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any works of righteousness which they have done, but by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; so that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who sheweth mercy, and worketh in them by his Spirit, to will and to run, &c. &c.

By this renovation, men are said in scripture to be made new creatures, and to be created in Christ, unto good works ; and believers are said to be in Christ, and to put on Christ. This union of the believer to Christ may be considered as consisting in two things, viz. 1. In Christ's uniting himself to him by his Spirit, by which he takes possession of him, is formed in him, and dwells in him : And by the Spirit of God, the believer is drawn to him. ** No man cometh unto me, says Christ, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” 2. In the believer's uniting himself to Christ, by actually cleaving to him, trusting in him, and loving him ; all which is implied in saving faith, or believing on Christ ; and which is also implied in Christ's uniting himself to the believer, mentioned in the fore. going particular. This union is begun in regeneration and conversion, by which Christ, by his Spirit, takes possession of the heart, produces faith and christian holiness ; in the exercise of which, the believer cleaves to Christ in holy love. But of these it is proposed to treat more particularly in some following sections.

This union between Christ and believers in him, is represented by a variety of similitudes in scripture. It is represented by a building composed of stones, all resting on a chief corner stone, which bears up the whole. By the natural body, consisting of head and members, all united to the head ; the life and every function of the body, and each of the members depend. ing upon their union with the head, and being derived from that : It is compared to the union of the food and drink, to the stomach and body, being taken into that, and digested, and thereby spreading life and spirit through the whole, for its constant support. ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood,

, ye have no life in you, Whosoever eateth my flesh,

“ Except and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life."* It is illus. trated by the union of the branch with the vine, by which the former derives life, sap and nourishment from the latter. “ I am the vine, ye are the branches."| To mention no more, it is frequently represented by the union between the husband and the wife, which is a voluntary or a moral union, and by which the wife shares in the dignity, goods and possessions of her husband, and receives protection and support from him. The church is therefore called “the bride, the Lamb's wife.” Believers, by their union to Christ, receive the benefit of his sufferings and obedience, and are made rich, partaking in all his fulness; and become joint heirs with him of eternal inheritance.

The union between Christ and believers is a moral and spiritual union : In this respect,"

“ He who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.” It is an imperfect union in the beginning of it: It is therefore a growing union, until it shall be made perfect ; it being a lasting union, which shall continue forever. And when this becomes perfect, which it will not, in its most complete state, till the resurrection, there will be a full and perfect participation of redemption by Christ ; and that prayer of Christ will then be completely answered.

“ Neither pray 1 for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word : That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also may

be one in us. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given unto them ; that they may be one,

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. That the love where. with thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.

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even as we are one.

SECTION II.

On Regeneration. IT has been observed, that mankind being naturally under the power 'of sin and total depravity, it is necessary that they should be the subjects of a renovation by * John yi. 53, 54. John xv. 5. $ 1 Cor. vi, 17. Il John xvii.

the Spirit of God, in order to their union to Christ, and being redeemed by him. It is proposed now to attend more particularly to this renovation, as it is represented in the holy scriptures.

Regeneration and conversion are often used only as two words, meaning the same thing ; and it is certain that all that can be properly understood by them, is that change and renovation which is expressed in scripture, by being born again, born of the Spirit of God, and born of

God, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, &c. Yet, as there are two distinct things included in this change, which it is necessary should be distinguished, in order to understand this subject, these words may be properly used, to make and keep up this distinction, as many divines have done. In this renovation, there is the operation of the cause, which is the work done by the Spirit of God; and there is the effect, which consists in the exercises of the regenerate, in which they are active, and agents. Though these imply each other, and cannot be separated, more than the cause can be separated from the effect; yet they must be distinguished, and the former may properly be called regeneration. In order to explain this, and prevent mistakes concerning it, the following things must be observed.

1. The Spirit of God is the only agent and cause by whose energy the effect takes place ; and so far as the Spirit of God, is the cause and agent, the subject, the heart of man, is passive, being the subject on which, or in which, the effect is wrought. Though the effect be activity, or the exercise of the new heart, in which the renewed person is the agent ; yet, in the operation which causes the effect to exist, and therefore in the order of nature, is antecedent to the effect, the Spirit of God is the only agent, and man is the passive subject.

2. This change, of which the Spirit of God is the cause, and in which he is the only agent, is instantaneous ; wrought not gradually, but at once. The human heart is either a heart of stone, a rebellious heart, or a new heart. The man is either under the dominion of sin, as obstinate and vile as ever, dead in trespasses and sins; or his heart is humble and penitent; he is a new creature, and spiritually alive. There can be no instant of

time, in which the heart is neither a hard heart, nor a new heart, and the man is neither dead in trespasses and sins, nor spiritually alive. The Spirit of God finds the heart of man wholly corrupt, and desperately wicked, wholly and strongly, even with all the power he has, opposed to God and his law, and to that renovation which he produces. The enmity of the heart against God continues as strong as ever it was, till it is slain by the instantaneous energy of the divine Spirit, and from carnal it becomes spiritual, betwixt which there is no medium, according to scripture and reason.

All the exercises of the hard, impenitent, unrenewed heart, are exercises of impenitence and rebellion, of enmity against God and his law ; whatever the external conduct may be, they are the corrupt fruit of a corrupt, rebellious heart. The exercises and fruit of a heart, dead in trespasses and sins, are dead works. If this were not demonstrably certain from the nature of the case, it is abundantly asserted in the scripture, and our Saviour has decided it in the most express manner.

His words are, “ Either make the tree good, and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt. A good man, ont of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things: And an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.”*

St. Paul repeatedly asserts the same thing. By a number of quotations from the Old Testament, he proves that all men are by nature, altogether, and to a great degree, corrupt; that there is nothing morally good in them, or done by them.t He asserts that antecedent to regeneration, man does nothing morally good ; that all of this kind is the consequence of it.

. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” And again he says, “ We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, not by works of rightrousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”'ll Here he describes their state and moral Matth. xii. 33, 35. Rom. iü. 9, &c. Epl. ü. 10. # Tit. ii. 3, 4, 5. character, which is the character of all men, antecedent to regeneration. He denies their having done any good works ; but, on the contrary, says, all their works were evil, and gives them a very bad character. He then ascribes all their reformation, and the alteration of their character for the better, to their regeneration, by which alone they were washed from their moral pollutions.

3. The subject of this operation, in which this change and effect is wrought, is the will or the heart ; that is, the moral and not the natural powers and faculties of the soul. As moral depravity is wholly in the will or heart, the source and seat of all moral actions, the divine operation directly respects the heart, and consists in changing and renewing that. The understanding or intellect, considered as distinct from the will, is a natural faculty, and is not capable of moral depravity. It may be hurt and weakened, and improved to bad purposes, as other natural faculties may, by the moral corruption or sinfulness of the heart : But nothing is necessary, in order to remove the disorders of the intellect, and all the natural powers of the soul, but the renovation of the heart ; so far as the will is right, the understanding, considered as a natural faculty, will be rectified, and do its office well. Therefore regeneration is in scripture represented as consisting in giving a new heart, a heart to know the Lord, &c. The scripture indeed speaks of the understanding being enlightened; and of its being darkened ; and of being without understanding, as criminal ; and represents a good understanding, as comprehending all virtue or holiness. But the understanding in these instances is not considered and spoken of as mere intellect, distinct from the will or heart; but as comprehending and principally intending the heart, which is the seat of all moral perception and exercise. In scripture the distinction between the understanding and the heart is not often made ; but the former is generally spoken of as implying the latter, and consisting in that discerning, which is implied in right exercises of heart ; and cannot take place any farther than the heart is renewed, and the will is right. Therefore we read of “a wise and understanding heart." And wisdom and understanding are words frequently used in scripture as

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