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Independently of these reasonings it might be concluded that if there is any such thing in the world as "the fleshly mind” which "is enmity against God," it must belong to every one that is born of the flesh," for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” in every instance; that if there is any such thing in the world as “the natural man” who regards the things of the Spirit of God" as "foolishness," it must be every man as he is by nature.* But I have heard it said that though mankind were thus depraved as they stood connected with the first Adam, they were in some degree restored by Christ, and in this restored state are born into the world. Now if what has been said under the preceding heads is true, this question is fairly laid to rest. None are in fact raised above the character of enemies of God but they who are restored to supreme love. After all that Christ has done, the world are still divided into two classes, they who hate God and they who love him supremely. All who are not restored to the temper of real Cliristians and martyrs, are settled in enmity against him, without one solitary emotion of love. And what were they ever worse than this even in the eye of law? What worse character does any evangelical minister ascribe to "the fleshly mind” as it now is or as it ever was? Until therefore you prove, in opposition to the whole tenour of revelation and experience, that all the world are supremely attached to the true God, you must admit that some are not raised a whit above their original pollution.
Again I have heard it said that "the natural man” is a heathen, and that the regeneration which our Saviour pronounced so necessary for admission to his kingdom,t is only a turning from paganism. This by the way would fairly exclude every heathen on earth from salvation,-an inference not very acceptable to the generality of those who would fritter * John iii. 6. Rom. viii. 7. 1 Cor. ii. 14. † John iii. 3,5.
down regeneration to this. It may also be a matter of wonder to some that a Jewish ruler should have heard with so much astonishment that pagans must be converted to the revealed faith. But let that pass. I ask whether there are none in Christian countries who are under the supreme dominion of selfishness? none with an historic faith who serve "the creature more than the Creator?” none that belong to the Church who love the praise of men more than the praise of God?” none who cover even with canonicals a heart supremely attached to the world? If these you find, you find all the attributes of “the fleshly mind” within the pale of the Christian Church. Why then go to pagan countries to scek "the natural man?” The whole population of Christendom are enemies of God, with the bare exception of those who love him supremely. And if of all that population none love him better than life till “the love of God is shed abroad in [their] hearts by the Holy Ghost,”* then none of the inhabitants of Christendom, as they are born into the world, possess any other temper than that of God's enemies.
Thus I have finished what was proposed. And now may we not all find sufficient reason to lay our hand on our hearts? We may often have seen sin in ourselves without knowing it, and may have promoted the deception by calling it by another name, and while restrained from actual crimes, we may have wondered at the strong charges of the divine word against us. But if every undue bias in our own favour contains in itself the grand principle of all rebellion against God, we need only watch our hearts for a single hour to find reason enough to exclaim with distress and amazement, “The whole head is sick and the whole heart faint!" In the strong workings of this polluted principle we may discover the deep and dreadful malignity of sin; and our wonder
* Rom. v. 5.
that we are thus charged will soon yield to greater wonder that we are out of everlasting despair.What reason for humility and self-loathing; for shame and grief and tears.
If supreme attachment to the creature is itself total depravity, I tremble as I inquire how many of my hearers are still totally depraved. Should an angel pass from seat to seat with a commission to take the account, how many of you would he find supremely attached to the world? how many, more anxious for the success of their commercial pursuits than for the interests of the Church and the glory of God? how many, more enamoured of amusements than prayer? how many, more eager to exalt themselves than the Saviour of the world? Precisely that number he would write down totally depraved, and God would approve the record.
My dear hearers, do you love God? Do you love the God that made and redeemed you,—the God of infinite and eternal love,the treasure and glory of the universe? All heaven is full of exultation and transport that such a God exists, and do you love him? Without that love you are wretches to eternity in whatever world you dwell. Without that love you are wretches on the highest throne in glory. You are pressed with infinite obligations, and do you love that God? Let the question reach every part of the house and ring through every conscience, Do you love the ever-blessed God? Love him! we should be monsters if we did not love him. Amen to that,—but do you really love him? Do you love him better than father or mother, wife or children, houses or lands, or life itself? That we cannot say. Then, my dear hearers, you have not a particle of love to God in your hearts. Nay more,-how shall I utter the dreadful charge? you are his enemies. Enemies of God! In what world am I? I see not the chains and bars around me;-am I in the world that was once wet with a Saviour's blood? am I in an assembly of people for whom he died? Enemies of God! Why what evil hath he done? If you are resolved to remain his foes I will follow you with this moving entreaty till I die, Why what evil hath he done? Is it for the love that gave being to numberless worlds, and feeds them all from the stores of his bounty? Is it for the love that sent his only Son to expire on a cross? Is it for the compassion that cries after you from year to year? But I have done. When it shall be told another day that redeemed sinners were enemies of God, I had almost said, all heaven will be in tears.
REGENERATION NOT PROGRESSIVE.
EZEKIEL xi. 19.
I WILL PUT A NEW SPIRIT WITHIN YOU; AND I WILL TAKE THE STONY HEART OUT OF THEIR FLESH, AND WILL GIVE THEM A HEART OF FLESH.
There is a phenomenon in the moral world for which no adequate natural cause has ever yet been assigned. I mean a great and sudden change of temper and character, brought about under a strong impression of scriptural truth; a change in many cases from habitual vice and malignity to the sweetness and purity of the Christian spirit, and continuing to manifest itself in a new character through life, accompanied, if you will believe the subjects, with new views of God and Christ and divine things in general, and with new feelings towards them. This change is discovered in people of all temperaments; in the phlegmatic as well as the ardent, in the slow and cautious as well as the impetuous and sanguine, in minds wholly subject to the understanding as well as those which yield more to the dominion of the imagination. It takes place in people of all ranks and conditions; in the wise and learned as