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power of God, there are those who utterly disclaim such an idea. But either their language is utterly and absolutely unintelligible, or it does imply the idea of a real creation by an act of mere physical power on the part of God! We say physical in the proper meaning of that term ;--not material but as real and substantial, as in the first production or creation of the human soul. We must certainly mistake the obvious meaning of words, if some theologicial writers do not use the word create in reference to the regeneration of a sinner, in its plain and literal import, and conceive of life as being an essence or substance, possessing the power of a cause in and of itself. We cite a few quotations for the reader to examine.

“Second instance of the Spirit's work upon the soul in effectual calling, in which the soul is wholly passive ; and that is, in the act of quickening the soul by giving and effecting a real vital union to Christ, as the head and root of all spiritual life and grace; from whom every member of his body, being thus spiritually and vitallı: one in him, receiveth all the necessarysupplies of nourishment and edification suited to the new creature life and motions: and as the Spirit of God and Christ knits or ties this vital knot of everlasting union betwixt the soul and Christ; so he himseif becometh the eternal vital bond by which the two being "joined to the Lord become one spirit,” as truly and properly as the union between husband and wife, by God's ordination make them one flesh,"

"As there must be life in the principle or habit, before it can be in the act; so there must be union to Christ as a head before there is life in the member: for as well may we imagine a branch cut off from the old wild olive to have good juices in it, received from the root before it is grafted in, as to pretend that any have a life of grace or faith before spiritual vital union to Christ. How this is effected, and exactly when it beginneth I will not pretend to be positive in, it being much more hidden and mysterious than the way of the spirit of man, in its first entrance into and qaickening the body before it is born into the world, the which, whatever men pretend, is to mortals inexplicable.”

“We are sure we are passive in our being quickened by and from our life-giving head and spiritual Adam as we were in our first union to, and quickening in our natural parent: for as a life-giving Spirit he first conveyeth life from himself into us by his Spirit which he giveth to us; and this very life is our union, even as life is the bond uniting and tying soul and body together, so life and union are coeval.”

Who does not feel bewildered after passing thro' such a labyrinth of perplexity? There is such a confounding of literal and metaphorical expressions, and at the same time such false physiology and false philosophy suggesting the analogical illustrations, that we are glad to escape. Nor are we to be deterred from the rejection of such "vain philosophy” by an appeal to the mystery of the Spirit's operations, for this is too often done to prevent the exposure of mere mysticism and obscurity in the conceptions and language of those who discern not where the mystery lies.

Witsius defines Regeneration to be "a supernatural act of God by which a new and divine life is put into (inditur) an elect man spiritually dead, and that from the incorruptible seed of the word of God impregnated by the mighty power of the Spirit.”

“It is that intrinsic constitution of the soul, in which by virtue of the Spirit's uniting it with God it is born fit to put forth those actions which are pleasing to God in Christ; whether actions of this sort may follow from that principle, or, as fruit in the seed, may even there for a little while lie

hid.

1 Skepp's Divine Energy, pp. 238, 239, 240. 2 Regeneratio est actio Dei hyperphysica, qua homini electo, spiritualiter

The same vagueness of speech is here observable, and it seems to us very clearly to be the result of an attempt, phy. siologically to explain the nature of regeneration, and ex press some mystic notion about the infusion of a vital principle into the soul. He speaks of a life put into the soul, of the intrinsic constitution of the soul, of its being impregnated while a germ and there for a while lying hid, and that too, not when he might have been expected to abound in metaphor, but when theologically and philosophically defining regeneration.

Dr. Charnock says that “the new creature is a vital powerful principle, naturally moving the soul to the service and obedience of God, and doth animate the faculties in their several motions, as the soul doth quicken the members of the body."

“Tis the form whence the perfection both of understanding and will do flow; 'tis not therefore placed in either of them but in the essence of the soul. 'Tis by this the union is made between God and the soul: but the union is not of one particular faculty, but of the whole soul. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, 'tis not one particular faculty that is perfected by grace but the substance of the soul. 1

The above is capable of but one construction. We see in it clearly the philosophy of this celebrated divine. It is impossible to employ terms more expressive of the idea of Regeneration's being a physical change. He talks of grace operating in the essence of the soul, and perfecting the sub

1)

mortuo, nova ac divina vita inditur, idque ex, semine incorruptibili verbi Dei, fæcundati per immensam spiritus virtutem.

Est illa intrinseca animæ constitutio, qua virtute Spiritus eam cum Deo unientis, apta nata est eas exscrereas actiones, quæ Deo in Christo gratz sunt: sive actiones ejusmodi mox ex isto principio consequantur, sive in ibi uti fructus in semine, aliquantisper delitescant. Witsius de Economis Fæd. Dic. lib. III. cap v. 1 Charnock's works fol. ed. vol. ü. pp: 51, & 46.

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stance of the soul as though grace were itself a creature in. jected by the power of God into the soul!! And yet, else where, this same writer contradicts himself; as indeed it is not uncommon to find such contradictions, when faith and common sense, in some moments of inadvertence, make war upon and triumph over a vain philosophy. He says that this new creation “is not a destruction of the substance of the soul; but that there is the same physical being and the same faculties in all men and nothing is changed in its substance as far as it respects the nature of man: 'tis necessary therefore that this new creation consist in gracious qualities and habits which beautify and dispose the soul to act righteously and holily.'

The inconsistency and contradictions in the language of tris writer, can only be accounted for on the supposition just stated, viz: his faith and common sense occasionally getting the better of, and breaking through the mysticism of a false philosophy. It is plain that he considered Regeneration to be something done in or upon the soul by the Spirit of God, and that by the mere exercise of His physical pow. . er, which, though he could not say it changed the substance of the soul, nevertheless being introduced into the soul anterior to, and irrespective of its voluntary exercises, becomes the immediate cause of holiness or spiritual actions, as really as the creation of the substance of the sout precedes, in the order of nature and of time, and proves the cause of those actions which it performs. This is unquestionably a physical Regeneration, i. e. a change produced on or in the soul-we care not whether by addition or substraction, injection or extraction-something done to the soul back of its thoughts and feelings or voluntary exercises, and which, as Witsius intimates, may fecundate it and fit it for doing those things which are pleasing to God, though for a little while it may lie hid.

1 Charnock's works, fol. ed. vok č. pp. 51, 41.

Dr. Hopkins expresses himself much to the same effect. “ The divine operation in Regeneration," says he, "of which the new heart is the effect, is immediate; or it is not wrought by any means as the cause of it; but by the immediate power and energy of the Holy Spirit. It is called a creation; and the divine agency in it is as much without any medium as in creating something from no

thing,"

An attempt has been recently made to vindicate Charnock, Owen, Turretine and others from the charge alleged against the old Calvinistic divines by Dr. Cox, that they believed and taught the doctrine of a physical Regeneration.” But it is as we humbly conceive altogther a vain attempt. They do indeed speak of Regeneration as a moral change, and describe it ost times with great accuracy, when speaking of the moral exercises. Here their faith and piety triumphed over their philosophy:-but whatever may have been their declarations and illustrations, as long as they did assert and teach that Regeneration is a literal creationsomething done in or upon the soul by an immediate exercise of physical power on the part of God, thus and there producing an effect, which is anterior to any holy exercises, and becomes itself the direct cause of such exercises, we cannot possibly see how they are to be exculpated from the charge. Their language frequently involves the idea of physical Regeneration, or they have expressed themselves most awkwardly, and without any definite meaning.

Speaking of the first moment of conversion, Turretino represents the man as perfectly passive, as is the ewer into) which water is poured. And he compares the regenera- • tion of a sinner, not to natural birth but conception, ob. serving that, “as in natural generation the children them. selves cannot beget themselves, nor confer any thing to their own nativity, but are merely passive: so in superna

1 Mophin's System of Divinity, voli. p. 536.

2 See Bib. Rep. vol. ä.

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