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soning of a physician about it. There is a holy beauty and sweetness in words and actions, as well as a natural beauty in countenances and sounds, and sweetness in food; Job. xii. 11. Doth not the ear try words, and the mouth taste his meat ? When a holy and amiable action is suggested to the thoughts of a holy soul, that soul, if in the lively exercise of its spiritual taste, at once sees a beauty in it, and so inclines to it, and closes with it. On the contrary is an unwortliy, unholy action be suggested, its sanctified eye sees no beauty in it, and is not pleased with it; its sanctified taste relishes no sweetness in it, but on the contrary, it is nauseous. Yea, its holy taste and appetite leads it to think of that which is truly lovely, and naturally suggests it; as a healthy taste and appetite naturally suggests the idea of its proper object. Thus a holy person is led by the Spirit, as he is instructed and led by his holy taste, and disposition of heart; whereby, in the lively exercise of grace, he easily distinguishes good and evil, and knows at once what is a suitable, amiable behaviour towards God, and towards man, in this case and the other; and judges what is right, as it were spontaneously, without a particular deduction, by any other arguments than the beauty that is seen, and goodness that is tasted. Thus Christ blames the Pharisees, that they did not, even of their ownselves, judge what was right, without needing miracles to prove it, Luke xii. 57. The apostle seems plainly to

. have respect to this way of judging of spiritual beauty, in Rom. xii. 2. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God.

There is such a thing as good taste of natural beauty, (of which learned men often speak), exercised about temporal things, in judging of them; as about the justness of a speech, the goodness of style, the beauty of a poem, the gracefulness of deportment, &c. A late great philosopher of our nation, writes thus upon “ To have a taste, is to give things their real value, to be touched with the good, to be shocked with the ill; not to be dazzled with false lustres, but in spite of all colours, and every thing that might deceive or amuse, to judge soundly. Taste and judgment then, should be the same thing; and yet it is easy to discern a difference. The judgment forms its opinions from reflection: the reason on this occasion fetches a kind of circuit, to arrive at its end ; it supposes principles, it draws consequences, and it judges; but not without a thorough knowledge of the case; so that after it has pronounced, it is ready to render a reason of its decrees. Good taste observes none of these formalities; ere it has time to consult, it has taken its side; as soon as ever the

it* ;

* Chambers' Dictionary, under the word TASTE.


object is presented it, the impression is made, the sentiment formed, ask no more of it. As the ear is wounded with a harsh sound, as the smell is soothed with an agreeable odour, before ever the reason have meddled with those objects to judge of them, so the taste opens itself at once, and prevents all reflection. They may come afterwards to confirm it, and discover the secret reasons of its conduct; but it was not in its power to wait for them. Frequently it happens not to know them at all, and what pain soever it uses, cannot discover what it was determined it to think as it did. This conduct is very different from that the judgment observes in its decisions : unless we choose to say, that good taste is as it were a first motion, or a kind of instinct of right reason, which hurries on with rapidity, and conducts more securely, than all the reasonings she could make; it is a first glance of the eye, which discovers to us the nature and relations of things in a moment."

Now as there is a taste of the mind, whereby persons are guided in their judgment concerning the natural beauty, gracefulness, propriety, nobleness and sublimity of speeches and actionswhereby they judge as it were by the glance of the eye, or by inward sensation, and the first impression of the object--so there is likewise a divine taste, given and maintained by the Spirit of God, in the hearts of the saints, whereby they are in like manner led and guided in discerning and distinguishing the true spiritual and holy beauty of actions; and that more easily, readily, and accurately, as they have more or less of the Spirit of God dwelling in them. And thus the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God, in their behaviour in the world.

A holy disposition and spiritual taste, where grace is strong and lively, will enable a soul to determine what actions are right and becoming Christians, not only more speedily, but far more exactly, than the greatest abilities without it. This may be illustrated by the manner in which some habits of mind, and dispositions of heart, of a nature inferior to true grace, will teach and guide a man in his actions. As for instance, if a man be a very good-natured man, his good nature will teach him better how to act benevolently amongst mankind, and will direct him on every occasion, to those speeches and actions, which are agreeable to rules of goodness, than the strongest reason will a man of a morose temper. So if a man's heart be under the influence of an entire friendship, and most endeared affection to another; though he be a man of an indifferent capacity, yet this habit of his mind will direct him, far more readily and exactly, to a speech and deportment, or mauner of behaviour, which shall in all respects be sweet and kind, and agreeable to a benevolent disposition of heart, than the greatest capacity without it. He has as it were a spirit



within that guides him; the habit of his mind is attended with a taste, by which he immediately relishes that air and mien which is benevolent, and disrelishes the contrary. It causes him to distinguish between the one and the other in a moment, more precisely, than the most accurate reasonings can find out in many hours. The nature and inward tendency of a heavy body that is let fall from a height, shews the way to the centre of the earth more exactly in an instant, than the ablest mathematician without it could determine, by his most accurate observations in a whole day. Thus it is that a spiritual disposition and taste teaches and guides a man in his behaviour in the world. So an eminently humble, or meek, or charitable disposition, will direct a person of mean capacity to such a behaviour, as is agreeable to Christian rules of humility, meekness and charity, far more readily and precisely, than the most diligent study, and elaborate reasonings, of a man of the strongest faculties, who has not a Christian spirit within him. So also will a spirit of love to God, holy fear and reverence towards God, and filial confidence in him, and a heavenly disposition, teach and guide a man in his behaviour.

It is an exceeding difficult thing for a wicked man, destitute of Christian principles in his heart, to guide him, to know how to demean himself like a Christian, with the life, beauty, and heavenly sweetness of a truly holy, humble, Christ-like behaviour. He knows not how to put on these garments; neither do they fit him ; Eccl. x. 2, 3. A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart is at his left. Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool : with verse 15. The labour of the foolish

: wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. Prov. x. 32. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable. Chap. xv. 2. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. And chap. xvi. 23. The heart of the righteous teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

The saints in thus judging of actions by a spiritual taste, have not a particular recourse to the express rules of God's word, with respect to every word and action that is before them: but yet their taste itself in general, is subject to the rule of God's word, and must be tried by that, and a right reasoning upon it. A man of a rectified palate judges of particular morsels by his taste; but yet his palate itself must be judged of, whether it be right or no, by certain rules and reasons. But a spiritual taste mightily helps the soul in its reasonings on the word of God, and in judging of the true meaning of its rules; as it removes the prejudices of a depraved appetite, naturally leads the thoughts in the right channel, casts a light on the word, and causes the true meaning

most naturally to come to mind, through the harmony there is between the disposition and relish of a sanctified soul, and the true meaning of the rules of God's word. Yea, this harmony tends to bring the texts themselves to mind on proper occasions; as the

; particular state of the stomach and palate, tends to bring such particular meats and drinks to mind, as are agreeable to that state. Thus the children of God are led by the Spirit of God in judging of actions themselves, and in their meditations upon the rules of God's holy word : and so God teaches them his statutes, and causes them to understand the way of his precepts; which the psalmist so often prays for.

But this leading of the Spirit is exceedingly diverse from what some call so; which consists, according to them—not in teaching them God's statutes and precepts already given, but-in giving them new precepts, by immediate inward speech or suggestion. They do not determine what is the will of God by any taste, relish, or judgment of the nature of things, but by an immediate dictate concerning the thing to be done; indeed there is po such thing as any judgment or wisdom in the case. Whereas in that leading of the Spirit which is peculiar to God's children, there is imparted that true wisdom, and holy discretion, so often spoken of in the word of God; which is high above the other way, as the stars are higher than a glow-worm ; and that which Balaam and Saul (who sometimes were led by the Spirit in that other way) never had, and no natural man can have, without a change of nature.

What has been said of the nature of spiritual understanding, as consisting most essentially in a supernatural sense and relish of the heart, not only shews that there is nothing of it in this falsely supposed leading of the Spirit; but also shews the difference between spiritual understanding, and all kinds and forms of enthusiasm, all imaginary sights of God, and Christ, and heaven; all supposed witnessing of the Spirit and testimonies of the love of God by immediate inward suggestion ; all impressions of future events, and immediate revelations of any secret facts whatsoever. Hereby we see how different is true spiritual religion, and all enthusiastical impressions and applications of scripture, as though they were words now immediately spoken by God to a particular person, in a new meaning, and carrying something more in them, than the words contain as they lie in the Bible; and all interpretations of the mystical meaning of the scripture, by supposed immediate revelation. None of these things consist in a divine sense and relish of the heart, of the holy beauty and excellency of divine things; nor have they any thing to do with such a sense; but all consist in impressions in the head ; all are to be referred to the head of impressions on the imagination, and consist in exciting external ideas in the mind, either of outward shapes and colours, or words spoken, or letters written, or ideas of things external and sensible, belonging to actions done, or events accomplished, or to be accomplished. An enthusiastical supposed manifestation of the love of God, is made by exciting an idea of a smiling countenance, or some other pleasant outward appearance, or by the idea of pleasant words spoken, or written, excited in the imagination, or some pleasant bodily sensation. So when persons have an imaginary revelation of some secret fact, it is by exciting external ideas; either of some words, implying a declaration of that fact, or some visible or sensible circumstances of such a fact. So the supposed leading of the Spirit, to do the will of God, in outward behaviour, is either by exciting the idea of words (which are outward things) in their minds, either the words of scripture, or other words, which they look upon as an immediate command of God, or else by exciting and impressing strongly the ideas of the outward actions themselves. So when an interpretation of a scripture type or allegory, is immediately, in an extraordinary way, strongly suggested, it is by suggesting words, as though one secretly whispered and told the meaning; or by exciting other ideas in the imagination.

Such sort of experiences and discoveries as these commonly raise the affections of such as are deluded by them, to a great height, and make a mighty uproar in both soul and body. And a very great part of the false religion that has been in the world, from one age to another, consists in such discoveries as these, and in the affections that flow from them. In such things consisted the experiences of the ancient Pythagoreans among the Heathen, and many others among them, who had strange ecstasies and raptures, and pretended to a divine afflatus, and immediate revelations from heaven. In such things as these seem to have consisted the experiences of the Essenes, an ancient sect among the Jews, at and after the times of the apostles. In such things consisted the experiences of many of the ancient Gnostics, the Montanists, and many other sects of ancient heretics, in the primitive ages of the Christian church. And in such things as these consisted the pretended immediate converse with God and Christ, saints and angels, of the Monks, Anchorites, and Recluses, that formerly abounded in the church of Rome. In such things consisted the pretended high experiences, and great spirituality of many sects of enthusiasts, that swarmed in the world after the reformation* And in these things seems to lie the religion of the

Such as the Anabaptists, Antinomians, and Familists, the followers of N. Stork, Th. Muncer, Jo. Becold, Henry Pleifer, David George, Casper Swenckfield, Hepry Nicolas, Johanues Agricola Eislebius; and the many wild enthusiasts that were in England in the days of Oliver Cromwell; and the followers of

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