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the whole design of delivering criminals over to Satan, was but a pursuance of this argument of fear; that by feeling something, they might fear a worse, and for the present be affrighted from their sin. And this was no other than the argument which our blessed Saviour used to the poor paralytic: 'Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to thee.' But besides that this good fear may work much in an unregenerate person, or a man under the law, such a person may do some things in obedience to God, or thankfulness, and perfect, mere choice. So Jehu obeyed God a great way: but there was a turning, and a high stile, beyond which he would not go, and his principles could not carry him through. Few women can accuse themselves of adultery; in the great lines of chastity they choose to obey God, and the voice of honour; but can they say that their eye is not wanton, that they do not spend great portions of their time in vanity, that they are not idle, and useless, or busy-bodies, that they do not make it much of their employment to talk of fashions and trifles, or that they do make it their business to practise religion, to hear and attend to severe and sober 'counsels? If they be under the conduct of the Spirit, he hath certainly carried them into all the regions of dnty. But to go a great way, and not to finish the journey, is the imperfection of the unregenerate. For in some persons, fear or love of God is not of-itself strong enough to weigh down the scales; but there must be thrown in something from without, some generosity of spirit, or revenge, or gloriousness and bravery, or natural pity,or interest; and so far as these, or any of them, go along with the better principle, this will prevail; but when it must go alone, it is not strong enough. But this is a great way off from the state of sanctification or a new birth.
40. VI. An unregenerate man, besides the abstinence from much evil, may also do many good things for heaven, and yet never come thither. He may be sensible of his danger and sad condition, and pray to be delivered from it; and his prayers
shall not be heard, because he does not reduce his prayers to action, and endeavour to be what he desires to be. Almost every man desires to be saved: but this desire is not with every one of that persuasion and effect as to make them willing to want the pleasures of the world for it, or to perform the labours of charity and repentance. A man
may strive and contend in or towards the ways of godliness, and yet fall short. Many men pray often, and fast much, and pay tithes, and do justice, and keep the commandments of the second table with great integrity; and so are good moral men, as the word is used in opposition to, or rather in destitution of, religion. Some are religious, and not just : some want sincerity in both: and of this, the Pharisees were a great example. But the words of our blessed Saviour are the greatest testimony in this article ; ' Many shall strive to enter in, and shall not be abled.' Either they shall contend too late like the five foolish virgins, and as they whom St. Paul, by way of caution, likens to Esau ; or else they contend with incompetent and insufficient strengths: they strive, but put not force enough to the work. An unregenerate man hath not strength enough; that is, he wants the spirit, and activity, and perfectness, of resolution. Not that he wants such aids as are necessary and sufficient, but himself hath not purposes pertinacious, and resolutions strong enough. All that is necessary to his assistance from without, all that he hath or may have; but that which is necessary on his own part he hath not; but that is his own fault; that he might also have ; and it is his duty, and therefore certainly in his power to have it. For a man is not capable of a law which he hath not powers sufficient to obey : he must be free and quit from all its contraries, from the power and dominion of them; or at least must be so free, that he may be quit of them if he please. For there can be no liberty, but where all the impediments are removed, or may be, if the man will.
41. VII. An unregenerate man may have received the Spirit of God, and yet be in a state of distance from God. For to have received the Holy Ghost, is not an inseparable propriety of the regenerate. The Spirit of God is an internal agent; that is, the effects and graces of the Spirit, by which we are assisted, are within us before they operate. For although all assistances from without are graces of God, the effects of Christ's passion, purchased for us by his blood and by his intercession; and all good company, wise counsels, apt notices, prevailing arguments, moving objects, and opportunities and endearments of virtue, are from above, from the Father of lights:' yet the Spirit of God does also
a Luke, xiii. 24.
work more inwardly, and creates in us aptnesses and inclinations, consentings, and the acts of conviction and adherence,' working in us to will and to do according' to our de sire, or according 'to God's good pleasure :' yet this Holy Spirit is oftentimes grieved, sometimes provoked, and at last extinguished ; which, because it is done only by them who are enemies of the Spirit, and not the servants of God, it follows, that the Spirit of God, by his aids and assistances, is in them that are not so, with a design to make them so: and if the Holy Spirit were not in any degree or sense in the unregenerate, how could a man be born again by the Spirit? for since no man can be regenerate by his own strengths, his new birth must be wrought by the Spirit of God; and especially in the beginnings of our conversion, is his assistance necessary: which assistance, because it works within as well, and rather than without, must needs be in a man before he operates within. And therefore to have received the Holy Spirit, is not the propriety of the regeneratè; but to be led by him, to be conducted by the Spirit in all our ways and counsels, to obey his motions, to entertain his doctrine, to do his pleasure: this is that which gives the distinction and denomination. And this is called by St. Paul, 'the inhabitation of the Spirit of God in use;' in opposition to the ‘inhabitans peccatum,''the sin that dwelleth' in the unregenerate. The Spirit may be in us, calling and urging us to holiness; but unless the Spirit of God dwell in us, and abide in us, and love to do so, and rule, and give us laws, and be not grieved and cast out, but entertained, and cherished, and obeyed; unless, I say, the Spirit of God be thus in us, Christ is not in us; and if Christ be not in us, we are none of his.
The Character of the Regenerate Estate, or Person. 42. FROM hence it is not hard to describe what are the proper indications of the regenerate. 1. A regenerate person is convinced of the goodness of the law, and meditates in it
e Rom. viii. 9.
day and nightf! His delight is in God's law, not only with his mind approving, but with his will choosing, the duties and significations of the law.
II. The regenerate not only wishes that the good were done which God commands, but heartily sets about the doing of it.
III. He sometimes feels the rebellions of the flesh, but he fights against them always; and if he receive a fall, he rises instantly, and fights the more fiercely, and watches the more cautiously, and prays the more passionately, and arms himself more strongly, and prevails more prosperously. In a regenerate person there is flesh and spirit, but the spirit only rules. There is an outward and an inward man, but both of them are subject to the Spirit. There was a law of the members, but it is abrogated and cancelled; the law is repealed, and does not any more enslave him to the law of sin.'“Nunc quamdiu concupiscit caro adversus spiritum, et spiritus adversus carnem, sat est nobis non consentire malis quæ sentimus in nobis :” “Every good man shall always feel the flesh lụsting against the Spirit ; that contention he shall never be quit of, but it is enough for us if we never consent to the suggested evils 8.”
IV: A regenerate person does not only approve that which is best, and desire to do it, but he does it actually, and delights to do it; he continues and abides in it, which the Scripture calls ' a walking in the Spirit, and a living after it:' for he does his duty by the strengths of the Spirit; that is, upon considerations evangelical, in the love of God, in obedience to Christ, and by the aids he hath received from above beyond the powers of nature and education, and therefore he does his duty upon such considerations as are apt to make it integral and persevering. For,
V. A regenerate man does not only leave some sins but all, and willingly entertains none. He does not only quit a lust that is against his disposition, but that which he is most inclined to, he is most severe against, and most watchful to destroy it; he plucks out his right eye, and cuts off his right hand, and parts with his biggest interest, rather than keep a lust: and therefore consequently chooses virtue by the same method, by which he abstains from vice.
s Psal. i. 2. cxix. 77.103.
8 Aug. lib. de Contin. c. 2.
ipsa continentia cum frænat, cohibétque libidines, simul et appetit bonum, ad cujus immortalitatem tendimus : et respuit malum, cum quo in hâc mortalitate contendimus;" that is, "He pursues all virtue, as he refuses all vice; for he tends to the immortality of good, as he strives against evil in all the days of his mortality h."-And therefore he does not choose to exercise that virtue only that will do him reputation, or consist with his interest, or please his humour, but entertains all virtue, whether it be with him or against him, pleasing or displeasing; he chooses all that God hath commanded him, because he does it for that reason.
VI. A regenerate person doth not only contradict his appetite in single instances, but endeavours to destroy the whole body of sin; he does not only displease his fond appetite, but he mortifies it, and never entertains conditions of peace with it; for it is a dangerous mistake, if we shall presume all is well, because we do some acts of spite to our dearest lust, and sometimes cross the most pleasing temptation, and oppose ourselves in single instances against every sin. This is not it; the regenerate man endeavours to destroy the whole body of sin, and having had an opportunity to contest his sin, and to contradict it this day, is glad he hath done something of his duty, and does so again to-morrow and ever, till he hath quite killed it; and never entertains.conditions of peace with it, nor ever is at rest till the flesh be quiet and obedient. For sometimes it comes to pass that the old man, being used to obey, at last obeys willingly, and takes the conditions of the Gibeonites; it is content to do drudgery and the inferior ministries, if it may be suffered to abide in the land.
43. So that here is a new account upon which the former proposition is verifiable; viz. It is not the propriety of the regenerate to feel a contention within him concerning doing good or bad. For it is not only true, that the unregenerate oftentimes feel the fight, and never see the triumph; but it is also true, that sometimes the regenerate do not feel this contention. They did once with great violence and trouble; but when they have gotten a clear victory, they have also great measures of peace. But this is but seldom, to few persons, and in them but in rare instances, in carnal
. S. Aug ibid.