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sees, and the regularity of moralists; but still they stop short of the new creation, the new birth, the life of God in the soul of man. Nay more, they stumble at some of the most important truths of Christianity, and think the discoveries that sound believers have of Christ and the spiritual world, are enthusiastical delusions, or, at least, extraordinary favours, which they can very well do without. Thus, even while they allow the power of godliness in others, they rest satisfied without experiencing it in themselves.
Secondly, What I shall write will depend very much on the existence of spiritual senses; and if this letter convinces you, that they are opened in every new-born soul, you will more easily believe Christ can and does manifest himself by that proper medium; and my letters on divine manifestations will meet with a less prejudiced reader,
That Emmanuel, the light of the world, may direct me to write with soberness and truth, and you to read with atten tion and candour, is the sincere prayer of, sir, your's, &c.
SECOND LETTER. . Sir, L AVING proved, in my first letter, the existence of the Il spiritual senses, to which the Lord manifests himself, I shall now enter upon that subject, by letting you know, as far as my pen can do it, I. What is the nature of that manifestation, which makes the believer more than conqueror over sin and death.
1. Mistake me nat, sir, for the pleasure of calling me enthusiast. I do not insist, as you may imagine, upon a mani festation of the voice, body, or blood of our Lord to our external senses. Pilate heard Christ's voice, the Jews say
his body, the soldiers handled it, and some of them were literally sprinkled with his blood; but this answered no spiritual end. They knew not God manifest in the flesh.
2. Nor do I understand such a knowledge of our Redeemer's doctrine, offices, promises, and performances, as the natural man can attain, by the force of his understanding and memory. All carnal professors, all foolish virgins, by conversing with true Christians, hearing gospel sermons, and reading evangelical books, attain to the historical and · doctrinal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Their understandings are informed; but, alas! their hearts remain unchanged.Acquainted with the letter, they continue ignorant of the spirit. Boasting, perhaps, of the greatness of Christ's salvation, they remain altogether unsaved; and, full of talk about what he hath done for them, they know nothing of Christ in them, the hope of glory.
3. Much less do I mean such a representation of our Lord's person and sufferings, as the natural man can form to himself, by the force of a warm imagination. Many, by seeing a striking picture of Jesus bleeding on the cross, or hearing a pathetic discourse on his agony in the garden, are deeply affected, and melted into tears. They raise in themselves a lively idea of a great and good man unjustly tortured to death; their soft passions are wrought upon, and pity fills their heaving breasts. But, alas! they remain strangers to the revelation of the Son of God by the Holy Ghost. The murder of Julius Cæsar, pathetically described, would have the same effect upon them, as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A deep play would touch them as easily as a deep sermon, and much to the same purpose ; for in either case, their impressions and their tears are generally wiped away together.
4. Nor yet do I understand good desires, meltings of heart, :15. 4 с
victories over particular corruptions, a confidence that the Lord can and will save us, power to stay ourselves on some promises, gleams of joy, rays of comfort, enlivening hopes, touches of love; no, not even foretastes of Christian liberty, and of the good word of God. These are rather the delightful drawings of the Father, than the powerful revelation of the Son. These, like the star, that led the wise men for a time, then disappeared, and appeared again, are helps and encouragements to come to Christ, and not a divine union with him by the revelation of himself.
I can more easily tell you, sir, what this revelation is not, than what it is. The tongues of men and angels want proper words to express the sweetness and glory, with which the Son of God visits the souls that cannot rest without him. This blessing is not to be described, but enjoyed. It is to be written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on paper, or tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart.
The revelation of Christ, by which a carnal professor becomes a holy and happy possessor of the faith, is a supernatural, spiritual, experimental manifestation of the spirit, power, and love, and sometimes of the person of God manifest in the flesh, whereby he is known and enjoyed in a manner altogether new : as new as the knowledge of a man, who never tasted any thing but bread and water, would have of honey and wine, suppose, being dissatisfied with the best descriptions of those rich productions of nature, he actually tasted them for himself.
This manifestation is, sooner or later, in a higher or lower degree, vouchsafed to every sincere seeker, through the medium of one or more of the spiritual senses opened in his soul, in a gradual or instantaneous manner, as it pleases God. No sooner is the veil of unbelief, which covers the heart, rent
through the agency of the Spirit, and the efforts of the soul struggling into a living belief of the word; no sooner, I say, is the door of faith opened, than Christ, who stood at the door and knocked, comes in, and discovers himself full of grace and truth. Then the tabernacle of God is with man, His kingdom comes with power. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, spread through the new-born soul; eternal life begins; heaven is opened on earth; the conscious heir of glory cries, Abba, Father; and from blessed experi, ence can witness, that he is come to “Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.”
If this manifestation is duly improved, the effects of it are admirable. The believer's heart, now set at liberty from the guilt and dominion of sin, and drawn by the love of Jesus, pants after greater conformity to his holy will, and mounts up to him in prayer and praise. His life is a course of cheerful evangelical obedience, and his most common actions become good works, done to the glory of God. If he walks up to his. privileges, outward objects entangle bim no more. Having found the great I AM, the eternal Substance, he looks upon all created things as shadows. Man, the most excellent of all, appears to him altogether lighter than vanity. Yea, doubtless, he counts all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord; esteeming them but dung, that he may win Christ, and, to the last, be found in him, not having his own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ; that, by new discoveries of himself, he may know him and the power of his resurrection
every day more clearly. In the mean time be casts his sins and miseries upon Jesus, and Jesus bestows his righteousness and happiness upon him. He puts on Christ, and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Thus, they are mutually interested in each other; and to use St. Paul's endearing expressions, they are espoused and married. Joined by the double band of redeeming love and saving faith, they are one spirit, as Adam and Eve by matrimony were one flesh. “ This is a great mystery," says the apostle, but, thanks be to God, it is made manifest to his saints.
II. If you ask, sir, How can these things be ? Describe to me the particular manner of these manifestations ?-I reply in our Lord's words to Nicodemus, “ Art thou a master in Israel," nay more, a Christian, “ and knowest not these things?” Verily I say unto you, tho’ we cannot fix the exact mode and precise manner of the breathing of the Spirit, yet we speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen, but you receive not our witness. Marvel not, however, if we find it impossible to tell you all the particulars of a divine manifestation. You yourself, though you feel the wind, see its amazing effects, and hear the sound of it, cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : much less could you describe it to the satisfaction of one, who never heard or felt it himself. Many earthly things cannot be conceived by earthly men. The blind, for example, can never conceive the dif. ference of colours; what wonder then if natural men do not understand us, when we tell them of heavenly things?
Nevertheless, I would in general observe, that the manner in which the manifestation of the Son of God is vouchsafed, is not the same in all persons, nor in the same person at all times. The wind bloweth where it listeth, much more the Spirit of the living God. His thoughtsarenot as our thoughts: he dispenseth his blessings, not as we expect them, but as it