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him, finding by experience him to be what he has heard and believed him to be. He had something of this, but he would still have more. i

The doctrine arising from the text is,

Doct. The experimental knowledge of Christ is the sum of practical religion, i Cor. ii. 2. flowing from faith, to be fluired

by all.

In handling this point, I shall,
I. Shew what this experimental knowledge of Christ is.
II. Confirm the point,
III. Make application.

1

I. I am to shew what this experimental knowledge of Christ is. It is an inward and spiritual feeling of what we hear and believe concerning Christ and his truths, whereby answerable impressions are made on our fouls, Pfal. xxxiv. 8. like that of the Samaritans, John iv. 42. when they said unto the wo: man, Now we believe, not łecause of thy saying : for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. There is a favoury report of Christ spread in the gospel; faith believes it, and embraces him for what the word gives him out to be ; and thea the believing foul doth come and fee. There is a glorious scheme of the lovely perfections of Christ drawn in the Bible, and faith believes that he really is what he is said to be ; and then that Scheme begins to be drawn over again in the Christian's experience, and this is always drawing more and more till he come to glory. It is just as if fome eminent physician should give a friend remedies for all diseafes he may be liable to ; and when he leaves them with him, he lets hiin know that such a reme. dy is good for that diftenper, and another is good for such another, &c. Now he knows them all ; but he falls fick, and he takes the remedy fit for his diseafe, and it proves effectual. Now the man knows the remedy by experience, which he knew before by report only. Even to Christ is given as all in all to a believer, and he makes use of Christ for his case, and that is the experimental knowledge of him. I will iliul rate this by fome instances.

1. The fcripturc fays of Christ, He is the way to the Father, John xiv. 6. Now the man that has tried many ways of artaining accefs to God and communion with him, and fill is denied acces, and can find no way to come to God, at length comes by Jesus Christ, renouncing all things else, 'leans only cn his merit and interceflion, and he finds an open door of

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access to God, and communion with him. The flaming
sword he finds removed, and him who was still before a con-
suming fire, he finds now a warning sun to his foul. Here is
experimental knowledge of Chrilt. Hence the apostle says,
Rom. v. 1. 2. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God, through our Lord Jesus Cörist. By whom we hav:
access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in
hope of the glory of God.

2. Christ's blood purgeth the conscience from dead works to
serve the living God, Heb. ix. 14. Now the experimental
Christian knows from experience, that unremoved and unre.
pented-of guilt defiles the conscience, • leaves a sting in it, un.
fits him to serve the Lord, as much as a man in filthy rigs is
unfit to itand before a king; it breeds in the heart an unwill.
ingness to come before God, and mars his confidence : he
tries to repent, overlooking the blood of Chrilt, but it will
not do. He looks to an absolute God, and his heart is indeed
terrified, but nothing softened. At length he looks to God
in Christ, throws the burden of his guilt, and dips his soul.
in the sea of Christ's blood; and then the heart melts for sin,
the fting is taken out of the conscience, the foul is willing to
converse with God, and is enabled to ferve him, as a fon doth
a father.

3. Christ is fully fatisfying to the foul, Psal. lxxiii. 25. Hab, iii. 17. 18. We all know this by report; but the Christiani experimentally knows it by a spiritual sensation in the innermoit parts of his soul. Sometimes when all his enjoyments have been standing entire about him, he has looked with a holy contempt on them all, saying in his heart, These are not my portion. His heart has been loosed from them, and he has been made willing to part with them all for Christ, in whom bis soul rejoiced, and in whom alone he was satisfied. Sometimes again all outward things have been going wrong with him, yet he could comfort, encourage, and satisfy himlelf in Christ, as David did in a great ftrait, 1 Sam. xxx. 6. He has gone away to his God and his Christ, and with Hannah returned with a countenance no more sad, 1 Sam. i. 18.

4. Christ helps his people to bear afflictions, and keeps them from finking under them; and he lifts up their heads when they go through these waters, Il. xliii. 2. Now the Christian meets with a fiction; and he takes a good lift of his own burden, for it is the thing he thinks he may well bear. But his burden is too heavy for him. He wrestles with it; but the more 'he wrestles, ir grows the heavier, and he finks the more At length he goes to Christ, faying, Lord, I

VOL. III.

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thought to have borne this burden, but I am not man for it, I wil link under it, if I get not help : Milier, five us, for we perijb.” And fo he lays it over on the great Burden bearer, and he is helped, Pial. xxviii. 7. Now the man, when he thought he could do all, could do nothing; and when he thinks he can do nothing, he can do all, 2 Cor. viii. 9 10.

5. Christ is made unto us wisdom, 1 Cor. i. 30. The experimental Christian finis, that when he leans to his owo understanding, he mistakes his way at mid day, and all that he reaps of it, is, that in end he has hinfelf to call beaft and cu for his error. But when he comes into difficulties that he fees he knows not bow to extricate himself out of, and is wary, and lays out his case before the Lord, and gives himself up as a blind man to be led by the Lord, he finds lie is condučled in the way he knew not; and the result is, to bless the Lord wb bas given him counsel.

6. Lastly, Christ is made upto us fan&tification, I Cor. i. 30. Now the Chriftian falls fecure, does not make use of Christ, and then ere ever he is aware, he is like Sawfon without his hair. When he awakens, he sees his case is all gone to wrack, the course of fanctifying influences is fiopt, the graces are ly. ing in the dead-throw, and lults are strong and rampant. He tails a grapping with them, but is woilied ftill, until he come to himseit, and acknowledge his uiter weaknefs to fiand in this battle, and renew the actings of faith in Chrift; and then cut of weaknefs he is made ftrong, waxes valiant in fight, and trirns to flight the armies of the aliens, Heb. xi, 34. "He Hlings down the confidence in Limself, like the broken reed that has pierced his hand; and though the promise lie before him like the rod tựrned into a ferpent, which unbelief tells him he would be too bold to meddle with, he ventures and takes the ferpent by the tail, and it becomes the rod of God ia his hand.

Let these suffice for examples of experimental religion.

II. I proceed to confirm the point; or to fhew, that the experimental knowledge of Christ is the sum of practicat reliligion. Confider,

1. The fcripture-testimonies concerning this. To learn reJigion in the power of it, and in all the parts of fančtification, is to learn Chritt. Hence the apofile fays, Eph. iv. 20.-24. But je have not so learned Chriftif to be that ye have heard kiin, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jefus : thur He put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which i. corrupt according to the deceiif:1 lluis : and be renewed in the

firit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created, in righteousness and true holiness. There needs no more to be known, for that comprehends all, i Cor. ii. 2. I determined not to know any thing among you, fays Paui, fave Fofus Christ, and him crucified. It is eternallfa, John xvii. 3. It is a pledge of eternal life; it is eternal life begun. Yea, Christ is the sum and substance of a believer's life, Phil. i. 21. To me to live is Christ.

2. Al true religion is the creature's conformity or likeness to God, mnde by virtue of divine influences transformirg the soul into the divine image. Now there can be no conformity to God but through Jesus Chrift; for he is the only channel of the conveyance of divine influences, and God can have no communication with finners but through him. He alone makes us partakers of the divine nature, 2 Cor. iv. 6.

3. Whatever religion or holiness a man seem to have, that doth not come and is maintained this way, is not of the right fort. It is but nature varnished over: for he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father.

The soul's clofing with Christ by faith, opens the way to this experimental knowledge of him ; fo that whosoever would know Christ thus, must in the first place so close wi:h him.

(1.) Faith closing with Christ believes he is such an one as he is held out in the gospel, gives credit to the report; and it is the want of this that'mars this knowledge, If. liii. 1.

(2.) Faith closes with Christ to that very end, that the soul may

to know him. The soul stands in need of Christ in all thing whereinhe is held out as'ufetul to a finner, and faith takes him for that,

(3.) Faith unites the foul to Christ, and so makes way for this knowledge, which is the happy result of this union,

I come now to a word of improvement, which I shall difcuss in an use of exhortation, O Sirs, labous to be experi.. mental Christians, to have the inward feeling of what yon hear and say ye believe concerning Christ. Why will ye stand in the outer coprt all your days ? Come forward, and dip into the heart of religion. Come in where the world's ungracious feer could never carry them. And be not fatisfied with less of religion, than wliat the beloved disciple in the name of believers fays he felt, Traty cur fell whip is with the Father, and writh his Son Jus Chrijl, 1 John i. 2. This is a weighty and feafonable point. To enforce this exhortation, I offer the following motives. 1. Religion is not a matter of mere speculation to fatisfy

mens curiosity, but a matter of practice. Mens eternal state lies at the stake, which can never be brought to a comfortable iffue by a fpeculative knowledge, more than a man can be cured by the knowledge of a remedy without application of it. An unexperimental professor is like a foolish fick min, who entertains those about him with fine discourses of the nature of medicines, but in the mean time he is dying himself for want of application of them.

2. The fweet of religion lies in the experience of it: hente the psalmist says, My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and faties, Pfal. Ixiii. 5. No man can have the idea of the sweetness of honey like him that tastes it, nor of religion like him that feels the power of it. One reads the word, and it is tastelefs to him ; to another it is sweeter than the honey-comb; why, but because he feels the power of it on his spirit, Pfal. xix. 1 1. Religion would not be such a burden to us as it is, it we could by experience carry it beyond dry fapless notions: it would be a reward to itself, and so chain the heart to it.

3. All the profit of religion to ourselves lies in the experience of it, Matth. vij. 22. What avails all the religion men Jiave in their heads, while it never sinks into the heart? Know. ledge without experience will no more fanctify a man than painted fire will burn, or the bare fight of water will wash. Ah! what avails that knowledge to a man; by which he is ne. ver a wbit more holy, nor-less a Nave to his lusts ? True, it may do good to others, as the profit of the carpenters gift cime to Noah, while tbey themselves perished in the deluge. Light without heat ferves only to thew the way to hell, where there is scorching heat without light. Gifts without grace are like a ship without ballait in a boisterous fea, that cannot miss to fink, And when such a one is finking into hell, his gifts will be like a bag of gold on a drowning man, precious in itfulf, but will only help to fink him the faster.

4. The experimental Christian is the only Chriftian wbose. religion will bring him to heaven. Heaven in effect is but a perfect experimental knowledge of Chrift, where the faints will for ever feed upon that sweetness they have heard to be in him. And there is no attaining of heaven, unless men first begin on earth to know Christ thus.

5. Lasly, It is absolutely necessary to qualify a man to go on and hold right in an evil time. And surely, if ever there was need for it, there is need now.

; (1.) The experimental Christian is fitted thereby to suffer for Christ, because he has the testimony within himself, that. the way which the world persecutes is the way of God." No

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