There is somewhat on my heart this morning to write to thee, in the same love wherein I have hitherto written, which I feel to be pure, of God, and unfeigned towards thee and all men; though it also putteth a difference between those that are renewed by him and bear his image, and those who have only a form of religion, without the power and life thereof, which sanctifies and redeems up to God, wherever it is received.
That which was on my heart to thee, in true, pure, and tender love, is this which follows:
All true religion hath a true root; and that religion, profession, worship, faith, hope, peace, assurance, &c., which groweth not from the true root, is not true.
Now this root is near, and must be felt near, bearing the branch and causing it to bring forth fruit. It is not enough to hear of Christ, or read of Christ; but this is the thing, -- to feel him my root, my life, my foundation; and my soul ingrafted into him, by him who hath power to ingraft. To feel repentance given me by him, faith given me by him, the Father revealed and made known to me by him, by the pure shinings of his light in my heart; God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, causing it to shine there; so that in and through him, I come to know, not the Son himself only, but the Father also: -- and then to come out of the darkness, out of the sin, out of the pollutions of the spirit of this world, into the pure, holy fellowship of the living, by his holy guidance and conduct; and so to feel all my prayers, all my comforts, all my willingness, all my ability to do and suffer for God and the testimony of his truth, to arise from this holy, pure root of life, which gives daily strength against sin and death, to all who wait, in true humility and pure subjection of soul and spirit upon him: -- here is unspeakable comfort and satisfaction given by him to the soul, which all the reasonings of men, with all the devices of Satan, cannot damp. For He who gave it preserves and maintains it over all the strength that can assault it.
O friend! I beseech thee mind this; come, oh come to the true root! come to Christ indeed! Rest not in an outward knowledge; but come to the inward life, the hidden life, and receive <434> life from him who is the life; and then abide in and live to God in the life of his Son. For death and destruction, corruption and vanity, may talk of the fame of Christ, who is the wisdom of God; but they cannot know nor find out the place where this wisdom is revealed; they cannot come at the true, pure fear, which God puts into the hearts of his; this is the beginning of the true wisdom which cleanses darkness and impurity out of the hearts of those to whom it is given. For light expelleth darkness; life expelleth death; purity expelleth impurity; Christ, where he is received, bindeth and casts out the strong man, taking possession of the heart. And if any man be truly and really in Christ, he comes to witness a new creation, even the passing away of old things, and all things becoming new.
Christ is faithful in all his house ("whose house are we," saith the apostle, "if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the end." Heb. 3:6), faithful as a Son, who comes in the name and authority of the Father, to do whatsoever is to be done in the heart, faithful in discovering whatever is contrary to God there, faithful in engaging his power against it. And shall not his power prevail? and where it doth prevail, and the good pleasure of God's goodness is fulfilled, and the work of faith with power, is not the name of the Lord Jesus Christ glorified there? Read 2 Thess. 1:11-12. and consider. Did Christ overcome the devil in that body of his flesh, and shall he not overcome him in the hearts of his children by the power of his Spirit, which he received of the Father to comfort them, and carry on his work gloriously in them? What shall become of those that do not fight under Christ, and overcome through Christ? Read Rev. 3:21. I would not have thee deceived of thy soul, or of that religion which saves the soul, which religion stands not in word, but in power. Therefore wait to feel the Spirit and power of Christ saving thee from that which nothing else can save thee from; and bringing that down in thee under his feet which nothing else can bring down.
This is from the true desire which my soul hath, after the eternal salvation and satisfaction of thine.
28th of First Month, 1670