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vi. In a word, nothing can render the most important truths powerful and operative in us, but such a digestion of them by serious
and devout meditation, as may in a manner : · incorporate them with us. And this the
Scripture plainly teaches, when to fignify the force and virtue of the gospel above that of the law, it uses these words : For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, faith the Lord, I will put my lares into their minds, and write them in their hearts, Heb. viii. 10. intimating, that no laws, no principles can ever influence us, till they be deeply imprinted in our hearts.
To wind up all. There are several kinds of knowledge of the same trutks: there is a knowledge, which serves us only as Pilga's top did Moles; to new us Candan, but not to bring us into it. There is again a knowLedge, which serves us only as the talent did the wicked servants; not to procure rewards, but punishments. And finally, there is a knowledge, which like the talents in the hand of the faithful and good steward, inriches us firš7, and recommends us afterwards to higher trusts and dignities ; which improves and perfects our nature first, and then puts us into possession of such bleffings, as only nature thus improved and perfečted is capable of. And this knowledge must not be a slight, superficial, and undigefted one;
it must not be a confused and obscure, a weak and imperfect one: this is not the knowledge which will bring forth those ex- . cellent fruits, which we have reason to ex. pect from true illumination. But it must be a knowledge that has all the quite contrary.characters: even such as I have before described at large. That this is an observation of the greatest weight and moment, is evident to any one who will give himself leave to make any reflection on the present state of Christianity. For how does the power of darkness prevail amidst the light of the gospel? How has the devil erected his throne in the midst of that Church, which should be the kingdom of God? and sin and death reign where life and immortality are preached ? W bence is this ? Are inen ignorant of those truths which make up the system of true wisdom? This is not easy to be imagined; scarcely of the darkeft corners of the popish churches, much less of ours. And therefore we must conclude, that this is because our knowledge is not such as it ought to be, with respect to its clearness, certainty, and digestion. .
СНА Р. ІІ. of the fruits and attainment of illuminati
on. That illumination does not depend so much upon a man's outward fortune, extraordinary parts, acquired learning, &c. as upon his moral qualifications, such as humility, impartiality, and love of the truth. 4. Directions for the attainment of illumination. 1. That we do not suffer our minds to be engaged in queft of knowledge foreign to our purpose. 2. That we apply our jelves with a very tender and senfible concern to the study of illuminating truths. 3. That we act conformable to those measures of light which we have at. tained. 4. That we frequently address our felves to God by prayer for the illuminati. on of his grace. The chapter concluded with a prayer of Fulgentius.
Aving dispatched the notion of illuM m ination in the foregoing chapter, and shewed both what truths, and what sort of knowledge of them is requisite to it; I am next to treat,
1. Of the fruits : and,
9. 1. As to the fruits of illumination I have the less need to infilt upon them because whatever can be said on this head, has
been in a manner anticipated : all the characters of illuminating truths and illuminating knowledge being such as sufficiently declare the blessed effects of true illumination. I will therefore be very port on this head; and only just mention two advantages of illumination. As the use of light is especially twofold, to delight and guide us ; so do we reap two benefits from illumination.
1. The first and most immediate one is, that it sets the whole man, and the whole life right; that it fixes our affe&tions on their proper and natural object, and directs all our actions to their true end. I do not mean, that the understanding constantly and necessarily influences and determines the will. Experience tells us, that we have a fatal liberty : that our affections are too often independant of our reason; that we fn against the dictates of conscience; that we pursue false pleasure, and a false intereft, in opposition to the true, and in plain opposition to our judgment too; at least to a Jedate and calm one. And the reason of all this is, because we consist of two different and repugnant principles, a body and a foul : and are sollicited by two different worlds, a temporal and an eternal one. But all this notwithstanding, 'tis certain that illumination in the mind has a mighty influence upon us : for it is continually exciting in us wise desires and excellent purposes: 'Tis always
alluring and inviting us towards our loveraign good, and restraining and deterring us from fin and death: it alarms, disquiets, disturbs, and persecutes us as oiten as we err and wander from the path of life. In one word, the great work of illumination is, to be always representing the beauties and pleasures, and the beatitude and glory of virtue; and remonftrating the evils and dishonours, the deformities and dangers, of vice : so that a man will never be at rest, who has this light within him, till it be either extinguished or obeyed,
2. This light within us, if it be followed and complied with, not muddied and disturbed ; if it be not quenched and extinguished by wilful sin, or unpardonable ofcitancy and remisness ; if, in a word, its influence be not interrupted, disperses all our fears as well as errors, creates an un,, speakable tranquillity in the soul, spreads over us a calm and gloricus sky, and makes every thing in us and about us look gay, and verdant, and beautiful. The disipation of Pagan darkness, and all participation or resemblances of it; deliverance from a state of bondage and wrath, the peace of God, the love of Jesus, the fellowship of the Holy Ghoft, the immortality of the soul, the refur. rection of the body, the perfečtion and blesednefs of eternity. Good God! what surprizing, what ravishing themes are these for the