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know a strong opinion of our own spirits, and a delusion of Satan, from the testimony of the Spirit ? In answer then unto the question, I say, in general, that the immediate testimony of the Spirit is self-evident, while a soul is in the actual enjoyment thereof. More particularly, I offer the following marks of the Spirit's imme. diate testimony.

1. These irradiations of the Spirit do carry with them such a clear demonstration of their coming from the Spirit, as puts it in some measure out of doubt, there are such sparkling of divinity in them : according to the degree of clearness in which the Spirit manifests bis

presence, such is the degree of the persuasion, weaker or stronger. The Spirit is appointed to this witnessing work as you see, ver. 6. of this chapter: and he is the highest witness ; there can be none higher : for, it is the Spirit that makes other things have a witnessing power. No grace or experience can witness without him; and he is given for this end, among others, to make the children of God to know the things that are freely given them of God, 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, 12. 2 Cor. iii. 16, 17, 18, and 1 John ii. 27. All which shows that the testimony of the Spirit hath a property to discriminate and difference itself from these flashes that come from Satan. The Spirit's inhabitation and indwelling is appointed to be an evidence of our adoption; and this is made the rule for trial, Rom. viii. 9. “ Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. 1. Cor. vi. 19. Know ye not that your bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, that is in you.” By all which it is evident, that the Spirit gives testimony to himself in his operations, so as neither Satan, nor any creature, can be the author thereof. For, though the Spirit be not discernable in his essence, but in his operations; yet, as the Spirit gives effectual conviction of sin, that the soul cannot deny its guiltiness, and that without inquiring whether the Spirit hath done this or not; so the Spirit doth work effectually in assuring and comforting the soul, though the soul doth not, till afterwards, reflect or enquire whether it was the Spirit or not: and so the essence of the Spirit may not be discernable, and yet the testi

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mony may be sure to the soul, while the Spirit not only gives the soul such a sweet persuasion, but also discovers such invincible grounds, and undeniable demonstrations of what he witnesses, that the soul must fall down before it, and say to the Spirit, as the disciples did to Christ, John xvi. 29. “ Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb:" but this will be more clear by a

2d Mark of this immediate testimony, or witness of the Spirit, namely, that the Spirit, when he thus wit. nesses, makes some divine attribute to shine forth emi. nently in these witnessing acts; for instance, the Spirit causeth the soul to take notice of the divine wisdom that shines in the application of the promise, which is a special work of the Spirit, wherein his presence is as discernable as in any other operation ; now, the soul is made to see what wisdom shines in the time and season when the promise came with light, life, and power to them; wisdom in the suitableness of the promise to their condition; wisdom in the manner of its working; the soul finds how the heart was ravished, how Satan was defeat, how corruption was depressed thereby; and then the man cries out, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God !”—The Spirit gives the soul also to see divine power improved for it in a glorious way; even such power as raised Christ from the dead : the exceeding greatness of his almighty power, Eph. 18, 19. The child of God sometimes feels a divine power in the application of the promise, or presenting thereof to the heart ; but, perhaps cannot tell who is the agent, whether Satan or the Spirit: and therefore the apostle, in that place, speaks by way of question, with three remarkable whats : « That ye inay know what is the hope of his calling; what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints: and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe :" importing, that it may be known to be indeed the Spirit's power by its actings; for, the Spirit's power is exerted in overcoming the heart, and power. fully persuading it to accept of the promise ; the soul sees its own insufficiency to make the application, which

now it hath felt, and an aversion thereto; yea, was ready with Sarah, to laugh at the promise; and to say with these, 2 Kings vii. 2. “ If God should make windows in heaven, can such a thing be done?” And yet now it was not able to withstand the sweet power that did draw it that way. The Spirit's power is thus exerted in overcoming the heart, and overcoming Satan, and discovering his subtilties.-Again, the Spirit causeth the soul to observe the divine faithfulness that shines herein, Psalm lxxxix. 2. “ Mercy shall be built up for ever;" and then it follows, “ Thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.". After the Lord hath promised so and so to the soul, the soul faints and gives over hope; yet the Lord returns to the man, throws the promised mercy into his lap, and so discovers his faithfulness. O! how is the soul then taken up with the Lord's truth and veracity! “ Faithful is he that promised, who also will do it.” Again, the Spi. rit convinces the soul of the divine goodness, when he thus comes and makes application of the promise, Psal. xxxi. 19. 21. "O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee!" &c. The man is swallowed up with admiration. The Spirit causes the man to see how ready he was to say, God had neglected him, yet nevertheless now he sees that God hath dealt graciously and marvellously, and nothing can make him deny divine love at the time. It would therefore seem needless to ask this question, By what evidence we may know the Spirit's immediate testimony? Because thus it is also self-evident to such as actually enjoy the same; but yet, because, after the Spirit may suspend his operations, and then the soul may question it; and because some have strong opinions, that they enjoy this immediate testimony, when yet they are under a delusion. Therefore,

3. Another evidence of the Spirit's more immediate testimony, is, the eminent acts of faith upon the promise, drawn out thereby. If the soul hath assurance, faith hath a hand in it, Heb x. 22. and lives upon Christ in the promise for it, Psalm xxv. 2. “ ( my God, I trust in thee.” When the soul hath a sight of its propriety in God, and interest in Christ, this puts it upon renewed actings of faith ; if it can say, “ My God;" it cannot but say, with holy boldness, “ I trust in thee.". Delusions rather hinder the actings of faith.

Quest. When is a word, or promise, received by faith? and so, When does faith discover a testimony to be no delusion?

Ansv. (1.) When the heart is commanded by a persuasion 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 soul with the majesty that comes along therewith to yield subjection, Psal. xlii. 8. “ The Lord will command his lovingkindness.-Psal. cxxxiij. 3. The Lord commands the blessing." The Spirit commands faith to own the loving-kindness of the Lord. It is not every one that hath a persuasion that Christ is his, that doth enjoy the immediate witness of the Spirit; for, Balaam said, My God, Num. xxii, 18. and yet had no interest in God. Thus Satan raises false confidences in many profane wretches, and backs them with scripture; such as that, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; that God wills not the death of the sinner; and their own spirits conclude that they are the sinners whom he will save: but unless such scriptures, or rather the Spirit in them, have commanded their hearts to a persuasion, out of respect to the Lord, they are not to be regarded as the Spirit's testimony.

(2.). Then does faith evidence a testimony of the Spirit to be no delusion, when the sinful objections that swarmed in the soul are suppressed. If the soul bath faith upor. Christ in any promise, then it is pained and afflicted with the sense of its former unbelief, Psalm xlii. 5. 8. Delusions do stupify men that they do not seek for a satisfactory deliverance from ohjections; but the Spirit, like the sun, causes such mists of darkness to fly away, and puts abundance in the mouth to answer Satan in all.

(3.) Then faith evidences the testimony of the Spirit to be no delusion, when its reception of the word, or promise, causes self-abasement, Mat. xv. 27. There the

woman calls herself a dog, then presently Christ owns her faith. Great faith causes great self-abasement, Mark xiv. 31. Peter declares his preferring Christ before his own life ; yet this was but the voice of his spirit, because it did spring from self-confidence.

(4.) Finally, when the heart is carried out Christward by the reception of any promise; when the whole soul runs out after Christ, taking the promise out of his hand, Eph. iii. 6.; owning him in the purchase of the mercy whereof it is assured ; building its confidence on him for the further communications of the promised blessing ; ar:d being laid under strong obligations and engagements to Christ thereby, crying out, “ What shall I render to him ?" Psal.cxvi, 12. You may have strong confidences of your interest in the love of God in Christ, such as no argument can beat you off from it, and yet you may be under a delusion, if your heart be not drawn out after Christ, in a suitableness to the strength of your confidence. But if your confidence be built and bottomed upon him, and his promise, Psal. xxx. 7.; and if your affection to Christ rises as high as your persuasion of his love, then you have enjoyed the witnessing of the Spirit.

The act of faith may be a clearer evidence sometimes of the Spirit's testimony than the object ; for, a man may have a right object for his faith, and yet not a right act about that object : and so his faith can witness nothing. We are told, John ii. 23. “ Many believed in Christ'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 supernatural object; he may have a human faith about divine things, 1 Cor. ii. 5. : but the scripture declares, that such as do rightly believe, are adopted and justitied; and determines what faith is, John i. 12. Rom. v. 1. Acts xiii, 39. which may make a man have a particular persuasion ; though no scripture speaks expressly of any man, saying, Thou James, John, Thomas, art adopted and justified; for, its giving such characteristical notes and marks must needs be a particularizing of them, as well as if the Lord should call them by name: the soul is made to believe,

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