Refreshing Drops and Scorching Vials

Charles Worsley's preface to Refreshing Drops, and Scorching Vials, published 1653 by Christopher Goad. Note:

i The man knew scripture so well, it pervades his every sentence;

ii Its utter relevance today.

It is time for us to be looking out of this world which grows old, and is ready to vanish away; God is by the brightness of his own discoveries, burning up the works thereof, and stablishing that new heavens, & new earth where righteousness dwells; the creation hath sent up strong groans, and hath long lien under bondage; the redemption thereof now draws nigh.

We are the children of the last times, and upon us are the ends of the world come; Prophesies, and Promises, which have been bid from ages and generations, are now enriching us by their revealing, and fulfilling in us: Arise and shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isa. 50. 1.It shall come to pass in the last days, the Mountain of the Lords house shal be set up above the Mountains, & exalted above the hills. Now begins to be brought to pass the saying that is written, Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men, and Isa 2. 2. he will dwell with them, and they shal be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God, Rev. 21. 3.

The Church hath long lien among the pots: God is giving her the wings of a Dove covered with silver, and her feathers of yellow gold: she hath been conformed to Christ in his death, and hath lain with him in the grave: she that hath thus descended, must also ascend: she that hath suffered must reign; since the mystery of iniquity began first to work, it hath wrought most effectually and prevailed: men and their traditions have been the unquestioned authority; the light and teaching of the spirit in the Scriptures, hath been forgotten, and stood like a Sparrow upon the house top, desolate and forsaken: we have said of the Spirit, as once that murmuring people said of Moses, Up, make us Gods that may go before us; for as for this Moses we know not what is become of him. And in this mist of darkness, Satan hath conveyed himself in all deceivableness of unrighteousness, and made such a deluge upon the face of the world, that till of latter yeers, as it was in Elias his time, the true Church & Saints of God were not discernable (though doubtless in the darkest times God reserved a small remnant to himself who bowed not the knee to the Idols of men’s inventions, nor fell down before the Throne of the Beast.)

The reign of Antichrist hath been long, and so taking (being beautifyed by the excellency and glory of flesh) that the whole world wondered after the Beast; whatever was prone and apt to deceive and bewitch the world, that hath he cloathed himself withal, not onely learning, wisdom, greatness and power humane, but whatsoever the Gospel afforded outward, that hath been given to him to carry captive into his own place, to that great City Babylon; there have Ordinances and the letter of the Scripture been brought into cruel bondage, and made to fight against the Spirit, and a form of godliness to war against the power: what God hath joyned, hath been there divorced, and put asunder, and the abomination that maketh desolate, set up; the whole world in their Religion, Worship, and Righteousness, have lien in darkness, and are not aware of it; they liked not the Faith once given to the Saints, neither contended for it: they received not the truth in the love of it, and therefore were gi∣ven up to strong delusions to believe yes, and by the signs, lying wonders, and cunning craftiness of this man of sin, whereby he lay in wait to deceive, have been led about and taken captive by him at his pleasure.

And think not this strange, neither wonder at it. Art thou a stranger in Israel? Ought not these things so to have come to pass? Ought not our Lord to be crucified in Sodom and Egypt, before he ascend to his last and most glorious appearance in the world? is it not necessary the man of sin should first be revealed, before Christ can come in his brightness; and that the highest glory should be born out of the womb of the deepest darkness? this was the Let kept Christ at a distance, seeing by this he was making way for a more glorious and admirable discovery of himself and the Gospel, then the world yet ever knew. By this he will commend himself to us in his second appearance, as the Law commends Grace, and as Pharoah and the Red Sea commended that deliverance of old: here is a time for Saints to keep their garments white, and the name of Christ unblemished, when the world is become Satan’s Synagogue: here is a season beautiful for the Faith, Patience, and Testimony of the Saints to appear: and for those that call themselves Apostles and are not, to be tryed and found lyars. By this good pleasure of God, in so ordering things will be built up an everlasting Monument of the worlds folly and blindness, in the greatest exercise of their wisdom and knowledge, who though they had an open faced discovery of God in the Gospel, 2 Cor 3. 18. and not the writings of Moses onely but of Christ himself left to them, and life and immortality brought therein to light: yet despising the light and instruction of the spirit herein, (and causing that to withdraw) and trusting in their own wisdom, and making flesh their teacher, professing themselves wise, have become fools, and turned the truth of God into a lye, and by that their wisdom know not God in this wisdom of God, but heap to themselves brain inventions, and by the Doctrines of men make void the Counsel of God to their own destruction: and have turned that which gave in it self a savour of life, into a savour of death unto death.

And now that the fulness of time for those better things kept in store for us, draws nigh, and that Egyptian darkness and slavery which the world hath been kept under, is nigh to cursing, how hath the truth multiplyed, how hath God remembred his people, and for some good number of yeers past been making way for himself again to be owned, and breaking forth in such mea∣sures of light as the world hath been able to bear, and gradually destroying the power of the beast in his mark, his image and the number of his name, and is still going on till he make Jeru∣salem a praise in the earth; and in these discoveries also hath Satan of late been putting in for a part, resisting the truth as Jannes and Iambres withstood Moses, seeking to set up that in form and flesh (and so preserve his Kingdom) which God is doing in spirit and power: but he shall proceed no farther, for his folly shall be made manifest to all: and those precious souls who have in these days stood at a distance from the outward part of worship because it hath been the Court trodden down, and the man of sin hath here so long had his abode, and hath so polluted and stained all forms of Religion, and made that his shelter, and thicket, where he hath lain concealed, shall see him trodden under their feet, and cast, alive (in the midst of these his deceitful workings) with the false Prophet, into the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone: and whatever hath been captived into Babylon, shall be brought back, and set upon Mount-Sion: the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and being filled with the Spirit, and restored to their first state, shall shine in the perfection of beauty and ho∣liness, and then shall all Saints sing in the unity of the spirit the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, O thou King of Saints.

Reader, Amidst the diversity of those gifts and administrations, in dispensing whereof God hath enriched this latter age, there hath not a brighter spirit shone forth, then what dwelt (like a fixed star) in the Author of these following Discourses, who whilst he lived here, was indeed dead (by the Cross of our Lord Jesus) and in that voyce, being now dead, he yet speaketh: what thou seest here of him, thou hast upon great disadvantage being imperfectly taken, and never designed by the Author beyond the private edification of his Hearers: these things were most pleasantly beheld in his life, where they were written in a perfect Copy, & from whence all that he taught seemed to be borrowed and transcribed; his ministration of them also gave not a little more lustre to them, then what they now seem to have: but at best, this heavenly treasure ran through an earthen vessel & so may perhaps need the laver of love to wash off what it contracted by that passage. I leave it to thy love who ever art the Reader, desiring thee to remember that whatsoever is ministred to us either by men or books, though of the most spiritual subjects, is no better then the Mantle of Elijah, unless the God of Elijah be there: if the truth dwell in thee, I am

Thine in the Lord,

 C. Worsley.