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knowledge of the essentials of Christianity themselves, doth therefore, either neglect to know the rest, or knoweth them but notionally, as common sciences, and subjecteth them all to his worldly interest. And, therefore, is still of that side or party in religion, which, upon the account of safety, honour, or preferment, his flesh commandeth him to follow. Either he is still on the greater, rising side, and of the rulers of religion, be it what it will; or if he dissent, it is in pursuit of another game, which pride or fleshly ends have started; 2 Pet. ii. 14. Gal. iii. 3. John ix. 22. xii. 42, 43. Matt. xiii. 21, 22.
IV. 1. The Christian indeed, hath not only reason for his religion, but also hath an inward, continual principle, even the Spirit of Christ, which is as a new nature, inclining and enlivening him to a holy life; whereby he mindeth and savoureth the things of the Spirit. Not that his nature doth work blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures; but at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in rational creatures, where the inclination is necessary, but the operations free, and subject to reason. It is a spiritual appetite in the rational appetite, even the will, and a spiritual, visive disposition in the understanding. Not a faculty in a faculty; but the right disposition of the faculties to their highest objects, to which they are by corruption made unsuitable. So that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, nor a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal disposition or habit. It is the health and rectitude of the faculties of the soul. Even as nature hath made the understanding disposed to truth in general, and the will disposed or inclined to good in general, and to self-preservation and felicity in particular; so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the understanding to spiritual truth, to know God and the matters of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and holiness, not blindly, as they are unknown, but to love and serve a known God. So that whether this be properly or only analogically called a nature, or rather should be called a habit, I determine not; but certainly it is a fixed disposition and inclination, which Scripture calleth the "Divine nature" (2 Pet. i. 4.), and "the seed of God abiding in us;" 1 John iii. 9. But most usually it is called the Spirit of God, or of Christ in us. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his ;" Rom. viii. 9. "By one
Spirit we are all baptized into one body;" 1 Cor. xii. 13. Therefore, we are said "to be in the Spirit, and walk after the Spirit, and by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body;" Rom. viii. 1.9. 13. And it is called, "the Spirit of the Son, and the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" or are inclined to God, as children to their father; and the "Spirit of grace and supplication;" Rom. viii. 15.23. 26. Gal.iv.6. v. 17, 18. Eph. ii. 18.22. iv. 3, 4. Phil. i.27. ii. 1. Zech. xii. 10. From this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are called new creatures, and quickened, and made alive to God; 2 Cor. v. 17. Eph. ii. 15. Rom. vi. 11. 13. It is a great controversy, whether this holy disposition and inclination was natural to Adam or not, and consequently, whether it be a restored nature in us, or not. It was so natural to him as health is natural to the body, but not so natural as to be a necessitating principle, nor so as to be inseparable and unlosable.
2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the weakest Christian also, but in a small degree, and remissly operating, so as that the fleshly inclination oft seemeth to be the stronger, when he judgeth by its passionate strugglings within him. Though, indeed, the Spirit of life doth not only strive, but conquer in the main, even in the weakest Christians; Rom. viii. 9. Gal. v. Gal. v. 17-21.
3. The seeming Christian hath only the ineffectual motions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual motions and inward dispositions to some common duties of religion. And from these, with the natural principles of self-love and common honesty, with the outward persuasions of company and advantages, his religion is maintained, without the regeneration of the Spirit; John iii. 6.
V. From hence it followeth, 1. That a Christian indeed doth not serve God for fear only, but for love; even for love both of himself, and of his holy work and service. Yea, the strong Christian's love to God and holiness, is not only greater than his love to creatures, but greater than his fear of wrath and punishment. The love of God constraineth him to duty; 2 Cor. v. 14. "Love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. xiii. I0.), therefore, the Gospel cannot be obeyed without it. He saith not, 'O that this were no duty, and Ọ that this forbidden thing were lawful;' though his flesh say so, the Spirit, which is the predominant part, doth not.
but his will is to serve He longeth to be per
But he saith, "O how I love thy law! O that my ways were so directed that I might keep thy statutes!" Psal. cxix. 5. For the Spirit is willing, even when the flesh is weak. He serveth not God against his will; him more, and better than he doth. fect, and perfectly to do the will of God, and taketh the remnant of his sinful infirmities to be a kind of bondage to him, which he groaneth to be delivered from. To will even perfection is present with him, though not perfectly; and though he do not all that he willeth. And this is the true meaning of Paul's complaints; Rom. vii. Because the flesh warreth against the Spirit, he cannot do the good that he would; that is, he cannot be perfect, for so he would be; Gal. v. 17. His love and will excel his practice.
2. The weak Christian also hath more love to God and holiness than to the world and fleshly pleasure. But yet his fear of punishment is greater than his love to God and holiness. To have no love to God, is inconsistent with a state of grace, and so it is to have less love to God than to the world, and less love to holiness than to sin. But to have more fear than love is consistent with sincerity of grace. Yea, the weak Christian's love to God and holiness is joined with so much backwardness and averseness, and interrupted with weariness, and with the carnal allurements and diversions of the creature, that he cannot certainly perceive whether his love and willingness be sincere or not. He goeth on in a course of duty, but so heavily, that he scarce knoweth whether his love or loathing of it be the greater. He goeth to it as a sick man to his meat, or labour. All that he doth is with so much pain or indisposedness, that to his feeling, his averseness seemeth greater than his willingness, were it not that necessity maketh him willing. For the habitual love and complacency which he hath towards God and duty, is so oppressed by fear, and by averseness, that it is not so much felt in act as they.
3. A seeming Christian hath no true love of God and holiness at all, but some ineffectual liking and wishes which are overborne by a greater backwardness, and by a greater love to earthly things; so that fear alone, without any true, effectual love, is the spring and principle of his religion and obedience. God hath not his heart, when he draweth near him with his lips; he doth more than he would do, if he
were not forced by necessity and fear; and had rather be excused, and lead another kind of life; Matt. xv. 8. Isa. xxix. 13. Though necessity and fear are very helpful to the most sincere, yet fear alone, without love or willingness is a graceless state.
VI. 1. A Christian indeed doth love God in these three gradations: he loveth him much for his mercy to himself, and for that goodness which consisteth in benignity to himself; but he loveth him more for his mercy to the church, and for that goodness which consisteth in his benignity to the church. But he loveth him most of all for his infinite perfections and essential excellencies; his infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness, simply in himself considered. For he knoweth that love to himself obligeth him to returns of love; especially differencing, saving grace: and he knoweth that the souls of millions are more worth incomparably than his own, and that God may be much more honoured by them, than by him alone; and therefore he knoweth that the mercy to many is greater mercy, and a greater demonstration of the goodness of God, and therefore doth render him more amiable to man; Rom. ix. 3. And yet he knoweth that essential perfection and goodness of God, as simply in himself and for himself, is much more amiable than his benignity to the creature; and that he that is the first efficient, must needs be the ultimate, final cause of all things; and that God is not finally for the creature, but the creature for God, (for all that he needeth it not) "For of him, and through him, and to him are all things;" Rom. xi. 36. And as he is infinitely better than ourselves, so he is to be better loved than ourselves. As I love a wise and virtuous person, though he be one I never expect to receive any thing from, and therefore love him for his own sake, and not for his benignity or usefulness to me: so must I love God most for his essential perfections, though his benignity also doth represent him amiable. As he is blindly selfish that would not rather himself be annihilated or perish, than whole kingdoms should all perish, or the sun be taken out of the world; (because that which is best must be loved as best, and therefore be best loved :) so is he more blind, who in his estimative, complacential love, preferreth not infinite, eternal goodness, before such an imperfect, silly creature as himself (or all the world). We are commanded to love our neigh
bour as ourselves, when God is to be loved with all the heart, and soul, and might, which therefore signifieth more than to love him as ourselves; (or else he were to be loved no more than our neighbour). So that the strong Christian loveth God so much above himself, as that he accounteth himself and all his interests, as nothing in comparison of God, yea, and loveth himself more for God than for himself: though his own salvation be loved and desired by him, and God must be loved for his mercy and benignity; yet that salvation itself which he desireth, is nothing else but the love of God: wherein his love is the final, felicitating act, and God is the final, felicitating object, and the felicity of loving is not first desired; but the attractive object doth draw out our love, and thereby make us consequentially happy in the enjoying exercise thereof. Thus God is all and in all to the soul; Psal. lxxiii. 25. Rom. xi. 36. 1 Cor. x. 31. Deut. xix. 17.
Matt. xxiii. 37.
2. A weak Christian also loveth God as one that is infinitely better than himself and all things; (or else he did not love him at all as God). But in the exercise he is so much in the minding of himself, and so seldom and weak in the contemplation of God's perfections, that he feeleth more of his love to himself, than unto God; and feeleth more of his love to God, as for the benefits which he receiveth in and by himself, than as for his own perfections; yea, and often feeleth the love of himself to work more strongly than his love to the church, and all else in the world. The care of his own salvation is the highest principle which he ordinarily perceiveth in any great strength in him; and he is very little and weakly carried out to the love of the whole church, and to the love of God above himself; Phil. ii. 20-22. 1 Cor. x. 24. Jer. xlv. 5.
3. A seeming Christian hath a common love of God as he is good, both in himself, and unto the world, and unto him. But this is not for his holiness; and it is but a general, ineffectual approbation and praise of God, which followeth a dead, ineffectual unbelief: but his chief, predominant love is always to his carnal self, and the love both of his soul, and of God, is subjected to his fleshly self-love. His chief love to God is for prospering him in the world, and such as is subservient to his sensuality, pride, covetous