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have now, while in a militant state, a mercy-seat, a throne of grace to approach, a mercy-door to knock at, and have access to the Father by the faith of Christ; we have one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; and through the vail of his flesh a way is opened to the Father: but, when we are all brought to glory, the mercy-seat, the throne of grace, will then appear a throne of glory; and when we have all entere dthe vail of his flesh into the holy of holies, we shall see God. Christ will then shew us plainly of the Father; the middle reign of grace will have an end, and the reign of glory will then appear wonderful to us all. And, though now we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth know we him so no more; but God-Father, Son, and Spirit, shall be all in all: all to us, and all in us. Hence, I conclude, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, these three are one, 1 John v. 7. And the saints shall all then be made perfect in one, John xvii. 23.
Mr. Vessey was in damnable errors. And, if God sends a man a strong delusion that he may believe a lie, it is no wonder that he pretend to a full assurance of faith. Solomon's fool rages, and is confident; but it is but the faith of a lie, and the confidence of a fool, at best. Nor does the triumphant departure of a man with a lie in his hand, and intoxicated with the wine of error, now stumble me. Mary Queen of Scots went to the block with as much fortitude in the principles of
popery, as Mr. Vessey met death with in the principles of Sabellianism. But what of all this? Paul says that a man may be enlightened, as Balaam was when he saw the visions of God, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open. Yea, he may have tasted of the heavenly gift; that is, he may receive a spiritual gift, and feel a deal of joy, zeal, and energy, with it; as well as Alexander and Demas: the former stood heavy persecution, and the latter saluted the churches much. He may be a partaker of the Holy Ghost, as Saul was, and appear quite another man; and yet be nothing. He may taste the good word of God, as the thorny and stony ground hearers did, who heard it, and anon with joy received it. Yea, and taste the powers of the world to come; they may feel joy, they may feel a delight, they may feel energy and power, until Christ takes the talent away, and then they wither away, having no deepness of earth, no brokenness of heart, nor contrition of spirit: having no root in themselves; or as Christ says, “I know that you have not the love of God in you;” and they wither for lack of moisture; that is, the well of living water, which springs up into everlasting life, is not in them, which is the cause of their withering or falling away. Paul, in the above place, is speaking of gifts, and not of the grace of God. Nor does he call this enlightening, this tasting the word of God, &c. and being partakers of the Holy Ghost, the things that accompany salvation. No; he tells the Hebrews that these
things were found in apostates that fell away so as not to be renewed again unto repentance. But, says Paul, we are persuaded better things of you ; things that attend the salvation of the soul; things that attend a real work of grace; that you have tasted that the Lord is gracious; that your souls have got a savoury unctious experience of the pardoning love of God. And, indeed, I cannot find those things that accompany salvation in all that catalogue of gifts. There is mention made of being partakers of the Holy Ghost; but nothing of being born again of the Spirit, nor of grace and supplication by the Spirit. He gave them great spiritual gifts : and in this sense he came upon seventy elders at once in the wilderness; and so he has come upon many who will never be saved. Paul says nothing, in all that catalogue of the hypocrite's attainments, about the forgiveness of their sins, nor of repentance unto life; nothing about a broken heart, conversion to God, or of regeneration: no. thing of justification unto life, nor of liberty by the Spirit; nor of Christ in the heart the hope of glory; nor of being sealed to the day of redemption; nor of union with the living Vine, of access to God, or of fellowship with the Father and the Son; nor of being in covenant with God, or being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
Read the following covenant blessings, and see if they are to be fonnd in the catalogue of the hypocrite's attainments; which are things that always accompany salvation. “I will put my laws into
their mind, and write them in their hearts: I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more,” Heb. viii. 10, 12. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you [but it is one thing for the Spirit to come upon a man, and it is another for the Spirit to be a well of eternal life in a man: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, [this makes the saint to differ from the stonyground hearer) and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I also will save you from all your uncleannesses. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations." These are the things that accompany salvation; but they are not to be found among the hypocrite's attainments; nor is there any of the things which Christ spoke when he 'opened his commission. In Paul's catalogue of the hypocrite's gifts there are no good tidings to the meek; nor of binding up the broken-hearted; nor of liberty proclaimed to captives; nor of opening the prison doors to them that are bound; nor of the acceptable year of the Lord: nothing of comfort
ing them that mourn; no beauty for ashes; no oil of joy for mourning; no garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, Isaiah lxi. 1-3. There is no poverty of spirit; no meekness or contrition ; no hunger nor thirst after righteousness; no purity of heart. All these, reader, are things that accompany salvation, such as no hypocrite ever had. Paul, in the sixth chapter of the Hebrews, is describing some of the most accomplished hypocrites, who are not chosen vessels, but reprobates; and to me they seem to be preachers. And Paul gives us a description, first, of their high attainments; secondly, of their fearful fall; and, thirdly, their dreadful end.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened," as Balaam was; “ and have tasted the heavenly gift,” as Alexander and Demas did; " and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost;" so was Saul, 1 Sam. x. 10. So was Balaam, Num. xxiv. 2. “And the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they prophesied.” “ And he sent other messengers, and they prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.” Paul goes on ;
“And have tasted the good word of God,” as Balaam did when God put a word in his mouth; and as the thorny and stony ground hearers did, who heard the word, and anon with joy received it; who for a while believed, but in temptation fell away, having no root in themselves; and as Judas, who took part of this ministry, the word,