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The twenty-seventh Article makes regeneration synonymous with new-birth,-" Baptism-is a sign of regeneration. or new-birth." In like manner the baptismal office considers them the same," Except he be regenerate and born anew-that he may be born again-born of the Spirit." To be born again of the Spirit, is to be made spiritual; and to be born of God, is to be made God's children by the reception of a holy and spiritual nature. With this corresponds what our church says, in the office of baptism for riper years, of those who are born in sin, and of those who are born of God. She forms the contrast and draws the distinction between them, as our Saviour does, in strict moral discrimination. The delineation is admirable and striking,"All men are conceived and born in sin (and that which is born of the flesh is flesh), and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but live in sin; and cannot enter into the kingdom of God, except they be regenerate, and born anew of water and the Holy Ghost."
This being "born of the flesh" is clearly analagous to what our church calls the "old Adam" and the "old man ;" and being "born of God" and "born anew," is the same as the 66 new man." But the old man and new man are incontrovertibly a description of the moral state of man, before and after regeneration; and undoubtedly mean the old nature and the new nature of the same person in the different states of being unregenerate and regenerate. "Grant that the old Adam in this person may be so buried, that the new man may be raised up in him." This "old Adam" is evidently the old nature, or the corruption of our nature, derived by original sin from Adam; and the “ new. man" as manifestly means the new nature, received by regeneration from Christ, the second Adam. But the new nature derived from Christ is as truly holy, as the old nature, derived from Adam, is corrupt and sinful. The same truth will further appear
4. From the effect produced in regeneration.
The prayer for the person to be baptised is this," Grant: that all carnal affections may die in him"-" that he may be endued with heavenly virtues-and triumph against the Devil,, the world, and the flesh." And when regenerate, he is considered as dead to sin and renewed in his soul. We pray that he may crucify the old man and utterly abolish the whole body of sin." It is indeed the very design and end of
baptism to bring the soul into a state of holy imitation of Christ. This being the design of baptism, it is considered as the effect of regeneration, to "follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto Him; that as he died and rose again for us, so should we, who are baptised, die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all our evil and corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness of living." These effects are considered as the genuine, natural, and even necessary consequences of regeneration.
5. From the antithesis that is made in the Articles between the regenerate and the unregenerate, with regard to morality and holiness.
The ninth Article states, that "original sin is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, and this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptised, yet the apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin." Now if regeneration were not a holy change, it could have no tendency to oppose or destroy the corruption of nature; and it would therefore be perfectly incongruous to argue, that notwithstanding men "are regenerated," yet the "infection" still remains. The "infection of nature doth remain (which some deny), yea in them that are regenerated." Notwithstanding this infection, however, the condition of the regenerated is such that there is "no condemnation for them;" while it is said of the unregenerate, that they "deserve God's wrath and damnation."
The same evident position arises from the fifteenth Article. The difference between Christ's spotless purity and the infection of our nature, even when regenerated, is strikingly set forth." From which (sin) He was clearly void, both in his flesh and in his spirit." "But all we, the rest, although baptised and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things." Now, if regeneration were not a holy change, there could be no propriety in saying, that we have such an infection of nature remaining, after we are "born again," that in " many things we offend." The holy nature of regeneration appears
6. From the total incapacity of the unregenerate and the capacity of the regenerate, for things spiritually good.
We have already seen a proof of this from the baptismal office, where we find that being "born of the flesh" is opposed to being "born of the spirit ;" and where we are positively assured, that they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Very decisive and expressive also are the articles," The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us."-" Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit are not pleasant to God." But " good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ."
There are three points here which decisively prove the holy nature of regeneration. It appears, first, that by nature, while we are in the flesh or unregenerate, we cannot please God. Two things are wanting,-there is no holy principle of faith from which good works can spring; and they being not in Christ by faith, there is nothing to cover their turpitude or to recommend their good works. Secondly, that in this condition sinners cannot do any thing to turn to God. They are therefore without strength of their own, and without the power of obtaining it from God by turning to Him in "faith and prayer." And, thirdly, that when they are regenerated by the inspiration of God's Spirit, and thus obtain faith in Christ, they "necessarily" do good works, and those works are pleasing and acceptable to God. 7. From the Prayers offered for regeneration.
A holy glow of desire for spiritual blessings runs through the whole of our offices, which most clearly proves that regeneration is of a truly spiritual and holy nature. This is the general tone of the prayers throughout the offices for baptism. If a spiritual and actual renewal of the heart be allowed to be prayed for in them, the point is settled at once, and the dispute is at an end. But if this be not allowed, then the whole service is framed to no purpose, or next to none; and both prayers and expectations of things belonging to spiritual and eternal concerns must be sought for elsewhere a supposition which no reasonable man can admit.
For it is most unreasonable to maintain, that after all the prayers and desires, the engagements and promises, both on the part of God and man, respecting everlasting life and meetness for it, have been made, nothing of a truly and really spiritual nature has been either asked for or expected; and that something over and above all this is still needed, but is nowhere to be found, no, not in any office, prayer, instruction, or service, which our church has provided!
But let the whole of the offices, articles, and liturgy of our church be received in their plain, honest, and necessary meaning, and they will afford the clearest proof as to the moral and holy nature of regeneration.
And here we might justly be excused for leaving the subject. But as every part of our public documents bears the same testimony, we shall proceed to make a few more
The following is from the Homily for Whitsunday :"Where the Holy Ghost worketh, there nothing is impossible, as may further also appear from the inward regeneration and sanctification of mankind.-It is the Holy Ghost, and no other thing, that doth quicken the minds of men.-Such is the power of the Holy Ghost to regenerate men, and, as it were, to bring them forth anew, so that they shall be nothing like the men that they were before. Neither doth He think it sufficient inwardly to work the spiritual and new-birth of man, unless he also dwell and abide in Him. Know ye not, saith St. Paul, that ye are the temple of God, and that His Spirit dwelleth in you? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you? Again, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. For why? The Spirit of God dwelleth in you. To this agreeth the doctrine of St. John, writing in this wise,-The anointing which ye have received (meaning the Holy Ghost) dwelleth in you; and the doctrine of St. Peter, who hath these words,-The Spirit of Glory and of God resteth upon you. O, what comfort is this to the heart of a true Christian, to think that the Holy Ghost dwelleth in him! If God be with us, as the apostle saith, who can be against us? O, but how shall I know that the Holy Ghost is within me? some man perchance will say. Forsooth as the tree is known by its fruits, so is also the Holy Ghost. The fruits of the Holy Ghost, according to the mind of St. Paul, are these, these, Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, tem
perance. Contrariwise the deeds of the flesh are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, wantonness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, debate, emulation, wrath, contention, sedition, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, gluttony, and such like. Here is now the glass in which thou mayest behold thyself, whether thou have the Holy Ghost within thee, or the spirit of the flesh."
In the same Homily the spiritual and natural man-the regenerate and the unregenerate-they who are in the flesh and they who are in the Spirit, are depicted in the strongest and clearest language possible :-" Man in his own nature is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and naught, sinful and disobedient to God, without any spark of goodness in him, without any virtuous or godly motion, only given to evil thoughts and wicked deeds. As for the works of the Spirit, the fruits of faith, charitable and godly motions, if he have any at all in him, they proceed only of the Holy Ghost, who is the only worker of our sanctification, and maketh us new men in Christ Jesus."
Under the deepest sense and feeling of this awful corruption in man, and of his inability to turn himself "to faith and calling upon God," the author of the Homily for Rogation, declares, "that in the power and virtue of the Holy Ghost, we be made meet and able to receive His gifts and graces:"and then we have this strong and remarkable language,"To justify a sinner-to new-create him from a wicked person to a righteous man, is a greater act, saith St. Augustine, than to make such a new heaven and earth as is already made. We must needs agree, that whatever good thing is in us, of grace, of nature, or of fortune, is of God only, as the only author and worker."-And then, in part third, we meet with these words," I promised to you to declare, that spiritual gifts and graces come specially from God. Let us consider the truth of this matter, and hear what is testified,-first, of the gift of faith, the first entry into a Christian life, without which no man can please God. For St. Paul confesseth it plainly to be God's gift, saying, Faith is the gift of God. And again St. Peter saith, It is of God's power that ye be kept through faith unto salvation. It is of the goodness of God that we falter not in our hope unto Him. It is verily God's work in us, the charity wherewith we love our brethren. If after our fall we repent, it is by Him that we repent, which reacheth forth his merciful hand to raise us up.