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enforces the necessity of a spiritual change in man, as a fallen and corrupt being.

The same truth would be forced on the conviction of each individual, by the faithful examination of his own heart and conduct. Are there no passions which thy reason and thy conscience condemn, which are exercising their corrupt power in thy bosom, and exciting in it uneasiness, shame, remorse? Are there no vices derogatory to the purity of thy nature, which are habitually cherished? Have any efforts of reason and resolution subdued these passions and conquered these vices? On the contrary, do they not defy the utmost strength of unassisted nature? Hast thou been able to attain that purity of heart, that meekness of temper, that humility of spirit, that devotedness to thy supreme Creator and Benefactor, that uniform rectitude of conversation and conduct which reason and conscience enforce, and the law of God enjoins? Self-love may attempt to blind and to flatter thee; and yet, successful as may be her efforts, she cannot conceal from thee the lamentable fact, that, under the guidance, and with the efforts of thy own reason and strength, thou art, in a greater or less degree, under the dominion of corrupt passion, and far, very far from those holy attainments that mark the righteous man. What, then, should be the conclusion? That thy corrupt nature must be purified by a power superior to thine own, by that agency which in mercy God has provided for the sanctification of his fallen creatures-the renewing of the Holy Ghost. "Thou must be born again."

II. But from man, in his general character, we
VOL. II.
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shall see the necessity of this spiritual change, im reference to the peculiar circumstances in which he may be placed. Baptized in infancy, he may have, from infancy, faithfully fulfilled his baptismal engagements; or he may have superficially attended to them; or he may have neglected them, without indulging in gross transgressions; or he may have entered on the course of impiety and profligacy. Baptized in adult age, he may have come to this ordinance in repentance and faith, and since persevered in his pious course; or he may have, in a measure, apostatized from his baptismal covenant; or he may have come to this ordinance in a state of impenitence or insincerity. Baptized neither in infancy nor at adult age, he may still be without the Christian fold.

Under all these varying circumstances, there will be a propriety in addressing to mankind the language "You must be born again." And reversing the order in which we have stated them, let us begin with the case of him who has never received baptism, and who is still without the Christian fold.

1. Do you contend that the baptism of water is unnecessary? How is it possible to evade the force of the declaration of Christ, and the exhortation and practice of his inspired apostles, all establishing, as plainly as words and facts can establish, the necessity of being baptized with water, and by this washing of regencration placed in a covenant state, and entitled to the renewing influences of the Spirit of God?

Do you admit the necessity and obligation of baptism, and yet neglect it? Can there be safety, think you, in this inconsistency in acknowledging

the necessity and obligation of baptism, and yet neglecting it? Perhaps you are destitute of the qualifications of repentance and faith. Can you be safe in this condition? Safe! While impenitent, you are exposed to God's wrath. Safe! While unbelieving, you practically reject the great salvation which God hath purchased for you. How shall you escape?

2. But you may have come to this ordinance in a state of impenitence and insincerity.

Awful profanation! You have indeed trampled under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, which this holy sacrament is designed to apply to the soul, an unholy thing. Your lips pronounced vows which your heart rejectedpronounced them, not to man, but to God. Perjury is a crime light when compared with yours. Repent, God hath not yet withdrawn his Spirit from you. The name and the obligations of Christian are imposed upon you, and you are within the fold of the Redeemer. These circumstances, indeed, will only aggravate your guilt and increase your condemnation, if you continue impenitent. Repent, then, and by the aids of that grace which, through the mercy of God, strives in the hearts of all men, and is pledged to all the members, how ever unworthy, of the mystical body of his Son, escape from the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. You must be born of God-changed and renewed from your present state of ungodliness, impenitence, and impiety, to contrition, to holiness, to devotedness to God.

3. Have you apostatized from the vows which, in your own persons, you deliberately made at baptism? You have forfeited the renewing of the

Holy Ghost, and you must be born again, born again by your restoration to those humble and holy tempers and graces, and those good works from which you have fallen. You cannot violate your vows to the High and Holy One with impunity-he will not be mocked. Turn to him by repentance, and by imploring the sanctifying influences of his Spirit; lest, provoked by your hardened apostacy, he pronounce the irreversible sentence-"Ye shall not enter into my rest."

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4. Blessed is the state of those to whom, coming with penitence and faith, baptism was fully the mean and pledge of the death unto sin, and the new birth unto righteousness; and who since, in dependence on the Divine Spirit, and in the use of all the appointed means in communion with the church, have advanced in the great Christian work of mortifying their evil and corrupt affections, and are daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness of living. Even they, however, in a certain sense, must be born again; that is, the great work of renovation must advance in their souls. Every day the power of the old man of their fallen nature must be weakened in victory over some passion and temptation; and every day the new man must acquire greater vigour, in the increase of their graces and virtues.

5. Baptized in infancy, have the duties then imposed, and the privileges then conferred, been disregarded and contemned; and have you lived without God in the world, disregarding his authority and laws, and devoted only to the indulgence of your sinful passions? You have been entire strangers to the renewing of the Holy Ghost; and, as it respects that renewing, you must be born

again. Remember, the vows of baptism, reasonable and beneficial, are as binding on you as if you had personally assumed them. The grace and privileges of baptism, conferred on you when you were of the number of those little children of whom Christ said, "of such is the kingdom of God," it has been your guilt to contemn and to reject. For these things assuredly God will bring you into judgment. Towards those who have never heard of a Saviour, or who have had no opportunity of coming into his fold, there may be room for mercy. But what mercy can they expect, who, embraced within the fold of the covenant, wilfully forsake it; and, subjects once of mercy and grace, and even heirs of heaven, have renounced their celestial privileges and become the votaries of sin, and live as if their portion were only in the world?

6. There are some inattentive to their baptismal engagements and privileges, while their character and conduct display sobriety and decency.

To them the exhortation will apply-" You must be born again”-transformed by the renewing of your mind. You may not have to answer for gross transgressions-glaring vices may not distinguish you; but your hearts are not right with God; you find there no supreme devotedness to him-no lively sensibility to his mercy through a Redeemer -no deep conviction of that subjection to sin from which divine grace only can deliver-no earnest desire to obtain that holiness which only can qualify for his presence-no steadfast resolution to seek his favour as your satisfying portion. Until these dispositions, by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, are formed in your souls, your baptismal engagements are not fulfilled, your baptismal pri

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