« AnteriorContinuar »
fall a-praying, as for the new born babe to fall a-crying, Acts ix. 11.“ Behold, he prayeth.” His heart wiil-be a temple for God, and his house a church. His tevorion, which before was fuperficial and formal, is now fpiritual and lively; forasmuch as heart and tongue are touched with a live-coat from heaven; and he refts not in the mere performing of daties, as careful only to get his task done ; but in every duty feeking communion with God in Chrift, juftly considering them as means ar. pointed of God for that end; and reckoning himfelf disappointed if he miss of it. Thus far of the nature of regeneration. The Refemblance betwixt Natural and Spiritual
II. I come to thew why this change is called Regeneration, a being born again. It i, so called, because of the resemblance betwixt natural and spiritual generarion, which lies in the following particulars,
First, Natural generation is a myfterious bing: and so is fpiritual generation, Jobo iii. 8. * The wind bloweth where i ulteth, and thou heareft the found thereof, but canft not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: fo is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The work of the Spirii is felt, but his way of working is a mystery we cannot comprehend. A new light is let into the mind, and the will is renewed; but how mat light is conveyed thither, how the will is le:tered with cords of love, and how the rebelis made a willing captive, we can no more tell, thap we can tell " - how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child," Ecclef. xi. 5. As a man Hears the found of the wind, and finds it stirring ; but knows Hot where it begins, and where it ends : fo is every one that is born of the Spirit ; he finds the change that is made upon him, bat how it is produced he knowerh nor. One thing he may know, that whereas hë was blind, now he feeth : but the feed of grace doth " spring and grow up, he knoweth nos "how.". Mark iv, 26, 27.
SECONDLY, la both, the creature comes to a bring it had Hor betore. The child is so?, till he be generate; and a man has do gracious being, no being in grace, till he be regeneratè. Regeneration is not fo much the curing of a sick man, as the quickning of a dead man, Eph. ij. 1, 5. Man in his depraved thate is a frere non entity in grace; and is b:oughe into a netv seing, by the power of him, who calleth things that be noi,
as thougli they were : being created in Jesus Chrift unto good works,” Eph. ii
. 10. Therefore our Lord Jesus, to give ground of hope to the Laodiceans, in obeir wretched and miserable ftare, proposetii himself as “ the beginning of the creation of God," Rev. iii. 14. Namely, the active beginning of it; for all things " were made by him at first,” Jolin i. 3: From whence they might gather, that seeing he made them when they were noth. ing, he could make them over again when worse than nothing ;the fame hand that made them, his creatures, could make them *Dew creatures.
THIRDLY, As the child is merely paflive in generation, so is the child of God in regeneration. The one contributes noth. ing to its owo generation -;, neither does the other contribute any thing by way of efficiency, to its own regeneration for tho' a man may lay himself down at the pool ; yet he hath Do haod in moving of the water; no efficacy in performing of
One is born the child of a king, another the child of a beggar : the child has no hand at all in this difference. God leaves fome in their depraved state; : others he brings into a ftate of grace or: regeneracy. If thou be thus honoured, no tbanks to thee; for 66 who maketh thee to differ from another?!! 1 Cor. iv. 79.
FOURTHLY, There is a wonderful' contexture of parts in both: birchs. Admirable is the structure of man's body, in which there is such a variety of organs :: nothing wanting, nothing fuperfluous.. The Psalmist considering his own body, looks on it as a piece of marvellous works. I am fearfully and wonder* fully made," saith he, Psal cxxxix. 14. and curiously
. Wrought in the lower parts of the earth,” ver 15. That is, in the womb, where I know por how the bones: do grow, more than I know what is .a. doing in the lowest parts of the earth. In natural generation, , we are curiously wrought, as a piece of needle... work; as the word imports : - even fo. it is generetion, Pfal. xly.
o. She shall be brought unto the King, in raiment of peedle-work, raiment curioully wrought.”..It isabe fame word in both texts. And what ihat raiment is, the Apostle, tells us, Eph. iv. 24. It is the new nuan, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness” That.is the raiment he faith, in the same place, we must put on; not-excluding the imputed righteousness of Chrift, Bóth are curiously wronghe, as master-pieces of the manifold wisdom of God.. O the wonderful contexture of
graces s in the new creature! O glorious crcature, ,new. made after the image of God! It is grace for P3
grace in Christ, which makes up the new man, John - j. 16. Even as in bodily generation, the child has member for member in the parent ; has every member the parent has, in a certain proportion.
FIFTHLY, All this in both cases hath its rife from that which is in itself very finall and inconliderable. O the power of God, ið making luch a creature of the corruptible feed! and much more in bringing forth the new creature from fo fmall beginnings : it is as " the little cloud like a man's which spread till heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain, 1 Kings xiii. 44, 45.. A man gets å word at fermon, which hundreds beside him hear and let flip: but it femains with him, works in him, and never leađes bim, till the little world be turned up-fide-down by it ; that is, till he be. come a new man. It is like the vapout that got up into Ahasuerus's head, and cut off fleep from his eyes, Ether vi. l. which proved a spring of such motions, 'as never ceased, until Mordecai, in royal pomp, was brought on horse back through the street, proud Haman trudging at his foot; the same Hamad afterwards hanged, Mordecai advanced, and the church deli. vered from Haman's hellith plor. · The grain of muftard-feed becometh a tree, Matth. xiii. 21, 22. God loves to bring great things out of fmall beginnings.
SikthLÝ, Natural generation is carried on by degrees, Job x. 10.“ Haft thou oot poured me out as milk, and crude dled me like cheese ?!! So is regeneration. It is with the foul, ordinarily, in regeneration, as with the blind man cured by out Lord, who first faw men as trees walking, after wards saw every man clearly, Matih. viii, 23, 24, 25. It is true regeneTation, being, ftriatly fpeaking a pafling from death to life, the fout is quickned in a moment : like as, when the embryo is brought to perfection in the womb, the foul is infused into the lifelef lump. Nevertheless, we may imagine fomewhat like conception in fpiritual generation, whereby the foul is prepared for quickning: and the new creature is capable of growth, 1 Pet. ii. 2. and of life more abundantly, John X. 10.
SEVENTHLY, In both there are new relations. The regen Hérate may call God, Father; for they are his children, John i. 12, 13. begotten of him, 1 Pet. i. 3. The bride, the Lamb's wife, (that is, the church) is their mother, Gal. iv. 27. They are related, as bretbren, as fisters, to angels and glorified faiats, the family of leaves. They are of the heavenly stock : and the micanest of them, the base things of the world;"
1 Cor. i 28. the kinless things, as the word imports, who cannot boast of the blood that runs in their veins, are yet, by their new birth, neap of kin with the excellent in the earth.
EIGHTHLY, There is a likeness be! wixt the parent and the child. Every thing that generales, generates its like; and the regenerate are pårtakers of the divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4,the moral perfections of the divine nature, are, in measure and degree, communicated to the renewed soul; and thus the divine image is retrieved: fo that, as the child resembles the father, the new creature resembles God himself, being “ holy as he is holy."
LASTLY, As there is no birth without pain, both to the mother and to the child; so there is great pain in bringing forth tbe new creature. The children have more or less of these birth paias, whereby they are pricked in their heart, Acts il. 37.The foul has fore pains when under conviction and humiliation: " A wounded fpirit who can bear?. The mother is pained, Zion travails.” Ifa. Ixvi.-8. The fighs, groans, crieth, ånd hath hard labour in her ministers and members, to bring forth children to her Lord, Gal. iv. 19. "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Chritt be formed in you.” And never was a mother more feelingly touched with joy, that a man-child was born joto the world, than she is upon the new birth of her children. Bur what is more remarkable than all this, we read not only of our Lord Jesus Christ's travail, (or coil of foul) Ila. liii. 11. but (what lies more directly to our purpose) of his pains, or pangs, as of one travelling in child-birth; fo the word used Aas ii. 24. properly signifies. We!l may he call the new Creature, as Rachel called her dear-bought son, Benoni, i. e. ** The fon of my forrow :'? and, as she called another, Naphrali, i. e. "My wrestling :" for the pangs of that travail put " strong crying and tears, 7 Heb. v. 7. yea, in "
and bloody Twear,” Luke xxii. 44. And, in the end, he died of these pangs; they became, to him, the pains of death, Acts ii. 24.
him to an agony
The Dodrine of Regeneration applied.
Use I. By what is said, you may try wherher you are in the fate of grace or not. If ye be brought out of the state of wrath or ruin, into the state of grace or falvation ; ye are new Creatures, ye are born again. But ye will say, How shall we know whether ise be born agaio or not? Ans. Did you ask me, if the fun were risen 3 and how you should know, whether it
were risen, or not? I would bid you look up to the heavens, and see it with your eyes. And, would you know if the light be risen in
your hearts? Look in, and fee. Grace is light, and discovers itself. Look into thy mind, fee if it has been illumi.. nate in the knowledge of God. Maft ihou been inwardly taught what God is? Were thine eyes.ever turned inward, to see thyself, the sinfulness of thy depraved ftate ; the corruption of thy nature; the fins of thy heart and life? Walt thou ever let into a view of the exceeding finifulness of sip? Have thing eyes
seen King Jesus in his beauty; the manifold wisdom of God in him ; his transcendene excellency, and absolute fulness and sufficiency with the vanity and emptiness of all things else? Next, What change is there on thy will? Are the fitiers taken off
, wherea. with it was fonetimes bound up from moving heaver-wards? And has thy will got a new l'er? Dost thou find an averfion to fin, and a proneness to good wrought in thy heart? Is thy fou! turned towards God as thy chief end? Is thy will new.molded: into fome measure of conformity to the preceptive and provia dential will of God : Art thou heartily reconciled in the Covent nant of peace, and fixedly disposed to the receiving of Christ, as: he is offered in the Gospel? And as to a change on your affections are they rectified and placed on right objects? Are your desires going after God? Are they. “ to his name and the remembrance of him?" Ifa. xxvi. 8.° Are your hopes in him? Is your love fets , upon him, and your hatred fet againit fin? Does your offending
a good 'God affect your heart with forrow: and do you fear sin more than suffering? Are your affections regulated ? Are they; with respect to created comforts, brought down, as being too, high : and with respect to God in Chrift, fcrewed up, as being too low ?. Has hethe chief feat.in
hearts? And are all your : lawful wordly. comforts and enjoyments laid at his feet ? Has thy conscience been enlightned and awakened, refusing all easebut from the application of the blood of a Redeemer ? Is thy memory fanctified, thy body, consecrated to the fervice of God?
And art thou now walking in newness of life? Thus ye may discover, wherher ye are born again or not..
Buty for your further help in this matter, I will discourse a: little of another fign of regeneration, namely, The love of the brethren: an evidence.whereby the weakest and most timoroue faints have often had comfort, when they could have little or :no consolation from other marks proposed to them. This the : Apostle lays down, " John iii..14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethrens. It