Images de page

sun's flame. For though his body be withdrawn from us, yet by the lively and virtual contact of his Spirit, he is always kindling, cheering, quickening, warming, and enlivening hearts. Nay, this divine life begun and kindled in any heart, wheresoever it be, is something of God in flesh, and, in a sober and qualified sense, Divinity incarnate : and all particular Christians that are really possessed of it are so many mystical Christs."

Again : “ Never was any tender infant so dear to those bowels that begat it, as an infant new-born Christ, formed in the heart of any true believer, to God the father of it."

This account relative to the new birth the Quakers conceive to be strictly deducible from the Holy Scriptures. It is true, they conceive, as far as the new birth relates to God, and to the seed, and to the Spirit, from the following passages :

" Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him* :"_“ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God t:"_" Of his own will begat he us with the word of


1 Jobu iii. 9,

* i Peter i. 23.


truth* "

power to

It is considered to be true, again, as far as the new birth relates to the creature born, and to the name which it may bear, from these different expressions : “Of whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in yout:""Nevertheless I live;

I yet not I, but Christ liveth in me! :”“ But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Fatherg :"“ But as many as received him, (that is, the Word or Spirit,) to them gave

he become the sons of God || :"-" For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (.” And as parents and children resemble one another, so believers are made “ conformable to the image of his Son t, who is the image of the invisible Godgs.”

Having explained in what the new birth consists, or having shown, according to Barclay, “ that the seed is a real spiritual substance, which the soul of man is capable of feeling and apprehending, from which that

[ocr errors]

* James i. 18.
+ Gal. iv. 19.
t Gal. ii. 20.
$ Rom. viii, 15.

# John i. 12.
4 Rom. viii. 14.
+ Rom. viii. 29.
SS Coloss. i. 15.



real spiritual inward birth arises, called the new creature or the new man in the heart*;" it remains to show how believers, or those in whose souls Christ is thus produced, may be said " to grow up to perfection;" for by this real birth or geniture in them, they come to have those spiritual senses raised, by which they are made capable of tasting, smelling, secing, and handling the things of God.

It may be observed, then, that in the new birth a progress is experienced from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood. As it is only by submission to the operation of the Spirit that this birth can take place, so it is only by a like submission that any progress or growth from one stature to another will be experienced in it. Neither can the regenerated become instrumental in the redemption of others, any further or otherwise than as Christ or the Anointing dwells and operates in them, teaching them all truths necessary to be known, and strengthening them to perform every act necessary to be done for this purpose. He must be their only means and "hope of gloryt.” It will * Page 139. ed. s. ť Coloss. I. 27.


be then that “ the creature, which waiteth in earnest expectation for the manifestation of the sons of God, will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God *.” For, “ if any man be in Christ he is a new creature : old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and all things of God t.”

Those who are the babes of the regeneration begin to see spiritual things. The natural man, the mere creature, never saw God. But the babes, who cry

Abba Father, begin to see and to know him. Though as yet unskilful in the word of righteousness,

they desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby t.” And“ their sins are forgiven thems.”.

Those who may be considered as the young men in this state are said to be “spiritually strong, and the word of God abiding in them, to have overcome the wicked onell."

They who have attained a state of manhood are called fathers, or are said to be of full age, and to be capable of taking strong


[ocr errors]

* Rom. viii. 19.21.
+ 2 Cor. v. 17, 18.

I 1 Peter ii. 2.

§ 1 John ii. 12.

i John ii. 14.



meat. They come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto perfect men, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. They arrive at such a state of stability, that they are no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, but, speaking the truth in love, grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even Christ*"-" The old man with his deeds being put off, they have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created himt." “ They are washed, they are sanctified, they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God $.” The new creation is thus completed, and the Sabbath, wherein man ceases from his own works, commences; so that every believer can then say with the apostle, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and

gave himself for meg.”

Ephes. iv. 13, 14, 15. I i Cor. vi. 11. + Coloss. iii. 9, 10.

§ Galat. ii. 20.


« PrécédentContinuer »