Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

out strength; and canst not come to Christ, tilt thou be drawn. Thou art loit, and canst not help thyself. This may

shake the foundation of thy hopes, who ne'er fawest thy absolute need of Christ and his grace; but thinkest to shift for thyself, by thy civility, morality, drowsy: wilies and duties; and by a faith and repentance, which have sprung up out of thy natural powers, without the power and efficacy of the grace of Christ. O be convieced of thy absolute need of Christ, and his overComing grace; believe thy utter inability to recover thyself :: and so thou mayest be humbled, shaken out of thy self-confidence; and ly: down in duit and alhes, groaning out thy miserable case. before the Lord. A kindly sense of thy natural impotency, the impotency of depraved human nature, would be a step to. wards a delivery.

Thus far of Man's NATURAL STATE, the State of Entire. Depravation.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

H E A D I. Return their tout le tem

Cook the throne

REGEN E R A TION: Robiety 2 William Hiet. 1 Pet. i. 23.

New Yout Being born again, not of corruptible Seed, but of incorruptibles

by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. WE E proceed now to the State of Grace, the State of begun

Recovery of Human ature, into which all, that all. : Partake of eternal happiness are translated, sooner or later, while in this world. It is the result of a gracious change made

upon : :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

upon these who shall inherit eternal life: - which change may be raken

up in these two: (1.) In oppolition to their natural real ftate, the state of corruption, there is a change made upon them in regeneration; whereby their cature is changed. (2.) In oppolition to their natural relative state, the state of wrath, there is a change made upon them, in their union with the Lord Jesus Chriít ; by which they are set beyond the reach of condemnation. These, therefore, namely, regeneration, and union with Chrif, I design to handle, as the great and comprehensive changes on a finner, constituting him in the state of grace.

The firft of these we have in the text, together with the outward and ordinary means, by which it is brought about. The apostle here, to excite the saints io the study of holiness, and particularly of brotherly love, put them in mind of their spiritual original. He tells them they were born again ; and that of one incorruptible feed, the word of God. This speaks them to be brethren, partakers of the fame new nature; which is the root from which holiness, and particularly brotherly love, doth spring. We were once both finners; we maft be born again, that we may be faints. The simple word signifies to be begotten; and so it may be read, Matih. xi. 11. conceived,” Matth. i. 20. and “ to be born," Matth. ii. 1. Accordingly the compound word used in the text, may be taken in its; full latitude, the last notion presuppoing the two former : and so regeneration is a fupernatural real change on the whole man, Gdy compared to natural or corporal generation, as will afterward appear. The ordinary means of regeneration called the feed, whereof the new creature is formed, is not corruptible feed.

Of fuch- indeed, our bodies are generated : but the spiritual seed, of which the new creature is generated, is incora raprible, namely, the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. The sound of the word of God, passeth even as other sounds do ; but the word lasteth, livech and abideth, in refpect of it's everlaîting effects, on all upon whom it operates. This word, " which, by the Gospel, is preached unto you,"? (ver. 25.) impregnated by the Spirit of God, is the means of regeneration; and by it are dead sinners railed to life.

DOCTRINE.- All men in the state of grace are born again.” All gracious persons, namely, fuch as are in a state of favour with God, and endued with gracious qualities and difpofitions, are regeneiaje persons. In discourfing this subject, I thiall thew what segeneration is : Next, Why it is so called i And then apply the doctrine.


to be

Of the Nature of Regeneration. I. For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take this along with you in the first place; that as there are false conceptions in nature, so there are also in grace; and by these many are deluded, mistaking fome'partial changes niade upon them, for this great and thorough change. To remove fuch miftakes, let thefe few things be considered. (1.) Many call the church their mother, whom God will 01 own to he his children : Cant, 1, 6. My, mother's children (i. e. false brethren) were angry with nie.”. All that are baptizet, are not born again : Simon Magus was biptizeit, yet till " in the gall of birteroefs, and in the bond of iniquiry," A&ts viii. 13, 23. Where Christianity is the religion of the country, many will be called by the name of Christ, who have no more of him, but the name ; and no wonder, seeing the devil bad his goats among Christ's Theep, in these places where but few profeifed the Christian religion, 1 John ii. 19. They went out from us, bur they avere not of us. (2.) Good education is not rege. neration. Education may chain up men's lusts, but cannot change their hearts. A wolf is still a ravenous beast, though. it be in chains. Joalh was very devout during the life of his good tutor Jehoiada; but afterwards he quickly. thewed what {pirit he was uf, by his sudden apostacy, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2, 17, Good example is of mighty influence to change the outward: man ; but that change often goes off, when one changes his company; of which the world affords many fad initances. (3.) A turning from open profanity, to civility and fobriety, falls short of this saving change. Some are, for a while, very loose, especially in their younger years: but at length they reform, and: leave their profane courses. Here is a change, yet but such an one, as may be found in men utterly void of the grace of God, and whose righteousness is so far from exceedings that it doth not come up to the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. (4.) One may engage in all the outward duties.of. religion, and yet not be born again. Tho' lead be cast inio various shapes, it remains still but a base metal. escape the pollutions of the world, and yet be but dogs and swine, 2 Pe. ii. 20. 22. All the external acts of religion are within the compass of natural abilities. Yea, hypocrites may have the conterfeit of all the graces of the Spirit.. for we read, of true holiness, Eph. iv. 23. and faith unfeigned, 1 Tim. i, j. which thews us, that there is a counterfeit holiness, aod a



Meu may


feigned faithi. (5.) Men may advance to a great deal of strictness in their own way of religion ; and yet be strangers 10 the new birth, Afts XXXVI. 5. " After the most stricteft fect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee;" Nature has its owo unsanetifind strictness in religion, The Pharisees had so much of it, that they looked on Christ as little better than a mere libertine. A man whose conscience hath been awakened, and who lives under the felt influence of the covenant of works, what will he not do, that is within the compass of natural abilities? It a truth, tho' it came but of a hellish mouth, that " fin for skin ;-all that a man hath will he give for his life," Job ii. 4. (6.) One may have sharp soul-exercises and pangs, and yet die in the birth. Many have been in pain, that have but as it were brought forth sind. There may be fore pangs and throws of conscience, which turn to nothing at last. Pharaoh and Simon Magus had such convictions, as made them defire the

prayers of others for them. Judas repented himself; and under terrors of conscience, gave back his iil gotten peices of silver. All is not gold rhat glisters. Trees may blossom fairly in the spring, on which no fruit is to be found in the harvest : and lume have sharp soul exercises, which are nothing but foretastes of hell.

The new birth, however in appearance hopefully begun, may be marred two ways. First, Some like Zarah, Gen. xxxviii. 28. 29.

are brought to the birth, but go back again. They have sharp convictions for a while : but these go off, and they turn as careless about their salvation, as profane as ever ; and usually worse than ever : • Their last state is worse than their first," Matth, xii. 45. They get awakening grace, but not converting grace"; and that goes off by degrees, as the light of the declinicg day, till it ifue in midnightdarkness. Secondly, Some, like Ihmael, come forth too soon ; 'tliey are born' before ibe time of the promise, Gen. xvi. 1. 2. compare Gal. iv. 22. and downward. They take up with a miere law work, and stay not till the time of the promise of the gospel. They fratch át confolation, not waiting till it be given them; and foolishly draw their comfort from the Law that wounded them. They apply the healing plaister to themselves, before their wound be fufficiently searched. The law, that rigorous husband, severely beats them, and throws in curses and vengeance upon their fouls : then they fall a reforming, praying, mourning, promising and vowing till this ghost be laid ; which done, they fall asleep again įn the arms of the Law; but they are never fhaken out of themselves and their own righteousness, nor broughe forward to Jesus Christ. Lastly, There may be a wonderful meving of the affections, in fouls that are not at all touched with regenerating gracę. Where there is no graçe, there may, norwichstanding, be a flood of tears, as in Esau, " who found no place of repentance, tho' he fought it carefully with tears," Heb xii. 18. There may be great fialhes of joy: as in the heavers of the word, represented in the parable by the stony-ground, " 'who ahon with joy receive it," Matih. xiii. 20. There may


also be great desire after good things, and great delight in them too ; as in these hypocrites described, Ila. Iviii. 2. * Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways.-Thay take deligho in approaching unto God.” See how high they may fome, times ttand, who yet fall away, Heb, vi. 4. 5. 6. They may be " enlightned, taste of the beavenly gift, be partakers of the holy Gholt, taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” Common operations of the divine Spirit, like a land-flood, make a strange turning of things up fide down. And when they are over, all runs again in the ordinary channel, All these things may be, where the sanctifying. Sp of Christ never rests upon the soul, hutibe itony heart still remains and in that case, these affections cannot but wither, because they have no root.

But regeneration is a real thorough change, whereby the man is made a new creature, 2 Cor, v. 17. The Lord God makes the creature a new.creature, as the goldsmit melts down the vessel of dishonour, and makes it a vefiel of honour. Man is, in respect of his natural ftare, altogether disjointed by the fall ; every faculty of the soul is, as it were dislocate: in regeneration the Lord looseth every joints and fets it right again. Now, this change made in regeneration is,

1. A change of qualities or disposnions: it is not a change of the fubftance, but of the qualities of the soul. Vicious quali, ries are renoved, and the contrary dispositions are brought in in their room. so 'The old man is put off”' Eph. iv. 22

5. The new man put on," ver .


Man loft none of the rational faculties of his soul by fin: he has an understanding itill, but it was darkened; he had fill a will, but it was contrary to the will of God. So in regeneration there is not a new fubstance created, but new qualities are infused : light instead of darkness, righteoufiess instead of unrighteousness.

2. It is a fupernatural change: he that is born again, is born of the Spirit, Joha jii. 5. Great changes may be made by the


« AnteriorContinuar »