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hear.” And it is on this very account that the natural man, be his wit and acquired parts and learning equal to that of angels, is judged not only unfit, but even utterly incapable, of sitting in the seat of judgment, to pass sentence on a spiritual believer. " But the natural man receiveth not- the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 1 Cor. ii. 14, 15.
Worldly wise men may judge and condemn believers for fools, for madmen, for seditious, and separatists from the church, and do frequently, as they did the Lord Jesus himself, the believer's Redeemer and Saviour, when on earth; but to know and judge them as they stand related to God in Christ as believers, is beyond the reach of their capacity. A carnal man, by his natural wit and acquired parts, may be able to know and judge who speaks the most neat and rhetorical language, and who is the ablest scholar, the unregenerate or regenerate man; but to know the heart of each, and judge whether they are reconciled to God or at enmity with him, this is not the province of any mere natural man.
I further presumed to tell the lady, that as in nature the child that is born into the world will certainly cry and crave what nature wants, if the child be living ; so in Christianity, where the Spirit of God effectually renews a soul in saving con
you when it
version, that soul will, by the influence given in the new birth, whimper and cry after spiritual food.
I need, Madam, said I, go no further for a fit medium or expedient to make your ladyship sensible of what I have now asserted than your own babe here before your eyes. Do you not remember how by its crying it comforted came into the world, by which crying you were made sensible that the babe was alive. And what, Madam, though the poor babe could not express its wants in fine words, no more than it can now, doth it follow that the poor babe is to be denied the breast or spoon till it can make a fine speech? Would tender nature suffer you to neglect your babe thus? Pray, Madam, give me leave to press this home on conscience, seeing the providence of God hath now furnished me with so convincing an cxpedient: Can you, Madam, give a deaf ear to the piteous shrieks and cries of your helpless babe? Can you rationally conclude that there is no significancy in those shrieks and moans of your poor infant, because you hear no articulate voice or speech from the babe expressive of its wants? Doth not natural reason convince you, that those shrieks and cryings are the only speech and rhetoric which the babe's tender age is capable of? And can you stand still, Madam, and keep the breast-or spoon back from the child of your bowels, merely because it cannot as yet exercise its tongue? The lady was forced to own that the babe's shrieks
and crying were plain indications of the child's wanting somewhat or other which nature craved;, and the sense and belief she had of this would not allow her to sit still and neglect her child till it could attain the faculty of speech.
And pray, Madam, said I, who gave that instinct to your babe to feel its wants, and that capacity to express its wants by its shrieks and crying?
Who, said the lady, should give it but the God of nature?
And pray, Madam, how came you by such tender pity and love to your babe, which will not let you rest or be quiet till the babe's cravings be satisfied? She owned that this also was from God.
Then, said I, if your ladyship will without prejudice ponder on this similitude, you will plainly see how exactly the thing now in dispute is held forth.
For, first, It is most certain, that wherever a work of saving conversion is wrought, the work is God's work, not the creature's which is converted. Hence it is, that every true believer is styled the workmanship of God.
“ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” &c. Ephes. ii. 10.
66 Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” John i. 13. He that gives being to the babe in the womb of
the mother, he, and none else, creates and forms the new creature in the soul of an elect sinner.
Secondly, He that creates that instinct in the nature of a babe, which puts it on crying for and craving relief and nutriment, though the child cannot express its wants in words, as adult and grown persons do; he it is, and none else, that puts that divine and supernatural instinct, into a real convert, which puts the new-born soul on looking up to God, in Christ, the living fountain of that grace and mercy which the believer is made to feel itself wants; that its inward and spiritual wants might be supplied out of that fulness of
grace, and spiritual life, which the Father hath treasured up in Christ his Son for all believers.
This divine instinct which God gives the converted soul, which leads it to God, and which teacheth the soul to cry and pray acceptably to God, in the name of Christ, is the promised Spirit of his Son, called the Spirit of Adoption, Gal. iv. 6. Rom. viii. 15. And albeit the believing soul, who hath received this Spirit in measure, hath not as yet, by reason of its want of growth, attained to that degree of spiritual dexterity in praying, wherewith some grown believers are enriched; yet he can' sigh and groan after God, and continue watching at wisdom's gates; craving and expecting grace and mercy to help him in time of need. And this without any help or instruction from man's wisdom.
This very thing, if duly weighed, and without prejudice considered, will convince any experienced man living of the sinfulness of those men's practice who quarrel with, condemn, and persecute their neighbours for exerting that small power
of praying by the Spirit which they have received from the God of all grace to be improved, in order to further growth in the grace and spirit of prayer.
I question not how ready all people would be to tax me with barbarity and madness should I attempt to strangle a poor crying infant, merely because it cannot speak like a man, What can I, or any man else, think or say of such as hinder and discourage what in them lies, poor weak believers, from praying according to the ability given them of God, any other, but that they are highly guilty of spiritual strangling, in that they will not suffer the new creature to breathe, or put forth its voice by crying to God, unless their set forms be submitted to and made use of. All praying that is not by such imposed forms is accounted cant, nonsense, or blasphemy. This practice of mocking and ridiculing the Spirit of Christ in weak believers in prayer, and imposing human forms of prayer by law, is just like putting the cord about the throat of a child to prevent its crying for nutriment. Oh! barbarous in the highest degree. How applicable to such men is that in Luke xi. 52 !
And to resist the Holy Ghost, by quenching