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strive to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus CHRIST, that thou mayest, as a Chriftian, grow strong in the inner man, and prosper in all things. For I mention not these marks that thou shouldst sit down fatisfied, with just strength enough to carry thee to heaven; but to stir up, and encourage thy soul to hope in the LORD ; and that thou mayest hold on thy way, and press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: Yea, that thou mayest know what it is to be filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abound in hope, thro' the power of the Holy Ghost.
But, if thy foul, in great darkness, should be tempted to doubt (as many of God's children often have) whether thou hast these marks or no; be assured that, if thou hast any one of them, they are all hid in thine heart, whether thou discernest them or not; for we count them all to be effential properties of the new creature.
Therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, thro' the blood of Jesus, in whom thou trustest, that God may strengthen thee, by his Spirit in thy foul,
and that thy evidences may be made more mani« feft; fo fhalt thou obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Moreover, I exhort thee to Z 2
prize these marks of thy converan, which are founded in the word of truth, and manifcited in taith and love towards God and his Christ, more than all joys, asfions, and railutions ui:lcul ites: By the latter thou mayest be deceived, but not by the former.
LASTLY: I shall conclude with a few suitable inferences.
1. Reader, beware of that carnal nution of reeneration which is common arborg protett: Christians, prcoiftints as well as putits. Thy being quented a protestant will not lave tice: For, whatever be thy protettion, exce;t thou art born of die Spirit of God, thou caritt not le laved To be baptized, or born of water, though an ordinan'e of CHRIST, cannot make thee met for tic hinum of God: And 'tis notun us that miny of thein who are externally baptized, are till as far, ar further from the kingdom of heaven, than un2.mzi llius; for the lakee are 1: p anne, furth, Wwil!x, and alxminable thar the tumrer.
A carnal outward w ing of t..*?; Cannot pur me as it, and cleule the inward dctin'.t of the soul: The Lord of CHRIST ou can do this, by the Sr:R1T. Neither is a niere Caent and moral behavicur in the fate of man, iu.h as fr.uny
infidels, focinions, and pharisees boast of, any proof of thy being a new creature: For, unless thou hast love to God and his Saints, for the truth's sake dwelling in them; and rejoicest in Jesus Christ only, having no confidence in the flesh; that is, having no trust in thy own works, and carnal ordinances; thou art not born of God.
2. Altho' thou mayest not yet understand what this new birth means, don't rafhly and foolishly despise it, as a vain dream, or a fond delusion of melancholy minds, and those that are besides themselves : But do as Nicodemus did, who was once as ignorant of the matter as thou canst be: He continued, in the midst of his astonishment, to ask of Jesus concerning this mysterious and important doctrine ; and the LORD condescended to instruct him ; until, as was afterwards manifeft, he understood what the new birth meant. Go, and do thou likewise. But remember that the natural man, however learned in other matters, cannot know the things of God, nor understand the new birth, without the Spirit of God : Therefore expect not, nor seek to be instructed in this divine truth, by those persons who themselves have not the Spirit but search thou God's word, and by prayer, waiting on the LORD, ask wisdom and instruction
of of him; who, by his Spirit, can hew tree what it means : nor doth he despite the prayer of the poor and destiture.
3. Be assured that none can be a believer, that is not a new creature, and every one that is born of Gon, hath faith in CHRIST Jests. Nacher canst thou love the children of (on), unici kou art regenerated by his Spirit; much lcs ca.ft thou withod it, walk to as to please Gop: And hence it is that fo few profified Chritians are the wors of Christ's example, walking as he wailed. For whosexver is born of the fath only cannot but commit lin, and that continually : He can do no manner of thing that is good; for a : tres canuci prin futb geed frui. As, on ti.c orner hand, wholuever is burn of the S; :nt cannot but do good, and that con?inually : Ilc canax lin, because he is born of God; for a good tr« (aku bring me rrii frul.
Remember alo that it is the Gospel of God's grace to mren in CHROT J:«!', whetery, initrumeatally, the Holy S'xit is px * prj out wong and regenerates the fuls of Geo's cho.in 19 CHRIST: Hlc may inleed lavirg'y tiradle on a de finner, and quiken. Ir, watott: nchis of hearing, and reading the word of truth, but his ordinary and appointed way is, the preaching and hearing of Christ's Gospel : And it is thy bounden duty to attend upon it; that thou mayest not be guilty of despising God's ordinances, who hath given to us eternal life thro' faith in Christ Jesus; and whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed. To whom be glory for ever. Amen.