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tion, I shall rest the matter here, without leading you into the niceties of a controversy so easily decided. I would only farther observe, that they who most vigorously contend for the other manner of speaking, for after all it is but a dispute about a word, acknowledge expressly, that a man may be saved without what they call regeneration, and that he may perish with it. And though persons are taught to speak of their state, in consequence of baptism, in very high, and I fear, dangerous terms; yet when wise and good men come to explain those terms, it evidently appears, that many of whom they are used, are so in a state of salvation as to be daily obnoxious to damnation; so the children of God, as also to be the children of the devil; and so inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, as to be children of wrath, and on the brink of hell.

Where persons of real piety apprehend themselves under a necessity of using such phrases with respect to all that are baptized, we cannot blame them for endeavouring to bring down their signification, as low as possible: But they will, I hope, excuse those, who chuse to speak, in what they apprehend to be a more scriptural, rational, and edifying language.

It was a matter of conscience with me, to state the matter as you have heard. I do therefore earnestly intreat you, may dearly beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the sake of your own immortal souls, that you deceive not yourselves with vain words; but that where your eternal salvation is so plainly concerned, you bring the cause, the important cause, to an immediate trial: And if you are convinced, as I suppose many of you quickly may be, that you are at present dead in trespasses and sins, then let me beseech you, to reflect on what the most transient survey of the scripture may teach you, as to the danger of such a case. For though it will be my business, in the process of these discourses, more largely to represent it, when I come to speak of the necessity of the new birth, God only knows, whether your lives may be continued, till we advance so far in the subject: And where a case of this kind is in question, the delay of a week, or even of a day, may be inevitable and eternal ruin.

SERMON II.

ON REGENERATION.

Of the Nature of Regeneration, and particularly of the Change it produces in Men's Apprehensions.

2 Cor. v. 17.-If any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature; old Things are passed away, behold, all Things are become new.

THE

HE knowledge of our true state in religion, is at once a matter of so great importance, and so great difficulty, that in order to obtain it, it is necessary we should have line upon line, and precept upon precept. The plain discourse which you heard last Lord's day, was intended to lead you into it; and I question not, but I then said enough to convince many, that they were in an unregenerate condition. Nevertheless, as there are various approaches towards regeneration and conversion, which on the whole fall short of it; I think it very expedient now to give you, what I may properly enough call the counter-part of this view; which I shall, by divine assistance, attempt from the words I have now been reading.

The apostle who wrote them, was transported to such a zeal for Christ, and for the souls of men, that some thought him Beside himself; and no doubt many would represent him, as the greatest enthusiast upon the face of the earth. But as it was A very small thing to him to be judged of man's judgment†, he calmly vindicates himself, by declaring that there was a cause for all this warmth, as the honour of God and the Redeemer, and the eternal salvation of men, were so intimately concerned in the affair: The love of Christ, says he, constrains us‡, or as the words properly signifies, it bears us away with it, like a mighty torrent, which we are not able to resist; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, under the sentence of God's righteous law, or they would not have needed such an atonement as the blood of his Son; and we farther judge, That he died for all, that they who now live, only in consequence of his dying love, should not henceforth live unto

+ 2 Cor. v. 14.

§ Συνεχει.

⚫ Ver. 13.. + 1 Cor. iv. 3.

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themselves, but unto him that died for them. We therefore live to this Jesus; we consecrate our lives and labours to this purpose, and in consequence of it, we henceforth know no man after the flesh, that is, we do not regard our temporal interests, nor consider how we may most effectually obtain the favour and friendship of those who may be useful to us in life; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, or have expected a temporal Messiah, who should make our nation triumphant over the Gentiles, and enrich it with the spoils of other nations, yet now henceforth we know him no more under such a character†. And in this respect the same temper will prevail in the heart of every real christian; and therefore, i. e. in consequence of what was said before of the Redeemer's love, if any man be in Christ, if he be really one of his faithful servants united to him by a lively faith, and in consequence of that union interested in his salvation, he is a new creature; his views and sentiments, his affections and pursuits, are so entirely changed, that he seems, as it were, to be come into a new world, and to be transformed quite into another person from what he formerly was: Old things are passed away, and, behold the astonishing transformation! All things are become new. This is the thought, that I am now to illustrate; and you cannot but see, how proper a foundation it will be for our discourse on the second general I proposed, which

is,

Secondly, Particularly to describe the nature of that great change, which passes on every soul, that is truly regenerate, in the scriptural, and most important sense of the word‡.

And here it may hardly seem necessary to tell you, that I do not mean to assert that the substance of the soul, and its natural faculties, are in a strict and proper sense changed: A man might as reasonably assert from such a scripture, that the former body was annihilated, and a new one produced; and common sense and decency will not allow us to imagine, that the apostle meant any thing of this nature, by the general terms he uses here. But the plain meaning is, that, when a man becomes a real christian, the whole temper and character of his

2 Cor. v. 15.

† Ver. 16.

Some chuse to call the change here described, renovation, rather than rege. neration. I have given my reasons before, (page 394.) why I use the words promiscuously: But I shall endeavour through the whole of these discourses, so to state the nature of this change, as to have no controversy with good men of any persuasion about any thing but the name of it; concerning which, I hope they will not contend with me, as I am sure I will not quarrel with them.

VOL. II.

3 D

and with the young men you will utterly fail; while they only that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, shall mount up as on eagles wings, and pressing on with an unwearied pace, according to the different degrees of vigour which the different parts of their course may require, shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint*. In short, if you do not thirst after the water of life, that is, as the Evangelist himself explains it, the Spirit, which they that Believe on Christ shall receivet, however bountiful he is, he makes no promise to impart it to you; and if you never receive it, all your other sources of comfort will soon be dried up, and the miserable condition of the creature, that asked in vain for one drop of water to cool his tormented tongue‡, will certainly be yours.

Here I apprehend multitudes will miscarry, who have made a fair shew in the eyes of men; and if you are condemned by this mark, I am sure you will not be acquitted by any of the preceding. For all the branches of an holy temper have such a connection with this, and such a dependance upon it, that a man, who is destitute of this, can have only the semblance of the rest.

And thus, Sirs, I have with all plainness and faithfulness, as in the sight of God, and sensible of my account to him, laid before you a variety of hints, by which I think you may safely and truly judge, whether you be, or be not, in an unregenerate state: And I shall now beg leave to conclude this discourse with one plain inference from the whole, viz.

That baptism is not regeneration, in the scriptural, and most important sense of the word.

99

To prove this as a corollary from the preceding discourse, shall only assume this most reasonable concession, with which you may remember I at first set out; "that regeneration, and being born of God, signify the same thing.' Now I have shewn you from a variety of scriptures under the former heads, that every one whom the sacred oracles represent as born of God, receiveth Christ, overcometh the world, and sinneth not. But it is too plain, that these characters do not agree to every one that is baptized; and consequently it evidently follows, that every one who is baptized is not of course born of God, or regenerate; and therefore, that baptism is not scripture regeneration.

I think no mathematical demonstration plainer, and more certain than this conclusion; and therefore, whatever great and ancient names may be urged on the other side of the ques

tion, I shall rest the matter here, without leading you into the niceties of a controversy so easily decided. I would only farther observe, that they who most vigorously contend for the other manner of speaking, for after all it is but a dispute about a word, acknowledge expressly, that a man may be saved without what they call regeneration, and that he may perish with it. And though persons are taught to speak of their state, in consequence of baptism, in very high, and I fear, dangerous terms; yet when wise and good men come to explain those terms, it evidently appears, that many of whom they are used, are so in a state of salvation as to be daily obnoxious to damnation; so the children of God, as also to be the children of the devil; and so inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, as to be children of wrath, and on the brink of hell.

Where persons of real piety apprehend themselves under a necessity of using such phrases with respect to all that are baptized, we cannot blame them for endeavouring to bring down their signification, as low as possible: But they will, I hope, excuse those, who chuse to speak, in what they apprehend to be a more scriptural, rational, and edifying language.

It was a matter of conscience with me, to state the matter as you have heard. I do therefore earnestly intreat you, may dearly beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the sake of your own immortal souls, that you deceive not yourselves with vain words; but that where your eternal salvation is so plainly concerned, you bring the cause, the important cause, to an immediate trial: And if you are convinced, as I suppose many of you quickly may be, that you are at present dead in trespasses and sins, then let me beseech you, to reflect on what the most transient survey of the scripture may teach you, as to the danger of such a case. For though it will be my business, in the process of these discourses, more largely to represent it, when I come to speak of the necessity of the new birth, God only knows, whether your lives may be continued, till we advance so far in the subject: And where a case of this kind is in question, the delay of a week, or even of a day, may be inevitable and eternal ruin.

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