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heart to embrace the offer ; and thus giving the man evidence of his title to the thing offered. And so a spiritual appli, cation of the promises of scripture, for the comfort of the saints, consists in enlightening their minds to see the holy excellency and sweetness of the blessings promised, and also the holy excellency of the promiser, and his faithfulness and sufficiency ; thus drawing forth their hearts to embrace the promiser, and thing promised ; and by this means, giving the sensible actings of grace, enabling them to see their grace, and so their title to the promise. An application not consisting in this divine sense and enlightening of the mind, but consisting only in the word's being born into the thoughts, as if immediately then spoken, so making persons believe, on no other foundation, that the promise is theirs, is a blind application, and belongs to the spirit of darkness, and not of light.
When persons have their affections raised after this manner, those affections are really not raised by the word of God; the scripture is not the foundation of them ; it is not any thing contained in those scriptures which come to their minds, that raise their affections ; but truly that effect; viz.the strange manner of the word's being suggested to their minds, and a proposition from thence taken up by them, which indeed is not contained in that scripture, nor any other; as that his sins are forgiven him, or that it is the Father's good pleasure to give him in particular the kingdom, or the like. There are propositions to be found in the Bible, declaring that persons of such and such qualifications are forgiven and beloved of God : But there are no propositions to be found in the Bible, declaring that such and such particular persons, independent on any previous knowledge of any qualifications, are forgiven and beloved of God: And therefore, when any person is comforted, and affected by any such proposition, it is by another word, a word newly coined, and not any word of God contained in the Bible.* And thus many persons are vainly affected and deluded.
*"Some Christians have rested with a work without Christ, which is abom, inable : But after a man is in Christ, not to judge by the work, is first not to
Again, it plainly appears from what has been demonstrat, ed, that no revelation of secret facts by immediate suggestion, is any thing spiritual and divine, in that sense wherein gra. cious effects and operations are so.
By secret facts, I mean things that have been done, or are come to pass, or shall hereafter come to pass, which are secret in that sense that they do not appear to the sepses, nor are known by any argumentation, or any evidence to reason, nor any other way, but only by that revelation by immediate suggestion of the ideas of them to the mind. Thus for instance, if it should be revealed to me, that the next year this Jand would be invaded by a fleet from France, or that such and such persons would then be converted, or that I myself should then be converted; not by enabling me to argue out these events from any thing which now appears in providence, but immediately suggesting and bearing in upon my mind, in an extraordinary manner, the apprehension or ideas of these facts, with a strong suggestion or impression on my mind, that I had no hand in myself, that these things would come to pass : Or if it should be revealed to me, that this day there is a battle fought between the armies of such and such pow. ers in Europe ; or that such a prince in Europe was this day converted, or is now in a converted state, having been converted formerly, or that one of my neighbors is converted, or that I myself am converted ; not by having any other evidence of any of these facts, from whence I argue them, but an immediate extraordinary suggestion or excitation of these ideas, and a strong impression of them upon my mind : This is a
judge from a word. For though there is a word, which may give a man a dependence on Christ, without feeling any work, nay when he feels none, as absolute promises ; yet no word giving assurance, but that which is made to some work, he that believeth, or is poor in spirit, &c. until that work is seen, has no assurance from that promise.” Shepard's Parable of the Ten Virgins, Pari I. p. 86.
“ If God should tell a saint that he has grace, he might know it by believe ing the word of God : But it is not in this way that godly men do know that they have grace: It is not revealed in the word, and the Spirit of God doth pot testify it to particular persons," Stoddard's Nature of Saving Conversion, p. 84, 85.
revelation of secret facts by immediate suggestion, as much as if the facts were future ; for the facts being past, present, or future, alters not the case, as long as they are secret and hidden from my senses and reason, and not spoken of in scripture, nor known by me any other way than by immediate suggestion. If I have it revealed to me, that such a revolution is come to pass this day in the Ottoman Empire, it is the very same sort of revelation, as if it were revealed to me that such a revolution would come to pass there this day come twelvemonth ; because, though one is present and the other future, yet both are equally hidden from me, any
way immediate revelation. When Samúel told Saul that the asses which he went to seek were found, and that his father had left caring for the asses and sorrowed for him ; this was by the same kind of revelation, as that by which he told Saul, that in the plain of Tabor there should meet him three men going up to God to Bethel (1 Sam. x. 2, 3.) though one of these things was future, and the other was not. So when Elisha told the king of Israel the words that the king of Syria spake in his bed chamber, it was by the same kind of revelation with that by which he foretold many things to come.
It is evident that this revelation of secret facts by immedi. ate suggestions, has nothing of the nature of a spiritual and divine operation, in the sense forementioned ; there is nothing at all in the nature of the perceptions or ideas themselves, which are excited in the mind, that is divinely excellent, and so, far above all the ideas of natural men; though the manner of exciting the ideas be extraordinary. In those things which are spiritual, as has been shown, not only the manner of producing the effect, but the effect wrought is divine, and so vastly above all that can be in an unsanctified mind. Now simply the having an idea of facts, setting aside the manner of producing those ideas, is nothing beyond what the minds of wicked men are susceptible of, without any goodness in them ; and they all, either have or will have, the knowledge of the truth of the greatest and most important facts, that have been, are, or shall be.
aura **** seas themselves, which is holy and et og der what may be in a mind not sanctiin ukr 7: them into the mind by immediate RE: 7.*Sot ng it. As there is nothing in the idea 2.34bue is of a holy and divine nature ; so that
sue of, as is manifest in Balaam, #raste scripture. And therefore it ap
mig appertaining to this immediate FC imefacts that is spiritual, in the sense in
mo?" pored that gracious operations are so. If 2 X ? an unsanctified mind may receive this with Com t'te pleases, and when he pleases, immeATT B3 & My manner, may excite that idea #: "Wahad such and such particular persons are a kupted of God, and intitled to heaven, but what
s may have and will have concerning many nechateksuggest this to, and impress it upon
del mundow: There is no principle wanting in
inst sagprestars of secret facts be attended witk
i pare raubtely and extraordinarily brought to A her buts that seem in some respects sim:
bei einer suggestion of words of scripture is **""ke suggestion of the facts themselves ;
lugastrated : And two effects togeth* Trust then spiritual, cannot make up one
LEA w what has been already shown, and
RE: *ixafections which are
$12. sayesues or supposed suggestions,
Again, it plainly
TS AFFECTIONS. ed, that no revelation
Trasy mander of producing the ideas is any thing spiritua
russ immediate suggestion, there is cious effects and op
The minds of natural men, while they By secret facts, come to pass, or sl cret in that sense t are known by any nor any other way, suggestion of the stance, if it should Jand would be inv and such persons should then be co! these events from but immediately an extraordinary facts, with a stro that I had no han to pass : Or if it s is a battle fought ers in Europe ; or
if he pleases, extraordiconverted, or is na verted formerly, or that I myself am ce of any of these fact mediate extraordina and a strong impre: judge from a word. I dependence on Christ, w absolute promises ; yet no some work, he that believe has no assurance from that Part I. p. 86.
“If God should tell a sair. ing the word of God : But i they have grace: It is not rev not testify it to particular pe. p. 84, 85.
Teorised Sy also
, as there is nothing in the
for sale de operation to be of a spiritual and
of secret facts; are not gracious affections. Not but that it is possible that such suggestions may be the occasion, or accidental cause of gracious affections; for so may a mistake and delusioni ; but it is never properly the foundation of gracious affections: For gracious affections, as has been shewn, are all the effects of an influence and operation which is spiritual, supernatural, and divine. But there are many affections, and high affections, which some have, that have such kind of suggestions or revelations for their very foundation: They look upon these as spiritual discoveries, which is a gross delusion, and this delusion is truly the spring whence their affections flow.
Here it may be proper to observe, that it is exceedingly manifest from what has been said, that what many persons call the witness of the Spirit, that they are the children of God, has nothing in it spiritual and divine ; and consequently that the affections built upon it are vain and delusive. That which many call the witness of the Spirit, is no other than an immediate suggestion and impression of that fact, otherwise secret, that they are converted, or made the children of God, and so that their sỉns are pardoned, and that God has given them a title to heaven. This kind of knowledge, viz. knowing that a certain person is converted, and delivered from hell, and intitled to heaven, is no divine sort of knowledge in itself. This sort of fact, is not that which requires any higher or more divine kind of suggestion, in order to impress it on the mind, than any other fact which Balaam had impressed on his mind. It requires no higher sort of idea or sensation, for a man to have the apprehension of his own conversion impressed upon him, than to have the apprehension of his neighbor's conversion, in like manner impressed : But God, if he pleased, might impress the knowledge of this fact, that he had forgiven his neighbor's sins, and given him a title to heaven, as well as any other fact, without any communication of his holiness : The excellency and importance of the fact, do not at all hinder a natural man's mind being susceptible of an immediate suggestion and impression of it. Balaam had VOL. IV.