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to convince both the world and the saints, of the truth of the doctrine and Scripture of Christ. For the godly themselves, I have told you already, that this Spirit of Christ is a witness within them, and how it witnesseth. And for the world, had they but eyes to see the excellency of holiness, they might see that the righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, and that it is certainly an excellent, true, and perfect law and doctrine, which doth produce so excellent an effect. But the wickedness of men's hearts hindereth them from discerning the validity of the testimony; because they cannot see the excellency of grace, which is so contrary to their lusts and carnal pleasures. The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned ; but they have their senses free, and, therefore, can better see the glory of the misaculous works of the Holy Ghost: and, therefore, those are fitter to convince them. But for true Chris.. tians themselves, they have that within them both objectively and efficiently, those, glorious experiments and potent workings, which will not suffer them to change their religion.
The uses that we shall make of this doctrine now, are these, all for information of your understandings.
1. Of what certain truth the christian religion and Scripture is.
2. What is the greatest argument to prove the truth of these. 3. What the testimony of the Spirit is, and who have it.
4. What it is to believe in the Holy Ghost, and to be baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost.
5. What it is to sin against the Holy Ghost.
Use !, The challenge and appeal that Paul here makes to the Galatians, I dare make to all the world : and undertake to prove that man bewitched into a madness, that will not be convinced by this only argument.
Whence came the Holy Ghost, which the Lord Jesus did send down upon his church, which sat on the disciples in the likeness of fiery cloven tongues, that filled all the churches in all parts of the world at once, how distant soever, with the miraculous gifts of strange languages, prophesying, interpretation, healing, casting out devils, or the like. That fell on men ordinarily, and in such numbers as soon as ever the apostles laid their hands on them after they were baptised ! That putteth such a new nature into the soul of every saint, and writeth the law of Jesus in his very heart; and raiseth him with strong and constant hopes of such a future resurrection
His vendi wina illon
and glory, that he will go through all difficulties and sufferings to attain it; that overcomes all fleshly lusts, and keepeth under such inclinations as all the rest of the world are mastered hy; that makes such low and silly creatures to live in the sweet, delightful forethoughts and contemplation of the life to come ; and causes men so earnestly, frequently, seriously, reverently, and delightfully to converse with the holy, invisible God! I say, whence is this spirit, but from the holy and almighty God? If you doubt whether such a spirit were poured out so abundantly and miraculously, I have proved it already. Paul appeals to the very men that saw and enjoyed it, and they durst not, they could not, deny it. The enemy, the very pharisees, could not deny it, If you would open your eyes, you might yet see very much of it in the holiness of the saints. But prejudice and hatred to holiness blind you. Can any but the living God, who first breatheth into man the breath of life, breathe forth such a Spirit of miracles and holiness into the world, and make meņ new creatures, by causing them to be born of the Spirit? Can any but God so raise the dead, and command over all the powers on earth, and cast out Satan by a spirit of miracles, in instruments of greatest natural weakness, till he hath made the Roman empire, and the rest of the kingdoms of the world, to acknowledge Christ their Lord? Doth it belong to any but God to rule the world, and send forth a new spirit and power upon men's souls? These works have such certain evidence of reality, that the Jews confess them, and the Turks acknowledge them, and upbraid the Jews for not believing God by his prophet Jesus. And Mahomet threatens judgments against the Jews før it in his Alcoran; saying, “That Christ was the word and power of God sent to convince the world by miracles;" so they have as full an evidence of a divine power in them, Almightiness, and goodness, and wisdom, in infiniteness, do make up the nature of the eternal God. And all these do evidently appear in this sending of the Holy Ghost.
1. It is a work beyond a mere created power, as all the effects of it show,
2. If any Jew should think that-a devil might do such works of omnipotency without God, yet at least let him be convinced by the work of sanctification, which demonstrates God's perfect goodness, as the other doth his greatness. Dare they think that the devil is become a spirit of holiness, or loveth holiness ? Will he sanctify men's natures, and make them heavenly, and
destroy their sin, and keep them in a course of obedience unto God? Why, then, doth he so contradict this doctrine and these holy ways, and so potently hinder our endeavours in every congregation and soul? Why is it that he armeth all the ungodly rout of the world against those holy doctrines and ways ? That man is certainly bewitched by the devil into madness, that can indeed believe that the devil is the sanctifier of men's souls, and the author of a doctrine to destroy men's sins, and bring them into such exact obedience unto God.
3. If all this will not serve, let the wisdom of God be observed both in the stream of the doctrine and in the effect of the Holy Ghost in illuminating the church; so that you may look over all the rest of the world at this day, and easily see that they are all but barbarians, even in human common knowledge, in comparison of the Christians, especially in the things of God, they are utterly blind.
Indeed, Christ did at Rome and Athens cause a star of human learning to arise, but it was only for a time; and at that season a little before his own coming in the flesh, of purpose to direct men to the Sun of Righteousness, and to be an usher to prepare the way for the Gospel; and when the Gospel was come, he hath now delivered up even all the learning in the world that is worth the speaking of, unto his church, and continued even these common gifts of the Spirit therein.
4. If all these convince not, let me add this one thing more. This good, almighty, holy God is the Governor of the world : if he made it, he surely ruleth it: if he be not Sovereign he is not God; and, being God and Governor, he must needs be a faithful and merciful Governor, as I said in the beginning: and can, he then stand by and suffer, and give commission to the devil to publish such a holy doctrine, and send forth such a spirit of miracles and of holiness, and that over all the church, and into the hearts of all the most honest people in the world in all ages following; and all this to deceive the world, and to confirm a falsehood, and God never contradict him, nor give men any means to discover the delusion? Shall he suffer the deceit to come from heaven, or another world, and shall there not a remedy come from heaven? Shall he lend the devil his omnipotency, and holiness, and wisdom, to deceive his own creatures, when himself hath undertaken to be their Governor ? Shall he suffer miracles to be wrought to delude, and himself work none to rectify us? Hath he taken on him the office of making and pro
mulgating his own law, for the governing of his people, that would fain know his will and do it; and, then, shall he suffer the devil to publish laws in his name, manifesting his very nature, and requiring obedience to him, and seal these with such a spirit, as is afore-mentioned; and all this to mislead us, while God stands by and never once controls him, but leaves us reinediless? Is this the part of the Governor of the world? Is this like the way of a merciful, holy, wise, almighty God? Lay all this together, and lay it well to heart, and I dare say, again that that man is bewitched into madness by the devil, that dare believe that God hath given up his holiness, wisdom, almightiness, and government of the world to the devil. And by all this you may see how vile a thing the sin against the Holy Ghost is; and why so heavy a doom is passed on them that are guilty of it; of which more anon. Shall God suffer such a creature on his earth, endued with reason, that shall imagine such things as these against him? Why it is, in effect, to say the devil is God; and can the heart of man entertain a more horrid blasphemy? And may not he justly be their God, and they given up to his disposal? For what is it to be God, but to be infinitely wise, powerful, and good, and to be the faithful, sovereign Ruler of all things? And when men shall dare to think that God hath given up the rule of the world to the devil, and enabled him to send forth a spirit of power, wisdom, and holiness, to seal a holy doctrine, and all to delude men, and this without any control: surely, these men are no less guilty than I here charge them. Is not God righteous, that must judge the world? Whither shall a poor soul go for justice, if God have no more? whither shall he go for mercy, if the God of heaven have no more mercy? or who shall be able to defend us, if God be not able to rescue his own prerogative from the hands of Satan? Let me repeat the question that I put before ; do you think that the God of heaven is able to reveal his laws to the world, and give them a sufficient testimony of their verity, and set to any seal whereby he may be known to be their author ? if not, how will he govern the world? Can he rule without making known his will, or promulgating his enacted law? And can he make known his will without any certain, satisfying revelation, that it is he that speaks? And if you think God can reveal his mind, will you but tell me how
would have him do it? How should he do it more fully and convincingly? What seal would you have him use whereby he may be better known, than this of the
Spirit of power and holiness? He that would have God speak face to face to such worms as we, knoweth not what he saith. Wouldest thou be consumed and burnt up as the stubble? Canst thou endure the sight or voice of God? Dost thou know him if thou see him, or hear him, or wouldst not thou say still, How know I but it was an evil spirit, and not God?' Kyowest thou not that God is invisible, and mortal eyes cannot see him? It is past my reach to know what more satisfying evidence and seal thou canst desire from God than he hath given : and if thou wouldst have none, thou canst not be governed.
If any say, I would have God reveal all by the light of nature, as he hath done the law of nature,
Answ. Such men know not what they say: they know not what the law and light of nature is. Reason, or the understanding, is but the mere visive faculty, as it were : it is but a seeing power, and doth not actually see any thing, till it be revealed from without. The understanding is a bare sheet of paper, and knows nothing but what maketh its way into it by the sense, and what it thence gathers. Man hath no actual knowledge by mere nature ; never infant ordinarily had any. And if it were possible for the reasonable soul to reinain in a body, where all the five senses are dead (as hearing and seeing is in some) the soul would know nothing ; our understandings, therefore, or reason, are not the law of nature, nor the light of nature, except improperly ; when they have received the species, and there is a transcript of the law of nature, written on them, then they may be so called, in the sanie sense as sanctification may be called the law of grace, because Christ writeth his law there in our hearts. But truly and properly the law of nature is natura rerum, the common nature of all God's visible workmanship, both ourselves, and all the rest of the creatures within our knowledge. These are God's book, or law, because they reveal so much of God to us, as from whence we may gather much of his will by his nature, and so know much of our own duty. Now let me ask any admirer of reason or nature in the world : Do you
think that this great, dark book of nature doth speak God's will so fully and plainly to our purblivd souls, as the clear, express revelations of the word and Spirit do, who also enlighteneth the eye to discern it? Are not the few great wits of the world puzzled in the book of nature, especially those that had no further light? and what, then, shall all the ignorant world do by it? Is it not a very little of God that the wisest could