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A. It is, for the following reasons. 1. None but holy beings can be happy in heaven, where all is holiness. The unrenewed in heart would be totally disqualified and incapacitated for the employments and enjoyments of the heavenly world, because of their entire sinfulness and disrelish of everything holy. 2. Were the unregenerate admitted to heaven, God could not behold them with approbation and delight. But He will approve, and take complacence in all those that dwell in His presence. Hence the wicked must be changed in heart, in order to become inhabitants of heaven. 3. The Scriptures impliedly and expressly declare, that none but the regenerate shall see the kingdom of God. (d)
Q. 6. Does this change take place after death?
A. It does not. This life is the only day of grace and probation allotted to man ; the next is a state of retribution. There will be no alteration in the character of men after death. (e)
Q. 7. Who is the Author of regeneration ? A. God the Holy Ghost. He is the great and efficient Agent in regeneration. (f)
(d) John iii. 3. 7. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.—Heb. xii. 14. Follow peace with all men; and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.—Gal. vi. 15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any. thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.-Rom. viii. 7, 8. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.—1 Cor. ii. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(e) Rev. xxii. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and 'he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.—Eccl. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
(f) Ezek. xxxvi. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Q. 8. Does God act as a sovereign in regenerating the hearts of men ?
A. He does. He renews whom, and at what time, and by what means, He pleases. (g)
Q. 9. Is the moral freedom of man destroyed or impaired in regeneration ?
A. It is neither destroyed nor impaired. God does not act upon man as a mere machine. The Divine influence is adapted to the nature of the soul. The Holy Spirit operates upon the understanding, affections, and will, according to the essential properties and laws of each, and without doing violence to the principles of man's intelligent and moral nature. Divine agency, though above our comprehension, is, nevertheless, real and consistent with human freedom. Sinners are perfectly conscious, that in the change effected in regeneration, they are free from compulsion, and exercise a perfect moral agency.
Q. 10. Is the influence of the Holy Spirit in regeneration special or common?
A. It is special. That it not common every day's experience proves. Were this the case, all men would be regenerated. This, however, is very far from being the fact. That it is special is evident, because it is imparted to some and not to others, and because it produces effects which are not common to mankind in general. It is often called irresistible, not in the sense of unresisted, but in the sense of overcoming all resistance; God makes the subjects of it willing in the day of His power. The
John i. 13. Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Tit. ïï. 5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by thc washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
(8) Rom. ix. 16. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.-1 Cor. iii. 6, 7. I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase. ---James i. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.
common influence of the Spirit, to whatever degree extended, leaves the heart unwilling to be saved upon the terms of the Gospel; but His special influence, however low in degree, makes the heart willing to accept of his salvation. (h)
Q. 11. Why is the influence of the Spirit necessary to change the heart?
A. Not because man has not a capacity, that is, all the natural faculties requisite; but because he will not receive and obey Christ. It is his disaffection to God, and his unwillingness to do his duty, which render the influences of the Spirit necessary. This necessity, therefore, so far from excusing his impenitence, is the strongest evidence of his criminality. (i)
Q. 12. Is man active, or passive, in regeneration ?
A. In one sense he is active, and in another sense he is passive. He acts freely, while he is acted upon by the Holy Spirit. There is a sort of coincidence in the divine and human agencies, though not, in strictness of language, a co-operation. This is evident from the consideration, that man is required to make himself a new heart, and that God gives the new heart. (j)
Q. 13. What are the evidences of regeneration ?
A. Little or no evidence of regeneration is to be derived from an apprehended ability to specify the time, place, manner, and other circumstances of the change. The principal evidences are, 1. A heartfelt sense that the doctrines of the Bible are true
(h) Ps. cx. 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth.
(i) John v. 40. And ye will not come to me, have life.
(j) Ezek. xviii. 31. 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, O house of Israel? -Ezek. xxxvi. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Philip. ii. 12, 13. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
and excellent; 2. A delight in religious company and conversation ; 3. Enjoyment in public, private, and secret worship; 4. Pleasure in reading the Bible and other religious books, and in meditating upon divine subjects; 5. Joy at the prosperity of Zion, and a desire that the cause of Christ should flourish and triumph ; 6. Humility and meekness in deportment; 7. Benevolence to all men, and love of complacency towards Christians; 8. Hatred of sin and love of holiness, and a supreme and habitual desire after it; and 9. Obedience to the commands of God in daily life. (k).
Q. 14. Do the renewed in heart ever entertain doubts of their regeneration ?
A. They do; and their doubts arise either, 1. From their not understanding in what regeneration consists ; or 2. From the great remaining sinfulness of their hearts; or 3. From the weakness of their Christian graces ; or 4. Fronı misjudgment respecting the nature of their religious affections; or 5. From constitutional melancholy or infirmity. But when under these doubts, it becomes Christians to examine
(k) John iii. 8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence'it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
-Rom. viii. 14. 16. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.-Mal. iïi. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another. -Fs. lxxxiv. 2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.-Ps.cxix. 97. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.--Ps. cii. 14. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.--Matt. xi. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.--Mark xii. 31. And the second is like, namely, this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.--1 John iii. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.-Rom. vii. 24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?-1 John iii. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil ; whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.—2 John ii. 3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
themselves by the evidences of their being religious, to be much in prayer to God for more spiritual light and life, and to live nearer to Him in holy obedience.
Q. 15. At what time of life do the greater part of Christians experience religion ?
A. Much the greatest number, no doubt, are renewed in youth, or the younger part of life, though some are regenerated in infancy, some in manhood, and a few in old age.
A. It is distinguished into love of benevolence, and love of complacency, according to the object on which it terminates.
Q. 2. What is meant by love of benevolence ?
Ă. Desire for the happiness of percipient beings, or beings susceptible of pleasure.
Q. 3. In what proportion should the love of benevolence be exercised towards beings susceptible of happiness?
A. The proportion should be according to their capacity for happiness, other things being equal. God is to be loved more than all His creatures, because of the infinitude of His being. Our fellow men are to be loved as we ought to love ourselves. This benevolent affection will act most vigorously towards those who are most in view, and with whom we are most conversant and most connected, because of the relation thus sustained, and the duties thence arising. (a)
Q. 4. By what property is this love of benevolence distinguished ?
(a) Mark xii. 30, 31. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second like, namely, this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself