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Some peculiar life, as produced by the Spirit, spoken of by Christ and the
prophets—The design of the work stated—The character and source of proof to be adduced-Illustrations drawn from the analogy of nature legitimate-God's moral and physical constitutions not at varianceMode of interpreting scripture—The divine testimony paramount evidence—The biblical student should not violate the principles of sound philosophy,The principles to conduct the investigation avouched-The author's hopes expressed.
It was long since predicted, that some divine energy should be exerted to produce life in the souls of men. "And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live,”* said "the LORD God” by the mouth of Ezekiel. Whether this language is wholly metaphorical, will be seen in the progress and result of the discussion contained in these pages. The PREDICTION relates particularly to the conversion of the Jews. That event shines conspicuously in prophetic story, and we are directed to it, as to the bright morning star which immediately precedes, and even shines resplendent in the rising glory of millennial day. What shall be the circumstances connected with their national regeneration, time alone will disclose. The opera
. tive and efficient agent will be the Spirit of God, and the immediate effect and proof of His influence, will be the possession of life in their souls. However the circumstances conducive to the conversion of the Jews shall differ from those ordinarily employed by the Spirit, the charac
. Ezek. Xxxvii. 14.
ter of the agent and of His influence shall not. The regeneration of a sinner is life from the dead in every instance, whether the subject be Jew or Gentile. The preaching of the gospel is indeed the means most frequently employed, and rendered most e licacious in producing this life; but it possesses no power to this end, except as it may be the word of God. “The hour is coming and now is,” said the Lord of life, “when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."*
The language, both of the prediction, and of Christ, implies that there is some other life, to be had by men, than that which all in common possess as creatures composed of soul and body. And the allusions in the scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, to a life peculiar and distinguishing, as imparted by the Spirit of God to some, and not to all, prevent the supposition that it is altogether imaginative, and the language merely metaphorical. “But God, who is rich in merey, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickenedt us (made us alive) together with Christ.” It is the object of the following work to investigate, and illustrate that great moral renovation, of which the scriptures speak so decisively, according as it is represepted under the idea of LIFE PRODUCED BY THE SPIRIT
The inspired writers employ a variety of terms in treating of this subject, and present it under almost endless aspects. At one time it is called regeneration, at another being born again, one while a raising from the dead, and again creating anew; one while the taking away the hard and stony heart, and at another the giving an heart of flesh; one while the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and at another the law of the Spirit of Life, besides others of * John vi. 25.
| Eph. ä. 4, 5.