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incline us to revere his authority, and makes us willing to suffer the loss of all things for his fake ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of fin for a reason; this is a proper experiment of the truth and power of what we believe. And all experience without this is worfe than nothing. If a man say he loves his brother for the sake of the truth, and yet fees him in need and fhuts up his bowels of compassion from him ; it is plain he has no experience of the love of God dwelling in him. He profeties, it may be, to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who tho' he was rich yet for our fakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich, but when he fees his brother in needy circumstances he finds no heart toimitate the divine goodness; from whence it is plain, that he does not stand in the true grace of God. He professes to trust in the Lord, but in refusing to lend unto him, by giving unto the poor, the hy. pocrisy of his profeffion is laid sufficiently open; it i's plain he trufts in uncertain riches and not in the living God, and his heart goes after covetoufnefs. They know moft of gospel-experience who are moft devoted in their lives to God; who are of a humble, meek, forgiving, loving, compaffionate fpirit, who deny themselves for the fake of Christ, and to promote the welfare of his church; who walk with God in their families, provide things honest in the fight of all men, observe the things Christ has commanded, and count all things but lofs for the excellent knowledge of HIM. But alas ! instead of the generality of professors proving their faith by their works, they offer no better evidence of it than either a confident assertion that they have exerted the appropriating act, or a long detail of their convictions, discoveries, experiences, and so on; all of which amount to nothing more than what the apostle James ftiles a man's SAYING he has faith ; which in fact is no evidence at all, unless it be confirmed

by by a good conversation. But what is the reason: why practical Antinomiąnism, or a neglecting to : observe Christ's commands, so much abounds amongst those professors who inveigh against the name? Various reasons have been given, such as Ministers dwelling too much upon doctrinal points, and professors neglecting felf-examination, and closet devotion; and conforming too much to the world, &c. I shall not at present take upon me to say any thing about these things, but close this seco tion with the sentiment of an Asociation letter, t not long ago published; the writer of which, after observing that a legal spirit has contributed much to the injury of vital godliness, adds, “ By a spirit of legality, we mean, such a temper and disposition of mind, as tends, in a measure, to eclipse, and to keep the glory of the everlasting gospel so far from our fight; as, that we fear to believe its freeness and fulness, its riches and glory, as relating to ourselves, on account of our own unworthiness, which frightens and drives us from our closets; which drives us from family duty; which drives us from the table of she Lord; which drives us from our places in the house of God; which drives us into a fpirit of wrangling and disputing with our brethren about trifles i which drives us into the world; which drives us into sin, and which would, if it were not for the covenant of grace., at last drive us into hell. Hence the complaints to often made of orthodox worldlings, gospel heads and legal hearts, dry doctrines, empty notions, and the like. But why all this? Are the doctrines of Christ dry, infipid, and unfavory? Are those precious truths empty and void of life, power, and spirituality? We answer, No. Why then these complaints ? The reason is, bem cause it is too visible that we are upon a sąd decline, in regard to the life and power of religion among us,

and 1

† Kentish Association in the year 1782, written by Mr. Lloyd of Tenterdon,

and indeed how can it be otherwise, till we return to him from whom we have revolted? But how shall we return? Where does the obstacle lie?-A legal fpirit lies concealed and unsuspected in our brealts. We wish you to confider, dear brethren, whether when you have had a sense of fin, with all its horrors, and found a desire to return to Christ, your only help; whether this evil spirit we have now been describing, has not stopped you at the closet door ; where you have, perhaps, had a debate in your own mind, whether a person in your circumstances might come so boldly and freely to a throne of grace, as you take upon you to do without fome pre-requisites, in order to qualify you for the same. Whether the gospel is free to finners, as such; or whether you have any right to Christ and his grace at all. Now it is easy to see how fuch a debate as this will end, (viz.) greatly to your prejudice ; and your future conduct, perhaps, in the family, in the church, and in the world, will be too striking a proof of it.-Take this for a never failing rule that where legality is thus suffered to get the better of us, carnality, fenfuality, and worldly-mindedness will be sure to follow upon it. If you would keep near. to God, and often frequent the throne of grace; if you would wish to be useful and honorable christians in your day and generation; then remember you, are to go to God as finners, with all your guilt and filth, without washing yourself first, and then.coming to the fountain to be further cleansed. It would Be the extremity of folly to complain of the deadness of the times in which we live; the judgments of God-upon us as a nation ; and to exaggerate the great and crying fins that have brought these judgments upon us, without striking at the root of all these evils, (viz) a light and contempt of the golpel, which is done, either more or less, wben we do not enter into the spirit and design of it. The man who enters into the spirit and design of the gospel

will live upon it by the day; will constantly deal with the blood and righteousness of Christ for pardon and acceptance, and will constantly find help, and of course will walk worthy of his high calling, and fo be an honor and credit to his profession.”

SE CTION

Wherein some QUESTIONS are stated and confidered

relative to the Sentiment contained in this ESSAY,

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QUESTION.
RE there no further joys to be experienced,

than what arise from the hope of the gorpel ?”-Answer. There are no true joys but the joys of the Holy Ghost; and the only way in which he leads to joy unspeakable and full of glory, is by testifying of the things of Christ which are written in the word of truth : so that unless the joys which we have are founded upon, or flow from the hope fet before us in the gospel, we have great reason to think they are not the joys of the Holy Ghost. Rom. v. 3. 1. Cor. xiii. 6. Psalm v. 11. But it will be inquired, “ Am I to take no joy from perceiving the work of God in my soul distinguishing me from others? And can I come to no other certainty of my personal interest in Christ than what arises from the belief of the gospel proclaimed equally to all ?” In reply to this it is needful to inquire, whether your conscience bear witness, before God who knoweth all things, that Christ as the free re-" fuge of the guilty, is your only hope, the free promile of life thro' his name your only encouragement to draw near to God, and his righteousness your only title to heaven. If this be not the case, it is in vain for you to look for any other kind of joy;:

for

for it is impoffible there should be any distinguishing evidences, or genuine experience in the foul, till Christ is formed there the hope of glory without this all our duties are legal and selfish, and our hope and experience delufive. But if you have the testimony of your conscience before God, that the blood of Christ gives you peace, and that all the blessings you hope for, are viewed as the reward of his work; if the free gospel comforts, quickens, and rejoices your heart; then you must be in a measure conscious, that Christ alone is your life, light, peace, and joy ; and that of course a vital union is formed between your soul and him; and this being accompanied by the genuine spirit of the gospel, and the fruits of righteousness, it is confirmed, so far as this evidence goes, that you are born of God; and to the truth of this the Holy Spirit bears witness, by showing that these are the genuine internal and external effects of understanding the truth of Christ, under a consciousness of which, you may rejoice that your name is written in heaven; bless God for his diftinguishing grace, and take comfort from, and rejoice in the doctrines of election, final perseverance, and eternal glorification. But even in this the true believer does not lose fight of the common falvation, nor does he build his assurance of eternal life, either upon his expericnces, or the fruits of his life. This is an important point of doctrine, and should be well considered.

The believer is assured, by the gospel testimony, that eternal life is inseparably connected with the belief of the truth; so that he that believes 'SHÅLL be saved. He looks upon the genuine effects of the gospel, only as proving his connection with Christ, or that he is a child of God by faith in him, and then justły argues, If children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Chrift. He does not view his experience or obedience as an intervening righteousness intitling him to Christ and eternal life, and

therefore

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