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evident, because having of the Spirit is given as a sure sign of being in Christ. I John iv. 13. "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, because he hath given us of his Spirit." By which it is evident, that they have none of that holy principle, that the godly have. And if they have nothing of the Spirit, they have nothing of those things that are the fruits of the Spirit, such as those mentioned in Gal. v. 22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These fruits are here mentioned, with the very design that we may know whether we have the Spirit or no. In the 18th verse, the apostle tells the Galatians, that if they are led by the Spirit, they are not under the law; and then directly proceeds first, to mention what are the fruits or works of the flesh, and then, what are the fruits of the Spirit, that we may judge whether we are led by the Spirit.
§ 67. That natural men, or those that are not born again, have nothing of that grace that is in godly men, is evident by John iii, 6: where Christ, speaking of regeneration, says, "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit." By flesh is here meant nature, and by spirit is meant grace, as is evident by Gal. v. 16, 17. Gal. vi. 8. 1 Cor. iii, 1. That is Christ's very argument: by this it is that Christ in those words would shew Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration, that by the first birth we have nothing but nature, and can have nothing else without being born again; by which it is exceeding evident, that they who are not born again, have nothing else. And that natural men have not the Spirit is evident, since by this text with the context, it is most evident, that those who have the Spirit, have it by regeneration. It is born in them; it comes into them no otherwise than by birth, and that birth is in regeneration, as is most evident by the preceding and following verses. In godly men there are two opposite principles: the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; as Gal. v. 25. But it is not so with natural men. Rebekah in having Esau and Jacob struggle together in her womb, was a type only of the true Church.
68. Natural men have nothing of that nature in them which true Christians have; and that appears, because the nature they have is divine nature. The saints alone have it. Not only they alone partake of such degrees of it, but they alone are partakers of it. To be a partaker of the divine nature is mentioned as peculiar to the saints, 2 Pet. i. 4. The words in this verse and the foregoing
run thus: "According to his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature; having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Divine nature and lust are evidently here spoken of as two opposite principles in men. Those that are of the world, have only the latter principle. But to be partakers of the divine nature, is spoken of as peculiar to them that are distinguished and separated from the world, by the free and sovereign grace of God giving them all things that pertain to life and godliness; by giving the knowledge of Christ, and calling them to glory and virtue; and giving them the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel, and enabling them to escape the corruption of the world of wicked It is spoken of not only as peculiar to the saints, but as the highest privilege of saints.
§ 69. A natural man has no degree of that relish and sense of spiritual things, or things of the Spirit, and of their divine truth and excellency, which a godly man has; as is evident by 1 Cor. ii. 14. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Here a natural man is represented as perfectly destitute of any sense, perception, or discerning of those things. For, by the words, he neither does nor can know, or discern them. So far from it, that they are foolishness unto him. He is such a stranger to them, that he knows not what the talk of such things means; they are words without a meaning to him; he knows nothing of the matter, any more than a blind man of colours. Hence it will follow, that the sense of religion which a natural man has, is not only not to the same degree, but is not of the same nature with what a godly man has. Besides, if a natural person has that fruit of the Spirit, which is of the same kind with what a spiritual person has, then he experiences within himself the things of the Spirit of God. How then can he be said to be such a stranger to them, and have no perception or discerning of them? The reason why natural men have no knowledge of spiritual things, is, that they have nothing of the Spirit of God dwelling in them. This is evident by the context. For there we are told it is by the Spirit these things are taught, verse 10-12. Godly persons, in the text we are upon, are called spiritual, evidently on this account, that they have the Spirit: and unregenerate men are called natural men, because they have nothing but nature. For natural men are in no degree spiritual; they have
only nature, and no Spirit. If they had any thing of the Spirit, though not in so great a degree as the godly, yet they would be taught spiritual things, or the things of the Spirit in proportion; the Spirit, that searcheth all things, would teach them in some measure. There would not be so great a difference, that the one could perceive nothing of them, and that they should be foolishness to them, while, to the other, they appear divinely and unspeakably wise and excellent, as they are spoken of in the context, verses 6-9; and as such, the apostle speaks here of discerning them. The reason why natural men have no knowledge or perception of spiritual things, is, that they have none of that anointing spoken of, 1 John ii. 27. "But the anointing, which ye have received of him, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man should teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." This anointing is evidently here spoken of as a thing peculiar to true saints. Sinners never had any of that oil poured upon them: and because ungodly men have none of it, therefore they have no discerning of spiritual things. If they had any degree of it, they would discern in some measure. Therefore, none of that sense which natural men have of spiritual things, is of the same nature with what the godly have. And that natural men are wholly destitute of this knowledge, is further evident, because conversion is represented in scripture by opening the eyes of the blind. But this would be very improperly so represented, if a man might have some sight, though not so clear and full, for scores of years before his conversion.
§ 70. That unbelievers have no degree of that grace that the saints have, is evident, because they have no communion with Christ. If unbelievers partook of any of that spirit, those holy inclinations, affections and actings that the godly have from the Spirit of Christ, then they would have communion with Christ. The communion of saints with Christ, certainly consists in receiving of his fulness, and partaking of his grace, John i. 16. "Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.' And the partaking of that spirit which God gives not by measure unto him, the partaking of Christ's holiness and grace, his nature, inclinations, tendencies, affections, love, desires, must be a part of communion with him. Yea, a believer's communion with God and Christ, does mainly consist in partaking of the Holy Spirit, as is evident by 2 Cor. xiii. 14. But that unbelievers have no communion or fellowship with Christ, appears,
1. Because they are not united to Christ; they are not in Christ. Those that are not in Christ, or are not united to him,
can have no degree of communion with him for union with Christ, is the foundation of all communion with him. The union of the members with the head, is the foundation of all their communion or partaking with the head; and so the union of the branch with the vine, is the foundation of all the communion it has with the vine, of partaking in any degree of its sap or life, or influence. So the union of the wife to the husband, is the foundation of her communion in his goods.But no natural man is united to Christ; because all that are in Christ shall be saved; 1 Cor. xv. 22. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;" i. e. all that are in Christ; for this speaks only of the glorious resurrection and eternal life. Phil. iii. 8, 9. "Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having on my own righteousness," &c. 2 Cor. v. 17. "Now, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." 1 John ii. 5." Hereby know we that we are in him." Chap. iii. 24. "And he that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us," &c. and iv. 13. "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us."
2. The scripture more directly teaches, that only true saints have communion with Christ; 1 John i. 3-7. "That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." And 1 Cor. i. 8, 9. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." By this it appears, that those who have fellowship with Christ, are those that cannot fall away, whom God's faithfulness is bound to confirm to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of Jesus Christ.
§ 71. Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones is an illustrative confirmation, that however natural men may be the subjects of great and wonderful influences and operations of God's great power and Spirit; yet they do not properly partake at all of the Spirit before conversion. In all that is wrought in them, in every respect fitting and preparing them for grace, so that nothing shall be wanting but divine life; yet as long as they
are without this, they have nothing of the Spirit. Which confirms the distinctions I have elsewhere made, of the Spirit of God influencing the minds of natural men under common illuminations and convictions, and yet not communicating him. self in his own proper nature to them, before conversion; and that saving grace differs from common grace, not only in degree, but also in nature and kind. It is said, Rev. iii. 8. of the church at Philadelphia, which is commended above all other churches, Thou hast a little strength; certainly implying, that ungodly men have none at all.
§ 72. That those that prove apostates, never had the same kind of faith with true saints, is confirmed by what Christ said of Judas, before his apostacy, John vi. 64. "But there are some of you, who believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him." By this it is evident, that Judas, who afterwards proved an apostate, (and is doubtless set forth as an example for all apostates,) though he had a kind of faith in Christ, yet did not believe in Christ with a true faith, and was at that time, before his apostacy, destitute of that kind of faith which the true disciples had; and that he had all along, even from the beginning, been destitute of that faith. And by the 70th and 71st verses of the same chapter, it is evident, that he was not only destitute of that degree of goodness that the rest had, but totally destitute of Christian piety, and wholly under the dominion of wickedness; being in this respect like a devil, notwithstanding all his faith and temporary regard to Christ. "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. For he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
§ 73. Why should we suppose that God would make any promises of spiritual and eternal blessings to that which has no goodness in it? Why should he promise that they shall obtain conversion, who do not do any thing right, or use any proper means in order to obtain it? For the proper means of obtaining grace is seeking it truly, with a love and appetite to it, and desire of it, and sense of its excellency and worthiness, and a seeking of it of God through Christ: and to such as seek it thus, God has faithfully promised he will bestow it.-But though there be no promise to any seekers of grace, but gracious ones; yet there must be a greater probability of their conversion who seek, though not after a gracious manner, and though they are not thoroughly and sufficiently resolved and sincere in their seeking, than of those who wholly neglect their salvation: there is not so great an unlikelihood of it. And