Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

4

come fortb out of the waters of Judeh, and Pl. 68. 26, from the fountain of Israel; and then the meaning will be : besides that birth, whereby we are born men, there is still another requisite, whereby we are born the son's of God: which appears both Simple and agreeable to scripture language. There is another, who understands by water, Christ's obedience, we doubt not but that is the meritorious cause of our regeneration; but we question, whether, it is ever. called water in fcripture. For, no fuch thing appears from the fcriptures, they bring to prove it, such as Heb to. 22; 1 John, 5.6, 8; Ezek. 36. 25. By water, in these placeś, we are more properly to understand the Holy Spirit with his operations. And it is evident, our Lord himself explains the paffage in Ezekiel in this manner. The common explication therefore is to be prefered, that one and the fame thing is meant by water and the Spirit, as it is, by the spirit and fire, Mat. 3: II. For, nothing is more common in the sacred writings, than to represent the Holy Spirit undee the emblem of water. See among other passages Isa. 44. 39. I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my SPIRIT upon thy seed: where the former figurative expreffion is explained by the subfequent one, that is

plain. The word XXV. The seed of regeneration is the word of of God, God. For thus, i Peter 1, 23, born again not of

corruptible feed, but of incorruptible, réje Carlos Osê, siet mirovloges Toyásôvс, which may be translated by the word of God, who liveth and abideth for ever ; or, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. But this seed does not operate always in the same manner for adult persons are born again by the word of God, laying before them the deformity, horror and misery of their natural life, or rather of their living death ; and at the same time, the excellence of that spiritual life, of which Christ is the author,

fountain

Tegenera

tion,

fountain and pattern; pressing them also by the most powerful exhortations, that, denying all carnal lufts and appetites, they may give themselves up to be new-moulded and formed by the spirit of God. And in this manner, the word is to them a moral instrument of regeneration, by teaching and perfuafion. But the case is otherwise with elect infants, being incapable of teaching and persuasion. If they also be thought to be regenerated of the feed of the word, it is to be understood, nor of the word externally propounded, which they understand not ; but of the truths contained in the word, the efficacy of which is imprinted by the Holy Spirit upon their minds, which they will come to the actual knowledge of, when they grow up, but the word operates effectually in none, unless when impregnated by the efficacy of the Spirit. To the external word must be added the internal, which is no less effectual than that word of God, whereby he commanded light to shine out of darkness 1 XXVI. It is therefore incumbent on every person, which is who would not profanely dispise his falvation, to be carediligently to read, hear and meditate on the word of fully read

and heard. God, and constantly attend on the publick wor/hip and affemblies of his people. For tho', before his regeneration, he cannot savingly hear, read or meditate on the word of God; yet how does he know, which may be the happy hour of his gracious visitation; what part of holy scripture, what fermon and by whom, the Lord is to render effectual for his regeneration, by the supernatural efficacy of his fpirit? Experience teaches this, that men are born again there where the word of God is preached; a thing which is not the case in those parts of the world, which God favours not with the preaching of the gospel. And tho’ we dare not assure any one, that it he continues in hearing the word, he shall certainly be born again: yet we justly insist upon this, that there is a brighter hope of the wished-for:

conversion

ME

may be

[ocr errors]

conversion for those, who, in the beft manner they
can, use the means, which God has prescribed, than
for such as frowardly neglect them. While Ezekiel
was prophesying to the dry bones behold, A SHAKING
was observed among them, and the breath (fpirit)

came and they lived, Ez. 37. 7, 10.
In what XXVII. Let none think it absurd, that we now
manner speak of means for regeneration, when, but a litle
the means before, we rejected all preparations for it. We have
prescribed

above fufficiently proved, that none can contribute for rege. any thing to his own regeneration : yet God comDeration. mands, every one, to make himself a new beart, and

a new Spirit, Ezek. 18. 31: to awake from fleep and
arife from the dead, Eph. 5. 14; and to flee from tbe
wrath to come, Mat. 3. 7. And what thend Shall
we insignificant mortals, pretend to reply to God,
as if by our fophistry, we could catch and entangle
the almighty : fhall we say, to what purpose are we
enjoin'd to what none of us can comply with ? Shalt
we exclaim against the counsel of God, and cry outy
“ Hince we can contribute nothing to our regeneration
“ is it not the best course we can take to put our
“ hands in our bofom, and fecurely wait, till he
“ himself regenerate us?” But would not chiş be,
with our vain and carnal reafonings to argue with
God, whose foolishness will be ever found wifer
than our most exalted wiidoin? How much better is
it, when one hears these commands of God, and,
at the same time, is sensible of his own incapacity,
that he learn a holy despair of himfelf, and in sorrow,
anxiety and a longing defire of foul and in the ute of
the means, patiently wait for the coming of the

?
The ef XXVIII. Moreover, when a perfon, touched
fects of' with an unfeigned sense of his mifery, and a.
pling the fincere defire after his falvation, cries out with the

jailor, what must I do ta be saved? AAS 16. 30$
even then some pious emotions begin to arise, which
proceed from an inward, but a very tender principle

of

grace of God

means,

of new life, and which are folicitously to be che
rilhed. For which purpose it is expedient, ilt.
That he frequently, and in as affecting a'inarner, as
possible, set before his eyes the most wretched cont
dition of all unregenerate perfons, and how himlelf
also, while he continues in the state of nature, hás
nothing to expect bur "eternał deftru&tion, a de-
privationd of the divine glory, and intolerable
tordren'ts both of foul and of body and all this
unavoidable, unlefs he be born again in the image
of God. zdly. Thar, affected by this consideration,
he cry, pray to, be earnest with God, and not give
over crying till he has obtained his grace. Let
him often represent himself to himself, as now
ftanding on the very brink of the infernal lake,
with the devił standing by him, who, should the
fupreme being permit, would instantly hurry him i
head, long into hell: and in this anguish of his
diftreffed fout, importune God; and, as it were,
extort pārdon, by the warmest prayers, fighs and
stears3dly. Let him, however, go on 'to hear,
tead and meditate on the word of God, expecting
the farther motions of the spirit, as the diseased
waited for the angel to move the waters of
Bethesda, is 4thly. Let him join himself in society
with the godly, and, in the exercise of piety, en-
deavour to catch the fame of devotion from their
instruction, example, and prayers.

[blocks in formation]

"1.

E now proceed to explain the nature of Saving

true Faith in God by Christ, which is faith very the principal act of that spiritual life, implanted in compre, VOL. II. F

the

W of

II

and in fin

life ; as

and is well adapted to unite them with Christ;

being

'the cleft by regeneration, and the source of all 63.03gr: subsequent vital operations. But it is not any one

*** particular act, or habit, nor must it be reftricted to for any one particular faculty of the foul, for it is a ad yn 2i: certain complex thing, consisting of various acts,

isa sa which, without confusion, pervade, and, by a

9-. Luol sweet and happy, conjunction; mutually promote priser for and affirt one another, it imports a change of the whole man, is the spring of the whole spiritual life,

fine, the holy energy and activity of the

1 towards God, in Chrift. And therefore its full extent can

scarcely be distinêtly comprehended under any one Gingle idea. you Juft like II. And we need not wonder, that under the being the

name of one Christian virtue, fo many others are fource of at once compréhended. For as, when any derfor spiritual speaks of life, he signifies by that term fomething. life.

that, diffusing itself thro the whole fout, and all its
faculties, is also communicated to the body, and
extends itself to all the actions of the living person
fo when we speak of faith, which is the most
fruitful spring of the whole spiritual life, we under
stand by it that, which pervades all the faculties,
and so to enliven, fanctify, and render them bles
sed.

Dauroh1400 Not to be III. There are many things botti in natarals and reftrained mórals, which are almost by general consent allowed to any one faculty,

to the whole foul, any more to any one faculty. In naturals, free-will, which as than free will is referred to the understanding, as free, rather to will and the milló fo that as Bernard somewhere righteour

man be his own freeman on acccunt of his will, bis ness.

own.. judge, on account of his reason. In morals, the image of God, and original righteousness; whicli are to be placed neither in the understanding alone, nor in the will alone, but may juftly belong to both these faculties.

IV. Should

"IT:

« AnteriorContinuar »