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vida disjointed state. They could not have seen, for they 10 had no eye; they could not have heard, for they trx had no ear; they could not have spoken, for they | ale had no mouth; they could not have moved, for they dhe had neither joint nor muscle. Life would have ved: been utterly lost upon them. Before the inspiraexid tion of breath the bones must come together, bone mai to his bone, the sinews and flesh must come up dlaze upon them, and the skin must cover them above; the and thus human bodies must be organized to exer
di cise the functions of living men. A similar pread paration must be made for the infusion of life and the breath in the case of the natural birth. A body
must be formed and fitted to exercise the living neion functions before life and breath are inspired. Anby a alogy suggests the necessity of a correspondent u preparation for the second birth. Or to vary the Isb illustration, if you form a design to convert a dunlate geon into a convenient room for business, you first
store it with furniture, and admit the light. Or to be bring a case still more parallel, God in the beginqui ning created the light before He formed the eye.
Some knowledge antecedent to Regeneration is then necessary.
And it must be more than barely sufficient to distinguish a man froin a heathen,more indeed than any sinner in a Gospel land will acquire in a state of stupidity. One may live with the Bible in his hands all his days without a realizing sense of a single truth, and with no understanding of several things most important to be known before the new birth ; such as the enmity
and stubbornness of the heart, his desert of eternal punishment, his helplessness and perishing need of a Saviour : and should he suddenly receive a new heart in that condition, he would probably never to the day of his death possess so deep a sense of the native ruin of man, and the sovereignty of grace, nor give so much glory to Christ, as though his antecedent knowledge had been greater. He would be likely, (especially if surrounded by people as ignorant as himself,) to pass through life with very indistinct ideas of the Gospel way of salvation, and never extend a view beyond the outlines of Chris. tianity. Such Christians we must charitably believe there are,-converted with little more know. ledge than is common to other stupid sinners; and they labour through life with very confused ideas of the ruin and helplessness of man, the sovereignty of grace, and all the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel. If such are received as brethren they ought to be contented, and not condemn the views of others who have been favoured with more deep and abasing discoveries than themselves.
It is one of the established laws of the universe that creatures should acquire their knowledge gra. dually, and not all at once.
It does not comport with this law, (nor yet with another by which it is fixed that our sense of things shall be drawn from experience,] that the deficiency of antecedent knowledge should be supplied by sudden communications at the time of Regeneration. That deep view of native guilt and stubbornness which is
necessary to do honour to Christ and sovereign grace, must be obtained beforehand, and will never be obtained in a state of stupidity. The sinner must be awakened and convicted for a consider
able time before he will know enough of his conof dition and necessities to ascribe all the glory of his ch
salvation to Christ. And till he is prepared to do this, in an ordinary way God will not change his
This then is the preparation which commonly i precedes the new birth. It consists entirely in a
conviction of truth, and of course is brought about
by the immediate instrumentality of the Word, reb and the means appointed to impress that Word els: on the mind.
Here the work of preparation
This is the boundary of all that can be Drem done for unregenerate men.
The preparation Erice does not improve, and has no tendency to change jer their hearts. The bodies in the valley of vision 100 were as dead after their organization as before; Drei mt nor had the organization the least tendency to produce life.
This was infused by the wind unies which afterwards breathed through the valley.
So in the case under consideration, “neither
is he that planteth any thing, neither he that wadi tereth, but God that giveth the increase.”* The Di ancient dispute between Abraham and the rich
man in torment, whether the most powerful array w of motives could change the heart, has convinced tell thousands in every generation, and me among the
* 1 Cor. iii. 7.
rest, that they who for twenty or thirty years have been able to withstand Moses and the Prophets, would not “be persuaded though one rose from the dead."*
SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
ISAIAH LV. 11.
SO SHALL MY WORD BE THAT GOETH FORTH OUT OF MY MOUTA; IT SHALL
NOT RETURN UNTO ME VOID, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH
III. I am to treat of the means and influences by which the Word is conveyed to the minds of the unregenerate.
It is now ascertained that all that can be done for the unregenerate, by their own exertions, or the efforts of others, or the Means of Grace, or the influences of the Spirit, (laying out of account the prayers of Christians for them,) is to set home upon their minds the truths of the Word. The question is, How far are these several agents and instruments concerned in this effect, and what proportion of the effect is ascribable to a natural, and what to a supernatural operation ? It is important to know how to estimate both our dependance on God, and the value of the Means of Grace; to ascertain, on the one hand, how far we are beholden to a super