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pressions, which are more clear, or more agreeable to the word of God, I will readily lay these aside..

4. Meantime let it be observed, I do not meati hereby, that the Spirit of God testifies this by áhý outward voice ; no, nor always by an inward voice, although he may do this sometimes. Neither do I suppose that he always applies to the heart, (though he often may) one of more texts of scripture. But he so works upon the soul by his immediate influence, and by a strong, though inexplicable operation, that the stormy wind and trou. bled waves subside, and there is a sweet calm : the heart resting as in the arms of Jesus, and the sinner being clearly satisfied, that God is reconciled, that all his iniquities are forgiven, and his sins covered.

5. Now, what is the matter of dispute concerning this ? Not, whether there be a witness or testimony of the Spirit ? Not, whether the Spirit does testify with our spirit; that we are the children of God? None can deny this, without flatly contradicting the scripture, and charging a lie upon the God of truth. Therefore, that there is a testimony of the Spirit, is acknowledged by all parties.

6. Neither is it questioned, whether there is an indirezi witness or testimony, that we are the children of God. This is nearly, if not exactly, the same with the testimony of a good conscience towards God; and is the result of reason or reflection, on what we feel in our own souls. Strictly speaking, it is a conclusion drawn, partly from the word of God, and partly from our Own experience. The word of God says, every one who has the fruit of the Spirit is a child of God. Experience, or inward consciousness, tells me that I have the fruit of the Spirit. And hence I rationally conclude, therefore, I am a child of God. This is likewise allowed on all hands, änd so is no matter of controversy.

î. Nor do we assert, that there can be any real testimony of the Spirit, without the fruit of the Spirit. We assert, on the contrary, that the fruit of the Spirit immediately springs from this testimony: not always indeed in the same degree, even when the testimony is first giveň.. And much less afterwards; neither joy nor peace are always at one stay. No, nor love ; as neither is the testimony itself always equally strong and clear.

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8. But

8. But the point in question is, Whether there be any direEt testimony of the Spirit'at all? Whether there be any other testimony of the Spirit, than that which arises from a consciousness of the fruit ?

III. 1. I believe there is, because that is the plain, natural meaning of the text, the Spirit it self beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. It is manifest, here are two witnesses mentioned, who together testify the same thing, the Spirit of God, and our own spirit. The late Bishop of London, in his sermon on this text, seems astonished that any one can doubt of this, which appears upon the yery face of the words. Now, The testimony of our own Spirit,says the Bishop," is one, which is the consciousness of our own sincerity :” or,

or, to express the same thing a little more clearly, the consciousness of the fruit of the Spirit. When our spirit is conscious of this, of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, it easily infers from these premises, that we are the children of God.

2. It is true, that great man supposes the other witness to be « The consciousness of our own good works." This, he affirms, is the testimony of God's Spirit. But this is included in the testimony of our own spirit: Yea, and in sincerity, even according to the common sense of the word. So the apostle: Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity, and Godly sincerity we have had our conversation in the world: where it is plain, sincerity refers to our words and actions, at least, as much as to our inward dispositions. So that this is not another witness, but the very same that he mentioned before: the consciousness of our good works, being only one branch of the consciousness of our sincerity. Consequently here is only one witness still. If therefore the text speaks of two witnesses, one of these is not the consciousness of our good works, neither of our sincerity: all this being manifestly contained in the testimony of our spirit

. 3. What then is the other witness? This might easily be learned, if the text itself were not sufficiently clear, from the verse immediately preceding. Ye have received, nof the Spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. It follows, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our' spirit, that we are the children of God.

4. This

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4. This is farther explained by the parallel text, Gal. iv. 6. Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Ahba, Father. Is not this something iinmediate and direzt, not the result of reflection or argumentation? Does not this Spirit cry, Abba, Father, inz our hearts, the moment it is given? Antecedently to any reflection upon our sincerity, yea, to any reasoning whatsoever? And is not this the plain, natural sense of the words, which strikes any one as soon as he hears them? All these texts then, in their most obvious meaning, describe a direct testimony of the Spirit.

5. That the testimony of the Spirit of God, must, in the very nature of things, be antecedent to the testimony of our own spirit, may appear from this single consideration. We must be holy in heart and life, before we can be conscious that we are so.

But we must love God before we can be holy at all, this being the root of all holiness. Now we cannot love God, till we know he loves us : we love him, because he first loved us. And we cannot know his love to us, till his Spirit witness it to our spirit. Till then we cannot believe it: we cannot say, the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Then--only then we feel

Our interest in his blood,
And cry with joy unspeakable,

Thou art my Lord-nny God.
Since, therefore, the testimony of his Spirit must precede
the love of God and all holiness, of consequence it must
precede our consciousness thereof.

6. And here properly comes in, to confirm this scriptural doctrine, the experience of the children of God: the experience not of two or three, not of a few, but of a great multitude which no man can number. It has been confirmed, both in this and in all ages, by a cloud of living and dying witnesses. It is confirmed by your experience and mine. The Spirit itself bore witness to my spirit, that I was a child of God, gave me an evidence thereof, and I immediately cried, Abba, Fatber! And this I did, (and so did you) before I reflected on, or was conscious of any fruit of the Spirit." It was from this testimony received, that love, joy, peace, and the whole fruit of the Spirit flowed. First I heard,


Thy sins are forgiven! Accepted thou art !

I listened, and heaven Sprung up in my heart.
7. But this is confirmed, not only by the experience of
the children of God, thousands of whom can declare,
that they never did know themselves to be in the favour
of God, till it was directly witnessed to them by his
Spirit: but by all those who are : convinced of sin, who
feel the wrath of God abiding on them. These cannot
be satisfied with anything less than a direct testimony
from his Spirit, that he is merciful to their unrighteousness,
and remembers their sins, and iniquities no more. Tell any of
these, “ You are to know you are a child, by reflecting on
what he has wrought in you, on your love, joy, and
peace :" and will he not immediately reply, By all this I
know I am a child of the devil. I have no more love to
God than the devil has : my carnal mind is enmity against
God. I have no joy in the Holy Ghost: my soul is
sorrowful even unto death. I have no peace : may heart-is a
troubled sea: I am all storni and tempest. And which way
can these souls possibly be comforted, but by a divine tés-
timony, (not that they are good, or sincere, or conforma-
ble to the scripture in heart and life, but) that God justifieth
the ungodly: him that till the moment he is justified, is all
ungodly, void of all true holiness? Him that worketh not,
that worketh nothing that is truly good, till he is conscious
that he is accepted, not for any works of righteousness, which he
hath done, but by the mere, free mercy of God? Wholly
and solely for what the Son of God hath done and suffered
for him? And can it be any otherwise, if a man is justified
ty faith, without the works of the law ? If so, what in-
ward or outward goodness can he be conscious cf, ante-
çedent to his justification ? Nay, is not the having nothing
to pay, 'that is, the being conscious that there dwelleth in us
no good thing, neither inward nor outward goodiess, es-
sentially, indispeusably nécessáry, before we can be justi-
fied freely, through the redemption that is in Fesus Christ ? Was
ever any män justified since his coming into the world, or
can any man ever be justified, till he is brought to that point,

" I give up every pleå, beside
Lord, I am damned But thou hast died !"

8. Every

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8. Every one therefore, who denies the existence of such a testimony, does in effect. deny justification by faith. It follows that either he never experienced this either he never was justified, or that he has forgotten, (as $t, Peter speaks, ** naujagiopo Te Tahoe anagrior, the purifcation from his former sins, the experience he then had himself, the manner wherein: God wrought in his own soul when his for mer siós were blotted aut. .

9. And the experience even of the children of the world, here confirms that of the children of God. Many of these have a desire to please God: some of them take much pains to please him. But do they not, one and all, count it the highest absurdity, for any to talk of " knowing his sins are forgiven? Which of them even pretends to any such thing? And yet many of them are conscious of their own sincerity. Many of them undoubtedly have, in a degree, the testimony of their own spirit, a consciousness of their own uprightness. But this a brings them no consciousness, that they are forgiven, no knowb ledge that they are the children of God. Yea, the more sincere they are, the more uneasy, they generally are, for want of knowing it : plainly shewing that this cannot be known, in a satisfactoryo mauner, by the bare testimony af our own spirit, without God's directly testifying, that we are his children. :

IV. But abundance of objections have been made to this, the chief of which it may be well to consider :

1. It is objected, first, Experience is not sufficient, to prove a doctrine which is not founded on scripture." This is undoubtedly true ; and it is an important truth ; but it does not affect the present question. For it has been shewn, that this doctrine is founded on scripture. Therefore, experience is properly alledged to confirm it.

2. “But madmen, French prophets and enthusiasts of every kind have imagined they experienced this witness." They have so. And perhaps not a few of them did, alo though they did not retain it long. But if they did not, this is no proof at all, that others have not experienced it; as a madman's imagining himself a king, does not prove, that there are no real kings.

“Nay, many who pleaded strongly for this, have utterly decried the Bible." Perhaps so ; but this was no necessary


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