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he had chosen as his supreme good, was avoided and rejected as his supreme misery. God and His glory was no longer his chief end, but were lost in the absorbing influence of supreme selfishness.

He shuddered at the very thought of drawing nigh to God. Instead of basking in the sunshine of the divine favour, and absorbing the mild rays of the divine glory, to invigorate and enliven his soul, he felt the wrath of God to be like “a consuming fire." Oh, it was a death horrible and agonizing, that eventuated in the soul of man, when first he violated the command of God. “By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin." The rational soul, where every blissful emotion was wont to play, in all the delights of heavenly benevolence, became the foul den of thieves, a cage of unclean birds, whence issued every hateful passion, the vile progeny of Hell.

of Hell. All was lost, and man was instantly transformed, from the delightful friend and lover of God, into his dark and malignant foe. The pestilential breath of Hell, had sullied the fair mirror, from which had been reflected the very glories of God, and on it, now might be traced, in fixed characters, the resemblance of the first rebel. See the hideous portrait

Love was not in their looks, either to God,
Or to each other, but apparent guilt ;
And shame, and perturbation and despair,

Anger and obstinacy, and hate and guile. Having seen in what the life of man's rational soul con-sisted before he rebelled, we are now prepared, in a few words, to state in what consists his REGENERATION. As it is essentially, but making alive again, as the apostle has styled it-restoring a forfeited life; and as the life of man's rational soul consisted, as we have shown, in the appropriate exercise of its various powers or capacities, so,

VII, REGENERATION IS THE RECOMMENCEMENT OF THE LIFE THAT HAS BEEN LOST; THE RATIONAL SOUL OF MAN

1. Rom. v. 1?.

BEGINNING TO ACT APPROPRIATELY IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS MORAL POWERS OR CAPACITIES, HIS MIND AND WILL AND HEART BEING DIRECTED TO GOD AS THE SUPREME

GOOD AND CHIEF END.

There are spiritual as well as sensible realities. Of the former, we have as real and satisfactory information, as of the latter. The testimony of God, is better evidence than our sensible perceptions. But the testimony of God, which, as it were, draws aside the veil of sense and discloses to our minds, the wonders and realities of the spiritual world, affects not the great mass of men. “They are earthly, sensual, devilish.” They are absorbed in the scenes of this life, intent on the objects that arrest the attention of their senses. Yea, many are disgusted and painfully affected with the little they do learn from the testimony of God, with respect to spiritual things. Others, however, are filled with delight in the contemplation of them, and feel their minds and hearts swayed by their influence. For, says an apostle, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not

That there is some essential difference between them, is obvious. That difference consists in the want, on the one hand and in the possession on the other, of spiritual vitality. The rational soul perceives, enjoys and acts in view of spiritual realities, as disclosed by the testimony of God.

They control the currents of feeling, and influence the flowings of thought. The spiritual world rises into view in all its wondrous glory, and at no time, however they may vary in the degree of their impressiveness, do they lose the power of reaching and affecting the man, and rousing him to some appropriate action. The whole mind and heart and soul and in all their strength, flow forth to God, as the object of highest delight. “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none on carth that I de

1. 1 Cor. iv. 18.

seen."

sire beside Thee. My flesh faints and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever," is the language of the living soul. It lives in God-mind and heart dwelling on his love.

It will readily be admitted, that the language of the scriptures, favours this general view of the nature of Regeneration. It is not in one or two places only, but frequently ; yea, uniformly, that life is predicated of the renewed man. This life commences with his faith, or belief in the testimony of God, the first in the series of those acts and exercises in which it consists. The Saviour says, that “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." As the great object promotive of that life, He calls Himself the "bread of life;” “The resurrection and the life;">3 “The way, the truth and the life;" "The prince of life."5

They that believe on Him, are said to be partakers of life; while those on the other hand who refuse to believe, are spoken of as dead, or devoid of life. “These things" says the Evangelist John, "have I written unto you, that ye might believe upon the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name."6 (He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life.

The unrenewed and unbelieving, are represented as refusing to come to Him, who alone can impart life. “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life, and as being actually dead. “The time is coming, and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."9

The transition from an unbelieving to a renewed state, is described by various expressions, but all involving the idea of life. “We know that we have passed from death 1 John vi. 53.

2 John vi. 48. 3 John xi. 25. 4 John xiv. 6

5 Acts iii. 15.

6 Join xx. 31. John iii. 36.

8 John v. 40.

9 Johnv. 25.

unto life," "But God who is rich in mercy for the great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ;">2 5«Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who, according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope;" "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;"* "Ye must be born again;" "Your life is hid with Christ in God;" "I will put my spirit within you, and ye shall live;" "He that hath the Son, hath

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life. 998

It is unnecessary to multiply passages. The above will suffice, to show how commonly the sacred scriptures attribute life to the renewed man, as connected with, or promoted by his faith. Paul says, distinctly, “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me;"'' and "the just shall live by faith."10 Will any one say that all this is metaphorical? We admit that occasionally some metaphysical allusion may be made, by the term life, to the great moral transformation which is effected in guilty sinners by the Spirit God. But it is an outrage upon language to say that in all the passages quoted, life is metaphorical. With equal propriety might we say that life itself is a metaphor; that in fact there is no such thing.

We have already seen in a general point of view, from a strict and careful examination of the nature of life, as far as we can approximate it, that there is a state of things induced in the human mind, by the Spirit's agency, which corresponds exactly and literally with our definition of life. Why then shall we reject the idea of life, and persuade ourselves, that as applicable to our moral nature, the term is

1. 1 John iii. 14. 2. Eph. ii. 4, 5. 3. 1 Peter i. 3. 4. Peter i. 3. 5. John ill. 7.

6. Col. 11.3. 7. Ezek. xxxvj. 14. 8. 1 Jchii v. 12.

9. Gal. ii. 20. 10. Romans i. 16.

а

self.

merely metaphorical? Must we take it for granted, that there can be no real life, but what we find associated with, and dependent on, material organization? Who does not see that the supposition is altogether unphilosophical and gratuitous ? God is a spirit, and yet He is "the living and true God.” The blessed Saviour, too is called emphatically, “The living one;" “ I am he that liveth (3) and was dead; and, behold I am alive for ever more." And it is expressly stated, that “As the Father hath life in Him. self, so hath He also given to the Son, to have life in Him

Is all this metaphor ? But if not, and if life is predicable of a pure spirit, as is God, why should we deem it necessary to believe, or suspect for one moment that there may not or cannot be such a state of things induced in the human soul, such acts and emotions elicited, as may be best understood by accepting in its obvious import the language of scripture, which speaks of a believer's life. Thething is unquestionably possible. No one can successfully contend for the restriction of life to the narrow limits of the material creation. If he admits that God lives, really and truly, and that His life is not metaphorical, then must he admit that there may be a real life peculiar to the human soul.

But in so saying, we are not to be understood as teaching, or admitting for one moment, any more in reference to spiritual than natural things, that life is an essence, a principle, or a substance, existing per se, and being itself the cause of those actions we denominate vital. Let the reader bear in mind the idea and definition of life already advanced, and not attribute to us the mistaken assumption which pervades the writings of some, that life is an essence, or principle per se. In this very thing, we honestly believe is to be found the origin of much of that dispute which is now tending to sunder brethren, who ought to be 1 Rev. i. 18.

2 John. v. 26.

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