Изображения страниц

ruptible seed of God, it may be called a Birth of the Divine Nature or Life. As it comes by the agency of the Spirit, it


be called the Life of the Spirit. As it is new, it may be called the New Man or Creature. Or it may have the appellation of a Child of God. Or it is that spiritual life and light, or that spiritual principle and power within us, which may be called the Anointed or Christ within.

“ As this seed,” says Barclay, “is received in the heart, and suffered to bring forth its natural and proper effect, Christ comes to be formed and raised, called in Scripture the New Man, Christ within us, the Hope of Glory. Yet herein they (the Quakers) do not equal themselves with the Holy Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, neither destroy his present existence. For though they affirm Christ dwells in them, yet not immediately, but mediately, as he is in that seed which is in them.”

Of the same opinion was the learned Cudworth. “ We all,” says he, “receive of his fulness grace for grace, as all the stars in heaven are said to light their candles at the 1

sun's † i Peter i. 23.

sun's flame. For though his body be withdrawn from us, yet by the lively and virtual contact of his Spirit, he is always kindling, cheering, quickening, warming, and enlivening hearts. Nay, this divine life begun and kindled in any heart, wheresoever it be, is something of God in flesh, and, in a sober and qualified sense, Divinity incarnate : and all particular Christians, that are really possessed of it, are so many mystical Christs.”

Again : “Never was any tender infant so dear to those bowels that begat it, as an infant new-born Christ, formed in the heart of any true believer, to God the father of it.”

This account relative to the new birth the Quakers conceive to be strictly deducible from the Holy Scriptures. It is true, they conceive, as far as the new birth relates to God, and to the seed, and to the Spirit, from the following passages :

" Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him*:"_“ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of Godt:"_" Of his own will begat he us with the word of 1 John iii. 9.


« But


truth*.” It is considered to be true, again, as far as the new birth relates to the creature born, and to the name which it may bear, from these different expressions : “Of whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in yout:”-“ Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in met:”

have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Fathers :". “ But as many as received him, (that is, the Word or Spirit) to them gave he power to become the sons of God || :"_" For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (.” And as parents and children resemble one another, so believers are made “conformable to the image of his Son t, who is the image of the invisible Godfg."

Having explained in what the new birth consists, or having shown, according to Barclay, “that the seed is a real spiritual sub, stance, which the soul of man is capable of feeling and apprehending, from which that

* James i. 18.
+ Gal. iv. 19.
I Gal. ii. 20.
$ Rom. viii. 15.

|| John i. 12.

Rom. viii. 14. * Rom. viii. 39. $$ Coloss. i. 15.

* real

real spiritual inward birth arises, called the new creature or the new man in the heart*;" it remains to show how believers; or those, in whose souls Christ is thus produced, may be said “ to grow up to perfection;" for by this real birth or geniture in them, they come to have those spiritual senses raised, by which they are made capable of tasting, smelling, seeing, and handling the things of God.

It may be observed, then, that in the new birth a progress is experienced from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood. As it is only by submission to the operation of the Spirit that this birth can take place, so it is only by a like submission that any progress or growth from one stature to another will be experienced in it. Neither can the regenerated become instrumental in the redemption of others, any further or otherwise than as Christ or the Anointing dwells and operates in them, teaching them all truths necessary to be known, and strengthening them to perform every act necessary to be done for this purpose. He must be their only means and “hope of gloryt.”. It will

* Page 139. ed. 8.

+ Coloss. 1. 27.


be then that "the creature, which waiteth in earnest expectation for the manifestation of the sons of God, will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God *.” For, “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature : old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and all things of God t."

Those, who are the babes of the regeneration, begin to see spiritual things. The natural man, the mere creature, never saw God. But the babes, who cry

Abba Father, begin to see and to know him. Though as yet unskilful in the word of righteousness, " they desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby t." And “their sins are forgiven them S.”

Those, who may be considered as the young men in this state, are said to be “spiritually strong, and the word of God abiding in them, to have overcome the wicked one i.”

They, who have attained a state of manhood, are called fathers, or are said to be of full age,

and to be capable of taking strong * Rom. viii. 19. 21. $ i John ii. 12. + 2 Cor. v. 17, 18. ! i John ii. 14. I i Peter ii. 2.




« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »