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Thirdly, As the child is merely paffive in generation, fo is the child of God in regeneration. The one contributes nothing to its owÅ 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 no hand in moving of the water, no efficacy in performing of the 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 fome in their depraved state; others he brings into a state of grace or regeneracy. If thou 'be thus honoured, no thanks to thee; for who maketh thee to differ from another? Cor. iv.7. · Fourthly, There is a wonderful contexture of parts in both births. Adinirable is the structure of man's body, in which there is such a variety of organs : nothing wanting, nothing superfluous. The Pralinist considering his own body, looks on it as a piece of marvellous work: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, faitli lie, Psal. cxxxix. 14. and curiously wroughi in the lower parts of ite earth, ver. 15. That is, in the womb, where I know not how the bones do grow, inore 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 regeneration, Pfal. xlv. '14. She hall he brought unto the King, in raiment of needle-work, raiment curiously wrought. It is the same word in both texts. And what that raiment js, the Apoftle tells us, Eph. iv. 24. It is the new mon; which, ofier Cod, 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 curionfly wrought, as master-pieces of the manifold wisdom of God. O the wonderful contexture of graces in the new creature! O glorious creature, new. made, after the image of God! It is grace for grace in Christ, which inakes up the new inan, John i 16. Even as in bodily generation, che child has' member for member in the parent; has every member the parent has, in a certain proportion. .
Fifty, All this, in both cases, hath its rise from that which is in itself very finall and inconliderable. O the power of God, in making such a creature of the corruptible seed! and much more in bringing forth the new Creature from to fall beginnings: it is as 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 sermon, which hundreds beside him hear and let slip: but it remains with him, works in him, and never leaves him, till the little word be turned up-side-down by it; that is, till he become a new man. Ir is like the vapour that got up into Ahasuerus's head, and cut off Neép from his eyes, Esther vi 1. which proved å spring of such motions, as never ceased, until Mordecai, in royal pomp, was brought on horse-back through the itreet, proud Haman trudging at his foot ; the fame Haman afienwards hanged, Mordecai advanced, and the church delivered froin Himar's hellith plot. The gruin of muffard.
Es the di feed--becometh a tree, Matth. xiii. 21, 22. God loves to bring great to its of things out of small begionings. . by ward Sixthly, Natural generation is carried on by degrees, Job xi ró. : bune Haft thou not poured me out as milk, and cruddled me like cheefe? So is - water, regeneration. It is with the soul, ordinarily, in regeneration, as of a key with the blind man cured by our Lord, who first saw men as trees
all it walking, afterwards faw every man clearly, Matth. viii. 23, 24, 25. as he brint It is true, regeneration being, strictly speaking, a palling from death nuured, 4 to life, the soul is quickned in a moment: like as, when the embryo 1 Cor.1.7 is brought to perfection in the womb, the fourl is infuferl into the lifebath birtless lump. Nevertheless, we may imagine somewhat like conception cre is licet in spiritual generation, whereby the foul is prepared for quickening: nas. 1 and the new creature is capable of growth, i Pet. ii 2. and of life more more abundantly, John X. 10.3.! . (. Seventhly, In both there are new relations. The regenerate may 5. That i call God, Father : for they are his children, John i. 12, 13. begotten more i3 of him, i Pet. i. 3. The bride, the Limi's wife; (that is the church).
is their mother, Gal. iv. 27. They are related, as brethren, as filters, ,
to angels and glorified saints, the family of heaven. They are of the 18 heavenly stock: and the meanefit of them, the base things of the world,
cari Cor. i. 28. the kinless things, as the word imports, who cannot boast chat paino of the blood that runs in their veins, are yet, by their new birth, near
of kin with the excellent of the earth. ; che E ighthly, There is a likeness betwixt the parent and the child.
Every thing that generates, generates its like'; and the regenerate are partakers of the divine nature, 2. Pet: i. 4. the moral perfections of
the divine nature are iri measure and degree communicated to the Gere, at renewed soul, and thus the divine image is retrieved; so that, as the
child resembles the father, the new creature resembles God himself, being holy as he is holy.
Loftly, As there is no birth without pain, both to the mother and to the child; so there is great pain in bringing forth the new creature. The children have more or less of these birth-pains, whereby they are pricked in their heart, Acts ii. 37. The soul has fore pains when under conviction and humiliation, I wounded Spirit who can bear? The mother is pained, Zion travails; Ifa. lxvi. S. fhe fighs, 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 Christ be formed in you. And never was im. 14 a mother more feeling!y touched with joy, that a man-child was born
into the world, than the is upon the new birth of her children. But vad, and on what is more remarkable than all this, we read, not only of our Lord
Jesus Christ's travail, (or toil'of foul) Ifa. liii. ii. but what lies more directly to our purpole) of his pains, or pangs, as of one travelling in child-birth; fo the word ufed Acts ii. 24. properly lignifies. Well may he call the new creature,' as Rachel called her dear-bought son, Benoni, i.e. The fon of my forrow: and, as the called another, Nephtali,
i. e. my wrestling: for the pangs of that travail put him to strong crying and tears, Heb. v. 7. yea, in an agony and bloody / weat, Luke xxii. 44. And, in the end, he died of these pangs, they became to him the pains of death, A&s ii. 24.
Thc 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 salvation ; ye are new creatures, ye are born again. But ye will say, “ How mall we know whether és we be born again or not?” 'Anf. Do you ask nie, if the sun were risen, 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 heart? Look in, and see. . Grace is light, and discovers itself. Look into thy mind, see if it has been illuminate in the knowledge of God. Hast thou been inwardly taught what God is? Were thine eyes ever turned inward to see thyself, the sinfulness of thy depraved
State; the corruption of thy nature; the sins of thy heart and life? - Wast thou ever let into a view of the exceeding sinfulness 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 ferters taken off, wherewith it was sometimes bound up from moving heavenwards? And has thy will got a new set ? Dort thou find an averfion to fin, and a proneness to good wrought in chy heart? Is thy, foul turned towards God as thy chief end; is thy will new-molded, into some measure of conformity to the preceptive and providential will of God: Art thou hearrily reconciled to che covenant 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 on after God? Are they " to his name, and remembrance of him?" Ifa. xxvi. 8. Are your hopes in him? Is your love set upon him, and your hatred set against lin? Does your offending a good God affect your heart with forrow, and do you fear sin more than fuffer. ing? Are your affections regulated? Are they, with respect to created comforts brought down, as being too high: and with re. fpect to God in Christ, screwed up, as being too low? Has he the chief seat in your heart? And are all your lawful worldly 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 sanctified, thy body consecrated to the service of God? And art thou now walking in newness of life. Thus ye may discover, whether ye are born again or not.
Buty 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 faints have often had comfort, when they could have little or no consolation from other marks proposed to them. This the Apostle lays down, 1 John jii. 14. “We kuow that we have passed from death unto " life, because we love the brethren." It is not to be thought, that the Apostle, by the brethren in this place, means brethren by a common relation to the fir Adam, but to the second Adam, Christ Jesus: because, however true it is, that universal benevolence, a good-will ro the whole race of mankind, takes place in the renewed ioul, as being a lively lineament of the divine image; yet the whole context speaks of those that are the sons of God, ver. 1, 2, children of God, ver. 10. born of God, ver. 9. distinguishing betwixt the children of God, and the children of the devil, ver. 10. bet wixt these that are of the devil, ver. 8, 12. and these that are of God, ver. 10. And the text itself comes in as a reason why we should not marvel that the world hates the brethren, the children of God, ver. 13. How can we marvel at it, seeing the love of the brethren is an evidence of one's having passed from death to life? And therefore it were absurd to look for that love amongst the men ofi the world, who are dead in trefpafles and fin. They cannot love the brethren: no marvel then that they hate them. Wherefore it is plain, that by brethren here, are meant brethren by regeneration.
Now, in order to see this mark of regeneration in a true light, confider these three things. (1:) This love to the brethren, is a love to them as such. Then do we love them in the sense of the text, when the grace, or image of God in them, is the chief motive of our love to them. When we love the godly for their godliners, the frints for their fanctity or holiness: then we love God in them, and to may conclude, we are born of God; for every one that loveth. him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him, i John v. I. Hypocrites may love laints, on account of a civil relation to them; becaufe of their obliging conversation; for their being of the same opinion with themselves in religious matters: and on many other such like accounts, whereby wicked men may be induced to love the godly. But happy they, who can love them for naked grace in them; for their heaven-bori temper and difpofition; who can pick this pearl out of a dunghill of infirmicies in, and about them; Jay hold on it, and love them for it. (2.). It is a love that will be given to all, in whom the grace of God appears. They that love one faint, because he is a saint, will have love to all the saints, Eph. j. 15. They will love all, who to their discerning; bear the image of God. They that cannot love a gracious person in rags, buc confine their tove to these of them who wear gay cloathing, have not this love to the brethren in them. There who can confine their love to a party, to whom God has not confined his grace, are souls too narrow to be put among the children. In what
points foever men differ from us, in their judgment or way: yet if they appear to agree with us, in love to God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and in bearing his image; we will love them as brethren, if we ourselves be of the heavenly family. And, (3-) If This love be in us, the more grace any person appears to be poffeffed of, he will be the more beloved by us. The more vehemently the holy fire of grace doch fame in any, the hearts of true Christians . will be the more warmed in love to them. It is not with the
saints as with many other men, who make themselves the standard for others: and love them so far as they think they are like them. selves. But, if they seem to out-fhine, and darken them, their love is turned to hatred and envy; and they endeavour to detract from the due praise of their exemplary piery; because nothing relisheth with them in the practice of religion, that goes beyond their own measure : what of the life and power of religion appears in others, ferves only to raise the serpentine grudge in their Pharifaical hearts. But, as for them that are born again; their love and affection to the brethren, bears proportion to the degrees of the divine image they discern in them.
Now, if ye would improve these things to the knowledge of your state, i would advise you, (1.) To set apart some time, when yé are at home, for a review of your case, and try your Itare, by what has been said. Many have comfort and clearners as to their state, at a sermon; who in a little time lose it again: because, while they hear the word preached, they make application of it; but do not consider of these things more deliberately and leisurely when alone. The action is too sudden and short, to give lalting comfort. And ic. is often to indeliberate, that it has bad coolequences. Therefore, set about this work at home, after carncit end serious prayer to God for his help in it. Complain not of your want of time, while the night follows the busy day; or of place, while the fields and out-houses are to be gor. (2.) Renew your repentance before the Lord. Guilt lying on the conscience, onrepented of, may darken all your evidences, and marks of grace. It provokes the Spirit of grace to depart; and when he goes, our Light ceases. It is not fic time for a saint to read his evidences, when the candle is blown out by some cooscience-wounding guilt. Loftly, Exert the powers of the new nature; let the graces of the divine Spirit in you, discover themselves by action. If ye would know whether there is a sacred fire in your brealt, or not, ye must blow the coal: for altho' it be; and be a live-coal; yet if it be under the aihes, it will give you no light. Settle in your hearts a firm purpose, thro' the grace that is in Christ Jesus, to comply with every known duty, and watch against every known sin, hai. ing a readiness of mind, to be instructed in what ye know not. If gracious fouls would thus manage their inquiries into their state; it is likely, they would have a comfortable issue. And if others would take such a folemn review and make trial of their stare im