resurrection in Spirit; seeing they will cease from their Labour of Fighting, and maintaining the War against those Assaults, and Tempting Objects, which from this Principle do raise up as it were a Battery against them: For the highest Saint cannot keep the Vision of the Face of God open and clear unto it, but as the Clouds that do rise from these Mortal and Elementary things be made to vanish away, through the Co-working Power of the Spirit of Christ in the Soul. So that the Mind will require a continual Guard, and industrious Watchfulness, to keep out those numerous Evil Things, that would themselves insinuate, and invade upon the Soul; whereby the Entercourse and all intelligible Communications from the High Throne-Trinity would be restrained. So that while living in Corporiety, this Danger does us attend; which the separated Souls that are in Christ are freed from. For in the Mount-Sion Kingdom, as any are gathered there to be with him, nothing does there present to tempt: but all variety of Beatitudes do offer themselves for Delight and Pleasure; No interruptions, no ebbings and flowings, but all in a constant temperature, without fear of change. Whereas, contrariwise it is with us here: if we enjoy at any time Transports into the Heavens, and ravishing Visions, with the beloved John: All of this is so envied from the Prince of this World, and his Legions of Spirits, that we cannot hold it in constancy; but are often pulled down: which causeth a painful Anxiety to lose the Divine sensation of such Glorious appearances. Altho it does not in the least lessen or abase the Love of God in such a Soul. For of the Covenant of Life and Peace, there can be no Nullification. Neither let such as have not arrived to these high degrees of Entercourses and Correspondencies in the Heavens, (which are peculiar and rare Favours) be any way doubtful of their Title and Claim, to the Redemption purchased by Christ; and to the Friendship and Favour of God the Father. For the Covenant is established upon a sure Foundation, to those that are of the Faith of Abraham, that is, not in the open sight of Gods Countenance; but in the Blessing of them who do not See, and yet Believe. Which stands as a Sealed Evidence in the Regenerated Soul: So that tho Death may in its Natural course make its Seizure, it must needs prove great Advantage and Gain; upon manifold Considerations, further, as
§ 16. (II.) That we are here cloathed upon with such a gross material Body, that Lets by reason of the Cloudiness, and the often Infirmities and Diseases, it is incident to; which do impede and weaken the Forces, and Organs, of what pertains to the Function of the Soul, as that it cannot so freely act in its own Sphere and Element. All of which arises from the influences of the Elements, and the Planetary Constellations, which take hold of what is their own. But this may not have Power and Dominion over all Saints: Some there are that have already experienced a virtual Power, and Spirit, that has opend the healing Power; and bound down, for the present, the malignancy of the Stars, and Elements; and have wrought Cures upon themselves, and others, through a strong Magnetick Faith, that hath fetcht Medicine from the Tree of Life, But this is a special Gift, which assignd may be to some, which yet to others may be denied.
§ 17. (III.) Another Consideration, and Advantage of a dissolvd State, is the being free from the having an Habitation and Living among the Babylonish Traffickings, and Commercements amongst those that have neither Fear nor Love to God; but are of a Crooked and Perverse Spirit, Persecuting, and Defaming, such as are of a Christ-like Conversation: The Ishmaelite Spirit so overspreading, and multiplying it self every where; that will be casting stumbling Blocks up, and making Bars to stop the Saints in their further progress, in Christ their Life and Way. All which from this World of Evil are great Grievances to a Heaven-born Soul. Which makes it Sigh and Groan after another World, and State, that does set it self free from such Mortals as are of this vile and wicked Race. And by passing through the Valley of the shadow of Outward Death, an Entrance may be made into what is all agreeable, and suitable for Divine and Immutable Association amongst the Just, Perfect and Holy Ones; where nothing is known but Tranquillity, Love, Joy, and Peace. Could there be such a suitable Concord and Fellowship of Love found in this Habitable part of the Earth, it would conduce to the desire of a longer Continuance in it. Which when the Kingdom of our Lord shall so come into his Saints, as to suppress and bind down the Evil of Sin, with all the Monopolizing Powers, that agitated are by the Prince of Darkness, that ruleth in the Children of Disobedience, then it would be well worth our living upon the Earth, because the Life of Christ in its Soveraignty would over-rule all Contrarieties, so that the Heavens would open and spread over the Earth, and from themselves in a greater Heavenly-mindedness, in those that have been Carnal and Worldly-minded. And this must come to pass by the Rising-Day, with the glorious Powers of the Holy Ghost descending upon a number Selected, and set apart herefore, as shall so influence and send forth a Fire-Leaven, as to beget Souls into this new Spirited Life, that shall Divine be, according to the Nature of Jesus: and then Righteousness shall spring, and Truth flourish through the Earth.
§ 18. But this happy State being only in Prospect, and Faiths expectation, it may admit a groaning under the sinful weight of this present Creation, and to be in a longing and ardent Love-desire to be absent from the Body, which detains from the full Fruition of God (as in a naked Clearness, Eye to Eye, to behold and see) in the Glorified Humanity of the Lord Christ, with the Fellowship also of the Saints in Light that with him be. For as this assurance, and a foretaste of this, to any Soul is given, it cannot otherwise be but a great Spiritual self-denyal, to be willing to be detaind in this Outward Figure of Mortality; as finding nothing in this Temporary Life that can suit or agree with it for Conversation, but what it must fetch and draw in from the Super-celestial World. So that (tho living in it) as one dead and absent from, is such a Soul; according with that worthy Saying of the Apostle, I am Crucified to the World, and the World to me: So that henceforth I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.
§ 19. Now presented to me there is no other Motive to induce, or reconcile me to live in this Corporeal House, but to run out the Full Race assigned me, for the perfecting of that, which may render me all, that may make meet for such an high Conjugal Union with Him, that is Crownd with Glory and Immortality: And in the second place to be reconcild hereunto for the furtherance of my Fellow-members growth, and increase in the Faith, Love, and Joy of the Lord unitedly with me; and also for the sake of others that may be brought in to the Light of this Gospel-Dispensation, and Fellowship of the Spirit: and so to be as an Agent for Christ, to act, and perform, by his Spirit all that is Great and Worthy; and that may answer his Appearance in the Ministry of his Spirit. Now only on this account, length of Days can be desired.
§ 20. But this belongs only to the First-born, that have obtained, by the Mystical Death, the beginnings of a Resurrection-Life: which quite delivers from the Bondage and Fear of a Natural Death, if it should so happen to them. And this cannot properly be calld a Death to them, but a swallowing up of Mortality into Life; and the putting off Corruption, and putting on Incorruption. Thus while living, the Soul has been in Christ, and for Christ; and must needs finish its Course with great Joy, and with Triumphant Faith say, the Life of Christ is now become the overcomer of Death. Thus now are we the Sons and Daughters of God: but it does not yet appear what we shall be, when he shall appear to put upon us the Transfiguration of his own Glorified Body.
§ 21. The consideration of all this may provoke us to such a Posture of Spiritual-mindedness, as may make us capable of reaching this high Mark. Highly Magnifying his great Prerogative, to be Spiritual Factors here upon the Earth, as Trustees deputed from the Lord Christ to manage what refers to his Kingdom; the Glory of which does only consist in the increasing and multiplying such Revenues, as the Spirit of Faith from Gods Storehouse doth bring in; for the giving of a Proof whose Family we are of, being distinguished from the Rudimental way of the Nations of the Earth. Highly Blessed are those that are found thus Living: Nothing of Death need to be affrightful to em.
§ 22. But what shall we say to the greater part of the World, that stand out yet as Strangers, and Aliens to this Happy State: for whom our Compassions and Bowels of Love are strongly moving, if by any means, by setting forth the Excellency, both of a present Enjoyment, and a future Felicity, any may be induced to the falling in with, and embracing this Life. Which can no otherwise be, but by a renouncing and denying that Life that is born of the Earthly lapsed State. For the which so many Motives are, in order to the awakening and stirring up of such a firm Resolution. Which being found negligent in, and dull, and slighting of this superabounding Love of God, hereby they run the adventure of the loss of what would have been their greatest Advantage and Gain; by so living Christ here in this Body, that when separated from it, no stop may be from entering into some Celestial Degree of his Glory: For as Christ says, In his Fathers House are many Mansions.
Now we are to denominate the various States, and Degrees, of Souls that have their Birth according to Natural Course in this Principle.
§ 23. We shall first speak of such as are only Born after the Flesh, by sowing of the Serpents Seed in the Degenerated Ground of Nature. From whence springeth and putteth forth wild and evil Plants; which are the vain and wicked Imaginations, which do generate and multiply, so as to overcharge and overspread, for the increase of the Satanical Kingdom in em, passing thus (as is the case of the generality) the whole time of their Life, in an Animal Sensitive Love to the things that are only Transitory and Temporal; by which they quench and bury that Eternal Spark, that it never comes to a Resurrection in em. Thus living void of the Quickening Life of Christ, they depart out of the Body, Ignorant where their Souls must go. Which State is to be lamented and deplored: and were it not for the extension of an infinite Grace and Love that reacheth at last to these, they might be Eternally and Totally Lost. But albeit, from everlasting Perdition they may be exempted, yet not from a State of Suffering, and Punishment, in those Centres and Regions where they are assignd to be; where they will have cause enough of Repentance, for the loss of their Opportunities they had here in this World.
§ 24. But among these, those that have been more Incarnated with the Satanical Spirit, into an open boldness of Defying God, and Prophaning his Holy Name, doing despight to the Spirit of his Love and Grace; this sort are still more under the Reign and Terror of the Prince of Darkness, than the others. And yet such are the Compassions of the Mighty God and Saviour, even towards the worst of these, that he does take care to send his Messengers, as Christ himself did, to go and Preach to the Spirits in Prison, for the bringing of them out of that doleful State. So by the same Spirit of Christ, care is taken for their Admonition, and hopeful Expectation, that a release herefrom may at last be given for a Gradual Admission, and Translation, into a more Bright and Light Principle. For as it is here in this World, the Dead in Trespasses and Sins do hear the Voice of the Spirit of God, through the Ministry of those Messengers sent forth by Christ: even so it is with those separated Souls; the Love of Christ and the Efficacy of his Redemption being in like manner offerd to em there.
§ 25. For upon the Complaining, and Lamenting the State of the Visible Region, that after such an open shew of Christ in the Flesh, and offering up himself through the Eternal Spirit for the Restitution of the lapsed Creation, yet still after all this there remains the same Reluctancy and Insensibility, for a renewing and coming out of this vile and evil Body of Sin: I say, as I was Bemoaning thus before my Lord, concerning the delay of his coming to put an end to the Births and Generations, wherein the Predominance of Sin still did remain, Iniquity still abounding everywhere; the Reply of the Holy Spirit to me was, That I did not understand the deep Wisdom of God herein, whose Counsel herein was unsearchable; but thus far be it known, that one end of the Lords not coming to make a full end of Transgression and Sin, in this visible World, was, for the sakes of the elected Ones, that were in these invisible Regions, to be brought in to the Knowledge, Love, and Acceptation of him to be their Redeemer: for that there were such Works to be done, in the changing and making removes among the Regions of the Dead, as no Mortal has ever enterd into the Thoughts of. But this Mystery (it was further said to me) shall be better understood and known, before Christs return to this World in his Glorified Humanity.
§ 26. Therefore a Warning-peal Rings and Sounds now very loud, to awaken the Inhabitants of the Earth, that lie buried so deep under the Face of the vile Covering, that they cannot find how to heave it up from that Load of Careful Weights, that from this visible Region is throngd in upon them. Out from which there is a call to come away; for no excuse must justify their neglect hereof; to say this, or that, I must provide for my Bodily Subsistence, and the like. Here included is both the Countryman with his Tillage, putting forth his Plea; as also the Citizen, with all the numerous Merchandizings and Traffickings of this kind, which do so universally take up the whole Mind, that there is no leisure to concern themselves about the knowing a Life of Christ in them, either in the present time, or for a future Eternity. Not that there should not at all be the use of these Worldly Callings, by such as are assigned and fitted in their Capacities for them, as outward Stakes for the Tabernacle-Body of the visible Creation to be supported by: this is granted to be all necessary; but then it is to be after such a wise Management, as nothing of the External Business, and Outward Calling, may interfere, so as to block up their way in the performance of their High and Holy Calling. For truly herein lies a great Danger, wherein many Instances have been of a Spiritual Births Miscarriage, in such as have made a fair progress and appearance in Travailing, to obtain a formation of Christ in them; but have choakd and smothered the life of Christ in its Infancy. Therefore now this Message sent peculiarly is to all such as may find themselves under a Defraud herein, through the Temptations of this Worldly Principle. For tho they may not excluded be from a future Salvation, yet not exempted can they be from what must purify, and prepare them afterwards, (if not done while in the Body.) Suffering in this Case can no way be avoided, when parted out of the Body: some of one kind, some of another, according as their Demerits have been while living in the Confines of Time. For such as live naked and divested of Christ, which is the true living Cloathing, cannot hope suddenly (when out of the Body) to put Him on, till they have sufferd first an Annihilation of that Body of Sin they brought with them out of the World. For as the Tree falls here, so it will lie in the separated State: That is, with the same evil Habit, and Body of Sin, they had at the time of their Death, when they go into the other World. Therefore let this excitement take place, and be considerd of Weightily: for it will be found much more easy to do this Work, while we have our Day lengthened out here; both for the putting off, and putting on, what may render Souls in such a similitude and likeness to Christ, as a free Access may be found up to those Mansions, which encompass the Throne of the Lamb, the mighty Shepherd of that separated Fold: where nothing more is to be done, or added, but to know the Blissful Rest, entering into their Lord and Masters Joy.
§ 27. But here I may meet with several Contradictions, objecting this Assertion is not according to the received Doctrine generally Preached, and Believed in. Answ. Albeit it has been traditionally set afoot in the World, (at least in these Parts of it) that there are but two Receptacles for departed Souls, which are: the Highest Heaven; and the Hellish Lake; yet it is most Ungrounded. If it were so, Wo, Wo, unto the far greater part of the World, that go out of the Body altogether unqualified, and uncapable of entering into that high and perfect Degree, where nothing that is unholy can appear. Therefore let it be judged how small a number goes out of the Body so cloathed upon with the pure fine Linnen of Christs Immaculate Righteousness. Such indeed as do obtain this Excellent Degree, may pass swiftly; and not be detaind in any of the lower Regions: But as for those who have not reached to this high Prize and Mark, tho even Illuminated and Regenerated in some part, there is a Assignment made for such in the out-Borders of the Glorious City of God, the New Jerusalem, there to remain till they have put on the Flaming Garment of the Deity, by which all Defects are swallowd up in Immortality of Light. And for those other various numbers of Souls, that are as numerous as the Stars in the Sky, that Dye Ignorant, and void of the Light and Life of Christ in them; what should become of all these, if there were not Provision made by the great God and Creator, that so they might not fall into the Lake where such terrible and fearful Torments are known? But the depths and ways of Gods Wisdom and Love are without Bounds: And so accordingly he has prepared for these Desolate Souls Habitations in the Air, or other Elements, according to what they did most live in here; until another moving Mystery of Gods Creating Power shall on them take hold, to bring them up to a higher Fold.
§ 28. Now it may be further Queried, What Scripture have we, for ground to believe this?
We must Answer, That the Time for the full and general Discovery of this great Secret, was not when the Scriptures were writ; and yet they are not altogether without Testimony of the Truth hereof; but it has lain coucht among those Truths that Christ left to be brought to Light, and full Manifestation, in the latter Ages of the World.
§ 29. One Instance is, that there was a Custom practised by those that were Baptized not only for themselves, but for those that were Departed, not having known the Efficacy thereof; which implies a washing from Sin: and not only so, but it reaches further, as to the Fiery Baptism of the Holy Ghost, which falling upon the Persons Baptized with Water-Baptism, might affect also those for whom they were Baptized, that might have a Relation to, and a Sympathizing with, those that are Living. The place is 1Cor. 15. 29.
§ 30. Another Testimony is, That of the Apostle, 1Cor. 3. 15. Where he shews that such Works as have been wrought here upon a wrong Foundation, must pass through the Fiery Judgment; by which the Soul being purified, and the Dross burnt up, the Eternal spark in em, which is of God, shall obtain Salvation; which is the Sense of the Apostle here. So that by all this, it is to be understood, that there is a Relief after Death, through the Meritorious Death of Christ for the whole Lapsed Creation. Whose intercession must never cease, till he has gathered in All, that may make up the total Victory over Sin, Hell, and Death; throughout all Regions, and Worlds, for the full Manifestation of his Kingdom, so that God may fill All in All.
§ 31. There is another Instance practiced before Christs appearance, of Praying for the Dead, mentioned, 2Maccab.12.40.&c. to the end. Which concludes thus; Whereupon he made a Reconciliation for the Dead, that they might be delivered from Sin. Therefore this Inference may be made, that those that Dye in a low and sinful State may have some Relief, by such as are great Saints living, yet here upon the Earth. This (tho it may not be Canonical Scripture) may yet pass for a true History, as from those that were eminently Holy in That Age.
§ 32. But what is without further doubt, or question, is Christs going into the Regions of the Dead, to Preach to the Spirits in Prison, that were Disobedient in the Days of Noah, 1Pet. 3.19,20. By all this is proved, that Restoration may be of those, who under present Condemnation are.
§ 33. Now I come further to give Testimony of what has been revealed to me, concerning, the Truth of this, at such a time when I was exceedingly affected for those numberless Souls that departed Christless. And while I was Bemoaning this, I had this Word of assurance given me, that The Blood of God, shed through the Humanity of Christ, was of that Cost and Price, that it was sufficient to Ransom ten thousand Worlds more than ever was, is, or shall be; and nothing less than this is the Eternal Purpose of the Creator towards his lapsed Creatures. But for this, it was to be made known, and manifest, as the Time approacheth for its compleating, as the greatest wonder beyond all that hath been brought forth. From this I was much quieted, and pacified, in the Admiration of such an extension of Love universally.
§ 34. I could also further make mention of Visional Openings, from the higher Degrees to the lowest of separated Souls, in their several Apartments; which gave a confirmation to me, tho haply it may not reach to give belief to others. As also, I have had several outwardly Related, and other Acquaintance, that have appeared to me, as my Spirit stood open into those Regions; and some pressing hard to Embody themselves in me, seeking to find Rest and Ease. And others have been presented unto me more pleasant, as in a more happy and free State, and would have been Intelligencers to me, concerning such Secrets as lay hidden in those Regions; but such was my own fear, and shyness, that I could not admit thereof; tho haply it might not have been to my Detriment, as they were Spirits of no inferior Order. But having espoused, and passed away my self, to that one Eternal Spirit, which is God, the Being of all Spirits, there in security I was, and am resolved to fix. Albeit, the great Elders and Worthy Conquerors, that with Christ in his Kingdom resident now are, may do the Saints below many Offices of Kindness by their Influences; because it is from one and the same Spirit with Christ. With whom to maintain Correspondency, and Communion, is an high Privilege and Prerogative; for which it is worth our while to separate from all gross, vulgar, and earthly Matter: otherwise no Fellowship with Christ, or them, can be.
§ 35. For here is a time near approaching, that the greater and higher Degrees of Saints in the Principle of Light, will send forth such bright Glances and Rays, by which the Superior and Spiritual Part will have a free way of Commerce with them, who hereby will open the State and Magnificency of That Kingdom, which they are in Possession of: And thus the New Jerusalem (by degrees) will begin to descend and spread and open the Eternal Powers, by the Descension of these Elders and great Worthies, which will so highten, and greaten the Spirits of the Inhabitants of this lower World, that they will live in an Holy Neglect and Disregard of all whatever belongs to this Outward Principle: then as Radiant Stones they will sparkle forth; and it shall be known then what is that New Name, that shall intitle them as Denizens that make up this Holy City: And tho many attempts may be upon these, that are so holily compacted together for a Spiritual Edifice; yet such will be their Soveraignty, as no force of Carnal Weapons shall be able to hurt or destroy. Whereby such an Astonishment and Conviction will be to those that Aliens and Strangers to God have been, as shall cause a submission in them, to those that are the First Fruits, to whom the Regency of Christs Kingdom is committed.
§ 36. Whereupon it was testifyd to me, That it was not to be expected, that any Overturning of the Worldly Kingdoms, for Reformation, would be from the vile Conversation that now so Universal is, by which the greater part of the Inhabitants lie buried in the Love of earthly Things, and can no other way be awakened out of their slumbering and dead State, till such a Time as this shall come. In which the great Kingly Shepherd will depute under him Principal Shepherds, that shall bind on their Golden Horns that shall sound so loud, that through all Nations to the end of the Earth it shall be heard. Nay, more than this, it was said to me, The very Regions of the Dead should be alarmd hereby, as a Voice that to them also should cry, in order to a God-Delivery, and Jubilee, for Redemption of those that are more ready and ripe for it; and who shall with Joy hear and embrace the sound of the Everlasting Gospel.
§ 37. This is that great and notable Day, that will all wonderful be. And all that is the Rubbish and Lumber of an earthly Image, as both in bodies Visible and Invisible, shall suffer loss; which is the vile Face of a sinful Cloathing. So that nothing must remain, but what did come forth from the Womb of pure Eternal Nature; for whom is prepared another Covering, which is a Body from God, all Spiritual and Immaculate: making good that ancient Prophecy, Behold the Day comes that shall burn as an Oven; and the Elements shall melt with fervent Heat. And where will it have its first beginning, but upon Mans Old Earth and Heavens, by the Spirit of Judgment and Burning, that will from out of the Essence of the Soul open: by which the whole Degenerated Nature will come to be refind and calcind. Then shall it be seen that the Outward Elements, and the Starry Constellations will all reduced be with Man into their first Eternal Original; where no Strife or Curse shall be known. Thus after this manner the new Heavens and Earth will have their beginning, in the plantation of a New Generation, that shall be all Righteous; and so they will have their increase till the Thousand Years Sabbath shall accomplisht be.
§ 38. Highly Blessed shall those be that shall live such a Time and Day as this to see, tho yet remaining in the Form and Figures of Humanity. For it will be the fulfilling of that Prophecy, in which the Saints shall bear Rule, as Kings, Priests, and Prophets, entering upon the Reign of Christ, and so making ready to entertain the Lord Christ in his Personal and Glorious Appearance. Then shall all the Kingdoms of the Earth submit, and bow to the New Laws of his Kingdom. For he cometh to make all Old Creatures New. For the very terrible Brightness of his Person will give such a Reflection, as will put a Transfiguration upon the dark and earthly Image, so that the Sons and Daughters of Sion shall arise, and shine in the Beauty of his Glory. And from these will go forth such Sparkling Glances, as shall multiply Spiritual Generation among the Inhabitants of the Earth. And unto these Christ frequently does, and will, appear, that they shall behold him as he is. Here will be no common or corruptible Death to have Dominion; but they shall only put Christ on as their Change of Raiment; Ascending and Descending with Christ, sometimes appearing to the World, at other times disappearing, as occasion may be required. For this will be a wonderful Time, unfathomable and unknowable, but by those to whom Christ shall give a prospect or a foretaste of it: which he does not fail to give already to some, in order to the expecting, longing, and preparing for it. For here will be Redemption as well for the Body, as for the Soul and Spirit; which now under many Oppressions both inwardly, and outwardly, in the bodily Part do lie. So that this may well beget all vehement and fervent Prayer, for Christ to appear thus in his Kingdom, for the release of his Captives and Exiles; who in this long Cloudy Day have in a Suffering State been, as under the Reign of the Satanical Kingdom.
§ 39. So that while it remains thus to be, and that the Kingdom is not come after this manner, in Power and Soveraignty, so as to Rule and Reign openly over all Principalities, and Earthly Powers; it will be the Royal Prerogative of the Saints, now living in This Age of Time: wherein expected may be nothing less than Turmoils, and Perplexities of Nations, and Tribulations throughout the whole Universe. Which, as it is in the Divine Seeing, must come before, to make way for the forementioned State; for to have a Passage through Death, into the Kingdom of Immortality and Life.
§ 40. But chiefly and principally, this will belong to such as have been Baptized into the Dying Spiritually into Christ. They have no cause to fear; but are secure from the Second Death: Because in very deed there is a tasting of Eternal Life, that swallows up the Body of Death; so that no Sting is found therein. This made that worthy Apostle find himself in a strait betwixt two; because Christ was his Life, that he lived while in the Flesh; which gave him yet but to know, and possess, in part: And so hereby he knew that he was kept from the full Fruition of the Joy with his Lord. But it may be said, This is a high Degree, which very few may reach to, that are able to say in assurance of Faith, I know when this Vehicle shall be dissolved; I have a Mansion ready prepard to receive me. In Answer to this, take the Apostles Words, And not for me only, but for all those that Love his Appearance: We know that if our Earthly Tabernacle were dissolved, we have a Building of God; an House not made with hands, Eternal in the Heavens, &c. that so Mortality may be swallowed up of Life.
§ 41. Now from hence give me leave to recommend the same Motives, that have had great enforcement upon my own Particular, and induced me to take pleasure in the Meditation hereof; as having obtained a prospect from the Heavens opening up in me; into which it was given me to view, and see the wide and infinite spaces of Christ the Lords Kingdom. Where I saw as it were Clouds of Transparent Gold, numberless as the Stars in the Heavens, which were nominated to be the Goodly Tents prepared round about the High and Mighty Kingly Shepherd. The chief of which were assignd for the first Order of the High Elders, and Worthies that were elected thereunto. The Foundation of this Holy Place was all Bright, and full of Light. And there seemed to be an open Pass into it, for Clarified Spirits, that had the Transfiguration of Christs Body upon them, being seen still swiftly ascending up. And as this Principle shut up out of my sight, I had a fresh Communication with one of the Inhabitants of that place, saying to me, What hast thou here seen, but what may invite and draw thee away from what is of the course Matter of the Bodily Form? Now then, slack not to make thy self ready, and put on the fine and undefiled Garment. For none else can come up to this Third and Perfect Heaven of Glory; where Christ in his Magnificency and Majesty does appear. For it was said to me: Lower Degrees must serve for such as have not put on Christ throughout.
§ 42. When this Communication ceased, I found in myself an unsatiable Longing to get admittance into this Orb and Sphere of Glory. But, through Internal Communication with the Spirit of Christ, (which was in way of reproof for being so eagerly desirous of a Dissolution of the Body, before I could say I had Overcome, and subdued all Contrarieties under me) that Scripture was brought, Rev.3.21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, even as I have overcome and am sat down with my Father in his Throne. So being Conscious in my self that the full Victory was not yet obtaind, the Spirit told me, I must in Faith and Patience go on to pursue it: and not think much to live in a Suffering Body, but entertain hopes that what is imperfect, may be swallowd up in Perfection.
§ 43. Then further it was given me to know, There was considerable Business and Work designd for me, not only as to my own particular, but for the furtherance of the Knowledge and the Joy of others, by giving out what of the Spiritual Mysteries should be intrusted to me. So by all these Considerations, if a further lengthening out of the Day of my Life should be, admonished I was to rest quiet and pacified in the Divine Will: and be contented while absent from this Heavenly Court and Family, as to all the Glories therein reserved. The Spirit assuring me, that
"He would not be wanting to give me Intelligence, whereby I should understand and know how the Heart and Mind of Christ, and the Father, stood towards me; tho absent in the Body: And what should be expedient, and necessary, to be further reveald of the higher and lower Worlds, and various Regions therein containd, which were things so wonderful and marvellous, that neither past nor present Ages had conceivd or believd; it being the Pleasure and Wisdom of God to shut up these Secrets, so that the Scripture it self makes little mention of them."
§ 44. But it was further said to me, that The Age both is now, and is further coming on, in which these deep Grounds, and Centres, wherein separated Souls are confind, shall be better known to the Living; that Holy Souls may not go out of the Body so Ignorant, as hitherto they have done, of the Receptacles appointed for them; each one according to what they have attained and reached to Here. Concerning which what has been reveald, you may find more at large in the Eight Worlds, the Enochian Life, and the Mount of Vision. Since the Publishing of which, I have had further confirmation of the Truth thereof: As also of the Universal Restoration, whereby all that has been Impaird, Desolated, and made Miserable by Transgression, shall to the greatest Amazement (as the renewed Wonder-work of the Creator) be repaired and redeemed; God in Christ reconciling all that had Departed, and falln away from Him again to Himself. Tho I am not Ignorant how much this has been Objected and Cavilld against; yet it shall be found a Truth, as the Circle and Ages of Time shall be further manifested. This is not only my own Sentiment, but God has raised up other Asserters hereof, both in former and present Ages; that have searched out this Mystery, and cleared it up. There has lately been put forth a Book of an Eminent and very Learned person in Germany, that has Published a large Folio concerning this General Restitution of the Creature; with the State of Separated Souls, and various Punishments of negligent and wicked Souls, as Preparatory, in the order of the Divine Scenes, for the Lapsed State both of Angels and Mankind to be restored. It is Written in the High Dutch.
§ 45. This, however it might be before known to others, I received it not from Man, as in the Book of the Everlasting Gospel, publishd by me in the Year 1697, is declard; which does evidence after what manner it was reveald, and made known, as I was in doubtfulness of this Truth: where you will also find many Objections against it Answerd.
§ 46. Since which, another grand Objection has come to my Hand; which is this, The Everlasting Bliss of the Saints, in the expression of it, runs parallel with the Punishment of the Wicked: And if one be for Ages of Time only, as is interpreted; then so is the other.
Answ. Tho this be Christs own saying, yet he admits of his own Spirit to interpret and unfold His meaning, what hereby is to be understood, by the true Disciplehood: Which Spirit leads us back to the Original Copy, which is God Himself, where we may find there was no beginning nor end of Goodness, Love, Purity, and Perfection of Righteousness, that is in the strict Eternity of Gods Essence: From whence must necessarily follow Endless Pleasure, Joy, and Glory. Now then this preceding before Sin, Evil, and Misery were awakend, (which can be reputed no other than an Accident happening) this last must fall again into its own Non-entity, as a Fire blown up by the Luciferian Spirit: and so must quenched be again by the meek Water out of the Throne-Foundation; which the Lamb of God, by descending into his own meek Humanity, hath freely set open: so that That must carry the Pre-eminence, by swallowing up all of Sin, Wrath, and Misery; in the finishing part of this great Wonder of his unconceivable and unsearchable Love, which none can set measure to, or prescribe bounds unto it. Therefore tis hence to be concluded the State of Bliss is according to its original Nature Eternal, the other but Temporary.
§ 47. But from this let none dare to take boldness, or liberty, because their Punishments are not strictly for perpetuity, and without end. But let all that are so careless, as to run the hazard and adventure of their Souls, by living Christless, and without God in the World, dread and tremble at the terrible Judgments, and Anxious painful State, that they will after Death know; if not also partly before, by the Sting of Sin, by which the Serpent, will challenge his Dominion. In whose Kingdom nothing less than bitter Woes, Wailings, and Gnashing of Teeth will be. And this will be found terrible enough, if it holds but to Ages of Time. For according to the Years they have lived here, sporting themselves in earthly, and worldly Loves and Pleasures, forgetting the Lord their Maker, and rejecting and despising Christ the Rock, that offers Himself to be Salvation to em: so will Punishments inflicted upon em be. But I shall not further insist, having already made mention of the Degrees, Ranks, and Orders that liable are to such Fiery Indignations, from the Vindictive Justice of the most Impartial God.
§ 48.Now it is much to be prayed and wished for, that the Shepherds and Pastors of the Flocks had their Eyes so enlightnd, or at least would but faithfully and diligently Inquire into these things, that are of such import and consequence to Souls: that so they may not go so darkly and ignorantly out of the Body, as not knowing whither they go; there being so many Mansions, or Regions, allotted out by the Divine Wisdom of the Father. But O the Happy Stations, Goodly Tents, and Dwelling Places, that are prepared for Christ, and His, that are gathered into that Holy Corporation, and City, which is the New Jerusalem! Whereinto a free Entrance may be found, passing through all lower and inferior Regions, into this Blessed Harbor, and Joy of their Lord: while those others, we have made mention of, are shut out and excluded; who (like Dives) have their Pain augmented, by seeing the Righteous received into the Bosom-Rest of God their Father.
§ 49. Now I come to the concluding part of this Treatise: and to add something more to that Point, which is the main Scope I drive at, the making out the Happy State, of such as so live in the Verge of Time, as by a wise Improvement of the Number of Days given them, they may have here arrived, and attained to that pure and perfect Stature; of which it may be said, Christ is become all their Life. And then with what Welcome may be entertaind a disappearing as to this visible mortal Figure, when they have thus put on Christ before-hand, as their Invisible Body, which may well take away all the Reluctancy in its Passage through Death? For what can separate from the Life of Christ, that is of this kind? Surely the Stream must run back to its own Fountain.
But here I do meet with an Objection: Who is it among all that do profess a Dying Life to the Earth, and a Living Life as to Christ in the Heavens, that can come up to such a Perfection of Unity?
In Answer hereunto, I say: Tho it may not be the lot of all good and holy Souls hereunto to attain; yet it is not to be concluded that there is not a Possibility, that some may reach hereunto; tho but few in number to what may dye in an inferiour Degree. And yet those that Dye short hereof, shall not want their due proportion of the Fruition of Divine Joys. But there will be a Pre-eminence of Glorification to those that have lived to come up to a full ripe Fruitfulness, with Christ their Lord, and Head.
§ 50. Upon this Consideration, that by longer date of Time living, there is an advantage for increase and growth to such a Stature, whereunto a Ripeness may be attained, to possess the Kingdom in Joint-Heirship with the first born Inheritors with Christ: I have patiently born and sufferd in this frail Elementary Body, which subjected is to manifold Infirmities and Troubles, incident to the Corporeal Life. But I may well say that, tho there may be Impairings, and Decays, as to the Outward Form of Nature, yet there has been a Deiformation springing, and growing, as a suitable Adorning for Admission into the Royal Court and Presence of the Prince of Glory. So that the Marriage Solemnity may be immediately performd, before the great Assembly of the Glorified Saints, in Mount-Sions Kingdom, without being detaind in lower Centers and Degrees. The Assurance of Arrivement hereunto, gave a Stillness and Pacification, to abide till the fullness of Time shall be for Translation out of this Principle, as it now consisteth in Disorder and Confusion.
§ 51. But a Second Motive to bear yet to live in the Body of Time, may be the expectation to see a Change upon the Earth, according to that, that a Peculiar People, and Royal Nation may be brought forth in a Day: which implies a sudden overture or change; by which the Kingdoms of the Earth shall under the Saints of the most High be forcd to bow. And then indeed it would be worth living in Time, when the Powers of Eternity shall rule in it, and over it.
§ 52. But in the interim till this shall be, pursue I do what in prospect I have seen in the Upper World. Where Christ appears in his Glorified Figure: wherein consisteth the Saints certainty of all Fruition of Joy in these several Particulars.
First, As to the change of Habitation, or place of Residence.
2dly, As to the Community and Society.
3dly, The Dignification in Office and Employ.
4thly, In their Spiritual Cloathing.
5thly, The Festival Varieties and Dainties for Entertainment there.
6thly, The Blessed Marriage of the Lamb.
7thly, The Duration, and Unchangeable Fruition of these Divine Joys and Pleasures.
Of these invisible Things I shall not add more than what has been presented (as in Divine Wisdoms Glass) unto the Eye of my Understanding: which hath given me some relish, and taste beforehand, of the Powers of this World that is to come.
§ 53. First, As relating to the change of Place. The manner of being loosened from the Body is to be considerd; which is in some more gradually, in others more immediately, through the Knot of the four Elements untying, which the Body consisteth of; which therefore must be before the imprisoned Soul get free. This cannot be without some Conflict at the departing each from other. But this will all conquerd and vanquished be, by the descending of three Angels from God and the Lamb: which sometimes appear to the Party, tho invisible to other, that may be about them. These three Angels answer to the three Parts in Man; which are Spirit, Soul, and Body; taking care and charge to guard the threefold Personality, having put on Christ as a Spiritual Body. And so it is guarded through the lower Regions, and Principles, in which those that have not reached to such Maturity of Life in Christ, may be detaind; tho not excluded from a good degree of Blessedness and Glory. For degrees of the Heavenly Worlds must be allowed, as Paul witnesseth when he was taken up into the third Heavens.
§ 54. Concerning the Place, and Habitation, into which these Angels do usher the Soul, it consisteth of an Inaccessible pure and transparent Light, from the Reflection of the Father of Lights. The Climate is pure Air, that breathes nothing but gusts of Odoriferous Perfumes. No Scorching Heats, or Aching Colds; but all of an equal even temperature. Here needs no buildings for Shelter, otherwise than goodly Tents, or Mansions like Golden Clouds, which pitched are farther and nearer about the Throne of the Lamb: The one Eternal Element, spread as a Canopy over their Heads; and the Paved-street, upon which they move and walk, is as the continual flowing in of the Glassy Sea: Upon which they most solacingly do converse. This is the one Everlasting Day in which there is no Night for slumbering or sleeping, such as into which the first Adam was cast; but the second with his offspring are ever watchful and waking, and in Divine Joys each other Recreating. O Blessed Translation out of Death and Darkness into this Glorious Light! Let all that hear, acquiesce with me herein.
§ 55. Now as to the Second, for Community and Society; there is first the Tri-une-Deity, wherein is included the Virgin-Wisdom; and the Glorious Humanity of Christ, as the High Majestick Kingly Power, that ruleth and governeth here. Which do appear all with pure and open Face of Transfiguring Glory: so Enamouring and Ravishing, that it opens a Gulph of perpetual Pleasure to the Beholders. Because here they come to know as they are known, and so are changed into the express Similitude of the Object seen. Here also enjoyed is a free Fellowship and Conversation with the Glorified Saints, being a Body so compacted together, as no less than the deep immense Love of God doth radically act, move, and work through every individual Saint: as being all one in Christ their Head. So also their whole consistency stands in Love, whence they flow as burning Streams of Love towards each other; taking up their Joy and Felicity in conversation with each other. Neither here can there be any excluding from the Angelical Society; that are all fellow Companions, being taken into Gods Household and Family. The Felicity and Joy of this Communion is so great and marvellous, as this Pen must stop. For an Injunction is put upon it as to what might be further utterd and declard.
§ 56. And so we pass on to the third Particular, which has been inquired into, which is the Office and Imploy of the great Saints in this high Orb and Sphere of Eternity. Which is so Various, Great, Wonderful and Glorious, that it is unaccountable. For the Scriptures themselves are very silent here: They only tell us in general of entering into the Joy and Glory of the Lord. But, so far as it has been Visionally and communicatively made known by the Spirit of Christ to me, I shall make report hereof.
§ 57. As in the first Place there is an Holy Institution of Priestly Ministration. For there is an Holy Solemnity here maintaind in the Temple not made with Hands, nor of any Created Form: where the Furniture is so Rich and Glorious, that it can be likend to nothing but the Glorious God spreading himself forth in manifold Appearance; which draws forth a continual Bowing, and Worshiping, and paying Homage. Then further they have their Courses in high Triumphant Songs, and Praises: which proceed from such pure AEtherial Organs, as send forth most ravishing Sounds, as if they were playing on Harps, and all manner of Musical Instruments in Consort; and yet nothing of outward form of that Kind appears; for they have the very Essences of these things in themselves, as part of themselves.
§ 58. Now as the first Born of this New Creation, or Kingdom, is Crownd with a Triple Crown, as the High and Mighty Monarch over all Kingdoms, and Worlds that ever were, are, or shall be: So it is given him to have numerous Crowns to put upon his Anointed Priests, so that they with him shall bear Rule and Reign, and sit to Judge, all Worlds and Kingdoms, and determine all Matters according to the Laws of this Eternal Principle and Kingdom, with him, their Supreme King.
§ 59. Another peculiar Privilege is given to these high and great Saints, that they have Power to do Offices of Kindness to those that are either Relations, Friends or Acquaintance, whether living in Bodies or deceased; both Living and Dying but in a lower Degree, as to the work of Regeneration; having made but a slow progress in it: and so detaind in such Regions as are remote from the Throne and Court of Christs presence. Liberty is granted to these Worthies, to be as Advocates for them: and more than that, to descend and acquaint them upon their Desires and Longings to be set free from that Oppression, and Confinement they may be in, that the Lord and King of Mount-Sion, does freely give such to be under their Care, and Tuition, and Advocation, and to bring em up to a higher Degree, as they shall be found pliable hereunto. For as Christ himself went down to preach to the Spirits in Prison, to give redress to their present Thraldom; So mission of Grace is granted to these high Favorites to be Ministering Spirits to those, where they may have a Sympathizing withal, as being toucht with a feeling of their Condition. Which will be no little Advantage to these that may be but yet Prisoners of Hope.
So that it may be concluded, there is Imploy and Spiritual Business very Honourable for the High Saints to be exercised in.
§ 60. After this was opend to me, I then preferd (by way of Query) to my Lord. Since there was no Night, there for Rest, and Suspension of the Senses, How such infinite spaces of Time could pass away without weariness. To This the Divine Wisdom Answerd, That God had such infinite Treasures and Stores, and Prospects of Glory, to bring himself forth in, that they should give still fresh and new Delight to every Spiritual Sense, so as to take off all that can be accounted tedious or tiresome. Inconceivable are the Pleasures that do entertain these Royal Kings: Which attract, excite, and convey such Powers into em, they are drawn into a Concurrence with God, in the product and enjoyment of his Wonders. Which is so Stupendous as cannot be further declard.
§ 61. The fourth: These high Potentate Princes as they are of Royal Degree, so answerable must their Apparel be. Their Garments do highly excel all that can be named in this outward Creation, to set it forth, as Gold Embroidered, Pearls, or Jewels; or any thing of that kind. For these Vestments are such as consist all of bright Transparent Light, being interwoven with the pure Fire of the Deity, with the meek Water of Christs Humanity, so co-mingled, as to sparkle forth most Radiantly. This is that pure Habit that will last out to all Eternity, in which God the Father sees now his own Similitude, and Image, Rejoicing over them, as having put on the Beautiful Sun, which can never Clouded, or Ecclipsed be. So every way suited to that high Degree, of the Heavenly Community. Thus it is not Glory only Within, but Glory Throughout.
§ 62. The fifth Particular is the Royal Table, that is furnished with all variety, for this Holy Family to feast continually upon. But how, and after what manner is this to be understood? Not according to the manner of this World, as if there were a material Substance to be taken into the Mouth. There is no occas