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men besides this, many are changed from prophaneness to civility, and from mere civility to formality, and a shadow of religion, who still remain in the state, and power of spiritual death, notwithstanding; but when the Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us, to quicken us with the new spiritual life, this is a won. derful change indeed: It gives us an ese supernaturale, a new supernatural being, which is therefore called a new creature, the new man, the hidden man of the heart : The natural effence and faculties of the soul remain Atill, but it is diverted of the old qualities, and endued with new ones, 2 Cor. V. 17.
things are passed away, behold, all things are becoine new.”
And this change is not made by altering and rectifying the disorders of the life only, leaving the temper and frame of the heart still carnal; but by the infusion of a supernatural perma. nent principle into the soul, John iv. 14. “It shall be in him a “ well of water ;" principles are to a course of actions, as foun. tains or springs are to the streams and rivers that flow from them, and are maintained by them : and hence is the evenness, and constancy of renewed fouls in the course of Godlinefs.
Nor is this priaciple or habit acquired by accustoming ourfelves to holy actions, as natural habits are acquired by frequent acts, which beget a disposition, and thence grow up to an habit or second nature, but it is infused, or implanted in the foul by the Spirit of God. So we read, Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. “ A new “ heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put withia
you :" It grows not up out of our natures, but is put or infused into us : as it is said of the two witnesses, Rev. xi. 11. who lay dead in a civil sense, three days and a half, that the Spirit of life from God entered into them ; so it is here in a spiritual sense, the spirit of life from God enters io to the dead, carnal heart: it is all by way of supernatural infusion.
Nor is it limited to this, or that faculty of the soul, but grace or life is poured into all the faculties: “Behold all things " are become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. The understanding, will, thoughts, and affections, are all renewed by it: the whole ioner man is changed ; yea, the tongue and hand, the discourses and actions, even all the ways and courses of the outward man are renewed by it.
But more particularly, we shall discern the nature of this Spiritual life, by considering the properties of it; among which, these are very remarkable.
First, The foul that is joined to Christ, is quickened with a divine life, so we read in 2 Pet. i. 4. Where believers are said to be partakers of the divine nature : a very high expression, and warily to be understood. Partukers of the divine nature, not essentially ; fo, it is wholly incommunicable to the creature, nor yet hypoftatically, and personally ; so, Christ only was a partaker of it ; but our participation of the divine nature, must be understood in a way proper to believers ; that is to say, we partake of it by the inhabitation of the Spirit of God in us, according to 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. “ Koow ye not that ye are the " temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” The Spirit, who is God by nature, dwells in, and actuates the soul whom he regenerates, and by fanctifying causes it to live a divine life: from this life of God, the unlanctified are faid to be alienated, Eph. iv. 18. but believers are partakers of it.
Secondly, And being divine, it must needs be the most excel'lent, and transcendent life that any creature doth, or can live in this world : it surmounts the natural, racional, and moral life of the unsanctified, as much as the angelical life excels the life of Aies, and worms of the earth.
Some think it a rare life to live in fenfual pleasures; but the fcripture will not allow so much as the name of life to them; but tells us,
they are dead whilst they live," 1 Tim. v. 0. certainly it is a wonderful elevation of the nature of man, to be quickened with such a life as this.
There are two ways
wherein the blessed God hath honoured poor man above the very an: gels of heaven. One was by the hypoftatical union of our nature in Chrift, with the divine nature; the other is by uniting our persons myftically to Christ, and thereby communicating fpiritual life to us : this latter is a most glorious privilege, and io one respect a more fingular mercy than the former ; for that honour which is done to our nature by the hypostatical union, is common to all, good and bad, even they that perish have yet that honour ; but to be implanted into Christ by regeneration, and live upon him as the branch doth upon the vine, this is a peculiar privilege, a mercy kept from the world that is to perish, and only communicated to God's elect, who are to live eternally with him in heaven.
Thirdly, This life infused by the regenerating spirit, is a most pleasant life. All delights, all plealures, all joys, which are not phantastic and delusive, have their spring and origin here, Rom. viii. 6. "To be spiritually minded is life and peace," (i. e.) a most serene, placid life ; such a soul becomes, fo far as it is influenced and fanctified by the Spirit, the very region of life and peace : when one thing is thus predicated of another, in cafu recto, (faith a learned man) it speaks their intimate connexion : peace is fo connatural to this life, that you may either call it a life that hath peace in it, or a peace that hath life in it: yea, it hath its enclosed pleasures in it, “ Such as a “ stranger intermeddles not with," Prov. xiv. 10. Regeneration is the term from which all true pleasure commences ; you never live a chearful day, till you begin to live to God: therefore it is faid, Luke xv. 24. When the prodigal fon was returned to his father, and reconciled, then they began to be merry.
None can make another, by any words, to understand what that pleasure is which the renewed foul feels diffused through all its faculties, and affections, in its communion with the Lord, and in the sealings and witnessings of his Spirit. That is a very apt and well known fimilitude wbich Peter Martyr used, and the Lord blessed to the conversion of that noble marquis Galeacus: if, said he, a man should see a company of people dancing upon the top of a remote hill, he would be apt to conclude they were a company of wild distracted people; but if he draw nearer, and behold the excellent order, and hear the ravilhing sweet music that are among them, he will quickly alter his opinion of them, and be for dancing himself with them.
All the delights in the sensual life, all the pleafure that ever pour luts gave you, are but as the putrid, itinking waters of a corrupt pond, where toads lie croaking and spawning, com, pared to the crystal streams of the most pure and pleasant fountain.
Fourthly, This life of God, with which the regenerate are quickened in their union with Christ, as it is a pleasant, fo it is also a growing increasing life, John iv. 14. “ It shall be in him
a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
It is not in our fanctification, as it is in our justification; our justification is complete and perfect, no defect is found there ; but the new creature labours under many defects : all believers are equally justified, but out equally fanctified : Therefore you read, 2 Cor. iv. 16. that “ the inward man is renewed day by day:" And 2 Pet. iii. 18. Christians are exhorted“ to grow
grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour :" if this work were perfect, and finished at once, as justification is, there could be no renewing day by day, nor growth in grace. Perfe&tum est cui nihil deeft, cui nihil addi poteft : i. e. that is perfect which wants nothing, and to which nothing can be added. The apostle indeed prays for the Thessalonians, “ that " God would fanctify them,” 0x07:25, --wholly, perfectly, i Theff, v. 23. And this is matter of prayer and hope; for, at
last, it will grow up to perfection ; but this perfect holiness is reserved for the perfect state in the world to come, and none but * deluded, proud spirits boast of it here: but when “ that “ which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be “ done away,” 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. And upon the imperfection of the new creature in every faculty, that warfare and daily con. flict spoken of, Gal. v. 17. and experienced by every Christian, is grounded : grace rises gradually in the foul, as the sun doth in the heavens, " which lineth more and more up to a perfect day," Prov. iv. 1€.
Fifthly, to conclude; This life with which the regenerate are quickened, is an everlasting life. “This is the record, that God “ hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son,” i John V.11. This principle of life is the feed of God; and that remains in the foul for ever, 1 Joho iii. y. It is no tranfiear, vanishing thing, but a fixed, permanent principle, which abides in the soul for ever ; a man may lose his gifts, but grace
abides ; the soul may, and must be, separated from the body, but grace cannot be feparated from the soul: when all forsake us, this will not leave us.
This infused principle is therefore vastly different, both from the extraordinary gifts of prophecy, wherein the Spirit fometimes was faid to come upon men, under the Old Testament, i Sam. X. 6, 10. and from the common vanishing effects he fometimes produceth in the unregenerate, of which we have frequent accouuts in the New Testament, Heb. vi. 4. and John v. 35. It is one thing for the Spirit to come upon a man in the way prefent influence, and afiftance, and another thing to dwell in a man as in his temple.
And thus of the nature, and quality of this blessed work of the Spirit in quickening us.
Secondly, Having seen the nature and properties of the spiritual life, we are concerned in the next place to enquire into the way and manner in which it is wrought, and infused by the Spirit: and here we must say,
First of all, that the work is wrought in the foul very mysteriously; fo Christ tells Nicodemus, John iï. 8. “The wind blow. * eth where it listeth, and thou hearest the found thereof, but “ canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth, so is
every one that is born of the Spirit :” There be many opinions among philosophers about the original of wind; but we have no
* Perfection of sanctification is not found in this life, unless in the dreams of some phanatics. Ames.
certain knowledge of it: we describe it by its effects and properties, but know little of its original : and if the works of God in nature be fo abftrufe, and unfearchable, how much more so are these sublime, and supernatural works of the Spirit ? We
e are not able to solve the Phaenomena of nature, we can give no account of our own formation in the womb, Ecclef. xi. 5. Who can exactly describe how the parts of the body are formed, and the soul infused ? “ It is curiously wrought in the low" est parts of the earth,” as the Pfalmift fpeaks, Psal. cxxxix. 16. but how, we know not. Basil faith, divers questions may be moved about a fly, which may puzzle the greatelt philosopher : we know little of the forms, and essences of natural things, much less of these profound, and abstruse spiritual things.
Secondly, Bur though we cannot pry into these secrets by the eye of reason, yet God hath revealed this to us in his word, ihat it is wrought by his own almighty power, Eph. i. 19. The apostle ascribes this work to the exceeding greatness of the power of God; and this must needs be, if we consider, how the Spi. rit of God expresses it in scripture by a new creation : (i.e.) a giving beiog to something out of nothing, Eph. ii. 10. In this it differs from all the effects of human power : for man always works upon some pre-existent matter, but here is no such mat. ter: all that is in man, the subject of this work, is only a paflive capacity, or receptivity, but nothing is found in him to contribute towards this work: this supernatural life is not, nor can it be educed out of natural priociples : this wholly transcends the sphere of all oatural power: but of this more anon.
Thirdly, This also we may affirm of it; that this divine life is infused into all the natural faculties and powers of the foul, not one exempted, 1 Thef. v. 23. The whole foul and spirit is the recipient subject of it: and with respect to this general infusion into all the faculties and powers of the soul, it is called a new creature ; a new man; having an integral perfection, and fulness of all its parts and members : it becomes light in the mind; John xvii. 3. Obedience in the will ; 1 Pet. i. 2. In the affections an heavenly temper and tenderness, Col. iii. 1, 2. And so is variously denominated, even as the sea is from the feveral shores it waihes, though it be one and the same fea. And here, we must observe, lies one main difference betwixt a reregenerate soul, and an hypocrite ; * the one is all of a piece, as
* Ab uno defuper principio quod convenienter voluntati operatur dependent prima, sesunda et tertia. Quemadmodum minima pars