صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

fectly insensible. Į John i, 3. 6. And by it, things are made to appear to us, in a measure, as they do to God himself, and to the angels and saints in heaven. And so, by it, we are made to change our minds, and are brought to be of God's mind concerning things. And so we are hereby disposed to understand, believe, entertain, and embrace the gospel. John viii. 47.

GOD, the great Governor of the world, who sees all things as being what they are, does, in the gospel, consider mankind as perishing; as fallen, sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless, and undone. He looks upon the original constitution with Adam as holy, just, and good; and that, by and according to that constitution, he might have damned the whole human race, consistently with his goodness, and to the honour of his holiness and justice. He looks upon the law of nature as holy, just, and good; and that, by and according to that, he might damn a guilty world, consistently with his goodness, and to the honour of his holiness and justice. Now, by this divine light, we are brought to look upon things as God does, and to have an answerable frame of heart.

Again; GOD, the great Governor of the world, who sees all things as being what they are, does, in the gospel, consider a guilty world as lying at his mercy. He saw that he was under no obligations to pity them in the least, or in the least to mitigate their punishment; much less under any obligations to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; and still much less under any obligations, by his holy spirit, to subdue and recover such obstinate rebels, who hate him and his Son, his law and his gospel, and are perfectly averse to a return, Hẹ saw a guilty world lie at his mercy, and that he was at liberty to have mercy or not to have mercy, according to his sovereign pleasure; and that it was fit, and becoming his glorious Majesty, to act as a sovereign in this affair. And now, by this divine light, we are brought to look upon things as God does, and to have an answerable frame of heart.

Again; Gon, the great Governor of the world, who sees all things as being what they are, at the same time that he designs mercy for a guilty world, does consider a Mediator as being

necessary to answer the demands of the broken law, and secure the divine honour. In such a perishing condition he sees mankind; so guilty, so justly condemned, that it would be inconsistent with the divine perfections, and contrary to all good rules of government, to pardon and save such wicked, hell-deserving rebels, without some proper atonement for their sin, and suitable honour done to his law. But the honour of his holiness and justice, law and government, is sacred in his eyes, and of infinite importance, and must be maintained: better the whole world be damned, than they in the least be sullied: And now, by this divine light, we are brought to look upon things as God does, and to have an answerable frame of heart.

Moreover, GoD, the great Governor of the world, who sees all things as being what they are, views his only begotten Son as a meet person for a mediator, and himself as having sufficient power to authorize him to the work. Of his sovereign, self-moving goodness, he, in his infinite wisdom, contrives the whole scheme; lays the whole plan, and puts his design in execution; the door of mercy is opened; the news of pardon and peace is sent through a guilty world, and all are invited to return home to God through Jesus Christ: and God looks upon this way of salvation as being glorious for God, and safe for the poor sinner. And now, by this divine tight, we are brought rightly to understand these things, and look upon them as God does, and believe them, and to have an answerable frame of heart.

Lastly, GoD, the great Governor of the world does, in the gospel, consider our return unto him through Jesus Christ, not only as a duty to which we are under infinite obligations, but also as a privilege of infinite value; and, in this view of the case, he commands and nvites us to return. And now, by this divine light we are brought to look upon this also as God does, and to judge it the ttest and happiest thing in the world to return unto him through Jesus Christ, and to have an answerable frame of heart. For,

By this light we come to have a right view of the most high God: to see hun, in a measure, as the saints and angels in heaven do: to see him in his infinite greatness and majesty, and in the infinite glory and beauty of his nature. And hence

ence.

we are made sensible that he is infinitely worthy of the highest esteem, reverence, love, delight, and of universal obediAnd hence we see, that we, in particular, are under infinite obligations to love him with ali our hearts, and obey him in every thing; and that to do so is the happiest thing in the world ; that not to do so, is infinitely wrong, and deserves an infinite punishment. And thus we see the grounds of the law of nature: the reasons from whence it results, and, with all our hearts consent to it, and approve of it as holy, just, and good. Aud this naturally lays the foundation for us rightly to understand, and heartily to approve of the original constitution with Adam. And while we behold God in his infinite glory, and view the law as holy, just, and good, and see our infinite obligations per ectly to conform unto it; now our universal depravity and infinite ill desert appear in a clear and divine light. Hence it appears we lie at mercy, and that it is fit he should have mercy on whom he will; that it becomes the Majesty of heaven to act as a sovereign in this affair. And it appears that there is no motive in us to excite his compassions, but infinitely to the contrary: and hence the heart is prepared to discern the freeness of divine grace, and to perceive that the goodness of the divine nature must be self-moving; and also to understand the need there is of a mediator to secure the divine honour: for creatures so bad appear too vile to be relieved, unless justice may first be satisfied; it is contrary to law, and contrary to reason, that they should. And while we view these things, and have a divine sense of them on our hearts, we are hereby prepared to understand the way of salvation by free grace through Jesus Christ, as revealed in the gospel. And now a sense of the glorious freeness of divine grace: the excellence and sufficiency of Christ, and the readiness of God to be reconciled to returning sinners through him, lays the foundation for faith and hope*. And all this while there is

* All these things, (although it takes considerable time to express them in order,) may, for substance, instantly open to view, and the soul immediately acquiesce in the gospel-scheme and close with Christ; instantly, I say, upon DIVINE LIGHT's being imparted to the soul. But the mind, in that solemn and awful hour, may especially fix only upon some particulars; and so a remembrance of these may remain, while other particulars, which were then in view, cannot after, wards be recollected. Hence, some may doubt whether their first act of faith

secretly enkindling in the heart a most genuine disposition to return home to God: to love him and live to him, arising from a sense of the ineffable glory and beauty of the divine nature: for he appears glorious in holiness, justice, goodness, and grace; and glorious in his sovereignty and in his majesty, as supreme Lord and high Governor of the whole world. Upon the whole, with utmost solemnity, as being in ourselves infinitely unfit for the divine favour, we venture our eternal ALL upon Jesus Christ as Mediator, relying on his worth and merits, and trusting to the mere free mercy of God through him, for pardon, and grace, and glory; and hence are encouraged and em, boldened, with our whole hearts, to return home to God through him, and give up ourselves to God for ever, to love him and live to him, and live upon him for ever, lamenting that ever we sinned against him, resolving to cleave to him with all our hearts, and never, never to depart from him. Heb. iv. 16. and x. 19–22. Eph. ii. 18. John xiv. 6. Rom. iii. 24, 25, 26. And thus, by this divine light, imparted by the spirit of God, is the soul finally brought to unite to Christ by faith, and to return home to God through him.

John vi. 44, 45. No man can come to me, except the Father draw him. They shall be all taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me. And from what has been said concerning the na ture of the gospel, it is self-evident that herein consists a genuine compliance therewith. For all this is only to see things as being what they are, and to be affected and act accordingly.

REMARK 1. This is peculiar to a genuine compliance with the gospel, and that whereby it is specifically different from all counterfeits; namely, its being founded in, and resulting from this divine light; whereby we are brought, not merely in speculation, but in heart, to look upon things as God does. He sees all things as they are; and therefore when any poor

was right. The best way to remove such fears, is to live in the exercise of faith every day; for when these views, and a consciousness of them, become habitual, our scruples will cease of course. The special nature of our faith may be learnt from the after acts, as well as by the first act; for the after acts will be of the same nature with the first, let our faith be true or false,

sinner is brought to a right view of things, i. e. to see them as they are, he must, by consequence, look upon them as God does. Now, all others being blind and ignorant in scripture account, hence this true sight and sense of things is very peculiar and distinguishing. And hence we may observe that it is mentioned as being peculiar to the good-ground hearers, in Mat. xiii. 25. That they heard the word and UNDERSTOOD it. And Christ intimates that none but his true disciples KNOW THE TRUTH. John viii. 31, 32. And the gospel is again and again said to be hid from all others. Mat. xi. 25. 2 Cor. iv. 3. And they only have it revealed unto them. Mat. xi. 25. They only have the vail taken off from their hearts. 2 Cor. iii. 14—17. And they only behold with OPEN FACE. Ver. 18.

2. This spiritual and divine light lays the foundation for a new kind of belief of the gospel. A sight of the divine beauty and glory of the gospel-scheme, convinces and assures the heart that it is divine, and indeed from God, and not a canningly devised fable. This is an evidence peculiar to the regenerate, and, of all others, it is unspeakably the most satisfactory. (See this largely explained and proved in Mr. Edwards' treatise on religious affections, p. 182. 199.)

3. Regeneration, faith, repentance, and conversion, are, in their own nature, connected together, and so they are in this representation. In regeneration we receive this divine light; this new spiritual sense of things. Our eyes are opened, and we are brought out of darkness into this marvellous light; and so come to have a right view of God; of ourselves; of Christ, and of the gospel-way of salvation by free grace through him. This spiritual illumination lays the foundation for faith, repentance, and conversion. It discovers the grounds of faith, of repentance, and conversion; and we believe, we repent, and convert. Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, always go together; Acts xx. 21. and the gospel calls sinners to repent, and be converted, as well as to believe in Christ. Acts iii. 19. Those, therefore, who seem to have much light, and faith, and joy, but have no repentance, nor do turn to God with all their hearts, are deluded. 4. Spiritual light and true faith are always in proportion. A spiritual sense of God; of ourselves; of Christ, and of the

« السابقةمتابعة »