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spirit, John iii. 6. They have not the Spirit of God dwelling in them in any degree ; for the apostle teaches, that all who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, are some of his, Rom. viii. 9....11. And an having the Spirit of God is spok. en of as a certain sign that persons shall have the eternal inheritance ; for it is spoken of as the earnest of it, 2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5, Eph. i. 14, and an having any thing of the Spirit is mentioned as a sure sign of being in Christ, 1 John iv. 13. “ Hereby know we that we dwell in him, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Ungodly men not only have not so much of the divine nature as the saints, but they are not partakers of it; which implies that they have nothing of it; for a being partaker of the divine nature is spoken of as the peculiar privilege of the true saints, 2 Pet. i. 4. Ungodly men are not “ partakers of God's holiness,” Heb. xii. 10. A natural man has no experience of any of those things that are spiritual : The apostle teaches us, that he is so far from it, that he knows nothing about them, he is a perfect stranger to them, the talk about such things is all foolishness and nonsense to him, he knows not what it means, 1 Cor. ii. 14. « The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him : Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And to the like
Christ teaches us that the world is wholly unacquainted with the Spirit of God, John xiv. 17. “ Even the Spirit of truth, whon. the world cannot receive; because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” And it is further evident, that natural men have nothing in them of the same nature with the true grace of the saints, because the apostle teaches us, that those of them who go farthest in religion have no charity, or true Christian love, 1 Cor. chap. xiii. So Christ elsewhere reproves the Pharisees, those high pretenders to religion, that they “ had not the love of God in them,” John v. 42. Hence natural men have no communion or fellowship with Christ, or participation with him (as these words signify) for this is spoken of as the peculiar privilege of the saints, 1 John i. 3, together with ver. 6, 7, and 1 Cor. i. 8,9. And the scripture speaks of the actual being of a gracious principle in the soul,
though in its first beginning, as a seed there planted, as inconsistent with a man's being a sinner, 1 John iii. 9. And natural men are represented in scripture, as having no spiritual light, no spiritual life, and no spiritual being; and therefore conversion is often compared to opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead, and a work of creation (wherein creatures are made entirely new) and becoming new born child
From these things it is evident, that those gracious influences which the saints are subjects of, and the effects of God's Spirit which they experience, are entirely above nature, altogether of a different kind from any thing that men find within themselves by nature, or only in the exercise of natural principles; and are things which no improvement of those qualifications, or principles that are natural, no advancing or exalting them to higher degrees, and no kind of composition of them, will ever bring men to; because they not only differ from what is natural, and from every thing that natural men experience, in degree and circumstances, but also in kind; and are of a nature vastly more excellent. And this is what I mean, by supernatural, when I say that gracious affections are from those influences that are supernatural.
From hence it follows, that in those gracious exercises and affections which are wrought in the minds of the saints, through the saving influences of the Spirit of God, there is à new inward perception or sensation of their minds, entirely different in its nature and kind, from any thing that ever their minds were the subjects of before they were sanctified. For doubtless if God by his mighty power produces something that is new, not only in degree and circumstances, but in its whole nature, and that which could be produced by no exalting, varying, or compounding of what was there before, or by adding any thing of the like kind ; I say, if God produces something thus new in a mind, that is a perceiving, thinking, conscious thing; then doubtless something entirely new is felt, or perceived, or thought ; or, which is the same thing, there is some new sensation or perception of the mind, which is entirely of a new sort, and which could be produced by ne
exalting, varying, or compounding of that kind of perceptions or sensations which the mind had before ; or there is what some metaphysicians call a new simple idea. If grace be in the sense above described, an entirely new kind of principle, then the exercises of it are also entirely a new kind of exercises. And if there be in the soul a new sort of exercises which it is conscious of, which the soul knew nothing of before, and which no improvement, composition, or management of what it was before conscious or sensible of, could produce, or any thing like it ; then it follows that the mind has an entirely new kind of perception or sensation ; and here is, as it were, a new spiritual sense that the mind has, ora principle of a new kind of perception or spiritual sensation, which is in its whole nature different from any former kinds of sensation of the mind, as tasting is diverse from any of the other senses ; and something is perceived by a true saint, in the exercise of this new sense of mind, in spiritual and divine things, as entirely diverse from any thing that is perceived in them, by natural men, as the sweet taste of honey is diverse from the ideas men have of honey by only looking on it, and feeling of it. So that the spiritual perceptions which a sanctified and spiritual person has, are not only diverse from all that natural men hava after the manner that the ideas or perceptions of the same sense may differ one from another, but rather as the ideas and sensations of different senses dọ differ. Hence the work of the Spirit of God in regeneration is often in scripture compared to the giving a new sense, giving eyes to see, and ears to hear, unstopping the ears of the deaf, and opening the eyes of them that were born blind, and turning from darkness unto light. And because this spiritual sense is immensely the most noble and excellent, and that without which all other principles of perception, and all our faculties are useless and vain ; therefore the giving this new sense with the blessed fruits and effects of it in the soul, is compared to a raising the dead, and to a new creation.,
This new spiritual sense, and the new dispositions that attend it, are no new faculties, but are new principles of nature., I use the word principles for want of a word of a more
determinate signification. By a principle of nature in this place, I mean that foundation which is laid in nature, either old or new, for any particular manner or kind of exercise of the faculties of the soul ; or a natural habit or foundation for action, giving a person ability and disposition to exert the faculties in exercises of such a certain kind ; so that to exert the faculties in that kind of exercises may be said to be his nature. So this new spiritual sense is not a new faculty of understanding, but it is a new foundation laid in the nature of the soul, for a new kind of exercises of the same faculty of understanding. So that new holy disposition of heart that attends this new sense is not a new faculty of will, but a foundation laid in the nature of the soul, for a new kind of exercises of the same faculty of will.
The Spirit of God, in all his operations upon the minds of natural men, only moves, impresses, assists, improves, or some way acts upon natural principles ; but gives no new spiritual principle. Thus when the Spirit of God gives a Datural man visions, as he did Balaam, he only impresses a natural principle, viz. the sense of seeing, immediately ex. citing ideas of that sense ; but he gives no new sense ; neither is there any thing supernatural, spiritual, or divine in it. So if the Spirit of God impresses on a man's imagination either in a dream, or when lie is awake, any outward ideas of any of the senses, either voices, or shapes and colors, it is on ly exciting ideas of the same kind that he has by natural principles and senses. So if God reveals to any natural man any secret fact; as, for instance, something that he shall hereafter see or hear ; this is not infusing or exercising any new spiritual principle, or giving the ideas of any new spiritual sense ; it is only impressing in an extraordinary manner, the ideas that will hereafter be received by sight and hearing..... So in the more ordinary influences of the Spirit of God on the hearts of sinners, he only assists natural principles to do the same work to a greater degree, which they do of themselves by nature. Thus the Spirit of God by his common influences may assist men's natural ingeniosity, as he assisted Bezaleel and Aholiab in the curious works of the tabernacle : So
he may assist men's natural abilities in political affairs, and improve their courage and other natural qualifications, as he is said to have put his spirit on the seventy elders and on Saul, 50 as to give him another heart : So God may greatly assist natural men's reason, in their reasoning about secular things, or about the doctrines of religion, and may greatly advance the clearness of their apprehensions and notions of things of religion in many respects, without giving any spiritual sense. So in those awakenings and convictions that natural men may have, God only assists conscience, which is a natural principle to do that work in a further degree, which it naturally does. Conscience naturally gives men an apprehension of right and wrong, and suggests the relation there is between right and wrong, and a retribution : The Spirit of God assists men's consciences to do this in a greater degree, helps conscience against the stupifying influence of worldly objects and their lusts. And so many other ways might be mentioned wherein the Spirit acts upon, assists, and moves natural principles ; but after all, it is no more than nature moved, acted and improved ; here is nothing supernatural and divine. But the Spirit of God in his spiritual influences on the hearts of his saints, operates by mfusing or exercising new, divine, and supernatural principles ; principles which are indeed a new and spiritual nature, and principles vastly more noble and excellent than all that is in natural men.
From what has been said it follows, that all spiritual and gracious affections are attended with, and do arise from some apprehension, idea, or sensation of mind, which is in its whole nature different, yea, exceeding different, from all that is, or can be in the mind of a natural man ; and which the natural man discerns nothing of, and has no manner of idea of (agreeable to 1 Cor. ïi. 14.) and conceives of no more than a man without the sense of tasting can conceive of the sweet taste of honey, or a man without the sense of hearing can conceive of the melody of a tune, or a man born blind can have a notion of the beauty of the rainbow.
But here two things must be observed, in order to the right understanding of this.