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a train of low and languishing affections. The truth is, the final salvation of all true believers depends upon God's working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure; and therefore their salvation is absolutely certain, whether he constantly produces holy affections in their hearts, or whether he sometimes withdraws his gracious influences from them. It is sufficient for them to be assured, that “He who has begun a good work in them will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

But it may be still further said, that all true believers have a principle of grace, which was implanted in regeneration, and which will not admit of their being totally destitute of holiness, for a single moment.

In answer to this objection, it seems necessary to examine the principal passages of Scripture, upon which it is founded. These are such as the following: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things..

Here it is natural to remark, in the first place, that these texts cannot mean, that a principle of holiness is implanted in the mind in regeneration. For holiness is love, and love requires no other principles, than those of moral agency, which are common to all moral agents. A sinner has no need of a new natural principle, in order to exercise holy affections; nor is any such principle required. All that the divine law requires of any man is the exercise of true love, or uni

versal benevolence. This has been shown in a former discourse. * If these texts, therefore, do not prove, that saints have a gracious principle, then they do not provę, that they are always in the actual posses. sion and exercise of grace.

The next remark is, that the passages under consideration prove too much, and of consequence, prove nothing to the purpose, for which they are brought. They prove, if taken literally, that when the heart of flesh is given, the heart of stone is totally and finally removed; that when a man is born of the Spirit, all his moral exercises become spiritual or truly holy; that when a man is made a new creature, all his old sinful exercises are done away, and all his moral affections become new; that when the treasure of the heart is made good, nothing but pure holiness or moral goodness can proceed from it. In a word, they prove, that when once the good seed is sown in the heart, it remains and produces nothing but good fruit. But how is all this consistent with the truth, which has been established in this discourse, and which is granted by all who plead for a principle of grace, that saints are in a state of imperfection and have the remains of moral corruption? We must, therefore, look for some different interpretation of these figurative expressions of Scripture.

This leads us to observe in the last place, that these texts, in their true meaning, support the very sentiment, which they are supposed to refute. They plainly intimate, that regeneration is the production of real holiness, which is totally distinct from sin, and can never be united or blended with it. For, if the giving of the heart of flesh be the taking away of the heart of stone, then the heart of stone and the heart of flesh are

* Page 203.

a train of low and languishing affections. The truth is, the final salvation of all true believers depends upon God's working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure; and therefore their salvation is absolutely certain, whether he constantly produces holy affections in their hearts, or whether he sometimes withdraws his gracious influences from them. It is sufficient for them to be assured, that “He who has begun a good work in them will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

But it may be still further said, that all true believe ers have u principle of grace, which was implanted in regeneration, and which will not admit of their being totally destitute of holiness, for a single moment.

In answer to this objection, it seems necessary to examine the principal passages of Scripture, upon which it is founded. These are such as the following: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things..

Here it is natural to remark, in the first place, that these texts cannot mean, that a principle of holiness is implanted in the mind in regeneration. For holiness is love, and love requires no other principles, than those of moral agency, which are common to all moral agents. A sinner has no need of a new natural principle, in order to exercise holy affections; nor is any such principle required. All that the divine law requires of any man is the exercise of true love, or uni

versal benevolence. This has been shown in a former discourse.* If these texts, therefore, do not prove, that saints have a gracious principle, then they do not provę, that they are always in the actual possession and exercise of grace.

The next remark is, that the passages under consideration prove too much, and of consequence, prove nothing to the purpose, for which they are brought. They prove, if taken literally, that when the heart of flesh is given, the heart of stone is totally and finally removed; that when a man is born of the Spirit, all his moral exercises become spiritual or truly holy; that when a man is made a new creature, all his old sinful exercises are done away, and all his moral affections become new; that when the treasure of the heart is made good, nothing but pure holiness or moral goodness can proceed from it. In a word, they prove, that when once the good seed is sown in the heart, it remains and produces nothing but good fruit. But how is all this consistent with the truth, which has been established in this discourse, and which is granted by all who plead for a principle of grace, that saints are in a state of imperfection and have the remains of moral corruption? We nust, therefore, look for some different interpretation of these figurative expressions of Scripture.

This leads us to observe in the last place, that these texts, in their true meaning, support the very sentiment, which they are supposed to refute. They plainly intimate, that regeneration is the production of real holiness, which is totally distinct from sin, and can never be united or blended with it. For, if the giving of the heart of flesh be the taking away of the heart of stone, then the heart of stone and the heart of flesh are

* Page 208.

totally distinct; if that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, then flesh and spirit are totally distinct; if a man's becom. ing a new creature removes all his old exercises, then his new exercises are totally distinct from his old; or if he that is born of God sinneth not, because his seed remaineth in him, then that seed, which our Savior calls spirit, is totally distinct from such sinful exercises, as all must allow, more or less prevail in the best of saiots. On this supposition, that grace is perfectly pure and entirely distinct from all the sinful exercises, all the Scripture representations of the renovation of the heart may be explained, in consistency with the moral agency and with the moral imperfection of good men. It now appears, we trust, that there is no solid objection against the leading sentiment in this discourse, that all the criminal imperfection of saints consists in positively sinful affections.

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