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tual things even as to the capacity of discerning, is not greater than the sight of an owl in the day time, nay, than that of a chicken whilst it is yet hidden in the egg. In such matters be is as blind as a mole; for if he were capable of discerning clearly what belongs to faith, salvation, and eternal life, he would suppose too that he could regenerate and save himself, which he would likewise attempt to do, and thus would profane his thoughts and actions with his own merits.” Then another rushed into the midst of the congregation, and delivered this opinion :- Whosoever, since the fall of Adam, imagines he has the power either to will or to understand any spiritual matters, is out of his senses and a madman, for in such a case he must needs suppose himself a kind of god or deity, possessing a share of divine power in his own right.” This person was succeeded by another, who ran panting into the midst, with a book under bis arm called Formula CONCORDIÆ, whose orthodoxy, as they term it, the Evangelical Protestants bind themsevles by oath to believe: and he opened the book, and read out of it the following passage : That man is altogether corrupt and dead to what is good ; consequently, that in the nature of man since the fall, before regeneration, there doth not abide or remain a single spark of spiritual strength, whereby he may red for the grace of God, either to apprehend it when offered, or of himself, and by himself, to be capable of receiving it ; or in spiritual things to understand, believe, embrace, think, will, begin, finish, act, operate, co-operate, or apply or accommodate himself to grace, or contribute any thing of himself in the least respect towards conversion. And further, that man, in respect to spiritual things, such as regard the salvation of the soul, is like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was changed, and like a slock or stone without life, which have neither the use of eyes, mouth, nor any other senses. Yet still he enjoyeth a locomotive power, by virtue whereof he can govern his outward members, attend public worship, and hear the Word and the Gospel.

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(This passage occurs in my edition, pages 656, 658, 661,662, 663, 671, 672, 673.) After this they all joined together and exclaimed, “ This is truly orthodox.” I was standing near, very attentive to all that passed; and being much warmed in spirit, I asked with a loud voice, “If ye thus make man a pillar of salt, a beast, blind and mad, in regard to spiritual things, what then do you make your theology ? Is not this in all and every part of it spiritual ?” To this after a short silence they replied, “In our whole system of theology nothing at all is spiritual which reason comprehends : our faith in it is alone spiritual, but this we have carefully closed up to prevent its being looked into, and have taken especial care that not a single spiritual ray shall

proceed thence and appear to the understanding ; moreover we insist that man cannot by any determination of his own contribute at all towards the receiving that faith : we have also separated charity from all relation to what is spiritual, and have made it a mere moral virtue; and so we have done likewise with the decalogue. With respect to justification, remission of sins, regeneration, and consequent salvation, we in like manner hold nothing to be spiritual, asserting them all to be the operations of faith, but in what manner produced we are altogether ignorant. In the place of re. pentance we have adopted contrition ; and lest it should be supposed that this is of a spiritual nature, we have separated it from all connection with faith. On the subject of redemption we have likewise adopted none but merely natural ideas; the chief of which are, that God the Father had included the whole race of mankind under the curse ;

that His Son took that curse upon Him, and suffered flimself to be crucified, and so moved His Father to compassion ; not to mention other similar doctrines, in which you will discover nothing spiritual, but all merely natural.” When they had thus explained their sentiments, in the warmth of zeal, with which I was before influenced, I thus continued my discourse : “Supposing man to bave no free-will in spiritual things, what would he be in such a case but a mere brute ? For is not this the chief distinction which raises man above the brute ? On this supposition too would, not the church be exactly like the black face of a chimney-sweeper, the only white spots about which are in his eyes? And what would the Word be but an einpty volume ?

What is more frequently said and insisted on in the Word, than this, that a man ought to love God and his neighbour, and also to have faith, and that he will receive life and salvation according to his love and belief? Who hath not a capacity to understand and do those precepts which are contained in the Word, and in the decalogue? How could God have prescribed and ordained such duties, unless he had given man such a capacity ? Tell a plain rustic, whose mind is untainted with theological fallacies, that he hath no more power than a stock or a stone to understand or will any thing touching faith, and charity, and salvation, and that he cannot apply or accommodate himself to receive such gists, will he not laugh heartily at your information, and exclaim, “What wilder fancies can be uttered: What then have I to do with either priest or preaching? What is a church more to me than a stable, and what the worship of God more than the handling of a plough? Oh what madness is it to talk at this rate, what excess of folly! Who denieth that all good cometh from God ? But is it not given to man to do good of himself from God, and in like manner to believe ?” On hearing these words they all exclaimed, “We, whose instructors were orthodox, deliver orthodox sentiments; but you, with your rustic tutor, talk like a rustic". At that instant a thunderbolt fell from heaven, and for fear of being consumed by it, they rushed out tumultuously, and fled away, each to his own home,

504. The SECOND MEMORABLE RELATION. I was once in interior spiritual sight, such as the angels of the higher heaven enjoy, but was at the time in the world of spirits : and I observed two spirits not far from me, yet distant from each other, and I apperceived that one of them loved good and truth, and so was in conjunction with heaven, and that the other loved evil and the false, and so was in conjunction with hell. I drew nigh and called them both to me, and from their tones of voice and answers I collected that they buth enjoyed the same power of apprehending truths, of acknowledging them when apprehended, consequently of thinking from understanding, and also of directing and determining their intellectual powers at pleasure, and their powers of will as it seemed good to them, and of course that they both enjoyed the same free-will as to rational matters. I further observed, that in consequence of that freedom in their minds, there appeared a lucidity extending from the first seat of vision, which is that of perception, to the last seat, which is that of the eye : but when the spirit who loved evil and the false was left to himself, I took notice, that a smoke as it were ascended from hell and extinguished the lucidity which was above the memory, and occasioned a thick darkness there, like that of midnight, and also that the smoke, being kindled into a blaze, burnt like flame, and illuminated the region of the mind which was below the memory, in consequence of which he conceived in his thoughts terrible falses, arising from the evils of the love of self. But when the other spirit, who loved good and truth, was left to himself, I observed, as it were, a mild gentle Hame flowing down out of heaven, which illuminated the region of his mind above the memory, and likewise the re- i gion below it, even to the eye; and that the light occasioned by that flame shone brighter and brighter, in proportion as, from the love of good, truth influenced his perceptions and thoughts. From what I observed it was evident to me,


that every man, whether he be good or evil, enjoys spiritual free-will, but that, with the wicked, hell sometimes extinguisheth it and with the good, heaven exalteth and kindleth it. After this I entered into conversation with each, and first with the spirit who loved evil and the false : and after making some enquiries about his condition, I mentioned free-will; at which he took fire and said, “ Ah! what madness is it to believe that man enjoys free-will in spiritual things! For who can apply faith to himself, or do good of himself? Do not the clergy at this day teach, and ground their doctrine on the Word, that no one can take any thing except it be given him from above ? And did not the Lord Christ say to His disciples,

to His disciples, Without Me ye can do nothing ?? To which I add, that no one can move his foot or hand to do any good, nor his tongue to speak any truth from good; wherefore the church, under the direction of her wise children, hath concluded, that man hath no more power to will, understand, or think anything spiritual, or indeed to accommodate himself so to will, understand, or think, than a stock or stone; and that therefore faith is inspired by God of His good pleasure, He alone possessing the most free and most unbounded power; which faith through the operation of the Holy Ghost, without any labour or exertion on man's part; produceth all the graces and virtues which the unlearned ascribe to him.” After this I talked with the other spirit, who loved good and truth : and after making some enquiries about his state and condition, when I mentioned free-will he said, “ What madness is it to deny free-will in spiritual things! Who hath not power to will and to do good, and to think and speak truth, of himself from the Word, consequently from the Lord who is the Word ? for the Lord hath said, bring forth good fruits, and believe on the light, and also, love one another, and love God; again, 'He that heareth and doeth My con mandments, He loveth Me, and I will love him ;' not to mention a thousand other passages

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