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NATURE AND NECESSITY OF REGENERATION.
JOHN III, 5.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be
born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
In the preceding part of the chapter, our Lord had inculcated upon Nicodemus the absolute necessity of a new birth, in order to a sinful man's even' perceiving the kingdom of God. The candid Pharisee, to whom such a doctrine appeared as uncouth, incredible, and absurd, as it does at this day, to many who call themselves enlightened Christians, expressed his astonishment, as if the Redeemer had uttered a physical contradiction; How can a man be born when he is OLD ? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Without stopping to notice the grossness of his conceptions, our Lord Jesus, with the majesty of a teacher sent from God, repeats his assertion with a slight variation in the form, which might lead Nicodemus to some general idea of his meaning: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
The “ kingdom of God,” means that gracious establishment in our world, of which he is the author; which derives all its principles and efficiency from him, of which the design is to destroy the works of the devil, and bring back with increased beauty, the order originally set up; in a word, to make such a display of his righteousness, truth, grace, and love, in and towards our rebel world, as should command the admiration of all holy beings, and be an eternal exhibition, in all places of his dominion, of the perfection of his government.
This “ kingdom of God,” so stupendous in its effects, is yet so pure and spiritual in its process, as to be invisible not merely to eyes of flesh and blood, but even to the eyes .of intellect in corrupted man, until they have undergone a renovation, and have received a power suited to the nature of the objects which they are called to