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God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona : For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 1 John v. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself, Gal. i. 14, 15, 16, Being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen ; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”
If it be so, that that is a spiritual conviction of the divinity and reality of the things exhibited in the gospel, which arises from a spiritual understanding of those things; I have shown already what that is, viz. a sense and taste of the divine, supreme, and holy excellency and beauty of those things. So that then is the mind spiritually convinced of the divinity and truth of the great things of the gospel, when that conviction arises, either directly or remotely, from such a sense or view of their divine excellency and glory as is there exhibited. This clearly follows, from things that have been already said : And for this the scripture is very plain and express, 2 Cor. iv. 3.... 6. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord ; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” Together with the last verse of the foregoing chapter, which introduces this, “ but we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Nothing can be more evident, than that a saving belief of the gospel is here spoken of, by the apostle, as arising from the mind's being enlightened to behold the divine glory of the things it exhibits.
This view or sense of the divine glory, and unparalleled beauty of the things exhibited to us in the gospel, has a tendency to convince the mind of their divinity, two ways; directly, and more indirectly, and remotely. 1. A view of this divine glory directly convinces the mind of the divinity of these things, as this glory is in itself a direct, clear, and allconquering evidence of it ; especially when clearly discovered, or when this supernatural sense is given in a good degree.
He that has his judgment thus directly convinced and assured of the divinity of the things of the gospel, by a clear view of their divine glory, has a reasonable conviction ; his be lief and assurance is altogether agreeable to reason ; because the divine glory and beauty of divine things is in itself, real evidence of their divinity, and the most direct and strong evidence. He that truly sees the divine, transcendent supreme glory of those things which are divine, does as it were know their divinity intuitively: He not only argues that they are divine, but he sees that they are divine ; he sees that in them wherein divinity chiefly consists, for' in this glory, which is so vastly and inexpressibly distinguished from the glory of artificial things, and all other glory, does mainly consist the true notion of divinity. God is God, and distinguished from all other beings, and exalted above them, chiefly by his divine beauty, which is infinitely diverse from all other beauny.... They therefore that see the stamp of this glory in divine Hings, they see divinity in them, they see God in them, and so see them to be divine ; because they see that in them wherein the truest idea of divinity does consist. Thus a soul may have a kind of intuitive knowledge of the divinity of the things exhibited in the gospel ; not that he judges the doctrines of the gospel to be from God, without any argument or deduction at all; but it is without any long chain of argua ments; the argument is but one, and the evidence direct ; the mind ascends to the truth of the gospel but by one step, and -that is its divine glory.
It would be very strange, if any professing Christian should deny it to be possible, that there should be an excellency in
divine things, which is so transcendent, and exceedingly different from what is in other things, that if it were seen, would evidently distinguish them. We cannot rationally doubt, but that things that are divine, that appertain to the Supreme Being, are vastly different from things that are human : That there is a Godlike, high, and glorious excellency in them, that does so distinguish them from the things which are of men, that the difference is ineffable; and therefore such, as, if seen, will have a most convincing, satisfying influence upon any one, that they are what they are, viz. divine. Doubtless there is that glory and excellency in the divine Being, by which he is so infinitely distinguished from all other beings, that if it were seen, he might be known by it. It would therefore be very unreasonable to deny, that it is possible for God to give manifestations of this distinguishing excellency, in things by which he is pleased to make himself known ; and that this distinguishing excellency may be clearly scen in them. There are natural excellencies, that are very evidently distinguishing of the subjects or authors, to any onte who Beholds them. How vastly is the speech of an understanding man different from that of a little child! And how greatly distinguished is the speech of some men of great genius as How mer, Cicero, Milton, Locke, Addison, and others, from that
many other understanding men! There are no limits to be set to the degrees of manisestation of mental excellency, that there may be in specch. But the appearances of the natural perfections, of God, in the manifestations he makes of himself, may cloubtless be, unspeakably more evidently dis. tinguishing, than the appearances of those excellencies of worms of the dust, in which they differ one from another. He that is well acquainted with mankind, and their works, by viewing the sun, may know it is no human work. And it is reasonable to suppose, that when Christ comes at the end of the world, in the glory of his father, it will be with such ineffable appearances of divinity, as will leave no doult to the inhabitants of the world, even the most obstinate infidels, that lie who appears is a divine person, But above all, do the manifestations of the moral and spiritual glory of the divine Being
(which is the proper beauty of the divinity) bring their own evidence, and tend to assure the heart. Thus the disciples were assured that Jesus was the Son of God, for they beheld his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth, John i. 14.” When Christ appeared in the glory of his transfiguration to his disciples, with that outward glory to their bodily eyes, which was a sweet and admirable symbol and semblance of his spiritual glory, together with his spiritual glory itself, manifested to their minds; the manifestation of glory was such, as did perfectly, and with good reason, assure them of his divinity ; as appears by what one of them, viz. the Apostle Peter, says concerning it, 2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18. “ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto' you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father, honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." The apostle calls that mount, the holy mount, because the manifestations of Cbrist which were there made to their minds, and which their minds were especially impressed and ravished with, were the glory of his holiness, or the beauty of his moral excellency ; or, as another of these disciples, who saw it, expresses it, « his glory, as fult of grace and truth."
Now this distinguishing glory of the divine Being has its brightest appearance and manifestation, in the things proposed and exhibited to us in the gospel, the doctrines there taught, the word there spoken, and the divine counsels, acts and works there revealed. These things have the clearest, most admirable, and distinguishing representations and exhibitions of the glory of God's moral perfections, that ever were made to the world. And if there be such a distinguishing, evidential manifestation of divine glory in the gospel, it is reasonable to suppose that there may be such a thing as seeing it : What should hinder but that it may be seen ? It is no argument that it cannot be seen, that some do not see it ; though they may
be discerning men in temporal matters. If there be such in. effable, distinguishing, evidential excellencies in the gospel, it is reasonable to suppose, that they are such as are not to be discerned, but by the special influence and enlightenings of the Spirit of God. There is need of uncommon force of mind to discern the distinguishing excellencies of the works of authors of great genius : Those things in Milton, which, to mean judges, appear tasteless and imperfections, are his inimitable excellencies in the eyes of those, who are of greater discerning and better taste. And if there be a book, which God is the author of, it is most reasonable to suppose, that the distinguishing glories of his word are of such a kind, as that the corruption of men's hearts, which above all things alienates men from the Deity, and makes the heart dull and stupid to any sense or taste of those things wherein the moral glory of the divine perfections consists : I say, it is but reasonable to suppose, that this would blind men from discerning the beauties of such a book ; and that therefore they will not see them, but as God is pleased to enlighten them, and restore an holy taste, to discern and relish divine beauties.
This sense of the spiritual excellency and beauty of divine things, does also tend directly to convince the mind of the truth of the gospel, as there are very many of the most important things declared in the gospel, that are hid from the eyes of natural men, the truth of which does in effect consist in this excellency, or does so immediately depend upon it, and result from it, that in this excellency's being seen, the truth of those things is seen. As soon as ever the eyes are opened to behold the holy beauty and amiableness that is in divine things, a multitude of most important doctrines of the gospel that depend upon it (which all appear strange and dark to natural men) are at once seen to be true. As for instance, hereby appears the truth of what the word of God declares concerning the exceeding evil of sin ; for the same eye that discerns the transcendent beauty of holiness, necessarily therein sees the exceeding odiousness of sin : The same taste which relishes the sweetness of true moral good, tastes the bitterress of moral eyil. And by this means a man sees his own VOL. IV.