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willing by changing his disposition, and instructing his mind, is far different from a forcible operation.' Whether the regeneration of baptized persons who live ungodly lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be a doctrine held only by men of weak credulity and unthinking ' persons,' or not; it certainly is not exclusively peculiar to the present times;' as many quotations already adduced demonstrate. It has not been proved "an il· lusion;' when this has been done, it may be allowed to be dangerous. The charge of pride, being like * the boasting Pharisee,' may be easily made, and easily retorted: but “ the day of the Lord” must show to whom it most properly attaches. That of · indolence, has already been considered. Instead of an easy sub• stitute for that “ Godly sorrow which worketh repent“ance, &c;" it is the necessary preparation for “re
pentance and works meet for repentance;' and can be known to have taken place, by no other evidence, than ' that real amendment of life, which consists in mortify.
ing our carnal lusts, in forsaking the sin which doth 'most easily beset us, and in an active and conscien5 tious endeavour to obey the revealed will of God;' as springing from faith in Christ, love to his name, and zeal for his glory. 'Men, who fancy they have receiv
nature. It is an easy substitute for that “ Godly sorro!y which worketh “ repentance." for that real amendment of life which consists in mortifying * our carnal lusts, ir forsaking “ the sin which doth most easily beset us," • and in an active and conscientious endeavour to obey the revealed will of . God. Men, who fancy that they have received this second birth, consider
themselves full of divine grace, are too often regardless of the laws both of • God and man, affect to govern themselves by some secret rules in their ' own breasts, urge the suggestions of the Spirit upon the most trifling occa. •sions, and pretend the most positive assurance of their salvation, while * perhaps they are guilty of the grossest immoralities, aad are treading under • foot the Son of God, by the most palpable departure from the plain and 'simple rules of his pure and holy religion; or at least by boasting of the peculiar favour of heaven, they imitate the persons spoken of in the Gospel, who a trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others."
ed this second birth, consider themselves full of di• vine grace,' while they are regardless both of the laws
of God and man, &c.' are doubtless deluded and dan. gerous enthusiasts: and, it may boldly be said, that no part of the clergy more steadily oppose these enthusiasti. cal delusions, than those, who preach the necessity of regeneration to baptized or unbaptized persons, who are not proving that they art regenerate, by the substantial fruits of a holy life. Regeneration is like the grafting of the tree: and if it take place, either before, or at, or after, baptism, it will be shown by its holy fruits. Miraturque novas frondes, et non sua poma. But if it be fancy and delusion, for a man, on account of some inward feelings, to think himself born again, and new-created unto good works, while guilty of the
grossest immoralities:' we think it also fancy and mistake, to suppose persons regenerate, who are living in the practice of gross wickedness, or an ungodly life, in any form, merely because they were baptized in infancy.-If a nursery-man should be introduced into an inclosure, planted with crab-trees, covered with their worthless fruit, and having not one apple or pear on any of them; and be told, that they had all been grafted, when young plants, and needed no other grafting: he would say, It is plain, the graft did not take; and it is evident, they must be grafted in a more efficacious manner, or they will still remain crab-trees; without this, pruning, and digging, and manuring, will do nothing. The application to our views is obvious. After having been informed, that John Baptist “ should be filled with * the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb;'* we should not expect to read, that he lived in a dissipated, sensual, ungodly, and worldly course, during the former
• Luke i. 15.
years of his life: we should suppose, on the contrary, that even his childhood and youth would be stamped with piety, purity, and love to God and man; and, in short, that as “the child grew, he would wax strong in
Spirit,” and bring forth “ the fruits of the Spirit.” Birth introduces life; but it life be speedily extinct, the birth seems in vain: and if regeneration always accompanies infant-baptism; but far more frequently is lost, than retained; the spiritual life must be restored, by the same life giving Spirit, who first gave it; or the persons concerned must continue “dead in sin," and at length “ die in their sins, and be lost for ever."
P. xcv. Regeneration, &c.'* • By means of bap'tism' or 'by the word of truth.' “ Being born again, " not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the " word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”+Regeneration is the cause, and repentance and conver
• Regeneration then in its true sense signifies an inward effect produced by the Holy Ghost through the means of baptism, whereby the person bap. tized exchanges his natural state in Adam for a spiritual state in Cbrist. • Water applied outwardly to the body, together with the grace of the Holy • Ghost applied inwardly to che soul, regenerates the man; or, in other words,
the Holy Ghost, in and by the use of water-baptism, causes the new-birth. * And the words regeneration and new-birth are never used in the New Tes*tament, or in the writings of our church, as equivalent to conversion or re• pentance, independent of baptism. The instantaneous conversion of per
sons already baptized, by the resistless and perceptible power of the Holy * Ghost, and their being placed in a state of salvation from which it is impossible for them to fall, are uofounded and mischievous tenets, utterly
irreconcilable with Scripture and the doctrines of the church of England. • The design of Christianity is indeed to remedy the corruption and depravity . of human nature, and to restore it to that image of God in which Adam was * created, and which by transgression he lost-but this is not done by sud. • den and violent impulses of the Spirit:-it must be, as I observed in the • former chapter, the progressive result of calm and serious reflection, firm ó resolution, zealous exertion, and constant vigilance, aided by the co-opera. • tion of divine grace. The frame and temper of the inind will thus be gra* dually improved; the force of sinful temptations will grow less and less; we
shall daily proceed in all virtue and godliness of living,' " till we come “ unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
Jumts i. 13. 1 Pet. i. 23.
sion are the effects. Regeneration imparts life; and where life is, there will be feeling and activity. Re. generation takes away the heart of stone, and gives the • heart of flesh;' which is susceptible of holy fear, godly 'sorrow, ingenuous shame, remorse, contrition, hatred of sin, humiliation before God, longing after holiness, love, gratitude, enlarged pure benevolence, and all holy affections: but neither in Scripture, nor in the writings of Calvinists in general, are the cause and the effects confounded. Almighty and everlasting God, who * dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent,
create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that "we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging
our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through • Jesus Christ our Lord.'* Regeneration, as giving spiritual life to the dead, may, nay, must, be instantaneous; though the person regenerated is seldom, perhaps never, at the moment, aware of what has taken place: but conversion may be more or less gradual, according to various circumstances; and indeed we must be converted more and more, or turned more and more from sin to God and holiness, till we become perfectly holy; and especially if any turn aside, they must again be converted from the evil of their ways.t. Being · placed in a state of salvation, from which it is impos“sible for them to fall,' belongs to another part of the work, and will there be fully examined. Except the words, 'resistless,' violent impulses,' the remainder of the quotation is excellent; but the disposition to this • calm and serious reflection,' here described, is the effect of the special grace of God preventing us.'
. Col. Ash Wednesday.
Matt. xviii. 3. Luke xxii. 32. Jam. v. 19.
I might here close this part of my remarks on regeneration: but, aware of the misconstruction, which is often put upon the words of those, who maintain, that baptism is not regeneration by the Holy Spirit, nor always attended with it; I deem it proper to add, that this sentiment is not accompanied with any hesitation, as to the propriety and scriptural authority of infant-baptism. It appears to me, as much the christian parent's duty to present his child to God, in baptism; as it was that of Abraham and his descendants, to devote their male offspring to God by circumcision. The blessing of God must be expected, in the way of obedience to his commandments, and observance of his ordinances: and when all concerned in the baptism of infants, conscien. tiously attend to their several duties, and unite in their fervent prayers, that the children may have the inward
and spiritual grace of baptism;' and when the parents. and others concerned, endeavour to “train up their “ children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" there is good ground for hope, that the blessing will be vouchsafed, either at the time, or afterwards, if the chil. dren live. And, in respect to those, who die, before they commit actual sin; it' is a comfort to the parents to reflect, that they brought their children to the Saviour, and sought his blessing, according to his own appointment. But we must not add, that those who die unbaptized, whether by the mistake or fault of the parents, or not, die unregenerate; and so “ cannot enter the
kingdom of God:” for this would not only inflict a cruel wound on the afflicted mind of the parents; but would imply a reflection on the mercy and goodness of God, to his ancient church, to the unoffending offspring of believing Abraham, to whom he said, “ I will be a “ God to thee and to thy seed.” Infants were not to be circumcised till the eighth day; no doubt numbers