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power of nature, especially when afsifted by external revelation. And nature may be fo elevated by the common influences of the Spirit
, that one may. thereby be turned into ano:her man, (as Saul was, 1 Sam. x. 6.) who yet never becomes a new
But in regenerati in narure itself is changed, and we become partakers of the divine nature ; and this must needs be a fupernatural change. How can we, that are dead in trespasses and lins, renew ourselves, more than a dead man can raise him.. self out of his grave ? Wko, but the fanctifying Spirit of Christ can form Chrilt in a foul, changing it into the same image ? Who, bur the Spirit of sanctification, can give the new heart? Well may we say, when we see a man thus changed, " This is the finger of God."
3. It is a change into the likeness of God, 2 Cor. iii. 18. “We-beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image." Every thing that generates, generates its like : the child bears the image. of the parent : and they that are born of God, bear God's image Man aspiring to be as God, made himself like the devil. In his natural state he resembles the devil, as a child doth the father, John viii. 44" Ye of your
father the devil.” But when this happy change comes, the image of Satan is defaced, and the image of God restored. Christ himself, who " is the brightness of his Father's glory," is the patiern after which the new creature is made, Rom. viii. 29. * For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestina:e to be conformed to the image of his Son.". Hence he is said to be conformed in the regenerate, Gal. iv. 19. - 4. It is an universal change : all things become new, 2 Cor. vi. 17. It is a blest leaven that leaves the whole lump, the whole spirit, and soul and body. Original sin infects the whole man , and regenerating grace, which is the salve, goes as far as the fore. This fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness: goodness of the mind, goodness of the will, goodness of the affections, goodness of the whole man. One gets not only a new head to know religion, or a new tongue, to talk of it ; but a new heart to love and embrace it, in the whole of his conversation. When the Lord opens the sluice of grace on the soul's new-birth-day, the waters win through the whole man, to purify and nake him fruitful. In these natural changes spoken of before, there are, as it were, pieces of new cloth put into an old garment; a new life sewed to an old heart; but the gracious change is a thorough change, a change both of heart and life:
5. Yet it is but an imperfect change. Tho' every part
of the man is renewed, there is no part of him perfectly renewed. As an infant has all the parts of a man, but none of them are come to their perfect growth; so regeneration brings a perfection of paris, to be brought forward in the gradual advances of fanctification, i Pet. 11. 2. “ As new-born babes defire the ho. cere milk of the word, that ye nay gross thereby.” Although in regenerasion there is a beavenly light let into the mind : yet there is still some darkness there :*th the will is renewed, it is
of perfectly renewed; there is still fonie of the old inclination to fin remaining: and thus it will be, till that which is in part be done away, and the light of glory come. Adam was created at his full státure; but they that are bora, must have their time to grow up: so these that are born again, do come forth irito the new world of grace, but imperfectly holy; though Adam, being created upright, was at the fame time perfe&tly righteous, without the least mxture of sinful imperfection.
LASTLY, Nevertheless it is a lasting change, which never gce's off. The feed is incorruprible, faith the text; and so is the çreature that is formed of it. The life given in regeneration, whatever decays it may fall under, can never be utierly lost, His feed reniaineth in him, who is born of Gud," i John iii.g. Though the branches should be cut down, ihe root Thall abide in the earth; and being watered with the dew of heaven, failsprout again : for “ the root of the righteous shall not be moved," Prov. xii. 3.
But to come to particulars. b'irli, lo regeneration, the mind is' savingly enlightened. There-is a new light let into the Understanding, so that they wlio vére" sometime's darkness, are now light in the Lord,' Ezh. v. 8. The bears of the light of life make their way into the dark dungeon of the beart: then night is over, and the morning light is conie, which will shine miere, and niore, unto the perfect day. Now the man is illuminated,
1. In the knowledge of God. He has far cther thoughts of God than ever he had before, Hof. ii, 20, “ I will even be troche thee unto me in faithfulnefs, and thou shalt know the Lord." The Spirit of the Lord brings him back to that ques. on, " What is God?” And catechiseth bini anew upon that grand point, fo as he is made to say, “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but row mine eyes f:eth thee,” Job xlii. 5. The spotless purity of God, his exact justice, his allfuffiuency, and other glorious perfections revealed in his word,
are, by this new light, discovered to the foul, with a plainnels and certaintyi that doth as far exceed the knowledge it had of these things before, as ocular demonftration exceeds common fame. For now he fees what he only heard of before.
2. He is enlighrned in the knowledge of fin. He hath other thoughts of it than he was wont to have. Formerly his fighe could not pierce thro' the cover Satan iaid over ie: but now the Spirit of God itrips it before him, wipes off the paint and fairdir ing; and he fees it in its native colours, aš the worst of evils : exceeding inful, Rom. vii. 12. O what deformed monsters do formerly beloved lufts appear! were they right eyes, he would pluck them out : were they right hands, he would confent so their curing off. He sees bow offensive sin is to God, bow destructive it is to the foot; and calls himseif fool, for fighting fo long against the Lord, and harbouring that destroyer as a bosom friend.
3. He is instructed in the knowledge of bimself. Regenerat. ing grace caufeth the prodigil 10 come to himself, Luke xv. 17. and makes men full of eyes within, knowing every one the plague of his own heart. The mind being favingly enlighined, the man fees how desperately corrupt his nature is., whai enmity against God and his holy law has long lodged there : so that his soul lothes' itself. " No open fepulchre, no
puddle so vile and loathsome in his eyes as himself, Ezek. xxxvi. 3.1. & Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and you do. ings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own light." He is no wo:se thian he was before but the fun is shining, and fu thefe pollutioos are fcen, which he could not discern, when there was no dawning in him: as the word is, Ifa. viii. 20. while as yet the day of grace was not broken with him.
4. Hs is enlightned in the knowledge of Jesus Chrift, 1 Cor. i. 23. 24. 6. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a fumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them that are called, both Jews aod Greeks, Chrift, the powcr of God, and the wisdom of God." The truth ing unregenerare men, tho' capable of preacing Christ, have not (properly speaking) the knowledge of him, but only an opinion, a good opinion of him. is one has of many controverted points of doctrine, whereis he is far from certainty. As when ye ineet with a stranger upon the roari, he behaving himself discreetly, ye conceive a good opinion of hin; and therefore willingly conteife with hini.. but yer ye wiil. cor.commit your money
10 him; because, tho?
have a good opinion of the man, he is a (tranger to you, ye do not know him. So many think well of Chrift; but they will never commit then selves to him, seeing they know him not. But laving illumination carries the soul beyond opinion, to the certain knowledge of Christ and this excellency, 1 Theff. i.
5. - For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy Ghost, and in much affurance." The light of grace thus viscovers the suitableness of the mystery of Christ, to the divine perfections, and 10 the finner's cafe. Hence the regenerate admire the glorious plan of falva:ion through Christ crucified, lay their whole weight upon it, and heartily acquiesce therein, for wha'ever he be to others, he is to them, " Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” But unrenewed men, not seeing this, are offended in him : they will not venture their souls in that bortom, but betake then selves to the broken boards of their owo righteousness. The fame light convincingly discovers a fuperlative worth, a transcendent glory and excellency in Christ, which darken all created excellencies, as the rising fun makes the stars to hide their heads : and so it engages
iihe illerchant-man to feil all chat he hath, to buy the one pearl of great price, Matth, xii. 451 46. makes the soul well content to take Christ for all, and instead of all. Even merchant, to whom one cffereth a pearl of great price, for all his petiy wares, dares not venture on the bargain ; for thuhe thinks, that one pear) may be mose worth than all he has, yet he is not sure of it: but when a jeweller comes to him, and aflares him, it is worth double all his wares; he then greedily embracéth the bargain, and chearfally parts with all that be has for that pearl. Finally, This illumination in the know. lecge of Christ, convincingly discovereth to
0 men a fulness in him, fufficient for the supply of all their wants; enough to fatisfy the boundlefs desires of an immortal foul. They art perfuaded such fulness is in him, and that in order to be communicaie : thuy depend upon it, as a certain truth; and there fore sheir souls take up their eternal rest in him.
4. The man is instructed in the knowledge of the vanity of the world, Pfal. cxix. 96. “ I have seen an end of all perfection." Regenerating grace elevates the foul, fets it, as it were amongst the stars, from whence this earth cannot but appear a litve, yea, very little thing : eren as heaven appeared before, while.. the soul was immersed in the earth. Grace brings a man into a new world: white this world is reputed but a itage uf yanity,
as an unfkilful
an howling wilderness, a valley of tears. God hath hung tie sign of vanity at the door of all created enjoyments; yet now do men throng into the house, callifig and looking for somewhat that is fatisfying ; even after it-has a thousandi times rolli them, there is no such thing in it, it is not to be got there, Ila. lvi. io. « Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy ways ; yet fuidit (hou.nor, There is no hope." Why are men fis foolish? The truth of the marter lies here, they do not see by tfie light of grace, they do not fpiritually difcern, that sign of vanity. They have often indeed made a rational discovery of it: but can that rruly wean the heart from the world? Nay no more than painted fire can burn oti the prisoner's bands. But the light of grace is the light of life, powerful and efficacious.
LASTLY, (Ta famí op all in one word) in regeneration: the mind is enlightened in the knowledge of spiritual things, 3. John ii. 20. “ Ye have an undion from the holy One, (char. is, from Jesus Christ. Rev. ii. 18. It is an ailusion to the fanctuury, whence the holy oil was brought to anoint the priests); and ye know all things," viz. neceffary to falvation. Tho? men be not book-learned, if they be born again, they are Spirit-learned; for all such are taught of God, John via. 45. The Spirit of regeneration teacherb them what they knew not before ; and what they did know; as by the car only, he reacher them over again as by the eye. The light of grace is an overcoming light, deterruining men to ailent io divide truths on the mere' testimony of God. It is no easy thing for the mind of mán, to acquiesce in divine revelurion. Many, pretend greac refpe to the scriptures whou, neseridieiefs, the clear faipfure teftimony will nor divorce from their pre-conceived opin.
But this ithuroinations will make men's minds: run, as captives after. Chris's chariot wheels ;, which, for ilieir part Mall be allowed to drive over and cast down their own " imaginations, and every bigh thing that exaleh itself against *tbe knowledge
God". 2. Cor. x, 5. It will make them so receive the kingdoin of God as a little child,?" Mark x. '16 who thinks he has sufficient ground to believe any thing, if his. father do but say it is fus. SecondLY: The Will is renewed.
The Lord.takes away thie Aony heart, and gives a heart of 'fleth, Ezek.xxxv, 26. And fo of fones raileth up chiidren to Abraham. Regenerrs. ing grace is powerful and etä сacious, and gives the Will a new fet. It does not indeed force it : but sweetly yet powerfully draws it, fo inat ** his people are willing is the day of hi