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I am not mad, most noble Feftus; but speak the words of truth and soberness. Acts xxvi. 25 Wisdom is justified of her children. Mato
HEN I had the pleasure of seeing
you last, you seemed surprized to hear me say, that the Son of God, for purposes worthy of his wisdom, manifests himself, sooner or later, to all his fincere followers, in a spiritual manner, which the world knows not of. The assertion appeared to you unscriptural, enthusiaftical, and dangerous. What I then advanced to prove, that it was scriptural, rational, and of the greatest importance, made you desire I would write to you on the mysterious subject. I declined it, as being unequal to the task; but having since considered, that a mistake here may endanger your soul or mine, I sit down to comply with your request: And the end I propose by it, is, either to give you a fair opportunity of pointing out my error, if I am wrong; or to engage you, if I am right, to seek what I esteem the most invaluable of all blessings,-revelations of Christ to your own soul, productive of the experimental knowledge of him, and the present enjoyment of his falvation.
As an architect cannot build a palace, unless he is allowed a proper spot to erect it upon, so I shall not be able to establish the doctrine I maintain, unless you allow me the existence of the proper fenfes, to which our Lord manifefts himself. The manifestation I contend for, being of a spiritual nature, must be made to fpiritual fenfes; and that such fenses exist, and are opened in, and exercised by regenerate fouls, is what I design to prove in this letter, by the joint testimony of Scripture, our Church, and Reason,
1. The Scriptures inform us, that Adam loft the experimental knowledge of God by the fall
. His foolish attempt to hide himself froin his Creator, whose eyes are in every place, evidences the total blindness of his understanding. The same veil of unbelief, which hid God from his mind, was drawn over his heart and all his fpiritual senses. He died the death, the moral, spiritual death, in consequence of which the corruptible body finks into the grave, and the unregenerate foul into hell.
In this deplorable state Adam begat his children. We, like him, are not only void of the life of God, but alienated from it, through the ignorance that is in us. Hence it is, that though we are possessed of such an animal and rational life, as he retained after the commission of his fin, yet we are, by nature, utter strangers to the holiness and bliss he enjoyed in a state of innocence. Though we have, in common with heasts, bodily organs of fight, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, adapted to putward objects; though we enjoy, in common with devils, the faculty of realoning upon natural truths, and mathematical propolitions, yet we do not understand supernatural and divine things, Notwithstanding all our speculations about thein, we can neither lee, nor taste them truly, unless we are risen with Christ, and taught of God. We may, indeed, speak and write about them, as
the blind may speak of colours, and the deaf dispute of founds, but it is all guess-work, hearsay, and mere conjecture. The things of the Spirit of God cannot be discovered, but by fpiritual, internal senses, which are, with regard to the spiritual world, what our bodily, external fenses are with regard to the material world. They are the only medium, by which an inter'course between Christ and our fouls can be opened and maintained.
The exercise of these senses is peculiar to those, who are born of God. They belong to what the Apostles call the new man, the inward inan, the new creature, the hidden man of the heart. In believers, this hidden man is awakened and raised from the dead, by the power of Christ's resurrection. Christ is his life, the Spirit of God is his fpirit, prayer or praise his breath, holiness his health, and love his element. We read of his hunger and thirst, food and drink, garment and haibtation, armour and conflicts, pain and pleasure, fainting and reviving, growing, walking, and working. All this fuppotes senses, and the more these fenses are quickened by God, and exercised by the new born foul, the clearer and stronger is his perception of divine things.
On the other hand, in unbelievers, the inward man is deaf, blind, naked, asleep, past feeling; yea, dead in trespasses and fins; and of course, as incapable of perceiving spiritual things, as a perfon in a deep fleep, or a dead man of discovering outward objects. St. Paul's language to him is, “ Awake thou that fleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ fhall give thee light." He calls him a natural man, one who hath no higher life than