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to reprove such scorners, is to get one's self a blot, Prov. ix. 7.
The Almighty, as the God of salvation, can never be discovered in his gracious purposes but in his own rays; as saith our blessed apostle, “ 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,” 2 Cor. iv. 6.
Ahimaaz. My dear brother, I never felt my soul so sweetly entertained and established in my life, as I have by your conversation. I have often wished to know the mind and will of God in many of these particulars which you have mentioned; you are as Elihu was to Job, according to my wish in God's stead, Job xxxiii. 6; for I am like the two disconsolate disciples when the Saviour overtook them, and opened up, explained, and applied the Scriptures, till their hearts burned within them. And indeed if you had not spoken against the sufficiency of human learning, I should have thought you a professor of the languages, a doctor of divinity, a master of arts, a critical reviewer, an antiquarian, and a fellow of the royal society.
Cushi. You may take me just as you please. I profess something of the language of Canaan; and I think he is the best doctor that is the most useful to souls; a sound divine is a professor of the best art; the man that knows truth from error is a valuable critic; he that has made his calling and election sure, is a good antiquarian; and he that is sound in faith, is a fellow of that society that is divinely and eternally royal, 1 Peter ii. 9; Rev. v. 10.
Ahimaaz. I perceive thou art a man of humour, as well as a man of grace, and certainly have a competent measure of natural abilities, as well as a profound experience; this I think appears plain to any observer; and as God has been pleased to send both into a ministerial channel, I believe they will appear much to his own honour, the good of his people, and to the confusion of the enemies of his cause.
Cushi. What I am, I am by creation and grace; you may discover me better than I can discover myself. But be assured of this, that there never were five pounds laid out upon me for human polishing since I have been in the world; nor is my deficiency in human learning any impediment in the way of usefulness. If God the Holy Ghost prepares a man's heart, and takes possession of it, he will create the fruit of the lip also, and give that man a mouth and wisdom that all his adversaries shall never be able to gainsay or resist. And for my part I have often thought that human learning has robbed God of one half of the glory that is due to him. I have read Cave's Lives of the Fathers till my heart has heaved at the work to see how the creature has been exalted. The leading account of every character is the piety of their ancestors; just as if grace was hereditary: secondly, their aptness to outstrip all others in
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lay hold of him as the only hope set m. . God is a free agent, and will work on e as it pleaseth him: but to be converted repentance; to be born again without vail; to be forgiven without being conwe have nothing to pay; to be healed · feeling our sickness; and to be saved bee find ourselves lost, is a mystery to me, ust remain so. at God often begins to allure a soul by gospel ses I do not deny; but such generally find il, and sickness too, before they arrive at s tabernacle, or dwell on his holy hill. I have rved some persons, who have had their sharpest ggles with law and conscience, even on their th beds; and the very pains of death have stened the pains of their spiritual birth, so that e birth of their souls just preceded the death 'their bodies. Such have gone to glory, full caught with the cordials of divine consolation, Chis I think agrees with the gospel sense of this text:.“ But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord, in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship, shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south. gate, shall go forth by the way of the north gate; he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby
he came in, but shall go forth over against it,” Ezek. xlvi. 9. And although some, as you observe, are very legal, and savour too much of the flesh, yet I believe, if they belong to God, that he will permit their fleshly confidence so often to deceive them, that they will be led to feel after him, who makes his strength perfect in our weakness and as his blessed arm is made bare to them, they will be careful to speak to the honour of him whose power they feel; thus he turns to the people a pure language.
Ahimaaz. I have formerly observed several things which you have mentioned; and while you have been speaking they have occurred fresh to my mind; but I have not been so strict an observer of the works of God, and of the blessed teaching of the Holy Spirit, as you have, which is both my sin and my loss; as speaketh the Psalmist,“ Whoso is wise and will observe those things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord,” Psalm cvii. 43; and the more the loving-kindness of the Lord is seen, the more is the faith of a believer increased and encouraged. And sometimes God permits an unbeliever to be forcibly struck with real convictions, while he beholds the visible hand of God in supporting and bringing his own children out of difficulties, as the Queen of Sheba was struck at Solomon's wisdom; their false hopes give way, and their language is like that of the Psalmist, “I