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vi. In a word, nothing can render the most important truths powerful and operative in us, but such a digestion of them by serious and devout meditation, as may in a manner incorporate them with us. And this the fcripture plainly teaches, when to signify the force and virtue of the gospel above that of the law, it uses these words : For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, faith the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts, Heb. viii. 16. intimating, that no lates, no principles can ever influence us, till they be deeply imprinted in our hearts.
To wind up all. There are several kinds of knowledge of the same truths: there is a knowledge, which serves us only as Pisga's top did Mojes; to sew us Canaan, but not to bring us into it. There is again a knowledge, which serves us only as the talent did the wicked servants; not to procure rewards, but punishments. And finally, there is a knowledge, which like the talents in the hand of the faithful and good steward, inriches us first, and recommends us afterwards to bigher trusts and dignities ; which improves and perfects our nature first, and then puts us into polition of such blessings, as only nature thus improved and perfečted is capable of. And this knowledge must not be a slight, fuperficial, and undigested one; it must not be a confused and obscure, a weak and imperfect one: this is not the knowledge which will bring forth those excellent fruits, which we have reason to ex. pect from true illumination. But it must be a knowledge that has all the quite contrary characters: even such as I have before described at large. That this is an observation of the greatest weight and moment, is evident to any one who will give himself leave to make any refle&tion on the present state of Christianity. For how does the power of darkness prevail amidst the light of the gospel? How has the devil erected his throne in the midst of that Church, which Ihould be the kingdom of God? and sin and death reign where life and immortality are preached? Whence is this ? Are men ignorant of those truths which make up the system of true wisdom ? This is not easy to be imagined; scarcely of the darkeft corners of the popish churches, much less of ours. And therefore we must conclude, that this is because our knowledge is not such as it ought to be, with respect to its clearness, certainty, and digestion." CHA P. II. of the fruits and attainment of illuminati
on. That illumination does not depend so much upon a man's outward fortune, extraordinary parts, acquired learning, &c. as upon his moral qualifications, such as humility, impartiality, and love of the truth. 4. Dire&tions for the attainment of illumination. 1. That we do not suffer our minds to be engaged in quest of knowledge foreign to our purpose. 2. That we apply our Jelves with a very tender and fenfible concern to the study of illuminating truths. 3. That we aft conformable to those measures of light which we have at. tained. 4. That we frequently address our felves to God by prayer for the illumination of his grace. The chapter concluded with a prayer of Fulgentius. I Aving dispatched the notion of illuM1 mination in the foregoing chapter, and shewed both what truths, and what sort of knowledge of them is requisite to it; I am next to treat,
1. Of the fruits : and,
§. I. As to the fruits of illumination I have the lefs need to insist upon them because whatever can be said on this head, has
been in a manner anticipated : all the chara&ters of illuminating truths and illuminating knowledge being such as sufficiently declare the blessed effects of true illumination. I will therefore be very short on this head; and only just mention two advantages of illumination. As the use of light is especially twofold, to delight and guide us; so do we reap two benefits from illumination.
1. The first and most immediate one is, that it sets the whole man, and the whole life right; that it fixes our affections on their proper and natural object, and directs all our actions to their true end. I do not mean, that the understanding constantly and necessarily influences and determines the will. Experience tells us, that we haye a fatal li. berty : that our affections are too often independant of our reason ; that we sin against the dictates of conscience; that we pursue false pleasure, and a false interest, in opposition to the true, and in plain opposition to our judgment too; at least to a fedate and calm one. And the reason of all this is, because we consist of two different and repugnant principles, a body and a foul : and are follicited by two different worlds, a temporal and an eternal one. But all this notwithstanding, 'tis certain that illumination in the mind has a mighty influence upon us : for it is continually exciting in us wise desires and excellent purposes: 'Tis always
alluring and inviting us towards our fove-