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lowing context, you will find him complaining how corruption bends him as far one way as grace another.
The other part of the same paradox is, That the believer is, on these accounts, both a devil and a saint. Now, that the believer is by nature and corruption a devil, is one branch of this position here to be confirmed. That he is so by nature, is proven by the following Scriptures in the forecited page at the bottom, John vi. 70, and viii. 44, compared; where Christ, speaking of some that were in a natural state, viz., of Judas and the Jews, discovers what is the state of all men by nature, “that they are of their father the devil, since the lusts of their father they will do;" and therefore may be called devils, as our Lord calls Judas, saying, “I have chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil.” And such are believers also naturally, as descendants of the first Adam, being "children of disobedience, and children of wrath by nature, even as others,” Eph. ii. 2, 3. And that the believer is so, not only by nature, but also by reason of remaining corruption, is proven at the foot of the same page, from James iï. 15, where that apostle, speaking of strife and
be eren among the children of God, (which indeed has too much taken place in all ages,) says, “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” Again, that though the believer be by nature and corruption a devil, yet he is, by grace and regeneration, a saint, is documented also, in the same page, from 1 Cor. vi. 11. Such were some of you, but ye are sanctified,” &c.
envy, that may
In this manner, you may easily go over all the rest of the paradoxes, riddles, or mysteries, contained in this book, and find them evidently confirmed by the Scriptures of truth, the word of God. This might be no unprofitable exercise, but tend to lead you into the true knowledge of the Gospel, to which mysteries are so essential, that it is designed by them, and called “the wisdom of God in a mystery,” i Cor. ii. 7; and the knowledge of which is so essential to Christianity, and so absolutely necessary to salvation, that the same apostle declares that “if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. vi. 3.
Again, if you search the Scriptures, you will see many more proofs for every point than I have adduced, and perhaps many much more apposite; for those only are set down at the bottom of the page that first occurred to me : yet, I suppose, though sometimes but one, and sometimes more Scriptures are pointed out, they are such as sufficiently confirm the positions they relate to. But that other Scriptures might have been adduced in plenty, I shall give one instance, in the paradox just now mentioned, viz., That every believer, while in this world, is both a devil and a saint. The latter clause is what none will deny, namely, That every true believer is a saint ; for further proof of which, you might see Acts xv. 9, and xxvi. 18, &c. But because the first clause may seem more harsh, it may by Scripture be also further evinced two ways: 1st. In respect of the daily commission of sin he has to challenge himself with ; for the Scripture says, Eccl. vii. 20, “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” And with this compare 1 John iï. 8.
He that committeth sin, is of the devil.” Hence it is plain, there is not a just man upon earth, but may, in respect of the commission of sin, be called a devil. 2ndly. In respect of prevalent temptations, by which he may be hurried into those things “that savor not of God, but of men;" on which account Christ says to Peter, Matt. xvi. 23, “Get thee behind me, Satan." And if Christ calls Peter a devil, whom he had described as a saint of the first magnitude, ver. 17; one divinely blessed and enlightened ; what occasion may every believer have to call himself a devil! Yea, it is a part of his faith and sanetity, to see and acknowledge, with shame before the Lord, his own devilish and desperately wicked heart and nature; which a blind, self-conceited world are ignorant of, being neither acquainted with themselves, nor with God and his word. However, so it is, that the more any shall search the Scripture, the more, I hope, will
they discern, not only by the texts I have quoted, but from many
others also, the truth and evidence of every part of this book, however mysterious some passages of it may scem to many.
Though some of these lines may want the politeness that can please the curious age, yet, while they stand firm upon a scriptural foundation, none of them want authority, and that of the highest nature, except in the account of mockers, and those (of whom there are too many in our day) that are either Deists, who undervalue the Scripture, or Atheists, who deride it : and it is sadly to be regretted, that those people are hardened in their wicked principles and practices, by some that perhaps have a higher profession. For, I have seen two prints, one called the Groan and another the Laugh, wherein some lines, picked out among others, have been exposed to ridicule: but however such gentlemen may laugh at their own sport, and wickedly divert themselves with serious matters for a time, I fear their laughing will issue in weeping forever; if God, by giving them repentance, do not make them groan to purpose, for the evidence they thus give of either their grievous ignorance of the Scripture, or their gross profanity, and of their readiness to yield themselves instruments of the devil, to promote the atheistical spirit of the age, which is bent enough (without any such provocations) to laugh at everything serious, sacred, and scriptural. This is so palpable,
upon it, and so self-evident to all that fear God, and have had the patience to read such prints, that I would not have thought them worth my noticing so far, as to make this bare mention of them, had not Providence put the pen in my hand to preface this edition, wherein scriptural proofs are added to that part of the book.
Reader, It gives me satisfaction enough to understand, that this book has already been useful and edifying to some, however it is entertained by others. The Gospel itself is to some the savor of life, to others the savor of death ; to some wisdom, to others foolishness ; to some matter of faith, love, and comfort, to others matter of mockery and scorn. I shall be far from thinking it any discredit or disparagement to this book, if it meet with the like entertainment. May the Lord of heaven and earth, who overrules all things, accompany it, in its journeys abroad or at home, with his blessing to many souls; and to his care I commend it, in the words of a famous Scots poet, upon Psalm xxxv. 1.
Rerum sancte Opisex, ades,
Et patrocinio protege me tuo.
The truth which hell may criticize,