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tion in the knowledge of him; the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, that they might know what is the hope of his calling, and the riches of his inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of his power towards them that believe, Eph. i. 19. and iii. 16, 18.; as also that God would strengthen them with might by his Spirit in the inner man that they might comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and the depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. To the same purpose are the scriptures which speak of God's shining into the heart to give the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6.; of his opening men's eyes to behold wonderful things out of his law, Psalm cxix; and of an anointing from above which teacheth all things, 1 John ii. 27.

When our Saviour promises to all who love him and keep his commandments, that he will come unto them and manifest himself to them, John xiv. 21. it is plain that it is not merely the external manifestation of himself in the gospel that is meant. It is evident that he speaks of a privilege that is peculiar to them who love and obey him: and the context shews he manifests himself otherwise to these than to the rest of the world. It is no less evident that the privilege he speaks of cannot be reckoned among the extraordinary gifts peculiar to a few, and which the body of sincere Christians are not concerned in. His words import, that inward manifestations of the Redeemer can no more be restricted to a few extraordinary persons, than love and obedience to him; though no doubt all these things admit of very different degrees.


Of the differences between the work of the Holy Ghost and false appearances of it.


HE consideration of the differences between true and false pretences to the Spirit of God, is of manifold use, both for vindicating the doctrine of grace, and for directing us to a just improvement of it. Because so many people in all ages have so grossly imposed on themselves and others in their pretences to divine communications; this is a main thing which some people make a handle of for justifying their prejudices against all such pretences in general. A due consideration of the differences between the work of the divine Spirit, and the things falsely ascribed to him, will make it evident that these prejudices are without just foundation. To argue that there are no real operations of the Holy Ghost on the hearts of sinners, because many people deceive themselves in pretending to such things, is as unreasonable as to affirm that there is no true and sincere holiness in the world, because there are so many hypocrites.

In treating of false pretences to the Spirit of God, it is needful, first and chiefly, to consider false pretences to his sanctifying grace. Pretences to his extraordinary gifts, such as prophecy, miracles, and immediate inspiration, are more rare and uncommon. It is proper to observe, that without pretending either to the extraordinary gifts of God's Spirit, or to his sanctifying grace, a man may pretend to those things which are very fitly called common operations, that is, to such good motions and impressions from the Spirit of God, as may be found in the hearts of bad men, and which are of

an excellent tendency, but are not duly complied with. As for those who own internal, but not insuperable and effectual grace, they are, of all people in the world, most obliged to allow, that men void of true holiness, may truly pretend to inward operations of the Holy Ghost. According to them, there are no ordinary operations of the Spirit of God, but what men may resist and defeat; that is, there are none but a man may be favoured with, and yet continue in his impenitence and impiety.

If a man carry his pretences no higher than these common operations, it is evident, that supposing him to be in a mistake, it is not of the most dangerous kind. A man who justly accuses himself of resisting good motions, which he has felt in his heart and conscience, may be supposed to be mistaken in ascribing these motions to divine operation. But his error is far from being so dangerous as that of a man, who, without pretending to the Holy Ghost, falsely pretends to holiness itself; and imagines he has attained to the image of God, without his grace. There is the more need of considering this, because of the manner in which some people treat of the delusions of self-love in religion. They speak on that subject, as if the only most dangerous self-deceit was false pretence to the Holy Ghost; whereas, indeed, the most dangerous delusion is false pretence to holiness itself, whether people ascribe their attainments to the Holy Ghost or not. If a man falsely pretend to the image of God, his error cannot be the less sinful or less hurtful, because he does not ascribe his having the divine image to the divine Spirit. The grossest Pelagianism, by which a man renounces all pretence to the inward efficacy of God's Spirit, and disclaims all dependance and obligations to it, cannot make his self-deceit either innocent or less dangerous. It is rather the more dangerous, because there is the more self confidence and pre



sumption in it. Self-confidence is acknowledged by all judicious moral writers to have a great tendency to self-deceit in all cases; but in none more than in the concerns of religion.

They who deny all inward operations of the grace of God, must accuse even those who are endued with true holiness, if they ascribe it to the Holy Ghost, as chargeable with false pretences to divine communications. But they ought in all reason to acknowledge that such men's mistake is far from being pernicious. The grossest Pelagian ought to own, that if men's pretence to the divine image be just and true, though their pretence to the divine Spirit as the cause of it, be false; these men cannot be supposed to be excluded from the favour of God, merely because they are guilty of ascribing too much to his grace.

In considering the differences between true and false pretences to sanctifying grace, it is not needful to confine our view to the scriptures above adduced, to prove, that holiness in all its parts is the effect of it. When once it is proved, that the grace of God is the cause of true holiness, all the scriptures which explain the nature and characters of true holiness, may be justly considered as explications of the work of the Holy Ghost.

It is evident from Scripture and the experience of all ages, that many people who are void of true holiness, may have some resemblances of the several parts of it, by which they may not only impose on others, but also on themselves. They may have resemblances, not only of the outward parts of it, or of external obedience, as it is said of Herod, that he did many good things, but also of the inward good dispositions whence it proceeds. may have some sorrow for sin, some kind of faith or belief, concerning the great truths of the gospel, some sort of delightful affections in the contemplation and worship of God, and kind affections to


wards men. By this means, people who want true holiness, may have some appearances or resemblances of faith and repentance, and of the love we owe to God and our neighbours.

In the first place, there are various instances in Scripture, of appearances and resemblances of repentance, in the hearts of the impenitent. Cain and Judas felt bitter remorse, Saul wept aloud, Ahab was in heaviness when rebuked for his wickedness, and Felix trembled. The Pharisees who lived in our Saviour's time, kept frequent fasts; and so did their predecessors the hypocritical Jews, whom Isaiah (chap. Iviii.) describes as a people who pretended to afflict their souls for their sins, and yet continued in the practice of them; particularly in the sins contrary to righteousness, charity and mercy. Thus, men may have fear and trembling, heaviness and sorrow, with weeping in considering their sins, and yet neglect that sincere repentance which the Scripture calls repentance unto life. In order to a right view of the sources of these and the like resemblances of repentance, and of the differences between them and the good things they resemble, it is proper to consider the following things.

The affections which may be found in men's hearts in considering or confessing their sins, or in devout exercises in general, may be divided into three sorts. First, There are some affections which are in their own nature evil and corrupt, such as all affections contrary to the love we owe to God and our neighbours. Secondly, There are others which may be called common good affections, which are in their own nature good, and even necessary, though not sufficient in order to true holiness; such as a general desire of escaping future punishment, and of obtaining eternal happiness, and of the Divine favour, as the means of that happiness; which desire may be found in different de

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