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ple. Surely they will wrestle in prayer Mr. Fisk's journal from February 17th till the Lord appears in his glory, and to May 18th, is among the communicabuilds up Zion.
tions transmitted by him. Early in April, Mr. Fisk had received two letters from he visited Ephesus, in company with three his beloved fellow labourer, beside those Americans. On his return he found Smyrwhich he had before mentioned. In the na in a state of alarm, on account of the first writen at Jaffa, Mr. P. states, that insurrection in European Turkey. The “the Russian consul says, that, in his opi commotions at Smyrna, and in the neighnion, a printing press may be in operation bourhood, rendered it unsafe travelling, at Jerusalem without suspicion."
and presented obstacles in the
of disThe other is dated at Jerusalem, March tributing books. After describing the 13th, about a month after Mr. P.'s arrival state of the country, Mr. F. writes as folthere. It is the third which he had writ lows: “Now the question is, what effect ten to Mr. F. from Jerusalem, though the should this have on our plans ? Brother only one which had come to hand. Mr. Parsons, I trust, will go on with his laFisk makes the following extracts from it. bours in Judea without molestation. For “ I have made some short excursions in myself, I see no course but to remain here, the vicinity of Jerusalem; that is, to the and wait the event. pool of Siloam, to Gethsemane, Mount “ But what shall be done as to the Olivet, Bethany, the tomb of Lazarus, printing press, &c. ? I should like to know Mount Zion, &c. I have twice been to how, with the facts before you, the prossee the tomb of our blessed Saviour, and pect seems to you in Boston. So far as I twice to Mount Calvary. The pilgrims can understand the state of affairs, there is weep and sob over the tomb of our Sa. no ground for despondency; and I rather viour, just as they would over the grave think none for delay. One thought ocof a parent or a sister.
curs to me. If any body is ready to come “Ā Greek priest reads with me two out here, he may get passage to Malta ; chapters in Greek almost every day; and and there he will learn whether things we often converse upon passages, relating have become quiet in this region; and if to the new birth, human depravity, and they have not, he can remain there a little salvation by grace.
while, most profitably employed in study“I have sold two Greek Testaments, ing Italian and Greek.” one Persian, one Italian, and one Arme On the whole, it does not appear that nian in Jerusalem.
the present troubles in Turkey should “It grieved me to hear of the death of damp the zeal of Christians among ourbrother Larned. Soon our work will be selves, or elsewhere, for promoting the done. Let us be diligent.”
cause of truth in that part of the world.
The Treasurer of the Trustees of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church acknowledges the receipt of the following sums for their Theological Seminary at Princeton,
during the month of September last,-viz. Of Rev. Dr. Moses Waddel, per Mr. W. W. Woodward, one instalment of his
subscription for the Professorship to be founded in part by the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia
$50 00 Of Mr. Z. Lewis, six months' income of the Le Roy and Banyer Scholarships, due in November next
200 00 Of John Sergeant, esq. in full of his subscription for the Permanent Fund 50 00 Of Aaron Denman, esq. in full of his do. for do.
P.S. October 1. The Treasurer has just received of the Rev. John Codman, of Dorchester, Mass. per Rev. Professor Lindsly, of Princeton, a draft payable in New York, for $100, being his first annual payment on his generous subscription for ten years, in aid of the funds of the Seminary.
LATE PUBLICATION. An Etymological Dictionary, or and all the generally used techniAnalysis of the English Language: cal and polite phrases, adopted from containing the radicals and defini the French and Latin; by William tions of words derived from the Grimshaw, Philadelphia. Greek, Latin and French languages;
DR. WRIGHT ON REGENERATION.
This is one of the best treatises on the subject, that we have ever met with. Excepting a few antiquated expressions, which might be expected in a book composed upwards of a hundred years ago, it is written with perspicuity and great force of argument. The general topics discussed are the nature, the necessity, the means and the evidences of the new birth.
The notes appear to have been added by the editor of the American edition, from which we copy. We commence the publication, in this number of the Magazine, intending to give the whole, in a few of the succeeding numbers, in such portions as our limits will permit. And, in the full persuasion that, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," we do earnestly and affectionately recommend the work to our readers, as well worthy their careful perusal and serious attention.
It was something of which Nicodemus, even as a Jew and a ruler in Israel, might be supposed to have a previous knowledge; or, at least, to have been sufficiently prepared for the reception of it: For otherwise our Saviour would not, in such a manner as we find he does, have reproved his ignorance and slowness of apprehension ; Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
The writings of Moses might inform him, that when man first came out of the hands of his Maker, he had a soul breathed into him, by which he was rendered wiser and more excellent than the beasts of the earth: And from hence Nicodemus might have concluded, that the same Almighty power could, by a further inspiration and influence, at pleasure, raise a man to a higher and nobler state and condition, than that, in which he now found himself, and the rest of mankind.
The writings of David and the prophets do also describe a person's being brought into a state of grace and favour with God, by having a clean beart created in him, and a new heart given to him. And this was so particularly foretold of the gospel times, that it must be strange inadvertency in Nicodemus not to reflect on those passages, which in such a likeness of ex. pression, describe the very same change that our Saviour here calls being born again.
But that which yet farther condemns this Jewish ruler, was, (according to Dr. Whitby) a prevailing and common
notion among the Jews, that when any man became a proselyte to their religion, he was to be looked upon as an infant new born.
These several things may all of them, be very helpful to our understanding this doctrine at present; and I would rather choose to look upon them with such a view, than as merely serving to aggravate the fault of Nicodemus.
From our Lord's explaining himself in this matter, 'tis evident, that to be born again, includes something both external and internal: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Now this being born of water, or made a proselyte by baptism, was so intelligible, that we find a bare mention of it is thought sufficient. But however men may value their outward privileges, yet if these are rested in, and the greatest stress be laid where the gospel lays the least, the hopes and pretensions of such will avail them
'Tis a being born of the Spirit that is chiefly insisted on: And without this, none were to be looked upon as members of the Messiah's kingdom, considered either as a kingdom of grace or glory.
I know not how we can better compre
CHAPTER I. Wherein the Doctrine of being Born again,
is carefully laid down. When we read so peremptory a determination, that none shall see, or enter into, the kingdom of God, but such as are born again; it is reasonable to expect, every soul that has any hope or desire of being saved, should be put upon the most solicitous inquiries after the meaning and import of this expression. And therefore I shall set myself to give such an account of it, as that every one who reads the following treatise seriously, may both be helped to understand and experience this second birth. In doing this, I would aim at,
First, Informing the mind.
Then, Awakening and convincing the conscience.
After That, Directing the practice.
And Finally, Settling and composing the spirit; by stating the evidences of this mighty change.
In this chapter I shall endeavour to inform the mind of the attentive reader, by giving him as clear and satisfying thoughts as I can, of the nature of this birth.
hend all this in a few words, than by say. ing, with one of our English expositors, “ He that will enter into the state of the gospel, must be baptized: and he that will enter into a state of grace, and be fitted for glory, must be renewed.” Thus much is very plainly expressed in the Epistle to Titus: According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus iii. 5.
Ignorance of this work of the blessed Spirit, and a vain boasting of external ordinances and advantages, we have reason to fear, is the ruin of multitudes.
Hence it is that men, who profess the Christian name, and are admitted into the Christian church, are yet notorious for their ill lives. And whereas, at first it was the glory of the gospel to change the worst of sinners; it is now reproached by many, as patronizing even the worst of crimes. Christianity has sometimes found men in a state of brutish sensuality; but where it bas savingly prevailed, it has not left them in such a condition. Be not deceived, (says the apostle to the Corinthians) nei. ther fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adul. terers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And though it is added, and such were some of you; yet we ought carefully to observe the change that was wrought in them; ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. vi. 9,
So that to be interested in this the work of the Spirit, is of the utmost importance to us; and in order to that, 'tis highly requisite we should have a right notion and understanding of it. I shall therefore, according to the best and most regular thoughts I have been able to form of this matter, explain it farther to you in the following particulars.
I. To be born again, is to have something done in us and for us, which can. not be done by us.
This is beyond all doubt and controversy the plain sense of scripture. Less than this cannot be meant, by those many high expressions which the sacred writers frequently use: such as, being created again in Christ Jesus, and being made new creatures; being raised to newness of life, even as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. So that adding these expressions to this I am upon, (a being born again,) all laid together must undoubtedly signify, that something is effected for us, and wrought in us, which is entirely owing to the power and grace of God.
I shall speedily endeavour to guard against any false and ill consequences,
that men may be tempted to draw from hence; but in the mean time it must be maintained, that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit. There is one passage in the 1st of John's gospel, the 13th, that does expressly deny any other agency in this matter.
" Which were born," says the evangelist, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” The meaning of that place is this: to become the sons of God, we must be born of him; and that in such a sort as is not by blood, or by any thing communicated to us in our first generation: nor according to the will of the flesh; that is, any natural inclinations in ourselves to what is holy and godlike: nor of the will of man; that is, the persuasion and influence of others like ourselves: but it is wholly owing to the agency and grace of God. So in the 1st of James, the 18th, we are told, that of his own will begat he
These, with other places that promise a new heart; and that God will take away the stony heart out of our flesh; and that he will put his fear into our hearts, and write his law in our inward parts; and the declaration, that it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy: These I say, and such like texts of scripture, undoubtedly prove that the change here called the second birth, is of God.
From hence, therefore, before we ad. vance any thing farther, we may draw this conclusion; that since something is to be done in us and for us, which cannot be done by us, we should be very earnest and unwearied in our application to God for his grace and spirit. This is evidently the most natural and just way of arguing, how. ever some men may indulge to the quite contrary. There is certainly an awkwardness in thinking as well as acting. And when this is encouraged by a slothful temper, or a prejudice against any particular set of men and their opinions; or when it is supported and improved by the suggestions of the devil, it is hardly to be rectified. For otherwise one would think it impossible that ever the metaphors, of being cre. ated anew, raised to newness of life, and being born again, should be pleaded by men, as if they were literally to be understood. Which is downright to say, that an unregenerate man has no reason, no life, no being. The same almighty power and efficacy by which we were made at first, and shall be raised at last, is undoubtedly necessary to our renovation at present; but then upon a conviction of this, we should with the greatest concern apply ourselves to him who has this all-sufficient power
grace. Thus we are wont to do in other cases where our interest is concerned; to be very earnest in soliciting such, as have it in their power to do that
for us, which we are not able to do for ourselves. And this is what the sacred scriptures every where require, and that in the plainest expressions, in the case of regeneration; as I shall have occasion to show more fully at the close of this chapter.
II. That which is done in us and for us when we are said to be born again, I take to be this; the infusing of some inward principle of life and action, to which we are naturally strangers; and by communicating of which, such a life begins, as shall last forever.
There is something which so far prevails over all the powers, desires, and relishes of the sensitive and animal nature, as to bring it unto a thorough subjection and subserviency. Hence it is, that a man finds his corrupt inclinations as powerfully crossed, and as effectually kept under, by some. thing within himself, as if he was debating the matter with a being different from himself. And he therefore acts under the controlling power of something superior to himself. If any man that reads this, thinks it unintelligible, I can only assure him in the words of our Saviour, toward the close of his conference with Nicodemus; Verily, verily, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness. Our Saviour knew it by intuition, and observation of what was done upon others: those that are regenerate know it by experience of what has been done in themselves; and, however those that are strangers to this work of grace, may refuse to receive the witness, yet it is nevertheless true and real.
This principle of a new life, I have said is infused into us, that it may be sought for, and esteemed as something supernatural. It is not only a habit of the mind, but the spring and cause of every good and gracious habit in us. From hence, probably, a principle of grace is called the root of the matter; to signify to us (among other things) that it is really different from the soil in which it is planted: and that it is something brought to us by a divine hand. It is a root that would otherwise have remained foreign to our nature, and we should for ever have been barren, and destitute of those fruits that are the product of it.
I have chosen to say farther, that by communicating this principle of grace, such a life begins as shall last for ever, to put you upon observing this very comfortable propriety in the use of the metaphor of being born again ; namely, our entering into such a state of being, as much better deserves the name of life, than that which we are born to in this world. In our first birth we are born to die; in our second, we are born to live for ever. In our first
birth we enter upon a manner of existence suited to a changeable and perishing state of things: in our second birth we begin a manner of living suited to an eternal duration and happiness.
As, therefore, the new life which hereby we receive, will survive the former, the commencement of it is very fitly called a new birth.
There are two conclusions I would draw from hence, for the better and fuller settling of this point.
1. If there be such an inward principle of life and action communicated in our regeneration, it will follow, that a mere outward change, and altering the course of our lives, is not sufficient to a person's being born again.
It is possible a man may be reclaimed from a loose, and vicious way of living, only by external motives and inducements: or, by changing open and notorious sins, for more secret and concealed ones, there may be a seeming alteration, when there is not a real one: or one vice, it may be, is forsaken, in order to fall into another: or men may be wearied out with their sins ; and so are not properly said to leave them, but to outlive them. However, this is certain, that a civil outward deportment may be maintained, where there is nothing of the power of religion at the heart. For so the apostle Paul tells us (who was far from magnifying any thing in himself before his conversion) that as touching the law, meaning the outward observance of it, he was blameless. So that we have abundant reason to keep up the distinction betwixt restraining and renewing grace.
2. If it be only a new principle of life and action that is infused in regeneration, it will follow, that the new birth does not give us new, and different natural powers and faculties, from those which we had before.
As we have the same body and bodily organs; so we have also the same souls and intellectual faculties that we had in our natural state. It is certain, that a change very great passes upon us; but then it is as certain, that we remain physically the same afterwards : that is, the principle of life and action which is infused into us, new models our souls, our tempers, and the whole of our behaviour; but it does not alter our make as to any essential part
As we have the same eyes, ears, and senses; so we have also the same un. derstanding, will, and affections, that we had in an unregenerate state: but these are all differently used and employed to what they were before. And the change is great enough, to support me in what i have farther to advance under another head of explication; to which I hasten.
III. When we are thus said to be born again, we do as truly become new cres
tures, as if we could in a natural sense be born afresh, or had other kind of beings given us.
There needs no other than the different use and exercise of the same reasonable powers, to make us either as brutes or as angels. And indeed, the change would not be so great, to see a clod of earth brighten into a star, since we know that an earthly body can reflect the rays of the sun; as to see a poor brutish sinner become a saint, shining with all the radiant graces of a Christian, and ripening for glory.
Such is the change that is made by the grace and Spirit of God in the new birth, that it very
much resembles the first creation of this visible world; wherein light was brought out of darkness, and beauty out of deformity, and harmony out of confusion. For so the mind in regeneration is enlightened; and all its jarring disorderly passions and affections are brought under rule and government. Those powers and capacities that lay wholly unexcrcised and unactive, are now taught to exert themselves. And those that were busied in a fruitless, or a hurtful manner, now are exalted to the most useful and comfortable employments. In the apostle's compre. hensive language, all old things are passed away, and all things are become new.
The distinction, indeed, between the regenerate and unregenerate, is not at present visible enough to convince the world of common spectators, that it is so great as really it is: but at the day of judgment, when those things that are now hid shall be revealed, the difference shall be manifested to all. He that looks only on the rough surface of the seas, and observes the mire and dirt which is cast out by its waves, may imagine there is nothing amiable and desirable in it: but he that has dived to its bottom, and discovered the jewels and treasures which lie buried there, will form a very different judgment. The man that is renewed, is greatly enriched by the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God; but yet there may be no beauty or excellency that shall appear to such as look no farther than the outside, and observe only the corruptions that arise in his outward actions and conversation: but when things that now lie hid shall be discovered, it will be quite otherwise. Hence it is that we read so often in scripture of the world's not knowing such as belong to Christ; and St. John, speaking of those that were now the sons of God, adds that it does not appear what we shall be.
This, however, must be maintained; that where things are spiritually discerned, and where there is a close and strict inquiry into the character of him that is said to be born again, he does appear even at present more excellent than his neighbour; and
such an one knows himself to be quite an. other person, than he was in his first and natural state. He has a new image and likeness stamped upon him, which grows more and more visible, both to himself, and all about him: his behaviour and conversation will be such, as to show forth the virtues, and excellencies, of him who hath called him.
Now from this head two things are deducible.
1. That a pretended honouring the grace of God, and a presumptuous confidence in it, whilst men go on in their sins, will by no means argue that they are in a state of grace.
Men's changing their opinions, or getting new notions in religion, will not prove that they are born again, if their lives and actions be not changed, so as to render them quite other persons than they were in their natural and corrupt state. This is so obvious that I should not so much as have mentioned it, had I not met with instances of those, who have pretended to talk of free grace at such a rate, as if they hoped to be saved by it, when they were utter strangers to the renewing power of it. And some there are, who have distinguished themselves by a set of principles, whereby they pretend to magnify the riches of God's grace in its abounding towards them, when at the same time it has no suitable effect and influence upon them. As if, by a decree in their favour, God had engaged himself at all adventures to bring them to heaven, whether they were made fit for it or not; or as if they thought miraculous grace would prepare them for it some new way, and not by the ordinary appointed means of the gospel. For, if they would receive the assurances of grace as they are settled in the gospel, they would never pretend to an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, without such a change as I am speaking of: since 'tis as express as words can make it, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Those per-sons then will find themselves miserably mistaken, who, instead of being really changed, trust to some ineffectual speculations: these will not avail them at last, how much soever at present they may be pleased with them, or how zealous soever they may appear for them.
2. For the same reason it will also follow, that no gifts or attainments, how great and eminent soever they be, will pass this new birth, if there be not a new life. Judas, with all his gifts, was but a lost
Simon Magus, notwithstanding all the wonders which history says he wrought, yet had neither part nor lot in this matter; his heart and life being unchanged and unrenewed. What the apostle says of charity, must be said of this change: Though I had all languages that have been spoken