(Part 1 here; Part 2 here; Part 3 here)
The wound had not fully healed, but I was coming to grips now with the man before me enough that I was able to stand, again to my feet. Now as I looked upon Truth I was not overcome with fear, but filled with wonder at him. His form once nearly indistinguishable from the landscape and trees was now becoming more and more clear to me.
And now was there like a ringing in my ears, and it was to me as the sound of a song. I heard the sweet river lullaby, which did sing from a faraway land. It sounded as the whirring wind, and as many rushing waters, surely the sound of the song carried many secrets and mysteries which could neither be counted nor numbered. Closing mine eyes I did see instantly with that eye newly planted, not in full did I see, but only in part (for we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come then that which is in part shall be abolished), yet I beheld for the faintest instant the origin of this song which is come to me as it is in all the world to bring forth fruit. At the base of a Great throne there runs a little stream, which grows to a wide brook, which grows to an un-crossable river.
The sound of this song was always ringing, and at this dispensation of history the waters of the river can be found in every place, and are ready to be poured out upon all who seek and receive the Truth.
Looking down at where I had lay, I saw many the shackles which had fallen from me when the seed of Truth had been planted in my heart. For as well as a new life seed, and an eye into eternity, the seed is also the ultimate key of freedom, unlocking all fetters where it is used. And now was I free to pursue the man named Truth (for in receiving his wound and seed I found that I had begun to love him deeply), or so I thought. For now as I meant to stride toward him, I found myself rather hindered by some cumbrance at my feet. Peering down I saw that though many my shackles (the binding of many deceptions) had dropped off at the inception of Truth’s seed, yet thickly caked earth clung to my feet and lower legs, adding such weight that it was difficult – nay, nearly impossible – to walk. Further, this earth was of one with the ground beneath me, and thus not merely weighing me down, but also binding me to the plot on which I stood.
And what’s this?! For when I arrived in this place, I had seemed to be fully dressed and furnished, brandishing armor and weapons, prepared to do battle – believing myself equipped to confront Truth. Yet, even as I’ve mentioned now once before, my own armor, weapons and equipment were of such a far lesser realm than that of Truth that even the sword with which I had previously fought my battles was burned to ash on the ground of this place. None of my armor, weapons, not clothes were of the least consequence here, and now having received the deposit of Truth I perceived readily that though I had believed myself fully equipped and clothed, I had actually been stark naked.
Now as I beheld my vesture, I saw that I wore but a thin linen garment, a robe, like of Arab style. For in passing through the blood and water which surged from my Master’s side as I stood at the foot of the tree, I had been clothed upon with His vesture (for fine linen, clean and white is the righteous deeds of the saints – for I, having no righteousness of my own must put on Esau’s garments that my offering may be accepted by the Father). Yet though clothed upon with the righteousness of Christ, mud did still compass my bare feet – mud so thick and so dense it fully prevented my walking in the truth. Further, I said to myself, ‘Surely it would be easy to soil this raiment with the filth clinging to my feet, for how can one work good deeds whilst clinging to carnal appetites?’ But how shall I be free from the filth of my feet? Who shall free me from this body of death?
And so I realized that this was a place which had captured many, for mine eyes were opened to the fellowship of the saints. I looked about me and beheld the shadows of many other men and women, all adorned as I – with a modest linen robe – but bearing thick clumps of mud about their feet. This fellowship of believers all were at various distances from Truth, and compassed about him; making their journey from all directions. Surely, they each had come to this place, and attained Truth’s seed so far as I had, and been freed of many shackles, but when brought to new birth had not had their feet washed free the things of the world. And so I saw through the eye placed within me that this [mud] was the place in which we all were still tethered to the things of the earth.
I beheld a man not far from me with mud quite to his waist, soiling his linen garment, his upper body appeared tired; his arms hung down lazily at his sides, and his head drooped to one side, he appeared to be nearly full asleep in this place. I looked for his feet amidst the clay, and I beheld through the ground where he stood quite down to the place of the lower realm where his mind was occupied. He was enraptured, not with the things in the home of Truth, but with the things of the earth, where his body dwelt. I could see that this was an immensely successful man down below (far more so than I have ever been), he had a thriving business, and wealth, and homes, and although he had received the seed of Truth, it was in these earthly things he took his delight. The weight of the world had clung to him, and he had allowed it to bog him from motion, and had not only ceased from progress, but had nearly fallen fully to sleep in spiritual things.
I then looked ahead to see, if I could, any who had made progress beyond us – any that I may follow after as they follow Christ. Some distance ahead I beheld a woman, standing even nearly at the feet of Truth. She had gotten quite far, but I also saw that though quite ahead of me she was engulfed to the shoulders with the thick, heavy mud. I gazed down at her feet, and to the realm below – I saw that she had been given such blessed benefits in the Gospel from her youth; her parents were ministers of the Gospel, she had received the seed of Truth at a young age, and grown up in it, yet when the flower of her youth came to bloom she came to discover greater delight in sensual passions, and left off pursuing Truth – and now she was wrapped, even quite to the shoulders in a lifestyle preventing her from reaching Truth; though she had not been pushed back, she was stuck right in place, and the soil, which was but thick mud about my own feet (and that of the man beside me) appeared to be concretizing, rather as hardened stone upon her. I thought, surely if the mud continued to envelope her she would one day fully suffocate.
I perceived that the mud grew upon those who did not move forward in the Truth – and not only grew, but also thickened and hardened, but those who continued to advance shook clods, and clumps of soil with each step. Surely, there was no other way but to walk on; but to forsake all and pursue Truth.
I saw others with such thick burdens one would think there was no way they could move, but as they forced their way forward became more and more free with each step they accomplished until they ran on with little cumbrance. I saw one man so freed from the crust of the earth that he quite began flying toward the Truth – glancing down to the ground below him, I beheld his body down on the earth was confined to a prison cell; his flesh was being tortured daily for the testimony of Christ.
And I am ashamed, for too oft I have looked with the eyes of the flesh on the ministers of the Gospel, and sought like the Pharisees to correct them that did the work of Christ. But let us henceforth not trouble any who are evidently in the works of Christ – for they bear in their body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Yet also I saw among the fellowship those who were hardly weighted with mud, but who sat themselves down on the ground and set about to scraping and cleaning the earth from themselves as well they could, but then standing back to their feet the mud seemed thicker and heavier than it had been before. A number of these became obsessed with this thought of fully cleansing themselves before they trekked onward; they sought to be freed from the carnal, but becoming transfixed on the carnal ordinances they only sullied their hands and their robes so that their garments were as filthy rags. These Pharisees, though unable to cleanse themselves, did also begin to hinder others, calling out to others who were making some progress, they demanded that these cease from their progress, and likewise settle down to cleanse themselves before moving forward. Many of those to whom these Pharisees called out did not perceive that they chains which had fallen off them had now returned with more besides, as well as an heavy yoke upon their necks. In this way an entire generation of those who had the key of knowledge not only entered not in themselves, but also hindered them that would.
(And beware, reader, that you may be mighty, yet not of the Samson generation: a generation in which the eyes of mighty will be put out, and be sold for a slaves to tread the grain if they sells out on the obedience to God’s righteousness, and allows his grace to be cut off through observing the law of carnal commandments.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Stand fast therefore with the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.)
Now far beyond me, at the foot of the tree stood a man clad the same simple linen worn by all the saints;
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Yet his garment was so white as to appear as a shimmering star – so clean and pure was his robe that no bleach could ever cleanse enough to match it, for it was whiter than the pure fallen snow, if you can conceive it. Yet notwithstanding the absolute purity of his garment, this man did stoop down to the feet of each pilgrim who made it to the base of the tree. Unashamedly, he set his knees down in the dirt and took each muddy foot into his hands, setting himself diligently to cleanse the remaining filth away. Some yet had great thick clumps of earth caked upon them, others had but a thin layer of earth remaining. He cared not, nor did he distinguish between the filthier, or the cleaner, he washed them all with equal diligence and care. I observed him in this task for some time as it rather confounded my mind. This man appeared as the greatest prince to have deigned walk the earth, and was of such purity, my heart almost was sore at seeing him so humbled to clean feet; I worried his garments would be soiled by the filth taken into his hands. Yet no uncleanness had the power to touch him, for he was not bound to the earth as all we who had been born of the dust – for:
He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth, [but] he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard that he testifieth.
And each of us must be washed when we come to Truth; if he wash us not, we have not part in him for:
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Yet now did I see another danger, for the mud was caked upon my feet, binding me fast to the earth, and perceiving with mine eye, I beheld some moving thing, nay things burrowing through the ground beneath me. …