Thus far we have seen that gracious affections stand on the excellence of God, apart from self-interest, that holiness comprises the beauty of the excellence of God and divine things, and that gracious affections arise from the spiritual sense to see, comprehend, and love the beauty of God’s holiness. In sign five, Edwards asserts that “gracious affections are attended with a reasonable and spiritual conviction of the reality and certainty of divine things,” a conviction that flows from spiritual “sight” of the “evidence and reality” of the holy excellence of God and the Gospel.
“Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-9).
Truly gracious persons have a solid, full, thorough and effectual conviction of the truth of the great things of the gospel…. The great doctrines of the gospel cease to be any longer doubtful things or matters of opinion, which, though probable, are yet disputable; but with them, they are points settled and determined, as undoubted and indisputable; so that they are not afraid to venture their all upon their truth. 
Indeed, “the great, spiritual, mysterious, and invisible things of the gospel…have the weight and power of real things in their hearts; and accordingly rule in their affections, and govern them through the course of their lives.”  “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
True religious affections flow from an enduring conviction of the truth of Scripture. Natural affections may arise for reasons other than true faith, such as by Scripture promises coming to mind in a “sudden and extraordinary manner, immediately declaring the recipients that their sins are forgiven, or that God loves them and will save them.”  People may believe Christian doctrine because they learned it as children, or by understanding arguments from history or reason. Yet, true and gracious affections will not flow from such knowledge without the spiritual understanding produced by illumination.
Like the sprout in shallow soil, “faith” may rejoice in the blessings of the Gospel for a time, but will wither and die without the spiritual sense of God’s holy beauty produced by the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination. Temporary faith falls short of the enduring faith of born-again believers, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells to actively communicate His Holy character, will, and understanding.  Believers embrace the truth of Scripture and the Gospel by sight of the beauty of God’s holy excellence. “True faith arises from a spiritual sight of Christ.”  “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 Corinthians 4:6).
The glory of God and the Gospel are their own clear, direct, and best evidence.
We cannot rationally doubt but that things that are divine, and that appertain to the Supreme Being, are vastly different from things that are human: that there is a God-like, high, and glorious excellency in them, that does so distinguish them from the things which are of men that the difference is ineffable; and therefore such as, if seen, will have a most convincing, satisfying influence upon any one that they are what they are, viz., divine. 
As we can easily distinguish the speech of great orators from that of children, so “God’s natural perfections” can be distinguished from the “excellencies of worms of the dust.”  As a view of the sun assures us “it is no human work,” so a view of God’s holy excellence assures us of its divine reality.  And, in the Gospel of Christ, “these things have the clearest, most admirable, and distinguishing representations and exhibitions of the glory of God’s moral perfections, that ever were made to the world.” 
The beauty of the moral excellence of God and His works are “the most direct and strong evidence” of their true and divine nature. “He that truly sees the divine, transcendent, supreme glory of those things which are divine, does, as it were, know their divinity intuitively.”  Seeing is believing. And just as great insight is required to appreciate brilliant literature, so a new spiritual sense is necessary to see the divine and moral beauty of Scripture and what it reveals of God and His works.
It is no argument that it cannot be seen, that some do not see it, though they may be discerning men in temporal matters. If there be such ineffable, distinguishing, evidential excellencies in the gospel, it is reasonable to suppose that they are such as are not to be discerned but by the special influence and enlightenings of the Spirit of God. 
The beauty and truth of what Scripture reveals about God and His works cannot be seen by those who are hostile toward God and thus spiritually blind to His moral beauty and excellence, regardless of their brilliance concerning earthly matters.
“The gospel of the blessed God does not go abroad a-begging for its evidence, so much as some think; it has its highest and most proper evidence in itself.”  Though clear, comprehensive, and utterly convincing, the evidence remains unseen through willful blindness, the suppression of truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Yet, “as soon as ever the eyes are opened to behold the holy beauty and amiableness that is in divine things, a multitude of most important doctrines of the gospel that depend upon it (which all appear strange and dark to natural men) are at once seen to be true.” 
By spiritual sight of the beauty of God’s holiness we see the evil and bitterness of sin, our own sinfulness, and the sinfulness of mankind. We see Scripture as true concerning original sin and depravity of the heart, our desperate need of a Savior, and the need of God’s infinite power to change our nature. Sight of the beauty of God’s holiness confirms the excellence of His every attribute, His infinite goodness, the infinite evil of sinning against such a great God, the need of Christ to pay the infinite price for our sin, the infinite excellence and beauty of Christ’s person and work, and the infinite value and sufficiency of His death and righteousness to reconcile us to God. Thus, we see the infinite beauty, truth, wisdom, and suitableness of the Gospel as the only solution to our sinful and lost state. By sight of the beauty of God’s holiness we see holiness as the ground of our happiness and duty, and the truth of the immeasurable excellence of heaven. And as we know and experience the truth of Scripture’s explanation of reality, our soul thus knows that the God who knows all such things authored Scripture, and that Scripture is true. 
And while Scripture is historically accurate and true, saving faith rests on more than the truth of historical arguments. Many with little knowledge of history have endured imprisonment, torture, and even death for Christ. Indeed, according to Edwards, “Infidelity never prevailed so much in any age as in this, wherein these arguments are handled to the greatest advantage.”  Saving and enduring faith requires spiritual understanding.
When the Holy Spirit enlightens the believer to see the beauty of God’s holy excellence, “prejudices of the heart against the truth of divine things are hereby removed, so that the mind thereby lies open to the force of the reasons which are offered.”  For example, the miracles of Christ had a different effect upon Christ’s disciples than the Pharisees. Moreover, spiritual sight of God’s glory enlightens reason to better see, understand, and judge arguments and ideas, including historical evidence, which were once “dim and obscure.” 
Much that passes as true faith falls short of true belief. The common convicting work of the Holy Spirit may give a greater perception of the natural perfections of God’s power and greatness, and a greater sense of one’s sin and guilt before God. But, without the sense of the beauty and excellence of holiness, “no spiritual conviction of their truth” exists,  for sin’s hideous character can only be seen in contrast to the beauty of God’s perfect holiness.
Also, impressions or imaginations “may and often do beget a strong persuasion of the truth of invisible things. Though the general tendency of such things in their final issue is to draw men off from the Word of God, and to cause them to reject the gospel, and to establish unbelief and atheism.”  The object of what Edwards calls “counterfeit faith” is ultimately experience, not Christ.
Moreover, unbelievers more easily accept as true those things that serve their interest. For instance, they will more readily admit to the existence of heaven and hell when convinced that the former applies to them and the latter does not. The “interest and inclinations” of people strongly influence their judgment. 
True religious affections flow from a view of the infinite excellence and beauty of God’s moral perfection, and include “a reasonable and spiritual conviction of the reality and certainty of divine things.” This justified confidence stands on the clear and convincing evidence of the infinite excellence of God, the glory most clearly and definitively seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ. To Him be all love and honor, forever.
 BT, 217; Yale, 291.
 BT, 217; Yale, 292.
 BT, 220; Yale, 294.
 BT, 222; Yale, 296.
 BT, 223; Yale, 297.
 BT, 225; Yale, 299.
 BT, 225; Yale, 299.
 BT, 225-6; Yale, 299-300.
 BT, 226; Yale, 300.
 BT, 224; Yale, 298.
 BT, 226-7; Yale, 300.
 BT, 233; Yale, 307.
 BT, 227; Yale, 301.
 BT, 227-9; Yale, 301-3.
 BT, 231-2; Yale, 305.
 BT, 233; Yale, 307.
 BT, 234; Yale, 307-8.
 BT 234-5; Yale, 308-9.
 BT, 235; Yale, 309.
 BT, 237; Yale, 310.
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