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shalt do all that I command thee.” The genealogies being burnt, the tribe of Levi not known, and Jerusalem, where God put his name, being now in the hand of strangers; and the Jews in a land not theirs; and the above threatenings and prohibitions lying in the way; and Christ's sacrifice being rejected by them; an ancient prophecy is fulfilled in them, “ For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a. sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim,” Hosea iii. 4. These elder sons abode with, out, they came not into a compliance with the will of God; but the apostles did; they followed Christ into this change, into this regeneration of things, when old things passed away, and all things be
Furthermore, they followed Christ out of the old Adam's family, even out of the flesh; and they passed into the adopted family of God, and into the household of faith, by a regeneration of soul; they followed Christ in the regeneration, by which they were made new creatures in him, and so passed as such įnto a new family. And as Christ is the highway that leads to God, so this is the way of holiness, which leads us to the enjoyment of God, and makes us meet for the heavenly inheritance. We cannot follow Christ spiritually without partaking of his Spirit; nor will Christ own any but such; for “ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Regeneration is a change wrought in every part or faculty of the soul by the Holy Spirit of God; in which some things are removed, and things that were corrupted by sin are set right again; hence it is called washing and renewing; that is, cleansing and making new again. “ According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” And, as God is said to give testimony to the word of his grace, this he does by causing his Spirit to attend and apply the word preached, which is God's seal to the message. You received the Spirit, says Paul, not by the works of the law, but by the preaching of faith. Hence the word goes to God's elect, as it doth not to others; to others it goes in word only, but to the elect in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; which makes manifest who are the elect and who are not. The word preached is the means of conveying the Spirit; hence it is said, that “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.” Now, as this way is to be called the way of holiness, it shows that sin is purged and removed out of the way, and real holiness brought into the soul of those who follow Christ in the regeneration.
1. There is a cleansing of us by the Spirit of
God. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon
ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” They must be cleansed that walk in this way; as the prophet says, “ It shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it;" but they that are cleansed shall. There is no one thing that the Holy Ghost does in the souls of God's children, but that work is put, as a name, upon the way in which they walk; as, in the above, the prophet says the unclean shall not pass over the way of holiness. But the regenerated soul walks in a clean way, because he is clean." " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
2. The Holy Spirit, in his work of regeneration, removes the vail of ignorance from the understanding; hence our Lord tells the Laodicean church that he counsels her to buy of him eyesalve to anoint her eyes, that she may see. And, when this anointing takes place, we have some glimmering views of God's ways, and not till then; for we are expressly said to be blind before, and to be going we know not whither. “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them,” Isa. xlii. 16. And this liglit which breaks into us, and breaks out before us, is called the morning-star, the be
ginning of glory. Now, our path to heaven takes its name from this illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. “The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
3. In the work of regeneration spiritual life is infused into the soul. “ It is the Spirit that quickeneth.” And that part of the soul which first feels the quickening energy of the Spirit is the conscience, or what the scriptures call the heart; and hence it is that we often meet with such encouraging words as these; “ The humble shall see this, and be glad; and your heart shall live that seek God;" which appears to me to mean this, thať the life-giving convictions of the Spirit shall not die away from the conscience of God's elect. It is that quickening power of the Spirit that makes the conscience so susceptible of every impression and of every impulse made by the reproofs, rebukes, contentions, frownings, or contrary walkings of God, toward it. It is made sore and tender, it is chafed and wounded; it is made sick of sin, and is like a thorn hedge to the sinner: if he adds to the load that it feels, or to the wounds already inflicted, it cries out. The energy of the sinner's prayers springs from this life; he cries day and night, and hungers, thirsts, longs, craves, and faints, till he can believe and apply the atonement. Nor can any one thing under heaven feed conscience but the blood and righteousness of Christ. The Spirit purges the conscience
from dead works by the blood of Christ; and such a conscience knows the Lord's meaning well when he says, “My blood is drink indeed.” Moreover, righteousness must be brought into the conscience before conscience can be fed so as to be satisfied. " With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Thus the good Spirit quickens the dead soul; and the way that such a living soul walks in when quickened, is called the way of life. “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.”
4. The good Spirit is called the Spirit of revelation. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the
eyes of your understanding being enlightened ; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling," Eph. i. 17, 18. It is the work and office of the Holy Spirit to testify of Christ, and to take the things which are his, and to reveal them to us. We discern nothing but what he exhibits; nor have we any experimental enjoyment of Christ or his fulness but what the Spirit applies; and sometimes both our discoveries and enjoyments appear small; but they should by no means be overlooked; “ For who hath despised the day of small things?” God does not, nor should we. There is in the soul renewed a keen appetite for knowledge; and God promises to sends pastors after his own heart to feed us with it. And there are such depths in