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Shewing pohtively what conVERSION is.
open, he 'that “ saw men as trees walking, Mark
The word is 65 profitable for doétrine; € as well as reproof," 2 Tim. iii. 16. And there fore having thus far conducted you by the shelves and rocks of so many dangerous mistakes, I would guide you at length into the harbour of truth.
Conversion then, in short, lies in the thorough change both of the heart and life : I shall briefly describe it in its nature and causes.
" The Author is the Spirit of God," and therefore it is called “ the sanctification of the « Spirit," 2 Thef. ii. 13. and the renewing of şr the Holy Ghost,” Tit. iii. 5. ; yet not excluding the other persons in the Trinity : For the Apostle teacherh us to bless " the Father of our Lord “ Jesus Christ, for that he hath begotten us again,
o and Christ is said to give repentance unto Ifrael," Asts v. 31. and is called " the Everlaking Father,” Ifa. ix. 6. and we his feed, and “the children which God hath given so him," Heb. ii. 13. Ifa. liii. 10. O blessed birth! the whole Trinity fathers the new creature: Yet this work is principally ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and so we are said to be “ born of the Spirit," John iii. 8.
So then it is a work above man's power : « We « are born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the Fs will of man, but of God," John i. 13. Never
Pit. i. 3.;
think thou canst convert thyself; if ever thou wouldest be savingly converted, thou must despair of doing it in thy own strength. It is a resurrection from the dead. Rev. xx. 5. Eph. ii. 1. ; a new creation, Gal. vi. 15. ; Eph. ii. 10.; a work of absolute Omnipotence, Eph. 1:19. Are these out of the reach of human power? If thou hast na more than thou had it by thy first birth, a good nature, a meek and chaite temper, &c. thou art a very stranger to true conversion : This is a supernatural work.
2. “ The moving cause is internal or external, • The internal mover is only free grace." Not “ by works of righteousness which we have done, “ but of his own mercy he saved us, and by the “ renewing of the Holy Ghost,'' Titus iii.
5. • Of his own will begat he us," Jamnis i. 18. We are chosen and called unto sanctification not for it, Eph. i. 4. How affectionately doth Peter lift up his hands ! « Blessed be the God and Father of our “ Lord Jesus, who of his abundant mercy hath “ begotten us again," i Pet. i. 3. How feelingly doth Paul magnify the free mercy of God in ii ! • God who is rich in mercy, for his great love “ wherewith he loved us, hath quickened us to
gether with Chrift: by grace ye are faved," Epb ii. 4, 5
«s The external mover is the merit and inter“ cession of the blessed Jesus." He hath ob“ tained gifts for the rebellious,” Pja'm fxviii. 18.; and through him it is that God worketh in us what is well-pleasing in his fight, Heb. xiii. 21. Thro' ' hiin are all spiritual blessings bestowed upon us in
heavenly things, Eph. i. 3. He interceded for the elect that believed not, John xvii. 20. Every convert is the fruit of his travail, lfa. liii. 11. never was infant born into the world with that difficulty that Christ endured for us! How emphatically he groaneth in his travail ! All the pains that he suffered on his cross, they were our birthpains, Acts ii. 24. Szdivers, the pulls and throws that Christ endured for us. He is made fanctifi. cation to us, 1 Cor. i. 30. He sanctified himself, (that is, set apart himself as a sacrifice) that we may be sanctified, John xvii. 19. “ We are fanc“ tified through the offering of his body once for - all,” Hib. X. 10.
3. “ The instrument is either personal or real.” The personal is the ministry. “I have begotten
you in Christ, thro' the gospel, 1 Cor. iv. 15. Christ's ministers are they that are sent to open men's eyes, and to turn them to God, Aits xxvi. 18.
“ The instrument real is the word.” We were begotten by the word of truth ; this is it that enlighiens the eye, that convertech the soul, Psalm xix. 7, 8.; that maketh wise to salvation, 2 Tim.
15. This is the incorruptible seed, by which
are born again, 1 Pet. i. 23. If we are washed, it is by the word, Eph. 20. If we are fanctified, it is through the truth, John xvii. 17. This generates faith, and regenerates us, Rom. x. 17. Jumes i. 18. ye saints, how should
love the word ! for by this ye have been converted. Oye finners, how should you ply the word ! for by this you must be converted; no other ordinary means but this. You that have felt its renewing, power,
make much of it while you live, be for ever thankfol for it; tie it about your necks, write it upon your hands, lay it in your bosoms, Prov. vi. 21,
When you go, let it lead you; when you fleep, let it keep you; when you wake, let it talk with you. Say with holy David, “I will never “ forget thy precepts, for with them thou haft “ quickened me," Psalm cxix. 93. You that are unconverted, read the word with diligence, flock to it where powerfully preached; till the porches as the multitude of the impotent, blind, halt, wither. ed, waiting for the moving of the water, John 1. 3. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the word: Come off thy knees to the sermon, and come to thy knees from the sermon : The feed doth not prosper, because not watered by prayers and tears, nor covered by meditation.
4. “ The final cause is man's salvation, and “ God's glory." We are chosen through fanctification to salvation, 2 Thel. ii. 13.; called, that we might be glorified, Rom. viii. 30.; but especially that God might be glorified, Ifa. lx. 21. that we would fnew forth his praise, 1 Pet. ii. 9. and be fruitful in good works, Col. i. 10. 0 Christian ! do not forget the end of thy calling ; let thy light shine, Mat. y. 16. let thy lamp burn, let thy fruits be good, and many, and in season, Psalm i. 3. let all thy designs fall in God's, that he
may be magnified in thee, Phil. i. 10.
5. “ The subject is the elect finner, and that in “ all his parts and powers, members and mind.” Conversion is no repairing of the old building ; but it takes all down, and erects a new structure : It is not the putting in a patch, or fewing on a
lift of holiness, but, with the true convert, holiness is woven into all his powers, principles, and practice. The fincere Christian is quite a new fabric, from the foundation to the top-ltone all new. He is a new man, Eph. iv. 24. a new creature. K things are become new,” 2 Cor. v. 17.
Conver fion is a deep work, a heart-work, Aets ii. 37. and vi. 14.; it turns all upside down, and makes a man be in a new world. It goes throughout with men ; throughout the mind, throughout the members, throughout the motions of the whole life.
Throughout the mind.” It makes an universal change within. First, it turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and his glory do weigh down all carnal and worldly interest, Aas XX. 24. Phil. i. 20. Pfal. Ixxiii. 25. the eye of the mind, and makes the scales of its najive ignorance to fall off, and “turns men from “ darkness to light,” Așts xxvi. 18. Eph. iii. 8. 1 Pet. ii. 2. The man that before saw no danger in his condition, now concludes himself loft, and for ever urdone, Aets ii. 37. except renewed by the power of grace.
He that formerly thought there was little surt in fin, now comes to see it to be the chief of evils: He sees the unreasonableness, the unrighteousness, the deformity, and filthiness that is in fis; so that he is affrighted with it, lothes it, dreads it, flies it, and even abhors himself for it, Rom. vii. 18. Job xlii. 6. Ezek. xxxvi. 31.
Now, according to this new light, the man is of another mind, another judgment than before be was ; now God is all with him, he hath none “in « heaven or on earth like him," Pfal. lxxiii. 25. He prefers him truly before all the world; his