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whereby it was alone effected, and himself sealed unto the day of redemption. To understand its real import, you are to remember, that a natural birth is obviously the commencement of our existence. We have not the remotest conception of a prior state of be ing. If it ever transpired, we can at least recall none of its features, by the aid of the most retentive memory. So likewise in that birth of the soul, brought about by the renovating influence of the Spirit of our God; every subject of its power acknowledges, that he had no spiritual life in all previous time. Ask him of his convictions, of his sorrow and mourning for sin, and he invariably testifies to his having been an impenitent sinner. Ask him, if his disease was thorough and mortal, he will tell you, that "the whole head was sick, and the whole heart faint." Ask him, if he was in all particulars a stranger to holiness, he will answer, that it would be a waste of time, a hopeless task, were he to endeavour to select, from the moral perversion of his soul, one single act, that, viewed in all its relations, would be calculated to produce unmingled emotions of pleasure and self-approbation.

No, no, the process of regeneration, the process of being born again, is precisely what the words indicate. It collects together all the phenomena, that would attend a new nativity; or perhaps, if you can figure to yourselves the condition of a soul, as completely be reft of life as is the body of some deceased relative; it is the resurrection of that soul, from the dead, clothed with new garments, new affections, new desires, new powers, habits, and susceptibilities. Look at it enclosed, as it was, within a living tomb, and it was dead in trespasses and sins, dead to the purity of holiness, to the perfections of the Deity, to the higher duties and accountabilities of a sentient being. But no sooner has this change been wrought, than it becomes alive to God, through Christ. The sinner sins no more, lest a worse thing should come unto him, and because he has lost all relish for the mere gratification of his sensual appetites.

I do not mean, that his natural taste is gone; that allowed pleasures have either lost their savour or their value. But his affections were once riveted to the earth, they are now fastened to the skies. His passions were encouraged to usurp the mastery over reason, they are now made subservient to the far nobler law of the mind. His whole conduct was utterly unworthy of a being hereaf ter destined to associate with the holy angels, it is now regulated by

the maxims of purity, he has contracted a love for the things, which make for God and his Christ. Not a day passed over his head, in which he did not to a greater or less degree repulse and grieve the Holy Spirit; he is now intent upon cherishing the good counsels and gracious influences of this Comforter sent from on high; he is transformed by the renewing of his mind, and earnestly endeavours to prove, by his actions, what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Let us call to mind a few of the instances most likely to be observed in the altered principles, habits, and inclinations of the sinner. To survey him in the depravity of his nature, make all the allowances that you please, is to survey an intelligent creature forever doting on a world, that for him begins to-day, and closes tomorrow. No one ignorant of eternity could for a moment suspect, that he had the faintest perception of another and a better life; so fully is he prepared, for the present, for its riches, its honours, its pleasures; so fully is he prepared to sacrifice every moral, every virtuous, every religious sentiment. Circumstances indeed vary the object of pursuit. It is now one thing, now another, now a third, that possesses unrivalled attractions in his eyes. It is either wealth or power, glory or amusement, science or literature, and still, while the fascination prevails, all other considerations appear to be effectually excluded, or only canvassed, as so many incentives to redoubled exertion. He must obtain the prize in view, and to ensure it, no toil is deemed too arduous, no early impressions too sacred to be effaced. In this contest, principles often prove a feeble barrier to the aspirant for temporal distinction. As means multiply upon means, he hesitates not to use them, through any delicacy of moral feeling, or the dread of sin. As guilt accumulates upon guilt, he relaxes rein after rein; his impetuous, headlong career is checked by no voice of conscience, no fears of hell, no hopes of heaven.

But behold this sinner under a different aspect. Behold him, after his eyes have been opened, after his heart has been softened, after the terrors of the law have sunk deep into his soul, after repeated prayers to heaven have been answered by the effectual operations of converting grace, after he has become penitent, and faithful, and obedient. Behold him then, and you will observe in all instances of genuine conversion, that "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;" liberty from the shackles of a servitude

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worse than despot ever forged, or galley-slave endured. Old things have passed away, and in passing away, they have carried with them actions and pursuits, he once vainly thought the highest sources of temporal felicity. All things have become new, and in becoming new, they have convinced him, how truly inestimable and sublime are the charms of religion, the paths of holiness, the daily intercourse subsisting between the creature and his great Creator. Has he lived the merest votary of pleasure? His chief pleasure now consists in contemplating the perfections of the Most High, in adoring him for his matchless exhibitions of love and mercy to fallen man, in praising him for the riches of his grace, in having provided mansions of everlasting glory for the pure in heart. Has he constantly dipped in volumes, where, amid a few sparkling gems, is collected a profusion of the vilest dross? He has been taught the priceless value of the volume of inspiration. He prefers it, as a vein of gold is preferred to a mine of lead, as a fountain of pure water to the stagnant moat and fetid pool. Has he leagued with vice in its grosser forms, and ventured where so many of the young resort to breathe the atmosphere, and imbibe the infection of death eternal? He has learnt to humble himself in the house of his God, to bend his knees in worship and his soul in prayer, to anticipate with joy and listen with rapture to those words of heavenly grace, which reveal the promises and predict the fruitions of life eternal. Has he indulged malevolent passions and sought for vengeance, where blood is the only liquid, which can satiate the thirst of miscalled chivalry? He has found it far better to copy the example of Christ, always reviled and yet no reviler, always persecuted and yet committing himself to Him, that judgeth righteously. Has he been callous to the sufferings of humanity, turning away his face as the poor man pleaded for a trifle to relieve the urgency of his wants, and prolong a wretched life? He has acquired a tender and affectionate sympathy for the distresses of his fellow beings. He can no longer refuse to alleviate their sorrows, and contribute freely and bountifully to their aid. Has he assisted to brand the innocent with reproach, to hew down their reputation with the weapons of detraction, and with true Jesuitical cunning charge them with crimes for the nefarious purpose of concealing his own enormities? He has been instructed to cherish a more righteous and magnanimous spirit, to endure with patience even the malice of the sinner, to expostu

fate with him gently and kindly, to afford him no just ground of offence, and to extenuate rather than aggravate the measure of his guilt. Has he been addicted to licentious language? Have oaths, and imprecations, and blasphemies, polluted his breath, and mangled the tongue, that was designed to praise, and not to outrage the glory of God? He has been made to feel, that even for " every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." He has set a watch upon his lips, and fastened a bridle upon his tongue. For cursing and swearing he has substituted the voice of prayer, and perhaps resounded the songs of Zion. Has he drained the intoxicating bowl, and exulted in the table of an epicure? He has discovered that there is richer wine and more delicious food. He has banqueted at that far nobler board, which it cost the life of Christ to spread, and where, in the exercise of a true and lively faith, his redeeming blood is drank, and his crucified body broken and consumed. Has he in fine revelled in vices outnumbering the stars of heaven, the leaves of autumn, the sands upon the sea shore? Has he pursued them with thoughtless levity, or more inveterate animosity to the divine law? He has learnt to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. He has exchanged them for the mild and peaceful virtues of the Christian faith. He has resolved to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work." He has determined, as the height of his ambition, to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,"

Yes, Brethren, such is the change, such are the triumphs of the renovated Christian. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty:" Not the liberty of "continuing in sin, that grace may abound:" Not the liberty of flying in the face of heaven, and defying the power, that made him, by resisting his authority, and trampling upon his laws: But the liberty, which results from being victoriously born again, and transformed into a new creature in Christ Jesus. Give me this liberty, exclaims the full-hearted Christian, and I will not use it "for a cloak of maliciousness." I shall be free indeed; free from wrath and anger, from strife and contention; free from the pleasing snares of vice; free from the tyranny of evil habits; free from that slavery of the body and the soul, which yields to no other charter or form of emancipation, which must else consign me


to the regions of despair, and prove lasting and unchangeable as eternity itself.

Permit me then to inquire: Have I succeeded in giving you a faithful epitome of the true import and character of Christian liberty? Let it be the first wish of your hearts to reduce it to your personal possession. Fight the good fight of faith, and you will have it. Contend, manfully contend, against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and the victory must be yours. I cannot too often remind you, that "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: So is every one that is born of the Spirit." Its operations are silent and invisible. They are inscrutable. They are known and comprehended by the divine Omniscience alone.

But what of this? It does not detract from the health and vigour of the peasant, that he is incapable of analyzing the process of digestion, and of tracing his food through the numerous vessels, which convey its nutricious properties to every part of his sturdy frame. It does not render him the less agile or robust, the less adroit in the management of his muscles, or pre-eminent in athletick feats. Nor is it necessary to the work of regeneration, that it should be better understood, or more precisely marked. You have only perseveringly to use the means, all plainly revealed in the sacred volume; you have only perseveringly to pray, that they may be made effectual in the manner God hath ordained, and you can no more fail of success, than you can fail of being clean after repeated ablutions; you can, in the course of time, no more mistake the indwelling influences of the Spirit, no more mistake the liberty with which Christ shall make you free, than you can the evidence which now impels you to the belief of your corporeal and intellectual existence. The unconverted may, but the converted seldom or never. They are too thoroughly changed; too widely variant from what they were before. The idiosyncrasy, if I may be allowed the word, following in the train of their religion, shines out apparent as the sun in the heavens. Their domestick relations, their intercourse with society, are sustained under happier auspices and after a more excellent way. They are vigilant, where they were careless; conscientious, where they were presumptuous; holy, where they were sinful; obedient, where they were disobedient. If Jesus commands, they prepare themselves according to his will; if to repent, they repent; to be

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