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of Gad, orThis iş: God's short and plain account of true religion and virtue and other foundations can no man lay, i
577 From what has been osald we maykuhirdlylearn, Thatingne is truly-ded bywtha iSpiritt unless that Spirit bear witness with his spirit, that beiis a child of God e unless he sees the prize and the crown before him, and rejoices in hopes of yhe glory of God: so greatly have they erred, who have taught that in serving God, weought hot to have a view to our own happiness. Nay, but we are often and ext pressly taught of God, to havc respect unto the recompence of reward ; to balance the toil with the joy set before (Us, vthese light cafictions, with that exceeding weight of glory. Yea, We are aliens to the covenant of promise, we are without God in the world, until God of his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again, unto a living hope, of the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away."
6. But if these things are so, it is high time for those
persons to deal faithfully with their own souls, who are so far from finding in themselves this joyful as surance that they fulfil the terms, and shall ob
ain-the promises of that covenant, as toi quarrel with the covenant i eslf, and blaspheme the terms of it: to complain, " They are too severu, rand that no man ever did, or shall live up to them !! What is this, but to reproach God, as if he were an hard master requiring of his servants more than he enables them to perform ;" as if he had mocked the helpless, works of his hands, by binding them to impossibilities, by commanding them to overcome, where neither their own strength, nor his grace was sufficient for them?
7. These blasphemers might almost persuade those, to imagine themselves guiltless, who, in the contrary ex
God, without treme, hope to sulfil the commands? taking any pains at all. Vain hope! that a child of Adam should ever expect, to see the kingdom of Christ and of God, without striving, without agonizing firse, to enter in at the strait gate! That one who was conceived wird born in sin, and whose inward parts are very wickedness, should once entertain a thought, of being purified as his Lord is pure, unless he tread in his steps, and take up his cross daily; unless he cut off his right hand, and pluck out the right-eye and cast it froin him ; that he should ever dream
of اور ٹری تو ۔
of shaking offhis old opinions, passions tempérs, of be ing santified throughout in spirit, soul, and body, without a constraint and continued course of general self-denial !
8. What less than this can we possibly infer from the above cited words of St. Paul ? Who living in infirmities, in reproachas' in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake, whos being-fall of signs and wonders and mighty deeds, who having been caught up
into the third heaven;" yet teckoned (as a late author strongly expresses it) that all his virtues would be insecure, and even his sályation in danger, without this constant self-denial. So run I, says he, not as uncertainly, 60
fight ), 130t as one that beateth the air." By which he plainly teaches us, That he who does not thus run' who does not thus deny himself daily, does run uncertainly, and fighteth to as little purpose as he that beatetho the air.
weet 9. To as little purpose does he talk of fighting the fight of faith, as vainly hope to attain the crown of incorruption fas we may, lastly, infer from the preceding observations) whose heart is not çircumcised by love. Love cutting off both the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eje, and the pride of life, engaging the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, in the ardent pursuit of that one object, is SÖ essential to a child of God, that " without it, whosoever liveth is counted dead before him.". Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a tinckling cymbal. Though I bave the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knotoledge, and though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Nay, though I give up all my goods to feed the poor, and my body to be burried, and have not love, it proin freth me nothing.
10. Here then is the sum of the perfect law, this is the true circumcision of the heart. Let the spirit return to God that gave it, with the whole train of its affe&ions. "unto the place from whence all the rivers came," thither let them flow again. Other sacrifices from us he would not; but the living sacrifice of the heart he hath chosen. Let it be continually offered up to God through Christ, in flames of holy love. And let no crcature be suffered to share with him: for he is a jealous God. His throne
will he not divide with another; he will reign without a rivalii Beino design, no desire admitted there, but what has him for its ultimate object. This is the way wherein those children of God once walked, who being dead, still speak to us,"Desire not to live but to praise his name ; ' letall your thoughts, words, and works, tend to his glory. Set your dreart firm on him, and on other things, only as they are in avid from him." Let your soul be filled with so entire a love of him, that you may love nothing but for his sake. “Have pure intentions of heart, a steade fast regard to his glory in all your actions
Fix your eye upon the blessed hope of your calling, and make all the things of the world minister unto it.' For then, and not till then, is that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus, when in every motion of our heart, in every word of our tongue, in every work of our hands, we
pursue nothing but in relation to him, and in subordination to his pleasure :” when we too, neither think, nor speak, nor act, to fulfil our own will, but the will of him that sent” us : when whether we “ eat or drink, or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God."
The Marks of the New Birth.
JOHN qüi &
Su is every one that is born of the Spirit.
lia LTOW is every one that is born of the Spirit? That
is born again? Born of God? What is meant by the being born again? The being born.of God? Or, being born of the Spirit ? What is implied in, The being a son or a child of God? Or, having the Spirit of Adoption ! That these privileges by the free mercy of God, are ordinarly annexed to baptism (which is thence termed by
our Lord, in the preceding verse: the-being iborn of Water andafithe Spirit), we know, but we would know what theses privilegesvare. What is the new birth? dicap
122 Perhaps it is not needful to give a definition of this, i seeing the scripture gives none. But as the question is of the deepest concern to every child of man (since i except a man be born again, born of the Spirit, ihe cannot see the kingdom of God) I propose, to lay down the marks of it in the plainest manner, just as I find them slaid down in scripture. , : 590 le suiviin".
Right J! 1. The first of these and the foundation of all the rest) is faith. So St. Paul, * * Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. So St. John, 1 " To them gave he power (eficiav, right or privilege, it might rather be translated) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" which were fori when they be=' lieved, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, not by natural generation, nor of the will of men, like those children adopta! ed by men, in whom no inward change is thereby wrought bút of God. And again in his general epistle,
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Clirist, is born of God.
2. But it is not a barely notional or speculative faith, that is here spoken of by the apostles. It is not a bare 2ssent to this proposition, “ Jesus is the Christ;" nor indeed to all the propositions contained in our creed, or in the Old and New Testament. It is not merely an assent to any, or all these credible things, as credible." To say this, were to say (which who could hear?) that the devils were born of God. For they have this faitlia They trembling, believe, both that Jesus is the Christ, and that all scripture having been given by inspiration of God, is true as God is true. It is not only "an assent to divine truth, upon the testimony of God," or “ upon the evidence of miracles" For they also heard the words of his mouth, and knew him to be a faithful and true witness. They could not but receive the testimony he's , both of biinself, and of the Father which sent him. They saw likewise the mighty works which he did, and thence be
Gal. iij. 26. + John i. T2, 13. 1 John v. 1.
lieved that he came forth from Goda Yet notwithstanding this faith, they are still " reserved in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day."
3. For all this is no more than a dead faith. The true, living, Christian faith, which whosoever hath, is born of God, is not only an assent, an act of the understanding, but a disposition which God hath wrought in his heart; " a sure trust and confidence in God, that through the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God.” This implies, that a man first ranounce himself ; that in order to be found in Christ, to be accepted through him, he totally reject all confidence in the flesh; that having nothing to pay, having no trust in his own works or righteousness of any kind, he come to God, as a lost, miserable, self-destroyed, self-condemned, undone, helpless sinner ; as one whose mouth is utterly stopped, and who is altogether guilty before God. Such a sense of sin, commonly called despair, (by those who speak evil of the things they know not) together with a full conviction, such as no words can express, that of Christ only cometh our salvation, and an earnest desire of that salvation, must precede a living faith: a trust in him, who * for us paid our ransom by his death, and fulfilled the law in his life.” This faith then, whereby we are born of God, is “not only a belief of all the articles of our faith, bùt also a true confidence of the mercy of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ."
4. An immediate and constant fruit of this faith, whereby we are born of God, a fruit which can in no wise be separated from it, no not for an hour, is power over sin : power over outward sin, of every kind ; over every evil word and work; for wheresoever the blood of Christ is thus applied, it purgeth the conscience from dead works : and over inward sin ; for it purifieth the heart from every unholy desire and temper. '. This fruit of faith, St. Paul has largely described, in the sixth chapter of his epistle to the Romans. * " How shall we (saith he) who by faith are dead to sin, live any longer therein ? Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroy
Rom. i. 6, &ce.