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also may be one in us. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given unto them ; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. That the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them,'*
IT has been observed, that mankind being naturally under the power of fin, and total depravity, it is necelsary that they should be the subjects of a renovation by : the spirit of God, in order to their union to Christ, and being redeemed by him. It is proposed now to attend more particularly to this renovation, as it is represented in the holy scriptures.
Regeneration and conversion are often used only as two words, meaning the same thing; and it is certain that all that can be properly understood by them, is that change and renovation which is expressed in scripture, by being born again, born of the spirit of God, and borx of God, created in Christ Jefus, unte good works, &c. Yet, as there are two diftinct things included in this change, which it is necessary should be diftinguished, in order to understand this subject, these words may be properly used, to make and keep up this diftin&tion, as many divines have done. In this renovation, there is the operation of the cause, which is the work done by the spirit of God; and there is the effect, which consists in the exercises of the regenerate, in which they are ac. tive, and agents. Though these imply each other, and cannot be separated, more than the cause can be separated from the effect ; yet they must be distinguished, and the
former • John, xvii.
former may properly be called regeneration. In order to explain this, and prevent mistakes concerning it, the following things must be observed.
1. The spirit of God is the only agent and cause by whose energy the effect takes place ; and so far as the spirit of God, is the cause and agent, the subject, the heart of man, is passive, being the subject on which, or in which, the effect is wrought. Though the effect be activity, or the exercise of the new heart, in which the renewed person is the agent ; yet, in the operation which causes the effect to exist, and therefore, in the order of nature, is antecedent to the effect, the spirit of God is the only agent; - and man is the passive subject.
2. This change, of which the spirit of God is the cause; and in which he is the only agent, is instantaneous; wrought not gradually, but at once. The human heart is either a heart of stone, a rebellious heart, or a new heart. The man is either under the domin. ion of fin, as obftinate and vile as evet; dead in trespasses and fins ; or his heart is humble and penitent, he is a new creature, and fpiritually alive. There can be no inftant of time, in which the heart is neither a hard heart, nor a new heart, and the man is neither dead in trespasses and fins, nor spiritually alive.
The spirit of God finds the heart of man wholly corrupt, and desperately wicked, wholly and strongly, even with all the power he has, opposed to God and his law, and to that renovation which he produces. The erimity of the heartagainst God, continues as strong as ever it was, till it is sain by the instantaneous energy of the divine [pirit, and from carnal it becomes spiritual, betwixt which there is no medium, according to scripture and reason. All the exercises of the hard, impenitent, unrenewed beart, are exercises of impenitence and rebellion ; of enmity against God, and his law, whatever the external KK 2
conduct may be, they are the corrupt fruit of a corrupt, rebellious heart. The exercises and fruit of a heart, dead in trespasses and sins, are dead works. If this were not demonstrably certain, from the nature of the case, it is abundantly asserted in the scripture, and our Saviour has decided it in the most express manner. His words are, “ Either make the tree good, and his fruit good ; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt. A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things : And an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things."* St. Paul repeat. edly asserts the same thing. By a number of quotations from the Old Testament, he proves that all men are by nacure, altogether, and to a great degree, corrupt ; that there is nothing morally good in them, ar done by them.t He alerts that antecedent to regeneration, man does nothing morally good ; that all of this kind is the consequence of it. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."! And again he says, “ We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lufts and pleasures, living in ma. lice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But af. ter that, the kindnels and love of God our Saviour, appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Here he describes their state and moral character, which is the character of all men, antecedent to regeneration. He denies their having done any good works; but, on the contrary, says, all their works were evil, and gives them a very bad character. He then af cribes all their reformation, and the alteration of their character for the better, to their regeneration, by which alone they were washed from their moral.pollutions.
3. The subject of this operation, in which this change and effect is wrought, is the will of the heart ; that is, i
the * Math. xii. 33, 35. + Rom. ii. 9, &c. 1 Eph. ii, 10. || Tit. iii. 3, 4, 5,
the moral and not the natural powers and faculties of the soul. As moral depravity is wholly in the will or heart, the lource and leal of all moral actions, the divine operation directly respects the heart ; and consists in changing and renewing that. The understanding or intellect, conGidered as distinct from the will, is a natural faculty, and is not capable of moral depravity. It may be hurt and weakened, and improved to bad purposes, as other natural faculties may, by the moral corruption or finfulness of the heart : But nothing is necessary, in order to remove the disorders of the intellect, and all the na. tural powers of the soul, but the renovation of the heart; so far as the will is right, the understanding, considered as a natural faculty, will be rectified, and do its office well. Therefore regeneration is in scripture represented as consisting in giving a new heart, a heart to know the Lord, &c. The scripture indeed speaks of the understanding being enlightned ; and of its - being darkened ; and of being without understanding, as criminal'; and represents a good understanding, as comprehending all virtue or holiness. But the understanding in these in. stances is not considered and spoken of as mere intellect, distinct from the will or heart ; but as comprehending and principally intending the heart, which is the seat of all moral perception and exercise. In scripture the diftinction between the understanding and the heart is not often made ; but the former is generally spoken of as implying the latter, and consisting in that discerning, which is implied in right exercises of heart ; and cannot take place any farther than the heart is renewed, and the will is right. Therefore we read of “a wise and understanding heart.” And wisdom and understanding are words frequently used in scripture as nearly synonymous, and denoting the same thing : But wisdom belongs to the heart, and is of a moral nature ; and that in which, according to the scripture, true holiness consists, Kk 3
All moral, criminal darkness, has its seat in the heart, as all sin has, and the former cannot be distinguished from the latter ; and selfishness is the essence of both.
And on the contrary, all true light and understanding, Aerican which is of a moral nature, belongs to the heart, and imthere be any plies real holiness, and cannot be separated, and even diltahta vor tinguished from it, as one necessarily implies and involves matanding the other. This is asserted by our divine teacher in the thish in ga following words : The light of the body is the eye : If anorak rak.therefore thine eye be fingle, thy whole body shall be
il maalty full of light." But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body be copies thall be full of darkness.”* The fingle and evil eye are the heart? you the
time oppomtes, and belong to the heart, and consist in the exmait is dif
e rcises of that. This is said by Christ of the evil eye,
" For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evi! ü s t houghts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covein du án tiousness, wickedness, deceit, laciviousness, an evil eye, uit . blafphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come
* from within, and defile the man.”'? Here an evil eye, which camotab fills the mind with darkness, and is darkness itself, is num. rite a bered among the evil things which belong to the otbomidow.corrupt heart, and of which that is the source, and as
he altogether criminal. And, consequently, the fingle eye, hostint which is opposite to the evil eye, must also belong to the
heart, and confifts in that which is real holiness, or which implies it. "Where this is, the man is full of light.
Therefore, in regeneration, the heart being changed and renewed, light and understanding take place ; and There is no need of any operation on the understanding, or intellectual faculty of the mind, as distinguished from the heart, or any change in that, which does not necefsarily take place, upon the renovation of the will or heart.
As the moral disorder and depravity of man, lies wholly in his heart, the cure and renovatiun must begin and end there ; and when the heart is perfectly right, the man will be wholly recovered to perfect holiness.
• Matt. vi. 22, 23 Mark, vü. 21, 22, 23.
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