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nor a renewed conscience, be able to discern his own vileness?
Answ. There is a double linowledge or understanding that men may have of themselves, viz. fpeculative and practical. As to the general speculative knowledge, a man may have this; common fenfe and reason may tell him his fin, and he may know himself to be a finner, as being guilty of gross fins, such as drunkenness, whoredom, fwcaring, and the like. But there is a particular practical knowledge and understanding, which is two-fold, viz. either from the Spirit of God without us, or from the Spirit of God within tis.
That practical underitanding which is from the Spirit of God without us, is what also the unregenerate may have. The Spirit of God, not yet received, but without a man, may come and make such discoveries of his fin, and guilt, and wickedness, as may make him cry out, That he is undone, undone. Such a knowledge had Nebuchadnezzar of the God of Shadrach, Mefech, and Abednego. Such a knowledge also, it seems, Cain and Judas had. But the Spirit of God within us, gives fpiritual light and sense upon the conscience, and rectifies the judgment; whereas the Spirit of God, without a man, discovers fi mainly in order to hell and wrath, making him fay, Undone, undone. The Spirit of God within a man makes him see the vileness of sin, and lament and mourn for that, saying, “Unclean, unclean. O wretched man that I am! Behold I am vile!” This affects him more than the wrath of God; yea, even when he sees the wrath of God is turned away, and that the shower is over his head, and hath lighted on the head of the Cautioner, even then he abhors himself for his own wickedness mere than ever.
This is from the Spirit of God within, and a gospel-light. The Spirit of God without a man, and the Spirit of God within him, differs as much as day-light differs from lightening. A flash of lightening from Sinai, or the fiery law, terrifies and astonishes the man, and makes him tremble and quake under a sense of fin; but the day-light of a saving discovery of Christ makes one see himself the chief of sinners, and yet fills him with holy triumph in the Lord the Saviour. A liglitenVOL. III.
ing confounds and surprises ; but the day-light gives a clear, distinêt, and fedate view of things as they are, with quiet and composure.--Now, try if you have got a humbling view and discovery of Christ, or a word from him, that hath filled you with felf-abasement, so as you reckon you cannot have vile enough thoughts of yourself, because he hath, in effect, told you all things that ever you
did. 2dly, Try what Chrift.exalting and commending exercise you have been brought under; or what difpofition is wrought in you to comniend and exalt Christ to the highest. If Christ and you have met together, as he did with this woman of Samaria, then the meeting hath wrought in you the same effect, the same disposition to commend and exalt Christ; which you may try by these particulars.
1. If you have met with Christ in this manner, then you have seen him to be the Christ indeed, the Gedman, the Anointed of the Father, the true Meffias. Hath he told you, in effect, I that speak unto thee, am be? I that speak unto you by this gofpel am he ? Hath he borne home this upon your heart with convincing light and evidence, so as you have been brought to the apoille's faith, John vi. 69. “ We believe and are sure, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God ?" The faith of this is of such importance, that Christ hath faid, “ If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your fins." Now, hath he so spoken to you, as you were made, in eflect, to think and say, I believe and am sure, that he that spoke unto me was he. It was not the minister only that I heard, but the word came with fuch light, life and power, that, I think, no minister on earth, nor angel in heaven, could make the word to go thro' my heart asii did. It was like the found of the voice of the Son of God.
2. If you have met with Christ in this manner, then he hath made such a gradual approach and discovery of himself to you as to raise in you gradually more and more a high esteem of him as a Prophet, fent of God to teach you, and to tell you all things, as it was with this woman: and though he himself, and all his words are precious to you, yet there are some particular words, among many, that have taken more imprelin, and sick mors fait than others. Though Christ spake many good words to this woman for her instruction, yet the word that made the first and decpest impresion, is what Nie elpecially kept in heart, lie told me all tbings that ever I did: and what the faw in this more clearly at firft, he faw more clearly after Chriit gave her a clearer manifeitation of himself. If the saving discovery of Christ commenced and began, when he gave her the first discovery of her lewdness and whoredom, and conveyed light, at the fame time, into her mind to perceive that he was a prophet, yet she was much in the dark, and took not up all that was intended by this discovery, till after he clear. ly discovered himself; and then the former lesion is clearly taken up in all the parts of it. Therefore now, says the, He told me all things tkat ever I did. Some may, have such obscure and cloudy discoveries of Christ at first, that though they raise a high elteem of Christ, yet the soul may be at a great loss to know, what the full meaning of such a word is that Christ spake to their foul, till after they get a brighter discovery of him ; and then they may come to be more perfectly instructed in the same lesson, which, at first, they did not so well apprehend : and in this his dealing with them, may be like that, John xiii. 7. “ What I do, thou knowelt not now, but thou. thalt know hereafter." 3 If yoll
have met with Christ in this manner, then your mind is fet above the world, and you have left it behind you, as the woman here left her water-pot and ran to the city. O Sirs, when Christ appears to a man, he thinks no more of the world than a potsherd; he counts all but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; yea, the most valuable things in the world are undervalued when Christ is discovered. As naturalists tells us, the leadstone will not draw in the presence of the diamond; neither does the world in all its glory and gaJantry draw the heart of any to it in the presence of Christ. The reason of this is, the Sun of righteousness darkens all the stars of creature-enjoyments, and makes them difappear and evenil. A drink out of the fountain of living I i 2
waters makes all worldly comforts to be nothing but broken cisterns that can hold no water. They whose hearts were never weaned from the world, never met with Christ. · Again,
4. If you have met with Christ, then your hearts will be set upon the work of commending him to others, and particularly to your neighbours and friends, that they may become acquaint with him also. Thus the difcovery of Christ vents itself in the woman here, Come fee a man that tolil me all things that ever I did; Is 110t this. ibe Cbrift? A manifestation of Christ gives men such a fill of the fulness of God, that they must have a vent: and as, in every saving manifestation, there is something of the nature of Christ communicate, who loves to communicate of his fulness; fo they to whom Christ dispenses of his grace and fulness, love to communicate also of what they have: not that the faints are to make a blaze of their religion to every one they meet with, or to cast pearls before swine ; but the love of Christ discovered to them, fills them with such ardent love to him, as obliges them, in all proper ways, to trumpet forth his glory and honour. They fee such a glory in him, that they think all hould wonder at him, and own him; Is not this the Christ? They reckon none fo obliged to free-grace as thoy, and therefore they think it well becomes them to spread the favour of his name. They know also, by remembring what they themselves were before they met with Christ, they know what a fad state they are into who want acquaintance with Christ; therefore, both out of love and regard to the glory and honour of Christ, and out of love, pity, and compasion to the perifhing fouls of others, they desire and endeavour to commend Christ to them both by their words and actions ; borh by their talk and walls, as the woman of Samaria did. What heart then and difpofition hare you got to commend Christ to your neighbours and friends, to your children and servants? If you have no heart nor disposition to such exercise as this, surely you cannot make it out that you have met with Chriít. 5. If you have met with Christ, then it will be your
hearty desire not only to commend Christ, and speak of him to others, making him the great subject of your conversation, but also to have them taste what
have o talted, and see what you have scen, without resting merely on your report; Come see a man that told me all things ibat ever I did: Is not ibis the Christ? Reft not on my report, miglit the fay; but, О come and see lim!-My friends, fpiritual converse about Christ, is much out of fashion in our degenerate age; yea, to enter on fpiritual discourse in some companies, would be to expose a man to fcorn and ridicule; a sad instance of estrangement from Christ and religion. But are there not fome profeTors, whose speech of Christ, and of the things of God, betrays them and bewrays them ; for, either it is but the outside of religion they talk of; for example, How well such a man preached, and how long such a man preached, and how many tables, or how inany strangers were at such a communion, and all such little-worth questions, no better than idleness; treating of the hell and not the kernel of ordinances: or, if they enter upon any substantial conversation, either they foon weary of that, or give evidence of such a flfish fpirit, as bespeaks an inclination to commend themlelves rather than to commend Christ. The import of their language is rather, Come and hear me, than, Come and see Chrift, But, O Sirs, a meeting with Chritt will fill the foul with a defire that others may share of what they share, and see what they have seen, with a desire to take the most effectual method that may be for drawing them to Christ. Hence, as this woman speaks out her very heart, fo fhe attempts to draw them to Christ with the very fame hook with which she was drawn afhore herself: He told me all things tbat ever I did: Is not this the Christ? Therefore, come see him.
6. If you have met with Christ, and conversed with him, you will think long for another mecting with him, another fight of him ; for this was the woman's dispofition here; Come see the man: the spake as if the desired to be the foremost in returning again to see him. If you think you have got enough of Christ, it is a sign you Ii 3