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is easily seen, therefore, why it is, that no man, in a state of nature, is willing to come unto Christ, that he may have life. It is easily seen, that the same proud and carnal heart, which opposes the divine law, must equally oppose the gospel of divine grace. So malignant is the opposition of every heart to the plan of salvation by a Redeemer, that nothing short of a special display of divine power, can overcome it. Had there been in the covenant of redemption, no part assigned to the Holy Spirit; had it not been his office-work to renew the hearts of sinners, and make them, the willing subjects of Christ's kingdom; the whole work and suffering of Christ must have been fruitless, notwithstanding their all-sufficiency.

Thus we see at one view, both the nature and necessity of regeneration. These, however, will be further considered separately.

1. As to the nature of regeneration, or that in which it consists, it is a change of the heart of sinners, from the love of sin to the love of holiness. Or, if any choose to consider it as a removal of the old heart, and the creation of a new heart; to this there is no objection. The difference is but verbal. 66 I will take away the stony. heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”. The figure here made use of conveys the idea of an exchange of a bad for a good heart-of a hard for a tender heart. Regeneration is sometimes expressed by one similitude, and sometimes by another. Sometimes by creation. 6 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” 66 Created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Sometimes by the resurrection of the dead. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." 66 The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." But more especially, and appropriately, is it represented by the figure of a birth. "Being born again, not of cor

“ , ruptible seed." “ Being begotten again, unto a lively hope.” “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Regeneration is also represented


as a washing, or purification. It is called “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Some call it the implantation of a holy principle, temper, or disposition, in the once totally corrupt and depraved heart. To this there is no objection; and perhaps this is the best definition ; because it conveys the idea, distinctly, that it is not an entire, but a partial renovation of the heart.

Such being the nature of regeneration, it is proper, to consider in this connection, by whose agency this great work is effected. And, from a view of the greatness of the work, as well as from a view of the awfully corrupt and depraved state of the human heart, which is the subject of regeneration ; it is evident, that this is the work of God. Accordingly it is written, that the sons of God were born, 6 not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.46 We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.” “ According to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.« God, who caused the light to shine out of

! darkness, hath shined in our hearts." When it is said, 66 Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth ;? the meaning is, that the word of truth is instrumental of this great change. But it is not an instrument by which sinners produce this change in their own hearts; for (note well the expressions) % Of his own will, begat he us.” God does indeed employ the holy scriptures, and a preached gospel, and many other means, to awaken the conscience, enlighten the understanding, and furnish, and present to the mind the proper objects of right affection. But let sinners bear in mind, that means and instruments are in the hands of God. By him they are used to good purpose. But sinners have no more relish for the means of grace, than for grace itself.

Thus, as respects regeneration, and sanctification, and every

Christian “ All things are of God.” 2. The necessity of regeneration, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is strongly and repeatedly expressed in the


scriptures; and we have already discovered, in part, the ground of this necessity. The scriptures are emphatical, ** Ye must be born again.“ The natural man," who is born only of the flesh, " is flesh; he is carnally minded, which is death. He receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." In the new birth, the Spirit of Christ is imbibed : " And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of God, he is none of his."

The necessity of regeneration very clearly results from the total, and innate depravity of every natural heart. This ground of the necessity of regeneration has been already suggested; but it ought to be most clearly understood. The necessity of regeneration does not arise, as soine suppose, from a natural inability to embrace the offers of the gospel. The scriptures admit of no such inability to perform any one of the divine commands. Although they are clear in the idea of absolute dependence on God, for regeneration," A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you;" yet they are equally clear, in requiring sinners to make themselves a new heart, and a new spirit. “ Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel :” Surely, there can be no natural inability, no insuperable difficulty, in sinners casting away their transgressions, and becoming reconciled in heart to the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. All the difficulty, in this case, exists only in the heart, or will; and it does not in the least degree, impair the natural powers and faculties of the mind; nor render the power of God necessary in the nature of things to change the heart. Were sioners only disposed in heart to turn to God, by true repentance; and to embrace the Saviour, by a living faith ; where would be the necessity of regeneration ? But, most certainly, sinners ought to be thus disposed; and, according to the plain requirement, to • make them a new heart, and a new spirit.”.

There is, however, another kind of inability, if it be proper to call it so, which is the sole ground of the necesity of regeneration. This is what is called a moral inability. It exists only in the heart; and consists in a strenuous and fixed opposition to the divine requirements. So great and strong is this opposition to the law and government, and even the grace of God, that all means and moral suasions are fruitless. The more sinners are invited, intreated and commanded to return to God, by true repentance; the more they are hardened in sin unless prevented by sovereign grace. Thus it appears, that although the door of mercy is open, and sinners are invited into Christ's kingdom ; yet they all, with one consent refuse; and refuse they will, iť left to themselves, till they die without hope. Their moral inability, though entirely different in its nature from that which is natural, will effectually prevent their salvation ; unless God, by his Holy Spirit, makes them willing, in the day of his power. O how inexcusable must sinners appear, when nothing but their own voluntary wickedness, renders the great work of regeneration necessary to their salvation !

Respecting the doctrine of regeneration, we may further observe, that it is an instantaneous change of heart. There has been no point of time, when those who have become the subjects of regeneration, were neither saints nor sinners. As the resurrection of the dead, at the last day, will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, so is this spiritual resurrection. Regeneration, when completed, is but a partial change of heart. If this therefore, were a gradual work, who could be able to judge when the degrees of it amounted to a saving change? If regencration be any thing new, it must be produced instantaneously.

We may notice further,

It is a work, imperceptible at the moment, and realized only by its effects. “ The wind bloweth where it listeth; and thou hearest the sound thereof ; but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth ; so is every one


that is born of the spirit.” As Adam could realize nothing of his own creation, till he four.d himself completely in existence; so it is in the spiritual creation, or regeneration. Of course, man cannot be supposed to perform any part, in the glorious work; nor is there, strictly speaking, any agency whatever, co-operating with the divine agency, in producing the new heart. « If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are

; passed away, and behold, all things are become new : And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."

Regarding, however, the distinction between common grace and

special grace, we may notice many effects of divine influence and divine restraints, which fall far short of producing a new heart. Men often

appear ternally, and through the influence of what is called common grace, to be almost Christians. And this common grace has, in its nature, a strong tendency to bring about a renovation of the heart. Still, without special grace, it is utterly ineffectual.

We observe further; God usually takes certain ineasures with those whom he is about to regenerate, which are, in some respects, preparatory to this glorious work. He calls their attention to the reading and ministry of the word; or arrests their attention by special providences: He sends the arrows of conviction into their consciences, and leads them to a sense of their awful sin and danger. All these fall short of special, regenerating grace; but without these preparatives, we rarely hear of an instance of regeneration. On the day of Pentecost, there was powerful preaching ; miracles also were wrought, and the most agonizing conviction of sin was felt, particular instruction was given to multitudes, who cried out in the assembly, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do ?” All these things took place, before there was a symptom of regeneration. Afterwards, when their ininds were prepared to appreciate the grace of God, and to obtain a more clear understanding of the things of Christ's kingdom; three thousand were found, who gladly received the word, and were baptized. This is a

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