« PreviousContinue »
said of God. Nor can the infinite God be said to empty himself, any more than to contradict himself; for infinity and emptiness are opposite terms. But since he emptied himself of that form of God in which he had previously existed, if the form of God is to be taken for the essence of the Deity itself, it would prove him to have emptied himself of that essence, which is impossible. . . . .
Such was the faith of the saints respecting the Son of God; such is the tenor of the celebrated confession of that faith; such is the doctrine which alone is taught in Scripture, which is acceptable to God, and has the promise of eternal salvation. . . .
Finally, this is the faith proposed to us in the Apostles' Creed, the most ancient and universally received compendium of belief in the possession of the Church.
THE intent of SUPERNATURAL RENOVATION is not only to restore man more completely than before to the use of his natural faculties as regards his power to form right judgment, and to exercise free will; but to create afresh, as it were, the inward man, and infuse from above new and supernatural faculties into the minds of the renovated. This is called REGENERATION, and the regenerate are said to be PLANTED IN CHRIST.
REGENERATION IS THAT CHANGE OPERATED BY
THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT, WHEREBY THE OLD MAN BEING DESTROYED, THE INWARD MAN IS REGENERATED BY GOD AFTER HIS OWN IMAGE, IN ALL THE FACULTIES OF HIS MIND, INSOMUCH THAT HE BECOMES AS IT WERE A NEW CREATURE, AND THE WHOLE MAN IS SANCTIFIED BOTH IN BODY AND
SOUL, FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD, AND THE PERFORMANCE OF GOOD WORKS. John iii. 3, 5, 66 except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. except a man be born of water and the Spirit." 1 Pet. i. 23, "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible."
IS REGENERATED BY GOD; namely, the Father; for no one regenerates, except the Father. Psal. li. 10, "create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Ezek. xi. 19, "I will put a new spirit within you." John i. 12, 13, "to them gave he the power to become the sons of God . . which were born, not of blood but of God." iii. 5, 6, "except a man be born of water and the Spirit-"; where by the Spirit appears to be meant the divine power of the Father; for the Father is a Spirit; and, as was said before, no one generates except the Father. xvii. 17, "sanctify them through thy truth." Rom. viii. 11, 16, "but if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead: the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Gal. iv. 6, "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into
your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Eph. ii. 4, 5, "God who is rich in mercy. . . . hath quickened us together with Christ." 1 Thess. v. 23, "the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." Tit. iii. 5, "according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Heb. xiii. 20, "the God of peace make you perfect in every good work." 1 Pet. i. 3, "blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again —.” James i. 17, 18, "of his own will begat he us.
BY THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT. John xvii. 17, "sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." James i. 18, "of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." Eph. v. 26, "that he might cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." 1 Cor. xii. 13, "by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body." Tit. iii. 5, "by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
THE INWARD MAN. John iii. 5, 6, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Rom. vii. 22, "after the inward man.'
THE OLD MAN BEING DESTROYED. Rom. vi. 6, "knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." v. 11, “likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." 2 Cor. v. 17, “old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Col. iii. 9-11, "that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man.'
IN ALL THE FACULTIES OF HIS MIND; that is to say, in understanding and will. Psal. li. 10, "create in me a clean heart, O God." Ezek. xi. 19, "I will put a new spirit within you . . and I will give them an heart of flesh." xxxvi. 26, a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Rom. xii. 2, "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good . . will of God." Eph. iv. 23, "be renewed in the spirit of your mind." Philipp. ii. 13, "it is God which worketh in you both to will and do his good pleasure." This renewal of the will can mean nothing, but a restoration to its former liberty.
AFTER HIS OWN IMAGE. Eph. iv. 24, "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Col. iii. 9-11, "which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." 2 Pet. i. 4, "that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." If the choice were given us, we could ask nothing more of God, than that, being delivered from the slavery of sin, and restored to the divine image, we might have it in our power to obtain salvation if willing. Willing we shall
undoubtedly be, if truly free; and he who is not willing, has no one to accuse but himself. But if the will of the regenerate be not made free, then we are not renewed, but compelled to embrace salvation in an unregenerate state.
A NEW CREATURE. 2 Cor. v. 17, be in Christ, he is a new creature."
any man Gal. vi. 15,
a new creature." Eph. iv. 24, "the new man. See also Col. iii. 10, 11. Hence some, less properly, divide regeneration into two parts, the mortification of the flesh, and the quickening of the spirit; whereas mortification cannot be a constituent part of regeneration, inasmuch as it partly precedes it, (that is to say, as corruption precedes generation,) and partly follows it; in which latter capacity it belongs rather to repentance. On the other hand, the quickening of the spirit is as often used to signify resurrection as regeneration. John v. 21, "as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." v. 25, "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."
THE WHOLE MAN. 1 Cor. vi. 15, 19, "know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" 1 Thess. v. 23, "the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF GOOD WORKS. 1