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of genuine-holiness, and evidences the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience.

These are the principal reasons, on account of which the holy nature of saving faith has been so strenuously contended for: and they are abundantly sufficient, provided the truth of the doctrine has been scripturally established. I shall therefore now release my reader, by earnestly requesting him to bestow some time and pains, in acquiring a clear and ready understanding of the following distinctions, which seem to me of vast importance in these discussions,-viz. The distinction between a warrant to believe, and a disposition to believe; between a man's being spiritually alive and in part sanctified, and his knowing himself to be so; between the holy nature of faith, and the sinner's perception of that holiness, and taking encouragement from it in coming to Christ; between the promises absolutely made to true believers, and the invitations given to sinners, with those promises which imply exhortations and suppose a compliance with them; between a warrant to believe in Christ, and a confidence that we are believers; between the believer's consciousness of sanctification, used as an evidence that his faith is living and justifying, and a self-righteous dependence on something in ourselves as in a degree the meritorious ground of our acceptance: and finally between faith and hope; the full assurance of faith, and the full assurance of hope.

I trust the serious enquirer will not deem these to be distinctions without a difference, or made in matters of small moment: and it appears to me, after many years assiduous and earnest investigation of this subject, more than any other in theology; that a want of due attention to these distinctions is a principal cause of that amazing diversity of opinion, and that unaccountable inconsistence and perplexity, which are observable in the conversation, sermons, and writings of many evangelical persons on this apparently plain and most important subject. But it will answer little purpose to run them over; or even to allow that the things distinguished are really distinct, and that the distinctions are important; unless they be, one by one, deeply considered, compared

with Scripture, and either deliberately rejected, or thoroughly applied to practical uses.

The last distinction mentioned, may perhaps require a little farther elucidation.-Men clearly understanding the system of the gospel, the harmony and just proportion of its parts, and its tendency and design, may be said to possess "the full assurance of understanding '." When they cordially believe and embrace the gospel, they have faith; when this faith excludes all doubts concerning the truth of the gospel, and its sufficiency for every purpose for which it is given, and the eternal salvation of all real believers, they have the full assurance of faith. But they only possess hope, in proportion as they are satisfied that they themselves are true believers; nor have they the full assurance of hope, so long as they have any doubt concerning their own salvation.Assured faith is every man's duty, to whom the gospel is proposed with suitable evidence; and accordingly every one is exhorted thus to believe: but assured hope must be obtained and preserved by holy diligence, and cannot be the proximate duty of the impenitent, or even of the negligent. When the apostle " stood in doubt" of the Galatians, and told them that he saw cause to do so, was it not their duty to stand in doubt of themselves? But was it likewise their duty to question the truth of the gospel; or the power and willingness of Christ to save all that come to him?-Certainly not.

The author having found much establishment in his own soul, even while passing through sharp conflicts and dark temptations, by attending to these distinctions; and having had the satisfaction of leading a considérable number of discouraged enquirers to establishment, and settled peace in the same way; cannot but earnestly recommend them to the candid attention of those who shall read this publication. He allows that a considerable measure of close thinking is requisite to obtain a clear and distinct view of such subjects; and that they

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are not much suited to the taste of a dissipated and superficial age, in which the church is not a little infected with the disease most epidemical in the world; and also that there are persons who are scarcely capable of such investigations. But for these very reasons it becomes the more incumbent on intelligent and better educated christians, and especially on the pastors of the flock, to aim at proficiency in these studies. Clear ideas suggest perspicuous language: and the compact style of an argumentative discourse, when dilated in familiar conversation and constant instruction, may be rendered intelligible to plain people; at least the most useful part will thus make its way into the minds of those, who cannot understand the discourse itself.-Finally, truth is worth all the labour of digging out of the mine, though it be deep: and they who have leisure and ability should bestow pains to enrich their brethren as well as themselves; nor can the subject be better closed than with the following important passage, "My son, "if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my command"ments with thee; so that thou incline thine car unto "wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding; yea "if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and "searchest for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou "understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.-For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of "his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding'."



Prov. ii. 1- -6.



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