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Quest. When is a word, or promife, received by faith? and fo, When does faith discover a teftimony to be no delufion?

Anfw. (1.) When the heart is commanded by a perfuafion of divine love, by the word, as an act of obedience to the Lord; not barely when there is a word given in, but when the Spirit over-awes the foul with the majesty that comes along therewith to yield subjection, Pfal. xlii. 8. "The Lord will command his lovingkindness.-Pfal. cxxxiii. 3. The Lord commands the bleffing." The Spirit commands faith to own the loving-kindness of the Lord. It is not every one that hatha perfuafion that Chrift is his, that doth enjoy the immediate witness of the Spirit; for, Balaam faid, My God, Num. xxii. 18. and yet had no intereft in God. Thus Satan raifes falfe confidences in many profane wretches, and backs them with fcripture; fuch as that, that Jefus Chrift came into the world to fave finners; that God wills not the death of the finner; and their own fpirits conclude that they are the finners whom he will fave: but unless fuch fcriptures, or rather the Spirit in them, have commanded their hearts to a perfuafion, out of respect to the Lord, they are not to be regarded as the Spirit's teftimony.

(2.) Then does faith evidence a teftimony of the Spirit to be no delufion, when the finful objections that fwarmed in the foul are fuppreffed. If the foul bath faith upon Chrift in any promife, then it is pained and afflicted with the fenfe of its former unbelief, Pfalm xlii. 5. 8. Delufions do flupify men that they do not feek for a fatisfactory deliverance from objections; but the Spirit, like the fun, caufes fuch mifts of darkness to fly away, and puts abundance in the mouth to anfwer Satan in all.

(3.) Then faith evidences the teftimony of the Spirit to be no delufion, when its reception of the word, or promife, caufes felf-abafement, Mat. xv. 27. There the woman calls herself a dog, then presently Chrift owns her faith. Great faith caufes great felf-abasement, Mark xiv. 31. Peter declares his preferring Christ before his own life; yet this was but the voice of his fpirit, because it did fpring from felf-confidence.

(4.) Finally, when the heart is carried out Christward by the reception of any promife; when the whole foul runs out after Chrift, taking the promise out of his hand, Eph. iii. 6.; owning him in the purchase of the mercy whereof it is affured; building its confi. dence on him for the further communications of the promifed bleffing; and being laid under strong obligations and engagements to Chrift thereby, crying out, "What fall I render to him?" Pfal. cxvi. 12. You may have strong confidences of your intereft in the love of God in Chrift, fuch as no argument can beat you off from it, and yet you may be under a delufion, if your heart be not drawn out after Chrift, in a fuitablenefs to the ftrength of your confidence. But if your confidence be built and bottomed upon him, and his promise, Pfal. xxx. 7.; and if your affection to Christ rises as high as your perfuafion of his love, then you have enjoyed the witneffing of the Spirit.

The act of faith may be a clearer evidence fometimes of the Spirit's tellimony than the object; for, a man may have a right object for his faith, and yet not a right act about that object: and fo his faith can wit nefs nothing. We are told, John ii. 23. " Many believed in Chrift's name;" here was a right object of faith; and yet their faith was wrong and vain, ver. 24, 25. A man may put forth a natural act upon a fuper. natural object; he may have a human faith about divine things, 1 Cor. ii. 5. but the foripture declares, that fuch as do rightly believe, are adopted and juftified ; and determines what faith is, John i. 12. Rom. v. 1. Acts xiii. 39. which may make a man have a particular perfuafion; though no feripture fpeaks exprefly of any man, faying, Thou James, John, Thomas, art adopted and justified'; for, its giving fuch characteristical notes and marks muft needs be a particularizing of them, as well as if the Lord fhould call them by name: the foul is made to believe, when many others, that hear the fame word, believe not; this makes the dif. ference. But then,

4. Another evidence of the Spirit's immediate tef timony, is, that the foul is enabled, at fuch a time,

to difcern many of its former experiences. The Lord had manifefted himself to Jacob at Bethel, Genefis kxxviii 10,15.; and for a long time we read of little intercourfe betwixt God and him, at least no fuch fignal manifeftations of his glory to him as he had met with at Bethel he had been ferving Laban for twenty years; during all which time there is no word of Bethel: but when the Lord returned to him, calling him to return to the land of his kindred, when he came back to give him a new teftimony of his love, he remembered him of his former loving-kindnefs, faying, "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedft the pillar, and vowedft the vow unto me," Gen. xiii. 13. The believer may have very rich experiences of what the Lord hath done for him in former times; but yet the fenfe thereof may be much obliterate, and worn out, that he may be left to desperate conclufions, as Pfalm lxxvii. 7, 8, 9. "Will the Lord cat off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promife fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger fhut up his tender mercies?" But when the Spirit's teftimony is again renewed, then he chides himfelf, faying, ver. 10,-13. "This is mine infirmity: I will remember the years of the right hand of the Moft High I will remember the work of the Lord; furely I will remember his wonders of old : I will meditate of all thy works, and talk of all thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the fanctuary." The Spirit's breathing, and teftifying in the believer, makes his old experience new to him again; and gives him a new fealt upon an old meal, and furprifes him with his love, grace, faithfulness, and confancy therein he fees that "He is God, and changes not; and therefore the children of Jacob are not confumed," Mal. iii. 6.

5. The witneffing of the Spirit carries a glorious tranfformation into the image of the word. Many have had fafhes of joy in the reception of the word, Luke viii. 13. yea, have been raised to great hope and triumphing joy, Job viii. 13. "The hypocrites hope fhall perifh.Chap. xx. 5. The triumphing of the wicked is fhort, and the joy of the hypocrite for a moment.-Chapt

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xxvii. 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his foul?" But here, I fay, these witneffings of the Spirit caufe glorious transformations into the image of the word. Delufions do not imprint the word upon the heart, fo as to change it; but these witneffings of the Spirit transform the foul into the image of the word, according to the promise of writing the word into the heart, Jer. xxxi. 33. Heb. viii. 10. Some difpofitions, principles, and inclinations are wrought within, that have a lively refemblance in. them unto the word, 2 Cor. iii. 18. The working of the Spirit in hypocrites, is like the fmell of an apothecary's fhop, which one that paffes by, receives, though he never carry any of these doriferous things, along with him; but the witnefling of the Spirit, in the true believer, is by imparting the thing to the foul which is witneffed thereto, and making the man really to poffefs. it; fo that if a man could fee the foul of a true child of God, he would fee engraven upon it, mercy, peace, love, righteoufnefs, life, joy; yea, and Chrift himself.

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6. The witneffing of the Spirit hath powerful operations in the heart towards the attainment of fpiritual gofpel ends there. The hearing of heaven and happinefs is taking, even with carnal hearts. Many, with the young man in the gofpel, may be inquifitive about eternal life, have defires after it, and be forrowful at the thoughts of miffing it; and thefe things imply fome talte of the heavenly gift, and the good word of God,. Heb. v. 5, 6. A man may be elevated with raptures of joy upon a fuppofed intereft in heaven; like Haman, he may think, Whom will the Lord honour but myself? But yet, with the young man in the gofpel, he may mind earthly things more than Chrift, or eternal life. Like a physician, who hath prepared a comfortable potion for the health of a friend; he may give to others a tafte of it, to let them know how fweet it is; but not fuch a taste as to have any operation in the ftomach : fo the Lord may let fome carnal men difcern fome good. nefs in Chrift, and eternal life; but thefe talles do not make them partakers of the refreshing power thereof :: they may have great reformation and profeffion; but not

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fuch operation as to cause their hearts to mount up Chrift-ward, and place their fatisfaction in him alone, But the witneffing of the Spirit makes the foul to cry out, Song v. 10. “ My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefeft among ten thousand." The foul, at fuch a time, cannot but reckon Chrift the top of its glory; and carnal delights will have no relish with the man. O! fhall I be drunk with the fweet cups of worldly delights! Is not the wine of Chrifl's cellar better? O!" Whither fhall I go? thou haft the words of eternal life."

[2,] How may a foul know if he hath the witness of blood; or, if the Spirit witnefs in him by blood? For this is the other witnefs the believer hath in himself, namely, the blood of Chrift applied for his juftification. How may this be known?

1. The Spirit's witneffing by blood may be known by the application of the blood of Chrift, in the promise, by faith. We are not to think there is any application of material blood; but the gofpel difcovers that the blood of Chrift, which was fhed, was intended for the juftification and redemption of finners. Now, the application of this bloud is by faith, Rom. iii. 25. And therefore, it must be by a promife; for, faith must have a divine word to build upon: fo that if the promise be yours, then the blood of Chrift is yours in the feveral ufes thereof; and that ought to fatisfy the believer; for there is an infeparable connexion betwixt the blood, and the covenant of promife; therefore it is called the blood of the covenant. Now, "With the heart man believeth. unto righteoufnefs;" that is, faith carrieth a man out of himself to find a righteoufnefs in another, which availeth to juftification; and that faith is cordial: Chrift owns not that faith where the heart is wanting, John ii. 23, 24, 25. A&s viii. 13. 21.

2. The witnefs of the blood may be known by the man's preferring that blood before all other things; or that righteousness before all other things. elfe: "Yea, doubtlefs I count all things but lofs, for the. excellency of the knowledge of Chrift Jefus my Lord; that I may be found in him, not having mine own righteoufnefs, which is of the law, but that which

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