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fall a-praying, as for the new born babe to fall a-crying, Afts ix. 11.“ Behold, he prayeth.” His heart wirl be a temple for God, and his house a church. His tevorion, which before was fuperficial and formal, is now fpiritual and lively; forafmuch as heart and tongue are touched with a live-coal from heaven; and he refts nor in the mere performing of doties, as careful only to get his talk done ; but in every daty feeking communiop with God in Chrift, juftly considering them as means ar. poinced of God for that end ; and reckoning himself disappointed if he miss of it. Thus far of the nature of-regeneration.
The Resemblance betwixt Natural and Spiritual
II. I come to thew why this change is called Regeneration, a being born again. It is so called, because of the resemblance betwixt natural and spiritual generation, which lies in the following particulars,
FIRST, Natural generation is a myftérious thing : and fo is fpiritual generation, Jobu iii. 8. 5. The wind bloweth where it lifterh, and thou heareft the found thereof, but canst 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 fe:tered with cords of love, and how the rebel is made a willing captive, we can no more tell, than 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 ftirring ; but knows **0% where it begins, and where it ends : fo is every one that is bory of the Spirit ; he finds che change that is made upon him, but how it is produced he knoweth nor. One thing he may know, that whereas he was blind, now he feeth : but the feed of grace doth spring and grow up, he knoweth not how." Mark iv, 26, 27,
SECONDLY, In both, the creature comes to a bring it had noe betore. The child is 110!, eill be be generate; and a man has do gracious being, no being in grace, till he be regenerate. Regeneration is not fo much the curing of a sick man, as the quickning of a dead man, Eph. j. 1, 5. Man in his depraved tate is a nyere non entity in grace; and is b:oughe into a new Being, by the power of him, who calleth thirgs that be noi,
as thougli shey 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 ftate, propoletis himself as “the beginning of the creation of God," Rev. ii. 14. Namely, the active beginning of it; for all thiogs
were made by him at first,” John 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 3: the fame hand that made them. his creatures, could make them Dew creatures.
THIRDLY, As the child is merely pallive in generativo, so is the child of God in regeneration. The one contributes nothing to its ową generatiov-;, neither does the other contribute any thing by way of efficiency, to its own regeneration : for tho' a mao may lay himself down at the pool ; yet he hath Do haod in moving of the water; no efficacy in performing of tbe cure.
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 some in their depraved state ; : others he brings into a ftate of grace or: regeneracy. If thou be thus honoured, no thanks to thee.; for," who maketh thee to differ from another?"! 1 Cor. iv. 70
Fourthly, There is a wonderful contexture of parts in boch: births. Admirable is the structure of man's body, in which there is such a variety of organs :: nothing wanting, nothing fuperfluous.. The Pfalmiit confidering his own body,' looks on it as a piece of marvellous works. I am fearfully and wonder* fully made, faith he, Psal cxxxix. 14. and curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth,” ver 15. That is, in the womb, where I know not 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 so it is in.
-geneiction, Pfal. xlv. 14. “. She shall be brought unto the King, in raiment of peedle-work, raiment curiously wrought.”. " It is she same word in both texts. And what ihat raiment is, the Apostle tells us, Eph. iv. 24. It is the:new man, 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 Christ, Both are curiously wrought, as: master-pieces of the manifold wisdom of God.. O the.wonderful contexture of graces in the new creature! O gloriouscreature, new made after the image of God! It is grace for
grace in Christ, which makes up the new man, John i. 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 it felf very small and inconsiderable. O the power of God, jo making such a creature of the corruptible feed ! and much more in bringing forth the new creature from so small begin. nings : it is ag " the little cloud like a man's hand, which spread till heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain," 1 Kings xiii. 44, 45.' A man gets a word at a fermon, which hundreds beside him hear and let flip: but it Femains with him, works in him, and never leaves him, till the little world be turned up-fide-down by it; that is; till he be. come a new man. It is like the vapour that got up into Ahasuerus's head, and cut off sleep from his eyes, Efther vi. 1. which proved a spring of such motions, as never ceased, ootil Mordecai, in royal pomp, was brought on horse back through the street, proud Haman trudging at his foot ; the same Haman afterwards hanged, Mordecai advanced, and the church deli. vered from Haman's hellith plor. The grain of muftard-feed becometh a tree, Marth. xiii. 21, 22. God loves to bring great things out of small beginnings.
SIXTHLY, Natural generation is carried on by degrees, Job x. 10.“ Haft thou oot poured me out as milk, and crud. 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, afterwards saw every man clearly, Matih. viii, 23, 24, 25. It is true regenetation, being, ftri&tly fpeaking a paffing 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 kifelef lamp. Nevertheless, we may imagine somewhat 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. 1o.
SEVENTHLY, In both there are new relations. The regen hierate 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 faints, the family of beaven. They are of the heavenly stock : and the meanest of them, the base things of the world,
1 Cor. 1.1 28. the kinless things, as the word imports, who cannot boast of the blood that runs in their veins, are yet, by their new birtb, near of kin with the excellent in the earth.
EIGHTHLY, There is a likeness betwixt the parent and the child.. Every thing that generales, generates its like; and the . regenerate are“ pártakers 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 ii. 37.--The foul has fore pains when under conviction and humiliation: * A wounded fpirit who can bear? The mother is pained, Zion travails." Isa. Ixvi.-8. she sighs, groans, crieth, and 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 into 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 Chrill's travail, (or coil of foul) Ifa. liii. 11. but (what lies more directly to our purpose) of his pains, or pangs, as of one travelling in child-birth; fo ihe word used Ads ii, 24. properly fignifies. Well may he call the new Creature, as Rachel called her dear-bought son, Benoni, i. e. “ The son of my fórrow :' and, as she called another, Naphiali,
My wrestling ;" for the pangs of that travail put him to s “ strong crying and tears,” Heb. v. 7. yea, in " an agony and bloody Twear," Luke xxii. 44. And, in the end, he died of these pangs; they became, to him, the paios of death, Acts ïi. 24.
The Doctrine of Regeneration applied.
Use I. By what is said, you may try whether you are in the state 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 we be born agaio or not? Anf. Did you ask me, if the fun were rifen z and how you should know, whether it
were tisen, 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, see if it has been illumi.. nate in the knowledge of God. Haft thou been inwardly taught what God is? Were thine eyes ever turned inward, to ste thyself, the sinfulness of thy depraved ftate ; the corruption of thy nature ; the sins of thy heart and life? Walt thou ever let into a view of the exceeding finfulness of sin ? Have thine eyes seen King Jesus in his beauty; the manifold wisdom of God in him; his transcendent 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 fetters taken off, where with it was sometimes bound up from moving heaver-wards? And has thy will got a new leo? Doft thou fod an averfion to fin, and a proneness to good wioughs in thy heart? Is thy fou! turned towards God as thy chief end?. Is thy will new.molded: into some measure of conformity to the preceptive and provia, dential will of God : Art thou heartily reconciled in the Cove 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 ?" Isa, xxvi. 8.' Are your hopes in him? Is your love fess upon him, and your hatred fet against fin? Does your offending, a good God affect your heart with forrow: and đo
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, screwed up, as being. too low ? Has he the chief seat in your hearts ?. And are all
your lawful wordly, comforts and enjoyments laid at his feet ? Has . thy conscience been enlightned and awakened, refusing all ease;but from the application of the blood of a Redeemer? Is thy memory fan&tified, thy body, consecrated to the service of God?: And art thou now. walking in newness of life? Thus ye may. discover, wherher ye are born again or nota
But, for your further.help, in this matter, I will discourse a: little of another sign of regeneration, namely, The love of the brethren : an evidence whereby the weakest and most timorous saints have often had comfort, when they could have little or no consolation from other marks proposed to them. . This the : Apoftle lays down, 1 John iii. .14.. * We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. It