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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2008, 12:24:07 AM »

ALL CREATURES ARE PRODUCTS OF DIVINE DESIRE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

But to show, that there is but one salvation possible in nature, and that possibility solely contained in the Christian method: look from the top to the bottom of all creatures, from the highest to the lowest beings, and you will find, that death has but one nature in all worlds, and in all creatures: look at life in an angel, and life in a vegetable, and you will find, that life has but one and the same form, one and the same ground in the whole scale of beings: no omnipotence of God can make that to be life, which is not life, or that to be death, which is not death, according to nature; and the reason is, because nature is nothing else but God's own outward manifestation of what he inwardly is, and can do; and therefore no revelation from God can teach, or require anything but that which is taught and required by God in, and through nature. The mysteries of religion therefore, are no higher, nor deeper than the mysteries of nature, and all the rites, laws, ceremonies, types, institutions and ordinances given by God from Adam to the apostles, are only typical of something that is to be done, or instrumental to the doing of that, which the unchangeable working of nature requires to be done. As sure therefore as there is but one and the same thing that is death, and one and the same thing that is life throughout all nature, whether temporal or eternal, so sure is it, that there is but one way to life or salvation for fallen man. And this way, let it be what it will, must and can be only that, which has its reason and foundation in that one universal nature, which is the one unchangeable manifestation of the Deity. For if there is but one thing that is life, and one thing that is death throughout all nature, from the highest angel to the hardest flint upon earth, then it must be plain, that the life which is to be raised or restored by religion, must, and can only be restored according to nature: and therefore, true religion can only be the religion of nature, and divine revelation can do nothing else, but reveal and manifest the demands and workings of nature.

29. Now, the one great doctrine of the Christian religion and which includes all the rest, is this, that Adam, by his sin, died to the kingdom of heaven, or that the divine life extinguished within him; that he cannot be redeemed, or restored to this first divine life, but by having it kindled or regenerated in him by the Son and Holy Spirit of God: now, that which is here called death, his losing the Light and Spirit of the kingdom of heaven, and that which is here made necessary to make him alive again to the kingdom of heaven, is that very same which is called, and is death and life throughout all nature, both temporal and eternal: and therefore, the Christian religion requiring this method of raising man to a divine life, has its infallible proof from all nature. (Spirit of Love, Part II, page 117, &c.) Consider death, or the deadness that is in a hard flint, and you will see what is the eternal death of a fallen angel: the flint is dead, or in a state of death, because its fire is bound, compacted, shut up, and imprisoned; this is its chains and bands of death: a steel struck against a flint will show you, that every particle of the flint consists of this compacted fire.

Now, a fallen angel is in no other state of death, knows no other death than this: it is in its whole spiritual, intelligent being, nothing else, but that very same which the flint is, in its insensible materiality, viz., an imprisoned compacted, darkened fire-spirit, shut up, and tied in its own chains of darkness, as the fire of the flint; and you shall see by and by, that the flint is changed from its first state into its present hardness of death, in the same manner, and by the same means, as the heavenly angel is become a fiery serpent in the state of eternal death.

Now, look at every death that can be found betwixt that of a fallen angel, and that of a hard flint, and you will find that death enters nowhere, into no kind of vegetable, plant, or animal, but as it has entered into the angel, and the flint, and stands in the same manner in everything wherever it is.

Now, that a fallen angel, is nothing else but a fire-spirit imprisoned in the same manner as a flint is an imprisoned fire, is plain from the scripture account of them; not only because all the wrathful properties of a fire without light, are ascribed to them as their essential qualities, but because the place of their habitation, or the state of their life, is a fire of hell. For how could it be possible, that a hellish fire should be the eternal state of their life, unless their nature was such a fire? Must not their painful condition arise from their nature, and their misery be only a sensibility of themselves, of that which they have made themselves to be? Therefore, if fire shut up in darkness, is the nature of hell, it can only be so, because such a darkened fire is the very nature of a fallen angel. Or how again could the human soul, which has withstood its salvation in this life, be said to fall into eternal death, or the fire of hell, if the soul itself did not become that fire of hell? For when you say the soul enters into hell, you say neither more nor less, than if you had said, that hell enters into the soul; therefore, the state of hell, and the state of the soul in hell, is one and the same thing. If therefore hell is a state of fire shut up, and imprisoned from all communion with light, then the same dark, imprisoned fire must be the nature of the fallen angel and lost soul; and thus, what your eyes see to be the death or deadness of a flint, is that same thing, or that same state of the thing, which the scripture assures you, to be the eternal death of a fallen angel, and a lost soul. Here also you may see a plain proof of what I have elsewhere declared in it, or the in-spoken Word of life given to Adam at his fall, it is in itself, as a fallen soul, the same dark, fiery spirit, as the devils are; and that the reason why men wholly given up to wickedness, and who have suppressed the redeeming power of God in their souls, do not become fully sensible of this state of their souls, is this, because the soul, while it is in this flesh and blood, is capable of being softened, assuaged, and comforted in some degree or other, by the influences of the sun and spirit of this world, as all other creatures and beings are. And if it was not thus, how could it be a plain, constant doctrine of scripture, that when the unredeemed soul departs this life, it is incapable of anything but hell? Is not this directly saying, that hell, or the sensibility of hell was only hid and suppressed in such a soul, by the life and light of this world shining upon it.

Now what I have said of the sad condition of the soul at the fall, that it lost the divine life, or the birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God in it, and so became the same dark, fiery nature, as the devils, is not possible to be denied, without denying the most universally received doctrine of scripture.
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2008, 12:35:32 AM »

ALL CREATURES ARE PRODUCTS OF DIVINE DESIRE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

Is it not a fundamental doctrine of scripture, that Adam and all his posterity had been left in a state of eternal death, or damnation, unless Jesus Christ had become their redeemer, and taken them out of their natural state? But how can you believe, or own they had been left in this state, without believing and owning that they were in it? Or, how can you with the scripture believe, that by the fall they became heirs of eternal death and damnation with the devils, unless you believe and affirm, that by the fall they became of a hellish, diabolical nature? Or how can you hold, that by the fall they wanted to be delivered from the state of the devils, and yet not allow, that by the fall, they got the nature of the devils? Can anything be more absurd and inconsistent? Is it not the same thing as saying, that God made them heirs of eternal death and hell, before they were by nature fit for it, or before they had extinguished in themselves the divine life which was at first brought forth in them.

Again: it is a scripture doctrine of the utmost certainty and importance, that those souls which have totally resisted and withstood all that God has done in them and for them by his Son Jesus Christ, will, at their departure from the body, be incapable of anything but eternal death, or a hellish condition. Now, how can you possibly hold this doctrine of scripture, without holding at the same time, that the soul was in that state by the fall, before it had received its redeemer, as it is then in, when it has refused to receive him; for all that you can say of a lost soul is only this, that it has lost its redeemer, and therefore is only in the condition of that soul which has not received him: and therefore, if a lost soul is only an unredeemed soul, it must be plain, that the soul, before it had received its redeemer, was in the miserable condition, and had the miserable nature of a lost soul; and therefore, the only difference between the fallen soul, and the lost soul is this, they are both in the same need of a savior, both have the same miserable nature, because they have him not; but the one has the offer of him, and the other has refused to accept of him: but this final refusal of him, has only left him in possession of that fallen state of a hellish condition, which it had before a savior was given to it; and therefore, it is a truth of the utmost certainty, that Adam, by his fall, died to the divine life, and that by this death, his soul became of the same nature and condition with the fallen angels; and that therefore that new birth or regeneration, which he is to obtain by his redeemer Jesus Christ, is nothing else but the bringing back his soul into the kingdom of heaven, by a birth of the Son and the Holy Spirit of God brought forth in it, that so the life of the triune God may be in him again, as it was at his creation, when his soul was first breathed forth from the triune God. Is there anything more great, more glorious, or more consistent than these truths? Or is there any possibility of denying any part of them, without giving up the whole? Or is there any reason, why a Christian should be loath to believe this, and this alone, to be the true state of that regeneration which is so absolutely required by the gospel? Is it an unreasonable or uncomfortable thing to be told, that our regeneration is a true and real regaining that heavenly, divine, immortal life which at first came forth from God, and which alone can enter into the kingdom of heaven?

Say that Adam did not die a real death at his transgression, that he did not lose a divine, immortal life, light and spirit, that he did not then first become a mere earthly, mortal, diabolical animal in the true and proper sense of the words, but that these things could only be affirmed of him in a figurative form of speech; say this, and then tell me what reality you have left in any article of our salvation?

But if all these things must be said of fallen man according to the strictest truth of the expression, then the gospel regeneration, by a birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God, arising a second time, in the soul of man, must mean such a real birth of a new heavenly life, as the proper sense of the words denote.

30. But to return now to my argumentation with the Deist.

I have plainly shown you, that there is, and can be but one kind of death through all nature, whether temporal or eternal; and this I have done, by showing that eternal death in an angel, is the same thing, and has the same nature, as the hard death that is in a senseless flint. But if it be a certain truth, that death has but one way of entering into, or possessing any being from the highest of spiritual to the lowest of material creatures, then, though nothing else could be offered, it must be an infallible consequence, that life has but one way of being kindled throughout all nature, and that therefore there can be but one true religion, and that only can be it, which hath the one only way of kindling the heavenly life in the soul.

Now, look where you will, the birth or kindling of life through all nature shows you, that the way of gospel regeneration, or raising the divine life again in the fallen soul, is that one and the same way, by which every kind of life is, and must be raised, wherever it is found. The gospel saith, unless the fallen soul be born again from above, be born again of the Word, or Son, and the Spirit of God, it cannot see, or enter into the kingdom of heaven: now here it says a truth, as much confirmed and ratified by all nature, as when it is said, except a creature hath the light and spirit of this world born in it, it cannot become a living animal or this world: or, except a seed have the light and spirit of this world incorporated in it, it cannot become a vegetable of this world, either as plant, fruit, or flower. Ask now wherein lies the absolute impossibility, that the fallen soul should be raised to its divine life, without a birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God in it, and the true ground of this impossibility is only this, because a seed shut up in its own cold hardness, cannot possibly be raised into its highest vegetable life, but by a birth of the light and spirit of this world rising up in it.

On the other hand, ask why a seed cannot possibly become a vegetable life, till the light and spirit of this world has been incorporated, or generated in it; and the only true ground of it is, because a fallen soul can only be raised to a divine life, or become a plant of the kingdom of heaven, by receiving the birth of the Light and Spirit of God into it. For the true reason, why life is in such a form, and rises in such a manner in the lowest creature living, is because it does, and must arise in the same manner, and stand in the same form in the highest of living creatures: for nature does, and must always act and generate in one and the same unchangeable manner, because it is nothing else but the manifestation of one unchangeable God.

It is one and the same operation of light and spirit, that turns fire into every degree and kind of life that can be found either in temporal or eternal nature: it is one and the same operation of light and spirit, that upon one state of fire, raises an animal life, upon another state of fire, raises an intellectual and angelical life.

There is no state or form of death in any creature, but where some kind of fire is shut up from light and spirit, nor is there any kind of life but what is kindled by the same operation of light and spirit upon some sort of fire.

A fruit must first stand in a poisonous, sour, astringent, bitter, and fiery agitation of all its parts, before the light and spirit of this world can be generated in it. And thus light and spirit operate upon one sort of fire in the production of a vegetable life.

An animal must be conceived in the same manner, it must begin in the same poison, and when nature is in its fiery strife, the light and spirit of this world kindles up the true animal life.

Thus also there is but one kind, or state of death that can fall upon any creature, which is nothing else, but its losing the birth of light and spirit in itself, by which it becomes an imprisoned, dark fire. In an animal, vegetable, or mere matter, it is a senseless state of imprisoned fire; in an angel, or intellectual being, as the soul of man, it is a self- tormenting, self-generating, fiery worm, that cannot lose its sensibility, but is in a state of eternal death, because it is separated eternally from that light and spirit, which alone can raise a divine life in any intellectual creature.

And thus it is plain, beyond all possibility of doubt, that there is neither life nor death to be found in any part of the creation but what sets its infallible seal to this gospel truth, that fallen man cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven any other way, than by being born again of the Son and Holy Spirit of God.
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My Note:  This is very old and contains some language usage that must be put into historical context to appreciate completely. I think this is exceptionally beautiful, and it will be continued. One example of language usage is "Nature". In historical context, "Nature" is NOT "Mother Nature", rather "GOD" and how HE intended things to be from HIS CREATION. So, a crime against nature is a crime against GOD. The age of this material does NOT detract from the truth of this message. So, I hope that you enjoy it.
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2008, 11:02:08 PM »

FALLEN MAN CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


31. And here, my friend, you may with certainty see what a poor, groundless fiction, your religion of human reason is; its insignificancy and emptiness is shown you by everything you can look upon.

Salvation is a birth of life, but reason can no more bring forth this birth, than it can kindle life in a plant, or animal: you might as well write the word "flame," upon the outside of a flint, and then expect that its imprisoned fire should be kindled by it, as to imagine, that any images, or ideal speculations of reason painted in your brain, should raise your soul out of its state of death, and kindle the divine life in it. No: would you have fire from a flint; its house of death must be shaken, and its chains of darkness broken off by the strokes of a steel upon it. This must of all necessity be done to your soul, its imprisoned fire must be awakened by the sharp strokes of steel, or no true light of life can arise in it: all nature and creature tells you, that the heavenly life must begin in you from the same causes, and the same operation as every earthly life, whether vegetable, or animal, does in this world. (Way to Divine Knowledge, page 162. &c.)

Now, look where you will, all life must be generated in this manner: first, an attraction, or an astringing desire, must work itself into an anguishing agitation, or painful strife; this attraction become restless, and highly agitated, is that first poison, or strife of the properties of nature, which is and must be the beginning of every vegetable or animal life; it is by this strife, or inward agitation, that it reaches and gets a birth of the light and spirit of this world into it, and so becomes a living member, either of the animal or vegetable world.

Now, this must be your process, a desire brought into an anguishing state; or the bitter sorrows and fiery agitations of repentance, must be the beginning of a divine life in your soul; 'tis by this awakened fire, or inward agitation, that it becomes capable of being regenerated, or turned into an heavenly life, by the Light and Holy Spirit of God.

Nothing is, or can possibly be salvation, but this regenerated life of the soul: how vain and absurd would it be, to talk of a creature's being made a member of a vegetable or animal kingdom, through an outward grace or favor? or by any outward thing of any kind? For does not sense, reason, and all nature force you to confess, that it is absolutely impossible for anything to become a living member of the animal or vegetable kingdom, but by having the animal or vegetable life raised or brought forth in it? Therefore, does not sense and reason, and all nature join with the gospel in affirming, that no man can enter into the kingdom of heaven, till the heavenly life, or that which is the life in heaven, be born in him?

The gospel says to the fallen, earthly man, that he must be born again from above, before he can see, enter into, or become a living member of the kingdom that is above.

Now, he that understands this to be a figurative saying, that requires no real birth of a real life that is only above, but that an earthly man may enter into the life of heaven, by only carrying this figurative saying along with him, is as absurd, as ignorant, and offends as much against sense, reason, and all nature, as he who holds, that it is a figurative expression, when we say that nothing can enter into the vegetable kingdom, till it has the vegetable life in it, or be a member of the animal kingdom, till it hath the animal life born in it. (Way to Divine Knowledge, page 159.)

And if some learned men will say, that it is religious enthusiasm to place our salvation, or capacity for the kingdom of heaven in the inward life or birth of heaven derived into our souls, they are only as learned as those who should call it philosophical enthusiasm to place the true nature of a vegetable, or animal, in its getting the inward, real birth of a vegetable and animal life. But to return to the Deist.

You act as if God was a being that had an arbitrary, discretionary will, or wisdom, like that of a great prince over his subjects, who will reward mankind according as their services appeared to him. And so you fancy, that your religion of reason may appear as valuable as a religion that consists of forms, and modes, ordinances, and doctrines of revelation; but your idea of the last judgment is a fiction of reason that knows nothing rightly of God. God's last rewarding, is only his last separating everything into its own eternal place; it is only putting an end to all temporary nature, to the mixture of good and evil that is in time and leaving everything to be that in eternity, which it has made itself to be in time. Thus it is that our works follow us, and thus God rewards every man according to his deeds. (Way to Divine Knowledge, pages 169-183.)

During the time of this world, God may be considered as the good husbandman; he sows the seed, the end of the world is the harvest, the angels are the reapers; if you are wheat, you are to be gathered into the barn, if you are tares, it signifies nothing, whence, or how, or by what means you are become so; tares are to be rejected, because they are tares, and wheat is to be gathered by the angels, because it is wheat: this is the mercy, and goodness, and discretionary justice of God that you are to expect at the last day. If you are not wheat, that is, if the heavenly life, or the kingdom of God, is not grown up in you it signifies nothing what you have chosen in the stead of it, or why you have chosen it, you are not that, which alone can help you to a place in the divine granary.

God wants no services of men to reward, he only wants to have such a life quickened and raised up in you, as may make it possible for you to enter into, and live in heaven.

He has created you out of his own eternal nature, and therefore you must have either an eternal life, or eternal death according to it. If eternal nature standeth in you, as it doth without you, then you are born again to the kingdom of heaven; but if nature works contrary in you to what it does in heaven, then you are in eternal death: and here lies the necessity of our being born again of the Word and Spirit of God, in order to the kingdom of heaven. It is because we are created out of that eternal nature which is the kingdom of heaven; 'tis because we are fallen out of it into a life of temporal nature, and therefore must have the life of eternal nature re-kindled in us, before we can possibly enter into the kingdom of heaven: therefore, look where you will, or at what you will, there is only one thing to be done, we want nothing else, but to have the light world, or the life of eternal nature kindled again in our souls, that life, and light, and spirit may be that in our souls, which they are in eternal nature, out of which our souls were created; that so we may be heavenly plants growing up to the kingdom of heaven. (Way to Divine Knowledge, pages 186-195.)

You deceive yourself with fancied notions of the goodness of God; you imagine, that so perfect a being cannot damn you for so small a matter, as choosing a religion according to your own notions, or for not joining yourself with this, or that religious society.

But all this is great ignorance of God, and nature, and religion. God has appointed a religion, by which salvation is to be had according to the possibility of nature, where no creature will be saved, or lost, but as it works with, or contrary to nature. For as the God of nature cannot himself act contrary to nature, because nature is the manifestation of himself, so every creature having its life in, and from nature, can have only such a life, or such a death as is according to the possibility of nature: and therefore, no creature will be saved, by an arbitrary goodness of God, but because of its conformity to nature, nor any creature lost by a want of compassion in God, but because of its salvation being impossible, according to the whole state of nature.
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2008, 11:05:15 PM »

FALLEN MAN CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

It is not for notional, or speculative mistakes, that man will be rejected by God at the last day, or for any crimes that God could overlook, if he was so pleased; but because man has continued in his unregenerate state, and has resisted and suppressed that birth of life, by which alone he could become a member of the kingdom of heaven. The goodness and love of God have no limits or bounds, but such as his omnipotence hath: and everything that hath a possibility of partaking of the kingdom of heaven, will infallibly find a place in it.

God comes not to judgment to display any wrath of his own, or to inflict any punishment as from himself upon man: he only comes to declare, that all temporary nature is at an end, and that therefore, all things must be, and stand in their own places in eternal nature: his sentence of condemnation, is only a leaving them that are lost, in such a misery of their own nature, as has finally rejected all that was possible to relieve it.

You fancy that God will not reject you at the last day, for having not received this, or that mode, or kind of religion: but here all is mistake again. You might as well imagine, that no particular kind of element was necessary to extinguish fire, or that water can supply the place of air in kindling it, as suppose that no particular kind of religion is absolutely necessary to raise up such a divine life in the soul as can only be its salvation; for nature is the ground of all creatures, it is God's manifestation of himself, it is his instrument in, and by which he acts in the production and government of every life; and therefore a life that is to belong to this world, must be raised according to temporal nature, and a life that is to live in the next world, must be raised according to eternal nature.

Therefore, all the particular doctrines, institutions, mysteries, and ordinances of a revealed religion that comes from the God of nature, must have their reason, foundation, and necessity in nature; and then your renouncing such a revealed religion, is renouncing all that the God of nature can do to save you.

When I speak of nature as the true ground and foundation of religion, I mean nothing like that which you call the religion of human reason, or nature; for I speak here of eternal nature, which is the nature of the kingdom of heaven, or that eternal state, where all redeemed souls must have their eternal life, and live in eternal nature by a life derived from it, as men and animals live in temporal nature, by a life derived from it; for, seeing man stands with his soul in eternal nature, as certainly as he lives outwardly in temporal nature, and seeing man can have nothing in this world, neither happiness, nor misery from it, but what is according to the eternal nature of that world; and therefore, it is an infallible truth, that that particular religion can alone do us any good, or help us to the happiness of the next world, which works with, and according to eternal nature, and is able to generate that eternal life in us. But your notion of a goodness of God that may be expected at the last day, is as groundless, as if you imagined, that God would then stand over his creatures in a compassionate kind of weighing or considering who should be saved, and who damned, because a good-natured prince might do so towards variety of offenders.

But hear how the God of nature himself speaks of this matter: Behold, I have set before thee, life and death, fire and water. choose whither thou wilt. Here lies the whole of the divine mercy; 'tis all on this side the day of judgment: till the end of time, God is compassionate and long-suffering, and continues to every creature a power of choosing life or death, water or fire; but when the end of time is come, there is an end of choice, and the last judgment is only a putting everyone into the full and sole possession of that which he has chosen.

But your notion of a goodness of God at the last day supposes, that if a man has erroneously chosen death instead of life, fire instead of water, that God will not suffer such a creature to be deprived of salvation through a mistaken choice; but that in such a creature, he will make death to be life, and fire to be water. But you might as well expect that God should make a thing to be, and not to be at the same time; for this is as possible as to make hell to be heaven, or death to be life: for darkness can no more be light, death can no more be life, fire can no more be water in any being through a compassion of God towards it, than a circle could be a square, a falsehood a truth, or two to be more than three, by God's looking upon them.

32. Our salvation is an entrance into the kingdom of heaven: now, the life, Light and Spirit of heaven must as necessarily be in a creature before it can live in heaven, as the life, light and spirit of this world must be in a creature before it can live in this world: therefore the one only religion that can save any one son of fallen Adam, must be that which can raise, or regenerate the life, Light and Spirit of heaven in his soul, that when the light and spirit of this world leaves him, he may not find himself in eternal death and darkness.

Now if this Light and Spirit of heaven is generated in your soul as it is generated in heaven, if it arises up in your nature within you, as it does in eternal nature without you, (which is the Christian new birth, or regeneration) then you are become capable of the kingdom of heaven, and nothing can keep you out of it; but if you die without this birth of the eternal Light and Spirit of God, then your soul stands in the same distance from, and contrariety to the kingdom of heaven, as hell does: if you die in this unregenerate state, it signifies nothing how you have lived, or what religion you have owned, all is left undone that was to have saved you: it matters not what form of life you have appeared in, what a number of decent, engaging or glorious exploits you have done either as a scholar, a statesman, or a philosopher; if they have proceeded only from the light and spirit of this world, they must die with it, and leave your soul in that eternal darkness, which it must have, so long as the Light and Spirit of eternity is not generated in it.

And this is the true ground and reason, why an outward morality, a decency and beauty of life and conduct with respect to this world, arising only from a worldly spirit, has nothing of salvation in it: he that has his virtue only from this world, is only a trader of this world, and can only have a worldly benefit from it. For it is an undoubted truth, that everything is necessarily bounded by, or kept within the sphere of its own activity; and therefore, to expect heavenly effects from a worldly spirit, is nonsense: as water cannot rise higher in its streams, than the spring from whence it cometh, so no actions can ascend further in their efficacy, or rise higher in their value, than the spirit from whence they proceed. The spirit that comes from heaven is always in heaven, and whatsoever it does, tends to, and reaches heaven: the spirit that arises from this world, is always in it; it is as worldly when it give alms, or prays in the church, as when it makes bargains in the market. When therefore the gospel saith, he that gives alms to be seen of men, hath his reward; it is grounded on this general truth, that everything, every shape, or kind or degree of virtue that arises from the spirit of this world, has nothing to expect but that which it can receive from this world: for every action must have its nature, and efficacy according to the spirit from whence it proceeds. He that loves to see a crucifix, a worthless image, solely from this principle, because from his heart he embraces Christ as his suffering Lord and pattern, does an action poor, and needless in itself, which yet by the spirit from whence it proceeds, reaches heaven, and helps to kindle the heavenly life in the soul. On the other hand, he that from a selfish heart, a worldly spirit, a love of esteem, distinguishes himself by the most rational virtues of an exemplary life, has only a piety that may be reckoned amongst the perishable things of this world.
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2008, 11:07:41 PM »

FALLEN MAN CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

33. You (the Deist) think it a partiality unworthy of God, when you hear that the salvation of mankind is attributed and appropriated to faith and prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ. It must be answered, first, that there is no partiality of any kind in God; everything is accepted by him according to its own nature, and receives all the good from him that it can possibly receive: secondly, that a morality of life, not arising from the power and Spirit of Jesus Christ, but brought forth by the spirit of this world, is the same thing, has the same nature and efficacy in a heathen, as a Christian, does only the same worldly good to the one, as it does to the other; therefore, there is not the least partiality in God, with respect to the moral works of mankind, considered as arising from, and directed by the spirit of this world.

Now, were these the only works that man could do, could he only act from the spirit of this world, no flesh could be saved, that is, no earthly creature, such as man is, could possibly begin to be of a heavenly nature, or have a heavenly life brought forth in him; so it is only a Spirit from heaven derived into the fallen nature, that makes any beginning of a heavenly life in it, that can lay the possibility of its having the least ability, tendency, and disposition towards the kingdom of heaven. This Spirit derived from heaven, is the birth of the Son of God, given to the soul as its savior, regenerator, or beginner of its return to heaven; it is that Word of life, or bruiser of the serpent, that was inspoken into the first fallen father of men; 'tis this alone that gives to all the race of Adam their capacity for salvation, their power of being again sons of God; and therefore, faith and prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ, or works done in the Spirit and power of Jesus Christ can alone save the soul, because the soul can have no relation to heaven, no communion with it, no beginning or power of growth in the heavenly life, but solely by the nature and Name of Jesus Christ derived into it. God's redemption of mankind is as universal as the fall: it was the one father of all men that fell, therefore, all his children were born into his fallen state: it was the one father of all men that was redeemed by the inspoken Word of life into him; therefore, all his children are born into his state of redemption, and have as certainly the same bruiser of the serpent in the birth of their life from him, as they have from him a serpentine nature that is to be bruised.

Hence it was, that this bruiser of the serpent, when born of a virgin, and come to die for the world, saith of himself,"I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Hence also the apostle saith, "There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," because he is that same saving Name, or power of salvation which from the beginning was given to Adam, as an inspoken Word of life, or bruiser of the serpent: and therefore, as sure as Adam had any power of salvation derived into him from Jesus Christ, so sure was it, that the apostle must tell both Jews and heathens, that there was no salvation in any other.

Therefore, though Jesus Christ is the one only savior of all that can anywhere, or at any time be saved, yet there is no partiality in God, because, this same Jesus Christ, who came in human flesh to the Jews in a certain age, was that same savior who was given to Adam, when all mankind were in his loins; and who, through all ages, and in all countries, from the first patriarchs to the end of the world, is the common savior, as he is the common light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and that principle of life both in Jews and heathens, by which they had any relation to God, or any power, or right, or ability to call him Father. When therefore you look upon the gospel as narrowing the way of salvation, or limiting it to those, who only know and believe in Jesus Christ, since his appearance in the flesh, you mistake the whole nature of the Christian redemption.

And when you reject this savior that then appeared, and died as a sacrifice upon the cross, you don't renounce a particular kind of religion, that was given only at a certain time to one part of the world, but you renounce the one source and foundation of all the grace and mercy that God can bestow upon mankind, you renounce your share of that first covenant which God made with all men in Adam, you go back into his first fallen state, and so put yourself into that condition of eternal death, from which there is no possibility of deliverance, but by that one savior whom you have renounced.

And now, my dear friend, beware of prejudice, or hardness of heart: one careless, or one relenting thought upon all that is here laid before you, may either quite shut out, or quite open an entrance for true conviction. I have shown you what is meant by Christian redemption, and the absolute necessity of a new and heavenly birth, in order to obtain your share of a heavenly life in the next world: I have confirmed the truths of the gospel, by proofs taken from what is undeniable in nature: and I readily grant you that nothing can be true in revealed religion, but what has its foundation in nature; because a religion coming from the God of nature, can have no other end but to reform, and set right the failings, transgressions, and violations of nature. When the gospel saith that man fallen from the state of his creation, and become an earthly animal of this temporal world, must be born again of the Son and Holy Spirit of God, in order to be a heavenly creature; 'tis because all nature saith, that an immortal, eternal soul, must have an immortal, eternal Light and Spirit, to make it live in eternal nature, as every animal must have a temporal light and spirit, in order to live in temporary nature. Must you not therefore either deny the immortality of the soul, or acknowledge the necessity of its having an eternal Light and Spirit? When the gospel saith, that nothing can kindle or generate the heavenly life, but the operation of the Light and Spirit of heaven, it is because all nature saith, that no temporal life can be raised but in the same manner in temporary nature. Must you not therefore be forced to confess, that nature and the gospel both preach the same truths.

Light and spirit must be wherever there are living beings: and there must be the same difference betwixt the light and spirit of different worlds, as there is betwixt the worlds themselves. Hell must have its light, or it could have no living inhabitants, but its light is not so refreshing, not so gentle, not so lightful, not so comfortable as flashing points of fire in the thickest darkness of night; and therefore their light is called an eternal darkness, because it can never disperse, but only horribly discover darkness: hell also must have its spirit; but it is only an incessant insensibility of wrathful agitations, of which the thunder and rage of a tempest is but a low, shadowy resemblance, as being only a little outward eruption of that wrath, which is the inward, restless essence of the spirit of hell; and therefore that life, though it be a living spirit, is justly called an eternal death.

The Light and Spirit of God admit of no delineation or comparison, they are only so far known to anyone, as they are brought into the soul by a birth of themselves in it.

Now consider, I pray you: the light and spirit of this world can no more be the light and spirit of immortal souls, than grass and hay can be the food of angels; but is as different from the Light and Spirit of heaven, as an angel is different from a beast of the field. When therefore the soul of a man departs from his body, and is eternally cut off from all temporal light and spirit, what is it that can keep such a soul from falling into eternal darkness, unless it have in itself, that Light and Spirit, which is of the same nature with the Light and Spirit of eternity, so that it may be in the light of heaven or eternal nature, as it was in the light of this world in temporary nature.

Light and spirit there must be in everything that lives, but the death of the body takes away the light and spirit of this world; if therefore the Light and Spirit of heaven be not born in the soul when it loses the body, it can only have that light and spirit, which is the very death and darkness of hell.
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2008, 11:11:23 PM »

FALLEN MAN CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

When man lost the Light and Spirit of his creation, he lost it by turning the will and desire of his soul into an earthly life; this was his desire of knowing good and evil in this world. His fall therefore consisted in this, his soul lost its first innate, inbreathed Light and Spirit of heaven, and instead of it, had only the light and spirit of temporary nature, to keep up for a time such a life in him from this world, as the proper creatures of this world have: and this is the reason, why man, the noblest creature that is in this world, has yet various circumstances of necessity, poverty, distress and shame, that are not common to other animals of this world. 'Tis because the creatures of this life are here at home, are the proper inhabitants of this world, and therefore that womb out of which they are born, has provided them with all that they want; but man being only fallen into it, and as a transgressor, must in many respects find himself in such wants as other creatures have not. Transitory time has brought them forth, and therefore they can have no pain, nor concern, nor danger in passing away; because it is the very form of their nature, to begin, and to have an end: and therefore the God of nature has no outward laws, or directions for the creatures of this world.

But the soul of man being not born of the light and spirit of this transitory world, but only standing a while as a stranger upon earth, and being under a necessity of having either the nature of an angel, or a devil, when it leaves this world, is met by the mercy and goodness of the God of nature, is inwardly and outwardly called, warned, directed, and assisted how to regain that Light and Spirit of heaven which it lost, when it fell under the temporary light and spirit of this world. And this is the whole ground and end of revealed religion, viz., to kindle such a beginning or birth of the divine Light and Spirit in the soul, that when man must take an eternal leave of the light and spirit of this world, he may not be in a state of eternal death and darkness.

Now, seeing the Light and Spirit of heaven or eternal nature, is as different from the light and spirit of this world, as an angel is from an animal of the field, if you have lived here only to the spirit and temper of this world, governed by its goods and evils, and only wise according to its wisdom, you must die as destitute of the Light and Spirit of heaven, as the beasts that perish. You have now an aversion and dislike, or at least, a disbelief of the doctrines of Christian regeneration, you struggle against this kind of redemption, you would have no salvation from the Light and Spirit of eternity regenerated in your soul; where then must you be, when the light and spirit of this world leaves you?

Do you think that the Light and Spirit of God will then seize upon you, shine up in you by an outward force, though they never could be born in you? Or do you think, that the Light and Spirit of God can now be generating themselves in you, and ready to appear, as soon as you have ended a life, that has continually resisted them, and would have no new birth from them? Or that God, by a compassionate goodness, will not suffer you to be in that condition, into which your own will has brought you? No, my friend, the will that is in you, must do that for you, which the will that was in angels did for those that stood, and for those that fell.

God's goodness or compassion is always in the same infinite state, always flowing forth, in and through all nature in the same infinite manner, and nothing wants it, but that which cannot receive it: whilst the angels stood, they stood encompassed with the infinite source of all goodness and compassion, God was communicated to them in as high a degree as their nature could receive; and they fell, not because he ceased to be an infinite, open fountain of all good to them, but because they had a will which must direct itself.

For the will, at its first arising in the creature, can be subject to no outward power, because it has no outward maker; as it stands in a creaturely form, God is its true creator; but as a will, it has no outward maker, but is a ray, or spark, derived from the unbeginning will of the creator, and is of the same nature in the creature, as it was in the creator, self-existent, self-generating, self -moving, and uncontrollable from without; and there could not possibly be a free will in the creature, but by its being directly derived, or propagated from the same will in the creator, for nothing can be free now, but that which always was so.

But if the free will of God, which is above and superior to nature, be communicated to the creature, then the creature's free will must have the same power over its one nature, that the will of God has over that eternal nature, which is his own manifestation: and therefore, every free creature must have, and find its own nature in this, or that state, as a birth from the free working of its own will. And here appears the true reason, why no creatures of this world can commit sin; 'tis because they have no will that is superior to nature: their will in every one of them, is only the will of nature; and therefore let them do what they will, they are always doing that which is natural, and consequently, not sinful. But the will of angels and men being an offspring, or ray, derived from the will of God, which is superior to nature, stands chargeable with the state and condition of their nature; and therefore it is, that the nature of the devil, and the nature of fallen man is imputed to both of them, as their sin, which could not be, but because their will was uncontrollable, and gave birth and being to that state and condition of nature, which is called, and is their sin.

Therefore, O man! look well to thyself, and see what birth thou art bringing forth, what nature is growing up in thee, and be assured, that stand thou must, in that state of nature, which the working of thy own will has brought forth in thee, whether it be happy or miserable. Expect no arbitrary goodness, of God towards thee, when thou leavest this world; for that must grow for ever which hath grown here. God hath created thee in nature, his mercy hath shown thee all the laws and necessities of nature, his mercy hath shown thee all the laws and necessities of nature, and how thou mayest rise from thy corruption, according to the possibilities of nature, and he can only save thee by thy conforming to the demands of nature: the greatness of the divine mercy and favor towards all men appears in this, that when all nature had failed, and mankind could from nature have nothing but eternal death, that God brought such a second Adam into the world, as being God and man, could make nature begin its work again, where it failed in the first Adam.
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2008, 11:14:00 PM »

FALLEN MAN CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

The free grace and mercy by which we are said in the scripture to be saved, is not an arbitrary good will in God, which saves whom he pleases; as a prince may forgive some, and not forgive others, merely through his own sovereign grace and favor: nothing of this kind hath any place in God, or in the mystery of our redemption; but the mercy and grace, by which we are saved, is therefore free, because God hath freely, and from his own goodness, put us into a state and possibility of salvation, by freely giving us Jesus Christ, (the divine and human nature united in one person) as the only means of regenerating that first divine and human life, which the whole race of mankind had lost. In this sense alone it is, that all our salvation is wholly owing to the free grace of God, that is, our state, and possibility, and means of attaining salvation is wholly owing to his free grace in giving us Jesus Christ; but our salvation, considered as a finished thing, is not, cannot be found by any act of God's free grace towards us, but because all that is done, altered, removed, suppressed, quickened, and recovered by us in the state of our nature, which the free grace of God had furnished us with the possibility and means of doing. If nature and creature had no share in working out our salvation; if it was all free grace, effected against, and without the powers of nature, how comes it, that the fallen angels are not to be redeemed as well as man? Must we say that God is less good to them than he is to us? Or if they are not redeemed, can there be any other reason for it, but because it is an impossibility in nature? Must not an infinite good do all the good that is wanted, and is possible to be done? If free grace can do what it pleases, if it wants no concurrence of nature and creature, how can any being, whether man or angel, be eternally miserable, but through an eternal defect in the goodness of God towards it? Shall we call that infinite goodness, which sets bounds and limits to itself, and which could do more good, but will not?

The truth of the matter is this, God is as infinite and boundless in love and goodness, as he is in power, but his omnipotence can only do that which is possible, and nothing is possible but that which hath its possibility in nature; because nature is God's first power, his great, universal manifestation of his Deity, in and through, and by which all his infinite attributes break forth, and display themselves: so that to expect, that God should do anything that is above, or contrary to this nature, is as absurd as to expect that God should act above, or contrary to himself: as God can only make a creature to be in, and through, and by nature; so the reason why he cannot make a creature to be, and not to be at the same time, is only this, because it is contrary to nature. Let no man therefore trust to be saved at the last day, by any arbitrary goodness, or free grace of God; for salvation is, and can be nothing else, but the having put off all that is damnable and hellish in our nature, which salvation can be found by no creature but by its own full conforming to, and concurring with those mysterious means, which the free grace of God hath afforded for the recovery of our first, perfect, glorious state in nature.
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2008, 11:18:12 PM »

ETERNAL AND TEMPORAL NATURE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


Of Eternal and Temporal Nature. How Nature is from God, and the Scene of his Action. How the Creatures are out of it. Temporal Nature created out of that which is eternal. The fallen Angels brought the first Disorders into Nature. This World created to repair those Disorders. Whence Good and Evil is in every Thing of this World. How Heaven and Hell make up the Whole of this World. How the Fire of this World differs from eternal Fire; and the Matter of this World from the Materiality of Heaven. Eternal Nature is the Kingdom of Heaven, the beatific Manifestation of the triune God. God is more Love and Goodness. How Wrath and Anger come to be ascribed to him. Of Fire in general. Of the Unbeginning Fire. Of the Spirituality of Fire. How Fire comes to be in material Things. Whence the Possibility of kindling Fire in the Things of this World. Every Man is, and must be the Kindler of his own Eternal Fire, &c.

Was there no nature, there could be no creature, because the life of every creature is, and can be nothing else, but the life of that nature out of which it was created, and in which it has its being. Eternal beings must have their qualities, nature, form and manner of existence out of eternal nature, and temporal beings out of temporary nature: was there no eternity, there could be no time, was there nothing infinite, there could be nothing finite; therefore we have here two great fundamental truths that cannot be shaken; first, that there is, and must be, an eternal nature; because there is a nature that is temporary, and that it must be that to eternal creatures, which temporal nature is to temporal creatures: secondly, that everywhere, and in all worlds, nature must stand between God and the creature, as the foundation of all mutual intercourse; God can transact nothing with the creature, nor the creature have any communion with God, but in, and by that nature, in which it stands.

I hope no one will here ask me for scripture proofs of this, or call these truths nostrums, because they are not to be found in the same form of expression in some particular text of scripture. Where do the holy writings tell us, that a thing cannot be, and not be at the same time? Or that every consequence must arise from premises? And yet the scripture is continually supposing both these truths, and there could be no truth in the scripture, or anywhere else, if these things were not undeniable.

1. There is nothing said of man throughout all scripture, but what supposes him to stand in nature, under a necessity of choosing something that is natural, either life or death, fire or water. There is nothing said of God with relation to creatures, but what supposes him to be the God of nature, manifesting himself in and through nature, calling, assisting and directing everything to its highest natural state. Nature is the scene of his providence, and all the variety of his governing attributes display themselves by his various operations in and through nature: therefore it is equally certain, that what God does to any creature, must be done through the medium of nature, and also what the creature does toward God, must be done in and through the powers of that nature in which it stands. No temporary creature can turn to God, or reach after him, or have any communication with him, but in, and according to that relation which temporary nature bears to God; nor can any eternal beings draw near to, or unite with God in any other manner, than that in which eternal nature is united with him. Would you know, why no omnipotence of God can create temporal animals but out of temporary nature, nor eternal animals but out of eternal nature; it is because no omnipotence of God can produce a visible triangle, but out of, and by three visible lines; for, as lines must be before there can be any lineal figures, so nature must be before there can be natural creatures.

2. Everything that is in being, is either God, or nature, or creature; and everything that is not God, is only a manifestation of God; for as there is nothing, neither nature, nor creature, but what must have its being in, and from God, so everything is, and must be according to its nature, more or less a manifestation of God. Everything therefore, by its form and condition, speaks so much of God, and God in everything, speaks and manifests so much of himself. Temporary nature is this beginning, created system of sun, stars, and elements; 'tis temporary nature, because it begins and hath an end, and therefore is only a temporary manifestation of God, or God manifested according to transitory things.

3. Properly and strictly speaking, nothing can begin to be: the beginning of everything is nothing more, than its beginning to be in a new state. Thus time itself does not begin to be, but duration, which always was, began to be measured by the earth's turning round, or the rising and setting of the sun, and that is called the beginning of time, which is, properly speaking, only the beginning of the measure of duration: thus it is with all temporal nature, and all the qualities and powers of temporal beings that live in it: no quality or power of nature then began to be, but such qualities and powers as had been from all eternity, began then to be in a new state. Ask what time is, it is nothing else but something of eternal duration become finite, measurable, and transitory? Ask what fire, light, darkness, air, water, and earth are; they are, and can be nothing else, but some eternal things become gross, finite, measurable, divisible, and transitory? For if there could be a temporal fire that did not spring out of eternal fire, then there might be time that did not come out of eternity.

'Tis thus with every temporary thing, and the qualities of it; 'tis the beginning of nothing, but only of a new state of something that existed before: therefore all temporary nature is a product, offspring, or outbirth of eternal nature, and is nothing else but so much of eternal nature changed from its eternal to a temporal condition. Fire did not begin to be, darkness did not begin to be, light did not begin to be, water and earth did not begin to be, when this temporary world first appeared, but all these things came out of their eternal state, into a lower, divided, compacted, created and transitory state. Hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling, did not then begin to be, when God first created the creatures of this world, they only came to be qualities and powers of a lower, and more imperfect order of beings than they had been before.
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2008, 11:20:06 PM »

ETERNAL AND TEMPORAL NATURE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

Figures, and their relations, did not then begin to be, when material circles and squares, &c., were first made, but these figures and relations began then to appear in a lower state than they had done before: and so it must be said of all temporal nature, and everything in it. It is only something of eternal nature separated, changed, or created into a new, temporary state and condition.

Now it may be asked, why was eternal nature thus degraded, debased, and changed from its eternal state of perfection? Will anyone say, that God of his own free will changed eternal nature, which is the glorious manifestation of his power and godhead, the seat of his holy residence, his majestic kingdom of heaven, into this poor, miserable mixture of good and evil, into this impure state of division, grossness, death, and darkness? No. It is the highest of all absurdities, to say so. Now, we sufficiently know from scripture, that a whole hierarchy, or host of angels, renounced their heavenly life, and thereby raised up a kingdom that was not heavenly. Could they not have inflamed and disordered outward nature in which they lived, they could not have destroyed the heavenly nature in themselves: for everything must be according to the state of that world in which it lives; and therefore, the state of outward nature, and the state of inward nature in the angels must stand and fall together; and as sure as a whole kingdom of angels lost their heavenly life, so sure it is, that their whole kingdom lost its heavenly state and condition: and therefore, it is an undeniable truth, founded on scripture evidence, that same part of eternal nature was changed from its first state of glory and perfection, before the creation of temporary nature; therefore, in the creation of this poor, gross, disordered, perishable, material world, one of these two things was done, either God took the spoiled part of heaven or eternal nature, and created it into this temporary state of good and evil; or he degraded, and brought down some part of the kingdom of heaven from its glory and perfection, into this mixture of good and evil, order and disorder in which the world stands. He could not do this latter, without bringing evil into nature, as the devil had done, and therefore we may be sure he did not do it; but if he did the former, then the creation of this lower world, was a glorious act, and worthy of the infinite goodness of God, it was putting an end to the devil's working evil in nature, and it was putting the evil that was brought into nature, in a way of being finally overcome, and turned into good again. Will anyone now call these things whimsical speculations? Can anything be thought of more worthy of God, more conformable to nature, or more consonant to all revealed religion? But perhaps you will say, how could the angels spoil or destroy that glorious kingdom of eternal nature in which they dwelt. It may be answered, how could it possibly be otherwise? How could they live in eternal nature, unless nature without them, and nature within them, mutually mixed and qualified with each other? Would you have such mighty spirits, with their eternal energies, have less power in that nature, or kingdom in which they dwelt, than a kindled piece of coal hath in this world? For every piece of coal set on fire, adds so much heat to outward nature, and so far alters and changes the state of it.

5. Now, let it be supposed, not only that a piece of coal, but that the whole of everything in this world, that could either give or receive fire was made to burn, what effect would it have upon the whole frame of nature? Would not the whole state of things, the regions, places, and divisions of the elements, and all the order of temporal nature be quite destroyed?

When therefore every angelical life kindled itself in wrath, and became thereby divided, darkened, and separated from God, the same kindling, darkening, dividing, and confusion must be brought forth in their natural kingdom, because they lived in nature, and could have neither love, nor wrath, but such as they could exert in and by the powers of nature.

Now, all fire, wherever it is, is either a fire of wrath, or a fire of love: fire not overcome or governed by light, is the fire of wrath, which only tears in pieces, consumes and devours all that it can lay hold of, and it wills nothing else: but light is the fire of love, it is meek, amiable, full of kind embraces, lovingly spreading itself, and giving itself with all its riches into everything that can receive it. These are the two fires of eternal nature, which were but one in heaven, and can be only one wherever heaven is; and it was the separation of these two fires that changed the angels into devils, and made their kingdom a beginning of hell.

Now, either of these two fires, wherever it is kindled in animate or lifeless things, communicates its own kind of heat in some degree to outward nature, and so far alters and changes the state of it: the wrath of a man, and the wrath of a tempest do one and the same thing to outward nature, alter its state in the same manner, and only differ in their degree of doing it.

Fire kindled in a material thing, can only communicate with the materiality of nature; but the fire of a wrathfully-inflamed man, being a fire both of body and soul, communicates a twofold heat, it stirs up the fire of outward nature, as fire does in a coal, and it stirs up the wrath of hell as the devils do.

The fire of love kindled by the Light and Spirit of God in a truly regenerated man, communicates a twofold blessing, it outwardly joins with the meek light of the sun, and helps to overcome the wrath of outward nature; it inwardly cooperates with the power of good angels, in resisting the wrath and darkness of hell: and it would be no folly to suppose, that if all human breath was become a mere, unmixed wrath, that all the fire in outward nature would immediately break forth, and bring that dissolution upon outward nature, which will arise from the last fire. Therefore it is necessary, that a whole kingdom of angels should kindle the same wrath and disorder in outward nature that was in themselves; for being in eternal nature, and communicating with it, as temporal beings do in temporal nature, what they did in themselves, must be done in that nature or kingdom in which they lived, and moved, and had their being.
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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2008, 11:24:10 PM »

ETERNAL AND TEMPORAL NATURE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

What a powerful fire there is in the wrath of a spirit, may be seen by the effects of human wrath; one sudden thought shall in a moment discolor, poison, inflame, swell, distort and agitate the whole body of a man. Whence also is it, that a diseased body infects the air, or that malignant air infects a healthful body? Is it not because there is, and must be an inseparable qualifying, mixing and uniting betwixt nature and those creatures that live in it? Now, all diseases and malignities, whether in nature or creature, all proceed from the sinful motions of the will and desires of the creature. This is as certain, as that death and all that leads to it, is the sole product of sin; therefore it is a certain truth, that all the disorder that ever was, or can be in nature, arises from that power which the creature hath in and upon nature; and therefore, as sure as a whole host of heavenly beings, raised up a fiery, wrathful, dark nature in themselves, so sure is it, that the same wrathful, fiery, dark disorder was raised up in that kingdom, or nature, in which they had their being.

6. Now the scriptures nowhere say in express words, that the place of this world was the place of the angels that fell, and that their fallen, spoiled and disordered kingdom, was by the power of God, changed or created into this temporary state of things in which we live; this is not expressly said, because it is plainly implied and fully signified to us by the most general doctrines of scripture; for if we know, both from nature and scripture, that this world is a mixture of good and evil, do not we enough know, that it could only be created out of that which was good and evil? And if we know that evil cannot come from God, if we know that the devil had actually brought it forth before the creation of this world; are we not enough told, that the evil which is in this world, is the evil that was brought forth into nature by the devil? And that therefore the matter of this world, is that very materiality which was spoiled by the fallen angels? How can we need a particular text of scripture to tell us, that the place of this world was the place of the angels before their fall, when the whole tenor of scripture tells us, that it is the place of their habitation now? For how could they have, or find darkness, but in that very place, where they had extinguished the light? What could they have to do with us, or we with them, but that we are entered into their possessions, and have their kingdom made over to us? How could they go about amongst us as roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour, but that our creation has brought us amongst them? They cannot possibly be anywhere, but where they fell, because they can live nowhere but in the evil which they have brought forth; they can have no wrath and darkness but where they broke off from light and love; they can communicate with no outward nature but that which fell with them, and underwent the same change as they did: therefore, though St. Jude saith with great truth, that they left their own habitations, yet, it is only as they left their own angelical nature, not departed from it into a distant place, but deformed and changed it; so that the heaven that was within them, and without them, is equally left, because both within them, and without them, they have no habitation but a fiery darkness broken off from the light of God.

And therefore, as man by his creation is brought into a power of commerce with those fallen angels, who must live, and could only act in that part of nature which they had deformed, it is plain, that this creation placed him in that system of things, which was formed and created out of their fallen kingdom, because they can act, or be acted upon nowhere else.

7. And this is the one true, and only reason, why there is good and evil throughout all temporal nature and creature; 'tis because all this temporary nature is a creation out of that strife of evil against good which the fallen angels had brought into their kingdom. No subtle, evil serpent could have been generated, no tree of knowledge of good and evil could have been sprung out of the earth, but because nature in this world was that part of eternal nature which the fallen angels had corrupted; and therefore, a life made up of good and evil could be brought forth by it. Evil and good was in the angelical kingdom as soon as they set their wills and desires contrary to God, and the divine life. Had God permitted them to go on, their whole kingdom had been like themselves, all over one unmixed evil, and so had been incapable of being created into a redeemable state: but God put a stop to the progress of evil in their kingdom, he came upon it whilst it was in strife, and compacted or created it all into a new, temporary, material state and condition; whence these two things followed: first, that the fallen angels lost their power over it, and could no further kindle their own fire in it, but were as chained prisoners, in an extent of darkness which they could neither get out of, nor extend any further: secondly, this new creation being created out of this begun strife, stood as yet in the birth of life, and so became capable of being assisted and blessed by God; and finally, at the end of time, restored to its first heavenly state.

Now, the good and evil that is in this world is that same good and evil, and in the same strife that it was in the kingdom of fallen angels, only with this happy difference, there it was under the devil's power, and in a way to be wholly evil; here it is in a new compacted, or created state under the providence and blessing of God, appointed to bring forth a new kind of life, and display the wonders of divine love, till such time as a new race of angelical creatures born in this mixture of good and evil, shall be fit to receive the kingdom of Lucifer, restored to its first glory

Is there any part of the Christian religion that does not either suppose or speak this great truth, any part of outward nature that does not confirm it? Is there any part of the Christian religion that is not made more intelligible, more beautiful and edifying by it? Is there any difficulty of outward nature that is not totally removed and satisfied by it?

How was the philosophy of the ancient sages perplexed with the state of nature? They knew God to be all goodness, love, and perfection, and so knew not what to do with the misery of human life, and the disorders of outward nature, because they knew not how this nature came into its present state, or from whence it was descended. But had they known, that temporal nature, all that we see in this whole frame of things, was only the sickly, defiled state of eternal things put into a temporary state of recovery, that time and all transitory things were only in this war and strife, to be finally delivered from all the evil that was brought into eternal nature, their hearts must have praised God for this creation of things as those morning stars did, that shouted for joy when it was first brought forth.

8. From this true knowledge of the state, and nature, and place of this creation, what a reasonableness, wisdom, and necessity does there appear in the hardest sayings, precepts and doctrines of the gospel? He that thus knows what this world is, has great reason to be glad that he is born into it, and yet still greater reason to rejoice, in being called out of it, preserved from it, and shown how to escape with the preservation of his soul. The evils that are in this world, are the evils of hell, that are tending to be nothing else but hell; they are the remains of the sin and poison of the fallen angels: the good that is in this world are the sparks of life that are to generate heaven, and gain the restoration of the first kingdom of Lucifer. Who therefore would think of anything, desire anything, endeavor anything, but to resist evil in every kind, under every shape and color? Who would have any views, desires and prayers after anything, but that the life and light of heaven may rise up in himself, and that God's kingdom may come, and his will be done in all nature and creature?
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« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2008, 11:26:39 PM »

ETERNAL AND TEMPORAL NATURE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

Darkness, light, fire and air, water and earth, stand in their temporary, created distinction and strife, for no other end, with no other view, but that they may obtain the one thing needful, their first condition in heaven: and shall man that is born into time for no other end, on no other errand, but that he may be an angel in eternity, think it hard to live as if there were but one thing needful for him? What was the poor politics, the earthly wisdom, the ease, sensuality, and advancements of this world for us, but such fruits as must be eaten in hell? To be swelled with pride, to be fattened with sensuality, to grow great through craft, and load ourselves with earthly goods, is only living the life of beasts, that we may die the death of devils. On the other hand, to go starved out of this world, rich in nothing but heavenly tempers and desires, is taking from time all that we came for, and all that can go with us into eternity.

9. But to return to the further consideration of nature. As all temporary nature is nothing else but eternal nature brought out of its kindled, disordered strife, into a created or compacted distinction of its several parts, so it is plain, that the whole of this world, in all its working powers, is nothing else but a mixture of heaven and hell. There cannot be the smallest thing, or the smallest quality of anything in this world, but what is a quality of heaven or hell, discovered under a temporal form: everything that is disagreeable to the taste, to the sight, to our hearing, smelling or feeling, has its root and ground, and cause, in and from hell, and is as surely in its degree the working or manifestation of hell in this world, as the most diabolical malice and wickedness is: the stink of weeds, of mire, of all poisonous, corrupted things, shrieks, horrible sounds, wrathful fire, rage of tempests, and thick darkness, are all of them things that had no possibility of existence, till the fallen angels disordered the state of their kingdom; therefore, everything that is disagreeable and horrible in this life, everything that can afflict and terrify our senses, all the kinds of natural and moral evil, are only so much of the nature, effects, and manifestations of hell: for hell and evil are only two words for one and the same thing: the extent of one is the extent of the other, and all that can be ascribed to the one, must be ascribed to the other. On the other hand, all that is sweet, delightful and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of the seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree, and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature. So that heaven and hell are not only as near you, as constantly showing and proving themselves to all your senses, as day and night, but night itself is nothing else but hell breaking forth in such a degree, and the day is nothing else but a certain opening of heaven, to save us from the darkness that arises from hell.
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« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2008, 11:29:30 PM »

ALL NATURE IS CONTINUALLY AT WORK TO BRING ABOUT THE GREAT REDEMPTION
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


O man! consider thyself, here thou standest in the earnest, perpetual strife of good and evil, all nature is continually at work to bring about the great redemption; the whole creation is travailing in pain, and laborious working, to be delivered from the vanity of time, and will thou be asleep? Everything thou hearest, or seest, says nothing, shows nothing to thee, but what either eternal light, or eternal darkness hath brought forth; for as day and night divide the whole of our time, so heaven and hell divide the whole of our thoughts, words and actions. Stir which way thou wilt, do, or design what thou wilt, thou must be an agent with the one or with the other. Thou canst not stand still, because thou livest in the perpetual workings of temporal and eternal nature; if thou workest not with the good, the evil that is in nature carries thee along with it: thou hast the height and depth of eternity in thee, and therefore be doing what thou wilt, either in the closet, the field, the shop, or the church, thou art sowing that which grows, and must be reaped in eternity. Nothing of thine can vanish away, but every thought, motion, and desire of thy heart, has its effect either in the height of heaven, or the depth of hell: and as time is upon the wing, to put an end to the strife of good and evil, and bring about the last great separation of all things into their eternal state, with such speed art thou making haste either to be wholly an angel, or wholly a devil: O! therefore awake, watch and pray, join with all thy force with that goodness of God, which has created time and all things in it, to have a happy end in eternity.

10. Temporal nature opened to us by the Spirit of God becomes a volume of holy instruction to us, and leads us into all the mysteries and secrets of eternity: for as everything in temporal nature is descended out of that which is eternal, and stands as a palpable, visible outbirth of it; so when we know how to separate the grossness, death, and darkness of time from it, we find what it is in its eternal state. Fire, and light, and air in this world are not only a true resemblance of the Holy Trinity in Unity, but are the Trinity itself in its most outward, lowest kind of existence or manifestation; for there could be no fire, fire could not generate light, air could not proceed from both, these three could not be thus united, and thus divided, but because they have their root and original in the Trinity of the Deity. Fire compacted, created, separated from light and air, is the elemental fire of this world: fire uncreated, uncompacted, unseparated from light and air, is the heavenly fire of eternity: fire kindled in any material thing is only fire breaking out of its created, compacted state; it is nothing else but the awakening the spiritual properties of that thing, which being thus stirred up, strive to get rid of that material creation under which they are imprisoned: thus every kindled fire, with all its rage and fierceness, tears and divides, scatters and consumes that materiality under which it is imprisoned; and were not these spiritual properties imprisoned in matter, no material thing could be made to burn. And this is another proof, that the materiality of this world is come out of a higher, and spiritual state, because every matter upon earth can be made to discover spiritual properties concealed in it, and is indeed a compaction of nothing else. Fire is not, cannot be a material thing, it only makes itself visible and sensible by the destruction of matter; matter is its death and imprisonment, and it comes to life but by being able to agitate, divide, shake off, and consume that matter which held it in death and bondage; so that every time you see a fire kindled, you see nature striving in a low degree to get rid of the grossness of this material creation, and to do that which can alone be done by the last fire, when all the inward, spiritual properties hid in everything, in rocks, and stones, and earth, in sun, and stars, and elements, shall by the last trumpet be awakened and called forth: and this is a certain truth, that fire could nowhere now be kindled in any material thing, but for this reason, because all material nature was created to be restored, and stands by divine appointment in a fitness and tendency to have its deliverance from this created state, by fire; so that every time you see a piece of matter dissolved by fire, you have a full proof, that all the materiality of this world is appointed to a dissolution by fire; and that then, (O glorious day!) sun and stars, and all the elements will be delivered from vanity, will be again that one eternal, harmonious, glorious thing which they were, before they were compacted into material distinctions and separations.

11. The elements of this world stand in great strife and contrariety, and yet in great desire of mixing and uniting with each other; and hence arises both the life and death of all temporal things; and hereby we plainly know that the elements of this world were once one undivided thing; for union can nowhere be desired, but where there has first been a separation; as sure therefore as the elements desire each other, so sure is it, that they have been parted from each other, and are only parts of some one thing that has been divided. When the elements come to such a degree of union, a life is produced; but because they have still a contrariety to each other, they soon destroy again that same life which they had built, and therefore every four-elementary life is short and transitory.

Now, from this undeniable state of nature, we are told these following great truths:

1. That the four elements are only four parts of that, which before the creation of the world, was only a one element, or one undivided power of life.

2. That the mortality of this life is wholly and solely owing to the divided state of the elements.

3. That the true, immortal life of nature, is only there to be found, where the four elements are only one thing, mere unity and harmony; where fire and air, water and earth, have a much more glorious union than they have in diamonds and precious stones: for in the brightest diamonds the four elements still partake of their divided state, though to our eye they appear as only one glorious thing; but the beauty of the diamond is but a shadow, a low specimen of that glory which will shine through all nature, when fire and air, water and earth shall be again that one thing which they were, before the fall of angels and the creation of this world.

4. That the body of Adam (being formed for immortality) could not possibly have the nature, or be made out of the divided state of the elements. The letter of scripture absolutely demonstrates this; for if sickness, sorrow, pain, the trouble of heat and cold, all so many forerunners of death, can only be where the elements are in division and contrariety; and if, according to scripture, these calamities did not, could not possibly touch Adam till he fell, then it is plain from scripture, that before his fall, the division and contrariety of the elements was not in him: and that was his paradisaical nature, in and by which he stood in a state of superiority over all the elements of this world.
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« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2008, 11:32:15 PM »

ALL NATURE IS CONTINUALLY AT WORK TO BRING ABOUT THE GREAT REDEMPTION
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

5. That the body of Adam lost is one elementary glory and immortality, and then first became gross, dark, heavy flesh and blood, under the power of the four elements, when he lusted to eat, and actually did eat of that tree, which had its good and evil from the divided state of the elements.

6. Hence we also know, with the greatest certainty, the mystery of the resurrection of the body, that it consists wholly and solely in the reducing the four-elementary body of this world, to its first, one elementary state, and then everyone has that same body raised again that died, and all that Adam lost is restored. For if the body is mortal, and dies because it is become a body of the four elements, it can only be raised immortal, by having its four elements reduced again into one: and here lies the true sameness of the body that died, and that which rises again. But to proceed:

12. As all the four elements, by their desiring, and wanting to be united together, prove that they are only four grossly divided outbirths of that which before was only one heavenly, harmonious element, so every single element fully demonstrates the same thing; for every single element, though standing in its created contrariety to every other, has yet in its own divided state, all the four elements in itself: thus the air has everything in it that is in the earth, and the earth has in itself everything that is in fire, water and air, only in a different mixture and compaction; were it not so, had not every element in some degree the whole nature of them all, they could not possibly mix, and qualify with one another; and this may well pass for a demonstration, that that out of which the four elements are descended, was one harmonious union of them all, because every one of the four, has now, and must have in its undivided state, all the four in itself, though not in equality; for if the four must be together, though unequally lodged in every single element, it is plain, the four must have been one harmonious thing, before they were brought into four unequal separations: and therefore, as sure as there are four warring, disagreeing elements in time, so sure is it, that that which is now in this fourfold division, was and is in eternity, one, in an heavenly, harmonious union, keeping up an eternal, joyful, glorious life in eternal nature, as its four broken parts bring forth a poor, miserable, transitory life in temporal nature.

13. All matter in this world is only the materiality of heaven thus altered. The difference between matter in this world and matter in the other world, lies wholly and solely in this; in the one it is dead, in the other it is living materiality. It is dead materiality in this world, because it is gross, dark, hard, heavy, divisible, &c. It is in this state of death, because it is separated, or broken off from the eternal light, which is the true life, or the power of life in everything.

In eternal nature or the kingdom of heaven, materiality stands in life and light; it is the light's glorious body, or that garment wherewith light is clothed, and therefore has all the properties of light in it, and only differs from light, as it is its brightness and beauty, as the holder and displayer of all its colors, powers and virtues. But the same materiality in this world, being created or compacted into a separation from fire united with light, is become the body of death and darkness, and is therefore gross, thick, dark, heavy, divisible, &c., for death is nothing else but the shutting up, or shutting out the united power of fire and light: this is the only death that ever did, or can happen to anything, whether earthly or heavenly. Therefore, every degree of hardness, sickness, stiffness, &c., is a degree of death; and herein consists the deadness of the materiality of this world. When it shall be raised to life, that is, when the united power of fire and light shall kindle itself through all temporal nature, then hardness, darkness, divisibility, &c., will be all extinguished together.

That the deadness of the earth may, and certainly will be brought to life by the united power of fire and light, is sufficiently shown us by the nature and office of the sun. The sun is the united power of fire and light, and therefore the sun is the raiser of life out of the deadness of the earth; but because fire and light as united in the sun, is only the virtue of temporary fire and light, so it can only raise a short and fading, transitory life. But as sure as you see, that fire and light united in the sun, can change the deadness of the earth, into such a beautiful variety of a vegetable life, so sure are you, that this dark, gross earth, is in its state of death and darkness, only for this reason, because it is broken off from the united power of fire and light: for as sure as the outward operation of the fire and light of the sun can change the deadness of the earth into a degree of life, so sure is it, that the earth lies in its present deadness, because it is separated from its own eternal fire and light: and as sure as you see, that the fire and light of the sun can raise a temporal life out of the earth, so sure is it, that the united power of eternal fire and light can, and will turn all that is earthly, into its first state of life and beauty. For the sun of this world, as it is the union of temporal fire and light, has no power, but as it is the outward agent, or temporary representative of eternal fire and light, and therefore it can only do that in part, and imperfectly in time, which by the eternal fire and light will be wholly and perfectly done in eternity. And therefore every vegetable life, every beauty, power, and virtue which the sun calls forth out of the earth, tells us, with a divine certainty, that there will come a time, when all that is hid in the deadness, grossness, and darkness of the earth, will be again called up to a perfection of life and glory of beauty.

14. How has the philosophy of the schools been puzzled with the divisibility of matter! It is because human reason, the mistress of the schools, partakes of the deadness of the earth; and the soul of man must first have the light of eternal life rise up in him, before he can see or find out the truths of nature. Human reason knew nothing of the death of the matter, or the nature and reason of its temporary creation, and so thought death and divisibility to be essential to matter; but the light of God tells every man this infallible truth, that God made not death in anything, that he is a God of life, and therefore, everything that comes from him, comes into a state of life. Matter is thick, hard, heavy, divisible, and the like, only for a time, because it is compacted or created into thickness, hardness, and divisibility only for a time: these are only the properties of its temporal, created state, and therefore are no more essential to it than the hardness of ice is essential to water. Now, that the creation of the matter of this world is nothing else but a compaction, that all the elements are separated compactions of that which before was free from such a compaction, is plain from scripture. For we are told, that all the material things and elements of this world, are to have their created state and nature taken from them, by being dissolved or melted: but if this be a scripture truth, then it is equally true from scripture, that their creation was only a compaction; and a compaction of something that stood before according to its own nature, absolutely free from it. Mortality, corruptibility, and divisibility, are not essential properties, but temporary accidents, they are in things, as diseases and sickness are, and are as separable from them; and that is the true reason, why this mortal can put on immortality, this corruptible can put on incorruptibility, and this divisible put on indivisibility: for when the four elements shall be dissolved and loosed from their separate compaction from one another, when fire and air, water and earth, shall be a one much more glorious and harmonious thing than they are now in the brightest diamond, then the divisibility of this redeemed materiality will be more impossible to be conceived, than the distance between fire and water in a diamond.

15. The reason why all inanimate things of this world tend towards their utmost perfection in their kind, lieth wholly and solely in this ground; it is because the four elements of this world were once the one element of the kingdom of the fallen angels; and therefore, nature in this world is always laboring after its first perfection of life, or as the scripture speaks, the "whole creation travaileth in pain, and groaneth to be delivered from its present vanity": and therefore it is, that all vegetables and fruits naturally grasp after every kind and degree of perfection they can take in; endeavoring with all their power, after that first perfection of life which was before the fall of the angels. Every taste and color, and power and virtue, would be what it was before Lucifer kindled his dark, fiery, wrathful kingdom; but as this cannot be, so when every fruit and flower has worked itself as far towards a heavenly perfection as it can, it is forced to wither and rot, and become a witness to this truth, that neither flesh nor blood, nor fruit, nor flower, can reach the kingdom of God.
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« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2008, 11:34:27 PM »

ALL NATURE IS CONTINUALLY AT WORK TO BRING ABOUT THE GREAT REDEMPTION
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

16. All the misery and imperfection that is in temporary nature, arises from the divided state of the elements: their division is that which brings all kinds and degrees of death and hell into this world, and yet their being in a certain degree in one another, and always endeavoring after their first union, is so much of the nature and perfection of heaven still in them. The death that is in this world, consists in the grossness, hardness and darkness of its materiality. The wrath that is in this world consists in the kindled division of its qualities, whence there arises a contrary motion and fermentation in all its parts, in which consists both the life and death of all its creatures. This death and this wrath is the nature of hell in this world, and is the manifestation of the disorders which the fallen angels have occasioned in nature. The heaven in this world began when God said, Let there be light, for so far as light is in anything, so much it has of heaven in it, and of the beginning of a heavenly life: this shows itself in all things of this world, chiefly in the life-giving power of the sun, in the sweetness and meekness of qualities and tempers, in the softness of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, and richness of tastes and the like; thus far as anything is tinctured with light, so far it shows its descent from heaven, and its partaking of something heavenly and paradisaical. Again, love or desire of union, is the other part of heaven that is visible in this world. In things without life, it is a senseless desire, a friendly mixing and uniting of their qualities, whereby they strive to be again in that first state of unity and harmony in which they existed, before they were kindled into division by Lucifer. In rational creatures, it is meekness, benevolence, kindness and friendship amongst one another: and thus far they have heaven and the Spirit of God in them, each in their sphere, being and doing that to one another, which the divine love is and does to all.

Again, the reason why man is naturally taken with beautiful objects, why he admires and rejoices at the sight of lucid and transparent bodies, and the splendor of precious stones, why he is delighted with the beauty of his own person, and is fond of his features when adorned with fine colors, has this only true ground, 'tis because he was created in the greatest perfection of beauty, to live amongst all the beauties of a glorious paradise: and therefore man, though fallen, has this strong sensibility and reaching desire after all the beauties, that can be picked up in fallen nature. Had not this been his case, had not beauty, and light, and the glory of brightness been his first state by creation, he would now no more want the beauty of objects, than the ox wants to have his pasture enclosed with beautiful walls, and painted gates. Every vanity of fallen man shows our first dignity, and the vanity of our desires are so many proofs of the reality of that which we are fallen from. Man wants to see himself in riches, greatness and power, because human nature came first into the world in that state; and therefore, what he had in reality in paradise, that is he vainly seeking for, where he is only a poor prisoner in the valley and shadow of death.

17. All beings that are purely of this world, have their existence in and dependence upon temporal nature. God is no maker, creator or governor of any being or creature of this world, immediately, or by himself, but he creates, upholds and governs all things of this world, by, and through, and with temporal nature: as temporary nature is nothing else but eternal nature separated, divided, compacted, made visible and changeable for a time, so heaven is nothing else but the beatific visibility, the majestic preference (presence?) of the abysmal, unsearchable, triune God: 'tis that light with which the scripture saith, God is decked as with a garment, and by which he is manifested and made visible to heavenly eyes and beings; for Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as they are the triune God, deeper than the kingdom of heaven or eternal nature, are invisible to all created eyes; but that beatific visibility and outward glory which is called the kingdom of heaven, is the manifestation of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in, and by, and through the glorious union of eternal fire, and light, and spirit. In the kingdom of heaven, these are three and one, because their original, the Holy Trinity, is so, and we must call them by the names of fire, and light, and spirit; because all that we have of fire, and light, and spirit in this world, has its whole nature directly from them, and is indeed nothing else but the fire, and light, and spirit of eternity, brought into a separated, compacted, temporal state. So that to speak of a heavenly fire, has no more grossness and offense in it, than when we speak of a heavenly life, a heavenly light, or heavenly spirit; for if there is a heavenly light and spirit, there must of all necessity be a heavenly fire; and if these things were not in heaven in a glorious state of union, they never could have been here in this gross state of a temporal compaction and division: so that as sure as there are fire, and light, and air in this world, in a divided, compacted, imperfect state, in which consists the life of temporary nature and creatures, so sure is it, that fire, and light, and spirit are in the kingdom of heaven, united in one perfection of glory, in which consists the beatific visibility of God, the divine nature, as communicable to heavenly beings.

18. The kingdom of heaven stands in this threefold life, where three are one, because it is a manifestation of the Deity, which is three and one; the Father has his distinct manifestation in the fire, which is always generating the light; the Son has his distinct manifestation of the light, which is always generated from the fire; the Holy Ghost has his manifestation in the spirit, that always proceeds from both, and is always united with them.

It is this eternal unbeginning Trinity in Unity of fire, light, and spirit, that constitutes eternal nature, the kingdom of heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem, the divine life, the beatific visibility, the majestic glory and presence of God. Through this kingdom of heaven, or eternal nature, is the invisible God, the incomprehensible Trinity eternally breaking forth, and manifesting itself in a boundless height and depth of blissful wonders, opening and displaying itself to all its creatures as in an infinite variation and endless multiplicity of its powers, beauties, joys and glories. So that all the inhabitants of heaven are for ever knowing, seeing, hearing, feeling, and variously enjoying all that is great, amiable, infinite and glorious in the divine nature.

Nothing ascends, or comes into this kingdom of heaven, but that which descended, or came out of it, all its inhabitants must be innate guests, and born out of it.
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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2008, 01:13:45 AM »

GOD CREATES OUT OF HIS DIVINE NATURE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


19. God considered in himself, as distinct from this eternal nature, or kingdom of heaven, is not the immediate creator of any angels, spirits, or divine beings; but as he creates and governs all temporal beings in, and by, and out of temporal nature, so he creates and governs all spiritual and heavenly beings in, and by, and out of eternal nature: this is as absolutely true, as that no being can be temporal, but by partaking of temporal nature, nor any being eternal, but by partaking of the eternal, divine nature; and therefore, whatever God creates is not created immediately by himself, but in and by, and out of that nature, in which it is to live, and move, and have its being, temporal beings out of temporal nature, and eternal beings out of the heavenly kingdom of eternal nature: and hence it is, that all angels, and the souls of men are said to be born of God, sons of God, and partakers of the divine nature, because they are formed out of that eternal nature, which is the unbeginning majesty of God, the kingdom of heaven, or visible glory of the Deity. In this eternal nature, which is the majestic clothing, or glory of the triune God, manifested in the glorious unity of divine fire, light, and spirit, have all the created images of God, whether they be angels or men, their existence, union and communion with God; because fire, and light, and spirit have the same union and birth in the creature, as in the creator: and hence it is, that they are so many various mirrors of the Deity, penetrated with the majesty of God, receiving and returning back communications of the life of God. Now, in this ground, that is, in this consideration of God, as manifesting his Holy Trinity through nature and creature, lieth the solid and true understanding of all that is so variously said of God, both in the Old and New Testament with relation to mankind, both as to their creation, fall, and redemption. God is to be considered throughout, as the God of nature, only manifesting himself to all his creatures in a variety of attributes in and by nature; creating, governing, blessing, punishing, and redeeming them according to the powers, workings, and possibilities of nature. Fire, light, and spirit in harmonious union, is the substantial glory, the beatific manifestation of the triune God, visible and communicable to creatures formed out of it. All intelligent, holy beings were by God formed and created out of, and for the enjoyment of this kingdom of glory, and had fire, and light, and spirit, as the triune glory of their created being: and herein consisted the infinite love, goodness and bounty of God to all his creatures: it was their being made creatures of this fire, light, and spirit, partakers of that same nature in which the Holy Trinity had stood from all eternity gloriously manifested. And thus they were creatures, subjects, and objects of the divine love; they came into the nearest, highest relation to God; they stood in, and partook of his own manifested nature, so that the outward glory and majesty of the triune God, was the very form, and beauty, and brightness of their own created nature. Every creature which thankfully, joyfully, and absolutely gave itself up to this blessed union with God, became absolutely fixed in its first created glory, and incapable of knowing anything but love, and joy, and happiness in God to all eternity: thus in this state, all angels and men came first out of the hands of God. But seeing light proceeds from fire by a birth, and the spirit from both, and seeing the will must be the leader of the birth, Lucifer and Adam could both do as they did, Lucifer could will strong might and power, to be greater than the light of God made him, and so he brought forth a birth of might and power, that was only mighty wrath and darkness, a fire of nature broken off from its light. Adam could will the knowledge of temporal nature, and so he lost the Light and Spirit of heaven for the light and spirit of this world: and had man been left in this state of temporary nature, without a redeemer, he must, when the light of this world had left him, have found himself in the same absolute wrath and darkness of nature, which the fallen angels are in.

20. Now, after these two falls of two orders of creatures, the Deity itself came to have new and strange names, new and unheard of tempers and inclinations of wrath, fury, and vengeance ascribed to it. I call them new, because they began at the fall; I call them strange, because they were foreign to the Deity, and could not belong to God in himself: thus God is in the scriptures said to be a consuming fire. But to whom? To the fallen angels, and lost souls. But why, and how is he so to them? It is because those creatures have lost all that they had from God, but fire; and therefore God can only be found and manifested in them, as a consuming fire. Now, is it not justly said, that God, who is nothing but infinite love, is yet in such creatures only a consuming fire, and that though God be nothing but love, yet they are under the wrath and vengeance of God, because they have only that fire in them, which is broken off from the light and love of God, and so can know, or feel nothing of God, but his fire in them? As creatures they can have no life, but what they have in and from God; and therefore, that wrathful life which they have, is truly said to be a wrath of God upon them. And yet it is as strictly true, that there is no wrath in God himself, that he is not changed in his temper towards the creatures, that he does not cease to be one and the same infinite fountain of goodness, infinitely flowing forth in the riches of his love upon all and every life; but the creatures have changed their state in nature, and so the God of nature can only be manifested in and to them, according to their own state in nature: and this is the true ground of rightly understanding all that is said of the wrath and vengeance of God in and upon the creatures. It is only in such a sense as the curse or unhappiness of God may be said to be upon them, not because anything cursed, or unhappy can be in, or come from God, but because they have made that life which they must have in God, to be mere curse and unhappiness to them: for every creature that lives, must have its life in and from God, and therefore God must be in every creature; this is as true of devils, as of holy angels: but how is God in them? Why only as he is manifested in nature. Holy angels have the triune life of God in them, therefore God is in them all love, goodness, majesty and glory, and theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Devils have nothing of this triune life left in them, but the fire of eternal nature broken off from all light and joy; and therefore the life that they can have in and from God, is only a life of wrath and darkness, and theirs is the kingdom of hell: and because this life is a strength of life which they must have in and from God, and which they cannot take out of his hands; therefore, is their cursed, miserable, wrathful life truly and justly said to be the curse, and wrath, and vengeance of God in and upon them, though God himself can no more have wrath and vengeance, than he can have mischief and malice in him: for this is a glorious, twofold truth, that from God considered as in himself, nothing can come from eternity to eternity, but infinite love, goodness, happiness, and glory; and also that infinite love, goodness, happiness and glory are, and will be for ever and ever flowing forth from him in the same boundless, universal, infinite manner; he is the same infinitely overflowing fountain of love, goodness and glory after, as before the fall of any creatures; his love, and the infinite workings of it can no more be lessened, than his power can be increased by any outward thing; no creature, or number of creatures can raise any anger in him, 'tis as impossible as to cast terror, or darkness, and pain into him, for nothing can come into God from the creature, nothing can be in him, but that which the Holy Trinity in Unity is in itself. All creatures are products of the infinite, triune love of God; nothing willed, and desired, and formed them, but infinite love, and they have all of them all the happiness, beauty and excellency that an infinitely powerful love can reach out to them: the same infinite love continues still in its first creating goodness, willing, desiring, working, and doing nothing with regard to all creatures, but what it willed, did, and desired in the creation of them: this God over nature and creature, darts no more anger at angels when fallen, than he did in the creation of them: they are not in hell, because Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are angry at them, and so cast them into a punishment, which their wrath had contrived for them; but they are in wrath and darkness, because they have done to the light which infinitely flows forth from God, as that man does to the light of the sun, who puts out his own eyes: he is in darkness, not because the sun is darkened towards him, has less light for him, or has lost all inclination to enlighten him, but because he has put out that birth of light in himself, which alone made him capable of seeing in the light of the sun. It is thus with fallen angels, they have extinguished in themselves that birth of light and love, which was their only capacity for that happiness, which infinitely, and everywhere flows forth from God; and they no more have their punishment from God himself than the man who puts out his eyes, has his darkness from the sun itself.
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