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born a poet),

duces very much to the confirmation of their faith. And thus, without knowing it, they have collected a very valuable treasure, the excellence and genuine pfe of which they.come not to fee, till they are born again. But as thefe things do not, of their own na: ture, difpofe man for regeneration, tho', by the ap: pointment of God, they are fo disposed, as that re. generation is certainly to follow, they cannot, but very remotely be called preparations, and they will be fuch more from the intention of God, than from the pirtue of the thing.

XVI. Now after a principle of spiritual life is in- Somefufed into the elect soul by regeneration, divine grace times the does not always proceed therein in the same method spirit lies and order. It is poffible, that for some time, the life in the Spirit of the life of Chrift may lie, as it were, dor-feed. mant in fome (almost in the same manner, as vegetative life in the feed of a plant, or fensitive life in the feed of an animal, or a poetical genius in one proceed therefrom, tho'favingly united to Christ, the fountain of true life, by the spirit. This is the cafe with respect to elect and regenerate infants, whose is the kingdom of God, and who therefore are reckon ed among believers and faints, tho' unqualified thro? age, actually to believe, and practice godliness.

XVIL Moreover, this spirit of a new life will even Some. fometimes exert itself in vital actions, in those, who times ex

erts its in have received it in their infancy, as they gradually ad

fantile on vance in years, and are qualified to raise their thoughts, perations, above the objects of sense. Accordingly it has often been observed, that; in children of five or fix

years of age, fome fmall sparks of piety and devotion have shone forth in holy longings, ardent little prayers, and in a certain extraordinary tenderness of conscience, not daring to do any thing with respect to God, themselves on their neighbour, which they have been taught to be difpleasing to God: as allo it appears in their dif.

courses

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vances

courses concerning God and Christ, which have been
full of a holy and unfeigned love and breathing
something heavenly, which I have not words to ex-
press. Thus sometimes God is pleased, out of the
inouth of babes and sucklings to ordain strength, PJ. 8. 2.
This has been, especially observed in some dying
children, to the great astonishment of all present.

XVIII. But when the foundation is laid, divine times ad grace does not always grow up, in the fame manner.

Įt often happens, that this principle of spiritual life, with age, which had discovered its activity in the most tender

childhood, according to, and fometimes' above, the
age of the person, God, by his singular grace pre.
venting the full maturity of the natural faculties,
grows up, by degrees with the person, after the 'ex-
ample of our Lord, who increased in wisdom and fta-
ture, and in favour with God and man, Luke 2. 52;
and of John the Baptist, who grew and waxed strong
in spirit, Luke, 1, 80. Such persons make continual
progress in the way of sanctification, and grow in-
sensibly unto a perfeit man, unto the measure of the stao
ture of the fulness of Christ, Eph. 4. 13.

We have an
illustrious example of this în Timothy, who from a
child bad known the Holy Scriptures, 2 Tim. 3. 15; and
who, in his tender youth, to Paul's exceeding joy,
had given evident signs of an unfegned faith, with.
tears of the most tender piety bursting out at times,
2 Tim 1. 4. 5

5.
XIX. On the other hand, sometimes these sparks
times al of piety, especially which more sparingly shone forth
moft Atif in childhood, when in a manner covered with the

alhes of I knew not what, wordly vanities, and car-
nal pleasures of youth, will appear to be almost ex-
tinguished.' The alurements of the deceitful flesh,
and the forceries of a tempting world, assaulting the
unadvised unwary heart with its deceitful pleasures,
almost stifle those small beginnings of piety; and for
months, sometimes for years together, so violeritly

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overpower them, that all their attempts against them seem to be in vain. Yet there are still, in these perfons, remorses of conscience, awakening them at times, languid resolutions, and vanishing purposes, of reforming their lives, till, by the infinite efficacy of divine grace, insinuating into the languid and decaying breast, they awake as from a deep, Neép, and, with the greatest sorrow for their past life, and utmost seriousness, apply to the careful practice of piety, the warmth of their zeal then breaks forth, being-exceedingly desirous to shew, by brighter flames, its having been unwillingly kept smothered under the aihes. Augustine has given us in his own person, a representation of this state in the excellent book of his confeffions.

XX. But the Elect are not all favoured with regenerating grace in their infancy. There are fome fons regeadult persons, whom God regenerates, and at once nerated at effectually calls, and converts, in the second act, orice in from a wordly and hypocritical condition, or even from a state of profligate wickedness. Thus it is converted with those, who are born and brought up without in the feGod's covenant, or even of those, who, living where cond. this covenant is dispensed, have sold themselves wholly 'to sin, Satan and the world.

The regeneration of these is usually followed with great consternation of foul and forrow for fin, with a dread of God's fiery indignation and incredible defires after grace, together with an inexprellible joy, upon finding saivation in Jesus, and a wonderful alacrity in the service of the Lord, which they can scarcely contain. All this may be obferved in the jaylor, of whom we read, Act. xvi.

XXI. On this depends the solution of that quef- Whether tion, whether we are to look upon any as born again, any are to

be deem. but those, who can specify the time, manner and pro

regenegress of their regeneration. None, indeed, are here rate, but to be Aattered, or soothed, as to think it lawful for they who them securely to presume on their regeneration: but can give

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account of then the consciences of believers are not to be racked
the proc. with too severe a scrupulosity. We cannot deter-

mine this point without a distinction: we have just
thewn, that the progress of regeneration iş various.
Adult persons, who are brought altogether from a
carnal to a spiritual life, indeed may, and ought ex-
actly to know the beginning and manner of so great
a change. They who, though regenerated in infancy,
have yet been carried away by the entanglements of
the world, and for some time have struggled, as
it were, with destruction, but afterwards have been
roused by the grace of God, made to renounce the
world, and give themselves wholly to piety, such as.
we described, seet. 17. These may, and it is their duty
to recollect, not so much the beginning of their very
first regeneration, as the process of that actual and
thorough conversion. But it would be wrong to re-
quire those, who being regenerated in their infancy,
have grown up all along with the quickening spirit,
to declare the time and manner of their passage from
death to life. It is sufficient, if they can comfort
themselves, and edify others with the fruits of
regeneration, and the constant tenour of a pious life.
It is, however, the duty of all to recollect, not in a
careless manner, the operations of the spirit of grace
on their hearts : which is highly useful, both for our
glorifying God, and for our own comfort and excite.

ment to every duty.
God the XXH. There cannot be the least doubt of God's
author of being the author of our regeneration. For, we be,
regenera- come his fons, by regeneration, which were born of

God, John 1. 12. And even in this respect, the sons of
God by grace, bear some resemblance to him, who is
the fon of God by nature: observing only the differ-
ence between the infinite excellency of our Lord, and
that dark resemblance of it in us. Why is the Lord
Jefus called the Son of God ? Because begotten of
the father, PS. 2. 7. Wherein consists that genera-
tion of the father? In this, that as the father bath

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life in himself, so bath be given to the son to bave, life in bimself, John 5. 26. And why are we in communion with Christ, called the Sons of God? because his father is our father, John 20. 17. How is he our father? He bath 'begotten us, James 1. 18; i John 5. 4, 11. Wherein does that generation conlift ?' He þath made us partakers of a divine nature, 2 Pet. 1.4. Thus we are even transformed into his likeness, and have upon us no contemptible effulgence of his most glorious holiness.

XXIII. But there is here a special consideration of Christ the Chrift : Who, as God is, together with the father meritoand spirit, the principal, buc oeconomically considered, rious and

49 exemplary the meritorious and exemplary cause of our regene- cause. ration. For when he cast a vail over the majesty of the son of God, took upon him human form, and came in the likeness of finful flesh, Rom. 8. 3, he thereby merited for all his elect, their advancement to the illustrious dignity of the sons of God; fons, I fay, noť only by adoption, but by a spiritual and heavenly generation. The holy and glorious life of Christ is also the most perfect pattern of our new life, all the excellence of which consists in a conformity with the life of Christ, who is the first-born among many brethren, Rom. 8. 29. And we may add, that Christ, as the second Adam, is become, not only by merit, but also by efficacy, a quickening fpirit, I Cor. 15. 45. So that the regenerate do not so much live themselves, as feel, acknowledge and proclaim Christ living in them; Gal. 2.20; Phil. I.

XXIV. What Christ declares of the spirit, the John 3. 5; author of regeneration deserves our conlideration explained. Jobn 3, 5except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Here interpreters enquire, what we are to understand by water, and what by the Spirit? There is one who, by water understands the origin of our natural birth; comparing with this place what we þave Ifa. 48. 1, where the Israelites are said to have

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