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which the eternal pains of hell are justly due ; for every breach of that law is such : and this, beyond all doubt, is the very truth of the case.

But if spiritual blindness be thus criminal, no mercy can be expected from God in the case, on the foot of the law. So far from it, that if he deals with us merely according to strict justice, and renders to us according to our desert, he must punish us with eternal damnation for it. So far, so very far, is God from being obliged to grant us the enlightening influences of his Holy Spirit. As the gift of his Son, to be a Redeemer, was an act of the freest grace to a revolted, guilty world; so the gift of his spirit, to be an enlightener, is an act of grace equally free. He passed by the sinning angels, and did not give his Son to die for them ; and he is at liberty among the sons of men to pass by whom he pleases, as to the gift of his spirit. And in this affair he actually doth have mercy on whom he will have mercy. The elect obtain, and the rest are blinded. And his conduct is plainly vindicable, once granting that our blindness is our sin; and that God might justly have held all mankind bound by law, and never provided relief of any kind. And if we affirm that God could not justly have held all mankind bound by law, but was obliged to provide relief, the whole Gospel, which claims to be of mere grace, is overthrown. We must then own the law to be good, and our blindness to be our crime, and God at liberty to relieve us or not, according to the good pleasure of his will, or turn infidels : or, which is as bad, be inconsistent, and so self-condemned, as heretics, after two admonitions, were wont to be, in the apostolic age.


The nature of Divine Illumination.

AS the Gospel is hid to them that are lost; and as all whą believe not are blind to its glories ; so, on the other hand, all true saints see its glory. The light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the image oj God, shines unto them. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shines in their hearts. And beholding the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord. Thus the matter is expressed in the unerring oracles of truth. But, What is the glory seen? How is it seen? What is the nature of the sight? And why is it represented to be peculiar to the saved? And wherein does it differ from what unregenerate men may experience ?

I. The glory seen is DIVINE GLORY. It is the beauty and amiableness of God's moral character, on the account of which, the Deity is infinitely lovely in himself.

It is the glory of God's moral perfections, which renders him the supreme delight of angels ard saints. The apostle expressly calls it, the glory of the Lord. And again, the glory of God. It is the very glory and beauty of the divine nature itself; a glory as peculiar to God, as his own divinity is. Yea, it is the brightness of the very divinity itself. So that he who hath seen this glory, hath in the language of Scripture, seen God, Matt. v. 8. and known God, John xvii. 3. 1 John ii. 4. and consequently is able to distinguish between the true God, and all other beings, real or imaginary: as he who hath seen the natural sun, can distinguish it from a glow-worm. In reference to this, therefore, all true saints are spoken of in Scripture as having an unction from the holy One, whereby they know all things, (1 John ii. 20.) because he who righly sees God, as he has manifested himself in the Gospel, does virtually know the whole of Christianity; yea, the whole of divine revelation. And therefore it is added by the apostle, ver. 27. And

need not that
any man teach

you, but the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie. And on this account it is represented as impossible, that such should be seduced by the most artful heretics, to imbibe that false idea of God, which is the spirit, life, and soul, of all their false schemes of religion. For as this anointing hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And therefore, it is represented, as being impossible the elect should be deceived; (Matt. xxiv. 24.) while on the other hand, it is declared, that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship the beast, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life. Rev. xiii. 3. Thus the glory seen is the brightness, beauty, amiableness of God's true and real character, as exhibited to view on the cross of Christ. But,

II. How is this glory seen ?-This sight of the glory of God is no abstract metaphysical idea, hatched in the fancy of philosophic, speculative men : far from it. Not many wise men, not many learned, says the apostle, but the foolish things of this world hath he called. Nor is it any thing irrational and visionary, the fruit of the teeming imagination of melancholy souls. No, it is perfectly rational, and divinely noble. It is not seen by the eyes of the body, nor is it seen by the imagination, nor is it seen by the force of a penetrating genius. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. It is often hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes. A poor illiterate fisherman, divinely enlightened, might see it with as much ease as he could belold the glory of the sun shining in its strength. All true saints, in the apostlic age, saw this divine glory, how mean soever their birth, how low soever their genius, as St. Paul affirms, We All with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.

But how did they see it ?—Pray tell me; how is the beauty of any character seen among men ?Universal experience teaches us, that characters appear agreeable or disagreeable, just as they suit our taste or not. To an angel, who bas a taste for holy beauty, God's moral character appears infinite, ly amiable ; but to the devil, who is a being of a contrary taste, God's moral character appears just the reverse. To the Pharisees, no character more odious, than that of Jesus Christ; but at the same time, Martha, Mury, and Lazarus, were charmed with this man. To the Jewish nation in general, who groaned under the Roman yoke, and longed for a Messiah to set them at liberty, to make them victorious, rich, and honourable; a Messiah in the character of a temporal prince, even such an one as they expected, would have suited their hearts to perfection, and so have naturally appeared a glorious Messiah. And the news of his coming, of his victories, and of his rising, spreading kingdom, would have been glorious news. Such a Gospel would have been received among them as a glorious Gospel; there would have been no vail on their hearts ; none would have been blind to its beauties; nor would its glories have been hid from any: but rather the carnal Jews in a body beholding in this Messiah the greatest worldly glory, would have been changed into the same image, had every answerable affection excited in their hearts. Had he thus come to his own, his own would have received bim with all their hearts, joyfully enlisted under his banner, and followed bim to battles, to victories, to universal empire; the very thing their hearts desired. But at the same time, a Messiah of such a character as this, would have charmed them; the character of Jesus of Nazareth shocked them to the last degree. We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them that are called, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Thus differently, to persons of different tastes, did the same character appear, for the carnal mind savours earthly things, but the spiritual mind the things which be of God. For that which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. In regeneration, there is a new, divine, and holy taste and relish begotten in the heart, by the immediate influences of the Spirit of God. And thus God opens our eyes; and thus God shines in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Or, as the same thing is expressed in different language, thus God gives thein an heart to know the Lord, and thus he circumcises their hearts to love the Lord; gives them eyes to see, and ears to hear, and an heart to understand.

u What that ebaracter of God is, which is exhibited to view on the cross of Christ, and what is implied in its being glorious, has been already shown. God our Creator was in himself infinitely worthy of our supreme love; and so his law which required this on pain of eternal death, was a glorious law; and so it was a glorious thing in God to give his Son to die to do it honour, to declare his rightconsness that he might be just, and yet justify him that believeth in Jesus. And therefore, to see the glory of God in the face of Christ, implies a sight of the glory of God as Creator and Law-giver, and of the glory of his law : for Christ on the cross, dying to do honour to the law, is glorious only on supposition the law was a glorious law, and worthy of this honour : as has been already proved. These things are hinted now, that they may be kept constantly in the reader's view. Because there are false Christs, and false Gospels, and false glories, with which multitudes are deluded.


Spiritual blindness is not owing to the want of a penetrating genius, or to want of doctrinal knowledge; for the devil hath both these to a great degree, but still is as blind to the beauty of the divine nature, as the most ignorant Hottentot in Africa. For the moral character of the Deity is, above all things in the universe, contrary to the habitual temper of his heart. But that cannot appear lovely to us, which every bias of our hearts inclines us to hate. But heaven has declared, that the carnal mind is enmity against God. And the same divine revelation bath, in perfect consistence, as expressly declared, that 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. But in order to discern spiritually, the man himself must become spiritual. That is, be born of the spirit, for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. And if Nicodemus said, how can these things be ? Yet that was so far from a solid objection against the truth, that it was rather an illustration of it.

That the idea of a natural beauty supposes an internal sense, implanted by our Creator, by which the mind is capacitated 10 discern such kind of beauty, is clearly illustrated and proved, by a late ingenious philosopher ». And that the idea of spiritual beauty supposes an internal spiritual sense, communicated to the soul by the spirit of God, in the work of the new creation, is also as clearly illustrated and proved, by a late divine, whose praise is in all the churches y. It is needless therefore at present to enter further into this subject.

III. As to the special pature of this kind of knowledge, which the apostle calls the knowledge of the glory of God, it is different from every species of knowledge in the universe, not only as it is, in a peculiar sense, of divine original ; but also, as it is in itself, of a divine and holy nature. To see the holy beauty of God's moral character, to see the beauty of holiness, to have holiness appear beautiful and seem lovely to the soul, is of the same nature as to love holiness; but to love holiness, is holiness itself. Among the peculiar people of God,

* Mr. Hutchinson, on beauty and virtue. p. 8. 15. y Mr. Edwards, on religious affections. p. 158. 166.

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