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Christ, and that it is to be obtained fully and freely through him ; that his blood has procured the remission of sin; that his grace frees from the power and pollution of it, and that his righteousness is the foundation of their acceptance with God. That by his obedience and sufferings justice is satisfied, the law fulfilled, the greatest honour accrues to God, and the greatest joy and happiness to man. Thus the whole of religion is expressed by having learned Christ. God expects all from him; the sinner looks for all in him; and neither God nor the sinner shall be disappointed.

6. That faith is absolutely necessary to a comfortable sense of interest in Christ, and good works the genuine evidence of it. The enlightened sinner sees that, without faith in Christ, it is impossible either to please God or enjoy him ; but then he considers this faith as an active and operative principle, productive of repentance, love, meekness, humility, purity of heart, and evangelical obedience. He considers no faith as saving but that which is sanctifying ; and whilst he depends upon Christ for salvation, he yields an implicit subjection to his authority, and is careful to adorn the gospel as well as to embrace it.

Obs. II.—Where persons have been instructed in the foregoing things, yet a certainty of knowledge with respect to them may be wanting, and is to be obtained; for the illustration of which we may observe

1. This is not a natural, but a divine, attainment; as knowledge itself, so a certainty of knowledge is from God. Our own industry, and the efforts of others, may contribute as means, but God is the supreme author and agent. This is in Scripture especially ascribed to the Spirit, who is therefore called the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. He impresses divine truths upon the mind at first, in conversion, and opens them more fully after; shows their importance, harmony, consistency, and removes all jealousies and suspicions concerning them. One beam of light breaking in from the Spirit of God does more towards confirming and establishing the mind in the truths of religion than a thouwill and affections: thus, (Jer. xxiv. 7, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

2. The original corruption and depravity of mankind. Of this the heathens had some obscure notions : it is expressly revealed in the word, and every real penitent has been convinced of it by his own unhappy experience. He sees that his faculties are debased, his boasted excellencies vanished, the lineaments of the Divine image obliterated, and his glory laid in the dust; groaning under a burden of guilt, and sensible of his inward pollution, he puts his mouth in the dust, and cries out, with the broken-hearted publican, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”

3. The vanity of all sublunary objects, and their utter insufficiency to satisfy the cravings of an immortal, or yield relief to a distressed, soul.—They see that we are made for nobler purposes than merely to amuse the fancy, or gratify the senses; and that to be “cumbered about many things, whilst the “ one thing needful" is neglected, is an instance of the most preposterous folly. In a word, they now see that the creatures are deceitful brooks and broken cisterns, which will ever disappoint their hopes, whilst God is the only living fountain from which their wants can be supplied.

4. The extent and spirituality of the Divine law, and consequently the utter impossibility of obtaining salvation by the works of it.— They can now say with David, “We have seen an end of all perfection ;” are convinced that we have it not; despair of obtaining it in this world, for “thy command. ment is exceeding broad.” Their towering hopes and lofty imaginations are now levelled with the dust; and though they retain the highest regard to the law as a rule of walk and conversation, yet they have no expectation from it, nor do they place any confidence in it, as a covenant of works ; they, “ through the law, are dead to the law," and their grand principles of action are changed.

5. That there is salvation in no other but the Lord Jesus

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Christ, and that it is to be obtained fully and freely through him ; that his blood has procured the remission of sin ; that his grace frees from the power and pollution of it, and that his righteousness is the foundation of their acceptance with God. That by his obedience and sufferings justice is satisfied, the law fulfilled, the greatest honour accrues to God, and the greatest joy and happiness to man.-Thus the whole of religion is expressed by having learned Christ. God expects all from him; the sinner looks for all in him; and neither God nor the sinner shall be disappointed.

6. That faith is absolutely necessary to a comfortable sense of interest in Christ, and good works the genuine evidence of it.—The enlightened sinner sees that, without faith in Christ, it is impossible either to please God or enjoy him ; but then he considers this faith as an active and operative principle, productive of repentance, love, meekness, humility, purity of heart, and evangelical obedience. He considers no faith as saving but that which is sanctifying ; and whilst he depends upon Christ for salvation, he yields an implicit subjection to his authority, and is careful to adorn the gospel as well as to embrace it.

Obs. II.-Where persons have been instructed in the foregoing things, yet a certainty of knowledge with respect to them may be wanting, and is to be obtained; for the illustration of which we may observe

1. This is not a natural, but a divine, attainment; as knowledge itself, so a certainty of knowledge is from God. Our own industry, and the efforts of others, may contribute as means, but God is the supreme author and agent. This is in Scripture especially ascribed to the Spirit, who is therefore called the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. He impresses divine truths upon the mind at first, in conversion, and opens them more fully after ; shows their importance, harmony, consistency, and removes all jealousies and suspicions concerning them. One beam of light breaking in from the Spirit of God does more towards confirming and establishing the mind in the truths of religion than a thou

sand arguments of the most subtle disputers. Hence we read of " the demonstration of the Spirit;" and the gospel is said to have come to the Thessalonians " in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." What were doubtful opinions before, then appeared as indisputable realities.

2. This is not an instantaneous, but gradual work. That illumination which takes place at a sinner's conversion, dispelling the mists of ignorance and error from his understanding, and making him who was once darkness, light in the Lord, was instantaneous. “God said, Let there be light, and there was light;" but many fresh unctions must be received from above before he becomes a thorough proficient in the school of Christ, or attains to that certainty of knowledge which is here spoken of. Hence the path of the just is said to be like " the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” A touch of Christ's hand at first so far removes our spiritual blindness, that we see men, as trees, walking; but the touch must be renewed again and again before we can see all things clearly. Hence the different degrees of knowledge among real Christians ; some are rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith, whilst others are unsettled and wavering.

3. This certainty of knowledge will not be so perfect as to admit of no increase till the saints get to heaven. It is but a dim twilight that we enjoy in this world ; in the upper world it will be all noon-day. The moment we set our feet within the gates of the celestial city, we shall have a greater insight into things of a spiritual nature than we could attain to here by the laborious researches of many years. The faculties will be enlarged, Christ himself will be our instructor, and the objects of knowledge no longer enveloped in darkness and obscurity. We shall be freed from all prejudices and passions, and the investigation of truth will be no longer attended with toil and fatigue, uneasiness and pain. “Now we see but in part, and know but in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

Obs. III.—This certainty of knowledge is very desirable, and that on the following accounts :

1. Hereby our minds will be freed from doubtfulness, distraction, and many perplexing inquiries; we shall no longer be like children, carried about with every new notion, or, as the Apostle expresses it, “ever learning, and yet never coming to the knowledge of the truth." This will be an antidote against disquietude and uneasiness, and a great deal of unnecessary trouble will be hereby prevented. Hence it is said to be “a good thing to have the heart established by grace" (Heb. xiii. 9.); and perhaps this may be the meaning of that much controverted passage, 1 Cor. ii. 15. “He that is spiritual,” that is, who hath attained to a considerable measure of spiritual light and knowledge, "judgeth,” that is, hath a clear discernment of “all things, yet he himself is judged of no man ;” that is, his judgment is not determined by others; he is so fully assured of the truth that he holds, that their opinions weigh but little with him, nor will he be governed by them.

2. This will prevent our being imposed upon by the arts and intrigues of crafty and designing men; we shall stand unmoved, like rocks in the midst of the foaming waves, resisting all their force and impetuosity; the juggling tricks, the corrupt glosses, and interpretations of those that lie in wait to deceive, will have but little influence upon one who can distinguish between truth and error, and is well settled in the principles of his holy religion. They may threaten or promise, affright or allure, but they cannot shake his faith or stagger his soul: it is true, objections may sometimes be started, and difficulties arise in his mind, but he will never renounce the important sentiments so deeply fixed, and of which he hath both tasted the sweetness and felt the energy.

3. Certainty of knowledge tends to the improvement of our graces, the increase of our comfort, and our growing fruitfulness. The more knowledge the more holiness. “Sanctify them by thy truth," says Christ; “thy word is truth."

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