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ness, baseness, emptiness, and total unworthiness of men; yea, of the best and holiest of men, Isa. vi. 5. - >

Sign 2. The teachings of God are deeply affetling, andimprseJive teachings; they fully reach the heart of man, Hos. ii. 14. "I'will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and "speak comfortably unto her:" or, as it is in the Hebrew, I will speak to her heart. When God sheweth unto man the evil of sin, he so convinceth the soul, that no creature-comforts have any pleasure, or sweetness in them; and when he Iheweth unto man his righteousness, pardon, and peace in Christ, tie so comforteth, and refreflieth the heart, that no outward afflictions have any weight, or bitterness-in them: one drop of consolation from heaven, sweetens a sea of trouble upon earth, Psal. xciv. 19. "In the multitude of my thoughts within me, "thy comforts delight my foul."

Sign 3. The teachings of God are santlifying and renewing teachings; they reform and change the heart, Epb. iy. 21, 22, 23. "If so be that you have heard him, and been taught by "him, as the truth is in Jesus; that ye put off concerning "the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt, ac"cording to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit

ef your mind," 'bc. See here what holiness, and purity is the effect of divine teaching! Holiness, both external and internal, negative and positive: holiness of every kind follows the Father's teachings: all the discoveries God makes to us of himself in. Christ have an affimilating quality, and change the soul into their own likeness, 2 Cor. iii. 18.

Sign 4. All God's teachings are pratlical, producing obedience. Idle notions and useless speculations are not learned from God. As God's creating words, so his teaching words are with effect: as when he said, "Let there be light, and there was light;" so when he saith to the soul, Be comforted, be humbled; it is effectually comforted, Isa lxvi. 13. it is humbled, Jobxl. 4, 5. As God hath in nature made no creature in vain, so he speaks no word in vain: every thing which men hear, or learn from the Father, is for use, practice, and benefit to the soul.

Sign 5. All the teachings of God are agreeable with the -written word: The Spirit of God, and the word of God do never jar, John xiv. 26. "He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you." When God speaketh unto the heart of man, whether in 3 way of conviction, consolation, or instruction in duty, he always either maketh use of the express words of scripture, or speaks to the heart in language every way consentaneous and agreeable to scripture: So that the written word becomes the standard to weigh, and try all diviae teachings, Isa. viii. 20. "To the law, "and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this "word, it is because there is no light (or morning) in them." "Whatever is disagreeing, or jarring with the scripture, must not pass for an inspiration of God, but a deluding sophism, and insinuation of Satan.

Sign 6. The teachings of God are very satisfying teachings to the foul of man: The understanding faculty, like a dial, is enlightened with the beams of divine truth shining upon it: this, no roan's teachings can do: Men can only teach objettively, by propounding truth to the understanding; but they cannot enlighten the saculty itself, as God doth, 1 John v. 20. He giveth man understanding, as west as instructions, to be understood; he opens the eyes of the understanding, as well as propoundeth, the object, Eph. i. 18. And thus we may discern and dislinguish the teachings of God, from all other teachings.

3. Use of exhortation.

The last use I shall make of this point, shall be a word of exhortation, both to them that never were yet effectually taught of God, and to them also that have heard his voice, and are come to Christ.

First, To those that never yet heard the voice of God speaking to their hearts; and truly this is the general case of most men and women, in the professing world: They have heard the sound of the gospel, but it hath been a confused, empty, and ineffectual sound in their ears: we have heard the voice of man, but have never yet heard the voice of God. The gifts and abilities of preachers have, in a notional and mere human way, improved their understandings, and sometimes siightly touched their.affections: All this is but the effect of man upon man. 0 that you would look for something which is beyond all this: satisfy not yourselves with what is merely natural, and human in ordinances; come to the word with higher ends and more spin" tual designs, than to get some notions of truth which you had not before, or to judge the gifts and abilities of the speaker: if God speak not to your hearts, all the ordinances in the world can do you no good, 1 Cor. iii. 7. O remember what a solemn and awful thing it is to come to those ordinances, and attend upon that ministration, in and by which the eternal decrees of heaven are to be executed upon your souls, which must be to you the "savour of life unto life, or of death unto death:" Wreslle with God, by prayer, for a blessing upon the ordinances. Sa/j "Lord, speak thyself to my heart, let me hear thy voice, and "fec l thy power in this prayer, or in this sermon: Others bai'fi

"heard thy voice, cause me to hear it: It had been much bet"ter for me if I had never heard the voice of preachers, except "I hear thy voice ia them."

Secondly, Let all 'those that have heard the voice of God, and are come to Christ in the virtue of his teachings, admire the wonderful condescension of God to them. O that God should speak to thy soul, and be silent to others! There be many thousands living at this day under ordinances, to whom the Lord hath not given an ear to hear, or an heart to obey, Deut. xxix. 4. "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom "of heaven, but to them it is not given," Mat. xiii. 11. And I beseech you walk as men and women that have been taught of God. When Satan and your corruptions tempt you to fin, and to walk in the ways of the carnal, and careless world; remember then that scripture, Eph. iv. 20, 21. " But ye have not so "learned Christ, if so be that you have heard him, and have "been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus." To conelude, fee that you be exceeding humble, and lowly ia spirit' Humility qualifies you for divine teachings, Psal. xxv. 9. " The "meek he will teach;" and the more ye are taught of God, the more humble you will still be.

And thus you fee, that no man can come to Christ without the application of the law, and the teachings of the Father; which being considered, may be very useful to convince us, (which indeed is the design of it) that among the multitudes of men and women, living under the ordinances of God, and the general profession of religion, there are but few, very few to be found, who have effectually received the Lord Jesus Christ by saving saith. ','

And now, reader, I suppose by this time thou art desirous to know by what signs and evidences thy union with Christ by faith may be cleared up, and made evident to thee; and how that great question, whether thou hast yet effectually applied Christ to thy soul, or no, may be clearly decided; which brings me to the third general use of the whole, viz.

The examination of our interest in Christ, by

1. The donation of the Spirit, from 1 John iii. 24.

2. The new creation, from 2 Cor. v.iy.

3. The mortification of sin, from Gal. v. 24.

4. The imitation of Christ, from 1 John ii. 6.

Of each of these trials of our interest in Christ I shall speak in their order: And, first, of the donation of the Spirit.


Of the Manner, and Importance of the Smrit's Indwelling.

i John III. 24. And hereby -we know that he dbideth in

ui, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

7"*HE apostle io this chapter is engaged in a very trying discourse; his scope is to discriminate the spirits, and states , of sincere believers, from merely nominal, and pretended Christians; which he attempts not to do by any thing that is external, but by the internal effects and operations of the Spirit of God upon their hearts. His enquiry is not into those things which men profess, or about the duties which they perform, but about the frames, and tempers of their hearts, and the principles by which they are acted in religion. According to this test, he puts believers upon the search and study of their own hearts; calls them to reflect upon the effects and operations of the Spirit of God, wrought within their own fouls, assuring them, that these gracious effects, and fruits of the Spirit in their hearts, will be a solid evidence unto them of their union with Jesus Christ, amounting to much more than a general, conjectural ground of hope, under which it is possible there may fubejj'e falsum, lurk a dangerous and satal mistake: But the gracious effects of the Spirit o'f God within them, are a foundation upon which they may build the certainty, and assurance of their union with Christ: Hereby we know that he abide th in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us, In which words we have three things to consider, viz.

1. The thing to be tried, our union with Christ.

2. The trial of it, by the giving of his Spirit to us.

3. The certainty of the trial this way: Hereby we know. First, The thing to be tried; which is indeed the greatest

and weightiest matter that can be brought to trial in this world, or in that to come, namely our union with Christ, expressed here by his abiding in us s a phrase clearly expressing the difference betwixt thole that, by profession and common estimation, pass for Christians among men, tho' they have no other union with Christ, but by an external adhefion to him in the external duties! of religion, and those whose union with Christ is real, vital and permanent, by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in their souls* John xv. 5, 6. opens the force, and importance of this phrase, "I am the vine, ye are the branches; he thai abidetb. A*.mine, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much-fruit: l£» At a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is V withered.'* The thing then to be tried, is, whether we stand in Christ as dead branches in a living stock, which are bound to it by external ligatures, or bonds, that hold them for a while together; Or whether our souls have a vital union, and coalition with Christ, by the participation of the living sap of that blessed Root. '' ■'

Secondly; The trial of this union, which is by the giving of the Spirit to us: The Spirit of Christ is the very bond of union betwixt him and our fouls. I mean not that the very person of the Spirit dwellcth in us, imparting his essential properties to us; it were a rude blasphemy so to speak; but his saving influences are communicated to us in the way of sanctifying operations; as the fun is said to come into the house, when his beams and comforting influence come there. Nor yet must we think that the graces, or influences of the Spirit abide in us in the self-same measure, and manner as they do in Christ; "for God '*' giveth not the Spirit to him by measure;" in him all fulness dwells. He is anointed with the Spirit above his fellows; but there are measures and proportions of grace differently communicated to believers by the same Spirit; and these communicated graces, and real operations of the Spirit of grace in our hearts, do undoubtedly prove the reality of our union with Christ; as the communication of the self-same vital juice, or sap of the stock, to the branch whereby it lives, and brings forth fruit of the fame kind, certainly proves it to be a real part, or a member of the fame tree.

Thirdly, Which brings us to the third thing; namely, the certainty of the trial this way, v, mn» ymncriit, in this, or by this we know: We so know, that we cannot be deceived. To clear this, let us consider two things in grace, viz. '1. Somewhat constitutive, f q{ fe .

2. Somewhat manifestative, 3

There is something in grace which is essential, and constitutive of its being; and somewhat that flows from grace, and is manifestative of such a being: We cannot immediately, and intuitively discern the essence of grace, as it is in its simple nature. So God only discerns it, who is the author of it; but we may discern it mediately and secondarily, by the effects and operations of it. Could we fee the simple essence of grace, or ictui

Vol.ii. LU- ".

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