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man the Syrian, after his miraculous cure of his leprosy, (2 Kings v. 15, &c.)
So of spiritual joy, as in the stony-ground hearers, (Matth. xiii. 20.) and particularly many of John the Baptist's hearers, (John v. 35.) So of zeal, as in Jehu, (2 Kings X. 6.) and in Paul before his conversion, (Gal. i. 14-Phil. iii. 6.) and the unbelieving Jews, (Acts xxii. 3—Rom. x. 2.) So graceless persons may have earnest religious desires, which may be like Balaam's desires, which he expresses under an extraordinary view of the happy state of God's people, as distinguished from all the rest of the world, (Numb. xxiii. 9, 10.) They may also have a strong hope of eternal life, as the Pharisees had.
And as men, while in a state of nature, are capable of a resemblance of all kinds of religious affection, so nothing hinders but that they may have many of them together. And what appears in fact, abundantly evinces that it is thus very often. Commonly, when false affections are raised high, many of them attend each other. The multitude that attended Christ into Jerusalem, after that great miracle of raising Lazarus, seem to be moved with many religious affections at once, and all in a high degree. They seem to be filled with admiration ; and there was a shew of high affection of love ; also a great degree of reverence, in their laying their garments on the ground for Christ to tread upon. They express great gratitude to him, for the great and good works be had wrought, praising him with loud voices for his salvation ; and earnest desires of the coming of God's kingdom, which they supposed Jesus was now about to set up; and they shewed great hopes and raised expectations of it, expecting it would immediately appear. Hence they were filled with joy, by which they were so animated in their acclamations, as to make the whole city ring again with the noise of them; and they appeared great in their zeal and forwardness to attend Jesus, and assist him without further delay, now in the time of the great feast of the passover, to set up his kingdom.
It is easy, from the nature of the affections, to give an account why, when one affection is raised very high, that it should excite others; especially if the affection which is raised high, be that of counterfeit love, as it was in the multitude who cried Hosanna. This will naturally draw many other affections after it. For, as was observed before, love is the chief of the affections, and as it were the fountain of them. Let us suppose a person, who has been for some time in great exercise and terror through fear of hell; his heart weakened with distress and dreadful apprehensions, upon the brink of despair; and who is all at once delivered, by being firmly made to believe, through some delusion of Satan, that God has pardoned him, and accepts him as the object of his
dear love, and promises him eternal life. Suppose also, that this is done through some vision, or strong imagination suddenly excited in him, of a person with a beautiful countenance smiling on him—with arms open, and with blood dropping down—which the person conceives to be Christ, without any other enlightening of the understanding to give a view of the spiritual, divine excellency of Christ and his fulness, and of the way of salvation revealed in the gospel. Or, suppose some voice or words coming as if they were spoken to him, such as these, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee ; or, Fear not, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom, which he takes to be immediately spoken by God to him, though there was no preceding acceptance of Christ, or closing of the heart with him. I say, if we should suppose such a case, what various passions would naturally crowd at once, or one after another, into such a person's mind ? It is easy to be accounted for, from the mere principles of nature, that a person's heart, on such an occasion, should be raised up to the skies with transports of joy, and be filled with fervent affection to that imaginary God or Redeemer, who, he supposes, has thus rescued him from the jaws of such dreadful destruction, and received him with such endearment, as a peculiar favourite. Is it any wonder that now he should be filled with admiration and gratitude, his mouth should be opened, and be full of talk about what he has experienced ? That, for a while, he should think and speak of scarce any thing else, should seem to magnify that God who has done so much for him, call upon others to rejoice with him, appear with a cheersul countenance, and talk with a loud voice? That, however, before his deliverance, he was full of quarrellings against the justice of God, now it should be easy for him to submit to God, own his unworthiness, cry out against himself, appear to be very humble before God, and lie at his feet as tame as a lamb; now confessing his unworthiness, and crying out, Why me? Why me? Thus Saul, who, when Samuel told him that God had appointed him to be king, makes answer, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? Much in the language of David, the true saint, 2 Sam. vii. 18. Who am I, and what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? Is it to be wondered at, that now he should delight to be with them who acknowledge and applaud his happy circumstances, and that he should love all such as esteem and admire him and what he has experienced ? That he should have violent zeal against all who make nothing of such things, be disposed openly to separate, and as it were to proclaim war with all who are not of his party? That he should now glory in his sufferings, and be very much for condemning and censuring all who seem to doubt, or make any difficulty of these things ? And, while the warmth of his affections last, that he should be mighty forward to take pains, and to deny himself, and to promote the interest of a party favouring such things? Or that he should seem earnestly desirous to increase the number of them, as the Pharisees compassed sea and land to make one prosclyte* ? I might mention many other things, which will naturally arise in such circumstances. He must have but slightly considered buman nature, who thinks that such things as these cannot arise in this manner, without any supernatural interposition of divine power.
As from true divine love flow all Christian affections, so from counterfeit love naturally flow other false affections. In both cases, love is the fountain, and the other affections are the streams. The various faculties, principles, and affections of the human nature, are as it were many channels from one fountain. If there be sweet water in the fountain, sweet water will flow out into those various channels; but if the water in the fountain be poisonous, then poisonous streams will also flow into all those channels. So that the channels and streams will be alike, corresponding one with another; but the great difference will lie in the nature of the water. Or man's nature may be compared to a tree with many branches, coming from one root: if the sap in the root be good, there will also be good sap distributed throughout the branches, and the fruit brought forth will be good and wholesome; but if the sap in the root and stock be poisonous, so it will be in many branches, and the fruit will be deadly. The tree in both cases may be alike; there may be an exact resemblance in shape; but the difference is found only in eating the fruit. It is thus, in some measure at least, oftentimes between saints and hypocrites. There is sometimes a very great similitude between true and false experiences in their appearance, and in what is expressed by the subjects of them ; the difference between them is much like the difference between the dreams of Pharaoh's chief butler and baker. They seemed to be much alike, insomuch that when Joseph interpreted the chief butler's dream, that he should be delivered from his imprisonment, and restored to the king's favour, and his honourable office in the palace, the chief baker had raised hopes and expectations, and told his dream also. But he was wofully disappointed; for though his dream was so much like the happy and wellboding dream of his companion, yet it was quite contrary in its issue.
*" Associating with godly men does not prove that a man has grace: Ahithophel was David's companion. Sorrows for the amictions of the church, and desires for the conversion of souls, do not prove it. These things may be found in carnal men, and so can be no evidences of grace. (Stoddard's Nature of Saving Conversion, p. 82.)
SECT. VIII. Nothing can certainly be determined concerning the nature of
the affections, that comforts and joys seem to follow in a certain order.
Many persons seem to be prejudiced against affections and experiences that come in such a method as has been much insisted on by many divines; first, such awakenings, fears and awful apprehensions followed with such legal humblings, in a sense of total sinfulness and helplessness, and then, such and such light and comfort. They look upon all such schemes, laying down such methods and steps, to be of men's devising: and particularly if high affections of joy follow great distress and terror, it is made by many an argument against those affections. But such prejudices and objections are without reason or scripture. Surely it cannot be unreasonable to suppose, that before God delivers persons from a state of sin and exposedness to eternal destruction, he should give them some considerable sense of the evil from which he delivers ; that they may be delivered sensibly, and understand their own salvation, and know something of what God does for them. As men that are saved are in two exceeding different states, first a state of condemnation, and then in a state of justification and blessedness; and as God, in the work of salvation, deals with them suitably to their intelligent nature; so it seems reasonable, and agreeable to God's wisdom, that men who are saved, should be in these two states sensibly; that they should be first sensible of their absolute extreme necessity, and afterwards of Christ's sufficiency and God's mercy through him.
And that it is God's manner of dealing with men, to lead them into a wilderness, before he speaks comfortably to them, and so to order it, that they shall be brought into distress, and made to see their own helplessness, and absolute dependence on his power and grace, before he appears to work any great deliverance for them, is abundantly manifest by the scripture. Then is God wont to repent himself for his professing people, when their strength is gone, and there is none shut up or left: and when they are brought to see that their false gods cannot help them, and that the rock in whom they trusted is vain, Deut. xxxii. 36, 37. Before God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were prepared for it, by being made to see that they were in an evil case, and to cry unto God, because of their hard bondage, Exod. ji. 23. and v. 19. And before God wrought that great deliverance for them at the Red sea, they 'were brought into great distress, the wilderness had shut them in, they could not turn to the right hand nor the left. The Red sea was before them, the great Egyptian VOL. V.
host behind, and they were brought to see that they could do nothing to help themselves, and that if God did not help them, they should be immediately swallowed up. Then God appeared, and turned their cries into songs. So before they were brought to their rest, and to enjoy the milk and honey of Canaan, God led them through a great and terrible wilderness, that he might humble them, and teach them what was in their heart, and so do them good in their latter end, Deut. viii. 2, 16. The woman that had the issue of blood twelve years, was not delivered, until she had first spent all her living on earthly physicians, and could not be healed of any, and so was left helpless, having no more money to spend. Then she came to the great Physician, without money or price, and was healed by him, Luke viii. 43, 44.
Before Christ could answer the request of the woman of Canaan, he first seemed utterly to deny her, and humbled her, and brought her to own herself worthy to be called a dog; and then he shewed her mercy, and received her as a dear child, Matth. xv. 22, &c. The apostle Paul, before a remarkable deliverance, was pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life; but had the sentence of death in himself, that he might not trust in himself, but in God that raiseth the dead, 2 Cor. i. 8, 9, 10. There was first a great tempest, and the ship was covered with the waves, and just ready to sink, and the disciples were brought to cry to Jesus, Lord, save us, ue perish ; then the winds and seas were rebuked, and there was a great calm, Matth. viii. 24–26. The leper, before he was cleansed, must have his mouth stopped, by a covering on his upper lip, and was to acknowledge his great misery and utter uncleanness, by rending his clothes, and crying, Unclean, unclean, Lev. xiii. 45. And backsliding Israel, before God heals them, are brought to acknowledge that they have sinned, and have not obeyed the voice of the Loril; to see that they lie down in their shame, and that confusion covers them; that in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains, and that God only can save them, Jer. iii. 23, 24, 25. Joseph, who was sold by his brethren, and therein was a type of Christ, brings his brethren into great perplexity and distress, to reflect on their sin, and to say, we are verily guilty, and at last to resign up themselves entirely into his hands for bondmen. Then he reveals himself to them, as their brother and their saviour.
If we consider those extraordinary manifestations which God made of himself to saints of old, we shall find that he commonly first manifested himself in a way wbich was terrible, and then by those things that were comfortable. So it was with Abraham ; first, a horror of great darkness fell upon him, and then God revealed himself to him in sweet promises, Gen. xv. 12, 13. So it