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Francis Lee was the editor and publisher of most of the later printed works of the Prophetess, Jane Lead, including her Journals, which he printed in three volumes and named, A Fountain of Gardens [Cant.4:15].  This on-line representation is a transcription of Francis Lee's Introduction to the authentic manuscript of Jane Lead's A Fountain of Gardens, Volume Two, printed in 1697.


 

A Fountain of Gardens - Volume Two

    T H E     

E  D  I  T  O  R

T O     T H E

R  E  A  D   E  R.

{Signed as TIMOTHEUS, known to be:}
Francis Lee, M.D.

IN this Second Volume of the Diary, {of Jane Lead} which is here Presented, there are many Things very Considerable, relating to the several Progresses of a Life of Faith, with various Manuductions to this Mystick and Supersensual State; recorded within the Space but of One Year; wherein this Author was most plentifully Visited of God.    There are many Informations given concerning the Paradisiacal, the Angelical, and the Divine Life, in the Gradual Augmentation and Operation of the Holy Seed of Faith within the Soul.    Many things concerning the Bank of Wisdom, with her Laws of Merchandize;  which besides an Interiour, do carry also with them an Exteriour Sense, that will be made good to her Children:  many things respecting the Establishment of a Royal Order of the Melchizedeck Priesthood upon the Earth, with the Return of Prophecy and Miracles, in a more Extraordinary and Fixed Manner than ever hitherto.  

They are all Great and Momentous Matters which are here deliver'd, concerning both the Church of Christ in general, and each Member thereof in particular:  neither are they such as are at a distance, but such as are near at hand, and at the very Door;  they beginning already to be accomplished in some Persons in divers Countries, even almost of all Ranks, Constitutions, and Manners of Living.    Whereof much could be said.    And if they be not only Great, but also Uncommon and Strange, though it cannot be expected that they should easily be Receiv'd;  yet it may that they should at least be admitted to a fair Hearing, and candid Examination, as to the Pretences which are made.     Whatever also the Method of Delivering them down may be, and how liable soever to the Exceptions of the Eloquent and the Learned, this will not be a Prejudicate strong enough to make the Wise and Prudent in Heart, throw away a rich Treasure that may be put into their hands, because of the many Coverings that may be put upon it.     And if the Matters be of the greatest Consequence, though they be couched for the most part under certain Parables, Similitudes, and Visional Ideas, it is not at all doubted but that Many will be found, who may hereby be stirred up to dive into and comprehend what others will slight and despise, as seeing nothing more in it than an Enthusiastick Jargon of Words.    But let the Thoughts of these be never so mean, it is certain to me, that Wisdom will be justified of her Children:  and that her Children are Children indeed, Children in the Eyes of the World, in their own Eyes, and in the Eyes of God.    No wonder then it is that the World despises them, laughs at their weakness, and with a sort of Disdain, pities their Folly.    It has been so from the days of Christ and of his holy Apostles:  and it is no new thing for the Mystick Wisdom of God to be accounted Foolishness, and those that are led by an higher Spirit than that of this World to be termed Mad, or even possess'd with a Devil.    But if the World know them not, a Greater than the World doth know them.    Hear then, O ye Little Ones, and rejoice:  Hear also, O ye Despisers, and mourn.     For a glorious Kingdom, and a beautiful Crown, even the Crown of Philadelphia, is now set before you both.    Take heed that ye neglect not so great an offer, and deride not those who do Believe, and consequently Accept it.    If so, the Evil Day of Temptation, that is to try the whole Earth, will overtake you suddenly:  and then will ye be constraine'd to confess, How are these whom we counted Mad, numbered among the Children of God:  and how is their Lot fallen among the Redeemed out of the Earth, who stand upon the Mount of Sion, with Crowns and Palms in their Hands, following the Lamb?

The Ascending Steps to which Mount you will find Here so described, as could be by none but such as have went up by them; in conformity with that process of the Regeneration, and the Transformation, which hath been expressed by the Ascension-Ladder sent down, that was in the year 1681 set forth by the Author, and in the Year 1694 Translated into High Dutch, and soon after that into Low Dutch.    Wherein it is at large declared how the Actions and Passages of our Blessed Lord in the Way to Glorification, are not only Representative, and Imputative as to their Meritoriousness, or Efficacy, but are also Operative of the same in the Members of his Mystical Body.    Who must also pass through Death, and the Resurrection, before they can Ascend, and be Glorified with him in the Kingdom of Mount Sion, or of the New Jerusalem.    Let us then, as many as Love the Lord JESUS and his Appearance, behold the Cloud now breaking, wherein he will Descend into Us, in like manner as he Ascended, and having carry'd us through the Cross, will lead us back into Paradise, whence we came out, by restoring again the bright and pure Image of God, through his all-virtual Resurrection: and from thence conduct us still higher and higher, as we shall be herewith by him Adorned, into those Superiour States of Glorification, in the Heavens above Paradise, where he sits as at the right hand of the Father, in the Fullness of Majesty and Glory.    From whence he will personally also descend to Judge the World according to Righteousness and Truth [or Equity,] when he shall have thus prepared a Body of Saints, made like unto him, in the midst of whom he may pitch his Glorious Tabernacle.    Out of which his Edicts will be sent, as on the Wings of the Lightning, to the utmost ends of the Earth, by Flying Angels who have liv'd in Bodies of Mortality, but shall have then receiv'd the Immortal Crown and the Incorruptible Name.    O Blessed, yea, thrice Blessed are all those, who through that Faith, which in these Sheets is Describ'd, are made partakers of this First Resurrection, and of the high Immunities and Prerogatives of the First-born.  

But who is sufficient for these things?     And it may now again  be said:  Alas! Who hath believed our Report?   We are accounted as Liars all the day long, for thy sake, O God of Truth.    Alas! who will believe that thou hast remembered thy Promises of Old, which all thy Holy Prophets have repeated from thy Mouth:  O Lord most Holy, O Lord, most True?    Or that thou hast spoken unto us out of the Cloudy Pillar, and communed with us in the Silence of our Hearts?   How hast thou made us to bear thy Reproach, O God:  and to be in the Eyes of many, and even of our Brethren, (as we still esteem them) as the Dung of the Earth, and as the Offscouring of all the present Forms of Religion;  because we have believed thy Word, and have listened to thy Voice, calling unto us in the Evening of this Sixth Day?     Wherefore dealest thou thus with us, O Lord our God?     Surely thou answerest us:  Why are ye so jealous of mine Honour, as if the Times were not in mine Hand, and the Seasons ordained in my Counsel?    Arise: and hold not your Peace, though ye be but the Offscouring of the Earth, and lie as among the Pots.    Blow ye the Trumpet;  and cease not, till I shall appear.    Suffer me to plead my own Cause, and at my own time.    Remember by Servant John, that I sent to prepare my Way:  how he wrought not any mighty Deed, yet was found faithful in his Ministration, and prevailed abundantly.    Think not that I am slack in performing my Promises, of destroying the Adversary, the Man of Sin, by the Ghostly and Miraculous Powers going out of my Mouth, as streams of Fire.    For all my Promises are at hand to be fulfill'd.    Hold but fast unto the End:  and rejoice greatly, that ye are counted worthy to suffer shame for my Name.

Wherefore we shall not be Solicitous what may be Said or Thought of us by Any.     Our Part is Defensive, not Offensive:  and so Only but with respect to the Honour of God, and the Immutable Truth of his Word.    And therefore it will be incumbent on those who would oppose us, to shew the Invalidity of that charter which we pretend to have from the Mouth of Christ himself, Luke 11.10,13.  Matth. 5.48. (compared with 1Cor.13.) John 16.10,12,13,14. (compared with Chap.17.20,21. and Acts 2.17,39.)     Or to produce but any one Testimony either out of the Old, or New Testament, (which they themselves dare to rely on) for the Final Cessation of Revelation and Prophecy in the Church of God, either with the Apostles, or shortly after, or even after several Centuries of Years, as the more Moderate and Learned do Assert.     Or else to shew that what we do profess to have thus learnt, when rightly understood, is Clearly contrary to what is contain'd in the Law, or in the Gospel, or to something deliver'd by the Holy Prophets or Apostles.    Either of which if these Gentlemen can prove, they will do much towards the Sapping, and Overturning the whole Foundation upon which we stand.    But till this shall be done, all this other Labour will be but in vain:  and instead of retarding, will but serve more Vigorously to promote the Work:  that is undertaken and carried on by some that are of a Nehemiah Spirit, and not to be daunted with big and terrifying Words.

If there be then any Dissatisfied as to the Contents of this Volume, or of the former, or other Writings hitherto Printed of this Author; let them, if their Dissatisfaction be out of a Zeal for God, and the Truth of Religion;  consider with cool and sedate Thoughts, whether there be not as good a Ground in Scripture for the Expectation and Belief of such a Kingdom of Christ to come, as is herein expressed, and said to be revealed by the Powers of the Holy Ghost;  as there is for many of the Opinions in Religion which they do receive and Articles which they have subscribed to.    Let them consider what is the Sanctification of the Divine Name on Earth, to be daily Pray'd for, (and therefore to be believ'd in) what the Coming of the Kingdom of our God on Earth, in like manner to be Pray'd for, and Believ'd in, as to the very same degree that it is in Heaven;  that is both with the same Oneness of Spirit, the same perfection of Purity, and the same Universality of Extent;  with respect first to the Name of the Father to be sanctified, by such as shall have receiv'd the Seal of the Adoption of Children;  secondly, to the Kingdom to be manifested, which must be in the Power of the Father; and thirdly, the Will to be performed, which must be by the Holy Ghost, ministering in the inward Sanctuary, which he fills.    Let them consider what other Systems do say as to these matters:  and then let them examine what a System may be drawn out of this Book, when well digested, and fully comprehended.    After which let that which is hence drawn, be compared with those:  and both together be compared with the Sacred Scriptures, taken in their easie, plain, and natural Sense, without running to, or depending upon the Glosses, Interpretations, or Comments of any whatever.     Let them further consider, whether in these Scriptures, there be the least Footsteps to be found for such a prevailing Opinion, as is at this day grown in manner Universal amongst us, that the Prophetical and Miraculous Gifts of the Spirit were design'd by Christ for the Establishment only and Foundation of his Church, and not for its Building up, and Perfection in the Work of the Ministry, till all should be brought hereby into the Unity of the Faith, and the Knowledge not only of the Mysteries of Religion, but a full conformity to the Stature of Christ, in the most perfect and stable Model of it:  concerning which much is spoke, both here, and in The Message to the Philadelphian Society.

It is to be confessed that there are indeed several things, that will be apt to shock the Readers at the first view, who have not had any such Experiences in themselves:  but chiefly through the Strangeness of this Parabolical and Mystical way of Writing, which is fallen under as great a Disreputation in this present Refin'd Age, as it was of Esteem in the first Ages of the Church.     But upon a most nice and accurate Examination, these Stumbling Blocks will either all, or for the most part, moulder away of themselves.    And whereas it is generally Objected against every one that steps out of the Vulgar and Ordinary Road, and speaks but of any Divine Favours above what are common, That all proceeds from the Root of Pride in them, variously transforming itself, you may be Here assured, that there is the most Solid ground Established, by what you shall read in these so Peculiar Memoirs, for the Humility of the Cross, without making it to interfere with Faith or Hope:  or to impede the Progress of any Generous Design for the Good of this Nation, of Christendom, and of the whole World.     And no where better you may find what a vast distinction there is of a True and Christian from a False and Beggarly Humility.    Another thing that may recommend this, with the other Treatises of the same Author, is that there will not herein be found any vilifying or reproaching the Sacred Customs among Christians, any Lessening or Derogating from any Institutions either of Christ or of his Apostles, as is usual unto Some:  but a just Deference to the Truth of the History as well as of the Divine Mystery.    Here is nothing against the Ordinances of the Gospel, when us'd in Spirit and in Truth:  nothing against the giving Honour to whom Honour is due:  and nothing against the Unity of the Body of the Church under Christ the only Supreme and Universal Bishop, and his Holy Spirit.    For as much as nothing is asserted for the setting up of any new Sect, or Church:  but an Encouragement is only given, for the Waiting purely in the Unity of this Spirit, with Prayers and Supplications, that such an Holy Catholick Church may arise upon the Earth;  whereof Christ can say, that my Dove, my Undefiled is One, and that it is One Spirit with himself.    Wherefore also there can be no Objection as to any Uncharitableness in this Author.    Who is more blamed for the Height of Charity, as stretching it too far, than for the want of it, or contracting it.    But that Exact and Beautiful Representation of the Design and Import of our Saviour's Doctrine, which is herein Deliver'd, will be sufficient probably to prefer the same to all the Sober Inquirers after Truth:  when they shall have Thoroughly examin'd into it, and compared it with those Lame and Imperfect Accounts of it which are given by the Writers of Systems:  and will be able to guard itself (when clearly Apprehended) against all Attacks, whether on the right hand or on the left.     There are some Antient Truths conformable to the Gospel and to the Belief and Practice of the Apostolical Church, which you may here find Reviv'd:  some not so generally Lost, Confirm'd.    What is said concerning the Incarnation and Satisfaction of Christ, the Resurrection of the body, Christian Perfection, and the Kingdom of God in the Restitution of Depraved Nature, is so deep and so Fundamental; and withal so agreeable with that high Veneration which every Christian ought to have for the Holy Scriptures, as may reward the Worthy and Patient Inquirer:   Besides many other Great and useful Mysteries unfolded, and Notions neither Wild nor Barbarous propounded, but worthy of Acceptation by all Christians, and all Men, for the Humiliation of Man, the Exaltation of God, and the Promulgation of the Gospel of his Kingdom:  to discover more deeply our own Weakness and Unworthiness, and to infuse into us a great Charity for others, Condescension, and Compassion towards all that bear the same Image and Nature with ourselves, and toward the whole Groaning Creation.

If any of which Ends be obtain'd by what is here Publish'd, through the Divine Blessing upon it, then hast thou, O Reader, who reapest this Benefit, reason to Thank:  But if otherwise, take heed how thou Condemn.

 

Thy Brother and Servant in
the Lord Jesus,

TIMOTHEUS.        
{Known to be Francis Lee, M.D.}

Aug.5. 1697

 

End of:  Francis Lee's 'Preface to Jane Lead's Fountain of Gardens - Volume Two'

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