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use as an instrument of his own perfection; let him open his mind, his heart, his soul, to religious truths;-and will he not have experienced a far more sensible change, than the infant, when it first opens its eyes upon this life? Not only does all within him, but all around him seem 'new. Without doing the least violence to language, he may be said to be born again.

3. Yet once more, this expression may be adopted with propriety, because such a revolution is effected in the principles, tastes, feelings, habits in one word, in the character of the man, that he may be styled a new creature, and thence the process through which he has passed, be termed a new birth. The justice of this remark will be apparent from a sketch of the character which the subject of this regeneration acquires. What are its elements? What are his principles, and habits? Rectitude; he is a righteous man; one who holds fast his integrity, under all circumstances of trial or temptation; who always acts conscientiously, and would sooner lose his life than wilfully offend the representative of God's authority within him; who always does what he believes to be right, at any risk and any cost. Disinterestedness; he is a man of charity, sincere, consistent, expansive, active charity; who prefers the comfort of others to his own ease; who embraces all men within the circle of his love; who is superior to the factitious distinctions of society; who has sacrificed his selfishness on the altar of Christian benevolence. Purity; he is one who keeps himself unspotted by the evil that is in the world, and though his business or his charity may force him into contact with pollution, yet receives no stain upon his soul; who denies his appe

tites, and watches over himself with a fearful, yet not an unquiet jealousy. Devotion; he is a pious man, who loves God supremely, and enjoys frequent communion with him, always regarding his presence, fearing his displeasure, seeking his favor, obeying his commands, submitting, with filial confidence, to his will; one who has not less religion in the closet than he shows to the world, and not less religion in the world, because he cultivates it in the closet. Humility; he is a modest man, who sees his errors, and thinks not of himself more highly than he ought to think; one who has laid his pride and ambition at the feet of his Master, and taken up, in their stead, the cross of a meek and lowly spirit. Diligence; he is an industrious man, who estimates time too justly to waste a moment, and desires perfection too earnestly to pursue it with a sluggard's pace. But I must pause in the enumeration of his virtues, for I might go on in the recital, till every excellence that adds strength or beauty to character, were portrayed. Enough has been said, to show the true Christian; a man of faith, of prayer, of self denial, of love, of active and increasing goodness. Contrast this character with that of many who bear the name of Christian,-with many? with most, I fear; and you must acknowledge the difference to be sufficient to justify us in speaking of the change, by which one is brought from a sinful, worldly, and careless life into a resemblance to Jesus Christ, as an entrance upon a new life.

The three circumstances to which we have attended, the consciousness of possessing dormant capacities, the awakening to a sense of new relations, and the ac

quisition of a new character, afford ample ground of authority for adopting the language of our Saviour, at the present day, and in Christian lands; 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' When used in this manner, it should be understood as a general remark, subject, like all similar propositions, to exceptions. There are some, who are Christians, indeed and in truth, from their earliest years, of whom it may be said, even as it was written of Jesus, that, as they increase in stature, they grow in favor with God and man. But such examples are rare. They sometimes occur, as if to encourage parents in the faithful education of their children from the cradle; but they are so infrequent, as always, I believe, to attract particular notice. The great majority of nominal believers must be born again, born of the spirit, introduced among the family of God's dear children, the household of saints, the partakers of eternal life, by the acquisition of a new character.

If any one should ask how this may be effected, I answer, by a faithful use of the gospel. This was the agent that Christ employed, when he was on earth; this was the spirit which converted Jews into Christians, and heathens into worshippers and servants of God; the gospel, in all its doctrines, commandments, and influences. At the time of its promulgation, an acknowledgement of its divinity was generally attended by obedience to its laws. Yet, even then, its founder said, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' We are induced, by education, to confess Jesus, as Lord, and to receive his religion, as divine; and we may do

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this without experiencing its power upon our souls. If we would be born again, we must endeavor to realize its efficacy, by subjecting our minds to its enlightening, and our hearts to its purifying action; and must exert ourselves to acquire a spiritual and intimate acquaintance with it. It is by bringing Christianity to press immediately upon our souls, by giving them up to its influence, that we must be regenerated. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.' If we desire, and seek, and strive after a new life, it will be infused into us; and our religion will become, to us, the wisdom of God, and the power of God, unto salvation.' In pursuing this object, we shall be assisted by Him who hears and answers prayer. He will afford us facilities in his providence; the trials which he imposes are often designed to lead us to the treasures of his truth and mercy, in Jesus Christ. The sufferings, the losses, the bereavements of time, by forcing us to a better acquaint

nce with the gospel, disclose to us its riches, and make us eventually possessors of far more valuable blessings, than those which God has removed from us.

I cannot leave this subject, without adverting to one other topic. The course of remark which we have followed, must have suggested the truth that the eternal life, of which Christ is the author, begins on earth. This I conceive to be a great doctrine, and one which deserves more attention than it receives. It is the key to many passages of the New Testament. It opens many solemn and delightful trains of thought. It presents to our view the intimate connexion of the two states of our existence, that which we call the present,

and that which we designate as the future; showing us that, with the Christian, they are linked, I may say, by an identity of character, rather than by a chain of consequences. It divests death of its usual associations of gloom and terror, of novelty and desolation. It produces that present sense of immortality, which raises us above the vicissitudes and influences of our earthly condition. To him who properly uses this doctrine, it is fruitful in comfort and instruction; yielding him here peace and happiness, and preparing him for celestial glory. G.


While just ideas of the divine agency work out nothing but good, a disbelief of it on the one hand, and erroneous views of it on the other, tend to evil. Looking back upon the history of the world, we find that men have suffered not less from superstition than from infidelity. The goings forth of Almighty power are so plain, that barbarity itself has paused, contemplated, and adored. Men have felt, from the promptings of their own bosoms, and from the general course of events, that the Ruler of the universe is the friend of virtue, and the enemy of sin. But they have gone too far. They have been ready to attribute every uncommon appearance in nature and providence, to his special interposition. Even the churches of Christ have not escaped the bad influence of this error. Το what else are we to trace the origin of that superstition

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