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trary to what we should be or do, or are obliged to. And therefore by how much the greater the obligation is that is violated, so much the greater is the iniquity and hatefulness of the violation. But certainly our obligation to love and hon. or any being is in some proportion to his loveliness and honorableness, or to his worthiness to be loved and honored by us; which is the same thing. We are surely under greater obligation to love a more lovely being, than a less lovely i and if a Being be infinitely lovely or worthy to be loved by us, then our obligations to love him are infinitely great ; and therefore, whatever is contrary to this love, has in it infinite iniquity, deformity, and unworthiness. But on the other hand, with respect to our holiness or love to God, there is not an infinite worthiness in that. The sin of the creature against Cod, is ill deserving and hateful in proportion to the distance there is between God and the creature : The greatness of the object, and the meanness and inferiority of the subject, ag, gravates it. But it is the reverse with regard to the worthie ness of the respect of the creature to God; it is worthless, and not worthy, in proportion to the meanness of the subject. So much the greater the distance between God and the creature, so much the less is the creature's respect worthy of God's notice or regard. The great degree of superiority increases the obligation on the inferior to regard the superior ; and so makes the want of regard more hateful: But the great clegree of inferiority diminishes the worth of the regard of the inferior; because the more he is inferior, the less he is worthy of notice ; the less he is, the less is what he can offer worth ; for he can offer no more than himself, in offering his best respect ; and therefore as he is little, and little worth, so is his respect little worth. And the more a person has of true grace and spiritual light, the more will it appear thus to him ; the more will he appear to himself infinitely deformed by reason of sin, and the less will the goodness that is in his grace, or good experience, appear in proportion to it. For indeed it is nothing to it; it is less than a drop to the ocean : for finite bears no proportion at all to that which is infinite, But the more a person has of spiritual light, the more de

things appear to him, in this respect, as they are indeed.... Hence it most demonstrably appears, that true grace is of that nature, that the more a person has of it, with remaining corruption, the less does his goodness and holiness appear, in proportion to his deformity; and not only to his past deformity, but to his present deformity, in the sin that now appears in his heart, and in the abominable defects of his highest and best affections, and brightest experiences.

The nature of many high and religious affections, and great discoveries (as they are called) in many persons that I have been acquainted with, is to hide and cover over the corrupa tion of tlieir hearts, and to make it seem to them as if all their sin was gone, and to leave them without complaints of any hateful evil left in them; (though it may be they cry out much of their past unworthiness) a sure and certain evidence that their discoveries (as they call them) are darkness and not light. It is darkness that hides men's pollution and deformity ; but light let into the heart discovers it, scarches it out in its secret corners, and makes it plainly to appear ; especially that penetrating, all searching light of God's holi* ness and glory. It is true, that saving discoveries may for the present hide corruption in one sense ; they restrain the positive exercises of it, such as malice, envy, covetousness, lasciviousness, murmuring, &c. but they bring corruption to light, in that which is privative, viz. that there is no more love, no more humility, no more thankfulness. Which der fects appear most hateful in the eyes of those who have the most eminent exercises of grace ; and are very burdensome, and cause the saints to cry out of their leanness, and odious pride and ingratitude. And whatever positive exercises of corruption at any time arise, and mingle themselves with eminent actings of grace, grace will exceedingly magnify the view of them, and render their appearance far more hcinous and horrible.

The more eminent saints are, and the more they have of the light of heaven in their souls, the more do they appear to themselves, as the most eminent saints in this world do, to the saints and angels in heaven. I{ow can we rationally sup

pose the most eminent saints on earth appear to them, if beé held any otherwise, than covered over with the righteousness of Christ, and their deformities swallowed up and hid in the coruscation of the beams of his abundant glory and love ? How can we suppose our most ardent love and praises appear to them, that do behold the beauty and glory of God without à vail ? How does our highest thankfulness for the dying love of Christ appear to them, who see Christ as he is, who know as they are known, and see the glory of the person of him that died, and the wonders of his dying love, without any cloud of darkness? And how do they look on the deepest reverence *and humility, with which worms of the dust on earth approach that infinite Majesty which they behold? Do they appear great to them, or so much as worthy of the name of reverence and humility, in those that they see to be at such an infinite distance from that great and holy God, in whose glorious presence they are ? The reason why the highest attainments of the saints on earth appear so mean to them, is because they dwell in the light of God's glory, and see God as he is. And it is in this respect with the saints on earth, as it is with the saints in heaven, in proportion as they are more eminent in grace.

I would not be understood, that the saints on earth have in all respects the worst opinion of themselves, when they have most of the exercise of grace. In many respects it is otherwise. With respect to the positive exercises of corruption, they may appear to themselves freest and best when grace is most in exercise, and worst when the actings of grace are lowest. And when they compare themselves with themselves at different times, they may know, when grace is in lively exercise, that it is better with them than it was before (though before, in the time of it, they did not see so much badness as they see now) and when afterwards they sink again in the frame of their minds, they may know that they sink, and have a new argument of their great remaining corruption, and a rational conviction of a greater vileness than they saw before ; and many have more of a sense of guilty and a kind of legal sense of their sinfulness by far, than when

in the lively exercise of grace. But yet it is true, and demonstrable from the forementioned considerations, that the children of God never have so much of a sensible and spiritual conviction of their deformity, and so great, and quick, and abasing a sense of their present vileness and odiousness, as when they are highest in the exercise of true and pure grace; and never are they so much disposed to set themselves low among Christians as then. And thus he that is greatest in the kingdom, or most eminent in the church of Christ, is the same that humbles himself, as the least infant among them ; agreeable to that great saying of Christ, Mat. xviii. 4.

A true saint may know that he las some true grace : And the more grace there is, the more easily is it known; as was observed and proved before. But yet it does not follow, that an eminent saint is easily sensible that he is an eminent saint, when compared with others. I will not deny that it is possible, that he that has much grace, and is an eminent saint, may

know it. But he will not be apt to know it ; it will not be a thing obvious to him: That he is better than others, and has higher experiences and attainments, is not a foremost thought ; nor is it that which, from time to time readily offers itself; it is a thing that is not in his way, but lies far out of sight ; he must take pains to convince himself of it ; there will be need of a great command of reason, and a high degree of strictness and care in arguing, to convince himself. And if he be rationally convinced by a very strict consideration of his own experiences, compared with the great appearances of low degrees of grace in some other saints, it will hardly seem real to him, that he has more grace than they; and he will be apt to lose the conviction that he has by pains obtained : Nor will it seem at all natural to him to act upon that supposition. And this may be laid down as an infallible thing, « That the person who is apt to think that he, as compared with others, is a very eminent saint, much distinguished in Christian experience, in whom this is a first thought, that rises of itself, and naturally offers itself; he is certainly mistaken; he is no eminent saint, but under the great prevail. VOL. IV.

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ings of a proud and selfrighteous spirit.” And if this be ha's bitual with the man, and is steadily the prevailing temper of his mind, he is no saint at all; he has not the least degree of any true Christian experience ; so surely as the word of God is true.

And that sort of experiences thať appears to be of that tendency, and is found from time to time to have that effect, to elevate the subject of them with a great conceit of those experiences, is certainly vain and delusive. Those supposed disa coveries that naturally blow up the person with an admiration of the eminency of his discoveries, and fill him with conceit that now he has seen, and knows more than most other Christo ians, have nothing of the nature of true spiritual light in them. All true spiritual knowledge is of that nature, that the more a person has of it, the more is he sensible of his own ignorance ; as is evident by 1 Cor. viii. 2. 6 He that thinketh he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” Agur, when he had a great discovery of God, and sense of the wonderful height of his glory, and of his marvellous works, and cries out of his greatness and incomprehensibleness ; at the same time, had the deepest sense of his brutish ignorance, and looked upon himself the most ignorant of all the saints, Prov. xxx. 2, 3, 4. “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended ? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the wa. ters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou. canst tell ?."

For a man to be highly conceited of his spiritual and divine knowledge, is for him to be wise in his own eyes, if any thing is. And therefore it comes under those prohibitions, Prov. iii. 7. “ Be not wise in thine own eyes." Rom. xii. 16. “ Be not wise in your own conceits ;" and brings men under that woe, Isa. v. 21. 6 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." Those that are thus wise in their own eyes, are some of the least

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