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The truth is, eternal punishment arises out of the very) constitution of the mind itself. While under the influence and controling power of its selfishness and its enmity against God, it is not, it cannot be at case and happy. And if man, when the veil of sense is thrown around him,as it is here, in the first stage of his existence,- to blunt his perceptions of the vivid and appalling glory of the Divine Being,—with his very partial and imperfect knowledge of the divine character, begins, as soon as he is capable of acting, to shew his aversion; if, when he is placed under circumstances so favourable for repressing and subjugating his enmity against God, it promptly, and characteristically, and efficiently, displays itself, can we anticipate any thing else in relation to him, than that unless a change of heart takes place,-unless he here actually and entirely lays aside his enmity, he will continue through all eternity to hate God, and thus torture himself as he shall not fail to make clearer and fuller discoveries of the absolute and entire opposition of the divine nature to him? It is as contrary to common sense, and sound philosophy, as it is to the sacred Scriptures to anticipate future happiness for man without a ehange of heart. The dead soul must spiritually live, before there can be either security or bliss.

This is seen and felt by some, who look, with closer observation and more discerning eye, on the character and condition of man hy nature, than the sighing sentimentalists, who, in their poctic visions, descry in him, but perfect purity, or at least perfectibility, without divine influences. The necessity of some moral transformation, or renovation is admitted, but instead of hearkening to the unerring word of God, which reveals the great Almighty Agent-the Holy Spirit whose life-giving influence alone effectuates it, they resort to the theories of a false and impertinent philosophy, or to a miserable and degrading superstition. It may he well, before we trace the influence of the spirit, in producing this change of heart in man, to notice some of the theories, which philosophy and superstition have embraced, in order to account for, or evade the force of scripture testimony, as to the reality and necessity of a change of heart.

The blessed Redeemer states, in the most unequivocal terms, the fact of a moral transformation of character being both real and necessary, in order to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, or bring us under the gracious gorernment of God; and that this transformation, is produced through the immediate and special agency of the Holy Spirit. Under whatever aspect it is contemplated, whether in the voluntary exercises of the living soul, in the spiritual graces of faith, repentance, love, and the like severally, or whether in the relative series of these vital exercises, the Spirit of God is proclaimed to be its author. Call it regeneration, new birth, new creature, change of heart, renovation, or by whatever expression it may be designated, still the agency of the Spirit of God, is assigned as its great and appropriate, its direct and immediate cause. The fact is as perfectly ascertainable, as capable of being subjected to the attention and apprehension of man, as the wind, though as inscrutable as it regards the modus operandi.

Such is the philosphy of the Saviour. With the evidence of the fact, He requires us to rest satisfied, provided it is sufficient, even though we may not be able, in any metaphysical analysis, to unfold the specific nature of that agency, by which the Spirit produces those remarkable transformations of character which commence in Regeneration. In this respect He shews the superiority of his, to the systems of human philosophy. They induce a thousand fruitless speculations, and excite such ardour, in quest of what is not to be discovered, as oftimes to produce disastrous cffects. They lead into such nunerous

doubts, and bewildering perplexity, so torture with uncertainty and conjecture, and superinduce such a frightful gloom on thc mind itself, that for its own relief, it ofttimes gladly seizes some fantastic theory, and yields to its guidance in hope of escape,---as the lone traveller, led by successive shrubs and flowrets into the forest's depths, till lost in the darkness of night he hopes to retrace his steps by the light of deceitful fires, that dance around his path. How much of human philosophy consists in Wild conjectures about things which cannot be discovered! How are the mind's energies and the precious moments of a feeting life, wasted in mere bewildering speculations!

The Saviour, if we will submit to his philosophy, subjects us to no such loss of time or efforts, but tells us at once, thus far shalt thou go, but no further-here let thy proud reasonings be slayed. 56 Who art thou, O vain man, that repliest against God?" The conversation of Christ with Nicodemus, may be said to have been altogether of a philosophical character. The topic was the very theme which now engages our attention, the great fact of the REGENERATION OF A SINNER, one of those striking phenomena, which the gospel reports, and which we observe occurring in the moral history of some that hear it. Nicodemus seems to have been of an inquisitive, and reflecting mind. He had not yielded to the prejudices of his sect and day, against Christ; but, having collected a number of facts which had occurred in His history, and having subjected them, and the evidence which substantiated them, to the strictest investigation, had arrived at the conclusion, that He was “a teacher come from God.” The works performed by Him he saw to be of such an extraordinury character, as to be inexplicable on any of the known laws of nature, or on any other supposition than that of the divine presence and co-operation with Him. “ Rabbi! we kuow that tiiou art a teacher come from God, for so one can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him."

Impressed with this very rational idea, he desired some instruction from Him. The blessed Saviour at once announced the fact and necessity of regeneration. “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The thing was altogether incomprehensible by Nicodemus. How a man could be born again was a question, which neither his Pharisaism, nor his philosophy could answer. The Saviour, to relieve his mind from fruitless speculations, assured him that the change was indeed a real one, of which he spake, and so explained the phraseology he had employed, as to shew that he was making use of a metaphorical oxpression, and should be understood as designating some change in the spiritual character of man analogous with that: (which takes place in his animal functions) at birth. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a inan be born of water and of the Spirit

, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.”

The mode of the Spirit's efficiency in regeneration He states, is beyond the reach of inquiry. It is like every other mode of divine agency altogether inexplicable; and therefore not a legitimate subject of investigation. The evidence of the fact was sufficient. That was the word of Christ, which upon Nicodemus' own principles, and by virtue of his professed conviction that He was a teacher come from God, he was bound to believe. At the same time the more effectually, and speedily, to check his use-less curiosity, and induce his faith, the Saviour remarked, that in requiring him to believe the fact, while he re1. John, it. 2.8.

mained ignorant of the mode in which the Spirit, to whose agency he attributed it, accomplished it, he required nothing more than what he willingly conceded, every day, in relation to objects in the material world. He never doubted the reality of the wind which howled around his dwelling, and yet with all his philosophy he could not invent a satisfactory theory with regard to its origin. “ The wind," said the Saviour, "bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell, whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” He believed in its existence, because of the report which his senses made io him, and was satisfied with this evidence, though ignorant of almost every thing else in relation to it. Why could he not do the same with regard to the fact of regeneration? He had the teslimony of a teacher come from God," whose testimony in the case was, undoubtedly, as sufficient as the truth of God itself, to secure his belief, though he could not under-sland the precise mode by which the Spirit produced the change.

The gospel is thus found to be in exact accordance with sound philosophy; so that, whoever refuses to believe the Saviour's doctrine of regeneration, only shows how unphilosophical is his infidelity. The only point on which it can be lawful, on philosophical principles, to hesitate, is, the evidence of the fact. We are not to be too credulous, and believe every ihing reported to us for fact. We owe it to our rational nature, to see that the facts, or phenomena reported, are supported with suficient proof. But, being once satisfied with that proof, any difficulty, in solving these fucts, or phenomena, can never authorize us to disbelieve their reality. Now, the evidence adduced in support of the fact of regeneration, is that of testimony; and in the case of the individuals renewed, there is superadded that of consciousness, or experience. The sum of the evidence

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