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as opening the blind eyes, and raising the dead, and bringing a person into a new world. For if what has been said be considered, it will be manifest, that when a person has this sense and knowledge given him, he will view nothing as he did before; though before he knew all things after the flesh, yet henceforth he will know them so no more; and he is become a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new; agreeable to 2 Cor. v. 16, 17.
"And besides the things that have been already mentioned, there arises from this sense of spiritual beauty, all true experimental knowledge of religion; which is of itself, as it were a new world of knowledge. He that sees not the beauty of holiness, knows not what one of the graces of God's spirit is; he is destitute of any idea or conception of all gracious exercises of soul, and all holy comforts and delights, and all effects of saving influences of the spirit of God on the heart and so is ignorant of the greatest works of God, the most important and glorious ef fects of his power upon the creature and also is wholly ignorant of the saints as saints; he knows not what they are: and in effect is ignorant of the whole spiritual world.
"Things being thus, it plainly appears, that God's implanting that spiritual supernatural sense which has been spoken of, makes a great change in a man. And were it not for the very imperfect degree, in which this sense is commonly given at first, or . the small degree of this glorious light that first dawns upon the soul; the change made by this spiritual opening of the eyes, in conversion, would be much greater, and more remarkable, every way, than if a man who had been born blind, and with only the other four senses, should continue so a long time, and then at once should have the sense of seeing imparted to him, in the midst of the clear light of the sun, discovering a world of visible objects. For though sight be more noble than any of the other external senses; yet this spiritual sense which has been spoken of, is infinitely more noble than that, or any other principle of discerning that a man naturally has, and the object of this sense infinitely great and more important.
This sort of understanding, or knowledge, is that knowledge of divine things from whence all truly gracious affections do proceed: by which, therefore, all affections are to be tried. Those affections that arise wholly from any other kind of knowledge, or do result from any other kind of apprehensions of mind are vain!" pp. 225-232.
I am yours, &c.
AN INQUIRY, WHETHER, IF BELIEVING BE A SPIRITUAL ACT OF THE MIND, IT DOES NOT PRESUPPOSE THE SUBJECT OF IT TO BE SPIRITUAL.
My Dear Friend,
MR. SANDEMAN, and many of his admirers, If I understand them, consider the mind as passive in believing, and charge those who consider faith as an act of the mind with making it a work and so of introducing the doctrine of justification by a work of our own.
Mr. Ecking sometimes writes as if he adopted this principle, for he speaks of a person being "passive in receiving the truth." In another place, however, he is very explicit to the contrary. "Their notion is absurd," he says, "who, in order to appear more than ordinarily accurate, censure and solemnly condemn the idea of believing being an act of the mind. It is acknowledged, indeed, that very unscriptural sentiments have prevailed about acts of faith, when they are supposed to arise from some previous principle well disposing the minds of unbelievers toward the gospel. Yet if it be admitted possible for the soul of man to act, (and who will deny that it does?) there is nothing more properly an act of the mind than believing a truth; in which first the mind perceives it; then considers the evidence offered to support it; and finally, gives assent to it. And can this comport with inactivity? We must either say, then, that the soul acts in believing the gospel, or that the soul is an inactive spirit, which is absurd."t