THE GROUND AND NATURE OF Christian Redemption.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed and Sold by JOHN DUNLAP, at the Newest Printing-Office, on the South Side of the Jersey Market, the third Door below Second-street, 1768.


THE GROUND AND NATURE OF Christian Redemption.

THE Fall of man into the life and state of This World, is the Whole Ground of his Redemption; and a Real Birth of CHRIST in the soul, is the Whole Nature of it. To con­vince man of his Fall as the Ground of his Redemption, it is not necessary to appeal to the history which Moses has given of it; because Moses's history of the Fall is not the proof of it, and because a meer historical knowledge of the Fall would not do man any real good. Moses has recorded the death of the first man, and of many of his descendents; but the proof that man is Mortal, lies not in Moses's history, but in the known nature of man, and the world from which he has his life. Thus, tho' Moses has recorded the time and manner of the Fall, yet there is no more occasion to have recourse to his history to prove it, than to prove that man is a poor weak, vain, distressed, corrupt, depraved, self­ish, self-tormenting, perishing creature; and that the world is a sad mixture of imaginary [Page 4] good, and real evil, a mere scene of vanity, vexation, and misery. This is the known na­ture and condition both of man and the world; and every man is in himself an irresistible proof that he is in a fallen state. An attempt therefore, to convince man of his Fall, as the Ground of his Redemption, must be an at­tempt to do that which misfortunes, sickness, pain, and the approach of death, have a na­tural tendency to do, to convince him of the Vanity, Poverty, and Misery of his Life and Condition in this World; and how impossible it is, that a GOD, Who has nothing in Him­self but Infinite Goodness and Infinite Happi­ness, should bring forth a race of intelligent creatures, that have neither Natural Goodness, nor Natural Happinesfs.

Man, in his First State, as he came forth from GOD, must have been absolutely free from all Vanity, Want or Distress, of any kind, from any thing either within or without him: a God-like perfection of Nature, and a painful Distressed Nature, stand in the utmost Contrariety to one another. But man has lost his First Divine Life in GOD: every thing that we know of God, and every thing that we know of man, of his birth, his life, and death, is a continual irresistible proof that man is in a fallen state. The human infant just come out of the womb, is a picture of such defor­mity, nakedness, weakness, and helpless distress, as is not to be found amongst the home-born animals of this world. The chicken has its birth [Page 5] from no sin, and, therefore, comes torth in beauty; it runs and pecks, as soon as its shell is broken: the calf and the lamb go both to play as foon as the dam is delivered of them; they are pleased with themselves, and please the eye that beholds their frolick state, and beau­teous cloathing: whilst the new-born babe of a woman, that is to have an upright form; that is to view the heavens, and worship the GOD that made them; lies, for months, in gross ignorance, weakness, and impurity; as sad a spectacle when he first breathes the life of this world, as when in the agonies of death he breathes his last. What is all this, but the strongst proof, that man is the only creature that belongs not to this world, but is fallen in­to it through sin, and that, therefore, his birth, in such distress, bears all these marks of shame and weakness? Had he been originally of this world, this world would have done the highest honour to its highest creature; and he must have begun his life in greater perfection than any other animal, and brought with him a more beautiful cloathing than the finest lillies of the field. But when the human infant has at length acquired strength, and begins to act for himself, he soon becomes a more pitiable object than when crying in the cradle. The strength of his life, is a meer strength of wild passions; his reason is craft and selfish subtilty; he loves and hates only as flesh and blood prompt him; and jails and gibbets cannot keep [Page 6] him from theft and murder. If he is rich, he is tormented with pride and ambition; if poor with want and discontent: be he which he will, sooner or later, disordered passions, disappoint­ed lusts, fruitless labour, pains and sickness, will tear him from this world, in such travail as his mother felt, when she brought forth the sinful animal. Now all this evil and misery are the natural and necessary effect of his birth in the bestial flesh and blood of this world; and there is nothing in his natural state, that can put a stop to it; he must be evil and miserable as long as he has only the life of this world in him. Therefore, the absolute certainty of man's Fall, and the absolute Necessity of a New Birth to redeem him, are truths, independentl­y of Scripture, plain to a demonstration.

No creature can come from the hands of GOD, into a State of any Ignorance of any thing that is proper to be known by it: this is as impossible, as for GOD to have an envious or evil will. Now all Right and Natural Knowledge, in whatever creature it is, is Sensible, Intuitive, and its own Evidence; and Opinion Reasoning, or Doubting, can only then begin, when the creature has lost its First Right and Natural State, and is got somewhere, and be­come somewhat, that it cannot tell what to make of. Reasoning, Doubt and Perplexity, in any creature, are the effect of some Fall or Departure from its First State of Nature; and shew, that it wants, and is seeking, some­thing [Page 7] that belongs to its Nature, but knows how to come at it. The beasts seek not after Truth; a plain proof that it has no Rela­tion to them, no Suitableness to their Nature, nor ever belonged to them. Man is in quest of it, in perplexity about it, cannot come at it; takes lies to be Truth, and Truth to be lies: a plain proof, both that he has it not, and yet has had it; was created in it, and for it: for no creature can feek for any thing, but that which has been lost, and is wanted; nor could man form the least idea of it, but because it has belonged to him and ought to be his.

Now suppose man to come into the world, with this Chief difference from other creatures, that he is at a loss to find out what he is, how he is to live, and what he is to seek as his Chief Happiness; what he is to own of a GOD, of Providence, Religion, &c.; suppose him to have Faculties that put him upon this Search, and no Faculties that can satisfy his Inquiry; and what can we suppose more miserable in himself, and more unworthy of a GOOD CREA­TOR? Therefore, if we will not suppose, that GOD has been good to all creatures, and given every animal its Proper Light of Nature, ex­cept Man; we must be forced to own, that man has lost the True Light and Perfection of his Nature which GOD at first gave him.

GOD is in Himfelf, Infinite Truth, Infinite Goodness, and Infinite Happiness; but man, in his present earthly birth and life, has neither [Page 8] Truth, Goodness, nor Happiness: therefore, his Present State of Life could not be brought, forth by that GOD, Who is all Truth, Good­ness, and Happiness. Thus every man, that believes in a Creator Infinitely Perfect, is under a Necessity of believing the Whole Ground of CHRISTIAN REDEMPTION, namely, that man has lost that Perfection of life which he had at first from his Creator.

Had not a Divine Life at first been in man, he would be now at the fame distance from Truth and Goodness, and as incapable of forming the least Thought or Desire of them, as the beasts of the field; and would have nothing to do, but to look to himself, live to his earthly nature, and make the most of this world; for this is all the Wisdom and Goodness that an Earthly na­ture is capable of, whether it be a man, or a fox. The certainty of the fact, of man's First Divine Life is all; nothing more need be enquired after: for on This Ground stands all his Comfort; hence it is, that in Faith and Hope he can look up to GOD as his Father, to Heaven as his Native Country, and on him­self as a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth.

For it is a certain truth, that fallen earthly, and corrupt, as human nature is, there is, in the soul of every man, the Fire, and Light, and Love of GOD, tho' lodged in a state of hiddenness and inactivity, till something human or Divine, Distress, or Grace, or both, disco­ver its life vithin us.

[Page 9]We were no more created to be in the Sor­rows, Burdens, and Anguish of this earthly Life, than the Angels were created to be in the Wrath and Darkness of Hell. It is as contrary to the Will and Goodness of GOD towards us, that we are out of Paradise, as it is contrary to The Designs and Goodness of GOD towards the Angels, that some of them are out of Hea­ven prisoners of darkness. How absurd and even blasphemous would it be, to say, with the Church and the Scriptures, that ‘we are Chil­dren of Wrath, and Born in Sin’ if we had That Nature, which GOD at first gave us? What a reproach upon GOD, to say, that this world is a valley of misery, a shadow of death, full of disorders, sorrows, and temptations, if This was an Original Creation, or That State of things for which God created us? It is not as consistent with the Goodness of GOD, to speak of the misery and disorder that Holy Angels find above, and of the Sorrows and Vanity of their Heavenly State, as to speak of the misery of men and the sorrows and vanities of this world, if men and the world were in That Or­der, in which GOD at first had placed them? If GOD could make any place Poor and Vain, and create any beings into a State of Vanity and Vexation of Spirit, he might do so in all Places, and to All Beings.

The Fall of man, therefore, into the life of this earthly World, is the Sole Ground of his wanting the Redemption which the Gospel offers. Hence it is, that The Gospel has only [Page 10] One simple proposal of Certain Life, or Certain Death, to Man: of Life, if he will take the means of entering into The Kingdom of GOD; of Death, if he chuses to take up his Rest in The Kingdom of this World. This is the Sim­ple Nature and Sole Drift of The Gospel: it means no more, than making known to man, that this World, and the Life of it, is his Fall and Separation from God and Happiness both here and hereafter; and that to be saved, or re­stored to GOD and Happiness, can only be obtained, by renouncing all Love and Adhe­rence to the Things of This World. All the Precepts, Threatenings and Doctrines of the Gos­pel, mean nothing, but to drive All Earthly­mindedness and Carnal Affections out of the soul; to call man from the Life, Spirit, and Goods of This World, to a Life of Faith and Hope, and Love, and Defire, of a New Birth from Heaven.

To embrace The Gospel, is to enter, with all our hearts, into its terms of dying to All that is Earthly, both within us and without us: and, on the other hand, to place our Faith, and Hope, and Trust, and Satisfaction, in the Things of this World; is to reject the Gospel with our whole heart, spirit, and strength, as much as any Infidel can do, notwithstanding we make ever so many verbal assents to every thing that is recorded in the New Testament.

This, therefore, is the one, true essential Distinction, betwen the Christian and the Infidel. [Page 11] The Infidel is a man of This World; wholly devoted to it; his hope and Faith are set upon it; for where our Heart is, there, and there only, are our hope and Faith: he has only such a Virtue, such a Goodness, and such a Reli­gion, as entirely suits with the interests of flesh and blood, and keeps the soul happy in the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eye, and the Pride of life. This, and this alone, is Infide­lity; a Total Separation from GOD, and a Removal of all Faith and Hope from HIM, into the Life of This World. It matters not, whether this Infidel be a Professor of the Gospel, a Disciple of Zoroaster, a Follower of Plato, a Jew, a Turk, or an Opposer of the Gospel Hi­story: this Difference of Opinions or Professions alters not the matter; it is the Love of the World instead of GOD, that constitutes the Whole Nature of the Infidel.

On the other hand, the Christian renounces the world as his Horrid Prison; he dies to the will of flesh and blood, because it is Darkness, Corruption and Separation from GOD; he turns from all that is earthly, animal, and temporal, and stands in a continual Tendency of Faith, and Hope, and Prayer to GOD, to have a better Nature, a better Life and Spirit, born again into him from above.

Where this Faith is, there is the Christian, The New Creature in CHRIST, born of the Word and Spirit of GOD: neither time nor place, nor any outward condition of birth and [Page 12] life, can hinder his Entrance into the Kingdom of GOD. But where this Faith is not, there is the True Compleat Infidel, "The Man of Earth," the Unredeemed, the Rejecter of the Gospel, "the Son of Perdition," that is dead in Trespasses and Sins, without CHRIST, an Alien from the Commonwealth of Israel, a Stran­ger to the Covenants of promise, having no Hope, and without God in the World.

Men are apt to consider a Worldly Spirit only as an infirmity, or pardonable failure; but it is, indeed, The Great Apostasy from GOD and the Divine Life: it is not a Single Sin, but the Whole Nature of All Sin; that leaves no possibility of coming out of our fallen state, till it be totally renounced with all the strength of our hearts.

Our LORD says, there is but One that is Good and that is GOD. In the same strict­ness of expression it must be said, "There is but One Life that is Good, and that is THE LIFE OF GOD AND HEAVEN:" Depart, in the least degree, from the Goodness of GOD, and you depart into evil; because nothing is good, but His Goodness. Choose any life, but THE LIFE OF GOD AND HEAVEN, and you choose Death; for Death is nothing else but the Loss of THE LIFE OF GOD. The creatures of this world, have but one life, and one good; and that is the life of this world; eternal beings have but one life, and one good; and that is THE LIFE OF GOD The spirit of the soul is [Page 13] in itself nothing else but a Spirit breathed forth from GOD, that The Life of GOD, the Na­ture of GOD, The Working of GOD, The Tempers of GOD, might be manifested in it. GOD could not create man to have a will of his own, and a life of his own, different from the Life and Will that is in Himself: this is more impossible than for a good tree to bring forth corrupt fruit. GOD can only delight in His Own Life, His Own Goodness, and His Own Perfections; and, therefore, cannot love, or delight, or dwell, in any Creatures, but where His Own Goodness and Perfections are to be found: like can only unite with like, hea­ven with heaven, and hell with hell; and, there­fore, THE LIFE OF GOO must be the Life of the soul, if the soul is to unite with GOD. Hence it is, that All the Religion of fallen man, All the Methods of our Redemption, have only this One End, to take from us That Strange and Earthly Life we have gotten by the Fall, and to kindle again THE LIFE OF GOD AND HEA­VEN in our souls: not to deliver us from that gross and fordid vice called Covetousness, which Heathens can condemn; but to take The Spirit of This World entirely from us.

This Spirit is the Whole Nature and Misery of our Fall; it keeps our souls in a state of Death; and, as long as it governs, makes it impossible for us to be "Bom again from A­bove." It is the greatest Blindness and Darkness of our nature, and keeps us in the grossest Ig­norance [Page 14] both of heaven and hell; for tho' they are both of them within us, yet we feel neither, while the Spirit of this World reigns in us. Light, and Truth, and the Gospel, so far as they concern Eternity, are all empty founds to the Worldly Spirit: his own good, and his own evil, govern all his hopes and fears; and, therefore, he can have no religion, or be farther concerned in it, than so far as it can be made serviceable to the Life of This World: he can know nothing of GOD; for he can know nothing, feel nothing, taste nothing, delight in nothing, but with earthly senses, and after an earthly manner. The Natural Man, faith the Apostle, receiv­eth not the Things of THE SPIRIT OF GOD; they are foolishness unto him: he cannot know them, because they are Spiritually discerned, that is, they can only be discerned by That Spi­rit which he hath not: he can only contemplate them, as things foreign to himself; as so many changeable ideas, which he receives from books, or hearsay, and which become a bad nourish­ment of all his natural tempers: he is proud of his ability to discourse about them, and loses all Humility, all Love of GOD and man, thro' a vain and haughty contention for them. He stands at the same distance from a living per­ception of the Truth, as the man, that is born blind, does from a living perception of Light; Light must first be the birth of his own life, before he can enter into a real knowledge of it.

[Page 15]The measure of our Life, is the measure of our knowledge; and as the Spirit of our Life worketh, so the spirit of our understanding con­ceiveth. If our Will worketh with GOD, tho' our natural capacity be ever so mean and narrow, we get a real knowledge of GOD, and Heavenly Truths; for every thing must feel that, in which it lives. But if our Will worketh with Satan, and The Spirit of This World, let our parts be ever so bright, our imaginations ever so soaring; yet all our Living Knowledge can go no higher or deeper, than the mysteries or iniquity, and the lusts of flesh and blood. For nothing feels, or tastes, or understands, or likes, or dislikes, but The Life that is in us: The Spirit that leads our Life, is The Spirit that forms our understand­ing. The mind is our eye, and all the faculties of the mind fee every thing according to The State the mind is in. If Selfish Pride is The Spirit of our Life, every thing is only seen, and known, through this glass; every thing is dark, senseless, and absurd, to the Proud Man, but that which brings food to This Spirit: he understands nothing, feels nothing, tastes nothing, but as his Pride is made sensible of it, or capable of being affected with it. His Working Will, which is The Life of his soul liveth and worketh only in the Element of Pride; and, therefore, what suits his Pride, is his only good; and what contradicts his Pride, is all the evil that he can feel or know: his wit, his parts, [Page 16] his learning, his advancement, his friends, his admirers, his successes, his conquests, all these are the Only God and Heaven, that he has any Living Perception of: he indeed can talk of a Scripture God, a Scripture Christ, and Heaven; but these are only the ornamental furniture of his brain, whilst Pride is the God of his heart. We are told that GOD resisteth the Proud, and giveth Grace to the Humble. This is not to be understood, as if GOD by an arbitrary will, only chose to deal thus with the Proud and Humble man. But the true ground is this: The Resistance is on the Part of man. Pride resisteth GOD, it rejecteth Him, it turneth from Him, and chooseth to worship and adore something else instead of Him: whereas Humility leaveth all for GOD., falls down before him, and opens the whole heart to receive Him. This is the only sense, in which GOD resisteth the proud and giveth Grace to the Humble. And thus it is in the true ground of every Good and Evil that rises up in us; we have neither Good nor Evil, but as it is the Natural Effect of the working of our Own Will, either with, or against God. Consider the state of him, whose Working Will is under the Power of Wrath; he fees and hears, and feels, and understands, and talks, wholly from the Light and Sense of Wrath. All his faculties are only so many faculties of Wrath; and he has no sense or knowledge, but what his enlightened Wrath discovers to him. These instances [Page 17] are sufficient to shew, that The State of our Life governs the state of our mind, and forms the degree and manner of our understanding and knowledge; and that, therefore, there is no possibility of knowing GOD and Divine Truths, till our Life is Divine, and wholly dead to The Life and Sprit of This World.

The philosophers of old began all their Virtue, in a total Renunciation of the Spirit of this World. They saw, with the eyes of Heaven, that dark­ness was not more contrary to light, than The Wisdom of This World was contrary to the Spi­rit of Virtue: therefore, they allowed of no Pro­gress in Virtue, but so far as a man had overcome himself, and The Spirit of This World. This gave a Divine solidity to all their instructions, and proved them to be masters of True Wisdom. But the doctrine of THE CROSS OF CHRIST, the laft, the highest, the finishing stroke given to the Spirit of This World, that speaks more in One Word than all the philo­sophy of voluminous writers; is yet professed by those, who are in more friendship with The World, than was allowed to the disciples of Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, or Epidetus.

Nay, if those antient sages were to start up amongst us with their Divine Wisdom, they would bid fair to be treated by the Sons of the Gospel, if not by fome Fathers of the Church, as dreaming enthusiasts. But it is a standing truth, that ‘The World can only love its own, and Wisdom can only be justified of her Chil­dren.’ The Heaven-born Epictetus told one [Page 18] of his scholars, that ‘then he might first look upon himself, as having made some true pro­ficiency in Virtue, when the World took him for a fool;’ an oracle like that, which said, The Wisdom of This World is Foolishness with GOD.’

If it be asked, what is the Apostasy of these last times, or whence is the Degeneracy of the present Christian Church, it is all the progeny of a Worldly Spirit. If here we see open wick­edness, there only forms of godliness; if here superficial holiness, political piety, crafty pru­dence; there haughty fancity, partial zeal, en­vious orthodoxy: if almost every where we find a Jewish blindness, and hardness of heart; and the Church trading with the Gospel as visibly as the old Jews bought and fold beasts in their Temple: all this is only so many forms and pro­per fruits, of the Worldly Spirit. This is the great chain with which the Devil enslaves man­kind; and every son of man is held captive in it, till through, and by, THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST he breaks from it. Nothing else can deliver him from it: nothing leaves the World, nothing renounces it, nothing can possibly o­vercome it, but THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. Hence it is, that many learned men, with all the rich furniture of their brain, live and die slaves to The Spirit of This World; and can only differ from gross worldlings, as the Scribes and Pharisees differed from publicans and sinners: it is because THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST [Page 19] is not the One Only Thing that is the Desire of their hearts; and, therefore, their learning on­ly works in and with The Spirit of This World, and becomes itself no small part of the ‘Vanity of vanities.’

‘Nothing does, or can, keep GOD out of the soul, or hinder His Holy Union with it, but its desire turned from him:’ for with whatever the Will worketh, with that only the soulliveth, whether it be GOD or the creature. Whatever the soul desireth, that is the fewel of its fire; and as its fewel is, so is the flame of its Life. A will given up to earthly enjoyments is at grass with Nebuchadnezzar, and has One Life with the beasts of the field; for Earthly Desires keep up the Same Life in a man and an ox. For the one only reason, why the animals of this world have no sense or knowledge of GOD, is because they cannot form any other than Earth­ly Desires, and so can only have an Earthly Life: when, therefore, a man wholly turneth his Will to Earthly Desires, he dies to the excellency of his natural state, and may be said only to live, and move, and have his being in The Life of This World, as the beasts have. Earthly food, &c. only desired, and used, for the support of the earthly body, is suitable to man's present condition, and the order of nature: but when the Desire and Delight of the soul are set upon Earthly Things, the humanity is degraded, is fal­len from GOD, and The Life of the Soul is made as earthly and bestial, as the Life of the body, [Page 20] for the creature can be neither higher or lower, neither better nor worse than as its Will work­eth. What it desireth, that it taketh; and of that it eateth and liveth : wherever, and in whatever, the Will choseth to dwell and delight, that becometh the soul's Food, its Condition, its Body, its Cloathing, and Habitation. No­thing doth, or can, go with a man into heaven, nothing followeth him into hell, but that in which the Will dwelt, with which it was fed, nourished, and cloathed, in This Life. Death can make no Alteration of This State of the Will: it only takes off the outward, worldly, covering of flesh and blood, and forces the soul to fee, and feel, and know, what a Life, what a State, Food, Body, and Habitation, its own Working Will has brought forth for it. Is there, there­fore, any thing in Life that deserves a thought, but how to keep this Working of our Will in a Right State; and to get that Purity of Heart, which alone can fee, and know, and find, and possess GOD? Is there any thing so frightful as This Worldly Spirit, which turns the soul from GOD; makes it a House of Darkness; and feeds it with the Food of Time, at the Ex­pence of All the Riches of Eternity?

Now as the Whole Nature of the Gospel Re­demption means nothing, but the one, true and only possible Way, of delivering man from All the Evil of his Fall — a Fall demonstrable to the senses and understanding of every man, by every height and depth of nature, by every kind of [Page 21] evil sin and misery in this world, by every thing he knows of GOD, himself, and the world he lives in; Christianity is not only the most desireable thing that the heart of man can think of, but the most intelligible, and even self-evi­dent. It requires not the aid of learning for its support; it stands upon a Foundation superiour to Human Learning, and may be the Sure Pos­session of every Plain Man, who has sense enough to know, whether he is happy or unhappy, good or evil. For this natural knowledge, is adhered to, is every man's Sure Guide to that One Salvation preached by the Gospel; which Gos­pel stands in no more need or Learning and Critical Art now, than it did when CHRIsT was preaching it upon earth. How absurd would it have been for any Critics in Greek and Hebrew, to have followed Christ and his Apo­stles, as necessary explainers of their Words, which called for nothing in the hearers, but Penitent Hearts turned to GOD; and declared, that " They only who, were of GOD, could bear the Word of GOD!" If none but Learned men have the True Fitness to understand the Word of Scripture, and the Plain man is to receive it from them; how must he know, which are the Scholars that have the Right Knowledge? Whence is he to have his information? For no one need be told, that, ever since Learning has born rule in the church, Learned Doctors have contradicted and condemned each other, in every Essential Point of the Christian Doc­trine: [Page 22] thousands of Learned men tell the illite­rate, they are lost in this or that Church; and thousands or Learned men tell them, they are lost if they leave it. If, therefore, Christianity is in the Hands of Scholars, how must the Plain man come at it? Must he, though unable to understand Scripture for want of Learning, tell which Learned man is in the right, and which is not? If so, the Unlearned man must have far the greatest Ability, since he is to do That for Scholars, which they cannot do for Themselves.

But Christian Redemption is GOD's Mercy to All mankind: and every Fallen man, as such, has a Fitness of Capacity to lay hold of it. It has no dependence upon times and places, or the ages and several conditions of the world, or any outward circumstance of life; as the First man partook of it, so must the Last: the Lear­ned Linguist, the blind, the deaf and dumb, have but One and the Same Common Way of finding Life in it; and he that writes large commentaries upon the Bible, must be faved by Something full as different from book know­ledge, as he who can neither write nor read.

For This Salvation, which is GOD's mercy to the Fallen Soul of man, merely as Fallen, must be Something that meets every man; and to which every man, as Fallen, has Something that directs him to turn. For as the Fall of man is the Reason of his mercy, so the Fall must be the Guide to it: the Want must shew the Thing that is wanted. And, therefore, [Page 23] The Manifestation of this One Salvation, of Mercy to man, must have a Nature suitable, not to this or that great Reader of History, or able Critic in Hebrew Roots or Greek Phrases, but suitable to the Common State and Condition of every Son of Adam. It must be Something as grounded in human nature, as the Fall itfelf is; which wants no Art to make it known, but to which the Common Nature of man is the Sure and Only Guide, in one man as well as another. Now this Something, which is thus obvious to every man, and which opens The Way to Christian Redemption in every soul, is ‘A Sense of the Vanity and Misery of this World; and a Prayer of Faith and Hope to GOD, to be raised to a Better State.’

In this Sense, to which every man's own Nature leads him, lies the Whole of man's Salvation; here the Mercy of GOD, and the Misery of man, are met together; here the Fall and the Redemption kiss each other. This is the Christianity which is as old as the Fall; which alone faved the First man, and can alone save the Last. This is it, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets, and which fulfils them both; for they have only this End, to turn man from the Lusts of this Life, to a Desire and Faith, and Hope of a better. Thus does the Whole of Christian Redemption, considered on the part of man, stand in the same Degree of Nearness and Plainness to All Mankind: it is as simple and plain, as the Feeling our Own [Page 24] Evil and Misery and as natural, as the Desire of being saved and delivered from it.

This Desire and Faith and Hope of A NEW LIFE BORN OF GOD, as our only possible Re­demption and Salvation, is The Spirit of Prayer, that is as opposite to the Spirit of This World as Heaven is to hell: the one goes upwards with the Same Strength as the other goes downwards; the one espouses and unites us to CHRIST and GOD, with the Same Certainty, as the other betrothsand weds us to an Earthly Nature. The Spirit of Prayer is a pressing forth of this soul out of this Earthly Life; it is a stretching, with all its Desire, after THE LIFE OF GOD; it is a leaving, as far as it can, All its Own Spirit, to receive a Spirit from above, to be One Life, One Love, One Spirit, with CHRIST IN GOD. This Prayer, which is an emptying itself of all its Own lusts and natural tempers, and an open­ing itself for The Light and Love of GOD to enter into it, is the Prayer in "The Name of CHRIST," to which nothing is denied: for The Love which GOD bears to the soul, His Eter­nal Never-ceasing Desire to enter into it, to dwell in it, and open The Birth of His Holy WORD and SPIRIT in it, stays no longer, than till the heart opens to receive Him. For ‘no­thing does, or can, keep GOD out of the soul, or hinder His Holy Union with it, but the Desire of the Heart turned from him.’

What, therefore, is so necessary for man, as, with all his Strength, to turn from every thing [Page 25] is not GOD, and His Holy Will; and with All the Desire, Delight, and Longing of the Heart, to give up himself wholly to The Life, Light, and Spirit of God; pleased with nothing in This World, but as it gives time, and place and occasions of doing and being That, which his Heavenly Father would have him to do, and be; seeking for no Happiness from this earthly fallen Life, but That of Overcoming All its Spirit and Tempers?

To conclude: In the full and true knowledge of The Greatness of our Fall, and The Greatness of our Redemption, lie all the reasons of a deep Humility, Penitence and Self-denial; and also all the motives and incitements to a most hearty, sin­cere, and total Conversion to GOD: and every one is necessarily more or less a True Penitent, and more or less Truly Converted to GOD, ac­cording as he is more or less deeply or inwardly Sensible of these Truths. And till these two great Truths have both awakened and enlight­ened our minds, all Reformation and pretence to Amendment, is but a dead and superficial thing, a mere garment of hypocrisy, to hide us from ourselves and others.

Nothing can truly awaken a sinner, but a True Sense of the Deep Possession and Power that Sin has in him. When he sees, that Sin begins with his Being, that it rises up in the Es­sences of his Nature, and lives in the First Forms of his Life; and that he lies thus chained and barred up in the very jaws of death and hell, as unable to alter his own State as to create another [Page 26] creature: when, with this knowledge, he sees that the Free Grace of GOD has provided him a Remedy equal to his Distress; that he has given him the Holy Blood and Life of JESUS CHRIST, the True Son of GOD, to enter as deep into his Soul as Sin has entered, to change the First Forms and Essences of his Life, and bring forth in them a New Birth of a Divine Nature, that is to be an Immortal Image of THE HOLY TRINITY, everlastingly safe, enrich­ed, and blessed, in the Bosom of FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST; when a man once feels these two Truths, there seems to be no more that you need do for him. You can tell him of no Humility and Penitence, and Self-abase­ment, but what is less than his own heart sug­gests to him: Humility can only be feigned or false, before this Conviction: he can now no more take any degree of Good to himself, than assume any Share in the creation of An­gels; and all Pride or Self-esteem of any kind, seems to him to contain as great a Lye in it, as if he was to say, that he helped to create himself.

You need not tell him, that he must turn unto GOD with all his Strength, all his Heart, all his Soul, and all his Spirit;’ for all that he can offer unto GOD, seems to him already less than the least of His Mercies towards him. He has so seen The Exceeding Love of GOD in the Manner and [...] of his Redemption, that it would be the greatest pain to him, to do any thing but upon a motive of Divine Love: as his soul has found GOD to be All Love; [Page 27] so it has but one Desire, and that is, to be itself All Love of GOD.

This is the Conviction and Conversion that necessarily arises from a right understanding of these Truths: the soul is thereby wholly Con­secrated to GOD; and can like, or love, or do nothing, but what it can, some way or other, turn into a Service of love towards Him: but where these Truths are not known, or not ac­knowledged; there it is not to be wondered at, if Religion has no Root, that is able to bring forth its proper Fruits. And if the Generality of Christians are a number of dead, superficial, Con­senters to the History of Scripture doctrines; as unwilling to have the Spirit, as to part with the Form of their Religion, loth to hear of any kind of Self-denial, fond of Worldly Ease, Indul­gence and Riches; unwilling to be called to The Perfection of the Gospel, professing and prac­tising Religion merely as the Fashion and Cu­stom of the place they are in requires; if some rest in outward Forms, others in a certain Or­thodoxy of opinions; if some expect to be saved by the goodness of the Sect they are of, others by a certain change of their outward Behaviour; if some content themselves with a Lukewarm Spirit, and others depend upon Their Own Works; these are Delusions that must happen to all, who do not know, in some good degree, the true nature of their own Fallen Soul, and what Kind of Regeneration alone can save them.

But all these errours, delusions, and false rests, are cut up by the Root, as soon as a man knows [Page 28] the True Reason and Necessity of his wanting so Great a Saviour. For he that knows the Essences of his Soul to be so many Essences of Sin, which form Sin as they form his Life; entirely incapable of producing Any Good, till a Birth from GOD has arisen in them; can neither place his Redemption where it is not, nor seek it cooly and negligently where it is.

For knowing that it is the Hell within his own nature, that only wants to be destroyed, he is intent only upon bringing Destruction upon That; and this secures him from False Religion.

And knowing that this Inward Hell cannot be destroyed, unless GOD becomes his REDEEMER, or REGENERATOR, in the Essences of his soul; this makes him believe all, expect all, and hope all, from his Saviour JESUS CHRIST alone.

And knowing, that All this Redemption, or Salvation, is to be brought about in the In­most Ground and Depth of his Heart; this makes him always apply to GOD, as the GOD of his Heart; and, therefore, what he offers to GOD is his own Heart; and this keeps him always Spiritually alive, wholly employed and intent upon the True Work of Religion, the fit­ting and preparing his Heart for all the Opera­tions of GOD's HOLY SPIRIT upon it. And so he is a True Inward Christian, who, as our Blessed LORD speaks has, "The Kingdom of GOD within him," where the State and Habit of his Heart continually, thankfully ‘WORSHIPS THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.’


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