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by we live to God; and this is the production of the immediate efficiency of the Spirit.

This will more plainly appear, if we consider the faculties of the soul distinctly, and what is the special work of the Spirit upon each of them. 1. The leading faculty of the soul is the MIND, or understanding. Now this is corrupted by the Fall ; but in regeneration this depravity is removed; so that we come to see spiritual things in a spiritual manner, that we may savingly know God and his will, as revealed in and by Jesus Christ; and therefore, he is said to give us an understanding, 1 John v. 20: "The Son of God hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true;" which he does by his Spirit. Man by sin is become like the "beasts that perish, which have no understanding." Men have not lost their natural reason absolutely; it is continued, with the free (though impaired) use of it in natural affairs: but it is lost as to the special use of it in the knowledge of God; for to "do good they have no knowledge." It is corrupted, not so much in the principle of its actings, as with respect to their proper object. Wherefore, though this giving and understanding be not the creating that faculty anew, yet it is that gracious work, without which it will no more enable us to know God aright than if we had none at all. The giving us an understanding, therefore, is causing our understandings to understand savingly; and it is thus expressed by the apostle : "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being opened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling." The revelation here intended, is subjective, enabling us to apprehend what is revealed; and not objective in new revelations; and this is further evident by the ensuing description of it; "the eyes of your understanding being opened." There is an eye in the understanding the natural ability it has to discern spiritual things: but this eye is sometimes said to be blind, sometimes to be darkness, sometimes to be closed. Now it is the work of the Spirit of grace to open this

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eye; and this is the effectual removal of that depravity
of our mind which we before described; and how are
we made partakers hereof? It is of the gift of God; for
he "gives us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation" to
that end; he gives us
66 a heart to know him."
This is also called the Renovation of our minds;
"renewed in the Spirit of our minds," which is the
same with being "renewed in knowledge." And this
renovation has a transforming power, to change the
whole soul into an obedient frame towards God. Now
this work of renovation is peculiarly ascribed to the
Holy Spirit, Titus iii. 5, "the renewing of the Holy
Ghost." Herein God is said to communicate a light
to our minds, by which we see the objects proposed to
us in the Gospel usefully and savingly; "God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." Did
God no otherwise work on the minds of men but by an
external proposal of truth to them, to what purpose
does the apostle mention that almighty act of creating
power which first produced the natural light? It is in-
tolerable confidence in men to deny that the act of
God, in the spiritual illumination of our minds, is of
the same nature with that whereby he created light at
first; and because the effect produced is called Light,
the act itself is described by shining; and the light so
communicated is the actual "knowledge of the glory
of God in the face of Jesus Christ;" that is, as God is
revealed in Christ by the Gospel.

2. It is principally with respect to the WILL and its
depravity by nature, that we are said to be dead in
sin. Herein is seated that peculiar obstinacy, from
whence it is that no unregenerate person does, or can
walk up to his light in obedience. Now, in our con-
version to God, this faculty is renewed, by an effectual
implantation of a principle of spiritual life; and it is
determined to its acts by his powerful operations. Were
it not thus, then the whole glory of our conversion
might be ascribed to ourselves; and we should make
ourselves "to differ from others." Neither can any

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purpose of God, concerning the conversion of any one be certain, seeing that after all, the will remaining undetermined, may not be converted. Neither can there be an original infallibility in the promises of God concerning the multitudes that should believe; seeing it is possible not one may do so, if it depend on the undetermined liberty of their wills; and then also must salvation necessarily be of "him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God, who sheweth mercy on whom he will have mercy;" and the whole efficacy of the grace of God is thereby made to depend on the wills of men. There must, therefore, be such a work of the Spirit on our wills, as may cure the depravity of them before described, freeing us from the state of spiritual death, and causing us to live to God.

3. In like manner, a prevailing love is implanted in the AFFECTIONS, causing the soul, with delight, to cleave to God and his ways. This removes the enmity before described, "The Lord God will circumcise thine heart

-to love the Lord thy God." This circumcision consists in putting off "the body of the sins of the flesh." He crucifies the flesh, with the lusts and affections thereof. Some men are inclined to think that all the depravity of our nature consists in that of the sensitive part of the soul, or our affections. The folly of this opinion has been before exposed; yet it is not denied that the affections are exceedingly depraved; so that by them, principally, the mind and will act according to their perverse and corrupt inclinations; but in the circumcision of the heart, these corrupt affections are crucified by the Spirit; he takes from them their enmity and depraved inclinations really, though not perfectly; and, in their stead, fills us with holy spiritual love and delight; not changing the being of our affections, but sanctifying and guiding them by the principle of saving light, and uniting them to their proper objects.

From the whole, it appears that our regeneration is a work of the Spirit of God, and not any act of our own. I say, it is not so our own as by any outward helps to be educed out of the principles of our na

tures; and herein is the Scripture express; for men-
tioning this work directly with respect to its cause, it
assigns it positively to God: 1 Pet. i. 3, "God, ac-
cording to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us
James i. 18, "Of his own will begat he us
with the word of truth." And on the other hand, it
excludes the will of man from any active interest there-
in: 1 Pet. i. 23, "Born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of the word of God." John i. 13, "Which were
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God." It is, therefore, incum-
bent on those who plead for the active interest of the
will of man in regeneration, to produce some testimo-
nies of Scripture where it is assigned to it, as the effect
of its proper use. Where is it said That a man is be-
gotten anew by himself?-and if it be granted, that
whatever be our duty or power herein, yet these ex-
pressions denote an act of God, and not ours, the sub-
stance of what we contend for is granted. It is true,
God commands us to "circumcise our hearts, and
make them new;" but thereby he declares our duty,"
not our power; for he himself promises to work in us
what he requires of us: and that power which we have
and exercise, in the progress of this work in sanctifica-
tion and holiness, proceeds from the infused principle
which we receive in our regeneration; for all which
ends, we ought to pray for the Holy Spirit, according
to the example of holy men of old.


The Manner of Conversion, explained in the Instance of

As among all the doctrines of the Gospel, there is none opposed with more violence and subtility than that of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, so there is scarcely any thing more despised than that any persons should profess their experience of it, or declare the manner in which it was wrought on themselves.

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The very mention of it is become a reproach, among some who call themselves Christians; and to plead an interest in this grace, is to forfeit a man's reputation with many who would be thought wise and rational. Nor is this a modern practice; but it seems to have been started in the earliest times; and the enmity of Cain against Abel was but a branch of this proud and perverse inclination. The instance of Ishmael also, is representative of all such as, under an outward profession of the true religion, scoff at those who, being like Isaac, children of the promise, profess an experience of its internal power; and the same practice may be traced in succeeding ages. Hence holy Austin, entering upon the confession of his greater sins, designing thereby to magnify the grace of God in his conversion, provides against this expected scorn:"Let arrogant men," saith he, "deride me, who never were savingly cast down, nor broken in pieces, by thee my God: yet I will confess my shame, to thy praise."* We must not therefore think it strange, if the same truth, the same practice, and the same profession of it, still meet with the same treatment. Let them despise it who were never humbled for sin nor relieved by grace; the holy work of God's Spirit is to be owned, and the truth as it is in Jesus to avowed.

Of our original depravity, we have already treated; but a few things may yet be added concerning the effects of it; which will assist us in the better understanding of the way whereby the Holy Spirit removes and heals it; and we may observe,

1. The corrupt principle of sin in our natures begins to operate in very early life. "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." Psal. lviii. 3. It is to no purpose to say that men habitually and profligately wicked are here intended; for whatever excesses men may afterwards run into, all are morally alike from the womb. Children are not able to speak as soon as they are born; yet, here they are said to speak lies. It is

* Anstin's Confessions, book 4, chap. 1.

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