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ness and infancy of the new nature, and the great remains of corruption, together with the circumstances we are in, in this world, where we are encompassed all round with what tends to pollute us, exposes to this. And indeed it is not to be sopposed that Christians ever have any experiences in this world that are wholly pure, entirely spiritual, without any mixture of what is natural and carnal : The beam of light, as it comes from the fountain of light upon our hearts, is pure, but as it is "reflected thence, it is mixed : The seed as sent from heaven and planted in the heart, is pure, but as it springs up out of the heart, is impure; yea, there is commonly a much greater mixture, than persons for the most part seem to have any imagination of; I have often thougbt that the experiences of true Christians are very frequently as it is with some sorts of fruits, that are enveloped in several coverings of thick shells or pods, that are thrown away by him that gathers the fruit, and but a very small part of the whole bulk is the pure kernel, that is good to eat.
is The things, of all which there is frequently some mixture with gracious experiences, yea, with very great and high experiences, are these three, human, or natural affection and passion; impressions on the imagination ; and a degree of self. righteousness or spiritual fride. There is very often with that which is spiritual a great mixture of that affection or passion which arises from natural principles ; so that nature has b very great hand in those vehement motions and Aights of the passions that appear. Hence the same degrees of divine communications from heaven, shall have vastly different effects, in what outwardly appears, in persons of different natural tempers. The great mixture of that which is natural with that which is spiritual, is very manifest in the peculiar effects that divine influences have in some certain families, or persons of such a blood, in a distinguishing manner of the operating of the passions and affections, and the manner of the oute ward expressions of them. I know some remarkable instances of this. The same is also evident by the different effects of divine communications on the same person at different times
, and in different circumstances : The novelty of things, or this
sudden transition from an opposite extreme, and many other things that might be mentioned, greatly contribute to the raising of the passions. And sometimes there is not only a mixture of that which is common and natural with gracious experience, but even that which is animal, that which is in a great measure from the body, and is properly the result of the animal frame. In what true Christians feel of affections towards God, all is not always purely holy and divine ; every thing that is felt in the affections does not arise from spiritual principles, but common and natural principles have a very great hand; an improper selflove may have a great share in the effect: God is not loyed for his own sake, or for the excellency and beauty of his own perfections as he ought to be ; nor have these things in any wise, that proportion in the effect that they ought to have. So in that love that true Christians have one to another, very often there is a great mixture of what arises from common and natural principles, with grace; and selflove has a great hand : The children of God are not loved purely for Christ's sake, but there may be a great mixture of that natural love that many sects of heretics have boasted of, who have been greatly united one to another, because they were of their company, on their side, against the rest of the world ; yea, there may be a mixture of natural love, to the opposite sex, with Christian and divine love. So there may be a great mixture in that sorrow for sin that the godly have ; and also in their joys ; natural principles may greatly contribute to what is felt, a great many ways, as might easily be shown, would it not make my discourse too lengthy. There is nothing that belongs to Christian experience that is more liable to a corrupt mixture than zeal; though it be an excellent virtue, 2 a heavenly flame, when it is pure : But as it is exercised in those who are so little sanctified, and so little humbled, as we are in the present state, it is very apt to be mixed with human passion, yea, with corrupt hateful affections, pride and uncharitable bitterness, and other things that are not from heaven but from hell.
Another thing that is often mixed with what is spiritual in the experiences of Christians, is, impressions on the imagin
ation whereby godly persons, together with a spiritual up. derstanding of divine things, and conviction of their reality and certainty, and a strong and deep sense of their excellency or great importance upon their hearts, have strongly impressed on their minds external-ideas or images of things. A degree of imagination in such a case, as I have observed elsewhere, js unavoidable, and necessarily arises from human nature, as constituted in the present state ; and a degree of imagination is really useful, and often is of great benefitsbut when it is in too great a degree it becomes an impure, mixture that is prejudicial. This mixture very often arises from the constitution of the body. It commonly greatly contributes to the other kind of mixture mentioned before, viz, of natural affec. cious and passions i åt helps to raise them to a great height.
Another thing that is often mixed with the experiences of Arue Christians, which is the worst mixture of all, is a degree of selfrighteousness or spiritual pride. This is often mixed with the joys of Christians; the joy that they have is not puredy the joy of faith, or a rejoicing in Christ Jesus, but is partly a rejoicing in themselves; there is oftentiines in their elevations a looking upon themselves, and a viewing their own high attainments, they rejoice partly because they are taken with their own experiences and great discoveries, which makes them in theiv own apprehensions so to excel; and this heightens all their passions and especially those effects that are more external..:-, ! ..!! ' , 8.1 9" There is a much greater mixture of these things in the ex. periences of some Christians than others ; in some the mixiture is so great, as very much to obscure and hide the beauty of grace in them, like a thick smoke that binders all the shin
ing of the fire. 36: $19* HirThese things we ought to be well aware of, that we may pot take all for gold that glistens, and that we may know what to countenance and endourage, and what to discourage ; otherwise Satan will have a pasti advantage against us, for he works in the corrupt mixture. Sometimes for want of persons distinguishing the ore from the pure metal, those expesiences are most admired by the persons themselves that are
the subjects of them, and by others that are not the most excellent. The great external effects, and vehemence of the passions, and violent agitations of the animal spirits, is sometimes much owing to the corrupt mixture; (as is very apparént in some instances) though it be not always so.
I have observed a great difference among those that are under high affections, and seem disposed to be earnestly talking to those that are about them; some insist much more, in their talk, on what they behold in God and Christ, the glory of the divine perfections, Christ's beauty and excellency and wonderful condescension and grace, and their own unworthiness, and the great and infinite obligations that they themselves and others are under to love and serve God ; 'some insist almost wholly on their own high privileges, their assurance, and of God's love and favor, and the weakness'and wickedness of opposers, and how much they are above their reach. The latter may have much of the presence of God, but their experiences do not appear to be so solid and unmixed as the former. And there is a great deal of difference in persons' earnestness in their talk and behavior ; in some it seems to come indeed from the fullness of their hearts, and from the great sense they have of truth, a deep sense of the certainty and infinite greatness, excellency, and importance of divine and 'eternal things, attended with all appearances of great humility; in others their earnestness seems to arise from a great mixture of human passion, and an undue and intemperate agita'tion of the spirits, which appears by their earnestness and vehemence not being proportioned to the nature of the subject they insist on, but they are violent in every thing they say, as much when they are talking of things of smaller importance, as when speaking of things of greater weight. I have seen it thus in an instance or two; in which this vehemence at length issued in distraction. And there have been some few instances of a more extracrdinary nature still, even of persons finding themselves disposed earnestly to talk and cry out, from an unaccountable kind of bodily pressure, without any extraordinaty view of any thing in their minds, or sense of any thing up
on their hearts, wherein probably there was the immediate hand of the devil.
IL. "Another thing by which the devil has great advantage, is, the unhecded defects there sometimes are in the experiences of true Christians, and those high affections wherein there is much that is truly good. - What I now have respect to, is something diverse from that defect, or imperfection of degree, which is in every holy disposition and exercise in this life, in the best of the saints. What I aim at is experiences being especially defective in some particular thing, that ought to be in them ; which, though it is not an essential defect, or such a defect, as is in the experiences of hypocrites, which renders them utterly vain, monstrous, and altogether abominable to God, yet is such a dcfect'as maims and deforms the experiencoz the essence of truly Christian experiences is not wanting, but yet that is wanting that is very needful in order to the proper beauty of the image of Christ in such a person's experiences; but things are very much out of a due proportion: There is indeed much of some things, but at the same time there is so little of some other things that should bear a proportion, that the defect very much deforms the Christian, and is truly odious in the sight of God.'". 11,!.dia Imzot len und oii mi 'What I observed before was something that deformed the Christian, as it was 100 muchy something mixed, that is not belonging to the Christian as such ; what I speak of now is something that deforms the Christian the other way, viz.By their not being enough, something wanting, that does belong to the Christian as such ::The one deforms the Christian as a monstrous excresceneo, the other as thereby the new creature is maimed, and some member in a great measure wanting, or so small and withering as to be very much out of due proportion. This is another spiritual calamity that the saints are Jiable to, through the great imperfection of grace in this life ; -fike the chicken in the egg, in the beginning of its formation,
in which, though there are indeed the rudiments or lineaments of all the parts, yet'some few parts are plain to be seen, when others are hid, so that without a microscope it appears very monstrous,