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is necessary to salvation ; but till in these words two different teachthen, till this change, this new crea- ings are mentioned, the one by man's tion of the Spirit is wrought in us, the wisdom, the other by the Holy Ghost; scriptures will be as the words of a and as are the teachings, so are the book that is sealed, which none can persons taught—the one quite differ. read, neither learned nor unlearned. ent from the other. The worldlyIf men deliver this sealed book to one wise know not God, nor, indeed, are that is learned, saying, Read this I many of them called ; whereas those pray thee; the answer is, I cannot, taught by the Spirit know spiritual for it is sealed—that is, the contents things—they have a true taste and of the book is hid from hisa, as the relish for them; “for the Spirit word of God, in its true spiritual searcheth all things (says the Apussense and meaning, most certainly is tle), yea, the deep things of God; till the mind and understanding are and God (says he) hath revealed enlightened from above. And, on them unto us by his Spirit." Nothing the other hand, when the book is can be more to the purpose than delivered to him that is not learned, these words (and they are the words saying, Read this, I pray thee, an ex. of God himself) to show the truth and cuse is as ready, for he saith, I am necessity of an inward teaching ; not learned.

without which all other learning will This is the true character of men in serve to no purpose, except it be 10 a natural unconverted state ; it shows puff men up with pride and conceit. their ignorance in things spiritual : Whole systems of philosophy in and in respect of true saving know- the head will ‘avail nothing, without ledge, it puts the learned upon the the love of God shed abroad in the same footing as the unlearned. To heart; and if we have not a saving the one, that is, the learned, spiritual experimental knowledge of Christ, truths are often sealed truths; such and him crucified, we shall be no truths as the wisdom of this world better for our knowledge could we knows nothing of, nor can all the art know all besides. of man find them out. They are The Spirit is the only master to spiritually discerned-they belong to teach us true saving knowledge; he and proceed from the Spirit of God; must put to his band and give the and as such the Spirit of God must finishing stroke to whatever we do. unfold them to us. No other help Nay, all our works roust begin, concan do it; for, as no man knoweth tinue, and end in him; they must be the things of a man save the spirit of tinctured with his purity, and his inman which is in him ; even so the fluence must guide and direct them, things of God knoweth no man but and these our works, though thus the Spirit of God," that is, He, and conducted by the Spirit, must be unto be only, knows the things of God, us, not as our righteousness or justifiwhose nature is changed into that of cation, but as witnesses of our faith, the

pure and holy Jesus; and, whose or as so many evidences to attest (for mind and understanding being spi- a truth) that Christ is in us. ritually enlightened, is taught of God. If men are not taught of the Spirit, Or, as the Apostle expresses it, "he whatever depths of human learning receives the Spirit wbich is of God, they may have besides, it is most that thereby he may know the things certain that things spiritual will be to that are freely given to him of God. them as the words of a book that is Which things we speak (says St. Paul) sealed; they see the outside of the not in the words which man's wisdom book, but the contents are under real teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost and cover. So men may be tauglit teacheth.”

arts and sciences, their minds indy

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be richly stocked with the politest of verted state, though of great parts
both natural and acquired accom- and abilities, are so extremely igno-
plishments, and froin childhocd they rant in spiritual things.
may be regularly trained up in a It is a known maxim, that the
plausible appearance of an outside re- mind determines according to evi-
ligion. By this kind of education dence; therefore it is, their evidence
they may become well acquainted being carnal, sensual, and after the
with the mode, or manner of worship, wisdom of the world, thal men, in a
they may be daily, constant attenders natural state, draw such false conclu.
at it, and, probably, it may be their sions concerning things spiritual.
great pleasure sometimes to hear and And in this great aflair, both learned
talk of the beauty of holiness ; but if and unlearned are pretty much the
a real and thorough change is not same; for, while the learned and un-
wrought in their hearts—if the life of learned speak of the things of the
holiness is not created within them, Spirit as the words of a book that is
nor the power of godliness felt in sealed, if you ask the unlearned, say.
their souls, all their religion is no ing, tell me,

I
pray

thee, what these better than a hearsay religion, taken things mean, they will answer and up upon the credit of an early formal say, I cannot, for I am not learned. education. Their fair outward show Here, the vulgar, or common people is only a specious form, and when among the unconverted, excuse their they talk of the beauty of holiness as ignorance of things spiritual, by intithough they admired it, it is quite mating as though nothing could com. foreign to the spirit or true beauty of prehend them but the narrow circle of holiness ; very much like him who human learning. By this means they, admires the beauty of a well bound in fact, shut out Christ from their book, and is pleased with the art of souls, not considering how wuch he the workman while he knows nothing delights to dwell with the humble, in of the author, nor one word of its their heart, though there may not be contents, because it is sealed. The the knowledge of one single letter in book he sees, and the title he may the head. For (as St. Paul says, 1 probably read upon the back of the Cor. i. 27) God hath chosen the book, but not one word can he tell foolish things of the world to confound within, till the seal is broken uff, and the wise, and God hath chosen the the book opened.

weak things of the world to confound So, and in respect of the word of the things which are mighty; and God (called the Bible, or Book) we base things of the world, and things see its outside (the bare letter of it), which are despised hath God chosen, and we know its great titles, that it is yea, and things which are not, to called the Word of Life, the Gospel, bring to nought things that are.”. Good Tidings of great Joy to all Now, this method that God thus People, the Revelation of God's good chooses whereby to make known bis will towards men, and the like. I Son to poor despised men and women, say, we may see the letter, or out- looked upon in the eyes of the world side of the bible, and may read its as foolish, weak, base, and contemptigreat titles, and yet, like a book that ble, is to let us know that his grace is sealed, we shall never come at the is free, and that he gives it to whom, true spiritual sense, or meaning, of after what manner, and at what time its deep and holy contents, till Christ, soever he pleases; That po flesh by his Spirit, breaks off the seal, and should glory (be puffed up with their opens the book to our understanding. own accomplishments) in his preAh! this is the reason, the very rea- sence. But of him (says the Aposson, why men in a natural uncon- tle speaking to the despised servants

an

of God) are ye in Christ Jesus (that great want of him, like a person is, though of themselves they were struck to the beart by some sudden bad illiterate, weak, base, and contempti

news, whu feels the want of that ease, ble in the eyes of the worldly-wise, comfort, and satistaction which he yet God of his free love was pleased lost by the surprise. This, I believe, to give them a true saving knowledge is what few will dery; for who, of Christ, and hit crucified, (called almost of this congregation, but at being in Christ Jesus) who of God is some time or other, have bad their made unto us wisdom, and righteous. spirit sunk and shaken by bad news, ness, and sanctification, and redemp- melancholy accidents, sudden deaths, tion. That according as it is written, or the like? Why, then, can't we be that glorieth, let him glory in the believe the reality, I had almost said Lord.”

the necessity, of an inward sense or From these words, it is plain to a feeling of our great want of Christ ? demonstration, that God is no ad- Such a thing, doubtless, there is; ay, mirer of worldly accomplishments, and that deep inward sense of our either natural or acquired—that he wants is the way to Christ-it is the pays no regard to riches or grandeur very beginning of all the happiness —and that his grace is not at all con- we expect in heaven. Without this fined to any sect, person, or party knowledge of our want of Christ, all whatever ; but that he gives it to

human learning, all other knowledge whom he pleases, considering no qua- whatever, is no better than florid lification so much as that of a meek, nonsense, and polite foolishness. humble, and teachable heart

Not to have a true in ward sense of heart thoroughly convinced of sin, our great want of Christ is that which and made feelingly sensible that no- seals up and hides the word of God thing but the blood of Christ can from the heart-it keeps us ignorant heal it.

of the threats and promises therein Such a knowledge of ourselves is the contained—it makes us to understand great inlet through which the know- them no otherwise than, as it were, ledge of a crucified Jesus, and all the by hearsay, or, as when a man reads comforts of the Spirit, flow to the a piece of history, and is the fatal soul; agreeable to which, in the cause why so many rest satisfied in Visitation of the Sick, our church a mere form, or show of godliness. prays most fervently for the sick The life and spirit of religion are to person, that God would make him them like the words of a book that is "know and feel (in his heart) that sealed ; and, being thus in the dark, there is none other name under hea. they regard neither threats nor pro. ven given to man, in whom, and mises, They cannot apply the prothrough whom, he may receive health mises of the gospel, because they and salvation, but only the name of have never felt in their hearts the our Lord Jesus Christ."

power of Christ to salvation. This Our church seemeth as though sinks their spirits in distress, it fills she was afraid some of her children the bed of sickness with gloomy should rest in a civilised form of god thoughts, gives them a frightful view liness, or that they should take up of eternity, and makes death so amaand content themselves with a mere zingly dreadful, they cannot hear the head-knowledge of Christ, having no bare mention of it, but it goes like a inward sense, or want, of him in their sword through their soul. hearts ; therefore it is she so fervently And, as are tbe promises of the prays for the sick person, not only gospel to the unawakened, not to be that he may know Christ, but also applied, but, like the words of a that he may feel in his heart his book that is sealed; so are the threats of the gospel. The law never yet this, I pray thee, and tell me the came home and close to their con. meaning, not glossed over, but the sciences—they have never felt in their true meaning of these scripture pas. hearts its condemning power, nor sages, he saith, I cannot, for the with what force it comes against sin ; book is sealed. He is ashamed to they, therefore, know not the terror confess his spiritual ignorance, there. of the Lord, but hang out, as it were, fore, he don't say he cannot tell, but a flag of 'defiance against all the he saith it is sealed—the book is threats of heaven. A form of godli. sealed. And tbe better to disguise ness is the strength of their hopes— his ignorance, he guesses at those they trust in the fair outside of a sayings of the Holy Spirit, and gravely plausible show; and, having never calls them: a regular conversation, a seen their corruptions, and, of conse- moral good behaviour, waiting upon quence, their great want of Christ, ordinances, pious resolutions, sincere they don't much dispute, but the per- endeavours, or the like, as though man, formance of duties will carry them of himself, was able to do these things. safe to heaven.

By these means the unlearned are Thus the unawakened, learned and still kept ignorant of, and made unlearned, according to their different quite easy in their unconverted state. turns of mind, are all of them guess- And if one ask them a question coning at the way to heaven-like a man cerning things spiritual, they answer with a book in his hand that is sealed and say, they are not learned. So guessing at the contents what they that the word of God is to these should be. This is a sacred truth, a a strange language — an unknown truth of God's speaking, though it tongue : while to the learned and may seem strange in our ears. For, not enlightened it is a sealed book.

The vision of all, all that God But when the Lord brings the law has revealed to bis prophets, or home close to the heart, sin, like the Christ by the Holy Ghost to his long settled sediment when disturbed, apostles concerning the great work will begin to rise; it will awaken the of redemption, is become to the un- benumbed sleepy conscience, and fill converted like the words of a book the once drowsy mind with the most that is sealed, which if we deliver to cutting and uneasy thoughts.

It will one that is learned, saying, Read shew the sinner to himself, what corthis, I pray thee, and tell me the ruption is in his heart, what uncleanmeaning of a new creature, born of liness in his soul; it will give him an the Spirit as well as of water, justi. awakening sense of his great want of fied freely by grace, not of works, Christ, “and will make him know walking in the Spirit, renewed in the and feel,” as our church says, “ that spirit of our mind, and putting on the there is no other name, than the new man, which after God is created name of Jesus, whereby be can be in righteousness and true holiness. saved, and that nothing but his pre. Crying by the Spirit, Abba, Father. cious blood can make him clean." An unction from the holy one: or by The poor sinner will then long for a what means the anointing we receive saving interest in that precious blood; from him teacheth us of all things. and the stronger his convictions, the Being one with Christ, and Christ stronger will be his desires after it. with us. Opening the door of our The very mention of that blood will hearts to Christ that he may come in, strike his soul with a pleasing grief, and sup, and dwell within us, or the and fill him with a mixture of hope,

I
say,

if we deliver the word of fear and shame. God to one that is learned, and not At some times his soul will cry spiritually enlightened, saying, Read out, Even so, come Lord Jesus. At

like ;

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poor sinner to

other times the cry will be changed “the eyes of the blind (the spiritually into that mournful tone, Depart blind) then begin to see out of obfrom me, for I am a sinful man, o scurity and out of darkness,” that is, Lord, Ah, poor soul! he would the Spirit will give them light. As gladly open the door of his heart our church prays, the Spirit will to let in his dear Christ, but his fears lighten their darkness. And the arising from a remembrance of his seal of carnal security, being thus pa:t life prevent him ; they fix him broken off by the Spirit, the book, or between hope and despair, not know- word of God, becomes a new book, ing what to do, whether to keep out and its contents, as much as are neChrist or to let him in; till at last, cessary to salvation, are all savingly is applied to his soul those sweet known. The new birth is comfortably words of his dear Master, “Come experienced, the new creature plainunto me all ye that labour, and are ly seen in a holy life, and the power heavy laden, and I will give you of godliness sensibly felt in the inner rest."

All old things are past away This encourages the

(the old will, old affections and deopen his heart, though with a weak sires, the former conversation, old trembling band; and as Christ is companions, amusements, or the like, entering in (may I use the expres- are done away), behold, all things sion) see the poor sinner how humbly are become new." The man is be. he receives bis God, with wet eyes come a new man. and his nature so and bended knees, not daring to look thoroughly changed into that of the up, but begging mercy in those words pure and holy Jesus, that one may of the humble leper, “ Lord, if thou perceive for a truth, as our church wilt, thou canst make me clean." says in her communion service, that And, oh the gracious answer of Christ he dwells in Christ, and Christ in to this humble petition ! "I will, be him; that be is one with Christ, and thou clean.” May the Lord speak Christ with him. To his great joy the same to every soul here. To and comfort, the Spirit beareth wit. this the Spirit sets his seal.

ness with his spirit that he is a child we are sealed with that Holy Spirit of of God; testifying to him at the same promise, which" says the Apostle, time, that that act of love is merely " is the earnest of our inheritance in from free grace, and not from any, the the saints.” And having thus re- least inerit of his. ceived the seal of the Spirit in his No, they who are spirituelly ensanctifying gifts and graces, or, as lightened see nothing in themselves, the Apostle calls it Eph. i. 18., "the out of Christ, but death and judgeyes of the poor sicner's understand- 'ment; which makes them know how ing being enlightened, he begins to to value their dear Christ in the comknow what is the hope of his calling, forts of his spirit. They plead his and what the riches of the glory of merits, and are found in bis righteous. his inheritance in the saints," and

His Holy Spirit works within what is the exceeding greatness of them a sanctifying, soul-cleansing God's power towards him, the great work; they feast themselves with the ness, the freeness of that power, in sweets of his love, and solace their changing and renewing the heart, souls with sure and certain hopes of and in cleansing, purging, and sancti. being shortly translated into joys that fying the whole man throughout, are eternal, where there are pleasures soul and body.

for evermore, and where they shall Then begins the happy change reign for ever and ever, with the Lamb from nature to grace,

or, as the that was slain, and is alive. prophet says a little after my text, For whose dear sake, may the Lord

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ness.

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