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ligible, than to give this short view of the characters and pursuits of the men of the world; and then to observe, That the change in regeneration doth properly consist in a strong inward conviction of the vanity of worldly enjoyments of every kind ; and a persuasion, that the favor and enjoyment of God is infinitely superior to them all. Whatever other differences there may be, this will be found in every child of God, from the highest to the lowest, from the richest to the pooreft: from the wifest to the most ignorant; and from the oldest to the youngest. Every such one will be able to say with the Psalmiit, “ There be “ many that say, Who will shew us any good ? Lord, lift “ thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou " haft put gladness in my heart, more than in the time " that their corn and their wine increased. I will both “ lay me down in peace, and sleep, for thou, Lord, only “ makelt me dwell in safety."*
I shall afterwards have occafion more fully to explain the comparative influence of this desire; but before I conclude this section, must make the two following remarks: 1. That the favor of God must appear to the believer as absolutely necessary to his comfort. 2. As full and sufficient for that purpose.
1. He that is born again, considers the favor of God as absolutely necessary to his comfort. He sees the emptiness and inherent vanity of all things else. Even when the world smiles, even when things succeed with him to his wish, he will not rest satisfied with any, or all temporal mercies. He will, above all, defire an interest in that love which God beareth to his “chosen people," a right by promise or covenant to the use of present comforts, and the favor and protection of his fpecial providence. How contrary this to the temper of many, who have a name to live while they are dead? If the world siniles, they follow it with eagerness, and embrace it with complacency, while they are cold and indifferent in their desires towards God. Perhaps, when they are distressed with outward calamities; when experience constrains them to confeis
* Psal. iv. 6, 7, 8,
sod to on to this.d, and defely and halympion
the vanity of the creature, they cry to God for relief. But when ease and prosperity return, they foon forget his works, are well pleased with their condition, and neither grieve for his abfence, nor are afraid of his anger. This thews plainly, that whatever occasional symptoms they may discover, they are supremely and habitually possessed by a love of the world, and desire of sensual gratification. In opposition to this, every real Christian sees the favor of God to be so absolutely necessary, that he cannot be without it. He sees it to be more necessary than riches, honors, or pleasures; nay, than health, or even life itself ; all which he values chiefly as they are the fruits of the divine bounty, as tokens of divine love, and as they afford him an opportunity of promoting the divine glory. He is ready to lay with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in “ heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I “ defire besides thee: my flesh and my heart faileth, but “God is the firength of my heart, and my portion for " ever."*
2. He that is born again, considers the favor of God as full and sufficient for his comfort and happiness. That is to say, he is habitually satisfied with this as his portion, whether there be abundance or straitness as to outward provision. He counts the favor of God as absolutely necessary, but nothing else is considered as such. No earthly enjoyments can satisfy him without God's favor ; but this will satisfy him, be his outward condition what it will. I am far from meaning to affirm, that every good man is free from the least rising nurmur, the least impatient or rebellious thought. If it were so with any man, he would be perfect in holiness; but I mean to signify, that this is his habitual and prevailing temper. He is inwardly convinced, that those alone are happy; and that they are, and shall be, coinpleatly happy, who are reconciled to God, and the objects of his special love. His own remaining attachment to prelent things, and immoderate sorrow under outward calamity, he fincerely laments as his weakness, and humbly confesses as his fin. He en
* Paul. lxxiii. 25, 26.
deavors to supply the void left by every earthly comfort, when it is withdrawn, by the fulness and all-fufficiency of God. He possesses, in some measure, and breathes after more and more of the temper expressed in the two following passages of scripture : “ Although my house be “ not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlast“ing covenant, ordered in all things, and sure ; for this “is all my salvation, and all my defire."* Although " the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in " the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field “ shall yield no meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the “ fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet will “ I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my fal. “ vation.”+
Thus. I have endeavored to point out wherein the change in regeneration doth immediately and properly consist. It is just the recovery of the moral in age of God upon the heart; that is to say, to love him supremely, and serve him 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 suni 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 affection or actual service ought to be, at any tiine, or in the least degree, misapplied. This is the case with no mere man, while he continues in the body. But regeneration consists in the principle being implanted, obtaining the ascendency, and habitu. ally prevailing over its opposite. Even in those who are born again, there will still be many struggles between the “ law of fin in their members," and the “ law of God in " their minds.” This we find deeply lamented by the apostle Paul: “ ) 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 re,
Rom. vii. 24.
* 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Vol. I,
+ Habbak, iii, 17, 18.
flects, that the seed 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.
SE CT. III.
The effects of regeneration ; with some of the principal evia'
dences of its sincerity.
IN the further prosecution of this head, I proposed to I mention some of the principal evidences and fruits of a saving change. These, no dobut, it were easy with fufficient propriety greatly to extend and enlarge, be. cause 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 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 apprehensions 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, dis. covers 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
feldom in his thoughts ; now it is almost impoflible for • him to look upon any thing, or person, or event, without
considering its relation to God. O what “ terrible majes.
" ty” 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 fee in all the divine perfections ? Above all, what a ra. vithing and astonishing view has he of the divine goodness and love? Wicked men, governed by felf-love, are there. fore insensible of obligations. Inordinate in their defires, 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 as a hard and ty, rannical restraint ; but now, he fees that he belongs to God: he now remembers his Creator, confesses his obligations, and mourns for his tranfgressions. A converted finner often admires and stands astonished at his own for. mer conduct. He wonders at the boldness of a poor guilty helpless rebel, perhaps cursing and blafpheming, perhaps rioting in sensuality and lust. He wonders that the power of God did not arrest him in his course, and by fome signal stroke, 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 acknow. ledgment of the riches of divine grace. How great a sense of this does the apostle Paul often exprefs in his own cafe ; “ who was before a blafphemer, and a persecutor, " and injurious. This is a faithful saying, and worthy “ of all acceptation, that Christ Jefus 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 3. is now broke, the falle colors 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 polSelled them, and thought that none such could fail of being
* 1 Tim. i. 13, 15,