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hear, company with God's people, or the like, no longer.
Well, poor Christian, I am glad that thou hast so plainly answered me; but, I pray thee, look back upon thy answer, how much of God, dost thou think, is in these things? how much of his Spirit, and the grace of his word ?' Just none at all; for it cannot be that these things can be the true and natural effects of the workings of the Spirit of God; no, not as a Spirit of bondage. These are not his doings; dost thou not see the very paw of the devil in them? yea, in every one of thy ten confessions? Is there not palpably high wickedness in every one of the effects of this fear?
I conclude then, as I began, that the fear that the Spirit of God, as a Spirit of bondage, worketh, is good and godly, not only because of the Author, but also because of the ground and effects; but yet it can last no longer as such, as producing the aforesaid conclusion, than till the Spirit, as the Spirit of adoption comes; because that then the soul is manifestly taken out of the state and condition into which it had brought itself by nature and sin, and is put into Christ, and so by him into a state of life and blessedness by grace. Therefore, if first fears come again into thy soul after that the Spirit of adoption hath been with thee, know they come not from the Spirit of God, but from the spirit of the devil, for they are a lie in themselves, and their effects are sinful and devilish.
Object. But I had also such wickedness as that in my heart at my first awaking, and therefore, by your argument, neither should that be but from the devil.
Ans. So far forth as such wickedness was in thy heart, so far did the devil and thine own heart seek to drive thee to despair, and drown thee there; but thou hast forgot the question: the question is not whether then thou wert troubled with such iniquities, but whether thy fears of damnation at that time were not just and good, because grounded upon thy present condition, which was, for that thou wast out of Christ, in thy sins, and under the curse of the law; and whether now, since the Spirit of adoption is come unto thee, and hath thee, and hath done that for thee as hath been mentioned, I say, whether thou ougbtest for any thing whatever to give way to the same fear, from the same ground of damnation; it is evident thou oughtest not, because the ground, the cause is removed.
Object. But since I was sealed to the day of redemption, I have grievously sinned against God; have not I therefore cause to fear, as before? May not therefore the Spirit of bondage be sent again to put me in fear as at first? Sin was the first cause, and I have sinned now.
Ans. No, by no means; "for we have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear." That is, God hath not given it us, "for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," 2 Tim. i. 7.
If, therefore, our first fears come upon us again, after that we have received at God's hands the spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind, they are to be refused, though we have grievously sinned against our God. This is manifest from 1 Sam. xii. 20; "Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness." That is, not with that fear which would have made them flee from God, as concluding that they were not now his people.
And the reason is, because sin cannot dissolve the covenant into which the sons of God, by his grace, are taken. "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments ; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail," Psa. lxxxix. 30—33.
Now, if sin doth not dissolve the covenant, if sin doth not cast me out of this covenant, which is made personally with the Son of God, and into the hands of which, by the grace of God, I am put, then ought I not, though I have sinned, to fear with my first fears.
But again; Sin, after the Spirit of adoption is come, cannot dissolve the relation of father and son, of father and child. And this the church did rightly assert, and that when her heart was under great hardness, and when she had the guilt of erring from his ways; "Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not," Isa. lxiii. 16.
That sin dissolveth not the relation of father and son is further evident; "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father," Gal. iv. 4—6. Now mark, wherefore thou art no more a servant, that is, no more under the law of death and damnation, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ, Rom. viii. 11.
Suppose a child doth grievously transgress against and offend his father, is the relation between them therefore dissolved? Again ; suppose the father should scourge and chasten the son for such offence, is the relation between them therefore dissolved? Yea, suppose the child should now, through ignorance, cry, and say, This man is now no more my father; is he therefore now no more his father? doth not every one see the folly of arguings ? Why, of the same nature is that doctrine, that after we have received the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of bondage is sent to us again to put us in fear of eternal damnation.
Know, then, that thy sin, after thou hast received the Spirit of adoption to cry unto God, Father, Father, is counted the trangression of a child, not of a slave, and that all that happeneth to thee for that transgression, is but the chastisement of a father. "What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" Heb. xii. 1.
It is worth your observation, that the Holy Ghost checks those who, under their chastisements for sin, forget to call God their Father. "Ye have," saith Paul, " forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him," Heb. xii. 5. Yea, observe yet further, that God's chastising of his children for their sin, is a sign of grace and love, and not of his wrath, and thy damnation; therefore now there is no ground for the aforesaid fear: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," ver. 6.
Now, if God would not have those that have received the Spirit of the Son, however he chastises them, to forget the relation that, by the adoption of sons, they stand in to God, if he checks those that do forget it, when his rod is upon their backs for sin; then it is evident that those fears that thou hast under a colour of the coming again of the Spirit, as a Spirit of bondage, to put thee in fear of eternal damnation, is nothing else but Satan disguised, the better to play his pranks upon thee.
I will yet give you two or three instances more, wherein it will be manifest, that whatever happeneth to thee, I mean as a chastisement for sin, after the Spirit of adoption is come, thou oughtest to hold fast by faith the relation of father and son.
The people spoken of by Moses, are said to have lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation, Deut. xxxii. 5, which Rock is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. x. 4; and that is a grievous sin indeed; yet, saith he, "Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee?" Deut. xxxii. 6 ; and then puts them upon considering the days of old.
Those in the prophet Jeremiah had played the harlot with many lovers, and done evil things as they could; and, as another Scripture hath it, gone a whoring from under their God, yet God calls to them, by the prophet, saying," Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?" Jer. iii. 4.
Remember also that eminent text before mentioned, in 1 Sam. xii. 20; "Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness;" and labour to maintain faith in thy soul, of thy being a child, it being true that thou hast received the Spirit of adoption before, and so that thou oughtest not to fall under thy first fears, because the ground is taken away of thy eternal damnation.
Now, let not any, from what hath been said, take