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him; they know that Christ is the Son of God, for they have seen him in his glory; they know that Christ died for sinners, for they have seen him hanging on the cross, and his blood running from his wounds; they know there is a heaven and a hell, for they have seen the misery of the damned souls in hell, and the glory of saints and angels in heaven, (meaning some external representations, strongly impressed on their imagination); they know that the scriptures are the word of God, and that such and such promises in particular are his word, for they have heard him speak them to them, they came to their minds suddenly and immediately from God, without their having any hand in it.
3. Persons may seem to have their belief of the truth greatly increased, when the foundation of it is only a persuasion of their interest in them. They first, by some means or other, take up a confidence, that if there be a Christ and a heaven, they are theirs ; and this prejudices them more in favour of their truth. When they hear of the great and glorious things of religion, it is with this notion, that all these things belong to them; and hence easily become confident that they are true; they look upon it to be greatly for their interest that they should be true. It is very obvious what a strong influence men's interest and inclinations have on their judgments. While a natural inan thinks, that if there be a heaven and hell, the latter and not the former belongs to him; then he will be hardly persuaded that there is a heaven or hell. But when he comes to be persuaded, that hell belongs only to others and not to him; then he can easily allow the reality of hell, and exclaim against the senselessness and sottishness of others in neglecting means of escape from it: and being confident that he is a child of God, and that God has promised heaven to him, he may seem strong in the faith of its reality, and may have a great zeal against that infidelity which denies it. But I proceed to another distinguishing sigu of gracious affections.
Gracious affections are attended with evangelical humiliation.
Evangelical humiliation is a sense that a Christian has of bis own utter insufficiency, despicableness, and odiousness, with an answerable frame of heart. There is a distinction to be made between a legal and evangelical humiliation. The former is what men may have while in a state of nature, and have no gracious affection; the latter is peculiar to true saints, The former is from the common influence of the Spirit of God, assisting natural principles, and especially natural conscience; the latter is from the special influences of the Spirit of God, implanting and exercising supernatural and divine principles. The former is from the mind being assisted to a greater sense of religious things, as to their natural properties and qualities, and particularly of the natural perfections of God, such as his greatness, terrible majesty, &c.--- which were manifested to the congregation of Israel, in giving the law at Mount Sinai -the latter is from a sense of the transcendent beauty of divine things in their moral qualities. In the former, a sense of the awful greatness, and natural perfections of God, and of the strictness of his law, convinces men that they are exceeding sinful and guilty, and exposed to the wrath of God, as it will convince wicked men and devils at the day of judgment; but they do not see their own odiousness on account of sin; they do not see the hateful nature of sin; a sense of this is given in evangelical humiliation, by a discovery of the beauty of God's holiness and moral perfection. In a legal humiliation men are made sensible that they are nothing before the great and terrible God, and that they are undone, and wholly insufficient to help themselves; as wicked men will be at the day of judgmentbut they have not an answerable frame of heart, consisting in a disposition to abase themselves, and exalt God alone. This disposition is given only in evangelical humiliation, by overcoming the heart, and changing its inclination, by a discovery of God's holy beauty. In a legal humiliation, the conscience is convinced; as the consciences of all will be most perfectly at the day of judgment; but because there is no spiritual understanding, the will is not bowed, nor the inclination altered. In legal humiliation, men are brought to despair of helping themselves; in evangelical, they are brought voluntarily to deny and renounce themselves: in the former, they are subdued and forced to the ground; in the latter, they are brought sweetly to yield, and freely and with delight to prostrate themselves at the feet of God.
Legal humiliation has in it no spiritual good, nothing of the nature of true virtue; whereas evangelical humiliation is that wherein the excellent beauty of Christian grace does very much consist. Legal humiliation is useful, as a means in order 20 evangelical; as a common knowledge of the things of religion is a means requisite in order to spiritual knowledge. Men may be legally humbled and have no humility; as the wicked at the day of judgment will be thoroughly convinced that they have no righteousness, but are altogether sinful, exceeding guilty, and justly exposed to eternal damnation1 and be fully sensible of their own helplessness-without the least mortification of the pride of their hearts. But the essence of evangelical humiliation consists in such humility as becomes a creature in itself exceeding sinful, under a dis. pensation of grace; consisting in a mean esteem of himself, as in himself nothing, and altogether contemptible and odious ; attended with a mortification of a disposition to exalt himself, and a free renunciation of his own glory.
This is a great and most essential thing in true religion. The whole frame of the gospel, every thing appertaining to the new covenant, and all God's dispensations towards fallen mán, are calculated to bring to pass this effect. They that are destitute of this, have no true religion, whatever profession they may make, and how higb soever their religious affections may be; Hab. ii. 4. Behold, his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith; i. e. he shall live by his faith on God's righteousness and grace, and not his own goodness and excellency. God has abundantly manifested in his word, that this is what he has a peculiar respect to in his saints, and that nothing is acceptable to him without it; Psal. xxxiv. 18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psal. li. 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psal. cxxxviii. 6. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly, Prov. iii. 34. He giveth grace unto the lowly. Is. Ivii. 15. Thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Is. Ixvi. I, 2. Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool :--but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. Micah vi. 8. He hath shewed thee, o man, what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God; Matth. v. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of God. Matth. xviii. 3, 4. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into
the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mark x. 15. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. The centurion, (Luke vii.) acknowledged that he was not worthy that Christ should enter under his roof, and that he was not worthy to come to him. See the manner of a sinner coming to Christ, Luke vii. 37, &c. And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster bor of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head. She did not think the hair of her head, which is the natural crown and glory of a woman, (1 Cor. xi. 15.) too good to wipe the feet of Christ. Jesus most graciously accepted her, and says, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace. The woman of Canaan submitted to Christ, in his saying, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs, and did as it were own that she was worthy to be called a dog; whereupon Christ says unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee, even as thou wilt, Matth. xv. 26–28. The prodigal son said, I will arise, and go to my father, and I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants, Luke xv. 18, &c. See also Luke xviii. 9, &c. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others, &c.—The publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be mercia ful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other : for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased : and he that humbleth himself, shall be eralted. Matth. xxviii. 9. And they came, and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Col. iii. 12. Put ye on, as the elect of God,-humbleness of mind. Ezek. xx. 41, 43. I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, &c. --- And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled, and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight, for all your evils that ye have committed. Chap. xxxvi. 26, 27, 31. A new heart also will I give unto you, and I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, &c.—Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations. Chap. xvi. 63. That thou mayst remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord. Job xlii. 6. I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
As we would therefore make the holy scriptures our rule, in judging of the nature of true religion, and judging of our own religious qualifications and state; it concerns us greatly to look at this humiliation, as one of the most essential things pertaining to true Christianity*. This is the principal part of the great Christian duty of self-denial. That duty consists in two things, viz. first, In a man's denying his worldly inclinations, and in forsaking and renouncing all worldly objects and enjoyments; and, secondly, In denying his natural self-exaltation, and renouncing his own dignity and glory, and in being emptied of himself; so that he does freely, and from his very heart, as it were renounce, and annihilate himself. Thus thie Christian doth in evangelical humiliation. The latter is the greatest and most difficult part of self-denial: although they always go together, and one never truly is, where the other is not; yet natural men can come much nearer to the former than the latter. Many Anchorites and Recluses have abandoned (though without any true mortification), the wealth, and pleasures, and common enjoyments of the world, who were 'far from renouncing their own dignity and righteousness. They never denied themselves for Christ, but only sold one lust 10 feed another, sold a beastly lust to pamper a devilish one ; and so were never the better, but their latter end was worse than their beginning. They turned out one black devil to let in seven wbite ones worse than the first, though of a fairer countenance. It is inexpressible, and almost inconceivable, how strong a self-righteous, self-exalting disposition is naturally in man. What will he not do and suffer, to feed and gratify it? What lengths have been gone in a seeming selfdenial in other respects, by Essenes and Pharisees, among the Jews; by Papists, many sects of heretics, and enthusiasts, among professing Christians; by many Mahometans; by
* Calvin, in his Institutions, Book II. chap. 2. § 11. says, I was always exceedingly pleased with that saying of CHRYSOSTOM, “The foundation of our philosophy is humility ;" and yet more pleased with that of AUGUSTINI, “ AS says be, the rhetorician being asked, what was the first thing in the rules of clo. qnence, be answered, Pronunciation ; what was the secoud, pronunciation ; what was the third, still he answered, pronunciation. So if you should ask me concern. ing the precepts of the Christian religion, I would answer, firstly, secondly, and thirdly, and for ever, Humility,” Vou iv.