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ly forbear, let him suppose it done by acting upon his organs in his sleep, or at some former time when he did not perceive it.

Those who have gone through a grammar school must remember that sometimes, on the evening before a repetition day, they have striven and toiled for several hours to get their task by heart, but to no purpose, being unable at bed-time to repeat a single sentence right : nevertheless, awaking in the morning they have often found it ready at their tongue's end, so that they could go through the whole currently without mistake or hesitation. Now I do not offer this as an instance of supernatural grace, for it would be almost blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to believe him employed in so trifling a service as to help a school-boy in saying his lesson: I only mention it in order to introduce another case which may be thought worthy his assistance. Suppose then I had an intimate friend whom I greatly loved and esteemed, but who had fallen into some gross and fatal error on the fundamentals of Religion. After many unsuccessful attempts to reclaim him, I wish to introduce an able divine, whom I know to be a man of sound knowledge and judgment, better skilled in managing those points than myself: but my friend has taken an utter distaste to all parsons, and will not hear one of them being brought to talk with him. What then have I else to do but wait


the doctor, in order to gather such information from him as I may employ, afterwards myself in the best manner I am able? Accordingly I obtain a conference, and receive such a scheme of argumentation as I think cannot fail of taking effect, if I could but convey it unbroken : but it is long, consisting of many particulars, and intricate : so as to make it difficult to be retained in mind without losing any of that clearness of explanation and closeness of deduction wherein its efficacy must consist. On coming home I endeavor to recollect what I had heard, and fix everything upon my memory in the proper order and colors wherewith it had been delivered, but after many hours' toil and labor, find I can make out nothing regular or satisfactory; so am forced, like the schoolboy, to go to bed in desperation of doing any good: nevertheless, in the morning I have the whole occurring to my thoughts spontaneously, in the full vigor and precision I could wish, and applying it immediately to my unhappy friend, thereby cure him effectually of his error.

Now if I am persuaded upon the authority of the Church, that the divine assistance must have been afforded to make me instrumental in the saving of a soul, when am I to believe the help was given ? Surely not when I felt its effects in the morning, for there is no difficulty in reading the traces of one's memory when


clear and vivid : this I can do by my own strength without supernatural aid : it is no more than repeating the Lord's prayer, or any-. thing else one is familiarly acquainted with. Is it not more rational to suppose the Spirit aiding the preceding day, while I took so much pains in a good work, without perceiving any progress made therein? But he knew, though I did not, that the pains then taking would, by his co-operating influence, cast my mental organs into such a state, as that by their mechanical workings in my sleep they should range themselves exactly in the order wanted, which they have a quality in doing, as has been remarked before in Chap. X. S 4, of the First Volume.

6. For I take it likewise to be orthodox that the Spirit does nothing for us by himself but only co-operates with our endeavors : we must try, or no effect will ensue; so the effect must appear to be produced by our own powers, and so indeed it always is, but with the secret influence supplying their insufficiency of strength. This excludes all spontaneous illuminations which we have done nothing ourselves to procure, and all irresistible grace forcing upon us against our Will. We may consider further, that the Spirit does not act upon our bodily powers, he never invigorates our muscles to give us more than human strength, nor purges our optics to make us see objects in the dark: but confines his aid to helping us in our spiritual concerns by supplying us with grace.

Now though I have hitherto applied the term Grace, considered as an effect to clearness of apprehension and strength to perform good works, in compliance with the current language, and to avoid the obscurity arising from needless abstractions, yet in strictness these things are not grace itself, but the fruits of it. For piety and goodness, though best evidenced by good works, do not consist in them : it is the disposition and habit of the mind, properly termed grace, which makes a man good : and this he must have before he can perform good works, though he cannot know it himself without that proof. The grace is a permanent quality abiding with him in his sleep, at his meals, his diversions, at other times, when he has no opportunity of exercising it, and prior to the pious thoughts and actions which first warrant us to pronounce it subsisting. But this grace was the effect of his former endeavors to attain it, assisted by the Spirit co-operating with him at the time of exerting them which endeavors must be repeated to acquire a habit, and so frequently prove ineffectual that he can never know they have suceeded, and consequently can never know the Spirit has co-operated, until, upon subsequent trial, he discovers their effects after the operation has ceased.


Hence it appears from the nature of the thing, that the notion of discerning an immediate effusion of the Spirit, or feeling the finger of God move upon our hearts, has no manner of foundation for the impulses of grace are nothing else than the spontaneous workings of a habit, or vigorous state of our faculties, acquired by our own well-applied industry; nor have we evidence of anything co-operating with that industry, either from experience or elsewhere, unless what can be drawn from the written oracles and arguments urged upon them. After full conviction worked upon a man this way, that no good thing, efficacious to secure his spiritual interests, can be thought or done without supernatural assistance, then indeed he may have experimental knowledge of the Spirit's co-operation, and feel the power of God upon his heart: because he may experience effects which he is already persuaded could not have been produced by his natural powers, without an additional strength thrown into them by divine interposition.

7. Those among us who pretend to extraordinary illuminations and supernatural powers, may be perceived extremely willing to have them taken for divine testimonies to their doctrines and practices : but they do not reflect, as indeed they seldom do anything with reflection, that herein they change their very nature, bringing them to rank under the class of signs and worders, that is, direct miracles, worked not so much for their immediate uses, as for manifestation of the divine power to such as could not be made sensible of it

any other way: whereas the assistance of the Comforter was promised for the necessary uses of the receiver, nor can serve as a manifestation, because not credited by the bystander unless convinced before, of the power of God working this way, upon Scripture authority. The same authority indeed testifies that the Spirit did operate miraculously upon the Apostles at the feast of Pentecost and upon several other occasions : but this was for the introduction of a new Religion, since when, say our doctors, such operations have totally ceased.

When were miracles ever employed for removing the corruptions of Religion since it has been an old one? Are our modern innovations of greater importance than the Reformation? Yet that work of God went on without signs and wonders, and still continues going on, if we may gather from the very recent disbandment of that body-guard of Popery the Jesuits. Our first reforniers claimed no miraculous illuminations nor extraordinary powers, but could execute what work God in his wisdom judged needful for them to do, with the ordinary assistance of the Comforter afforded to every pious Christian seeking it honestly, diligently, and humbly, not saying arrogantly within himself, God, I thank thee that I am not as this publican.

However, since it is in vain to reason with people who make a merit of despising reason, but they will continue obstinate in holding the revival of miracles, I would wish them to be very careful in distinguishing the genuine from the spurious ; for they may remember that, when God works his miracles, he permits other powers at the same time, not commissioned from him, to work theirs. When Moses turned his rod into a serpent, the Egyptian magicians turned theirs into serpents likewise : while oracles were delivered forth from before the ark, the witch of Endor called up Samuel from the grave by necromancy : wbile Micaiah declared the Word of the Lord, Satan knew whom to inspire for Ahab to go up to battle against the Syrians: while Jesus healed all manner of diseases the devils could troop by legions into the body of a demoniac, and being driven from thence impel the swine by thousands to run violently down a precipice into the sea. Therefore, those who believe miraculous illuminations renewed among them, have reason to expect that delusions will be intruded in their company : they know very well who can upon occasion transform himself into an angel of light, so that the apparent operations of the holy Spirit may be counterfeit; for it is not unlikely that some Devil of perverseness or vanity may work such wonders, as will if possible deceive even the elect. They ought not then to be over hasty and confident of their inward feelings, but take Saint Paul's advice to try every spirit before they trust him; and study calmly the doctrine of touches, that they may not be imposed upon to mistake the cloven foot, for the finger of God.

8. We may observe likewise, that there are means of grace, and ways of quenching the Spirit, and men are said to grieve the holy Spirit : by these expressions some people are led inconsiderately to fancy themselves of importance with God, as if they could merit his favor, or disappoint him as they pleased. But they must entertain a very unworthy opinion of him, as subject to human passions, to imagine they can stir up either fondness or

. vexation in him by anything they do; such imaginations inay be indulged to persons of gross apprehension, who can rise no higher than the ideas exhibited by one another, and can think of God no otherwise, than as a very good and powerful man, living somewhere above the clouds : but those who pretend to more light than all the rest of mankind, ought to know that grieving is an exoteric term designed only for the vulgar, to touch their affections with the suggestion of ingratitude to their protector and best benefactor.



The other phrases of quenching the spirit, and using the means of grace, must relate to the spirit and grace in us, considered as an effect of some prior cause : for it cannot be conceived that the act of God may be frustrated, or rendered effectual by anything of our doing. But we are to understand thereby, that any good disposition of mind or vigor of resolution we possess, here called grace and spirit, may be weakened or destroyed by our ill conduct or neglect: and were acquired by means of our own using, with the divine assistance co-operating, not acting as a distinct agent, but adding energy to the powers we exert. Therefore it behoves us to study carefully what are the means of grace, and practise them sedulously, and we shall find they are such as have a natural tendency to procure the temper of mind we desire ; for the Spirit of God does no more than assist nature where she falls deficient, it never counteracts nor controls her.

So then our business is to examine our nature, our wants, and our powers, using our best reason for applying the one to the other : the same measures of conduct will be expedient as if there were no supernatural interposition ; the only, though very material difference this makes is in the success, not the choice, nor the prudence of our proceedings. Only we must take care to inform our reason by what lights we can gather from any quarter, still employing our judgment in choosing our guides, interpreting their directions, and applying them to particular occasions; and if we manage well and honestly in all these points, we may rest assured both from reason and promise, that should any further assistance be necessary, God will graciously afford it us in as ample a manner as he sees requisite.

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We come now to the most mysterious article of the Christian faith, the hardest of digestion to the reasoner, esteemed most sacred by the orthodox, and acknowledged incomprehensible by both : which we are taught to regard as the grand fundamental of our Religion, to be received upon the Word of God with a reverential awe and submission, not to be curiously pried into.

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