"2. Now, in the next place, I shall shew how far a natural man may attain to these, so as to be almost a Christian.
(1) As for his Mind or Understanding, he may be irradiated with a clear and sparkling knowledge of divine and spiritual objects, when yet the soul is not truly converted to God.
It is true, as, in the creation of the world, the light is numbered and reckoned amongst the first of God's works; so likewise, in this new creation, the first work of the Spirit of God is to shed abroad his heavenly light in the understanding: and, therefore, we have this first order, in the commission, which our Saviour Jesus Christ gives to St. Paul, Acts XXVI.18. He sent him to the Gentiles, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light; and, then it follows, from the power of Satan unto God. But, yet, notwithstanding, there is an illumination about spiritual things, which may gild and beautify the understanding of a natural man; who, like a toad, may be full of poison, though he hath a precious stone in his head. The Apostle lays down this as one of those attainments that an unregenerate man may have, and yet be an apostate: Heb. vi.4. He may not only have a deep knowledge and concatenation of the doctrine of Christ, and to unfold them to others; but may have also particular discoveries of the glory and beauty that there is in these things. We may see it clearly by Balaam's ecstasy, Numbers xxiv.5. Such discoveries carnal hearts may have made to them, and see their lustre and beauty. Nay, further, a carnal man may be convinced, that there is no other way of recovery but by the grace of God through the merits of Christ, of the suitableness of Christ to his soul, of the freeness of God's love, of the riches of his grace, of the readiness of his heart to receive him, of the desireableness of happiness, and of the beauty of holiness; and yet, for all this, remain in a natural state. . ." pg. 295,296 Ezekiel Hopkins Vol. 3 'The Works of Ezekiel Hopkins'