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into that soul. Nay, the British divines add, Thell. 6: That even the Eleat themselves never behave in these alls preceeding regeneration, in such a manner, as that, on account of their negligence and resistance, they may not justly be abandoned and forsaken of God. Yet they call them rather preparations for grace, than the fruits and effects of grace; because they think, that even the reprobate may go as far as this : and they affirm, that these antecedent effects, produced by the power of the word and Spirit in the minds of min, may be and, in many, usually are stifled and entirely extinguished thro' the fault of the rebellious' will. ' Ibid. Thef. 5." But we really think, they argue more accurately, who make these and the like things in the Elect, to be preparations to the further and more perfect operations of a more noble and plentiful spirit, and so not preparations for regeneration, but the fruits and effects of the first regeneration : for as these things suppose fome life of the soul, which spiritually attends to fpiritual things, and are operations of the Spirit of God, when going about to fanctify the Elect; we cannot but refer them to the spirit of grace and regeneration. Nor is it any objection, that the like, or the same may be also said to be in reprobates: for they are only the same materially, but not formally. Reprobates also have some knowledge of Christ, fome taste of the grace of God, and of the powers

of the world to come. Yet it does not fol. low, that the knowledge of Christ, as it is in believers, and that relish of grace and glory, they have is not the gift of the spirit of grace and of glory. And indeed, the things mentioned by Perkins, and the other British divines, are no preparations for regeneration in the reprobate; either from the nature of the thing, or the intention of God. Not the former: for, however great these things may appear to be," yet they are consistent with spiritual death; and the reprobate are so far from being disposed thereby to

a spir

tish divines seem

a spiritual life, that, on the contrary, deceived by those actings, which counterfeit spiritual life, they are the more hardened in a real death, and fondly pleafing themselves, are at a greater distance from en. quiring after true life, which they falsely imagine, they have obtained. Not the latter: for no intention of God can be rendered void. It is therefore neceffasy, that all these things bę, in another manner, in the elect than in the reprobate.

XII. If this matter be more closely considered, we The of shall find, thrt the orthodox differ more in words, and thodox in the manner of explaining, than in sense and reali- differ ty. For, the term, regeneration, is of ambiguous

more in

words, signification : fometimes it is blended with fanctifi-than in cation, and by regeneration is understood that action sense. of God, whereby man, who is now become the friend of God, and endowed with spiritual life, acts in a righteous and holy manner, from infused habits. And then it is certain, there are some effects of the Spia rit, by which he usually prepares them for the actings of compleat faith and holiness; for, a knowledge of divine truths, a sense of misery, sorrow for sing hope of pardon, &c. go before any one can fiducially lay hold on Christ, and apply himself to the practice of true godliness. God does not usually sanctify a man all at once, before ever he has had apy thought about himself and God, and any concern about his salvation. And this is what the Bris matione Secunde Theseos, they thus speak : Divine grace does not usually bring men to a fate of justification, in which we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Cbrift, by a sudden entbufiafm, but first subdues and prepares them by many previous a&ts by the ministry of the word. By which words they sufficiently thew, that, by regeneration, they mean the state of paffive justification. But fometimes regeneration denotes the first translation of a man from a state of death to a state of spiritual life; in which senfe we take its

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And in that respect none of the orthodox, if he will
fpeak consistently with his own principles, can fup-
pose preparatory works to the grace of regeneration,
For, either he would maintain, that these works pro-
ceeded from nature, and fo, by the confession of all
the orihodox, are but dead works and Splendid sins.
But none in his right nind will affirm, that any can
be disposed for the grace of regeneration, by those
things which are sinful. Or he would maintain, that
these works proceeded from the Spirit of God. But
if thus far he does not operate in another manner in
the Elect, than in the reprobate : these works, not-
withstanding this his operation, may be reckoned
among dead works, for the orthodox look upon all
the actions of ihe reprobate, to be sinful, let them be
ever so much elevated by diyine assistance. Thus
the British divines, I. c. p. 143 : an evil tree, which
naturally brings ferth evil fruit, must itself be first changed
to a good tree, before ever it can yield any good fruit.
But the will of an unregenerate person is not only an evil,
but also a dead tree. I now infer, the reprobate are
never regenerated, and therefore continue evil trees,
without ever producing any other than bad fruit.
And so there can be no preparation in such works for
regeneration, for the reason above explained. If
you say, that these works, which

you
call

prepatory,
are different in the elect: I ask, in what respect ? No
other answer can be given but this, that they proceed
from the spirit of grace and life: right; but then
they are not preparations for the first regeneration, but
effects of it; for, regeneration is the first approach
of the spirit of grace and life, effectually working
in the elect.

XIII. You will say then, are there no preparatory acknow. dispositions to the first regeneration? I confidently ledge that {piritual

antwer; there are none: and agree with Fulgentius, de death has Incarnat & Gratia Christi, 6.':'19: with respeat to the

birib of a child, the work of God is provious to any will grees. of the person that comes into the world; so also in the

Spiritual

Yet we

its de

spiritual birth, whereby we begin to put off the old man. I own, indeed, spiritual death has it's degrees, but with a distinction : what is privative therein, or what it is deftitute of, namely, the want of the life of God, is equal or alike in all; and in this respect there are no degrees less or more. But what is possitive, or, as it were, positive therein.; 'naniely, those evil habits, these indeed, are very unequal. In infants there are only those evil habits, which come into the world with them: in the adult there are others, contracted and deeply rooted by many vítious'acts, and a course of wickedness. These again greatly differ, according 'as, by the secret dispensation of God's

pro: vidence, the affections of men are more or less reftrain. ed. For, tho' every kind of wickedness, like Icertain hydra, lurks in the heart of all; yet God suffers fome to give loose reins to their vices, and to be hürried on, as by so many furies; while he moves others with a sense of shame, and a reverance for the laws, and some kind of love to honour and honesty ; who, in that respect, may be said not to be at such a distance from fan&tifying grace, as they who are guilty of horrid crimes, which are more opposite thereto, than a civil and external honesty of life. But yet, 'whatever length any, before regeneration, has advanced in that honesty, he nevertheless remains in the confines of death, in which there is no preparation for life. !'XIV. Nor do we agree with those, who fo incon. We don't siderately affert, that man is no more disposed for re-think, that generation than a stone, or an irrational animal. man has For, there are naturally fuch faculties, in the soul of

difpofition for regenera

tion than The author's phrase is quædam velut lerna ; and therefore

stone. I have rendered it like a certain Hydra, which was supposed to be a water serpent in the lake of Lerna, haying several heads, which grew again, as fast as they were cut off. This monster was killed by Hercules,

man,

no more

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phap, as render him a fit subject of regeneration which are not to be found in stones or brutes. Thus å man can be regenerated, but a brute or a stone Eannot. In that sense Auguftine de Predest. fanal, 6. 51 faid, the capacity of baving faith and love is of the nature e, man, but to bave theming of the grace of believers; Voffius has proved by proper arguments; that this iş to be understood, not of the proximate, but remote capacity, in to far as man bas naturally those faeula ties, in which faith and love may be wrought: biftor

Pelag. lib. 4. P. I. p. 418. The elect

Xy. But we must not here omit, that the Elect, before re. before their a&tuał regeneration, are honoured by generationallow. God with various, and those indeed very excellent ed to have frivileges above the reprobate, which are intended, privileges, according to the purpose of God, to be subservient

for promoting their regeneration, in his appointed
time. For, as God has a love of special benevolence
for them, according to the deeree of election, and
they are redeemed by Chritt, and in a state of recon.
ciliation with God, and of justification, actively taken
it follows : ft, That God often preserves them from
thofe base and fcandalous crimes, which are repug.
nant to common humanity, and that by fome al
fistance of light, of divinity, of conscience and civil
hopesty, with an accession of y fome grace operating
internally, and laying a restraint on the wickedness
of their nature. 2dly, That all and every one of
them, who are brought to the acknowledgement and
the common illumination of the truth of the Gospel,
are kept from the fin against the Holy Ghoft. 3dlys
That, by the ministry of the word, and other ope.
rations of God's special providence towards them,
many evident principles of divine truth, are under
stood by the natural mind, and also imprinted on
the natural memory, the meditation of which,
immediately after they are regenerated, con

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$ This is what is generally called reftraining grace.

duces

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