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previously to the event, that atonement was about to be made for sin by the sufferings of an innocent person, they would, I apprehend, have been quite unable to determine any thing, as to the dignity of the person, by whom these sufferings were to be endured. Yet, so far as we can judge, they would have thought it probable, that some illustrious being would be thus employed. Such a one would seem less, than others, inadequate to so great and extraordinary an undertaking. We cannot depend, however, on any reasonings a priori ; but must form our conclusions, wholly from the declarations of scripture. This testimony is, that in Jesus Christ, “ dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily:" that Jesus Christ " is over all, God blessed forevermore." Of him it has been said, “Thou, Lord, hast in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” As it is not possible for Deity to suffer; and as our Saviour said many things of himself, which can be predicated only of created nature, we are ted to be. lieve, that eternal Deity and created nature were, in a mysterious manner, united in the character of Jesus Christ. Unless there had been some important reason for it, we cannot suppose, that this union would have taken place. We must conclude, therefore, that such union was necessary to the great work, which our Saviour accomplished.

I close this lecture with a very few remarks.

I. I desire you to reflect and to feel that the subject is of general interest. You are not to imagine, that disquisitions of this nature belong exclusively to instructors in theology. So far from it they are of no consequence to them, unless they are so to you. There are many things, which are peculiar to men of particular ages, and professions. But depravity, is what all men hold in common. Witbout mercy, therefore, we must all perish. If a Redeemer died for buman offences, he died for you: and the divine law will be honored either by your suffering the penalty, or by your acceding to those terus, on which, through Christ Jesus, a free remission is offered.

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wn upon your spirits. But if, appear, that the opinion, which

on the subject, is substantially cor„ange in the human character is indisun; you cannot need to be informed, how our interest, not only to view the doctrine it, but likewise to experience that transforma. it implies.

this and other theological subjects are discussed, de remembered, that I ask you to take nothing merely my assertion. Opinions in divinity, let them come from whom they may, if not supported by reason, scripture, or both, are not entitled to

But while it is conceded to be irrational, absurd, and dangerous to believe without evidence; it is not less so to withhold assent, when sufficient evidence is afforded. A man, who should deny the existence of such rivers, as the Nile, and the Danube, because he had not seen them, would act in a manner, as little becoming a rational creature, as he, who should heed the vagaries of every fanatic.

Whatever is the meaning of regeneration, that much is said of it in the scriptures, cannot be denied.

When a ruler of the Jews, convinced by miracles, that Jesus was Messiah, came to receive instruction, Jesus said to him, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Those, who believe on the name of Christ, are said by the evangelist, to be “ born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Those, to whom St. Peter wrote, are said to have “ purified their souls by obeying the truth, through the Spir. it: and to be born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." It is asserted in the 1st epistle of John, ii. 29. “ He, that doeth righteousness, is born of God.” Again, " whosoever is born of God, sinneth not.” And further “ whosoever is born of God, overcometh the world."

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LECTURE XV.

Regeneration.

Among those, who believe christianity, there is no inconsiderable discrepance of opinion, as to the doctrine of regeneration. Perhaps, from this circumstance, you have been led to conclude, either that the passages, which are thought to support this doctrine, are unimportant, or that they have a meaning, so evanescent and subtile, as to elude investigation.

I am persuaded however, that you cannot, on reflection, be wholly satisfied with this conclusion. There are questions without number, concerning medicine, philosophy, commerce, philology, and politics, which, after being severely examined, have by different men, been variously answered. No person hence infers, that these questions are of no moment. Nor can it be rationally supposed, that our Saviour, when acknowledged by Nicodemus, and applied to, as a teacher, sem from God, would have amused the applicant with some unimportant, or subtile speculation ; less still, that he would, with much solemnity, have made a reply, which meant nothing.

There is another point of view, in which you will perceive strong reasons for coming to some conclusion on this subject. If it should be found, after sufficient scrutiny, that the doctrine mentioned, has nothing in it of high import, you will be secured from that damp, which the mention of it has,

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I doubt not, occasionally thrown upon your spirits. But if, on the contrary, it should appear, that the opinion, which has commonly prevailed on the subject, is substantially correct, and a radical change in the human character is indispensable to salvation; you cannot need to be informed, how much it is for your interest, not only to view the doctrine in a clear light, but likewise to experience that transformation, which it implies.

When this and other theological subjects are discussed, let it be remembered, that I ask you to take nothing merely on my assertion. Opinions in divinity, let them come from whom they may, if not supported by reason, scripture, or both, are not entitled to your belief.

But while it is conceded to be irrational, absurd, and dangerous to believe without evidence; it is not less so to withhold assent, when sufficient evidence is afforded. who should deny the existence of such rivers, as the Nile, and the Danube, because he had not seen them, would act in a manner, as little becoming a rational creature, as he, who should beed the vagaries of every fanatic.

Whatever is the meaning of regeneration, that much is said of it in the scriptures, cannot be denied.

When a ruler of the Jews, convinced by miracles, that Jesus was Messiah, came to receive instruction, Jesus said to him, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Those, who believe on the name of Christ, are said by the evangelist, to be “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Those, to whom St. Peter wrote, are said to have • purified their souls by obeying the truth, through the Spir. it: and to be born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” It is asserted in the 1st epistle of John, ii. 29. “He, that doeth righteousness, is born of God.” Again, “ whosoever is born of God, sinneth not.” And further, 4 whosoever is born of God, overcometh the world."

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There are many other places, in which different words are used; but where the thing intended is evidently the

" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; and all things have become new." christians are said to be created in Christ Jesus, unto good works:" and they, who love christians, because they are such, are said to “ have passed from death unto life.”

The passages quoted, have doubtless, some import. To suppose, that our Saviour spake, and his apostles wrote, without meaning, would be a reproach to them, than which a greater can scarcely be conceived.

We can think of no more direct way of ascertaining this import, than to consider what stands in connexion with the term.

1. In the passage, cited from the 3d of John, regeneration is connected with “ seeing the kingdom of God.” This term, “ kingdom of God,” it must be allowed, is sometimes used to signify christianity itself, or the christian church. And, while we consider the term merely, we are not at liberty to assert, that such may not be its meaning in this place.

II. St. Peter connects regeneration with “ obeying the truth through the spirit.” Obeying the truth is synonymous with obeying the commands of God, or maintaining a boly life. In this he accords with St. John, who asserts, in passages, already noticed, that “he, who doeth righteousness, is born of God: and that he, who is born of God, sinneth not."

III. Regeneration is connected with victory over the world. “He, that is born of God, overcometh the world."

IV. Regeneration is connected, as effect and cause, the influence of the holy Spirit. By a regenerate person, our Saviour evidently means "every one, that is born of the Spirit."

V. Regeneration is connected with eternal life. “The righteous,” says our Savior, “shall go away into life elernal. Now, “ the righteous,” by St. John's definition, “ is be, that doeth righteousness: and he that doeth righteousness, according to the passage already cited, “ is born of God.”

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