« AnteriorContinuar »
advantage to perform that one degree of duty which is required of him, as he that has five talents, to perform his five de grees of duty, and is no more exposedyto fail of it. And that man's guilt, who sins against greater advantages, means and motives, is greater in proportion to his talents. t And there. fore it will follow, on Dr. Taylor's principles, that men stand no better chance, have no more eligible or valuable probabili. ty of freedom from sin and punishment, or of contracting but little guilt, or of performing required duty, with the great advantages and talents implied in Christ's redemption, than without them ; when all things are computed, and put into the balances together, the numbers, degrees and aggravations of sin exposed to, degrees of duty required, &c. So that men have no redemption from sin, and no new means of performing duty, that are valuable or worth any thing at all. And thus the great redemption by Christ in every respect comes to nothing, with regard both to infants and adult persons.
the Evidence of the Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN from what
the Scripture teaches of the Application of Redemption.
THE truth of the doctrine of Original Sin is very clearly manifest from what the scripture says of that change of state which it represents as necessary to an actual interest in the spiritual and eternal blessings of the Redeemer's king. dom.
In order to this, it speaks of it as absolutely necessary for every one, that he be regenerated, or born again. John iii, 3.
* See Paraph, on Rom, ii. 9, also on verse 1%,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man you in ava Sera de begotten again, or born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Dr. Taylor, though he will not allow that this signifies any change from a state of natural propensity to sin, yet supposes that the new birth here spoken of means a man's being brought to a divine life, in e right use and application of the natural powers, in a life of true holiness ;* and that it is the attainment of those habits of virtue and religion, which gives us The real character of true Christians, and the children of God ;t and that it is putting on the new nature of right action.
But in order to proceed in the most sure and safe manner, in our understanding what is meant in scripture by being born again, and so in the inferences we draw from what is said of the necessity of it, let us compare scripture with scripture, and consider what other terms or phrases are used in other places, where respect is evidentły bad to the same change.
And here I would observe the following things :
I. If we compare one scripture with another, it will be sufficiently manifest, that by regeneration, or being begotten, or born again, the same change in the state of the mind is sig. nified with that which the scripture speaks of as effected in true repentance and conversion. I put repentance and conversion together, because the scripture puts them together, Acts iii. 19, and because they plainly signify much the same thing. The word, met VOICE, (repentance) şignifies a change of the mind ; as the word conversion means a change or turning from sin to God. And that this is the same change with that which is called regeneration, (excepting that this latter term especially signifies the change, as the mind is passive in ito the following things do shew.
In the change which the mind passes under in repentance and conversion, is attained that character of true Christians, which is necessary to the eternal privileges of such, Acts ini. 19. “ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shali come from the presence of the Lord.” And so it is with regenera.
tion'; as is evident from what Christ says to Nicodemus, and as is allowed by Dr. Taylor.
The change the mind passes under in repentance and con: version, is that in which saving faith is attained. Mark i. 15.
«« The kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye, and believe the gospel.” And so it is with a being born again, or born of God; as appears by John i. 12, 13. “ But as many as re. ceived him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, &c. but of God."
Just as Christ says concerning conversion, Matth. xviii. 3. « Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;" so does he say concerning being born again, in what he spake to Nicodemus.
By the change men pass under in conversion, they become as little children, which appears in the place last cited ; and so they do by regeneration, i Pet, i. at the end, and chap. ii. at the beginning. Being born again.... Wherefore, as newborn babes, desire, &c. It is no objection that the disciples, whom Christ spake to in Matth. xviii. 3, were converted already : This makes it not less proper for Christ to declare the neces. sity of conversion to them, leaving it with them to try themselves, and to make sure their conversion ; in like manner as he declared to them the necessity of repentance, in Luke xiii. 3, 5. " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
The change that men pass under at their repentance, is expressed and exhibited by baptism. Hence it is called the baptism of repentance, from time to time, Matth. iii. 11, Luke iii. 3, Acts xiii. 24, and xix. 4. And so is regeneration, or being born again, expressed by baptism; as is evident by such rep, resentations of regeneration as those, John iii. 5. « Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit”.... Titus iii. 5. “ He saved us by the washing of regeneration.” Many other things might be observed, to shew that the change men pass under in their repentance and conversion, is the same with that which they are the subjects of in regeneration. But these observa. sions may be sufficient.
II. The change which a man passes under when born again, and in his repentance and conversion, is the same that the scripture.calls the circumcision of the heart. This may easily appear by considering,
That as regeneration is that in which are attained the habits of true virtue and holiness, as has been shewn, and as is confessed ; so is circumcision of heart. Deut. XXX. 6. « And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul."
Regeneration is that whereby men come to have the character of true Christians; as is evident, and as is confessed; and so is circumcision of heart ; for by this men become Jews inwardly, or Jews in the spiritual and Christian sense (and that is the same as being true Christians ) as of old proselytes were made Jews by circumcision of the fesh. Rom. ii. 29, 29. “For he is not a Jew,which is one outwardly ; neither is that circumcisiun, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God."
That circumcision of the heart is the same with conversion, or turning from sin to God, is evident by Jer. iv. 1....4. “ If thou wilt return, O Israel, return (or, convert unto me)....cire cumcise yourselves to the Lord, and put away the foreskins of your heart.” And Deut. x. 16. “ Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."
Circumcision of the heart is the same change of the heart that men pass under in their repentance; as is evident by Levit. xxvi. 41. “ If their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they accept the punishment of their iniquily."
The change men pass under in regeneration, repentance, and conversion, is signified by baptism, as has been shewn ; and so is circumcision of the heart signified by the same thing. None will deny that it was this internal circumcision, which of old was signified by external circumcision ; nor will any deny, now under the New Testament, that inward and spirit, wal baptism, or the cleansing of the heart, is signified by exe ternal washing or baptism. But spiritual circumcision and spiritual baptism are the same thing ; both being the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh; as is very plain by Col. ii. 11, 12, 13. “ In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with hini in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him," &c.
III. This inward change, called regeneration and circuma cision of the heart, which is wrought in repentance and conver... sion, is the same with that spiritual resurrection so often spok. en of, and represented as a dying unto sin, and living unto righteousness.
This appears with great plainness in that last cited place, Col. ii. “ In whom also ye are circumcised, with the circumcision made without hands....buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, &c. And you, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh hath he quickened together with him ; having forgiven you all trespasses.
The same appears by Rom. vi. 3, 4, 5. “ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were , i baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him, by baptism into death ; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life,” &c, Verse 11. “ Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. .: In which place also it is evident, by the words recited,
and by the whole context, that this spiritual resurrection is that change, in which persons are brought to habits of holi. ness and to the divine life, by which Dr. Taylor describes the thing obtained in being born again.
That a spiritual resurrection to a new divine life, should be called a being born again, is agreeable to the language of scripture, in which we find a resurrection is called a being. born, or begotten. So those words in the 2d Psalm, “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," are applied to Christ's resurrection, Acts xiii. 33. So in Col. i. 18, Christ is