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SECT. IV.

Gracious affections arise from the mind being enlightened rightly

and spiritually to apprehend divine things.

Holy affections are not heat without light; but evermore arise from some information of the understanding, some spiritual instruction that the mind receives, some light or actual knowledge. The child of God is graciously affected, because he sees and understands something more of divine things than he did before, more of God or Christ, and of the glorious things exhibited in the gospel. He has a clearer and better view than he had before, when he was not affected; either he receives some new understanding of divine things, or has his former knowledge renewed after the view was decayed; 1 John iv. 7. Every one that loveth, knoweth God. Phil. i. 9. I pray that

I pray that your love may abound more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment. Rom. xii. They have a seal of God, but not according to knowledge, Col. iii. 10. The new man, which is renewed in knowledge. Psal. xliii. 3, 4. O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill. John vi. 45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Knowledge is the key that first opens the hard heart, enlarges the affections, and opens the way for men into the kingdom of heaven; Luke xi. 52. Ye have taken away the key of knowledge.

Now there are many affections which do not arise from any light in the understanding, which is a sure evidence that these affections are not spiritual, let them be ever so high*. Indeed they have some new apprehensions which they had not before. Such is the nature of man, that it is impossible his mind should be affected, unless it be by something that he apprehends, or that his mind conceives. But in many persons those apprehensions or conceptions wherewith they are affected, have nothing of the nature of knowledge or instruction in them. For instance; when a person is affected with a lively idea, suddenly excited in his mind, of some shape, or beautiful pleasant form of countenance, a shining light, or other glorious outward appearance: here is something conceived by the mind; but nothing of the nature of instruction. Persons become never the wiser by such things, more knowing about God, a Mediator between God and man, the way of salvation by Christ, or any thing contained in the doctrines of the gospel. Persons by these external ideas have no further acquaintance with God, as to any of the attributes or perfections of his nature; nor have they any further understanding of his word, his ways, or works.

* "Many that have bad mighly strong affections at first conversion, afterwards become dry, and wither, and consume, aud pine, and die away: and now their hypocrisy is manifest, if not to all the world hy open profaneness, yet to the discerning eye of living Christians, hy a fornial, barren, isa roury, unfruitful Çheart and course; because they never had light to conviction enough as yet.- It is strange to see some people carried with Diglity affectiou against sin and hell, and after Christ. And what is the hell you lear?--A dread:ul place. What is Christ?- They scarce know so much as devils do ; but that is all. Oh! trust them pot. Many have, and these will fall away to some lust, or opininn, or pride, or world; and the reason is, they never had light enough, John v. 35. •Joho was a burning and shiving ligh, and they did joy in him for a season ;' yet glorious as it was, they saw not Christ by it, especially not with divine light. It is rare to see Christians full both of light and affection. And therefore, consider of this, many a mau has been well brought up, and is of a sweet loving nature, mild and gentle, and harmless, likes avd loves the best things, and his meaning, and mind, and heart is good, and has more in heart than in shew; and so hopes all shall go well with him. I say, there may lie greatest hypocrisy under greatest affections; especially if they want light. You shall be hardened in your hypocrizy by them

I never liked violent affections and pangs, but only such as were dropped in by light; because those come from an external principle, and last not, but these do.—Med are not affrighted by tho light of the sun, though clearer than lightning."-(Shepard's Parable, Part I. p. 146.)

his ways, or works. "Truly spiritual and gracious affections are not raised after this manner; these arise from the enlightening of the understanding, to understand the things taught of God and Christ, in a new manner. There is a new understanding of the excellent nature of God and his wonderful perfections, some new view of Christ in his spiritual excellencies and fulness; or things are opened to him in a new manner, whereby he now understands those divine and spiritual doctrines which once were foolishness to him. Such enlightenings of the understanding as these, are entirely different in their nature, from strong ideas of shapes and colours, outward brightness and glory, or sounds and voices. That all gracious affections arise from some instruction, or enlightening of the understanding, is therefore a further proof, that affections which arise from such an impression on the imagination, are not gracious.

Hence also it appears, that affections arising from texts of scripture coming to the mind, are vain, when no instruction received in the understanding from those texts, or any thing taught in them, is the ground of the affection, but the manner of their coming to the mind. When Christ makes the scripture a means of the heart's burning with gracious affection, it is by opening the scriptures to their understandings ; Luke xxiv. 32. Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? It appears also that the affection which is occasioned by the coming of a text of scripture must be vain, when the affection is founded on something supposed to be taught by it, which really is not contained in it, nor in

any other scripture ; because such supposed instruction is not real instruction, but a misapprehension of the mind. For instance, when persons suppose that they are expressly taught by some scripture coming to their minds, that they in particular are beloved of God, that their sins are forgiven, that God is their father, and the like; this is a misapprehension; for the scripture no where reveals the individual persons who are beloved, expressly, but only by revealing the qualifications of persons beloved of God. -Therefore this matter is not to be learned from scripture any other way than by consequence, from these qualifications; for things are not to be learned from the scripture any other way than they are taught in the scripture.

Affections really arise from ignorance, rather than instruction, in the instances which have been mentioned; as likewise in some others that might be mentioned. Some, when they find themselves free of speech in prayer, call it God's being with them; this affects them, and their affections are increased; when they look not into the cause of this freedom of speech, which may arise many other ways besides God's spiritual presence. So some are much affected with apt thoughts that come into their minds about the scripture, and call it the Spirit of God teaching them. They ascribe many of the workings of their own minds, of which they have a high opinion, to the special, immediate influences of God's Spirit; and so are mightily affected with their privilege. And there are some instances of persons, in whom it seems manifest, that the first ground of their affection is some bodily sensation. The animal spirits, by some cause, (and probably sometimes by the devil,) are suddenly and unaccountably put into a very agreeable motion, causing persons to feel pleasantly in their bodies; the spirits being put into such a motion as is wont to be connected with the exhilaration of the mind; and the soul, by the laws of its union with the body, hence feels pleasure. This motion of the animal spirits does not first arise from any apprehension of the mind whatsoever ; but the very first thing felt, is an exhilaration and a pleasant external sensation, it may be in their breasts. Hence, through ignorance, the person being surprised, begins to think, surely this is the Holy Ghost coming into him. And then the mind begins to be affected and raised; there is first great joy, and then many other affections, in a very tumultuous manner, putting all nature, both body and mind, into a mighty ruffle. For, though, as I observed before, it is the soul only that is the seat of the affections, yet this hinders not but that bodily sensations may, in this manner, be an occasion of affections in the mind.

And though men's religious affections truly arise from some instruction, or light in the understanding, yet the affection is not VOL. V.

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gracious, unless the light which is the ground of it be spiritual. Affections may be excited by what they obtain merely by human teaching, with the common improvement of their faculties. Men may be much affected by knowledge of religious things obtained this way; as some philosophers have been mightily affected, and almost carried beyond themselves, by the discoveries they have made in mathematics and natural philosophy. So men may be much affected from common illuminations of the Spirit of God, in which he assists their faculties to a greater degree of that kind of understanding of religious matters, which they have by the ordinary exercise and improvement of their own faculties. Such illuminations may much affect the mind; as in many whom we read of in scripture, that were once enlightened: but these affections are not spiritual.

There is, if the scriptures are of any use to teach us any thing, a spiritual, supernatural understanding of divine things, peculiar to the saints. 1 Cor. ii. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. It is certainly a kind of seeing spiritual things peculiar to the saints, which is spoken of in 1 John iii. 6. Whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him. 3 John 11. He that doeth evil, hath not seen God. And Jobo vi. 40. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. Chap. xiv. 19. The world seeth me no more; but ye see me. Chap. xvii. 3. This is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Matth. xi. 27. No man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. John xii. 45. He that seeth me, seeth him that sent me. Psal. ix. 10. They that know thy name, will put their trust in thee. Phil. ii. 8. I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:- -ver. 10. That I may know him.-Innumerable other places there are, all over the Bible, which shew the same. And that there is an understanding of divine things, which in its nature and kind is wholly different from all knowledge that natural men have, is evident from this, that there is what the scripture calls spiritual understanding; Col. i. 9. We do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It has been already shown, that what is spiritual, in the ordinary use of the word in the New Testament, is entirely different in nature and kind, from all which natural men are, or can be the subjects of,

From hence it may be surely inferred, wherein spiritual understanding consists. For if there be in the saints a kind of perception, which is in its nature perfectly diverse from all that natural men can have, it must consist in their having a certain kind of ideas, or sensations of mind, which are simply diverse from all that can be in the minds of natural men. And that is the same thing as to say, that it consists in the sensations of a new spiritual sense, which the souls of natural men have not; as is evident by what has been repeatedly observed. But I have already shown what that new spiritual sense is, which the saints have given them in regeneration, and what is the object of it. I have shown that the immediate object of it is the supreme beauty and excellency of the nature of divine things, as they are in themselves. And this is agreeable to the scripture: the apostle very plainly teaches, that the great thing discovered by spiritual light, and understood by spiritual knowledge, is the glory of divine things, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost : in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them: together with ver. 6. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. And chap. iii. 18. preceding, But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. And it must needs be so, for the scripture often teaches, that all true reJigion summarily consists in the love of divine things. And therefore that kind of understanding or knowledge, which is the proper foundation of true religion, must be the knowledge of the loveliness of divine things. For doubtless, that knowledge which is the proper foundation of love, is the knowledge of loveliness. What that beauty or loveliness of divine things is, which is the proper and immediate object of a spiritual sense of mind, was shewed under the last head insisted on, viz. That it is the beauty of their moral perfection. Therefore it is in the view or sense of this, that spiritual understanding does more immediately and primarily consist. And indeed it is plain it can be nothing else ; for (as has been shown) there is nothing pertaining to divine things, besides the beauty of their moral excellency—and those properties and qualities of divine things of which this beauty is the foundation-but wbat natural men and devils can see and know, and will know fully and clearly to all eternity.

From what has been said, therefore, we come necessarily to this conclusion, That spiritual understanding consists in a cordial sense of the supreme beauty and sweetness of the holiness or moral

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