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rally as a good tree doth. The regenerate are partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. and of his holiness, Heb. xii. 10. they have the image of God stamped upon their souls, and are changed into the same image, 2 Cor. iii. 18. hence they are holy in all manner of conversation, 1 Pet. i. 15.—That I may not needlessly puzzle and perplex the reader, I shall only take notice of some of those fruits of regeneration, which the scriptures make express mention of; thus, 1 John, v. 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; so that believing in Christ is the effect of our being born of. God, for all true believers are regenerate, and all the regenerate are true believers : though it is not people's saying they have faith, but having Christ in their hearts,* that denominates them true believers and regenerate persons. Many, yea, most who profess the christian religion, look upon themselves to be believers and new-born souls, if you was to judge by people's profession, you would think there were few unbelievers in the world; but if you examine into the experience of their hearts, you will find it otherwise, and see reason to conclude that the number of real evangelical believers is but small. Faith is an affiance of the soul upon Christ, a living out of ourselves upon Christ Jesus alone for life and salvation. This faith is the peculiar privilege of those that are born
* Rom. x, 10.
of God, and is accompanied with love, which makes the evangelist add, and every one that loreth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him, i, e. he that loveth God, will love him that is begotten and born of him, 1 John, iii. 14. 16. Love is of God, saith St. John, and God is love, 1 John, iv. 7, 8. Love is the universal badge and characteristic of Christ's disciples; all the children of God love his image wheresoever they discern it; they love freely and disinterestedly, without respect of persons or distinction of parties. All believers in Christ love one another; all that are born of God are cemented together in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace : but, where hatred and malice reign, such souls are not born of God, but of the devil.
1 John, iii. 19. Whosoever is born of God ,doth not commit sin, i. e, doth not commit it wilfully and habitually, as natural men do; for, the reader may observe, that he that is born of God, is opposed to the natural man, mentioned in ver. 8. where it is said, He that committeth sin, is of the devil. Regenerate men may fall into sin after regeneration : I suppose that St. Paul was regenerated, Acts, ix. yet how did he fall into inordinate anger with Barnabas, Acts, xv. 39.! and how hastily did he speak against the hight priest, Acts, xxiii. 3. ! which he himself acknowledges to be a crime, ver. 5. It is the desire of every soul that is born again, to be free from sin; yet, if we allow none to be regenerate but those who are perfectly pure from sin, where shall we find a regenerate man? Who can say, I have made my heart clean : I am pure from sin ? A christian is perfect, not in himself, but in Christ his head. Whosoever looks into himself for perfection, he will never find it. All our perfection is in Christ, and every man who believes is perfect in Christ Jesus, as saith the apostle, Col. i. 28.
! Another effect of the new birth is victory over the world, For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, 1 John, v. 4. and this victory is gained by faith, as the following words show, this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Faith enables souls to conquer; first, the pleasures and allurements of this world ; it gives them a view of heavenly glories, and then the trifles and baubles of this world vanish and disappear; it gives them a taste of spiritual joys, and then the pleasures of flesh and sense become flat and insipid. Men do not love to drink water, when they have once tasted wine. What a slur did our blessed Lord cast on all human glory and grandeur, when he refused to be made a king! And how gloriously did his servant Moses despise the world, and trample on the magnificence of a court, when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; and chose rather to endure afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season! And what an admirable example of faith was Abraham, who followed God into an unknown land, when he might have
Jived at home at ease, and inherited his father's estate! Secondly, By faith christians overcome the crosses, amictions, and persecutions of the world : thus, the psalmist, in describing a godly man, saith, He shall not be afraid of evil tidings ; and the reason hereof is immediately rendered, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord, Ps. cxii. 7. How victoriously doth St. Paul triumph over tribulation, persecution, distress, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, &c.! What a world of trials and afflictons, did the believer's, mentioned Heb. xi. undergo ? And how did the primitive christians endure racks, stakes, fire, sword, danger, and deathi in every shape! Lastly, The regenerate live above the cares of the world ; they take no thought for life, or food, or raiment ; they are not like Martha, troubled about many things, but with Mary, they choose that good part which shall not be taken from them; they are careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving make known their requests to God; they cast all their care upon him that careth for them ; their will is resigned to his will; they live upon his promises, they trust in his providences, and are satisfied with all his dispensations. They bless God in prosperity, they glory in tribulation, they bless God for all things. And, while wordlings murmur and repine at losses, troubles, and disappointments, they are glad they have any thing to give to God, they are glad they have any thing to lose for God; and always cry out from the ground of their hearts, the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Another, and the last effect I shall at present enumerate, is a love and desire of God's word ; thus, saith St. Peter, the apostle of our Lord 1 Epistle, ii. 2. As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word. Christ's disciples are called new-born babes, because of their impotence and helplessness, and because they are born into a world of new trials and troubles, wherewith natural men are entirely unacquainted. The word is called milk, because as milk nourishes babes born after the flesh, so the word of God nourishes souls born after the Spirit ; it is called sincere milk, because of its purity, and to distinguish it from the doctrines and traditions of men, which are corrupt, fictitious, aud counterfeit. This sincere milk, new-born babes desire as naturally, and covet as greedily, as infants do their mother's milk; and the end hereof is, that they may grow thereby. Natural infants do not grow, unless they are constantly supplied with the breast, no more do spiritual babes, unless they are fed with the food of God's - word. As little children cannot live without their mother's milk, so neither can the children of God live, but they grow sick and languish, if they have not the sincere milk of the word frequently administered unto them. The apostle adds, (as the learned