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lying or denying any testimony of the Holy Ghost. There is a difference between doubting of the being of some work of the Holy Ghost, and denying the testimony of the Holy Ghost, as there is a difference between doubting concerning some other works of God, and denying the testimony of God. It is the work of God to give a man great natural abilities; and if we suppose God requires such a man to believe the reality of his work in all its parts just as it is, and so that it is sinful for him at all to doubt of his natural abilities being just as good as they are, yet this is no belying any testimony of God, though it be doubting of a work of God, and so is diverse from the sin of unbelief. So, if we suppose a very eminent saint is to blame in doubting whether he has so much grace as he really has; he indeed does not believe the reality of God's work in him, in all its parts, just as it is, yet he is not therein guilty of the sin of unbelief, against any testimony of God, any more than the other.

I acknowledge, that for a true saint in a carnal and careless frame, to doubt of his good state, is sinful, more indirectly, as the cause of it is sinful, viz. the lowness and insensibility of the actings of grace in him, and the prevalence of carnality and stupidity. 'Tis sinful to be without assurance, or (as we say) it is his own fault, he sinfully deprives himself of it; or foregoes it, as a servant's being without his tools, is his sin, when he has carelessly lost them, or as it is his sin to be without strength of body, or without the sight of his eyes, when he has deprived himself of these by intemperance. Not that weakness or blindness of body, in their own nature, are sin, for they are qualities of the body, and not of mind, the subject in which sin is inherent. It is indirectly the duty of a true saint always to rejoice in the light of God's countenance, because sin is the cause of his being without this joy at any time, and therefore it was indirectly David's sin that he was not rejoicing in the light of God's countenance, at that very time when he was committing the great iniquities of adultery and murder. But yet it is not directly a believer's duty to rejoice in the light of God's countenance, when God hides his face. But it rather then becomes him to be troubled and to mourn. So there are perhaps many other privileges of saints that are their duty indirectly, and the want of them is sinful, not simply, but complexly considered. Of this kind I take the want of assurance of my good estate to be.

I think no words of mine, either in my book or letter, implied that a person's deliverance from a bad frame, does not begin with renewed acts of faith or trusting in God. If they did, they implied what I never intended. Doubtless if a saint comes out of an ill frame, wherein grace is asleep and inactive, it must be by renewed actings of grace. It is very plainly impossible, that grace

should begin to cease to be inactive, in any other way, than by its beginning to be active. It must begin with the renewed actings of some grace or other, and I know nothing that I have said to the contrary, but that the grace that shall first begin sensibly to revive shall be faith, and that this shall lead the way to the renewed acting of all other graces, and to the farther acting of faith itself. But a person's coming out of a carnal, careless, dead frame, by, or in the reviving of grace in his soul, is quite another thing from a saint's having a strong exercise of faith, or strong hope, or strong exercise of any other grace, while yet remaining in a carnal, careless, dead frame; or, in other words, in a frame wherein grace is so far from being in strong exercise, that it is asleep and in a great measure without exercise.

There is a holy hope, a truly Christian hope, that the scripture speaks of, that is reckoned among the graces of the Spirit: and I think I should never desire or seek any other hope; for I believe no other hope has any holy or good tendency. Therefore this hope, this grace of hope alone, can properly be called a duty. But it is just as absurd to talk of the exercise of this holy hope, the strong exercise of this grace of the Spirit, in a carnal, stupid, careless frame, such a frame yet remaining, as it would be to talk of the strong exercises of love to God, or heavenly-mindedness, or any other grace, remaining in such a frame. It is doubtless proper, earnestly to exhort those who are in such a frame to come out of it, in and by the strong exercises of all grace; but I should not think it proper to press a man earnestly to maintain strong hope, notwithstanding the prevailing and continuance of great carnality and stupidity, (which is plainly the case of the people I opposed). For this is plainly to press people to an unholy hope, a strong hope that is no Christian grace, but strong and wicked presumption; and the promoting of this has most evidently been the effect of such a method of dealing with souls in innumerable multitudes of awful instances.

You seem, Sir, to suppose, that God's manner of dealing with his saints, while in a secure and careless frame, is first to give assurance of their good state while they remain in such a frame, and to make use of that assurance as a mean to bring them out of such a frame. Here, again, I must beg leave to differ from you, and to think, that none of the instances or texts you adduce from scripture, do at all prove the point. I think it is God's manner, first to awaken their consciences, and to bring them to reflect upon themselves, and to bring them to feel their own calamity which they have brought upon themselves by so departing from God, (by which an end is put to their carelessness and security), and again earnestly and carefully to seek God's face before they find him, and before God restores the comfortable and joyful

sense of his favour; and I think this is abundantly evident both by scripture and experience. You must insist on Jonah as a clear instance of the thing you lay down. You observe that he says ch. ii. "I said I am cast out of thy sight, yet will I look again towards thy holy temple." Ver. 5. 7. "When my soul fainted within me; I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto thee, even into thine holy temple." You speak of these words as expressing an assurance of his good state and of God's favour; (I will not now dispute whether they do or not); and you speak of this exercise of assurance, &c. as his practice in an evil frame, and in a careless frame; for he slept securely in the sides of the ship, manifesting dismal security, awful carelessness in a carnal frame. That Jonah was in a careless secure frame when he was asleep in the sides of the ship, I do not deny. But, dear Sir, does that prove that he remained still in a careless secure frame, when in his heart he said these things in the fish's belly, chap. ii. 4, 7.? does it prove that he remained careless after he was awakened, and saw the furious storm, and owned it was the fruit of God's anger towards him for his sins? and does it prove, that he still remained careless after the whale had swallowed him, when he seemed to himself to be in the belly of hell? when the water compassed him about, even to the soul, and, as he says, all God's waters and billows passed over him, and he was ready to despair when he went down to the bottoms of the mountains, was ready to think that God had cast him out of his sight, and confined him in a prison, that he could never escape, the earth with her bars was about him, for ever, and his soul fainted within him. He was brought into this condition after his sleeping securely in the side of the ship, before he said, "I will look again towards thine holy temple, &c." He was evidently first awakened out of carelessness and security, and brought into distress, before he was comforted.

The other place you also much insist on, concerning the people of Israel, is very much like this. Before God comforted them with the testimonies of his favour, after their backslidings, he first, by severe chastisements, together with the awakening influences of his Spirit, brought them out of their carelessness and carnal security. It appears by many scriptures, that this was God's way of dealing with that people. So Hos. chap. ii. God first "hedged up her ways with thorus, and made a wall that she could not find her paths. And took away her corn and wine, and wool and flax, destroyed her vines and fig-trees, and caused her mirth to cease;" and, by this means, brought her to herself, brought her out of her security, carelessness and deep sleep, very much as the prodigal son was brought to himself. God "brought her first into the wilderness, before he spake comfortably to her,

and opened to her a door of hope." By her distress first brought her to say, "I will go and return to my first husband; and then, when God spake comfortably to her, she called him "Ishi, my husband;" and God did as it were renewedly betroth her unto him. That passage Hosea ii. is very parallel with Jer. iii. One place serves well to illustrate and explain the other, and that it was God's way of dealing with his people Israel, after their apostacy and carnal security, first to awaken them, and under a sense of their sin and misery, to bring them solicitously to seek his face, before he gave them sensible evidence of his favour; and not to awaken out of security, by first making manifest his favour to them*.

And, besides, I would observe, that in Jer. iii. the prophecy is not concerning the recovery of backsliding saints, or the mystical church, which, though she had corrupted herself, still continued to be God's wife: It is concerning apostate Israel, that had forsaken and renounced her husband, and gone after other lovers, and whom God had renounced, put away, and given her a bill of divorce, (ver. 8.) so that her recovery could not be by giving her assurance of her good estate as still remaining his wife, and that God was already married unto her, for that was not true, and is not consistent with the context. And whereas it is said, ver. 14, "Return, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you, and I will take you one of a city, &c." I am married, in the Hebrew, is in the preterperfect tense; but you know, Sir, that in the language of prophecy, the pretertense is very commonly put for the future; and whereas it is said, ver. 19, "How shall I put thee among the children? And I said, Thou shalt call me my father." I acknowledge this expression here, my Father, and that Rom. viii. 15, is the language of faith. It is so two ways, 1st, It is such language of the soul as is the immediate effect of a lively faith. I acknowledge, that the lively exercises of faith do naturally produce satisfaction of a good state as their immediate effect. 2nd, It is language which, in another sense, does properly and naturally express the very act of faith itself, yea, the first act of faith in a sinner, before which he never was in a good state. As thus, supposing a man in distress, pursued by his enemies that sought his life, should have the gates of several fortresses set open before him, and should be called to from each of them to fly thither for refuge; and viewing them all, and one appearing strong and safe, but the rest insufficient, he should accept the invitation to that one, and fly thither with this language, "This is my fortress; this is my refuge. In vain is sal

*

This is evident by many scriptures; as, Lev. xxvi. 40-42. Deut. xxxii. 36-39. 1 Kings viii. 21, 22. chap. i. 4--8. Ezek. xx. 35, 36, 37. Hos. v. 15, with chap. vi. 1--3. chap. xiii. 9, 10. chap. xiv. throughout.

vation looked for from the other. Behold I come to thee; this is my sure defence." Not that he means that he is already within the fortress, and so in a good estate. But this is my chosen fortress, in the strength of which I trust, and to which I betake myself for safety. So if a woman were at once to be solicited by many lovers, to give herself to them in a married state, and beholding the superior excellencies of one far above all the rest, should betake herself to him, with this language, "This is my husband, behold I come unto thee, thou art my spouse." Not that she means that she is already married to him, but that he is her chosen husband, &c. Thus God offers himself to sinners as their Saviour, God and Father; and the language of the heart of him that accepts the offer by active faith, is, "Thou art my Saviour; in vain is salvation hoped for from others that offer themselves. Thou art my God and Father." Not that he is already his child, but he chooses him, and comes to him, that he may be one of his children; as in Jer. iii. 19. Israel calls God his Father, as the way to be put among the children, and to be one of them, and not as being one already; and in ver. 21, 22, 23, she is not brought out of a careless and secure state by knowing that the Lord is her God, but she is first brought to consideration and sense of her sin and misery, weeping and supplications for mercy and conviction of the vanity of other saviours and refuges, not only before she has assurance of her good estate, but before she is brought to fly to God for refuge, that she may be in a good

estate.

As to the instance of Job, I would only say this: I think while in his state of sore affliction, though he had some great exercises of infirmity and impatience under his extreme trials, yet he was very far from being in such a frame as I intended, when I spoke of a secure, careless, carnal frame, &c. I doubt not, nor did I ever question it, that the saints' hope and knowledge of their good state, is in many cases of excellent benefit, to help them against temptation and the exercises of corruption.

With regard to the case of extraordinary temptation, and buffetting of Satan, which you mention, I do not very well know what to say further. I have often found my own insufficiency as a counsellor in such like cases, wherein melancholy and bodily distemper have so great a hand, and give Satan so great advantage, as appears to me in the case you mention. If the Lord do not help, whence should we help? If some Christian friends of such afflicted and (as it were) possessed persons, would, from time to time, pray and fast for them, it might be a proper exercise of Christian charity, and the likeliest way I know for relief. I kept no copy of my former letter to you, and so do not remember fully what I have already said concerning this case. But this I have

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