Chapter 40

Of Mr. John Hunt’s unapt way of laying down Marks and Signs, in a brief Examination of his three special notes of Trial of an Interest in Christ.

“I shall {says he} only mention three special marks and signs of our being interested in Christ, and they are not only peculiar to some strong Saints, but common to all that are united to him; yea, so common, that such as want them can never make out {from Arminian principles} their interest in Christ. As first, a cordial reliance on him. Secondly, a dear love to him. Thirdly, sincere desires and endeavors after a universal conformity to him.” {Page 132}

Here he thinks he has hit it, but most certainly he has missed it in this triple imagination. For, let anyone tell me {and be sure that I look for it from himself in the number} why there is not the mark laid down that concerns the principle faculties of the soul? And these are the Understanding and Conscience. {“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Heb.10:22.} Here is a mark for the will, reliance; for the affections, love and desire; but where is anything for the Understanding? {“The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live.” Psal.119:144. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me; seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hos.4:6.} Again, where is anything thought on to purge the conscience, and wash the heart in order to a pure love? These things were forgotten, and without them the others are not worth remembering. ‘Tis probable Judas blindly relied on Christ, and seeing what miracles his Master had done, thought to get money, and save his Master too, though he betrayed him. Matt.26:49. What a dear love had Peter to his Master! He would fight for him! He would draw his sword, Jn.18:10, without the slightest hesitation! Not a priest of them all, not a persecutor of the gang should have had his Master! No, he should not. And yet presently afterwards he denied him. Now, when he denied him, if he had been left to measure himself by his old mark, what was his love-mark worth? Was it is his love to Christ or Christ’s look that disentangled him? {“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord.” Lk.22:61.} Did he not question his own interest? If he did not, it was because he did not go by his love-sign. I am sure his restoration is set forth as a new Conversion, as if his old work had been a cheat. {“I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Lk.22:32.} Did not the Israelites of old {strangers to their own hearts, as well as incapacitated as to any true knowledge of the LORD, Deut.11:16,} show forth their sincere desires and endeavors after universal conformity to God, when they told Moses, “all that the Lord hath spoken we will do?” Exod.19:8. And when they cried out zealously at another time, “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD.” Josh.24:16. And yet Joshua seeing their blindness would not take up this as a mark of grace, but beats them all from it, and discourages them from resting here, with a notable repulse, “ye cannot serve the Lord.” {“And Joshua said unto the people, ye cannot serve the LORD; for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” Josh.24:19.} You endeavor after a universal conformity to him! You don’t know what you say. You are ignorant of God’s Righteous and Holy Nature, Deut.7:21, and so long as you come to him in your own blindness, and your ignorant sincerity, ye cannot serve the Lord; for he is an Holy God; he is a Jealous God, he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins, in the blind way you expect your pardons. {“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Ezek.36:22-23.}

However, let me examine what he hath laid down particularly. The first Sign, “is a cordial reliance and dependence on him for life and salvation.” Does he call this Examination? For so he had proposed in the form of his use. It should therefore have been Examination, and not Assertion. Besides, the form of the inquiry should have been passive, as to the soul. Tit.3:5-6. Hath God the Spirit wrought a reliance upon the Person of Christ? How has he wrought it in thy soul? For the passive {the effectual work of the Spirit in Divine Quickening apart from any exertion on the part of the Sinner} includes the active {the response of the Sinner, under the Influence of Divine Grace} and secures it. If the Holy Ghost hath infused and wrought the reliance-grace, there shall be, by the effectual work of the Holy Ghost, the reliance-act. Eph.1:11. The passive doth not go without the active; only the deceit is, there is often an active, such a one as ‘tis {and ‘tis the Spirit must discover it a counterfeit} without the passive. There’s the man relies, and pretends it is cordial, that he does it with his heart; but all the while it may be the Holy Ghost hath never opened his eyes, and shown him what in Christ to rely upon distinctly. Rev.3:17, 18 – Isa.42:7, 16. The Object of Gospel Faith is unknown. Again, as to the principle in the soul, it may be a cordial reliance, what’s that? A reliance of the heart and yet not right in the sight of God, when ‘tis right in a man’s own eyes. {“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psal.139:23-24.} It may be cordial; but what then, if it be not the Holy Ghost’s cordial? If it be not the reliance of his Workmanship in Christ Jesus, viz., the new creature, wrought in men of the Union in Christ Jesus? Professors commonly put themselves off with a mere cheat; and too many ministers help to propagate the deceit.

You wonder that Conversion-work does not go on, and complain {some of you} that Saints grow dead, and worse than heretofore; and you often bewail their decays. Oh! That the Spirit of God would rip you up, Saint and Sinner! Conversion-work will never go on {in this day} after the fashion you expect. Lk.24:21 – Acts 1:6. Nor will saints recover their decays and apostasies {at this day} as you apprehend. You may toil and row hard to get the ship to shore, Jonah 1:13, but the Sea works against you, and ‘tis impossible, as you go on, to advance the Work of Christ. Throw your darling Jonah’s, many of your good men and brave books, overboard, and you will soon see a calm in the face of things brought about from Heaven beyond what you expect. Otherwise ‘tis against all the Spirit’s Work to look that the Spirit should be divided against Himself. {“But he is in one mind, and who can turn him; and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” Job 23:13.} Let men know, the Holy Ghost hath shown more light in England than all this comes to; now as you are afraid of Antinomianism and will not go forward {in the right notion of the Doctrine} the Lord the Spirit will not go backward, to undo the things he has wrought. His next mark follows.

The second Sign of an interest in Christ “is a dear love and affection to him.” Here again, he forgot to examine {according to the nature of his use} how that soul had been led into the love of God to apprehend it, {“and the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God,” II Thes.3:5,} before it could reach so far as a dear love and affection to him. How hath love been written on thine own heart, thou that teachest another, Rom.2:21, and hast been drawn forth to Christ? Hast thou loved him the more for his emptying thee of thy old way of preaching? Come, Brother, how much of this sign, hath God the Spirit wrought in thy poor soul?

Next, we have the Sign of “trying your interest in him by your earnest desires and endeavors after a universal conformity to him.” Examination is here distracted into evil counsel, and his use turned into a mere abuse. Alas! What conceptions can any man make of examination that thinks after the flesh, as this preacher directs him? This is a mark of the Law, not a mark of the Gospel. How do men cheat themselves by their earnest desires and endeavors after a universal conformity to the Lord Christ? What do all Mr. Hunt’s earnest desires come to? Has he not earnestly desired to love his Brother? And yet how often has he defamed him? What is his sign or mark worth? His mark and sign of a universal conformity to Christ, that can’t leave off the old way of backbiting and calumny, which the Apostle, Rom.3:8, calls a slanderous reporting, and as some affirm that we say? Is it his love-mark, by misrepresenting secret letters {since this vindication of the Gospel was taken in hand} to labor and stir up the minds of the people, that some of them will not look into a certain book, entitled, “A Warning from the Winds,” because it was written by one whom he can’t love, nor heartily forgive? Lev.19:16. What a poor mark now must his endeavor after universal conformity to Christ become! For my part, I do not see after all examination, more of the mark in this brother than in another Preacher. What then, must his interest in Christ be tried by this? Rom.2:16. No. This had more need to be tried and mended by his Interest in Christ. Let me consider his unapt way of signs further.

How can a man know any one of these marks and signs of an Interest in Christ, but by Christ Himself, who is the true Light, and given me of the Father, by the most Absolute Grace, antecedently to all these marks themselves? {“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Jn.8:12. “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” Isa.42:6. “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isa.60:3.} What does it avail me to lay me down clouding marks of an interest in Christ? Secondary, marks, when all the primary ones, the gift of the Father, the Spirit of the Son, the translation into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, Col.1:13, the calling out of darkness into marvelous light, I Pet.2:9, the seal of the Holy Spirit of promise, &c., II Cor.1:22, are all left out? He gives us {he pretends} three special marks. How can there be one special mark where fundamental marks are not put under Superstructure-marks? {“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Eph.2:20.} But all marks of the first rank shut out? What does subsequent marks avail, not built upon Grace Antecedent? What signify spots and clouds, soul-upbraidings, and conscience-flashings to be our marks? I Jn.3:20. And in short, what is all the train of our own righteousness to be the evidence of our Interest in the Righteousness of Christ? Are not all our righteousnesses taken up together, as he lays them down, filthy rags, Isa.64:6, and not the sign of the Son of Man himself? The word saith in another case, marks and signs shall follow upon Christ; {“these signs shall follow them that believe,” Mk.16:17;} and so here, ‘tis a man’s first being in Christ, and then all things becoming new. {“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Cor.5:17.} Whereas the usual way of our marks-men and signs-men is to put marks and signs first, and make Christ and an Interest in Christ follow upon marks and signs. I Cor.6:5. Union is first, the new creature, as the fruit of that Union, is next, and all things becoming new last of all. Now I can never judge of the Last but by the First. If otherwise, I am deceived in the matter, Job 10:15; whereas I can judge in the light of Christ of the first thing by its own marvelous shine. Why should men act so preposterously, as to give me their marks which are but clouds to hide Christ, and their evidences as a false gloss to represent him, when Christ himself is to be seen and known in the soul only by his own light? {“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Cor.4:6.} Let the Father’s Gift of Christ to me be discerned in the Faith of the Spirit’s Operation in my soul, and I have an essential mark of an Interest in Christ, whilst Mr. Hunt’s three special marks are but accidental ones, and come in at second hand. {“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son.” Gal.1:15-16. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” Eph.1:17-18.}

Who can trust Christ with a Supernatural Reliance, who never discerned the Mystery of his Person, and the Grace of God in and with him by a supernatural eye? Who can love Christ that does not see him given of the Father to be mine or thine? I can’t love a stranger {“I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed,” II Tim.1:12,} with that kind of love wherewith I love an intimate. {“And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, &c.” Exod.34:5-7.} I declare I could not find in my sinful soul that I loved Christ, till I was made to see him by Faith of the Holy Ghost; and by the Gospel-sight of him I was brought to believe by the same Holy Spirit, that the Father had given me Christ, and in that Gift had admirably revealed Christ to and in my soul. {“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I Jn.5:11-12.} I could not perceive the love of God, but wrath, quarreling, a murmuring at God, shutting out what now I find most pleasant to my soul, till my fearful heart was made strong to take God at his Word.

My first sign lay in discerning Christ, seeing the Son of God, and discerning things as God hath laid them out in order, by his Grace, before the eyes of my soul, according to what he hath made things to be, in Christ, before the Foundation of the World. This was my special sign, and this sign of a discerning Faith in order to come, in order to lay hold, Mr. Hunt hath wrongfully shut out. {“And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isa.29:18-19.} Therefore let a man cordially rely upon a Christ whom he never saw by Faith of the Operation of God, Col.2:12, and his cordial reliance will prove but a piece of old Adam’s flesh set a-strut; and the more cordially such a soul relies, the more ignorantly he is a zealous hypocrite. {“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jer.5:31.}

Objection: The denying of marks and evidences of Grace in Sanctification is a sad mark of an Antinomian, both in this and in former days!

Answer: We do not absolutely deny marks and signs of Grace in Sanctification, but we absolutely disown the unapt way and disorder {for it is every jot of it corruption} in which men have commonly laid them down. {“How is the gold become dim; how is the most fine gold changed; the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.” Lam.4:1.} And I can see the common way of marking to be no more than the spots and shame of the men who have left their mark behind them. For, I cannot see from the Word, how there can be any of the Holy Ghost’s Evidences, but such as are presented in the true Light of Christ. {“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” I Jn.2:20. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” I Jn.5:20. “Evil men understand not judgment; but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” Prov.28:5. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” Jn.16:13.} Now our acts are none of the Holy Ghost’s Evidences, nor Christ’s Light, in which our Evidences from the Operations and Evidences of the Holy Ghost are seen. {“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Cor.2:10-12.} The Holy Ghost hath laid down many things in the Word, which he also works up the saints unto spiritually, II Cor.5:5, such as reliance, dear love to Christ, desires after conformity unto him, &c., which yet the Holy Ghost did never intend as marks of an Interest in Christ. Marks are Impressions of the Truth under the Spirit’s sealing them up unto the soul. Gal.5:22. Now there be many Truths of the Word which he works up the heart to, which yet is no ways congruous to his Office to seal up as a mark, because his Office is not to mark and seal up from our acts but from Christ. {“He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Jn.16:14-15.} He is the Comforter from Christ, not the Comforter from us. So that as to acts of Sanctification, we take them up as Truths revealed in the Word, and therein warranted by the Holy Ghost, and through Grace can bless God for the Holy Ghost’s work at the bottom of our acts. But yet we dare not say, the Holy Ghost seals up any of our acts, as the marks and signs of our Interest in Christ. Oh! No such matter, for I dare go by none of these confidences. They will not bear me out. They are neither God, nor Christ, nor the Spirit; nor are they God’s own Operations sealed upon my heart in my Gospel views of Christ. What are marks and signs in that which is spiritual without the Spirit of Christ?

I am sure no man can judge of the Spirit’s work by nature-light; nor desire to be conformed to Christ, who never supernaturally beheld Christ, whom he desires to be conformed to. {“Mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isa.6:5.} The soul must judge of the nature of this conformity {for otherwise in the main he cheats himself, Rev.3:1,} by the Person of the Spirit Himself, as Paraclete, Jn.14:26, or one called of God to be in Office for our Salvation beside the Mediator; and so using his own Grace in the soul; that is, exciting and acting by my faculty whatsoever good the Lord works in me; or else I shall take some plausible and religious acts of my own spirit to be the fruits of the Spirit of Christ. Oh! How do men cheat themselves in the common way of marks and signs!

The usual procedure of men {for Mr. Hunt only follows a multitude} in trying their state by the common marks {and yet they call these special ones} must be found to be a grand disappointment. {“Take heed that ye be not deceived; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near; go ye not therefore after them.” Lk.21:8.} This may fully enough be proved by comparing their marks with the Scripture-marks. {“He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Jn.8:47.} For, men usually go by their marks separately, with a total exclusion and sinful neglect of the Marker, the Holy Ghost Himself. {“The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” Dan.5:23.} But thus the Scripture in marks and signs does not. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Eph.1:13-14. The Apostle here does not try interest in Christ by separate trusting, but discovers how the Faith of God’s elect is prepared to receive the seal of Christ upon the heart by the Holy Spirit of promise. So, II Cor.1:20-22, “for all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Another preacher than the Apostle should perhaps of made my separate reliance upon the promise the mark of my interest, without any notice of my reliance upon the Promise in Christ, founded on Christ, built on Christ, and so the promise only yea and Amen in Christ. {“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Eph.1:3.} Likewise Christ is our Establishment, who founds the Promise and bears up all the Word, as in verse 20. Nor perhaps should any notice in the mark have been taken {by another} of the Establisher, Christ, as in verse 21. Nor any regard been given to the Sealer, nor to the Spirit as the earnest-seal in our hearts, {“ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” Rom.8:15-16,} but this same other preacher would have gone along with a little of the Christian Religion Naturalized.

Again, they usually run on upon the common sound of the mark, but never distinguish about the Spiritual Substance of the mark itself; as to say, whether it be fallible or infallible. The Scripture does otherwise. {“Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matt.22:29.} “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life,” says the testimony, I Jn.5:12, and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ {his Person} he is none of his.” Rom.8:9. So in I Jn.4:13, “hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Of his Spirit in Grace for Grace of Christ’s fulness. {“And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Jn.1:16.} ‘Tis by God’s bestowment of the Holy Spirit Himself, that we know that we dwell in Him and He in us, and that we partake of this Grace. ‘Tis by that Quickening Spring of Life we experience, as the LORD himself is the cause wherefore we are begotten in all our new and lively acts. Rom.7:6. So I Jn.5:1-2, “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” When we love God in Christ by the Spirit of Christ indwelling, {“and the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ,” II Thes.3:5,} who stamps the true image of holiness upon the hearts of the children of God, and obey the Church-laws of Christ’s Government he hath received of the Father, Isa.22:22-24, and love our brother the more for his spirituality in the Gospel, after we are come up to such moral laws as are seen by the light of nature {the first light of all we have from Christ, as he lightens every man that comes into the world. Jn.1:9.} When we carry ourselves so to men that they judge as if we had no faults, and yet so to God in respect of it all, as if we were made up only of faults. {“Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” I Thes.2:10. “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul; I would despise my life.” Job.9:20-21.} By this we know we love the children of God. To go over these sweet points a little.

First observe, here must be the Regenerating Work of the Spirit, to believe the Glorious Mystery of the Person and Office of Christ in an Evangelical Way. Why do men put so much of their own, and shut out so much of the Glory of Christ in those very cases where they bring and lay their own? The reason is manifest from this text. ‘Tis because they believe not that Jesus is actually the Christ. {“And thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matt.1:21.} Take them in their thoughts of the Great Mystery of Godliness, I Tim.3:16, and their understandings do not behold Christ by a Work of the Spirit. Take them in their assent and consent, and yet their wills do not bow to him by a Work of the Spirit. Their hearts are not filled with him by a work of the Spirit; and so they rather believe that Jesus is a Jesus after their own fashion; that is to say, he becomes their Jesus, their Saviour, by their own faith, by their own repentance, by their own obedience and good works. {“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Rom.10:3.} And all the great matters they look for from this fabricated Jesus are, even so far as there is a great deal of their own to make him up a Jesus to them. And herein they do but think him to be such a one as themselves. For, as they believe they can’t save themselves without him, so they believe he can’t save them neither without themselves. {“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” Psal.50:21.}

Now this is not believing that Jesus is the Christ. They don’t in all this believe as born of the Spirit, in a supernatural way, but believe without it in a natural way. Acts 8:13. Therefore in their believing they look but into the surface of the matter, not into the Substance of the Truth of Christ. {“All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Matt.11:27.} For they don’t see the Father’s Commission in his Office, the Father’s Unction of the Mediator, in anointing in the Human Nature of Christ, {“for he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him,” Jn.3:34,} so as that he is every way fully and completely, before themselves, without themselves, above themselves and against themselves, their own corrupt selves, as well as for their elect selves, the Christ of God. Lk.9:20. And so they do not believe, according to the Holy Ghost’s own special mark of assurance, as born of God. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” I Jn.5:1, or born of the Holy Ghost, who is God. {“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” I Cor.12:3.}

“And every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him,” is next! If the Spirit hath not first wrought the love of God towards God, experimentally, there can be no loving of the work of God Objectively. I Jn.2:13-14. I can’t love that which is before me, if I have not something of the loveliness of the same thing wrought in me. God’s Image must be my own gracious Principle, before God’s image can be any delightful matter that draws out my gracious act towards it. Likewise, the amiable Object presented to such a one begotten of the Everlasting Father, must be another begotten of Him too. For saith the Holy Ghost, “everyone that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” I Jn.5:1. When thou art made to love God in Christ, thou art therewith made to love those that are Christ’s. Otherwise, the more like God they are, and the more Christ shines in them, and the more the Spirit owns them, the more I shall be offended, and hate that which is raised above me, out of my natural element.

And ‘tis by this we know we love the children of God, when we love God in Christ, the Glory-Man, as the original of the other noble, lovely pieces set before us. When we love the Original, we love the copies, Eph.4:32; and the copies the more, being begotten of Him, as they are the more conformed to the Original, and keep his commandments; the sum of which is to love God, and our brother as ourselves. Matt.22:40. {“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Col.3:10. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Gal.3:27.} Now to love God for what he is in Christ, and to love ourselves according to what we see ourselves to be in Christ, perfected in Christ, and then to love others that have the same similitude and likeness of the Glory-Man in them; this is the substance of the whole Law of Christ written in the heart from Christ, and kept there by the finger of God, his Holy Spirit in us. {“Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Cor.6:19-20.} And all this but as the fruit of Antecedent Love of the Father, {“we love him, because he first loved us,” I Jn.4:19,} and the Righteousness of the Mediator by Free Grace put upon us.

I find that good men often proceed upon their marks very indiscreetly. For they proceed likewise without a due regard to the marked, either in the antecedents, or acts of marking them; not confining to those whom the Scripture confines, or determines to be the marked ones, viz., the elect, the justified, the adopted, the regenerate ones; but they run to marks that are common to thousands of others. Whereas the Spirit of Christ is the guide of all the children of God. ‘Tis a sign of being God’s, by our being led by the Spirit of God, Rom.8:14, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Children of God, and guidance, or conduct by the Spirit of God, do at last meet in One.

Objection: I must have the marks of my Justification from my Sanctification; for I cannot know secret things but by more apparent.

Answer: It matters not so much whether thou knowest them, as whether the things be. Job 23:8-10. For let a man go by what marks he can, as suppose love, prayer, attendance upon gospel-means, denying a man’s self, &c., yet if a man be not born from above, all those things are mere shows, images, deceitful representations, a fair show in the flesh, Gal.6:12, and the whole scheme of it not able to present one true mark. They are all wrong ones, for want of spiritual life, and that life derived from Christ by the Spirit of God, and so a want of true holiness, or holiness of truth communicated from Christ in these marks deceitfully assumed. {“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Eph.4:23-24.} And all true, solid, essential and infallible marks of Grace are peculiar to the elect, the justified, the adopted, the new born ones; but that which men run upon in the common marks of Sanctification can make no true discovery of Grace.