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from the sin he loves, and to practise the duty he hates. And, if he understands that delighting his fancy with speculative indulgence may provoke God to cast him into hell, he will for a time put a force upon himself, and strive to repress sinful desires, and to abstain from even ideal pleasure. If he also has a notional acquaintance with those dispositions and affections which the law of God forbids or requires ; he will, under the present impression, disallow the one, and endeavour to excite the other. But this state of mind is too unnatural to be durable. The whole current of his inclinations vehemently sets one way; the whole vigourof his exertions is pressing the other way: and Horace said truly, and doubtless experimentally, Naturam expellas furcd, tamen usque recurret. 'Though you would thrust nature out of doors ' with a fork, she will nevertheless recoil upon you.' Unless a new nature be communicated a man must at length grow weary of such a forced, painful, and unsuccessful exertion; and will seek and find relief from some or other of the numerous recipes, which every where offer themselves, for the quieting of awakened consciences. Thus some relapse into their former careless course, and rush into still greater excess of riot; stunning reflection by dissipation and indulgence. Others find relief from their fears in the hurry of business, the prospeets of wealth, or the pursuits of ambition. Numbers in false religion, “ a form of godliness,” or a “ form of knowledge ;” and they find the very ordinances, or truths of God, when abused by man's depravity, an anodyne for a disquieted
conscience. Hence the superstitious, pharisaical, antinomian, and enthusiastical corruptions of the gospel, which in all ages have prevailed. Men under awakenings, but never “new created in “Christ Jesus unto good works,” having found in these abuses ease from the torment of an accusing conscience, recommend the remedy to others, with a probatum est; and, having mistaken this relief“ for the peace of God, which passeth all un“ derstanding,” they would persuade others, that this is the only true evangelical comfort : because they know no other. Thus the enemy sows his 'tares; and “ evil men, and seducers wax worse “and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Here a wide field opens before us, but we may not expatiate in it: it suffices for our present purpose to observe, that the numerous generation of those “ who are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not “ washed from their filthiness,” consists mainly of such persons ; who, after some superficial alarms of conscience, have sought, and found, and rested in a false peace ; either in external religion without making Christ their whole confidence ; or in prófessed faith in Christ alone without “ sancti“ fication of the Spirit unto obedience:” either neglecting or abusing the blessed gospel.
III. Proceed we then finally to inquire, 'Wherein the precise difference lies, between the views which such persons have of the law of God, with their effects, and those of the most ignorant regenerate person."
This difference, both in their views and in the effects of those views, arises wholly from that new nature before mentioned, and consists, in great measure, in the manner wherein the things are known.
The unregenerate man has nothing but those fears of future punishment, and hopes of future - reward which are both ignorant and unstable, (resulting only from notion, not from a realizing faith,) to oppose to all his vehement inclinations, and to vigorous hopes and fears of a worldly nature. Like a slave therefore, when the bribe and the whip are out of sight, he renounces the master, and leaves the employment that he hates ; and spends his time more agreeably to his inclinations. When therefore he succeeds in laying his conscience asleep, his diligence is done with ; and there wants only a suitable occasion, and temptation, to induce him “ to return like a dog to his vomit, “and like a sow that is washed to her wallowing “ in the mire.”
The regenerate man is influenced by hopes and fears, both such as are common to him with others under serious impressions, only more stable and operative, and such as are of a noblerand more sanctifying nature. For certainly, if any seem to refine religion to such a degree of disinterestedness, as to discard all personal regard to happiness, they strain the bow till it breaks : neither the nature of a rational creature, nor the nature of religion, nor the nature of happiness can bear such refinement. To seek all our happiness from the favour and love of God; and to give up all personal regards of a temporal nature, when the will and glory of God, and the benefit of man require it ; is all that the law commands; all that ever prophet or apostle
attained unto; nay, with reverence be it spoken, all that Jesus Christ exemplified. But besides these hopes and fears, in all their variety or energy, the regenerate man has a capacity of another sort, totally different in kind, from all that any other man ever possessed. He is made “
par“ taker of a divine nature ;” and being created, in
knowledge,” “ righteousness, and true holiness “ after the image of God,” he sees, judges, chooses, desires, delights, according to God. By this new nature he is enabled to discern, and be delighted with, the holy excellency and beauty • which is in divine things :'“ finding them sweeter “ than honey and the honey-comb, he desires them “more than wine," “ remembers them more than “ wine:" and so relishes them, that proportionably he loses his relish for other things. They are as delightful harmony to his ears; and fragrant“ as “ ointment poured forth :” and the pleasure they excite in the soul is represented by those several kinds of pleasing sensations of which the body is capable. All these things imply a love of, desire after, and delight in divine things, for the sake of that excellency now perceived in them, and that relish experienced of them ; which does not supersede, but comes in aid of those other principles, and renders them habitually, and permanently superior to, and victorious over, all remaining opposite inclinations; and over the pressure of all worldly hopes and fears, even in the time of the most vehement temptations. I do not mean independently so; for both natural and spiritual life depend upon, and are invigorated by him who first
The person of the Saviour, and the brightness of the Father's glory seen in his face, is the primary object of love, admiration, desire, and delight, to this spiritual capacity, imparted in regeneration ; but it is not the only object. There is a glory, and beauty, and excellency suited to it in all divine things; and particularly in the divine law. We may now then, I think, ascertain the
precise difference. A speculative knowledge, a cold and forced approbation, and an unwilling, constrained obedience, are all that the unregenerate man can attain to; and he inwardly disrelishes the whole, and would wish, if he durst, the precept less strict. But the regenerate person, even in the lowest class, cordially approves the law of God, as far as known; has some real love to it, and longs after conformity to it, as a most desiraable, excellent, and blessed thing. The one, I say, inwardly would have the law changed in compliance to his inclinations; and the other his inclinations changed into conformity to the law. The difference between the new-born babe and the mature Christian, and the variations to which the best are liable, must be allowed for; but, according to the measure of grace in exercise, the regenerate soul will see beauty, taste sweetness, and hear divine harmony in every precept: and the native language of his heart will be,
« Oh how I “ love thy law!" “ Oh that my ways were “ directed to keep thy statutes!” “ I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
The effects of these views will be such as follow, A heart-felt sorrow upon remembrance of former