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washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
If this salvation is not yet attained, is it possible that any who know its value, and its relation to eternal happiness, can pas. sively acquiesce in the non-experience of it? If they do, we want words to express their amazing apathy and lack of understanding! If it be stated, as an excuse for unconcern, that the work is God's, and not of man, we own the deeply serious truth; but though man cannot work regeneration, may he not cry to God, who is rich in mercy to all that call upon him, for regenerating grace ? Are there not divine ly appointed means, in the proper use of which it may be sought and may be found ? Is there no efficacy in prayer? or is it vain to read the word, and hear it preached ? So great is the instrumentality of the word, and so indispensable, that we believe men are seldom regenerated without its application. It is for the most part in hearing the word of salvation preached in the fulness, authority, and glory of its statements, that first impressions are made, and begun impressions deepened and extended. We do not limit the Holy One of Israel in his Sovereign ways, but few
indeed are born again but by the word, and even when they are not reading or hearing it; when the Spirit works, it has been usually with a text of Scripture, the place or existence of which in the sacred volume, they were unable at the time perhaps to declare. So much is the salvation of which we speak connected with the knowledge and belief of the word, that we are said to be washed, cleansed, purified, and sanctified by faith ; and this is certain, that none seem to come to regeneration, where the word is unknown and unbelieved. We learn, indeed, from the text, that truth appears, and the Spirit works salvation; but while we pray for the work, we are taught to expect it only in the way of believing the glorious Gospel of Christ, for it is thus that we are brought to see the salvation of God our Saviour. To Him be glory. Amen.
THE REGENERATE MAN OVERCOMING THE WORLD
1 JOHN v. 4. “ For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the
world; and this is the victory that overcometh the
world, even our faith.” * THEY
HEY are not of the world,” said Jesus of his disciples, even as
am not of the world.” And that religion is not of Christ, which commends itself to the good opinion of the world; for it can only do so, constituted as the world is, by flattering its prejudices, and tolerating its corruptions, and winking at its ungodliness. And he who forms his religion to the fashion of the world, moves according to its course, and adapts himself with pliant conformity to its tastes, humours, and expectations; pleased with its pleasures, and disconsolate when its resources fail; hath never experienced the good gift of a regenerate heart, nor been transformed by the renewing of his
mind, into the new nature of God's children, for it is laid down before us in the broadest and most absolute averment of truth“ Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world.”
Why must the world be overcome ? Is it a child of God, or a disciple of Jesus that inquires ? or is it some one that loves the world, and would fain cultivate its alliance, and combat for its pretensions ?. It is some worldling, in the mask of religion, perhaps, but to whom religion is only convenient when the world is congenial; and being a lover of this world's goods, fond of its delights, and attached to its ways, he asks, why must the world be overcome ?
We answer, first-Because the world is an enemy to our God. It is up in revolt against him ; and this is its general cry, from east to west, and from north to south, “ We will not have the Lord to rule over us !” Therefore are his laws without authority, his power without respect, and his name without veneration..
Pass through the ranks of the world, and, from the highest gradation to the lowest, will all be found animated with a spirit of hostility to th sovereignty of God, and to the claims of his glory. Frequent the scenes of business,
or the scenes of amusement ; listen to their conversation who belong to the world; follow them into the walks of domestic and convivial relaxation ;--Will you see any thing, or hear any thing, which bespeaks love, gratitude, or esteem for God? Is he not alike excluded from their thoughts in the scenes of activity, and in the circle of enjoyment ?
Perhaps this oblivion of God is not voluntary. He is not disliked, it may be, but only forgotten. Then, let some devoted minister go and remind of God a company of playful, or negotiating worldlings; let him tell them of his being and beneficence, of his holy character, and equitable laws; will this admonishment of God please the worldly mind? Will it yield a responsive consent to the remembrance of the Al. mighty? We need not state the result. If it be said, the season was unsuitable for the mentioning of God, it is a vain excuse. Shall the blessed God have access to his creatures only at certain hours ? Alas! to the world, all times are unseasonable. The very introduction of his name, glory, or Gospel, unless in the way of jest and raillery, or when it is officially done in the formalities of public religion, is regarded as an ag