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<< no meat; the Aock shall be cut off from the “ fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; «s yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in " the God of my falvation *:".
Thus I have endeavoured to point out whereins the change in regeneration doth immediately and properly consist. It is just the recovery of the moral image of God upon the heart; that is to fay, to love him supremely, and serve bim ultimately, as our highest end ; and to delight in: him superlatively, as our chief good. This · recovery, however, is but begun on earth. It is -gradually improved in the progress of fanctification, and shall be fully compleated at the resurrection of the just. The sum of the moral law is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind. This is the duty of every rational creature ; and, in order to obey it perfectly, no part of our inward af. fection or actual service ought to be, at any time, or in the least degree, mifapplied. This is the case with no mere man, -while he continues in the body. But regeneration consists in the principle. being implanted, obtaining the ascen. dancy, and habitually prevailing-over its opposite. Even in those who are born again, there will still be many struggles between the: “ Jaw.. « of fin in their members," and the “ law'
* Habbais, iii, 17, 18,
“ of God in their minds." This we find deeply lamented by the apostle Paul: " O wretched " man that I am, who shall deliver me from “ the body of this death * ?” It ought to give · unspeakable consolation to the christian, when he reflects, that the feed which is planted by divine grace, shall be preserved by divine power. A gracious God will neither suffer it to be smothered by contending weeds, nor destroyed by the inclemency of this tempestuous climate, till it be transplanted into the milder regions of peace and serenity above.
SECT. III. The effects of regeneration; with some of the prin.
cipal evidences of its sincerity.
TN the further prosecution of this head, I pro
posed to mention fome of the principal evidences and fruits of a saving change. These, no doubt, it were eafy with sufficient propriety greatly to extend and enlarge, because they include all the marks and signs of real religion, suited to every character and every situation in which a christian can be placed. The heart being renewed, the life will of necessity be reformed, and holiness in all manner of conversation, including the duties of piety towards God, and. * Rom. vii. 24. . .
justice and charity towards men, will be its : native and genuine effect. But this would be too wide and general a field. I find most writers on this subject take particular notice of the new views and apprehenfions which the regenerate person hath of himself, and every other thing or person to which he stands related. I shall therefore very shortly observe, he who is born again, discovers his new nature and life by new apprehensions of God-of himself-of the world.
of eternity-of Jesus Christ the Saviour of finners and of all the ordinances of his appointment.
The regenerate person has new views of God, both in respect of greatness and goodness. He really and inwardly believes the being, presence, power and providence of God, which he in a great measure disbelieved before. Whereas formerly, even what he did believe of God was seldom in his thoughts; now it is almost imporsible for him to look upon any thing, or person, or event, without confidering its relation to God.
what " terrible majesty” does his fanctified understanding perceive in this Being .of Beings, compared to the times of his former blindness ? What a lustre and glory does the opened eye see. in all the divine perfections ? Above all, what a: ravishing and astonishing view has he of the din vine goodness and love? Wicked men, go.
verned by self-love, are therefore insen Able of obligations. Inordinate in their desires, they are never satisfied with their possessions : whereas the child of God discovers and confesses the infinite goodness of his Creator in all his mercies, of the least of which he is not worthy.
He hath quite new apprehensions of himself, his own character and state. Before, he thought himself his own master, looked upon every religious law aš a hard and tyrannical restraint; but now, he sees that he belongs to God: he now remembers his Creator, confesses his obligations, and mourns for his tranfgreffions. A converted finner often admires and stands astonished at his owa former conduct. He wonders at the boldness of a poor guilty helpless rebel, perhaps cursing and blaspheming, perhaps rioting in sensuality and Just. He wonders that the power of God did not arrest him in his course, and by fome signal ftroke, make him a standing monument of righteous indignation. He trembles to think of his former state, and it excites in him a deep and lively acknowledgement of the riches of divine grace. How great a sense of this does the apostle Paul often express in his own case; “ who was " before a blasphemer, and a perfecutor, and « injurious. This is a faithful saying, and * worthy of all acceptation, that) Christ Jesus
" came into the world to save finners, of whom « I am chief*.”
The above is often connected with, and increased by, his views of the world and of worldly men. The charm is now broke; the false colours are now taken off from the world and all its enjoyments. How ardently did he love them once ? how eagerly did he prosecute them and how rich did he esteem them? He envied every one who possessed them, and thought, that none such could fail of being compleatly happy. But now, he can never separate the idea of riches from temptation, and often confiders the dread ful change of state in those who are carried about in pomp and grandeur on earth; who are cloached in purple and fine linnen, and fare fumptuously every day ; but are, in a little time, tormented in hell fire. Formerly, he valued persons by their station, by their wealth, by their spirit and genius, or other natural qualifications, But now, a christian in a cottage appears more honourable and more amiable than a blafphemer in a palace. Now, his heart is joined to every servant of Christ, though despised in the world, though emaciated by sickness, though deformed with old age; nay, though loathsome and fordid through penury and want. He sees the Tim i, 13, 15.