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two places; but I will mention two others which are SER M. more unquestionable, Acts v. 32. where Peter and the rest of the apostles tell the high priests and their officers, whạt evidence they had for what they preached concerning the resurrection and ascension of Christ. “ We are his witnesses of these things; 6 and so is also the holy Ghost, whom God hath “ given to them that obey him.” Not only they themselves had seen whaç they preached : but to confirm their testimony, the holy Ghost was poured fourth upon them in miraculous gifts. And Heb. iž. 3, 4. “ how shall we escape, if we neglect so great
• salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by : “ the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them
" that heard him; God also bearing them witness, “ both with signs and wonders, and with divers mi“ racles, and gifts of the holy Ghost, according to
his own will ?” So the holy Ghost gave testimony to the truth of the doctrine which the apostles preached, by those gifts which he endowed them withal, and those miracles which he enabled them
ny which the Spirit of God gave to Christ by the
SER M. which the holy Spirit gives to Christ and his doc-
trine, was the miracles which he and his apostles
Secondly, faith is in a peculiar manner attributed
wrought in us by the Spirit of God. Now although SERM.
CCXXUL it were sufficient for us to know the thing, though we were ignorant of the manner how it is done, and we might very well rest satisfied in this ; that the Spirit of God.works this faith in us, though we did not know how it does it; yet because many have, taken upon them to state and determine the particular manner how it is done, it will be requisite, in order to : the rectifying fome mistakes about it, to enquire more particularly into this matter.
Now all the ways that have been assigned, or which, I think, we can easily imagine, may be reduced to one of these six heads. When we say the Spirit of God works faith in us, we must conceive it to be done, some or all of these ways. · 1. By strengthning the faculty, that is, raising and
enabling our understanding to yield assent to the goEspel. Or,
2. By enlightening and discovering the object, that is, the conclusion to be believed. : 3. By propounding to us the arguments, or eviidence, whereby we may be persuaded of it. Or,', ? 4. By holding our minds intent upon this evidence, · till it have wrought it's effect upon us. Or,
5. By removing the impediments which hinder i our assent. Or, . 1. 6. By furthering and helping forward the efficacy
of this persuasion upon our hearts and lives.
. That the Spirit can work faith in us, any; or all of these ways, so far as they are consistent with one another, I make not the least doubt. For what man who believes, the infinite power of the divine Spirit, can make the least question, whether it can raise and heighten our faculties above their natural and ordi. nary pitch ? or whether it can discover an object to
SERM. us, with the greatest clearness and satisfaction ? or CCXXIII.
W; whether it can offer to our minds the best argu
ments, and the highest evidence that a thing is ca. pable of? or whether it can hold our minds intent upon the consideration of any thing? or whether it can remove all hindrances and impediments ? or whether it can make the persuasion of any truth effectual ? 'no man in reason can doubt of the poliibility of these. But the question is, what reason we have to assert this, or that particular manner and what necessity and convenience there is from experience, or evidence of scripture, so to do?
First of all, there seems no necessity of asserting the first ; though I will not contend with any man that shall. For if this be true, that our understandings are naturally endowed with a sufficient power to assent to any truth that is sufficiently propounded to them; then there can be no neceflity to assert, that the Spirit of God doth, in the work of faith, raise and elevate our understandings above their natural pitch. But I think it may easily be proved, that our understandings are naturally endowed with a sufficient power to affent to any truth that is sufficiently propounded to them; and that in such a cafe no. thing hinders the assent of men, but their own perverleness and obstinacy, which usually proceeds from opposition of their lufts, or pasions, or interest, to the truth which is propounded to them. For if men's understandings be not naturally endowed with a sufficient power to yield assent to the gospel, when it is sufficiently propounded to them, how can it be men's duty to believe it? or what justice can condemn thein for unbelief? But though there be no necessity of asserting, that God doch al. ways strengthen and elevate the understanding of those who believe; yet there is no reason to deny, SER M. but that God may do this when he pleaseth, and possibly he often doth it.
God is said in scripture “s to enlighten the eyes of w our understandings,” which we may, if we please, understand in this sense.; although that may be done by propounding such truths to us as we were ignorant of before, and could not have discovered, unless they had been revealed.
Secondly, the second way whereby the Spirit of God may be conceived to work faith in us, is by enlightning and discovering the object, or thing to be believed. In the case we are speaking of, the object, or thing to be believed, is the gospel : now we may imagine the Spirit of God may work a faith or persuasion of this in us, by revealing or discovering to us this proposition, that the gospel is true. But this I need not speak much to, because I do not know any that pretend to have a particular and iminediate revelation from God, that the gospel is true. So that though God may do this when he pleaseth, yet I do not know any who. assert this to be the way whereby faith is wrought in men. .
Thirdly, the Spirit of God may be conceived to work faith in us, by propounding and offering to us such arguments and evidence, as are apt to persuade us of the truth of the gospel. And this the Spirit of God, which inspired the writers of the scripture, doth mediately by the scriptures, and those characters of divinity which are in the doctrines contained in them ; and by those miracles, which are there credibly related to be wrought by the Spirit of God, for the confirmation of that doctrine. And besides this, the Spirit of God may, when he pleaseth, and probably often doth, immediately suggest those arVOL. XI: