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import an unfailing title to everlasting glory: "He saved us with the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,-that being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." "Elect according to the foreknowl edge of God the Father, who hath begotten us again -to an inheritance,-reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."*
That all these ideas are really contained in the terms begotten and born of God, is still more apparent from the description given of
The children of God. These are they who bear the image of God, (a leading idea suggested by the figure,)-the image of God upon their hearts as well as lives. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." "Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children." Of course the children of God are holy, (in some measure,) as he is holy: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.-In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil." "The good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares, [FALSE PROFESSORS,] are the children of the wicked one." "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts;-but as he is holy so be ye holy." "According as he hath chosen us-before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children." The children of God possess the filial temper,
* John i. 12, 13. and iii. 3-9. 1 Cor. xv. 8. Tit. iii. 5, 7. James i. 18. 1 Pet. i. 2-5, 22, 23. and ii. 1, 2, 5, 7, 9. 1 John ii. 29. and iii. 9, 10. and iv. 7. and v. 1, 4, 5, 18.
and are led by his Spirit which witnesses to their adoption: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father! The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." "Because ye are sons God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your HEARTS, crying, Abba Father.” The children of God are constituted such by faith in Christ: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." "" "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." The children of God are redeemed, forgiven, accepted: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children,—to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Of course the children of God are the objects of his tenderest love: "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening God dealeth with you as with sons." The children of God are entitled to all the promises:"The children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise." "To Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.-Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus:-and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. Finally, the children of God will inherit eternal glory, and will bear this name when all visible churches are no more: "If children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." "If a son then an heir of God through Christ." "In the resurrection-they are equal unto the angels and are the children of God, being the children of
the resurrection." "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Indeed as Christians will then enter into the full possession of their inheritance, this investiture, which is regarded as the consummation of their sonship, is called by way of eminence their adoption: "We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Such is the account given us of the children of God; and a similar description is given of
The seed of Christ. This appellation distinguishes a class of men who were promised to Christ as the fruit of "the travail of his soul," and are called "the holy seed," a seed that "serve him," "the seed which the Lord hath blessed," an "elect" seed born to possess the inheritance, a seed which shall be established forever, and though chastened never forsaken on account of their sins. Being the seed of him in whom centered all the promises made to Abraham, they inherit a sure title to all covenant blessings: "It is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed." "They are not all Israel which are of Israel; [NOT ALL SEED WHO BELONG TO THE VISIBLE CHURCH;]—that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."+
After the scriptures have spoken in this sort, is it not worse than trifling to say that new creature, begotten of God, new-born, children of God, seed of Christ, express nothing more than a relation to the visible Church? That these terms, like all others descriptive of holy character, are applied to visible churches,
*Mat. v. 9, 44. 45. and xiii. 38. Luke vi. 35, 36. and xx. i. 12. Rom. viii. 14-17, 21, 23. and ix. 8. Gal. iii. 7-29. Eph. i. 4-7. and v. 1. Heb. xii. 6, 7. 1 Pet. i. 14, 15. Ps. xxii. 30. and lxxxix. 4, 29-37. Isai. vi. 13. and lxv. 9. Rom. iv. 16. and ix. 6, 8. Gal. iii. 16, 29.
33, 36. John
and iv. 5, 7, 28. John iii. 9, 10. liii. 10, 11. and
is not denied; but it is on the presumption that they are what they profess to be. Is it not the strangest fancy that ever was conceived, that because such terms are applied to visible churches, they express no more than an outward character and condition? Because you call members of the visible Church Christians, is it to be inferred that men are real Christians without a holy heart?
Thus it appears that the new creation or new birth implies the production of real holiness of heart or spiritual life. If then the terms have any significancy, they import the beginning of that life. If so there was no holiness before. And this conclusion, drawn from the plain meaning of the terms, is confirmed by the tenour of the numerous texts which have been cited.
Argument III. The Scriptures in a variety of forms plainly assert the doctrine of total depravity.
(1.) The manner in which they speak of man, the sons of men, and the world, is as if these terms stood for nothing but sinners, as if nothing but sin was inherent in human nature. "The way of man is froward and strange." "How much more abominable and filthy is man which drinketh iniquity like water." "Do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? yea in heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands in the earth." "My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them that are set on fire, EVEN THE SONS OF MEN, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword." A direct opposition is every where set up between God and man, God and the world, Christ and the world: "Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savourest not the things that be of God but the things that be of man." "We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God." "We know that we are of God and the whole
world lieth in wickedness." "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world even as I am not of the world." "If the world hate you ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Hence the epithets worldly and earthly are used to express qualities altogether wicked: "Ungodliness and worldly lusts." "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, natural, devilish."*
(2.) The promises of the Gospel are made to the least degree of holiness, and the threatenings of death are denounced against nothing less than an utter want of holiness.
Such is the tenour of the promises. "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." "All things work together for good to them that love God," in the least degree. "He that loveth me [at all,] shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him." "Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, [no particular degree of repentence is specified,] and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." "He that believeth, [ever so feebly,] shall
Such also is the tenor of the threatenings. "Follow-holiness, without which, [that is, if it is entirely wanting,] no man shall see the Lord." "If any man love NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha." "Except ye repent, [in some degree,]
*Job xv. 16. Ps. lvii. 4. and lviii. 1, 2. Prov. xxi. 8. John xv. 18, 19. and xvii. 14, 16. 1 Cor. ii. 12. Tit. ii. 12. 1 John v. 19.
Mark viii. 33.