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without which "no man can see, or ties; and an intelligent agent may enter into the kingdom of God;" he destitute of spiritual capacity, though the whole is imperfect in as fallen angels are; but spiritual the degree, and counteracted by life pre-supposes rational powers. the remaining power of indwelling Adam, created in the image of God, sin, and manifold temptations. possessed them all, but when he That this is the real meaning of sinned, he lost his spiritual life, for this Scriptural expression may be the spirit of life departed, and he further evinced, by briefly consider- became dead in sin: thenceforth he ing several other metaphors, which possessed the propensities of animal express the same change. It is nature, and the capacities of an incalled a new creation; and "if any telligent agent, but he became inman be in Christ he is a new crea- capable of delighting in the spiritual ture; old things are passed away, excellency of divine things; and behold all things are become new "this is the condition of every man (2 Cor. v. 17); and the apostle until "the Spirit of life in Christ speaks of it with allusion to the Jesus makes him free from the law creation of the world, when " God of sin and death" (Rom. viii. 2); commanded light to emerge out of which constitutes that figurative darkness," order out of confusion, resurrection of which we speak and beauty out of deformity (2 Cor. (Rom. vi. 4; Eph. ii. 1, 5, 6; Col. iv. 6; Eph. ii. 10; iv. 24): nor iii. 1). Again, the Lord promises does "any thing avail in Christ but " a new heart and a new spirit;" a new creature" (Gal. vi. 15). It a heart of flesh instead of a heart is also called a resurrection. There of stone;" and "to write his law are, so to speak, three kinds of life; in the heart" (Ezek. xxxvi. 26; animal, rational, and spiritual. Ani- Jer. xxxi. 31-33); which implies mal life implies the capacity of per- a change wrought in the judgment, forming animal functions, and re-dispositions, and affections, as a lishing animal pleasures, which man preparation for obeying, "not by possesses in common with the constraint but willingly." This is brutes; rational life rises a degree also described as putting off," or above this, and includes the capacity crucifying the old man, or the flesh, of rational investigation, and of re- with its affections and lusts," and lishing an intellectual pleasure, of" putting on the new man;" that which mere animals have no con- we may be "renewed in the spirit ception; this man possesses in com- of our mind, and transformed in the mon with the unembodied spirits; renewing of our mind." It is called but spiritual life is a still nobler" the circumcision of the heart to distinction, and the perfection of love the Lord" (Deut. xxx. 6): created being, as it consists in the and it is represented by the graftcapacity of performing, and delight-ing of a tree, through which the ing in, spiritual actions; in which nature of it is changed and melioangels find their chief felicity, but rated, and made to bear good fruit. of which the most rational man in These and such like metaphors and the world, who is not born again, is similitudes abundantly illustrate as entirely incapable as the brutes and confirm the explanation given are of philosophy. Animal life may of regeneration: but can never be subsist without either intellectual made to coincide with the sentior spiritual capacities, these may ments of those who explain it of an subsist apart from animal propensi- outward form or amendment; or of
such as mistake some transient im- but from their idolatry, infidelity, pressions or emotions for this abiding superstition, and impiety; for they change. have in every age, almost with one The necessity of regeneration consent, preferred any absurdity to might be rested on the solemn and the truths, precepts, and ordinances repeated declarations of the Saviour of revelation; and any base idol to and Judge of men; for the multi- the Holy One of Israel! Indeed tudes who hope for heaven, whilst every man, who carefully watches they pay no regard to this part of his own heart, whilst he thinks seScripture, strangely presume, either riously of the omnipresence, omnithat Christ was mistaken, or that potence, omniscience, justice, holihe will depart from his word in ness, truth, and sovereignty of God; their favour. But other conclusive of his laws, threatenings, and judgproofs may be adduced, "that un-ments; and of his own past and less a man be born again he cannot present sins, will find "a witness in enter the kingdom of God:" which himself," of the enmity of the carnal result from the nature of God and mind against God. So that except of man, of true religion, and of hap- a man be born again, he cannot piness. No creature can be satis- take any pleasure in God, nor can fied, unless its capacities of enjoy-God take any pleasure in him; he ment coincide with its sources of cannot be subject to his law, he pleasure, or unless it subsist in its cannot come to, or walk with him proper element. The animals are (Amos, iii. 3): he cannot render perfectly satisfied with their several him unfeigned praises and thanksmodes of living, whilst unmolested, givings, but must either neglect reand sufficiently provided for; but ligion, or be a mere formalist; he they are uneasy when out of their cannot deem the service of God place, though in a situation which perfect freedom, or his privilege, pleases other animals. Different honour, and happiness: he cannot men also have diverse tastes, none exercise unfeigned repentance for is comfortable unless his inclination all his sins, but must, in part at be gratified; and every one is apt least, exalt himself, palliate his to wonder what pleasure others can crimes, object to the severity of take in that which is irksome to God, and murmur at his appointhim. But who is there, that natu- ments: he cannot cordially receive rally takes delight in the spiritual the gospel, or live by faith in Christ, worship and service of God? Are for "wisdom, righteousness, sanctinot these things man's weariness fication, and redemption;" or perand aversion? And do not men in ceive the preciousness of his person, general deem those persons melan-mediation, and kingdom, the glory choly, who renounce other pleasures of his cross, his unsearchable riches, for them? That" which is born of and incomprehensible love. He the flesh is flesh," or carnal; " and cannot unfeignedly give him the the carnal mind is enmity against whole glory of his salvation; or God; whose holy perfections, spi- practise, from proper motives, meekritual law and worship, sovereign ness, patience, gratitude, forgiveauthority, and humbling truth, are ness of injuries, and love of enemies, disliked by all unregenerate men, or count all but loss for Christ; rein proportion as they are acquainted nounce all for him; bear reproach with them. This is manifest, not and persecution for his sake; deonly from the vices of mankind, vote himself to his service, even
unto death; and then at last re- many others, in different ways, are ceive eternal life as the free gift of bound to set before those, committed God in him. Nor can he enter into to their care, the word of truth; and the spiritual meaning of divine or- to treat them as reasonable creatures, dinances, (especially of baptism and addressing their understanding and the Lord's Supper); or seek the consciences, their hopes, fears, and spiritual blessings of the new cove- all the passions and powers of their nant, with decided preference; or souls; beseeching God "to give love the true worshippers of God, them repentance to the acknowas the excellent and honourable of ledging of the truth." And they the earth. Nay, an unregenerate who are convinced that such a man would not savour the com- change must take place in them, or pany, the work, the worship, or the else that they must be miserable, joy of heaven; but would be dis-should be induced by the consideragusted even with the songs and em- tion that they cannot change their ployments of angels and the spirits own hearts, (that being the work of just men made perfect; as per- of the Holy Spirit), to seek this sons of different descriptions may needful blessing, by reading the know, by a witness in them- Scriptures, retirement, meditation, selves," if they will but carefully self-examination, hallowing the consider the subject. But the na- Lord's day, hearing faithful preachture of God, of holiness, of happi-ing and other instruction, breaking ness, and of heaven, is unchange-off known sin, practising known able: and therefore, either we must duties, avoiding vain company and be changed, or we cannot be either dissipation, and earnestly praying holy or happy. to God to " create in them a clean
All the scriptures referred to, heart, and to renew a right spirit imply, that regeneration is wrought within them." For convictions of by" the exceeding greatness of our inability have a similar effect the mighty power of God:" but it upon us in other cases: and lead should be observed, that he operates us to seek help from them that are on the minds of rational creatures able to help us. To those who conaccording to their nature. The re-tinue to treat this subject with connewal of a fallen angel to the Di- tempt and derision, we can only vine image, would be as real a say, that as such persons will neither display of omnipotence, as his first believe our testimony, nor that of creation; and in some respects a Christ; they will at last have no greater but the Lord might effect cause to complain, if they are left this change in a different manner. destitute of that which they have so Having made use of truth (as the despised. Some may believe that medium of his almighty energy), such things are, who are yet at a to overcome the dark and obstinate loss to know what they are: to them enmity of his fallen nature, and to I would say, "beg of God daily produce a willingness to be restored, and earnestly to teach you what it he might afterwards require his con- is to be born again ;" and in time currence in the use of means, through your own experience will terminate which that recovery should be ef- your perplexity. But let those who fected. Now we are informed, that admit the doctrine, beware lest they the Lord regenerates sinners by his rest in the notion, without the expeword (James, i. 18; 1 Pet. i. 23); mi-rience and effects of it. And finally, nisters, therefore, and parents, and let those who have known the happy
change, know also that they need were intended. Yet all must enterto be changed more and more: and tain this sentiment, who deny the should therefore unite, with grati-personality of the Holy Ghost, and tude for what the Lord hath wrought, yet pay any suitable respect to the persevering prayer for a more com- sacred oracles, in which so much is plete renewal into the Divine image, constantly ascribed to him. But in all the powers, dispositions, and we do not suppose, that the words affections of their souls.
person" and personality can, in an adequate manner, explain to us the distinct subsistence of the Spirit: or assist our conceptions in respect On the Personality and Deity of the consider as absolutely incompreof mysteries, which we profess to Holy Spirit, with some Thoughts hensible. These words, indeed, in on the Doctrine of the sacred Tri-this use of them, are not found in nity. scripture: but when divine truths CHRISTIANITY is styled by the apostle are opposed with ingenuity, learn"the ministration of the Spirit," ing, and pertinacity; it becomes (2 Cor. iii. 8); and a careful in- necessary for those "who would vestigation of the Scriptures may contend earnestly for the faith once suffice to convince any impartial delivered to the saints," to vary inquirer, that the promise of the their expressions: because their opHoly Ghost is the grand peculiarity ponents will invent some plausible of the New Testament; even as method of explaining away those that of the Messiah was of the old terms, which had before been made dispensation. Having considered use of. That imperfection which regeneration, or a man's being "born characterizes every thing that beof the Spirit," or born of God;"longs to man, is peculiarly disit regularly occurs to us in this cernible in human language: the place to give a more particular state- mysteries of the infinite God can ment of the Scripture doctrine con- only be declared to us in words cerning the Holy Spirit. What primarily taken from the relations relates to his Personality and Deity, and affairs of men; and every thing and to the doctrine of the Trinity as that relates to infinity confounds connected with it, will constitute and overwhelms our finite and narthe subject of the present Essay: row capacities. The most careful and the extraordinary and ordinary and able writers cannot, on such operations, influences, and gifts of topics, wholly prevent their readers the Spirit; the office he performs from attaching ideas to their words, in the economy of our salvation; which they meant not to convey by and the duties resulting from them, them: so that they, whose object must be reserved for the next Essay. it is to put an absurd construction
When we use the term personality, on our expressions, or to enervate, in the discussion of this subject, we by a plausible interpretation, the only mean, that language is used language of holy scripture, will in Scripture concerning the Holy never find it very difficult to accomSpirit, and actions are ascribed to plish their purpose, as far as the him, which lead us to think of him generality of mankind are concern. as a distinct Agent, and such as ed. If we speak of three distinct would be extremely improper, if a Persons in the Godhead, they may mere attribute or mode of operation charge us with holding three dis
tinct gods: supposing, or pretend-man reason: for the whole rests ing we mean, that this incomprehen- entirely on the authority of divine sible distinction is perfectly like the revelation: we gain our knowledge obvious distinction of three men of them by simply believing God's from each other. On the other sure testimony; and we should imhand, the labour, study, and inge- prove them to practical purposes nuity of revolving centuries have in humble adoration, and not treat so perplexed the subject, that we them as subjects of disputatious cannot at present find words ex-speculation, or presumptuous cuplicitly to define our meaning, and riosity. And may he, "who hath exactly to mark the difference of promised to give his Holy Spirit to our sentiments from those of our those who ask for him," guide us by opponents, unless we use such ex- his divine teaching into the sancticeptionable terms: at least, this is fying knowledge of the truth, in my principal reason for adhering to this and every subject that we inthem. But if our expressions con-vestigate.
vey to the reader's mind the doc- We may, I presume, be allowed trine of scripture, with as much to say, that if such language be uniperspicuity and precision as human formly used in the Scriptures conlanguage generally admits of; it is cerning the Holy Spirit, as in all mere trifling to object to them, be- other cases would convey to our cause they are not found in the minds the ideas of personality and Bible for truths, not words, consti- personal agency; the true believer tute the matter of revelation; and will conclude him to be a personal words are only the vehicle of truths agent. In allegories, indeed, and to our minds. If some men have in sublime poetry, we often find atgot the habit or art of evading the tributes, propensities, or modes of force of Scriptural terms, and thus operation personified: but none, mislead others into error; it is not except the most ignorant reader, only allowable, but needful, for us is in danger of being misled by such to state our sentiments in other adventurous figures of speech. words, and then to prove that those Should any man suppose that Wissentiments are actually contained in dom, in the book of Proverbs, was holy Scripture; unless we be dis- introduced merely as an allegorical posed to give our opponents every person, we might allow that he advantage in the argument. For had some colour for his opinion: it cannot well be doubted by im- though I should rather say, that partial persons, but that aversion the Messiah, the Word and Wisto the doctrines themselves lies at dom of the Father, who is made the bottom of those objections that wisdom to us, is the real speaker are made to the words, in which in those passages. But if such bold their defenders have been used to figures of speech are supposed, withexpress them. out any intimation, to be interwoven We proceed therefore to consider in historical or didactic discussions, the personality of the Holy Spirit; or in promises and precepts, that is premising, that as "these are hea-grants and laws, where the greatest venly things" (John, iii. 12, 13), we precision is absolutely necessary, can neither explain them clearly in what instruction can be certainly human language, nor illustrate them derived from revelation? or how fully by any earthly things, nor yet shall we know what we are to beprove them by arguments from hu-lieve, to do, or to expect? Surely