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righteousness,” that is, of the things contained in it, and of their power. And in this sense also it deserves our considera. tion. For the want of this experience, where we have had time and means for it, is both our great fault, and our great disadvantage. Now by this experience, I intend, a spiritual sense, taste or relish of the goodness, sweetness, useful excel lency of the truths of the gospel, endearing our hearts to God, and causing us to adhere to him with delight and constancy. And this experience, which is of so great use and advantage, consists in three things.

1. A through mixture of the promises with faith. This I shall not enlarge on, because I have spoken to it expressly in the first verse of the fourth chapter. In brief, it is that lively acting of faith which the Scripture expresseth by tasting, eating, drinking, which gives a real incorporation of the things we are made partakers of. When faith is assiduously acted on the promises of God, so as that the mind or soul is filled with the matters of them, and virtue goes forth from them in all its actings, as they will be influenced by every object that it is filled withal, then the foundation is laid of their experience. This the apostle intends, Eph. iii. 17. “ That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Faith, by its frequent lively actings on Christ, brings him, as it were, to make a constant residence in the heart, where he always puts forth his power, and the efficacy of his grace.

2. In a spiritual sense of the excellency of the things beliered, where with the affections are touched and filled. This is our taste, how that the Lord is gracious. And hence are we said to be filled with joy in believing, as also to have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, wbich with sundry things of the same nature, belong to this experience. And no tongue can express that satisfaction which the soul receives in the gracious communication of a sense of divine goodness, grace and love to it in Christ, whence it rejoiceth with joy unspeakable and full of glory. And this is different from the eranid joys of hypocrites. They are all from without, occasional, depending merely on something peculiar in the dispensation of the word, and on some circumstances of their own condition, which they are commensurate to, not engaging the heart to greater luve, and more firm adherence to God, but issue absolutely in the present satisfaction of the affections. But that love, delight and joy, which are a part or effect of spiritual experience, have their root within, namely, in those actings of faith we before described. They are the fruits and flowers of it, which may be excited by external occasions, but proceed not from thens. And therefore are they abiding, though liable to depressions

and interruptions. But to be sure they always increase our love of, and strengthen our adherence to God.

3. In experiments of the power of the word, on all occesions, especially as it is a word of righteousness. Sundry useful instances might here be insisted on, I shall mention two only

1. There is in it a sense of the power of the word in giving peace with God. This is the difficultest thing in the world to be impressed on the mind of a man, really and seriously convinced of the guilt of sin. Many ways such an one cannot but try to find some rest and satisfaction, but all after some vain promises, do issue in disappointments. But when the soul doth really close with that way which it is directed to by the gospel; that is, when it mixetb it with faith as a word of righteousness, the authority of the word in the conscience doth secure it, that its peace is firm and stable. This is to have an experiment of the word, when we find our souls satisfiert and fortified by the authority of it, against all oppositions, that through Christ we are accepted of God, and are at peace with him.

2. In satisfying the heart to choose and prefer spiritual, invisible, and eternal things, before those that are present, and offer us the security of their immediate enjoyment. When we are satisfied that it is good for us, that it is best for us to forego present earthly things, which we see and handle, and know full well the comfort, benefit and advantage of, for those things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor can they by any reasonings of our own take place in the conceptions of oue hearts, merely on the authority of the word, testifying to the excellency and certainty of these invisible things ; then have we an experiment of the power of the word. Now as the ex. perience intended consists in these things, so it is easy to discern of how great importance it is, and how much it is our duty to endeavour it.

In the fourteenth verse, which completes the antithesis proposed, and wherein the apostle issues his discourse on this mat. ter, four things are expressed. 1. The persons concerning whom he speaks, in opposition to them whom he called variou, or . babes, and these are ó Tillion, those that are of full age.' 2. The food that is proper for them, in opposition to the milk of babes, and that is oregsce spopan, 'strong meat,' or sound solid nouristic ment. 3. A description of them, giving an account of what is said concerning the meetness of strong meat to them, and that is, because they are such as have anoniugace-yeyussaoueue, ' their senses exercised to discern good and evil, which belongs to the description of the subject of the proposition, “ those of full

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age.” 4. The means whereby they came into this condition: it was die twy ižev, by reason of a babit,' use, or practice they had got. And these things must be explained.

1. Tilos, as opposed to 101, naturally are persons adult, grown up, come to full age. So our apostle makes the opposition, Eph. iv. 13, 14. He would have us come by the knowledge of God, as ardące temuov, “ to a perfect man,' that we should be no more union, children,' tossed up and down, which things in both places are morally to be understood. As so, therefore are persons weak, ignorant, and unstable in spiritual things, SO TIALLOU are those who have their understandings enlarged, and their minds settled in the knowledge of Christ, or the mysteries of the gospel.

Tsuos, also without respect to yntios, taken absolutely, is perfect and complete, one as to whom nothing is wanting. Dinn, integer, rectus, ' upright, sincere, perfect.' In that sense were they said to be perfect under the Old Testament, who were upright and sincere in their obedience. But this, in general, is not the perfection here intended, for it only respects an especial qualification of the mind, with regard to the truths of the gospel. This our apostle mentions, 1 Cor. ii. 6. copia da284esv v tiduous, ' we speak wisdom,' that is, declare the mysteries of the gospel, ' among them that are perfect,' that is, such whose minds being freed from corrupt prejudices, are enlightered by the Spirit of God, and themselves thereby initiated into the mysteries of Christ. And these he afterwards calls spiritual men, or such as have received the Spirit of Christ, whereby we know the things that are freely given us of God, ver. 12.

And there are also degrees in this perfection, seeing it is not absolute. For that which is so, the apostle denies to have been in himself, Pbil. iii. 12. Much less is it in any of us, or attainable by us.

But to every one of us, “grace is given according to the measure of the gift of Christ." An equal measure is not designed to all, Eph. iv. 13. Every one hath his distinct size, stature, or age, which he is, to arrive to. So every one may grow up to be a perfect man, though one be taller and stronger than another. And to bring every man to perfection, according to his measure, is the design of the work of the ministry, Col. i. 28.' So when any grace is raised to a constant sincere exercise, it is said to be perfect, 1 John iv. 18. Wherefore the Ts/s10bere, the perfect, or those of full age, are such as being instructed in the doctrine of the gospel, and using dili. gence in attending thereunto, have made a good progress, according to their means and capacities, in the knowledge of Christ and his will.

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2. To this sort of hearers, origie troon, strong meat doth belong, that is, it is to be provided for them, and proposed to them. This is useful for their state and condition. What is intended by this strong meat, food, or nourishment, hath been declared already.

3. The reason is subjoined whence it is that strong meat belongs to these persons, or rather, a further description of them is added, whence it will appear that it doth so. They have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. And we must inquire, 1. What are the senses intended. 2. How they are exercised. 3. What it is to discern both good and evil.

1. For the first, The allusion is still continued between infants and those that are adult. Infants have all their senses. For aco

Inongie, are properly, sensuum organa, “ the organs of the external senses. These infants have, even eyes, ears, and the like. And they have their internal sense in its principle. But they know not how to use them to any advantage. They cannot by their taste distinguish between food, which is good and wholesome, and that which is noxious or pernicious. And the senses intended are the faculties of understanding and judging spiritual things; the abilities of the mind, to discern, judge, and determine concerning them. And these in several degrees, are really in all sorts of hearers, babes, and those of full age.

But, 2. In those of full age, these senses are giyepycousya, ' exercised.' This makes the distinction. They are not so in babes. Hence they are not ready and expedite in their acts about their proper objects. They can neither make a right . judginent about spiritual truths, nor duly apprehend the mysteries of the gospel when proposed to them; and that because the intellectual faculties of their minds are not exercised spiritually about them. And the word doth not denote an actual exercise, but that readiness, ability, and fitness for any thing which is attained by an assiduous exercise. As a soldier who is trained is ready for his duty, or a wrestler for prizes (whence the allusion is taken to his strivings. Wherefore to have our senses exercised in the way intended, is to have our understandings and minds, through a constant sedulous study, meditation, prayer, hearing of the word, and the like means of the increase of grace and knowledge, to become ready, fit and able to receive spiritual truths, and to turn them into nourishment for our souls. For so it follows, they are thus exercised.

3. Προς διακρισιν καλά τε και κακα. . " To the discerning of good and evil.” Araxgiris, is an exact judgment, putting a difference between things proposed to us. A determination on a right discerning of the different natures of things. And that which

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this judging and determining faculty is here said to be exerciser about, is good and evil. But whereas they are doctrines and propositions of truth that the apostle treats concerning, it might be expected that he should have said to the discerning or disjudication of what is true and false. But 1. The allusion to food, which he still carries on, requires that it should be thus expressed. Of that wbich is or may be proposed as food to us, some is wholesome and nourishing, some hurtful and poxious; the first is good, the latter evil. 2. Though the first consideration of doctrines be, whether they be true or false, yet on that supposition the principal consideration of them concerns their subject matter, whether it be good or evil to our sotils, whether it tend to our edification or destruction.

But whereas it is the oracles of God that are the food proposed, and no evil can be supposed to be in them, what need this faculty of discerning in this case between good and evil ? 1. The similitude required a respect to both, because food of both sorts may be proposed or set before us. 2. Though nothing but what is good be prepared for us in the Scripture, in the oracles af God; yet this ability of judging or discerning between good and evil, is necessary to us in the dispensation of them. Por, 1. That may, by soine, be proposed to us, as taken from the Scripture, which indeed is not so, which is not wholesome food, but mere poison to the souls of men. Such are tho.e hurtiul and noisome opinions which men of corrupt minds do venta pretending that they are derived from the Scripture, wherein indeed they are condemned. Or, 2. Without this spiritual ability we may ourselves misapprehend, or misapply that which is true in its proposal, whereby it may become evil and noxions to us. To avoid these dangers, it is necessary that we have our senses exercised to the discerning both of good and evil. Wherefore these persons of full age, are such as are meet to have the mysteries of the gospel, and those especially about the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ preached to them, seeing their minds and understandings are so exercised about things evangelical, as that they are able to judge aright about the things proposed to them, discerning their goodness and suitableness to the nourishment of their souls, as also to discover what is evil, and to reject it.

4. This ability is attained, dove the item, by reason of use.' 'Egis is ó a habit ;' and a habit is a firm rooted disposition, giving readiness to, and facility in acts about its proper object. Now, the apostle intends such a habit as is aequired by lase and exercise ; whence we render it use. The first principle or spring op spiritual light, is intused by the Holy Ghost. The impreses nient hereot into a fixed babit, is hy constant and continual 4

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