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want evidence and must suspend their judgment. The other is, that reasoning which is designed to strengthen good affections and purposes, by reflection on proper motives of the truth, of which the mind has already a well founded persuasion. As to the first sort of reasoning, even where divine love takes place, and is founded on a just assent to the most essential truths, men may have occasion for such inquiries, and find them attended with difficulty. The frequent diversity of sentiments among the best men, in a special manner about the application of uncontested general rules to particular cases, puts this out of question. In such cases it is necessary to avoid a blind affection to one side of a question, before a man's judgment is sufficiently informed and determined on good grounds. This is that cool and judicious consideration which is so requisite in impartial inquiry. It must exclude the influence of corrupt affections, because they tend to bias the mind against evidence; but for the same reason, it must not exclude the influence of the love of God, than which nothing is more truly subservient to the search of truth.

But notwithstanding the usefulness of such inquiries, it would be manifestly unreasonable to place the whole of religion in them. It would be absurd to pretend, that all devout exercises should be performed with such a suspense of judgment as these inquiries suppose. This would infer that there can be no exercise of divine love, founded on the just and firm belief of divine truths; and that a state of sincere holiness must be a state of perpetual scepticism. It is evident that this would cast a very injurious reflection on the means God has given us of knowing his will. It would infer that they are so obscure and defective that men's belief can never be fully determined on good grounds; and that the right use of reason in religion, is to

be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

From what is said, it is evident that the lively exercise of divine love and joy, has the greatest connection with the most desirable sedateness and composure of mind. When men oppose sedateness of mind and lively affections to one another, they do not consider duly the great disparity between those irregular affections, which should never be introduced into devotion; and those affections which belong to divine love, which are essential to the right performance of devotion. What has been said above, concerning the opposite tendency of these two sorts of affections, shews that the one is as useful in order to due composure and serenity of mind, as the other is hurtful to it. Irregular affections tend to darken the mind, hinder due attention, and distract the thoughts. The very reverse of this is the natural result of divine love, and of all those concomitants of it which the apostle calls the fruits of the Spirit; joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness. Whoever believes the Scripture-account of future blessedness, must own that it is a state of the most vigorous and most perfect love and joy in the most perfect serenity and tranquillity. To have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, and to be filled with joy and peace in believing, is the nearest resemblance of that blessedness. That faith which works by love, is a faith by which the soul and conscience enter into rest, Heb. iv. While that faith and love are wanting, and while men's chief affections are such as cannot be satisfied, and must be controlled, there can be no durable and solid rest or composure of mind.




Of various general Properties common to the best Devout Affections with the other Affections of Human Nature.

AFTER considering the distinguishing excel

lencies of the affections included in Divine love, it is useful to consider some properties which are common to them with other devout affections, or all the other affections of human nature in general. A right view of this matter, is of use both for vindicating the importance of these holy affections, and for farther illustration of their peculiar excellencies. Some general resemblances between them and other affections of a very different kind, are sometimes made use of as arguments against two very important points. These things are improved partly against the usefulness of all devout affections considered in themselves in general, partly against ascribing any of them to divine grace. Whatever may be said of such objections otherwise, their success, on the minds of many, makes them considerable. If there are people, who are strong. ly prejudiced against devout affections, it is not to be wondered at, that this should bias their minds in favours of any appearance of arguments against them.

The general resemblances between the affections included in divine love and other devout affections, are either such as relate to the means of exciting them, or the effects which proceed from them. As to the first, it is sometimes objected, that the same natural causes, which are means of exciting human affections in general, have a natural influence in exciting devout affections, and that both in good

and bad men, as well as any other affections whatever. As to these natural causes or means of exciting the affections, some view was taken of them above. The primary means are the knowledge and due consideration of proper motives. This alone seems essential and necessary for exciting the affections in a reasonable manner. But there are other secondary means, which though not so absolutely necessary as attention to motives, are natural helps subservient to it. Such as the advantageous proposal of them, pathetic discourse, the force of example, and the like.

Some people seem to imagine, that because devout affections are excited, both in good and bad men, by such natural causes; therefore none of them ought to be ascribed to divine supernatural operation. And again, because there is so great a resemblance between all devout affections, as to the manner of exciting them, they imagine, there can be no very material difference in the affections themselves. Seeing therefore the devout affections which may be excited in the hearts of bad men, are of so little use, they think we should judge the same way of all devout affections whatever, without exception.

Such objections sometimes dazzle the minds of the inconsiderate, and of those who are strongly prejudiced against devout affections. In order to shew that they are of no force against the affections included in divine love, it is sufficient to remove the ambiguity of words, and to make some reflections on things that were considered formerly concerning the relation between the efficacy of grace, and the good influence of means.

When it is said, that all sorts of devout affections are excited by natural causes or means, this may be understood in two different meanings, between which there is a very important disparity.. The meaning may be, either that the production of

such effects is wholly owing to these means, or that these means have a real influence on them. In the first meaning of the expressions, when the efficacy of means is made an objection against the efficacy of grace, it is a begging the question. To say that all sorts of devout affections are wholly owing to natural causes, and that therefore none of them should be ascribed to Divine grace, is not reasoning, but naked assertion. The various evidences from Scripture and experience, against that assertion, were considered at large above.

As to the other more large meaning, namely, when all that is pretended is, that the natural causes or means above mentioned, and the like, do really contribute to all sorts of devout affections, this is no objection against the necessity or efficacy of divine grace. To set this matter in a due light, it is useful to consider the following things.

In the first place, the efficacy of grace, and the good influence of motives and other means, are no way inconsistent. The end of divine grace is not to render motives and other means useless, but to make them effectual. And therefore, when the good dispositions and affections included in divine love are produced and excited, they may be indeed the effects of the things above mentioned as subordinate means, while this does not hinder their being the effects of divine grace as the principal


In the next place, it is proper to observe, that the natural means of producing good affections, operate variously on different persons, according to the previous rooted dispositions of their hearts. The diversity of men's inward prevalent dispositions, may make the same motives and other means have the most different effects in the world on different persons. This is so evident, from reason and experience, that it is not needful to insist upon

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