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in appearance were in the best manner disposed for regeneration, were yet at the greatest distance from it, as the instance of that young man, Mark. xix. 21, 22. very plainly shews. He appeared to be full of good intentions, and inflamed with a desire after heaven, and a blameless life before men, to a degree, that Jesus himself beholding him loved him; but, Dotwithstanding all these dispositions, he parted with our Lord sorrowful. Sdly. And on the other hand, they who had not even the least appearance of any preparation, as the publicans and harlots, went into the kingdom of God before those who were civilly righteous and externally religious ; " for these låst, believed not John, declaring the way of righteous pess; but the publicans and the harlots truly beheved,? Matt;, xxi. 31, 32. Sthly, and lastly, God testifies, that in the first approach of his grace," he is found of them that sought him not, and asked not for him," Isa. Ixv. 1. Fulgena tius, lib. 1. de veritat prædest. p. 62. says extremely well : We bave, pot certainly received

grace,

because we are wil, ling, but grace is given us while we are still unwilling.".

XI. There have been likewise, some among ourselves who have spoken of preparations to regeneration or conversion; but ipsa quite different sense from the favourers of Pelagia. nism. In persons to be regenerated they have assigned, Ista A breaking of the natural obstinacy, and a flexibility of the wille 2. A serious, consideration of the law. 3. A consideration of their own sips and offences against God. 4. A les gal fear of punishment, and a dread of hell, and consequently

despairing of their salvation, with respect to any thing in themselves. For in this order, Perkins, Cos. Conscient. c: 5. quaest. 1. §. 1, reckons up these preparations; and Ames in the same manner, Cas. Conscient. lib. 2. cap. 4. And the British divines explained themselves almost to the same purpose in the synod of Dort, p. 139, of the Utrecht edition, 1620, fol..lst.. “ There are some external works ordinarily required of men before they are brought to a state of regeneration ,or, conversion, which are wont sometimes to be freely done, sometimes freely omitted by them: as going to church, hearing the word preached, and the like.edly. There are some internal effects, previous to conversion, or regeneration, excited by the power of the word and Spirit in the hearts of those who are not yet justified ; as the knowledge of the will of God, sense of sin, dread of punishment, auxiety about deliverance, some hope of pardon." But they differ from the favourers of Pelagianism in this manner. 1st. That they are not for having these things to proceed from nature,

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but profess them to be the effects of the spirit of bondage, preparing & way to himself for their actual regeneration. Adly. That they are not for God's bestowing the grace of rew generation from a regard to, and moved by occasion of these preparations, much less by any merit in them, but they imagine that God, in this manner, levels a way for himself, fille up vallies, depresses mountains and bills, in order the better to smooth the way for his entrance into that soul. Nay, the British divines add, Thess. vi. " That even the Elect them, selves never behave in these acts - preceding regeneration, in such a manner as that on account of their negligence and resistance, they may not justly be abandoned and forsaken of God." Yet they call thiem rather preparations for grace, than the fruits and effects of grace ; because they think that even the reprobate may go as far as this : and they affirm, " that these antecedent effects, produced by the power of the word and Spirit in the minds of men, may be, and in many usually are, stifled and entirely- extinguished through the fault of the rebellious will.". Ibid. Thess. V. But we really think they argue more accurately, who make these, and the like things in the Elect, to be preparations to the further and i more perfect operations of a more noble and plentiful spirit, and so not preparations for regeneration, but the fruits and effects of the first regeneration for as these things supe pose some life of the soul, which spiritually attends to spiritual things, and are operations of the Spirit of God when gon ing about to sanctify the Elect, we cannot but refer them to the Spirit of grace and regeneration. Nor is it any objection, that the like, or the same be also said to be in reprobates: for they are only the same materially, but not formally. Reprobates also have some knowledge of Christ, some taste of the grace of God, and of the powers of the world to come. Yet it does not follow, that the knowledge of Christ, as it is in believers, and that relish of grace and glory they have, is not the gift of the Spirit of grace and of glory. And indeed, the things mentioned by Perkins, and the other British divines, are no preparations for regeneration in the reprobate ; either from the nature of the thing, or the intention of God. Not the former : for however great these things may appear to be, yet they are consistent with spiritual death ; and the reprobate are so far from being disposed thereby to a spirje tual life, that, on the contrary, deceived by those actings which counterfeit spiritual life, they are the more . hardened in a real death, and fondly pleasing themselves, are at a greater distance from enquiring after true life, which they fulsely

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imagine they have obtained. Not the latter : for no intention of God can be rendered void. It is therefore pecessary that all these things be in another manner in the Elect than in the reprobate.

XII. If this matter be more closely considered, we shall find that the orthodox differ more in words, and in the manner of explaining, than in sense and reality. For the term regeneration, is of ambiguous signification : Sometimes it is blended with sanctification, and by regeneration is understood that action of God, whereby man, who is now become the friend of God, and endowed with spiritual life, acts in a righteous and holy manner, from infused habits. And then it is certain, there are some effects of the Spirit, by which he usually prepáres them for the actings of complete faith and holiness;' for, a knowledge of divine truths, a sense of misery, sorrow for sin, hope of pardon, &c go before any one ean-tiducially lay hold on Christ; and apply himself to the practice of true godliness, God does not usually sanctify a man all'at once, before ever he has had any thought about himself and God, and any concern about his salvation. And this is what the British divines seem to have intended; when in confirmatione Secundæ Theseos, they thug speak : " Divine grace does not usually bring men to a state of justification, in which we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by a sudden enthusiasm, but first subdues and prepares them by many previous acts by the ministry of the word." By which words they sufficiently shew, that, by regeneration, they mean the state of passive justification. But sometimes regeneration denotes the first translation of a man from a state of death to a state of spiritual life; in which sense we take it. And in that respect none of the orthodox, if he will speak consistently with his own principles, can suppose preparatory works to the grace of regeneration. For, either he would maintain, that these works proceed from nature; and so, by the confession of all theorthodox, are but dead and splendid sins. But none in his right mind will affirm, that'any can be disposed for the graceof regeneration by those things which are sinful. Or he would maintain, that these works proceed from the Spirit of God, But if thus far he does not operate in another manner in the Elect than in the reprobate: these works, notwithstanding this his operation, may be reckoned among dead works, for the orthodox look upon all the actions of the reprobate to be sinful, let them be ever so much elevated by divine assistance. Thus the British divines, I. c. p. 143. “ an evil tree, which naturally brings forth evil fruit, must itself be first changed to a good tree, before ever it can yield any good fruit. But the will of an unregenerate person is not only an evil, but also a dead tree." I.

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dow infer, the reprobate are never regenerated, and therefore continue evil trees, without ever producing any other than bad fruit. And so there can be' no preparation in such works for regeneration, for the reason above explained. If you say, that these works which you call preparatory are different in the Elect: I ask, in what respect ? No other answer can be given but this, that they proceed from the Spirit of grace and life: right, but then they are not preparations for the first regeneration, but effects of it; for regeneration is the first approach of the Spirit of grace and life, effectually working in the Elect.

XIII. You will say then, are there no preparatory dispositions to the first regeneration? I confidently answer, there are none: and agree with Fulgentius, de Incarnat et Gratia Christi, c. 19. “ with respect to the birth of a child, the work of God is previous to any will of the person that comes into the world; so also in the spiritual birth whereby we begin to put off the old man." I own, indeed, spiritual death has its degrees, but with a distinction : what is privative therein, or what it is destitute of, namely, the want of the life of God, is equal or alike in all and in this respect there are no degrees less or more. But what is positive, or, as it were, positive therein ; namely, those evil habits, these indeed are very unequal. ' In infants there are only those evil habits which come into the world with them : in the adult there are others contracted and deeply rooted by many vicious acts, and a course of wickedness. These again greatly differ, according as, by the secret dispensation of God's provi dence, the affections of men are more or less restrained. For though every kind of wickedness, like a certain hydra, lurks in the heart of all; yet God suffers some to give loose reins to their vices, and to be hurried on as by so many furies; while he moves others with a sense of shame, and a reverende for the laws, and some kind of love to honour and honesty; who, in that respect, may be said not to be at such a distance from sanci tifying grace, as they who are guilty of horrid crimes, which are more opposite thereto than a civil and external honesty of life. But yet whatever length any before regeneration has advanced in that honesty, he nevertheless remains in the confines of death, in which there is no preparation for life.

XIV. Nor do we agree with those who so inconsiderately assert, that man is no more disposed for regeneration than a stone or an irrational animal. For there are naturally such faculties in the soul of man, as render him a fit subject of regeneration, which

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• The author's plirase is quædam velut Lemna ; and therefore I have rendered it like a certain Hydra, which was supposed to be a water serpent in the lake of Lerna, having several heads, which grew again as fast as they were cut off. This monster was killed by Hercules,

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