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Few men, I think, that observe themselves, have not at some time had experience of such inward temptations, as show that the author of them is an invincible enemy. All which tells us, 1. That there are individual spirits. 2. Yea, devils that seek man's misery. 3. And that by the way of sin, and consequently that a future happiness or misery must be expected by us all.
Sect. 1. X. But the great and sure prognostics of our immortal happiness, is from the renewing operations of the Spirit of holiness on the soul. 1. That such a renewing work there is, all true believers in some measure feel. 2. And that it is the earnest of heaven, is proved thus.
Sect. 2. 1. If it be a change of greatest benefit to a man. 2. And if heaven be the very sum and end of it. 3. And if it overcome all fleshly, worldly opposition. 4. And can be wrought by none but God. 5. And was before promised by Jesus Christ to all sound believers. 6. And is universally wrought in them all, either only, or eminently above all others. 7. And was promised them as a pledge and earnest of glory; then it can be no less than such a pledge and earnest; but the former are all true, &c.
Sect. 3. 1. That the change is of grand importance unto man, appeareth in that it is the renovation of his mind, and will, and life. It repaireth his depraved faculties, it causeth man to live as man, who is degenerated to a life too like to brutes. By God's permitting many to live in blindness, wickedness, and confusion, and to be tormenters of themselves and one another, by temptations, injuries, wars, and cruelty, we the fuller see what it is that grace doth save men from, and what a difference it maketh in the world. Those that lave lived unholy in their youth, do easily find the difference in themselves when they are renewed. But to them that have been piously inclined from their childhood, it is harder to discern the difference, unless they mark the case of others. If man be worth any thing, it is for the use that his faculties were made, and if he be not good for the knowledge, love, and service of his Creator, what is he good for? And certainly the generality of ungodly worldlings are undisposed to all such works as this, till the Spirit of Christ effectually change them. Men are slaves to sin till Christ thus make them free. (John VOL. II.
viii. 32, 33, 36; Rom. vi. 18; Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. viii. 2.) But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor. iii. 17.) If the divine nature and image, and the love of God shed abroad on the heart, be not our excellency, health, and beauty, what is? And that which is born of the flesh, is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John ïï. 6.) Without Christ and his Spirit, we can do nothing. Our dead notions and reasons, when we see the truth, have not power to overcome temptations, nor to raise up man's soul to its original and end, nor to possess us with the love and joyful hopes of future blessedness. It were better for us to have no souls, than that those souls should be void of the Spirit of God.
Sect. 4. 2. And that heaven is the sum and end of all the Spirit's operations, appeareth in all that are truly conscious of them in themselves, and to them and others by all God's precepts, which the Spirit causeth us to obey, and the doctrine which it causeth us to believe, and by the description of all God's graces which he worketh in us. What is our knowledge and faith, but our knowledge and belief of heaven, as consisting in the glory and love of God there manifested, and as purchased by Christ, and given by his covenant? What is our hope but the hope of glory. (See Heb. xi. 1, and throughout; 1 Pet. i. 3, 21; Heb. vi. 11, 18, 19, and iii. 6; Tit. ii. 13, and iïi. 7; Col. i. 5, 23, 27.) And through the Spirit, we wait for all this hope. (Gal. v. 5.) What is our love but a desire of communion with the blessed God initially here, and perfectly hereafter? As the sum of Christ's gospel was, “ Take up the cross, forsake all here, and follow me, and thou shalt have a reward in heaven.” (Luke xiv. 26, 33, and xviii. 22, 23.) And the consolation of his gospel is, “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in hearen." . (Matt. v. 11, 12.). So the same is the sum of his Spirit's operations, for what he teacheth and commandeth that he worketh. For he worketh by that word, and the impress must be like the signet, what arm soever set it on. He sendeth not his Spirit to make men craftier than others for this world, but to make them wiser for salvation, and to make them more heavenly and holy. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. Heavenliness is the Spirit's special work.
Sect. 5. 3. And in working this it conquereth the inward undisposedness and averseness of a fesbly, worldly mind and will, and the customs of a carnal life; and the outward temptations of Satan, and all the allurements of the world. Christ first overcame the world, and teacheth and causeth us to overcome it; even its flatteries and its frowns; our faith is our victory. Whether this victory be easy, and any honor to the Spirit of Christ, let our experience of the wickedness of the ungodly world, and of our own weakness, and of our falls when the Spirit of God forsaketh us, be our informer.
Sect. 6. 4. And that none but God can do this work on the soul of man, both the knowledge of causes and experience prove. The most learned, wise, and holy teachers cannot (as they confess and show); the wisest and most loving parents cannot, and therefore must pray to him that can; the greatest princes cannot; evil angels neither can nor will. What good angels can do on the heart we know not; but we know that they do nothing, but as the obedient ministers of God. And (though we have some power on ourselves, yet) that we ourselves cannot do it; that we cannot quicken, illuminate, or sanctify ourselves, and that we have nothing but what we have received, conscience and experience fully tell us.
Sect. 7. 5. And that Christ promised this Spirit in a special measure to all true believers, that it should be in them his advocate, agent, seal, and mark, is yet visible in the gospel ; yea, and in the former prophets. (Isa. xliv. 34; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, and xxxvii. 14; Joel ii. 28, 29, Ezek. xi. 19, and xviii. 31; Eph. i. 13; John iï. 5, and iv. 23, 24, and vi. 63, and vii. 39; John i. 33, and xiv. 16, 26; Acts i. 5, 8; John xv. 26, and xvi. 7-9, &c.) Indeed the Spirit here, and heaven hereafter, are the chief of all the promises of rist.
Sect. 8. 6. And that this Spirit is given (not to hypocrites that abuse Christ, and do not seriously believe him, nor to mere pretending, nominal Christians, but) to all that sincerely believe the gospel, is evident not only to themselves in certainty, (if they are in a condition to know themselves,) but to others in part by the effects; they have other ends, other affections, other lives, than the rest of mankind have; though their heavenly nature and design be the less discerned and honored in the world, because their chiefest difference
is out of the sight of man, in the heart, and in their secret actions, and because their imperfections blemish them, and because the malignant world is by strangeness and enmity an incompetent judge, yet it is discernible to others, that they live upon the hopes of a better life, and their heavenly interest is it that over-ruleth all the adverse interests of this world, and that in order thereunto they live under the conduct of divine authority, and that God's will is highest and most prevalent with them, and that to obey and please him as far as they know it is the greatest business of their lives, though ignorance and adverse flesh do make their holiness and obedience imperfect. The universal noise and opposition of the world against them, do show that men discern a very great difference, which error, and cross interests, and carnal inclinations, render displeasing to those who find them condemned by their heavenly designs and conversations.
Sect. 9. But whether others discern it, or deny it, or detest it, the true believer is conscious of it in himself; even when he groaneth to be better, to believe, and trust, and love God more, and to have more of the heavenly life and comforts, those very desires signify another appetite and mind, than worldlings have; and even when his frailties and weaknesses make him doubt of his own sincerity, he would not change his governor, rule, or hopes, for all that the world can offer him. He hath the witness in himself, that there is in believers a sanctifying Spirit, calling up their minds to God and glory, and warring victoriously against the flesh; (1 John v. 9—11; Gal. v. 17; Rom. vii.; Phil. iii. 7-15;) so that to will is present with them; and they love and delight in a holy conformity to their rule, and it is never so well and pleasant with them, as when they can trust and love God most ; and in their worst and weakest condition, they would fain be perfect. This Spirit, and its renewing work, so greatly different from the temper and desires of worldly men, is given by Christ to all sound believers.
Sect. 10. It is true, that some that know not of an incarnate Savior, have much in them that is very laudable; whether it be real saving holiness, and whether Abraham were erroneous in thinking that even the Sodoms of the world were likely to have had fifty righteous persons in them, I am not now to inquire : but it is sure, 1.
That the world had really a Savior, about four thousand years before Christ's incarnation ; even the God of pardoning mercy, who promised and undertook what after was performed, and shall be to the end. 2. And that the Spirit of this Savior did sanctify God's elect from the beginning; and gave them the same holy and heavenly dispositions in some degree) before Christ's incarnation, as is given since; yea, it is called “The Spirit of Christ,” which was before given. (1 Pet. i. 11,) 3. That this Spirit was then given to more than the Jews. 4. That Christ hath put that part of the world that hear not of his incarnation into no worse a condition than he found them in : that as the Jews' covenant of peculiarity was no repeal of the universal law of grace, made by God with fallen mankind, in Adam and Noah ; so the covenant of grace of the second edition, made with Christ's peculiar people, is no repeal of the foresaid law in the first edition, to them that hear not of the second. 5. That all that wisdom and goodness, that is in any without the christian church, is the work of the Spirit of the Redeemer; as the light which goeth before sun-rising, and after sun-setting, and in a cloudy day, is of the same sun which others see, even to them that see not the sun itself. 6. That the liker any without the church are to the sanctified believers, the better they are, and the more unlike the worse; so that all these six things being undeniable, it appeareth, that it is the same Spirit of Christ, which now giveth all men what real goodness is any where to be found. But it is notorious that no part of the world is, in heavenliness and virtue, comparable to true and serious Christians.
Sect. 11. 7. And let it be added, that Christ, (Eph. i. 14; 2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5; Rom. viii. 23; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Eph. i. 13,
B; and iv. 30; 1 John v. 9, 10; Heb. x. 15,) who promised the greatest measures of the Spirit, (which he accordingly hath given,) did expressly promise this, as a means and pledge, first fruits, and earnest, of the heavenly glory: and, therefore, it is a certain proof, that such a glory we shall have. He that can and doth give us a spiritual change or renovation, which in its nature and tendency is heavenly, and sets our hopes and hearts on heaven, and turneth the endeavors of our lives to the seeking of a future blessedness, and told us, be