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the seed, whereof the new creature is formed, is not corruptible feed. Of such indeed, our bodies are generated : but the spiritual feed, of which the new creature is generated, is incorruptible; namely, the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. The sound of the word of God, passech even as other sounds de : but the word lasteth, liveth and abideth, in respect of its everlasting effects on all upon whom it operates. This word, which by the gospel is preached unto you, (ver.25.) impregnated by the Spirit of God, is the means of regeneration ; and by it are dead finners raised to life.

DOCTRINE. All men in the state of grace are born again. All gracious persons, namely, such as are in a state of favour with God, and endued with gracious qualities and dispositions, are regeneTate persons. In discoursing this subject, I shall thew what regeneration is : Next, Why it is so called, and then apply the doctrine.

of the Nature of Regeneration.

1. For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take this along with you in the first place. That as there are false conceptions in nature, so there are also in grace: and by these many are deluded, mistaking some partial changes made upon them, for this great and thorough change. To remove such mistakes, let these few things be conlidered. (1.) Many call the church their mother, whom God will not own to be his children, Cant. i. 6. My mother's children (i.e. false brethren) were angry with me. All that are baptized are not born again. Simon was baptized, yet still in the gall of bitterness, and in the hond of iniquity, Acts viii. 13, 23. Where Christianity is the religion of the country, many will be called by the name of Christ, who have no more of him, but the name: and no wonder, seeing the devil had his goats arnong Christ's sheep, in these places, where but few professed the Christian religion, 1 John ii. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us. (2.) Good education is not regeneration. Education may chain up nyen's lusts, but cannot change their hearts. A wolf is still a ravenous beast, though it be in chains. Foash was very devout during the life of his good tutor Jehoiada; but afterwards he quickly thewed what fpirit he was of, by his fudden apoftasy, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2, 17, 18. Good example is of mighty influence to change the outward man; but that change often goes off, when one changes his company; of which the world affords many fad instances. (3.) A turning from open profanity, to civility and fobriety, falls short of this saving change. Some are, for a while, very loose, especially in their younger years: but at length they reform, and leave their profane courses, Here is a chang , yet but such an one, as may be found in men, utterly void of the trace of God, and whose righteousness is so far from exceeding, that it doth not come up to the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. (4.) One may engage in all the outward duties of religion, and yet not be born again. Tho' lead be cast into

various shapes, it remains still but a base metal. Mert may escaape the pollutions of the world, and yet be but dogs and swine, 2 Pet. ii. 20, 22. All the external acts of religion are within the compass of natural abilities. Yea, hypocrites may have the counterfeit of all the graces of the Spirit: for we read of true holiness, Eph, iv. 23. and faith unfeigned, 1 Tim i 5. which shews us, that there is a counterfeit holiness, and a feigned faith. (5:). Men may-advance to a great deal of strictness in their own way of religion; and yet be ftrangers to the new birth, A&s xxxvi. 5. After the most prieteft fect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee. Nature has its own un Canctified strictnets in religion. The Pharisees had so much of it, that they looked on Christ as little better than a mere libertine A man whose confcience hath been awakened, and who lives under the felt influence of the covenant of works, what will he not do, that is within the compass of natural abilitiesIt was a truth, tho' it came out of a hellish mouth, that skin for skin, all that a man hath will be give for his life, Job ii. 4. (6.) One may have sharp soul-exercises and pangs, and yet die in the birth. Many have been in pain, that have but as it were brought forth wind. There may be fore pangs and throws of conscience, which turn to nothing at last. Pharaoh and Simon Magus had such convictions, as made the desire the prayers of others for them. Judas repented himflf; and under terrors of conscience, gave back his ill-gotten pieces of silver. All is not gold that glisters. Trees! may blossom fairly in the spring, on which no fruit is to be found in the harvest: and some have sharp foul-exercises, which are nothing. but foretaftes of hell.

The new birth, however in appearance hopefully begun, may be marred two ways. First, Some, like Zarah, Gen xxxviii 28, 29 are brought to the birth, but go back again. They have tharp convictions for a while: but these go off, and they turn as careless about their salvation, as profane as ever : and usually worse than ever, their last state is worse than their first, Mat. xii. 45. They get awakening grace, but not converting grace ; and that goes off by degrees, as the light of the declining day, till it issue in midnight darkness. Secondly, Some like Ifomael, come forth too soon ; they are born before the time of the promise, Gen. xvi. 1, 2: compare Gal. iv. 22. and down. ward. They take up with a mere law-work, and Itay not till the, time of the promise of the gospel. They fnatch at confolation, not waiting till it be given them; and foolishly draw their comfort from the 'law that wounded them. They apply the healing plaister to themfelves, before their wound be sufficiently searched. The law, that rigorous husband, severely beats them, and throws in curses arid vengeance upon their souls: then they fall a reforming, praying, mourning, promising and vowing, till this ghost be laid ; which done, they fall asleep again in the arms of the law; but they are never fhaken out of themselves and their own righteousness, nor brought forward to Jesus Christ. Lastly, There may be a wondeaful movin

of the affections, in fouls that are not at all touched with regenerating grace

Where there is no grace there may, notwithstanding, be a food of tears, as in Esau, who found no place of repentince, thi' blousoht it carefully with tears, Heb xii. 17 I here may be grot flashes of joy; as in the hearers of the word, represented in the pärable by the {tony ground. who anon with joy receive it, Matth xiii. 20. I here may also be great delire after good things, and great delight in them too; as in these bvpocrites described, Isa lviii. 2. Yi-t they leek me dai:y, and deli: ht to know my ways. They take delight in cpp:ouch.ng unto God. See how high they may sometimes stand, who yet fall away, Heb vi. 4, 5, 6 They may be nlighted, tafie of the heuvenly gift, b. partukers of the holy Ghaft, talte the good wnd of God, and the powers of the worl., to cume Coinmon operations of the divine Spirit, like a land flood, make a strange turning of things up (ide down. And when they are over, all runs again in the ordinary channel Alt these hings may be, where the sanctifying Spirit of Chritt never reits upon the soul. but the stond heart itill remains : and in that cale, these affections cannot but wither b-ule :hey «VC no rog,

But regeneration is a real thorough change, whereby the man is made a new creature,-2. Cor. v. 17 The Lord God makes the cre.iture a new creature, as the goldsmith melts down the vessel of dithonour and makes it a vessel of honour Man is, in respect of his natural state, altoge:her disjointed by the fall; every faculty of the foul is, as it were, dislocate : in regeneration the Lord loofeih every joint, and sets it right again Now this change made in regeneration is,

1. A change of qualities or dispolitions: it is not a change of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. Vicious qualities are re. moved, and the contrary difpofitions are brought in, in their room. The old man is put off, Eph iv 22 the n. w mun put on, ver 24. Man loit none of the rational faculties of his soul by fin; he had an inderstanding Hill, but it was darkened; he had still a will, but it was contrary to the will of God So in regeneration there is not a new substance created, but new qualities are infused; light instead of dark-, ness, righteousness instead of unrighteousness.

2. It is a fupernatural change; he that is born again, is born of the Spirit, Jolm nii 5: Great changes may be made by the power of nature, elpecially when allifted by external revelation. And nature may be fo elevated by the common influences of the Spirit. that one may thereby be turned into another man, (as Saul was, i Sam, x 6.) who yet never becomes a new man. But in regeneration nature itself is changed, and we become partakers of the divine nature ; and this mult needs be a fupernatural change. How can we that are dead in trespasses and sins, renew ourselves, more than a dead man can raise himself out of his grave? Who, but the fantifying Spirit of Chrilt, can form Christ in a foul, changing it into the fame image? Who, but the Spirit of fanctification can give the new heart? Well may we say, when we see a man thus changed, This is the finger of God.

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}. It is a change into the likeness of God, 2 Cor iii. 18. We bebodding as in a lass the glo v of th: Lord, are chanųed into the same inage. Every thing that generates, generates its like: the child bears the image of the parent; and they that are born of God, bear God's e image. Man aspiring to be as God, made himself like the devil. In

his natural state he resembles the devil, as a child doth the father, John viii 44 Ye are of your father the devil. But when this happy change comes, the image of Satan is defaced, and the image of God restored. Christ himfelf, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, is the pattern, after which the new creature is made, Rom. viii. 29. For whom he did for know, he also dii predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son Hence he is said to be conformed in the regenerate, Gal- iv, 19.

4 It is an universal change; all things become new, 2 Cor. vi. 17. It is a blest leaven that leavens the whole lump, the whole fpirit, and foul and body. Original fin infects the whole man; and regenerating grace, which is the falve, goes as far as the fore. This fruit of the Spirit is in all goodnefs ; goodness of the mind, goodness of the will, goodness of the affeflions, goodness of the whole man One

gets not only a new head to know religion, or a new tongue to talk of it; but a new heart to love and embrace it, in the whole of his conversation. When the Lord opens the fluice of grace on the soul's new.birth. dav, the waters run through the whole man, to purify and make him fruitful. In these natural changes spoken of before, there are, as it were, pieces of new cloth put into an old garnent; a new life sewed to an old heart: but the gracious change is a thorough change, a change both of heart and life.

5. Yet it is but an imperfect change. Tho' every part of the man is renewed, there is no part of hin perfectly renewed. As an infant

parts of a man, but none of thein are come to their perfect growth; fo regeneration brings a perfection of parts, to be bronght forward in the gradual advances of sanctification, i Pec ii. 2. As new born babes d. fire the fimcere milk of the wird, that ye may grow thereby. Although in regeneration there is a heavenly light let into the mind; yet there is still come darkness there: tho' the will is renewed, it is

not perfect!y renewed; there is still some of the old inclination to fin reinaining and thus it will be till that which is in part be done away, and the light of glory come

Adam was created at his full stature but they that are born, must have their time to grow up: fo these that are born again, do come forth into the new world of

grace,

but imperfectly holy ; though Aium, being created upright, was at the fane time perfectly righteous, without the least nixture of sinful Lly, Nevertheless imatic

, a lasting change, which never goes off: The feed is incorruptible, faith the text ; and so is the creature that

I he life given in eneration, whatever decays it may fall under, can never be utterly lost. His féid remzincth in him,

has all the

imperfection

is for ined of it.

who is horn of God, 1 Jolin iii. 9. Though the branches should be cut down, the root shall abide in the earth; and being watered with the dew of heaven, thall sprout again: for the root of the righteous shall not be moved, Prov. xii. 3.

But to come to particulars.

First, In regeneration the mind is savingly enlightned. There is a new light let into the understanding, so that they who were sometimes darkness, are now light in th Lord, Eph v. 8 The beams of the light of life make their way into the dark dungeon of the heart : then night is over, and the morning-light is come, which will fhine more and more unto the perfect day. Now the man is illuminated,

1. In the knowledge of God He has far, other thoughts of God, than ever he had before, Hor. ii. 20. I will even betoothe thee unto me in faithfuln-ss, and thou shalt know the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord brings him back to that question, what is God? And catechifeth him anew upon that grand point, so as he is made to say, I have heard of thee by th: bearing of the ear : but not mine eyes feeth thee, Job xlii. 5. The spotless purity of God, his exact justice, his all-sufficiency, and other glorious perfections revealed in his word, are, by this new light, discovered to the soul, with a plainness and certainty that doth as far exceed the knowledge it had of these things before, as ocular demonftration exceeds common fame. For now he sees what he only heard of before.

2. He is enlightned in the knowledge of sin. He hath other thoughts of it, than he was wont to have. Formerly his fight could not pierce thro' the cover Satan laid over it: but now the Spirit of God strips it before him, wipes off the paint and fairding; and he sees it in its native colours, as the worit of evils: exceeding sinful, Rom. vii. 12. O what deformed monsters do formerly beloved lufts appear! were they right eyes, he would pluck them out: were they right hands, he would consent to their cutting off He sees how offensive fin is to God, how destructive it is to the soul ; and calls himself fool, for fighting so long against the Lord, and harbouring that destroyer as a bolom friend 3

He is initructed in the knowledge of himself Regenerating grace causeth the prodigal to come to himself, Luke xv. 17. and makes men full of eyes within, knowing every one the plague of his own heart. The mind being savingly enlightned, the man sees how desperately corrupt his nature is; what enmity against God and his holy law has long lodged there : fo that his soul lothes itself. No open fepulchre, no puddle, fo vile and loathsome in his eyes as him. self, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways,

and your doings that were not good, and fall lothe yourselves in your own fight. He is no worse than he was before: but the fun is shining: and so these pollutions are feen, which he could not discern, when there was no dawning in him: as the word is, Isa. viii. 20. while as yet the day of grace was not broken with him.

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