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utter stranger to this joy, till the eyes of his understanding were opened! that he knew it not, until he had spiritual senses, fitted to discern spiritual good and evil. And now the eye of his soul waxeth not dim. He was never so sharpsighted before. He has so quick a perception of the smallest things, as is quite amazing to the natural man. As a mote is visible in the sun-beam, so to him who is walking in the light, in the beams of the uncreated Sun, every mote of sin is visible. Nor does he close the eyes of his conscience any more. That sleep is departed from him. His soul is always broad awake: no more slumber or folding of the hands to rest! He is always standing on the tower, and hearkening what his Lord will say concerning him: and always rejoicing in this very thing, in “ seeing him that is invisible."
19. Neither does the joy of a Christian arise, Thirdly, from any dullness or callousness of conscience. A kind of joy, it is true, may arise from this, in those whose foolish hearts are darkened :" whose hearts are callous, 'unfeeling, dull of sense; and consequently without spiritual understanding. Because of their senseless, unfeeling hearts, they may rejoice even in committing sin: And this they may probably call Liberty! Which is indeed mere drunkenness of soul: a fatal numbness of spirit, the stupid insensibility of a seared conscience. On the contrary, a Christian has the most exquisite sensibility; such as he could not have con. ceived before. He never had such a tenderness of conscience as he has had, since the love of God has reigned in his heart. And this also is his glory and joy: that God hath heard his daily prayer:
“O that my tender soul might fly
The first abhorr'd approach of ill:
The slightest touch of sin to feel.” 20. To conclude. Christian joy, is joy in obedience : joy in loving God and keeping bis commandments. And yet not in keeping them, as if we were thereby to fulfil the terms of the Covenant of Works;" as if by any works or righteousness of ours, we were to procure pardon and acceptance with God. Not so: we are already pardoned and accepted, through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Not as if we were by our own obedience to procure life, life from the death of sin. This also we have already through the grace of God. Us“ hath he quickened, who were dead in sin.” And now we are " alive to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But we rejoice in walking, according to the “ covenant of grace," in holy love and happy obedience. We rejoice in knowing, that “ being justified through his grace,” we have “not received that grace of God in vain;" that God having freely (not for the sake of our willing or running, but through the blood of the Lamb) reconciled us to himself, we run in the strength which he hath given us, the way of his commandments. He hath “ girded us with strength unto the war," and we gladly “ fight the good fight of faith.” We rejoice, through him who liveth in our hearts by faith, to “ lay hold on eternal life.” This is our rejoicing: that as our “Father worketh hitherto," so (not by our own might or wisdom, but through the power of his Spirit, freely given in Christ Jesus) we also work the works of God. And may be work in us, whatsoever is well pleasing in his sight! To whom be the praise for ever and ever!
# It may easily be observed, that the preceding Discourse
describes the Experience of those that are strong in Faith, But hereby those that are weak in Faith may be discouraged: to prevent which the following Discourse may be
SIN IN BELIEVERS.
2 CORINTHIANS v. 17.
If any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature.”
I. 1. IS there then sin in him that is in Christ? Does sin remain in one that believes in him.? Is there any sin in them that are born of God, or are they wholly delivered from it ? Let no one imagine this to be a question of mere curiosity: or that it is of little importance whether it be determined one way or the other. Rather it is a point of the utmost moment to every serious Christian : the resolving of wbich very nearly concerns both his present and eternal happiness.
2. And yet I do not know that ever it was controverted in the primitive church. Indeed there was no room for disputing concerning it, as all Christians were agreed. And so far as I have ever observed, the whole body of ancient Christians who have left us any thing in writing, declare with one voice, that even believers in Christ, till they are
strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” have need to 66 wrestle with flesh and blood,” with an evil nature, as well as “ with principalities and powers.”
3. And herein our own church (as indeed in most points) exactly copies after the primitive; declaring, in her ninth article, “Original sin is the corruption of the nature of every
wherehy man is in his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth contrary to the Spirit. And this infection of nature doth remain, even in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek Qgomua oaqxos, is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe, yet this lust hath of itself the nature of sin."
4. The same testimony is given by all other churches : not only by the Greek and Romish church, but by every reformed church in Europe, of whatever denomination. Indeed some of these seem to carry the thing too far: so describing the corruption of heart in a believer, as scarcely to allow that he has dominion over it, but rather is in bondage thereto. And by this means they leave hardly any distinction between a believer and an unbeliever.
5. To avoid this extreme, many well-meaning men, particularly those under the direction of the late Count Zinzendorf, ran into another; affirming, that “all true believers are not only saved from the dominion of sin, but from the being of inward as well as outward sin, so that it no longer remains in them." And from them, about twenty years ago, many of our countrymen imbibed the same opinion, that even the corruption of nature is no more, in those who believe in Christ.
6. It is true, that when the Germans were pressed upon this head, they soon allowed (many of them at least) that “ sin did still remain in the flesh, but not in the heart of a believer.” And after a time, when the absurdity of this was shewn, they fairly gave up the point : allowing that sin did still remain, though not reign in him that is born of God.
7. But the English, who had received it from them, (some directly, some at second or third hand) were not so easily prevailed upon, to part with a favourite opinion. And even when the generality of them were convinced it was utterly indefensible, a few could not be persuaded to give it up, but maintain it to this day.
II. I. For the sake of those who really fear God, and desire to know 6 the truth as it is in Jesus, it may not be amiss, to consider the point with calmness and impartiality. In doing this, I use indifferently the words regenerate, justified, or believers : since though they have not precisely the same meaning, (the first implying an inward, actual change, the second a relative one, and the third, the means whereby both the one and the other are wrought :) yet they come to one and the same thing; as every one that believes, is both “ justified and born of God."
2. By sin I here understand inward sin: any sinful temper, passion or affection : such as pride, self-will, love of the world, in any kind or degree : such as lust, anger, peevishness ; any disposition, contrary to the mind which was in Christ.
3. The question is not concerning outward sin: whether a child of God commit sin or not? We all agree and earnestly maintain, “ He that committeth sin is of the devil.” We agree, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” Neither do we now enquire whether inward sin will always remain in the children of God; whether sin will continue in the soul, as long as it continues in the body; nor yet do we enquire, whether a justified person may relapse either into inward or outward sin ; but simply this, is a justified or regenerate man freed from all sin, as soon as he is justified ? Is there no sin in his heart? Nor ever after, unless he fall from grace?
4. We allow that the state of a justified person is inexa pressibly great and glorious. He is born again, not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." He is a child of God, a member of Christ, an heir of the kingdom of heaven. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keepeth his heart and mind in Christ Jesus." His very body is a “ temple of the Holy Ghost, and a habitation of God through the Spirit.” He is “ created anew in Christ Jesus :” he is washed, he is sanctified. His heart is purified by faith : he is cleansed “ from the corruption that is in the world." "The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto him.": And so long as he " walketh in love,” (which he may always