by Paul Mueller
We are all deeply indebted to brothers in Christ for spending a considerable amount of time and resources in searching out this volume, and others like it, which confirm the present truth of this hour. Dan Greathouse and Wayne Rau through another good friend and brother in Christ, Joe Farrell, submitted the copy of this book to us for publication It is my privilege to present this book, and the marvelous truth it contains, to the Lord's chosen elect of this hour, I wish to express my gratitude to Dan for looking through long reels of micro film, and to Wayne for persistently encouraging the search for this book. And I also want to thank Joe for spending long, tedious hours editing the original text from the old English to a more readable form.
Notice the use of the words "History" and "Mystery" throughout the book. Perhaps when you read the word "Mystery" in the text, you may understand it as that which is spiritual.
The revelation of the man of sin, the Antichrist, or mystery of iniquity, as being within us is a revelation that will put us on our knees before the Lord, seeking for deliverance from this harlot within that has troubled the world from Adam's day to this. All who are walking with Christ in this final hour of the age will repent and will seek for that Life in Christ that is reserved for those who love His appearing.
The word "whore" is used throughout the book. Although it may seem strong to some of us, the use of the word is no less startling than the truth of her presence within us. She is the reason behind all the sins of the flesh. She is the cause of the downfall of preachers and evangelists. She is the mother of the present, corrupt church system. She is the architect of all three realms of Babylon, which is religious, political and economic. She is indeed "the mother of harlots."
This book by Joseph Salmon was written in 1647. It is interesting to realize that the early seventeenth century was an era of the revelation of divine truth, for we have received other copies of inspiring books from this period. Jacob Boehme was another inspired writer who wrote in the same era. It is reported that Mr. Boehme wrote thirty books from 1612 to 1624. He said of his books: "My books are written only for those who desire to be sanctified and united to God, from whom they came; not through my understanding, but in my resignation in Christ; from Him have I received knowledge of His mysteries. God dwells in that which will resign itself up, with all its reason and skill, unto Him. I have prayed strongly that I might not write except for the glory of God and the instruction and benefit of my brethren."
Perhaps Jacob Boehme had a profound influence upon Joseph Salmon and others of that era. However, it is more probable that the same Spirit that revealed the truth of the man of sin within all mankind to Jacob Boehme also revealed it to Mr. Salmon. And that same Spirit will also reveal this great truth to all who are open for truth, not to discourage us, but to cause us to look to the Lord for the deliverance and full salvation prophesied for this hour.
Mr Boehme also wrote: "As Christ was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger, so is Christ in man ever born amidst the animals in man. The new-born Savior is ever laid in a cradle between the ox of self-will and the ass of ignorance, in the stable of the animal condition in man; and from thence the king of pride (as Herod), finds his kingdom endangered, and seeks to kill the child, who is become the ruler of the 'New Jerusalem' in man.
"O man, take heed of pride; the devil fleeth into it! Take heed of covetousness! The covetous man is the greatest fool upon earth; he gathers that which he must leave to others, and gains only an evil conscience and treasures in hell! But he that trusteth God hath continually enough; he gets a new body, which neither hunger, cold, nor heat, can affect; he hath a conscience at rest, and will eternally rejoice in his treasure he has laid up in heaven! Take heed of anger; that is the devil's sword, with which he commits all murders. If the soul is given to lust, pleasure and the dominion of this world, the devil doth not sift it so strongly; he carrieth it in his triumphant chariot! Take heed of the perfect pattern God has given, of what man should, and must be, - Jesus! And pray for the illumination of the Holy Spirit; resolve not to let Him go, until He bless thee!
"The Holy Spirit, the moving power of God, the former of his Word, which expresseth the will of God, the heart of God, openeth the heart of man to the virtues of God's Word. Then the animal within must die! One cannot remain an animal and become divine. When the soul is freed from the evil beast, then it is open to Christ, and His divine love-fire.
"Our trance of selfishness must end, for we are all being organized, by the one only life, in the one body.
In the body of Christ, self-seeking is a monstrosity! The whole body must be 'fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint (or joining) supplieth,.. unto the edifying of itself in love ' The second manifestation of Christ to His people will be in their bodies. Our Lord hath need of each one in his great, mystical body; and they must all be one in Him, the Anointed.
"There is a life, this world comprehendeth it not; it hath no fire to consume, but a mighty fire in light and love and joy; a fire of brightness and majesty, no pain therein. It hath a body without defect, want, misery, anger, death or devil. The Holy Spirit is its air and spirit; it is filled with love and joy. This life has been from eternity, uprising and blossoming! It is not of this earth, but substantial - the eternal life! And all who have received this life, at the end of the age, will be presented pure and without blemish, ...one body in Christ!
"In the time of the end, the time of the Lily (or the time of resurrection), these writings will be sought as serviceable. To all such who are shooting forth into the fair Lily in the kingdom of God, who are in the process of birth, are these lines written, that each one may be strengthened, and bud in the life of God, and grow, and bear fruit in the Tree of paradise; that each branch and twig in this fair Tree may contribute, help and shelter all the other branches and twigs, that this Tree may become a great Tree! Then shall we all rejoice, one with another, and 'joy unspeakable and full of glory'!"
This ends our quote from the writings of Jacob Boehme. Now, read on to discover more truth or confirmation of the truth of the man of sin within us as written by Joseph Salmon, and of our need for the glorious appearing of Christ unto full salvation.
Paul E. Mueller
The Living Word
P.O, BOX 25055, PORTLAND, OR 97298-0055
by Joseph A. Farrell
Upon seeing the poor quality of the photo copies of this book, it was evident that it needed to be re-done in a more readable fashion to be enjoyed by others. In so doing it was endeavored to update most of the old English and make as few changes as possible to keep the original content.
There have been few changes in grammar, spelling, and re-structuring of a few sentences to make the reading somewhat easier. Also, many of the bolded phrases and sentences are present changes to emphasize what the Spirit is saying today. But for the most part the content remains close to its original form as written by Joseph Salmon.
Jesus said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." It must be the desire of each of us to one day say the same.
It has been the desire of man to go back to the glory of the early church, but Paul said of those in his day, "All seek their own and none seek the things of Christ." Why was this so? Do we not see the same in our day? Have we not each one experienced zeal without knowledge? Is it not time to seek the Lord to come in judgment in our own hearts and destroy root and branch of the man of sin in each of us that we might be experientially transformed into the everlasting Kingdom and Love of the Father? Even so come Lord Jesus!
Joseph A. Farrell
Joseph Salmon's Letter of Introduction
To all those who desire to be acquainted with the Mystery of Godliness, and especially those my beloved Friends and Brethren in the Lord, with whom I have formerly walked in outward formal communion, both in city and in Country.
My dear friends, whose I am in the bowels of unfeigned love, considering with myself, that there is nothing more requisite to be known, than these two great Mysteries, the Mystery of Godliness, and the Mystery of Iniquity. And likewise pondering how much all flesh is opposite to the discovery of these two mysteries; I have presumed to dictate to you in this small treatise, wherein I have briefly, and infirmly discovered unto you, what the Lord has manifested unto me of the spirit of Antichrist, that is in all of us.
It may be that I may be supposed by many of you, in this little volume, to endeavor the subversion and overture of that form and discipline that you for the present walk in. But I assure you from the truth of my heart, that I intend no such thing, but shall encourage any of you to continue in that dispensation, where the Lord does manifest Himself to you in the same. Only this know (dear friends) that the Lord has His movings toward His people. To some He shows Himself more clearly; to some more obscurely. To some He makes the flesh of Christ comfortable, and joyful, that is, the discovery of Himself in fleshly dispensations; to others He crucifies His own flesh (as I may so say) that is, dies, departs, goes away in the flesh, or fleshly forms and dispensations, and this is my condition for the present.
I were a wretch if I should deny the appearance of God to me in that way you now for the present stand in. But now it has pleased God to move out of these things to me. I now see that all the knowledge of Christ they could set out to me was but a knowledge of Him after the flesh. In a word; I see that Christ has crucified Himself to me, in all things in which before I enjoyed His fleshly presence; insomuch that I now wait with the disciples, where Jesus has appointed me even at the gates of wisdom's house and at the post of wisdom's door, for the return of the Spirit. For I believe this departed Jesus will come again, but it Shall be in Spirit, not in flesh, and will make Himself to be that real substance to me, which I grasped at in the shadow typically; and this through mercy, I do in some measure enjoy, and though in much imperfection, yet so sweetly, that henceforth I desire to know Christ after the flesh no longer.
Now as concerning the treatise itself, I desire you to look upon it as coming from a child in the understanding of the divine things of God, and if you suppose yourselves to have come to more maturity in divinity than myself, and that you think you can speak in more glory than I have done, I hope you will be so much the more engaged to pass a charitable censure upon the stammering of my infancy. If any of you shall not withstanding testify any rigidness of spirit against me in this particular; herein I joy and rejoice that the Lord in His time will bring you to live so in the light of His Son, as that you shall see all your now present light to be darkness, and your form to be fleshly, and then you will not be bitter against any poor saint, that desires to enjoy God in a higher dispensation than yourselves.
In the mean time, I desire your prayers to the Lord for me, and I shall forever commit you into His hands, who I hope before long will die to you all in all these outward things, as He hath to me, and by His rising and second coming in you, will so manifest Himself to you, that you shall see Him to be the spiritual water, bread and wine, without and beyond all these types and shadows, which is the daily prayer of him who still professes himself to be your brother, by that one baptism of that one Spirit, into that one body, and forever remain.
Yours Till Death,
AntiChrist In Man
Or, A Discovery of the Great Whore that Sits Upon Many Waters
There has been much controversy about the finding out of this great whore that spirit of Antichrist, which God shall judge, and whom Christ shall destroy by the breath of His mouth, and the brightness of His coming, and in the eager pursuit of her, to find her out in her scarlet color, riding upon the beast. Some men have attained to glimmerings, some to a more perfect discovery of her, some there are that affirm this great whore to be the Pope; some the Presbyter, some the Episcopacy. Now these have seen the whore but in a fleshly discovery. They take the fruit for the tree, the stream for the fountain. In a word, they have seen her outside, but not her inside. They know her in the History, but not in the Mystery, for upon her forehead is written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT. (Rev. 17:5)
Know therefore, O man, whosoever you are that judges the whore by these carnal conceptions of her, that you are far deceived by her in her fleshly appearances to you.
Thus while sons of men seek to behold this strumpet in her proper sphere and center, they deceive themselves by looking too fleshly and carnally upon her. Know first then O man! that this great whore is in you. While you seek to behold her without you, while you behold her in other men, she is in the mean time acting in a Mystery in you. While you despised the appearance of her in other men, she has by guile caught you, and has stolen your heart from God and goodness. She embraces you in her arms. She kisses you with her mouth. She deceives you by her flatteries. While you think you have nothing to do with her, she is in your bosom; while you think she is far distant from you, and this is done in a Mystery and you see it not.
Now then looking upon this whore spiritually, not carnally; in us, and not out of us, in the Mystery, and not in the History; once more let us make inquisition after her, and endeavor to find her out in all her subtle and close corners. For your better attaining to the discovery of her, Consider:
First, what the great whore is.
Secondly, how she works, and what pretenses she deludes your soul by.
Thirdly, how a soul comes to attain a sight of her.
Fourthly, and last, how and when she shall be destroyed. And thus we may attain to a sight of Babylon, with her rise, and her down fall.
First, What is the Whore?
This Whore, this Babylon, this Antichrist, is your fleshly wisdom; that spiritual serpent, you are deceived by, and commit fornication with all. This wisdom of the flesh is the carnal policy of the creature.
This was that Antichrist that appeared in, and to our first parents, and that which they harlotred with from the Lord God. He created Adam blind and naked, to this end, that Adam might not see, but God for him, nor Adam might not know, but what God knew in him, and for him. And so this Adam, though blind and naked, yet clothed with such divine robes, as were altogether inconsistent to fleshly Adam, so here was God ALL, and the creature nothing.
But now comes the serpent, which is the most subtle beast in man's worldly heart, namely, self and flesh; and that dispenses it's wisdom into the heart of the creatures, and that bids them eat, and then their eyes should be opened, and they should be as Gods, knowing good and evil. How man desiring (by the report of fleshly wisdom) to have his eyes opened, and to be as God, and to be no more a subject, but a King, no longer governed, but a Governor, runs away from God, departs from his first Lover, and commits adultery with his own fleshly wisdom. And as Adam in the History, so all in the Mystery commit daily fornication with the whore, our fleshly wisdom, by eating of the forbidden tree. For this forbidden tree is in us, and we taste of it continually, and hourly suffer death for the same.
This Garden of Eden in the Mystery, O Man! is in you, in whom God has placed the manifestation of Himself, and has brought forth the buddings of His glory. And any of these you may eat, but there is a tree in the midst of this garden of which you may not eat, which is your heart, O man! This must be reserved wholly for the Lord; this God calls for, (Pro. 23:26). "My son, Give me thine heart," that is, you may ascribe nothing to yourself; but give over all man into my hands, and willingly to be no more. Then I will be in you, and to know no more than I shall know for you, this is that forbidden tree that God would not have us eat of: but the whole man with his wisdom, reason, judgment, affections, will and understanding, must be given to the Lord. But now comes this serpent, our subtle, fleshly wisdom in us, and that thinks much to let God be all, do all, and have the glory of all: but it would fain see with it's own eyes, and be as a God unto itself. So it forsakes the rest of the trees, which God has given it to eat of, namely, the manifestation of God in the soul, and takes of its own fruit, and eats of that feast which flesh has provided, and so forsakes the fountain, and runs to the broken cistern, (Jer. 2:13). Thus our eyes come to be opened, and we see no longer light in God's light, but with the eye of self and reason, "saying to a stock, thou art my father, and to a stone, thou hast brought me forth" (Jer. 2:27) that is, attributing nothing to God, but all to fleshly wisdom, with which we have adulterated and harlotrized from the Lord.
Thus O Man! you see what that great whore is, and where she lies, even in the innermost closets of your soul. Now that you may be farther convinced that this wisdom of the flesh, is the Antichrist, the great whore, do but first consider the names, and secondly, the nature of her.
First, her names in scripture are different; as first she is called Antichrist, which is as much as to say, against Christ. How man as a creature is not against Christ, but the wisdom in the flesh in man, this is against Christ, and so consequently the Great Whore or Antichrist.
Secondly she is called Babylon in scripture, (Rev. 17:5, 18:2) which is as much as to say, confusion. Now all confusion that is wrought either in Pope, Presbyter, or any other particular state, is by the wisdom of the flesh, therefore this is the great Babylon.
Thirdly she is called that wicked one, (2 Thess. 3:8) Now all the actual wickedness that proceeds from the sons of men, flows from that original within, even the wisdom of the flesh. Therefore, the wisdom of the flesh is that great wicked one which is to be destroyed.
Fourthly, she is called the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, (Rev. 17:5). Now what is the mother of harlots? Surely this cannot be either the Pope, or any other particular state. For if the Pope be the Mother of Harlots, then I demand who or what is the Mother of his harlotry? Then what, or who, is the Mother of Harlots? Why she is in us all in a Mystery; it is the wisdom of the flesh in man, which is the mother of all the abominations which is committed against the Lord.
This is that Antichrist; this is Babylon, here is the wicked one. This is the Matron of all iniquity, out of the womb of fleshly wisdom proceeds all that actual transgression that is committed against the Lord, All outward appearances of sins, are but the bastards of this whore, the children of this strange woman, and the brats of this great adulteress. And happy, yea thrice blessed shall that Man be called, who shall take and dash these children of the whore against the stones. This man is Christ, who shall come in power and great glory in a Christian, and destroy, and dash in pieces the conceptions, bringings forth and appearances of fleshly wisdom in us, as we shall show more at large hereafter.
Thus we have endeavored to discover the whore, what she is by her names given her in scripture; whereby you may understand, that the whore does not consist by any outward state or fleshly appearances to you, but upon her fore-head, which is her most open and palpable workings, there is written Mystery.
That this great whore may yet more fully appear to be the wisdom of the flesh in you, do but consider the nature of the whore in brief. And so we have done with the first query, namely what the whore is?
Now the nature of the whore is two-fold; 1. Opposing. 2. Exalting; both which you may find attributed to Antichrist or the whore. In 2 Thess. 2:4 she opposes Christ or God and is therefore called Antichrist, Now see O Man! whether this whore be not your fleshly wisdom. Look into your soul, and behold and see, how opposite your fleshly wisdom is to anything that is good, or goodness. What means those often resistings of the spirit in you, O Man! Do you not see how the whore deceives you? What conception, bringing forth, or appearance of God is there in you, but the wisdom of the flesh seeks to devour it, by violent attempts, and oppositions. Therefore the text says, Rev. 17:6, that the whore was drunk with the blood of the saints, and martyrs of Jesus. How has this mystical whore, the wisdom of the flesh, martyred the appearance of Christ in you, so that indeed she is drunk with the blood of many a sanctified motion of the spirit in you? The wisdom of the flesh is that mystical Saul that hunts after the blood of David, which is, the tender appearance of God in the soul. This is what crucifies the Lamb afresh, and puts him to open shame. And all this is done by that bloody whore that harbors in your bosom.
The wisdom of the flesh is that bond-slave that always resents wisdom's children, and the children of the free women, which are the bringings forth of Jesus in you. In a word, this is that great red Dragon, spoken of in Rev. 12:3-4 who stands before the women, which is, a Christian under the pangs of new birth, ready to be delivered of the blessed child Jesus, in whose heart God is begetting Himself, in His own form and image. This I say is that dragon, even the wisdom of the flesh, which is ready to devour the sweet Babe, even Jesus, with His form and feature in the soul, and endeavors to make it an abortive. This is that mystical Herod that seeks the ruin of the appearance of God in our flesh and thus you see what the opposing nature of the whore is, who for her bloody opposition against the manifestation of God in His people, shall have blood to drink, when she shall be found worthy.
We now proceed to the other qualification of the nature of this whore, which is a high, proud, lofty, aspiring nature, being manifested by two things.
1. In that she will get into God's Temple (2 These. 2:4). In that she will therein exalt herself above all that is called God, and she will be a God to herself. Behold, O man (as it were in a glass) the true physiognomy and perfect portraiture of your fleshly wisdom.
First then, consider that your heart is that temple of God, where this great whore sits. Therefore mind the apostle, 1 Cor. 3:16, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God," also chap. 6:19. Now you being this temple of God, your fleshly wisdom is that Antichrist, that whore that sits in your heart. You are that beast that this whore rides upon, Rev, 17:3. For the Psalmist says in Psalm 49:12 that man being in honor abideth not, but is like the beast that perisheth. Here you may see, O man! the Pride of the wisdom of the flesh that no place will serve her, but God's temple the heart of man, that God has set apart for the praise of his glory, does this whore make her beast, by bringing it to be subject to her dominion; this temple of God to be that den of thievery, which God has made for his own honor and dignity.
Secondly, the exalting nature of the whore is seen, not only by her climbing up into God's Temple, and so becomes that Lucifer, that fell down to hell. But also by her behavior in God's Temple, she exalts herself above all that is called God, and she sits as God in God's Temple, in a place where she has no right to rule and govern.
Behold here, O Christian! another proper emblem of the flesh in you. How this whore, this mystical Babylon, does exalt herself above every appearance of God in you: inasmuch as her tail draws a third of the stars of heaven, and casts them down to the earth, which is in me? That reason, will, affections and judgement, which are as the civil powers and lights of the soul, all these are drawn after this beast; so that indeed, she now is the Lady of the Kingdom (Isa. 47:7) nay vs. 8 "I am and there is none else beside me." This wisdom of the flesh is that which will not allow the child Jesus any room in the Inn of your heart, but thrusts him into the manger, which is, under the meanest thoughts, poorest respects, and lowest Love of your soul. But in the mean time this whore herself takes the largest rooms, and highest chambers, that is, she is most supreme in your affections; with the greatest honor and respect that may be. Thus does this whore, the wisdom of the flesh, exalt herself as God; yea and that in God's Temple, where she has no right to rule and govern. For the Apostle tells us that we are not our own, but we are bought with a price. That is, we are to own no Lord, but He that has bought us; to render no obedience or servitude to any, but to that God who in our flesh has redeemed us according to the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," But self, flesh, and creature, would be God in God's Kingdom, which causes God to take up a complaint against his people of old. "Have I been a barren wilderness to thee, or a land of darkness, wherefore then say my people, we are lords, and we will come no more after thee." (Jer. 2:31)
Now the creature running away from the lord, commits fornication with the great whore, the wisdom of the flesh; attributing all power, glory, salvation, and happiness to selfish wisdom. And therefore Babylon says on this wise, Isa. 14:13, "I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God," which is when the wisdom of the flesh is exalted above the highest sphere of divine light in the soul, nay vs. 14, "I will be like the most high."
Behold, O man! the aspiring, exalting nature of your carnal wisdom. The wisdom of the serpent would have Adam to be as God, and to see by his own eyes, and to walk with his own light, which serpent is nothing in the Mystery but the wisdom of the flesh, carrying the soul above that center which God has seated it in; causing you to walk by her blaze, and not in God's light to see light; to hate, scorn, and put a mean elimination upon any motion of God or goodness; always thinking your way is best, and your counsel safest. And thus does this whore your fleshly wisdom, exalt herself above all that is called God in you; and sits as God in your soul, which is God's Temple. So much for the answer to the first question; namely what this great whore is?
Now you having attained some spiritual discovery of this whore, both by her names and nature; it remains, that we proceed in answer to the second question: which is namely, How this whore works, and what pretenses she deludes your soul by.
Now therefore know, O Man! That this whore works in a Mystery. Upon her forehead is written, "MYSTERY." Rev. 17.
When Antichrist, or your fleshly wisdom is most apparent in any sinful action, yet in that appearance she is very mystical: so that indeed, upon her most open workings in the heart, there is written "MYSTERY."
It is a property of a strumpet to pretend what she does not intend to her lovers. Behold a character of the Mother of Harlots, your fleshly wisdom: she is very subtle of heart. Prov. 7. She always pretends what she never intends, so that here all is well in the History, but all is mere deceit and delusion in the Mystery. This whore, she will present a glorious show, but there is nothing but wickedness and harlotry intended. This is that spiritual Judas that will betray you with his salutations. You shall find this whore in a religious dress, many times; that hereby she may deceive the heart of the simple. Observe how the harlot in Prov. 7 beguiled the young man. "She caught him, and kissed him," vs. 13, "and with an impudent face, she said unto him: I have peace offerings with me, this day have I paid my vows." This whore in the Mystery, is your fleshly wisdom, and you are this simple young man, who are deluded by her. Behold therefore, O Man! the impudency and boldness of this spiritual whore; she is not ashamed to show her forehead to you. But here is a Mystery all this while that you see it not.
Now therefore know, O Christian! that this whore appears to you in all your spiritual performances, and sacrifices to the Lord. If then you but observe, you shall see her appear in prayer, in humiliation, in fasting, nay, in all outward ordinances, you shall see your wisdom in all these things, steal your heart from the Lord, by attributing something to form, flesh and creature: so that we are apt oftentimes to bless ourselves in our spiritual performances, and sing a requiem to ourselves in our fleshly forms; so that hereby, all our duties are but the sacrifices of the whore, the vows of our fleshly wisdom which she appears in, to delude us.
Now, woe and alas for us! that we should ever be deceived by this whore, in those things wherein we think she appears least, herein is plainly seen her mystical apparition.
This whore meets you, O Man, in all your religious performances; and there does she attribute all the goodness of all that is done, to her self. And you also gave consent to it, and to commit fornication with her. Hence it is that the woman is said, (Rev. 17), to have a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations, and filthiness of her fornications, a golden pot, but a bitter potion.
This serpent, our fleshly wisdom appears to us with her speckled skin, but within her there is deadly poison. Beware then of this whore, in all her glorious appearances, and golden manifestations, for all this is but to ensnare your heart with her treachery. The wisdom of the flesh will meet you many times arrayed in purple and scarlet, colored and decked with gold; Rich in the Mystery are nothing else but shows of glory to you. She will meet you in good performances; and there she will salute you, and tell you that your good duties have prevailed with God for you; and she will tell you that because you are under such an outward form and carnal dispensation that therefore you are better than other Christians, which enjoy God in a more spiritual making out of himself. Thus she will endeavor to make you drink of her fornications, by proposing her golden cup to you: and thus poor seduced man, commits folly with himself; or his own wisdom in all outward worship whatsoever, forsakes God, in praying, fasting, mourning, and all outward forms; and is carried away more with the decency, order, and trimness of the whore, in an outward dispensation, than the power and life of Godliness, that God requires in a Christian. And so much shall suffice for the setting forth of the first delusive pretense of the whore, which is to array herself in her glory, the better to effect her design upon the poor creature.
2. The design of Antichrist, or your fleshly wisdom, is always to bring you out of love with God, O! it is death to the whore, when she sees that you desire to be constant to your husband Jesus, who has espoused you to Himself; and therefore she is still laboring to bring you out of love with Christ, and God.
And this she labors to effect, by causing you to think that God does not love you, that hereby she might estrange your heart from the Lord.
It is the work of the serpent, to raise in our hearts, hard thoughts of God. All poor afflicted souls, whoever you are that grieve under the pangs of an accusing conscience, hearken, behold and consider! How the wisdom of the flesh deludes you, by causing you to look upon God in the glass of flesh and creature; and so hereby apprehend Him to be what He is not!
Poor soul! you tell me there is no mercy in a Christ for you, and I pray thee why so? O, alas! God loves me not, He is offended at me, and displeased with me; I have been so vile a sinner against Him.
Now all this while the poor soul does but look upon God according to the dictates of selfish wisdom. And so it apprehends God to be like itself: "Thou thoughtest," saith God, "that I had been altogether such an one as thyself." Because we are angry with God many times, therefore we are apt to think God is froward with us; whereas, God is love, says the apostle, Eph. 1:4, 2:4, And therefore God tells us that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor our ways, His ways, Is. 55:8.
The wisdom of the flesh endeavors to put out, and extinguish the light of God in a Christian, whereby the soul might see God to be purely Love and Mercy; and will propose its own glass to the creature; which renders God to be what He is not, to man's apprehension.
So that when the soul would fain be refreshed with the comfortable aspect of God's presence, then comes fleshly wisdom, and tells the soul it must not behold God according to His Love, but according to its own iniquity and so hereby, dashes the soul upon the rock of desperation; insomuch that the poor creature now concludes that God is angry with him, and is resolved not to show him mercy.
Now when the whore has thus estranged the heart from the Lord, by persuading the soul, that either God is not able, or willing to help in its misery; then she propounds her own way to the creature; she will persuade the creature never to go to God again; but rather with the prodigal, to go and feed upon the husks: as namely, upon prayer, fasting, or some outward and carnal ordinances, And here the soul estranged from the substance, commits adultery with the whore, in subsisting on the shadow, forsaking the fountain, running to the broken cisterns, and so commits a great evil against the Lord. And thus poor naked man runs from God, as from an enemy, behind the trees of his own creating; and before he will be beholding to God for clothing, he will cover himself with the fig-leaves of his own fleshly wisdom, and so commits adultery with the Mother of Harlots. And now you see another delusive pretense of the whore raining hard thoughts of God in you, by bringing you out of love with the Lord your Husband, so that she might the better steal your heart from God, and rob Him of His due and propriety.
3. This Mother of Harlots, your fleshly wisdom will propose herself to be all to you, so that she may draw all your action after her. She will tell you that she can supply all your wants, and relieve your necessities, and therefore you need not to be beholden to God for anything. She will tell you with Adam that she can give you the knowledge of good and evil, and she can open your eyes and she it is that gives you anything. Therefore the text says, Prov. 9:13, "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing." This foolish woman is your fleshly wisdom, O Man! for the Apostle says, The wisdom of the flesh is foolishness with the Lord; which although it be foolish, simple and knows nothing, yet she is very clamorous; that is, her voice must chiefly be harkened unto. If the still, small voice of the Spirit utter itself in your soul, how does the clamor of your foolish fleshly wisdom as it were out-cry, and drown the utterings of God in you. Therefore the text says, vs. 14, that "she sits in the door of her house, and the highest places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways; whose is simple let him turn in hither, and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith, stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
Alas! poor seduced man that reads this history, and sees not that you yourself are the very person intended. Know therefore that you are this passenger, who while you are traveling right on the way to seek after Christ, are deluded by the clamor of this strange woman. While you are seeking after wisdom, she bids you turn in hither, She has wisdom and knowledge for you, although she is simple and knows nothing, O sirs! how wise would self be, when it is nothing but folly in the abstract.
And thus, O Manl you are invited to Babylon's banquet, and run after the stolen waters of the whore, your fleshly wisdom; which stolen waters in the Mystery, are nothing else but the depriving of God of His due in all His works in the soul. When God brings forth His wisdom and divine light in the soul, then flesh and self will tell you that all proceeds from them, and so steal God's propriety from Him. And thus man runs from God, and is estranged from the Lord, and eats bread secretly from the harlot.
And this (in my apprehension) is a third delusive presence of the whore, so to show herself to the creature as if all fulness were treasured in her; in whom indeed is nothing but vacancy and emptiness. Thus does this whore draw us from the Lord our Lover, who has ever been constant to us, and that in the very height of our inconsistency to him.
It is the design of God in us, to bring us to live upon His fulness, and to feed upon those divine dainties, which He will carve out to us. And what soul is it, that in the time of his constancy to the Lord, ever wanted anything? Nay what Spiritual refreshments and incomes of divine glory have our souls tasted of, while we have kept in our Father's house?
But when Jeshurun waxes fat, and kicks (Deut, 32:15); when once we, prodigal-like forsake our Father, and think that there is enough in self and creature to subsist upon; when once we begin to loathe the heavenly manna, Christ Jesus, and to esteem more of the fleshpots, garlic and onions of Egypt, the raw and rank discovery of this whore of bondage in us, when we prefer the husks of swinish self, and wisdom before the dainties of our Father's table; truly we at last come to know the want of divine joy and comfortKnow therefore, O Man! that in all your wanderings from the Lord your full fountain, to self, your broken cistern; you in the mean time, are drawn by the whore of your fleshly wisdom, to yield to her wickedness, by her flattering
lips she forces you, Prov. 7:21, and you go after her as a silly ox to the slaughter, till a dart strike through your liver; which darts is one of the fiery darts, which the apostle speaks of, even the woundings of the conscience, the gnawings of the worm in you. And this is that spiritual death, which you have brought upon yourself, by committing adultery with the whore, your fleshly wisdom; who has stolen your heart from the Lord, by attributing all fulness to herself in you. And now she leaves you, as not being able to help you in your woe, distress and misery. And so much shall suffice for the discovery of a third delusive pretense of the whore, whereby she deceives the heart of the simple man.
4. This whore, the wisdom of the flesh, is very changeable in her appearances. It is the policy of an harlot to suit herself to the humor and fancy of her lovers, so thereby she may still retain and keep them in her favor.
Even so it is with the spiritual whore, the Mother of Harlots, your fleshly wisdom, which will still be moving and changing herself in her appearances to you, so that her design may be carried on the more subtly. Therefore the text says, Prov. 5:6, "Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, thou canst not know them." Behold here, as in a glass, the nature of this whorish woman, the wisdom of the flesh! How moveable she is in all the puttings forth of her self to man. If your heart leads you to all manner of palpable profanities this whore will encourage you to this course of life, and she will tell you, that there is time enough yet to be sorry for your misdeeds, and if through the motions of goodness, you begin to ponder of your wickedness; and therefore are resolved to mend your wicked courses and to be more virtuous for the time to come; this whore will move with you hither also. She will lead you forth to the presence of many a good moral action, as to extend alms, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, and to leave your old vices you have formerly lived in. All this she will be well contented with. She will be willing with Saul, to kill part of the spoil, some open vices and palpable profanities; but Agag, and the fattest of the cattle, the chief lusts of your heart, she will work yet under; that in the Mystery must be spared. (1 Sam. 15:9) Thus will the whore conform herself to man; nay, if you are brought by higher light to see that Godliness does not consist only in refraining from some open vices, and embracing their contrary virtues; but there must be religion, as well as morality looked after. And therefore now you are resolved to take upon you some outward profession of Christianity.
This whore will change her appearances to you here also. She will come forth to meet you with her peaceoffering and her vows. She will move you to fasting, prayer, and humiliation, provided, that all this while you attribute the glory of all to herself. She will move as high as any outward ordinance with you, and all this is lest you should ponder the path of life.
Lest you should question this whore in her wanton gesture, and gaudy attire, she will behave herself more religiously, and adorn herself more demurely; so that hereby she may the more cunningly draw your affections after her, and thus poor seduced man is mystically misled, by the flatteries of this whorish woman. In the mean time he thinks he serves God, And this is a 4th pretense of the Mother of Harlots, to move and change in all her appearances to you, so that by her conformity to you in every respect, she may keep your affections entirely to herself.
5. It is the property of this strange woman, your fleshly wisdom, to render Christ to be at a distance from you, in all her fornications with you.
If man in all his adulteries from the Lord, did but seriously consider and really understand, that his first lover Christ Jesus is in him, and sees him in all his strayings from Him; and how he eats his bread secretly, with the wisdom of the flesh; surely be would be ashamed of his folly, and would not dare thus to commit harlotry in the light of his spiritual Lover. And this the wisdom of the flesh knows right well, and therefore labors might and main to render Christ at a distance from the creature, so that the soul might not be afraid to commit fornication with her.
Therefore it is the language of the whore, Prov. 7:19-20. The Goodman is not at home, he is gone into a far country. And behold the language of this mystical strumpet, the wisdom of the flesh! She will persuade you that you may take a little liberty to sin that you may exalt self a little, in religious performances, for God sees you not. He is in heaven, and not in your heart; and thus, man being deluded by this whore, becomes that fool who said in his heart, "there is no God," so that he might magnify, deify and worship self in God's stead.
Self and flesh will not own the manifestation of God in the soul, when the Lord lets forth the beams of His glory into the heart of man, and does, as it were, draw up the soul to a higher center, by giving it some taste of the powers of the world to come: it is the work of your fleshly wisdom to extinguish this divine light in the soul, and as it were to corrupt the stomach, and put the mouth out of taste, so that it might not relish or digest those divine dainties.
And notwithstanding those open appearances of Christ in you, yet the wisdom of the flesh will tell you, that the Goodman Christ Jesus is gone abroad; He is at a distance from you. This whore will be contented that you should know anything but Christ Jesus, and Him crucified in you. She is willing that you should know Christ naturally, but not spiritually; Christ in the History, but not in the Mystery: Christ for you, but not Christ in you. It is possible for a man to know very much of the flesh of Christ, to be acquainted with the History of Godliness, to live under carnal ordinances and fleshly dispensations, to talk and dispute upon high principles, to be higher in the understanding of scriptures than others, by the head and shoulders with Saul; and yet for all this, he may in all these things commit adultery with the whore. All these things may be to him no more, than the sacrifices and the vows of this spiritual whore, the wisdom of the flesh. He is not the true Professor therefore, that can read, hear, fast and pray, and worship God in outward dispensation; but those are the true circumcision that worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh:
He is not a Christian indeed that does by the power of nature, believe what is naturally and historically reported of Christ in the scripture but be that by the power of the Spirit, believes all this History to be verified in him in the Mystery, For there is a History, and a Mystery of Christ. The History is, Christ for us, the Mystery is, Christ in us. Col. 1:27.
Now that power of nature which is implanted in man, is sufficient for giving credit to whatsoever Christ is, or has been for us, but not for what Christ is in us, This must be a power equal with that which raised up Jesus from the dead, Eph. 1:20.
Your fleshly wisdom will be contented that you should be acquainted with what Christ has done for you, but she will not endure to let you see Him in you.
First, she is willing to let you understand that Christ has been made flesh for you, but not that the Word is made flesh in you; that is, that God by His own power has begotten Himself, brought forth Himself in His own likeness in you; that you are this virgin that is over-shadowed with power from on high; and have the immortal seed of God in you, which immortal seed by its own power brings forth its own self in your soul, by the puttings forth of the motions of the Spirit in you. This your fleshly wisdom will not let you behold. The wisdom of the flesh is that serpent, Rev. 12:15, that casts out the flood after the woman, or a Christian, in whom Christ is by the power of the Spirit born and brought forth. This flood in the Mystery is, nothing in me but the overflowing of the wisdom of the flesh, and the inundations of sinful flesh and creature, that flow into the heart of man; this spiritual serpent, hereby endeavoring to drown and destroy, both Christ and a Christian, at once as it were, both the passive Mother, and the active babe suddenly, such an enemy is the wisdom of the flesh to Christ in us.
This flood of iniquity, these over-flowings of the wisdom of the flesh in us, is that great river Euphrates, that must be dried up, that way be made for the King of the East, Christ Jesus, to ruin great Babel in man's heart. And thus you see briefly, how the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to Christ born in us.
2. She cannot endure to let us see the dying of this Christ in us, although we are the very persons that crucifies the Lamb afresh, and puts Him to open shame. Yet she will persuade us otherwise; and thus poor self-seduced man, crucifies his Savior every day afresh; and yet is so deluded by himself, that he sees it not.
Consider then, O man, that you are this spiritual Jerusalem, where Christ is slain. You are that judge that condemns Christ in the motions of His Spirit, and lets Barabbas, or your base lust, go uncontrolled: all the faculties of your soul, and the powers of the inner man, misled by the wisdom of the flesh, as it were the voice of the people, "crucify Him, crucify Him." Your sins are those spears that pierce Christ in spirit, in you. And thus, O man, you are the daily cross of your Savior. And how happy you should be if you discern all this, so that you might look upon Him whom you now pierce, and mourn for your iniquity: but the design of this whore, your fleshly wisdom, is to darken your eye from beholding this. She will rather tell you that the good man is not at home, Christ is not in you in His sufferings,
And thus poor man, misled by the whore, becomes that deceitful Pilate, that washes his hands of the blood of this innocent spirit, whom it has despitefully crucified,
But secondly, Christ may be said to die in a Christian another way, which also this whore cannot endure we should see and behold; that is, when Christ dies in flesh to us, and in us; for sometimes Christ lives in fleshly appearances of Himself in a Christian. Some Christians, the highest discovery of Christ that they have attained unto, is fleshly forms and fleshly ordinances; and thus many a Christian enjoys Christ as really and as comfortably, as the disciples did the natural flesh of Christ. Now Christ would need to die, depart, go away from His disciples in the flesh, so that He might come in a higher, and more glorious dispensation to them. Even so Christ does oftentimes die in a Christian, to all outward and fleshly dispensations, and this death the wisdom of the flesh cannot endure that the soul should discern. How often does God go out of all low appearances to a Christian? Insomuch that a poor Christian can many times find no life in the forms, no comfort in the ordinances, no joy in duties and performances; but with Mary, stands weeping at the sepulchre, or those dead dispensations where Christ is buried, and can see no more appearance of Jesus in them, but all this while it seeks the living among the dead: and thus Christ dies in a Christian to all fleshly appearances, many times. And truly, look what sorrow fell upon the spirits of the poor disciples, for the departure of their Lord (in the flesh) from them; the like sorrow and grief falls upon that Christian, from whom Christ is departed in all outward dispensations.
Christ compares that present estate and condition of the disciples to a woman in travail, Jo. 16:21-22. And ye now therefore have sorrow, says Christ: Behold O Christian; the lively image of our condition! When Christ crucifies His own flesh to us, in all those outward dispensations, wherein we have formerly enjoyed God.
Happily, heretofore we have seen much of God in our outward formal fellowships one with another, in fleshly ordinances; as baptism of water, and breaking of bread; but now happily Christ is crucified in all these things to us, and we find nothing but dead flesh there; nothing that can administer any spiritual comfort in any of these things; see nothing but form and bare flesh, bare water, bare bread, and wine; insomuch that we now confess, that our highest attainment of the knowledge of Christ, has been but a knowledge after the flesh, now here lies Christ crucified to all these things, and the soul dead to its wonted discoveries.
Now the design of your fleshly wisdom, is to darken this death of Christ in you. She cannot endure that the soul should move out of its fleshly discoveries; for she loves the outward order, and fleshly decency of all these things. Therefore she'll tell you that Christ must be found here, or no where; and thus keeps the soul in bondage to herself; insomuch that the poor creature goes again and again to his outward worship, and yet finds no living Christ there; nor is possessed with any more comfort in them, than proceeds from the power of the flesh, whereas indeed the soul should be willing to wait in this dead condition; for the return of the Spirit; to lie empty and bare at the gate of mercy, out of all those formal dispensations, from whence Christ is departed; waiting for the Comforter. Therefore my counsel is to all those who see Christ dead to all such carnal and fleshly dispensations in them: Christian, wait upon the Lord, and you shall renew your strength. Christ must have His time to lie in the grave, hidden from you in all His appearances to you; but this know, He will see you again, in a more spiritual discovery of Himself. It is but a while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and will take you up into Himself, above those types and figures. He will be your water, and bread, and wine to you. He will bring you to the enjoyment of the substance, you shall no more live upon the shadow. You shall live upon the kernel, and not always be cracking upon the shell. For if we be dead with Christ, we shall also live together with Him. But be sure in the mean time that you beware of the whore, lest by her appearances to you in all outward worship, make you believe that Christ is living in all those things wherein He is dead and buried. And thus in brief, you see that this strumpet, the wisdom of the flesh, is an enemy to the discovery of Jesus Christ in us. And now me thinks by this time we may see who is the great Antichrist that John speaks of in his first epistle, 1 Jo. 4:3. That every spirit that believes not, or denies Christ come in the flesh, is Antichrist: And what is it now that denies Christ come in the flesh? If you would know Christian what this Antichrist is, and where she lies, you need not go far to discover it; you need not go to Rome, Canterbury, or Westminster, but you may find that Antichrist in you, denying Jesus to be come in the flesh.
Oh, all you that would fain show yourselves professed enemies to this Antichrist, that man of sin, who seeks to destroy root and branch, all those in whom you conceive there are appearances of Him. Return, return O man, into your own bosom, and there behold him lying secretly in your own soul. There is the Antichrist that denies every manifestation of God in your flesh, This is the whore that you commit fornication with daily. This is the Babylon, whose downfall will be joyous to the saints. This is the heretic and the schismatic. This it is that makes rents and divisions among us: and therefore we ought everyone of us, to desire God to subdue the wisdom of the flesh in us, and to wait upon the Lord until He comes to show us the judgment of the spiritual whore, this Antichrist in us; and not so much desire downfall of either Pope, Presbyter, or Independent, or any other state whatsoever; but to desire the ruin of this mystical Babylon, which is the Mother of all our harlotry from the Lord. And so, much will suffice for answer to the second question, which is namely: How the whore works, and what pretenses she deludes the soul by?
We proceed now in order to a third question. Namely, 3 . How the soul comes to attain to a sight of her? In which we shall first propose the way that God does usually take to discover this whore to a Christian.
Second, when the soul sees her, how and in what manner it apprehends her.
First, for the way that a soul comes to attain a sight of her by.
If then, you would know the way how a Christian comes to a spiritual sight of flesh and self; know, that God must deal with you as He did with John, Rev. 17. When God would show John the judgment of the great whore, and give him a discovery of the whore, he takes him, vs. 3, and carried him away in the Spirit into the wilderness, and then says John, I saw a woman, etc.
First then know that you can never behold self aright, till God take you up, or carry you away in the Spirit. The spiritual man, says the apostle, seeth all things, discovers all things, and judgeth all things. So much as the Lord spiritualizes a Christian, so much he sees into himself, and discerns and beholds this mystical whore the wisdom of the flesh, in himself: and how he judges and esteems of her as that whore, that adulteress with whom he has (in all his ways and worships) adulterated from the Lord.
Therefore the Apostle says that the spirit searcheth all things, 1 Cor. 2:10. So long as the soul lies under the veil of the flesh, so long self is undiscovered to him. For while the creature lies wrapped up in the mantle of nature, it is in a spiritual slumber of sleep: and lies as one passive, under the workings of the wisdom of the flesh; rocked asleep in the cradle of fleshly security. But now when God speaks by the still, small voice, and yet powerful utterance of the Spirit in a Christian, "Come up hither," when God takes a soul beyond self and creature; insomuch that now the creature sees all but vanity below Christ: now I say, the creature comes to some discovery of himself, but never before.
That man that will view the breadth and length of a city at once, must not always be walking around in the streets; but he must assay to get up to the top of some mountain that lies above it, and so the city shall be discovered to him, with its breadth and length. Even so it is with the spiritual Babel, which is in you, O Man! even the wisdom of the flesh. You must be taken above it, before you can truly and really discover it.
2. You must be carried away in the Spirit; carried quite away from all power, policy, strength, motion and action of the creature.
3. The place where you must be carried into is a wilderness, which is into a lost condition to sin and self. Never does the soul attain to a real sight of the flesh, till the Lord by His Spirit does (as it were) lose the soul to itself. When the creature comes to be at a loss in itself, in all its fleshly performances, not knowing where to have recourse, but sees that his narrow fleshly heart is so wide a wilderness that he is lost in the many turnings and windings thereof; now the creature comes to behold his spiritual adulteries; now he sees to what a lost condition he is fallen; and how the whore all this while in all his duties, worships, forms and disciplines, has stolen his heart from the Lord, his first lover and tender husband. Paul was carried away by the Spirit into this wilderness, Phil, 3:7-9, he professes in verse 7, that what things were gain to him, he counted loss for Christ. "Yea doubtless," he says vs. 8, "And I count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," Paul never knew himself, nor creature excellency aright, till God showed him the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. And when he comes to see the worth of Christ, then be sees himself in a wilderness. In this wilderness or lost condition, he spies the vanity of all that was flesh below Christ; so that now when God carries away a soul in the Spirit, and loses it as it were, to itself, and lets loose the beams of his own glory upon it, ravishes the heart with his own beauty, catches him up as it were to the third heavens, and shows such divine excellency as it never yet apprehended, the soul by the clear aspect of his beautifical vision of God, begins now to see the vanity and deformity of itself, and is (as it were) in as great amazement of spirit, as the man doubtless was, who was born blind from the womb, and yet now comes to see the sun, or as one that has been shut up in a dark dungeon, and now comes to walk in the light. Even thus is it with poor man in the highest glory and excellency of the flesh. When God sends forth the beams of that Sun of Righteousness upon poor man, how dark he beholds himself to be, as he stands in relation to all fleshly excellency, when God shows him the worth, value and excellency of himself in Christ; what loss, dung and dross does a Christian esteem those things to be, though formerly never so glorious and excellent; and therefore Paul now no longer desires to be found in his own excellency, or in himself, but he says, vs. 9, "that I may be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ." The light of Christ's excellency, it does so fully discover self and flesh to the Christian, as that now he loathes the scarlet color, the glorious attire of the whore, even all its golden performances, her gilded vows and sacrifices.
O, all you poor souls, who are apt to place your glory in anything below Christ, and to hang your righteousness upon your prayers, fastings, mournings or any outward ordinances, alas how far you are mistaken! Who when the Lord comes to carry you away in the Spirit, to see all your glory in Christ, your righteousness in Him; you will then see the odiousness of everything below Christ, which you have wondered after. You will then desire that God might find you in this wilderness, quite out of self; that there may not be any hoof of the beast in you, but that you may be wholly incorporated into Christ: in whom you now see your glory to consist. And thus you see what the way is that God uses to discover self, or this whore the wisdom of the flesh, to the soul.
Secondly, let us consider how and in what manner the soul beholds the whore.
A poor creature whom the Lord has carried away, or taken up into the Spirit, that now lives and walks in the Spirit, he sees and beholds himself not as he was wont to do formerly. Happily you were wont to see a glory and excellency in things that were below God, but now on the contrary how loathsome is everything, that comes short of the divine excellency of Christ. Happily heretofore you have seen some worth in your prayers, and in your tears, but now you see all these things which before were counted gain, to be but loss unto you. You behold all your own righteousness to be but a menstruous cloth, and as a filthy rag. Happily heretofore you boasted of your pedigree with Paul; of the tribe of Benjamin, and of the stock of Israel; that you are descended from such a reformed church, from such visible dispensations; so that as touching all legal worship, outward forms, and ordinances, you may be nominated a Pharisee. But now you see the lowness, and weakness of these fleshly things, wherein you have formerly boasted. Now you rejoice that you have attained to the knowledge of that Christ which is the end or substance of all these fleshly things unto you, so that now you have no confidence in the flesh any longer; but are become one of the true circumcision that worship God in the Spirit, and rejoices in Christ Jesus. In a word, this spiritualized Christian, sees all below Christ to be but the garment of this spiritual strumpet, that she uses to appear in to deceive him. He now sees the whore, and her various pretenses, and how she has formerly deceived him in her several dresses; he sees her not only in her gaudy attire, but in the height of her modesty, even in her religious garment, so that now he sees how the wisdom of the flesh makes use of all outward worship, forms and ordinances, to deceive the hearts of the simple.
Finally, this spiritual man has the same discovery of this whorish wisdom, as John had, Rev 17, vs. 3-7.
John saw the woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast. Truly when God carries you away in the Spirit, you will behold yourself to be the beast, that this mystical whore, the wisdom of the flesh, does thus enslave man in his fallen condition from God; as it were Satan's pack horse to act all his designs of wickedness. This beast had seven heads and ten horns. These seven heads and ten horns are seven mountains and ten kings, the scripture says; which in me are nothing but those powers of man which God has endued him withall; as reason, will, affection, understanding and the like; and all these (vs. 13) do with one consent give and ascribe their power to the beast, or poor bestialized man. And this beast man, employs all these with their power to make war against the Lamb Christ Jesus, vs. 14. And so here is a discovery of poor misled man, fighting the battle of the whore, his fleshly wisdom. All this does the Christian apprehend in himself, when the Lord carries him away in the Spirit of His glory.
John saw the woman, vs. 4, arrayed in purple and scarlet color, decked with gold, pearls and precious stones. Truly Christian, when the Lord takes away this false glassy eye of the flesh from you, and endues you with spiritual eye-sight from Himself, you shall see this whore, your fleshly wisdom, in all this her glory and excellency in you. For all these golden pearls and precious stones, and scarlet colors, are but the trimmings of the whore, that she usually puts on and clothes herself withall, when she comes out to meet the sons of men; so that hereby she might with the more facility dazzle the eyes, infatuate and bewitch the senses of her spiritual lovers. But now when God takes up a soul into Spirit, then flesh is, as it were, unclothed to the creature. Now the soul looks not at her glorious shows, which formerly had bewitched his heart; but he sees and knows that under that golden habit, there walks this subtle harlot under this speckled skin, there is a venomous, viperous, serpentine carcass. The man whom God has spiritualized, when the wisdom of the flesh appears in him in her glory, clad with excellency, and adorned with all her beautiful robes; yet all this while he sees her naked and bare: the Spirit teaches him to look inwardly, and not altogether outwardly; and this is such a Mystery, that the poor carnal heart cannot discern, because he looks fleshly and carnally, and has not yet received this spiritual eyesight from above. But then, John saw the woman having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications. Now the soul which God wraps up in that spirit of glory, he beholds this whore in him, and sees how she has deluded him by her golden cup, to taste of the wine of her fornications, For this golden cup in the whore's hand, is (in the Mystery of it) the gilded pretenses, and golden appearances of the wisdom of the flesh; in which pretenses there is contained, the wickedness of her abominations, and filthiness of her fornication. A man caught up, and carried by the Spirit to walk in the life of Christ, and to live in the purity of God, sees himself (as it were) now awakened out of the drunken sleep of the whore, newly risen out of the defiled bed of the flesh; from the spiritual vomits, swinish abominations, and beastly uncleanness that he before wallowed in.
Again John saw, vs. 5, what was written upon the woman's forehead. Truly, until such time as the Lord takes a soul up into Spirit, though the wisdom of the flesh appear openly to him, though she shows her very forehead, yet be cannot discern her in her appearances. But now when God has caught the soul into Spirit, and carried him away in the Spirit, then he sees the whore in her apparitions. He beholds Mystery in the forehead, or palpable workings of the whore; Mystery in all her specious pretenses: and notwithstanding all her shows of glory. Yet he sees she is indeed and in truth Babylon the great: the great confused whore, which breeds all that confusion of spirit in a Christian; and all that commotion, disturbance, and out-cries that are in the heart of man, all those heavy, sad and disconsolate thoughts that man is possessed withall; all that disorder that many a time is in the soul; every hard thought of God; every despairing imagination; all the gnawings of conscience in the creature. So that (I say) he now sees her to be the great Babel, or confused whore, who is the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth.
But then lastly, John saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. Truly this is the very physiognomy and portraiture of the whore. To a Christian that is carried away in the Spirit, be now comes to behold her a drunken, blood thirsty whore. He now sees how the whore has martyred the bringings forth of Christ, slain and crucified that man Jesus afresh. He sees how the whore is drunk with the blood of the Lamb in him. In a word, the saints truly spiritualized, beholds self and flesh to be the most baleful, detestable, loathsome thing in the world to him. Look how loathsome and injurious a man's vomit is to his stomach, even so loathsome is self to that Christian, from whose stomach God has fetched up all the corrupt flesh, by bringing the soul to be lovesick of Christ, with the operative pills of His blessed Spirit. O, how hateful now is the golden cup and sweet wine of the whore, to a spiritualized man; insomuch that he now loathes and abhors himself in dust and ashes Nay he begins now to wonder at himself, in his own shame and folly, as the text says, vs. 6, that when John saw the whore he wondered with great admiration. Truly, the same is the condition of every Christian, who by the carryings away by the Spirit, comes to a spiritual sight of this whore, the wisdom of the flesh, he now wonders that he should be drawn to commit folly by so filthy an harlot. He now wonders that such a bulk of filthiness, such a mountain of wickedness, and spring of bitterness should be in him, and he never till now was able to discern it. He now wonders that ever the lenity and mercy of God should so long bear with him in all his adulteries with this swinish whore. He now wonders that God at last has brought him to such a sight and discovery; he admires to see where he is, and where he was; that God has brought him from flesh to live in Spirit, from darkness, into the marvelous light; from the ways of sorrow, to that highway, the Lord Jesus.
And thus you see briefly, how, and in what manner, the soul beholds this mystical whore, the wisdom of the flesh. And so much shall suffice for the third question, namely, how the creature comes to attain to a sight of her?
We proceed now in order to the fourth question, which is, namely, When and how shall she be destroyed?
Now in brief to answer this, and so draw to a conclusion of the matter. I thus reply:
If then, O man! you desire to know how, and when this spiritual whore shall be destroyed: it shall be done in the day, and by the coming and appearance of Jesus in you. This day is the last day; and this coming is the second coming of Jesus. (Heb. 9:27-28)
Now as concerning this last day, know this, O Man! that it is nothing for you to read the History of the last day in scripture, and there to see what shall be done in that day that God will glorify Himself in the saints, and be admired in all them that believe, that then God shall thoroughly purge His floor, and the saints shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is. Now, I say, it is nothing to know this in the History, except we know it in the Mystery of it.
You are therefore to expect Jesus to come to judgment in you: and the end of the world be in you. You are to wait for the return of this Jesus in Spirit; which shall come to you as He did to John, and show you the judgment of the great whore in you, for there is nothing that shall happen or fall out to you in relation to the day of judgment, which shall not be verified in you in this life: though it may be, not in the same manifestative measure or fulness, as it shall be hereafter.
As first, one sign of this last day, is that there shall be wars and rumors of wars, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Now here Christian, you may behold the last day to be at hand, here is Gog and Magog at battle with the Lamb; what is it that makes all that envy, variance, strife, sedition, and emulation in the world: but the second, or spiritual appearance of Jesus in His people. The coming of Christ in the saints, is not to bring peace but a sword against us. I confidently say, that this last day, this spiritual appearance of Christ in men and women, is the very original of all these commotions that are amongst us; insomuch that now here is, the father hating the appearance of Christ in the son, the son likewise the father; the mother in the daughter, and the daughter in the mother, one brother sheathing the sword in the bowels of another, because the last day dawns, and the star of glory is risen more in one than in another. Here is Cain killing Abel, because his sacrifice is accepted of the Lord and the others is not. I tell you Christian, the more the whore will bestir herself, she will not only raise outward but inward war against you: which inward insurrection and rebellion, is a symptom, that the day of judgement is at hand in you. John tells us in Rev. 17:14 that "the kings of the earth shall make war against the Lamb," which kings in the Mystery, are but the kingly governing powers of your soul, which are assembled together in you, to this spiritual battle of Gog and Magog, to make war against the innocent Lamb, Christ Jesus in spirit: but the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is King of kings and Lord of lords, All the power and policy of the flesh shall at last yield their power to Christ, and shall consent to the just judgment of the whore your fleshly wisdom. But till this strong man of the flesh be cast out, by that stronger than he, Christ Jesus, there will be nothing but war and confusion in you; so that indeed now the serpent is come down with great rage in you, knowing that he has but a short time. The more nigh the coming of Christ be, the more this serpent spits out venom. This Antichrist, this whore, will the more earnestly bestir herself, knowing it is but a short time to her judgment.
St. John tells us, Rev. 12:7, that when the woman had brought forth her manchild, which was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, the woman upon the birth of this manchild fled into the wilderness. And when the woman was in the wilderness, then says John, I saw war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels (and what's all this to me?). Truly Christian, methinks this war in heaven is a sure symptom of the day of the judgment, the end of this world in us, when God by His own power brought forth this man Jesus in us, and has given Him power to rule and reign in this woman, or weak passive Christian. The soul presently upon the birth or bringing forth of Jesus in it, is immediately in a wilderness, or lost in itself, and lies as one amazed at this sudden work of the Lord. In this bewildered condition of the creature, Satan he gages war upon it, shoots his fiery darts at it, pursues the woman with Herod, and seeks to devour both Christ and the Christian also.
Now therefore Christian, know that your soul is this heaven, where the great battle is fought. You being in a lost bewildered estate, as not knowing which way to escape the woundings of Satan, and the fiery darts of the wicked, but stand as a senseless, lifeless mark for your spiritual enemies to shoot at. But Michael your spiritual prince, Christ Jesus, He fights for you against the dragon, that whore, that Antichrist, that labors to devour you, so that you are the poor passive that lies stone still, while the serpent stings you, and the dragon exercises his cruelty upon you, till at last this Michael, our Prince Christ Jesus, has by His own power and strength, cast out, and so routed this dragon, this old serpent, vs. 9, that now his place is no more found in heaven or in your soul. Thus you may see Christ judging the whore, this serpent in you, insomuch, that now this loud voice is uttered from the heaven, or the soul of the saint, as in vs. 10: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ." Whereas before, nothing but the dreadful voice of hell, wrath, anger, fury and judgment; nothing but wars and rumors of wars heard in your soul. Yet now the day is come, Christ is come to judgment in us, and has condemned the whore in us. Now the voice of salvation is heard in you, whereas before you apprehended God, as David did sometimes to have shot the arrows of his wrath at you, and to have battered your soul in pieces, by the thundering cannon of his wrath. Yet now you see there is a cessation of these tumults in you, and now you see that sweet messenger of God, the eternal Spirit, drawing near towards you with its white flag of peace, joy, comfort, and salvation, bringing comfort unto you by telling you your warfare is accomplished, your iniquity is pardoned, and you have received double at the Lord's hands for all your sins, (and then further) now strength is come also, which is another part of the voice of heaven, alas how feeble and how weak, faint, and unable was the soul before the spiritual resurrection of it, for the birth of this child Jesus in it, is the regeneration, or new birth of the Christian.
The wilderness the woman fled into is that mortified dead, lost estate of a Christian; the grave where the soul is buried to every living action. And the overcoming or conquering of the dragon, or the spiritual serpent, the wisdom of the flesh; is the resurrection of the saint, or that spiritual day of judgment of the whore in us. Now as Jesus raised up Himself by the power of the Father from out of the bowels of the earth, so by the strength and power of this Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, a Christian rises out of this dead condition; and so her mortal putting on immortality, and corruption putting on incorruption, here is death swallowed up in victory. The Christian now as he has formerly been planted with Christ in the likeness of His death; so likewise now in the likeness of His resurrection. It bears now no longer the image of the first dead Adam, but is risen in the likeness of Christ, out of earth and flesh, which formerly he was involved and buried in, and by his rising again, overcomes the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, kills the great Goliath, the wisdom of the flesh, and this is all by the strength of the strongman Christ Jesus who is entered into this temple, or the heart of man, and silences all these earthly rumors and commotions in him; and also is the second part of the voice from heaven fulfilled, now is come not only salvation but strength.
And then thirdly, the Kingdom of God, that's come also, and the power of His Christ. Our Savior taught His disciples while He was in the flesh, and knew Him only after the flesh; I say, He taught them to pray, "Thy kingdom come," so that the kingdom of Christ, in that sense, was not yet come to the disciples. Even so it is with every poor Christian that has attained to no more knowledge than the flesh of Christ can teach them, that do not know Christ any other ways, than by the beholding of His fleshly substance, as Christians do in all outward and fleshly ordinances, that see no more or know no more of Christ, than bread, water and wine, and outward forms and order can teach them. The Kingdom of God is not come to them yet. While the woman was in the wilderness, the Kingdom of God was not come in her; but when she, by the strength of God was risen, and had overcome by the blood of the Lamb; then she cried, "now the kingdom of God is come." The woman was fed in the wilderness, vs. 6. In our low and lost estate, God feeds us with milk; because the kingdom of God, Christ in the measure of the Spirit, is not yet come to enable us to bear stronger meats. In the wilderness or weak condition of the saints, God feeds them with manna; but when He brings them into Canaan, He then compasses them about with the flowings of milk and honey.
This Canaan, is Christ, the true rest of a Christian, the kingdom of the Father in the saints, who draws up the soul from these low dispensations, by degrees, as it were, till he has seated it in Himself, into spiritual discoveries of His excellency; so that now the soul prays no more in the imbecility of the flesh, "Thy kingdom come," seeks no longer in fleshly forms and ordinances for the kingdom; for it is already in them, and they live in the enjoyment of it. Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ. The dragon and his angels, they fought to establish their kingdom in the soul; but the Lamb overcame them, and set up His kingdom in the Christian; and the kings of the earth as namely, the powers of the creature bring all their glory and honor into it.
Thus you see that the whore shall be destroyed, in the last day, at the second coming of Christ in us; and likewise, I have discovered unto you one sign of the last day, or day of spiritual judgment; which is, those combats, wars, and commotions that are in a Christian. I will but instance two more, and so shall draw to a conclusion.
Therefore secondly, a second sign or symptom of the last day, is the dissolution of the world; how that the earth, and all that is therein, shall be burned up; the sun turned into darkness, the moon into blood, the stars shall fall from heaven. And thus God will shake the heavens and the earth, and men's hearts shall fail them for fear; expecting the end of such sorrowful beginnings. Even thus it is with, and in a Christian, at the approaching of the Spirit of Christ in him: the world begins to be dissolved The world is said to be placed in man's hearts (Ec. 3:11); which world in man's hearts, shall be dissolved by the fire of the Spirit of Christ. The heavens and the earth are mystically in man; and the waters, with their ebbings and flowings, are to be seen in the Mystery, in man. Here is God dividing the light from the darkness, to be seen in man; the waters below from the waters above the firmament. All this is fulfilled mysteriously in man; in whom God separates Himself, who is pure and light, from the darkness and nothingness of the creature. The fouls of the air, and fishes of the sea, are mystically in man; as namely, those flying fantasies, and swimming notions of the creature. In a word, here is everything bringing forth fruit after its own kind in man; and all God's creation, good in its own kind, in this first world, which is in man's heart.
But now this first world, this first creation, must be dissolved. Whatever excellency God has endued man withall, in this first creation; whatever maturity of wit and ingenuity the Lord has lent man; how high forever, and how large forever, the Lord has naturalized the creature, yet all this excellency shall vanish away. All this worldly glory, as I so call it, shall be consumed, and burned up. But alas! how hardly is this believed, how impossible is this to carnal man, that all this Godly creation and work of God in his nature, should be annihilated; that reason, natural understanding, and wisdom; nay, nature itself, should be consumed. But this is the Lord's act, His strange act, His work, and wondrous work in a Christian.
Now therefore, consider Christian, that this is but the old world, or first or lowest manifestation of God in you; which old world must pass away and be no more. John tells us that he saw "A new heaven and a new earth," Rev. 21:1. "For the first heaven and the first earth was passed away, and there was no more sea." What's all this? Truly Christian in me it's this much: when this day dawns, and this day star Christ Jesus arises in our hearts, when the morning sun, even Jesus breaks forth upon us in His glory, warmth and splendor, then begins this world within us to be dissolved. The heavens and the earth in us, begins to melt with the fervent heat of the sun, and fall away to nothing. And the Lord instead of you, frames a new heaven and a new earth; so that all that was nature and pure reason, and ingenuity, is quite dissolved, and a new work wrought in the soul, that takes up the heart above its former excellency and glory. Although that were good in its kind, yet God will please, by the more glorious discoveries of Himself, to drown all this former creation, and to beget all things new in the creature; and then not only the heaven and the earth passed away, but also there was no more sea.
This sea, or these waters in man, are these great overflowings, and inundations of nature; the swellings and roarings of proud self and creature. This deep silence shall be dried up by the heat of the Son of righteousness. These waters are the very throne of the whore, or the very seat of the wisdom of the flesh. Now when this sea shall be dried up, then there shall be a place no longer for this spiritual whore found in heaven, nor yet in the soul of a saint.
O, what a cause for joy is here for all the saints! Yea, what eager pantings after the power and kingdom of Christ, should this beget and operate in us, to consider; that in the day of Christ the whore shall be destroyed in us, the sea shall be dried up, and the heavens and the earth pass away.
If any man shall yet ask, when this last day shall come, and the end of the world accomplished? I answer then with Christ that "this generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled." All these things you must expect to be fulfilled in you, even in this life, O thou Christian, although happily not in the fullness and glory as shall be hereafter.
Tell me therefore, O thou experienced saints whose conscience can testify all these things to be true. How has the appearance of Christ in you, many a time confounded, as it were, all your natural vigor and power? How has it spoiled principalities and powers, the might and dominion of all natural excellency? How have you seen your self out of yourself as it were, above and beyond that earth you have been in formerly; wrapped up with Paul, in the third heavens, as it were, beholding that glory, that all your old created light could never discern, living for a time in that peace which passes all understanding? Nay, shall I yet further tell you, at the second coming of Christ in us, our sun shall be turned into darkness, and our moon into blood. Our stars shall fall from their center; all that light from reason and nature; all those fleshly meteors, as also fixed stars, which have appeared at their several seasons in man, which did discover something of God to him. In a word, all the inferior with the superior discernings of God, that the creature has had formerly shall be extinguished, and shall appear to him to be but darkness and obscurity. The sun or the superlative light, shall be turned into darkness, and the moon, or that light which guides the more obscure part of man, shall be turned into blood, and confusion; and God will now create a new world in us. Old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new in us.
When the apostle spoke of the dissolution of the world, in 2 Pet. 3, he brings to mind the saints of the Mystery of that History, vs. 13, "Nevertheless we," says he, "according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," Although this old foundation and fabric shall be dissolved, and Christ that day of the Lord, shall come even as a thief in the night, and deprive us of all the excellency of our present station; waste, destroy, and burn up our gold, silver, and precious stones, consume all the glory of our present being, yet he speaks of one comfort, "we look for a new heaven, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." God never confounds the old, but He brings in a new. The manner of God's new creation is to modelize the heart, to new mold the creature, to create a new Christian, as it were, to spiritualize the Christian. In a word, it is to swallow up the soul in Himself, to drown, confound, and bring to an end, all creature glory in His own incomprehensive excellency.
So that the saints are said to be that new Jerusalem that came down from God, decked and adorned with the glory of God only, as a bride adorned for her husband. They are called new because Christ in them has created a new world. This new Jerusalem had no temple in it of itself, but the Lord God and the Lamb were the temple of it. Truly that soul in whom the Lord God has made this desolation of creature excellency, and has created all things anew; this new Jerusalem, or new Christian, has no temple but Christ. In typical Jerusalem there was a temple, but Christ prophesied, that "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mt. 24:2) Even so when God creates all things new in a Christian, He will demolish all that was in His stead, before He came to establish His new creation. Whatever the soul sees in any outward things, as forms, ordinances, worship, and the like, yet Christ will destroy and throw down, and bring to nought these things, and make Himself all this, and much more to a Christian. And thus you may see the day of judgment in a Christian. Here you may see Christ sending His Spirit into the worldly hearts of man, convincing it of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged in him.
I proceed now to the third discovery of the last day, which is, namely, the destruction of Antichrist or the downfall of the whore; which does yet further manifest to us, that this last day in us; the coming of this day, of Jesus; and the appearance of this star in us, is the last day of the whore in us. No sooner does Christ appear, but down falls the kingdom of the serpent, our fleshly wisdom. Therefore if you would know how this Antichrist shall be destroyed, the apostle tells us, 2 Thess. 2:8, that the Lord shall consume him with the breath of His mouth, and the brightness of His coming. This bright coming of Christ in us shall dispel that darkness and discover that fog that withholds or binders the revelation of the whore.
Christ will then put aside this veil which is before this harlot's face; namely, all her specious pretenses, and shows of glory. Christ is that mountain spoken of in Is. 25:6, in whom God shall destroy the veil of the covering that is cast over all people. But this must be fulfilled, when this mountain, Christ Jesus, shall be established in the top of the mountain in our souls; or when Christ by His own power has seated Himself in us, above every high thought, and vain imagination. When the child Jesus is given to us, and has gotten the government upon His shoulders, this is the time of the whore's demolition in us. I say, it is the work of Christ by His coming in a saint, to discover the whore in him, to take away that veil of flesh, and those mists of obscurity, which this harlot has interposed between herself, and the soul.
When the day dawns, the darkness vanishes away. Even so, when this day of Christ Jesus dawns in your hearts; when day breaks, as I may so say, in your soul, then begins the darkness in your hearts to flee away, and now you come to be one of the children of the day. In a word, now you can see, discern and distinguish, and before you could not. Alas sirs! a poor soul that walks in darkness, and sees by no other light than the blaze of self, and by the sparks of his own fire, he may be compared to a man who sees by candle light, who cannot discern one color from another. Even so it is with all natural men; they are not able to see what's good from evil, or what's light from darkness. O the palpable blindness of all poor creatures, in whom this day, Christ does not appear! This is to have eyes and see not, ears, and hear not.
This sad obscurity of a man that walks not in the light may fitly be compared to that darkness which might be felt. The soul feels many times, what his blindness is, how it deprives him of the beautifical vision of God, brings him to wander from the way, Christ Jesus, causes him many times to stumble at that stumbling stone; and all this is, because the day is not dawned as yet. But now, when the Son of righteousness arises In the soul, why then, here comes light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, Now this light guides the soul into the way of peace. It is said of New Jerusalem, Rev. 21, that it needed not the light of the sun, or of the moon, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb was the light thereof, all which in me is this much: When God comes to create a new heaven and a new earth in a Christian, when He comes by the power of that regenerating Spirit, to make His Jerusalem a new Jerusalem, in this new estate, He will give her new light to walk by; so that now the saints shall have no need of the old sun, or the old moon; no need of the old light of reason, and nature, but here is new light brought forth now in the soul.
The new light is Christ, or the Lamb, who by radiant beams of His splendor, fills the soul with the glory of the Father, and destroys, or extinguishes all other inferior lights in the soul. We live in a generation wherein both Prefs (teachers, professors?) and Pulpit does cry down new lights, and truly I cannot much blame them that do so, because as yet they walk in the light of the old sun and moon, and are to be comprehended under the notion of the old Jerusalem. But tell me now, when the spirit of glory has darkened this sun and turned this moon into blood; quite confounded and brought to nothing the highest sphere of this natural excellency in them, when this old Jerusalem comes to be made new, then you shall hear a new voice crying up the new light of God manifested in them. O Christian! I tell you that you are a thrice happy man, to whom the Lord has made the Lamb the light. This Lamb-light is an innocent Light, a righteous Light, a pure Light, a discovering Light. It is this Light that discovers the hidden and obscure whore unto you. It is the Light of Christ that uncovers and strips the whore stark naked before you, of all her glory and excellency, so that now you behold her out of her purple and scarlet color, even in her very nakedness and shame. And thus you see how Christ in His day, in a Christian, does first of all discover the whore to him.
But secondly, in this last day or sun rising of Christ in a Christian, it is the work of Christ to destroy, as well as to discover this whore in us, as it is the property of light to destroy darkness, so it is the property of Christ to destroy Antichrist in the day, of His appearance. It will be the work of Christ by His coming in you, to root out that spirit of Antichrist, head and tail, root and branch, insomuch that there shall not be left one hoof of the beast in you. When John saw the angel come down from heaven endued with great power, Rev. 18, who enlightened the earth with his glory, immediately he heard this voice, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird," all which teaches me this much: that when that angel of the everlasting covenant, Christ Jesus, is by the Father sent down into the hearts of His saints, who comes by the power of His Spirit, and enlightens the earth or earthly man with His glory; when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord; when the glory of the sun comes to enlighten and beautify our earthly hearts, this is the time of Babylon's downfall. Now is the season of the whore's destruction. Now is the saint's time of Hallelujah. Now rejoice over her thou heaven, and all the holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her, vs. 20.
The prophet Malachi tells us, Chap. 4, that the day comes that shall burn like an oven. This day is Christ Jesus, who indeed shall so baptize us with the Holy Ghost, and Fire, as that He shall consume and burn up, waste and destroy all the appearances of the whore, the wisdom of the flesh, And therefore the same prophet tells us, chap. 3:3, that He shall sit as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer to the Lord, an offering in righteousness. This day must burn in us; this Jesus must be a refiner's fire to us, before we shall see the downfall of mystical Babylon. The work that Christ has to do in us is to destroy mortality, and to clothe us with immortality to destroy this corruption, and to clothe us with the incorruptible righteousness of Himself
After the downfall of the whore, Rev, 19, John tells us, vs. 8, that there was granted to the Lamb's wife that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. In this I observe, first, the love of Christ to the soul. Christ did first of all by His blood and passion, purchase the soul to Himself, to the end that she should be a constant spouse unto Him. But she has adulterized from her Husband; committed harlotry from her first Lover, and has taken part with Antichrist against Him; upon which adultery the jealousy of the Lord arises in Himself. And as jealousy is said to be the rage of a man, so the Lord, as I may say, in the rage of His jealousy, comes and destroys this Antichrist, stills sin in the Christian, sheaths the sword Of the Spirit in the bowels of this spiritual antichrist, breaks the head of this serpent in us; but yet notwithstanding, entertains this adulterized creature into His love and favor. You may see an emblem of His love in Hos. 3:1, where God commands the prophet to go with a message of love to the woman who had played the harlot with him, "Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress," Though she be an adulteress, yet I am her friend. Though she be an harlot, yet I send love greetings towards her, Though she has been inconstant towards me, yet I will own her to be my wife, my spouse, my beloved. And therefore the text says, that it was granted to the Lamb's wife that she should be arrayed in linen, clean and white, which likewise dictates to me:
In the second place, the purity that this day of burning, Christ Jesus in the Spirit, works in the heart of His people. He does not only take from it the garment spotted with the flesh, but likewise clothes it with the shining robe of righteousness. He does not only empty a soul of its own corruption, but likewise fills it with His glory, beautifies it with His own adornings, O fair, beautiful, amiable creature! whose beauty and excellency consists in Christ, that divine center of brightness and glory. This will send a saint to the depth of admiration: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." That God should thus by the power of His Spirit, consume all this dross and corruption in us, and bring us by that divine light to see our union with the Father, in the Son, and to see the glory of our adoption in Jesus and to behold ourselves in the flesh of our elder Brother at the right hand of the Father. This is mercy past discerning and worth admiration!
Thus will God, in the power of the Spirit, judge the spiritual whore in us; and cease us of the vassalage and servitude we were in to our own selves. Thus shall the brats of this spiritual Babylon, the wisdom of the flesh, be destroyed by that happy Man, Christ Jesus.
God says, Is. 13:12, concerning the destruction of Babylon, that He will "make a man more precious than fine gold, or the golden wedge of Opher." This man is Christ, who in the day of His power and in the confounding of this spiritual Babel in us, shall be made unto us more precious than the highest creature excellency. Never till now, will the saints come to value and to prize Christ, till they see what He does in them.
Now, "how beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth." Your messenger upon the mountains is Christ Jesus, who comes leaping over the mountains and skipping over the hills of difficulty that lies in the way, and appears in glory to His spouse or beloved Christian, and declares the message of glad tidings to him; namely, that his warfare is accomplished, that his iniquity is pardoned, The battle between Gog and Magog and the Lamb is finished, and the Lamb, or innocent Spirit, has overcome all by His power and strength; and now likewise He declares to Zion, or the soul of the saints that his God reigns. Now is come the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; therefore Hallelujah, for Babylon is fallen, The whore is destroyed! God has put it in the hearts of the kings of the earth (or powers of earthly man) to hate the whore, and reward her as she has rewarded them. And therefore again, Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and the kingdoms of the whore are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of His Christ.
All that remains behind therefore, is but one word of application, which shall be but only my exhortation to all poor souls that are groaning under this burdensome task and Egyptian bondage of the whore. Doubtless there are many to whom these my poor endeavors may offer themselves, whose portion is to groan under this spiritual vassalage, to labor under this body of death.
O Christian! whatever your condition be, cast not away your confidence, but wait upon the Lord and He shall renew your strength. Expect the return or the second coming of Christ in you. Pray daily that Christ's kingdom may come in you; that the Lord would establish His own throne in your heart. Expect the coming of the messenger of the covenant into His temple, or your heart, even the Lord Christ, whom you seek.
O! labor to see that Christ is approaching near you, though the clouds of sin and wickedness hinder the sight of Him. Know also that this spiritual Son, Christ Jesus, will break away the clouds, will dispel the mists of iniquity in you, and will break out upon you, in His full warmth and splendor, and will bring you to walk in the light of His glory.
It was said of Abraham that he saw the day of Christ, and was glad. How gladly then should the saints expect, and spiritually see this day to be at hand in them, in which they shall be freed from that burden which they now undergo? Shall I tell you yet further, for your comfort, O Christian! This Jesus that comes, will come, and will not tarry. The Lord sees you in your poor weak condition. He takes notice of those many soils that your wicked heart gives you. He hears your sighings, cries and groans; He yearns after you He makes haste to come unto you so quickly, as may contribute to the advancement of His glory, and your soul's further peace and comfort.
Thus in brief, I have discovered to you, in some measure, the Mystery of Iniquity, which works in all of us; the great whore, the spiritual Babylon, with her rise and her downfall.
In which poor treatise, I desire that those to whom it shall come, would thus understand me: that I do not by any wise seek hereby to set up my own opinion, as Antichrist, above others; but do only declare what I conceive from good reason, to be the manifestative mind of God unto me. And in all my mystical applying of any scriptures, I would not be thought hereby to endeavor the overture of the History; but only so much of the History as I see verified in me. In the Mystery, I have presumed in my present light, to declare to all men: what is of God. In my weak endeavors, I desire Him to make known, by the declarative power of His Spirit, what is of self. I desire to have a heart to disclaim it, when the Lord shall manifest it unto me. And so I commit my labor to Him, from whence only, I expect a reward; desiring nothing from any man, but a favorable construction of that which I have declared to all men, in the bowels of love and affection.
For my own part, I am one that waits for the kingdom and power of Christ to be manifested in me. I desire to see farther the glorious dawnings of Jesus, and risings of His glory in me; and looking for, and hasting to the coming of the day of Jesus, in which all old things shall pass away, and all things shall be new. And that which I conceive in this condition is the best course for myself to take, I shall likewise fasten the same advice upon all others.
"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God." (Is. 50:10)
December 12, 1647