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Those that having received the call of the gospel to come out of the world lying in wickedness, have by faith embraced the call, and come away, John i. 12, 13. 2 Cor. v. 17. (3.) The knowledge they have of their original: We know that we are of God. We are not only regenerate, but we know that we are so. Not that all of them know so much, but some of them do; there may be children fo young, that they know not their fatlier's and mother's names; but the elder children know them very well. This comes in here for the comfort of believers against the fin unto death, ver. 16. which the regenerate cannot fall into, ver. 18.
2. There is another people, who are not of God, but are quite diftinct from those that are so. Here confider, (1.) Who they are, the world, that is, the unregenerate; these are the people distinct from, yea in an opposite intereft to, the people of God. It is plain, the world is taken here, not for the place, but for the men of the place, and these not the strangers and pilgrims in it, but the natives who have no other but a worldly birth, and who are in it as at home in their own country. The phrase is taken from the Old Testament, where the church is called the fons of God, Gen. vi. 4. those without the church, the earth, Gen. xi. 1. in opposition to heaven; being the earthly men in opposition to the heavenly men; men whose birth, temper, and manner of life are all worldly. (2.) The character of this people; they are lying in wickedness, or in the wicked one, viz. the devil. They are lying in fin, in the guilt and filth, and under the reigning power of it, and so under the power of the devil. They are not rising and wrestling out of it, but they are lying in it, sleeping, dead, and buried in it. (3.) The extent of this character; it belongs to them all, the whole world. There are many differences among
those of the unregenerate worlds fome of them are professors, some profane, but the former as well as the latter are lying in wickedness.
That I may give you some view of this text, in its different branches, I shall essay to open up the three following points of doctrine therefrom, viz.
Doct. I. All true believers are of God, and so le, parated from the world lying in wickedness.
Dact. II. Peoples being of God, and separated from the world lying in wickedness, is what way be known by themselves.
Doct. III. The whole unregenerate world lieth in wickedness.
Doct. I. All true believers are of God, and to le. parated from the world lying in wickedness.
In handling this point, I shall shew, 1. How true believers are of God.
II. How, as they are of God, regenerate persons, they are separated from the world lying in wickedness.
III. Make improvement.
I. I am to shery how true believers are of God. Onc is faid to be of God two ways:
1. By creation; and fo all things are of God, Rom. xi. 36. Thus the devils themselves are of God as their Creator, and so is the world. But this is not the being of God here meant. They may be God's creatures, who nevertheless are the children of the devil.
2. By generation, as a son is of a father. And this is twofold.
11, Eternal generation : fo Christ alone is of God, John vi. 46. Pfal. ii. 7. He is the Son of God by generation of the person of the Father, having the same numerical divine essence eternally and necessarily com. municated to him from the Father. Hence he is self, exiftent, independent, and equal with the Father, John V. 26. Phil. ii. 6. Neither is this meant here. 2dly, Temporal generation, called regeneration, A 2
which is a work of God's grace on the souls of men, resembling natural generation. And thus believers, and none else are of God, John i. 12. 13. and viii. 47. We e are all born from below naturally; but we must be born from above spiritually, if we fee heaven, John iii. 3. Except a man be born again [marg. from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God. All the elect are born so, foo:ner or later. They naturally lie in the foul womb of the world with others, but the power of divine grace separates them therefrom.
The work of regeneration is held forth under a double notion, shewing the regenerate to be of God.
(1.). It is a being begotten of God, 1 John v. 18. He that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth bim not. God himself is the Father of the new creature: it is of no lower original. The incorruptible word of the gospel is the feed of it, Jam. i. 18. 1 Pet. i. 23, 25. A word is cast into the heart, which by the efficacy of the Spirit changes one into a new natur?. It is done by means of the resurrection of Christ, ver. 3. Christ lay in this womb of the earth in the grave, as a public person having fatisfied justice, he was raised, came forth of the grave, as the first-born from the dead; and in virtue thereof the dead elect are raifed out of their grave
of fin, as the next born from the dead.
And this notion of regeneration speaks the parties themselves to have no hand in it, more than a child hath in its own generation. So that as regenerate, they are wholly of God; and owe their being in grace to himn purely, not to their own free will.
(2.) It is a being born of God, 1 John v.18. Whofoever is born of God hinneth not. By his Spirit alone the new creature is formed in all its parts, and brought forth into the new world of grace, John iii. 5. And this notion of it speaks the parties to receive life by the Spirit, and to be brought forth to act that life; and none other but the Spirit to be the cause thereof, John i. 13
Now by this means, viz. regeneration, believers are of God.
1. As partaking of the divine nature, as the child doth of the nature of the parent, 2 Pet. i. 4. There
is a fulness of grace lodged in the man Chrift, out of which they receive grace for grace, and so with him partake of the divine nature, being made one spirit, or of one fpiritual and divine nature with him. Even as they received a corrupt nature derived to them from Adam, by which they were originally of the wicked one.
2. As bearing the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. By regeneration they are like him ; and if it were perfect, they would be perfectly like him. For in regeneration Christ is formed in them, Gal. iv. 19. that is, they are the image of the man Christ, who is the image of the invisible God,
3. As being of his family, Eph. iii. 14, 15. and that not as servants.only, but as children, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. The new birth is a high birth; by it the finner is a member of the family of heaven ; God is his Father, Christ is his elder brother, and the angels and saints are his brethren.
4. As owing their new being to him only in the efficacy of his grace, Eph. ii. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jefus unto good works. Our natural being we owe in part to our parents, Heb. xii. 9. but our gracious being to God only. · That we are men, we owe it to him, in the efficacy of his creating power; and that we are faints, we owe it to him, in the efficacy of his quickening and renewing grace, Gal. iv. 28. Now we, brethren, as 'Ifaac was, are the children of promise.
II. I shall shew how believers, as they are of God, regenerate persons, are separated from the world lys ing in wickedness. Negatively, 1. Not in respect of place, i Cor, v. 9, 10. They
are still in the world, and must be till the Lord call them home; though they are not of the world. God could, in the moment of conversion, have transported converts into heaven, taken them out of the world for good and all ; but he has seen meet for their trial, and the glory of the power of his grace, to keep them in the world a while ; and yet to keep them separate from them.
2. Not in respect of gathering them into pure unmixed societies for worship. There are no such vi. fible church-focieties in the world, Matth. xiii. 28, -30. Separating from the world lying in wickedness is not such an easy thing, as visible church separating; they may be forward enough to that, who are yet with the world lying in wickedness, Jude 19. and may go from party to party in the visible church, who are still of the world's party, not of God. But positively, the regenerate as such are separated from the world.
1. In respect of their being broke off from that corrupt mass, and become a part of a new lump. Adam falling left all mankind earthly men, bearing his corrupt image; Christ is become a second Adam, the head of heavenly men, bearing his imagé, 1 Cor. XV. 47, 48. Now the regenerate are separated from the former society, and become members of the latter, through regenerating grace. They are become members of Christ's myftical body, of the invisible church, a diftinct though invisible society.
2. Their being delivered from under the power of the god of this world, viz. Satan, Alts xxvi. 18. Satan is the god of this world ; the
wicked are led by him at his will; he works effectually in them, and blinds their minds, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. But the regenerate are got out from under his fubjection, delivered from his kingdom, Col. i. 13. He is indeed an enemy to moleft them, but not their king that reigns over them; his involuntary prisoners they may be for 2 time, but they are no more his willing subjects.