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as a progressive work, carried on in the soul ly slow degrees, from the time of our first turning to God. This is undeniably true of Sanctification ; but of Regeneration, the New Birth, it is not true. This is a part of Sanctification, not the whole; it is the gate to it, the entrance into it. When we are born again, then our Sanctification, our inward and outward holiness, begins; and thenceforsvard we are gradually to “grow' up in Him who is our Head.” This expression of the Apostle admirably illustrates the difference between one and the other, and farther points out the exact analogy there is betireen natural and spiritual things. A child is born of a woman in : moment, or at least in a very short time: Afterward he gradually and slowly grows, till he attains to the stature of a man, In like manner, a child is born of God in a short time, if not in a moment.
it. But it is by slow degrees that he afterward grow's up to the measure of the full stature of Christ. The same relation, therefore, which there is between our natural birth and our growth, there is also between our Xev Birth and our Sanctification.
4. One point more we may learn from the preceding observations. But it is a point of so great importance, as may excuse the considering it the more carefully, and prosecuting it at some length. What must one who loves the souls of men, and is grieved that any of them should perislı, say to one whom he secs living in sabbath:-breaking, drunkenness, or any other wilful sin? What can he say, if the foregoing observations are true, but, “You must be born again.” No,' says a zealous man, " that cannot be. How can you talk so ucharitably to the man ? Ilas he not been Baptized already? He cannot be born again now.' Can lic not be born again? Do you aflirm this? Then he cannot be saved. Though he be as old as Nicodemus was, yet except he be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Therefore in saying, 'he camot be born again,' you in effect deliver him over to damnation. And where lies the uncharitableness now? On my side, or on yours? I say, he may be born again, and so become an heir of salvation. You say, "he cannot be born again :' and if so, he must incritably perish! So you utterly block up his way to salvation, and send him to hell, out of mere charity!
But perhaps the sinner himself, to whom in real charity we say, “ You must be born again,” has been tanght to say, “I defy your new doctrine; I need not be born again : I was
born again when I was Baptized. What! Would you have me deny my Baptism?' Lanswer, first, There is pothing under beaven which can excuse a lie; otherwise I should say to an open sinner, If you have been baptized, do not own it. For bow highly does this aggravate your guilt! How will it increase your damnation! Was you devoted to God at eight days old, and have you been all these years devoting yourself to the Devil? Was you, even before you had the use of reason, consecrated to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ? And have you, ever since you had the use of it, been flying in the face of God, and consecrating yourself to Satan? Does the abomination of desolation,--the love of the world, pride, anger, lust, foolish desire, and a whole train of vile affections,-stand where it ought not? Have you set up all these accursed things in that soul, which was once a temple of the Holy Ghost; set apart for an “habitation of God, through the Spirit;” yea, solemnly given up to hin? And do you glory in this, that you once belonged to God? O be ashamed ! Blush! Hide yourself in the carth! Never boast more of what ought to fill you with confusiou, to make you ashamed before God and man! I answer, secondly, You have already denied your baptism; and that in the most effectual manner. You have denied it a thousand and a thousand times; and you do so still, day by day. For in your baptism you renounced the Devil and all his works. Whenever, therefore, you give place to him again, whenever you do any of the works of the Devil, then you deny your Baptism. Therefore you deny it by every wilsul sin ; by every act of uncleanness, drunkenness, or revenge ; by every obscene or profane word; by every oath that comes out of your mouth. Every time you profane the day of the Lord, you thereby deny your Baptism; yea, cvery time you do any thing to another, which you would not he should do to you. I answer, thirdly, Be you baptized or unbaptized, “ You must be born again;” otherwise it is not possible you should be inwardly holy; and without inward as well as outward holiness, you caunot be happy, even in this world, much less in the world to come. Do you say, 'Nay, but I do no harm to any man; I am honest and just in all my dealings; I do not curse, or take the Lord's name in vain; I do not profane the Lord's day; I am no drunkard; I do not slander my neighbour, nor live in any wilful sin.' If this be so, it were much to be wished that all men went as far as you do. But you must go fartler yet, or you cannot be saved : still, “ You must be born again." Do you add, 'I do go farther yet; for I not only do no harm, but do all the good I can. I doubt that fact; I fear you have had a thousand opportunities of doing good, which you have suffered to pass by unimproved, and for which therefore you are accountable to God. But if you had improved them all, if you really had done all the good you possibly could to all men, yet this does not at all alter the case; still, “You must be born again.” Without this, nothing will do any good to your poor, sinful, polluted soul. 'Nay, but I constantly attend all the Ordinances of God: I keep to my Church and Sacrament.' It is well you do: but all this will not keep you from hell, except you be born again. Go to Church twice a day; go to the Lord's Table every week; say crer so many prayers in private; hear ever so many good Sermons; read ever so many good books; still, “You must be born again :” None
None of these things will stand in the place of the New Birth; no, nor any thing under heaven. Let this therefore, if you have not already experienced this inward work of God, be your continual prayer: 'Lord, add this to all thy blessings,-let me be born again! Deny whatever thon pleasest, but deny not this; let me be “burn from above!” Take away whatsoever seemeth thee good; reputation, fortune, friends, health; only give me this, to be born of the Spirit, to be received among the children of God! Let me be born,“ pot of corruptible sced, but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for cver;” and then let me daily “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ !”
TIIE WILDERNESS STATE.
“ Ye now have sorrow': but I will see you again, and your
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man tuketh from you.” John xri. 22.
1. AFTER God had wrought a great deliverance for Israel, by bringing them out of the house of bondage, they did not immediately enter into the land which he had promised to their fathers; but“ wandered out of the way in the wilderness," and were variously tempted and distressed. In like manner, after God has delivered them that fear him from the bondage of sin and Satan; after they are “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus,” yet not many of them immediately enter into “the rest which remaineth for the people of God.” The greater part of them wander, more or less, out of the good way into which he bath brought them. They come, as it were, into a “waste and howling desert," where they are variously tempted and tormented: And this, some, in allusion to the case of the Israelites, have termed, • A Wilderness State.'
2. Certain it is, that the condition wherein these are, has a right to the tenderest compassion. They labour under an evil and sore discase; though one that is not commonly understood; and for this very reason it is the more difficult for them to find a remedy. Being in darkness themsclves, they cannot be supposed to understand the nature of their own disorder; and few of their brethren, nay, perhaps, of their teachers, know either what their sickness is, or how to heal it. So much the more need there is to inquire, First, What is the Nature of this Discasc ? Secondly, What is the Cause ? and, Thirdly, What is the Cure of it?
1. ]. And, First, What is the Nature of this Disease, into which so many fall after they have believed ? Wherein docs it properly consist; and wbat are the genuine symptoms of it? It properly consists in the loss of that Faith, which God once Vol. I. No. 13.
trought in their heart. They that are in the willerness, hare pot now that divine " evidence," that satisfactory conviction, "of things not seen,” which they once enjoyed. They have not now that inward demonstration of the Spirit, which before enabled each of them to say, “ The life I live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himsel! for me." The light of hearen docs not now
roline in their hearts," peither do they “see llim that is invisible;” but darkness is again on the face of their souls, and blindness on the eyes of their understanding. The Spirit no longer "witnesses with their spirits, that they are the children of God;” neither does he continue as the Spirit of Adoption,“ crying" in their Bearts, iblia, Father." They have not now a sure trust in his love, and a liberty of approaching him with holy boldness. “Tionghi be slay me, yet will I irust in him," is no more the language of their heart; but they are shorn of their strength, and become weak and feelile-minderi, cren as other mer.
2. Hence, SCUOL, priereils the loss of Love; which camot but rise or fall, at the same time, and in the same proportion, with time, living faiths. .corliagly, they that are deprived of their faith, are the prived of the love of God also. They cannot *, “Liri, thon inwent all things, thou knowing that I love ilire.” They are not now happy in God, as everyone is that truly love him. They do not delight in him as in die pantal" Schots of his ointments." Once, all ticir dire büs ilitollin', and to the remembrance of liis panie;
1.47.101! (in their desires are code and dead, il 15111'crly extirouri. Jedas their love of God is vased cull, sy is also their love of their neighbour. They have not How that zeal for the souli of meu, that louging after their welfare, that ferrent, restless, active desire of their being reConcilovio Gort. They con got feel those “ bowels of mercies " for the sheep that are lost, that truder “compassion for the ignorant, and thicon to all out of the way.” Once they were “gentle toward al' ! (1," peekly instructing such as opposed the truth, and, "if any vis overtaken in a fault, restoring such as one in the spirit of necines :" but, after a suspense, perhaps, of many days, 2 der begins to regain its power; VOA, pcerisiness and in praticite ihrust sore ai them, that they may fall; and it is well if they are not sometimes driven, even to “ render vil for evil, and railing for railing."
3. In consequence of the loss of faith and love, follou'a, thirdly, loss of joy in the lyly Ghost. For if the loving con