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would not have immediately left their nets, the ship, and their father, and followed him, Matt. iv. 18. 22. So, likewise, when the blessed Jesus called Matthew, he was sitting at the receipt of custom, Matt. ix. 9. getting riches, engaged in business; and sharing largely in this world's goods; and we cannot suppose he would have so readily forsaken All to follow Christ, if the Holy Spirit had not inclined him thereto. "When the inward call of the Spirit accompanies the ❝ outward call of the word, the soul readily complies, ❝ and presently yields obedience to the voice of God. "Christ oft times speaks by his word to our ear, "and we hear not, we stir not; but when he speaks

by his Spirit to our hearts, Satan shall not hold us "down, the world shall not keep us back, but we "shall arise and follow our Lord and Master."* And when Christ called Zaccheus, a divine power and energy went along with his words, as we may gather from the effect they had upon him; for he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully, Luke, xix. 6. And so innumerable instances might be heaped together to evince this doctrine, and to show that the Holy Ghost adds a vital power and influence to the word, and makes it effectual to the illumination and conversion of souls. Yea, I might add, every fresh convert is an instance of the truth of it; and if you are converted, you will need no further arguments to prove it.

* Bishop Hall.

The application of this is easy. Hence we learn not to lean to our own understandings, nor to think by our own natural abilities, without the assistance of divine grace, to attain a saving knowledge of God's word.

"Absurd, (saith a learned bishop of our Church,) is the doctrine of the Socinians, and some others, "that unregenerate men, by a mere natural percep❝tion, without any divine superinfused light, (they

are the words of Episcopius,* and they are wicked "words,) may understand the whole law, even all things requisite unto faith and godliness; foolishly "confounding and, (impiously deriding, as too many "do in this present day,) the spiritual and divine "sense of holy scriptures with the grammatical con"struction." Many read the scriptures, yet never understand them, because they trust to their own understanding, instead of depending upon the teaching and influence of the Holy Spirit. A person can no more understand the scriptures savingly without the illumination of the Holy Ghost, than a man càn understand Greek or Hebrew, or any other language which he hath never learned. The scriptures are all an unknown language to an unenlightened heart. Learned men often think they understand the sacred

* Sine lumine supernaturalis Potentiæ superinfuso. Episcopp. Disput. 3.

† Bishop Reynolds's Sinfulness of Sin.

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writings, because they know the literal meaning of the words, dictionaries and lexicons are their tutors and governors, and the letter of the text is the highest of their attainments. And thus far natural men may aspire they may compass the grammatical construction of the words, when yet they have no inward experience of evangelical doctrine in their hearts. Men may be well versed in science and philosophy, and well instructed in the languages; but unless they are taught, not by critics and commentators, but by the Spirit of God, they know nothing yet as they ought to know, 1 Cor. viii. 2. A moderate skill in the languages is serviceable in determining the true sense of words; yet if men stop here, how far short do they fall of the one thing needful! They are acquainted with the letter that killeth, but ignorant of the Spirit which giveih life, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The veil is yet untaken away in reading the Old Testament and the New, ver. 14. A great deal of learning in the head, with no grace in the heart, does frequently fill men with pride, blind their minds, and harden their hearts, and sink them into eternal darkness and destruction.

Never, therefore, take the sacred volume in your hand without lifting up your heart to God: Beg of God to give you the light of his Spirit, to lead you into the light of divine truth. The reason why persons read the scriptures to little or no purpose is, because they do not call upon the Lord for a blessing upon their reading; they take up the scriptures with

as much carelesness and indifference as any other book, neither considering the weakness and shallowness of their own judgment, nor yet the mysterious nature of scriptural truths: hence the word of God is to them a dead letter, a book sealed, and it strikes. with no power or demonstration upon their hearts. And besides, I think it is no wonder men fall into dangerous errors and heresies, if they trust to their own natural parts, and make the illuminating grace of the Spirit neither the object of their faith, nor the subject of their prayers. Does God do them any injustice in leaving them to their own wisdom and understanding, seeing they, place so much confidence therein as to acknowledge no necessity of a supernatural and divine illumination? Reading the scriptures without the light of the Spirit, is but an unprofitable exercise; it is in effect reading without eyes. We cannot understand the inspired writings but by the same Spirit which indited them. The Holy Ghost, which dictated them at first to the apostles, must interpret and explain them to us, or esle we shall never acquire a saving knowledge of them. "Wicked "men, (saith Mr. Herbert,) however learned, do not "know the scriptures, because they feel them not, "and because they are not understood but with the

same Spirit that wrote them." This may seem strange doctrine to a carnal mind, and to a person unacquainted with the power of godliness; but a soul that knows by experience what it is to be in doubt when salvation is at stake, will be glad to hear of the direction of the Spirit, and will readily depend

upon it, and heartily acquiesce in it. And, indeed, when we are under a due sense of the weakness of our own judgment, and cast our eyes abroad on the world, and observe what innumerable errors there are, and how many abler and wiser heads than our own are and have been deceived, how do our souls tremble! What hope could we have? Or where should we flee for relief, but to the teaching and unction of the eternal Spirit? This is what we are to rely upon; this is what we are to trust to and those who are under a right apprehension of things will find themselves constrained to pray to God for the illumination and manuduction of his Holy Spirit.. And prayer is the life of study: those who study the scriptures with incessant prayer, will not fail to be led into the true meaning of them. Bene orasse est bene studuisse, was a saying of Luther: They study best, who pray most. And God will certainly vouchsafe his help to all sincere devout supplicants. "The eyes of ❝ our understanding shall be irradiated with a celestial beam, and we shall feel an internal operation of "the Spirit on our hearts communicating light and wisdom." And how glorious is it when souls experience this heavenly illumination! Then, as the apostle speaks, they are brought out of darkness into marvellous light: Marvellous light indeed: Wonderful light! They are filled with wonder and astonish

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See Dr. Edwards on the Excellency and Perfection of the Scriptures.

† Davpasov pos, 1 Pet. ii. 9.

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