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Full text of "The complete works of Stephen Charnock"

BX 9315 .C427 1864 v. 3 
Charnock, Stephen, 1628- 

The complete works of 

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ummm college ; hoxoeaky caso* oe n^u i hector oe st M.axuVs, uniu-. 





W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

©erteral Got'tor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinburgh. 














printed by john greco and son, 




To the Reader. . . . . . .3 

The Necessity of Regeneration. . . John III. 3, 5. . 7 

A Discourse of the Nature of Regeneration. 2 Cor. V. 17. . 82 

A Discourse of the Efficient of Regeneration. John I. 13. . 16G 

A Discourse of the Word, the Instrument of 

Regeneration. . . . . James I. 18. . 307 

A Discourse of God's being the Author of 

Reconciliation. . . . .2 Cor. V. 18, 19. 336 

A Discourse of the Cleansing Virtue of 

Christ's Blood. . . 1 John I. 7. . 501 



The quick sale of this excellent author's former volume, viz., his Discourses 
upon the Existence and Attributes of God, as well as that of Divine Provi- 
dence, considering how heavily the works of some others on such like sub- 
jects have gone off in our decrepit age, may be abundant evidence what 
acceptance they have found with the judiciously pious, who converse with 
books, and thereupon afford persuasive hopes that more of the genuine and 
useful issue of the same father, not less like to him than those born before, 
will yet be more favourably entertained. Wherefore, presuming we have 
not any way impeached oar reputation by anything we wrote in the fore- 
going Prefaces, if thou wilt (without any repetition of the same with respect 
to these) but give us credit till thou hast took a distinct view by a due pro- 
portion of the several well-made parts and features here presented to thine 
eye by us, who were desired to perform this office of love to our deceased 
worthy friend, we doubt not but thou wilt easily say, As those treatises 
were, so these are, Judges viii. 18 ; yea (as Joseph's brethren said, Gen. 
xlii. 11, 13), • All sons of one man in the land of Canaan ' above, each one 
resembling the children of him that now ' rests from his labours, and his 
works do follow him,' Rev. xiv. 13, being ' made a king and priest unto 
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' Rev. i. 5, whom he served with 
his spirit in the gospel, Rom. i. 9, which the choice heads of evangelical 
truths, clearly opened and practically applied in this volume, may largely 
attest, and so give a supersedeas to any further recommendation of ours. The 
rather, when thou mayest be fully assured that a considerable part, namely, 
the learned and spiritual Discourses of Regeneration, were carefully copied 
out by one f of the former happy undertakers ; and though another, who 
attained to the skill of perfectly reading his manuscripts, was chiefly 
employed in transcribing the major part of this great work from the author's 
own copy, yet the transcript hath been diligently compared with the original 
by the other J of the former transcribers before we read it each of us 
separately, and afterwards those passages conjunctly, in consultation to- 
gether, wherein either of us conceived any little scruple might arise 
concerning the author's genuine sense, we saw re-examined, being studious 
to do him all the right we could, and give his own meaning in his own words 
unto the world, without adventuring to interpose our own conceptions. 
Yet after our utmost care, and the vigilant supervisal of the press by an in- 
genious person, § who did much honour the author, we doubt not but 
had he himself survived the publication of what now appears, he would have 
sweetened and given grace to some lines that we presume not to alter. If, 

* This Address to the Beader is prefixed to Vol. II. of the original edition of 
Cliarnock's Works, from which this Volume and the succeeding one will bo re- 
printed. It is Iherefore appropriately introduced here. — Ed. 

t Mr Wickens. { Mr Nich. Ashton. \ Mr Taylor. 


then, there should be found some things less clear, or any metaphor less 
pleasing, there be other things of greater weight singularly well delivered 
will abundantly compensate it ; yea, which will greatly inform the judgment, 
affect the serious heart, and notably quicken to the main business of religion, 
and possibly, as the remains of the prophet Elisha, 2 Kings xiii. 21, which 
revived the man that was occasionally let down into his sepulchre, be a 
means, under God's gracious influence, to enliven some spiritually dead soul, 
set him upright, and enable him to run the ways of God's commandments ; 
or, like the writing left behind Elijah, 2 Chron. xxi. 12, compared with 
2 Kings ii. 11, and iii. 11, serve to warm some who are contributing to 
the removal of the gospel from among us. However, this later, with the 
former volume, will evince to those who are addicted to an over hasty 
censuring men of his persuasion, without any just ground?, what his 
great soul was mostly exercised about, namely, not matters of human 
policy, but the great things of the kingdom of God ; not meats and drinks, 
i.e. mere circumstances, but the essentials and substantial of the Christian 
institution, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Kom xiv. 
17, which we 'are confident he hath explained very consonant to the doc- 
trinal articles of religion, drawn up by our first reformers, and subscribed 
by the minsters of the Church of England. We know not that he doth at all 
vary from them, or other of the reformed churches. Discipline he doth not 
insist on. And we suppose ingenuous readers, if they find in any little 
matter his sentiments different from their own, will freely give an allowance 
for a fair interpretation of the authot's sense, at least in a posthumous 
work, and not wiredraw any sentences a working fancy might produce, and 
not review, to make them look crooked ; considering what we are put in 
mind of in this book,* viz., every error in the head doth no more destroy 
the truth of faith, than every miscarriage in the life, through infirmity, nulls 
the being of grace ; or every spot upon the face impairs the beauty and 
features of it 

Some who have heartily blessed God for those good things they have 
already received since this author's departure (and we have no small engage- 
ment upon us to be thankful to God for good books, when there be such 
swarms of bad ones), do with greedy eyes long to peruse his meditations 
upon the proposed subjects ; which now appearing to their view, we are per- 
suaded will easily gain their grateful acknowledgments that they are not dis- 
appointed, when they here find the fruitful products of the very same spirit 
of Mr Charnock, which was of no ordinary elevation. 

And however, in the Discourse of Christ's Exaltation, there be some few 
materials which be of the same import with some of those in that of Recon- 
ciliation, yet handled with an acceptable variety, this might easily so fall 
out in the course of his celebrated preaching, not designing to lay them to- 
gether in one volume, without the least disparagement ; yea, now they are 
printed, the bottomless pit being opened, Rev. ix. 2, by the papists' causing 
smoke to arise thence to trouble the eyes of real Chistians, the inculcating 
of such choice notions seems to be an angelical voice from heaven opened, 
Rev. xix. 11, to direct God's chosen ones into that way of truth which others 
have not known. And if, in two or three smaller tracts, the author seem 
not altogether so elaborate as in his other pieces, it cannot but be granted 
that they were some occasional sermons composed in great straits of time ; 
yet such as kindly savour of the same spirit with the rest, unto which it 
was thought fit to annex them, that there might not be any occasion to 
mutter that we had kept back part of what was primarily dedicated to the 
* Page 007. 


use of the church ; or locked up in secret any pieces of so good an author, 
whose business, whilst he lived, was to benefit others ; being happy in veri- 
fying the Arabic proverb, viz., that that learned scholar is the worst of men, 
who doth not profit others by his learning. 

As to that discourse about The Spirit's convincing the World of Sin, the 
author's own notes, upon stricter search, not being found, two skilful short- 
band writers,* who constantly attended his ministry, have supplied the 
defect, from what they both took from his own mouth, when they had 
compared their notes ; which supply, though it should want somewhat 
of the accuracy of those other parts transcribed from his own manuscripts, 
yet those who are not over critical will find, for the completing of tbese 
discourses upon that text, not much real detriment ; and upon the whole 
matter, not any detracting from that powerful name which the title page 
is adorned witb. We therefore taking the freedom to advise thee, Christian 
reader, of those things, are not much concerned with the carping censures 
of supercilious critics, having, we hope, conscientiously done what was 
incumbent on us with all faithfulness, in emitting these writings, which 
might, as Peter's, be beneficial after his decease to the public, 2 Peter i. 15, 
which was not more the design of the deceased author in his ministry, than 
of his yet surviving friends, and 

Thy servants, for Jesus's sake, 

Richard Adams. 
Edward Veal. 
Sept. 24. 1683. 

* Mr Taylor, Mr Newberry. 


■Jesu% answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a 
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered, 
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the 
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. — John III. 3, 5. 

These words contain the foundation of all practical religion here, and hap- 
piness hereafter. It is the principal doctrine Christ, as a prophet, came to 
teach, and as a king to work in the heart. It is an answer to Nicodemus 
his compliment, who came to him with some veneration of him. His de- 
scription is in ver. 1 : ' There was a man of the'pharisees named Nicodemus, 
a ruler of the Jews.' 1. By his profession or sect, a pharisee. 2. His name, 
Nicodemus. 3. His quality, a ruler of the Jews ; "A^oov, a prince, one of 
the great Sanhedrim, who had the supreme power in all affairs which con- 
cerned religion, even under the Roman government. His coming to Christ 
is described, ver. 2 : ' The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, 
Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God : for no man can do 
these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.' Where we have 
(1.) the time of his coming, by night ; (2.) the manner of coming and speak- 
ing to him with reverence, Rabbi, a title of honour. He comes to Christ ; 
therefore is to be commended. He comes by night ; hath some failure in 
his respect to Christ, afraid publicly to own him. Nicodemus was one of 
the number which believed Christ for his miracles, John ii. 23. He comes 
hereupon to discourse with him about divine things. He acknowledges him 
a prophet sent by God. The reason of his acknowledgment is the conside- 
ration of his miracles, which manifested a divine power, both in the greatness 
and multitude of them. For he knew that God would not set the seal of his 
power, to one that had not his commission. Miracles are the credential 
letters, to signify the divine authority of any person sent upon any new dis- 
pensation by God. 


1. God doth not force any man's belief, but gives such undeniable evi- 
dences of his will and mind, that not to believe is flat contradiction to him. 
When he sent Moses to deliver and give a new law to the Israelites, he at- 
tended him with a miraculous power, to testify it to be his will, that what 
Moses delivered should be entertained. So it was with our Saviour, and in 
the primitive times, at the first promulgation of the gospel in several places. 

8 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

But when a doctrine is settled and a church established, God forbears those 
extraordinary works, as he did the raining down manna after the Israelites' 
entrance into Canaan, where they might have provision in an ordinary way of 
providence ; and they had miracles afterward in a more scanty measure, now 
and then. We have now rational ways to introduce us to a belief of the 
Christian doctrine ; and though there are no sensible miracles as before, yet 
there hath been in all ages, and is still, a miracle Jiept up in the world, greater 
than wrought by Christ upon the bodies of men.'' And that is the conversion 
of many obstinate sinners, and subduing them on a sudden, which in Christ's 
account, was the chiefest miracle he wrought when he was upon the earth : 
Luke vii. 22, ' Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and 
heard : how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the 
deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.' Christ 
had cured many in their sight ; but he added in the end of the enumeration, 
' To the poor the gospel is preached ;' Uru^oi iuayyiXifyvrai. The poor are 
evangelised, brought into a gospel frame, a renewed state for the kingdom of 
heaven, which is greater than the raising a man from a natural death to a 
natural life. 

Nicodemus comes by night. He is fond of his own honour, loath to im- 
pair it by a free and open confession. He was a master in Israel. Had he 
come by day, his reputation had suffered in the vulgar opinion, who might 
well wonder that he, a pharisee, of a profound knowledge, should come to 
receive instruction from the son of a carpenter, a man despised by his fel- 
lows of the Sanhedrim. Yet he comes, though by night. 


1. It is a hard matter for us to perform a duty we are convinced of, with- 
out a flaw in it. Nicodemus is convinced by the miracles of Christ's divine 
authority ; but he forbears an open acknowledgment of him. He creeps to him 
in the night, unwilling to be seen with him in the day. If Christ were 
not a prophet, why should he be acknowledged at all ? If a prophet, why 
not in the day as well as in the night ? Strange not to consult him in the 
day, whom he confesseth to have his commission from God ! How weak is 
the faith of the best at first ! How staggering between Christ and self. 

2. Our own reputation will be apt to mix itself in our religious services. 
It is his fear of the loss of this makes him choose the darkness. This 
greatest piece of old Adam in us will be rising in various forms, when we 
are in the most spiritual exercises. What a contest is there between reli- 
gion and reputation ! He was willing to gratify the one, but not displease 
the other. 

3. Ambition is the great hindrance of a thorough conversion. Nicodemus 
had a mind to speak to Christ, but his reputation bears too much sway in 
him against a thorough giving up himself to him. He was ashamed to 
be taken notice of in this little address he made : John v. 44, ' How can 
ye believe, that receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour 
which comes from God only ?' 

4. Men may have a high esteem of Christ, yet not such an esteem as 
amounts to a saving faith. Nicodemus acknowledges him a teacher, and that 
sent from God ; but not the teacher, the great prophet Moses had spoken of, 
Deut. xviii. 15. He confesseth him a prophet, but not the Messiah. Look 
to your estimations of Christ ; see whether they be supreme, superlative, the 
Saviour, the mediator, the Lord and King. 

5. Convictions may be a long time before any appearance of conversion. 
If we consider Nicodemus here, only as one convinced of the divine autho- 
rity of Christ, and not a thorough convert at this time ; for he seems by his 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 9 

questions, vers. 4 and 9, to be rather a malcontent, than a convert ; yet the 
seed then sown by our Saviour's discourse sprung up at last in fruit. He 
doth upon a signal occasion plead Christ's cause before a council of phari- 
sees, probably the great Sanhedrim, yet but faintly: John vii. 50, 51, ' Doth 
our law judge any man before it hears him, and knows what he doth ?' 
Before, he would have no witness of his coming to Christ. Here he takes 
his part, as he might have done any man's upon a common principle of jus- 
tice and equity, that he should not be condemned before he was heard. But 
there is more generous fruit afterwards, where he joins with Joseph of Arima- 
thea in doing honour openly to our Saviour's crucified body : John xix. 39, 
1 And there came also Nicodemus (which at the first came to Jesus by night), 
and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.' 
What grace he had seems to be in a long sleep, but is very vigorous upon 
its awaking. 

6. True grace doth one time or other discover itself most contrary to 
that which was the natural crime before. In both these places, fear had 
been his sin. It is now over- matched by confidence. The Holy Ghost takes 
notice of it, ' which at the first came to Jesus by night.' He came by night 
before, now he comes by day. He and another never named before, Joseph 
of Arimathea, who being possessed with the same passion of fear, was a dis- 
ciple in secret, — John xix. 38, ' Being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for 
fear of the Jews,' — own him publicly at his death, when those that had been 
familiar with him in his life forsook him. Christ will make timorous hares 
to own his cause, when those that think themselves courageous lions turn 
their backs upon him. 

Paul had the most transcendent affection to the church, who before was 
guilty of the smartest persecution. And Peter, after the coming of the 
Spirit, was as courageous as before he was cowardly in his Master's cause. 

We have seen the pharisee. Let us consider our Saviour's answer: ver. 3, 
' Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a 
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' 

Some think that Nicodemus asked a question which is not expressed, but 
may be gathered out of Christ's answer, and seems to be this, What was 
requisite to a man's entrance into the kingdom of heaven ? Whereupon 
Christ tells him, that there was a necessity of being born again. Others 
think that Nicodemus asked no question, and that these words are a very 
proper reply to Nicodemus. 

1. Christ answers not his compliment, but useth his authority, acknow- 
ledged by Nicodemus, of a teacher to inform him. Since you acknowledge 
my commission from God to be a teacher, I will teach you what I have to 
declare. The great design of my coming is to bring men to the kingdom of 
God ; and the great means to this is a new birth, which can only fit you for 
evangelical truths here, and eternal happiness hereafter. He acknowledges 
Christ to be a teacher, and Christ in his reply would teach him how to 
become a Christian. 

2. Christ frames his answer according to the pharisee's corruption. 
Nicodemus came by night, out of love to his credit, that might be impaired 
by his coming in the day-time. What would the people think ? Surely 
this man, and the rest of his tribe, are not so knowing as they pretend to be, 
since he comes to Jesus to be taught, and out of fear of the pharisees, who 
thereby might be offended. 

Christ's answer therefore very well suits him. You must become a new 
man, if you would have acquaintance with evangelical mysteries. Away with 
your old notions, and pharisaical pride. Deny your honour, credit, and 

10 charnogk's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

whatsoever partakes of the name of self. A legal frame, and a pharisaical 
righteousness, will not advance you to the kingdom of God. The Jews were 
proud of being Abraham's children, and thought the gates of heaven could 
not be shut against any of that relation. 

John had touched them before for this : Mat. iii. 9, ' And think not to 
say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father.' Christ doth tacitly 
here do the same, and puts him in mind of another birth, and the falseness 
and deceitfulness of his bottom of legal righteousness. 

3. Christ frames his answer according to his weakness and ignorance. 
Nicodemus acknowledged him a teacher, not the Messiah. Christ would 
bring him to the knowledge of himself as the Messiah. Christ therefore by 
his answer would lift up his thoughts higher, and puts him in mind of the 
kingdom of God, which the Jews in their common discourse signified the 
kingdom of the Messiah by, and have entitled it in ages since, the kingdom 
of God, and the kingdom of heaven. So that Christ would bring him to 
the knowledge of himself as the Messiah, not only as an extraordinary 

These three things evidence what relation this speech of Christ hath to 
that of Nicodemus. 

Observe from the relation of this to Nicodemus his speech : 

1. We shall gain nothing by our applaudings and praises of Christ, with- 
out a renewed nature. Nicodemus comes with much reverence, gives Christ 
the title of rabbi, confesseth him to be sent of God, owns the divinity of his 
miracles. Christ doth not compliment him again, takes no notice of his 
civility, but falls roundly to his work, acquaints him with the necessity of 
regeneration, without which he could not see the kingdom of God, for all 
his fine praises of him. A glavering reverential religion is insignificant 
with Christ. A new birth, a likeness to Christ in nature, a conformity to 
him, is accounted by Christ an higher estimation of him, than all external 
applauses given to him. 

2. No natural privilege under heaven can entitle us to the kingdom of 
grace or glory. It is not our carnal traduction from the best man. It is 
no natural birth, with the choicest privileges, gives us a right to either of 
them. Not the honour of having the law from God's own mouth, the glory 
of an outward covenant, the treasure of the oracles of God, the seal of cir- 
cumcision borne in the body, that can instate this Nicodemus into this feli- 
city. It is a birth of a higher strain, from an higher principle, a change of 
nature, and a removal from the old stock. 

See how strangely Nicodemus replied upon this discourse of our Saviour. 
How strangely astonished is this great ruler in Israel at the doctrine which 
is absolutely necessary to an entrance into the kingdom of heaven ! ver. 4, 
1 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old ? can 
he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born ? ' What a 
childish conception hath he of this most heavenly doctrine ! Can such 
an ancient man as I return to my first principles, dig a way into my 
mother's womb ? It is strange that Nicodemus, being a pharisee, and so 
well versed in Scripture, should be so ignorant, or at least guilty of so much 
inadvertenc} 7 , as not to think of that place, Ezek. xxxvi., and other places, 
which speak of ' a new heart,' and • an heart of flesh.' He might have 
considered the design of the legal purifications, which were to represent the 
inward holiness which ought to be in the persons so purified. Yet he hears 
him discourse, but doth not comprehend him. His carnal notion bears sway 
against spiritual truths. 


John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 11 

1. A man may have great knowledge in the letter of the Scripture, and 
yet not understand the necessary and saving doctrines in it. The doctrine 
of regeneration was laid down in the whole Old Testament, though not in 
that term. Let us take heed how we read the Scriptures ; not to trouble 
our heads with needless and curious questions, but with the main mysteries 
of religion. What could all Nicodemus his knowledge profit him, if it had 
been ten thousand times more, without the knowledge of this doctrine, and 
the experience of it ! 

2. Nothing is more an enemy to the saving knowledge of gospel mysteries 
than a priding ourselves in head knowledge. Nicodemus his coming by 
night was not only from fear, but pride, that he might not be thought 
ignorant by the people. Humble men have the soundest knowledge : ' The 
meek will he teach his way,' Ps. xxv. 9. 

3. How low was the interest of God in the world at that time ! How 
had ignorance and error thrust the knowledge of God out of other parts of 
the world, when it languished so much in the church ! How simple must 
the poor people be when the students in Scripture were no wiser ! It 
is a thing to be bewailed amongst us, that wrangling knowledge hath almost 
thrust out spiritual. And when Christians meet, their discourses are more 
about unnecessary disputes than these saving mysteries of Christianity, 
which might produce elevations of heart to heaven. 

To this exception of Nicodemus Christ makes his reply ; where observe, 

1. A fresh assertion of it, with an explanation : ver. 5, ' Jesus answered, 
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the 
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' In the third verse, 
Christ lays down the necessity of the new birth ; in ver. 5, the necessity of 
the cause, ' Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit.' In the first 
speecb, he lays down the doctrine ; in this, he explains the principle and man- 
ner of it, to remove his false apprehensions, wherein he might mean the 
transmigration of souls, which seems to be an opinion amongst the Jews. 

2. A reason to back it : ver. 6, ' That which is born of the flesh is flesh ; 
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' That which is born of the 
flesh is flesh, and can be no more by that principle, for the effect cannot be 
better than the cause ; but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, i.e. hath 
a spiritual nature. 

Flesh is taken for man corrupted : Gen. vi. 3, 'For he also is flesh,' de- 
generate into flesh, grown a mere sensual creature by the loss of original 
righteousness. For upon the parting of original righteousness, the soul of 
man was as a body without life ; a spiritual carcase, as the body is without 
a soul. 

Flesh signifies the whole nature, as in that place, Mat. xvi. 17, ' Flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee,' &c. The incarnation of the Son of 
God, which is the foundation of all evangelical administrations, is above the 
sphere of nature to discover. Man in his natural generation is but mere 
nature, and cannot apprehend, cannot enjoy that which is only apprehensible 
and enjoyable by a spiritual nature ; but man regenerated by the Spirit is 
spiritual, and is advanced above mere flesh, for he is made partaker of the 
divine nature. So that Christ's argument runs thus : No flesh can enter into 
the kingdom of God ; but every man naturally is flesh, unless bom again of 
the Spirit; therefore no man, unless born again of the Spirit, can enter into 
the kingdom of God. If you could enter into your mother's womb, and be 
born again, the matter would not be mended with you ; you would still be 
but flesh, and rather worse than better ; therefore that is not the birth that 
I mean, for the impediment would be as strong in you as before. 

12 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

These two verses are an answer to Nicodemus his objection. Nicodemus 
understands it of a carnal birth. No, no, saith Christ, it is a spiritual birth 
I intend ; one that is wholly divine and heavenly. That which you mean 
brings a man into the light of the world ; that which I mean, brings a man 
out of the world, into the light of grace. That forms the flesh to an earthly 
life ; this forms the soul to an heavenly. That makes you the son of man ; 
this the son of God.* 

All the difficulty lies in ver. 5, in that expression of water, &c. Some, as 
the papists, understand it of the elementary water of baptism, and from this 
place exclude all children dying without baptism from salvation. Others 
understand it of a metaphorical water, whereof Christ speaks, John iv. 14, 
• The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing 
up into everlasting life.' 

Let us first see why by water cannot be meant the baptismal water. 

Regeneration is the mystery and sense of that sacred ceremony. It is in- 
deed signified, represented, and sealed in baptism ; how, and in what sense, 
is not my present work. 

1. It is strange, that when all agree that the birth here spoken of is spiri- 
tual and metaphorical, that the water here should be natural. 

2. None could be saved, unless baptized, if this were meant of baptism. 
As if these words, John vi. 53, ' Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, 
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,' were meant of the supper, none 
could be saved unless they did partake of it. Whereas Christ lays not the 
stress upon baptism, but upon faith : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth, and 
is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.' 
He doth not say, He that is not baptized shall be damned, but he lays dam- 
nation wholly upon the want of faith. Many have been saved without bap- 
tism, none without faith. It is true to say, He that doth not believe shall 
be damned ; but it is not true to say, He that is not baptized shall be 
damned. Christ saith the first, but not the second, though his discourse had 
obliged him to say so, had it been true, or had he meant this speech to 
Nicodemus of baptismal water. The Spirit is not tied to baptism, but he 
may act out of the sacraments as well as in them. Understand this of the 
bare want of baptism, not of the contempt or wilful neglect of it. If it were 
meant of baptism, it was true then, that none could be saved without it. 
How did the thief upon the cross enter into paradise, which Christ promised 
him ? So that one may enter into heaven without baptism by water, though 
not without the baptism of the Spirit. 

3. Baptism was not then instituted as a standing sacrament in the Chris- 
tian church. The institution of it we find not till after Christ's resurrection : 
Mat. xxviii. 19, ' Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them.' 
And it is not likely Christ would discourse to Nicodemus of the necessity of 
an institution that was not yet expressly appointed by him, and which he 
did not appoint till after his resurrection ; for he discourseth of that which 
was of present necessity. And if this were meant of baptism, and of that 
absolute necessity the papists would lay upon it from these words, then all 
that died before the institution of baptism by our Saviour, unbaptized, could 
not enter into the kingdom of heaven, though believing. Can anything be 
necessary before the precept for it be given ? It could not be necessary be- 
fore, as a means, because it is not a natural, but an instituted means. It 
must be therefore necessary by virtue of a command ; therefore not abso- 
lutely necessary before the command, and at the time Christ spoke these 
words. Some say that Christ meant it, not of an absolute necessity at that 

* Daille, Sermon en ce lieu. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 13 

time, butThaHt-should be so after his death.* That is to give our Saviour 
the lie, for he spake it of the present time, some years before his death. 
Besides, it 'wrongs the goodness of our Saviour (if he had meant it of bap- 
tism), to* defer the institution of it so long after, when it was at present 
necessary for Nicodemus his salvation. It wrongs his wisdom, too, to speak 
of that to be at present necessary, which was not in being, nor would be till 
after his death. 

4. It is strange that our Saviour should speak to Nicodemus of the neces- 
sity of baptism before he had informed him of the mysteries of the gospel, 
whereof it is a seal. To speak of the seal before he speaks of that which is 
to be sealed by it, is not congruous. For the sacraments being founded upon 
the doctrine on which they depend, to begin by a sacrament the instruction 
of a man, is to begin a building by the tiles and rafters, before you lay a 
foundation ; and against the order expressed by our Saviour to the apostles, 
which puts teaching before baptizing, and was always practised in the primi- 
tive times, and is to this day in all Christian churches, to the adult and 
grown up. As circumcision was, amongst the Jews, not administered to any 
proselyte before his turning proselyte, and instruction in those laws he 
was to observe, and then, and not till then, his children had a right to cir- 

5. Those that understand it of the baptismal water, and so make that of 
absolute necessity, do by another assertion accuse their own exposition of a 
falsity ; for they say that the baptism of blood supplies the want of that of 
water, and that if either infants or adult persons be hurried away to a stake 
or gibbet, or killed for the Christian cause, they are certainly saved ; which 
cannot be, if the baptism of water were to be understood in this place, and 
so absolutely necessary. It is water that is expressed, and blood is not water. 
One of these assertions must be false. A martyr dying unbaptized must be 
damned, and cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, if this place be meant 
of the water of baptism. 

6. It may also be observed that Christ, in the progress of his discourse, 
makes no more mention of water, but of the Spirit : ' That which is born of 
the Spirit is spirit ;' not born of water and the Spirit, which had been very 
necessary, if water had been of an equal necessity with the Spirit to the new 
birth. And since Christ mentions it positively, that he that is born of the 
Spirit is spirit, will it be said, that if any be born of the Spirit, without 
water, he is still but flesh ? 

Water then here is to be taken mystically. Some by water understand 
the whole doctrine of the gospel ; as the waters mentioned through the whole 
47th of Ezekiel signify the doctrine of the gospel. To drop, in Scripture, 
signifies to teach, Amos vii. 16 ; Ezek. xx. 46, ' Drop thy word toward the 
south.' Others, by water, understand the grace of regeneration as the prin- 
ciple, the Spirit as the cause, as Titus iii. 5, 6, • He hath saved us by the 
washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.' What wash- 
ing he means is expressed in the renewing of the Holy Ghost ; that is, that 
renewing which is wholly spiritual, as proceeding from the Spirit of God, 
whence this grace doth flow. 

By water and the Spirit are signified one and the same thing, the 
similitude of water shewing the cleansing and generating virtue of the 
Spirit; as fire and the Spirit are put together, Mat. iii. 11, to signify the 
refining quality the Spirit hath (as fire hath to separate the dross from the 
good metal). Fire and the Spirit, i. e. a spirit of fire, of the force and 
efficacy of fire. 

* Bellarm. de Sacram. Baptism, lib. i. cap 5, 6. 

14 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

This water is the same which God had promised : Tsa. xliv. 3, ' I will pom- 
water upon him that is thirsty ;' and Ezek. xxxvi. 25, ' Then will I sprinkle 
clean water upon you;' and ver. 27, ' I will put my Spifit within you.' He 
there explains water to be the Spirit : ' I will pour my Spirit uponihy seed.' 
And in Ezekiel he joins water and the Spirit ; i. e. the water of my Spirit, 
or my spiritual water, my gospel grace. And Isa. xli. 18, 19, God speaks 
of the admirable fruitfulness of this water. This shall renew you, and make 
you fructify in the kingdom of my Son, where none shall be received who is 
not born of this divine principle. 

Now our Saviour having to do with a pharisee, who was acquainted with 
those oracles, to make him understand this truth, uses those words which 
the prophets had used, and ranks them in the same order ; first water, 
then the Spirit, that the latter might clear the sense and nature of the 
former, to hinder Nicodemus from imagining that to be a natural water 
which was spiritual and mystical. Water and the Spirit signifies the water 
of the Spirit, or a spiritual water, as 1 Thes. i. 5, ' Our gospel came not 
unto you in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost ;' that is, in the 
power of the Holy Ghost. 

The Spirit is compared to water in respect of its generative virtue. No 
fruitful plant but is produced by moisture. Water contains in it the seeds 
of all things. It was from water and the earth that all things in the lower 
world were in the first creation produced. Water is put here as exegetical 
of the effect of the Spirit ; water being the cause of generation by its moisture, 
uniting the parts together. 

Our Saviour in both places useth an asseveration, Verily, verily, which is 

1. To shew the infallible necessity of it, the certainty of the proposition. 

2. To urge a special attention. Men press those things in discourse which 
they would have retained. 

It is to be believed because of its necessity ; it is to be considered because 
of its excellency. 

Born again. " Avudsv signifies properly from above ; but sometimes it is 
taken for again.* Nicodemus understands it so by his reply, of entering 
a^ain into his mother's womb, and not of a heavenly birth. 

° Man was born in nature ; he must be born in grace. He was born of the 
first Adam ; he must be born of the second Adam. It is expressed in 
Scripture by various terms : a resurrection to life, a quickening, a new 
creation, the new man, the inward man, a dying to the world. It is indeed 
a putting off the old man, the principles and passions, the corrupt notions 
and affections which we derive from Adam, to devote ourselves to God, to 
live to Christ, to walk in newness of life. 

The kingdom of God, which is sometimes taken, (1) for the kingdom of 
dory, (2) it is sometimes taken for the gospel state. And the same thing 
is signified by the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven. What is 
called by Matthew ' the kingdom of heaven,' Mat. iv. 17, is called by Mark, 
relating the same story, ' the kingdom of God,' Mark i. 15. And the gospel 
is called ' the gospel of the kingdom of God,' Mark i. 14. It is called the 
kingdom of God ; — 

1. Because it sets up the rule and government of God in the world above 
the devil's. The devil had been so long the God of the world, that the 
interest of God seemed to be overmatched by a multitude of unclean spirits, 
and abominable idols ; and the true God was not known to be the governor 

* Grotius in loc. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 15 

of it. The gospel discovers the true governor of the world, and sets up his 
rule and authority. 

2. It sets up the righteousness of God,* above a legal and fleshly right- 
eousness, much in vogue among Jews and Gentiles ; but they were wholly 
ignorant of the righteousness of God, Horn. x. 3. 

3. This kingdom is framed and set up by the Son of God ; the other 
kingdom, under the law, was settled by God, but by the hand of Moses, a 
man. This is administered by him through his Spirit, his vicegerent. His 
royalty did not so eminently appear as in the times of the gospel. 

The Father appoints the gospel state in his wisdom, the Son lays the 
foundation of it in his blood, the Spirit carries it on in the world by his power. 

4. In respect of the service, it is high and heavenly ; a serving God in 
spirit. The service under the legal administration was carnal ; the service 
under the gospel administration is more spiritual, and so more suitable to 
the perfections of God. 

5. In the end and issue of it. It is a translating us into the kingdom of 
Christ, Col. i. 13. The legal ceremonies could not fit men of themselves 
for glory ; they could not make the comers thereunto perfect. But this 
kingdom of grace prepares us for the kingdom of glory. 

Cannot see the kingdom of God. In ver. 5, he cannot enter into the kingdom 
of God. He cannot, 

1. By reason of God's appointment. 

2. In the nature of the thing itself; he hath no fitness for heaven or 
heavenly mysteries. 

See. Seeing is taken sometimes for enjoying ; not a bare sight, but 
fruition : John hi. 36, ' He that believes not the Son shall not see life ;' that 
is, shall not enjoy life. And Heb. xii. 14, ' Without holiness, no man shall 
see the Lord ;' they may see him in his pronouncing the sentence, but shall 
not see him in a way of glorious enjoyment of him. 

To have a communion with Christ in a gospel state, to have an enjoy- 
ment of Christ in eternal glory, it is necessary we be stripped of the cor- 
ruption of our first nature, and be clothed with another by the Spirit of God. 

Observe in the verse, 

1. The infallibility of the proposition : Verily, verily. 

2. The necessity of regeneration : except. 

3. The extension of it in regard of the subject. 
(1.) Suhjectum quod recipit : man, i.e. every man. 

(2.) Subjectum in qvo recipitur : man, i.e. the whole man, every faculty. 

4. The excellency of it implied : they cannot see the kingdom of God. J.f 
he be born again, he shall enjoy the kingdom of God. 

Doct. Regeneration of the soul is of absolute necessity to a gospel and 
glorious state. 

By regeneration, I mean not a relative, but a real change of the subject, 
wrought in the complexion and inclinations of the soul, as in the restoring 
of health there is a change made in the temper and humours of the body. 

As mankind was changed in Adam from what they were by a state of 
creation, so men must be changed in Christ from what they were in a state 
of corruption. As that change was not only relative but real, and the 
relative first introduced by the real, so must this. The relation of a child 
of wrath was founded upon the sin committed. Without a real change there 
can be no relative. Being in Christ, as freed from condemnation, is always 
attended with a walking in the Spirit ; and walking is not before living. 
For the better understanding this point, I shall lay down, 

t Mat. vi. 33, the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, are put together. 

16 charnock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

I. Propositions concerning the necessity of it. 

II. I shall shew that it is necessary, 

1. To a gospel state. 

(1.) To the performance of gospel duties. 
' (2.) To the enjoyment of gospel privileges. 

2. To a state of glory. 

I. Propositions concerning the necessity of it. 

Prop. 1. There are but two states, one saving, the other damning; a 
state of sin and a state of righteousness ; and all men are included in one of 
them. All men are divided into two ranks. In regard of their principle, 
some are in the flesh, some in the Spirit, Rom. viii. 8, 9 ; in regard of their 
obedience, some walk after the flesh, some after the Spirit, Rom. viii. 1 ; 
some are slaves to the flesh, others are led by the Spirit ; some live only to 
self, some live to God. In regard of the exercise of their minds, their nobler 
faculty, some mind the things of the flesh, others the things of the Spirit, 
Rom. viii. 5 ; some swinishly wallow in sin, others place the delights of 
their spirits upon better and higher objects. 

The Scripture mentions no other. A state of enmity, wherein men have 
their inclinations contrary to God ; a state of friendship and fellowship, 
wherein men walk before God unto all well-pleasing, and would not willingly 
have an inward motion swerve from his will. One is called light, the other 
darkness : Eph. v. 8, ' You were sometimes darkness, but now are you light;' 
one the children of wrath, the other the children of God. There is no 
medium between them, every man is in one of these states. All believers, 
from the bruised reed to the tallest cedar, from the smoking flax on earth 
to the flaming lamp in heaven, from Thomas, that would not believe without 
seeing, to Abraham, who would believe without staggering, all are in a state 
of life ; and all, from the most beautiful moralist to the most venomous toad 
in nature's field, from the young man in the gospel, who was not far from 
the kingdom of heaven, to Judas, who was in the very bottom of hell, all are 
in a state of death. Mere nature, though never so curiously garnished, can 
place a man no higner ; faith, though with many infirmities, puts us in a 
state of amity ; unbelief, though with many moralities, continues us in a 
state of enmity. All men are either the object of God's delight or of his 
abomination. The highest endowments of men remaining in corrupted 
nature cannot please him. The delight of God then supposeth some 
real change in the object which is the ground of that delight, for God is wise 
in his delight, and could not be pleased with anything which were not fit for 
his complacency. Since original nature in a man cannot displease God un- 
less it be changed by some fault, because it was his own work, so our 
present nature cannot please God unless it be changed by some grace, 
though it be otherwise never so highly dignified. Whatsoever grows up 
from the old Adam is the fruit of the flesh, whatsoever grows up by the new 
Adam in us is the offspring of the Spirit ; and upon one of these two stocks 
all men in the world are set. Since, therefore, one is utterly destructive, 
and cannot please God (Rom viii. 8, Sb'then they that are in the flesh can- 
not please God), though never so well garnished (for being utterly contrary 
to him it cannot be approved by him), the other is absolutely necessary to 

Prop. 2. It is necessary upon the account of the fall of man and the 
consequents of it. In Adam we died : 1 Cor. xv. 22, ' As in Adam all died ;' 
therefore in Adam we sinned : Rom. v. 19, ' By one man's disobedience 
many were made sinners.' Man cannot be supposed to sin in Adam unless 

John III. 3, 5. J the necessity of regeneration. 17 

some covenant had intervened between God and Adam,* whence there did 
arise in the whole human nature a debt of having righteousness transfused 
from the first parent to all his posterity. The want of this grace wherein 
his posterity are conceived is a privation, and a crime which was voluntary 
in the root and head. This privation of righteousness must be removed. 
The institution of God stands firm, that Adam and his posterity should have 
a pure righteousness. It is not for the honour of God to enjoin it so 
strictly at first, and to have no regard to it afterwards. Now this privation 
of righteousness, and the unrigbteousness which hath taken place in the sons 
of Adam, cannot be removed without the infusion of grace ; for without this 
grace he would alway want righteousness, and yet be alway under an obliga- 
tion to have it ; he would be under desires of happiness, but without it 
under an impossibility of attaining it. 

Were there an indifferency in the soul of man, were it an abrasa tabula, 
the writing of moral precepts upon it by good education would sway it to 
walk in the paths of virtue, as an ill education doth cast it into the ways of 
[vice]. This is not so ; for take two, let them have the same ways of educa- 
tion, the same precepts instilled into them, as Esau and Jacob had by their 
father, who were equally taught, yet how different were their lives ! Esau's 
bad, Jacob's not without flaws. Education had not the power to root cor- 
ruption out of both, no, nor out of any man in the world without a higher 
principle. There is some powerful principle in the soul, which leads it into 
by-paths contrary to those wholesome rules instilled into it. Hence 
ariseth a necessity of some other principle to be put into the heart to over- 
sway this corrupt bias. Man goes astray from the womb, as it is in Ps. 
lviii. 3, ' The wicked are estranged from the womb ; tbey go astray as soon 
as they be born.' There must be something to rectify him, and expel this 
wandering humour. 

By the fall of man there was contracted, 

(1.) An unfitness to any thing tbat is good. Man is so immersed in 
wrong notions of things, that he cannot judge fully of what is good : Titus 
i. 16, ' To every good work reprobate.' The state of nature, or the old 
man, is described, Eph. iv. 22, to be ' corrupt, according to deceitful lusts ;' 
deceitful, seducing us from God, drawing us into perdition, by representing 
evil under the notion of good, which evidenceth our understandings to be 
unfit to judge without a new illumination; inward and spiritual lusts, which 
are most deceitful, being accounted brave and generous motions ; lusts or 
desires, which shew the corruption of the will by ill habits. Lust and sin is 
the mere composition of corrupted nature ; the whole man is stuffed with 
polluting principles and filthy appetites. 

What was preternatural to man in a state of innocency became natural to 
him after his depraved state. He is ' carnal, sold under sin,' Rom. vii. 14. 
The spring being already out of order, cannot make the motion otherwise 
than depraved, as when a clock is out of order, it is natural to that present 
condition of it to give false intelligence of the hour of the day, and it cannot 
do otherwise till the wheels and weights be rectified. Our end was actively 
to glorify God in the service of him and obedience to him ; but since man 
is fallen into this universal decay of his faculties, and made unfit to answer 
this end, there is a necessity he should be made over again, and created 
upon a better foundation, that some principle should be in him to oppose 
this universal depravation, enlighten his understanding, mollify his heart, 
and reduce his affections to their due order and object. 

* Suarez, 2 Tom. ii. De Grat. lib. ii. cap. 13, num. ?, 4. 


18 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

(2.) Not only an unfitness, but unwillingness to that which is good. 
"We have not those affections to virtue as we have to vice. Are not our 
lives for the most part voluntarily ridiculous ? Had we a full use of reason, 
we should judge them so. We think little of God ; and when we do think 
of him, it is with reluctancy. This cannot be our original state, for surely, 
God being infinitely good, never let man come out of his hands with this 
actual unwillingness to acknowledge and serve him ; as the apostle saith, in 
the case of the Galatians' errors, Gal. v. 8, ' This persuasion comes not of 
him which calls you,' this unwillingness comes not from him that created 
you. How much, therefore, do we need a restoring principle in us ! We 
naturally fulfil the desires, or 6t\fifiaru * of the flesh,' Eph. ii. 3. There is 
then a necessity of some other principle in us to make us fulfil the will of 
God, since we were created for God, not for the flesh. We can no more be 
voluntarily serviceable to God while that serpentine nature and devilish 
habit remains in us, than we can suppose the devil can be willing to glorify 
God, while the nature he contracted by his fall abides powerful in him. It 
is as much as to say that a man can be willing against his will. Nature and 
will must be changed, or we for ever remain in this state. 

Man is born a wild ass' colt, Job xi. 12. No beast more wild and 
brutish than man in his natural birth, and like to remain in his wild and wil- 
ful nature without grace ; a new birth can only put off the wildness of the first. 

(3.) Not only unfitness and unwillingness, but inability to good. A 
strange force there is in a natural man, which hurries him, even against some 
touches of his will, to evil. 

How early do men discover an affection to vice ! How greedily do they 
embrace it, notwithstanding rebukes from superiors, good exhortations from 
friends, with the concurrence of the vote of conscience, giving its amen to 
those dissuasions ! and yet carried against those arguments, deceived by sin, 
slain by sin, sold, under it, Kom. vii. 11, 14. This is the miserable state 
of every son of nature. 

Do we not find that men sometime wrapt up in retirement, in considera- 
tion of the excellency of virtue, are so wrought upon by their solitary medi- 
tations, that they think themselves able to withstand the strongest invasion 
of any temptation ! Yet'we see oftentimes that when a pleasing temptation 
offers itself, though there be a conflict between reason and appetite, at length 
all the considerations and dictates of reason are laid aside, the former ideas 
laid asleep, and that committed which their own reason told them was base 
and sordid ; so that there is something necessary, beside consideration and 
resolution, to the full cure of man. 

No privation can be removed but by the introduction of another form ; as 
when a man is blind, that blindness, which is a privation of sight, cannot be 
removed without bringing in a power of seeing again. Original sin is a 
privation of original righteousness, and an introduction of corrupt principles, 
which cannot be removed but by some powerful principle contrary to it. 
Since the inability upon the earth, by reason of the curse, to bring forth 
its fruits in such a manner as it did when man was in a state of innocency, 
the nature of it must be changed to reduce it to its original fruitfulness ; so 
must man, since a general defilement from Adam hath seized upon him, be 
altered before he can ' bring forth fruit to God,' Rom. vii. 4. We must be 
united to Christ, engrafted upon another stock, and partake of the power of 
his resurrection ; without this we may bring forth fruit, but not fruit to God. 
There is as utter an impossibility in a man to answer the end of his creation, 
without righteousness, as for a man to act without life, or act strongly with- 
out health and strength. It is a contradiction to think a man can act 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of kegeneeation. 19 

righteously without righteousness, for without it he hath not the being of a 
man ; that is, man in such a capacity, for those ends for which his creation 
intended him. 

Well, then, since there is an unfitness, unwillingness, inability in a man to 
answer his end, there is a necessity of a new life, a new nature, a new 
righteousness. There is a necessity for his happiness that he should be 
brought back to God, live to God, be a son of God, and this cannot be with- 
out regeneration ; for how can he be brought back to God without a prin- 
ciple of spiritual motion ? How can he live to God that hath no spiritual 
life ? How can he be fit to be a son of God who is of a brutish and dia- 
bolical nature ? 

Prop. 3. Hence it follows, that it is universally necessary. Necessary for 
all men. Our Saviour knows none without this mark. There must be a 
change in the soul : 2 Cor. v. 17, ' Therefore if any man be in Christ,, he- 
is a new creature.' There must be the habitation of the Spirit : Rom. 
viii. 9, ' If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' There- 
must be a crucifixion, not only of the corrupt affections of the flesh, but of 
the flesh itself : Gal. v. 24, ' They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, 
with the affections and lusts.' 

The old nature must be killed, with all its attendants. There is no son- 
ship to God without likeness, no relation of a child of God without a child- 
like nature. Let a man be of whatsoever quality in the world, never so 
high, never so low, of whatsoever age, of whatsoever moral endowments, 
' except a man,' every man, &c. 

And simply necessary. Our Saviour doth not say he is in danger not to 
see the kingdom of God, or he may come short of it ; but he shall not, he 
cannot. Tbere is no possible way but this for any man, no other door to 
creep in at but by that of a new birth ; salvation cannot be attained without it, 
and damnation will certainly be the issue of the want of it. As there is no 
other name under heaven by which we can be saved but by the name of 
Jesus Christ, so there is no other way under heaven wherein we can be saved 
but by the birth of the Spirit. 

It is necessary, therefore, in all places, in all professions. It is not neces- 
sary only in Europe, and not in Africa. Let a man be what he will, in any 
place under heaven, he must have a Jesus to save him, and an Holy Ghost 
to change him ; it is one and the same Spirit acts in all, and produceth the 
same qualities in all. Let men's religion and professions be what they will 
(men are apt to please themselves with this and that profession and opinion, 
but), there is no salvation in any profession, or any kind of opinion, but by 
regeneration. It is not necessary our understandings should be all of one 
size, that our opinions should all meet in uniformity, but it is necessary we 
should all have one spiritual nature. It is as necessary to the being of a 
good man that he should be spiritual, as to the being of a man that he should 
be rational, though there is a great latitude and variety in the degrees of 
men in grace, as well as their reasons. Some are of little faith, some of 
great faith ; some babes in Christ, some strong men. It is not necessary 
all should be as strong as Abraham, but it is simply necessary all should be 
new born, as Abraham ; no age, no time excludes it. 

(1.) Righteousness was necessary before the fall. The new birth is but 
the beginning of our restoration to that state we had before the fall. Adam 
could not have been happy without being innocent. The holiness of God 
could not create an impure creature. Without it God could take no plea- 
sure in his work. 

(2.) After the fall it was necessary, continually necessary from the first 

20 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

moment of the fall. This work of regeneration is included in the first 
promise : Gen. iii. 15, 'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, 
between thy seed and her seed.' Naturally we have a mighty friendship to 
Satan, a friendship to his works, though not to his person. But if any 
man had interest in that promise, he must exchange that friendship for an 

If Jesus Christ, who is principally meant by the seed of the woman, had 
an enmity to Satan, then all Christ's seed must be possessed with the same 
spirit. For when the seed of the woman was to break the serpent's head, 
it was necessary that those that would enjoy the fruit of that conquest should 
be enemies to the nature of the devil, and the works of the devil, otherwise 
they could not join with that interest which overthrows him. It is unreason- 
able to think the head should have an enmity, and the members an amity ; 
and we cannot have an enmity to that which is the same with our nature, 
without a change of disposition. It is not a verbal enmity that is here 
meant. While we pretend to hate him we may do his pleasure, and Satan 
is never troubled to be pretendedly hated and really obeyed. As wicked 
men do the will of God's purpose, while they oppose the will of his precept, 
so they do the devil's will many times while they think they cross it ; there 
must be a contrary nature to Satan before there can be an enmity. That 
foolish appetite, affected sensuality, indulgence to the flesh, the cause of our 
first friendship with Satan, must be changed into divine desires, affection to 
heavenly things, a mortification of the flesh, before a man can part with this 
friendship. There must be a change in the conformity of the soul to the 
nature of the devil before an enmity against him can be raised. We are 
never enemies to those that encourage us in what we affect. His nature 
can never be altered, by reason of the curse of God upon him ; therefore 
ours must, if ever the league be broken. In Isa. lxv. 25 it is said, ' The 
wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like an 
ox : and dust shall be the serpent's meat.' The nature of men may 
be changed by the gospel, but dust shall always be the serpent's meat. 
The saving some by water in the deluge was a figure of this inward baptism, 
which is the ' answer of a good conscience towards God,' 1 Peter iii. 20, 21. 
As the old world was so corrupt that all must be washed away before it 
could be restored, so is the little world of man. The cloud and sea through 
which the Israelites passed signified this, as the apostle informs us : 1 Cor. 
x. 2, ' And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and the sea.' Where- 
upon some think there were some sprinklings of the water upon them, as 
they stood like two walls, to favour their passage. 

(3.) Necessary in the time of the law. By the moral law this renewing was 
implied in the first command, of not having any other gods before him, 
Exod. xx. 3. We cannot suppose that command only limited to a not 
serving an outward image. Is not the setting up self, our own reasons, our 
own wills, and bowing down to them, and serving them, as much a wrong 
to God as the bowing down to a senseless image ? nay, worse than the 
adoring of an image, since that is senseless ; but our wills corrupt, and are 
no more fit to be our God than an image is fit to be a representation of him. 
So that in the spiritual part of the command this must be included, to 
acknowledge nothing as the rule of perfection, but God ; to set ourselves no 
other patterns of conformity but God, which the apostle phraseth a being 
new crpated after God, Eph. iv. 24. 

If all idolatry were forbidden, then that which is inward as well as that 
which is outward. If we were to have no other gods before him, then we 
were to prefer nothing inwardly before him ; we were to make him our pat- 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 21 

tern, and be conformed to him ; which we cannot, without another nature 
than that we had by corruption. 

Upon this are those scriptures founded which speak of covetousness to be 
idolatry, Col. iii. 5 ; that ' if any man love the world, the love of the Father 
is not in him,' 1 John ii. 15 ; he doth not love God. 

Now the preferring self before God is the essential part of the corrupt 
nature. Therefore all men, by the law of nature (which is the same with 
the moral law), and the Jews, to whom this law was given, were bound to 
have another nature than that which was derived from Adam, which essen- 
tially consisted in the making ourselves our god. Self-esteem, self-depend- 
ence, self-willedness, is denying affection and subjection to God. 

By the ceremonial law more plainly. Their duty was not terminated in 
an external observance of the types and shadows under the law, but a heart- 
work God intended to signify to them in all those legal ceremonies. As 
sacrifices signified a necessity of expiation of sin, so their legal washings 
represented to them a necessity of regeneration. 

Therefore God is said not to require the sacrifices of beasts : Ps. xl. 6, 
' Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire ' (that is, sacrifices of beasts), 
' burnt-offerings and sin-offerings hast thou not required ; ' viz. as the ulti- 
mate object of his pleasure, but as representations of Christ, the great sacri- 
fice. So neither did he command circumcision, and other legal purifications, 
for anything in themselves, or anything they could work, further than upon 
the body, but to signify unto them an inward work upon the heart. Hence 
they are said not to be commanded by God : Jer. vii. 22, 23, ' For I 
spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought 
them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt- offerings or sacrifices ; but 
this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice.' That is, God did 
not principally require these as the things which did terminate his will and 
pleasure, but an obedience to him, and walking with him, which cannot be 
without an agreement of nature : ' For how can two walk together, unless 
they be agreed ?' Amos iii. 3. Hence God speaks so often to them of the 
circumcision of the heart, Deut. x. 16, and promises this circumcision of the 
heart : Deut. xxxvi. 6, ' And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, 
and the heart of thy seed,' &c. And Paul expressly saith, Rom. ii. 28, 29, 
that ' he was not a Jew ;' that is, a spiritual Jew, one of the spiritual seed 
of Abraham, who had the ' circumcision that was outward in the flesh,' but 
he that had ' that of the heart.' 

So among us many confide in baptism, which signifieth nothing to men 
grown up, without an inward renewal and baptism of the heart, no more 
tban outward circumcision did to them. 

(4.) The obligation upon us is still the same.* The covenant made with 
Adam was made perpetually with him for all his posterity, therefore all his 
posterity, by that covenant, were perpetually obliged to a perfect righteous- 
ness. If God had made this covenant with Adam, that he should transfuse 
this original righteousness to his posterity only for such a time, then indeed, 
after the expiration of the term, the obligation had ceased, and none had been 
bound to have it as a debt required by God. The fault of wanting it had 
been removed without any infusion of grace, because the time being expired, 
and so the obligation ceasing, it had not been a fault to want it ; neither 
could Adam's posterity have been charged with his sin, because the want of 
righteousness, after the expiration of the time fixed, had not been a sin. 
But because there was no time fixed, but that it was perpetually of force as 

* Suarez dc grat., torn. 2, lib. 7, cap. 23, numb. 3, 4. 

22 " charnock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

to righteousness, which was the main intent of it, we still remain under the 
obligation of having a righteous nature. 

Now God, seeing the impossibility of answering this obligation in our own 
persons, by our own strength, appoints a way whereby we may answer it in 
a second head, not nulling the former covenant as to the essential part of 
it, which was a righteous nature, but mitigating it, as the Chancery nulls not 
the common law, but sweetens the severity of it. 

This latter covenant is called ' an everlasting covenant.' Not that the 
obligation of the other to righteousness is ceased, but transmitted to another 
head; which head cannot possibly fail, as our former did, who hath both a 
perfect righteousness in himself, and hath undertook for a perfect righteous- 
ness in his people, which he is able to accomplish, and to that purpose begins 
it here, and perfects it hereafter. To this purpose the Scripture speaks of 
the everlastingness of the covenant: Ps. lxxxix. 28, 'My covenant shall 
stand fast with him ;' that is, with Christ. And if his people sin, as he ex- 
pressed it afterwards, yet ' my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from 
him.' In this respect Christ is called the covenant of the people : Isa. xlii. 
6, ' I will give thee for a covenant of the people.' And the end of placing 
David his servant over his people, is not to give way to licentiousness and 
unrighteousness, and maintain men in an hostile nature against God, but 
that they might ' walk in his judgments, and observe his statutes,' Jer. 
xxxvii. 24 ; and that everlasting covenant of peace he would make with them 
is in order to sanctify them, Jer. xxxvii. 26, 28, compared together. When 
God would make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant, it 
was to set his sanctuary among them, and to let the heathen know that the 
Lord did sanctify Israel. And the end of the covenant is to ' put his law 
into the inward parts,' Jer. xxxi. 33. 

Christ undertook to keep up the honour of God, which was violated by 
the breach of that covenant, to * make reconciliation for iniquity, and to 
bring in everlasting righteousness,' Dan. ix. 24. This obligation our second 
head entered into for us, and in him we are complete, even as our head, and 
as the ' head of all principality and power,' Col. ii. 10, who hath undertaken 
for our perfect righteousness ; of our persons, by his own righteousness ; of 
our nature, by inherent righteousness, as it follows, ver. 11, &c, ' In whom 
you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting 
off the body of the sins of the flesh,' &c. This obligation still remains 
upon our head, and upon us in him, and to him we are to have recourse 
for a full answering of it. And this cannot be answered without a new 
birth here, which ends in a perfection hereafter. And Christ, by a plain 
precept, hath made it absolutely necessary now to all under the gospel 

So that no age, no time, no administration excludes it. It was as neces- 
sary to Adam, the first man, as to the last that shall be born. For being 
by nature spiritually dead, there must be a restoration to a spiritual life, if 
ever any be happy. « God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the 
living.' "What was alway necessary is absolutely necessary, and admits of 
no exception ; and therefore the removal of the diabolical nature is indis- 
pensable to him and to us, since we are all the posterity of Adam, and the 
inheritors of his corruption. How can any, in any age, enjoy an infinite 
holy God, without being changed from their impurity ? 

Prop. 4. Hence it follows, that it is so necessary, that it is not conceiv- 
able by any man in his right wits how God can make any man happy without 
it. It is not for us, poor shallow creatures, to dispute what God can, and 
what God cannot do ; what God may do by his absolute power. But yet it 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 23 

seems a contradiction, and it is not intelligible by us how God can make a 
man happy without regeneration. 

"What semblance of reason can be given that any one who is a slave of 
Satan, a cbild of wrath by nature, can be made the son and friend of God, 
without an expulsion of that nature which rendered him criminal, and restor- 
ing that in some degree which renders him innocent ? 

Without habitual grace, sin is not taken away ; and as long as a man 
remains under sin, how he can be capable of any communion with God I 
understand not; for he cannot be at one and the same time under God's 
greatest wrath and his highest love. How is it possible that one can have 
an enjoyment of eternal life, who hath nothing in him but a relation to eternal 
death ? 

God made man's nature fit for his communion ; man made himself unfit by 
guilt and filth. This unfitness must be removed by regeneration before this 
privilege man had by creation can be restored. Not that this restored right- 
eousness is the cause of our communion with God in happiness, but a neces- 
sary requisite to it. No doubt but God might have restored this righteousness 
without admitting man to a converse with him, if there had been no covenant 
made to that purpose. That God may give grace without glory, is intelli- 
gible ; but to admit a man to communion with him in glory, without grace, 
is not intelligible. 

(1.) It is not agreeable to God's holiness to make any an inhabitant of 
heaven, and converse freely with him in away of intimate love, without such 
a qualification of grace : Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord loves righteousness ; 
his countenance doth behold the upright.' He must, therefore, hate iniquity, 
and cannot love an unrighteous nature because of his love to righteousness ; 
' his countenance beholds the upright,' he looks upon him with a smiling 
eye, and therefore he cannot favourably look upon an unrighteous person, 
so that this necessity is not founded only in the command of God that we 
should be renewed, but in the very nature of the thing, because God, in regard 
of his holiness, cannot converse with an impure creature. God must change 
his nature, or the sinner's nature must be changed. There can be no friendly 
communion between two of different natures without the change of one of 
them into the likeness of the other. Wolves and sheep, darkness and light, 
can never agree. God cannot love a sinner as a sinner, because he hates 
impurity by a necessity of nature as well as a choice of will. It is as impos- 
sible for him to love it as to cease to be holy. 

This change cannot be then on God's part ; it must therefore be on 
man's part. It must therefore be by grace, whereby the sinner may be 
made fit for converse with God, since God cannot embrace a sinner in his 
dearest affections without a quality in the sinner suitable to himself. All 
converse is founded upon a likeness in nature and disposition ; it is by grace 
only that the sinner is made capable of converse with God. 

(2.) It is not agreeable to God's wisdom. Is it congruous to the wisdom 
of God to let a man be his child and the child of the devil at the same time ? 
Is it fit to admit him to the relation of a son of God, who retains the enmity 
of his nature against God, to make any man happy with the dishonour of 
his laws, since he is not subject to the law of God, neither will be : one that 
cannot bear him, but abhors his honour and the apprehensions of his holiness ? 

Man naturally hath risings of heart against God, looks upon him under 
some dreadful notion, hath an utter aversion from him; alienation and enmity 
are inseparable : Col. i. 21, 'You who were sometimes alienated, and enemies 
in your minds.' It doth not consist with the wisdom of God to make any 
man happy against his will ; God therefore first changeth the temper of the 

24 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

will by his powerful grace, thereby making him willing, and by degrees 
fitting him for happiness with him. 

It is not fit corruption should inherit incorruption, or impurity be admitted 
to an undefiled inheritance, and therefore God brings none thither which are 
not first begotten by him to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 
from the dead : 1 Peter i. 3, 4, ' Which according to his mercy hath be- 
gotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 
reserved in heaven for you.' It cannot be honourable for the wisdom of 
God to give a right to eternal life to one that continues a child of the 
devil, and bestow his love upon one that resolves to give his own heart to 
sin and Satan. 

This which I have now discoursed is founded upon men's natural notions 
in their right reason. But if we look into the Scripture it is certain there 
is no other way but this : a man without a new birth can have no right to 
happiness by any covenant of God, by any truth of God, by any purchase 
of Christ. God never promised happiness without it ; Christ never pur- 
chased it for any one without a new nature. No example is there extant of 
any person God hath made happy without this alteration, nor in the strictest 
inquiries can we conceive any other way possible ; therefore if there be any 
one present that hath hopes to enjoy everlasting happiness without regenera- 
tion, he expects that which God never yet bestowed upon any, and which, 
according to our understanding, God cannot, without wrong to his holiness 
and wisdom, confer upon any person. I beseech you, therefore, let none of 
you build your hopes upon such vain foundations ; you must be holy, or you 
shall never see God to your comfort. 

Prop. 5. It is so necessary, that the coming and sufferings of our Lord 
and Saviour would seem insignificant without it. That this regeneration 
was a main end of his coming, is evident by his making this one of the main 
doctrines he was, as a prophet and teacher, sent from God to make known 
to the world, it being the first he taught Nicodemus. Jesus Christ came to 
glorify God, and to glorify himself in redeeming a people. And what glory 
can we conceive God hath, what glory can Christ have, if there be no 
characteristical difference between his people and the world? And what 
difference can there be but in a change of nature and temper, as the founda- 
tion whence all other differences do result ? Sheep and goats differ in nature. 

The righteousness which is given through our Mediator is the same, in 
the essentials and respects it bears to God, as we had, at first. And his 
threefold office of king, priest, and prophet, is in order to it : his priestly, to 
reconcile and bring us to God ; his prophetical, to teach us the way ; and 
his. kingly, to work in us those qualifications, and bestow that comely garb 
upon us that was necessary to fit us for our former converse. Our second 
Adam would not be like the first, if he failed in this great work of conveying 
his righteous nature to us, as Adam was to convey his original righteousness to 
his posterity. As that was to be conveyed by carnal generation, so the right- 
eous nature of the second Adam is to be transmitted to us by spiritual regenera- 
tion. In this respect renewed men are called his seed, and counted to him for 
a generation, as Ps. xxii. 30, ' A seed shall serve him ; it shall be accounted 
to the Lord (MINT) for a generation,' to Christ ; it shall be accounted as much 
the generation of Christ as the rest are the generation of Adam, as if they 
had proceeded out of his loins, as mankind did out of Adam's. As God 
looks upon believers as righteous through the righteousness of Christ as if it 
were their own, so he accounts them as if they were the generation of Jesus 
Christ himself. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 25 

(1.) Christ came to save from sin. Salvation from sin was more his work 
than barely salvation from hell : Mat. i. 21, ' He shall save his people from 
their sins.' From sin as the cause, from hell as the consequent. If from 
sin, was it only from the guilt of sin, and to leave the sinful nature un- 
changed ? Was it only to take off punishment, and not to prepare for 
glory ? It would have been then but the moiety of redemption, and not 
honourable for so great a Saviour. Can you imagine that the death of Jesus 
Christ, being necessary for the recovery of a sinner, was appointed for an 
incomplete work, to remit man's sin and continue the insolency of his 
nature against God ? It was not his end only to save us from wrath to 
come, but to save us from the procuring-cause of that wrath ; not forcibly 
and violently to save us, but in methods congruous to the honour of God's 
wisdom and holiness, and therefore to purify us : Tit. ii. 14, ' To redeem us 
from all iniquity,' all parts of it, ' by purifying unto himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works,' that we might have a holy nature, whereby 
we might perform holy actions, and be as zealous of good works and the 
honour of God, as we had been of bad works and to bring dishonour to 

It was also the end of dais resurrection to • quicken us to a newness of life,' 
Col. ii. 12, 13, Eph. ii. 5, 6. If any man without a new nature could set 
foot into heaven, a great intendment of the death and resurrection of Christ 
would be insignificant. 

Christ came to take away sin, the guilt by his death, the filth by his Spirit, 
given us as the purchase of that death. In taking away sin he takes away 
also the sinful nature. 

(2.) Christ came to destroy the works of the devil : 1 John iii. 8, ' For 
this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works 
of the devil.' These works are two, sin, and the misery consequent upon it. 
Upon the destruction of sin necessarily follows the dissolution of the other 
which was knit with it. If the sinful nature were not taken away, the devil's 
works would not wholly be destroyed ; or if the sinful nature were taken 
away, and a righteous nature not planted in the stead of it, he would still 
have his ends against God in depriving God of the glory he ought to have 
from the creature. And the creature could not give God the glory he was 
designed by his creation to return, unless some nature were implanted in 
him whereby he might be enabled to do it. 

Would it, then, be for the honour of this great Kedeemer to come short 
of his end against Satan, to let all the trophies of Satan remain, in the errors 
of the understanding, perversity of the will, disorder of the affections, and 
confusion of the whole soul ? Or if our Saviour had only removed these, 
how had the works of the devil been destroyed if we had lain open to his 
assaults, and been liable the next moment to be brought into the same con- 
dition, which surely would have been, were not a righteous and divine nature 
bestowed upon the creature. 

(3.) Christ came to bring us to God : 1 Peter iii. 18, ' For Christ also 
hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to 
God.' Was it to bring us to God with all our pollutions, which were the 
cause God cast us off? No ; but to bring us in such a garb as that we 
might be fit to converse with him. Can we be so without a new nature and 
a spiritual likeness to God ? Would that man who would bring another to 
a prince to introduce him into favour, bring him into his presence in a 
slovenly and sordid habit, such a garb which he knew was hateful to the 
prince ? Neither will our Saviour, nor can he bring sinners in such a plight 
to God, because it is more contrary to the nature of God's holiness to have 

26 chaknock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

communion with such, than it is contrary to the nature of light to have com- 
munion with darkness, 1 John i. 5-7. Can it be thought that Christ should 
come to set human nature right with God, without a change of that principle 
which caused the first revolt from God ? Besides, since the coming of 
Christ was to please God, and to glorify him in all his attributes, as well as 
to save us, how can God be pleased with the effects of Christ's death, if he 
brought the creature to him without any change of nature, but with its for- 
mer enmity and pollution ? Will you say his mercy would be glorified ? 
How can that be without a wrong to his purity, and a provocation to his jus- 
tice ? Suppose such a dispute were in God, would not holiness, wisdom, 
justice, joined together, over- vote mercy ? 

But since there can be no such dispute, how can we conceive that mercy, 
an infinite perfection in God, can desire anything to the prejudice of the 
honour of his holiness, justice, and wisdom ? 

Well, then, if we expect happiness without a renewed nature, we would 
make Christ a minister of sin as well as of righteousness, Gal. ii. 17, &c. 
As there is a justification by him, so his intent was to plant a living principle 
in us, whereby we might be enabled to live to him. It is in vain, then, to 
think to find any benefit by the death of Christ without a new nature, any 
more than from God without it. 

Prop. 6. The end of the Spirit's coming manifests it to be necessary. We 
are said therefore to be ' saved by the washing of regeneration, and renew- 
ing of the Holy Ghost,' Titus hi*. 5, 2 Thes. ii. 13. As God by his Spirit, 
moving upon the face of the waters, created the world, so God by his Spirit, 
moving upon the face of the soul, new creates all the faculties of it. Can 
the coming of Christ, and the coming of the Spirit, the most signal favours 
of God to mankind, be intended for no other end than to convey to us the 
mercy of God, with the dishonour of his holiness, to change our misery with- 
out changing our nature, and putting us in a capacity both to glorify God and 
enjoy him ? To what purpose doth the Spirit come, if not to renew ? What- 
soever was the office of the Spirit, cannot be supposed to be exercised with- 
out this foundation. Can there be any seal of the Spirit without some im- 
pression made upon the soul like to the Spirit, which is the seal whereby 
we are sealed ? Can he witness to us that we are the children of God, if 
there be no principle in us suitable to God as a father, no child-like frame ? 
Is the Spirit only to bring things to remembrance for a bare speculation, 
without any operative effect ? Is he to help us in prayer ? How can that 
be, without giving us first a sense of what we need, and a praying heart ? 
And how can we have a praying heart till our natures, so averse from God 
and his worship, be changed? He is a 'quickening Spirit,' 2 Cor. hi. 6, 
1 the Spirit gives life.' How can that be while we lie rotting in our former 
death ? It is a ' Spirit of holiness.' Can he dwell in a soul that hath an 
unholy nature ? Though he find men so at his first coming, would he not 
quickly be weary of his house if it continued so ? He comes to change our 
old nature, not to encourage it. What fruits of the Spirit could appear with- 
out the change of the nature of the soil ? 

Prop. 7. From all this it follows that this new birth is necessary in every 
part of the soul. There is not a faculty but is corrupted, and therefore not 
a faculty but must be restored. Not a wheel, not a pin in all this clock of 
the heart but is out of frame ; not one part wherein sin and Satan have not 
left the marks of their feet: Titus i. 15, 'Their mind and conscience is 
defiled.' It is clearer to a regenerate soul that it is so, since by the light of 
grace he discerns a filth in every faculty. The more knowledge of God he 
hath, the more he discovers his ignorance ; the more love to God, the more 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 27 

he finds and is ashamed of his enmity. And though in our imperfect re- 
generation here, grace and sin are in every part of the soul, as wine and 
water mingled together are in every part of the vessel, yet every faculty is in 
part renewed ; and grace and sin lie not so huddled together but that the 
soul can distinguish them, and be able to say, this is grace, this is part of 
the new Adam, and this is sin, and part of the old Adam in me. 

Because there was an universal depravation by the fall, regeneration must 
answer it in its exteosiveness in every faculty. Otherwise it is not the birth 
of the man, but of one part only. It is but a new piece, not a new creature. 
This or that faculty may be said to be new, not the soul, not the man. We 
are all over bemired by the puddle of sin, and we must be all over washed 
by the water of grace. A whole sanctification is the proper fruit of recon- 
ciliation : 2 Thes. v. 23, ' The God of peace sanctify you wholly.' Recon-^ 
ciliation was of the whole man, so must regeneration. Sin hath rooted itself 
in every part ; ignorance and error in our understandings ; pride, and self- 
love, and enmity in our wills ; all must be unrooted by a new grace, and the 
triumphs of sin spoiled by a new birth. 

Prop. 8. It is so necessary, that even the dim eye of natural reason has 
been apprehensive of some need of it. Aud, therefore, it is a wonder that 
there should be a need of pressing it upon men under the light of the gospel. 
Those doctrines that are purely intellectual and supernatural, are not so 
easily apprehended by men, as having no footing in reason, whereby reason 
is rendered unpliable to consent to them. But those doctrines that tend to 
the reformation of man carry a greater conviction, as having some notion of 
a depravation, which gives them some countenance in the minds of men, 
though not in their affection. Men cannot conceive any notion of God's 
greatness, majesty, and holiness, but they must also conceive something 
necessary to an enjoyment of him (wherein their felicity consists), besides 
those natural principles which they find in themselves. Natural reason must 
needs assent to this, that there must be some other complexion of the soul 
to fit us for a converse with so pure a majesty. The wiser sort of heathens 
did see themselves out of frame ; the tumult and disorder in their faculties 
could not but be sensible to them. They found the flights of their souls too 
weak for their vast desires. They acknowledged the wings of it to be clipped, 
and that they never came so out of the hands of God. That therefore there 
was a necessity of some restorative above the art of man to complete the 
work. And I think I have read of one of them that should say, That there 
could not be a reformation unless God would take flesh. They had ' the 
work of the law written in their hearts,' Rom. ii. 15. They knew such works 
were to be done ; they found themselves unable to do them. Whence would 
follow that there must be some other principle to enable them than what 
they had by nature. To this purpose they invented their purgative^ vir- 
tues ; and by those and other means hoped to arrive to an opoiojeig ra 9eu, 
which they much talked of as necessary to a converse with God. As they 
were sensible of their guilt, and therefore had sacrifices for the expiation of 
that, so they were sensible of their filth, and had their purifications and 
washings for the cleansing of that. Hence it was that they admired those 
men that acted in a higher sphere of moral virtue and moderation than 
others. Some of them have acknowledged the malady, but despaired of a 
remedy, judging it above the power of nature to cure. Certainly that which 
the wisest heathens, in the darkness of nature, without knowledge either of 
law or gospel, have counted necessary ; and since it is seconded by so plain 
a declaration of our Saviour, must be indisputably necessary.* Plato in 
* Ficinus in Dionys. de divin. nom. cap. xii. 

28 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

several places saith, That there was a certain divine principle in our minds 
at first, but that it was abolished, and God would again renew and form the 
soul with a kind of divinity. 

How vain then are men, how inexcusably foolish, to neglect both the light 
of the gospel and that of reason too ; that spend not one hour, one minute, 
in a serious consideration of it and enquiry after it ; in slighting their own 
reason as well as the express declaration of Jesus Christ. Oh that men 
were sensible of this, which is of so great concernment to them. 

II. I come to shew that regeneration is necessary. 

1. It is necesary to a gospel state. 

(1.) Nothing can exist in any state of being without a proper form. That 
which hath not the form of a thing is not a thing of the same species. He 
cannot be a man that wants a rational form of a man, a soul. And how can 
any man be a Christian without that which doth essentially constitute a 
Christian ? We can no more be Christians without a Christian nature, than 
a man can be a man without human nature. Grace only gives being to a 
Christian, and constitutes him so : 1 Cor. xv. 10, ' By the grace of God I 
am what I am : and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain, 
but I laboured more abundantly than they all.' Grace there is meant of 
habitual grace, because he speaks of his labour as the fruit of it. In bodily 
life brutes go beyond us, in the vigour of senses, greatness of strength, 
temperance, natural affection. In reason and moral virtues many heathens 
have excelled us. There is something else, then, necessary for the con- 
stitution of a Christian, and that is, Christ's living in him by a new forming 
of his soul by his Spirit. As the body lives by the soul, which distributes 
natural, vital, and animal spirits to every part of the body, for the perform- 
ance of its several functions ; so the soul lives by grace, which diffuseth its 
vigour to every part, the understanding, will, and affections. 

(2.) There is no suitableness to a gospel state and government without it. 
In all changes of government in the world there is a change in the whole 
state of affairs, in those that are the instruments of government, in the 
principles of those that submit to the government. After the fall of man 
God set up a new mode of government. All judgment was committed to 
the Son : John v. 22, ' For the Father judges no man, but hath committed 
all judgment to the Son.' Ver. 27, ' And hath given him authority to exe- 
cute judgment.' The whole administration of affairs is put into his hand ; 
not excluding the Father, who still gave out his orders in the government, 
wherefore he saith, ver. 30, 'I can of myself do nothing; as I hear, I judge.' 
There must be, therefore, some agreement between the frame of this govern- 
ment and the subjects of it. As there is a new Adam, a new covenant, a 
new priesthood, a new spirit ; so there must be a new heart, new compacts, 
new offerings, new resolutions. New administrations and old services can 
no more be pieced together than new cloth and old garments. The gospel 
state of the church is called a new heaven and a new earth. Man is by the 
inclinations of his corrupt nature obedient to the law of sin. There must be 
a cure and change of those inclinations, to make them tend to an observance 
of the orders of this new government, and an hearty observation of it, 2 Cor. 
v. 17, ' Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and 
all things are of God ' (so they were before), but now in a new manner and 
frame ; and this is the reason rendered why every man in Christ must be a 
new creature. 

(3.) All the subjects of this government have been brought in this way, 
not one excepted. Though God hath chosen some that he would bless for 
ever under this evangelical government, yet notwithstanding the purpose of 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of eegeneeation. 29 

God they are in as great unfitness for this state as the worst of men, till God 
exerting his power fashions them to be vessels of honour to himself. It is 
not God's choice of any man which puts any man into a gospel state, without 
the operation of the Spirit, renewing the mind and fitting him for it. All 
that were designed by God's eternal purpose were to be brought in by this 
way of the new birth, as 2 Thess. ii. 13, ' God hath from the beginning 
chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the 
truth.' And by this they were fortified against all those workings of the 
mystery of iniquity, against the government of Christ and the state of the 
gospel, which would be damnable and destructive to many ; for he had spoken 
of that before, upon which occasion he brings this in. ' A chosen genera- 
tion, a holy nation, a peculiar people,' are joined together, 1 Peter ii. 9. 
Peculiar they could not be, unless they had something of an intrinsic value 
in them above others, and a peculiar fitness for special service, and to offer 
spiritual sacrifices, therefore called also a royal priesthood. 

(4.) The end of the particular institutions, of initiation or admission, 
under the two different administrations of this government, was to signify 
this — of circumcision under the law, and baptism under the gospel. Both 
signified the corruption and filthiness of nature, and the necessity of the cir- 
cumcision of the heart and the purification of nature. Hence baptism is 
called ' the laver of regeneration,' Titus iii. 5,* many understanding it of 
baptism. Not that these did confer this new nature in a physical way, or 
that it was alway conferred in the administration of them, but the necessity 
of having this was alway signified by them. Therefore one of the Jews,f 
against the opinion of his countrymen, saith absolutely, it is a madness to 
think that those ceremonies, under their administration, were appointed only 
for the purification of the body without that of the soul. And Rom. ii. 29, 
saith the apostle, ' He is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is 
that of the heart in the spirit.' So that partaking of baptism, and being 
intrusted with the oracles' of God, make a man no more a Christian than 
circumcision, &c, did make a man a Jew. He is only a Christian that hath 
a Christian nature. The necessity of this nature was evidenced and signified 
both by the one and by the other. 

In every state there are duties to be performed and privileges to be en- 
joyed. So likewise in the gospel state. Without a new birth we cannot 
perform the one or be capable of the other. 

2. It is necessary to the performance of gospel duties. 

(1.) There can be no preparation to any service without it. Man's soul 
at first could make a spiritual music to God, till the flesh disordered the 
strings, and no music can be made till the Spirit puts the instrument in tune 
again. In Jesus Christ we are ' created to good works,' Eph. ii. 10. There- 
fore no preparation can be before the new creation, no more than there was 
a preparation in the matter without form and void to become a world. 
What evangelical duties can be performed without an evangelical impression, 
without the forming of Christ and the doctrine of Christ in the heart, not 
only in the notion, but the operative and penetrating power of it ? The 
heart must be first moulded, and cast into the frame of the doctrine of the 
gospel, before it can obey it, as R,om. vi. 17, ' But ye have obeyed from the 
heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you,' or, ' unto which 
you were delivered.' The mould wherein a thing is cast makes it fit for 
the operation for which it is intended. The ship that wants any material 

* Rom. vi. 4, Baptism signifies our burial with Christ and our resurrection to walk 
in newness of life. 

f Maimonid. More Nevoch., part ii. chap. 33. 

30 chabnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

thing in its make cannot sail well, will not obey the directions of the pilot ; 
and he that wants grace will be carried away with the breath of every sin 
and temptation. All the motions and rollings naturally in ways of duty by 
other principles, cannot make an aptitude to divine services, no more than 
a thousand times flinging up a stone into the air can produce any natural 
fitness in it for such an elevation any more than it had at first, which was 
none at all. Where should we have any preparation ? It cannot be from 
Adam ; he died a spiritual death by his sin, and had no natural fitness for 
any spiritual service, and therefore cannot convey by nature more to his 
posterity than what he had by nature ; what grace he had afterwards was 
bestowed upon his person, not upon the nature which was to be transmitted 
to his posterity. 

(2.) Therefore we cannot act any evangelical service without a new nature. 
If we have no natural preparation, we can have no natural action. The law 
must be written in our hearts before it be formed into the life, Jer. 
xxxi. 33, 34, ' I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their 
hearts.' It is then, and then only, that we have a practical and affectionate 
knowledge of God, 'And they shall know me from the least unto the greatest.' 
Eestoration to a supernatural life must be before there can be supernatural 
actions, a just nature before a just walk, as Hosea xiv. 9, ' The just shall 
walk in them,' that is, in the ways of God. The motion of the creature is 
not the cause but the effect of life. The evangelical service is not the cause 
of righteousness but the effect. We cannot walk in one commandment of 
God till the law be written in our inward parts, Ezek. xxxvi. 14. Those 
that have not a new heart cannot walk in God's statutes. We can never 
answer the terms of the covenant without a new nature. For, 

[1.] No act can transcend the principle of it. There is a certainty in this 
rule ; that the elevation of an inferior nature to the acts of a superior nature 
cannot be without some inward participation of that superior nature. The 
operation of everything follows the nature of the thing. A beast cannot act 
like a man without partaking of the nature of a man, nor a man act like an 
angel without partaking of the angelical nature. How then can a man act 
divinely without a participation of the divine nature ? Duties of a super- 
natural strain, as evangelic duties are, require a supernatural frame of spirit. 
Nothing can exceed the bounds of its nature, for then it should exceed itself 
in acting. Whatsoever service, therefore, doth proceed from mere nature, 
cannot amount to a gospel-service, because it comes not from a gospel-prin- 
ciple. We cannot believe without a habit of faith, nor love without a habit 
of love ; for this only renders us able to perform such acts. Justification is 
necessary to our state as well as regeneration ; but regeneration seems to be 
more necessary to our duties than the former ; this principally to the per- 
formance of them, the other to the acceptance of them. 

[2.] The nature doth always tincture the fruit of it. Our Saviour, by his 
interrogation, implies an impossibility that those that are evil should 
speak good things : Mat. xii. 34, ' generation of vipers, how can you, 
being evil, speak good things ? for out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth speaks.' The very hissings of a viper proceed from the malice of its 
nature. As the root is, so is all the fruit. From one seed many grains 
arise, yet all partake of the nature of that seed. Streams partake of the 
quality of the fountain. If the seed, root, and fountain be good, so is what- 
soever springs from them. There is not one righteous man by nature, 
neither Jew nor Gentle, all are concluded under sin : Rom. iii. 10, ' There 
is none righteous, no, not one;' none that 'understands and seeks God,' &c. 
He adds not one twice ; he exempts none, not one righteous by nature, not 

John III. 3, 5.] thk necessity of regeneration. 31 

one righteous action by nature : ' none that doth good, no, not one.' He 
applies it to all mankind. A poisonous nature can produce nothing but 
poisonous fruit. Our actions smell as rank as nature itself. Whatsoever 
riseth from thence, though never so spacious and well-coloured, is evil and 
unprofitable. If, therefore, we would produce good fruit, we must have a 
new root, seed, and spring. Our sour nature must be changed into a sweet- 
ness and purity. If the vine be empty, the fruit will be so too : Hosea x. 1, 
' Ephraim is an empty vine, he brings forth fruit to himself,' or, ' equal to 
himself,' mttf\ Unless the tree be good, the fruit can never be generous : 
Mat. vii. 17, 18, 'Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.' We 
must have the Spirit before we can bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. All 
good services are related to this, as effects to their cause ; so that what a 
man doth by an act of reason, and natural conscience, and good education, 
if his understanding and conscience remain wholly under their natural pol- 
lution, the service is not good, because the soul is corrupt ; much less are 
those services good which are the fruit only of humour. How the soul can 
be habitually sinful, and yet the acts flowing from it be good, is not easily 
conceivable ; it is against the stream of natural observation. It is true, in- 
deed, that a man that is habituated to one kind of sin may do an action that 
receives no tincture from that particular habit, because it doth not proceed 
from it ; as a drunkard gives an alms, his giving alms hath no infection 
inherent from that particular habit of drunkenness, but from the nature, 
which is wholly corrupt, it hath. ' Who can bring a clean thing out of an 
unclean ? not one,' Job xiv. 4. Who can bring a clean service out of a 
miry heart ? Not one man in the world. We cannot, therefore, perform 
any evangelical service if those foundations be considered. 

Not spiritually, because we are flesh. God must be ' worshipped in spirit,' 
John iv. 44 ; in a spiritual manner, with spiritual frames. The apostle 
speaks of ' walking in the spirit,' Phil. iii. 3, and ' praying in the Holy 
Ghost,' Jude 20. None can act spiritualty but those that are ' born of the 
Spirit ; ' and no action is spiritual but what proceeds from a renewed prin- 
ciple. The most glittering and refined flesh is but flesh in a higher sphere 
of flesh, therefore whatsoever springs up from that principle is fleshly, upon 
the former foundation, that nothing can rise higher than its nature. You 
may as well expect to gather grapes of thorns as spiritual duties from carnal 
hearts : Mat. vii. 16, ' Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? ' 
If a natural man ' cannot receive,' and ' cannot know the things of God, 
because they are spiritually discerned,' 1 Cor. ii. 14, how should he perform 
the duties belonging to God, since they are spiritually to be performed ? We 
are naturally more averse to motions upon our wills than to the illumina- 
tions of our minds. An appetite for knowledge, and a flight from God being 
both the fruits of Adam's fall, who was both curious to know, as God, and 
fearing to approach to God after his fall. There may be some services in 
natural men which may look like spiritual, but in the principle they are not 
so. Many acts are done by irrational creatures which look like rational acts. 
As the order among bees, like the acts of statesmen regulating a common- 
wealth ; their carrying gravel in their fangs to poise them in a storm, and 
hinder them from being carried away by the violence of the wind ; yet these 
are not rational acts, because they proceed not from reason, but from a 
natural instinct put into them by God, the supreme governor. So that as 
no action of an ape, though like the action of a man, can be said to be a 
human act, so no action of an unregenerate man, though like a spiritual 
action, can be called spiritual, because it proceeds not from a spiritual 
principle, but from a contrary one paramount in him. And all actions have 

32 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

their true denomination from the principle whence they flow. They may 
be fruits of morality, and fruits of conscience, but not spiritual fruits, which 
God requires. 

Well, then, we must be first built up ' a spiritual house,' we must be a 
1 priesthood ' before we can ' offer spiritual sacrifice,' 1 Peter ii. 5. We 
must have the powerful operation of the Holy Ghost in us before we can 
have a tincture of the Holy Ghost upon our services. In all human acts, 
we should act as rational creatures ; in all religious acts, as spiritual crea- 
tures. Now, as a man cannot act rationally without reason, so neither can 
we act spiritually without a divine spirit in us. We are indeed to serve 
God, and worship him as men ; therefore rational acts are due to God in 
worship, and we are constituted in the rank of rational beings to that pur- 
pose. But since our minds are defiled, they must be purified ; since our 
understandings are darkened, they must be enlightened. There must be a 
grace infused, a lamp set up, a spiritual awakening, and invigorating our 
reasons and wills, before we can worship God as God in a spiritual 

We cannot perform any evangelical service, vitally, because we are dead. 
Our services must be living services, if in any wise they be suitable to a liv- 
ing God. The apostle wishes us, Rom. xii. 1, to ' present our bodies a 
living sacrifice.' He doth not mean only our bodies, consisting of flesh and 
bones, or a natural life ; but he names the body as being the instrument of 
motion and service, or it may be synecdoche partis pro toto, a part for the 
whole. Present yourselves as a sacrifice consecrated to God, and living to 
him, and as living by him. 

Upon the loss of original righteousness, another form or principle was 
introduced, called in Scripture flesh, and a body of death. Hence by nature 
we are said to be dead, Eph. ii. 1, and all our works before repentance are 
dead works, Heb. vi. 1. And these works have no true beauty in them, 
with whatsoever gloss they may appear to a natural eye. A dead body may 
have something of the features and beauty of a living, but it is but the beauty 
of a carcase, not of a man. A statue, by the stone-cutter's art, and the 
painter's skill, may be made very comely, yet it is but a statue still ; where 
is the life ? Such services are but the works of art, as flowers painted on 
the wall with curious colours, but where is the vegetative principle ? Since 
man, therefore, is spiritually dead, he cannot perform a living service. As a 
natural death doth incapacitate for natural actions, so a spiritual death must 
incapacitate for spiritual actions. Otherwise, in what sense can it be called 
a death, if a man in a state of nature were as capable of performing spiritual 
actions as one in a state of grace ? No vital act can be exercised without a 
vital principle. As Adam could not stir to perform any action, though his 
body was framed and perfected, till God breathed into him a living soul, so 
neither can we stir spiritually till God breathe into us a living grace. 
Spiritual motions can no more be without a spiritual. life than bodily motions 
can be without an enlivening soul. ' The living, the living, they shall praise 
thee ; ' and Ps. lxxx. 18, ' Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.' 
There can be no living praise, nor no living prayer, without a renewed heart. 
If it be one effect of the blood of Christ to ' purge our consciences from dead 
works, to serve the living God,' as Heb. ix. 14, then it is clear that till our 
consciences are purged from dead works we cannot serve the living God ; for 
what suitableness can there be between a living God and dead services ? Is 
a putrefied rank carcase a fit present for a king ? or a man full of running 
sores and boils over his whole body fit to serve in a prince's chamber ? Our 
best services, without a new nature, though they may appear varnished and 

John III. 3, 5.J the necessity of kegeneration. 33 

glittering to man, yet in the sight of God they have no life, no substance, but 
stinking rotten dust, because coming from a dead and rotten heart. 

Well, then, we must be born again ; it is not a dead nature, nor a dead 
faith, can produce living fruit for God. We may as well read without eyes, 
walk without legs, act without life, as perform any service to God without a 
new nature ; no, we cannot perform the least : a dead man can no more 
move his finger than his whole body. 

Not graciously, because we are corrupt. By the same reason that we are 
to speak with grace, Col. iv. 6, and to sing with grace in our hearts to the 
Lord, Col. iii. 16, we are to do every other duty with an exercise of grace 
to God : and without grace, our praises are but hollowings, our prayers 
but howlings, as the Scripture terms them : Hosea vii. 14, ' They have not 
cried to me with their hearts, when they howled upon their beds.' How can 
there be an exercise of that which is not ? The skill of the musician cannot 
discover itself till the instrument be made tuneable. The heart must be strung 
with grace by the Spirit, before that Spirit can touch the strings to make 
harmony to God in a gospel service. Our tempers must be changed, our 
hearts fitted, before we can make melody to God. The principal beauty and 
glory of a duty lies in the internal workings of the heart ; and how can that 
heart work graciously, that hath nothing of God and his grace in it ? It is 
said, ' Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,' Prov. xxii. 15. So is cor- 
ruption in the heart of a man, like poison in a bundle of stuff; it is entered 
into the very composition of us. A law of sin is predominant in a natural 
man, Rom. vii. 23, which doth influence all his actions. Strong habits will 
interest themselves in all we go about, and all a man's services are regulated 
by it, for he hath no other law in his mind to check the motions of it, and 
to scent his duties, whereby they may carry a pleasing savour to God. The 
gift of prophecy, the understanding of mysteries, the depth of knowledge, 
the removing mountains, bestowing alms, dying for religion, are brave and 
noble acts ; but without charity, love to God, without which, no other grace 
can work, all these profit nothing, 1 Cor. xiii. 2, 3. There is a moral goodness 
in feeding the poor, but no gracious goodness without charity. A little of 
this would make those, as a diamond doth gold wherein it is set, more valu- 
able. If all those profit nothing without this grace of charity, they would 
profit much with it. How doth grace alter the very nature of services ? 
Those acts which are sensitive in a brute, were he transformed into a man, 
and endued with reason, would become rational. Those actions which are 
but moral in a mere man, when changed into Christian, become evangelical ; 
they would be of another nature and another value. 

Well, then, look after the new birth, since it is so necessary. There 
cannot be gracious practices without gracious principles. Can anything fly 
to heaven without wings ? We are to walk as Christ walked ; how can we 
do it without a principle of kin to that which Christ had ? We are bound 
to act from a principle of righteousness ; Adam was, and his posterity are ; 
and should we not look after that which is so necessary a perfection, re- 
quisite for our services ? No doubt but the devil could find matter enough 
for prayer, and from the excellency of his knowledge, frame some rare 
strains, as some word it ; but would it be a service which came from such a 
nature ? As long as we are allied to him in our nature, our services will be 
of as little value. He transforms himself into an angel of light, but is still 
a devil ; and many men do so in their religious acts, yet still remain un- 

Not freely and voluntarily, because we are at enmity. A natural man's 

vol. hi. c 

34 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

services are forced, not free. The aversion of our natures from God is as strong 
as their inclination to evil. We have no fervent desires to love God, and there- 
fore no desires to do anything out of affection to him. When sensual habits 
are planted in the soul, there is an enmity to God in the mind : it will not 
be ' subject to the law of God,' Rom. viii., and whilst that habit sways, it 
cannot. This inclination to sin, and consequently aversion to good, is incor- 
porated in nature, like blackness in a negro, or spots in a leopard ; they are 
accustomed to sin, and cannot do good, Jer. xiii. 23. There is no agree- 
ableness between God and man's soul, whilst there is a friendship between 
the heart and sin ; he affects the one, and is disgusted with the other : one 
is his pleasure, the other his trouble ; he hath no will, no heart to come to 
God in any service, and when he doth, he is rather dragged, than sweetly 
drawn. The things of God are against the bent of a natural heart ; there is 
nothing so irksome as the most spiritual service ; when men engage in them, 
they row against the stream of nature itself. There must, therefore, be 
something of a contrary efficacy to overpower this violent tide, a law of 
grace to renew the mind and turn the motions of the will, to another 
channel. Restraining grace may for a while stop the current, but not turn 
and change the natural course. A carnal mind conceits the things of God 
and his spiritual service to be foolishness, and therefore contemns them, 
1 Cor. i. 23, 24. The eye of the mind must be opened to discern the wis- 
dom of God in them, before he can affect them. The heart should be lifted 
up in the evangelical ways of God. Can mere flesh be thus ? Force can 
never change nature. You may hurl lead up into the air, but it will never 
ascend of itself while it is lead, unless it be rarified into air or fire. Keep 
up iron many years in the air by the force of a loadstone, it will retain its 
tendency to fall to the earth if the obstacle be removed ; the natural gravity is 
suspended, not altered. Till the nature of the will be altered, it can never 
move freely to any duty ; there must be a power to will, before there is a 
will to do, as Philip, ii. 13, ' It is God which works in you both to will and to 
do.' A supernatural renewing grace must expel corrupt habits from the will, 
and reduce it to its true object. When faith is planted, it brings love to 
work by ; when the soul is renewed, there is an harmony between God and 
the heart, between the mind and the word, between the will and the duty ; 
when the appetite and true taste of the soul is restored in regeneration, then 
spring up strong desires to apply itself to every holy service : 1 Peter ii. 2, 3, 
' The sincere milk of the word ' is fervently desired, after it is spiritually 

Well, then, there must be a change in us, or in the law. The law is 
spiritual, man is carnal, Rom. vii. 14. The law can have no friendship for 
man, nor man no friendship for the law in this state, since their natures are 
so contrary. What the law commands is disgustful to the flesh, what the 
flesh desires is displeasing to the law. There must then be a change ; the 
law must become carnal, or man become spiritual, before any agreement can 
be between them. Where do you think this change must light ? It can 
never be in the law, therefore it must be in man. The wound in our wills 
must be cured ; the tide of nature, that never carries us to God, must be 
turned, and altered by a stream of grace, to move us to him and his service. 
Man hath been a slave to his lust by the loss of grace, and is never like to 
be restored to his liberty in the service of God, till he be repossessed of that 
grace, the loss of which brought him into slavery. The gospel is a ' law of 
liberty,' James i. 25 ; a servile spirit doth not suit a free law, neither is it a 
fit frame for an evangelical service. 

Nor delightfully. We can never perform spiritual services with delight, 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 35 

because we are alienated. This we are to do. Paul ' delighted in the law 
of God,' Rom. vii. 22 ; and the law was the ' delights ' of David, Ps. cxix. 92 ; 
his whole pleasure ran in this channel. Now, because of that aversion to 
God, there is no will and freedom in his service, much less can there be a 
delight. A corrupt nature can have no divine strains ; a diseased man hath 
no delight in his own acts, his distemper makes his very motion unpleasant 
to him. Things that are not natural can never be delightful. There is a 
mighty distance between spiritual duties and a carnal heart. Things out of 
their place can never be an rest. Sin is as much a natural man's element 
as water to a fish or air to a bird ; if he be stopped in the ways of the flesh, 
he is restless till he return. He may indeed have some delight sometimes 
in a service — not as it respects God as the object, or God as the end, there 
is no such friendship in a natural man's heart to him — but there is an agree- 
ment between a service and some carnal end he performs it for. His delight 
is not terminated in the service, but in self-love, self-interest, or some ex- 
ternal reward, anchored in it by some hopes of carnal advantage, not 
springing from a living love or a gracious affection to God. He hath no 
knowledge of God, and therefore can have no delight in God or in his ser- 
vice. It is impossible we can come before him without pleasure and delight, 
if we know how amiable he is in his person, and how gracious in his nature ; 
but we naturally think God a hard master, and man having no delight in 
God, he can have none in those means which lead him to God, and as they 
are appointed to bring God and his soul together. He hath wrong notions 
of duties, looks upon them as drudgeries, not as advantages : Mai. i. 13, 
' Ye said, Behold, what a weariness it is,' &c. Without a change of nature, 
we cannot desire communion with God, and therefore cannot delight in the 
means of it. We can no more do any service cheerfully than the saints 
without it could ' receive joyfully the spoiling of their goods,' Heb. x. 34. 
We can never be in a holy ecstasy without this inward principle, to make 
the gospel services connatural to us. This only makes high impressions 
upon the soul. It is the law within our hearts, which only makes us delight 
to do his will : Ps. xl. 8, ' Thy law is within my heart,' in my bowels. He 
had a natural affection to it, and then a high delight in it. It made our 
Saviour delight to do his work ; and it was the inward man of the heart, 
wherein the apostle's delight in the law was placed. Unless we have a 
divine impression of God upon us, we cannot hear his word with any joy in 
it; as our Saviour saith, John viii. 47, 'Ye therefore hear them not,' that 
is, the words of God, ' because you are not of God.' Unless we have God's 
light and his truth sent forth into us, we can never make God our exceeding 
joy, or go to his altar with such a frame, Ps. xliii. 3, 4. 

Well, then, there is a necessity of the new nature, to have a warm frame 
of heart in evangelical duties. What is connatural to us is only delightful. 
So much of weariness and bondage we have in any holy service, so much of 
a legal frame ; so much of love and delight, so much we have of a new cove- 
nant grace. A spirit of adoption and regeneration only can make us delight 
to come to our father, and to cry Abba to him. 

Without regene/ation we cannot perform evangelical duties sincerely, 
because we are a lie, and in our best estate vanity. We must worship God 
' in truth ' as well as ' spirit,' John iv. 24. God is a Spirit, and therefore 
must be worshipped in spirit. God is truth, and therefore must be worshipped 
in truth. Without a new nature we cannot worship God in truth. The old 
nature is in itself a He, a mere falsity, something contrary to that nature 
God created. It was first introduced by a lie of the devil (' ye shall be as 
gods, knowing good and evil,' Gen. iii. 5), and thereupon a fancy that God 

36 chaknock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

lied in his command. How can we serve God with this nature, which had 
nothing but a lie for its foundation, — a lie of the devil, a lie in our fancy ? 
Therefore our old nature is no better than a lie. How can we serve God 
with that nature which is quite another thing to that of his framing ? Man 
in his fall is a liar : Rom. iii. 4, ' Let God be true, and every man a liar,' a 
covenant-breaker, that kept not his faith with God. God, in respect of truth, 
and man, in respect of lying, are set in opposition by the apostle there. No 
man but would slight and scorn that service from another, which he knew to 
be a lying service in the very frame of it. There is no truth can be in any 
service which is founded only upon an old nature, and performed by one that 
is acted by the father of lies; and so is every unregenerate man, every 'child 
of disobedience,' Eph. ii. 2. 

Now, sincerity cannot be without a new nature, 

(1.) Because there are no divine motives which should sway the soul. 
Most services of natural men have such dirty springs, so unsuitable to that 
raised temper men should have in dealing with God, that they produce sacri- 
fices not fit to be offered to an earthly governor : Mai. i. 8, ' If you offer 
the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?' &c, 'offer it now unto thy governor, 
will he be pleased with thee ?' Had they had divine motives, they had never 
brought such sickly services. What was not fit for themselves, they thought 
fit for God. Did but princes know what motives many had in their services, 
they would with as much scorn reject them as they do ignorantly receive 
them with affection. But it is otherwise with God, who knows all the springs 
and wards in that lock of the heart of his own framing. Do not most ser- 
vices take their rise from custom, or from an outward religious education 
barely, or at best from natural conscience, which though it be all in a man, 
which takes God's part, yet it is flesh, and defiled ? And what pure vapours 
can be expected from a lake of Sodom? Titus i. 15, ' To them that are 
defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure ; but even their mind and conscience 
is defiled.' The mind, which is the repository of natural light, and the con- 
science, which is the advocate of natural light, and applies it upon particular 
occasion, are defiled, and that in every unbelieving person. Can the motives 
which conscience takes from a dark and defiled principle, as the mind is, be 
divine ? It is fear of death, wrath, and judgment which it mostly applies. 
These are the motives of defilement. Fear is the natural consequence of 
pollution; without sin and corruption we never had had any fear of hell. 
That cannot be gracious which springs naturally from the commission of sin, 
and can this be divine ? Were there no punishment feared, there should be 
no duty performed. Conscience hath naturally no basis to stand upon but 
this. What is the principle of his fear ? Self. It is not therefore obedience 
to God, but self-preservation, sways a man. Fear is but a servile disposi- 
tion, and therefore cannot make a service good. All such extrinsic motives 
which arise not from a new life, are no more divine than the weights of a 
clock may be said to have life because they set the wheels on running. The 
same action may be done by several persons upon different principles and 
motives, for which one may be rewarded, the other not ; as Mat. x. 41, 42, 
' He that receives a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall 
receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give unto one of 
these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, he shall 
in no wise lose his reward.' One may receive a member of Christ out of 
respect to Christ and the relation the person hath to him, another may re- 
ceive the same person out of a common principle of humanity ; the action 
is the same, the good redounding to the object is the same ; nay, it may be 
greater in him that acts from a commiseration of him, as a man, than a cup 

John III. 3, 5.J the necessity of regeneration. 37 

of cold water from the other, because his ability is greater ; but the inward 
respect to the object is different. One respects him as a man of the same 
nature with himself in misery, the other respects him as a member of Christ 
in misery ; one respects him as a man, the other as a righteous man. The 
principle is different : one relieves him out of a natural compassion, common 
to a heathen with him, the other out of a Christian affection to his Head. 
The actions are therefore different, because of their motives : one is reward- 
able, and promised to be rewarded, the other not ; one may be from grace — 
I do not say it always is, unless there be a constant tenor of such motives in 
our actions ; for a natural man, under the preaching of the gospel, may do 
such a thing out of a present and transient respect to Christ, whom he hears 
so often of, and hath some presumption to be saved by, but it is not his con- 
stant frame — I say, one may be from grace, the other from nature. 

Therefore from hence results a necessity of the alteration of the frame of 
our souls, to furnish us with divine and heavenly motives for our actions. A 
man may do a thing by nature from a good principle, a principle of common 
honesty, good in its kind (brass is good in its kind, but not so good as silver), 
but not evangelically good, without a renewed affection to God : John xiv. 
15, ' If you love me, keep my commandments ;' keep what I command you, 
out of affection to me. Where ' the imagination of the heart is evil, and 
only evil, and that continually,' Gen. vi. 5, all the service a man in that state 
performs riseth from this spring, and hath some infectious imagination in it, 
highly abominable to God ; either wrong notions of God in it, or wrong notions 
of the duty, or corrupt motives, something or other of the evil imagination 
of the heart, mixes itself with it. 

(2.) Without a renewed nature, as there are no divine motives, so there 
can be no divine ends. We are bound to refer our natural actions, much 
more our religious services, to the glory of God. The end is the moral prin- 
ciple of every action. It is that which confers a goodness or badness upon 
the service : Luke xi. 34, ' If the eye be evil, the whole body is full of dark- 
ness ' (this is commonly understood of a man's aim). If the intention be 
evil, there is nothing but darkness in the whole service. The perfection of 
everything consists in answering the end for which it was framed. That 
which was the first end of our framing, ought to be the end of our acting, 
viz. the glory of God. But man hath taken himself off from this end, and 
hath been fond of making himself his chief good and ultimate end. Men 
naturally have corrupt ends in good duties. Pride is the cause of some 
men's virtue. And they are spiritually vicious in avoiding crimes, because 
they intrench too much upon their reputation. The pharisees made their 
devotion contribute to their ambition : Mat. vi. 5, « They pray to be seen of 
men,' and Mat. xxiii. 5, 'But all their works they do to be seen of men.' 
Not one work wherein they had not respect to this. Their works might well 
be called the works of the devil, whose main business it was to set up pride 
and self. All their pretences of devotion to God, were but the adoration of 
some golden image. Have not many in their more splendid actions, the 
same end with brutes : the satisfaction of the sensitive part, covetousness, 
pride, emulation, sense of honour, qualities perceivable in the very brutes, 
as the end of some of their actions ? The acting for a sensitive end is not 
suitable to a rational, much less can it be the end of a gracious creature. 
Have not men sinful ends in their religious services ? in their prayers to God, 
in their acknowledgments of God ? The devil could intreat our Saviour's 
leave to go into the herd of swine. Was this a prayer, though directed to 
Christ, when his end was to destroy and satisfy his malice in it? At best, 
a man without grace is like a picture in a room which eyes all, and hath no 

38 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

more respect to a prince than his attendants. A natural man's respect to 
God is but equal to a respect to all his other worldly concerns. Indeed it 
were well if it were so. He parcels out one part for God, one part for him- 
self, and one part for the world ; but God hath the least share, or at best, 
no more than the rest. And truly, as a picture cannot give a greater re- 
spect, to fix its eyes more upon a prince than a peasant, because it hath no 
life ; so neither can a natural man pay a supreme respect to God in his ser- 
vice, without a spiritual life. There is a necessity then of removing those 
depraved ends, that man may answer the true end of his creation. The 
principles then upon which such ends do grow, contrary to the will of God, 
must be rooted out, that the soul may move purely to God in every service. 
We are come short of the glory of God : Rom. iii. 23, ' All have sinned and 
come short of the glory of God ;' short of aiming at it, short of his approba- 
tion of our acts. Being thus come short, our ends cannot rise higher than 
the frame of our soul. Grace, grace only can advance our wills to those 
supernatural ends for which they were first framed. We can never aim at 
the glory of God till we have an affection to him. We can never honour 
him supremely, whom we do not supremely love. An affection to God can 
never be had, till the nature, wherein the aversion is placed, be changed into 
another frame. We are to glorify God, as God. How can we do this with- 
out the knowledge of him ? How c?n we know him but by the gospel, 
wherein he discovers himself? How can we have right conceptions of the 
gospel, till gospel impressions be made upon us ? How can we act for the 
glory of God, to whom naturally we are enemies ? There is none of us born 
with a spiritual love to God. There must be an alteration of the end and aim 
in us ; our actions cannot else be good, though ordered by God himself. 
God employs Satan in some things, as in afflicting Job ; but is his perform- 
ance good ? No, because his end is not the same with God's. He acts out 
of malice what God commands out of sovereignty, and for gracious designs. 
Our end without it, is not the same with the end of the action ; for moral acts 
tend to God's glory, though the agent hath no such intention. So the action 
may be good in itself, but not good in the actor, because he wants a due end. 

Well then, those actions only can be said to be evangelical, when the great 
end of God's glory, which was his end both in creation and redemption, hath 
a moral influence upon every service ; when we have the same end in our re- 
deemed services, as God had in his redeeming love. 

Not humbly. We cannot without regeneration perform gospel duties 
humbly, because of natural stoutness and hardness. Evangelical duties 
must be performed with humility. Self-denial is the chief gospel lesson, 
and is to run through the veins of every service. Therefore God speaks of 
giving 'a heart of flesh,' in gospel times: Ezek. si. 19, 'I will take the 
stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may 
walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them.' Gospel duties 
require a pliableness and tenderness of heart. Adam's over-valuing himself, 
and swelling with designs of being like God, brought an incapacity upon him- 
self of serving his creator. And man ever since, is too much aspiring and 
too well opinioned of himself, to perform duties in an evangelical strain, with 
that meltingness, that nothingness in himself, which the gospel requires. 
Our swelling and admiring thoughts of our own natural righteousness, hinders 
Christ from saving us, and ourselves from serving him. There must then be 
an humble, and melting, and self-denying frame. The angels are said to 
cover their faces before God, Isa. vi. 2, as having nothing to glory in of their 
own. And the chief design of the gospel is to beat down all glorying in our- 
selves : 1 Cor. i. 29, 31, ' That no flesh should glory in his presence ; let him 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 39 

that glorieth, glory in the Lord.' And indeed it humbles us no more than 
what, upon due consideration, will appear very necessary. Nature then must 
be changed before this pride be rooted out. Old things must pass away, 
that God may be all in all in the creature. We cannot without a new nature 
make a true estimate of ourselves, and lie as vile and base in the presence of 
God. A stone, with all the hammering, cannot be made soft. Beat it into 
several pieces, you may sever the continuity of its parts, but not master its 
hardness ; every little piece of it will retain the hardness of its nature. So 
it is with a heart of stone. The nature must be changed before it be fit for 
those services which require melting, humble, and admiring frames. There 
is a necessity of a residing grace, like fire, to keep the soul in a meltiug 

Not constantly. Without a new nature, we cannot perform gospel services 
constantly, because of our natural levity. Where the nature is flesh, the 
heart ' minds the things of the flesh,' Rom. viii. 5. The mind thus habitu- 
ated, will not be long employed about the things of the Spirit. There is a 
natural levity in man's nature. Do not many seem to begin in the Spirit 
and end in the flesh ? seem to arise to heaven, and quickly fall down to 
earth ? Do not our very promises vanish with the next wind of temptation, 
and like sparks, expire as soon as they be born, unless grace be in the heart 
to keep them alive. The Israelites are accused of not having a heart sted- 
fast with God: Ps. lxxviii. 37, ' Their heart was not right with him, neither 
were they stedfast in his covenant.' Are our natures better than theirs ? 
Do we not all lie under the same charge ; so uncertain naturally, about divine 
things, as if there were nothing but wind in our composition ? Nothing can 
be kept up in motion against its nature, but by force. A top hath no in- 
ward principle of motion, but is moved by some outward force. When that 
is removed, the motion languisheth. Any motion that depends only upon 
outward wires, expires upon the breaking of them. When external motives, 
which spurred men on to this or that service, cease, the service dies of course, 
because the spring of the motion falls. If fear of hell, terrors of death, some 
pressing calamity, be the spring of any duty ; when these are removed, there 
will be no more regard to the duty they engendered. But what is natural, is 
constant, because the spring always remains. Interest changeth, conscience 
is various ; and therefore the operations arising from thence, will partake of 
the uncertainty of them. Stony ground may bring forth blades ; but for 
want of root, they will quickly wither : Mat. xiii. 5, 20. A man may mount 
high in religion, by the mixture of some religious passion, as meteors in the 
air ; but by reason of the gross and earthy parts in them, will not continue 
their station. There is no being without, stable, but God ; and no principle 
stable within, but grace : Heb. xiii. 9, ' It is a good thing that the heart be 
established with grace.' Whatsoever service is undertaken upon changeable 
motives, is as changeable as the bottom upon which it stands. If credit, 
slavish fear of God, worldly interest, inspire us with some seeming holy 
resolutions, they will all fly away upon the first removal of those props. 
There is therefore a necessity of a change of nature and disposition. Where 
there is no approbation of things that are excellent, there can be no constant 
operation about them. All action about an object, continues according to 
the affection to it, and delight in it. We shall then be filled with the fruits 
of righteousness, to the glory of God, when we have a sincere approbation 
of the excellency of them: Philip i. 10, 11, first, 'approve things that are 
excellent ; and then follows, ' without offence, till the day of Christ.' A 
stately profession can no more hold out against the floods of temptation, than 
a beautiful building can stand against the winds without a good foundation 

40 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

under ground. It is the Spirit of the Lord within, as well as without, can 
only maintain the standard against temptation, Isa. lix. 19. 

Well then, upon the whole, there is a necessity of regeneration for the 
performance of gospel duties. We cannot else perform them spiritually, 
because we are flesh ; nor vitally, because we are dead ; nor graciously, 
because we are corrupt ; nor voluntarily, because we are enmity ; nor 
delightfully, because we are alienated ; nor sincerely, because we are falsity ; 
nor humbly, because of our stoutness ; nor constantly, because of our levity. 
Our natures must be changed in all these respects, before we can be fit for 
any gospel service. 

(2.) Eegeneration is necessary for the enjoyment of gospel privileges. 

[1.] For the favour of God, and his complacency with us. We are not 
fit for God's delight, without it. That person who hath his love, must have 
his image. If ever God could love an old nature, which he once hated, 
and delight in that which he once loathed, he must divest himself of his 
immutability. He never hated the person of any of his creatures, but for 
unrighteousness. And upon the removal of this cloud of separation between 
him and them, the beams of his love break out in their former vigour. 
God's love is not straitened, nor his kindness exhausted, no more than his 
hand is shortened, or his ear grown heavy, that he cannot hear : Isa. lix. 
1, 2, ' But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and 
your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.' 

For, first, what did make the first separation, was it not sin ? God told 
Adam before, what the issue would be, upon his eating the forbidden fruit : 
Gen. ii. 17, • In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' 
It is not a temporal death there only meant ; for he should then have died 
that day wherein he fell, the word surely importing so much. And the 
punishment of a temporal death was pronounced afterwards : Gen. iii. 19, 
' Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' Thou shalt surely die ; 
thy integrity and righteousness will expire that very moment, and thou shalt 
die in my just displeasure. It is a spiritual death that is most properly 
meant. The punishment of sin is death ; the chief part of this death is an 
' alienation from the life of God,' Eph. iv. 18; that is, not to have God, 
and the righteousness of God's image living in him ; but to be impure, cor- 
rupt, a hater of God, and servant of sin. Now from this punishment no 
man can be freed, but by a contrary regeneration, the proper effect whereof 
is to love God, to know his name, to partake of his holiness, to imitate his 
virtues.* Man forfeited all God's favour upon his fall, and can challenge 
nothing of it. 

Secondly, What then can restore man to God's favour ? Can that which 
first deprived us of it ? The cause of our destruction can never be the 
means of our restoration. Did the loss of Adam's integrity make him unfit 
for paradise, the garden of God, from whence he was expelled, as a token 
of God's disfavour ? And can the continuance of that loss be a means to 
regain that love which cashiered us ? It was a spiritual death ; and is the 
carcase of a soul fit for God's complacency ? There must be not only a 
satisfaction to his justice for the re-instating man into his favour (this is done 
by Jesus Christ) ; but a restoring of his image, this is done by the Holy 
Ghost. It is as impossible the soul can be beautiful without life, and with- 
out holiness, as for a body to be beautiful without a good colour and pro- 
portion of parts. Take away this, beauty must cease, and deformity succeed 
in the place. It is impossible, therefore, that where sin remains in its full 
vigour, where there is nothing of an original integrity residing, but that the 
* Cocceius; More Nevoch, p. 65. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 41 

soul must be monstrous, vile, and deformed in the eyes of God. To make 
it therefore a fit object for God's favour, it is necessary it be beautified with 
a holy nature, and adorned with its due proportions and vigour. The 
righteousness of Israel must go forth as brightness ; he must be called by 
a new name, that is, a new nature ; for what is a name without a nature ? 
And then it should be Hephzibah, ' the Lord delights in thee.' Isa. lxii. 
1-4, ' The righteousness thereof shall go forth as brightness, and the glory 
thereof as a lamp that burns.' Righteousness is the glory of a soul, as well 
as of a church : ' Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy 
glory : thou shalt be called by a new name ;' a new nature wrought by the 
word of God; ' which the mouth of the Lord shall name.' Then she should 
be in favour with God, ' a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a 
royal diadem in the hand of her God.' Righteousness is the glory of a soul, 
and God's delight and complacency is the consequent of a righteous nature. 

Thirdly, The elect themselves have no interest in God's favour of delight 
without it. This follows upon the former ; God cannot love the very top of 
mankind, his own choice, with a love of complacency, without regeneration, 
without a righteous nature. There is a favour of intention and purpose 
before it ; there is also an executive love in the very infusing the habits of 
grace, which is a supernatural favour, because there is both a purpose and 
then an actual conferring a supernatural good. God is free, and may will 
to give his gifts how, and to whom he pleases. But an elect person, whilst 
he continues in a state of nature, is not simply beloved, though there be a 
purpose of love, because there is no gracious quality in him, which is the 
object of God's special favour. It is regeneration only which is the object 
of God's delight in us. 

Fourthly, Hence will follow, that no privilege under heaven, without it, 
can bring us into God's favour ; no, not if any man were related to Christ 
according to the flesh. The apostle Paul would not think the better of 
himself for a fleshly relation to Christ, for being of the same country, 
descended of the Jewish nation : 2 Cor. v. 16, * Though we have known 
Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if 
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.' Though it be an honour to be 
of the same descent with Christ, according to the flesh, to be of the same 
nation and country, yet this doth not make a man any more beloved of 
God. Nothing avails in Christ, but a new creature ; and our Saviour him- 
self pronounceth it so. It was the highest privilege to be the mother of 
our Saviour, according to the flesh ; yet this had been nothing, without her 
being born again of the Spirit : ' "Who is my mother ? and who are my 
brethren ? Behold my mother and my brethren,' pointing to his disciples, 
Mat. xii. 48, 49. ' My mother and my brethren are those which hear the 
word of God, and do it,' Luke viii. 21. Those that hear the word, that 
have the gracious effect of the word wrought in them by the Spirit, are 
equal to my mother, and my brethren, and superior to any of my fleshly 
relations, if they be without it. There is a necessity of regeneration upon 
this account. 

[2.] As there is no favour, so there is no union with God and Christ with- 
out it. Man hath some kind of natural union with all things in the world ; 
he hath being with all creatures, rational faculties with angels, sense with 
animals, vegetation with plants ; he wants cnly that with God which would 
beautify all the rest. And this can only be by partaking of the image of 
God's holiness by a new birth. There must be a capability for this union 
on man's part. A superior and inferior nature may be united together, but 
never contrary natures. There must be some proportion between the sub- 

42 chaenock's woeks. [John III. 3, 5. 

jects to be united, which proportion consists in a commensuration of one 
thing to another. What proportion is there between God and our souls ? 
There can be none without a supernatural grace infusing a pure nature. As 
we come out of the quarry of nature, rough and unpolished, we are not fit to 
be cemented with the corner-stone in the heavenly building ; we must be first 
smoothed and altered by grace. 

First, How can things be united to one another which are already united 
to their contraries ? Separation from one body must make way for union to an- 
other. Naturally we are united to the devil as the head of the wicked world. 
We are by nature his members. Our understandings and wills were united 
with his in Adam, when Adam gave up his understanding and will to him ; 
and ever since he ' works in the children of disobedience :' Eph. ii. 2, 'Who 
now works in the children of disobedience,' mpyovvrog h lioTg. Working and 
working in, as a united nature to him, and principle in him. It is necessary 
this union should be broken before we can partake of the influence of another 
head. The diabolical nature and principle, therefore, which we have got by 
sin must be removed, and another nature, which is divine, put in the place 
first (in order of nature), before we can be united to Christ, and enjoy the 
benefits of union with him. 

Secondly, How can things of a contrary nature be united together ? Can 
fire and water be united, a good angel, and an impure devil ? can heaven 
and hell ever meet friendly and compose one body ? We are united 
to the first Adam by a likeness of nature ; how can we be united to the 
second, without a likeness to him from a new principle ? We were united to 
the first by a living soul ; we must be united to the other by a quickening 
Spirit. We have nothing to do with the heavenly Adam, without bearing 
an heavenly image, 1 Cor. xv. 48, 49. We are earthly as in the first Adam ; 
we must be heavenly to be in the second, because his nature is so. If we 
are his members, we must have the same nature which was communicated 
to him by the Spirit of God, which is holiness. This nature must flow from 
the same principle, otherwise it is not the same nature ; an old nature can- 
not be joined to a new Adam. There must be one spirit in both ; as 1 Cor. 
vi. 17, ' He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit ;' and if it were an union 
barely of affections, as some would only make it, it is not conceivable how 
it can be without a change of disposition. But since it is an union by in- 
dwelling of the same Spirit in both (Rom. viii. 9, ' If any man hath not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his '), it is less intelligible, how it can be with- 
out an assimilation of our nature to the nature of Christ. It can never be 
supposed the Spirit should unite a pure head, and impure members. Such 
an union would make our blessed Saviour like Nebuchadnezzar's image ; an 
head of gold, arms of silver, and feet of clay. Shall we loathe to have nasty 
things about us, and will the holy Jesus endure a loathesome putrefying soul 
to be joined to him ? 

Thirdly, How can anything be vitally united to another without life ? It 
is a vital union, by virtue of which believers are called Christ (1 Cor. xi. 12, 
' As all the members of that one body, being many, are one body ; so also is 
Christ') ; and it is compared to the union of the members of a natural body, 
Rom. xii. 4, 5. Members have not only life in their head, but in themselves, 
because the soul, which is the life of the body, is not only in the head, but 
in all the parts of the body, and exerciseth in every part its vital operations. 
The Spirit therefore, which is the band of this union, communicates life to 
every member wherein he resides, as well as in the head. What man would 
endure a dead body to be joined to him, though it were the carcase of one he 
never so dearly loved ? If a man were united to Christ, without regenera- 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 43 

tion, Christ's body would be partly alive, partly dead, if any one member of it 
had not a spiritual life. A dead body and a living head, a member of 
Christ with a nature contrary to him, is an unconceivable paradox. Did 
God ever design such a monstrous union for his Son ? 

Upon these accounts doth result the necessity of regeneration ; without 
it, no union with Christ. 

(3.) There can be no justification without it. We are not justified by an 
inherent righteousness ; yet we are not justified without it. We cannot be 
justified by it, because it is not commensurate to the law by reason of its im- 
perfection ; we cannot be justified without it, for it is not congruous to 
the wisdom and holiness of God, to count a person righteous, who hath no- 
thing of righteousness in him, and whose nature is as corrupt as the worst 
of men. With what respect to God's honour, can it be expected that God 
should pardon that man's sins, whose will is not changed, who still hath the 
same habitualness in his will to commit sin. though he doth not at present 
act it. It is very congruous in a moral way, that the person offending should 
retract his sin, and return to his former affection. There is a distinction 
between justification and regeneration, though they never are asunder. 
Justification is relative; regeneration internally real. Union with Christ is 
the ground of both ; Christ is the meritorious cause of both. The Father 
pronounceth the one, the Spirit works the other ; it is the Father's sentence, 
and the Spirit's work. The relative and the real change are both at the 
same time : 1 Cor. vi. 7, ' But you are sanctified, but you are justified ;' 
both go together. We are not justified before faith, because we are justified 
by it, Rom. v. 1 ; arid faith is the vital principle whereby we live : Gal. ii. 
20, ' The life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.' It is 
the root-grace, and contains the seeds of all other graces in it; it is habitu- 
ally and seminally all other grace ; so that unless we be new born, no justi- 
fication can be expected ; no justification can be evidenced. God never 
pardons sin, but he subdues iniquity: Micah vii. 18, 19, 'Who is a God 
like unto thee, that pardons iniquity ?' He will subdue our iniquities. Tbe 
conquest cannot be made, while the nature, the root of the rebellion, remains. 
When he turns his compassion to us, he will turn away our hearts from ini- 
quity. If a man were justified before he were regenerate, then he was right- 
eous before he was alive ; being • in Christ,' as free from condemnation, is 
alway attended with a ' walking after the Spirit ;' and walking is not before 
living, Rom. viii. 1. Pardon would be unprofitable, unless he that were 
pardoned were made righteous inchoatively here, and had a right to, and 
hope of, a perfect righteousness hereafter. If righteousness hereafter were 
not imparted in this manner, it would be an argument a man were still under 
the law, which saith, ' He that doth them shall live in them ' (which is im- 
possible in a man that hath once sinned, though his sins are remitted). But 
it is clear that righteousness is imparted, since there is no man in the world 
whose sins are pardoned, but finds some principle in him whereby he is en- 
abled to contest with sin more than before he was. Therefore do not deceive 
yourselves ; there is no pardon without a righteous nature, though pardon 
be not given for it. 

(4.) There is no adoption without regeneration. We can no more be God's 
sons, without spiritual regeneration, than we can be the sons and daughters 
of men, without natural generation. Adoption is not a mere relation without 
an inward form. The privilege, and the image of the sons of God, go both 
together. A state of adoption is never without a separation from defilement : 
2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, ' Come you out from among them, be you separate, and 
will be a father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.' The new 

44 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

name in adoption is never given till the new creature be framed. * As many as 
are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God,' Rom. viii. 14, gutoi, those very 
persons ; that is the signal mark, that they are led by the Spirit; therefore first 
enlivened by the Spirit. A child-like relation is never without a child-like 
nature. The same method God observes in declaring the members his sons, 
as he did in declaring the head his Son, which was ' according to the Spirit of 
holiness, by the resurrection from the dead,' Rom. i. 4. So he declares be- 
lievers to be bis sons, by giving them a spirit of holiness, and by a resur- 
rection from sin, and spiritual death. The devils may as well be adopted 
sons of God, as we, without a change of nature. To be the sons of the 
living God, was the great promise of the gospel prophesied of: Hos. i. 10, 
' Ye are the sons of the living God.' How well will it suit, a living God 
and a dead son ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Our 
Saviour's argument from* the immortality of the soul will evidence not only 
a resurrection, but a necessity of spiritual life. What advantage is there in 
being sons of the living God, if we had no more life in us than his greatest 
enemies ? Regeneration, as a physical act, gives us a likeness to God in our 
nature. Adoption, as a legal act, gives us a right to an inheritance ; both 
the great intendments of the gospel, both accompanying one another. No 
sonship without a new nature. 

(5). There is no acceptation of our services without it. We are not fit to 
perform any duty without it, and God will never accept any duty from us 
without it. In the 1st of Ephesians, 1. election, 2. regeneration, expressed 
by being holy, 3. adoption, 4. acceptation, are linked together : ver. 4-6, ' He 
hath chosen us that we should be holy, and without blame before him in 
love, having predestinated us to the adoption of children ;' after follows grace 
' wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.' Our acceptation is only 
upon the account of Christ ; but the acceptability is upon the account of 
grace. Faith makes our persons and our duties acceptable, and Christ 
makes them both accepted. Acceptability ariseth from grace, as damnability 
ariseth from sin. God damns none, unless they be damnable ; neither doth 
God accept any in Christ, unless they be acceptable.! The papists that 
plead for merit, acknowledge nothing of it before grace, but after grace, be- 
cause then the services have a greater proportion to God, from the dignity of 
the person, they being acts of God's children, and wrought by his Spirit. 
God can love nothing but himself, and what he finds of himself in the crea- 
ture. All services, without something of God's image and Spirit in them, are 
nothing. As the product of a million of cyphers, though you still add to 
them, signifies nothing ; but add one figure, an unit, the Spirit, grace, it will 
make the product to be many millions, of high account with God. All the 
significancy depends upon the figure, which, if absent, the rest would be no- 
thing. All moral perfections, without a new nature, are but cyphers in God's 
account: Heb. xi. 6, ' Without faith it is impossible to please God.' Grace 
is only a good work : Philip, i. 6, ' He which hath begun a good work in you, 
■will perform it till the da}' of Christ ;' intimating that their morality and their 
natural wisdom, before their regeneration, were not good works in the sight 
of God. They were good in their kind ; as a crab may be said to be a 
good crab, but not a good pippin. It is not good, unless it be fruit brought 
forth in Christ ; neither is it ordained as good to the day of Christ, to appear 
glorious at the time of his triumph. God looks into our services, whether 
the Spirit frames them, and Christ presents them ; all that we do must go 
through their hands before they can reach God's heart. Acceptation can 
never be without a renewed nature. The services of the flesh cannot please 
* Qu. 'for'? — Ed. f Lessius de Perfect. Divin. p. 56. 

John III. 3, 5. J the necessity of regeneration. 45 

God : Rom. viii. 8, ' They that are in the flesh cannot please God.' Their 
persons cannot, therefore their actions cannot, because they are the products 
of a nature at variance with him, a nature that is not, nor cannot be sub- 
ject to his law ; so that God must be displeased with his own spiritual law ; 
yea, with his own holy nature, and change his judgment, and change his 
nature, before he can be pleased with fleshly services, for at the best, thoy 
are but refined brutishness. The image of the devil can never be grateful to 
God. Services flowing from nature, may seem in the outward form of them, 
to be as acceptable as the duties of a good man ; but considering what a 
dunghill of filthiness the heart is, from whence they proceed, they cannot be 
so. Good water is sweetest, and bad water corruptest, nearest the spring or 
fountain ; the streams may lose some of their corruption in their passage. 
A gracious man's duties are most pleasant to God nearest the heart ; a 
natural man's services are most distasteful nearest the spring. When the 
heart is a good treasure, what comes from it is regarded as a rich gift, be- 
cause it comes from a valuable treasure, Luke vi. 45 ; hence it is that a less 
work, coming from a pure and holy principle in a renewed man, is more ac- 
ceptable to God, than a greater work (in respect of the external glorification 
of him in the good of mankind), coming from an impure principle in a natural 
man ; as a cup of cold water given to a disciple is more valuable than the 
gift of a prince from another principle. In the one, God sees a conformity 
of affection with his holiness ; in the other, only a conformity with his pro- 
vidence. One intends God's glory, and the other only acts it, proposing 
some other end to himself; and we use to value gifts, rather by the affec- 
tion of the friend, than the quantity of the gift. Well then, consider it ; 
without a new nature, all our services, though they should amount to many 
millions in number, have no intrinsic value in them with God. For where 
the nature is displeasing, the actions flowing from that nature can never 
please him : ' He that turns away his ear from hearing the law,' that is, from 
a spiritual obedience to the law, ' even his prayer is an abomination,' Prov. 
xxviii. 9 ; it is formed by a noisome soul. 

(6.) There is no communion with God without a renewed soul. God is 
uncapable on his part, with the honour of his law and holiness, to have com- 
munion with such a creature. Man is uncapable on his part, because of the 
aversion rooted in his nature. What way can there be to bring God and man 
together without this change of nature ? what communion can there be be- 
tween a living God and a dead heart ? God loathes sin, man loves it ; God 
loves holiness, man loathes it. How can these contrary affections meet to- 
gether in an amicable friendship ? what communion with so much disagree- 
ment in affections ? In all friendship there must be similitude of disposition. 
Justification cannot bring us into communion with God without regeneration ; 
it may free us from punishment, discharge our sins, but not prepare us for 
a converse, wherein our chief happiness lies. There must be some agreement 
before there can be a communion. Beasts and men agree not in a life of 
reason, and therefore cannot converse together. God and man agree not in 
a life of holiness, and therefore can have no communion together. We are 
by sin alienated from the life of God, and therefore from his fellowship, 
Eph. iv. 18 ; we must have his life restored to us before we can be instated 
in communion with him. 

[1.] God can have no pleasure in it. God took a delight in the creation, 
and did rejoice in his work. Sin despoiled God of his rest. It can give God 
no content, no satisfaction ; for to be in the flesh, is to be in that nature which 
was derived from Adam, which brought the displeasure of God upon all man- 
kind. Regeneration by the Spirit restores the creature to such a state 

46 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

wherein God may take pleasure in him, and strips him by degrees of that 
sin which spoiled his delight in the work of his hands ; as it grows, com- 
munion is enlarged. God made man at first after his own image, that he 
might have communion with him. Since the loss of that, what fitness can 
there be for communion, till the restoration of that which God thought fit 
for his delight ? Suppose that some one work of a natural man may be good 
and pleasing to God, it will not argue a communion of God with the person : 
he may be pleased with the work, but not with the man ; for all the good- 
ness he hath being in the act, and the act being transient, when that is past, 
his goodness is as the morning dew, vanished. He cannot be the object of 
God's delight, because he hath no habitual goodness in him. If a man be 
abominable and filthy naturally, he cannot have a converse with God with- 
out a nature suitable to God, and a nature so animated, as that God may 
put some trust in it, and not be at uncertainty : Job xv. 14-16, * What is 
man, that he should be clean ; he which is born of a woman, that he should 
be righteous ? Behold, he puts no trust in his saints,' &c. No man is clean, 
but those that delight in sin are much more abominable, that ' drink up 
iniquity like water.' Now God being infinitely holy, can have no com- 
munion with that which he doth abominate ; and he cannot have a fixed and 
a delightful communion with that which he cannot confide in. It must be 
therefore such a nature as is produced and preserved by his own Spirit. 
If the heavens are not clean in his sight, we must have a nature purer and 
cleaner than the heavens, before God can delightfully behold us, and pleas- 
ingly converse with us. 

[2. J As God can have no pleasure in it, so man is contrary to it. Man, 
as he is by corruption, is at variance with God, and cannot but be at vari- 
ance with him. An uncircumcised heart will not love God, or at least, will 
not pay him such a proportion of love, and love of such a quality, as is due 
to him ; for if the end of the circumcision of the heart be to love the Lord 
with all our hearts, as Deut. xxx. 6, ' And the Lord thy God will circumcise 
thy heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,' then it will neces- 
sarily infer, that he whose heart is not circumcised, doth not love God with 
all his heart. Holiness and iniquity are so contrary, that no agreement can 
be made between them. God must deny his nature before he can deny his 
hatred of sin, and man must be stripped of his' nature before he can leave his 
affection to sin. It is equally impossible for wickedness to love holiness, and 
for purity to love pollution. There can be no fellowship with God, whilst we 
walk in darkness, and he is light, 1 John i. 6, 7. 

[3.] Nay, thirdly, man naturally resists all means for it. It is the Spirit 
only which is the bond of union, and consequently the cause of communion. 
The Spirit can only bring God and us together. Walking in the Spirit hin- 
ders us from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, which make us uncapable of 
communion : Gal. v. 16, « Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the 
lusts of the flesh.' But every man by nature (as well as the Jews) ' resists 
the Holy Ghost,' Acts vii. 51. And while this resistance of the great medium 
of it remains, this communion can never be. This resistance, therefore, 
must be removed, and there must be a divine stamp and impression upon 
our very nature, to make it pliable. You see more and more the necessity 
of regeneration. 

(7.) As there is no communion with God without it, so no communica- 
tions of Christ to our souls can be relished and improved without it. All 
the communications of Christ relish of that fulness of grace which was in his 
person, and therefore cannot be relished by any principle but that of the 
same nature. Whenever Jesus Christ comes to bless us with the great 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 47 

blessings of his purchase, he turns away our hearts from iniquity, Acts 
iii. 26. 

[1.] Ordinances cannot be improved. The word hath no place in them, 
John viii. 37. There is no footing naturally for any divine and spiritual 
truth. The nature of the soil must be changed before this heavenly plant 
will thrive. Plants grow not upon stones, nor this heavenly plant in a stony 
heart. The vine and the weed draw the same moisture of the eartb, wbich 
in the vine is transmuted, by tbe nature of the plant, into a nobler substance 
than that in the weed. The new nature of a good man turns the juice of 
the word into a nobler spirit in him ; and according as the nature of a good 
man is enriched with grace, the more doth he concoct the word, and improve 
it, to the bringing forth fruit, and fruit of a diviner nature than another. 
The juice it affords to all is the same, but the nature of the creature turns 
it in the concoction. Nature must be changed then, to make any profitable 
improvement of the word and other institutions. A stone receives the water 
upon it, not into it ; it falls off, or dries up as soon as ever it falls : but a 
new heart, a heart of flesh, sucks in the dew of the word, and grows thereby 
The new birth and nature makes us suck in the milk, and grow thereby 
1 Peter ii. 2. 

[2.] There can be no communication of comfort. The Spirit comforts by 
exciting grace, and by discovering grace, not by flashes and enthusiasms. 
What comfort can there be when grace, the foundation, is wanting ? Can 
the Holy Ghost ever speak a lie, and give any man comfort, and tell him he 
is a child of God, when he hath the nature of the devil, so contrary to him ? 
This were to witness not with our spirits, but against the frame and habit of 
them, which is not the Spirit's work, Rom. viii. 16. Jesus Christ will not 
trifle away his comforts upon such as have no conformity to him. This were 
to put a jewel in a swine's snout, a crown upon a beast's head. Those that 
are not heirs by a new nature to heaven, cannot claim any title to the first- 
fruits and clusters of it, the comforts of the gospel. As there is a necessity 
of a likeness to Christ, to make us capable of communications from him in 
a state of glory, so it is as certainly necessary to the lower degrees of it in 
this world. Vessels of wrath must be changed into vessels of honour before 
they are capable of being filled with spiritual comforts. Our blessed Saviour 
keeps his choicest flowers and richest beams for his dressed garden, not for 
the wild desert. 

(8.) We cannot be in covenant without it. This should have been first, 
as the foundation of all. Had not Adam had an habitual righteousness in 
his nature, he had not been a fit person for God to have entered into cove- 
nant with. There must therefore be a restored righteousness, that we may 
come into the bond of the new covenant for eternal life. The very terms of 
it are, a new heart, a heart of flesh, a new spirit, the law written in the 
heart. Without this new nature, we cannot depend on him by faith, which 
is the condition of the covenant. For we cannot confide in him to whom 
we have an enmity, and of whom we have a jealousy. We cannot have God 
to be our God unless we be his people, have the nature and disposition of 
his people, turn to him, act towards him as our God ; whereas in our first 
defection we made the devil our God. God requires righteousness still to 
our being in covenant, but dispenseth with the strictness of the first cove- 
nant, and gives our Saviour a power to that end, in committing all judgment 
to the Son. As the covenant is spiritual, so there must be a spiritual life 
to answer the terms of it. Without it, we cannot walk in the way wherein 
we engage by covenant to walk, neither can we have any right to the pro- 
mises and benefits of the covenant. Doth God promise to be our God ? It 

48 charnock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

is upon the condition we be his people. Doth he promise never to leave us 
nor forsake us ? It is upon condition we continue not in our original apos- 
tasy. Doth he promise to be present with us ? It is more than his holiness 
will endure, while we continue in our filthy nature. 

2. The second general. As regeneration is necessary to a gospel state, 
so it is necessary to a state of glory. It seems to be typified by the strength 
and freshness of the Israelites when they entered into Canaan.* Not a 
decrepit and infirm person set foot in the promised land : none of those that 
came out of Egypt with an Egyptian nature, and desires for the garlick and 
onions thereof, with a suffering their old bondage, but dropped their carcasses 
in the wilderness ; only the two spies, who had encouraged them against the 
seeming difficulties. None that retain only the old man, born in the house 
of bondage, but only a new regenerate creature, shall enter into the heavenly 
Canaan. Heaven is the inheritance of the sanctified, not of the filthy : 
Acts xxvi. 18, ' That they may receive an inheritance among them which are 
sanctified, through faith that is in me.' So our Saviour himself phraseth it 
in his discourse to Paul upon his conversion by faith, the great renewing 
principle. Upon Adam's expulsion from paradise, a flaming sword was set 
to stop his re-entry into that place of happiness. As Adam, in his forlorn 
state, could not possess it, we also, by what we have received from Adam, 
cannot expect a greater privilege than our root. Had Adam retained the 
righteousness of his nature, he had been fit for that place, and that place for 
him ; but poor decrepit Adam could have no leave to enter. The priest 
under the law could not enter into the sanctuary till he were purified, nor 
the people into tbe congregation ; neither can any man have access into the 
holy of holies till that be consecrated for him by the blood of Jesus, and he 
sprinkled by the same blood for it, Heb. x. 19, 22. It is by the blood of 
Jesus sprinkled upon our hearts that we enter into the holiest by a way 
which he hath consecrated ; ' for there shall in nowise enter into it anything 
that defileth, neither whatsoever works abomination or a lie,' Rev. xxi. ] 7, 
as every unclean thing was prohibited entrance into the temple. Whosoever 
shall enter into the rest of God, must cease from his own works of darkness 
and corruption, as God did from his works of creation, Heb. iv. 10. If man 
fell the sixth day, the day of his creation, the rest of God in his lower works was 
disturbed by the entrance of sin upon them, as well as it had been disturbed by 
the sin of the angels in heaven. God rested from his works of creation, but not 
in them, but in Christ, the covenant of redemption, and restoration by him. 
We must therefore cease from our own works, to enter into his rest. This 
entrance we cannot have in an unbelieving, unregenerate state, because by 
unbelief we approve not of that for our rest, wherein God settled his own 
repose ; and by unregeneracy we oppose the great intendment of it, the 
restoration of the creature to be a fit object for God's rest and complacency. 
It is necessary to a state of glory. 

(1.) Not that there is a natural connection between a regenerate state and 
glory, that in its own nature gives a right to heaven, but a gracious connec- 
tion by the will of God.f Though it be morally impossible in nature that a 
man can have communion with God without a renewed state, yet when he 
hath a new nature, it is not absolutely necessary that God should love him 
so intensely' as to give him an eternal reward, but conditionally necessary, 
upon the account of the covenant wherein God hath so promised. Though 
it be absolutely unavoidable to God to love goodness (for, because he is per- 
fectly good, he cannot hate it), yet it is not absolutely necessary he should 

* Fuller Pisgah, book \v. chap, xxxvi. 9, p. 45. 
t Suarez de grat., lib. 7, c. 1, numer. 12. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of kegenebation. 49 

instate it in so unconceivable a glory. A new nature, indeed, makes a man 
capable of eternal glory, without which it is not possible for him to have it; 
but it gives him not a right to it, nor instates him in it in its own nature, 
but by the gracious indulgence of God. For, as I have said before, in the 
general foundation of this doctrine, that God may give grace without glory, 
is intelligible ; but how he can admit a man to glory without grace is uncon- 
ceivable. The very having of grace is a reward in itself. It is an ennobling 
of our nature, a setting us in our right station (the purity of the body is a 
pleasure, though a man hath no hopes upon it to be preferred to a better 
condition), which may appear to us upon the banishment of Adam from 
paradise. Had there been any natural connection, he had not been dispos- 
sessed, supposing him to have faith infused into him at the time of the pro- 
mulgation of the promise ; or if afterwards, he would have had a re-entry, 
had there been a natural connection between a new nature and a state of 

(2.) Nor is there any meritorious connection between a regenerate state 
and glory, because there is no exact proportion between a new nature and 
eternal glory. The papists say, that before habitual grace a man cannot 
merit, but after it is infused by the Spirit of God into the soul, a merit doth 
result from the dignity of the person brought into a state of grace. No such 
thing. Glory indeed is merited, but the merit results, not from the new 
nature, but from the new head, our Lord Jesus Christ. That righteousness 
whereby God is engaged to give us a crown of glory for a garland of grace, 
is not a commutative justice ; as if grace were of equal value to glory, and 
heaven no more than a due compensation : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' There is laid up 
for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall 
give me at that day.' But it is the veracity and faithfulness of God which 
is meant by righteousness there, and otherwhere in Scripture. It is a justice 
due to the promise, not to the nature of the grace, and due to the covenant 
made with Christ, which was, that he should have a seed to serve him ; 
upon which compact our Saviour so peremptorily demands his people's being 
with him in glory : John xvii. 24, ' Father, I will that they also whom thou 
hast given me be with me where I am.' As much as to say, Father, I will 
not remit a tittle of that article, which is part of the covenant between thee 
and me ; I will have that performed to the full. And it is observable, 
though he mentions their faith, and their keeping his word, in other parts 
of the chapter, as arguments for God to take notice of them, and preserve 
them, yet his desire of the state of glory he founds upon his will, which must 
be grounded upon some antecedent agreement, whereby he had a right to 
plead for it. So that it is from the faithfulness of God to his promise, and 
the full merit of Christ, and thereupon his fixed resolution to have it per- 
formed, not from any meritorious dignity in the new nature itself. Grace 
only fits for glory, but doth not merit it. 

(3.) It is necessary by a fixed determination of God. Supposing that 
God could in his own nature, congruously admit of an unregenerate dead 
creature to a fruition of him in heaven; yet since he hath decreed otherwise, 
and appointed other methods, God is now by his own free resolution under 
an immutable necessity not to admit him. As God having by a determinate 
counsel ordained the death of Christ as the medium to redemption, could 
not in our apprehensions afterwards appoint another way, because his counsel 
had pitched, not only upon the redemption of man, as the end, but the 
death of Christ as the means ; and had there been a change, it must either 
be in the end or in the means. If in the end, and he would not have nun 

50 charnock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

redeemed, there had been an alteration in his love and kindness ; if in the 
means, it must be either a worse or a better means ; if a worse, and not so 
fit to effect redemption, it had still implied a change in his kindness ; if a 
better means, it would argue a defect of wisdom in his first choice, that he 
did not foresee the best. By the like counsel and wisdom he hath settled 
this of regeneration as the way to glory : ' Without holiness no man shall 
6ee the Lord,' Heb. xii. 14. Without a fixed and permanent holiness, 
which must be an holiness of nature, not only of action. Supposing any 
holiness in an action, without a new nature, it is yet but a transient holiness, 
and though it may make the action acceptable to God, yet it can never make 
the person that did it acceptable to him. 

(4.) Regeneration is necessary in a way of aptitude and fitness for this 
state. A fitness in both subjects is necessary to the enjoyment of one 
another. Since therefore our happiness consists in an eternal fruition of 
God, and that naturally we are a mass and dunghill of putrefied corruption, 
there must be such a change as to make an agreement with that God whom 
to enjoy is our happiness ; for all aptitude is a certain connection of the 
two terms whereby they may touch and receive each other. We cannot 
enjoy God in his ordinances without an holy nature, much less in heaven. 
As we are under the condemnation of the law by reason of our guilt, so we 
are under an unfitness for heaven by reason of our filth. We have a remote 
natural capacity for it, as we are creatures endued with rational faculties. 
But we have a moral unfitness, while we want a divine impression to make 
us suitable to it. Justification and adoption give us a right to the inherit- 
ance, but regeneration gives us a ' meetness to be partakers of the inheritance 
of the saints in light,' Col. i. 12. We are not meet for it while we are 
unholy, and while we are darkness, because it is an inheritance of saints, 
and an inheritance in light. As the body cannot be made glorious without 
a resurrection from a natural death, so neither can the soul, which is 
immortal, be made glorious without a resurrection from a spiritual death. 
Our corruptible bodies, 1 Cor. xv. 50, cannot possess an incorruptible king- 
dom unless made like to the glorious body of Christ, much less our souls, 
which are the chief subjects of communion with him in heaven. A depraved 
soul is as much unfit for a purified heaven as a corruptible body is for an 
incorruptible glory. Our Saviour ascended not into heaven to take posses- 
sion of his glory till after his resurrection from death, neither can we enter 
into heaven till a resurrection from sin. As Jesus Christ became like unto 
us, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest for us, Heb. ii. 17, 
' It behoved him to be made like unto his brethren ; ' so it behoves us to be 
made like unto him, that we may be fit offerings in the hand of our high 
priest, to present to God, for him to take pleasure in. The father of the 
prodigal forgave him at the first meeting after his return, but before he 
admitted him into the pleasure of his house he took away his garments 
that smelt of draff, and put other robes upon him. God is said there- 
fore ' to work us to this thing,' xungyd^ifdai, polish, that we may be fit 
to be clothed upon with our heavenly house, 2 Cor. v. 5. If God be 
happy in his nature, man cannot be happy in a nature contrary to him ; 
for we can never expect to enjoy a felicity in such a nature, which if God 
himself had, he could never be happy in himself. It is holiness in God 
which fits him to fill heaven and earth with the beams of his glory, and it 
is an holy nature in us, which makes us fit to receive him. As without 
holiness God could not be glorious in himself : Isa. vi. 3, ' Holy, holy, is 
the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his glory ; ' so without holiness 
in our natures we could not be glorious with God. We are no more fit for 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 51 

heaven in a state of nature than a piece of putrefied flesh is fit to become a 
star. In heaven there are duties to be done, and privileges to be enjoyed. 
The work cannot be done, the reward cannot be received, without a new 
nature. The glorifying God, and enjoying him, is the glory of heaven. How 
can we do the one or receive the other without the change of our affections ? 
Can God have a voluntary glory from his enemy, or can his enemy delight 
in the enjoyment of him ? 

[l.J Regeneration and the new nature is necessary to the duty of heaven. 
Eternity cannot free us from duty. Some duties are essential to the relation 
of a creature; some result only from this or that state of the creature. The 
alteration in the state changeth the duty proper to that state ; but no place, 
no state, can exempt a creature from those duties which are essential to him 
as a creature. It is impossible to conceive any relation, without some new 
debt or service. From every change in relations in the world there doth 
arise some new duty which was not incumbent upon a man before. The 
relation which a regenerate man hath to God here is the same which it is in 
heaven, but it is manifest there in an higher degree, and a choicer fruition. 
Thence therefore will arise, though not any new duty that we can conceive, 
yet fresher obligations to those services which are proper for that place. 
Without a change of nature it is not possible for any man (were he admitted 
thither) to perform the duties of heaven. Holy work is troublesome to a 
natural man here ; and the more heavenly it was in itself, the more disgust- 
ful to corrupt nature. What was in a little measure holy was a drudgery 
upon earth ; and what is in a greater measure holy cannot be a satisfaction 
in heaven to an old frame. There are some natural motives to some duties 
here, and our indigency takes part with them (as in that of prayer) ; but 
those of a more elevated strain, as love, and praise, and admirations of God, 
our natures are more averse to. What duty can be performed without a will ? 
It is concluded by most, that the happiness of heaven consists as much, if not 
more, in the frame of the will, than in that of the understanding. If the 
will be not new framed, what capacity is there to perform the service requi- 
site to that happy state ? We must first be made just here before we can 
be made perfect above : Heb. xii. 23, ' Spirits of just men made perfect.' 
Just by an imputed righteousness, holy by an inherent righteousness, before 
they were transplanted to a state of perfection. Without a perfect frame 
none can perform the choice duties of heaven, and without righteousness 
here, we cannot be made perfect there. 

Quest. What are the duties of heaven, that cannot be performed without a 
new nature ? 

Ans. First. Attendance on God. Some kind of service which we cannot 
understand in the state here below. The angels stand before God, and wait 
his commands ; there is a pleasure of God which they do : Ps. ciii. 21, ' Ye 
ministers of his that do his pleasure.' There is a will of God done in heaven, 
as well as upon earth. There are acts of adoration performed by them ; 
they cover their faces, Isa. vi. ; they are commanded to worship the Lord 
Christ, Heb. i. 6. Their holiness fits them for their attendance ; therefore 
called ' the holy angels.' It is against the nature of devils to perform such 
acts as those which the holiness of angels fits them for. Glorified souls 
shall be as the angels of God in heaven : Mat. xxii. 30, ' But are as the 
angels of God in heaven.' Equal to angels in their state, as they are angels 
in heaven ; equal to angels in their work, as they are angels of God, attend- 
ing on God, and ministering unto him, Dan. vii. 10 ; though what that 
ministry shall be is not easily known in the extent of it. Is it usual in this 
world to take up a person from under an hedge, and bring him to an imme- 

52 chaknock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

diate attendance on a prince, without cleansing him, and begetting other 
dispositions and behaviour in him by some choice education ? God picks 
some out for an immediate attendance on him in heaven ; but he sends his 
Spirit to be their tutor, to breed them up, and grace their deformed souls 
with beautiful features, and their ulcerous and cancerous spirits, with a sound 
complexion, that they may be meet to stand before him. When God calls 
any to do him service in a particular station in the word, he gives them an- 
other heart ; so he did to Saul for the kingdom, 1 Sam. x. 9. Is there not 
much more necessity of it for an immediate service of God in heaven ? A 
malefactor, by pardon, is in a capacity to come into the presence of a prince, 
and serve him at his table ; but he is not in a fitness till his noisome gar- 
ments, full of his prison vermin, be taken off. Can one that is neither par- 
doned nor purified, one with the guilt of rebellion upon him, and a nature 
of rebellion in him, be fit to stand before God ? 

Secondly, Contemplation of God is a work in heaven. There shall be a 
perfect knowledge ; therefore a delightful speculation. The angels behold 
his face, Mat. xviii. 10, and that alway. The saints shall see him as he is, 
1 John iii. 2. It is not a stupid sight, but a gazing upon the face of this sun, 
with a refined and ravishing delight. For this work there must be, 

First, A change of judgment. The eye must be restored. It is as pos- 
sible for a blind eye to behold the sun, or a blear eye to stare in the face of 
it, without watering, as for a blind understanding to behold God ; for it is 
not a being in the place of heaven, but having a faculty disposed, which doth 
elevate us to the knowledge of him. Things that are corporal cannot know 
things that are spiritual. We cannot in this sensitive body view the face of 
an angel, and understand his nature ; much less with a body of a total death, 
see the face of God, which is above all created beings, more than any spi- 
ritual creature is above sense. ' In heaven the saints shall know him, as 
they are known of him,' 1 Cor. xiii. 12, perfectly, as far as the capacity of 
a creature can extend. Has God any scales upon his eyes ? Doth he not 
know perfectly what he knows ? So shall the glorified saints. But if a 
natural man were admitted into heaven, what prospect could he have with a 
blind understanding ? As men under the gospel administrations cannot see 
the kingdom of God, even in the midst of it, without a new birth, so neither 
*ould they see the kingdom of God in the midst of heaven itself without a 
new frame ; if not see it, much less enjoy it. 

Secondly, There must be a change of will. Men like not to retain God 
in their knowledge, when he is represented to them in the dark, yet pleasant 
glass of nature, Rom. i. 28. The apostle there speaks it of the heathens, 
and the wisest of them, their philosophers, who, though pleased with the 
contemplation of nature, yet were not pleased with the contemplation of God 
in nature ; much less will they like him, when he discovers himself clothed 
with the light of holiness as a garment. Tbat vicious eye, which is too 
weak to behold with any delight the image of the sun in a glass, or a pail 
of water, will be much more too weak to gaze upon it in its brightness in 
the firmament. If there be no delight to know God here, what pleasure, 
what fitness can there be in the same frame to contemplate him above '? 
Let me ask you, Have you any pleasure in the study of God ? What is the' 
reason, then, that in your retirements, when you have nothing to do, your 
thoughts are no more upon him ? What is the reason that if any motion 
doth offer to advise you to fix your thoughts upon him, you so soon shift it 
off as a troublesome companion, and some slight jolly thought is admitted 
with gladness into those embraces which the other courted ? Can such a 
temper be fit for heaven, where nothing but thoughts of God run through 

John III. 3, 5. J the necessity of regeneration. 53 

the veins of glorified souls ? If the discovery of God's glory in the gospel 
is accounted no better than folly by natural men, and therefore not received, 
1 Cor. ii. 14, the manifestation of it above would meet with no better valua- 
tion of it, unless the temper both of judgment and will were changed. They 
are spiritually to be discerned here, and no less spiritually to be discerned 
above. The weak and waterish eye must be cured by some powerful me- 
dicine before it can stare upon the light of the sun, or delight itself in its 

Thirdly, Love is a duty in heaven. Love is a grace that shoots the gulf 
with us, and attends us not only to the suburbs, but into the very heart of 
heaven, when other graces conduct us only to the gates, and then take their leave 
of us, as having no business there. ' Charity never faileth,' 1 Cor. xiii. 8. And, 
indeed, it is so essentially our duty in every place, that it is concluded that God 
cannot free us from the obligation of it, whilst we remain his creatures ; be- 
cause God being infinitely good, and therefore infinitely amiable and infi- 
nitely gracious to them, it would seem unrighteous, and inconsistent with 
supreme goodness, to forbid the creature an affection to that which is infi- 
nitely excellent, and a gratitude to its benefactor which can be paid only in 
love. Now, though we are bound to love God in the highest degree, yet 
every new mercy adds a fresh obligation to return our affection to him. So 
when we shall have the clearest beams of God's love darting upon us from 
heaven, we shall also have higher obligations to love him, both for his excel- 
lency, which shall be more visible, and his love, which shall be more sen- 
sible. Now, can the heart of a natural man cling about God ? Can it forget 
its father's house, and be wholly taken up with the Creator's excellency ? 
Can he that loved pleasures more than God in the world, 2 Tim. iii. 4, love 
God more than pleasures in heaven, without an alteration of his soul ? No. 
The heart must be first circumcised by God, before we can love God with all 
our heart, Deut. xxx. 6. If we will not be subject to the law of God here, 
how can we be subject to the love of God, which is the law of heaven ? How 
can we cleave to God without love, or relish him without delight ? No man 
in a natural estate could stay in heaven, because he doth not love the per- 
son whose presence only makes it heaven. How can there be a conformity 
to God in affection, without a conformity to his holiness ? A choiceness of 
love, with a perverseness of will ; a supremacy of delight, without a recti- 
tude of heart ; a love of God, without a loathing of sin ; a fervency of love, 
with a violence of lust : all these are contradictions. He that hath a hatred 
of God, cannot perform the main duty of heaven ; and therefore what should 
he do there ? 

Fourthly, Praise is a service in heaven. If a pure angel be not sufficient 
for so elevated a duty, how unfit then is a drossy soul ? What is the angels' 
note, ' Holy, holy, holy, Lord God,' Isa. vi. 3, can never be a natural man's ; 
for how can he possibly praise that which he hates ? What is the note of 
glorified saints ? It is Hallelujah, Rev. xix. 1, ' Salvation, and glory, and 
honour, and power unto the Lord our God.' And again they said, Hallelu- 
jah, ver. 3. ' Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth,' ver. 6. 
Nothing but hallelujah four times, ver. 1, 3, 4, 6. How can that heart 
frame an hallelujah, that is stuffed with jealousies of him ? How can he 
exalt the honour of God, who was always pleased with the violations of it ? 
How can he rejoice at the Lord's reigning, that would not have one lust sub- 
dued by his power ? How can a natural man, as natural, ever be wound up 
to a height fit for such strains, since ' out of the abundance of the heart, the 
mouth speaks' ? The tongue can never be framed to praise while the heart 
is evil. Our blessed Saviour must be glorified in us, before he can be glo- 

54 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

rifled by us, 2 Thes. i. 10, 12. If a man in a mere natural state be unfit 
for this heavenly work, how unfit are then their tongues to sound his praise, 
which are always filled with reproaches of God ? And how can their ears 
endure to hear it from others, which were never offended with the blasphe- 
mies of him ? They could never rejoice in this heavenly concert were they 
admitted. Nay, their enmity to the work would not permit their stay. The 
smoke of pure incense is fitter rather to drive a swine out of the room than 
to invite his continuance. 

[2.] The new birth is necessary, as to the duty, so to the reward of heaven. 
As the reward is exceeding glorious, the preparation thereto must be exceed- 
ing gracious. The rewards of heaven are something incorporated with us, 
inlaid in the very frame of our souls, and cannot be conceived enjoyable 
without a change in the nature of the subject. Man was first formed before 
he was brought into the garden of Eden, or pleasure : Gen. ii. 8, There he 
' put the man whom he had formed.' Man must be new-formed before he 
be brought into that place, which is the antitype of Eden, the place of eternal 
and spiritual pleasure. A natural man can no more relish the rewards of 
heaven, than a dead carcase can esteem a crown and a purple robe ; or be de- 
lighted with the true pleasure of heaven, than a swine, that loves to wallow 
in the mire, can be delighted with a bed of roses. A disorder in nature is a 
prohibition to all happiness belonging to that nature ; a distempered body, 
under the fury of a disease, can find no delight in the pleasures of the 
healthful ; a wicked man, with a troubled and foaming sea of sin and lust 
in his mind, Isa. lvii. 20, would find no more rest in heaven than a man 
with his disjointed members upon a rack can in the beauty of a picture. 
We must be spiritually-minded before we can have either life or peace, Kom. 
viii. 6. Righteousness in the soul is the necessary qualification for the 
peace and joy in the kingdom of God : Rom. xiv. 17, ' The kingdom of God 
is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost.' While malice remains in the devil's nature, were he admitted into 
heaven he would receive a torment instead of a content. A wicked man 
would meet with hell in the midst of heaven as long as he carries his own 
rack within him, boiling and raging lusts in his heart, which can receive no 
contentment without objects suitable to them, let the place be what it will. 
Heaven, indeed, is not only a place, but a nature ; and it is a contradiction 
to think that any can be happy with a nature contrary to the very essence 
of happiness. 

The pleasure and reward of heaven is, 

First, A perfect likeness to God and Christ. This is the great privilege 
of heaven, which the apostle, in the midst of his ignorance of other particu- 
lars, resolves upon as certain as that which results from regeneration, and 
being the sons of God, and is the full preparation for the beatific vision : 
1 John iii. 2, ' Now we are the sons of God ; and it doth not yet appear 
what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like 
him ; for we shall see him as he is.' He seems to intimate this, that we 
can never be like him when he doth appear, unless we be now, while we 
are here, the sons of God, nor ever be admitted to a sight of him. As 
Christ presented himself without spot to God, when he laid the foundation 
of our redemption, so he presents his people ' without blemish to God,' when 
he lays the top-stone of it in our glorification, Eph. v. 27. Now as we can- 
not be like to Christ in our walk here without a new birth, neither can we 
without it be like to Christ in glory hereafter. It is not the place makes us 
like to God, but there must be a likeness to God to make the place pleasant 
to us. When once the angels had corrupted their nature, the short stay they 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 55 

made in heaven did neither please them nor reform them. And when Satan 
appeared before God, among the angels, Jobi. 6, neither God's presence nor 
his speaking to him did anywise better him ; he came a devil, and he 
went away so, without any pleasure in the place or presence, but by the 
permission of God, to wreak his malice on holy Job. An uulikeness to God 
is the misery of the creature. It is therefore impossible, whilst the soul 
remains in that state, that it can arrive at blessedness, because it is a con- 
tradiction to think a felicity can be enjoyed in a contrariety to and separation 
from the fountain of it : Ps. lxxiii. 27, ' Lo, they that are far from thee 
shall perish.' It is by faith, beholding the glory of the Lord in the glass of 
the gospel here, that we must be 'transformed into his image,' before we 
can be ' changed into his glory,' 2 Cor. iv. 18. And we cannot be like God 
by holy actions only, though we had performed as many of them as all the 
holy men in the world ever did as to the matter of them, abstracted from 
the principle and end ; and tne reason is, because God is not only holy in 
his actions, but holy in his nature ; and, therefore, we must not only have 
actions materially good, but a holy nature suitable to the holiness of God, 
otherwise we neither are, nor never can, be like him. 

Secondly, The fruition of God is a privilege of heaven, which necessarily 
follows this likeness. God is the eternal portion of glorified souls, upon 
which they live. He is the strength of their hearts, Ps. lxxiii. 25, 26. 
There is none but God in heaven is the chief object of their love and de- 
light. The presence of God makes ' the fulness of joy,' Ps. xvi. 11. His 
favour and the light of his glorious countenance constitutes heaven and hap- 
piness ; not the place, but the countenance. God's frown kindles hell, and 
his smile renders any place an heaven. Now an old nature cannot have a 
good look from God ; for since he is infinitely holy, he must hate unholi- 
ness ; infinitely true, he must hate falsity. As it is impossible a man can 
love truth and falsity, righteousness and unrighteousness, as such, at one 
and the same time, in an intense degree, therefore an impure nature cannot 
be happy unless God be mutable. God cannot smile on the old Adam un- 
less he hate himself. What satisfaction can such an one possibly have in 
God's presence ? How can he savour the society of God that never loved 
it ? Do we naturally love any warm mention of God ? Have we not a 
stony deadness to any heavenly motion that falls upon us ? A mighty 
quickness to receive sinful motions in that which we love ? Do not our 
countenances fall, and our delight take wings to itself and fly away, at any 
lively appearance of God ? If we have such an enmity to his law, which is 
but a transcript of his holiness, much greater must our enmity be to the 
original copy. Hence in Scripture men are said to ' refuse his law,' Ps. 
lxxviii. 10 ; to ' forsake his law,' Ps. cxix. 53 ; to be ' far from his law,' Ps. 
cxix. 1 50. Darkness doth not more naturally vanish at the appearance of the 
sun, than an old nature will fly away from the glory and brightness of God. 
A mass of black darkness and an immense sphere of light may as soon be 
espoused together, as a friendly amity be struck up between God and an un- 
renewed man. God is light without darkness, 1 John i. 5 ; man is darkness 
itself, as if nothing else entered into the composition of his corrupt nature, 
Eph. v. 8., If there be therefore a disagreement, contrariety, and unwill- 
ingness on both sides, how can any pleasing correspondence be effected ? 
If God should bring a man with his corrupt nature into local heaven, God 
could not please himself in it, nor such an one delight himself in God, no 
more than a swine can be pleased with the presence of an angel, or a mole 
sport itself with the beauty of flowers, or a vitiated eye rejoice at the bright- 
ness of light. We must really make God such an one as we shape him in 

56 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

our Datural fancy, and like to us, before we can take any pleasure in con- 
verse with him. Our nature, therefore, must be changed before we can 
please him, or be satisfied in him. His presence else will cause fear, while 
our sinful state remains, an affection inconsistent with happiness. 

Thirdly, The company of the saints is an adjunct of that happiness in 
heaven. A sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom 
of heaven, Mat. viii. 11, in a festival converse, is a part of that felicity. 
The coming to be with an ' innumerable company of angels, with the general 
assembly, and church of the first-born,' is not the least thing in the com- 
position of this happiness, Heb. xii. 22, 23. "What joy is that man capable 
of which should be surrounded with company he hath the greatest disaffec- 
tion to, where he could not meet with any one person without the holy 
quality he hath an antipathy against ? A natural man never loved holiness, 
as holiness, here. The more beautiful the image of God was in any, the 
more burdensome was their company ; the more degrees any good man 
wanted of perfection in righteousness, the more tolerable was a familiarity 
with him. If holiness in others, in a lower degree, were disaffected by you, 
how can you bear the perfection of it ? If the mixed and dark goodness in 
renewed men, which was but a weak flash of the glory of heaven, were un- 
welcome, how will you be able to endure the lustre of it ? Again, glorified 
saints could not have the least converse with such an one ? If carnal nature 
were a trouble to them here, when they had many relics of corruption, much 
more must it be above, if they were admitted into that place of glory, because 
the more holy any creature is, the more it hates that which is contrary to 
that holiness ; the more settled we are in anything, the more we loathe that 
which is opposite to it ; all the folly in their hearts here done away, and the 
disagreeing principle perfected in the blessed. There must, therefore, be a 
change in them, to take pleasure in you ; or a change in you, to take plea- 
sure in them. They must return to the frame of old Adam, and put off the 
renewed image of God, before they can delight in you ; or you must come 
up to the frame of the new Adam, and be new created after the same image, 
before you can delight in them. The truth is, supposing a man admitted 
into the heavenly place with an old nature, he could not continue there ; for 
the saints must either leave heaven, or he must. Light and darkness can- 
not agree ; what makes the one happy, cannot beatify the other. Saints 
shall not leave it, because it is their inheritance, it was prepared for them, 
and they for it ; a natural man must, because it was never prepared for him, 
nor he fitted for it. 

Fourthly, Spiritual delights unconceivable are in that state, which, without 
a new and heavenly nature, it is impossible to relish. • In the light of God 
they see light,' and they ' drink of the rivers of God's pleasures,' and are 
' satisfied with the fatness of his house,' Ps. xxxvi. 8, 9. Now, is it a fleshly 
fatness ? Are the pleasures of God carnal or spiritual ? What is God's 
pleasure shall be the pleasure of glorified souls. How can the sordid old 
temper be fit for spiritual delights ? Flesh can never savour but the things 
of the flesh ; another palate is necessary to relish the things of the spirit : 
Rom. viii. 5, ' They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, 
but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit ;' ipgovoveiv signifies 
to savour or relish. There must be a transformation by the renewing of the 
mind, Rom. xii. 2, which is the palate of the soul, before we can know what 
the will of God is, or taste what the pleasures of God are ; without it we 
can no more relish the pleasures of God than we can know his will. All 
satisfaction doth not result from the intrinsic excellency of the object, or the 
beauty of a place, or a power in anything to afl'ect us, but from a faculty 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 57 

rightly disposed to the object, and a congruity and agreement between that 
and the understanding, and between that and the will. Brutes cannot be 
delighted with intellectual pleasures, because they want a faculty, nor fools, 
because they want a right disposition of that faculty. Purity of heart only 
gives us a relish of the purity of pleasure: Tit. i. 15, 'To the pure all things 
are pure ; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure.' 
An ill humour on the palate tinctures the meat, and embitters that which 
was sweet in itself. It must be freed from that vicious juice before it can 
relish the sweetness of food. Natural men, because of the impurity of their 
natures, savour not those spiritual delights which the word, and prayer, and 
other holy duties afford in themselves. What fitness, then, is there in this 
state for the delights of heaven, which are as much superior to those delights 
in duties as the sun doth surmount a star in brightness ? The best unre- 
generate man is sunk in sense, swallowed up in sense ; and what suitableness 
can there be between a spiritual delight and a sensual frame ? True plea- 
sures and contrary desires can never abide together. A carnal man hath no 
apprehensions of spiritual delights but by the measures of animal pleasures. 
And if there be no conception of them in the understanding, what motion to 
them can there be in the will, or what fitness for them in the affection ? 
Without a new nature, a new frame, we are no more able to understand or 
enjoy the pleasures of heaven, than a bat is to take pleasure in a mathe- 
matician's lines or a philosopher's books. It is not conceivable how God 
can make any man happy against his will, because all pleasure consists in 
the agreeableness of the will to the object. The whole scheme of heaven 
must be changed to make such men happy that have not tempers suited to 
its present state. The bright hangings of heaven must be taken down and 
others put in their place to please a vicious nature. 

Use. If regeneration be absolutely necessary to a gospel state, and the 
enjoyment of eternal glory in heaven, then it informs us, 

1. How much the nature of man is depraved ; for otherwise there were 
no need of his being born again, and no reason could be imagined why our 
blessed Saviour should so pressingly urge the necessity of it, If man's 
nature were according to his original frame, it would please God, because it 
was of his own creation. But we are flesh by our natural birth, and there- 
fore to be happy we must be spiritual by a second birth. It is not a new 
mending, a new repairing and patching, but a new birth. We are by sin as 
distant from God and grace, as death from life, as nothing from being. It 
is not a death in appearance, but a certain death. God foretold it to Adam : 
Gen. ii. 17, ' But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt 
not eat of it ; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,' niO 
niDJI. I suppose there is nothing here of a corporal death meant (as I have 
said before), but a death of his integrity and righteous nature, upon this act 
of disobedience ; and the reason is because a temporal death did not ensue 
presently. And God uses to be punctual when he fixed a time to any threat- 
ening, as here he did, in the day, at that very time thou shalt die. Had it 
been meant of a temporal death, he had died at that instant. When God 
threatened Pharaoh, to-morrow such and such a plague shall come, it was 
certainly so. The destruction of Nineveh in forty days had been too, had 
they not repented. When he promised any mercy or deliverance at such a 
time, it was certainly performed : the very day, at the end of the time ap- 
pointed, the Israelites came out of Egypt, Exod. xii. 41. And though God 
threatened Hezekiah with death, and bids him set his house in order, yet he 
fixed no time, Isa. xxxviii. 1. Besides, a temporal death was not necessary 
to his punishment ; God might have flung both body and soul away together 

58 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

into hell. Besides, a temporal death, or death of the body, was fixed after 
the promise of the seed, Gen. m. 12, as a punishment superadded upon his 
sin, as well as the rest, of his eating his bread in the sweat of his brows, and 
the pain of women's conception and travail, which were to put him in mind 
of his sin in his redeemed state ; therefore I question whether a temporal 
death, or an obnoxiousness to it, were at all meant there, but a spiritual death, 
the death of his righteous nature. It is a certain death, a mighty depriva- 
tion, a loss of a noble frame, a beautiful rectitude. How may we cry, as 
the prophet in another case : Isa. xiv. 12, ' How art thou fallen from heaven, 

Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground!' 
How is our beauty not only defaced, but changed into deformity ? How 
dreadfully are we fallen, not only to lame ourselves, but dead ourselves, that 
we cannot rise again, as a man fallen may ! We are so unconceivably changed 
from what we were, that we cannot be recovered without a new make, with- 
out a new birth. Oh that we had a true and sensible prospect of this ! Give 
me leave to say that though the fall be the cause of all our misery, yet the 
true consideration and sense of it is the first step to all our happiness. And 
we cannot take so full a view of it in the extent of the nature of it, as in the 
consideration of this doctrine, viz. The necessity of regeneration. 

2. If regeneration be so necessary, then how much to be lamented is the 
ignorance of this doctrine in the world ? And strange and sad it is that it 
should be so little considered. The common talk is of serving God and re- 
forming the life, but who of a thousand speaks of the necessity of a new nature '? 
It is a sad case that, when a doctrine is so clear, men should be so stupid and 
deludingly damn themselves ; that they should be so sottishly ignorant of this 
who have Bibles in their hands and houses, yet not understand this, which is the 
great purpose for which God even sent the Scripture among the sons of men. It 
is a shame not to have the knowledge of this great and necessary truth. As the 
apostle in another case: 1 Cor. xv. 24, ' Some have not the knowledge of God, 

1 speak it to your shame.' How strange and uncouth doth this doctrine sound 
in the ears of the carnal world, which wonder at it, as Xicodemus did at our 
Saviour's proposal, and think all our discourses of it an heap of enthusiastic 
nonsense ! It is as if we should speak parables, as if you should talk of 
astronomy to the natural fool, or read diviDity in Arabic to a man who 
understands only his native language. How little sensible is the world of 
the necessity of this work ! They expect Christ should change their misery 
into glory, without changing their hearts and fitting their spirits for it, which 
will never be. They think it enough for them that Christ was conceived in 
the womb of the virgin, without being formed again in their souls, as the poor 
Jews at this day expect a Messiah, not to alter the frame of their souls, but 
the frame of the world ; not to subdue their spirits, but to conquer the nations 
to be their vassals. How should this stupidity of men be a matter of lamen- 
tation to us ! 

3. If regeneration be so absolutely necessary, how should Christian parents 
endeavour all they can to have their children regenerate ? There is no 
necessity they should have great estates, and live bravely in the world ; but 
there is a necessity, a great necessity, they should be new creatures, and 
live spiritually. In leaving the one to your children, you leave them but 
earth ; in leaving the other, you convey heaven to them. There is an 
obligation upon you, their old polluted nature was derived from you by 
carnal generation ; make them amends by endeavouring to derive grace to 
them by spiritual instruction ; you made them children of wrath, why will 
you not- endeavour to make them children of God and heirs of heaven '? 
Education of itself will not produce this noble work, nor the bare hearing of 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 59 

the word, or any outward means whatsoever, by their own strength ; yet the 
Spirit doth often bless them, and very much, and I doubt not but a great 
number that are regenerate had the first seeds sown in them by a religious 
education. And I have made this observation in many. Timothy had a 
religious education both by his mother and grandmother, though this did 
not renew him, for Paul, by the preaching of the gospel, was the instrument 
of that, he calls him ' his own son in the faith,' 1 Tim. i. 2, yet no question 
his religious instructions from his parents did much facilitate this work. 
Use all endeavour, therefore, to convince them of the necessity of a new 
birth, be earnest with them till you see it produced, that they may not curse 
you for being the instruments of their beings, but bless you for being the 
instruments of their spiritual life. 

4. This doctrine acquaints us with the insufficiency of everything else 
without this to enable us to enter into the kingdom of God. 

(1.) Great knowledge is not sufficient. Natural knowledge is not. All 
the wisdom of Solomon in a man, though it may enable him to take an exact 
measure of nature from the highest star to the meanest insect, doth no more 
fit him for heaven than the stone in the head of a toad expels his venomous 
nature. We have more relics of Adam's nature in knowledge than we have 
in righteousness. To be a philosopher, physician, or statesman, is not 
essential to happiness in this world, much less can it prepare a man for the 
happiness of another. But grace is as essential to it as natural heat and 
radical moisture are to the life of a man. Jesus Christ came not to make 
us scholars in naturals, but to endue us with such a knowledge as is in order 
to eternal happiness, and with such a renewing principle as might make us 
capable of heaven. Knowledge and wisdom are some of the choicest flowers 
in nature's garden ; but it will be a small advantage to descend to hell with 
our brains full of wit and sophistry. One saving cry from a new born infant 
soul is of more value than the knowledge of all philosophers. Spiritual 
knowledge is not, that is, the knowledge of spiritual doctrines, the knowledge 
of Scripture itself. Nicodemus had a good stock of this ; he understood 
the letter of the Scripture, was well read in all the parts of the law ; he was 
thought fit to be one of the great Sanhedrim. Something else was requisite 
besides this ; a new birth was still wanting. What if we understood the 
mind of the Spirit of God in every verse in the Bible ; were able to discourse 
profoundly of the great mysteries of the gospel ; had the gift of prophecy, 
and knowledge of things to come ; had the interpretation of the whole book 
of the Revelation writ in our minds ; what will all this avail us ? An evan- 
gelical head will be but drier fuel for eternal burning, without an evangelical 
impression upon the heart and the badge of a new nature. Men may pro- 
phesy in Christ's name, in his name cast devils out of bodies, and devils of 
errors out of men's brains, yet not be regarded by Christ ; but he says to 
them, ' I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity,' Mat. 
vii. 22, 23. If they had had this mark and gospel impression, our Lord 
would have known them. Christ in heaven would have owned himself 
formed in the heart ; he could not have been ignorant of his own nature and 

Well then, a man may have all the learning of Christians and heathens 
stored up in his head, and not the least stamp of it in his heart ; he may be 
wise in knowledge, and a fool in improvement. A heap and pack of know- 
ledge is not wisdom among men, without an application of that knowledge 
to particular exigencies and usefulness. 

(2.) Outward reformation is not sufficient. Regeneration is never without 
reformation of life ; but this may be without that. We may be outward 

60 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

Christians without an inward principle, though we can never be inward 
Christians without an outward holiness. The new birth is properly an in- 
ternal work, and shews itself externally ; as the heat of the heart and vital 
parts will evidence itself in outward motions. • The king's daughter is all 
glorious within ' as well as without, Ps. xlv. 13. What a vanity would it be 
to boast of freedom from other diseases, if thou hast the plague upon thee ? 
What a poor comfort is it to brag of thy being without gross immoralities, 
whilst the plague of thy nature remains uncured ? Outward reformation only 
(though of excellent use) is but a new appearance, not a new creature, a 
change of life, not of the heart ; whereas this work we discourse of is a new 
birth in the understanding and will ; it begins at the spirit and descends 
from thence to the body, 1 Thes. v. 23 ; it is a sanctification in spirit, soul, 
and then body. Can that which can be no evidence to us in self-examina- 
tion, be of itself sufficient to waft us to heaven ? If you retire to take a 
view of yourselves whether you belong to God, will you judge by your out- 
ward actions or inward frame ? There is no characteristical difference in 
any external action between a true Christian and an hypocrite. That, 
therefore, which is not a sufficient evidence to us of a right to happiness, 
cannot be a sufficient preparation of ourselves for it. 

This reformation may proceed either, 

[1.1 From force and fear. Such a reformation is from impediments, not 
from inclination. The cutting a bird's wings takes not away its propensity 
to fly, but its ability ; the cutting the claws of a lion, or pulling out his 
teeth, changes not his lionish nature. Fear restrained Herod from putting 
John to death, when his will was inclined to the act, Mat. xiv. 5. Fear 
may pare the nails of sin, grace only can hinder the growth and take away 
its life. This doth but only stop the streams, not choke the fountain. 

Or, [2. J from sense of outward interest. It may be a rational abstinence 
from those sordid pleasures which debase a man's esteem and prey upon his 
reputation ; and in the mean time his inward lusts may triumph, while out- 
ward appearances are stopped. Such a splendid life may consist with those 
inward vermin, more contrary to the pure nature of God, and as inconsistent 
with a man's happiness. The river which ran in open view, may sink and 
run as fiercely through subterranean caverns. Men may cast out one gross 
devil to make way for seven more spiritual ones. The interest which 
restrains outward acts will not restrain inward lusts. 

Well then, an outward reformation without an inward grace, can no more 
rectify nature, than an abstinence from luxury can cure a disease a man hath 
contracted through intemperance, without some other physic to pluck up the 
root of the distemper. Outward applications of salves and ointments will 
do little good in a fever, unless the spring of the disease be altered, and a 
new crasis wrought in the blood. All outward acts are but ' bodily exercise, 
which profit little,' 1 Tim. iv. 3. Outward reformation doth but sweeten 
the conversation, but doth not purge the man. He only is a vessel unto 
honour who hath purged himself from these things : 2 Tim. ii. 21, ' If a man 
therefore purge himself from those, he shall be a vessel unto honour.' Out- 
ward reformation only, it is a cleansing of our life, but not ourselves. Self- 
nature must be purged. 

(3.) Morality is not sufficient. By morality, I mean not only an outward 
reformation, but some love to moral virtue, as the heathens had, raised upon 
the thoughts of the excellency of it. Nicodemus was a moral man ; he had 
some affection to Christ upon the consideration of his miracles ; he had never 
else ventured to come to him so much as by night. He had no blot upon 
his conversation, he had desires to be instructed. This was more than a 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 61 

bare abstinence from sin ; yet notwithstanding, besides those moral qualifi- 
cations, he must have a new birth before he can see the kingdom of God. 
Men may do much good, be very useful to others in their generation, yet 
be in the very bottom of unregeneracy. A healing witch, as well as a hurt- 
ing one, is the devil's client, and in covenant with him.* There is not so 
great a difference between the highest degree of glory in heaven and the 
lowest degree of grace on earth, as there is between the lowest degree of 
saving grace and the highest degree of natural excellency, because the differ- 
ence between these is specifical, as between a rational and irrational crea 
ture; the difference between the other is only in degree, as between an infant 
and a man. It is one thing to have a love to moral virtue, another thing 
to have a love to God in it ; one thing to move for self, and another thing 
to move for the glory of the Creator ; one thing to be animated by reason, 
and another thing to be inspired by the Holy Ghost. What can a moral 
honesty profit that man who values the world's dung above the Creator's 
glory ? What though he be honest and useful to his neighbours, must his 
affection to God be measured by his honesty among men ? The great busi- 
ness is from what principle it flows. What if he doth good to others, 
whilst he doth his Creator wrong by fostering any one thing in his heart 
above him ? Can his goodness to others make a compensation for his dis- 
esteem of God ? The bravest man in the whole world, who hath no other 
descent than from Adam, must have a new quality put into his heart before 
he can be happy ; for if a new birth be necessary, all endowments below 
it are to no purpose for the attainment of that state for which it is in- 
tended. Whatsoever is of the old Adam in us, though it be a beautiful 
flower, must wither and die : 1 Peter i. 23, 24, ' For all flesh is as grass, 
and the glory of man as the flower of grass ; the grass withers, and the 
flower thereof fadeth away.' The apostle sets in opposition the incor- 
ruptible seed whereby they were born, and the fairer flowers in nature's 
garden. The best thing which a man glories in is a flower, but withering ; 
it is a glory, but the glory of the flesh ; it hath no lustre in the sight of 
God ; it is not a flower to be set in heaven. It is only the word of God, 
and the impressions made on us by that word, which endure for ever. As 
herbs cannot grow without partaking of the natural influence and beams of 
the sun, so nothing stands and flourishes but what partakes of the nature 
and spirit of Christ. Nay, it is so far from being sufficient, that it is a 
great hindrance of regeneration, without the overpowering grace of God, 
because it is the glory of a man ; that is, that wherein a man glories. Men 
are apt to rest upon their morals without reflecting upon their naturals. 
They see no spots in their lives, and therefore will not believe there are any 
in their hearts. They are so taken up, with the pharisee, their proud 
thoughts of their being above others, that they never think how much they 
have inwardly of the publican in coming short of the glory of God. Un- 
regenerate morality, therefore, is not sufficient. The heart must be changed 
before moral virtues can commence graces. When this is once done, what 
were moral before become divine, as having a new principle to quicken them, 
and a new end to direct them. 

(4.) Religious professions are not sufficient. Can you, upon a serious 
consideration, conclude that this only is the import of all those scriptures 
which speak of being born of God, raised from a death in sin, quickened and 
led by the Spirit, created in righteousness and true holiness ? Are not these 
things, in the very manner of speaking them, elevated above any mere pro- 
fession, which may be declared to the world without any such work, which 
* Burrough's Biases' Choice, p. 711. 

62 chaenock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

is the evident intendment of those scriptures ? It is not the naming the 
name of Christ, but the departing from iniquity ; a departing from it in our 
nature as well as in our actions, that is the badge whereby the Lord knows 
who are his : 2 Tim. ii. 19, ' The Lord knows who are his : and let every 
one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.' Religious profes- 
sion only is but a form, a figure, a shape of godliness : a picture made by 
art, without life and power, and an enlivened faculty, and a divine principle 
whence it should proceed ; it is but a name of life at best under a state of 
death : Rev. iii. 1, ' Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.' Pro- 
fessions without a new nature, are no more the things God requires of us, 
than sacrifices under the law without a broken heart. It is not a following 
our Saviour in profession, but in regeneration, which gives the apostles a 
title to that promise of sitting upon his throne in glory : Mat. xix. 28, ' Ye 
that have followed me in regeneration, ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Judas had followed Christ till that 
time, and after, in a profession, but not in the regeneration, not from a re- 
generated principle. 

(5.) Multitudes of external religious duties and privileges are not suffi- 
cient. Men are very apt to place their security here. It was the great 
labour of the prophet Isaiah to bring the Jews, in his time, off from them. 
God doth not require attendance on ordinances as the ultimate end, but as 
means to the beginning and promoting a new birth : Isa. xi. 16, 'To what 
purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me ? Wash ye, make ye clean.' 
The resting in these is the manifest destruction of men's souls, when thou- 
sands of sacrifices to God cannot be acceptable without a new nature. We 
naturally affect an easy religion; and outward acts of worship, especially under 
the gospel, have no great difficulty in them. Men would rather be at 
great expense of sacrificing, than crucify one beloved sin ; and cringe a thou- 
sand times before the cross of Christ, than nail one corruption to it. How 
easy a work were it to get to heaven, if nothing else were required but to be 
a member of the Christian visible church ? Circumcision was a privilege, 
but it availed nothing without a new creature, Gal. v. 6. There was another 
circumcision made without hands, the work of God, that was required, Col. 
ii. 11 ; a new creature, without which outward circumcision signified no- 
thing. The practice of some duties may stand with an inward hatred of 
them, as the abstinence from some sins may stand with an inward love to 
them. Outward worship is but a carcase, when the soul is not conformed 
to God, the object of worship, and doth not attain an union to, and commu- 
nion with God, which is the end of worship. What are all acts of worship 
without a nature suitable to the God we approach unto in them ? Judge 
not, therefore, of your state by any external actions ; no outward act, but 
unregenerated persons may do, yea, they may express much zeal in them. 
They may have their bodies as martyrs consumed by flames, without having 
their corruption consumed by grace ; a stinking breath may make as good 
music to the ear in a pipe as a sound one. There is something more neces- 
sary than a bare performance of duties. 

(6.) Nay, more, convictions are not sufficient. Nicodemus was startled by 
our Saviour's miracles, believes him to be a prophet sent by God, acknow- 
ledged that God was with him, John iii. 2, yet still the necessary qualifica- 
tion of a new birth was wanting. Your spirits may be torn in pieces by terror, 
the heart of stone may be rent asunder, and yet no heart of flesh appear ; 
the ground may be ploughed, yet not sown. Sensuality and lust may be 
kept under by a spirit of bondage, when it is not cast out by a spirit of adop- 
tion ; the sun may scorch you, and not enliven you ; the knowledge of the 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 63 

foulness of sin, and the fierceness of wrath, is the work of the Spirit in the 
law ; the new birth is the work of the Spirit in the gospel ; the stone may 
be cut and hewed by the law, and yet never polished by the gospel, never 
brought into covenant : Hosea vi. 5,7, 'I have hewed them by my prophets, 
but they like men have transgressed the covenant.' It is not then great 
knowledge, fair-coloured fruit, oil in the lamp of life, loud professions, glit- 
tering services, or tearing convictions, which are this badge whereby Christ 
knows his own from all the world besides ; all these will be answered, ' I 
know you not.' Is it not, then, a worthy work, and high time to get that 
new nature, whereby God will know thee to belong to him ? Professions 
may be false, outward reformation may be but as a painted sepulchre : 
knowledge only elevates the understanding ; but as our communion lies in 
the acts of the will, there must be some work upon that to fit us for our 
great happiness. If these things are not sufficient, then profane men can- 
not expect heaven by the way of hell. 

C7.se 2. If regeneration be so absolutely necessary to salvation, how miser- 
able is the condition of every unregeherate man ! What a miserable case is 
it, that sinners should dream on in their delusions till everlasting burnings 
confute their fancies, and turn their hopes into dreadful despair. Oh, how 
do most men live as if this doctrine were a mere falsity, and act as if they 
would take heaven by the violence of their lusts, not by the industry of 
grace ? Know you not that an unrighteous nature shall not inherit the king- 
dom of God ? 1 Cor. vi. 9, ' Know you not that the unrighteous shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God ? be not deceived,' &c. Is it possible you 
should be ignorant of that which stares you in the face in every page in the 
Bible ? If you know not this you know nothing. Be not deceived. 
Nothing is no natural as heart- deceit and presumptuous confidence. The 
apostle else would not have spoken of it with such an emphasis, but that he 
knew how apt men are to delude themselves with hopes of mercy in a state 
of sin. Self-flattery is one of the strongest branches which grows upon the 
pride of nature. How vain is it to fancy to yourselves a fitness for heaven, 
while there are only preparations for hell ? Whence should such imagina- 
tions arise ? Not from God ; it is contrary to all his professed declarations. 
Is it from yourselves ? What reason have you to believe your fancies in 
spiritual things, who are so often mistaken in temporal ? Is it from the 
devil ? What reason have you to believe your greatest enemy ? If this 
work be wrought, he hath for ever lost you. It is he that cherishes such 
notions, for he hath no pleasure to undo his kingdom, and lose his subjects. 
Never did any man use so much diligence to get a new nature as the devil 
doth to hinder him. 

Will you seriously consider, 

1. It is highly irrational to expect security and glory in an unregenerate 
state. Is it for us to separate those things which God hath joined, flesh 
and destruction, a new birth and a kingdom ? That which doth naturally 
tend to hell can never conduct us to heaven. Can the old nature, which 
frames a fit subject for eternal vengeance, ever fashion it to be a vessel of 
eternal glory ? There is as great a tendency in the old nature to hell as 
there is of a stone or lead to the earth. If men may be saved in their un- 

(1.) God must be false to himself. False he must be to his truth, false 
to holiness, false to his Son, false to the whole tenor of the gospel. God 
must change the covenant of grace, blot out all his threatenings in Scripture, 
give the lie to all his declarations in the word, proclaim himself unwise in all 
his administrations, if ever such a man be happy ; and is it not a damnable 

64 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

conceit, and a provoking wish, to desire that God should belie himself to 
befriend us ? There mast be a new gospel before any can be saved without 
a new nature. This cannot be. Must God change his law, or we our lusts ? 
God hath settled and declared a decree, that none that are not born again 
shall enter into the kingdom of God. His decree stands irreversible, the 
change must necessarily therefore be on our side. 

(2.) As far as I can understand, God must put himself out of heaven be- 
fore that such a man can come thither. There can be no pleasure on either 
side with unsuitableness. If God be absent from heaven, as to his glorious 
presence, how can there be happiness ? He loves his own righteousness 
better than to endure such men's presence, and they love their unrighteous- 
ness so much as not to bear his. No man cares for coming into a place 
which is possessed by one that he hates ; they can have no pleasure to be in 
a heaven with God, who were delighted to be in a world without him, Eph. 
ii. 12. 

(3.) Jesus Christ must be a liar, and the gospel false, if ever there be a 
heaven enjoyed by an old nature. He hath asserted it, that is truth itself; 
and is it not a madness to imagine a possibility of coming thither in spite of 
him ? You may upon better grounds hope to be crowned monarch of the 
whole world to-morrow, than to enter into heaven without being born again. 
Christ values his truth, though he did not his life, above our souls, and his 
word will stand firm against all presumptuous confidence whatsoever. 

(4.) Suppose God should reverse his gospel (which cannot be), and declare 
another, 1 cannot see how the case would be mended, for what gospel can 
God frame, with a salvo to his own honour, without the creatures being 
righteous to enjoy the benefit of it ? Must God conform himself to the will 
of our lusts ? Must he cast his holiness into the depths of the sea ? Must 
he paint himself black to agree with our hue ? as the negroes picture him of 
their own colour. In a word, must God cease to be God that you may cease 
to be miserable ? To desire happiness without a new nature shews a con- 
tempt of God, since it is to desire it on terms on which it is dishonourable 
for God to give it. 

Well then, this doctrine is so certainly true, that if an angel from heaven 
should declare the contrary he ought not to be believed : Gal. i. 8, ' Let 
him be accursed ;' that is, he would be more a devil than an angel, and it 
would be an accursed doctrine. He must found his doctrine upon another 
gospel, and a gospel printed in hell, but impossible to have an imprimatur from 
heaven. Is it possible, then, for any man, after such an assertion of our 
Saviour, to live under the hearing of the Christian doctrine, and fancy a 
heavenly glory belonging to him without a heavenly nature ? 

2. As it is highly irrational, so it is highly sinful to lie in an unrenewed 
state. To continue in it after the declaration of God's holiness, in so emi- 
nent a manner, in the death of his Son, is a high approbation of unrighteous- 
ness, and a contempt of his infinite purity ; for since he hath shewn himself 
a hater of sin, and the old nature of Adam in the death of the Redeemer, 
more than he could any other ; the fostering the old nature in us is a valu- 
ing that which God hath manifested his hatred of, and a slighting all the 
expressions of bis love. It draws a greater guilt upon our persons than 
Adam did by his fall upon our natures : John xv. 22, • If I had not come and 
spoken to them, they had not had sin.' If 1 had not told them those things, 
and preach heavenly doctrine to them, their sin had been as it were a petty 
larceny, in comparison of what it is now, a treason against my Father's crown 
and dignity ; ' but now they have hated me and my Father.' 

3. Hence it follows that such a man's condition must be exceeding miser- 

John III. 3, 5. J the necessity of regeneration. 65 

able. Those that • have a part in the first resurrection,' on them it is said 
' the second death shall have no power,' Rev. xx. 6 ; whether he means 
the resurrection of Christ, or the spiritual resurrection of the soul. The second 
death then shall have power over them that have no part in the first resur- 

(1.) Such axe peculiarly miserable. Such a man had better have been any 
other creature, — a toad, a serpent, a beetle, liable to be trod to death by the 
next comer, — than have been a man, and live and die with a serpentine na- 
ture, and without renewing grace, would be glad one day to change states 
with them ; and it had been better to have been born in the darkest part of 
America than in England, and better to have lived in the blindest corner in 
England than in London, where he hath heard so much and so often of the 
necessity of the new birth, and yet cherished an old nature. It is an aston- 
ishing madness this. Better never to have been born a man than not be a 
real Christian, which he cannot be without this new birth, this necessary 
regeneration ; better never to have entered by the door of baptism into the 
Christian society, than not have a nature answerable to the baptismal in- 
tendment. There is not the meanest beggar that creeps in the street, the 
most ulcerous Lazarus that lies at the door, but if renewed is infinitely hap- 
pier than any one unrenewed can be with all worldly felicity. 

(2.) Such are unavoidably miserable. The mercy of God can never make 
you happy against his truth, the righteousness of God can never do it with- 
out the necessary qualification. Is it just with God to give his worst ene- 
mies the same reward of glory with his choicest friends ; to those that 
never endeavoured to reform their lives according to the methods of the 
gospel, as to those who have had the holy image of his Son drawn and 
wrought in their hearts? In 2 Tim. iv. 8 he is said to be a ' righteous judge,' 
which could not be if he gave the same rewards to both the contrary qualifi- 
cations. The devil may as soon be saved, as any man without a new birth. 
Though there be enough written against the salvation of devils, yet there is 
more written in the book of God against the salvation of men living and dying 
in an unregenerate state than against the salvation of devils. Do any expect 
to see the kingdom of God without it ? Why, that form on which you sit, 
that dust under your feet, far cleaner than ourselves by nature, are fitter to 
be brought into that place of glory. The holiness of God can better endure 
them than an unrenewed man. He pronounced their kind good at the crea- 
tion, but never was an unrenewed nature pronounced good by God. You 
can no more shun an eternal misery without it, than you can a temporal 
death with it ; you can no more fly from hell than from yourselves. Our 
blessed Saviour, the redeemer of the world, will know none for admission 
into happiness without his badge upon them : Mat. vii. 23, ' I never knew 
you :' you had nothing in you worthy my knowledge and affection. Where 
is the evangelical impression upon your soul ? will be the only question then 

Well, then, I wish every unregenerate man would put the question to his 
soul, Can I dwell with everlasting burnings ? Can I, with a cheerful secu- 
rity, meet the wrath of God in its march against me ? Is eternal darkness 
a delightful state ? Is an eternal separation from the blessed God to be 
desired ? Is a present sensual life to be preferred before a joyful eternity? 
Is there any one Scripture in the whole book of God can give me comfort in 
this state ? What, then, dost thou, my soul, spend thy thoughts about, 
since there is nothing to procure thy felicity, but this new birth ? 

Use 3. Is of comfort. Is it so, that without regeneration there is no sal- 

6b' charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

vation ? Then how great is the comfort of that person, who hath attained 
this necessary thing ! What a foundation is here for the composition of 
new songs for spiritual exultings ! What a diffusion may there be of pleasure 
through the whole soul ! That little regenerating principle within you is 
more necessary than the wisdom of Solomon, the power of Nebuchadnezzar, 
the glory of Ahasuerus, the reaching heads of the most knowing men in the 
world, and shall make you happy, when others in their unrenewed wisdom 
and unsanctified wealth shall descend to destruction. 

1. The least true grace hath comfort from hence. ' Except a man be 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ;' therefore if he be born 
again, he shall see it. Our Saviour doth not say, except a man hath been 
born so long, arrived to such a stature, but simply born again ; it lies upon 
the essence, not upon the degree. A child that cries the first minute it is 
born, is in a state of life, as well as the man in the prime of his strength ; 
a child hath the nature of a man, though attended with some strong disease 
and great infirmities ; though every true Christian hath not the same growth, 
yet he hath the same birth, the same renewing Spirit. ' If a man be in Christ, 
he is a new creature ;' the apostle doth not say, he is a strong creature, or 
a tall creature. St John reckons three different states of Christians, 1 John 
ii. 13, 14, children, young men, and fathers, and all in a state of the know- 
ledge of God. 

2. Here is comfort in the ignorance of the time of the new birth. ' Except a 
man be born again,' not except he know the time of his being born again; the 
want of the knowledge of the time hath troubled some, but it is no matter for 
the time, if we find the essential properties ; our happiness is secured by the 
essence, not by the circumstance. It is the glory of those that were born in 
Sion, that they 'were born there,' Ps. lxxxvii. 5, though the time of their 
birth were not exactly known by them. Many may tell the first prepara- 
tions to it, the first strong conviction, the first time they found their hearts 
affected ; this is more easy than to tell the very time when spiritual life was 
infused, any more than to tell the punctual time when the child was quick- 
ened in the womb ; this is no more known, than that particular minute when 
this or that addition was made to our stature and growth, though the growth 
itself be discernible. 

3. Such ai-e new born to the enjoyment of God in glory. If none shall 
see God without it, then those shall certainly see God who have it ; it is for 
the undefiled inheritance that God did first beget you : 1 Peter i. 3, ' He 
hath begotten us to a lively hope, to an inheritance undefiled, incorruptible, 
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.' Had not God intended 
you for an everlasting converse with himself, he would not have taken such 
pains, but have let you lie in your blood, and run down the stream of nature 
into the ocean of a miserable eternity with the common mass of the world. 
What comfort will this be, when you see the old house of your bodies full of 
gaps, ready to fall, that your reborn souls are ready to take possession of 
their eternal inheritance ! Paul was one of the highest rank in Christianity, 
both in grace and office, yet the ' crown of righteousness ' was not only laid 
up for him, and to be given to him, but to ' all that love the appearing ' of 
Christ, 2 Tim. iv. 8, that is, to all those that, from the principles of the new 
nature, aspire to that perfection, which shall be at the appearance of Christ. 
There is as certain a tendency, by the ordination of God, of a renewed soul 
to heaven, as of flame into the air. Grace and glory are in nature the same 
thing as a seed and a plant. 

4. It is comfort upon this account, If new-born to heaven, then to all 
things which may further your passage thither and assist you in it. To God, 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 67 

as your God and king to protect you, as your Father to cherish you ; to the 
promises as your promises, as assurauces and deeds for heaven ; to a sanc- 
tification of all states for a furtherance of you in your travel to and fitness 
for this kingdom ; to a sight of God in his ordinances, and in his provi- 
dences ; he will not deny a beam here in his institutions to those for whom 
he reserves his full face hereafter ; to a fellowship with God in duties of 
worship, as a foretaste of a perpetual communion with him ; to an improve- 
ment of all graces ; to the perfectest dress at last of all beautiful grace, 
which may completely fit you for an everlasting sight of God in heaven. 

Use. 4. If without the new birth there is no entering into heaven, 
then it stands upon you to clear up your evidences for the new birtb. 
If the existence of it be necessary for our felicity, the knowledge of it is 
necessary for our comfort. This is the great distinguishing evangelical sign ; 
without an inward principle of life, we have not reached the intendment of 
the gospel : John vi. 63, ' The words of Christ are spirit and life.' John 
x. 10, ' I am come that you might have life.' He hath no interest in the 
gospel that hath not this in his heart. Every man in Christ must be a new 

To encourage you in this work, consider, 

1. It is by this you must know your justification. Justification is our 
blessedness : Horn. iv. 8, ' Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not 
impute sin.' And this is the way to know our blessedness : forgiveness of 
sin precedes the inheritance, and both this and that are received only by the 
sanctified through faith in Christ : Acts xxvi. 18, ' That they may receive 
forgiveness of sin, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith 
which is in me.' The alteration of our frame is notius, more discernible to 
us, than that of our relative states ; the new dispositions discover what rela- 
tion we stand in to God. This is a certain truth, he that doth not find the 
draught of God's image in him, hath no reason to conclude he hath any 
saving interest in the propitiatory sacrifice of the Redeemer. As the blood 
and water were not separated in the effusion upon the cross, neither are 
they in their application to the soul ; water to renew us, and blood to justify 
us. The ' washing of regeneration ' evidenceth our being justified by grace, 
Titus iii. 5-7 ; the apostle infers the one from the other. 

2. Therefore, by the knowledge of this only you can gain comfort. The 
great desire is, Oh that I were assured ! Let it be your great business to 
clear up the new birth. It is the office of the Spirit not only to comfort but 
renew, and to comfort by renewing. The hope of eternal life is founded 
upon the renewing of the Holy Ghost, as well as on justification by grace, 
Titus i. 5-7 ; the Spirit as a comforter is to guide into all truth, John xvi. 
13, into that truth which is sanctifying, John xvii. 17. The property of 
the Spirit is to guide us into sanctifying truth, and sanctify us by that truth ; 
the Spirit doth witness w T ith our spirits that we are the children of God ; its 
witness is by something within us, not without us. There must be 
something in our hearts as a foundation of this testimony ; what witness 
can there be in an old nature? Look after, therefore, those essential pro- 
perties of the new nature. Christ preached duty and comfort together ; his 
first sermon, Mat. v., is made up of both. The clear evidence of a new life 
seated in the centre of the soul, will be a surer testimony of our right to, and 
fitness for glory, than if an angel from heaven should assure us in the name 
of God, that we are some of his heirs ; the testimony of an angel is but that 
of a creature, lower then the verbal testimony of the Son of God. The evi- 
dences of the beginnings of glory, by the operations of grace and a Godlike 
nature, are more uncontrollable than the highest assurances all the angels 

68 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

in heaven can give us. Clear up this, therefore. There are many coun- 
terfeits ; men may take morality, outward reformation, heaps of religious 
duties, to be this work, but tbese are all insufficient, and men without good 
examination may cheat themselves, and take copper for gold, and tin for 
silver. There is a natural or moral integrity, and an evangelical integrity; 
the natural integrity God owns in Abimelech : Gen. xx. 6, ' Yea, I know 
that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart.' He was king of the place 
where Abraham thought there was no fear of God, ver. 12. And it is likely 
there was not. God puts none of them upon prayer for themselves, but 
Abraham upon praying for them. 

Then ask yourselves these two or three questions. 

1. How stand your hearts to God and sin ? Is there a bias in the will, 
which doth naturally carry it to God ? What light is there in your minds ? 
what flexibleness and tenderness in the will and conscience ? what sprightli- 
ness in your affections to the things of God ? what readiness to meet him in 
his motions to you ? what closing with Christ ? Are there strong cries, 
struggling, wrestling, Jacob-like prayers ? A new-born babe not to cry ; a 
child not to call to his father, and follow him, and press to him : it is incon- 
sistent with such a nature, since it is the first fruit of the ' spirit of adop- 
tion ' received by us, to cause us to cry, Abba, Father, Rom. viii. 15. 
How stand your hearts to sin ? Are there deep humiliations for it, utter 
detestation of it ? Are your affections dead to the flesh and the world, and 
alive and quick to the things of God ? Rom. viii. 10, ' The body is dead 
because of sin, and the spirit is life because of righteousness.' What hum- 
bling of inward pride, what striving against inward sins, what loathing of 
inward corruptions ? 

2. What delight have yon in spiritual duties ? Do your souls spring up 
in a service ? Are your hearts in heaven before the words are out of your 
mouth ? What is agreeable to nature is not burdensome. Spiritual services 
are as pleasant to a new nature, as sin is to an old, as sweet wines and 
delicious food is to a gluttonous disposition : Ps. cxix. 103, ' How sweet are 
thy words unto my taste ! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth ! ' Honey, 
one of the staple excellencies of Canaan, which is described to be a land 
flowing with milk and honey. Doth your delight in the law of God spring 
up from the inner man ? There is a delight in doing some things of the law 
(the Gentiles did by nature the things contained in the law, Rom. ii. 14), by 
a moral nature, not a new nature ; if by nature, they had then a delight in 
them, and it was as all delight is, inward in the soul and heart, no doubt 
but many of them had pleasure in their morality. That is not the meaning 
of the apostle ; but he doth distinguish his delights from theirs by the object 
of it, and by the subject or spring of it. It was the law of God, as it was the 
law of God, that he did delight in ; and it was not only an inward delight, 
but a delight arising from an inner nature, a man distinct from that man 
composed of soul and body ; it did arise from a spirit possessed with nobler 
principles and higher ends. 

Well, then, is it your meat and drink to do his will ? Has the glory of 
God been dearer to you than the dearest worldly concerns you have ? Are 
your converses with him very delightful to you ? Do the thoughts of God, 
and delights in him, frequently return upon you ? What bears the most 
grateful relish in your souls ? holy thoughts and duties, or sinful and foolish 
vanities ? 

3. How do you live ? Have you another life 'by the faith of the Son of 
God ? ' Gal. ii. 20 ; another faith beside the common faith, not resting in 
assent, but ' working by love,' Gal. v. 6. Do you live to yourselves ? That 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 69 

is proper to a state of nature. Or do you live to God ? 2 Cor. v. 13. That 
is proper to a state of grace : Gal. ii. 19, ' I am dead to the law, that I might 
live unto God.' Is there a closing with Christ, not only as your Saviour, but 
as the principle and end of your lives ? Is there a living the life of God, the 
life of Christ ? Can Christ be formed in the heart, and there be nothing of 
the qualities of Christ, nothing of the spirit of Christ ? Is Christ formed in 
the heart, a hard, low, dead, cold, dark, lifeless Christ ? This frame is a 
quite contrary thing to Christ. If we are born of the will of God, we are 
born to answer the will of God. Is it the will of God that we should be 
loose in our hearts, and vain in our lives ? That is the will of the flesh, 
not the will of God. According as our hearts are, so is our birth ; sin or 
grace must have dominion in the soul ; they cannot live amicably together ; 
a man cannot be a sinner and a saint with the same will, cannot equally love 
holiness and iniquity. We may as well say that a man may be in heaven 
and hell at the same time ; not but that a renewed man may in a sudden fit 
do a thing against his nature, as Moses, one of a mild disposition, was trans- 
ported with a strain of passion against his nature. If sin reigns in the 
heart, though it doth not in outward acts ; if we yield ourselves servants, to 
obey it in the lusts thereof, though not in the outward fruit of those lusts, 
this new-creature principle was never settled in the heart: Rom. vi. 12, ' Let 
not sin reign therefore in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the 
lusts thereof : neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteous- 
ness unto sin.' He makes a manifest difference between the inward lust 
obeyed, and the outward commission of it in the members, and places the 
reign of sin in one as well as the other ; and, ver. 16, concludes them in a 
state of nature or a state of grace, according as they yield themselves ser- 
vants to this or that. A regenerate practical atheist is just as true as to say 
a regenerate devil. 

(1.) Be diligent observers, therefore, of what solid alterations you find in 
your spirits ; what motions, starts, principles, ends you can perceive there ; 
and if you find you have this excellent and necessary new birth, admire God's 
grace in you, that he should pass by so many thousands in the world and 
renew you ; that he should leave many soaking in their sins, and swimming 
to destruction in their old nature, and bestow this heavenly plant upon your 
souls. And prize it too. Aquinas hath an excellent saying, The good ot' 
one grace is greater than the good of all nature ; which words Cajetan com- 
mends as fit to be writ upon our minds, and constantly reviewed by us, to 
raise our admirations of God and his grace. 

I speak now but little of these things, because the next discourse will lead 
me to speak more of them. 

(2.) Seek it. If it be necessary to be had, it is necessary to be sought. 
We are all at this present before God in an old or new nature ; and if we die 
in the nature we have received from old Adam, without another from the 
new, it is as certain that every one of us shall be excluded out of the king- 
dom of God, as it is certain we live and breathe in the places where we stand 
or sit. We are born of the earth, we must be born from heaven ; we must 
have a spiritual as well as an animal life. Oh that every man and woman 
had the same thoughts of the necessity of it as they have who are past hope 
in hell of ever attaining it ! Riches are not necessary, honours are not ne- 
cessary ; this is of absolute necessity. Were you like Solomon in all his 
glory, you could not have the privilege of entering into God's kingdom with- 
out a new nature ; but a new nature without the glory of Solomon, nay, 
without a rag to your backs, will admit you. If those that are already 
renewed must be every day putting off the old and putting on the new 


man,* Eph. iv. 22, 24, how much more need have you who have not dropped 
one scale, or sweat out one spirit of the old man, nor have a grain of the new 
man in you ? As original corruption stood up in the place of original 
righteousness, so a gracious regenerate frame must rise up in the place of 
original corruption, for God will never befriend corrupt nature so much as 
to give a happiness to that which he hates. Men do not choose weeds but 
flowers to plant in their delightful gardens. God indeed doth choose weeds, 
but they are turned into the nature of flowers hefore he transplants them to 
glory. We must have a wedding garment to fit us for his feast, and oil in 
our vessels to prepare us for his nuptials. 

Seek it, for, 

(1.) It is an indispensable duty. God hath resolved that only ' the pure 
in heart shall see God,' Mat. v. 8. It is a duty incumbent on us to love 
God. Since we are bound to love God, we are bound to love whatsoever 
hath any relation to him. Therefore we must love ourselves, not with a 
sordid, carnal love, but as we are the image of God. Hence we are bound 
to do what we can to brighten and clear this image, and restore' it to its 
primitive perfection in our souls. We are answerable to God for the pre- 
senting this image of God in the same state wherein it was when he conferred 
it upon Adam, and upon us in his loins. Since the Kedeemer hath under- 
taken to restore it, it is our duty to seek to this Redeemer for the restoration 
of it, for he came ' that we might have life,' John x. 16 ; a vital principle 
in us to fit us for eternal life, and to ' have it more abundantly,' in a more 
glorious and fixed manner than Adam had. 

(2.) Seek it, for something of this nature, or equivalent to it, seems ne- 
cessary to all rational and intellectual creatures. The first nature of man 
was sown in mutability, and there was a necessity of something equivalent 
to this regeneration to fix and establish his nature ; as the confirmation of 
angels under the head Christ is in some sort a regeneration of them, for it 
is an alteration of their state, from mutable to immutable, not by nature, for 
so God only is immutable, but by grace : Eph. i. 10, • He hath gathered to- 
gether in one all things in Christ.' There is need now of it to change our 
nature, and afterwards to fix us in it. Most think that Adam, had he stood 
some time, had been confirmed in the state of innocency, and advanced to a 
more excellent state than that of paradise, which would have been an altera- 
tion of his state. If, then, an alteration of state was necessary for the fixing 
bis happiness, an alteration of state is much more necessary for us for 
regaining the happiness we fell from. 

(3.) Seek it, because in not seeking it you act against your own reason and 
natural experience. You have by the light of nature, improved by the light 
of the gospel, so much knowledge as to perceive that you are not as God 
first made you. You cannot but acknowledge it impossible that so filthy 
and disorderly a piece can come out of his hands ; that there is something 
wanting to you. And are those relics of nature left only to shew us our 
indigence, and not also to spur us on to seek a remedy ? Melancthon saith, 
I have seen many epicures who, being in some grief for their sins, have 
argued, How can I expect to be received by God, when I find not a new light 
and new virtues infused into me ? When you are stilled after the rage of 
carnal affections or glut of pleasures, and you do in silence turn in upon 
yourselves, and make inquiry after your future state, if your conscience do 
not lie and flatter, will they not tell you to your faces that you are men of 
death, prepared against the day of slaughter ? Besides, will not every man 
confess in his most raised retirements that he cannot find any real satisfac- 
* Eurgess. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 71 

tion in things below ? And are there not sometimes some natural aspirings 
to something above these ? Do not all men one time or other inquire, Ps. 
iv. 6, ' Who will shew us any good ?' Have you ever a more delightful 
pleasure than when you find yourselves inflamed with some desires for it ? 
But, alas ! do you not feel yourselves in a depraved state, and that these 
motions are but weak flutterings, and that the soul is quickly wearied in 
them ? Is not this an evidence that there must be a more vigorous nature 
infused both to attain and enjoy them ? Is it not then an acting against 
your own sentiments not to seek it ? Do you not offer violence to that little 
reason in you to cut the wings of such motions ? Let me add this too, you 
act in a way contrary to the nature of every thing, not to seek that state 
which was designed for the perfection of human nature. Is it not natural 
for everything to endeavour its recovery to its primitive purity, and struggle 
under that which is preternatural to it ? A fountain will not rest till it hath 
wrought out the filth which hath been cast into it ; so neither should man 
be quiet till he recover himself from the dominion of sin in his nature, and 
his pollution by it. Are you contented with a nasty, impure, and diseased 
body ? are you not restless till it be cleansed and cured ? and is it no trouble 
to you to have your souls in a dirty and foul condition ? Do you not hereby 
act against your own nature in other things ? 

(4.) Not to seek it is to despise the general mercy of God, and the general 
kindness of the Mediator to human nature. There are in man desires for 
and inclinations to happiness, and some knowledge that this happiness lies 
in God. These desires were left in man by the mercy of God upon the 
interposition of the Mediator ; therefore some call them not relics of nature, 
but restored principles, as a foundation to work upon ; for upon the fall man 
did forfeit all, and sin despoiled himself of all tie jure, but by the mediation 
of Christ, those were left (Col. i. 17, ' By him all things consist'), other- 
wise there had been no stock to work upon. These are left as founda- 
tions upon which God grafts this grace of regeneration,* as they that spin 
do not spin out the whole thread, but leave some end, that they may add 
to it another thread ; so God, having a purpose to do good on man in 
renewing him, did not suffer the stock of nature to be wholly rooted out, 
but left that as a root to graft upon, to make him the better capable of 
happiness. Had not man had a natural desire to happiness, there were no 
ground to work upon him to induce him to such a thing ; therefore in not 
seeking it you reproach God for leaving this stump in you, and seem to be 
so well pleased with corrupt nature as if you would not have any remainder 
of the former. It is a striving against the relic of original nature left in us. 

(5.) Seek it, for it is as necessary as justification. You should therefore 
seek it with as high an esteem of it as you have of pardon ; none but would 
desire pardon of sin. You must be as desirous of the regeneration of your 
nature ; they are equally necessary. Those who will not have an inherent 
righteousness can never expect an imputed righteousness from Christ ; he 
never came to that end. Two things happened to us by the fall : another 
state and another nature; the regaining of the former must be equally sought 
with the latter, a being in another covenant by justification (for naturally we 
are in the covenant with Adam), and a being beautified with another image, 
because naturally we are deformed by the image of Adam. As long as we 
are only in a state of descent from, and union with, the first Adam, we are 
under the strictness of his covenant and the deformity of his image ; when 
we are united to the second Adam, and spiritually descend from him, we 
are in his covenant of grace, and are adorned with his image. Both, there- 
* Stoughton's Righteous Man's Pica, ser. i. p. 30. 

72 charnock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

fore, must be looked after as equally necessary: Rom. v. 21, 'That as 
sin hath reigned unto death, so might grace reign through righteousness 
unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.' Let us, then, look after this 
reign of grace ; let not that be the last which should be first in our thoughts. 
Since our natural descent from Adam, we are born God's enemies : we must 
be spiritually new-born before our enmity can expire. 

(6.) The advantages that accrue by regeneration are high. When we are 
renewed, we part with impurity for purity, with dross for gold, with corrup- 
tion for holiness, with flesh for spirit, with nature for grace, with sin for 
God, and the enjoyment of him for ever. Our present nature is a nature of 
death and bondage ; a new nature is like the new law, a law of life and 
liberty, James i. 25. It will put our souls in order, and set the Israelite 
free from the Egyptian taskmaster ; it will quell the rage of sin, and diffuse 
a serenity in our souls. Grace and peace are not unfitly joined together by 
the apostle, in respect of peace in ourselves, wbich cannot be without habitual 
grace, as well as peace with God, which cannot be without his favour. It 
will enable us to perform spiritual services. As all natural actions flow 
from a natural form in the creature, so all spiritual actions flow from a 
spiritual nature in the soul, and without it a carnal heart can no more do 
any spiritual work than a rock can perform the work of a balsam-tree. It 
is but highly reasonable and just we should endeavour to regain that state 
wherein we were created, as the best for us, since the estate wherein God 
created us was certainly the best. It is unconceivably better to be a righteous 
man than to be a man. 

(7.) Seek it ; you will never repent your labour, because it is necessary. 
Necessity makes us contend with the greatest difficulties ; men will do more 
at a pinch than they can do at other times, when no necessity is upon them. 
Never did any repent of it, never any will ; it hath been a comfort upon a 
deathbed to all that had it : it never was any man's sorrow. The universal 
consent of all who have found it wrought should quicken our desires and 
endeavours for it. Ask a renewed man whether ever it troubled him that he 
was regenerate ? whether he would be without that state rather than undergo 
the same pains again ? "Would not his answer be, No, not for all the world ? 
When the blessed apostle Paul considered his late regeneration, he expresseth 
it with some regret, 1 Cor. xv. 8, ' as one born out of due time.' It implies 
a sorrow that he was not born sooner ; and Austin cries out, Sero te amavi, 
Domine, I have loved thee too late, Lord. So doth every renewed man 
repent that he was not regenerate sooner. A regenerate man come under 
the yoke of Christ finds such a pleasure in it, such a suitableness, such an 
advantage to his interest, that he would not be free from those delightful 
engagements, and the sweetness of that yoke, for all the delights and commo- 
dities of the world. 

Exhortation 3. Seek it presently ; let not a minute pass without some 
ejaculation to God for the new birth ; and when you come home, fall upon 
your knees, and rise not till you find a change of resolutions and disposi- 
tions. If you did well understand the necessity of it, you would not be 
one hour without begging it. You have heard the necessity of it now, 
are you sure you shall ever hear the doctrine preached on again ? Are 
you sure you may not be past the hope as well as the happiness of the 
new birth before many days be run, if the present opportunity be neglected ? 
When God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and his family, it 
is said he did it that very day wherein God commanded him, Gen. 
xvii. 23. Why should you not imitate Abraham in the ready and speedy 
circumcision of the heart ? Though God doth wait long, it cannot be 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 73 

thought he should alway be courting dead souls. It must be now ; there 
is no hope of such a change after death : ' The redemption of their soul 
ceaseth for ever,' Ps. xlix. 8; no more under the offers of a redeeming 
Saviour, no more under the motions of a renewing Spirit. Christ breaks the 
nations like a potter's vessel, Ps. ii. 9. A vessel before it be burned may be 
macerated in water, and formed anew ; but when it hath been burned in the 
furnace, it cannot be changed. Well, if thou wilt be new born this day, God 
will bless the memory of this day, for he will gain a son ; Jesus Christ will 
by his blood put this day in red letters in his calendar, for he will gain a 
brother ; the Spirit will rejoice, for he will gain a temple ; angels will 
rejoice, for they will gain a fellow-servant ; you will gain a fitness for an 
everlasting inheritance. Let me, therefore, press young men and women to 
this necessary and important concern ; I know not when I may have so fit 
an opportunity or subject for it. It is not said, except an old man be bora 
again, but except a man ; therefore be not careless, as if you were not con- 
cerned in it, nor put it off to a longer day from the probability of the length 
of your life in a course of nature. Consider, 

1. An early regeneration makes for God's honour. 

(1.) In preventing much sin. How ripe are young ones, yea, even chil- 
dren when they are scarce green in age, as though iniquity had been 
their tutor in the womb ! Youthful blood is the devil's tinder. Job knew 
it ; therefore when his sons feasted he sacrificed, chap. i. 5. He was 
jealous of their inbred corruption, from the sense of the sins of his own 
youth, which we find him complaining of, Job xiii. 26 ; therefore he feared 
his children, having the same temptations, might fall into the same trans- 
gressions. Now, by an early regeneration, many diseases of the soul are 
prevented, as well as the great crack of nature cured, as the distempers of the 
body are prevented by altering the habit of it in the spring. Though by a 
late regeneration, that of an old man, the soul is fitted for heaven, yet it will 
be grievous to him to think that his former dishonouring of God in his 
natural state was not prevented. It is otherwise with the early regenerate ; 
they cannot complain, as Paul did, Oh, how have I persecuted the church 
of God ! how have I breathed out threatenings against Christ and his people ! 
how have I wallowed in all kind of sin ! They have indeed as much reason 
to complain of the stock of the old nature within them, but not of so many 
bitter fruits of the flesh as others. How doth the devil hang the wing when 
he is deprived of an active servant ! As nothing makes heaven so glad, so 
nothing makes hell so sad, as to be frustrated of the full crop of sin it 
expected from such an instrument. 

(2.) In doing much service for God. Young men are usually of active 
spirits and vigorous affections, whereas age doth freeze all youthful warmth. 
Such, like Peter, can • gird themselves, and go whither they please,' John 
xxi. 18, and travel about for God ; but age damps the spirits. We are not 
so fit for service when the vigour of our youth is spent. And would you be 
saved, and God have no more glory from you ? Now what parts, or strength, 
or mettle, a young man hath, grace will bias, put into a right channel, and 
direct to an useful end. The early regenerate will be eminent in piety ; for 
in a course of nature, they have a longer time to grow in. Their faith and 
love, by a larger exercise, will be the stronger ; and the stronger the grace, 
the more glory will be brought to God, Rom. iv. 20. Abraham, it is said, 
was • strong in faith, giving glory to God.' He that rises betimes in the, 
morning, will do more work than he that lies in bed till noon, or loiters till 
the sun declines. 

(3.) In manifesting the power of the grace of God. An early regenera- 

74 chaexock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

tion is the great ornament of the gospel. It evidenceth the dignity and 
strength of habitual grace, in quenching youthful heats and powerful tempta- 
tions, in making such to deny themselves, and prefer God's precepts before 
their own pleasures. It magnifies grace, when the devil is beat upon his 
own dunghill, where he had so great an interest, by reason of the corrup- 
tions such are subject to. What an elogy is it to the beauty and power of 
grace, to see a young flourishing plant in God's garden ! It shews the 
power of his grace upon such to salvation, that they are strong in the power 
of the might of God, to wrestle against principalities and powers, as well as 
against flesh and blood. It manifests the power of God's grace in the work 
of faith, and that there is a spirit of power residing in them. 

2. As an early regeneration makes for God's honour, so it makes for 
your own interest. 

(1.) Your new birth will be the gentler. The work of conscience will be 
more kindly, without the horrors they have, who have lain many years soak- 
ing in the old nature. More of hell must be flashed in an old sinner's face, to 
awaken him from his dead sleep. Paul, who had sinned some years with an 
high hand, was struck to the earth. Christ, as it were, took him by the throat, 
and shook him : Acts ix. 6, « He trembling, and astonished, said,' &c. There 
will be more amazing aggravations of sin to rack the conscience, and conse- 
quently more anguish. Putrefied wounds require more lancing ; and there- 
fore are more painful in the cure than those which are but newly made. The 
more we are alienated from the life of God, the harder it will be to return 
to live that life again. The further a man is gone out of his road, the 
longer he must travel to come in again ; and the more pains he must take 
in running or riding, than he that wandered but a little from it. 

(2.) Your new birth will be the gratefuller to God. God loves the first 
fruits. He would not have the gleanings, but the first crop of everything 
under the law, which was laid upon the altar as God's portion. The kind- 
ness of the youth is most respected by God. He cherished Israel because 
they were ' the first fruits of his increase,' Jer. ii. 2, 3. 'I remember the 
kindness of thy youth, the love of thy espousals, when thou wentest after me 
in the wilderness,' under many discouragements. God writes down the 
time of the new birth, and it runs in his mind a long time after. ' Epenetus, 
the first fruits of Achaia,' is saluted by Paul, just after the salutation of the 
whole church, with the title of ivell-beloved : Rom. xvi. 5, ' Greet the church that 
is in their house ; salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the [first] fruits of 
Achaia unto Christ.' And surely more beloved by the Lord than by the ser- 
vant. God bath most affection for such as come in at the first sound of the 
gospel. Daniel was a young man, yet the holiest man of his age ; and God 
hath so great an affection to him that he joins him with Noah, that famous 
preacher of righteousness, and Job, that mirror of patience, — Ezek. xiv. 14, 
' Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should but 
deliver their own souls by their righteousness,' — as those that had the greatest 
power with him, to keep off judgments from the place where they were. 

(3.) Comfort will be the greater by an early new birth. What a long time 
will such an one have to enjoy the comforts of the Spirit! whereas those that 
are renewed later, have fewer comforts, because their grieving the Spirit hath 
been the longer. You will be always ready, and fit for the kingdom of God, 
let God call when he will. Your foretastes of heaven greater, and much 
acquaintance with the life of it, before you arrive at the place of full enjoy- 
ment. John, the youngest disciple, lay in Christ's bosom; he had afterwards 
the most spiritual illuminations, and the discoveries of the state of the church 
in after days revealed to him. When our sluggishness makes God wait for 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of eegeneeation. 75 

our return, his justice will make us wait long for his comforts. The earlier 
your new birth, the sweeter will be your death, as being more stored with 
experiences of God's grace, and goodness, and trutb, wherewith to answer all 
the devil's affrighting charges in your departing hence. No doubt can arise, 
but there will be a treasure of experience whence to draw an answer. The 
longer acquaintance you have with God, and the longer likeness to him in 
your natures, the more joyful will be your passage to him, and the more con- 
fidence against the fear of death. 

(4.) The earlier your new birth, the sincerer and stronger will be your grace. 
To row against the strong stream and tide of nature, temptations of a youth- 
ful age, the inconstancy and lightness of your humour, and the inconsiderate- 
ness of your temper, are arguments of sincerity. To seek God, when a man 
hath fair and frequent invitations to sin, is not so liable to suspicion, as 
when a man can live no longer. The latter proceeds rather from a fear of 
wrath than love to their Creator, or affection to his glory. Grace will be 
the stronger, the more full of juice. He that is new-born betimes, when he 
is young, will grow to a greater stature and a mighty strength in his age ; for it 
is not with grace as it is with our bodies, the older the weaker ; but as the 
outward man decays, the inward man grows, and is renewed day by day, 
2 Cor. iv. 16. A young plant in the house of God will be fat and flourish- 
ing, and full of fruit in old age, Ps. xcii. 13, 14. The weakness of the body 
in such is the youthfulness of grace. 

(5.) The earlier the new birth, the weightier will be your glory in the king- 
dom of God. God rewards according to our works : Rev. ii. 23, ' I will give 
to every one of you according to your works.' Not only to the wicked, the 
children of the woman Jezebel, according to their works, but to them whose 
charity, service, faith, patience, he knew, ver. 19. The longer you are with- 
out a new life, a vital principle, the fewer will your works be, and the shorter 
your wages. Though God in regeneration works as a sovereign, and hath 
mercy on whom he will have mercy, yet, in rewarding, he acts as a righteous 
judge, according to the rules of justice: 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' The crown which the 
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me ;' and so doth proportion the glory to 
every man's service. Young ones regenerate, that bear head against the 
temptations of their violent nature, shall have crowns set with more jewels. 
They shall not only have an entrance, but ' an abundant entrance into the ever- 
lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,' 2 Peter i. 11. They 
shall enter into the port with a full gale. The more violent storms they 
bear up against, the brighter will be their glory. For if he that endures 
temptation, but one temptation, shall have a crown, by proportion, he that 
endures many shall have a greater : James i. 12, * Blessed is the man that 
.endures temptation; for when he is tried, he shall have a crown of life.' How 
comfortable will it be to feel the weight of your crown and the richness of 
your robes, according to your years of service. If there be any sorrow in 
heaven, it is because they were not sooner new-born, that they might more 
have glorified God on earth, who bestows so much honour upon them in 
heaven. If any of you were sure to be regenerate after you had spent so 
many years after the course of the world and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, 
yet how great would your loss be, both of the comforts of the Spirit in this 
life, and of degrees of glory in the other ! 

3. Deferring the seeking after this new birth till more years grow upon you 
is a mighty folly. It is a matter of the highest concern, the greatest neces- 
sity, in comparison of which all other things are but toys and superfluities. 
Is it not folly to prefer superfluous things before necessary ? Is it not a mad- 
ness for a man to be mending the mud-wall about his garden, and neglect 

76 chaknock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

to quench the fire which hath got hold of his house ? You are poisoned in 
your nature, you have plague-spots upon your hearts. Would it not be ridi- 
culous for a man that hath drunk poison, and spilt some upon his clothes, 
to be more careful to have tbe stains fetched out of his garments than the 
poison out of his stomach ? You are careful about the concerns of the body 
and flesh, oh be not such fools as to let the poison within get the greater head, 
and the plague continue in the heart. 

Folly it is, 

(1.) Because of the uncertainty of life. You are not lords and keepers of 
your own times, they are in God's hands: Ps. xxxi. 15, ' My times are in 
thy hands.' What if he should fling that time out of his hand to-morrow, 
what would your condition be ? Those that are in a dead state now, as they 
ai*e here, if judgment find them so, are irrecoverable. Because thou art a 
child of wrath, if he take thee thus away with his stroke, as Job speaks, 
chap, xxxvi. 18, then a ' great ransom cannot deliver thee.' Hell followed 
death close at the back, Rev. vi. 8. Shall sin reign in a body ? That is 
base. But in a mortal body, a body that may drop into the grave every 
hour ? That is folly in the highest degree. It is the apostle's exhortation : 
Rom. vi. 12, ' Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies.' Many a 
candle hath been put out before half burnt ; how often hath a clear sun in 
the morning been overcast before noon ! Were none of you the last week at 
the funeral of some strong and vigorous person ? Perhaps there is no more 
time left you than just what will serve for to seek this new birth. God seizeth 
upon some suddenly, that they have not time so much as to cry out what 
aileth them : Job xxxvi. 13, 14, ' They cry not when he bindeth them. They 
die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.' It is better to be new-born 
many years too soon (if it can be supposed to be too soon), than to defer it 
one minute too late. He that defers the new birth to-day, may not have a 
morrow to be new born in. And to be surprised by death before you are 
new born, better for you you had never been born at all. 

(2.) It is folly, because if you neglect the present time, though you may 
live, yet your return to God by a new birth may be very uncertain. There 
is such a thing as a day of grace, shorter than the days of a man's life : Luke 
xix. 42, ' The things of their peace' were then ' hid from their eyes,' though 
their destruction was deferred forty years. There is such a resolve in heaven 
sometimes, that ' the Spirit shall strive no longer ' with this or that man : 
Gen. vi. 3, ' My Spirit shall not always strive with man,' or ' in man,' with 
this or that man ; ' for that he also is flesh.' It is a threatening to those 
in the church, in opposition to the profane world, ver. 2. The church began 
then to be corrupted. My Spirit shall not strive with them ; though they 
make a profession of me, and attend upon me in worship, yet they are flesh, 
degenerated into mere flesh, and flesh they shall be. And sometimes it is 
confirmed by a solemn oath. Rev. x. 5, 6, The angel swears in a most 
solemn manner, ' By him that lives for ever, who created heaven and earth,' 
&c, ' that there should be time no longer ;' that is, no time of repentance, as 
appears if you refer it to Rev. ix. 20, 21. It is not therefore without great 
reason that the apostle doth double both the notes of attention, behold, and 
the time too, now, now, when he exhorts them not to receive the grace of 
God in vain ; that is, sit under the gospel administration to no purpose, 
without having a gospel impression and signature upon their hearts : 
' Behold, noiv is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation,' 
2 Cor. vi. 2. 

4. As it is a folly to neglect it, so if it be not presently sought, and endea- 
voured for, the more difficult it will be every day to attain it. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 77 

(1.) In regard of the increase of moral indisposition and unfitness. It is 
true indeed there is in every man a moral indisposition to a spiritual reno- 
vation, but the indisposition is greater when the habits of sin are more than 
ordinarily strengthened. The more the soul is frozen, the harder it will be 
to melt. A body dead some few hours is a subject more capable of having 
life breathed into it than when it is putrefied and partly mouldered to dust. 
A young tree may more easily be taken up and transplanted than a strong old 
oak, which hath spread its roots deep into the earth. The more rooted the 
habit of sin, the harder the alteration of the soul. Every sin in an unre- 
generate man is an adding a new stone to the former heap upon the grave 
to hinder his resurrection. It is a fetter and bond — Acts viii. 23, ' bond of 
iniquity' — and the more new chains are put upon thee, the more unable wilt 
thou be to stir. The habits of sin will become more connatural to the soul, 
and fortify themselves with new recruits. 

(2.) In regard of the industry of the devil. If you remain in a state of 
nature till you are old, that devil which blinds you now will have increased 
your blindness- by that time ; he will bestir himself in your age, that he may 
not lose that which he hath possessed so long. It is a shame for Satan, as 
well as for a man, deficere in ultimo actu. He that struck the first fatal blow 
to us, and occasioned this degenerate nature, will not want watchfulness and 
care to strengthen it in you. He will be diligent to keep up his own work ; 
the longer his possession, the more difficult his departure. Judas was a devil 
in our Saviour's judgment all his time — John vi. 70, ' One of you is a devil,' 
— but when he had withstood the force of our Saviour's discourses, and 
nourished his covetousness against his Master's frequent conviction, the devil 
1 entered into his heart,' John xiii. 27. Perhaps there had been before some 
strugglings of natural conscience in Judas, as there may be in some of you ; 
but when he had, against the sight of our Saviour's miracles, the hearing of 
his sermons, the checks of his own conscience, continued in a natural state, 
Satan enters into him in a more peculiar manner, in a way of more special 
efficacy ; and, by an uncontrollable power, breaks the bridle of conscience, 
which had held him in so long, and runs furiously with him to what wicked- 
ness he pleased. Satan reigned in him before ; but as the regenerate, being 
by degrees filled with spiritual gifts, and having additions of grace, are said 
to be ' filled with the Spirit,' so natural men, as they increase in sin by degrees, 
are said to have a new entrance of Satan into them, because there is an in- 
crease of his efficacy in them, and power over them, binding them in stronger 
chains and fetters of iron. 

(3.) In regard of spiritual judgments, which will make it impossible. Such 
judgments upon men that sit under the gospel, and admit not the influence 
of it, are more frequent than is usually imagined, though they are not so 
visible. Open sins God punishes many times by visible judgments, but 
wilful unregeneracy by spiritual. Though a man may sit under the same 
means of grace which God doth bless to regenerate others, they may be an 
accidental means to harden him : ' The miry places shall not he healed, but 
be given to salt,' as it is Ezek. xlvii. 47, when others shall grow like trees 
on both sides the river, and bear a never-fading leaf. If once your neglects 
and provocations put God to his oath, and make him swear, as he once did, 
that you shall not enter into his rest, Heb. iii. 11, his oath will be irrever- 
sible, he will blow up heaven and earth before he will break it. And that 
it may not be evaded that this was an oath against the Israelites, it is inti- 
mated by the apostle that even in the times of the gospel this oath is of 
force, ver. 12. He from thence exhorts them at that time to take heed of 
• an evil heart of unbelief.' What need of this exhortation to them, if this 

78 charnock's works. [John III. 3, 5. 

oath did only concern the Israelites murmuring in the wilderness, and were 
not valid against unbelievers and unregenerate men in the time of the gospel ? 
It is a terrible place that in Isa. vi. 9, ' Make the heart of this people fat, 
and make their ears heavy, and shut tbeir eyes, lest they see with their eyes, 
and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed ;' which dreadful 
place is no less than six times quoted in the New Testament, as though it 
belonged only to them that sit under evangelical light with a wilful unrege- 
neracy. Certainly as the mercies of the gospel are most spiritual, so the 
judgments inflicted upon the neglecters of it are the most spiritual judgments. 
Then a man is made the centre of divine fury, and his heart sealed up from 
any seizure by sanctifying grace: Ezek. xxiv. 13, 'Because I have purged 
thee,' that is, offered thee purging grace, ' and thou wast not purged, thou 
shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury 
to rest upon thee.' "When God passes such a secret sentence, if all the men 
in the world, and all the angels in heaven, should, with their most affectionate 
strains of reason, attempt the persuading of you, they were not able to 
open an heart which God hath judicially locked up and sealed. It is observed 
by some, that the work of the gospel, for conversion, is usually done in those 
places where it comes, in the space of seven years, as to those who have sat 
under it so long ; and they ground it upon Dan. ix. 27, ' And he shall con- 
firm the covenant with many for one week,' that is, one week of years. And 
that our Saviour preached three years and an half among the Jews, and the 
apostles three years and an half or thereabouts before the Jews were dis- 
covenanted. I will not affirm it positively, but offer it as worthy considera- 
tion to those that have sat under the gospel more than seven years without 
any renewing work on their souls. 

Well then, let me beseech you, resolve upon this work presently. We are 
not to bid a poor man ' go away, and come again to-morrow,' Prov. iii. 27, 28 ; 
and shall we bid the Spirit, knocking at our hearts in the gospel, go away, 
and come again another time ? Our blessed Saviour did not defer his death 
for us till he was old, and shall not we live to him till we are old ? As his 
death is an argument used by the apostle, to move us to live to him, 2 Cor. 
v. 14, 15, so the time of his death should be an argument to us to live to 
him betimes. How many hath this foolish to-morrow deceived ! and many 
have perished to-day before the dawning of to-morrow. Defer it not there- 
fore a night longer ; reflect upon yourselves, and say, Have I lived so long, 
pleased with my old nature ? Lord, what had become of me without 
thy wonderful patience ? Let your motion be as the lightning, as the pro- 
phet Ezekiel speaks of the motion of four beasts, chap. i. 14. God may make 
up the match between himself and you before midnight : there was less time 
in God's working upon the jailer. 

Quest. What shall we do to get this new birth ? 

Ans. 1. Begin with prayer ; seek it from that Saviour that first made so 
plain a declaration of it. 'A man cannot receive anything, unless it be given 
him from heaven,' John iii. 27. Then from heaven beg it ; let God hear of 
you as soon as ever you come home. God usually lets in renewing grace 
at the same gate at which honest prayer goes out.* Prayer is a compli- 
ance with God's grace ; he never refuseth it to them that heartily desire 
it. Go therefore to God, give him no rest ; if you do so, it may not be long 
before you will hear that joyful word drop from his gracious lips : ' My grace 
will be sufficient for you,' sufficient to renew you, sufficient to cure you. 
Let the fervency of your prayers be proportioned according to the necessity 
of the thing, and the greatness of your misery without it. Plead, therefore, 
* Jackson, vol. iii. chap, xxviii. p, 496, 497. 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 79 

with God for it ; Lord, is it not better to make me thy friend than to let me 
continue thy enemy ? Is it not more thy glory to raise a soul from sin than 
a Lazarus from the grave ? Thy power and mercy are more illustrious in 
turning a dry stock into a fruitful and flourishing tree. Overcome, therefore, 
my base nature by thy merciful power ; change me from a venomous to a 
dove-like nature. Oh how fain would I glorify tbee, by answering the end 
of my creation ! Glorify thyself by new-creating my heart, that I may glorify 
thee in a newness of life. I cannot get a new heart by my own strength ; but 
it is a work not too hard for thy power, and suitable to thy promise. Plead 
the promise : Ezek. xi. 19, ' I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and 
I will give them an heart of flesh ;' and Ezek. xxxvi. 26, ' A new heart will 
I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ;' but he ' will be inquired 
of, to do it for them,' ver. 37. Breathe and aspire after it ; beg for it as 
earnestly as you would in extreme hunger for food for the satisfaction of your 
natural appetite ; God will not deny it for such as breathe after it, Mat. v. 6, 
Hunger and thirst after righteousness, and you shall be filled ; beg the opera- 
tion of the Spirit. Our Saviour provided the plaster, but left the Spirit to 
apply it ; he provided the colours, his blood, to draw his image, but none but 
the Spirit can lay them on. Ask therefore the Spirit of the Father in the 
name of Christ ; the Father sends him into the world, and sends him into 
the heart, but in the name of Christ. It is called a holy Spirit, because 
without it there can be no holy nature. 

2. Be deeply sensible of the corruption of nature. The more we are 
sensible of our inherent depravation, the more we shall breathe after a real 
change. Can he ever imagine the necessity of a cure, who understands not 
the greatness of his disease ? Be fully convinced, as Paul was, that in you, 
that is, ' in your flesh, dwells no good thing,' Piom. vii. 18. I know ; I am 
experimentally sensible of it. Did we but truly see the defilement of our nature, 
and the monstrous alteration of it from that of our creation, as we can the 
deformity of some monster in the world, we should loathe ourselves, we should 
fly, if we could, from our own nature, and send forth nothing but groans for 
a deliverance from the body of death, and have no rest till w r e were stripped 
of so abominable a frame. Let us, therefore, turn in upon ourselves, take 
a view of our condition, see if there be any suitableness between our depraved 
natures, and the glory of another world. There is not, unless we conceit 
heaven a place filled only with carnal pleasures. But reason will tell us 
the contrary, and a carnal soul can never, in that state, be fit for a spiritual 

3. View often the perfection of the law of God. This will make us sen- 
sible of the contrariety of our nature to God's holiness, and consequently make 
us look about^for a remedy. See whether your nature answers the exact- 
ness of the law ; for although you were alive without the law, yet, when the 
commandment and your hearts come to look upon one another, you will see 
sin in its life and power, and all the conceits of your own excellency will die : 
Rom. vii. 9, ' For I was alive without the law once, but when the command- 
ment came, sin revived, and I died.' Paul thought himself a righteous per- 
son, till he came to measure himself by the exact and spiritual image of the 
law. He had been instructed in the literal knowledge of the law, for he was 
brought up a Pharisee ; his head and the law were acquainted, and then he 
thought himself a living person ; but when his heart and the law came to be 
acquainted, then he found himself dead, and his high opinion of himself fell 
to the ground. Consider, then, how the law requires a perfect righteousness, 
an inward principle. All duties it commands are not only to be done 
materially, but formally ; for they are so commanded in such a manner, from 

80 chaknock's works. [John III. 8, 5. 

such a principle, to such an end. Then reflect, have I such a righteous- 
ness ? can 1 answer the law ? do I come up to the measures of it in any one 
action ? Surely I do not. Then consider further, Doth not this law stand ? 
will God lay it in the dust ? has he thrown it out of doors ? Surely it is 
holy, just, and good, and therefore a standing rule. I must have a principle 
suitable to that which Jesus Christ came not to destroy, but establish. How 
shall I do it with this corrupt nature, wherein I do not one action that doth 
sincerely respect it, as the law of God, that is, accompanied with a delight in 
it ? Certainly this temper, so contrary to the law, must be changed. I 
must have an inner man to delight in this law, a principle that must in 
some measure, though imperfectly, suit it. This orderly consideration 
would put you upon the seeking out for such a righteousness as may in part 
answer it. 

4. Observe the motions of the Spirit. There is an assisting work of the 
Spirit, and an informing work. There is not a man but hath, or once had, 
the strivings of this Spirit with him. There are the knockings of Christ by 
his Spirit at the door ; there are calls, ' Zaccheus, come down ; this day is 
salvation come to thy house.' Did you never hear a voice from heaven, say- 
ing, ' Come to me that you may have life ' ? Did you never hear a groan from 
heaven, ' When shall it once be ? ' Did you never see a tear trickling down 
the cheek of Christ, as when he wept over Jerusalem ? Did you never hear 
a sigh of a grieved Spirit waiting upon you ? Can you see, and hear, and 
hear again, yet no compliance, when that is of absolute necessity you are 
exhorted to ? Smother not these motions ; answer them with suitable 
affections. If Christ looks upon you, as he did upon Peter, think of what 
you are, and weep, Mark xiv. 72. If the Spirit calls, answer presently, ' Th) r 
face, Lord, will I seek.' The neglect of the time of the Spirit's breathing is 
the cause of a continuance in unregeneracy. Repel not those sweet motions 
that strike upon your hearts. 

5. Attend diligently upon all means of grace. They are the pipes through 
which the Spirit breathes, the lungs of the Spirit, the instruments whereby 
our natures are altered : ' Faith comes by hearing.' It is by the hearing of 
faith that the Spirit is ministered : Gal. iii. 5, ' He therefore that ministers 
to you the Spirit, doth he it by the works of the law, or the hearing of faith ?' 
None can expect it who will not use the means to have it, no more than men 
can expect to live without eating and drinking. Would we be warm ? we 
must approach to the fire. Would we be clean ? we must wash in the water. 
Would we be renewed ? we must attend upon the breathings of the Spirit in 
the institutions of God. This we may do, though we cannot renew ourselves ; 
we may read the word as well as a piece of news ; we may hear the word, 
and attend to it, as well as to any worldly concern ; we may meditate upon 
it, and consider it, as well as a story. This we have power to do, and it is 
by the word that this great work is done. By a powerful word Christ called 
Lazarus out of the grave, and by his word spoken by his Spirit, his great 
deputy he sent after him, he calls us out of our state of death. Beg of the 
Spirit to breathe upon you before you come to attend upon his institutions. 
We profit little by the word, and our old nature attends us, because we take 
no notice of the Spirit of God, who is appointed the principal officer in this 
business. It is he that is to guide us into truth, John xvi. 13. Though 
men may speak truth to us, yet the Spirit can only guide the truth into our 
hearts, and guide us into the heart, and bowels, and inwards of truth, to taste 
the marrow of it. 

6. I might add, Study the gospel. Look upon Jesus Christ in that glass ; 
this transforms us into his image ; as the beholding the light of the sun in a 

John III. 3, 5.] the necessity of regeneration. 81 

glass, paints an image of that light in our faces ; so doth the beholding Christ 
in the gospel : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' But ye all, with open face, beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.' The gospel 
is the cause of our first change, and of our growth in it, ' from glory to glory,' 
but by the Spirit of God in the gospel, ' as by the Spirit of the Lord.' Study 
the promises of the gospel, and the end of the blood of Christ, which was to 
purge our conscience from dead works. It is by believing the promises of 
pardon in the blood of Christ that ' the conscience is purged from dead works,' 
Heb. ix. 14. 


Therefore if any man he in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed 
away; behold, all things are become new. — 2 Cor. V. 17. 

The apostle in those words, ver. 13, ' For whether we be besides ourselves, 
it is to God ; or whether we be sober, it is for your cause,' defends his 
speaking so much of his integrity ; though some men would count him out 
of his wits for it, yet he regards not their judgment ; for if he were in an 
ecstasy, or ' beside himself,' his purpose was to serve God and his church, 
and therefore he did not regard the opinion of men, whether he were ac- 
counted mad or sober, so he might perform the end of his apostleship. The 
sense therefore of it, as Calvin renders it, is this : Let men take it as they 
will, that I speak so much of my integrity, I do it not upon my own ac- 
count, but have respect to God and the church in speaking of it, for I 
am as ready to be silent as to speak, when my silence may glorify God 
and advantage the church as much as my speech ; ' for the love of Christ 
constrains me,' ver. 14, for whom I am bound to live ; and so he passes on 
to inculcate the duty of every man that hath an interest in the death of 
Christ. The love of Christ constrains us actively ; the love wherewith Christ 
hath loved us is a powerful attractive to make us live to him. It is the 
highest equity and justice that we should live to him who died for us. 
Whence observe, 

The true consideration and sense of the love of Christ in his death, hath a 
pleasing force, and is a delightful bond and ooligation upon us to devote our- 
selves wholly to his service and glory. There is a moral constraint upon 
the soul to this end : ' if one died for all, then were all dead,' then all were 
obnoxious to eternal death. Others * dislike this interpretation, and under- 
stand it not of the death to God brought in by the first Adam, but a death 
to sin and the flesh, procured by the second Adam, which death is spoken of 
Rom. vi. 2, ' How shall we, being dead to sin,' &c, and called ' a suffering 
in the flesh, and a ceasing from sin,' 1 Peter iv. 1. If one died for all, then 
all for whom he died are dead, jure et obligatione, dead to themselves, that 
they might not be under their own power, but the power of him that died 
fur them, and rose again. Since, therefore, we are dead to sin, we should 
* Vorstiut-', Calvin. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 83 

take no care to maintain the life of it. And this seems, by the following 
verse, to be the true meaning of it : ver. 15, ' And that he died for all, that 
they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him 
which died for them, and rose again.' He hath redeemed us by the price of 
his blood, that he might have us in his own power, as his own property, so 
that we are no longer our own masters, and have no longer right to our- 
selves.* They ought to die to themselves, that they may live to Christ ; it 
being fit they should live not to their own wills, or own honour, but to the 
glory and will of their Redeemer. It was to this end that Christ died, that 
he might have a seed to serve him, and live to him. It is ingratitude and 
injustice to deny him our service, since thereby we endeavour to frustrate 
the design of his coming, and the end of his death. Observe, 

1. Self is the chief end of every natural man. ' That they which live, 
should not henceforth live unto themselves.' Implying that all men living, 
who are not under the actual benefit and efficacy of our Saviour's death, 
do live to themselves. The greatest distinction between a regenerate and 
a natural man is this, self is the end of one, and Christ the end of the 
other. The life of a natural man, and all the dependencies of it, is to gra- 
tify corrupt self, with the greatest detriment to his natural and moral self, 
the happiness and good of his soul ; but the life of a new creature, with all 
the dependencies of it, is for the glory of God and the Redeemer. This 
self-dependence, and a desire of independency on God, which was the great 
sin of Adam, whereby he would make himself his own chief end, hath run 
in the veins of all his posterity, and is the bitter root upon which all the 
fruits of gall and wormwood grow. 

2. The end of our Saviour's dying and rising again was to change the 
corrupt end of the creature. The end of redemption, and consequently the 
end of the Redeemer, must be contrary to the end of corruption and the end 
of the first Adam. As Adam dispossessed God of his dominion to set up 
self, so doth Christ pull down self to advance God to his right of being our 
chief end. It is called, therefore, a redemption of us to God : Rev. v. 9, 
• For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood ;' redeemed 
us from a slavery under sordid lusts, to God as our end. 

3. Therefore we must be taken off from ourselves, as our end, and be fixed 
upon another, even upon Christ, else we answer not the end of Christ's 
death and resurrection : ' He bore our sins in his own body on the tree, 
that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness,' 1 Peter ii. 24. 
And if the ends of our Saviour's death and resurrection be not accomplished 
upon us, the fruits of it shall not be enjoyed by us. The whole work of 
regeneration, and conversion, and sanctifica*ion, and the efficacy of the death 
of Christ in the soul, consists in these two things : a taking us off from self, 
and pitching us upon God and Christ as our end. The terminus a quo is 
self, the terminus ad quern is Christ. We are 'redeemed by the precious 
blood of Christ from our vain conversation received by tradition from our 
fathers,' 1 Peter i. 18, even from our first father Adam. This is properly to 
set up no other gods before him, and to abhor the grossest idolatry. 

4. It is highly equitable, that if Christ died for us, and was raised for us 
as our happiness, we should live to his glory, and make him our end in all 
our actions, and the whole course of our lives. The apostle uses this con- 
sideration as an argument, and as a copy and exemplar. As Christ died not 
for himself, nor rose again for himself, but he died for God's glory and our 
redemption, to vindicate God's righteousness, and justify us in his sight, and 
rose again to make it appear that he had done our business in redeeming us, 

* Calvin. 

84 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

and went to heaven to manage our cause for us, so we are to live to keep up 
the honour of God's righteousness and holiness, and to justify Christ in our 
professions of him, and conformity to him in the design of his death and 
resurrection. It is a high disesteem of ourselves not to live to Christ, which 
is both a more rightful and a more satisfying object of our affections, who 
returns our living to him with a happiness to ourselves. By his dying he 
purchased a dominion over us ; by his resurrection his dominion over us 
was confirmed, and thereby our obligation of love and service increased. He 
died as our surety to satisfy our debts, and rose as our Saviour to justify 
our persons; so the apostle, Rom. iv. 25, ' He was delivered for our offences, 
and rose again for our justification.' Therefore, as he rose to justify us, 
we must rise to glorify him. And indeed it is a great sign of a spiritual 
growth when we grow in our ends and aims for God. 

5. The resurrection of Christ, as well as his death, was for us. He rose 
again, it must be understood, for them for whom he died ; he died as a public 
person, bearing our sins, and rose again as a public person, and head of the 
believing world, acquitted from our sins : Heb. ix. 24, ' He is entered into 
heaven, to appear in the presence of God for us.' And in a conformity to 
these two public acts of Christ doth our regeneration and communion with 
Christ consist ; in a mortification of the body of sin in conformity to his 
death ; in newness of life, by quickening grace, in conformity to his resur- 
rection, Col. ii. 12. 

The apostle proceeds on, and makes his inference in the 16th verse, 
' Henceforth know we no man after the flesh ; yea, though we have known 
Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.' To know 
is used in Scripture for love and delight, both on God's part, — Ps. i. G, 
' The Lord knows the way of the righteous,' that is, loves and delights in 
the way of the righteous, — and on man's part: Hosea iv. 1, ' No knowledge 
of God in the land,' that is, no love of God. Not to know men after the 
flesh then, is either not to judge of men according to the endowments, though 
never so glittering, which arise only from fleshy principles ; to esteem no 
man according to his greatness, his knowledge, and worth, in the account of 
the world ; or, not to love men for our secular interest ; or, not to regard 
men according to those fleshly privileges of circumcision and carnal cere- 
monies. Not ourselves, which is included in no man ; not to esteem of our- 
selves by our knowledge, wealth, credit, honour, or any other excellency 
which falls under the praise of men, but by inward grace, living to God, 
fruitfulness to him, which falls under the praise of God. Men esteem not 
their fields for the gay wild flowers in them, but for the corn and fruit ; ' yea, 
though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we 
him no more.' We do not glory in him because he was of kin to us, and 
our countryman according to the flesh ; we look upon him no more only 
as a miraculous man, but we have more noble thoughts of him ; we know 
him as the great Redeemer of the world ; we consider him in those excel- 
lent things he hath done, those excellent graces which he hath communicated, 
those excellent offices he doth exercise ; we know him after a spiritual 
manner, as the author of all grace, appointed by God for such ends, accepted 
by God upon such works, glorified by God for such purposes; we regard him 
as transacting our great affairs in heaven, where he is entered as a fore- 
runner for us, Heb. vi. 20, and as such we serve and honour him ; we de- 
sire not his company in the flesh, but in the spirit, in his heavenly appear- 
ance and glory. Observe, 

1. Natural men have no delight in anything but secular concerns ; love 
nothing, but for their own advantage ; admire not any true spiritual worth; 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 85 

they know and love men ; yea, what love they pretend to Christ is only a 
fleshly love, a love from education, a customary love. 

2. An evidence of being taken off from ourselves and living to Christ, is 
our valuation either of ourselves or others, according to holiness. Though 
a civil respect be due to men according to their station in the world, — such a 
respect the writer of this epistle gave to Agrippa ; — yet our inward valuations 
of men ought to be upon the account of the image of God in them. God, 
who loves righteousness, knows no man after the flesh, but as he finds the 
image of his own righteousness in him ; and as a new creature is framed 
after the image of God, so his affections and valuations of men or things are 
according to God's affections to them, or esteem of them. 

3. Our professions of Christ, serving him and loving him barely for our- 
selves and for fleshly ends, doth not consist with regeneration. Such a love 
is a love to ourselves, not to Christ, a making him only subservient to us, not 
ourselves subservient to Christ. 

4. We should eye Christ, and arise to the knowledge of him, as he is 
advanced and exalted by God. Look upon him as our head, delight to come 
under his wing, and have our whole dependence on him, know him in his 
righteousness to justify us, know him not only as a Saviour risen, but in 
the power of his resurrection in our souls, and the fellowship of his suffer- 
ings, and to be made conformable to his death ; such a knowledge the apostle 
aims at, Philip, iii. 8-10 ; the other knowledge is a knowledge of him in 
the head, this a knowledge of him in the heart ; the other is a knowledge of 
him after the flesh, this a knowledge of him after the spirit, in the draught 
of Christ in our hearts by the Spirit, an inward conception of him in the 
womb of our hearts. 

The text is another inference made from that position, ver. 15. If there 
be such an obligation upon us to live to Christ, because he hath died and 
rose again for us ; then certainly whosoever hath an interest in the death 
and resurrection of Christ, as to the fruits of it, must be a new creature, a 
changed person ; old things have passed away, all things are become new 
in him. Whosoever is in the kingdom of Christ, engrafted into him, under 
the participation of his death and resurrection, is a new creature ; all other 
excellencies are defective, though they may be useful to the world ; it is a 
4 new creation ' only makes a man excellent and worthy of the kingdom. 
' Old things are passed away,' old affections, old dispositions of Adam ; 
those things, the ag^aTa, things that are very near of as old a standing as 
the world. Adam would be his own rule and ruler ; he would be the rule 
of good and evil to himself; he would be his own end. These things must 
pass away ; we must come to a fiduciary reliance upon God, under the new 
head of his appointment, and make him our highest good, our chief end, our 
exact rule; and therefore what is called the 'new creature,' Gal. vi. 15, is 
called ' faith working by love,' Gal. v. 6. Adam's great failures were un- 
belief and self-love ; he would not believe God's precept and threatening ; 
he would not depend upon God. To this is opposed faith, which is a grace 
that empties us of ourselves, and fixes us in our dependence on another. 
He would also advance himself, and be his own rule and end, to know as 
God ; to this is opposed love, which is an acting for God and his glory. 
And these two are the essential parts of the new creature. Some of late 
would understand, by the new creature, only a conversion from idolatry to the 
profession of Christianity. But there must be a greater import in the words 
than so. The apostle makes it a qualification necessary both to Jew and 
Gentile, that neither the circumcision of the one did avail without it, nor the 
uncircumcision of the other prejudice them that possess it. Besides, men 

80 ohaknock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

may turn from one profession to another without living to God, and direct- 
ing all their actions to the glory of Christ. Some translate it, ' Let him be 
a new creature ;' others, ' He is a new oreature.' One notes his state, the 
other his obligation. ' Old things are passed away.' It is a reason ren- 
dered ; there is a change in the whole frame of things. If you understand 
it of the old economy, the old legal state, then it is an argument shewing the 
necessity of the new creature. Old things are withered ; there is a new 
frame in the church, in the kingdom, therefore there ought to be so in the 
subjects of it ; for the prophets use to speak of the state of the gospel under 
the names of a ' new heaven and new earth,' Isa. lxv. 17. As old rites in 
the church are removed, so the old principles and the old frames of Adam 
should pass away. The old rubbish must be thrown out when the house is 
new built. And they are passed away in a regenerate man, jure, obligatione, 
potestate, though not wholly in actu. ' All things are become new,' but not 
of ourselves, but by the grace of God, ver. 18, ' and all things are of God.' 
It is likely the apostle expresseth himself thus, to pull down the swelling 
thoughts of the Corinthians which they had of themselves. They were proud 
of their gifts, wherein, by the apostle's own confession, they came behind no 
church in the world, 1 Cor. i. 7 ; and he discourseth to them much of the 
excellency of charity above knowledge, and adviseth them to ' covet the best 
gifts,' 2 Cor. xiii. He depresseth their confidence in knowledge without 
grace, which doth but puff up, not edify to eternal life. He wisheth them, 
therefore, to look more to the new creature in them, to try themselves 
whether they be in Christ or no, by the change they found in their hearts. 
• If any man be in Christ,' that is, be a member of Christ, engrafted into 

In the words observe, 

1. The character of a true Christian by his state, a new creature. 

2. The necessity of this new creation, if any man; if he be not a new 
creature, he is not in Christ ; he hath nothing at present to do with him, he 
is no true member of his body. 

3. The universality, any man ; not a man can be in Christ by any other 
way, without this new creation pass upon him. 

4. The advantage of it : if he be a new creature, he is certainly in 
Christ, it is an infallible token that the Redeemer did die and rise again 
for him. 

5. The nature of it. 

(1.) Removal of the old form : old things are passed (may. 
(2.) Introduction of a new : all things are become new, as without in the 
church, so within in the soul. 

6. The note of attention : behold, more particularly set to this passage, of 
all things becoming new, to remove the deceit that men are liable to. Old 
things in some measure may pass away, but look to that, whether new 
things come in the place contrary to those old, whether there be new affec- 
tions, new dispositions ; old things may pass away, when old sins are left, 
and no new frames be set up in the stead of them. The doctrine I shall in- 
sist upon is this : 

^ Boot. Every man in Christ hath a real and mighty change wrought in 
him, and becomes a new creature. 

I pitch upon these words to shew the nature of regeneration, the neces- 
sity of which I have already discoursed of. 

It is difficult to describe exactly the nature of regeneration. 

1. Because of the disputes about the nature of it; whether it be quality, 
or a spiritual substance ; whether, if a quality, it be a habit or a power, or 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 87 

whether it be the Holy. Ghost personally.* Many controversies the wits of 
men have obscured it with. The Scripture discovers it to us under the 
terms of the new creature, a new heart, a law put into us, the image of 
God, a divine nature ; these, though Scripture terms, are difficult to explain. 

2. It is difficult, because it is visible, not in itself, but in its effects. We 
know seed doth propagate itself, and produce its like, but the generative part 
in the seed lies covered with husks and skin, so that it is hard to tell in what 
atom or point the generative particle doth lie. We know we have a soul, 
yet it is hard to tell what the soul is, and in what part it doth principally 
reside. We know there are angels, yet what mortal can give a description 
of that glorious nature ? It is much like the wind, as our Saviour describes 
it : John iii. 8, ' The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the 
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it comes, nor whither it goes : so is 
every one that is born of the Spirit.' The wind, we feel it, we see the effects 
of it, yet cannot tell how it ariseth, where it doth repose itself, and how it 
is allayed ; and all the notions of philosophy about it will not satisfy a 
curious inquirer. So likewise it is in this business of regeneration ; the 
effects of it are known, there are certain characters whereby to discern it ; 
but to give a description of the nature of it is not so easy. 

3. It is difficult, because of the natural ignorance which is still in the 
minds of the best. A man cannot understand all iniquity, for there is a 
• mystery of iniquity ;' neither can he fully understand this work, for there 
is a ' mystery of godliness,' 1 Tim. iii. 16 ; not only in the whole scheme of 
it without, but in the whole frame of it in the heart. It is called the • hid- 
den man of the heart,' 1 Peter iii. 4 ; hidden from the world, hidden from 
reason, hidden from the sight sometimes of them that have it ; a man can 
hardly sometimes see it in his own heart, by reason of the steams of cor- 
ruption ; as a beautiful picture is not visible in a cloud of smoke. The 
blindness the god of this world hath wrapt us in, that we might not 
know God, or the things of God, is not wholly taken off. And even what we 
know of the truths of God, suffers an eclipse by our carnal conceptions of 
them ; for all the notions we frame of them have a tincture of sense and fancy. 

4. It is hard for those to conceive it who have no experience of it. If we 
speak of the motions of natural corruption, as wrath, passion, distrust of 
God, and enormous sins, men can easily understand this, because we have 
all sad experiments of an inward corruption ; but the methods and motions 
of the Spirit of God in this work are not comprehended, but by those who 
have felt the power of it. The motions of sin are more sensible, the motions 
of the Spirit more secret and inward, and men want as much the experience 
of the one, as they have too much of the other. Hence it is that many car- 
nal men love to have the nature of sin ripped up and discovered ; partly, 
perhaps, for this reason among others, that they can better understand that 
by the daily evidence of it in their own practices ; whereas other things, out 
of the reach of their experience, are out of the grasp of their understanding ; 
and therefore seem to them paradoxes and incredible things : the spiritual 
man is not judged or discerned by any but them that are spiritual, 1 Cor. 
ii. 15. It is certainly true, that as a painter can better decipher a stormy 
and cloudy air than the serenity of a clear day, and the spectator conceive 
it with more pleasure : so it is more easy to represent the agitations and 
affections of natural corruption, than the inward frame of a soul wrought by 
the Spirit of God.f I shall therefore describe it consonantly to the Scrip- 
ture thus : Regeneration is a mighty and powerful change, wrought in the 

* Baxt. "Rest, part i. chap. iii. pp. 3, 6, 7. 

t Moulin. Serm. Decad. 1 Serm. vii. p. 180, 181. 

88 charnock's works. [2 Cok. V. 17. 

soul by the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit, wherein a vital principle, 
a new habit, the law of God, and a divine nature, are put into, and framed 
in the heart, enabling it to act holily and pleasingly to God, and to grow up 
therein to eternal glory. This is included in the term of a new creature in 
the text. There is a change, a creation, that which was not is brought into 
a state of being. If a new creature, and in Christ, then surely not a dead 
but a living creature, havirjg a principle of life ; and if a living creature, then 
possessed of some power to act, and habits to make those actions easy ; and 
if a power to act, and a habit to facilitate that act, then a law in their nature 
as the rule of their acting ; every creature hath so. In this respect the 
heavens are said to have ordinances : ' knowest thou the ordinances of 
heaven ?' Job xxxviii. 33 ; and they seem to act in the way of a covenant, 
Jer. xxxiii. 25, according to such articles as God hath pitched upon. And, 
lastly, as in all creatures thus endued, there is a likeness to some other 
things in the rank of beings ; so in this new creature there is a likeness to 
God, whence it is called ' the image of God in holiness and righteousness,' 
and a ' divine nature.' So that you see the divers expressions whereby the 
Scripture declares this work of regeneration are included in this term of the 
new creature, or the new creation, as the word is, xaivn xricig. It is a certain 
spiritual and supernatural principle, or permanent form, per modum actus 
primi, infused by God, whereby it is made partaker of the divine nature, and 
enabled to act for God. 
Let us therefore see, 

1. How it is differenced from other states of a Christian. 

2. What it is not. 

3. What it is. 

1. First, How it is differenced from the other states of a Christian. 

(1.) It differs from conversion. Regeneration is a spiritual change, con- 
version is a spiritual motion. In regeneration there is a power conferred ; 
conversion is the exercise of this power. In regeneration there is given us 
a principle to turn ; conversion is our actual turning ; that is the principle 
whereby we are brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace ; and 
conversion the actual fixing^ on God, as the terminus ad quern. One give8 
posse agere, the other actu agere. 

[1.] Conversion is related to regeneration, as the effect to the cause. Life 
precedes motion, and is the cause of motion. In the covenant, the new 
heart, the new spirit, and God's putting his Spirit into them, is distinguished 
from their walking in his statutes, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, from the first step we 
take in the way of God, and is set down as the cause of our motion : • I 
will cause you to walk in my statutes.' In renewing us, God gives us a 
power ; in converting us, he excites that power. Men are naturally dead, 
and have a stone upon them ; regeneration is a rolling away the stone from 
the heart, and a raising to newness of life ; and then conversion is as natural 
to a regenerate man as motion is to a living body. A principle of activity 
will produce action. 

[2. J In regeneration, man is wholly passive ; in conversion, he is active : 
as a child in its first formation in the womb, contributes nothing to the first 
infusion of life ; but after it hath life, it is active, and its motions natural. 
The first reviving of us is wholly the act of God, without any concurrence of 
the creature ; but after we are revived, we do actively and voluntarily live 
in his sight : Hosea vi. 2, ' He will revive us, he will raise us up, and then 
we shall live in his sight ;' then we shall walk before him, then shall we 
• follow on to know the Lord.' Regeneration is the motion of God in the 
creature ; conversion is the motion of the creature to God, by virtue of that 


first principle ; from this principle all the acts of believing, repenting, mor- 
tifying, quickening, do spring. In all these a man is active ; in the other 
merely passive ; all these are the acts of the will, by the assisting grace of 
God, after the infasion of the first grace. Conversion is a giving ourselves 
to the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5 ; giving our own selves to the Lord is a volun- 
tary act, but the power whereby we are enabled thus to give ourselves, is 
wholly and purely, in every part of it, from the Lord himself. A renewed 
man is said to be led by the Spirit, Rom. viii. 14,* not dragged, not forced ; 
the putting a bias and aptitude in the will, is the work of the Spirit quicken- 
ing it ; but the moving the will to God by the strength of this bias, is volun- 
tary, and the act of the creature. The Spirit leads, as a father doth a child 
by the hand ; the father gave him that principle of life, and conducts him 
and hands him in his motion ; but the child hath a principle of motion in 
himself, and a will to move. The day of regeneration is solely the day of 
God's power, wherein he makes men willing to turn to him, Ps. ex. 3 ; so 
that, though in actual conversion the creature be active, it is not from the 
power of man, though it be from a power in man, not growing up from the 
impotent root in nature, but settled there by the Spirit of God. 

(2.) It differs from justification. They agree in the term to which, that 
is God : by justification we are reconciled to God ; by regeneration we are 
assimilated, made like to God. They alway go together. As our Saviour's 
resurrection, which was the justification of him from that guilt whicb he 
had taken upon himself, and a public pronouncing him to be his righteous 
servant, is called a new begetting him : Acts xiii. 33, ' God hath raised up 
Jesus again, as it is also written in the second Psalm : Thou art my Son, this 
day have I begotten thee ;' because it was a manifestation of him to be 
the Son of God, who before, being covered with our infirmities, did not ap- 
pear so to the world : so our justification from guilt, and new begetting us, 
and manifesting us to the angels to be the sons of God, are at one and the 
same time, and both are by grace ; ' by grace you are justified,' Piom. v. 1, 
the quickening and raising us together with Christ is by grace, Eph. ii. 5, 6. 
The blessing of Abraham, which is the application of redemption from the 
curse of the law, and the receiving the promise of the Spirit by faith, are 
both together, Gal. iii. 14. 

But [1.] it differs from justification in the nature of the change. 

Justification is a relative change, whereby a man is brought from a state 
of guilt to a state of righteousness ; from a state of slavery to a state of 
liberty ; from the obligation of the covenant of works to the privilege of the 
covenant of grace ; from being a child of wrath to be an heir of promise. 
Regeneration is a physical change, and real, as when a dead man is raised 
from death to life; it is a filling the soul with another nature, Eph. ii. 1, 
' And jou hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.' The 
translators have inserted those words, ' hath he quickened,' because those 
words are put in the 5th verse ; but methinks the words refer better to the 
23d verse of the first chapter, speaking of Christ, ' who fills all in all,' and 
fills you too with a spiritual life ; or he passes from the power of God in 
raising Christ, to his power in raising us. It is a change of nature, and of 
that nature whereby we are children of wrath, not only by the first sin, but 
by a conversation according to the course of the world. And this quickening 
respects the change of that nature which was prone to a worldly conversation, 
and a fulfilling the desires of the flesh. The first is a change of a man's 
condition, this a change in a man's disposition. "When a man is made a 

* That place may be reduced to conversion, though the proper meaning is not of 

90 chaenock's wobks. [2 Cob. V. 17. 

magistrate there is a change in his relation ; when a servant or slave is made 
a freeman there is an alteration of his condition ; but neither the one's magi- 
stracy nor the other's liberty, fills their hearts with new principles, or plants 
a new frame in their nature. Relation and nature are two distinct things. 
In creation there is a relation of a creature to God, which results from the 
mere being of the creature ; but there is also the nature of the creature in 
such a rank of being, which is added over and above to its mere being. The 
apostle in the verses following the text, speaks of reconciliation, or non-im- 
putation of our trespasses, as distinct from that change wrought in us in the 
new creation. In justification we are freed from the guilt of sin, and so 
have a title to life ; in regeneration we are freed from the filth of sin, and 
have the purity of God's image in part restored to us.* 

[2.J They differ in the cause, and other ways. Justification is the imme- 
diate fruttof the blood of Christ: ' Being justified by his blood,' Rom. v. 9. 
Regeneration is by the immediate operation of the" Spirit, therefore called 
' the sanctification of the Spirit;' the matter of that is without us, the right- 
eousness of Christ ; the matter of the other within us, a gracious habit. 
The form of the one is imputing, the form of the other is infusing or putting 
into us ; they differ in the end, one is from condemnation to absolution, the 
other from pollution to communion. In the immediate effect, one gives us a 
right, the other a fitness. In their qualities, the righteousness of one is per- 
fect in our head, and imputed to us. The righteousness by regeneration is 
actively in us, and aspires to perfection. 

(3.) It differs from adoption. Adoption follows upon justification as a 
dignity flowing from union to Christ, and doth suppose reconciliation. 
Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. 
Adoption relates us to God as a father, regeneration engraves upon us the 
lineaments of a father. That makes us relatively his sons by conferring a 
power, John i. 12. This makes us formally his sons by conveying a prin- 
ciple, 1 Peter i. 23. By that we are instated in the divine affection ; by this 
we are partakers of the divine nature. Adoption doth not constitute us the 
children of God by an intrinsic form, but by an extrinsic acceptation ; but 
this gives us an intrinsic right ; or adoption gives us a title, and the Spirit 
gives us an earnest ; grace is the pledge of glory. Redemption being applied 
m justification, makes way for adoption. Adoption makes way for regenera- 
tion, and is the foundation of it : Gal. iv. 5, 6, ' God sent forth his Son to 
redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of 
sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son 
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' Because you are thus adopted, God 
will make you like his Son, by sending forth the Spirit of his Son, to intimate 
the likeness it shall produce in the hearts of men to Christ, that you may 
cry, Abba, Father, behave yourselves like sons, and have recourse to God 
with a childlike nature. The relation to Christ as brethren is founded upon 
this new creature : Heb. ii. 11, 'For both he that sanctifies and they who 
are sanctified, are all of one ;' they are all of one nature, not the divine na- 
ture which Christ had by eternal generation, but that divine nature Christ had 
by the Spirit's unction. And being of one nature, he is not ashamed, though 
glorious in heaven, to call them brethren ; and being Christ's brethren by a 
divine nature, thence result also the relation of the sons of God. 

(4.) It differs from sanctification. Habitual sanctification, indeed, is the 

same thing with this new creature, as habitual rectitude was the spiritual life 

of Adam ; but actual sanctification, and the gradual progress of it, grows 

from this principle as from a root. Faith purifies the heart, Acts xv. 9, 

* Ames. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 91 

1 purifying their hearts by faith,' and is the cause of this gradual sanctifica- 
tion ; but faith is part of this new creature, and that which is a part cannot 
be the cause of the whole, for then it would be the cause of itself. We are 
not regenerated by faith, though we are sanctified by faitb ; but we are new 
created by the Spirit of God, infusing faith into us. Faith produceth the 
acts of grace, but not the habit of grace, because it is of itself a part of this 
habit ; for all graces are but one in the habit or new creature ; charity, and 
likewise every other grace is but the bubbling up of a pure heart and good 
conscience, 1 Tim. i. 5. Eegeneration seems to be the life of this gradual 
sanctification, the health and liveliness of the soul. 

2. The second thing proposed is, what it is not. 

(1.) It is not a removal or taking away of the old substance or faculties of 
the soul. Some thought that the substance of Adam's soul was corrupted 
when he sinned, therefore suppose the substance of his soul to be altered 
when he is renewed. Sin took not away the essence, but the rectitude ; the 
new creation therefore gives not a new faculty, but a new quality. The cure 
of the leprosy is not a destroying of the fabric of the body, but the disease ; 
yet in regard of the greatness of man's corruption, the soul is so much 
changed by these new habits, that it is as it were a new soul, a new under- 
standing, a new will. It is not the destroying the metal, but the old stamp 
upon it, to imprint a new. Human nature is preserved, but the corruption 
in it expelled. The substance of gold is not destroyed in the fire, though 
the metal and the flame mix together, and fire seems to be incorporated with 
every part of it ; but it is made more pliable to what shape the artist will 
cast it into, but remains gold still. It is not the breaking the candlestick, 
but setting up a new light in it ; not a destroying the will, but putting a new 
bias into it. It is a new stringing the instrument to make a new harmony. 
It is an humbling the loftiness, and bowing down the haughtiness of the 
spirit, to exalt the Lord alone in the soul, Isa. ii. 11, speaking of the times 
of the gospel. The essential nature of man, his reason and understanding, 
are not taken away, but rectified. As a carver takes not away the knobs and 
grain in the wood, but planes and smooths it, and carves the image of a man 
upon it, the substance of the wood remains still ; so God pares away the 
rugged pieces in man's understanding and will, and engraves his own image 
upon it ; but the change is so great that the soul seems to be of another 
species and kind, because it is acted by that grace, which is another species 
from that principle which acted it before. New creation is called a 
resurrection. Our Saviour in his resurrection had the same body,^ but 
endued with a new quality. As in Christ's transfiguration, Mat. xvii. 2, 
neither his deity nor humanity were altered, both natures remained the same. 
But there was a metamorphosis (fizrsftogipdjdri). and a glorious brightness con- 
ferred by the deity upon the humanity which it did not partake of before. 
So though the essence of the soul and faculties remain the same, yet another 
kind of light is darted in, and other qualities implanted. It was the same 
Paul when he complied with the body of death, and when he complained of 
it, but he had not the same disposition. As Adam in a state of corruption 
had the same faculties for substance which he had in the state of innocency ; 
but the power, virtue, and form in those faculties, whereby he was acceptable 
to God, and in a capacity to please him, was wholly abolished. We lose not 
our substantial form, as Moses his rod did, when it was turned into a serpent; 
or the water at Cana was turned into wine.* Our nature is ennobled, not 
destroyed ; enriched, not ruined ; reformed, not annihilated. 

(2.) It is not a change of the essential acts of the soul, as acts. The pas- 
* Daille, Sermons. 

92 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

sions and affections are the same, as to the substance and nature of the acts, 
but the difference lies in the object. And acts, though for substance the 
same, yet are specifically distinguished by the diversity of objects about which 
they are conversant. Whatsoever is a commendable quality in nature, and 
left in man by the interposition of the mediator, is not taken away ; but the 
principle, end, and objects of those acts, arising from those restored qualities, 
are altered. The acts of a renewed man, and the acts of a natural man, are 
the same in the nature of acts, as when a man loves God and fears God, or 
loves man or fears man ; it is the same act of love, and the same act of fear ; 
there are the same motions of the soul, the same substantial acts simply 
considered ; the soul stands in the same posture in the one as in the other, 
but the difference lies in the objects ; the object of the one is supernatural, 
the object of the other natural.* As when a man walks to the east or west, 
it is the same motion in body and joints, the same manner of going ; yet 
they are contrary motions, because the terms to which they tend are con- 
trary one to the other : or, as when we bless God and bless man, it is with 
one and the same tongue that we do both, yet these are acts specifically 
different, in regard of the difference of their objects. The nature of the affec- 
tions still remain, though not the corruption of them, and the objects to 
which they are directed are different. If a man be given to thoughtfulness, 
grace removes not this temper, but turns his meditations to God. The soli- 
tariness of his temper is not altered, but something new offered him as the 
object of his meditation. If a man be hot and earnest in his temper, grace 
takes not away his heat, but turns it into zeal to serve the interest of God. 
Paul was a man of active disposition ; this natural activity of his disposition 
and temper was not dammed up by grace, but reduced to a right channel, and 
pitched upon a right object ; as he laboured more than any in persecuting, 
so afterwards he ' laboured more than any' in edifying, 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10. 
His labour was the same, and proceeded from the same temper, but another 
principle in that temper, and directed to another term. As it is the same 
horse, and the same mettle in the beast, which carries a man to his proper 
stage that carried him before in a wrong way, but it is turned in respect of 
the term. David's poetical fancy is not abolished by this new principle in 
him, but employed in descanting upon the praises of God, which otherwise 
might have been lavished out in vanity, and foolish love-songs, and descrip- 
tions of new mistresses. So that the substance and nature of the affections 
and acts of a man remain ; but anger is turned into zeal by virtue of a new 
principle, grief into repentance, fear into the fear of God, carnal love into 
the love of the creator, by another principle which doth bias those acts. 

(8.) It is not an excitation, or awakening of some gracious principle which 
lay hid before in nature, under the oppression of ill habits, as corn lay hid 
under the chaff, but was corn still. Not a beating up something that lay 
sculking in nature, not an awakening as of a man from sleep ; but a resur- 
rection as of a man from death ; a new creation, as of a man from nothing. 
It is not a stirring up old principles and new kindling of them ; as a candle 
put out lately may be blown in again by the fire remaining in the snuff, and 
burn upon the old stock ; or as the life which retired into the more secret 
parts of the body in those creatures that seem dead in winter, which is ex- 
cited and called out to the extreme parts by the spring sun. Indeed, there 
are some sparks of moral virtues in nature, which want blowing up by a good 
education ; the foundation of these is in nature, the exciting of them from 
instruction, the perfection of them from use and exercise. But there is not 
in man the seed of one grace, but the seeds of all sin : Rom. vii. 18, ' I know 
* J. Goodwin. 

2 Cor. V. 17. J the nature of regeneration. 93 

that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing.' Some good thing 
may be in me, bnt it ariseth not from my flesh ; it is not from any seed sown 
by nature, but it is another principle put into me, which doth seminally con- 
tain in it all grace ; it is a putting a new seed into the soil, and exciting it to 
grow, ' an incorruptible seed,' 1 Peter i. 23. Therefore the Scripture doth not 
represent men in a trance, or sleep, but dead ; and so it is not only an awaken- 
ing, but a quickening, a resurrection, Eph. ii. 5; Col. ii. 12; Eph. i. 19, 20. 
We are just in this work as our Saviour was when the devil came against 
him : John xiv. 30, ' The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in 
me.' He had nothing to work upon in Christ ; but he rakes in the ashes 
of our nature, and finds sparks enough to blow upon ; but the Spirit finds 
nothing in us but a stump, some confused desires for happiness ; he brings all 
the fire from heaven, wherewith our hearts are kindled. This work, there- 
fore, is not an awakening of good habits which lay before oppressed, but a 
taking off those ill habits which were so far from oppressing nature that they 
were connatural to it, and by incorporation with it, had quite altered it from 
that original rectitude and simplicity wherein God at first created it. 

(4.) Nor is it an addition to nature. Christ was not an addition to Adam, 
but a new head by himself, called Adam, in regard of the agreement with him 
in the notion of an head and common person : so neither is the new crea- 
ture, or Christ formed in the soul, an addition to nature. Grace grows not 
upon the old stock. It is not a piece of cloth sewed to an old garment, but 
the one is cast aside, the other wholly taken on ; not one garment put upon 
another : but a taking off one, and a putting on another, Col. iii. 9, 10, 
' putting off the old man, putting on the new man.' It is a taking away 
what was before, ' old things are passed away,' and bestowing something that 
had no footing before. It is not a new varnish, nor do old things remain 
under a new paint, nor new plaster laid upon old ; a new creature, not a 
wended creature. It is called light, which is not a quality added to dark- 
ness, but a quality that expels it ; it is a taking away the stony heart and 
putting an heart of flesh in the room, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. The old nature re- 
mains, not in its strength with this addition, but is crucified, and taken away 
in part with its attendants : Gal. v. 24, ' They that are Christ's have crucified 
the flesh, with the affections and lusts.' As in the cure of a man, health is 
not added to the disease ; or in resurrection, life added to death ; but the 
disease is expelled, death removed, and another form and habit set in the 
place. Add what you will without introducing another form, it will be of 
no more efficacy, than flowers and perfumes strewed upon a dead carcase, 
can restore it to life, and remove the rottenness. Nothing is the terminus a 
quo, in creation ; it supposeth nothing before as a subject capable ; nothing 
in a natural man is a subject morally capable to have grace, without the ex- 
pulsion of the old corrupt nature. It is called a new creature, a new man ; 
not an improved creature, or a new-dressed man. 

(5.) It is not external baptism. Many men take their baptism for regene- 
ration. The ancients usually give it this term. One calls our Saviour's 
baptism his regeneration.* This confers not grace, but engageth to it : out- 
ward water cannot convey inward life. How can water, a material thing, 
work upon the soul in a physical manner ? Neither can it be proved that 
ever the Spirit of God is tied by any promise, to apply himself to the soul 
in a gracious operation, when water is applied to the body. If it were so 
that all that were baptized were regenerate, then all that were baptized would 
1/ saved, or else the doctrine of perseverance falls to the ground. Baptism 
is a means of conveying this grace, when the Spirit is pleased to operate with 
* Clem. Alex. Peclagog. lib. iii. cap. vi. p. 68. 

94 chaenock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

it. But it doth not work as a physical cause upon the soul, as a purge doth 
upon the humours of the body ; for it is the sacrament of regeneration, as 
the Lord's Supper is of nourishment. As a man cannot be said to be nourished 
without faith, so he cannot be said to be a new creature without faith. Put 
the most delicious meat into the mouth of a dead man, you do not nourish 
him, because he wants a principle of life to concoct and digest it. Faith 
only is the principle of spiritual life, and the principle which draws nourish- 
ment from the means of God's appointment. Some indeed say that regene- 
ration is conferred in baptism upon the elect, and exerts itself afterwards in 
conversion. But how so active a principle as a spiritual life should lie dead, 
and asleep so long, even many years which intervene between baptism and 
conversion, is not easily conceivable. 

3. Let us see what it is positively. 

(1.) It is a change ; and, as to the kind of it is, 

[1.] A real change, real from nature to grace, as well as by grace. The 
term of creation is real ; the form introduced in the new creature is as real 
as the form introduced by creation into any being. Scripture terms manifest 
it so. A 'divine nature,' the ' image of God,' a ' law put into the heart,' 
they are not nominal and notional ; it is a reality the soul partakes of ; it 
gives a real denomination, ' a new man,' ' a new heart,' ' a new spirit,' ' a new 
creature,'*' something of a real existence ; it is called a resurrection : Jobn 
v. 25, ' The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice 
of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.' If Christ had said only 
that the hour shall come, it had been meant of the last resurrection ; but 
saying that it was already come, it must be meant of a resurrection in this 
life. There is as real a resurrection of the soul by the trumpet of the gospel, 
accompanied with the vigorous efficacy of the Holy Ghost, as there shall be 
of bodies by the voice of the Son of God at the sound of the trumpet of the 
archangel. All real operations suppose some real form whence they flow, 
as vision supposeth a power whereby a man sees, and also a nature wherein 
that power is rooted. The operations of a new creature are real, and there- 
fore suppose a real power to act, and a real habit as the spring of them. It 
is such a being that enables them to produce real spiritual actions, for the 
1 spirit of power ' is conveyed to them, 2 Tim. i. 7, whereby as when they 
were out of Christ they were able to do nothing, so now being in him they 
are able to do all things, Philip, iv. 13. 

[2.] It is a common change to all the children of God. ' If any man be 
in Christ, he is a new creature ;' every man in Christ is so. It is peculiar 
to them, and common to all of them. The new creation gives being to all 
Christians. It is a new being settled in them, a new impress and signature 
set upon them, whereby they are distinguished from all men barely con- 
sidered in their naturals. As all of the same species have the same nature, 
as all men have the nature of men, all lions the nature of lions, so all 
saints agree in one nature. The life of God is communicated to all whose 
names are written in the book of life. All believers, those in Africa, as 
well as those in Europe, those in heaven as well as those on earth, have the 
same essential nature and change. As they are all of one family, all acted 
by one spirit, the heart of one answers to the heart of another, as face 
to face in a glass. What is a spirit of adoption in them below is a spirit of 
glory in them above ; what in the renewed man below is a spirit crying, 
Abba Father, that is in them above, a spirit rejoicing in Abba Father. The 
impress and change is essentially the same, though not the same in degree. 
[3. J It is a change quite contrary to the former frame. What more con- 
* Moulin. 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 95 

trary to light than darkness ? Such a change it is, Eph. v. 8 ; instead of a 
black darkness there is a bright light. As contrary as flesh and spirit, John 
iii. 6, • that which is born of the flesh is flesh ; that which is born of the 
Spirit is spirit.' Where both are put in the abstract, one is the composition 
of flesh, the other of spirit : as contrary as east to west, as the seed of the 
woman to the seed of the serpent, as the spirit of the world and the Spirit 
of God. The frame of the heart before the new creation, and the frame of 
the heart after, bear as great a distance from one another as heaven from 
earth. As God and sin are the most contrary to one another, so an affec- 
tion to God and an affection to sin are the most contrary affections. It is 
quite another bent of heart, as if a man turn from north to south. It is a 
position quite contrary to what it was. The heart touched by grace stands 
full to God, as before to sin ; it is stripped of its perverse inclinations to 
sin, clothed with holy affections to God. He abhors what before he loved 
and loves what before he abhorred. He was alienated from the life of God, 
but now alienated from the life of his lusts ; nothing would before serve 
him but God's departure from htm ; nothing will now please him but God's 
rays upon him. He was before tired with God's service, now tired with his 
own sin. Before, crucifying the motions of the Spirit, now crucifying the 
affections and lusts. That which was before his life and happiness is°now 
his death and misery ; he disaffects his foolish pastimes and sinful pleasures 
as much as a man doth the follies of his childhood, and is as cheerful in 
loathing them as before he was jolly in committing them. It is a transla- 
tion from one kingdom to another: Col. i. 13, a translation 'from the power 
of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son.' Mereartitfe, a word taken from 
the transplanting of colonies : they are in a contrary soil and climate ; they 
have other works, other laws, other privileges, other natures. As Christ's 
resurrection was a state quite contrary to the former, at the time of his death 
he was in a state of guilt by reason of our sin ; at his resurrection he is 
freed from it. He was before made under the law ; he is then freed from 
the curse of it. He was before in a state of death, after his resurrection in 
a state of life, and lives for ever. God pulls out the heart of stone, that 
inflexibleness to him and his service, and plants a heart of flesh in the room, 
a pliableness to him and his will, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. It is as great a change 
as when a wolf is made a lamb ; that wolfish nature is lost, and the lamb- 
like nature introduced. By corruption man was carnal and brutish ; by the 
new creation he is spiritual and divine. By corruption he hath the ima^e 
of the devil ; by this he is restored to the image of God. By that he had 
the seeds of all villanies ; by this the roots of all graces. That made us fly 
from God ; this makes us return to him. That made us enemies to his 
authority ; this subjects us to his government. That made us contemn his 
law ; .this makes us prize and obey it :* " Instead of the thorn there shall 
come up the fir-tree ; instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle-tree,' 
and God will preserve it from being cut off, Isa. lv. 13, speaking of the time 
of redemption. 

[4. J It is a universal change of the whole man. It is a new creature, 
not only a new power or new faculty. This, as well as creation, extends 
to every part ; understanding, will, conscience, affections, all were corrupted 
by sin, all are renewed by grace. Grace sets up its ensigns in all parts 
of the soul, surveys every corner, and triumphs over every lurking enemy ; 
it is as large in renewing as sin was in defacing. The whole soul shall 
be glorified in heaven ; therefore the whole soul shall be beautified by 
grace. The beauty of the church is described in every part, Cant. 1-4, &c. 
* Sabunde, tit. 275, p. 585. 

9G charnook's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

First, This new creation bears resemblance to creation and generation. 
God in creation creates all parts of the creature entire. When nature 
forms a child in the womb, it doth not only fashion one part, leaving the 
other imperfect, but labours about all, to form an entire man. The Spirit 
is busy about every part in the formation of the new creature. Generation 
gives the whole shape to the child, unless it be monstrous. God doth not 
produce monsters in grace ; there is the whole shape of the new man. You 
mistake much if you rest in a reformation of one part only ; God will say, 
Such a work was none of my creation. He doth not do things by halves. 

Secondly, It bears proportion to corruption. As sin expelled the whole 
frame of original righteousness, so regenerating grace expels the whole frame 
of original corruption. It was not only the head or only the heart, only the 
understanding or only the will, that was overcast with the blackness of sin, 
but every part of man did lose its original rectitude. Not a faculty could 
boast itself like the Pharisee, and say, It was not like this or that publican; 
the waves of sin had gone over the heads of every one of them. Sin, like 
leaven, had infected the whole mass ; grace overspreads every faculty to 
drive out the contagion. Grace is compared to light, and light is more or 
less in every part of the air above the horizon, for the expulsion of darkness 
when the sun ariseth. The Spirit is compared to fire, and therefore 
pierceth every part with its warmth, as heat diffuseth itself from the fire to 
every part of water. The natural man is denominated from corruption, 
not an old understanding or an old will, but the 'old man,' Eph. iv. 22. 
So a regenerate man is not called a new understanding, or a new will, but 
' a new man,' ver. 24. 

Thirdly, The proper seat of grace is the substance of the soul, and there- 
fore it influences every faculty. It is the form whence the perfection both 
of understanding and will do flow ; it is not therefore placed in either of 
them, but in the essence of the soul.* It is 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 ;' it is 
not one particular faculty that is perfected by grace, but the substance of 
the soul. Besides, that is the seat of grace which is the seat of the Spirit, 
but this or that particular faculty is not the seat of the Holy Ghost, but the 
soul itself, whence the Spirit rules every particular faculty by assisting 
grace, like a monarch in the metropolis sending orders to all parts of his 
dominions. The Spirit is said to dwell in a man, Gal. iv. 4, Rom. viii. 9 ; 
in the whole man, as the soul doth in the body, in forming every part of it ; 
if it dwelt only in one faculty there could be no spiritual motion of the 
other. The principles in the will would contradict those in the understand- 
ing ; the will would act blindly if there were no spiritual light in the under- 
standing to guide it. The light of the understanding would be useless if 
there were no inclination in the will to follow it, and grace in both those 
faculties would signify little if there remained an opposing perversity in the 
affections. The Spirit, therefore, is in the whole soul, like fire in the whole 
piece of iron, quickening, warming, mollifying, making flexible, and con- 
suming what is contrary, like Aaron's ointment, poured upon the heart, and 
thence runs down to the skirts of the soul. 

Fourthly, Therefore there is a gracious harmony in the whole man. As 
in generation two forms cannot remain in the same subject ; for in the 
same instant wherein the new form is introduced the old is cast out ; so at 
the first moment of infusing grace, the body of death hath its deadly wound 
in every facult} 7 , understanding, will, conscience, affection. The rectitude 
* Suarez de Gra, 1. vi. c 12 ; Num. x. 13, 14. 


reaches every part; and all the powers of the soul, by a strong combination, 
by one common principle of grace acting them, conspire together to be sub- 
ject to the law of God, and advance in the ways of holiness : Pa. cxix. 10, it 
is with ' the whole heart ' that God is sought. In the understanding there 
is light instead of darkness, whereby it yields to the wisdom of God, and 
searches into the will of God: the spirit of the mind is renewed, Eph. iv. 23. 
In the will there is softness instead of hardness, humility instead of pride, 
whereby it yields to the will of God, and closes with the law of God. In the 
heart and conscience there is purity instead of filth (whereby it is purged 
from dead works, Heb. ix. 14, settled against the approbation of sin), and a 
resolution to be void of offence, Acts xxiv. 16. In the affections there is 
love instead of enmity, delight instead of weariness, whereby they yield to 
the pleasure of God, have flights into the bosom of God : • Oh how love I 
thy law ! it is my delight day and night.' The memory is a repository for 
the precepts and promises of God as the choicest treasure. It is a likeness 
to Christ ; the whole human nature of Christ was holy, every faculty of his 
soul, every member of his body, his nature holy, his heart holy. If we are 
not formed, Christ is not formed in us ; look therefore whether your refor- 
mation you rest in be in the whole, and in every part of the soul. 

Fifthly, It is principally an inward change. It is as inward as the soul 
itself. Not only a cleansing the outside of the cup and platter, a painting 
over the sepulchre, but a casting out the dead bones and putrefied flesh ; 
of a nature different from a pharisaical and hypocritical change, Mat. 
xxiii.' 25-27. It is a clean heart David desires, not only clean hands, Ps. 
li. 10. If it were not not so, there could be no outward rectified change. 
The spring and wheels of the clock must be mended before the hand of the 
dial will stand right. It may stand right two hours in the day, when the 
time of the day comes to it, but not from any motion or rectitude in itself. 
So a man may seem by one or two actions to be a changed man, but the 
inward spring being amiss, it is but a deceit. Sometimes there may be a 
change, not in the heart, but in the things which the heart was set upon, 
when they are not what they were. As a man whose heart was set upon 
uncleanness, change of beauty may change his affection ; the change is not 
in the man, but in the object. But this change I speak of is a change in 
the mind, when there is none in the object ; as the affection of a child to 
his trifles changeth with the growth of his reason, though the things his heart 
was set upon remain in the same condition as before. 

First, It is a change of principle. 

Secondly, A change of end. 

First, A change of principle. The principle of a natural man in his 
religious actions is artificial ; he is wound up to such a peg, like the spring 
of an engine, by some outward respects which please him ; but as the 
motion of the engine ceaseth, when the spring is down, so a natural man's 
motion holds no longer than the delight those motions gave him, which first 
engaged him in it. But the principle in a good man is spirit, an internal 
principle, and the first motion of this principle is towards God, to act from 
God, and to act for God. He fetches his fire from heaven to kindle his 
service ; an heat and fervency of spirit precedes his serving the Lord, Rom. 
xii. 11. There may be a serving God from an outward heat, conveying a 
vigour and activity to a man, but the new creature serves God from inward 
and heated affections. Examine therefore by what principles do I hear, and 
pray, and live, and walk ? For all acts are good or evil, as they savour of a 
good or bad root, or principle in the heart. The two principles of the new 


98 chaenock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

creature are faith and love. "What is called the new creatnre, Gal. vi. 15, 
is called ' faith working by love,' Gal. v. 6. 

Faith. This is the first discovery of all spiritual life within us, and 
therefore the immediate principle of all spiritual motion. A splendid action 
without faith is but moral, whereas one of a less glittering is spiritual with 
it. The new creature being begotten by the seed of the word, and having 
thereby an evangelical frame, hath therefore that which is the prime evange- 
lical grace, upon which all other graces grow ; and consequently all the acts 
of the new creature spring from this principle immediately, viz., faith in the 
precept, as a rule ; faith in the promise, as an encouragement ; faith in the 
Mediator, as a ground of acceptation. Therefore if we have not faith in the 
precept, though we may do a service not point-blank against the precept, yet 
it is not a service according to a divine rule; if we have not faith in the pro- 
mise, we do it not upon divine motives ; if we act not faith in the Redeemer, 
we despise the way of God's ordaining the presentation of our service to 
him. All those that you find, Heb. xi., acting from faith, had sometimes a 
faith in the power of God, sometimes in the faithfulness of God ; but they 
had not only a faith in the particular promise or precept, but it was ultimately 
resolved into the promise of the Messiah to come : ver. 14, ' Those all died 
in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off,' 
&e. The performance of particular promises they had received, but not the 
performance of this grand promise ; but that their faith respected. They, as 
new creatures, did all in observance of God promising the Mediator ; and 
we are to do all in observance of God sending the Mediator, being persuaded 
of the agreeableness of our services to him, upon the account of the com- 
mand, and of the acceptation of our services by him upon the account of the 
Mediator. This put a difference between Paul's prayer, after the infusion of 
grace into him, and before ; so that our Saviour sets a particular emphasis 
upon it : Acts ix. 11, ' Behold he prays.' Paul, no doubt, had prayed 
many times before his believing, but nothing of that kind was put upon the 
file as a prayer ; before, they were prayers of a self-righteous pharisee, but 
these of an evangelical convert ; these were prayers springing from a flexi- 
bleness to Christ, a faith in him; from a Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? 

Love. There are many principles of action, hope of heaven, fear of hell, 
reputation, interest, force of natural conscience ; some of those are inward, 
some outward, which are the bellows that blow up a man to some fervency 
in action ; but the true fire, that contributes an heavenly frame to a service, 
is the love of God. The desire of the heart is carried out to God; his heart 
draws near to God, because his sole delight is in God, and his whole desire 
for him : Ps. lxxiii. 25, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? ' Then, ver. 28, 
' But it is good for me to draw near to God.' This choice affection in the 
new creature spirits his services, makes his soul spring up with a wonderful 
liveliness. The new creation is the restoration of the soul to God from its 
apostasy ; a casting down those rebellious principles which contended with 
him, and reducing his affections to the right centre ; and when all the lines 
meet here in one centre, in God, all the returns to him flow from this affec- 
tion. It is but one thing settled in the soul as the object of its earnest 
desire ; and that should be the spring of all its inquiries and actions, the 
beholding the beauty of the Lord, Ps. xxvii. 4. Things may be done out of 
a common affection ; as when a man will raise a child fallen into the dirt, 
out of a common tenderness ; but a father would raise him with more 
natural affection, which is a sphere above that common compassion. Every 
affection therefore is not the renewed principle, but a choice affection to 
God. This is a mighty ingredient in this change, and doth difference the 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 99 

new creature from all others. One acts out of affection to God, the other 
out of affection to itself. Men may be offended with sin, because it disturbs 
their ease, health, estate, &c. He may pray, and hear, merely out of a 
respect to natural conscience ; but how can these be the acts of the new 
creature, when there is no respect to God in all this ? But a new creature 
would quench the fire of corrupt self-love, to burn only with a spiritual and 
divine flame ; he depresseth the one to exalt the other, and would be dis- 
engaged from the burdensome chains of self-love, that he might be moved 
only by the spiritual charms of the other purer affection ; it is a death to 
him to have any steams of self-love rise up to smoke and black a service. 

Secondly, A change of end as well as principle, The glory of God is the 
end of the new creature, self the end of the old man. Before this new 
creation, a man's end was to please self; now his end is to please Gou. 
A man that delights in knowledge, to pleasure his understanding, and for 
self-improvement, when he becomes a new creature, though his desire for 
knowledge is not removed, yet his end is changed, and he thirsts after know- 
ledge, not merely to please his inquisitive disposition, but to admire and 
praise God, and direct himself in ways agreeable to him. As the end of 
the sensualist is to taste the sweetness in pleasure, so the end of a renewed 
man is to know more of God, to taste a sweetness in him, and in every 
religious duty. This is the distinguishing character of the new creature. 
This design for the glory of God was not to be found among any of the 
heathens, who were so great admirers of virtue. Most of them intended only 
an acquiring a reputation among their countrymen ; and though some of them 
might esteem virtue for its native dignity, yet this was to esteem it by the 
moiety of it, when they referred it not to the honour of God , from whence it 
flowed to the world. Man was not created for himself, and to be his own end ; 
he therefore that doth chiefly aim at his own satisfaction in anything, is not a 
new creature : he hath his old deformed end into which he sunk by the fall. 
But grace carries a man higher, and reduceth all to God, and to his well- 
pleasing. Col. i. 9, 10, the apostle desires they may be ' filled with the 
knowledge of the will' of God, that they may « walk worthy of the Lord, unto 
all well-pleasing.' The very first motion of this new principle is towards 
God, to act for God ; as the first appearance of a living seed in the ground 
is towards heaven ; thither it casts its look, from whence its life came. What 
the new creature receives, is from God : 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' They received it 
as the word of God,' and therefore what he doth is for God. 

{First.) The principal intent of God in the new creation is for himself: 
Hosea ii. 23, ' I will sow her to me,' speaking of the church in the time of 
the gospel ; not to sin, not to the world, not for herself, but I will sow her to 
me. Husbandmen sow the ground for themselves, for their own use, to reap 
the harvest, and the corn grows up to the husbandman that sowed it. What 
the seed doth naturally, the new creature doth intentionally, grow up for 
God. Since the new creature is a divine infusion, it must needs carry the 
soul to please God, and aim at his glory. God would never put a principle 
into the creature, to drive it from himself, and conduct it to his own dis- 
honour ; this consists not with God's righteousness, this would be a deceit 
of the creature. It is impossible, but that which is from God in so peculiar 
a manner, and with gracious intentions to restore the creature to his happi- 
ness, must tend to the advancement of God. Where there are no aims at 
the divine glory, there is no divine nature, nothing in the soul that can 
claim kindred with God. Regeneration is a forming the soul for God's self, 
and to shew forth his praise, Tsa. xliii. 21, hence they are said to be ' a 
peculiar people,' in respect of their end, as well as their state. Certainly 

100 chabnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

that man, who makes not God his pattern and his end, that doth not advance 
the praise and glory of God, was never new formed by him. What comes 
from God, must naturally tend to him. Is it possible that the living image 
of God should disgrace the original ? that a divine impression should be 
unconcerned in the divine author ? 

(Secondly.) The new creation is an evangelical impression, and therefore 
corresponds in its intention with the gospel. This is the instrument whereby 
the new creature was wrought ; and this was appointed and published for the 
glory of God : • Glory to God in the highest,' Luke ii. 14. It is to promote 
holiness in the creature, which is the only way whereby we can honour God. 
This is the prime lesson the grace or gospel of God teaches, to live godly, 
Titus ii. 12, to live to God. What, therefore, is produced by the efficacy 
of such an instrument, cannot but aim at the glory of God, which was 
intended in it ; otherwise the gospel would work an effect contrary to itself, 
which no instrument doth produce when managed by a wise agent ; and 
contrary to the end of the agent too, viz., the Spirit of God, whose end is to 
glorify Christ : John xvi. 14, ' He shall glorify me.' The frame and acts of 
a renewed man are like the grain or seed of the word sown in the heart. 
Nothing the gospel designs more than the laying self low, even as low as 
dust and death. The first lesson is self-denial. It is in self that the 
strength and heart of the body of sin and lust lies ; and it is the principal 
end of the gospel to bring the creature to sacrifice self-love to righteousness, 
self-interest, self-contentment, wholly to God, and his law, and his love, 
that God may be all in all in the creature. Before the heart was touched with 
the gospel, it had not the least impulse to bring forth the virtues and excel- 
lencies of God into the world ; but when it is changed, it is filled to the brim 
with zealous desires to have his name exalted upon a high throne among men. 

(Thirdly.) A new creation is the bringing forth the soul in a likeness to 
God. The end, therefore, of the new creature, is the glory of God. As 
God is the cause, so he is the pattern of the new creature, according to 
which he doth frame the soul ; it is ' after God created in righteousness,' 
&c, Eph. iv. 24. There can be no likeness to God where the creature dis- 
sents from him in the chief end. Without such an agreement, there can be 
nothing but variance between God and the creature. All the commotions 
and quarrels upon earth are founded upon the difference of ends. God aims 
at his own glory, so doth the new creature, otherwise it were impossible he 
should walk with God, or follow him as a dear child. It consists also in 
likeness to Christ : his resurrection is the pattern and cause of our regene- 
ration : ' Ye are risen with Christ,' Col. iii. 1. What, to contrary ends ? 
Did Christ rise only to live to himself? No; but to live to God, as the great 
end for which he was appointed Mediator. Did he design to glorify God on 
earth, and doth he live to dishonour God in heaven ? No ; he lives to the 
same end there for which he lived and died here. Our spiritual resurrec- 
tion, is not only a restoring us to a spiritual life, but to the ends of this life ; 
a living to God and Christ, and to the ends of his mediation. Surely the 
new creature cannot be so brutish, as not to mind the honour of that nature 
to which it is so near allied, the glory of that God unto whom it hath the 
honour to bear a resemblance. A new creature hath a mighty sprightliness, 
and a height of spirit in some measure, when anything in his hands con- 
cerns God, more than when it concerns himself ; for his will being framed 
according to the will of God, is filled with an ambition for the promoting the 
excellency of his name. 

(Fourthly.) The end of the new creation is to advance the soul. It can 
never be advanced by an end lower than itself, or equal to itself. Any 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 101 

interest lower than God would be a degrading of it, a disparagement to its 
state, and too sordid for the soul to drive at ; for it is the excellency or 
sordidness of the end which doth elevate or debase a man's spirit, and his 
actions also : the one enlargeth, the other shrivels up the soul in its opera- 
tion. All things below God are unworthy of the boundless nature of the 
soul of man, much more unworthy of a soul rectified by a new creation. - 
The soul is only perfected in a tendency to this end, and disgraced and lost 
in the mud and dirt of lower aims. That grace that is most durable, and 
doth most ennoble the spirit of a man, hath this property, that it ' seeks 
not her own,' nor ' vaunts itself,' 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5. 

(Fifthly.) It is impossible the soul can have this new creation without a 
change of end. It is not conceivable how anything can return to that, 
which it doth not eye as its end. The soul, as deriving its original from 
God, hath an obligation in all its motions to return to him as its chief end. 
The new creature hath an higher obligation by grace. Doth that, therefore, 
deserve the name of the new creature, that is so far from answering a gracious 
tie, that it doth not so much as answer a natural one ? That is yet below 
the sphere of inanimate creatures, who all run back to their fountain, and 
one way or other declare the glory of God. He is no new creature, there- 
fore, who is devotedly fawning upon himself, caressing himself ; he is one 
that is yet bemired in his old nature, and hath not yet partaken of the fruit 
of Christ's purchase, redeeming and renewing grace. Those that are under 
the efficacious influence of it, and are the temple of the Holy Spirit, ' do 
glorify God in their body and spirit ' too, inwardly as well as outwardly, 
because they are God's, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. The understanding and will are 
both elevated by grace. The more intelligent any creature is, the more 
noble is his end, or ought to be, and the more he doth intend his end. The 
aim of a man is higher than that of a child ; the aims of men in this or that 
station, are still more noble than the ends of men in a lower rank. Since 
the new creation, therefore, endues man with the most excellent nature he 
is capable of, it must fix a man upon the most excellent end, which is God 
and his glory; it were not else a new creature, or worthy of such a title. 

(Sixthly.) This change of end doth only fit the soul for its proper service. 
From this end doth arise a quickness and an heartiness in every service. 
When God and his glory is not our end, our hearts flag, and we feel our 
spirits tired at our entrance into any service for him. When the apostle had 
made the glory of God his end in testifying the gospel of the grace of God, 
then his life was not counted dear to him, that he might finish his course 
with joy, Acts xx. 24. Where this end sits uppermost in the heart, all allure- 
ments to the contrary are mightily despised. What a scornful eye doth the 
apostle cast upon all other things ! and sets no higher value upon them than 
he would upon dross and dung, when they were not conducing to his main 
end, which was the knowledge of Christ, Philip, iii. 8, 10. 

Well, then, this is one of the most essential properties of the new creature, 
and that which is the clearest discovery of this state. A new creature is as 
earnest in secret for the glory of God, and as industrious for God, as if the 
eyes of all the world were upon him ; the bent of his heart alway stands this 
way ; he glorifies God in his spirit as well as body, 1 Cor. vi. 20. When 
men will be zealous in things that concern God before men, and negligent in 
their spirits and inward part of the soul, then the glory of God was not their 
end, but themselves. For what is a man's end, sets an edge upon his spirit 
in private as well as public. But a new creature is of another frame. When 
he finds that he hath missed of his full aim, and hath not had that single 
respect as he ought, he is unsatisfied and troubled that God hath been no more 

102 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

glorified by him. But he that is not renewed is well pleased if any concerns 
of self have been advanced, though God be not glorified ; and his soul is at 
rest in that act, as it hath lived to himself, and brought in something to in- 
crease the treasure of his self-ends. 

Thirdly, As it is an inward change in respect of principle and end, so, 
thirdly, it is a change of thoughts. Being new, he is new in the choicest 
faculty. As when he was after the flesh he minded the things of the flesh, 
so now being after the spirit he minds the things of the spirit, Rom. viii. 5. 
As a child hath not the thoughts of a man, so neither hath a natural man 
the thoughts of a new creature. A principle is placed in his understanding 
which doth emit other beams different from that smoky light which was iu 
it before. Though a new creature cannot hinder the first motions, yet he 
endeavours to suppress their proceeding any further, and excites others in 
his heart to make head against them ; and would, as far as he could, hinder 
the rising of any w T ave, the least bubbling against right reason and the interest 
of God. When David had an inclination in his heart to God's statutes, the 
immediate effect of it is to ' hate vain thoughts :' Ps. cxix. 112, 113, 'I have 
inclined my heart to perform thy statutes ;' and it follows, ' I hate vain 
thoughts.' The vanity of his heart was a burden to him, and he loathed all 
the inward excrescences, any buds from that bitter stump he still bore within 
him. A new creature is as careful against wickedness in the head or heart, 
as in the life. He would be purer in the sight of God than in the view of 
men. He knows none but God can see the workings of his heart or the 
thoughts of his head, yet he is as careful that they should not rise up as 
that they should not break out. The soul is so changed that it is no longer 
a stranger and ill-wilier to the motions of the Spirit ; k will welcome them 
upon their entrance, conduct them into the innermost room, converse fami- 
liarly with them, and delight in their company ; it invites their stay, pursues 
them when they seem to depart, holds them fast, and will not let them go, 
as the church doth to Christ. He turns much in upon himself, sets his eye 
upon his own heart, keeps that with all diligence, to observe what issues of 
a spiritual life are there ; as it is directed in Prov. iv. 23, '[Keep thy heart 
with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.' If he perceives any 
weeds to spring up there, or mushrooms (as they will in a night), he cuts 
them up and throws them out. The understanding is more quick and sen- 
sible to discern them in the first risings, to receive good ones or check bad 
ones, than it was before ; the new creature is sensible of any touch contrary 
to its interest. A corrupt mind draws to it the vilest things, and unpropor- 
tionable to the true nature of the soul, as a corrupt stomach doth unwhole- 
some food, till by a new creation it be set higher, and by a sanctified reason 
becomes more choice about its objects ; and then, like David, the heart is 
filled as with marrow and fatness, when he meditates on God in the night 
watches, Ps. lxiii. 5, 6. The thoughts of God are an inward spring of 
pleasure to him, more than the thoughts of sin can be to a deformed and 
depraved soul. 

Fourthly, Change of comforts follows upon this. Since there is a change 
of nature, there is a change of his complacenc}'. The former nature is his 
trouble, therefore all his delights which arise from it are its discontents and 
burden. Every nature hath a peculiar pleasure belonging to it : the nature 
of a dove will not acquiesce in that which pleases a swine, nor the new nature 
in that which pleases the old. The comforts of manhood are of another make 
than those of a child, and the comforts of a prince more elevated than those 
of a peasant, because he hath another spirit. That Spirit who is appointed 
to renew him is appointed an officer to comfort him ; as therefore he gives 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 103 

him new principles, so he gives him new consolations. He is, as a com- 
forter, to glorify Christ, to receive of his, and shew it unto the new creature. 
They are Christ's own words — ' He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of 
mine, and shall shew it unto you ' — heing described before under the title of 
a Comfoi-ter, John xvi. 14. He shall receive of mine ; grace from me, suit- 
able to the grace in me, wherewith to beautify ; and comforts from me, suit- 
able to those comforts in me, wherewith to refresh you. As they are brought 
to live the hie of God in holiness, so they are brought to live the life of God 
in joy and comfort. Righteousness, peace, joy are the trinity which make 
up the kingdom of God in the heart : Rom. xiv. 17, ' The kingdom of God 
is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost.' As the grace of God is their life, so the joy of the Lord is their 
strength ; strangers to God intermeddle not with it, and have no share in 
it. There is a joy put into the heart together with this new creature : • Thou 
hast put gladness into my heart,' Ps. iv. 7 — a gladness not founded upon any 
worldly consideration as the joy of men, not a joy of their own putting in ; 
but the new creature's joy is a joy of God's putting in. Other men's com- 
forts are in the creature, the new creature's comforts in the Creator. Others 
cannot joy if worldly things be removed, because the foundation of their joy 
is without them ; but these, by the loss of worldly things, have their comforts 
rather increased than impaired, because the foundation of their joy is within 
them. The comforts of a natural man are sucked from the dry breasts of 
creatures ; the comforts of a new creature are derived from the full fountain 
of life, which makes their very sufferings gloriously comfortable to them, 
1 Peter iv. 13, 14. Ihe prodigal by his change of mind had a change of 
refreshment : robes for rags, and a fatted calf for husks. It is as much his 
comfort to loathe himself as derived from Adam, and to love the self im- 
planted by God, as it was before the contrary. He can never look upon the 
new creature in him but with delightful views, and a pleasure mingles itself 
with every cast of his eye upon it. For certainly from making God our end, 
and doing all things for his glory, flows the highest delight ; since God is 
the only happiness of that soul that is in conjunction with him as his main 
end, he must needs have a share in the happiness of God as well as his 
nature. Felicity and consolation follow it, as the shadow doth the body ; 
and every act of the new creature towards God is edged with comfort in the 
very acting. 

Fifthly, As it is an inward change, so it is also an outward change. I call 
it outward in regard of objects, in regard of operations ; though it is princi- 
pally inward in regard of the prime seat of it, in regard of the form, which 
causeth the outward. The power of seeing is in the soul, though the vision 
itself be in the eye. The change our Saviour made in those he cured was 
in the organ, when he made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame 
to walk, which did necessarily infer a change of objects and a change of 
actions. So a man by this new creation sees the things of God, hears the 
voice of God, walks in the ways of God. All outward changes argue not an 
inward, but an inward is alway attended with an outward. 

First, In regard to objects. The world and sin was before the object of 
his inquiries and endeavours. Now he seeks the face of God ; his soul fol- 
lows hard after him. The world and God are so contrary, that the love of 
the one is enmity to the other. From multitudes of objects which distracted 
him, he is come to unity, which quiets and settles him : Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One 
thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after ; that I may dwell in 
the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of tbe 
Lord, and to inquire in his temple.' It is no lower an object than this, that 

104 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

the soul is coversant about, about God himself, to embrace him ; about what 
hath most of God in it, to value and cherish it ; about the word of God, to 
direct him in his ways, and to do his work. The understanding is conver- 
sant about the things of God, in the apprehension of them ; the will in the 
election, the affections in complacency in them. Spiritual objects are set up 
by every faculty, as the delightful things which it heartily embraceth. Be- 
fore, a man had no affection to God, you might as well have persuaded a 
swine to love the music of a lute, as a natural man supremely to love God. 
All his desires were set upon the dross of the world, the customs, coarse 
corruptions, pleasures of the world ; but a truly regenerate man can as little 
make the world his chief object of desire and affection, as a man used to 
choice viands can feed upon chaff and husks. The intendment of the gospel 
is to set forth God in Christ as an amiable object, as infinitely glorious. It 
declaims against the world, to draw men from the affectionate considerations 
of it. The renewed work then doth consist in fixing upon God in Christ, as 
the main object of desire and affection. When the heart, therefore, complies 
with the gospel, there must be a compliance with the chief subject of the 
gospel, and in such a manner as may answer the intendment of the gospel. 
"While Paul was in his natural and pharisaical state, Christ and his truth was 
accounted as dung, trampled upon as dross, fit to be thrown out of the con- 
verse of mankind ; but when his heart is changed, there is a change in the 
object of his valuation : Christ is then his treasure, his all, and other things 
but dross in comparison of him, Philip, iii. 8. 

Secondly, In regard of operations. ' Old things are passed away,' old 
actions as well as old affections. Operations are never constantly against 
nature, operari sequilur esse. The heart and the actions do not alway con- 
tradict one another. ' According to the abundance of the heart, the mouth 
speaks,' Mat. xii. 24. According to the spring of grace in the heart will the 
hand of the life stand. It will vent itself more or less, according to the 
quantity of it. It is an inward baptism with fire, which will quickly break 
out and shew itself in the members : Mat. vii. 20, « By their fruits you shall 
know them.' New apprehensions infer new operations. An alteration of 
judgment cannot be without an alteration of acting. As he hath 'received 
Christ Jesus the Lord, so he walks in him,' Col. ii. 6. The very intend- 
ment of God in the new creation was this : Eph. ii. 10, ' Created in Christ to 
good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.' 
If there be not then new works, there is no new creation, for the chief inten- 
tion and aim of God cannot be frustrated. Christ formed in a man is not a 
sleepy and inactive being : actions will scent of him. Fruits bear the image 
of the root whence they spring, and upon which they flourish. A new root 
cannot bring forth old fruits. If the nature of a crab-tree be changed into 
that of a vine, it will bear no longer crabs but grapes. Where holiness is 
implanted in the nature, holiness will be imprinted in the life. A man that 
bath reason superior to sense doth use his sense rationally ; a renewed man 
that hath grace superior to reason useth his reason graciously. The opera- 
tions were rational when bare reason held the sceptre, but they are spiritual 
when grace ascends the throne ; for it cannot be that that person who is 
acted by the Spirit, ' lives in the Spirit, walks in the Spirit ' (Gal. v. 18, 25), 
should do anything without a spiritual tincture, in that wherein he is acted 
by it. For it is impossible but every action must be dyed of the same colour 
with the principle whence it flows, and by which it is directed. Actions of 
sensitive nature are by reason of grace ordered by a new rule, directed to a 
new end. He ate and drank to the flesh before, now to God, 1 Cor. x. 31. 
He degraded his soul to invent ways to pamper his body. Now he puts his 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 105 

body in its due posture to serve the soul, and both to exalt God. Yea, his 
religious duties are changed, not as to the matter, but the manner. He 
knew, them before, as he did Christ, after the flesh ; he now knows them and 
performs them after the Spirit. There is zeal instead of coldness, liveliness 
instead of deadness, brokenness instead of presumption, a spirit of liberty 
instead of the whip of conscience, confidence in God instead of confidence in 
duty, melting pleading of promises instead of a pharisaical pleading of works. 
In a word, grace instead of nature, spirit instead of flesh. Paul, of a phari- 
saical boaster, becomes a Christian suppliant ; ' behold he prays.' This 
change is outward as well as inward. In a man of an exact morality it is 
chiefly inward ; he walks in his old outward ways with a new heart. In a 
loose man renewed it is apparently outward ; he hath left both his old ways 
and his old nature ; but a man only outwardly reformed, without any inward 
change, walks in new ways with an old spirit. ' He that lacks these things,' 
saith the apostle, after an enumeration of several graces, ' hath forgotten that 
he was purged from his old sins ;' for indeed he never was. 

Thus have I considered this new creation in the nature of a change. 

2. Let us consider it in the nature of a vital principle. This new crea- 
tion is a translation from death to life : 1 John iii. 14, ' We know that we 
have passed from death to life.' And we have not a spiritual life till we are 
in Christ. « He that hath not the Son hath not life,' 1 John v. 12. When 
our Saviour called Lazarus out of the grave, he gave him a principle of life 
and motion. The same he doth when he calls men from a spiritual death in 
sin. Whatsoever we had from the first Adam is mortal, whatsoever we have 
from the second Adam is vital ; the one communicates a spiritual life, as the 
other propagated a spiritual death. 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. It is called the hidden man, the inward man, 
implying that it hath life and motion. As the life of the body is from the 
soul, as the effect from the cause, so the life of the soul is from grace. Christ 
is the meritorious cause of this life in his person, the efficient cause of it by 
his Spirit ; but grace is the formal cause of this life, as God is the cause of 
our bodily life efficiently, and the soul the cause of it formally. It is not, 
then, a gilding, but a quickening ; not a carving, but an enlivening. What- 
soever doth proceed from an external cause is not life or a living motion, A 
piece of wood may be carved in the shape of a man, but remains wood still 
in such a form and figure. But a Christian hath a spiritual life breathed 
into him, as Adam had a natural. When Adam's body was formed of the 
earth, it was no more than earth, till a heavenly spark was breathed into him 
by God, to set him upon his feet, and enable that piece of earth to move. It 
is distinguished therefore from hypocrisy, which is but the shadow of Chris- 
tianity. This is a living principle ; that a form, this a power ; that a piece 
of art, this a nature. A picture may have the lineaments of a man, but not 
the life, understanding, and affections of a man. 

3. Let us consider it as a habit, and then see what light the consideration 
of it, as a vital principle and a habit, give us into the nature of this new 
creation. By habit we must not understand, as we do in common speech, 
a clothing, as when we say, Such a one was in such a habit ; but by habit 
we mean an inward frame, enabling a man to act readily and easily, as when 
an artificer hath the habit of a trade. Since this new creation is not a de- 
struction 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 sub- 

* Blanc. Thes. 

106 chaknock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

stance as far as respects the nature of man, it is necessary, therefore, that 
this new creation consist in gracious qualities and habits, which beautify and 
dispose the soul to act righteously and holily. Corruption of nature is the 
poison, the sickness, and deformity of our nature ; grace is the beauty, health, 
ornament of it, and that which gives it worth and value. When a debauched 
man is become virtuous, we say he is another man, a new man, though he 
hath the same soul and body which he had before, but he hath quitted those 
evil habits wherewith he was possessed. It is impossible to conceive a new 
creature without new habits. Nothing can be changed from a state of cor- 
ruption to a state of purity without them. The making darkness to become 
light, in the very nature of it, implies the introducing a new quality, Eph. 
v. 8. This is meant by the seed : 1 John hi. 9, ' His seed remains in him.' 
As seed makes the earth capable to bring forth good fruit, which had a 
nature before to bring forth, not corn, but weeds, till the grain was put into 
it ; and it is expressed by ' a fountain of living water springing up into eternal 
life,' John iv. 14 (irr\yri). 

(1.) There is such a habit. God doth provide as much for those that he 
loves, in order to a supernatural good, as for those creatures that he loves 
in order to a natural good ; but God hath put into all creatures such forms 
«nd qualities, whereby they may be inclined of themselves to motions agree- 
able to their nature, in an easy and natural way.* Much more doth God 
infuse into those that he moves to the obtaining a supernatural good, some 
spiritual qualities, whereby they may be moved rationally, sweetly, and readily 
to attain that good ; he puts into the soul a spirit of love, a spirit of grace, 
whereby, as their understandings are possessed with a knowledge of the 
excellency of his ways, so their wills are so seasoned by the power and sweet- 
ness of this habit, that they cannot, because they will not, act contrary there- 
unto. And this habit of grace hath the same spiritual force in a gracious 
way, as those principles in other creatures in a natural way. As the habit 
of sin is called flesh in regard of its nature, and death in regard of its con- 
sequent, so the habit of grace is called the new creature and spirit, Gal. 
v. 17, in regard of its term and consequent, life. This habitual grace is the 
principle of all supernatural acts, as the soul concurs as an immanent prin- 
ciple to all works by this or that faculty. As Christ had a body prepared 
him to do the work of a mediator, so the soul hath a habit prepared it to do 
the work of a new creature. To this purpose, there is a habit of truth or 
sincerity in the will, and a ' hidden wisdom' in the understanding, Ps. li. 6. 
As the corrupt nature is a habit of sin, so the new nature is a habit of grace ; 
God doth not only call us to believe, love, and obey, but brings in the grace 
of faith, and love, and obedience, bound up together, and plants it in the 
soil of the heart, to grow up there unto eternal life ; he gives a willingness 
and readiness to believe, love, and obey. 

(2.) This habit is necessary. The acts of a Christian are supernatural, 
which cannot be done without a supernatural principle ; we can no more do 
a gracious action without it, than the apostles could do the works of their 
office unless endued with power from above, which our Saviour bids them 
tarry at Jerusalem for, Luke xxiv. 49. If there were not a gracious habit 
in the soul, no act could be gracious ; or supposing it could, it could not be 
natural, it would be only a force. New creation is not from the Spirit com- 
pelling, but inclining ; not like the throwing a stone contrary to its nature, 
but changing the nature, and planting other habits, whereby the actions be- 
come natural. As sin was habitual in a man by nature, so grace must be 
habitual in a new creature, otherwise a man is not brought into a contrary 
* Aquin. 2aj. Q. 110. Art. 2. 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 107 

state (though the acts should be contrary) if there be not a contrary habit ; 
for it is necessary the soul should be inclined in the same manner towards 
God as before it "was towards sin ; but the inclination to sin was habitual. 

(3.) This habit is but one. For it is an entire rectitude in all the facul- 
ties, and an universal principle of working righteously. As the corrupt 
nature is called the ' old Adam', and a < body of death', the gracious nature 
is called the ' new man,' Col. iii. 9, 10. As a man is but one man, a body one 
body, though consisting of divers members, and several parts, all formed by 
one spirit, and making up but one habit, so that as all sins are parts of that 
body of death, so all graces are but strings of this one root. As from tbat 
primogeneal light, kindled at the first creation by God, were framed _the stars 
and lights of heaven, which have their several appearances and motions, and 
are distinct from one another, though all arising from the womb of that first 
light, so all particular graces, though they have their stated seasons of 
action, and are distinct in themselves, yet all flow from, and are contained 
in, this habit as in a root. They are so many grapes growing upon one stalk, 
clusters proceeding from one root of the new nature. It is from the par- 
ticipation of the divine nature that all those graces arise, the exercise of 
which the apostle exhorts them to, 2 Peter i. 4, &c ; and indeed it being a 
divine nature, must needs include all the perfections due to it. As the divine 
essence of God is one, yet contains all perfections eminently ; and if there 
were a deficiency of any, it could not be the divine essence ; so the grace 
infused into the heart contains in it virtually all the perfections wherein it 
may agree with the nature of God's holiness, otherwise it were not a divine 
nature, if there were any defect in the nature of the habit, I say, in the 
nature of the habit.* And it cannot be otherwise ; for though the Spirit 
may give one gift to one man, another gift to another, 1 Cor. xii. 8, 9, yet 
when he would make a new creature, there must be a nature or habit con- 
taining all graces. It could not else be a divine nature ; for if the Spirit doth 
purpose to make a new creature, he cannot but give all grace, which belongs 
to the essence and constitution of that new creature, otherwise he would either 
wilfully or weakly cross his intention. 

(4.) This habit receives various denominations, either, 

[1.] From the subject. It is subjectively in the essence of the soul, but 
as it shews itself in the understanding, it is called the knowledge of God ; 
as it is the will, it is a choice of God ; as it is in the affections, it is a motion 
to God. As the body of death is in the understanding, ignorance ; in the 
will, enmity ; in the conscience, deadness ; in the affections, disorder and 
frowardness. As diseases receive several names, as they are centred in 
several parts, yet are but the dyscrasy or distemper of the humours. 

[2.] From the object it is diversified. As it closes with Christ dying, it 
is faith ; as it rejoiceth in Christ living, it is love ; as it lies at the feet of 
Christ, it is humility ; as it observes the will of Christ, it is obedience ; as 
it submits to Christ's afflicting, it is patience ; as it regards Christ offended, 
it is grief; yet all arising from one habit, and animated by faith, so that it 
is the love of faith, the joy of faith, the humility of faith, the patience of 
faith, they all spring from one habit, seated in one soul, conversant about 
one object, God in Christ: such a unity there is in all these diversifications. 
As the holy oil wherewith the vessels of the tabernacle were anointed was 
but one ointment, though composed of many ingredients, Exod. xxx. 25, 26 ; 
as all the perfections of creatures are eminently in one God, all the evil dis- 
positions of the creatures seminally in man by nature : so all the beauties of 
grace are eminently included in this habit. 

* F. Goodwin. 

108 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

Hence we may take a prospect of the nature of the new creature. It being 
thus a vital principle, and a habit, therefore the motion to God, and for God, 
must be, 

1. Ready in respect of disposition. He stands ready and disposed to 
every good work upon God's call. As the habit of sin disposeth the soul to 
every evil work, so the habit of grace prepares it for every good work, and 
makes it meet for its master's use : 2 Tim. ii. 21, ' If a man therefore purge 
himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet 
for bis Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.' It is just as it 
was with Isaiah, chap. vi. 5, at the first sight of the vision he complains, 
1 Woe is me, a man of unclean lips,' taken up with self- reflection, no offers to 
act for God ; but when a live coal was taken from the altar and laid upon his 
mouth, there is a ready answer to God's question, ver. 7, 8, ■ Whom shall I 
send ? Here am I, send me.' No demurs ; it was a live coal from the altar 
had quickened him into a new frame for God. David doth not say he had 
performed the statutes of God, but he had ' inclined his heart' to perform 
them, Ps. cxix. 

That I may not grate upon any troubled spirit, consider, 

(1.) This readiness is seminally in every renewed person, yet it does not 
always actually appear. As the old nature contains in it seminally all sins, 
yet every man is more prone to one than another, according to education, 
temper of body, or a set of temptations ; so the heart of a renewed man hath 
an habitual disposition to the exercise of all grace, because it hath the 
seeds of all graces in it, yet it doth not act all alike for want of vigorous 
occasions. As the attributes of God, though in the highest perfection, yet 
in their exercise in the world, sometimes one appears more triumphant than 
another, sometimes more of patience, sometimes mercy, sometimes justice, 
sometimes wisdom, one is more eminently apparent than another ; so the 
divine nature hath seminally in this habit all grace, and an agreeableness to 
every duty enjoined, a principle to send forth the fruits of all when an object 
is offered, and the grace excited by the Spirit of God ; yet sometimes one is 
more visible than another, according to the call it hath to stand forth and 
shew itself. This habitual disposition may be when there is not a present 
actual fitness for some service of a higher strain, by reason of some parti- 
cular commission of sin, which hath sullied the soul ; as a vessel of honour 
in respect of its formation may be fit for use, but in respect of some foulness 
contracted may not be immediately fit for some noble service, till a new 
scouring had passed upon it. A grown Christian, who hath his senses exercised 
in the ways of God, doth not alway actually exercise this habit, yet he is ready 
upon the least motion actually to do it ; as a new creature having a change 
of end doth habitually mind the glory of God, yet he doth not in every action 
actually think of it, or will it as his end ; but he is ready to bring this 
habitual aim into exercise upon the least motion, and reaches out his arm to 
embrace and stand right to that point. David had an habitual repentance 
in him while he lay asleep in his sin, and by virtue of this habit, he doth 
without any resistance comply with the first touch God gave him by Nathan. 
His repentance flowed, and never ceased till it had done its perfect work. It 
was a sign of a heart of flesh ; a heart of stone could not have been so 
flexible. Job was eminent for patience, but being a new creature, he had a 
disposition to all the rest, and had acted them with as high a strain, had he 
had the same occasions. 

(2.) This readiness to every service doth not actually appear in persons 
newly regenerate. I think the lowest degree of this habit in one newly re- 
generate, is a purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord : Acts xi. 23, ' When 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 109 

he came, and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and exhorted them, 
that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.' Certainly 
when there is such a fixed and constant purpose, it is a token of the grace 
of God ; yet to this purpose there may not alway be connexed an actual 
readiness to every service. For at the first beginning of the new creature 
there is a strong resistance ; it is in a strange soil, the armies of hell are in 
array against it, it is like a Daniel in a lion's den, or a Lot in Sodom, only 
God restrains the force of these enemies. As it is in a child derived from 
Adam, there is a principle in the natural corruption to exert all kind of 
wickedness ; yet it doth not presently rise to the utmost of its force, till 
ripened by time and other intervening causes. So though the new creature 
hath in it a readiness virtually to the most raised action, to be as believing 
and laborious as Paul, as zealous as Elijah, as patient as Job, yet it mounts 
not presently to this state ; a time must be allowed for growth. There is an 
infancy in grace, as well as in manhood. And as a child, though his soul 
be of the same nature with that of a man, yet he cannot exercise those acts 
of understanding and reason, because of the predominancy of sense, and the 
indisposition of the organs ; so neither can a young Christian : he may have 
a disposition equal to the best Christians, but not an equal strength ; the 
reluctancy of the corrupt habits is more vigorous, not being much mortified ; 
he wants also that additional strength gained by exercise. There may be a 
greater resistance to one grace more than to another, from the strength of 
some corruption particularly opposite to that grace ; yet ' to will is present 
with him,' though he 'cannot perform that which is good,' Rom. vii. 18. 
The posture of the soul to God was as natural to him as the posture of the 
heart was before to sin ; as a young boy first come to school may have as 
strong a purpose to get learning as a man that hath taken all his degrees in 
the university. The first graces which appear in a renewed soul are re- 
pentance and faith ; because regeneration being a rooting up from the old 
stock and setting up a new, as it relates to the old stock, it doth necessarily 
produce repentance upon the sight of his misery, and for being upon the old 
stock so long ; and faith, as a necessary grace for closing with the Redeemer 
upon a sight of him, and for ingrafting him upon a new stock ; and then 
love, admiration, and thankfulness, walk the stage, from a reflection upon 
the greatness of the misery escaped, and the great deliverance attained. 
Sprouts from a root grow up, some faster, some slower, yet all arising from 
the same root. So some graces appear at the very first setting this habit in 
the soul, other graces lie hid till new occasions draw them out. This dis- 
position, inclination, will, readiness, purpose, is the first language of a habit. 
2. A second thing wherein you have a prospect of the new creature is 
this ; as it is ready in respect of disposition, so it is in activity of motion. 
Since it is a life infused by infinite activity, since it is a habit bearing the 
impression of God, and maintained by a union with him, it is impossible it 
can be sleepy and dull in a constant way. All life hath motion proper to 
the principle of it : rational life is attended with rational actions ; sensitive 
life, with acts proper to sense. It is as impossible then that a spiritual life 
should be without acts consonant to it, as that the sun should appear in the 
firmament without darting forth its beams. All life is accompanied with 
natural heat, which is the band of it, whereby the body is enabled to a vigor- 
ous motion. The new creature is not a marble statue or a transparent piece 
of crystal, which hath purity, but not life. It is a living spirit, and there- 
fore active ; a pure spirit, and therefore purely active, according to the de- 
gree of it. It is the same habit in part renewed, which Adam had by crea- 
tion, which was not a sluggish and unwieldy principle ; it must therefore 

110 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

have an activity, it could not else be a proper principle to contest with the 
contrary principle, which is active like the sea, casting out mire and dirt. 
Since the old Adam conveyed such a vigorous principle of corruption, the 
new Adam is not wanting to endue the principle of his conveyance with a 
suitable activity. Grace abounds in its vigour, as well as sin hath abounded 
in its kind, Rom. v. 20. Upon Christ's call, Matthew left his receipt of 
custom ; the other apostles their nets ; motion presently follows an enliven- 
ing call of God. It is first a habit, then an act ; first a ' spirit of grace and 
supplication,' then a ' looking upon him whom they havepierced,' by an act of 
their understanding, and a 'mourning' by an act of the will, Zech. xii. 10, 11. 
First a ' sanctification of the spirit,' then a 'belief of the truth,' to the ob- 
taining of glory, 2 Thes. ii. 13. When anything ceaseth to act, there is 
either an oppression, or a death of nature. 

(1.) This principle of the new creature is naturally active. All vital 
motions are natural ; sometimes in men there are natural actions without 
any actual exercise of reason, as when the spirits flow out to any part for 
the defence of it upon the motion of any passion, as blood starts to the face 
upon shame, &c, which all the reason of a man cannot hinder. It is as 
natural to this new habit to produce new actions, as for anything to engender 
according to its own likeness and species, as for a living tree to spring out 
in leaves and fruits. A renewed man, whose seed is within himself, brings 
forth fruit after its kind, as well as the herbs and the trees, Gen. i. 12. All 
living creatures move agreeably to their natures, with a spontaneity and free- 
dom of nature. The bramble doth not more naturally bring forth thorns, 
than a habit of sin doth steam out sinful actions ; nor a fountain more freely 
bubble up its water, than a habit of grace springs up in holy actions. For 
shall the workmanship of God be more unapt to the proper end of it, than 
the workmanship of the devil, since good works are the end of God's new 
creating us, that we should walk in them ? Walking is a natural motion : 
Eph. ii. 10, ' We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works.' 
A well dressed vine doth not more naturally bring forth grapes, than a soul 
rooted in Christ doth the fruits of the spirit ; neither doth the sun more 
naturally enlighten the world with its beams, than the new creature shoots 
forth its desires and affections to God ; for it is impossible but this habit 
should tend to him, since it is planted by him. The new creature's services 
are his meat and drink, not his work ; it is as natural to him to do it, as 
for a creature to desire and take its proper food ; you need not hire a child 
to suck, by the promises of fine things, it will naturally, without imitation, 
take the breast. The new creature having a righteous and just nature, 
cannot but do righteous things ; nothing can act against its nature, while 
nature is orderly, and not disturbed by some disease or frenzy. As God, 
whose image a regenerate man bears, cannot but do good, because his nature 
is goodness : Rom. vi. 2, ' How can you that are dead to sin, live any longer 
therein ?' He can no more naturally do it than a dead man can walk. Not 
but that there are some mistakes sometimes, which proceed not from nature, 
but from some obstructing humour. Nature doth not err in its right course 
unless hindered by some adversary ; the errors renewed men are subject to pro- 
ceed not from the regenerate principle in them, but from that remainder of cor- 
ruption which by degrees is weakened by the other, and at last wholly put off. 

(2.) It is voluntarily active. There is a kind of natural necessity of 
motion, from life and habit, yet also a voluntary choice; it is a power which 
constrains and inclines the will : Ps. ex. 3. The apostle tells us there was 
a ' necessity laid upon him to preach the gospel,' 1 Cor. ix. 16, yet it was 
not a compulsion, but a voluntary act, after his will was changed. The new 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. Ill 

creature is not constrained from without, but flows freely, is not forced ; the 
chief work is upon the will, the proper effect of any work upon the will is 
voluntariness. The Spirit works to make it willing; its motion then is not by 
compulsion : there is a sweet necessity of the new nature, and a gracious choice 
of will, which meet together and kiss each other ; a natural, not a coactive 
necessity. How freely doth the soul, winged with grace, move to and for 
God, as a bird in the air ! With what a free and ready spirit doth the new 
creature go to prayer, reading, and hearing ! How freely doth it breathe in 
the air of heaven ! Not spurred by outward interest, or dragged by the 
threatenings of the law, nor chid to it by the clamours of conscience ; but 
gently moved to it, and upheld by it, by a soft, and dove-like, and ' free 
spirit,' Ps. li. 12. How great is the difference between the flowing of a 
fountain and the dropping of a sponge ; one is free, the other squeezed : 
between a statue drawn upon wheels, and a living motion ; one moves, the 
other is moved. Our Saviour, by washing us from our sins in his own blood, 
• hath made us kings and priests unto God,' Rev. i. 6. First kings, put- 
ting into the new creature a royal and magnanimous frame, as he did into 
Saul when he advanced him to the kingdom ; and then priests, to offer sacri- 
fices to God with this royal and generous spirit. So that it is as trouble- 
some to a soul, having this royal spirit, to omit things proper to this frame, 
as it is for a legalist to do them. Therefore where there are frequent omis- 
sions of duty, or a constant dulness in it, it shews the want of this kingly 
frame, and consequently that we are not washed from our sins in the blood of 
Christ. There is both such a nature and such a choice, that as the apostle 
saith, 2 Cor. xiii. 8, ' We can do nothing against the truth, but for the 
truth.' So the new creature cannot but do the things which are holy, just, 
and good, so far as he is regenerate, were there no rule without to guide 
him, because he hath a habit of holiness with him, a will set to the right 
point. His former state made him have an aversion from holy services ; 
this makes all spiritual duties connatural to him. So that it is as irksome 
for him to live without God in the world, as before it was to live with him ; 
he can as soon strip himself of his own soul, as act, from a renewed prin- 
ciple, contrary to God and righteousness. 

(3.) It is fervently active. The nobler the being of anything is, the greater 
degree of activity it is attended with ; the more spiritual the quality, the more 
vigorous the effect. Both the spirituality of the principle, excellency of the 
object, and affection to the end, conspire together to increase this activity. 
The principle is spiritually vital ; the operation therefore is vigorous : the 
object is God as amiable ; the warmer therefore the zeal ; the acts are, 
loving God, trusting in God, depending on God, promoting his kingdom in 
the heart, acts delightful in themselves, delightful in their issue, the motion 
in them more quick ; the end is the glory of God, the happiness of the 
creature ; the higher the end, the more elevated the soul. There is an 
innate principle in everything to preserve its happiness ; it is as natural as 
life itself. Inanimate creatures are endued with this nature. The flame 
aspires to heaven, and waves on this and that side greedily, to catch what may 
supply a fuel ; much more will other creatues act vehemently for that which 
preserves their being: the toad to its plantain, the swallow to its celandine, 
the babe to the breast, and the Christian to the word. There is in the new 
creature an impetus and force settled in the soul to do good. It is a baptism 
of fire following that with water. The Spirit is first as water, washing us 
f om our filth; then as fire, quickening us with grace : Mat. iii. 11, * I baptize 
you with water, he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.' 
In this respect it is likened to creatures of the greatest activity, fire, wind, 

112 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

a spring of living water ; what more active in the rank of corporeal beings 
than fire and wind, either above or in the bowels of the earth ? Witness the 
many stately buildings speedily consumed by the one or overthrown by the other. 
The new principle in the creature fills every part, dissolves the hard, melts 
the lumpish leaden heart, and makes it moveable in the ways of God with a 
glowing heat. But above this there is a higher denomination ; the new 
creature is called spirit : John hi. 6, ' That which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit ; ' that is, a spiritual creature. The activity of a spirit doth uncon- 
ceivably surmount that of a body ; what vast strides can a spirit take in a 
moment, from heaven to earth ! The habit of sin in respect of its vehemency 
to evil is called a spirit, ' a spirit of whoredom,' Hosea iv. 12 ; as well as 
the habit of grace, in respect of its vehemency to good, ' a spirit of love,' 
2 Tim. i. 7. How active is the new creature in its motion to God ! It can 
fly in a thought from earth to heaven, enter the bosom of God, clasp about 
him, hold him fast, even till almightiness bids him let him alone. Where 
there are rivers of living water in the belly, they will flow, John vii. 38 ; 
-where there is a divine habit, the soul will have a paraoxysm of divine heat 
for the glory [of] God, Acts xvii. 16. Paul's spirit was stirred in him upon 
the sight of the Athenians' idolatry. If created to good works, then not to 
a dull and sluggish motion in them ; this was not the intendment of the 
Creator, and therefore not the disposition of the creature. 

(4.) It is unboundedly active. This new creature's desires are as large as 
his nature, he cannot be bound up in the narrow and contracted motions of 
his former disposition. The natural activity of the soul overflows, like a 
swelled river, ah natural bounds, since it is possessed by a spiritual habit. 
A man without a habit in an art, doth but bungle at his work, is quickly 
tired, desponds of attaining what he would ; but he that hath a habit, sup- 
pose of mathematical knowledge, finds one proposition following upon 
another, one deduction rising up from another, that he hath a largeness, he 
knows not where to end ; so the new creature finds one affection coming 
upon the neck of another many times in transports and out-goings to God, 
which knows no limits. It is unboundedly active ; — 

[1.] In affections to God. The new creature would be as unlimited in 
its affections to God, as God is in his affection to him. It will not fix lower 
than the object it hath pitched upon in heaven ; all its operations tend 
thither ; nothing below can give them a cessation, though they may suffer an 
interruption ; it flies up, and is pulled back ; it mounts again and again, 
follows hard on after the Lord. His affections are larger than his ability. 
' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none in earth that I desire 
besides thee,' Ps. lxxiii. 25. He seems to scorn everything else in compari- 
son of God, though it were an angel, like a man that makes haste to some 
mark, turns the impediments on this side and that side. The new creature 
puts by the temptations of the flesh and the world, to make its way into the 
bosom of God, the centre of its rest, and the boundless limit of its soul. 
The sun, so many thousand miles distant from us, sends its rays as far as 
the lowest valley of the earth ; and the new creature, the dartings of his 
soul to the highest heavens. ' Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty,' 2 Cor. iii. 16, 17, the veil is taken away, it ' beholds, as in a glass, 
the glory of the Lord ; ' like an eagle, mounts up as near as it can to the 
sun, peers upon it till its eyes be dazzled with its brightness ; he is never 
glutted with the views of him ; his desires for him are never bounded but 
bv him ; one breathing after another, that he may fill God, as it were, with 
his affections, as he is filled by him with his Spirit. In his obedience, too, 
he would have his ' heart enlarged,' that he may ' run,' not creep, in the 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 113 

ways of God's commandments, Ps. cxix. 32 ; it is his grief that he cannot 
keep pace with God's commandments ; it is his joy that God flies upon the 
wings of the wind to him, and his sorrow that he cannot fly upon the wings 
of the wind to God. He groans under his dulness, and his pleasure consists 
much in a liberty in God's service. 

[2.] In disaffection to sin. He hates that body of death which hinders 
the accomplishment of the desires of his soul, and regards it at no other 
rate than his fetter, disease, and torture. He is discomposed when he meets 
with any check in his religious course ; it is a violence to his new nature, 
and he cannot bear it without regret. His anger and impatience rises with 
as much force against any obstacle to a free converse with God, as it did 
before against any impediment in the way of his lust. Nature is restless 
till it hath got the conquest of the disease and corrupt humours of the body. 
Neither can a new creature be at quiet, till all that is against the interest of 
the new nature be purged out ; and to that purpose he daily knocks at 
heaven gates for new strength and recruits of power against sin in the 
spiritual conflict. It is a trouble to him that he hath not as full a sense of 
his own corruptions as he would, and therefore he goes frequently to God 
to beg new discoveries of sin, that he may fetch his enemy out of his holds 
and skulks, and beat it to death ; for by this habit the understanding is more 
quick in discerning the first rising of any sinful motion, and sensible of the 
least touch contrary to the new interest of it. 

(5.) The new nature is powerfully active. There is not only an unbounded 
affection, but there is a power inherent in this habit to enable the soul to 
act ; all habits add strength to the faculty. It is therefore called ' might in 
the inner man,' Eph. iii. 16 ; and a ' spirit of power,' 2 Tim. i. 7. It is 
put as a stock into the heart, to maintain the acts of holiness ; as there is 
a stock of sap in the root to produce branches and fruit. A power of acting 
is alway united with a form, and rooted in it. In regard the new nature is 
implanted by a higher cause than any moral habits, even by the Spirit of 
God, it must be able to do more than any moral nature can ; and being 
more excellent than moral nature, must produce more excellent operations, 
otherwise it were not of a more excellent kind, if it had not a more excellent 
power. Jesus Christ was appointed to be a quickening Spirit, to convey a 
powerful life, to enable us to live to God. ' The kingdom of God ' in the 
heart, as well as that in the world, ' is not in word, but in power,' 2 Cor. 
iv. 20. Move steel as often as you will, you can never make it of itself move 
towards the north ; but by the impression made on it by the loadstone, there 
is a power derived to turn and stand that way of its own accord. By nature 
we are 'without strength,' Rom. v. 6, because without life, Eph. ii. 1. But 
in the renewing there is strength conveyed together with life ; an ability to walk 
in God's statutes, conveyed with the new heart ; out of weakness the soul is 
made strong ; and the grace within, in concurrence with the supplies of the 
Spirit, is sufficient for it. It is not only an outward strength, as is from a 
staff in a sick man's hand, but an inward might. But besides this inherent 
strength there is an adherent ability ; for Christ, who is his life, Col. iii. 4, 
is also his strength : Philip, iv. 13, ' I can do all things through Christ 
which strengthens me.' So that whatsoever active power is wanting in itself 
can be supplied by the head. And therefore the new creature hath a kind 
of almighty power of activity, by the communication of another, which is called 
a greatness of power, and a mighty power which works towards them, or, ug 
jyi&e, in them that believe, Eph. i. 19. This power doth reside in the 
heart, and this adherent power is ready for it, but neither of them is alway 


114 chaknock's woeks. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

perceptible, but upon some emergency, as a sound man hath a greater power 
to act tban be puts fortb upon all occasions. 

(6.) It is easily active. Since tbat motion to God, and for God, is con- 
natural and voluntary, and a power and ability also in tbe new creature, it 
must follow tbat tbe motion is very easy. Habits are to strengthen tbe 
faculty, and facilitate tbe acting of it. Bubbling is no pain to a fountain ; 
rivers of water flow out of tbe belly easily, because naturally. Tbe motion 
of tbis babit is as easy as tbe motion of tbe lungs, or tbe pulse of tbe 
artery ; tbougb constant, yet not troublesome or painful in itself, but by 
reason of some imparted humour settled in them. This stock of grace is 
called the unction : 1 John ii. 20, ' But you have an unction from the Holy 
One ; ' the inward oiling the soul, as oil communicates agility to tbe body. 
This unction some understand of habitual grace conveyed from the Holy One 
by the Spirit. As this unction upon our Saviour was the cause of his activity 
for God in doing good,- — Acts x. 38, ' God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with 
the Holy Ghost and with power ; who went about doing good,'— so it being 
the same in the new creature, will have the like effect upon him. Super- 
natural motions are as easy, by the strength of a supernatural habit, as natural 
motions are by the strength of natural habits. A bird doth with as much 
ease fly upward as a beast walks upon the ground, and the seed doth with as 
much ease spring up, and put its ear out of the ground, as a bitter root doth 
its unwholesome fruits and flowers. So when the soul is filled with this new 
habit, the walks in the ways of God are as easy by virtue of it as a course of 
sin and folly was before. Tbe yoke of itself is easy, Mat. xi. 30, and the 
motion under a light yoke cannot be grievous. The very yoke is not a 
shackle and burden, but a privilege. There is indeed some reluctancy some- 
times, which ariseth not from the will as renewed, but from some evil habits 
resident in tbe soul, not yet fully conquered by renewing grace. You know 
bow tbe apostle Paul doth distinguish between tbe posture of his will, and 
the interruptions by that sin which dwelt in him, Bom. vii. 18-20. 

(7.) It is pleasantly active. 'Udv fih to -/.ccra <pii6iv, saith the philosopher. 
As all actions which flow from life are pleasant, so those which flow from a 
divine life in the soul. It is a joy to a just man to do judgment, Prov. 
xxi. 15. That is, the entire inclination of the soul stands right to such 
actions; and as much a joy to him to do judgment, when enabled thereunto 
by a gracious babit, as it is to a sinful man under tbe bonds of iniquity to 
commit it. His soul leaps as much at an opportunity of pleasing God, as 
John Baptist did in his mother's womb at tbe appearance of Christ, as 
much as his heart sprang up before at the proposal of a sinful object. Never 
did tbe sun naturally rejoice so much ' like a strong man to run its race' in 
the heavens, Ps. xix. 5, as the new man doth spiritually rejoice to run his race 
to heaven. It is a mighty pleasure to have our spiritual enemies under our 
feet, to be estranged from them. It is the purest delight to comply with 
God, and be embosomed in him. He is swallowed up in these choicer 
pleasures, as a man that bath had his full draughts of learning is in bis 
studies, whence his diseases cannot draw him, though in his childish time 
he counted them his task and burden.* The delights of an heart seasoned 
with habitual grace are more ravishing than all the pleasures of sense, 
because they arise from an habit planted in the soul by that Spirit which is 
a Spirit of joy as well as of grace. The fatness of God's house, the sacrifices 
presented by him, are his delight, and he drinks of a river of pleasure in his 
very acts of worship : Ps. xxxvi. 8, ' They shall be abundantly satisfied with 
tbe fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of tbe rivers of 
* Jacks, vol. iii. chap. 27, p. 474 ; &c. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 115 

thy pleasures.' ' In keeping thy commandments there is great reward,' 
Ps. xix. He finds much sweetness in the very acts of worship. Ah, how 
can the motions of the habits of sin, under the quarrels of conscience, yield 
as much delight as the habits of grace under the breathings of the Spirit ! 
The very marks of Christ in his body are his delight and triumph. He 
takes pleasure in distresses for Christ's sake : 2 Cor. xii. 10, saith the apostle, 
' I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, 
in distresses for Christ's sake.' The motions of his soul to Christ are his 
life and joy. He chides his soul that her flights to Christ are not so strong 
as Christ's flights to him. He would have a delight in doing the will of 
God's precept, as Christ had in doing the will of the mediatory command. 
He rejoices in his breathings after God, though he wants him, and is glad 
his soul can have any flights towards him though he cannot find him. The 
tabernacles of God are amiable, when his ' heart and his flesh cries out for 
the liviug God: ' Ps. lxxxiv. 1,2,' How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord! 
my soul longs, yea, even faints for the courts of the Lord.' And when, by 
reason of some distemper, he cannot move so readily, some disease fetters 
him, some corruption hath cast a clog upon him, yet he delights in the 
thoughts of what he had, as a man in the former converses with his friend, 
though now at a distance, and cheers up his soul with the thoughts that he 
will again return: Ps. xlii. 5, 11, 'Why art thou cast down, my soul? 
hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him.' He grieves because he at 
present cannot do what he would, and hopes for another frame, and rejoices 
in the faith that he shall repossess it : 'He will turn again,' &c, Micah 
vii. 19. A natural man without an habit of grace may move in some ways 
outwardly good, but with some reluctance, and without any pleasure in the 
goodness of the thing enjoined, or the goodness of that God who enjoins it. 
He may have a sudden inclination to do a good action, but he is nut pleased 
with that inclination itself. Ahab's humiliation was good in itself, no doubt, 
but Ahab was pleased with it, but not as it was a humiliation, or had a like- 
ness to a gracious action, or a tendency to the pleasing God, but as it was 
a means of removing the judgment threatened, so that his pleasure was only 
in the issue of it ; but a gracious soul is pleased with the habit itself, for he 
considers it as the perfection of his nature, regards it as an ancient inmate, 
though separated from his nature by Adam's degeneracy, as friends long absent 
rejoice in one another. When this rectitude is in part restored, and under- 
stood to be of kin to it by creation, but lost and now returned, there must 
needs be an high complacency in the soul, and a joyful compliance with it. 
And the stronger and more vigorous this inward rectitude is in habit, the 
more pleasure a man hath in the exercise of it. As God, who is infinitely 
righteous in all his ways and in all his works, has an infinite pleasure in the 
exercise of this righteousness, and an infinite loathing of what is contrary to 
it, because it is his infinite nature, so the stronger the habit in a man, the 
more contentment there is in the exercise of it, because his nature is more 
elevated. And what is natural is delightful ; and the more natural, the more 
delightful. Mercy is natural to God, therefore he delights in it; and because 
infinitely natural, therefore he doth infinitely delight in it. 

Well 'then, since all the motions of nature are pleasant, the new nature is 
not inferior in the pleasure of acting to any other nature whatsoever. It 
being the perfectest nature, must beget the most delightful operations. 
What a pleasure is it to draw near to God, to melt before him, to pour out a 
prayer to him, and dissolve itself into love and affection in any address to him ! 

(8.) It is a permanent activity. There is a spring of perpetual motion. 
The fountain doth constantly bubble. The sun doth constantly move, 

116 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

because naturally. Whatsoever is natural is constant in its posture ; * fire 
perpetually burns, and water perpetually cools. What is the essential property 
of a thing doth competere semper. A man is alway rational, and ready to act 
reason ; if there be any indisposition, it is not in the soul, but in the organ 
or ill habit of the body, which doth obstruct the motions of the soul, and is 
an unfit instrument for it to act by. This habit is not a passion, but a prin- 
ciple ; not a motion, but a spring of uniform motion ; it is wrought in the 
nature, and like the heart is continually beating. The principle is per- 
manent, it is an abiding anointing, 1 John ii. 27, it is settled by God, given 
to us in Christ, backed and assured by the earnest of the Spirit in the heart, 
where this habit is seated. All is expressed, 1 Cor. i. 21, 22, ' Now he 
which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who 
hath also (that is, beside this) sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit 
in our hearts.' It is a life and habit more fixed than that in Adam : his 
life depended upon the rectitude of his soul, but this depends principally 
upon the power of the Spirit, and the everlasting life of Christ. It is a water 
which quencheth all thirst, and never leaves springing till it mount up to 
eternal life, John iv. 14 ; it is perpetually active and springing, till it be 
swallowed up in glory, as rivers in the sea. Others may move by some 
wires, and have some strains of a natural religion, by some sudden impulses 
which touch the strings and faculties of the soul ; but the wires break, the 
touch ceaseth, and the motion with it, it hath no living spring. Nay, some- 
times those motions in natural men under the gospel may be more quick, 
and warm, and violent for a time than the natural motion of this habit ; as 
the motion of a stone out of a sling is quicker than that of life, but faints by 
degrees, because it is from a force impressed, not implanted and inherent in 
the nature. They are just like water heated by the fire, which hath a fit of 
warmth, and may heat other things ; but though you should heat it a thou- 
sand times, the quality, not being natural, will vanish, and the water return 
to its former coldness. But the new heart being in the new creature, causeth 
him to walk in the statutes of God, not by fits and starts, but with an uni- 
form and harmonical motion, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, 'Ye shall keep my judgments 
and do them ; ' you shall treasure them in your minds and act them in your 
lives. Not but that there are in the new creature some faintings ; it is 
sometimes more vigorous, sometimes more weak in its motion ; it hath its 
sicknesses ; it meets with wounds, but none of them to death. Every one 
that is born of the Spirit is like the wind, John iii. 8, it moves and blusters, 
and when you think it is passed away, it returns, resumes its force, and you 
feel as stiff a motion as you did before. A man is never weary of that 
which is habitual to him. There may be a weariness in duty and service, 
but not a weariness of it, so as to throw it off; but after he hath refreshed 
and recruited himself, his habit will put him upon a delightful return to it. 
Where the ways of God are in the heart habitually, such shall go from strength 
to strength, till they appear in Sion, though there may be some rests and 
intermissions by the way: Ps. lxxxiv. 5, 6, ' In whose heart are the ways of 
them ; ' some read, ' the high way of God in their hearts,' more consonant 
to the Hebrew. 

(9.) It is an orderly motion and activity. Natural motions are orderly. 
As affirmative precepts bind semper, but not ad semper, so this habit enables 
the soul semper, but not ad semper ; I mean, not to this or that service at 
all times. Natural things have their stated times, places, and measures. 
As trees bring forth fruit in their season, so doth the new creature bring 

* The philosopher saith of an habit, olx. ibxlwrov, obx ibu.ira.p,o\ov—Aristot. Categ., 
cap. 5. 


forth fruit ' in his season,' Ps. i. 3, in a season proper for that fruit. It is 
alway producing some fruit or other, according to the particular seasons, 
sometimes love, sometimes humility, sometimes patience. This habit is 
ready at hand, whence he draws out fruits new and old.* As God doth all 
things in weight, and number, and measure, so doth this habit of his own 
implanting. As God gives every creature meat in due season, so the new 
creature renders God his fruit in due season. As a wicked man is always 
acting sin, sometimes one, sometimes another, according to the seasons of 
them, so doth this habit in the new creature act grace, sometimes one, 
sometimes another. 

From all these things put together there follows, 

1. A predominancy of grace in the new creature. As a state of nature 
consists in the prevalency of the corrupt habit which leavens the whole 
man, so the state of grace in a predominancy of the gracious habit, which 
spreads itself over the whole soul, striving with the powerful opposite, which 
in part resides there still. It is a habit put in to mate and destroy that habit 
of sin which was there before ; the soul by it is made alive from the dead : 
Rom. vi. 13, ' Yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead.' 
Life triumphs over death, grace over nature, whereby the members become 
instruments of righteousness unto God, instead of being instruments of un- 
righteousness unto sin. It is put in to guide reason and will, and therefore 
is invested with the sovereign power. As sense was first in man, but that 
veiled when reason stepped into the throne, as being a more excellent prin- 
ciple than sense, so must reason descend and give place to grace when that 
comes in, as being a more excellent principle than reason. It is reason it 
should have the sovereignty, for it doth but regain its own right, and take 
possession, which by the law of creation it ought to have kept till violently 
ejected by man. He that hath this habit hath a spirit of might as well as 
of the fear of the Lord ; the same spirit which was in Christ, which is a 
' spirit of might,' Isa. xi. 2. ' They that are Christ's have crucified the 
flesh, with the affections and lusts,' Gal. v. 24 : have, not shall. As soon 
as ever they are Christ's, which they are by this principle, a deadly wound 
is given to siu ; such a one scorns to have anything more to do with idols, 
Hosea xiv. 8. He overcomes the world : 1 John v. 4, ' Whatsoever is born 
of God overcomes the world.' He can do all things : enter the lists with 
the strongest Goliath, repel the sharpest temptations, through Christ which 
strengthens him, Philip, iv. 13, so that grace is predominant. 

2. There follows from hence a difficulty to sin. No creature can easily 
act against a rooted habit ; how hard is it to make a beast do that which is 
different from and contrary to his nature ! To act contrary to nature is 
burdensome and intolerable. What creature would willingly change its 
element? Will a bird sink of its own accord into the water, or a fish 
delight to leap upon the land, whose only element is the water ? ^ What 
creature would court the destruction of its iife ? What man would willingly 
deform and gash his own body ? Men never do so by nature, but when 
frenzy hath dispossessed them of their reason. Sin must dispossess a Chris- 
tian of his grace before it can be easy for him to run into ways destructive 
to his nature and blessedness. That principle which is in all natures must 
be more eminently in the highest nature, and proportionably in every nature 
that is of nearest approach to it. Righteousness and holiness is the very 
constitution of the new creature : Eph. iv. 24, ' That new man, which after 
God is created in righteousness and true holiness.' It is as impossible for the 
new creature to sin by the influence of habit, as for fire to moisten by the 

* Dr Goodwin, Vanity of Thoughts, p. 14. 

118 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

quality of heat, or water to burn by the quality of cold. It is as impossible 
for that habit to bring forth the fruits of sin, as for the sun to be the cause 
of darkness, or a sweet fig-tree to bring forth sour fruit. Yet as there is 
darkness in the air, though the sun be up, by the interposition of thick clouds, 
so is there darkness in the new creature from the habit of sin in the soul, 
which is not only a lodger, but an unwelcome inhabitant : Rom. vii. 20, 
' Sin that dwells in me' still, and acts according to its nature, though much 
over-powered and weakened by degrees by that habit of grace. Therefore 
it is a hard thing for him to sin : 1 John hi. 9, ' He cannot sin.' It is as 
hard for him to contradict the new nature as before to cross the old : ' I 
cannot do this wickedness,' saith Joseph ; it is against the frame and dispo- 
sition of my soul. 

(1.) It must be difficult to sin against 'purpose of heart,' which is the 
lowest step of the new nature, Acts xi. 23, though it be not hard to sin 
against a flashy resolve. 

(2.) It is hard for a man to sin who hath cordially chosen God for his 
portion, which every new nature doth, with a fixed resolution to keep his 
word : Ps. cxix. 57, ' Thou art my portion, Lord : I have said that I would 
keep thy word.' When it is carried out with a free motion to God, it cannot 
easily be diverted from that charming object ; he cannot but value any diver- 
sion at no better a rate than that of punishment. 

(3.) It is difficult for him to contradict the new habit, wherewith he is so 
highly pleased, and which he is assured hath nothing but happiness in the 
womb of it. 

(4.) It must be difficult for him to act that which, by virtue of this habit, 
he is daily in the mortification of. 

(5.) It is difficult for the habit of sin in him to do the same acts after it 
hath received a deadly wound, as for a wounded man to do that which he 
could when he was sound. 

(6.) This nature cannot be in a man without an universal enmity to sin, 
though it may without an universal victory ; this belongs to the perfection 
of it, but enmity to the very constitution of it: Gen. hi. 15, 'I will put 
enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.' He 
can at the best but half sin, and scarce that ; he could not commit sin very 
freely before, because of the reluctancy of natural conscience ; he can less 
freely do it now, since there is a habit of grace in him, which doth more 
powerfully fly in the face of sin when it appears ; therefore there can be but 
a partial will to it or delight in it. The new man in the heart can never do 
it ; the old man remaining cannot fully do it, because of the contradiction it 
receives from the new habit. If he doth at any time sin, this new nature 
can no more be pleased with it than the nature of a man is with the poison 
which he hath wilfully taken, which will contest with it, and endeavour to 
expel it, whether a man will or no. So that if a new creature be catched at 
a disadvantage, and be bemired by the remaining habit of sin in the heart, 
his spirit is wounded, his soul bleeds, his conscience upbraids him, he is 
displeased with himself and with his sin, runs to God, seareheth into him- 
self, calls heaven and earth to his assistance, sharpens his spiritual weapons, 
and by virtue of this habit in him is dissatisfied, and in little ease, till he 
hath overcome this rebellion of lust, dispossessed it, removed the guilt, and 
cast out the filth. 

4. As we have considered this work as a change, a vital principle, a habit, 
so we will consider it as a law put into the heart. Every creature hath a law 
belonging to its nature, so hath the new creature. Man hath a law of reason, 
beasts a law of sense and instinct, plants a law of vegetation, inanimate 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 119 

creatures a law of motion. A new creature bath a law put into his heart : 
Jer. xxxi. 23, ' I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their 
hearts,' cited by the apostle, Heb. viii. 10. It is called the ' law of the 
mind,' Kom. vii. 23, it beginning first in the illumination of that faculty. 
As sin begun first in a false judgment made of the precept of God, ' You shall 
be as gods, knowing good and evil.' 

Now, as to this law put into the heart, you may know what is meant by 
it in some popositions. 

(1.) This law of the mind, or law written in the heart, is not wholly the 
same with the law of nature. Some* indeed tell us that it is nothing but 
the law of right reason. But certainly they are mistaken, — it is a law of 
grace. The law of nature was the law of a covenant of works, this law of 
the mind is the law of the covenant of grace. The law of nature is in all 
men, this law of grace only in some ; the law of nature was in Paul before 
his conversion, this law of the mind was in him upon his conversion. The 
law of nature consists not of faith in a mediator, but faith is a main part of 
the law of grace. The law of nature acquaints not a man with the know- 
ledge of all sins, not with unbelief; this law of grace doth, for the conviction 
of this is a work of the Spirit : John xvi. 8, 9, ' Of sin, because they believe 
not in me.' The law of nature is the general work of the mediator in all 
men, ' who enlightens every man that comes into the world,' John. i. 9. 
This is the peculiar work of the Mediator, by his Spirit, in the hearts of 
those that believe ; the law of nature doth not oppose sin as sin, this law of 
grace doth ; the law of nature is no part of sanctification, for this is in men 
that are born of the flesh, are flesh still ; but the law of the mind is a part of 
sanctification, and wars against the law of the members ; there is indeed a 
war and a contest from the law of nature against some gross sins, but not 
against the law of sin in the members. As sin wars against the law of the 
mind, as a law of direction, so the law of the mind, or the law of grace, wars 
against sin, as it is a law which pretends to guide and order the ways of a man. 

(2.) Yet it is the restoring of that law which was the law of nature origin- 
ally. It is a renewing in the heart that law which was writ in the heart of 
Adam : Eph. iv. 24, ' That new man, which after God is created in right- 
eousness and true holiness ;' or after God was created -/.riGOhra, alluding to 
that righteousness wherein Adam was created, lost by him, and restored by 
Christ. This righteousness which Adam had was the righteousness of the 
law : holiness towards God, which includes the duties of the first table ; 
righteousness, including the duties of the second table ; and truth being 
added (as it may be referred both to holiness and righteousness), shews the 
sincerity of it in the manner and the end of being holy to God and right- 
eous to man. This was the law written in the heart originally, which was 
defaced by the fall ; and whatsoever relics there were of this law in man, 
were only upon the account of the mediation of Christ ; it is this law which 
is new engraven in the soul by regeneration. God doth not say, I will write 
another law in their hearts, but ' my law,' Jer. xxxi. 33, — that which was 
my standing law, my law to Adam, and to your fathers. The law written 
in the heart is not substantially distinct from that in the nature of Adam. 
Man by his fall did blot this law, lost his righteousness, had an enmity in 
his heart to it, and to the very relics of it. He is not natun.lly subject to 
the law, nor can be, as it is the law of God, because of his enmity to God, 
Rom. viii. 7 ; the law of sin had taken place instead of it. Regeneration is 
a taking down the law of sin, and fixing the law of God in its due place and 

* Taylor's Excmp., preface, p. 39. 

120 chaknock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

(3.) This law is written in the heart wholly. The whole law, every 
command which hath the print of God upon it, is written there. As God 
writ his whole law in tables of stone, so he writes the whole law in the 
1 fleshly tables of the heart,' 2 Cor. hi. 3. It is true holiness and righteous- 
ness ; true, as to its essential and integral parts. God doth not write one 
part of the law upon the heart, and leave out another ; it is not a moiety 
of it, the impression of one command, and the defect of another. If it were 
not the whole law, something belonging to the essence of a new creature would 
be wanting. It would not be a new creature, because it would be a monster, 
wanting something necessarily requisite to the constitution of it, and would 
not be a new creature according to the original copy. Where there is an 
agreeableness in one nature to another, it is to the whole nature, the nature 
of the soul to the nature of the law. 

(4.) This law written in the heart doth not make the outward law useless, 
for that is still a rule. This inward law written in the heart is a conformity 
to the outward rule, and therefore is not a rule itself. The law in the heart 
is imprinted by the external word in the hand of the Spirit ; and therefore 
to tiy the truth of the law within, we must have recourse to the law written. 
If a man hath any notions of any human law, he must consult the law 
written, to know whether his notions of it be right, and whether his actions 
be according to the letter and reason of the law or no. As the law of sin 
within a man is not the rule of judging of sin, but the law of God, so 
neither is the law of grace within the rule of judging good, but the word of 
God. The law within, though it be commensurate to the law in its essential 
parts, yet it is imperfect as yet ; but a rule ought to be perfect, Ps. xix. 7, 
and so the written law is. It is this law written in the word that we are to 
take heed to, for the cleansing of our ways : Ps. cxix. 9, ' Thy word have 
I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.' When this writing 
of the law in the heart was promised, ver. 11, there was also an inward 
teaching promised : Jer. xxxi. 32, ' And they shall teach no more every 
man his neighbour, saying, Know the Lord ;' which is spoken in regard of 
the abundance of the knowledge which should be in the time of gospel light, 
above what was in the twilight of Jewish ceremonies ; so that the weak- 
est Christian under the gospel knows more of God and his attributes in 
Christ, than the greatest Jewish doctor did before the coming of Christ. 
This was not so understood by Christ, as if teaching others were utterly use- 
less ; for then why should he institute apostles, pastors, teachers, &c, and 
promise to be with them to the end of the world, if this promise of inward 
teaching made outward teaching useless ? In like manner, neither doth the 
writing the law in the heart make the outward written law useless, but rather 
it doth establish and advance it, and the esteem of it. The outward law is 
the rule, as the model of a house is the rule by which a carpenter is to make 
a building, and to which he is to conform that idea he hath in his mind of 
it ; but that idea or figure of it which he hath in his mind, is to be suited to 
that rule which is prescribed to him in the outward pattern ; and therefore 
that pattern is to be consulted with. The law of God is of eternal duration; 
and as it is a law of holiness and love of God, doth oblige every reason- 
able creature, in what condition soever he be, whether of nature, grace, or 

Quest. Wherein doth this writing of the law in the heart consist ? 

Avs. (1.) In an inward knowledge of the law, and approbation of it in the 
understanding. The knowledge of righteousness and the being of the law in 
the heart, are put together as the proper character of the people of God : 
Isa. li. 5, ' Hearken to me, ye that, know righteousness, the people in whose 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 121 

heart is my law.' Lest they should think a knowledge were enough, he adds, 
' In whose heart is my law ;' not in the head, but in the heart. There is 
in a renewed understanding, a principle teaching how to make use of the 
law. It is like the inward skill of a pilot, who guides the ship by the 
compass and rudder. The outward law is the compass by which we must 
steer ; the inward law is the practical knowledge of this ; an inward skill to 
make application of it to particular occasions. The word of God being a 
seed, doth, as every seed, produce a being like itself, and like that plant 
whose seed it is ; from the seed of corn ariseth a grain of the same nature. 
This seed being sown first in the understanding, is there cherished, and 
grows up in principles and thoughts agreeable to itself, whereby the mind 
becomes the epistle of Christ, 2 Cor. iii. 3, and an ark to preserve the tables 
of the law ; whence David speaks of his soul keeping God's testimonies, 
Ps. cxix. 167, and not forgetting them, ver. 16. The new creature by its 
new light sees an amiableness in the law, a holiness in the precepts, and 
a filthiness in himself thereby. 

(2.) It consists in an inward conformity of the heart to the law. The 
soul hath a likeness to the word and doctrine of the gospel within it ; it is 
delivered into that mould : Eom. vi. 17, ' You have obeyed from the heart 
that form of doctrine, into which you were delivered.' He considers the 
gospel as a mould, and the Romans as a metal poured into it, and putting 
on the form of it. As melted metal poured into a mould loses its former 
form, and puts on a new shape, the same figure with the mould into which 
it is poured ; the soul, which before was a servant of sin, and had the 
image of the law of sin, being melted by the Spirit, is cast into the figure 
and form of the law. As when a seal hath made its impression upon wax, 
the stamp in the one answers exactly to the stamp on the other, put the seal 
on again, and they both will meet as close as if they were one body, the 
wax will fill every cavity in the seal ; but put this seal to any impression 
made by another seal, there will be an inequality, the stamp on the seal 
and that on the wax will not close. The law of sin and the law of God, 
being contrary impressions, cannot close together ; but the law of grace in 
the heart and the law of God close, they being but one and the same 
stamp. So that when any command of God appears, a new creature finds 
something within it of kin to it ; as a natural man finds something ready 
to close with sin upon the appearance of it. The heart answers to the 
law as a lock to a key, ward for ward ; sometimes it may not answer but re- 
sist, as a lock doth, because of some rust or some filth got up into it ; but 
then it needs not a new making but a new cleansing, to answer exactly to 
the key of the law. So that as the ' Gentiles, having not the law, are a 
law to themselves,' Eom. ii. 14, having it writ upon their minds in those 
notions common to mankind, so the new creature, if he had not the written 
law, would be a law to himself. So natural is this conformity, that were 
there no law without, the renewed soul would naturally be carried out in the 
ways of holiness. ' The law,' saith the apostle, ' is not made for a right- 
eous man,' 1 Tim. i. 9 ; it is not chiefly intended for the righteous, but for the 
unrighteous, who would not stir one step in any good action without it, and 
will hardly stir with it. There would be no need of any written law in a 
commonwealth, if all men had an exact justice and righteousness in their 
own minds, and did jointly conspire to the good of the community. But 
when disturbers of the peace and common welfare start up, there is need 
then of public laws to restrain them. But there is no need of a public enact- 
ing of a law for them that are good, because what the law enjoins they do 
by their own judgment and inclination. So that what a new creature dot 

122 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

in observance of the law, is from natural freedom, choice, and judgment, 
and not by the force of any threatenings annexed to it. 

(3.) It consists in a strong propension to the obedience of it. As there 
was a strong impetus in the old nature, inclining it to sin, so there is a strong 
impulse in the new nature, biassing it to observe the commands of the 
law. In this respect it is chiefly called a law written in the heart, in re- 
gard of the efficacious virtue of this new nature, sweetly constraining and 
directly conducting to the performance of it. The law without us com- 
mands us, the law within constrains us. That enjoins a thing to be done, 
this inclines us to the doing of it.* The first law is written in the 
Scripture or in the conscience, whereby we judge those commands to be kept ; 
the other consists in the propension of love, or faith working by love. As 
the impulse of concupiscence is called ' the law of sin,' Rom. vii. 25, so the 
impulse of grace is called the law in the heart ; not as a thing distinct from 
the law without, but only a counterpart of it, an indenture answering to the 
other. They are but two parts united between themselves, and compose one 
perfect law ; one as the direction, the other as the practice. That lavs the 
injunction, this embraceth it ; and as naturally from the disposition of the 
new nature as he did embrace the law of sin from the disposition of the 
old. It is a powerful operative law of the Spirit of life, which ' sets us free 
from the law of sin and death,' Rom. viii. 2 ; not a dead letter, but an active 
principle, quickening the heart to close with the law, and delivering it from 
that which was the great hindrance to it. As the devil doth act in men's 
hearts, Eph. ii. 2, not personally, but by a principle in the heart, the law of 
sin, so doth the Spirit of life by the law of grace ; for being writ by a liv- 
ing Spirit, it is a living law. This is the chief intent of the whole new 
creation, to cause us to walk in God's statutes, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. Ps. 
xxxvii. 31, ' The law of God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide.' 
The soul being thus evangelised and spiritualised, may be said to do by 
nature the things contained in the gospel, as the Gentiles are said to do by 
nature the things contained in the law, Rom. ii. 14, because there was a law 
of nature engraven in them. 

(4.) It consists in a mighty affection to the law. What is in the word a 
law of precept, is in the heart a law of love ; what is in the one a law of 
command, is in the other a law of liberty. ' Love is the fulfilling of the 
law,' Gal. v. 14. The law of love in the heart, is the fulfilling the law of 
God in the Spirit. It may well be said to be written in the heart, when a 
man cloth love it. As we say, a beloved thing is in our hearts, not physi- 
cally, but morally, as Calais was said to be in Queen Mary's heart. They 
might have looked long enough before they could have found there the map 
of the town ; but grief for the loss of it killed her. It is a love that is inex- 
pressible. David delights to mention it in two verses together : Ps. cxix. 
47, 48, ' I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved - : 
my hands will I lift up to thy commandments, which I have loved ;' and 
often in that psalm resumes the assertion. Before the new creation, there 
was no affection to the law : it was not only a dead letter, but a devilish let- 
ter in the esteem of a man : he wished it razed out of the world, and another 
more pleasing to the flesh enacted. He would be a law to himself; but 
when this is written within him, he is so pleased with the inscription, that 
he would not for all the world be without that law, and the love of it : 
whereas what obedience he paid to it before, was out of fear, now out of 
affection ; not only because of the authority of the lawgiver, but of the purity 
of the law itself. He would maintain it with all his might against the power 
* Suarez de legib. lib. x. chap. iii. p. 4. 

2 Cor. Y. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 123 

of sin within, and the powers of darkness without him. He loves to view 
this law ; regards every lineament of it, and dwells upon every feature with 
delightful ravishments. If his eye be off, or his foot go away, how doth he 
dissolve in tears, mourn and groan, till his former affection hath recovered 
breath, and stands upon its feet ! If he finds not his heart answering the 
law, he longs after the precepts, as the prophet saith : Ps. cxix. 40, ' I have 
longed after thy precepts, quicken me in thy righteousness.' He longs to 
join hands again with the holiness of them. As his heart is inclined to obey 
it, so it is wounded upon any neglect of it, and never at ease, till he be re- 
duced to his former delight in it. He hath no mind ever to part with it, 
because of its intrinsic goodness, as well as conveniency for him. It is his 
pleasure, not his confinement ; his ornament, not his fetter ; he hates every 
thing that is contrary to it. How doth Paul grieve and groan under ' the 
body of death,' when he considered what opposition ' the law in his mem- 
bers made against the law of his mind' ? Rom. vii. 23, 24. The law in 
his members ' brought him into captivity to the law of sin.' Then, ' Oh 
wretched man that I am !' though he knew he was in part delivered from it. 
How doth he long for a perfect redemption from his shackles, which hin- 
dered him from following the law of his delight ! And he that never mur- 
mured at his sufferings, but could glory in persecutions and death for Christ, 
seems to be impatient till he could hear the last expiring groan of this 
enemy : all which was the effect of his ' delight in the law of God after the 
inward man,' ver. 22. And that this writing the law doth principally con- 
sist in this affection, those two expressions, ' putting the law into the inward 
parts,' and ' writing it in the heart,' intimate. The nature of man being 
enmity against the law of God, the writing it argues, not a change of 
the law, but a change of the frame of the heart to the law, that should 
be so fashioned, that the law should reign there, and all his affections sub- 
scribe to it. As the writing the law in the heart of Christ was nothing else 
but the agreeableness of the mediatory law to him, and his delight in it, Ps. 
xl. 8, so it is with a new creature. 

(5.) It consists in an actual ability to obey. Writing the law in the heart 
implies a putting a power and strength into the soul, enabling it to run the 
ways of God's commandments, as well as to incline the heart and affections 
to them ; the promise is made to the latter times : not but that the ancient 
patriarchs were regenerate, but not by the law, not by any covenant of 
works : this ability did not reside in the law, but was transferred to them 
from the gospel. In this respect it is called ' a letter,' 2 Cor. iii. 6, because 
it did only instruct the eye or ear, when read or heard : this teaches the 
heart ; that a killing letter, this a quickening Spirit ; that exacted the ob- 
servance of its precepts, but writ nothing in the heart to answer it, but con- 
demned upon neglect; this commands the observance of the law, and gives 
an ability evangelically to perform it. That was a ministration of condem- 
nation, this of righteousness, 2 Cor. iii. 9 ; that could do no other but con- 
demn, because it gave no intrinsic power to oberve it. It is through Jesus 
Christ that we are enabled, by virtue of this inward writing, to serve with 
our minds the law of God, though in our flesh we be captivated by the law 
of sin. As an unregenerate man is dragged to any good, but willingly obe- 
dient to the motions of sin, so a regenerate man is sometimes under the 
rape of sin, but is willingly obedient to the motions of grace. So that the 
Jaw is written in the heart, in respect of the assent of the understanding, 
consent of the will, pleasure of the affections : in the understanding, by the 
clearness of the light of faith ; in the will, by the heat of the fire of love. 
In the understanding there is a judicious approbation of it ; in the will, a 

124 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

motion to it, closing with it, and an affection to keep it ; and, according to 
its ability, an endeavour to keep pace with it. 

5. The fifth thing. As there is a vital principle, an habit, a law written 
in the heart, so there is a likeness to God in the new creature. Every 
creature hath a likeness to something or other in the rank of beings : the 
new creature is framed according to the most exact pattern, even God him- 
self. In this the form of regeneration doth consist. The new creature is 
begotten ; begotten, then, in the likeness of the begetter, which is God. As 
sin is tbe impression of Satan's image, which was drawn over all by the fall, 
so renewing grace is tbe impression of the image of God ; for it is a quite 
contrary thing to corruption. This likeness to God was man's original hap- 
piness in creation, and is his restored happiness in redemption : Col. ii. 10, 
' renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.' His 
misery consisted in losing it ; our felicity, therefore, doth consist in recover- 
ing it. Hence it is called a ' divine nature,' 2 Peter i. 4. Every thing 
receives its denomination from the better part. A man is denominated 
rational, though he hath both a sensitive principle common with beasts, and 
a vegetative, or growing principle, common with plants ; so a new creature 
is denominated divine, because grace, a divine principle, is superior in the 
soul. Every perfection in the creature is supposed to be essentially some- 
where. Every impression supposeth a seal that stamped it ; every stream 
a fountain from whence it sprang ; every beam a sun from whence it is shot. 
Grace being the highest perfection of the creature, must be somewhere 
essentially. Where can that be but in God ? His womb and power is 
the womb that bare it, and the breasts which gave it suck. It must then 
have a resemblance to him, as a child to the father, the copy to the ori- 
ginal. We are said to be ' born of God,' 1 John iii. 9. Now to be born 
of any thing is to receive a form like that, which the generating person 
hath. But, 

(1.) It is not a likeness to God in essence : it is no participation of the 
essence of God. It is a nature, not the essence ; a likeness in an inward 
disposition, not in the infinite substance, which is communicated by gene- 
ration only to the Son, and by procession to the Holy Ghost. The divine 
essence is incommunicable to any creature. Infiniteness cannot be repre- 
sented, much less communicated. Man is no more renewed according 
to God's image, than he was at first created according to it, Gen. i. 27 ; 
which was not a communication of the divine essence, but of a righteous- 
ness resembling the righteousness of God, according to the capacity of 
Adam's nature ; which image of God in Adam is by the apostle restrained 
to that of ' righteousness and true holiness,' Eph. iv. 24. The likeness in 
a state of glory is founded upon a sight of God as he is, 1 John iii. 2 ; 
which may more properly be meant of the seeing of Christ as he is in glory ; 
for the apostle goes on in the discourse without naming of Christ ; but 
without question means him, ver. 5, when he saith, that ' he was manifested 
to take away our sins.' We shall be like him, as we shall see him ; there- 
fore not in essence. His essence is concluded by most to be invisible, even 
in glory. How can finite creatures behold an infinite being ? He must be 
God that knows God's essence. We shall understand him in his bowels, as 
a father; in his wise acts, as a governor; in his judicial acts, as a justifier; in 
his merciful acts, as a reconciler. We shall see him in all his relations to us. 
Such a vision we shall have, whatsoever it is, which shall transform us into 
as high a likeness to him as a finite creature is capable of. There can be 
no participation of the substantial perfections of God, which are incommu- 
nicable ; for then it would not be a participation but an identity, oneness, 


or equality. God put in one letter, and the chiefest of his name, Jehovah, 
H, which is twice repeated in it, into the names of Abraham and Sarai, 
reckoned Nehem. ix. 7, as one of his favours to Abraham, but not the whole 
name, that is incommunicable ; and Jacob's name is changed to that of 
Israel, putting in ?N, a communicable name of God. 

(2.) Yet it is a real participation. It is not a picture, but a nature : it 
is divine. God doth not busy himself about apparitions. It is a likeness, 
not only in actions, but in nature. God communicates to the creature a singu- 
lar participation of the divine vision and divine love ; why may he not also give 
some excellent participation of his nature ?* There is a nature ; for there 
is something whereby we are constituted the children of God. A bare affec- 
tion to God doth not seem to do this. Love constitutes a man a friend, not 
a son and heir by generation. The apostle argues, ' If children, then heirs,' 
Rom. viii. 17. He could not argue in a natural way, if friends, then heirs. 
And the Scripture speaks of believers being the children of God, by a spi- 
ritual generation as well as by adoption. So that grace, which doth consti- 
tute one a child of God, is another form whereby a divine nature is commu- 
nicated. Generation is the production of one living thing by another, in 
the likeness of its nature, not only in the likeness of love ; so is regenera- 
tion. Were not a real likeness attainable, why should those exhortations be, 
of being '.holy as God is holy, pure as he is pure' ? 1 Pet. i. 15, 1 John 
iii. 3. The new creature receives the image of God ; not as a glass receives 
the image of a man, which is only an appearance, no real existence ; and 
though it be like the person, yet hath no communion with its nature ; but as 
wax receives the image of the seal, which though it receives nothing of the 
substance, yet receives exactly the stamp, and answers it in every part. So 
the Scriptures represents it: Eph. i. 13, 'You were sealed with that holy 
Spirit of promise.' Something of God's perfections are in the new creature 
by way of quality, which are in God by way of essence. In a word, it 
is as real a likeness to God as the creature is capable of, laid in the first 
draughts of it in regeneration, and completed in the highest measures in 

(3.) It is the whole image of God which is drawn in the new creature. 
It is ' the image of God,' Col. iii. 10, not a part : a foot or a finger is but 
the image of those parts, not of a man. The members in a child answer to 
those in a parent, that is but a chip from the body of his father,, though not 
in so great a proportion. The image of a man hath not only the face, or 
eyes, but the other members. Though a Christian may have one or two 
parts of this image more beautiful than the rest, as a man may have a spark- 
ling eye that hath not a proportionable lip, yet he hath all the members of a 
man. The painter's skill appears in some lineaments more than in others. 
So the Spirit's wisdom appears in making some eminent in one grace, some 
in another, acording to his good pleasure ; yet the whole image of God is 
imprinted there ; it would be else not a likeness, but a monstrous birth in 
defect. ' The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth,' 
Eph. v. 9 ; and therefore the immediate effect of the Spirit in the soul is 
the engraving all goodness, righteousness, and truth in the essential parts of 
it. As God's nature is holy, his perfections holy, his actions holy, so holi- 
ness beautifies the nature, spirits the actions, and is writ upon all the endow- 
ments of a renewed man. There is an impression of the wisdom of God in 
the understanding, and of the holiness of God in the will. 

(4.) It is more peculiarly a likeness to Christ, wherein we partake of his 
nature : ' He that doth righteousness is righteous, as Christ is righteous,' 
* Suarcz dc gra. lib. vi. cap xii. numb. 3, 10. 

126 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

1 John iii. 7. There is a real likeness to Christ in righteousness, though 
not an equal perfection. The new nature is a draught of Christ, something 
of Christ put into the soul, such a likeness to Christ, that it seems to be (as 
it were) another Christ, as the image of the sun seems to be another sun in a 
pail of water, therefore called a ' forming of Christ in us,' Gal. iv. 19. Not 
by any communication of his substance, either of the divine or human nature, 
but by conveying such affections into us, which bear a likeness to the affec- 
tions of Christ. Hence we are exhorted to have ' the same mind which 
Christ had,' Philip, ii. 5, and to ' arm ourselves with the same mind,' 1 Peter 
iv. 1, which supposeth such a mind put into the new creature which he is 
to excite, and put into actual exercise. And the apostle speaks of a con- 
formity to Christ in his death and resurrection, Philip, iii. 10. And God 
did ' predestinate' all his own ' to be comformed to the image of his Son,' 
Rom. viii. 29, e-jfi/Moo^o-og, of the same form and shape. Jesus Christ con- 
formed himself to us, by assuming the human nature ; and God conforms 
us to Christ, by bestowing upon us a divine. Hence we are said to be the 
seed of Christ, Isa. liii. 10 ; not a carnal seed as the Jews say, and therefore 
deny Christ to be the Messiah, because he left no posterity. Whereas seed 
is spiritually understood, as in the first promise, the seed of the serpent or 
the devil. Devils do not beget, but metaphorically, as they instil their 
cursed principles into men ; so Christ sows his principles in us, whereby we 
become his seed. Hence also renewed men are called « his fellows,' Heb. i. 9. 
If fellows with him in the covenant, and fellows with him in glory, fellows 
also with him in his disposition of loving righteousness, and hating iniquity. 
This disposition was the inward motive of his death, and the foundation of 
his advancement. Without this disposition we cannot be conformable to him 
in his death, and consequently not his fellows in his advancement. The new 
creature is a likeness to Christ, therefore called the new man ; as the natural 
man is like to Adam, therefore called the old man. The new man and old 
man are titles of Christ and Adam, and transferred upon others by a figure, 
metonymia causa pro effectu. These are the heads and roots of the two dis- 
tinct bodies of men in the world. All are in the old Adam by nature, and so 
partake of the old man ; all believers are in the new Adam by faith, and 
so partake of the nature of the new man. As we did partake of Adam's 
nature by our natural birth, so we partake of the nature of Christ by our 
spiritual : by the one we have the ' image of the earthly,' by the other the 
new creature hath the ' image of the heavenly,' 1 Cor. xv. 48, 49 ; the one 
derives sin, the other righteousness ; they both imprint their image accord- 
ing to the quality of their extraction. Christ is full of purity, righteous- 
ness, charity, patience, humility, truth, and in a word, all the parts of holi- 
ness ; then the form and image of Christ in the new creature can be no 
other than a lively representation of those divine qualities, a soul glitter- 
ing with goodness, humility, &c, which the apostle comprehends in two 
words, ' righteousness and true holiness.' Therefore, if there be not a like- 
ness to Christ in the frame and qualities of our souls, we are not bom of 
him. No man will say an ox, or a sheep, or a dog descends from Adam, 
because they have not the likeness, shape, and qualities of Adam ; neither 
can any man without such a likeness to Christ in faith, humility, patience, 
love, obedience, and minding the glory of God, number himself in the spiri- 
tual seed of Christ. He retains the nature poisoned by the serpent, creep- 
ing upon the earth, feeding upon the dust, not the nature formed by the 
eternal Spirit. 

(5.) It is a likeness to the Spirit, which is the immediate cause of it. 
Therefore the new creature is called spirit in the abstract, as a natural man 


is called flesh in the abstract: John iii. 6, ' That which is torn of the flesh, 
is flesh ; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' As that which is 
born of the flesh is like to flesh in its nature, so that which is born of the 
Spirit is like to the Spirit in its nature, as light in the air, being the natural 
effect flowing from the sun, is like to that light which is in the sun ; its 
relishes, delights, breathings, are according to its spiritual original ; its mo- 
tions, purposes, dispositions, are like those of the Holy Ghost, of whom it 
is born. The principles and impressions in the nature must be agreeable to 
those the Spirit hath. The Spirit is a Spirit of holiness, grace, love and zeal 
to the glory of God ; his office is to exalt and glorify Christ. If we are re- 
newed, then we shall have the same draught in our hearts, the same design ; 
the fleshly principle will be changed into spiritual. They will be habitual 
too, as the frame of the Holy Spirit is. A natural man may do sdme acts that 
look like spiritual by fits and starts, but there is no settled principle ; where- 
as the spirit in a new creature is a spirit of meekness, and curbs the pas- 
sions ; a spirit of humility, and overthrows pride ; a spirit of zeal, and fires 
the heart ; a spirit of power, and arms the soul against sin ; a holy spirit, 
and theiefore cleanseth it; an heavenly spirit, and therefore elevates it. 

Quest. Wherein doth this likeness to God chiefly consist ? 

Ans. 1. In a likeness of affections. God is no bodily shape ; we cannot 
be like him in our bodies, but in our souls, as they are spirits ; but if there 
be a dissimilitude of affection and disposition, the unlikeness to God is 
greater than a likeness to him in point of the natural being. There is no 
draught of this image in us, unless we have a conformity of affections to 
God ; it is then chiefly evidenced by a delighting in him, by faith and love, 
wherein we bear a resemblance to him in his affection to himself, by delight- 
ing in his image in others, wherein we imitate his affection to his creatures. 
He that loves not that image of God which is visible, cannot love the invi- 
sible original, 1 John iv. 12, 20, and so, having no likeness to God in his 
affection, can have no likeness to God in his nature. And the apostle posi- 
tively affirms, that ' he that loves, is born of God,' 1 John iv. 7. The new 
creature extends its arms to every thing wdrich hath a resemblance of that 
whose image it bears. The divine nature is chiefly seen in the objects of 
the affections, when they are set upon the same objects, and in a like manner 
as God's and Christ's are. When we grieve most for sin, for this grieves 
the Spirit, when we desire most an inward holiness, this God most longs 
for : ' Oh that there were such an heart in them !' When we hate sin as 
God hates it, because of the inward filthiness ; when we love grace as God 
loves it, because of its native beauty ; when we can love God and Christ 
above all the world, and other things in order to him and his glory ; when 
we can trust Christ with all our concerns, and God doth trust him with his 
glory : then, and not till then, there is an image of God in us, which God 
values above all the world. When the soul is thus touched and quickened 
by grace, she can no more strip herself of the object and manner of her affec- 
tions, than she can of the affections themselves. And when she doth reach 
out herself to all that is good, and hath a complacency in it, it is her happi- 
ness, because it is the great likeness to the spring of happiness. When we 
have the like affections with God, we have in our measure a like happiness 
and blessedness with God. 

2. In a likeness of actions. Men by sin are ' alienated from the life of 
God,' Eph. iv. 17 ; by restoring grace then they are brought to have com- 
munion with God in his life, to live as God lives. By nature men live the 
life of beasts and devils ; by grace they come to live the life of Christ. If 
he lives then the life of God, he must be comformable in his actions to the 

128 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

acts of God. No nature is stripped of affections and actions proper to it ; 
it would be else a picture without breath, a body without motion, a lifeless 
colour. The divine image is not a painted statue, but an active being. 
The nearer any thing approacheth in its nature to the fountain of life, the 
more of liveliness and activity it must needs partake of. The communi- 
cable perfections of God are enstamped upon the soul as a pattern to, imi- 
tate, and as a principle to quicken. A new creature acts like God ;* as 
melted and inflamed gold will act after the nature of fire, by the assistance 
of that quality communicated by the fire to it, so doth the soul by that 
divine quality it partakes of. It is as impossible that this image of God can 
produce anything but divine acts, as that the image of the sun in a burning 
glass should produce a darkness and coldness in the air. There will be the 
manifestation of the life of Christ in the motions of our soul, as the apostle 
speaks in case of sufferings for him there will be in our bodies, 2 Cor. iv. 10. 
Natural men are called the devil's children, because they resemble him in 
nature and works, egging on to sin, and delighting themselves in their own 
and others' iniquities, John viii. 44 ; so renewed men are God's children, 
because they live the life of God, and abound in the works of God, 1 Cor. 
xv. 58. As there is the same nature and the same spirit which Christ had, 
there will be a following of him in his works ; all creatures of the same 
species have the same instinct, the same nature, the same acts that the first 
creature of that kind had originally in its creation. Grace being a new ex- 
cellency advancing the soul to a higher state, endues it with a more noble 
kind of operation. Nothing is lifted up to a more perfect state of being, but 
in order to a more perfect manner of acting ; if a beast should be elevated 
to the nature of man, would you then expect from him the actions of a beast 
still ? And can any have the implantation of the divine nature, who hath 
only the actions of a man which bear no resemblance to God ? 

3. This likeness to God consists principally in a likeness to him in holiness. 
It is only ' he that doth righteousness is born of him :' 1 John ii. 29, ' If 
you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that doth righteous- 
ness is born of him.' It is by this the children of God are manifest from 
the children of the devil, 1 John iii. 10 in doing righteousness. If we are 
unlike to God in this, we are like him in nothing ; God hath not a pretence 
of holiness, but a real purity. He that hath not ' escaped the corruption 
that is in the world through lust,' is no ' partaker of the divine nature ;' the 
apostle puts that as a necessary qualification, 2 Peter i. 4. If by afflictions 
good men are partakers of God's holiness, much more by regeneration: 
Heb. xii. 10, ' He chastened us for our profit, that we might be partakers of 
his holiness.' If God aim in his corrections at the bringing his people to 
partake with him in holiness, as a father doth at the reformation of his 
child, that he may be a follower of his virtues, much more doth God aim 
at it in regeneration, when a spirit of holiness is infused into the soul. The 
new creation is a drawing this excellency of God in the soul ; if any attri- 
bute lift up his head above another, it is this ; in this we chiefly are to imi- 
tate him ; this is the greatest evidence of the divine nature. By sin we 
1 come short of that which is the glory of God, Rom. iii. 23 ; by the renew- 
in <» of the soul we attain the glory of God ; that is, attain a state of holiness, 
and at last a perfection of it, a communion with him in holiness here, and a 
full enjoyment of it hereafter. Whatsoever our fancies, our hopes, our pre- 
sumptions are, if this be not drawn in our soul, if we have not an internal 
holiness, we are not new creatures, and therefore not in Christ. 

Use 1. It serves for information. If regeneration be such an inward change, 
* Intellectus reformatus in Deum agit tanquam Deus, say the Platonists. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 129 

a vital principle, a law put into the heart, the image of God and Christ in 
the soul ; then, 

1. How few in the world are truly new creatures! Is the law transcribed 
in many men's lives ? nay, can we all read it copied in our own hearts ? Can- 
not many see the image of the devil sooner than the image of God in their 
own souls ? Is not the law of sin writ in text letters, and with many flourishes, 
when the law of God is writ in characters hardly legible, and crowded into 
a narrow room ? How many are changed from childhood to youth, from 
youth to manhood, from manhood to age, and the old nature still remain- 
ing in its full strength, and the body of death more vigorous than twenty 
or thirty years ago ! Changed years, and unchanged hearts, are a very sad 

(1.) Profane men are numerous. None will offer to rank these in the 
number of new creatures. Such nasty souls are no branches of Christ, nor 
habitations for him ; we read of the devil in swine, but never of our Saviour 
in swinish souls. Are such regenerate ? Can brambles be ever accounted 
vines, or thistles fig-trees ? These rather look like hellish than divine crea- 
tures ; diabolical, not God-like natures. A devotedness to the sins of the 
flesh is inconsistent with the circumcision made by Christ: Col. ii. 11, 
' Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ ;' 
that is, the body of sins which exert themselves in the flesh or natural body ; 
whereas such have the body of sin, with an activity in every member of it.* 
Is the image of Christ in such men ? Is not he meek as a lamb ? Are not 
they fierce as lions ? Is not he holy, and they defiled with intemperance ? 
Did not he labour for nothing but the glory of his Father, and the salvation 
of souls ; and they mind nothing but the dishonour of God, and the destruc- 
tion of themselves and others ? Did not he do good to his enemies, and they 
scarcely spare their friends ? Alas, with this contrariety, how can they pre- 
tend the image of Christ, when they have nothing but what looks like the 
image of his enemy the devil ? Is not the gospel counted as great a foolish- 
ness by such, as at the first times of its publishing ? Are not the great mys- 
teries of God, and the contrivances of eternity, entertained with coldness, 
and sometimes with scoffs, and the word, the great instrument of this change, 
unregarded ? Are such new creatures, that contemn the very means to attain 
it ? Surely they are so far from being near the kingdom of God, that they 
are in the very suburbs of hell. Is a hugging base lusts against the light of 
nature, a contempt of God's law and authority, the nature of Christ ? Were 
any such spots upon our Saviour's garment ? Is this to be like him who was 
holy, harmless, separate from sin and sinners ? 

(2.) Among professors, is there much evidence of a new creation ? When 
men shall say, All that the Lord speaks to us we will do, has not God as 
great occasion to say as he did of old, Deut. v. 24, « Oh that there were such 
a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments !' 
We may find a change of language in some, a change of outward actions in 
others, but how few are there among many who stand up before God 
with the breath of life ! Here and there a man or woman, wherein God 
may see the image of his own nature. How few are they with whom 
Christ can shake hands, and justly call them his fellows ! Christ may be 
in the mouth, and the devil formed in the heart ; the name of Christ may 
be upon them, and the nature of Christ not in them. They may be born 
of the will of man in a religious education, but not born of the will of 
God in a spiritual regeneration. Is it not a graceless Christianity in many 
* Daille. 

30 oharnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

men, a faith without holiness, a Christianity without Christ ? Regenera- 
tion is never without faith, love, and righteousness. They depend upon 
grace, as the property upon the form. Wherever the new creation is, these 
are, for they are the qualities created ; wherever they are not, there is no- 
thing of a new creature, let the pretences be never so splendid. There 
may be a nearness to the kingdom of God by profession, when there is no 
right to it for want of regeneration. Instead of humility, according to our 
Saviour's pattern, doth not ' pride compass men as a chain,' Ps. lxxiii. 6, 
counting that their ornament, which is the strength of their old nature. 
Instead of patience, roaring passions ; instead of meekness, boiling anger ; 
instead of love, a glowing hatred. How few then are renewed ! But few 
shall be saved, and therefore few regenerate. How little is the report of a 
likeness to God believed by the incredulous world ! How few are the 
strivings of any towards heaven ! Most lie quiet without any such motions, 
like the dust on the ground, unless some stormy affliction raise them a 
little towards heaven, whence they quickly fall back to their old place. 

2. It informs us that a dogmatical change, or change of opinion, is not 
this new creature. It is not, if any man change his opinion from Gentilism 
to Christianity he is a new creature, but ' if any man be in Christ,' by a vital 
participation from union with him. As men generally place saving faith in 
dogmatical assents, so they place the new creation in a change of opinion, 
as well from truth to error as from error to truth, though there be no spiri- 
tual knowledge of God, nor internal cordial closing with the gospel, nor 
practice of it. Such a change may endue the head with a knowledge which 
never gently slides down to the affections. It may indeed have some in- 
fluence upon the life, as this or that principle comes nearest to, or is divine 
truth, and is settled as an opinion in the soul ; yet this great change may 
not be wrought. That is but a change in the head, this in the heart ; that 
of opinion, this of affection ; that perfects the understanding, this both the 
understanding and will, and the whole soul. There is a natural desire of 
knowledge, but a natural aversion from grace ; whence this change becomes 
easy, the new-creature change difficult. A hot contriving head may have a 
cold and sapless heart. A head informed by the knowledge of truth may be 
without a heart enlivened by the Spirit of truth. A head changed in opinion 
only will descend into the bottomless pit, when the least grain of renewing 
grace shall not receive so much as a singe from those flames. A change 
from error to truth, without a heart framed to the truth, doth but more 
settle a man upon his lees, and makes him not only more regardless, but 
opposite to a true change to God. It stores up wrath for him, and his very 
judgment will be a witness for the condemnation of his practice. The know- 
ledge of God will not justify, but condemn a practical denial of him ; but for 
all that, they are abominable, Titus i. 16. This new-creature change is not 
from one doctrine to another, barely considered as doctrine, but a change to 
the gospel in the main intendment of it, as it is 'a doctrine according to 
godliness,' 1 Tim. vi. 3, as it may affect, purify, and direct the soul in its 
motion. And by the way observe this : whenever you are solicited to a 
change of opinion, consider the truth of it by this rule, whether it have a 
tendency to encourage and promote internal godliness, since this doctrine of 
regeneration was the first gospel lesson taught, to which all succeeding 
truths refer as to their end and centre. The apostle tells us what the 
issue of all such doctrines are that refer not to this, ' pride, doating about 
questions, envy, strife, railings, and evil surmisings,' verse 4. A heap 
of notions may consist with a body of death in its full strength, but a 
spirit of grace cannot ; a notionalist may speak great things, but a new 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 131 

creature acts them. Great speculations only are but leaves without fruit, 
like cedars, that by their shadows may give a refreshment, but have no 
fruit to fill the soul hungering after righteousness. 

3. Morality is not this new-creature change ; that is, moral honesty, 
freedom from gross vices, &c. I have before spoken something about it, 
shewing it insufficient, when I handled the necessity of regeneration ; we 
cannot speak too much against it, it being a soft pillow, from whence many 
slide insensibly into destruction. How many, upon this account, think 
themselves new creatures, who are yet deeply under the image of Satan ; 
and though they have blown off some dust from the law of nature, yet never 
had a syllable of the law of grace writ in their hearts ! Nay, the image of 
the devil may be more deeply engraven in a soul whose life is free from an 
outward taint. Profane men express more of the beast ; a civil and moral 
conversation may have more of the devil and serpent within, in spiritualised 

(1.) Yet morality is to be valued. It is a comely thing among men, a 
beauty to human societies, satisfaction to natural conscience, security to 
the body, example to others : men are to be applauded for it, and encouraged 
in it. It is a fruit of Christ's mediation, left for the preservation of human 
societies, without which the world would be a mere Bedlam and shambles. 
The works of kindness, justice, mercy, love, pity, &c, are useful and com- 
mendable. It is a thing which our Saviour loved, yet not with such a love 
as eternally to reward it. He looked upon the young man with some affec- 
tion, Mark x. 21, but scarce upon the Pharisees without anger and disdain. 

(2.) Yet we must not set the crown belonging to grace upon the head of 
it, and place it in a throne equal to that of the new creation. It is too 
amiable for men to be beaten off from it, yet with just reason we may per- 
suade them to arise to a higher elevation. It is a curious paint, a delightful 
picture, an useful artifice, but not a vital principle. A glow-worm is a lovely 
light, yet it is not a star. We press not men to throw off morality, but to 
advance it, to exchange it for Christ, that their moral virtues may commence 
Christian graces. It is an elevation near the kingdom of God, not a trans- 
lation into the kingdom of God ; it is nature improved, not nature renewed; 
it is a well-coloured picture without a principle of life ; an outward resem- 
blance, not an inward power, 2 Tim. iii. 5 ; a form of godliness ; as a change 
that is made upon cloth in the draught of a picture, but no change in it by 
the conveyance of life. For, 

[l.J It removes not the body of death. It is a cutting away the outward 
luxuriances, not the inward root. It removes the stench and putrefaction, not 
the death ; an embalmed carcase is as much dead as a putrefied one, though 
not so loathsome. It removes not that wherein the strength of sin lies, 
though it doth somewhat of the stench of sin. It may check those degene- 
rate lusts inconsistent with the peace of natural conscience, but not heal the 
corrupt nature. It may be a change from scandalous to spiritual sins; from 
vanity in the outward life, to vanity in the mind ; from debauched practices, 
to a vainglorious and envious spirit : Eph. iv. 17, 18, 'Henceforth walk not 
as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds ; having the understand- 
ing darkened, being alienated from the life of God.' By the Gentiles, from 
whom the apostle would have the Ephesians differenced, he means not the 
lower sort, but the whole rank, ver. 21, there was a ' truth in Jesus ' which 
they had been ' taught ; ' he makes no distinction between the looser rabble, 
and the professors of wisdom, whom he calls fools, Rom. i. 22, the followers 
of the divine (as they called them) philosophers, were alienated from the life of 
God, and walked in the vanity of their minds. The new man he exhorts 

132 chabnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

them to put on was another kind of thing than what the greatest moralists 
among the heathen were acquainted with. It was at best human, not divine ; 
an old nature purified, not a new implanted ; or as the apostle phraseth it, 
a walking in the vanity of their mind, in the darkness of their understand- 
ings, though not in a vanity of gross actions. It can never remove that 
body of death, which was introduced into the world while this outward 
morality stood. What immorality against the light of nature do you find in 
Adam ? He did break a positive command in eating the forbidden fruit ; 
you find nothing of drunkenness, lying, swearing ; his great sin was inward 
pride and unbelief, nothing of those sins, the freedom from which you boast of, 
and rest on. Some would make Adam guilty of the breach of every com- 
mand in the moral law ; virtually I confess they may ; expressly I do not 
see how they can ; and also virtually the highest mere moralist is guilty of 
the breach of the whole ; yet all his morality, after the breach of this one com- 
mand, could not preserve him in paradise, nor all the morality without a new 
nature restore you to it. You may have Adam's morality with Adam's cor- 
ruption ; a freedom from gross vices, with a heap of spiritual sins in your 
hearts, as Adam had, but not a true righteousness without the new Adam, 
the quickening Spirit. 

[2.J Therefore the highest morality without a new creation is but flesh ; 
all men out of Christ agree in a fleshly nature. It is the highest thing in 
the rank of flesh, but it is not yet mounted to spirit. Water heated to the 
highest pitch is but water still ; and morality in the greatest elevation of it 
is but refined flesh ; an old nature in an higher form. A profane man 
reduced to a philosophical morality is putrefied flesh reduced to some sweet- 
ness, endued with a fresh colour, but wanting life as much as before ; it is 
an old nature new mended. But a new creature is Christ formed in the 
soul. Moral virtue colours the skin, renewing grace enlivens the heart; 
that changeth the outward actions, this the inward affections ; that paints 
the man, this quickens him ; that is a change indeed in the flesh, not of the 
flesh into spirit ; it is a new action, not a new creation. There is a dif- 
ference indeed among men in this respect, as there is of cleanly lambs from 
a filthy swine, or a ravenous wolf; yet both are in the rank of beasts. There 
seems to be a difference in the wickedness and malice of devils. Our 
Saviour tells us of a kind that are ' not cast out but by fasting and prayer,' 
Mat. xvii. 21, intimating that there are other kinds of them, not altogether 
80 bad or so strong, yet all agreeing in one common diabolical nature ; as 
there is a difference in gracious men, one shining like a star, another of a 
lesser light, yet all agree in the nature of light, and light in the Lord. So 
though there be a difference among men, in point of moral virtue, yet all 
agree in the nature of flesh : ' That which is born of the flesh is flesh,' John 
iii. 6. Let it be what it will, a Nicodemus as well as Judas, it is flesh, a 
more refined sensuality, an animal life. 

[3.] It must needs be differenced from the new creature, because its birth 
is different. Moral virtue is gained by human industry, natural strength, 
frequent exercises ; it is made up of habits, engendered by frequent acts. 
But regeneration is an habit infused, which grows not upon the stock of 
nature, nor is it brought forth by the strength of nature ; for man being 
flesh, cannot prepare himself to it. That may be the fruit of education, 
example, philosophy ; this is of the Spirit ; that is a fruit of God's common 
grace, this of his special grace ; that grows upon the stock of self-love, not 
from the root of faith, and a divine affection ; that is like a wild flower in 
the field, brought forth by the strength of nature ; this like a flower in the 
garden, transplanted from heaven, derived from Christ, set and watered by 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 133 

the Spirit. And therefore the other being but the work of nature, cannot 
bear the characters of that excellency, which the affections planted by the 
Spirit do. That is the product of reason, this of the Spirit ; that is the 
awakening of natural light, this the breaking out of spiritual light and love 
upon it ; that is the excitation of an old principle, this the infusion of a 
new ; that a rising from sleep by the jog of conscience, this a rising from 
death by the breath of the Spirit, working a deep contrition, and makingall new. 

[4.] It differs from the new creature, in regard of the contractedness of 
the one, and the extensiveness of the other. That is in part a purifying of 
the flesh, this a purging both of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii. 1 ; that binds 
the hands, this clears the heart ; that purgeth the body, this every part of 
the soul ; that, at the best, is but oil in the lamp of life, this oil both^ in 
lamp and vessel ; that is a change of outward postures, modes, and fashion 
of walking, this of nature, heart, and spirit ; that seems to be a dislike of 
some sins, this of all. If anything in moral honesty be given to God, it is 
but a certain part, the greatest and best is kept back from him. That may 
be a casting away some iniquity, but not making a new heart, when both are 
commanded together : Ezek. xviii. 31, ' Cast away from you all your trans- 
gressions, and make you a new heart and a new spirit.' That is a casting 
away the loathsome works of the flesh, this a new root to bring forth the 
fruits of the Spirit. 

[5.] It diners from the new creature in the immediate principle of it, and 
its tendency. That is a cleansing the outward flesh in the fear of man, out 
of reverence to superiors (as it is said of Jehoash, he did that which was 
right, while he was under the awful instructions of Jehoiada, 2 Kings xii. 2). 
This is a ' perfecting holiness in the fear of God,' 2 Cor. vii. 1. That is an 
outward reformation from the hearing of the word, some acts materially 
performed from the newness of the thing, John v. 35, this from a judicious 
and hearty approbation of the law and will of God ; that ariseth from a 
natural love to reason, justice, equity, this consists of love to God ; that 
avoids some sins, because they are loathsome, this because they are sinful ; 
that tends not to God for himself, but for something extraneous to him ; it 
is an acting for self, not for the praise of God. The actions of unregenerate 
morality, as well as loathsome profaneness, are to gratify the flesh in some 
part of it ; they all meet in that point, as the clearest brooks, as well as the 
the most rapid and muddy streams, run to feed the sea. 

Well, then, deceive not yourselves ; conclude not yourselves new creatures 
by your moral honesty ; it will not follow, that because you have some 
virtues you have therefore true grace, but it will follow that if you are 
new creatures, and have faith and love, you have all graces in the root; 
and they will appear in time, though they may lie hid a while in that 
seminal principle ; the greater virtues contain the less, but the less do not 
infer the greater. 

4. It will certainly follow from hence, that restraints are not this new 
creature. Restraining grace and renewing grace are two different things ; 
the one is a withholding : Gen. xx. 6, ' I withheld thee from sinning against 
me ;' the other an enlivening with a free spirit against it. Restraint may be 
from a chastisement, attended also with something of natural conscience. 
Abimelech had some natural integrity in his conscience not to meddle with 
another man's wife, which God acknowledges : ' I know that thou didst this 
in the integrity of thy heart ; for I also withheld thee.' Yet without this 
restraint by a punishment, this natural integrity might have been baffled by 
the temptation. Restraints may spring from the law in the hand of the 
magistrate, when it doth not spring from the law of God in the heart. Men 

134 chabnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

may love that which they do not act, at least they may love it in others, 
though not in themselves, for some extrinsic considerations, and wish they 
had as fair a way to commit it as others have ; they may hate what they 
practise. Do all that hear the word, love the word, hide it in their hearts, 
and let it sink down into the bottom of their souls ? Do all that abstain 
from sin, loathe what they abstain from ? The restraints of many being 
barely outward restraints, are no more arguments of regeneration, than God's 
withholding the devils by the chain of his powerful providence is a sign of 
the new creation of them. The damned are hindered from committing many 
of those sins which were their pleasure upon the earth ; it is not a change of 
their disposition, but of their condition. Neither punishments in hell, nor 
punishments upon the earth, alter the nature ; though after lying a thousand 
years in hell, they should have leave to dwell upon the earth again, they would 
have the same inclinations without an inward change. Do we not see it daily 
in men's afflictions, though the sense of the smart nips a little those inclina- 
tions, yet when that sense is extinguished, those inclinations bud forth afresh? 
The bare pruning a tree makes it bear more fruit of the same kind as long as 
the root remains, rather than diminisheth it: Isa. i. 5, 'Why should you be 
stricken any more? you will revolt more and more : the whole head is sick, 
and the whole heart is faint.' While the head is sick and the heart faint, 
though there may be a weakness to act some sins under the stroke, yet after- 
wards the revoltings are more violent many times than they were before. 
The best that restraints work of themselves, is but a cautiousness to sin 
more warily. The act may be repressed, while the habit remains. 

5. A serious fit of melancholy, or a sudden start of affections, is not 
this work of the new creature. It is an habit, a law writ in the heart ; not 
a transient pang, or a sudden affection ; not a skipping of fancy, or a quick 
sparkling of passion ; but a new nature, a divine frame, spreading itself over 
every faculty ; knowing God in our understandings, complying with hitn by 
our wills, aspiring to him by a settled and perpetual flame of our affections, 
rising heavenward, like the fire upon the altar, conforming ourselves to him 
in the whole man, a denial of whole self for God. It is not a working of the 
imagination, or a melancholy vapour, which may quickly be removed, or a 
flash of joy and love ; but a serious humility, a constant grief under the 
remainder of corruption yet unextirpated ; a perpetual recourse to God, and 
delight in him through Jesus Christ. Are your affections raised sometimes 
to God ? and are they not oftentimes raised higher to objects extrinsecal to 
God ? Such affections may arise rather from the constitution of the body 
than alteration of the soul. They are but a taste of the heavenly gift and 
the good word of God, Heb. vi. 4, 5 ; a taste, and no more, and is! but a 
transient work. The object about which our affections are stirred may be 
divine, yet the operation but merely natural. May not sometimes affections 
be stirred much at the hearing the sufferings of our Saviour pathetically 
expressed, yet only out of a natural compassion, from an agreeable impres- 
sion upon the fancy ? The story of Joseph in the pit, and Christ upon the 
cross, may be heard with the same workings of passion. And may not the same 
be done at a well-humoured play, or at the hearing a report of the lament- 
able death of a Turk or heathen, pathetically expressed ? These are but the 
workings of natural spirits. Some affections are as moveable as quicksilver, 
upon the least touch ; they sweat like marble in moist weather, but resemble 
it also in hardness. You do not find the affections to be the chief seat of 
the law ; this would be as to write letters upon melted wax or running 
water, but the tenor of the covenant runs upon the mind : • I will put my 
law into their minds,' Heb. viii. 8, 10. And when Gud works upon the mind, 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 135 

the affections will attend the dictates of that, and the motions of the will. 
But a work upon the affections only, is like water in a sponge, easily sucked 
up, and upon the least compression squeezed out. These may be where 
there is no root of grace ; they suddenly rise, and suddenly vanish. When 
unrooted notions are received only into the fancy, without any illumination 
of the understanding, or determination of the will, the affections to them will 
be as volatile as the fancy which entertained them. Those in Mat. xiii. 
20, 21, that received the word with a sudden joy, were as suddenly offended 
for want of a root : 'anon with joy receives it, by and by he is offended.' 
The word translated anon, and by and by, sudug, is the same, a lightning of 
affection, and a sudden vanishing ; therefore this is not the new creature, 
sudden affections, or a melancholy fit. The law of God seated in the heart, 
mind, and will, though a constant course of affection is a very good character 
to judge of the new creature. 

6. It informs us of the excellency of the new creature. How excellent is 
this new creature ? It is a change, a divine nature, a likeness to God, an 
excellency above that of the greatest moralist under heaven. The apostle 
calls it a change from ' glory to glory,' 2 Cor. hi. 18, implying that the first 
change wrought upon the soul is glorious, and a new creature excellent in 
its first make, more glorious in its progress, unconceivably glorious when 
God shall put his last hand to the completing of it. Regeneration is more 
excellent than creation. It is more noble to be formed a son of God by 
grace, than made a man by nature ; nature deforms, grace beautifies. By 
nature we are the sons of Adam, by the new nature the members of Christ. 
As grace excels nature, and Christ surmounts Adam, so much more excellent 
is the state of a Christian, a real Christian, above that of a man. Can there 
be a greater excellency than to have a divine beauty, a formation of Christ, 
a proportion of all graces, suited to the imitable perfections of God ? Man 
is an higher creature than others, because he hath an higher principle. A 
life of reason is more noble than that of sense. To live by sense, is to play 
the part and live the life of brutes ; to live by reason, is to live the life of a 
man : but he that lives by the Spirit, lives the life of God, answers the end 
of his creation, useth his reason, understanding, will, affection for God, by 
whom they were first bestowed ; acts more nobly, lives more pleasantly, 
than the greatest angel could do without such a principle. A new creature 
doth exceed a rational creature, considered only as rational, more than a 
rational doth a brute. The apostle makes a manifest distinction between 
the natural or the -^v^r/ibg, the rational and the spiritual man, 1 Cor. ii. 
14, 15. A man with the richest endowments, is no more to be compared 
in excellency with a regenerate man, than the top of a craggy mountain is 
with a well-dressed garden. That must needs be excellent, the forming of 
which is the end of all God's ordinances in the world, the end of the Spirit's 
being among the sons of men, the end of keeping up mankind, the end of 
his patience in forbearing his punishment upon contempt of the gospel. 
The end of his preserving the world, is to form Christ in the heart ; and 
when the last new creature is formed, God hath no more to do in the world : 
when all that are given to him shall come to believe, Christ shall then ' come, 
to be admired in them,' 2 Thes. i. 10. He doth not come, therefore, till all 
his chosen ones are brought in to believe in him, for then he would not be 
admired by all those that are saints in his purpose. This, therefore, must 
needs be excellent. One new creature is more excellent than the whole un- 
renewed world with their choicest ornaments. It was never pronounced of 
them, that they were • partakers of the divine nature.' 

7. How much therefore should new creatures be esteemed and valued ? 

136 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

Is anything, next to God, more worthy our esteem than that which bears his 
image ? Is anything, next to a crucified Christ, glorified in heaven, more 
worthy our valuation, than Christ formed in the heart of a believer ? What 
esteem have men had for those who have had tempers like to some heroes, 
some generous and useful men in the world ? How much more respect 
should be given to them that bear the characters of God upon them, and 
have communion with God, and Christ, and the Spirit, in their nature ! If 
the dead image of God in a natural man ought to be respected, much more 
the living image of God in a renewed man. If a picture is to have respect, 
much more the life. To slight them, therefore, redounds to the slighting 
that infinite perfection, whose image it is. They are his living images, sent 
into the world to represent him. He then that disesteems them for that 
work, disesteems him that wrought and engraved them, by the same rule 
that he that despised the disciples despised Christ, and the Father that sent 
him, Luke x. 16 : 1 Thes. iv. 8, ' He therefore that despiseth you, despiseth 
not man but God, who hath also given us his Holy Spirit.' Yet no better 
must be expected here ; for the contracted spirit of the world can love no 
other birth but its own, no other similitude but what draws near unto it : 
4 If you were of the world, the world would love his own ; but because you 
are not of the world, therefore the world hates you,' John xv. 19. The copy 
can expect no better usage than the original. The nearer any approach in 
likeness to Christ, the more they will be exposed to contempt and scorn in 
the world. 

8. If the new creature be such a thing as you have heard, then the sin of 
a regenerate man hath a greater aggravation than the sins of any in the world. 
If you slip into sin, the sins of the whole unregenerate world have not so 
great a blackness. It is true a new creature may, and doth sin ; for though 
a new man is created in him with all his members, and essential and integral 
parts, yet the body of death doth remain still with all its members, and a 
seed-plot still, though not in the same strength and fruitfulness as before. 
For the apostle Paul doth not complain of a member of death, or a piece of 
sin, but the whole ' body of it,' and ' the law of sin in his members,' 
Rom. vii. It seems it did reside there still ; and so it doth in all the re- 
newed, though but faint and feeble, an old man indeed, growing older every 
day, losing its teeth and strength, less able to bite, less able to assault. Yet 
sometimes a new creature may fall into sin, but not without great aggrava- 
tion. For other men sin against natural, you against spiritual principles ; 
others sin against an habit of common notion, you against an habit of divine 
grace. A natural man sins against the light of God in his conscience, a 
renewed man against the life of God in his heart.* Others sin against a 
Christ crucified and risen from the grave ; he sins against a Christ new- 
formed and risen in his heart. Others sin against the law of God in the 
word, he against the law written in his mind and word too. Such cast dirt 
upon the Spirit's work, cross the end of so noble a piece, bring a thief into 
the Spirit's temple, and grieve the Holy Spirit, who instructed him better. 
Whenever you sin, it must cost you more grief, because your sins are more 
grievous ; and you must grieve the more for them, because the Spirit is 
grieved by them. Grief for sin is a standing grace in the new creature, and 
part of a likeness to the Spirit of God, whatsoever some men dream to the 

Use 2. Is of comfort. There is ground of joy unspeakable and full of 
glory that results from this. Are you of this new creation that I have been 
discoursing of ? Then take your portion of comfort. The jewel of comfort 
* Gurnal, part ii. p. 218, 219. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 137 

belongs only to the cabinet of grace. It is fit you should have the comforts 
of heaven in your hearts, who have a fitness for heaven in your nature. 
The day of the new birth was a happy day, to be brought from under the 
rule of sin and death in it, to the rule of the Spirit of God and life in it ; 
from bearing fruit to death, to bringing forth fruit to God and everlasting 
life. If sin be a torment to the womb that bare it, no joy can reside in an 
unregenerate spirit ; if sin be the soul's rack in its own nature, grace must 
be its pleasure ; for it carries as much contentment and satisfaction in its 
bowels, as sin doth disquietness and sorrow. 

1. You have, by the new creation, a relation to the blessed Trinity. Such 
are the sons of God, the seed of Christ, the temple of the Spirit ; what a 
connection is there between you and the three persons ! God in Christ, and 
Christ in you, that you may be ' made perfect in one,' John xvii. 23. God 
in Christ reconciling the world, you in Christ reconciled to God ; God in 
Christ as a father in a son, you in Christ as members in the body ; Christ 
in you as a head in the body, the Spirit in you as an informing and enliven- 
ing principle. It makes you related to the Father as his friends, by the 
ceasing of your enmity ; to the Son as his propriety, for then you are his ; to 
the Spirit as the tutor of you and inhabitant in you ; all implied, Rom. 
viii. 8-10. By your former birth you were children of wrath ; by this, chil- 
dren of God : by that, partakers of the serpentine nature of the destroyer ; 
by this, partakers of the divine nature of your Creator and Redeemer : by 
nature you descended from the loins of Adam, and thereby were related to 
all the corruption of the world ; by the new birth you are descended from 
the Son of God, and ' counted to the Lord for a generation,' Ps. xxii. 30, 
and thereby related to all the perfection of heaven ; as really descended from 
Christ by a spiritual, as from Adam by a natural generation. What an over- 
flowing comfort is this ! To be a king's son is a higher privilege than merely 
to be his subject ; subjects have protection, sons affection ; subjects partake 
of the kindness of the prince, sons of his nature. As a son, he hath a right 
to the inheritance of the father ; as a subject, not. Men are subjects by cove- 
nant, though born of others, sons by generation. By being a new creature, 
the regenerate man acquires a more noble relation, than by being a crea- 
ture. That relation that he lost by a prodigal corruption, is restored to him 
in a more excellent way by his spiritual regeneration. 

2. If you be new creatures, you are the delight of God. It is impossible 
but God should have the tenderest respect to his own likeness ; he must 
needs take a pleasure in a resemblance to his own nature, in a habit of his 
Spirit's infusing. Can God despise the work of his own hand ? Can he 
then despise the work of his heart, a likeness to himself, to his Son, to his 
Spirit ? His delight is strengthened by a threefold cord, ' he delights not in 
the strength of a horse, nor takes pleasure in the legs of a man,' but ' in 
them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy,' Ps. cxlvii. 10, 11. You 
are the first fruits of his creatures, peculiarly dedicated to him as his portion 
by the new birth : James i. 18, ' Of his own will begat he us, with the word 
of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures,' taken out 
of the mass of the world for a holy offering to himself ; the more refined 
part of bis creation, not barely creatures, but first fruits peculiarly belonging 
to him, upon whom he looks with a delightful eye, and under another relation. 
God cannot but love himself, and therefore that which approacheth most near 
to himself; for nothing in the creature is a fit object for God's love, but his 
own living image in him. As he loves himself in himself, so he loves him- 
self in his creature. To deny his truth, is to deny himself; to deny his 
love to his image, would be to deny his love to himself. He can as soon 

138 chaknock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

hate his Christ glorified at his hand, as hate Christ formed in the soul. If 
sin makes men the objects of his hatred, as being contrary to his nature, 
grace then makes them the objects of his love, as being agreeable to his 
nature. He cannot but delight in his own birth, and delight in the seals of 
his own Spirit. You could not but displease him by being in the flesh ; 
4 those that are in the flesh cannot please God,' Rom. viii. 8 ; you then 
please him by being in the Spirit. Shall the pleasure of the Father of spirits, 
in his own image, be of a lower degree than that of a natural father in his son, 
which bears the lineaments of his body ? He hath no pleasure in anything 
in the world, if not in you. Sin soon deformed all after he had pronounced 
them good, and stopped the joy God had in his works ; it is by your redemption 
by his Son, and regeneration by his Spirit, that the joy in his works is re- 
stored to him ; if he should not delight in you, what hath he in the world to 
please himself with ? Your services please him ; a new spirit, a new beauty is 
added to all your addresses. A new creature prays not as before, hears not 
as before, he refers all to God ; there is a brokenness instead of pride, every 
sacrifice is washed in contrition, a zeal of spirit, a heavenly warmth, a sweet 
and delightful savour ascends up to him. It is you only that with grace 
' serve him acceptably,' Heb. xii. 28, with such a godly fear and frame 
wherein he takes a pleasure. 

Well then, the new creature is the delight of God, though the scoff of 
men ; the pleasure of him that commands the world, though reproached by 
them that shall fill hell with their souls. 

3. How great a foundation then is laid in this for your happiness ! New 
creatures, divine nature, a relation to God, the delight of heaven : ' If any 
man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; old things are passed away, behold, 
all things are become new.' New for them, as well as in them. Distance 
and dissimilitude from God is the foundation of all misery ; a likeness then 
to him is the basis of all blessedness. Divine happiness is connatural to the 
divine nature, and due to it, as it were jure intrinseco ; as new creatures you 
are heirs, as sanctified creatures you are made meet for the inheritance ; you 
have a hereditary right, and an aptitudinary right. Can any comfort be 
greater, than to have right to an inheritance, and a fitness to enjoy it ? • Now 
are we the sons of God,' 1 John iii. 2, we have this real relation ; not only 
named so, but are so, which is a certain foundation of a happiness which doth 
not yet fully appear to us. But such a knowledge we have, that when the 
original of this new nature shall appear, our imperfect likeness shall arise to 
a full perfection, ' we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is ; ' 
upon the account of this relation we know there will be an exact likeness be- 
tween him and us. I suppose it is properly meant of a likeness to Christ, 
we shall see him as he is ; for the apostle, verse 5, refers it to Christ, with- 
out altering the person he had spoke of before ; so that it is not meant of a 
seeing the essence of God, but the sight of Christ. Where lust reigns, the 
natural consequence is storms and dissatisfaction ; he that hath the image of 
the devil, hath a model of hell ; the new creature having the image of God, 
hath a model of heaven. A drop of grace is a drop of glory ; so much as 
there is of the new creation, so much of heaven is put into the soul. It is 
' a lively hope ' of heaven here, and a full enjoyment of heaven hereafter, 
that the soul is • begotten unto,' 1 Peter i. 3, 4. The greater the progress 
in this state, the more lively are the hopes of it, and the nearer approaches 
of heaven to the soul ; such a foundation of happiness, with the hopes and 
foresight of it, cannot but be attended with unconceivable pleasure. 

4. How highly comfortable is it to view yourselves, and consider the 
draught of this image, and the progress of the new creation in your souls ? 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 139 

How comfortable is the work of self-examination to such a soul ! With 
what pleasure may you look upon your present estate, and be filled with 
ravishments at every view ? When you look back upon your former con- 
dition, and think of your state of death, the noisomeness of your hearts to 
God, the stiffness of your souls against him, when you consider how spiritual 
death reigned over every part ; and now see your nature changed, your souls 
upon a lively and quick motion to God, jour relishes of the sweetness of 
spiritual pleasures to be greater than those of sensual ; how comfortable is 
it to behold those diffusions of God in your souls, and to feel them full of 
love to him, and full of love from him ! How comfortable to view the 
original, and copy from it, and to see how near the one doth resemble the 
other ; to cast yuur eye upon the state of wrath you were in by your first 
birth, and upon the state of grace you are in by the latter ; to consider your 
former drudgery under sin, and your present freedom in the service of right- 
eousness ! It would make you perform those commands so often repeated, 
of rejoicing in the Lord alway, and shouting for joy, since mercy doth so 
compass you about, Ps. xxxii. 11, Philip, iv. 4. As upon the awakenings of 
conscience, and the exercise of its reflective office, there must needs arise an 
anguish and torment in an unrenewed soul, so upon the reflections of the 
same faculty in a new creature, there must spring a sparkling delight. As 
God by the reviews of himself and contemplation of his own excellency hath 
an infinite joy, so the new creature by the views of itself hath a joy in its 
measure proportionable to that of God himself. As it is in itself the image 
of God, so it is a lower fruition of him. I enjoy my friend somewhat in 
his picture when the original is absent ; and this joy is greater when a beam 
from heaven doth shine upon this image, and both illustrate and discover 
the beauty of it, which in the darkness of ignorance and mistakes cannot be 
seen. But take heed that in these reviews you impair not your comfort by 
any proud and God-neglecting reflections, but with humble and debasing 
thoughts of yourselves, and thankful admirations of the grace of God, and 
praises of him for so excellent a draught in your hearts. It is wonderful to 
perceive how by such a carriage the comforts of heaven flow in upon the 
sou 1 , when thus humbly and thankfully it opens itself before God in this 
review. And let this add to your comfort, that if the reviews of so imperfect 
an image in you, and the dark sight of God, whose image it is, be so delight- 
ful, how much more pleasant will it be when your souls shall be elevated to 
the highest perfection and the most satisfying fruition ! 

5. And how great a comfort it is to consider that this imperfect image, 
which is the foundation of happiness, will in time be perfect, and as fully 
resemble him whose image it is as j the creature is capable of ! There is a 
day of perfect and glorious regeneration coming, wherein you will appear in 
■all your royalty as heirs of God. The divine nature shall glitter without any 
filth of sin to sully it ; holiness shall hold the sceptre without any lust to 
shake it. There is a day wherein Christ shall make all things new in the 
church, and in the soul ; he sits upon his throne and saith it : Rev. xxi. 5, 
• Behold, I make all things new.' It will be so new and admirable, that when 
you look back upon that mean draught of it while you were in the world, you 
would think you never had a grain of the divine nature before in you. As the 
vision of God will be perfect, so will your likeness to him, 1 John iii. 2; as 
it will be a vision without any clouds, so it will be a likeness without any 
dissimilitude, according to the creature's capacity. The vision of Christ here 
transforms us into a likeness to him in his death and resurrection, the vision 
hereafter transforms us into a likeness to him in glory ; the close look of the 
soul upon God shall divest it of all carnal conceptions; the understanding 

140 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

shall perfectly behold the original, the will closely embrace it, the affections 
centre in it without distraction ; the whole soul shall be changed from a less 
degree of glory to an unconceiveable perfection in it, changed ' from glory to 
glory,' 2 Cor. iii. 18, when the well of living water springing up in thee to 
eternal life shall spring into it. This fire-baptism will not leave till it hath 
fully consumed your dross, and refined your souls. That Spirit that begun 
the work will fill the heart with the knowledge and love of God, as his pro- 
mise is to fill the earth, Isa. xi. 9. He will not leave despoiling you of the 
oldness of the flesh till there be not a mite left, and clothing you with a new- 
ness of the spirit till there be not a grain of the soul free from this new en- 
livening. As he began, so he will finish, in abolishing that which remains 
of vanity, and in filling this holy temple with the glory of the Lord. There 
is certainly as much power in the second Adam to perfect, as well as to begin 
this new creation, as there was in the first to convey his soul and defiled 
image to his posterity. The honour of Christ and the good of the new 
creature are concerned in it ; the honour of Christ in point of power and 
affection, the good of the new creature in point of happiness ; his honour 
would suffer if he did not perfect what he had begun. As Moses pleads with 
God for the perfecting the Israelites' deliverance in bringing them into 
Canaan, that the nations might not say, God was not able to deliver them, 
Num. xiv. 16. In point of affection he loves his Father, therefore the image 
of his Father ; he loves himself, therefore the picture of himself ; he loves 
his Spirit which glorifies him, therefore will perfect the draught he hath made. 
It will, then, in time be perfect, not a lineament of God but will be illustri- 
ously drawn ; there shall be no more complaints of a body of death, nor any 
snarlings of sin and lust. 

Upon these considerations you may apply the comfort this new creation 
affords you, 

(1.) Against troubles in the world. Old things are passed away, even the 
old events and issues of your afflictions, they are no longer used merely to 
trouble you or punish you, but to perfect this new creation, to engrave more 
deeply or exercise this divine image. All things are but fellow-labourers to 
throw out the rubbish, and blow up this divine spark : Horn. viii. 28, they 
' all work together for good, to them who are called according to his purpose.' 
As regenerating grace gives us a relation to God, so it should expel fear : Isa. 
xliii. 1, ' Fear not : for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name ; 
thou art mine.' What reason is there to fear when he hath called you by 
name, in a special manner, not in a general way ? What reason to fear when 
thou hast the badge of God upon thee, who hath new created thee ? The 
grace wherein you stand, or the state of grace, should make you not only to 
' rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,' but to ' glory in tribulations also,' 
as well as the apostle, Rom. v. 2, 3, because it ' works patience,' &c. It 
dresseth up the new creature, and draws the several parts of the gracious 
habit into exercise. Though it seem strange, yet the ' glorying in tribulation ' 
is as proper an effect of this new creation as ' rejoicing in hope of the glory 
of God.' Grace, being the foundation of your glory in heaven, cannot but 
be the foundation of glorying in everything else which heightens it, and 
pusheth it nearer to its centre. Let not affliction, crosses, reproaches, molest 
your new nature ; be new creatures as to your respects to them as well as 
relation to God. Our Saviour's sonship, and the meat the world knew not 
of, supported him under greater injuries than we can ever be subject to. f 
What clouds of trouble should ever sadden that heart which hath the living 
image of God in his soul ? This alone should turn the wormwood of afflic- 
tion into honey, and bitterness into sweetness. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. Ml 

(2.) You may apply the comfort of your new creation against temptations. 
Will not the power of God be employed in the defence of that which is his 
only image in the world, since he knows that Satan is most active against it, 
because it is his image ? And upon the same account will not God be active 
for it ? Surely that Spirit which begat it broods upon its own birth, and 
watches for the defence of it against its mighty adversaries. Satan watches 
to cast dirt upon the divine nature ; the Spirit watches to hinder it, and if 
cast on, to wipe it oif, and restore it to its beauty. Can it enter into the 
heart of an infinite affection nakedly to expose his own work, his affectionate 
new creature, made up of faith in him and love to him, that which maintains 
his honour in the world, designs all for his glory, values his honour above 
his own credit, yea, his life ; opposeth everything that opposeth him, hates 
everything that is loathsome to him, would endure any misery rather than 
displease him ; I say, shall a God of infinite tenderness expose this creature 
to the violences and furies of hell without any defence ? What should we 
make of God, by entertaining such thoughts of him, but a hard master, a 
cruel tyrant, one that would make his own work the sport of devils, to stand 
by carelessly and see his image trampled upon, and leave the best subjects 
he hath in the world to the mercy of his mortal enemy ? Let not such a 
thought enter into any new creature, nor let us believe that the love in the 
heart of the new Creator is less than the power in his hand. It was the 
sonship and resurrection of our Saviour secured him against the counsels of 
enemies : Ps. ii. 2 and 7 compared, ' Thou art my Son, this day have I 
begotten thee.' So our communion with him in his resurrection secures 
us against the malicious designs of Satan. Thou art my son, this day have 
I regenerated thee, is the voice of God to a new creature ; and by this rela- 
tion his happiness is secured under the greatest assaults, if he keep up faith, 
which will fetch vigour from the Head. The devil by his whole legions of 
temptations cannot more prevail against the seed of God, than Haman could 
against Mordecai, because he was of the seed of the Jews, as his wife pru- 
dently advised him, Esther vi. 13. 

(3.) This comfort of the new creation is applicable against fears of falling 
away. Were grace like a moral habit, acquired by moral acts, it might sink 
under a force, it might be lost ; but it is a divine work, a new creation in 
Christ, not anything gained by moral philosophy, and a road of virtuous 
actions. Men may seem to begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh ; but 
doth the Spirit begin this regeneration work, to suffer it to end in the flesh ? 
When the apostle speaks of men's works, he fears the consequence ; 1 ut 
when he speaks of God's working in a man, he is confident of a good issue, 
Philip, i. 6. God never begins but he resolves to perform and finish. As 
it is impossible for one united to Adam in a natural way not to partake of 
his sinful life, so it is impossible for one united to Christ in a gracious way 
not to partake of his spiritual life. And as every man is really in the loins 
of Adam, so every believer is, in a sort, spiritually in the loins of Christ, and 
is as truly denominated his seed ; and as no man can be cut off from the stock 
of Adam but by the grace of God, so no man can be taken off from the stock 
of Christ, when once implanted, but by the retraction of that grace, against 
which there is sufficient security in the covenant of grace, and several pro- 
mises in Scripture, like stars in the heavens, set to give light to this truth. 
The new creature under the gospel shall grow in beauty as the lily, in strength 
like a cedar ; his beauty shall be as fresh as that of the rose or lily, his root 
as firm as that of a cedar ; and this from God, who will be as the dew unto 
it : Hosea xiv. 5, ' I will be as the dew to Israel : he shall grow up as the 
lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.' As dew quickens the plant, s 

142 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

will God enliven Israel ; what withering can there be under such an influ- 
ence ? If you have been made new creatures in Christ, you are made stable 
creatures, his charge is as great to preserve you as it was to renew you. 
Besides, the divine nature is so delightful a thing, that he that once is a pos- 
sessor, hath no mind to be a loser of it. He that hath once put off the old 
man, and put on the new, will have little heart to make another exchange, 
and divest himself of his beautiful robe, to be clothed again with the old 
tattered rags which he hath flung upon the dunghill. The new creation is 
a • fellowship with Christ in his resurrection,' Philip, iii. 10, and therefore 
in the consequents of it. As Christ did not rise to die again, so the soul is 
not made new to become old again. Christ formed in the soul is like Christ 
incarnate in the world : the divine nature may be obscured, it may and will 
have its humiliations ; it cannot indeed die, but though it seem to die, it will 
have its resurrection, and afterwards its ascension into glory. 

(4.) It is comfort against weakness of grace, and strength of corruptions. 
The whole frame of the new creature is wrought at once : the soul is infused 
at once, but not as Adam was, created in his full stature, and perfect strength, 
and exercise of all his faculties. But as Adam's posterity were generated, 
first infants, then men, others may be more honourable creatures, but the 
weakest grace is a new creature ; others may be more noble members, but 
every new creature is a member of the body ; others may have more grace, 
but not a better title ; the weakest is a heaven-born heir, and hath the same 
title by the purchase of the Redeemer, the reality of the new creation, and 
the spirit of adoption. I do not mean by the weakest grace a superficial 
desire, or a velleity not to sin, and yet a daily running into it ; but a grace 
mating and mastering corruption, though residing with it ; a grace that is 
daily eating into the bowels of lust, and growing up to a sharper animosity 
and strength against what is contrary to it ; for the least degree of grace is 
prevalent against sin, and is not overpowered by it, though it be mightily 
opposed. The essence of grace is the same in every new creature, though 
the degrees be different : it is one thing to have the nature of fire, another 
thing to have the strength of it ; a spark is essentially fire, and will burn, 
though not so much as a flame. If the frame be new, though the draughts 
be not so clear, nor the lineaments drawn with such lively colours, yet there 
is a representation ; the first draught of a picture bears a likeness to the 
person, but it will be more lively after the second or third sitting, when the 
limner hath laid on his fresher colours. 

[1.] If your complaints of the weakness of grace and strength of corrup- 
tion be sincere, it is a comfortable sign you will hold out. Hasty pretenders 
and proud boasters are not durable. The seed sown in the stony ground 
• presently sprung up,' Mat. xiii. 5 ; grew faster, as if it would outstrip the 
common harvest, but as soon withered ; whereas that which was sown in the 
good ground sprung up leisurely to perfection, and endured the storm. 

[2.] You cannot reasonably think you should presently be rid of your cor- 
ruptions. Some spice of a cured disease will remain in the soul as well as 
the body, and a certain spiritual weakness after the raising of the new crea- 
ture. The law in the mind doth not presently raze out the law of sin in the 
members. There is a diabolical nature as well as divine. The Platonist 
could say, The virtuous man who doth something, uirgmigtrov, is both a god 
and a demon.* Christ formed in the heart doth not presently dispossess the 
serpentine nature, but master it. A man restored to health from a sharp 
disease may do the actions of a sound man, yet not in that manner and 
soundness, for all his motions are infected with the relics of that disease 
* Plotin. Enead. I. lib. ii. cap. 6. 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 143 

which lately mastered his hody. Original corrupt ion is not as a cistern 
(then it may be emptied), but a spring ; pump out all you can at one duty, it 
will rise again, you will see it, before the next service.* It is true that ' he 
that is born of God commits not sin,' he sins not with such a frame as he 
did before ; but it is as true that ' If we say we have no sin, we deceive our- 
selves, and there is no truth' of grace 'in us,' 1 John i. 8. There will be 
a running issue, that you may frequently touch the hem of Christ's garment 
for a cure. The soul of the best is never like to be ' without spot or wrinkle ' 
till it be glorious, Eph. v. 26. 

[3.] All God's communications of grace are gradual. Doth the mustard 
seed spring up in an instant to the tallness of a tree ? Grace is sown in an 
instant, but e;rows not up so suddenly. Christ formed in the heart is like 
Christ in the flesh ; first in his cradle, before he be upon his legs. The 
new creation is not a sudden leap from corruption to perfect purity ; the day 
dawns in the heart, but the light takes a time to expel the darkness : Prov. 
iv. 18, ' The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and 
more unto the perfect day.' The first appearance at the dawning is an 
earnest that the victory will be complete at last. God did not make a full 
discovery of Christ to Adam, his revelations of him grew brighter with every 
age ; the nearer his coming, the clearer was the foresight of him. The 
divine nature hath its time of discovery in the creature, as it had in Christ 
the original ; there were forty days between his resurrection and ascension, 
wherein he was but in the first degree of his exaltation. Christ risen in the 
heart will take some time before he ascends and carries up the soul to spiri- 
tual heights with him. 

[4.] Consider well how it is with thy will. It is not the having of lusts, 
but the fulfilling of them, wherein our danger lies : Rom. xiii. 14, ' We have 
then put on the Lord Jesus Christ, when we make no provision for the flesh, 
to fulfil it in the lusts thereof,' but endeavour to walk holily. The author 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews could pretend to little more than will : chap, 
xiii. 18, ' willing to live honestly,' xaXoug, comely, beautifully. And herein 
Paul • exercised' himself, Acts xxiv. 16. He manifested this will by compli- 
ance with all seasonable occasions to that purpose. Is there grace in thy 
whole soul ? Is there an enlightened judgment to see the foulness of sin 
and the loveliness of Christ ? Is there a renewed will to incline to God and 
to close with the Redeemer ? Is there a rectified affection, consisting of love, 
desire, delight, though yet but weak in all the faculties ? Are there dissatis- 
factions in you upon internal reviews ? Have you not strong bewailings and 
laments for the strength of sin and weakness of grace, and breathings after a 
more vigorous and active grace ? Let not then your complaints of the body 
of death stifle your praises of God for what he hath wrought in Christ in order 
to your full deliverance. They did not so in Paul, Rom. vii. 24, 25 ; let 
them not do so in you. Take comfort in what God hath wrought, bless him 
for it, and solicit him to confirm that which he hath wrought in you, Ps. 
lxviii. 24. He that provides food for the ravens that cry, will not stop his 
ears at the voice of his own image. 

(5.) It is comfort against the fear of death. If you were born only of the 
old Adam, you were spiritually dead, and you must eternally die ; it were 
unavoidable, if not changed ; but if born of an incorruptible seed, the disso- 
lution of your body shall be the consummation of your glory. Death strikes 
the outward man, and the new creature elevates the soul. The new nature 
will as naturally ascend to heaven, when it is unclothed of flesh, and hath 
left all the relics of corruption behind it, as the pure flame aspires into the 
* Kogcrs on Pet. p. 181. 

144 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

air, and seems to long to embody itself with the sun, the first fountain of 
light. How joyfully will the original and copy meet : Philip, i. 23, ' to de- 
part from hence,' is ' to be with Christ.' The truth of grace in the creature, 
and the infinite righteousness in the Creator, kiss each other. How affec- 
tionately will God entertain that image of himself ! How delightfully will 
Christ view himself in the soul, and the soul view itself in the heart of 
Christ ! The soul shall see Christ in glory, and Christ shall behold the 
soul in perfection, where there will be nothing but life and love, love and 
life for ever. Is death then to be feared, that brings the new creature to 
this happiness ? 

Use 3. Is for examination. Of all things, this deserves the strictest in- 
quiry, in regard of its absolute necessity, and in regard of its superlative 

1. It is possible to know it, and not very difficult to know it. You may 
know the acts of your own heart. Can you not view your own thoughts ? 
Can you desire, or love, or hate, or grieve, but you must know that you 
do so ? Can you not tell what is the object of your inclinations, what 
your affections run most greedily after ? No man can be such a stranger to 
his own soul, if he look into it. Can you not tell whether you are the same 
men as before ; whether you love what before you hated, and hate that which 
before you loved ? A soul may know whether it loves God supremely or no, 
so as to appeal to God for the truth of it, as Peter to our Saviour : John 
xxi. 17, ' Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.' It is in this reflexive power 
that a man excels a brute. 

2. You must inquire into the effects and operations of it. Where there 
is this spiritual change, there is life ; where there is a spiritual life, there 
will be spiritual operations. You must inquire, then, what sense and motion 
you have, that is superior to a life of nature. This new creation is not 
only the taking down the old frame, but setting up a new. The old crea- 
ture frame will grow more inactive, the new creature form more sprightly. 
Regeneration is never without some effect ; if we have not the proper- 
ties, we have not the nature. If the air be dark and pitchy, that a man 
cannot see his way, it is a sign the sun is not up to enlighten that hemi- 
sphere. A thick darkness cannot remain with the sun's rising, The works 
of darkness, with their power, cannot remain with a new creature state. The 
old rubbish cannot wholly remain with a new building. Look well, there- 
fore, whether old principles, aims, customs, company, affections, are passed 
away, and whether new affections, principles, ends, be settled in the room. 
Be sure to distinguish well between the form and the power, between a paint 
and life, and regard well your inward acts. The acts of the new creature 
are principally in the proper seats of it, the mind, the heart, the will, the 
conscience, the affections. Outward acts are no sign at all ; no man can 
perfectly judge of another by them, nor any man judge of himself. As the 
strength of sin, so the strength of grace, the new creature, lies in the heart. 
Those waters which are bitter, are bitterest, and those which are sweet, are 
sweetest, at the fountain; they lose somewhat of their qualities in the streams, 
by the mixture of other things with them. 

3. In general observe, what contrariety there is to what you were before, 
and the very point wherein this contrariety doth consist. It is a spiritual 
habit, a divine nature, the law of God in the heart. It must principally be 
discerned in its motion to God, in its respect to God, whose law, nature, 
habit it is, directly contrary to the sinful habit, the law of sin in the heart, 
the old serpentine nature which moved to sin. Let us see in general how it 
was with Paul, who speaks so much of the new creature. He was quite 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 145 

another man after his being in Christ than he was before. He was before an 
admirer of his own righteousness, a contemner of grace, a persecutor of 
Christ and his members. After the new creation, his pharisaical plumes 
fall, his own righteousness is as dross, he lays it down at the feet of Christ ; 
grace is highly admired by him, and his whole labour is spent in glorifying 
Christ, and edifying his church. He abhors that which before he delighted 
in : he did before his own will, and the will of his sect ; now, • Lord, what 
■wilt thou have me to do ?' He is now an admirer, where he was a despiser ; 
his industry, passions, heart, are for Christ, as before they were against him. 
The doctrine of the cross is no longer folly, but wisdom : he glories as much 
in being persecuted for Christ, as in being a persecutor of him and his people. 
His ravaging wolfish nature is gone, and a lamb-like nature in the place of 
it ; he hath as much sweetness toward the people of Christ, as he had sour- 
ness against them. Of an executioner, he becomes a martyr ; and would not 
only lose his life, but be an Anathema, to do them good whom before he 
hated. Christ was his life, Christ was his joy, Christ was his all, and no- 
thing but Christ dear to him. A quite contrary strain. And this is a new 
creature ; and therefore examine yourselves. Is there faith instead of unbe- 
lief, the knowledge of God instead of ignorance, a constant glowing affection 
to him instead of enmity, or a coldness of love, the love of the Creator 
instead of that of the creature ? This is to have the image of God instead 
of that of the devil. 

But, in particular, 

1. What fervent longings have you after a likeness to God ? The first 
draught of this image begets strong desires for a farther perfection. The 
sighs and groans for a likeness to God are the first lineaments of God in 
the soul, and arise from some degree of affection to him, and delight in him. 
The breathings of the soul are • for the living God,' as David, Ps. xlii. 2 ; 
Ps. lxxxiv. 2, for God, as a principle of life and spirit in him. This hunger- 
ing and thirsting after righteousness is a sign of righteousness already in the 
soul, and an earnest of a further fulness, Mat. v. None can fervently and 
unweariedly long for a divine nature but such as have had some taste of it. 
The divine nature in the soul will be returning to that nature whence it 
derives its essential purity. The principle coming from God will be aspiring 
to that nature which it is a part of, as rivers to the sea, and swell if they be 
hindered. He must needs long after a full draught, and can no more satisfy 
himself with imperfect lineaments, than a sick man can with an imperfect 
cure. It is to this end he breathes after heaven, because it is a state of per- 
fection, not from any carnal notion of it. He knows he is not already per- 
fect, and therefore presses forward with eager desire and endeavour, ' if by 
any means he may attain the resurrection from the dead,' Philip, iii. 11-13, 
&c. He doth not only desire a freedom from sin, but to be as pure and ele- 
vated in affection to God as an angel. God is not only free from unright- 
eousness, but full of righteousness ; and therefore those desires of a divine 
nature are not limited to, and centred in, a negative holiness. He would set 
himself no other pattern but God. It is an excellent speech of a heathen,* 
exhorting not only to live the life of a good man, which civil virtue and the 
vogue of men approved of, but to look above that to the choicest desire of a 
divine life ; for, saith he, our endeavours should be for a likeness to God, 
not to good men. To endeavour to be like to man, is to make one image 
like another ; but a new creature aims at the highest exemplar ; it aspires 
after no lower a pattern than God himself, his will, his rule, his glory, his 

* Plotin. ^Enead. i. lib. ii. cap. 7. n?e; yao rourovi : i, e. 6s«v,-, oh <r°lt uvfyuiTCv; aya.- 
iou; V 'cii^'otuati, 


146 chaknock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

pleasure. Do the breathings of your spirits rise as much for it, as the steams 
of your lusts did before against it ? 

2. Put this question to yourselves, What inward authority hath God over 
your hearts ? Is the government of God set up in your souls ? Can you 
with joy say, The Lord reigns, and none but he shall reign over me ? The 
new creature coming under another government, hath frames suitable to it, 
and delightfully owns that supreme authority, and pleases himself more in a 
subjection to God, than the wicked can in their slavery to sin. Do you ' yield 
yourselves to God, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto 
God' ? Are the motions of your souls guided by him ? You are then ' alive 
from the dead;' it is the apostle's assertion, Eom. vi. 4. Sin doth reside ; 
but which reigns, God or lust ? An usurpation may be on sin's part, when 
no voluntary subjection on ours. Is it an absolute, or only a partial resigna- 
tion of yourselves to him ? Do you give him a moiety, or do you give him 
the whole ? Has he the sole sovereignty ? or would you give him an asso- 
ciate ? Are any evil ways hated, out of a respect to his word, to his autho- 
rity, wisdom, goodness, or a respect to yourselves ? Ps. cxix. 128, ' I esteem 
thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way.' 
Ver. 133, ' Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquity have domi- 
nion over me.' Are God's dictates readily obeyed ? Doth a free submission 
to his authority govern and act thee in his ways ? Do you count his yoke 
easy, and his burden light ? Do you glory in the chain of grace, and count 
the service of sin as iron fetters ? Is the will of God above your own wills ? 
Do you defy the one to observe the other ? Is God's will sacred with you, 
when it thwarts your own, or only when it suits your interest ? It is not 
then the authority of God which prevails with you, but the authority of some 
extraneous thing which hath the chief moving force. If so, there is no sign 
of the new creature in such a frame. 

3. How are your affections to God ? It is a new creature we are speaking 
of, and that is inward chiefly. Sin may be left in the practice, and not 
hated : goodness may be practised, when it is not affected. "Where, then, 
is the new creature ? It is not only a change of professions. Simon Magus 
had changed that before his baptism, but not his heart, either before or after, 
Acts viii. 21. The strength of sin lies in the understanding, will, and affec- 
tions, and it is there that the strength of grace must appear, and set up its 
banners. Are your affections and lusts of your flesh crucified ? They must 
be so, if you are Christ's new creatures, Gal. v. 24. The strong stirring of 
natural conscience may weaken a present resolution to an act of sin, but not 
an affection to it, and to the habit of sin. It may restrain from outward 
exercises, not from inward dispositions. Natural conscience informs of the 
evil, but doth not confer upon us a disaffection to that evil. What are the 
inclinations of your affections ? Are they pitched upon God ? What are 
they for duration ? Are they constantly in motion to him ? Is it your plea- 
sure to think of him, to live to him ? Are the remainders of unlikeness to 
him your grief, your yet imperfect image your delight, not because it is im- 
perfect, but because it is his image ? Every sigh, or a slight affection, is 
not a new creature. It is a deep engravement, a constant inclination, con- 
trary to what it was before, as white to black. Do your affections corres- 
pond with the affections of God ? Do you hate everything that he hates ? 
Or is there any one lust thou wouldst caress and hide among the stuff? 
Such a frame is not the new-creature frame. God loves not one sin, neither 
must we, if we be like him. Is the love to God and Christ more settled 
than love to father or mother, which is an inbred affection, born with our 
natures ? Mat. x. 37. It must be so supreme. What desires have you to 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 147 

magnify his name ? Do you love him so intensely, as to part with your 
lives to glorify and enjoy him ? If you be new creatures, God and his glory 
will be dearer to you than friends, credit, life. He said not amiss, that no 
man is a true Christian who is not an habitual martyr ; that is, that hath 
not a disposition to lay down his life for the honour of God. And that 
apostle who hath spoke so much of the new creature had such a raised 
affection, Acts xx. 24, he would ' not count his life dear, so he might finish 
his course with joy ;' which was • to testify the gospel of the grace of God.' 
He could lay down his head more willingly upon a block than upon a pillow, 
if he might finish his course to his Master's honour, and publish his grace. 
Where there is no concern for the honour of God, there is little sign of a 
likeness to him ; for this is an essential part of true Christianity. If we 
have a new nature, we cannot but love that nature, wherever we find it. 
And where we find it in a greater degree, and infinitely perfect, as in God, 
we cannot but love it there above all ; else we offer violence to the divine 
nature ; and in not loving it in God, we love it not in ourselves. It is im- 
possible there can be this divine nature without spiritual affections, and that 
the image of God can be in us without having an intense love to him whose 
image it is. If anything, then, lie nearer the heart of any man than God, 
the image of God is not in him. Therefore look into your hearts. How 
doth your hatred break out against sin ? How is your sorrow poured out 
for sin ? 

4. How stand your souls to inward and spiritual duties ? How vile are 
you in your own eyes because of sin ? What grief is there even for your 
least imperfections ? Are you every day defacing your pride, and strength- 
ening your humility ? Pride is the great fort of the old man, humility the 
great security of the new. How are you in prayer ? Are you constant, are 
you fervent, have you daily converses with God ? I mean secret prayer and 
meditation : there are the most intimate converses with God. I appeal to 
you that neglect those duties ; can you pretend to this new creation ? Do 
you think that the image of God in the heart would not often move to its 
original ? Can a likeness to God consist with an estrangedness from him ? 
Can any man live the life of God that doth not care for the presence of God, 
either speaking to him, or thinking of him ? Can that law in the heart, 
which is put in that we may not depart from him, consist with this which 
is the prime departure, never to seek him, or to seek him coldly ? All 
the affections of the new creature bend to him, and centre in him. Can 
this be without a drawing near to him ? The ' spirit of grace ' is fol- 
lowed with a ' spirit of supplication :' Zech. xii. 10, ' the spirit of grace 
and of supplication.' The Spirit is not a dumb spirit in the new crea- 
ture. The first work in the heart is to cry, ' Abba, Father' : Gal. iv. 6, 
' God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father.' The first impression made by the Spirit is upon the eye of the 
soul to look to God, and the voice of the soul to cry to him. It is the 
first work of a regenerate man as regenerate. It is the argument our 
Saviour uses to Ananias, to have confidence that Paul was not the same 
man as before: Acts ix. 11, 'Behold, he prays.' Our old nature being 
made up of aversion from God, the proper language of that is, ' Depart from 
us.' The new nature being made up of an inclination to God, the proper 
language of that is, ' It is good for me to draw near to God ;' for upon this 
renewing grace God is the proper centre of the soul, and the same prin- 
ciple which moves other things to the centre will move the soul to God. 
It is made the effect of a pure heart : 2 Tim. ii. 22, ' Peace with them that 
call on the Lord out of a pure heart,' and the characteristical note of a 

148 chaenock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

saint : 1 Cor. i. 2, < Saints, with all that in every place call upon the name 
of Jesus Christ our Lord.' 

5. What valuations and relishes have you of the word and institutions 
of Christ ? As the life is, so is the food ; a spiritual appetite for spiritual 
food is a comfortable sign of a renewed nature. In every nature there is 
an aversion to what is destructive, an inclination to what is preservative. 
Every creature doth as much desire its proper food, as it abhors that poison 
that would blast it. The new nature hath a new taste, his palate is em- 
bittered to his former pleasure, and refined and prepared for his new de- 
light : he relisheth what before he loathed, esteems that sweetest that before 
was unpleasantest. The law in the heart, being an impression of the word, 
will answer it with a choice affection. The first cleansing of the heart, and 
the progressive sanctification of it, is wrought by the word : Eph. v. 26, 
' That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the 
word.' The image of God in the heart cannot but value the image of God 
in his law ; since the soul is brought to a love of God, it will love his ope- 
rations, and all the methods of them, and therefore his word. A rectified 
judgment will have a rectified affection ; there will be a spiritual palate, 
whereby it proves and ' approves what is the good, acceptable, and perfect 
will of God,' Rom. xii. 2. What is pleasing to God is good and pleasing to 
him. And the same apostle sets it as a sign of a perfect man, or a sincere 
new creature, to esteem that the wisdom of God which the world counts 
foolishness : 1 Cor. ii. 6, ' We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.' 
The Spirit of truth in the new creature will fill it with a strong affection to 
those truths in the word. Truth in the heart, and truth in the word, being 
so near of kin, cannot be strangers or unwelcome to one another. What 
sympathy, then, is there between the word and your hearts? What exer- 
cise of grace in it ? What improvement of grace by it ? Do you desire it 
to satisfy your curiosity, or to further your growth ? 1 Pet. ii. 2, ' As new- 
born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.' 
Are you like the plants, both cleansed and quickened by the showers, and 
discovering themselves in a fresh verdure ? How do you dilate your souls 
for it ? How do you work it upon your hearts ? Do you desire it should 
be stamped upon you ? Do you long for a more perfect intimacy with it ? 
Do you prize it above the satisfactions of wealth and the pleasures of sense? 
Is it 'more excellent than gold,' Ps. xix. 10, 'and sweeter than honey?' 
Ps. cxix. 103. Do you spiritually concoct it, and turn spiritual meat into a 
spiritual juice, as the stomach doth meat into chyle, and other parts of the 
body into blood ? Life can only do this. Do you love to have it dwell 
richly in you, and bring down the highest imaginations to the foot of it ? 
Do you cut the throat of your dearest Isaacs when the word commands you? 
Is it a pleasure to you to see the face of God in his ordinances ? Is your 
pleasure raised most by the spirituality of truth ? The more spiritual any 
truth is, the more satisfactory it is to a spiritual taste. Do your hearts burn 
within you at the warm breath of Christ ? Are they not only warmed, but 
raised into a flame, and that lasting ? Not like the straw, which doth blaze 
and vanish. 

6. What holiness is there in your hearts and lives ? God cannot be 
otherwise than holy, therefore holiness is the perpetual concomitant of the 
divine nature ; and so the apostle makes it to consist in ' escaping the pol- 
lutions that are in the world through lust,' 2 Pet. i. 4. There is a principle 
which springs up in holy motions and thoughts. It is in the soul the image 
of God is stamped, and it is there that the new creature doth chiefly exercise 
and preserve it. Holiness must be the proper effect of that which is planted 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 149 

by the Spirit of holiness. He that pretends to a likeness to God without it, 
fathers an irregularity upon him, and makes him a monstrous begetter. It 
is not born of the will of the flesh, to follow sensual pleasures, nor of the will 
of man, to follow only rational delights ; but of the will of God, and therefore 
follows that will it was born of, John i. 1 3. ' Let thy kingdom come, thy 
will be done,' is the natural language of the new creature, and glad he is to 
have the Spirit point him to those ways that are most conformable to the 
divine will, for it is not a strained holiness, but natural, such a one as ariseth 
from the 'fear of God in the heart,' Jer. xsxii. 40, and a care to please God 
in his walk : 2 Cor. vii. 11, ' Yea, what care V It is holy as God is holy, 
in some measure, and therefore like him whose infinite purity cannot endure 
pollution. And it can no more divest itself of its inclinations to righteous- 
ness than the soul can strip itself of its natural activity. There is a certain 
connection between a ' heart of flesh ' and ' walking in God's statutes,' Ezek. 
xxxvi. 26, 27. To what purpose doth God give it ? either for his own work 
or for the devil's ? There is no need of it for the latter ; the heart of stone 
would have done his work effectually : therefore for the service of the former, 
and that constantly, for the new creature is ' created to good works,' not to 
do them by fits and turns, but ' to walk in them,' Eph. ii. 10 ; and he is 
described by tbe apostle to be one that ' walks after the Spirit,' Rom. viii. 1, 
the ordinary course of his heart is spiritual. How is it with you, then ? Is 
holiness your proper element ? Is it a death to you when any thing con- 
trary to it buds up in your hearts ? Is there a purity of heart joined with a 
zeal for goodness, Titus ii. 14 ? They go hand in hand, as being both the 
ends of our Saviour's death, and both the works of the Spirit. Is there an 
angry detestation of the loathsomeness of sin, and a kindly affection to the 
purity of grace ? It will be thus if the new creation be wrought, for as in 
original sin there was the root of all evil, therefore all holiness may be op- 
posed, and all sin practised ; so in the habit of grace there is the root of all 
grace, therefore all sin will be loathed, and every part of holiness will be 
loved. But on the contrary, if your old lusts be rather improved than im- 
paired ; if you are more charmed by swinish pleasures, and enamoured of 
them ; if the enmity in your hearts or the loathsomeness in your lives re- 
main, is there anything of a new creature in you ? Judge for yourselves. 
Do you make as rich a provision for the flesh as before ? Is your heart and 
life set upon it with as much affection ? Are you joyful when employed in 
its drudgery ? Is this to be a new creature ? Can there be such darkness, 
if the sun of grace were risen upon you ? Such fruits evidence the standing 
of the old root. He tbat hath the black mark of the devil in his life hath 
no reason to think he hath the spiritual badge of Christ in his heart ; and if 
he do, he doth deceive himself. 

7. How is your disposition against those things which are contrary to a 
divine nature ? No creature hath a greater antipathy to that which is con- 
trary to its nature, than a regenerate man hath against that which is contrary 
to the divine. It is as impossible there can be a friendly neighbourood be- 
tween the new man and the old, as between the ark and Dagon, between heat 
and cold, which are always quarrelling, yea, between Christ and Belial, 2 
Cor. v. 16. 

(1.) Against the motions of sin. An irreconcileable war is commenced be- 
tween grace and corruption. At the first inlet flesh is in arms to hinder ; 
the spirit in arms to maintain its standing, Gal. v. 17. The contest is in 
the whole man ; grace being seated in the heart, sends out its commands, and 
despatches forces to every part to meet with its enemy,* as motion begin- 
* Jackson, vol. iii., 4to, p. 495 

150 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

ning at the centre diffuseth itself through the whole sphere, shaking every 
part to the circumference. Light will oppose darkness in every part of the 
air ; they cannot shake hands together ; the increase of one is the decrease 
of the other. Sensibility is a sign of life ; a dead man complains not of 
wounds and cutting ; you may take out his bowels, cut limb from limb ; but 
a living man will complain of the least prick of a pin or a pinch. Natural 
men cannot complain of that which they do not feel. There is a mighty 
friendship between a dead carcase and rottenness, nothing is noisome to it. 
Loads of sin may lie upon him, like mountains upon a dead body, and no 
complaint : ' The motions of sin work in his members ' without resistance, 
and ' bring forth their fruit unto death,' Rom. vii. 5. But the new creature 
counts the least sin that hath stolen in upon him his torture, like the stone 
in the bladder, a worm in the root, and can find no rest till he routs the be- 
ginnings of the disease. If there be no antipathy then to that which is con- 
trary to the life and being of a Christian, it is a sure sign that there is 
nothing of a divine life ; for as a renewed man ' esteems all the precepts of 
God to be right,' and ' hates every false way,' Ps. cxix. 128, so he must 
abhor every motion which would divert him from what he values, and entice 
him to what he hates. How are your understandings sensible of the first 
risings contrary to the interest of the new creature ? Are they more ready 
to dissent from them ; your wills more ready to check them than before ? 
What counterworkings against the flesh, with its affections and lusts ? Are 
you ready with weapons in your hand to stay the first stirrings of corruption ? 
Are you ready to pluck those buds, and fling them away with disdain ? Doth 
both your courage and strength increase ? Can you more readily be in arms 
against the rising of a lust than formerly you were, and cannot without 
horror bear the approaches of them ? Doth a little dust of sin got into your 
eye set you a- weeping before God ? 

(2.) How stand you affected to spiritual sins ? Here you should lay the 
great stress in your examination of the new creation, for your lives may be 
the lives of saints, while your hearts are the hearts of devils ; we may have 
no spots of the flesh upon our garments, and a world of them upon our 
souls ; spiritual sins may revel where the more fleshly and sensual iniquities 
are excluded. There is a war in the heart of the new creature against spiri- 
tual wickedness : Eph. vi. 12, ' For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, 
but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wicked- 
ness in high places ;' or wickedness spiritualised in the high places, Uebg ra 
irviv/jjarixa rr t g irov7joiag h roTg sftovpavioig, the choicest faculties of the soul. 
Satan doth most excite those sins in the heart, and natural conscience makes 
no resistance against them. It is only an enlightened conscience that un- 
derstands and abhors this darkness, and loathes those steams which others 
cherish. Do you wrestle against these which partake most of the devil's 
nature ? Do you dandle them in your minds, or do you groan at the ap- 
pearance of them ? Do you fly from them as you would do from a visible 
apparition of the devil ? These are most contrary to the divine nature and 
life of God. And a renewed man can no more avoid contesting with them 
than the nature of a living creature can with poison. But if you can with- 
out any reluctancy play the wantons with these in your hearts ; if you think 
pride, vain-glory, ambition, speculative wickedness, &c, no evils ; if your 
hearts never start at the appearance of them ; if you entertain them as wel- 
come guests, though you be never so free from the filthiness of the flesh, you 
have yet the strength of Satan's image in you, nothing of a Christian formed. 
A natural man may quarrel with some sins, not with all ; renewed men with 
all, because all are enemies to God, and to the life of grace in the heart. He 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 151 

is always with arms in his hand to extirpate sin, and drive the Canaanite 
from his forts as well as the open field. 

(3.) Are you in the like manner affected against temptations and occasions 
of sin ? The state of regeneration makes the soul more subject to the 
assaults of temptations than before, from the envy of Satan, who stomachs 
the happiness of the new creature. Do your souls start at the appearance 
of a temptation ? Do you regard any enticement to a departure from God 
as your torment ? Do you discountenance it at the first approach, and give 
it no civiller entertainment, than ' Get you behind me, Satan' ? Christ in 
the flesh did so, and Christ formed in the heart will do no less ; if he happen 
to come near the way of evil men, he will observe the wise man's counsel, 
Prov. iv. 14, 15, he will ' avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass 
away.' His spirit will rise against anything that would intrude upon him, 
which looks unfriendly towards God. The nobleness of the new nature will 
make him disdain a sordid temptation, and inspire him with a holy gene- 
rosity ; and the stronger the nature, the more vigorously will it oppose that 
which would deform it. And if any temptation break in upon it at any 
time, and master it, how restless is it to be delivered from it, applies 
itself with all its force to heaven, complains against it, engageth God's power 
on its side, makes up the gap where sin hath broken in, and fortifies the 
place to prevent a future assault! In short, a natural man nourishes inward 
lusts, meets motions to sin half way, smiles upon an approaching tempta- 
tion. A new creature starts at the first appearance for the most part, frowns 
upon Satanical suggestions, turns aways his eyes from beholding vanity. One 
makes provision to maintain them, the other to destroy them ; one submits 
to the tempter, the other arms himself against him. 

8. Put this question to yourselves, What delight do you find in God and 
his ways ? This indeed is an evident sign of the new nature ; by this men 
may judge of themselves, if they will not deceive and flatter themselves in 
their search. This is the greatest evidence of sincerity in all the ways of 
God. For the law cannot be in any man's heart, unless he delight to do 
the will of God : Ps. xl. 8, ' Thy law is within my heart, I delight to do 
thy will, my God.' He will be carried out with a spiritual joy and triumph 
to the acting what is spiritually good, with a mighty pleasure, as great as 
the body takes in eating when it is hungry, or drinking when it is thirsty. 
It was thus with our Saviour in the flesh, it is thus with Christ formed in 
the heart, it is his meat and drink to do the will of God ; not so much in 
the new creature as it was in Christ, because in that there is a remaining 
principle of resistance, in Christ none. It is then he can ' delight himself 
in the Lord,' Isa. lviii. 14, and count him his ' exceeding joy,' Ps. xliii. 4. 
As it is an argument that Seneca gives of the divine original of the soul, that 
it is most pleased with divine speculations, it is no less an argument of the 
new creation, when it is delighted, not only with the speculative, but with the 
practical contemplation of God, when the soul that triumphed before in the 
pleasures of sin can burn with an ardent love to God, and solace itself in 
communion with him ; and unless holy services be our delightful element, 
we have not a likeness to that God, who is not only righteous, but delights 
in ' righteousness, loving-kindness, and judgment,' Jer. ix. 24. Every being 
owes so much respect to its own welfare, as not to act sluggishly and drowsily 
in its main concern ; for the same love which excites it to perform those 
things which are essential to its preservation will oblige it to act with the 
highest complacency ; and the more conducing they are to the well-being of 
the creature, the more powerful is the joy which spreads itself through the 
whole essence of the creature ; therefore holy services being as intrinsecal to 

152 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

a holy principle as the most inward operations of any creature can be to 
its nature, will be done with a vigorous frame, and an edged intenseness of 
spirit. Without this, in some degree, nothing requisite to the operations of a 
new creature can be performed ; without it we have no aversion to that 
which is contrary to the law, nor an inclination to what is conformable to 
it. It is a consent of the will to the whole law, Rom. vii. 16, a delight of 
the affections in it ; a consent to it in respect of the goodness ; a delight in 
it (ver. 22), in respect of the authority enjoining it, as it is the law of God ; 
not principally as it is in some parts conformable to human reason, but as it 
is the divine will, whereby both the sovereignty, holiness, and righteousness 
of God is owned by the whole inward man ; the understanding, will, and affec- 
tions, conspiring together with a strong delight in God and his law. Hence 
you find David so often expressing his delight in it, Ps. cxix. 14, 35, 47, 70, 
77, &c. And indeed so much of weariness as we have in any service, so 
much of an old nature and a legal frame ; so much as we have of love and 
delight, so much we have of a new creature, and new covenant grace. A 
natural man cannot have any of this choice joy in any spiritual service, 
be?ause it is against his nature ; no more than a fish can delight to be upon 
the land out of its proper element ; but a new creature hath little delight in 
anything, but as it regards God, and tends to him; other men's delights are 
terminated in the flesh, but the elevations of a renewed soul are highly 
spiritual. How then is it with you ? Are the duties of religion, communion 
wioh God in them, your delightful element ? Is a flight of your love to 
him, the acting for his glory, as pleasant as flattery to a proud nature, or 
gain to a covetous disposition ? Have you little satisfaction in what you 
do, but still breathe and strive after a higher frame, and cannot rest, till 
with your choice embraces of your souls you clasp about God himself? 
happy man ! None but a divine nature could fill thee with such pleas- 
ing transports. 

Use 4. Is of exhortation. 

1. To those who are new creatures, that have some comfortable evidence 
in their souls, that there is the image of God renewed in them. 

(1.) How should you admire and glorify God ? Is it possible that so 
noble a work can be unattended with a spirit of gratitude ? How should 
you be filled with a sense of divine goodness, and formed to set forth his 
praise ? Surely this of thankfulness is not one of the least good works 
you are created unto. Before, when you were alienated from the life of God, 
you were estranged from his love and his praise, you would never glorify 
him whom you did not affect ; but since a heavenly nature is introduced, a 
heavenly work should become the very life of your souls; tongues and hearts 
should be set on fire by grace. 

[1.] Has not God made you differ from the whole mass of the corrupted 
world ? There is as great a difference between a new and an old creature 
as between the clearest day and the darkest night; as between Christ, 
who is glorified in heaven, the head of his own flock, and the devil, 
who is damned in hell, the head of the unbelieving world ; so they are 
opposed by the apostle, 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. Might you not have run down 
the stream with others, lived only a natural life with others, and at last died 
an eternal death, and descended, with all your intellectual and moral endow- 
ments, to the place only due to corrupt nature ? But God, the God that is 
blessed for ever, hath breathed into you a breath of life, caused you to stand 
up before him with a resemblance of his nature, set you apart for himself, 
wrought you for glory, and made you live another life, a life by the faith of 
the Son of God. And is it not reason you should differ from all the world 

2 Cor. V. 17.J the nature of regeneration. 153 

in your praises of him, who hath made you differ so vastly in your state and 
condition ? 

[2.] Hath not God in this bestowed upon you a higher perfection than all 
natural perfection in the world ? The lowest degree of sense is more excellent 
than the highest inanimate perfection ; therefore a fly, in regard of life, is 
more excellent than a diamond, or the sun itself. The lowest degree of 
reason is above the highest degree of sense, and the lowest degree of renew- 
ing grace transcends the highest degree of reason, because this in the highest 
degree is but human and natural, that in the lowest degree spiritual and 
divine. Therefore you owe more to God for your regeneration than all 
creatures of the world do for their natural existence. He hath done more 
for you, in communicating to you his own nature, than if he had made you 
viceroys over men and angels, and put the whole created world under your 
feet, without investing you with this new creation. 

[3. J And this God hath done for you, when you were in the common 
lump, and had no more worth in yourselves to move him to it than the rest 
of the world. No other motive on your part but misery. All the world 
had the same ; for it lay in the like condition. All that you had, all that 
you were, was proper to move him to a contempt of you, and a loathing you 
for ever. It was the invention of his own overflowing love, not any per- 
suasion of your worth. What were you, and what was your father's house, 
that he should thus translate you from the drudgery of sin to the liberty of 
grace, from a spiritual death to a divine life ? Had God called you out of 
the womb of nothing, unshaped as the great chaos, and asked you what 
degree of creatures* you were willing to be raised unto, would you have pre- 
sumed to desire God to make you like himself ? Yet God in regeneration 
raised you to a state you durst not ask, above a rational creature, even to a 
divine, when he had no motive to anything, but to turn you, with Nebuchad- 
nezzar, to graze among the beasts, and partake with devils in the eternal 
misery of that image you had contracted. 

[4.] It is therefore a wonderful and miraculous change. If the framing 
the body of man be so 'wonderful' a work, Ps. cxxxix. 14, and a curious 
piece of embroidery, how much more admirable is this new formation of the 
soul into the likeness of God. If we should see a silly fly or a poisonous 
spider, a clod of earth, or a glow-worm, transformed into a glittering star, 
it would not be so great a miracle ; it would be a change from one natural 
image to another. But this is a change from hell to heaven, from being a 
limb of the devil to become a member of Christ, from a worse than Egyptian 
darkness into a marvellous light. That is but a change of one innocent 
nature into another ; this a change of a nature hateful to God into a nature 
delightful to him, a corrupt creature into an holy one, a change of something 
worse than a bare creature into something like the great Creator and Re- 
deemer. This is your change, therefore the highest obligation in the world 
lies upon you, to praise and glorify God. It is in the day of your regenera- 
tion that God hath rolled away the reproach of your corruption and death, as 
he said of the Israelites when tbey were circumcised in Canaan, Joshua v. 9. 

To quicken you to praise, 

First, Often reflect upon your former state. Cast your eyes back upon 
what you were, that you may be thankful for what you are. Ah, what was 
I once ? An hater of God, and hated by him ; one bearing the image of 
Satan, and delighting in it ; a noisome heap of lusts, estranged from God, 
sold under sin, dead to goodness, an enemy to the law. What a condition 
was I in then ! Good Lord, how astonishing was thy mercy, how wonder- 
ful thy love, how great was thy power, to draw me out of tbis state ! 

154 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

Secondly, Review what you are. What am I now ? Here is a new light 
in my understanding, new inclinations in my will ; I can now look upon 
God with pleasure and run his ways with delight. Christ is my only joy, 
and Christ is my only gain. My old nature is wearing away, my new nature 
is rising higher and clearer ; now am I freed by the blood of Christ from my 
guilt, and by the Spirit of Christ from my filth. What shall I render to the 
Lord for these inestimable benefits towards me ? blessed God ! dear 
Redeemer ! infinite condescending Spirit, to work these things for me, in 
me ; to clear such a nasty soul, imprint such a heavenly image, conform me 
to so excellent a pattern, and by grace to fit me for a glorious eternity ! 
Let then the love of the author, the excellency of the work, the misery of 
your former state, the happiness of your new, be joined together in your 
considerations to enhance your praise ; and since you live the life of God, 
be sure to live the life of thankfulness. 

(2.) As it is your duty to admire and glorify God for making you new 
creatures, so it is your duty and advantage too to preserve in its vigour this 
new nature in you. When Adam's life was infused, he was to preserve it 
by feeding upon the fruits of paradise, Gen. ii. 29. And you must preserve 
your spiritual lives by the fruits of divine institutions placed in the church. 
The inner man is to be strengthened ; Paul prays to this purpose for the 
Ephesians, Eph. iii. 16, ' that he would grant you to be strengthened with 
might by his Spirit in the inner man,' which is not, as some understand it, 
a strengthening of reason, mind, and understanding, The Scripture by 
heart understands the mind, will, and judgment, but the apostle joins this 
inner man so with the heart (ver. 17, ' That Christ may dwell in your hearts 
by faith'), that he doth manifestly put a difference between this inner man. 
and the heart, making one the seat, the other the root in it. The apostle 
wishes them not a strength of the soul, but a strength of the new man and 
image of Christ in the soul. The devil is a mighty enemy to it ; he hath 
lost a servant ; he will leave no stone unturned to recover him ; his servant 
will be his judge ; he will therefore endeavour to overthrow him. Go to 
God, therefore, for new supplies in the case of Satan's assaults ; desire him 
to put a vigour into your grace, water the seeds, and blow up the divine 
spark. Our Saviour desired assisting and strengthening grace for Peter, 
when he foresaw the devil's preparations to worry him, Luke xxii. 31, 32. 
So should we for ourselves, and Christ will not be backward to second us in 
it ; yea, he will prevent us, and send in an auxiliary force over and above 
the standing habit which makes up the new creature. We need the gales of 
heaven to blow us forward, the concourse of God to his gracious creature, as 
well as his common concourse to his natural. Is it not the highest reason 
to engage all in the defence, and strengthening that which is the delight of 
God, the happiness of the soul, and the envy of the devil ? What is worth 
our care, if this be thought worthy of our neglect ? Sloth in preserving and 
strengthening argues a lesser value of a thing. Would you lose beauty for 
deformity, health for sickness ? Would you lose the pleasures of heaven for 
the anguish of hell ? Preserve this image then from being defaced, and look 
that Satan draw no more black lines in your hearts. ' Skin for skin, and all 
a man hath will he give for his life ;' eat his own flesh to preserve his life as 
long as he can. Oh then, if I may so say, soul for soul, and all that you 
have, you should give and employ for maintaining this spiritual life, which is 
as much above a natural life as the sun above a dunghill. Blow it up every 
day, dress the lamps as the priests in the temple. It is for want of this 
strengthening it, that we have so little liveliness in duty. It is for want of 
this excitation that we walk so often in darkness. What have we else to do 

2 Cor. Y. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 155 

but this ? Preservation and strengthening of life is the chief design of men 
in the world. Is not a divine life of more worth ? Let not then the cares 
of our bodies surpass those for our souls, and our fondness to natural life ex- 
ceed our affection to spiritual life. We know but in part, we see but as in a 
glass darkly. The inclinations of our hearts to righteousness are not in their 
full strength. 

(3.) Grow up to a taller stature. There must be a daily putting off the 
old man, and a putting on the new, a renewing the inward man day by day, 
2 Cor. iv. 16. And though at the first regeneration there is the forming all 
the essential parts of grace, yet afterwards there is a daily augmentation 
(the Galatians were both knowing God, and known of him, Gal. iv. 9, yet of 
these did the apostle travail, till Christ was formed again, ver. 19), till the 
design of Christ be fully complied with, and the soul grown up to the 
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, by the participation of his 
nature. As providence is a continued creation, so growth is a continued 
regeneration. As a man grows in reason by new improvements, so ought a 
Christian in grace, by new additions. Things are not ripened at once. 
The spirits in raw and immature bodies are depressed by gross and earthy 
mixtures with them, till they are encouraged by the sun and showers, and 
thereby able to digest the crude parts, and arrive at perfection. 

[1.] This must be : Job xvii. 9, ' The righteous shall hold on his way, 
and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.' The new 
nature can no more stand at a stay, than a living tree can, till it come up to 
the measures of its nature. It is the nature of seed to propagate itself, and 
spread its virtue into branches and fruit. It will be aspiring to that perfec- 
tion which nature hath allotted to it. If you do not grow, it is a sign there 
is no life in you. It is but a common gift, or a common grace, at best; the 
counterfeit, not the reality of the new creature. Living natures do thrive ; 
pieces of art stand at a stay. He is no member of Christ, but as a wooden 
leg or arm; not knit by any vital band, but some extrinsic ligaments; not fed 
with the increases of God, because he doth not grow. To content ourselves 
with a low degree of grace, makes us unworthy of the benefit of regeneration, 
and below those that pretend to a likeness to God. 

[2. J It must be uniform. As it is one habit which is infused, so it 
equally thrives in all the parts of it. An unequal growth is the effect of a 
disease, not of nature. As nature causes a proportion of parts in the make, 
so likewise a proportion of parts in the growth. It is not a growth in faith, 
and a decay in love ; or a growth in love, and a decay in faith. To pretend 
to the one without the other, is to have an head without an heart, a life 
without blood or spirits. A natural man may grow in some moral orna- 
ments, as a dead man in hair and nails ; but a spiritual vitality shew r s itself 
in an equal increase of all the members in the new creature. And it is best 
discerned by the thriving of those graces which are most contrary to your 
natural disposition, which cannot so well be discerned in those which have 
some foundations in moral natures ; as humility hath a mild disposition, 
which by the addition of grace, advanceth to an eminent humility. But a 
new creature thrives in those graces which were most contrary to his corrupt 
nature, now over-mastered. The second draught of a picture defaceth not 
one line or two of the former, but the whole frame, to make it more near 
the original. And thus a new creature ought to grow as the vine, and revive 
as the corn, in all the branches and fruits proper to its nature, Hosea xiv. 7. 

[3.] By this we please God and pleasure ourselves. The more illustrious 
any work is, the more glory redounds to the artist. If the beginnings of tie 
new creation be so amiable as to make heaven itself in love with it, how in- 

156 chaenock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

finitely will God be pleased to see it grow to maturity among the whirlwinds 
and storms of temptations ; every increase, adding new colours and lustre to 
this beauty, will renew the jubilee in heaven. Thus will God pronounce it 
good at first, and very good the nearer it comes to perfection, as he did in 
tbe creation of the world. By this growth you will have a greater capacity 
for heaven ; for if the first new creation capacitates a man for glory, the 
higher it springs, the more beautiful the divine nature grows, the nearer it 
is to glory and the fitter to be planted in an eternal paradise, the more a 
right to heaven will appear to yourselves. 

(4.) A foux-th exhortation. Behave yourselves in your ordinary walk, as 
new creatures of another rank from the world. It is the inference the 
apostle makes from the new state wherein the Ephesians were, ' For you 
were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord : walk as children of the 
light,' Eph. v. 8. You must bring forth fruits meet for regeneration, meet 
for him by whom you are renewed, as the ground doth herbs, meet for him 
by whom it is dressed, Heb. vi. 7. 

[1.] Adorn the gospel, whereby the divine impression is made upon you. 
The apostle argues against lying, and by the same reason against all sin, 
from this head, Col. iii. 9, 10. The gospel adorns the soul by its impres- 
sion ; the soul should adorn the gospel by its conversation : Titus ii. 10, 
' Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.' Let the writing of 
the law in the heart appear on the other side of the life, and the divine light 
in your hearts shine in your outward man, as a candle through a lantern, that 
God may be glorified, Mat. v. 16. Let not lust and sin, extraneous to the 
new creature, bear any rule in any action ; let no unworthy action reproach 
your profession. Do nothing unbecoming one who is like him that rules the 
world, unbecoming that word and gospel which God hath magnified above 
all his name. Defile not your garments ; we can never walk with God but 
in white, Rev. iii. 4, in the whiteness of purity, not in the blackness of sio. 
Do not any works of Satan with the nature of God upon you. Indeed, we 
may be ashamed, that when there is so much of the image of Christ in the 
gospel, there should be so little of the image of Christ in our lives. Walk 
as those that are enrolled among the spirits of just men made perfect, as 
those who have the honour to be of the assembly of the first-born ; live to 
God, not to yourselves. The more wicked the generation is you live in, 
the more it is your duty to shine, as the lights of heaven in the darkness of 
the earth, Philip, ii. 15, and the more it will be your commendation, as it 
was the praise of Job, that he was upright in the land of Uz, among the 
race of profane Esau, not among the offspring of praying Jacob : Job i. 1, 
' That man was perfect, and feared God.' 

[2.] Live above affections to a drossy world, if you would honour your new 
nature. An earthly spirit cannot be the effect of a heavenly birth. Let not the 
rattles of your childhood be your present pleasure, or the bewitching world have 
any influence upon you. The world is no fit boundary for the soul in its natu- 
ral capacity, much less in its spiritual ; it is too empty for an immortal soul, 
much more for a divine nature. Let not anything on this side God be your 
oarling, but your footstool, to mount you nearer heaven. Value them only 
as they enable you to do the higher duties of religion without distracting 
cares, and are subservient to the honouring God in the world. As the new 
creature was not redeemed with a vile price, so it is not endued with so sor- 
did a nature, as to be much in love with these things. The conquest of 
this is one of the first fruits of the new birth. 1 John v. 4, ' "Whatsoever is 
born of God, overcomes the world ;' there is a mighty antipathy between the 
world, and anything that is the offspring of God. There cannot be so much 


ignorance of the things of another world, as to prize so vile a piece, as a 
house with walls and furniture, infected with a sinful leprosy. Let the in- 
ward contempt of the blandishments of it grow up in you ; distract not 
yourselves with cares for it, but trust in God's promise, and leave things to 
the conduct of his wise providence. It is inconsistent with a new nature 
to lie at the bottom of this great sea, sucking up weeds and sand, and never 
peep its head above water, towards heaven. 

[3.] Be much in the thoughts and views of the divine original of your 
nature. Shall the new nature seldom look up to that place whence it de- 
scended, or cast its eye upon that beautiful hand that framed it ? Surely 
the new creature cannot be so unnatural. Employ your souls in exercises 
of an unbounded love to God, a settled delight in him, a high esteem of 
the righteousness of his nature, and an habitual walking with him ; let the 
esteem of him, and vilifying yourselves, be your daily employment. The 
looking upon him will transform you more into his image ; by this spiritual con- 
verse you will partake of a new brightness, and clearer lineaments. Every 
view will leave a greater perfection upon his image in you, by a reflection of 
a glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18. By this your hearts will be more suitable to those 
regions of blessedness to which the divine image is hastening. It will make 
you sweat out some corruption every day, and advance you some steps to- 
ward the state of bliss. 

[4.J Fix your aims on a state of perfection. You are to walk, not to 
stand still. Never rest till all that righteousness which of right belongs to 
that divine nature in you, be conferred upon you ; breathe after a more 
close conjunction with the original. Keep up in a due sprjghtliness your 
detestations of sin, which you had when you were first enlivened ; with what 
a holy indignation you flung away your lusts, with a Get you hence, and, 
What have I to do any more with idols ? Set an edge upon this hatred every 
day, sharpen your indignation more and more. Preserve in your'souls those 
affections which did rise up in you, when the irresistible charms of divine 
love did first allure you, when you first cast your eyes upon this new likeness 
and image of God ; quicken them daily, and ' press forward towards the mark 
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.' 

[5. J Let your affection be carried to everything which partakes of the same 
image. There is in all creatures a kindness to those of their own nature ; 
the most ravenous do not prey upon their own species ; all men, descending 
from Adam, having the same nature, have some kindness to those of their 
own kind ; and all descending from Christ have the same nature, the same 
affections and instincts. It is in love and holiness wherein God doth de- 
cipher himself in the soul ; he would not be drawn in any other attributes 
in the heart of man ; and thus in the Scripture he publisheth himself in 
the abstract as holiness and love, delighting to be imitated by his creature 
in those two perfections, ' God is love, and he that dwells in God dwells in 
love,' 1 John iv. 16. Love is, therefore, the nature of the new creature, 
and love to the same objects whereon God's love is pitched, first himself, 
then his image in his creature. So the love of God and that of a new 
creature go hand in hand together ; first, the affections of the new nature 
stream out to God as the prime and original beauty, then to all new crea- 
tures, as they partake more or less of this divine image. This universal 
charity to God, grace, and good men, is the inseparable property of the new 
creature, the highest perfection of it, and the beginning of a state of glory. 
Love all those that partake of this divine nature. 

[6.] Endeavour to propagate your new nature to others. It is the pro- 
perty of goodness to be diffusive of itself ; and God, the highest goodness, 

158 chabnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

is the most communicative. The divine nature should imitate him in this. 
No nature but delights to propagate itself. The new nature ought not to be 
sluggish in it; since the great change lies in the end, since the glory of God 
is set up as its main intendment, it will oblige it to propagate holiness and 
righteousness, whereby God is most glorified ; for thereby the number is 
increased to represent him on earth and praise him in heaven. No sooner 
was Paul renewed, but he endeavours to bring all the world into the same 
frame. The apostate angels, being revolted from God, labour to sink all the 
world into the same disposition. Fire communicates by a touch its own 
nature to all matter that comes near it, and turns the hardest metals into its 
own likeness. So ought that holy fire in a new creature to labour to convert 
everything into its own flames. This is a peculiar mark set upon the evan- 
gelical times, and the special fruit of a gospel impression : Isa. ii. 3, ' Many 
people shall say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to 
the house of the God of Jacob.' It should be your endeavour that all about 
you may be the better for you. Strive to affect your children and servants 
with a sense of the corruption of nature derived from Adam, and the neces- 
sity of being implanted in the new head of the world, and partaking of an- 
other nature from him. Thus to be a fellow- worker with God is the most 
absolute work of grace, as to beget in its own likeness is the most perfect 
work of nature. 

And to persuade you to walk and act as new creatures, consider, 
First, The excellency of your birth. It is a birth of heaven, a resemblance 
to God ; do nothing below it or unworthy of it. Is it fit for you to lie among 
the pots and smut yourselves ? The consideration of the relation you bear 
to God should inspire you with heroic resolutions for his glory. You are 
the only persons that keep up God's honour in the world, and his final anger 
from it. Whenever you are tempted, reflect upon yourselves, as Nehemiah : 
' Should such a man as I ' do this ? Neh. vi. 11. Or as Joseph to his mis- 
tress, ' Behold, my master hath committed all that he hath to my hand ;' 
behold, God hath put his divine nature in my heart, and ' shall I do this 
wickedness ?' Consider in every action what that God you call Father by 
regenerating grace, that Christ who is the great exemplar and copy of the 
image in you, would do in such cases and circumstances. How unworthy is 
it for a living man to do dead works ! As your life springs from the highest 
principle, let it be employed for the highest ends. Was ever any prince 
ashamed of his honour ? And shall any new creature be ashamed of the 
particular badge of heaven upon it ; of that righteousness which is the true 
nobility of his nature ? Holiness is the beauty of an intellectual and rational 
creature ; it must then be your highest honour to live conformably to the 
dignity of your nature. 

Secondly, It was the intendment of God you should walk in a nobler man- 
ner than the rest of the world. Did God infuse into Adam a soul of a higher 
nature than that of beasts, to enable him to live only the life of beasts ? God 
intended by the infusion of this new principle, that you should live above 
the sphere of humanity and the rate of man. How doth the apostle chide 
the Christians because they did not advance above the life of mere man ; 
and therefore gives them a title chiefly belonging to the unregenerate world : 
1 Cor. iii. 3, ' Are you not carnal, and walk as men ? ' Our Saviour expects 
a more worthy carriage from his children than what barely nature can teach 
them. He would have them as God, and imitators of him, Mat. v. 44-47, 
and do something peculiar to this new state, which cannot be done by any 
unregenerate man in the world. Your holiness is not to be of the common 
level with the morality of the world, but such as may set forth the ' praise of 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 159 

God,' 1 Peter ii. 9 ; they are a ' chosen generation,' therefore should have 
choice conversations ; a ' royal priesthood,' therefore princes' deportments ; 
a ' holy nation and peculiar people,' therefore should have holy and peculiar 
behaviours. They should thus be public evangelists, to set forth s^ayyii'/.riTs, 
the graciousness and righteousness of God. There is also the highest obli- 
gation, because he hath ' called them out of darkness into his marvellous 
light.' God intended that their conversations should be such as should 
amaze the world into a love of holiness, and admiration of that light which 
gives them such excellent directions, and that nature which enables them to 
so exact a walk. God's temples were not intended to be made dunghills. 

Thirdly, Not to walk as new creatures is a dishonour to God. You that 
do not walk answerable to your high calling do more highly dishonour him 
than all other persons. You are quite contrary to his image, and represent 
God to the world as they would have him, not what he is in his own nature ; 
for by a careless walk the world will judge God to be like you, or you very 
unlike to God. Is God holy, and you impure ; God merciful, and you re- 
vengeful ; God a God of peace, and you fomenters of malice and contention ? 
To pretend to his image with such qualities is to disparage his nature, and 
rather degrade God to a likeness to the flesh than to mount up to a true 
resemblance of him : Ps. 1. 21, ' Thou thoughtest I was altogether such a 
one as thyself.' It is a disgrace to a noble father to have a swinish, clown- 
ish, ill-bred person pretend to be his son. But how much is the contrary a 
glory to Christ, as delicious fruit and choice flowers credit the beams of the 
sun ! What a mighty pleasure is it to God to behold a suitable walk of his 
new creatures ! He loves them, and ' his countenance doth behold the up- 
right,' Ps. xi. 7. How much must he, who is holiness itself, take compla- 
cency in the holiness of it. If he loves it while in a low degree, no question 
but he loves it more in a higher exaltation. How does the Holy Ghost 
repeat Enoch's walking with God twice in Gen. v. 22, 24, to witness his 
pleasure in it ? 

Fourthly, Not to walk suitable to your new creation is a mighty disadvan- 
tage to yourselves. Though a new creature doth not totally lose his grace 
if a temptation deflower his purity, yet his grace suffers an impair, and per- 
haps he may never recover the same degree of grace and comfort he had 
before. It is a question whether David ever had his sails filled with such 
strong gales of the Spirit after his fall as he had before. The marks of a 
disease will hang about us after the disease is cured, and the same stock of 
health may never be restored again. If you do let your hearts run out at 
any time to any sinful pleasure, though it may not raze out the image, yet 
it will make you more unfit for those views of God which can only maintain 
it. When you come before him, after such a departure, how will your hearts 
recoil upon you ? With what pleasure can you look upon him whom you 
have so abused in his image in your souls,- and in his image in his law '? 
Besides, every unworthy walk detracts somewhat from the weight of that 
crown you might otherwise expect to be reserved in heaven for you, and 
makes it of a greater alloy. But if you keep close to the law in the word, 
and the law in your hearts, what communications will you have from God ? 
What inward touches and feelings of him ? How hastily will he run to meet 
you half way, and kiss you with the kisses of his mouth ? ' Thou meetest 
him that rejoices and worketh righteousness,' Isa. lxiv. 5. How intimately 
will he wind himself into the secret corners of your hearts, as John xiv. 23, 
' and make his abode with you ;' and like fire in every part of iron, fill every 
part of the new man with a glowing and divine heat ? 

Fifthly, Such an exact walk will mightily stop the current of sin. It may 

160 charnock's works. , [2 Cor. V. 17. 

justly be feared, the sins of many have taken too much heart from the unsuit- 
able carriages of professors. But a walk according to the rule of the new 
creation might inflame others to godliness, at least stifle some corrupt 
motions, suspend some inclinations to sin, and for a time bind up the devil 
in them. This is the greatest charity to the world ; by other benefits we 
advantage particular persons, by a holy example all that behold us. It 
strikes an awful reverence into the hearts of men, as being a ray of God ; 
what the gospel enjoins are things comely, and of good report, many of them 
lovely and illustrious, even in a carnal eye ; therefore such expressions of a 
gospel impression would engender admirations of it, cast a lustre upon the 
truth of God ; men will look upon such works with reverence,* and ' glorify 
God in the day of their visitation ' or conversion, as Calvin understands it. 
To be a holy people is to be ' sought out,' they are both joined, Isa. Ixii. 12. 
Many by seeing the holiness of the church in gospel times shall be induced 
to give up their names to the Lord ; it will tend more to the regeneration of 
others than a thousand sermons ; it will raise the reputation of Christianity, 
and cause them to believe it to be of a divine extract ; it would stir men up to a 
holy emulation to be like them. And beholding the law of God transcribed 
in the life, it would convincingly answer the cavils of the world, and demon- 
strate the commands they count grievous to be in themselves practicable. 
But whither is this gospel ornament we have been speaking of fled ? Where 
is it to be found? How few walk as new creatures, • as becomes the gospel,' 
however they profess it, and pretend a zeal for it ! 

Exhortation 2. To those who lie still buried in the ruins of the old Adam, 
who carry the image of beasts in their lives, or of devils in their hearts, or 
both, such I would advise earnestly to seek this new creature state. Let 
not your hearts be besotted to a neglect of it, and stupefied into endless tor- 
ments, which will, as surely as you live, be the dreadful issue, if this be not 
attained. To be so long under the gospel, and retain the obstinacy of an old 
nature to God, is a high aggravation. Talk not of sparing the old man ; it 
is your enemy, wound it to death, use the utmost severity towards it ; put it 
off, leave not a rag, if possible, behind ; send it away, as Abraham did 
Hagar, and without so much as a bottle of water, to despoil it of any hopes 
of return. But, alas, how do you cherish and hug this enemy ! How do 
you value it, as if it were a part of yourselves ; as if you could not live 
without poison, or be happy without misery ! How do you bid the new 
man stand far from you, as if it were a real torment to be in the arms of 
Christ, and the new creation your disease, not your felicity ! Though yon 
were the most unblameable in your lives, free from any pretence of an accu- 
sation there, what were you without this change, but devils in the garb of 
angels of light, poison in fair cabinets, and the natures of serpents in the 
bodies of men ? "What is become of your souls ? Are they so immersed in 
flesh, that nothing of spirit can make impressions upon them ? Have men 
quite forsworn the attaining any other excellency than what mere nature 
bestowed upon them ? What deformity do you find in God, that you slight 
his image, which should be imprinted on you? What frightful thoughts have 
you of the Spirit that solicits you ? How come your souls so senseless of 
their real happiness ? Oh what a happy thing were it, if this day Christ 
were formed in all our hearts; that though we are nasty dunghills, worse than 
the stable wherein our Saviour was born in the flesh, we might become the 
sanctuary of our Lord and his Spirit ; it is then the angels would renew their 
song at the birth of Christ in the heart as well as that in the world, * Glory to 
God in the highest,' peace and eternal goodwill to such a soul. If you have 
* As the word lvo*Ttvtravres, signifies, 1 Peter ii. 12. 

2 Cor. Y. 17.J the natube of regeneration. 161 

any stragglings in your hearts, any convictions upon your consciences, and 
make not a further progress, these will be so far from being your advantage, 
that they will add an emphasis to your damnation. 

Let me use some motives to press you. 

(1.) Shall not the loathsomeness and misery of your present state startle 
you ? It is a nature that makes you ' the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. 
Were your old natures acceptable to God, what need any change ? But 
the requiring this change demonstrates the old nature to be abhorred by 
God. This nature is the devil's filth, the serpent's poison, a deformed 
leprosy ; it is the pain, anguish, torment, rack of every man that dies in it ; 
it smells rank of hell. Is not another nature then desirable ? When you 
commit some grievous sin, to which you are not accustomed, are you not 
dejected ? Do you not think worse of yourselves for it ? And are you not 
pleased when you can escape it ? If the reformation of one sin be a desir- 
able thing, how much more the reformation of the whole nature ! For if a 
drop of that filth bubbling up in the life be so loathsome, what loathsome- 
ness is there in the heart, where the fountain springs ! What gall of bitter- 
ness must be in the root, when a little of the fruit is so bitter to your taste!* 
Corruption is the dishonour of your natures, the poison of your souls, the 
cause of all your unhappiness. It is this that banished you from paradise, 
ravishing away your pleasures, subjected you to vanity, the wrath of God, the 
hatred of angels, and. tyranny of devils ; it is this that hath deformed your 
souls. Despoil yourselves of this cursed old man, give yourselves no rest till 
you have conquered it ; never say, it is incorporated in your entrails and 
marrow. Where the question is about your everlasting happiness, let no 
excuse prevail. 

(2.) Shall not the excellency of another state allure you ? It is the 
excellency of any piece of art to come nearest its original ; that star is most 
glorious that doth most partake of the sun's light and power. The very light 
of nature tells us the state wherein we are is not our perfection ; something 
the soul flutters at beyond this, though it naturally understands not what it 
is. Is it not, then, the happiness of the soul to be reduced to its true 
centre, to be reinstated in an unspotted nature, to return to a due respect to 
those ends for which it was made, to have the understanding conversant 
about the loveliest object, the will inclined to the most amiable goodness, 
and the affections twining about it, and growing up with it? Can it be any- 
thing else but the highest excellency, to live the life of God ; to have the 
image of God wrought upon you, and your souls conformed to his holiness ? 
Can that be an imperfection, which makes you like an infinite righteousness? 
It was the highest perfection of man to be made according to the image of 
God, wherein God, as in a glass, might see a resemblance of himself. Is it 
not then a desirable thing to have it drawn again with more lively and last- 
ing colours, after sin and Satan have so basely defaced it? All other things 
are not the perfection of man's nature ; for whatsoever else there is, is 
possessed by beasts or devils; the pleasures of sense, by beasts; the endow- 
ments of knowledge, by devils ; but the divine nature by neither. This 
therefore, which neither devils can be blessed with, nor beasts capable of, is 
only the perfection of the soul, more excellent than the soul itself, since 
that which perfects is more excellent than that which is perfected by it. 
Original corruption destroys your health, sullies your purity, enslaves your 
liberty. Regeneration restores your health, expels your filthiness, and knocks 
off your fetters. Let the excellency of this better state prevail with you. 
* Daille, Sur. Colos. p. 247. 


162 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

(8.) Will the honour of the thing allure you ? Where shall you meet 
with so honourable a relation ? It is more honour to be a new creature in 
rags than a carnal prince in purple, though the greatest in the world, for 
you will then be settled heirs of all the promises. Is it not, then, more 
glorious to partake of the nature of that God, who crea'ed and commands the 
world, than by the force of the old nature to be slaves to sordid lusts, which 
are both a drudgery and a disease ? As a spirit is more excellent than the 
body, so a spiritual being and frame is more honourable than a fleshly.* 
There is a greater relation between God and a new creature than between 
natural fathers and sons. The sons of men have but a little particle of the 
vile matter and flesh of their fathers, but a renewed man hath the whole 
divine Spirit in him; and by virtue of this, all things will, one time or other, 
rise up and call you blessed ; you will be more allied to Jesus Christ, by 
the inward formation of him in your hearts, than the blessed virgin by the 
conception of Christ in her womb, Luke xi. 27. She was more happy by 
partaking of Christ in her heart, than by conferring a flesh on Christ from 
her body. What an honourable thing is it to be moulded into the divine 
likeness ! Can you be more glorious, unless you were gods ? 

(4.) Will pleasure charm you ? View it here. Pleasure must neces- 
sarily follow this new state, as light the sun ; there is no state without a 
pleasure pertaining to it. Pleasures of sense belong to a life of sense ; 
intellectual pleasures to a life of reason ; divine pleasures to a divine 
nature. ' All the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness,' Prov. iii. 17. 
An infinite perfection is attended with an infinite happiness ; the more 
lineaments, then, you have of the divine perfection, the more tastes you will 
have of the divine happiness. God hath an infinite pleasure in his own 
perfections ; it is his felicity to enjoy himself, to view himself. Pleasure 
then must naturally result from this image drawn in the soul ; and as 
naturally, I conceive, according to the degrees of it, as the pleasure God 
hath in his own- holiness and love. The pleasure of heaven is the perfection 
of holiness ; therefore there is a pleasure also attending the draught of it 
here ; an imperfect pleasure from the imperfect form of it, as a perfect plea- 
sure from the completing of it in glory. What want can there be of plea- 
sure, if you come into this state ? Will you not be conversant about the 
highest object, and that with your choicest faculties ? Can this be without 
some communications of the pleasure of God, as well as his nature V You 
will find a pleasure in the very stragglings to get into this state, much more 
in it. 

(5.) Do you profess yourselves enemies to the devil ? Why then will you 
gratify him by continuing in an old nature ? He keeps a jubilee when he 
can draw men into great sins, and bind them under them ; his main indus- 
try is to make men like himself, and continue them in that likeness. The 
whole world, that are not of God, lie wrapped up in the devil's image : 1 John 
v. 19, ' The whole world lies in wickedness, or ' in the wicked one,' 'E» rw 
vrovripQ ; more consonant to the former verses. Satan and natural men lie 
nugging together, though the latter dream not of it. His intent in assault- 
ing man in paradise was to destroy the righteousness of his nature ; his 
design now is to hinder the restoration of it, by keeping men off from the 
means, making them have false thoughts of the unpleasantness of it, as 
though it were a state injurious to man's tranquillity, by suppressing con- 
victions, which are the first portals to the courts of blessedness. Oh, gratify 
not the devil ; fly from his image, that you may fly from his misery. 

(6.) Why will you cross your own sentiments, when sober reason in you 
* Nerimberg. de adorat. lib. i. cap. 12, p. 71. 

2 Cob. V. 17.] the natuee of regeneration. 163 

may have leave to speak ? What do you think was the end for which you 
came into the world ? Was it to serve the devil or God ? Whose image 
is it most rational for you to bear ? Are there not innate desires in man to 
be as God ? Adam desired it unlawfully ; the same spirit runs through the 
veins of his posterity. God has shewn you a way in his word whereby you 
may lawfully desire it, and successfully accomplish it. Do not all creatures, 
one way or other, instruct you in it ? Do they not all run back to their 
fountain ; rivers into the sea, that they may have a new formation in it ; 
beams retracted to the sun ; and why not the soul to God ? Do they not 
all declare the glory of God ? And shall man stand alone ? And what way 
is there for him to declare God's glory, but by the reformation of his nature '? 
You once had this desirable nature in your first head, and lost it ; you may 
have the re-possession in the second head, and for ever preserve it. You 
cannot deny your obligation to have it, therefore you cannot deny your duty 
to seek it. You know your souls received their original from him ; you 
likewise know that there is an obligation to return to him. As the spirit 
naturally returns to God who gave it, so it cannot be happy in that return, 
unless it first morally return to God, to be formed like him. 

(7.) Nothing else can advantage you if you want this new-creature state. 
You can no more enjoy happiness by Christ without it, than Adam did in 
paradise, in the presence of God, with the nakedness of his nature. His 
being in paradise, the richer part of the whole lower creation, could neither 
heal him nor content him, after the loss of the purity of his nature. In that 
happy place his conscience racked him. There he fled from his Creator, 
which in his innocent nature he never attempted to do ; and all the plea- 
sures of that place could not restore him to God's favour or his own peace, 
without the promise of a seed, and by that seed the restoration in part of 
his former image. 

(8.) Lastly, take this for your encouragement, it is attainable by the 
meanest person, Col. iii. 11. In the new creation ' there is neither Greek 
nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor 
free ; but Christ is all and in all ; ' that is, there is no distinction of any. 
The eloquence of the Greek, or the rudeness of the barbarian ; the uncir- 
cumcision of the Gentile, or the circumcision of the Jew ; the baseness of 
the slave, or the liberty of the freeman, doth neither advantage nor disad- 
vantage them in this work of the new creation ; and he names Scythians, as 
being the rudest and most unpolished among all the known Gentiles.* No 
natural endowments advantage us ; no worldly indigencies hinder us. The 
soul of the meanest is as capable of the new creation as the soul of the 
highest. There is nothing required to the putting on the new man, which 
is not attainable by the one as well as the other ; yea, sooner by those of 
the meanest endowments, as wanting that fuel for their pride, which is the 
chief hindrance to a gospel impression. God values nothing but his own 
image ; neither is he any more taken with the glittering parts and wisdom 
of men than our Saviour with the glory of the temple, which his ignorant 
disciples did so much admire. 

Quest. But what means must be used to obtain this excellent privilege ? 

Am. It is indeed the work of God, yet means may be used.f He that 
observes precepts of morality shall gain moral habits ; and by practising 
acts of temperance become temperate. So he that follows the rules given 
in the word for attaining the new creation, shall have it produced in him ; 
and the more assuredly, because it is not produced by him but by God, 

• Daille, Sur. Coloss., p. 238, &c. f Jackson, vol. iv. chap. 21, p. 399. 

164 charnock's works. [2 Cor. V. 17. 

who is more able to create new hearts in us than the unregenerate man is 
to work a moral reformation. 
For means : 

1. Be deeply sensible of original corruption. View yourselves in the 
glass of Adam ; reflect upon the fall, and the dreadful consequences of it ; 
take an exact account of the enmity of thy nature, as the word represents 
it. We must acquaint ourselves with our sin and misery, and have self- 
emptying thoughts, before we can seek after a new creature. Man is 
apt to think his nature good enough ; and this makes him the more miser- 
able and wretched, and causes him to think there needs no change, 
Eev. iii. 17. 

2. Be deeply humbled before God. Lay yourselves low before him, and 
abhor yourselves in dust and ashes. Complain of your corrupt nature ; 
melt before God, dissolve into tears. When you are weary and heavy laden, 
sensible of it by contrition, Christ will give rest by regeneration. The 
heart must be melted before it be made new. Pride must be humbled ; we 
must be vile in our own eyes, as well as vile in our own nature. ' The 
Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart,' Psalm xxxiv. 18. 

3. Often meditate of the excellency of this state, as it is represented in the 
word. Men hear and forget ; they leave behind them what they have heard '; 
they hide it not in their hearts ; therefore doth not the word profit them. 
Think often of the honour of being a new creature, as well as the necessity 
of being a new creature ; if you have any thoughts arising of resting upon 
your knowledge, or morality, or good meaning, say to your soul, as the 
apostle in another case, my soul, ' covet earnestly the best gifts, yet 
shew I unto thee a more excellent way.' If any imagination arise which 
flatters you with hopes of being in Christ without an inward change, regard 
it as an angel from the bottomless pit, sent from the great impostor to seduce 
you from your happiness. 

4. Fixedly resolve not to be at rest till you procure it at the hands of 
God. Perhaps you may have had some resolutions before, and some diver- 
sion hath chilled those purposes ; waver not with uncertain velleities be- 
tween inclination and aversion. Content not yourselves with sluggish 
wishes, and yawning desires, but put heart and hand to the work. Set 
vigorously to it, and those sons of Anak, those seeming terrifying difficul- 
ties, will fly before you. Where doth the Scripture tell you, that God will 
neglect his laborious creature, and stand by without assisting him in his 
serious endeavours ? No, no ; God will not be wanting in his power, nor 
the Spirit in his operations, if we firmly purpose and strongly pursue. 
' God is near to all that call upon him in truth,' Psalm cxlv. 18 ; that is, 
to all that call upon him with a true purpose and desire for his mercy : he 
is near by his merciful presence, not by his essential presence only. Fool 
not away your vows in vain mirth, nor drown your resolutions in sensual 
pleasures. Say as David in another case, ' I have sworn, and will per- 
form it,' that I will in good earnest endeavour that I may become a new 
creature, Psalm cxix. 106. 

5. Pray. Regeneration is against the inclinations of old nature ; inter- 
mit not therefore to call earnestly for help from heaven ; it is best attained 
upon the knee. God is the foundation of all vitality ; the life of grace is no 
less the eftect of his breath than the soul of Adam. Go to Christ, in whom, 
as in a steward, is treasured up a fulness of grace, to dispense to him that 
seeks it. Beg earnestly of the Spirit, who is the officer appointed, the 
great limner to draw this image in us. Why can you not go to Christ as 
well as the leper, and lie sobbing before him, • Lord, if thou wilt, thou 

2 Cor. V. 17.] the nature of regeneration. 165 

canst make me clean,' thou canst change my nature ? Do it constantly, do 
it fervently, and take notice with what inspirations you will be filled. But 
do you solicit him for this mercy at all ? Has God one breath from thee 
in a whole week to this purpose ? Have you, since you heard it, pressed 
from the necessity of it, made your case known to God ? Has there been 
one groan, one sigh for it ? What a stupid creature is man ! Time will not 
always last ; God will be solicited for it, and it is fit he should. An old 
nature is like an old devil, it cannot be cast out without fasting and prayer. 
The great changes of the soul are chiefly wrought in prayer and the word : 
our very looking up to God and upon God in humble prayer makes a 
gradual transformation in our souls : we never are in the mount with him, 
but our souls (as Moses his face) look quite of another hue and colour. By 
frequent converse with friends, we grow more into an imitation of the excel- 
lent qualities we perceive in them. Converse with God in frequent prayer 
and meditation, and you will grow more and more into a holy likeness to 

6. Attend diligently upon the word. To pray to God to renew you, and 
slight the word which he hath appointed as an instrument to effect it, is to 
dishonour God ; for while you pray to him to be a father to beget you, you 
contemn him as a governor, by neglecting the means he hath appointed for 
such ends. As the devil formed himself in the soul by man's listening to 
and sucking in his temptation, so Christ forms himself in the soul, by our 
sucking in the milk of the word, as the disposition of the nurse is by the 
milk conveyed to the infant. It is wrought by the gospel, 1 Cor. iv. 15, 
1 for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.' Not by the 
word of God at large, which consists of law as well as gospel. So the 
regenerations of old were wrought, not by the law, but by that of gospel 
mixed in that administration. By this means you may get a spiritual 
knowledge, and discard that ignorance which is the foundation of an aliena- 
tion from the life of God, Eph. iv. 18, ' alienated from the life of God 
through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their 
hearts.' Study the promises, and plead them before the Lord, for ' by 
these you are made partakers of the divine nature,' 2 Peter i. 4. Besist not 
any divine impressions, by a sluggishness and a listlessness. Be not in 
love with your spiritual death, nor cherish the bondage to sin in your will, 
when God makes motions to enliven and enlarge you. Welcome the breath- 
ings of the Spirit. Open your souls, as some flowers do for the sun ; 
drink in the drops of heaven, as the earth doth the rain ; and when the 
Spirit quickens you by its influences, quicken the Spirit by your earnest 
supplications, Cant. iv. 16 ; make much of him, persuade his stay. Breathe, 
blessed Spirit, upon this wilderness. Never leave till it be changed into 
a fruitful garden, both pleasant to, and fruitful for, my blessed Creator and 
gracious Redeemer. 


Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of 
man, but of God. — John I. 13. 

This evangelist so plainly describes the deity of Christ, and in so majestic 
a style, in the beginning of the chapter, that the accidental view of it in a 
book lying open by neglect, was instrumental for the conversion of Junius, 
that eminent light in the church, from his atheism. 

We shall take our rise only from ver. 9, ' That was the true light, which 
lighteneth every man that comes into the world.' John Baptist, who, ver. 
6, &c, was to bear witness of this light, was a light by our Saviour's asser- 
tion, 'a burning and a shining light,' John v. 35, but not that 'true light' 
which was promised, Isa. xlix. 6, to be 'a light to the Gentiles, and the sal- 
vation of God to the ends of the earth.' The sun is the true light in the 
heavens and of the world ; not but that other stars are lights too, but they 
all receive their light from the sun. Christ is called the true light, by nature 
and essence, not by grace and participation : 1 John v. 20, ' We know him 
that is true ; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ,' 
the natural light and Son of God. 

1. True, as opposed to types, which were shadows of this light. 

2. True, as opposed to false. Philosophical lights, though esteemed so, 
are but darkness, and ignesfatui, in comparison of this. 

3. True original light, ratione officii, illustrating the whole world with his 
light. Whatsoever is light in heaven or earth, borrows it from the sun ; who- 
soever is enlightened in the world, derives from him ' which lighteth every 
man that comes into the world.' Some join coming into the world, to light, 
and read it thus, ' He is the light coming into the world, which lighteth 
every man.' The Greek is something ambiguous, and it may be referred to 
light, though not so commodiously. But the translation which we have 
hath been followed in all ages of the church ; and is contended* for only by 
those who deny the deity of our Saviour, or are somewhat affected to them 
that do. 

How doth Christ light every man that comes into the world ? 
1. Naturally. So Calvin; the world was made by him, and therefore that 
* Qu. ' the other is contended for ' ? — Ed. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of begeneration. 167 

which is the beauty of the world, the reason of man, was made and kindled 
by him. As all the light the world hath had since the creation flows from the 
sun, so all the knowledge which sparkles in any man is communicated by 
Christ, even since the creation, as he is the wisdom of God, and as mediator, 
preserving those broken relics of the fall : Prov. xx. 27, ' The spirit of man 
is the candle of the Lord,' lighted and preserved by him. The light of na- 
ture, those common notions of Jit and just in men's consciences, those honest 
and honourable principles in the hearts of any, those beams of wisdom in 
their understanding, though faint, and like sparkles raked up in ashes, are 
kept alive by his mediatory influence, as a necessary foundation for that 
reparation which was intended in his first interposition. 

2. Spiritually. So not only the Socinians, but some very sound, under- 
stand it ; not that all are actually enlightened, but, 

(1.) In regard of power and sufficiency, he hath a power to enlighten 
every man ; able to enlighten, not a few, but every man in the world ; as the 
sun doth not light every man, though it hath a power to do so, and doth 
actually light every man that shuts not his eyes against it. 

(2.) Actually, taking it distributive, not collective ; that whosoever is en- 
lightened in the world, hath it commmunicated from Christ ; as Ps. cxlv. 14, 
' The Lord upholds all that fall, and raises up all those that are bowed 
down ; ' as many as are upheld and raised, are upheld and raised by God. 
He doth indeed ' shine in darkness,' his light breaks out upon men, but they 
are not the better for it, because 'the darkness comprehends it not'; as when 
there is but one schoolmaster in a town, we usually say, he teaches ell the 
boys in the town; not that every individual boy comes to school, but as 
many as are taught, are taught by him. I embrace the former, because the 
evangelist seems to begin with his person, as God; his office, as mediator; and 
then descends to his incarnation ; and it is a sense which puts no force upon 
the words. And I suppose that every man is added, to beat down the proud 
conceits of the Jews, who regarded the Gentiles with contempt, as not en- 
joying the privileges conferred upon themselves ; but the evangelist declares, 
that what the Gentiles had in natural light, and what they were to have in 
spiritual light, did, and was to come from him, who would disperse his beams 
in all nations, ver. 10. And therefore ' he was in the world,' before his com- 
ing in the flesh, in regard of his virtue and efficacy, by the spreading his beams 
over the world, enlightening men in all ages and places with that common 
light of nature ; he was near to every man ; ' in him they lived, and moved, 
and had their being ; ' but the world by their natural wisdom knew him not, 
and glorified him not. ' The world was made by him, yet the world knew 
him not.' Ingratitude hath been the constant portion of the mediator, from 
the world ; they knew him not in past ages, knew him not in the present 
age of his coming in the flesh; they did not acknowledge him with that affec- 
tion, reverence, and subjection that was due to him. 

He aggravates this contempt of Christ, 

1. By the general right he had, ' he came to his own,' 'Eig ra, V5/a, ver. 
11, meaning the world, it being put in the neuter gender. The whole world 
was his property and his goods, yet they knew not their owner. In this, 
worse than the ox or ass. 

2. By the special privileges conferred on those to whom he first came, and 
from whom he should have the most welcome reception ; implied in these 
words, ' and his own,' 6i 'ibioi, in the masculine gender, his own people, that 
had been his treasure, to whom he had given his law, entrusted with the 
covenants and oracles of God, these ' received him not.' His own, some 
say, as being peculiarly committed to him, the angel of the covenant; where- 

168 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

as other nations were committed to angels to receive laws from them. His 
own flesh and blood, who expected a Messiah, to whom he was particularly 
sent, as being the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Christ is most rejected 
where he proffers most kindness. Those of Tyre and Sidon, those of Sodom 
and Gomorrah, would not have used him so ill as Capernaum and Jerusalem, 
his own people. He descends to shew the loss of them that rejected him, 
the benefit of those that received him : ver. 12*, ' But as many as received 
him, to tbem gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that 
believe on his name.' 
Where is, 

1. The subject : those that received him. 

2. The benefit : the dignity of sonship. 

3. The manner of conferring this benefit : ' gave them power.' 

4. The instrumental cause : ' believe on his name.' Though his own re- 
jected him, they lost a dignity which was conferred upon those that received 
him : he lost not his pains, for he gathered sons to God out of all parts of 
the world. ' To as many as received him.' It was not now peculiar to the 
Jews, who boasted of being Abraham's seed, and to have the covenant en- 
tailed upon them to be the people of God. It was now conferred upon those 
who were before Lo-ammi and Lo-ruhamah, Hos. ii. 23. It was nothing 
but faith on his name that gave men the privilege of being the sons of God, 
and this was communicated to Gentiles as well as Jews. Power : not a 
power, but a dignity, as the word properly signifies. Not a power if they 
would, but a will, for they were born of the will of God. Faith brings men 
into a special relation to God ; which faith is more than an assent and giving 
credit to God ; for to believe on God, to believe on his name, is a phrase 
peculiar to Scripture. ' To become the sons of God ;' some understand this 
of sonship by adoption, but the following verse gives us light to understand 
it of a sonship by regeneration. St Paul uses the word adoption, but St 
John, both in his gospel and epistles, speaks more of the new birth, and 
sonship by it, than any of the other apostles ; ' who were born not of blood,' 
or ' of bloods.' He removes all other causes of this, which men might 
imagine, and ascribes it wholly to God. This place is variously interpreted. 
1 Not of blood.' Not by natural instinct, saith one; not by an illustrious 
stock. The Jews imagined themselves holy by their carnal generation from 
Abraham in a long train of ancestors. Grace runs not in a blood. It is 
not often a flower growing upon every ability ; ' not many wise, not many 
mighty.' Not hereditary by a mixture of blood. Natural generation makes 
men no more regenerate than the rich man in hell was regenerate by Abra- 
ham, his natural ancestor, whom he calls ' father Abraham.' Religious 
parents propagate corruption, not regeneration ; carnal generation is by na- 
ture, not by grace ; by descent from Adam, not by implantation in Christ 
Abraham had an Ishmael, and Isaac an Esau : man begets only a mortal 
body, but grace is the fruit of an incorruptible seed. ' Nor of the will of the 
flesh.' Not by human election,* as Eve judged of Cain that he should 
be the Messiah, or Isaac of Esau that he should be heir of the promise, as 
the Jews say. Not by a choice of those things which are necessary, pro- 
fitable, or delightful to the flesh ;f not by a will affected to the flesh, or 
things of the flesh. Not by any sensual appetite, + whereby men used to 
adopt one to bear up their names when they wanted posterity of their own. 
I would rather conceive it to be meant of the strength of nature, which is 
called flesh in Scripture; not by legal observances, the ceremonies of the 

* Mercer in Hos. ii. 1. t Cajetan. 

J Amyraldus Fine Thes. Salmur. Spirit. Adopt., Thes. vi. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 169 

law being called carnal or fleshly ordinances, Heb. ix. 10. It is not a fruit 
of nature or profession. ' Nor of the will of man.' Calvin takes the will of 
the flesh and the will of man for one and the same thing, the apostle using 
two expressions only to fix it more upon the mind. I rather judge it to be 
meant thus : not by natural principles, or moral endowments, which are the 
flower and perfection of man as man. It is not arbitrary, of the will of 
man, or the result naturally of the most religious education. All the power 
of regenerate men in the world joined together cannot renew another ; all 
the industry of man, without the influence of the heavens in the sun and 
rain, cannot produce fruit in the earth, no, nor the moral industry of men 
grace in the soul ; ' but of God,' or the will of God ; his own will : James 
i. 18, • Of his own will begat he us,' exclusive of all other wills mentioned 
before. It is the sole efficiency of God ; he hath the sole hand in it; there- 
fore we are said to be both begotten and born of him, 1 John v. 18. It is 
so purely God's work, that as to the principle he is the sole agent ; and as 
to the manifestation of it, he is the principal agent. Not of the will of the 
flesh, that is only corruption ; nor of the will of man, that at best is but 
moral nature. But whatsoever the meaning of those particular expressions 
is, the evangelist removes all pretences nature may make to the efficiency of 
this regeneration, and ascribes it wholly to God. 

1. There is a removal of false causes. 

2. A position of the true cause. 
(1.) The efficient, God. 

(2.) The manner, by an act of his will. 

Shewing thereby, 

[1.] No necessity in him to renew us ; no motive but from himself. 

[2.] No merit on our parts. Man cannot merit, say the papists, before 
grace ; no child can merit his own birth, no man grace. 

Doct. 1. Man, in all his capacities, is too weak to produce the work of 
regeneration in himself. 

It is subjectively in the creature, not efficiently by the creature, neither 
ourselves nor any other creature, angels, men, ordinances. 

Doct. 2. God alone is the prime efficient cause of regeneration. 

Doct. 1. For the first. Man, in all his capacities, is too weak to produce 
the work of regeneration in himself. This is not the birth of a darkened 
wisdom and an enslaved will. We affect a kind of divinity, and would centre 
ourselves in our own strength ; therefore it is good to be sensible of our owq 
impotency, that God may have the glory of his own grace, and we the com- 
fort of it in a higher principle and higher power than our own. It is not the 
bare proposal of grace, and the leaving the will to an indifferent posture, 
balanced between good and evil, undetermined to the one or the other, to 
incline and determine itself which way seems best to it. Not one will, in 
the whole rank of believers, left to themselves. The evangelist excepts not 
one man among them ; for as many as received Christ, as many as believed, 
were the sons of God, who were born ; which believers, every one that had 
this faith as the means, and this sonship as the privilege, were born not of 
the will of the flesh nor the will of man. 

For the proof of this in general, 

1. God challengeth this work as his own, excluding the creature from any 
share as a cause : Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27, ' J will sprinkle clean water upon 
you, 1 will cleanse you, I mil give you a new heart, / will put a new spirit 
into you, / will take away the heart of stone, 1 will give you a heart of flesh, 
/ will put my Spirit into you.' Here I will no less than seven times. No- 
thing is allowed to man in the production of this work in the least ; all that 

170 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

is done by him is the walking in God's statutes by virtue of this principle. 
The sanctifying principle, the actual sanctification, the reception of it by the 
creature, the removal of all the obstructions of it, the principle maintaining 
it, are not in the least here attributed to the will of man. God appropriates 
all to himself. He doth not say he would be man's assistant, as many men 
do, who tell us only of the assistances of the gospel, as if God in the gospel 
expected the first motions of the will of man to give him a rise for the acting 
of his grace. You see here he gives not an inch to the creature. To ascribe 
the first work, in any part, to the will of man, is to deprive God of half his 
due, to make him but a partner with his creature. The least of it cannot be 
transferred to man but the right of God will be diminished, and the creature 
go shares with his Creator. Are we not sufficient of ourselves to do any- 
thing ? and are we sufficient to part stakes with God in this divine work ? 
What partner was the creature with God in creation ? It is the Father's 
traction alone, without the hand of free-will. ' None can come, except the 
Father, which hath sent me, draw them,' John vi. 44. The mission of the 
Mediator, and the traction of the creature, are by the same hand. Our Sa- 
viour could not have come unless the Father had sent him, nor can man 
come to Christ unless the Father draw him. What is that which is drawn? 
The will. The will, then, is not the agent ; it doth not draw itself. 

2. The titles given to regeneration evidence it. It is a creation. What 
creature can give itself a being ? It is a putting in a law and a new heart. 
What matter can infuse a soul into itself? It is a new birth. What man 
did ever beget himself ? It is an opening the heart. What man can do 
this, who neither hath the key, nor is acquainted with the wards ? Not a 
man knows the heart ; it is deceitful above all things, who can know it ? 

3. The conveyance of original corruption doth in part evidence it. We 
have no more interest of our wills in regeneration, than we had in corruption. 
This was first received by the will of Adam, our first head, thence transmit- 
ted to us without any actual consent of our wills in the first transmission ; 
that is conveyed to us from the second Adam, without any actual consent of 
our wills in the first infusion. Yet though the wills of Adam's posterity are 
mere passive in the first conveyance of the corrupt habit from him by gene- 
ration, jet afterwards they are active in the approbations of it, and produc- 
tion of the fruits of it. So the will is merely passive in the first conveyance 
of the grace of regeneration, though afterwards it is pleased with it, and 
brings forth fruit meet for it. 

4. Scripture represents man exceeding weak, and unable to do any thing 
spiritually good. ' So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God,' 
Rom. viii. 8. He concludes it by his so then, as an infallible consequence, 
from what he had discoursed before. If, as being in the flesh, they cannot 
please God, therefore not in that which is the highest pleasure to God, a 
framing themselves to a likeness to him. The very desire and endeavour of 
the creature after this, is some pleasure to God, to see a creature struggling 
after holiness ; but they that are in the flesh cannot please him. ' Can any 
good thing come out of Nazareth ?' was said of our Saviour. So may we 
better say, Can any good thing come out of the flesh, the enslaved, possessed 
will of man ? If it be free since it was captivated by sin, who set it free ? 
Nothing can, but ' the law of the Spirit of life,' Rom. viii. 2. To be ' sin- 
ners,' and to be ' without strength,' is one and the same thing in the apos- 
tle's judgment : Rom. v. 6, 8, ' While we were yet without strength ;' after- 
wards, ' while we were yet sinners ;' he doth not say, We are without great 
strength, but without strength, such an impotence as is in a dead man. Not 
like a man in a swoon, but a man in a grave. God only is almighty, and 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 171 

man all impotency ; God only is all-sufficient, and man all-indigent. It is 
impossible we can have a strength of our own, since our first father was 
feeble, and conveyed his weakness to us ; by the same reason that it is im- 
possible we can have a righteousness of our own, since our first father 
sinned : Isa. xliii. 26, 27, ' Declare, that thou mayest be justified. Thy first 
father hath sinned.' 

5. This weakness is universal. Sin hath made its sickly impressions in 
every faculty. The mind is dark, Eph. iv. 18; he cannot know, 1 Cor. 
ii. 14 ; there is a stoniness in the heart, he cannot bend, Zech. vii. 12 ; 
there is enmity in the will, he cannot be subject, Rom. viii. 7. As to faith, 
he cannot believe, John xii. 39. As to the Spirit, the worker of faith, he 
cannot receive ; that is, of himself, John xiv. 17 ; acknowledge Christ he 
cannot, 1 Cor. xii. 3. As to practice, he cannot bring forth fruit, John xv. 4. 
The unrighteousness introduced by Adam poured a poison into every faculty, 
and dispossessed it of its strength, as well as of its beauty : what else could 
be expected from any deadly wound but weakness as well as defilement ? * 
The understanding conceives only such thoughts as are pleasing to the law 
of sin ; the memory is employed in preserving the dictates and decrees of it ; 
the imagination full of fancies imprinted by it; the will wholly submitting to 
its authority ; conscience standing with fingers in its mouth, for the most 
part not to speak against it ; the whole man yielding itself and every mem- 
ber to the commands of it, and undertaking nothing but by its motions, 
Rom. vi. 19. 

6. To evince it, there is not one regenerate man but in his first conversion 
is chiefly sensible of his own insufficiency ; and universal consent is a great 
argument of the truth of a proposition ; it is a ground of the belief of a deity, 
it being the sentiment of all nations. I do not speak of disputes about it 
from the pride of reason, but of the inward experience of it in any heart. 
What more frequent in the mouths of those that have some preparations to 
it by conviction, than I cannot repent, I cannot believe, I find my heart rot- 
ten, and base, and unable to any thing that is good ! There have been 
instances of those that would elevate the power of man, and freedom of will 
in spiritual things, who have been confuted in their reasonings, and acknow- 
ledged themselves so, when God hath come to work savingly upon them. In- 
deed, this poverty of spirit, or sense of our own emptiness, insufficiency, and 
indigence, is the first gospel grace wrought in the soul, and stands in the 
head of all those noble qualifications in our Saviour's sermon, as fitting men 
for the kingdom of God : ' Blessed are the poor in spirit ; for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven,' Mat. v. 3. And God in the whole progress of this 
work keeps believers in a sensibleness of their own weakness, thereby to 
preserve them in a continual dependence on him ; and therefore sometimes 
withdraws his Spirit from them, and lets them fall, that they may adhere more 
closely to him, and less confide in themselves. 

2. What kind of impotency or insufficiency is there in the soul to be the 
cause of this work ? 

Ans, 1. It is not a physical weakness for want of faculties. Understand- 
ing we have, but not a spiritual light in it to direct us ; will we have, but no 
freedom to choose that which is spiritually good. Though since the fall we 
have such a free will left, which pertains to the essential nature of man, 
yet we have lost that liberty which belongs to the perfection of human 
nature, which was to exercise acts spiritually good and acceptable to God.f 
Had the faculties been lost, Adam had not been capable of a promise or 
command, and consequently of ever sinning after. In Adam, by creation we 
* Senault, Corrupt, p. 8. f Ames Medul. lib. i. cap. xii. sect. 44. 

172 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

were possessed of it. In Adam, by his corruption, we were stripped of it ; 
we have not lost the physical but the moral nature of these faculties ; not 
the faculties themselves, but the moral goodness of them. As the elementary 
heat is left in a carcase, which yet is unfit to exercise any animal action for 
want of a soul to enliven it ; so, though the faculties remain after this spi- 
ritual death, we are unfit to exert any spiritual action for want of grace to 
quicken them. If man wanted faculties, this want would excuse him in his 
most extravagant actions : no creature is bound to that which is simply im- 
possible ; nay, without those faculties, he could not act as a rational crea- 
ture, and so were utterly incapable of sinning. Sin hath untuned the strings, 
but did not unstring the soul ; the faculties were still left, but in such a dis- 
order, that the wit and will of man can no more tune them, than the 
strings of an untuned lute can dispose themselves for harmony without a 
musician's hand. 

2. Neither is it a weakness arising from the greatness of the object above 
the faculty. As when an object is unmeet for a man, because he hath no 
power in him to comply with it ; as to understand the essence of God ; this 
the highest creature in its own nature cannot do, because God dwells in in- 
accessible light ; and it is utterly impossible for any thing but God to com- 
prehend God. If man were required to become an angel, or to rise up and 
kiss the sun in the firmament ; these were impossible things, because man 
wanted a faculty in his primitive nature for such acts : so if God had com- 
manded Adam to fly without giving him wings, or to speak without giving 
him a tongue, he had not been guilty of sin in not doing it, because it was 
not disobedience, for disobedience is only in what a man hath a faculty to 
do ; but to love God, praise him, depend upon him, was in the power of 
man's original nature, for they were not above those faculties God endued 
him with, but very correspondent and suitable to him. The objects proposed 
are in themselves intelligible, credible, capable to be comprehended. 

3. Neither is it a weakness arising from the insufficiency of external reve- 
lation. The means of regeneration are clearly revealed in the gospel, the 
sound is gone into all the earth, Rom. x. 18, and the word of the Lord is an 
apprehensible object ; it is ' near us, even in our mouths,' Rom. x. 8 ; 
' the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes,' Ps. xix. 8. 
If the object were hid, the weakness lay not on the part of man, but on the 
insufficiency of revelation ; as if any thing were revealed to man in an un- 
known tongue, there were an insufficiency in the means of revelation. 

But, 4, it is a moral weakness. The disability lies chiefly in the will, 
John v. 40 ; what is there, ' You will not come to me,' is, ver. 44, ' How can 
you believe T You cannot, because you will not. Carnal lusts prepossess 
the heart, and make their party in the will against the things of God ; so 
that inward propensities to embrace sin, are as great as the outward tempta- 
tions to allure to it, whereby the soul is carried down the stream with a wil- 
ful violence. In this respect he is called dead, though the death be not of 
the same nature with a natural death ; for such a one hath not the natural 
faculty to raise himself ; but this is an impotency arising from a voluntary 
obstinacy ; yet the iniquity of a man binds him no less powerfully under 
this spiritual captivity, than a natural death and insensibility keeps men in 
the grave ; and those fetters of perversity they can no more knock off, than 
a dead man can raise himself from the grave. By reason of those bands 
they are called prisoners, Isa. xlii. 7, and cannot be delivered without the 
powerful voice of Christ commanding and enabling them to go forth : Isa. 
xlix. 9, • That thou must say to the prisoner, Go forth.' The apostle lays 
the whole fault of men's not receiving the truth upon their wills: 2 Thes. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 173 

ii. 10, * They received not the love of the truth ;' they heard it, they knew 
it, but they loved not that which courted them. It is not seated in any de- 
fect of the will, as it is a power of the soul ; for then God, who created it, 
would be charged with it, and might as well charge beasts to become men, 
as men to become gracious.* Man, as a creature, had a power to believe 
and love God ; to resist temptations, avoid sin, and live according to nature ; 
but man, as corrupted by a habit derived to him from his first parents, and 
increased by a custom in sin, cannot believe, cannot love God, cannot bring 
himself into a good frame ; as a musician cannot play a lesson when he 
hath the gout in his fingers. When the eyes are full of adultery, when the 
heart is full of evil habits, it ' cannot cease to sin,' it cannot be gracious, 
2 Pet. ii. 14. 

Now, these habits are either innate, or contracted and increased. 

(1.) Innate. By nature we have a habit of corruption, fundamental of 
all other that grow up in us. Man made a covenant with sin, contracted a 
marriage with it ; by virtue of this covenant sin had a full power over him. 
What the apostle speaks of the marriage between man and the law, Rom. 
vii. 1—4, is applicable to this case. Sin as a husband, by way of covenant, 
hath a powerful dominion over the will, and binds it as long as sin lives ; 
and the will hath no power to free itself, unless a higher power make a 
divorce, or by the death of the husband. This is the cause of man's obsti- 
nacy against any return to God, the will is held in the cords of sin, Prov. 
v. 22. The habit hath obtained an absolute sovereignty over it : Hosea 
v. 4, ' They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God.' Why ? 
« For the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them,' that is, in their hearts. 
This adulterous or idolatrous habit holds their wills in chains, and acts them 
as a man possessed by the devil is acted according to the pleasure of the 
devil. The devil speaks in them, moves in them, and doth what he pleases 
by them. And which binds the will faster, this habit is not in a natural 
man by way of a tyranny, but a voluntary sovereignty on the part of the 
will ; the will is pleased and tickled with it. As a woman (to use the simi- 
litude of the Holy Ghost in that place) is so overruled by her affections to 
other lovers that she cannot think of returning to her former husband, but 
her unlawful love plays all its pranks, and riseth with that force against all 
arguments from honesty and credit, that it keeps her still in the chains of 
an unlawful lust ; so this is not a habit which doth oppress nature, or force 
it against its will, but by its incorporation, and becoming one with our nature, 
has quite altered it from that original rectitude and simplicity wherein God 
at first framed it. It is a law of sin, which having razed out the purity of 
the law of nature, commands in a greater measure in the stead of it. Hence 
it is as natural to man, in his lapsed state, to have perverse dispositions 
against God, as it is essential to him to be rational. And the chariot of 
that weak remaining reason left us, is overturned by our distempered pas- 
sions ; and the nobler part of man is subject to the rule of these, which bear 
down the authority both of reason and God too. That one sin of the angels, 
howsoever complicated we know not, taking place as a habit in them, hath 
bound them for ever from rising to do any good, or disentangling themselves 
from it, and may perhaps be meant by those ' chains of darkness ' wherein 
they are reserved and held to the judgment of the great day, having no will 
to shake them off, though they have light enough to see the torment appointed 
for them. 

(2.) New contracted and increased habits upon this foundation. Custom 
turns sin more into another nature, and completes the first natural disorder. 
* White, Instit. torn. i. lib. i. sect. xv. pp. 1 16, 111. 

174 chaknock's wobks. [John I. 13. 

An unrenewed man daily contracts a greater impotency, by adding strength to 
this habit, and putting power into the hands of sin to exercise its tyranny, 
and increasing our headstrong natures in their unruliness. It is as impos- 
sible of ourselves to shake off the fetters of custom, as to suppress the un- 
ruliness of nature : Jer. xiii. 23, ' Can an Ethiopian change his skin ? or a 
leopard his spots ? then may you also do good that are accustomed to do 
evil.' The prophet speaks not here of what they were by nature, but what 
they were by custom ; contracting thereby such a habit of evil, that, like a 
chronic disease, could not be cured by any ordinary means. But may he 
not accustom himself to do good ? No ; it is as impossible as for an Ethio- 
pian to change his skin. Those habits draw a man to delight, and therefore 
to a necessity, of sinning. The pleasure of the heart, joined with the sove- 
reignty of sin, are two such strong cords as cannot be untwisted or cut by 
the soul itself; no, not without an overruling grace. It was a simple 
wound in Adam, but such as all nature could not cure, much less when we 
have added a world of putrefaction to it. The stronger the habit, the greater 
the impotency. If we could not raze out the stamp of mere nature upon our 
wills, how can we raze out the deeper impressions made by the addition of 
custom ? If Adam, who committed but one sin, and that in a moment, did 
not seek to regain his lost integrity, how can any other man, who by a mul- 
titude of sinful acts hath made his habit of a giant-like stature, completed 
many parts of wickedness, and scoffed at the rebukes of conscience ? 

Let us now see wherein this weakness of our wills to renew ourselves doth 

1. In a total moral unfitness for this work. Grace being said to make us 
meet for our Master's use, it implies an utter unfitness for God's use of our- 
selves before grace. There is a passive capability, a stump left in nature, 
but no fitness for any activity in nature, no fitness in nature for receiving 
grace, before grace ; there is nothing in us naturally which doth suit or corres- 
pond with that which is good in the sight of God. That which is natural 
is found more or less in all men ; but the gospel, which is the instrument of 
regeneration, finds nothing in the nature of man to comply with the main 
design of it. There is indeed some compliance of moral nature with the 
moral precepts in the gospel, upon which account it hath been commended 
by some heathens ; but nothing to answer the main intendment of it, which 
is faith, the top grace in regeneration. This hath nothing to commend itself 
to mere nature, nor finds an internal principle in man that is pleased with 
it, as other graces do, as love, meekness, patience, &c. For faith strips a 
man of all his own glory, brings himself from himself to live dependently 
upon another, and makes him act for another, not for himself; and there- 
fore meets not with any one principle in man to shew it countenance : ' No 
good thing dwells in the flesh,' Rom. vii. 18. There may be some motions 
lighting there, as a fly upon a man's face ; but they have no settled abode, 
and spring not up from nature. If the apostle, who was renewed, found an 
unfitness in himself to do that which was good, how great is that unfitness 
in a mere natural will, which is wholly under the power of the flesh, and 
hath no principle in it correspondent to spiritual truth, to renew itself! 
If this regeneration had any foundation in nature, it would be then in most 
men that hear the gospel, because there is not a general contradiction in men 
to those things which are natural ; but since there is no good thing dwells 
in any flesh, how can it be fit of itself to be raised into a conformity to God, 
which is the highest pitch of the creature's excellency? The Scripture 
represents us not as earth, which is fit to suck in showers from heaven ; 
but as stones, which are only moistened in the superficies by the rain, but 

John E 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 175 

answers not the intendment of it. Adamants are unfit to receive impres- 
sions ; and the best natural heart is no better, like a stone, cold and hard. 
The soul with its faculties is like a bird with its wings, but clogged with 
slime and clay, unfit to fly. A barren wilderness is absolutely unfit to make 
a pleasant and fruitful garden. There is a contractedness of the heart till 
God enlarge and open it, and that in the best nature. Acts xvi. 14, Lydia, 
it is said, worshipped God ; there was religion in her, yet the Lord opened 
her heart for the gospel. Can anything be more indisposed than a fountain 
that is alway bubbling up poison ? So is the heart of man, Gen. vi. 5. 
The least imagination rising up in the heart is evil, and can be no better, 
since the heart itself is a mass of venom. If the renewed natures find so 
much indisposition in the progress of sanctification, though their sails be 
filled with grace, how great must it be where corrupt nature only sits at the 
stern ! As when Satan came to tempt our Saviour he found nothing in him, 
no touchwood in his nature to take fire by a temptation, so when the Spirit 
comes, he finds no tinder in man to receive readily any spark of grace. 
This unfitness is in the best mere nature, that seems to have but a drop of 
corruption : a drop of water is as unfit to ascend as a greater quantity. 

2. There is not only an unfitness, but an unwillingness. A senseless slug- 
gishness and drowsiness of soul, loath to be moved. No man doth readily 
hold out his arms to embrace the tenders of the gospel. What folding of the 
arms ! yet a little more slumber, a little more sin. Man is a mere darkness 
before his effectual calling : ' Who hath called us out of darkness,' 1 Peter 
ii. 9. His understanding is darkened ; the will cannot embrace a thing 
offered, unless it have powerful arguments to persuade it of the goodness of 
that thing which is offered; which arguments are modelled in the under- 
standing, but that being darkened, hath wrong notions of divine things, 
therefore cannot represent them to the will to be pursued and followed. 
Adam's running away from God to hide himself, after the loss of his original 
righteousness, discovers how unwilling man is to implore God's favour. 
How deplored is the condition of man by sin ! since we find not one prayer 
put up by Adam, nor can we suppose any till the promise of recovery wa3 
made, though he was sensible of his nakedness, and haunted by his con- 
science : ' I was afraid, because I was naked : and I hid myself,' Gen. iii. 10. 
He had no mind, no heart, to turn suppliant unto God ; he runs from God, 
and when God finds him out, instead of begging pardon by humble prayer, 
he stands upon his justification, accuseth God to be the cause by giving him 
the woman, by whose persuasion he was induced to sin. What glass will 
better discover the good will of nature to God than the first motions after 
the fall ! 

3. There is not only an unfitness and unwillingness, but an affection to 
something contrary to the gospel. The nature of outward objects is such, 
that they attract the sensitive appetite, corrupted by sin, to prefer them 
before that which is more excellent ; the heart is forestalled by an inordinate 
love of the world, and a pleasure in unrighteousness : 2 Thes. ii. 12, they 
' believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness ' ('E-jdoKyiaavng), 
a singular pleasure. Where the heart and the devil agree so well, what liking 
can there be to God or his will ? Where the amity between sin and the 
soul is so great, that sin is self, and self is sin, how can so delightful a friend 
be discarded, to receive one he thinks his enemy! This weakness ariseth 
from a love to something different or contrary to what is proposed.* When 
a man is so tied to that object which he loves that he minds not that con- 
trary object which is revealed by a fit light, as a man that hath his eyes or 

* Testard. de Grat. thes. cli. 

176 chabnock's works. [John I. 13. 

his heart fixed upon a fair picture, cannot observe many things that occur 
about him ; or if he doth consider it, he is taken so much with the things he 
loves, tbat he seems to hate the other; that though he doth count it good, 
yet compared with what he loved before, he apprehends it as evil, and judges 
it evil, merely by the error of his mind, — a practical, affected, and voluntary 
ignorance. So though a man may sometimes judge that there is a goodness 
in the gospel and the things proposed, yet his affection to other pleasures, 
which he prefers before the gospel, causes him to shake off any thoughts of 
compliance with it. Now, all natural men in the irons of sin are not weary 
but in love with their fetters, and prize their slavery as if it were the most 
glorious liberty. 

4. There is not only unfitness, and unwillingness, and a contrary affection 
to the gospel, but according to the degrees of this affection to other things, 
there is a strong aversion and enmity to the tenders of the gospel. This 
enmity is more or less in the heart of every unrenewed man ; though in some 
it is more restrained and kept down by education, yet it will appear more or 
less upon the approaches of grace, which is contrary to nature. As a spark 
as well as a flame will burn, though one hath less heat than the other, there 
is the. same nature, the same seminal principles in all. The carnal mind, 
let it be never so well flourished by education, is enmity to God ; and there- 
fore ' unable,' because unwilling, ' to be subject to the law,' Rom. viii. 7. 
By nature he is of the devil's party, and hath no mind the castle of his heart 
should ever come into the hands of the right owner. It is in every faculty. 
Not one part of the soul will make a mutiny within against sin, or take 
part with God when he comes to lay siege to it ; when he ' stretches out his 
hands,' he meets with a 'rebellious and gainsaying people,' Rom. x. 21. It 
can converse with anything but God, look with delight upon anything but 
that which is the only true object of delight. It can have no desire to have 
that law writ in his heart whose characters he hates. All the expressions 
in the Scripture denoting the work of grace, import man's distaste of it ; it 
is to deny self, crucify the flesh. What man hath not an aversion to deny 
what is dearest to him, his self; to crucify what is incorporated with him, 
his Isaac, his flesh ? The bent of a natural heart, and the design of the 
gospel, which is to lay man as low as the dust, can never agree. A corrupt 
heart, and the propositions of grace, meet together as fire and water, with 
hissing.* The language of man, at the proposals of the gospel, is much like 
that of the devils, ' What have we to do with thee ? Art thou come to 
destroy us ?' Luke iv. 34. 

5. This aversion proceeds on to a resistance. No rebels were ever stouter 
against their prince than an unrenewed soul against the Spirit of God : not a 
moment without arms in his hand ; he acts in defence of sin, and resistance 
of grace, and combats with the Spirit as his deadly enemy : ' You always 
resist the Holy Ghost ; as your fathers did, so do ye,' Acts vii. 51. The 
animosity runs in the whole blood of nature ; neither the breathings of love, 
nor the thunderings of threatenings, are listened unto. All natural men are 
hewed out of one quarry of stone. The highest rock and the hardest ada- 
mant may be dissolved with less pains than the heart of man ; they all, like 
a stone, resist the force of the hammer, and fly back upon it. All the 
faculties are full of this resistance : the mind, with stout reasoning, gives a 
repulse to grace ; the imagination harbours foolish conceits of it ; in the 
heart, hardness and refusing to hear ; in the affections, disgust and displea- 
sure with God's ways, disaffection to his interest ; the heart is locked, and 
will not of itself shoot one bolt to let the King of glory enter. What party is 

* Stoughton, Preacher's Dignity, p. 72. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 177 

like to be made for God, by bare nature tbus possessed ? Nature indeed 
doth wbat it can, though it cannot do what it would ; for though it resist the 
outward means and inward motions, yet it cannot efficaciously resist the 
determining grace of God, any more than the matter of the creation could 
resist the all-powerful voice of God commanding it to receive this or that 
form, or Lazarus resist the receiving that life Christ conveyed to him by his 
mighty word. God finds a contradiction in our wills, and we are not re- 
generate because our will hath consented to the persuasions of grace ; for 
that it doth not do of itself ; but the grace of God disarms our will of all that 
is capable to make resistance, and determines it to accept and rejoice in what 
is offered. Nature of itself is of an unyielding temper, and removes not one 
scale from the eye, nor any splinter from the stone in the heart ; for how can 
we be the authors of that which we most resist and labour to destroy ? 

6. Add to all this, the power of Satan in every natural man, whose interest 
lies in enfeebling the creature. The devil, since his first impression upon Adam, 
hath had the universal possession of nature, unless any natural man free 
himself from the rank of the children of disobedience : Eph. ii. 2, ' The 
spirit that now works in the children of disobedience ;' where the same word 
svipys/v is used for the acting of Satan, and likewise for the acting of sin, in 
Rom. vii. 5, as it is for the acting of the Spirit, Philip, ii. 13. In whom he 
works as a spirit as powerfully according to his created strength, as the Holy 
Ghost works in the children of obedience. As the Spirit fills the soul with 
gracious habits to move freely in God's ways, so Satan fills the soul (as much 
as in him lies) with sinful habits, as so many chains to keep it under his 
own dominion. He cannot indeed work immediately upon the will, but he 
uses all the skill and power that he hath to keep men captive for the per- 
formance of his own pleasure : 2 Tim. ii. 26, ' Who are taken captive by him 
at his will,' or for his will, 'Eig to sxiivou 3s/.j],aa. It is in that place a dread- 
ful judgment which God gives some men up to for opposing the gospel, tak- 
ing away his restraints, both from the devil and their own hearts ; but more 
or less he works in every one that opposeth the gospel, which every unrenewed 
man under the preaching of the gospel doth ; he is the strong man that 
keeps the palace, Luke xi. 21. Can the will of man make a surrender of 
it, at God's demand, in spite of his governor ? What power have we to throw 
off these shackles he loads us with ? We are as weak in his hand as birds in 
a fowler's. What will have we, since we are his willing slaves ? The darkness 
of nature is never like by its own free motion to disagree with the prince of 
darkness, without an overpowering grace, able to contest with the lord as 
well as the slave ; for by the fall he is become prince of the lower creation, 
and holds it in chains too strong for weakness to break. How great, then, is 
man's inability ! How unreasonable is it to think that the will of man, 
possessed with such unfitness, unwillingness, affection to other things, aver- 
sion to the gospel, resistance of it, and in the devil's net, can of itself do any- 
thing towards its recovery, from that it counts no disease, or to turn to that 
which it accounts its burden ? If unspotted and sound nature did not pre- 
serve Adam in innocency, how can filthy and crazy nature recover us from 
corruption ? If it did not keep him alive when he was living, how can it 
convey life to us when we have not a spark of spiritual life in us ? Man 
was planted a ' noble vine,' but turned himself into ' a degenerate plant ;' 
nothing that hath decayed can by its own strength recover itself, because it 
hath lost that strength whereby it could only preserve itself. 

1. Man cannot prepare himself for grace. 

2. He cannot produce it. 

178 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

3. He cannot co-operate with God in the first work. 

4. He cannot preserve it. 

5. He cannot actuate it. 

1. Man cannot prepare himself for the new birth. 

I shall premise a few things for the better understanding of this, 

(1.) Man hath a subjective capacity for grace above any other creature in 
the inferior world ; and this is a kind of natural preparation which other crea- 
tures have not. A capacity in regard of the powers of the soul, though not 
in respect of the present disposition of them. A stone or a beast are not 
capable of habits of grace, no more than of habits of sin, because they want 
rational natures, which are the proper seats of both. Our Saviour did not raise 
trees or stones to life, though he had the same power to do that as he had to 
raise stones to be children to Abraham ; but he raised them that had bodies 
prepared, in part, for a receptacle of a soul. As there is a more immediate 
subjective capacity in a man newly dead for the reception of life upon a 
new infusion of the soul, because he hath all the members already formed, 
which is not in one whose body is mouldered into dust, and hath not one 
member organised fit for the acting of a rational soul. These faculties have 
a spring of natural motion in them, therefore are capable of divine grace to 
make that motion regular ; as the wheels of a clock out of order retain their 
substance and their motion if their weights be wound up, but a false 
motion unless the disorder of the spring be mended. Man hath an under- 
standing to know, and, when it is enlightened, to know God's law ; a will 
to move and run, and, when enlarged by grace, to run the ways of God's 
commandments ; so that he stands in an immediate capacity to receive the 
life of grace upon the breath and touch of God, which a stone doth not, not 
the most sparkling jewel any more than the meanest pebble ; for in this it 
is necessary rational faculties should be put as a foundation of spiritual 
motion. Though the soul be thus capable as a subject to receive the grace 
of God, yet it is not therefore capable, as an agent, to prepare itself for it 
or produce it ; as a piece of marble is potentially capable of being the 
king's statue, but not to prepare itself by hewing off its superfluous parts, 
or to raise itself into such a figure. If there were not a rational nature, 
there were nothing immediately to be wrought upon. If there be not a 
wise agent and an omnipotent hand, there were nothing to work upon it. 

(2.) Besides this passive capacity, there are more immediate prepara- 
tions. The soul, as rational, is capable to receive the truths of God ; but 
as the heart is stony, it is incapable to receive the impressions of those 
truths. A stone, as it is a corporeal substance, is capable to receive the 
drops of rain in its cavities ; but because of its hardness is incapable to 
suck it in, and be moistened inwardly thereby, unless it be softened. Wax 
hath a capacity to receive the impression of the seal, but it must be made 
pliable by some external agent to that purpose. The soul must be beaten 
down by conviction before it be raised up by regeneration ; there must be 
some apprehensions of the necessity of it. Yet sometimes the work of 
regeneration follows so close upon the heels of these precious preparations, 
that both must be acknowledged to be the work of one and the same hand. 
Paul on the sudden was struck down, and in a moment there is both an 
acknowledgment of the authority of Christ, and a submission to his will, 
when he said, ' Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? ' Acts ix. 6. The 
preparation of the subject is necessary, but this preparation may be at the 
same time with the conveyance of the divine nature : as a warm seal may 
both prepare the hard wax, and convey the image to it, by one and the 
same touch. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneeation. 179 

(3.) Though some things which man may do by common grace may be 
said in some sort to be preparations, yet they are not formally so, as that 
there is an absolute causal connection between such preparations and re- 
generation. They are not causa, dispositive of grace, not disposing causes 
of grace. Grace is all in a way of reception by the soul, not of action from 
the soul. The highest morality in the world is not necessary to the first 
infusion of the divine nature. Mary Magdalene was far from the one, yet 
received the other. If there were anything in the subject that was the 
cause of it, the tenderest and softest dispositions would be wrought upon, 
and the most intelligent men would soonest receive the gospel. Though we 
see them sometimes renewed, yet many times the roughest tempers are 
seized upon by grace ; and the most unlikely soils for fructifying God plants 
his grace in, wherein there could be no preparations before. It is not with 
grace as it is with fire, which gives as much heat to a stone as to a piece of 
wood ; but the wood is sooner heated than the stone, because it is naturally 
disposed, by the softness and porousness of its parts, to receive the heat. 
Moral nature seems to be a preparation for grace ; if it be so, it is not a 
cause howsoever of grace, for then the most moral person would be soonest 
gracious, and more eminently gracious after his renewal, and none of the rub- 
bish and dregs of the world would ever be made fit for the heavenly build- 
ing. There seems to be a fitness in morality for the receiving special grace, 
because the violence and tumultuousness of sin is in some measure appeased, 
the flame and sparks of it allayed, and the body of death' lies more quiet in 
them, and the principles cherished by them bear some testimony to the 
holiness of the precepts. But though it seems to set men at a greater near- 
ness to the kingdom of God, yet with all its own strength it cannot bring 
the kingdom of God into the heart, unless the Spirit opens the lock. Yea, 
sometimes it sets a man further from the kingdom of God, as being a great 
enemy to the righteousness of the gospel, both imputed and inherent, which 
is the crown of the gospel : to imputed, as standing upon a righteousness of 
their own, and conceiving no need of any other; to inherent, as acting their 
seeming holiness neither upon gospel principles, nor for gospel ends, but in 
self-reflections and self-applauses. What may seem preparations to us in 
matters of moral life, may in the root be much distant and vastly asunder 
from grace ; as a divine * of our own illustrates it, two mountains whose 
tops seem near together may in the bottom be many miles asunder. The 
foundation of that which looks like a preparation may be laid in the very 
gall of bitterness ; as Simon Magus desiring the gift of the Holy Ghost, but 
from the covetousness of his heart. Other operations upon the soul which 
seem to be nearer preparations, as convictions, do not infer grace ; for the 
heart, as a field, may be ploughed by terrors, and yet not sown by any 
good seed. Planting and watering are preparations, but not the cause of 
fruit ; the increase depends upon God. 

(4.) There is no meritorious connection between any preparation in the 
creature and regeneration. The Pelagian opinion was,f that by a generous 
love of virtue we might deserve the graee of God, and the farther assistance 
of the Spirit, we first (say they) put our hearts into the hands of God, that 
God may incline them which way he please ; and by thus making our wills 
depend on God, we merit help from God, and make ourselves worthy of him. 
Whether this be the opinion of any now, I know not. This is to assert, 
that man gives first to God, and then God to man in way of requital. What 
son can merit to be born ? What desert before being ? Nothing can be 
pre-existent in the son which merits generation by the father. The fair hand 
* Mr Burgess. t Vossi. Hist. Pelag. lib. 3, par. 2, Thcs. 12, page 349. 

180 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

of moral nature can no more induce God to confer on man the state of grace, 
than the deed of conveyance of a manor, fairly drawn, can dispose the lord 
to pass it away.* In what part of Scripture hath God indulged mere nature 
with any promise of adding grace upon the improvements of natural abilities ? 
Whatsoever conditional promise there is, supposeth some grace superior to 
nature in the subject as the condition of it. We do not find that God hath 
made himself a debtor to any preparation of the creature. 

But there is no obligation on God by anything that may look like a pre- 
paration in man. For, 

[1.] If man can lay any obligation on God, it must be by some act in all 
parts his own, for which he is not in the least obliged to God. Thinking is 
the lowest step in the ladder of preparation. It is the first act of the 
creature in any rational production, yet this the apostle doth remove from 
man, as in every part of it his own act : 2 Cor. iii. 5, ' Not that we are 
sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency 
is of God.' The word signifies reasoning. No rational act can be done with- 
out reasoning ; this is not purely our own. We have no sufficiency of our- 
selves, as of ourselves, originally and radically of ourselves, as if we were 
the author of that sufficiency, either naturally or meritoriously. And Calvin 
observes that the word is not avrapxua but rxavorjjs, not a self-ability, but 
an aptitude or fitness to any gracious thought. How can we oblige him by 
any act, since, in every part of it, it is from him, not from ourselves ? For 
as thinking is the first requisite, so it is perpetually requisite to the progress 
of any rational act, so that every thought in any act, and the whole progress, 
wherein there must be a whole flood of thoughts, is from the sufficiency of 
God. We cannot oblige God after grace, much less before, for when grace 
is given there must be constant effluxes of grace from God to maintain it ; 
and the acts of grace in us are but a second grace of God. How can we 
then oblige him by that which is not ours, either in the original or improve- 
ment ? If when a man hath given to another a rich gift he must also give 
him power to preserve it, and wisdom to improve it, the person cannot be 
said by his improvement of it to oblige the first donor. What hath any man 
that he hath not received ? 1 Cor. iv. 7. The apostle excludes everything 
in us from the name of a donation to God. If there be no one thing but is 
received from God, then no preparation to grace but is received from him. 
The obligation then lies upon the receiver, not upon the donor. But may 
we not oblige God by the improvement of such a gift ? The apostle includes 
everything, challengeth him to name any one thing which was not received, 
which will contain improvements as well as preparations. If we have power 
to improve it, wisdom to improve it, hearts and opportunities to improve it, 
all these are by way of reception from God. 

[2.] If man can lay any obligation upon God, it must be by some pure, 
spotless act. This cannot be ; no pure act can spring from man. God hath 
taken an exact survey of the whole world in its dark and fallen state, and 
could not, among those multitudes of acts which spring from the will of man, 
find one piece of beauty, one particle of the divine image, for he hath pro- 
nounced this sentence upon them, with repetition, too, as his infallible judg- 
ment : ' There is none righteous, no, not one : they are all gone out of the 
way, they are together become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, 
no, not one,' Rom. iii. 10-12. The most refined nature derived from Adam 
was never found without fault ; a pure virtue is a terra incognita. The pro- 
ductions of nature are always evil. If not one action be fully good in the 
nature of man, what meritoriousness can there be in any preparation of 
* Scrivener's Course of Divinity, Part i., Book i., c. 15, page 52. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 181 

nature for the grace of God ? Can the clearest virtue that ever was since 
Adam oblige God to pardon its own defects, that is, the defects of that very 
act of virtue ? Much less can it challenge a higher degree of grace to be 
transmitted to it. 

[3.] If any preparation were our own, and were pure, yet being natural, 
how could it oblige God to give a supernatural grace ? If there be anything 
of meritoriousness, it is only something of the same kind with the work in a 
greater degree, but there is no proportion between natural acts and super- 
natural grace. There is no one scripture, or one example, declaring grace 
to be given as a reward to mere nature, or any act of nature. God indeed, 
out of his infinite righteousness, and equity, and goodness, hath rewarded 
some moral acts with some worldly advantages, or the withdrawing some 
judgments threatened, as Ahab's reprieve from judgment upon his humilia- 
tion, 1 Kings xsi. 27, 29 ; and the temporary pardon to Nineveh, upon their 
submission to the prophet's threatenings, Jonah iii. 8-10. But what obli- 
gation lies upon God to reward men doing thus with superadditions of grace ? 
for there is no proportion between such a moral act and so excellent a reward. 
We may as well say that a coal by glowing and sparkling may merit' to be- 
come a star : or that the orderly laying the wood and sacrifice upon the altar 
might merit the descent of fire from heaven to kindle it. 

[4.] If there was any obligation on God, by any preparations of nature, 
then such acts would be always followed with renewing grace. There would 
be an obligation on God's righteousness to bestow it. And if it should be 
denied, the creature might accuse God of a failure in justice, because he 
gave not what was due. God sure would observe that rule of justice which 
he prescribes to man, not to detain the wages of a hireling, no, not for a night. 
Were grace a debt upon the works of nature, God were then obliged not only 
to pay it, but pay it speedily, it being exact righteousness so to do. But we 
see the contrary. Publicans and harlots are raised and beautified, while 
pharisees lie buried in the ruins of nature. These preparations are many 
times without perfection. The pangs of conviction resolve sometimes into 
a return to the old vomit, and make no progress in a state of life and grace. 
The apostle's rule will hold true in the whole compass of the work, Rom. 
vi. 11, ' If it be of works, then it is no more grace.' So much as is ascribed 
to any work or preparation by the creature, so much is taken from the glory 
of grace, and would make God not the author, but assistant, and that too by 
obligation, not by grace. 

[5.] From this it follows, that man doth not prepare himself by any act 
of his will, without the grace of God. What preparation can he make, who is 
so powerfully possessed by corrupted habits, which have got so great an em- 
pire over him, struck their roots to the very bottom of his soul, entrenched 
themselves in the works of custom, that if he goes about to pull up one, his 
arm shakes and his heart faints ? How strongly do these rooted habits re- 
sist the power of grace ! How much more easily do they resist the weakness 
of nature in confederacy with them ! What is said of the remnant of Jacob 
as a ' dew from the Lord,' as ' the showers upon the grass,' that it ' tarneth 
not for man, nor waits for the sons of men,' Micah v. 7, may be said of the 
grace of God ; it waits not for the preparations and dispositions of the crea- 
ture, but prevents them. It is a pure gift ; though we are active with it, yet 
we are wholly indisposed for it. We can no more prepare ourselves to shine 
as stars in the world, than a dunghill can to shine -as a sun in heaven. What 
preparations doth God wait for in the heart of an infant when he sanctifies 
it? If ' without Christ we can do nothing,' John xv. 5, then no prepara- 
tions without Christ; for they are something, and very considerable too. 

182 chaenock's woeks. [John I. 13. 

There is no foundation to think there should be any preparation in the crea- 
ture, as of the creature. 

First, The first promise of redemption and regeneration intimates no such 
thing in man to either of them : Gen. iii. 15, ' I will put enmity,' &c. The 
putting enmity into man against Satan is promised by God as his own work. 
There was a friendship struck up, a confederacy made, the devil entertained 
as a counsellor ; God would now break this league, he only puts enmity into 
the heart against Satan : < It shall bruise thy head,' &c. The bruising the 
serpent's head is wholly the act of Christ. It, not the man or the woman, 
but the promised seed. As there were no preparations in the creature to 
that which Christ acted in the flesh, so there are no preparations in that 
creature for what Christ is to do in his Spirit. He bruised Satan in his flesh 
upon the cross without any preparations in the creature ; and so he bruiseth 
Satan in the heart, by his Spirit, without any preparations on the creature's 
part. For anything I see, had man in the state of innocency been sensible 
that his dependency, as to any good, and motion to good, ought to be upon 
God, and he to have waited upon God for his change and confirmation, he 
might have stood ; but when he would practically assert the liberty of his 
own will in a way of indifl'erency to good and evil, he fell. And by the way, 
those that assert the freedom of their own will naturally, without the grace 
of God, either common or special, seem to me to justify Adam's first affected 
independency of God. 

Secondly, God is as much in the new creation as he was in the old. Not 
only the creation of the matter, but the preparation of it to receive the form, 
was from God ; neither the matter, nor any part of it, prepared itself. If 
nothing prepared itself to be a creature, how can anything prepare itself to be 
a gracious creature, since to be a new creature is more than to be a creature ; 
and every preparation to be a new creature is more than any preparation to 
be a creature ? The new creation differs, I must confess, from the old crea- 
tion ; but it is such a difference which makes it rather harder than easier. 

First, The object of the old creation was nothing, the object of the new is 
something ; but a thing that hath no more active disposition to receive a new 
form, than nothing had.* 

Secondly, The object of the first creation was a simple and pure privation ; 
the object of the second is a contrary form, which resists the work of God : 
there was only an action of creation in the first, there is an action of de- 
struction in the second ; the destruction of the old form and the creation 
of a new. Is it likely that any nature would voluntarily prepare itself for its 
own destruction? God in the first creation found no disposition in the sub- 
ject to entertain a form ; here he finds a contrary disposition to resist the form. 

Thirdly, What preparation had any of those we read of in Scripture from 
themselves ? What disposition had Paul, when he was struck down with a 
heart fuller of actual enmity than he had at his birth ? Did the apostles 
expect any call from their nets, or set themselves in a readiness before they 
heard that call ? A voice from Christ was attended with a divine touch or 
power upon their hearts ; both the preparation and the motion itself took 
birth together. And what preparations are there in Scripture, but are attri- 
buted unto God ? If a conviction be thorough and full, and consequently a 
preparation, it must refer to that Spirit which our Saviour asserts to be the 
principal cause of it, John xvi. 8, 9, ' When he is come,' that is, the Com- 
forter, ' he will reprove the world of sin.' It is laid wholly upon this, as 
the end of the almighty Spirit's coming, whereby it is not likely men would 
be convinced without him. Is there any desire or prayer for it ? Even this, 
* Daiile. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 183 

if true, is from the Holy Ghost ; ' no man can call Christ Lord, but by the 
Holy Ghost,' 1 Cor. xii. 3. Did any of those our Saviour cured of bodily 
infirmities, prepare themselves for that cure ? Neither can any man prepare 
himself for his spiritual cure. 

Fourthly, What thing in all the records of nature ever prepared itself for 
a change ? All preparations in matter for receiving any form arise not from 
the matter itself, but from some other active principle, or the new form in 
part introduced, which by degrees expels the old ; as in water, when heat 
comes in the place of cold, the preparation is not from the water, but from 
the new quality introducing itself. The grace of God is to the soul as form 
is to matter. The body is formed in the womb, for the reception of the 
soul, but not by the embryo, but by the formative virtue of the parent, 
fashioning the parts of the body to make it a fit lodging for the soul ; or, as 
some think, the soul itself, as the bee, fashions its own cell ; but howsoever 
it is not from itself. The preparations of Lazarus to rise were from the 
voice of Christ, not from the stinking body of Lazarus. The nature of all 
is alike. That one lute is better prepared for an harmonious touch, is from 
the musician's skill, not any art of its own. If one man of the same nature 
with another be endued with rich morals, it is from the common grace of 
God exciting natural light, and the common notions of fit and just; as the 
reason one vine of the same kind brings forth more generous fruit than an- 
other, is from the stronger influence of the sun. All nature assents to this 
truth, that nothing doth prepare itself for a change. 

Fifthly, If man did prepare himself for grace, it would be a disparagement 
to God, it would violate the sovereignty of God. It would be derogatory to 
the majesty of God to have his grace depend upon the conditions and pre- 
vious preparations in the creature ; it would lay the foundations of grace in 
a man's self, and impose a necessity in God to come in with further grace, 
and make his actions dependent upon the actings of the creature. The be- 
ginning of faith would be from us, and the supplement from God ; the work 
of grace would be of him that ' wills and runs,' and not ' of God that shews 
mercy,' Eom. ix. 16. It would change the whole tenor of the Scripture, 
and make conversion not God's drawing of us, but our traction of God ; for 
he that doth dispose himself to grace, is in some sort the cause of that 
grace, as he that doth dispose the subject for such a form is in a sort the 
cause of that form. If the preparations were from the will of man, man 
would begin the noblest work that ever was wrought, and God would be 
made no more than an attendant upon the creature's motion ; whereas the 
very beginning in the will, as well as the perfection, is ascribed to God : 
Philip, ii. 13, ' God works in you both to will and to do of his good plea- 
sure.' God's good pleasure is the original cause of this work upon the will, 
not the will's good pleasure. The work then depending on God's good plea- 
sure, excludes any dependency on the will of man ; it is therefore called a 
creation, to shew God's independence upon anything as to this work. 

Sir/hhj, Where should this preparation begin ? in what part of the soul? 
Shall it begin in the understanding ?* That hath lost the reins whereby it 
governed the lower parts of the soul. Nothing is more discomposed in its 
nets than that faculty. It is well compared to a charioteer or coachman 
fallen from his box, and his feet entangled in the reins of the horses, which 
hurry him about.f The sensitive appetite, like a wild horse, hath got the bit 
between his teeth, runs about, and draws the understanding after it. In- 
deed a charioteer that hath lost the government of his horses endeavours to 

* Amiraut. de predest. chap. 5, p. 48. 

t Chainier, Panstiat. torn. iii. lib. 4, cap. i. Thcs. 12. 

184 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

remedy that violence ; he cries out, makes all resistance, hath a will to help 
himself ; but the understanding is so far from resisting, that it takes pleasure 
in the disorder of the passions ; it prompts the will to follow them, and this 
is properly to be a servant to sin. Shall it begin in the appetite ? How can 
that incline to range itself to the order of reason ? It hath no reason itself, 
it submits not to the laws of reason ; it hath got the mastery of it, and hath 
prescription for its dominion, of a long standing, ever since the fall. The 
dominion of sin is in the understanding, will, appetite, whence all of them 
are called flesh, so that all the motions of the soul depending upon them, 
the slavery must needs be voluntary. Therefore neither the understanding 
conceives, nor the will wills, nor the appetite desires, anything against them- 
selves ; how, then, should the will, which is captivated by a corrupt under- 
standing and disorderly affections, recover itself, when it must necessarily 
be under the guidance of one of these jailors ? Suppose the understanding 
were illuminated, are those evil habits in the will corrected barely by the 
illumination of the understanding ? If they are corrected, why doth not the 
will alway follow the dictate of the understanding ? But, alas ! those evil 
habits determine the will to evil, as good habits determine it to good; for it 
is the nature of habits to incline the faculties to those things which are suit- 
able to the nature of those habits ; therefore as long as it remains under the 
command of those evil inclinations, it is impossible it should pass from evil 
to good. But that the will hath evil inclinations, appears by the Scripture 
calling the whole man flesh ; else corruption would not be universally seated 
in the soul, but only accidental in the will, from the darkness of the under- 
standing. But certainly, as Adam in innocency had an habitual holy dis- 
position in his will, so man, in his fall, hath a corrupt inclination in his will, 
an habitual quality, whereby he drinks iniquity like water, Job xv. 16. What 
power of the will can take those cords off which hold it prisoner, whereby 
it must be prepared for a free motion ? 

To evidence this further, we shall consider, 

1. That man doth not naturally, neither can, understand the new birth. 

2. He cannot desire it. Understanding and desire are necessary pre- 
parations to any rational change a creature can make in itself. 

1. Man cannot understand it. This is necessary to a change. What- 
soever is done by the will, must be done by the impulse of some other 
faculty. Sensitive appetite cannot instruct the will to this work. Sense is 
not capable of reason, much less of religion, though it be the portal to 
both. The will can never be moved to any good thing, unless the mind 
propound it as good and amiable. The act of thinking must precede the 
act of believing, for we cannot believe without thinking of what we believe. 
It is less to think than understand. If we cannot, then, do that which is 
less in the preparation, we cannot do that which is greater, especially when 
it is impossible to will without thinking ; and thinking is a necessary means 
to willing. He that cannot prepare himself for a good thought, how can 
he prepare himself for a gracious habit? What ability have we to any 
act of faith, when we have no ability to any thought of faith ? We can- 
not by the strength of nature understand it, if we consider, 

(1.) The first blot caused by sin was upon the understanding. Man 
was first deceived by the sophistical reasonings of the serpent. The first 
effect of sin was to spread a thick darkness upon Adam's understanding. 
Though the whole house, and every beam of it, fell together, yet this faculty 
was first unfastened, and brought all the rest to ruin. As soon as ever he 
ceased from glorifying God as God, a darkness was brought upon his foolish 
heart : Rom. i. 21, ' When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 185 

but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened,' 
where the apostle describes the state of man in corrupt nature after his fall. 
Folly first in the heart to desire the forbidden fruit, and then darkness came 
upon the understanding. Their diaXoyiffpol, their reasonings, became empty 
and contradictory ; tbeir primitive light departed, and darkness, as a priva- 
tion, took place. What true motion can there be in the will, wben there 
was so thick an obscurity in the understanding ? Where there is but a false 
knowledge in the mind, there can be no true motion in the will. There 
must then be a restoration of this light, before there can be any prepara- 
tion to a good act of the will. Adam recovered not this light by his own 
strength, no, nor by the outward declaration of the gospel in the promise ; 
for no outward object proposed to the understanding confers any power upon 
tbe faculty. How can it then be recovered by our strength, since we have 
rather added to the scales than diminished them ? For, 

(2.) Tbere is a darkness transmitted from him to the understanding of 
every man by nature. The light is darkened in the heaven of tbe soul, the 
more spiritual part of the mind, Isa. v. 30, as the prophet speaks in another 
case. Our understandings are so closed up with the thick slime of sin, that 
we cannot see the beauty of gospel truths ; ' darkness comprehends not tbe 
bght,' Jobn i. 5. Though the light of the sun did shine a thousand times 
brighter than it dotb, and strike upon the face and eyelids of a man with the 
greatest glory, yet if there be a spot upon the apple of his eye, if he wants a 
seeing faculty, he can apprehend nothing of it. Hence the apostle prays for 
the illumination of the understanding of the Ephesians, chap. i. 17, 18, and 
that they might have ' a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge 
of God.' And our Saviour tells them that they 'must be taught of God,' 
John vi. 45, by an internal teaching of the Spirit, as well as by himself in 
an oral instruction. What a thick cloud was upon Nicodemus his mind, 
when he discoursed with him about regeneration, who was the ablest teacher 
to illustrate it to his fancy and understanding ! It is not such a darkness 
as if he might understand the mysteries of heaven, if he would exert the 
strength of his own reason. This would be only as a man shutting his eyes 
who had a visive faculty ; but it is such a darkness as cannot be expelled 
by flesh and blood, or anything arising from it : ' Flesh and blood,' saith our 
Saviour to Peter, ' hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in 
heaven,' Mat. xvi. 17. Flesh and blood includes everything in opposition 
to God. Our Saviour had externally owned himself, in the face of the Jews, 
to be the Messiah, the Son of God ; but besides this, there was an inward 
illumination granted to Peter, for the apprehending and embracing so great 
a truth. There is not only a darkness upon the minds of those who have 
no outward revelation of the will of God in Christ, but upon those who 
sire in the midst of the sunbeams : Deut. xxix., ' Yet the Lord hath not 
given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this 
day.' They wanted not the beams. No people in the world had the or- 
dinances of God besides them ; but they wanted an organ fitted to receive 
and use them, which was not in their power, but is mentioned as the gift 
of God. God promises to make his people to know his ways. What needs 
that, if they could know them without him ? We have indeed the light 
of the gospel, we have also a faculty, but without an eye disposed for the 
light, we enjoy no benefit by it. Now who ever heard that darkness could 
prepare itself for its own expulsion ? It cannot comprehend the light, much 
less prepare for the reception of it. Who ever heard of one born blind, in a 
capacity to prepare himself for sight ? We are blind in naturals, much more 
in spirituals. The most polished reasons among the heathens, both for 

186 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

knowledge in naturals and prudence in civil affairs, doated, and with all their 
wisdom knew not God. 

(3.) There is an unsuitableness and a contrariety in the mind of man to 
the gospel, which is the instrument of regeneration. There is a mighty- 
distance between the spiritual object and the natural faculty. The under- 
standing, though never so well furnished with natural stuff, is but natural, 
and flesh ; the object is supernatural and spiritual ; therefore the richest 
mere nature can no more attain to the knowledge of spiritual things, than 
the clearest sense can attain to the knowledge of rational. Though every 
man « by nature hath the things contained in the law,' Rom. ii. 14, 15, yet 
no man hath by nature the things contained in the gospel. The gospel hath 
not the same advantage in the hearts of men as the law hath, for it finds 
nothing of kin to it. Though a natural heart hath some broken pieces of 
the law of God deposited in it, yet there is not the least syllable of Christ or 
regeneration writ in the mind by the hand of nature. The understanding 
therefore naturally cannot prepare itself for the reception of the gospel, be- 
cause it hath not any principle in it which suits the doctrine of it. It seems 
a ridiculous thing to the wisest carnalist, who receives not the things of God, 
because, out of the pride of natural wisdom, he counts them foolishness, 
1 Cor. ii. 14. Hence not many wise are renewed in their minds. Had the 
gospel truth been as agreeable to reason as the other common notions im- 
printed in man, it would have been preserved in the world longer than it 
was, since, without question, Adam did communicate to his posterity the 
notion of a redeemer, which did soon die among them, because not consonant 
to that reason they had derived by nature from Adam. It was a knowledge 
given to Adam by revelation, not imprinted in his nature by creation. Be- 
sides, there is a contrariety in the mind to the truth of the gospel. As we 
say of liberty, so of enmity. Though it be formally in the will, yet it is 
radically in the understanding. The mind is the seat of those hostile prin- 
ciples which act the will against God, Rom. viii. 7. The mind of man re- 
gards the things of God as unpleasant, and an intolerable yoke and hard 
bridle. Let light, the most excellent thing in the world, glare upon a man 
that hath sore eyes, he will turn away from it, or shut his eyes against it ; 
tor though he understands the worth of it, yet it hath a quality offensive to 
him. So is the gospel to those notions settled in the distempered mind. 
Men give not credit to the declarations of the gospel ; ' Who hath believed 
our report ?' hath been the voice of God's messengers in all ages, Isa. liii. 1. 
No man, unless known by all never to speak truth, but is more believed 
than the God of infallible and unerring truth ! What principles, then, are 
there in the understanding to prepare it for the reception of that which is so 
contrary to its ancient inmates ? 

(4.) Besides this, the natural levity of the understanding doth incapacitate 
it to prepare itself. It is with the understanding as with a line, the farther 
it is stretched out the weaker and more wavering it is. So is the under- 
standing, being at a distance from God. How do vain thoughts intrude into 
the mind ! No man can keep a door locked against them. We feel them 
rushing upon us while we endeavour to avoid them. We are confounded 
and overwhelmed by them, and drawn to things against our own resolutions. 
Man hath not the command of his own heart, so much as to think steadily 
of a divine object. How can he then prepare his own heart, when he cannot 
without grace fix in any holy meditation which is necessary for the renewal 
of it, since nothing is more discomposed in its acts than the mind of man, 
which is always dancing about,' like cork in the water, or feathers in the air ? 
Whence should come any preparation to good order, but by some super- 

John I. 13. "I the efficient of regeneration. 187 

natural ballast, to establish it from fluctuating ? Tbis disease every man is 
sensible of, and whatsoever disease is inherent in nature cannot be cured by 
any preparations by that nature which is wholly overgrown with it. 

(5.) Hence it follows that a natural mind hath no right notion of grace. 
To the right notion of a thing is required suitableness, pleasure, and a fixed- 
ness of the mind upon it. A natural mind wants all these. How can it 
then prepare itself for that which it hath no knowledge of ? And without 
knowledge it cannot commend it to the will. The apostle asserts a plain 
cannot in this business : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' He cannot know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned.' Being destitute of the Spirit, they cannot discern 
the things of the Spirit. Sense can discern things sensibly, not rationally. 
Reason can discern things rationally, but not spiritually. The light where- 
by a natural man judges of the things of the gospel is a star-light or a moon- 
light, which gives not a distinct view of the object. The evil disposition 
must be removed from the mind, before the object be entertained according 
to its worth. As if any natural object have such excellent qualities in it, 
that if it be embraced it will draw the will and affections alter it ; yet if the 
mind be ill-disposed, and doth not judge of the object according to the merit 
of it, it will refuse it. Offer a man gold who understands not the worth of 
gold, it will not allure him. Man with his eyes is spiritually blind, and with 
his ears is spiritually deaf. So God calls the Gentiles, which were to be 
brought to Christ for a restitution of their eyes : Isa. xliii. 8, ' Bring forth 
the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.' Such can no 
more judge of the excellency of spiritual things than a blind man can have 
regular conceptions of colours, or a deaf man of the excellency of music. * If 
■ no man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,' 1 Cor. xii. 3 ; if no 
man can have a magnificent conception and speech of Christ, but by the 
Spirit giving him both that conception and utterance, he cannot have a 
notion of the formation of Christ in the heart without the gift and impression 
of the same hand. What preparations, then, can arise from nature, when 
the mind can have no conception of Christ but by the Spirit of God ? 

Well, then, to conclude this. What preparations can there be in nature, 
since we cannot understand the things of God, when yet we have more clearness 
in our understanding to see them than we have force in our wills to love 
them and embrace them ? It is in the understanding that the common 
notions, which are the grounds of knowledge, are deposited. There is less 
of ignorance in our understanding than of enmity in our will. The eye can 
see further than the arm can reach. If therefore we cannot think or under- 
stand, by all that help of common notions, without the grace of God, how 
can we then prepare our wills for it, to comply with it, and renew that 
faculty which is chiefly possessed with a contrariety to it ? 

2. As we cannot understand it, so we cannot naturally desire it. What 
is not spiritually discerned cannot spiritually be desired. Not but that ac- 
cording to those unformed conceptions which men have of it by common 
grace, there may be some weak velleities, but they are wishings without a 
will, not desires according to the value of the thing. Mercy first breathed 
on our first parents, before they breathed after that. The first motion came 
from God. So soon were they turned obstinate enemies against their Crea- 
tor, without any thoughts of turning suppliants, though they had not lost the 
conceptions of their late integrity, which if they had, they had been wholly 
insensible, without any trouble of conscience. What desires can we natur- 
ally, then, have for it, who have far weaker conceptions of that happiness 
than they had immediately after they lost it ? We cannot desire what we 
do not apprehend. A beast cannot desire to be a man, because he hath no 

188 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

conceptions of the excellency of the human nature above his own. No nature 
can ever affect that which is contrary to it. No flesh can ever desire its own 
crucifixion. If we seek, we shall find ; if we ask, we shall receive ; but who 
first toucheth the heart to seek or to ask ? If we cannot think a good 
thought of ourselves, how can we think so good a thought as a desire of re- 
generation? To say, then, we can desire the new creation of ourselves, 
without some kind of grace, is to assert another doctrine than what the 
apostle Paul asserted to those already regenerate. The first will, which is 
the necessary spring of all actions, is wrought by God, Philip, ii. 13. The 
frame of man's will and desire stands to another'point : John viii. 44, ' The 
lusts of your father you will do.' The best renewed man ' knows not what 
to pray for as he ought,' without the instruction of the Spirit, Rom. viii. 26. 
We cannot give our hearts a lift to heaven, or breathe out an unutterable 
groan, without the help of an infinite Spirit. The root of man's affections 
grows downward, not upward. What breathings can be expected in a soul 
choked up with sin ? There was no motion of the church till ' the hand of 
her beloved was put in by the hole of the door,' and made a motion in her 
bowels, Cant. v. 4. The church owed no obligation to her free will 
and her own predispositions. There is not a smoke in the heart to heaven 
without a spark first from heaven ; not a step till God enlargeth the heart. 
Velleities are from common grace, under the preaching of the word; fervent 
and saving desires are from special grace, by the hand of the Spirit. So 
that there are no preparations from nature to this, since both our apprehen- 
sions of it and desires of it spring not out of that stock. 

The second main thing is this, As man cannot prepare himself for it, so he 
doth not produce and work it in himself. This is evident from the former. 
If he cannot make any preparation, which is the less, he cannot cause any 
actual production of it, which is the greater. 

But to evidence it more, let us spend some time in this. 

As it doth not depend upon the will of man in the preparation, so neither 
in the production. 

I shall evidence it, first, by arguments drawn from the consideration of 

If this work depended upon the will of man, as the first cause in the pro- 
duction, it would deprive God, 

1. Of his sovereign independency. If man's will were the first cause of 
regeneration, God would not be the supreme independent cause in the noblest 
of his works. This work is nobler than creation in respect of the price paid 
for it. The world was made without the death of anything to purchase the 
creation of it. But the divine image is not restored without the death of 
the Son of God, every line in this new image being drawn with his blood. 
Is there anything happens in the world but by the conduct and efficacy of 
his providence ? Do all the motions of the heavens, the productions of 
creatures, the universal events of nature, depend upon the will, power, and 
wisdom of God ? And shall the soul, the most excellent of the lower crea- 
tures, bearing the characters of God's wisdom and goodness upon it (the 
acts of the soul in the way of religion, being the noblest acts it can produce), 
he left wholly to itself in the production and management of these ? Shall 
God, the supreme cause in everything else, be an inferior and secondary 
cause in this affair ? It is 'not he that plants, nor he that waters, but God 
that gives the increase,' 1 Cor. iii. 7. God is the first cause, upon whom 
man depends in all kind of actions, much more in supernatural actions, 
chiefly in the understanding and will, upon which faculties, no creature can 
have any intrinsic influence to cause them to exercise their vital acts. If 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 189 

the will of man were the first cause, God would be an attendant to the crea- 
ture in the noblest works. God would not then be the first mover, but man. 
The will willing would then be the cause of God's working, not God's work- 
ing the cause of the will's willing and choice. God's working would be con- 
sequent upon the will, and so the effect of the will's free motion. Man 
would then be the dispositiva causa in relation to God. It would make God 
the second cause, and represent him expecting the beck, and the preparations 
of man, before he did exert any act. It would make God to will that which 
man wills, and make God to will that which man may reject. It would 
follow that God concurs not to regeneration by way of sovereignty, but by 
way of concomitancy. It would not be a victorious but a precarious grace, 
which is against the whole tenor of the Scripture, which represents God as 
holding in his hands the first links of all second causes : Rom. xi. 36, ' For 
of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.' He is the first gover- 
nor of all the wills and powers of the creatures, the first cause of all motions. 
He orders all, without being ordered by any. Now this is below the majesty 
of God, to be conducted in his motion by the will of the creature ; to have 
the purposes of his goodness brought into act by an uncertain and slippery 
cause. How can it be conceived that God should put his hand to the more 
ignoble works of nature, and turn over the noblest work of the new creation 
to the airy will of the creature. 

To conclude ; God must either be precedent in his operation to the act of 
the will, or follow it. If precedent, we have what we would ; if subsequent, 
then God is a mere attendant upon the motions of the creature, and a ser- 
vant to wait upon man. This is to advance free will to the throne of God, 
and depress God to the footstool of will ; this is to deify the creature, by 
placing the crown of the sovereign independency of God on the head of 
free will. 

2. It puts a blot upon the wisdom of God. If God expects the deter- 
mination of the will of man, whether he shall act or no, then God is disposed 
by the will of man to the intention of his end. But it is very inconsistent 
with that unfathomable and unerring wisdom, to have the attainment of his 
end depend upon an agent wherein nothing is wrapped up but folly and mad- 
ness, Eccles. ix. 3. This is to make his power depend upon weakness, and 
his gracious ends towards his creature hang upon the extravagancies of one 
distracted, which no wise man would be guilty of. Is God in all things else 
a God of power and wisdom, working all things in number, weight, and mea- 
sure, springing up every motion in the lower world, by an unblameable coun- 
sel ? And shall he leave the forming of the image of his Son, wherein his 
wisdom is most seen, to the slight irregular will of man, which hath neither 
weight nor measure in itself ? This would make the immutable counsel of 
' God depend upou the mutability of the creature ; which would be incon- 
sistent with the wisdom of man, who chooseth the firmest means he can for 
the conduct of his designs ; for if man wills this day, then God wills ; if 
man reject it the next day, then he rejects that which God wills. So God's 
will must be at uncertainty, according to the will of man. How shall his 
counsel stand upon so tottering a bottom ? How shall he do all his pleasure 
if it were a mere dependent upon the pleasure of the creature, contrary to 
what he is pleased positively to assert : Isa. xlvi. 10, ' My counsel shall stand, 
I will do all my pleasure.' The apostle doth couch these two arguments 
together: Eph. i. 11, 'Who works all things according to the counsel of 
his own will ;' he argues (1) from the power of God, ' who works all things,' 
whereby our own works, and power, are excluded, and God asserted to be 
the supreme cause of everything, in an efficacious and energetical manner, 

190 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

as the word hioyih siguifies. (2.) From his wisdom, ' according to the 
counsel of his own will,' wisely and justly, and therefore not according to 
ours, wherein there is nothing but folly and evil. This excludes all our own 
wills in the first work. Now, to assert that this beautiful image were brought 
forth upon the stage of the heart by the will of man, as the first cause, would 
destroy God's prerogative, and represent his operations under the conduct 
of our own counsel and will, not of his own. Certainly if there be a secret 
and wise Spirit of providence, running through the whole world to preserve 
his honour in his works, as certainly there is, the most honourable declara- 
tion of them in the heart cannot be thought to be left to the conduct of wild 
and hare-brained nature. 

3. If the will of man were the prime cause of regeneration, it would de- 
prive God of his foreknowledge and prescience ; it would make that fore- 
knowledge, which is certain and infallible, merely contingent. For if the will 
of man were wholly left to its own determination, the motions of the will 
were doubtful and uncertain, till the will doth determine itself ; and so God's 
knowledge of them would be uncertain, for it is clear, that from a thing 
wholly uncertain, there cannot arise a certain knowledge. Therefore, God 
could not be said certainly to foreknow the conversion of man, if the efficacy 
of grace depended upon so contingent a cause as the liberty of man's will ; 
for then it might not be, as well as be ; the will might not embrace it, and 
so the knowledge of God be but merely conjectural, — a knowledge unworthy 
of a deity, which must be supposed to be omniscient ; a knowledge depend- 
ing upon a peradventure, or at best, it is but a very likely it will be so. 
This would be a debasing the deity to an opinionative knowledge, which 
could not be certain, because depending upon so indetermined and wavering 
a cause. God cannot know this or that man's regeneration from eternity, 
but he must see it infallibly in himself willing it, or in the causes of it, irre- 
sistibly producing it.* But if the efficacy of grace depends upon the will, 
then God doth not certainly determine the regeneration of man. And for 
God to foreknow that which he himself hath not determined, and when 
nothing in the creature, nor anything in the circumstances, doth determine 
it, is to make God see that (as one saith) which neither in the creature nor 
in himself is to be seen. 

Obj. Some may object, How doth God come to foreknow sin, for that de- 
pends upon the liberty of the will ? 

Ans. It would be too long to inquire into this, I shall only at present say 
this, it is certain God doth foresee every sin, otherwise the evil acts of men 
could not be predicted. Our Saviour could not then have foreknown what 
the scribes and priests would do to him, as he doth foretell : Mat. xvi. 21, 
' Christ began to tell them how many things he was to suffer of the chief 
priests and scribes.' And since God cannot fail in his predictions, but they 
will certainly come to pass, the hearts of the Jews could do no other thing, 
supposing the prediction, than what Christ doth here foretell, for their wicked 
wills would certainly determine themselves that way. And God, by a con- 
currence of causes which he had linked together in his hand, orders things 
so, that meeting with the corruption in their wills, their wills determine 
themselves to such actions there foretold ; yet is not God therefore the author 
of sin. For sin being no positive thing, cannot have an efficient, but a defi- 
cient cause ; and God determines the withdrawing of his common grace, and 
the ordering of such and such circumstances, and so did foresee how a free 
creature, with that corruption in his heart, would determine himself in such 
occasions, when involved in such circumstances. But now in the work of 
* Ball of the Covenant, p. 341, 342. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 191 

regeneration, outward circumstances cannot cause any determination of the 
will, because those outward circumstances of grace meet with nothing in the 
heart full of corruption, to take part with them, which outward circumstances 
of sin do. Therefore since there can be no foresight of God in this case, 
depending upon the concurrence of outward circumstances, unless there were 
something in the heart which did suit them, the determination of the will 
cannot proceed from them, but from God himself, willing and determining 
the will by a positive influx of his grace. The determination of the will to 
sin comes from within, from its natural corruption concurring with such oc- 
casions, which, joining together, determine the will to it. Therefore God 
foresees what a free creature will do ; but there being no principle in the will 
by nature to correspond with any gracious external circumstances, it cannot 
determine itself to grace, because it wants a principle of determination within 
itself, the corrupt habits determining it quite otherwise. Sin proceeds not 
so much from the liberty as the captivity of the will ; and God knowing 
the corrupt frame, can foresee what man in such a frame will do upon occa- 
sion ; as we may easily resolve that an habitual drunkard will be drunk 
when he hath sensual objects placed before him. 

4. Another consideration is this : to make the will of man the efficient of 
his regeneration, is to make the truth of God a great uncertainty. 

(1.) First, In the covenant he made with Christ. If his .having a seed 
depended upon the will of man, the promise of God to give him a seed might 
be null and void ; for at least it must be granted possible, that not one man 
under heaven would have accepted of his terms ; and then his coming to 
save had been in vain, because there was a possibility that not one man 
would have embraced the salvation offered. Since the number of rejecters 
of him is greater than the number of receivers, it is likely the less number, 
if left to their own wills, would have followed the greater, since the preva- 
lency of evil examples above good ones is every day evident. It had not 
been, then, ' the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand,' Isa. liii. 
10, 11, but the pleasure of man shall prosper in the hand of the will of man. 
The great resolve of God, the priesthood of Christ, the design of drawing a 
generation of persons out of the world to praise him, had hung upon a mere 
hap-hazard and a may-be, if it had depended only on man's will ; and God 
should have waited the leisure of free will, to see whether the most glorious 
design that ever was laid should prosper, and whether he should have been 
a God of truth, or a liar to his Son. Though our Saviour had laid the foun- 
dation of our redemption in his own most precious blood, yet he must have 
depended on our will for the fruits of his purchase ; it had been a great un- 
certainty whether he had seen one grain of fruit for all his expense. He 
might have been a king without one subject, or the destruction of one 
potent enemy he came to conquer, not one sin subdued, not one devil cast 
out of any soul. This might have been ; for though by God he was made a 
king, yet according to the other assertion, it depended on the will of man 
whether he should have one subject to own his authority ; and, if so, God 
had been very unwise to enter into covenant with him, and Christ very un- 
wise to come upon such grand uncertainties at the best, when it was a ques- 
tion whether any one person should have enjoyed the fruits of his death. 
How can it enter into any man's heart, that so great a contrivance as the 
sending of Christ to be the means of salvation, with such great promises 
to see the fruits of his death in a seed to serve him, should depend in 
the main fruits and effects of it on any thing undetermined by the will of 
God ; that so great a weight should hang upon so thin a thread as the will 
of man ? 

192 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

(2.) In the promises he makes to men. How could God promise that so 
absolutely as he doth, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, ' A new heart will I give you,' if 
this work did depend upon the will of man, which might frustrate the truth 
of God in his promise ? And when God knew there was no principle in their 
hearts that could rise higher than to shame and confusion, not to sa excel- 
lent a work as regeneration, as is intimated, ver. 32, ' Not for your sakes do 
I do this : be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, house of 
Israel ;' what reason was there for God to depress them to confusion, if 
they had had power to renew themselves ? If this promise of God depended 
not upon any thing in them in the first making, it could not depend upon 
any thing in them in the full performance of it. We must either make God 
a liar, or unwise, or remove any efficiency in the will of man as the first 
cause. What blasphemy would it be to say, that God was so unwise as to 
promise that which depended upon the power of another, whether it should 
be wrought or no ; that God could not be certainly true to his word, unless 
free-will assisted him ! 

5. It despoils God of his worship, in those two great parts of it, prayer 
and praise. 

(1.) Prayer. With what face can any solicit God for that grace, which he 
conceives to be in his own power to have when he will ? It is a mocking of 
him to desire .that strength of him, which he hath given us already, inhe- 
rent in our nature. . If it were the work of our wills, it would require only 
the excitation of them, not any application to God. Who begs for what he 
hath ? Who desires an alms that hath thousands in his purse ? As prayer 
would be a vain thing in any man that should deny a providence over- 
ruling the affairs of the world, so it would be as vain a thing to call upon 
God for grace, if the whole affair of regeneration were left to the conduct of 
man's will. The end of God's making promises of a new heart, and a new 
spirit, is to be inquired after to do it for us, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 37. The na- 
tural consequent, then, of asserting the power of our own wills, is not to call 
upon God, but direct our desires to another cause, to solicit our own wills, 
not God. It would not be, then, according to the language of the church, 
' Turn thou us, Lord, and we shall be turned ;' ' Draw me, and I will run 
after thee,' Lam. v. 21, Cant. i. 4, but, I will turn to thee, and then shalt 
thou be turned to me ; I will run after thee, and draw thee to myself. The 
royal authority, and power of God, and his glory in granting, is the founda- 
tion of prayer ; therefore the Lord's prayer is concluded with this, as an 
argument to move God to grant what is asked, ' Thine is the kingdom, the 
power, and the glory;' that is, thou art rich and powerful, and hast all sorts 
of blessings to bestow. With what face can any one go to God with these 
words in his mouth, when he ascribes the kingdom, power, and glory, in so 
great a work, to his own will ? We can never pray in confidence to God 
for it ; for all confidence is wrought by a consideration of the will of him we 
pray to, to accomplish what we desire, and of his power to effect it. What 
confidence, then, can we have in his will particularly to work it for us, if we 
conceive he hath left it to our hands, as the proper work of our own wills ? 
This was the ground of our Saviour's supplications, with strong cryings and 
tears, that ' God was able to save him,' Heb. v. 7 : able naturally, in respect 
of his power ; able morally, in respect of his truth to his promise. If God 
were careless in this concern, and had cast off all from his own hands, on 
the hand of free will, God might well say to any man, as he did to Moses, 
' Why criest thou unto me 1 Speak to the children of Israel that they go 
forward,' Exod. xiv. 15. Why cry you to me ? You may do it yourselves. 
Go forward with your own wills. The natural language of man to God 

John I. 13. J the efficient of regeneration. 193 

would not be, Lord, let thy kingdom come, thy will be done, give me a new 
heart ; but, I will have thy kingdom come, I will have thy will be done, 
I will procure myself a new heart, I will change my heart of stone into a 
heart of flesh. 

(2.) Praise. It doth deprive God of this part of his worship also, praise 
even for his greatest blessings. If our own wills did produce this work, 
the greatest cause of glorying would be, not in God, but in ourselves. We 
have as little ground to praise God, if it be our own work, as we have to 
pray to him for it. All that can be said is, that we have ground to praise 
him for the means of regeneration ; and this is no more ground than they 
have that are not regenerate under the enjoyment of the same means. If 
a man could give himself a natural being without God, he could be his own 
creator, his own foundation ; so if he could give himself a spiritual being 
without the grace of God, he would be a god to himself ; for in this case 
he would really do more to his conversion than God. If God offer grace 
equally to all, and the pliableness of one man's will to receive it above 
another were from himself, he would then owe an obligation to himself, but 
no more to God than the other that rejected it owes. The apostle, by asking 
the question, ' Who hath made thee to differ ? And what hast thou that 
thou didst not receive ?' 1 Cor. iv. 7 (though it be meant of a difference of 
gifts, yet it is argumentum a minori), clearly implies, that what difference 
there was between them and others, was not of their own planting, nor grew 
up from the stock of nature. But if regeneration lte wrought by a man's 
own will, it is not God that makes the difference, therefore the glory doth 
not belong to him. He is the author of a general call, therefore the glory 
of that pertains to him, it is true ; but yet as much from the damned that 
have lived under the gospel, as from the glorified saints in heaven, because 
the special entertainment of this call was not from the efficacy of God's 
grace, but the liberty of man's will ; for, according to this assertion, the love 
of God would be equal both to the damned and saved, and would not shine 
with a fairer lustre in heaven than it doth in hell. The apostle wisheth the 
Philippians to ' work out their salvation with fear and trembling ;' and en- 
courageth them by this argument, because God is the author of all that good 
which they do.* If the determination of the will, then, is from itself, is it 
not a brave ground to glory in ourselves ? How shall any man give God the 
glory of his salvation ? If it be said, God did enlighten their understandings 
by the preaching of the gospel, this is an illumination common to all ; and 
the reason some believe and others not, is not from the gift of God, but 
from themselves ; how can we give God a peculiar praise for that wherein 
there is no difference between the best and the worst of men ? But the 
apostle saith, God gives us to will, that is, the operation of our will, and not 
only the illumination of the understanding ; therefore, that our wills do 
terminate in that which is good, we hold of God ; the apostle doth not say, 
God hath given us power to will, but produced the will in us, and that of 
his good pleasure. If, therefore, God work no more in one than in an- 
other, there is no place for God's good pleasure, because there is no differ- 
ence. Let us see with what kind of language the praise of God would be 
clothed, according to the doctrine of free will.f A renewed man may say 
thus : Lord, I give thee thanks, that thou hast conferred upon me a super- 
natural grace ; but thou didst also give as much grace to my neighbour ; but 
I added something to that which thou didst supernaturally give me ; and 

* Amiraut. Scrm. in Phil, ii pp. 12, 13. 
t Banncz, in 2da 2dae Qu. 10, p. 248. 
VOL. ill. N 

194 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

though I received no more than he did receive from thee, yet I did more 
than he, since he remains in his sin, and I am regenerate ; therefore I have 
no more obligation to thee and thy grace, than he that believes not ; for, 
Lord, thou didst not make me diner from the other, because he had equal 
gifts with me ; but I made myself to differ, because I superadded my own 
wile to thy divine assistance. How much of the glory of God would be 
pared off by such a half-witted praise as this ! How low would be the accla- 
mations of glorified saints in heaven ! What foundation of pride in the 
creature, contrary to the intendment of the gospel, which is chiefly to 
humble man, if man were the cause of the most excellent work in himself ! 
It would write vanity in a great measure upon that excellent exhortation 
of the apostle, ' Let him that glories, glory in the Lord,' 1 Cor. i. 31, since 
there would be a bottom for flesh to glory in his presence, contrary to the 
design of God in his works, ver. 29, which is, ' that no flesh should glory in 
his presence.' 

Arg. 2. The second sort of arguments is drawn from the nature and state 
of man. 

1. In creation. Man did not create himself; to be a new creature is 
more than to be a creature. As man contributed nothing to nature, so 
neither can he contribute anything to grace, any more than a passive capacity 
in respect of faculties, which yet are the gift of God to him, nothing of his 
own acquisition. The soul, though framed with all its faculties, is as little 
able to engrave the image of God upon itself, as the body of Adam, formed with 
all its parts and members, was able to infuse a living soul into itself; there 
is no reason therefore to attribute our creation to God, and regeneration, the 
glory and excellency of a creature, to ourselves. I know such similitudes 
ought not to be strained too high ; yet when this doctrine agrees with other parts 
of Scripture, we may form an argument from this metaphor of creation where- 
by regeneration is expressed in Scripture. It is confessed by most, if not all, 
that no creature, not an angel, can be an instrument in the very act of crea- 
tion of another thing, much less the chief efficient of its own creation ; for 
creation is an act of omnipotency, and an incommunicable property of the 
Deity, not to be delegated to any creature. The creation of man, in a state 
of such perfection as to be endued with the image of God, was a greater 
work than simply the creation of his body or the essential faculties of his 
soul, yea, greater than the creation of the whole world, because the attri- 
butes of God did more lively appear in him, and particularly his holiness. 
The restoration then of this righteousness to man, after it is lost, is a greater 
work than the first creation of his body and soul, it being the same thing 
with the conferring at first his original rectitude upon him. If man there- 
fore could create this in his own soul after it is lost, he would do a greater 
work than simply the creation of a world. Surely there is as much power 
and wisdom required to the new-creating righteousness in the heart, after it 
is perished, as there was in the placing it there at first ; and then it will fol- 
low that none can new create it but an infinite wisdom, power, and holiness. 
If man therefore can create it in itself, he must have a wisdom, power, and 
holiness equal to that of God his first creator, for what could not be done by 
any creature at the first conferring it, but it was necessary that it should be 
a work of infinite power, cannot be done by a less power now, because the 
work is every whit as great ; and no less power is requisite to a second 
creation of a thing after it is perished, than was necessary to the first crea- 
tion of it, since this power of creation cannot be derived to any creature. As 
when life is gone from a fly, and the body of it dried and shrivelled up, all 
will grant that the restoring life to this fly must be done by an omnipotent 

John I. 13. J the efficient of regeneration. 195 

power. The case is the same with us by nature ; spiritual life, upon the 
fall, was wholly fled, no good thing dwells in our flesh, Rom. vii. 18, not 
one thing spiritually good ; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, wholly 
flesh in every part of it. If the making a living fly or worm is above the 
power of nature, much more the creating of so glorious a fabric as grace in 
the soul. Man might as well have implanted the divine image in his soul at 
first, as restore it after it was lost. To ascribe such a power to man to raise 
himself is a greater power than Adam had by creation, because to restore a 
man's self from death to life is greater than to preserve the vital principle he 
hath already, and act naturally from it. 

2. In the state of innocency. Let us consider man in that, and it will 
appear he is unable to renew himself. If man did not keep himself up, with 
so great a stock of natural rectitude in paradise, how can he recover himself 
and that stock after it is lost ? 'Man in his best estate is vanity ; all Adam 
is all vanity.' * In the estate of pure nature, he is vanity in respect of his 
mutability, much more vanity then in his fallen state, from the experience 
of which Adam rightly called his second son Abel, vanity, Hebel, the word 
used here. How soon did the breath of the serpent melt the impression 
upon him ! And if he did not by his innocent will preserve that purity 
which he had received, how can he by his corrupt will recover that purity 
which he hath lost ? If Adam had had a will to 'preserve, he might have 
stood, but in losing his will he lost his power ; if he did not maintain his 
will in his rectitude, nor (as some say) could not without the grace of God, 
how can he, by the mere force of his own will, restore that lost rectitude to 
himself ? If an universal integrity stood in need of grace to preserve it, an 
universal depravation stands in need of a more vigorous force than that of our 
will to eject it. If Adam, who had no disorders in nature to rectify, did not 
stand by his own will, it is not likely that we, who have strong habits to 
conquer, can be restored by the strength of our own wills. What nature did 
not do when it was sound, it is not likely to do a greater thing when it is 
wounded. We cannot now have more power than Adam had in innocency ; 
but he was not then endued with a power to regenerate himself if he should 
fall, but death was pronounced, both spiritual and eternal. If temptations 
corrupted him, and if he, being in a good condition, did not maintain him- 
self in it, but pass from a good condition to a bad, how can we, by the only 
liberty of our will, pass into a good one ? Are temptations less powerful 
now than before ? f Is the devil less vigilant to take all occasions to subvert 
us ? Suppose our wills were not so evil as they are, would it not be more 
easy for the enemy to draw the will to himself, when it is irresolved between 
two parts, when the guide of it is so easy clouded, than it was to draw 
Adam's will to evil from that good to which he might readily have determined 
himself? Adam had the greatest advantages human nature, in a natural 
wa^, was capable of; he was created with a fulness of reason. But how 
long do we converse with sense, which fastens upon temptations, before we 
come to a use of reason ! i After we are come to some smatterings of reason, 
and a growth in it, as we think, what whisperings and impulses to sin do 
we feel ! What an easiness to embrace incentives, a deafness to contrary 
admonitions ! What languishing velleities, and palsy desires at best, for that 
which is good ; a mighty mist and darkness upon our understandings, irreso- 
lution in our wills ? How can we with all these fetters be able of ourselves 
to put ourselves into a better state, and act against nature, which is impos- 
sible any creature can do but by a superior power ! 

* Ps. xxxix. 5. Heb., All Adam is all vanity, ^2, settled or standing. 
f Amiraut. Serm. de Epi. Evangel, p. 211. 

196 charnqck's works. [John I. 18. 

3. Consider man also in the state of corruption. 

(1.) If the will of man by nature were the cause of regeneration, it would 
follow that corruption were a cause of regeneration. ' The imagination of 
the heart of man is only evil, and that continually,' Gen. vi. 5. That which 
is evil, therefore, cannot be the cause of that which is man's greatest happi- 
ness. All actions are according to those innate qualities and habits which 
the agent hath ; all corrupted things act no otherwise than corruptedly, be- 
cause every act hath no more in it than what the principle, which is the 
spring of the action, conveys to it. If the heart, then, be wicked, it cannot 
do anything but what is wicked, and a wicked act can never be the founda- 
tion of regeneration. If a corrupt man, as corrupt, can be the cause of 
regeneration, then he can act graciously, not only without a gracious habit, 
but by and from a corrupt habit. If the acts are corrupt, the product of 
them must be corrupt, for man, in renewing himself, must act either as cor- 
rupt or good. If as good, then he was renewed before he set about the 
renewing himself. The question will then be the same, How came he by 
that restoration to goodness ? If as corrupt, then corruption is the spring 
of the noblest happiness of the creature. It would then follow that a man 
can perform acts of life before he lives ; that vital acts may be exerted by 
dead principles ; that sanctification can grow up from an unsanctified root ; 
and that the will, with its old corruption, can be the cause of its elevation 
to another state ; and that the old creature can perform a new creature's 
act before it be a new creature. Then a carnal mind, while it is carnal, 
may be subject to the law of God, which the Scriptures say it cannot be, 
Rom. viii. 7. Then those that are in the flesh may please God in an high 
manner, by the renewing themselves. This would be more strange than if 
we should see a crab-tree bring forth pomegranates ; a corrupt tree would 
then bring forth good fruit, and that the highest fruit, contrary to our 
Saviour's assertion, Mat. vii. 18. It would follow that the stony heart 
would be the cause of the fleshly, and so an effect would rise from a cause 
quite contrary to it, and the complying principle in man be wrought by the 
resisting principle. It is as much as if the fire should cool, and the water 
burn, by their own innate qualities. If the will of man corrupted be the 
cause of principles of grace, then the old creature brings forth the new.* 
The image of the devil is the cause of producing the divine nature, and hell 
the cause of an heavenly principle. It would follow that an act of one kind 
can be produced by an habit of a contrary nature, and that a man can act 
graciously before he be gracious. Before grace, no action is essentially 
good, because there wants a gracious principle, whence it must receive its 
denomination as good. One act, then, of corrupted man, or a multitude of 
acts, cannot be the cause of grace, because they all centre in that denomina- 
tion of evil. How the acts of the will, whereof not one can be called good 
till the will hath a good principle, can produce so noble a work and habit as 
grace is, is not easily intelligible. Our being engrafted into the good olive 
tree is contrary to nature, Rom. xi. 24. Nature cannot naturally contribute 
to that which is opposite to it. We are wild by nature ; our new implanta- 
tion is contrary to nature. A good nature, therefore, cannot be the natural 
effect of a wild nature. 

(2.) Since corruption, the power of man is mighty weak in naturals and 
morals, much more certainly in spirituals. 

[1.] In naturals. No natural body that lies under a grievous disease can 
repair itself by its own power without some external assistance. A wounded 
member must be beholding to oils and plants for a cure. No man can cast 
* rolhill of the Decrees, p. 373, 374. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of eegeneration. 197 

out a disease when he will. He may be sick when he will, by eating that 
which is contrary to nature ; but the cure doth not depend upon his will, 
but upon physic. Outward medicines must recover that which he lost by 
his own wilfulness. The will indeed is conditio sine qua won; there must be 
a will to use the means, or a man must be forced to use them, as we deal 
with madmen and children which are unwilling to take physic. But who 
ever heard of a man that could cure himself by his own will without the 
application of medicines ? How can the soul then be restored to its vital 
integrity, by its own force ? How can it change its own temper without 
some superior power operating upon nature ? ' Man is like a wild ass's 
colt,' Job xi. 12. What wild creature ever tamed itself? If any say 
that the will of man, by the use of outward ordinances, can cure itself, it 
is answered, Those ordinances are operative, not in a physical but moral 
way, and therefore such an efficiency as is in plants and drugs cannot be ex- 
pected from them. There must be an operation of our own wills to make 
them efficacious. But what shall cure the will where the disease principally 
lies, and the love of the disease is seated ? Who shall remove the beloved 
inclination from the will ? Can nature cast out nature, or Satan cast out 
Satan ? What can make us willing ? When we are made willing, the cure 
is half wrought, as, when a madman is willing to be cured of his infirmity, 
you can hardly count him any longer mad. The evil principles in the will 
will never aim at their own destruction. If this work of regeneration were 
only the curing of a man that were sick or wounded, it could not be done by 
the power of man's will, but by the application of some external medicine, 
though nature did concur with it. But it is not a sickness but a death, 
therefore cannot come under the influence of the will of man in the first 
work. Shall a man have more power to cure his soul of mortal sins, than to 
cure his body of mortal wounds ? 

[2.] In morals. Whence comes that intemperance, incontinence, luxury, 
which overflows mankind, who are carried to those things which impair 
health, even in meats and drinks, against the reluctancy of reason, whose 
will is led not by reason but appetite, and choose not like men but beasts, 
under the notion of pleasant and gustful ? Is not this from the will con- 
ducted by appetite ?* The temperance and continence opposite to this is 
not in Scripture counted part of the extraction of nature, but the gift of 
God : 1 Cor. vii. 7, ' But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after 
this manner, another after that,' speaking of continence. That which is 
God's gift is not merely the fruit of human will ; for in the apostle's lan- 
guage they seem to be opposed, viz., to be from God, and from ourselves ; 
to be God's gift, and yet our own. In Eph. ii. 8 there is a plain antithesis, 
' Not of yourselves : it is the gift of God.' It is the same expression of that 
moral virtue of continence as it is of the divine grace of faith ; ' it is the 
gift of God.' We are nothing in morals without God, no more than a beam 
is when the sun is clouded or withdraws its light. Shall we, then, allow 
a greater power to man in spiritual things than the Scripture doth in 
morals ? Shall the one be the gift of God, and the greater the acquisi- 
tion of nature ? Cannot the clay form itself into a vessel of moral honour ? 
Shall it, then, be able to form itself into a vessel of grace ? If we are not 
intrinsecally sufficient of ourselves to exercise a moral act, since our natures 
are so overgrown with corruption, we are less sufficient of ourselves to exer- 
cise a supernatural act without a divine motion. Can anything assume an 
higher nature than what it originally hath ? Man hathi assumed a lower 
nature than that wherein he was created, which no creature besides him 
* Ducat, dc Imagin. Dei, lib. ii. cap. iii- p. 26. 

198 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

in this lower world hath. Since he hath brutified himself, and cannot 
moralise himself without common grace, how can he advance himself into 
a participation of the divine nature without special grace ? How can man, so 
habitually evil, ascend up to an higher nature ? 

[3.] In this corrupt state of man, any one sin beloved will hold a man 
down from coming to God. It is impossible for a man, wedded in his heart 
to his riches, and bemired in earthly confidences, to enter into a renewed 
gospel state. ' How hard is it,' saith our Saviour, ' for them that trust in 
riches, to enter into the kingdom of God !' Mark x. 24, 25. This one cor- 
ruption commanding in the heart, will hinder any resurrection by the power 
of nature, for on man's part Christ pronounces it impossible for such an one 
to enter into the kingdom of God, ver. 27, that is, into a gospel-state ; and 
that upon the score of this single sin, which only appeared at this time in 
that young man. The like he pronounceth of another sin, that of ambition: 
John v. 44, ' How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another ?' 
That one fancy of the Jews, of a temporal conquering Messiah, did so pos- 
sess their brains, that it barred the door against all the power of our Saviour's 
miracles ; and the bare objective proposal of him, though unanswerable by 
reason, could not remove this rooted fancy. One sin in the will, hath more 
power than any imagination in the fancy. When Adam disfigured his nature 
by one sin, he had no strength to recover himself, though his righteousness 
was but very lately fled from him. We need not question his recovery of it, 
had it been in the power of his will to will it, and the power of his nature to 
regain it. If one sin, then, in the will, is a bar against the power of nature, 
what are all those lusts which swarm in the heart of man, and swell up this 
lake of natural venom in the soul? If one fetter stakes down a man to an 
impotenqy and impossibility, how great is man's weakness under all those 
fetters which every day he loads himself with ! One string about a bird's 
leg will keep it from flying away, much more many. 

Arg. 3. Another sort of considerations, is from the state of man under 
the gospel. 

1. If regeneration depended on the will of man, what is the reason more 
do not receive the gospel than are seen by us to receive it ? If the faculty 
of believing were given to all, then all would believe upon the promulgation 
of the gospel, because the gospel is ' the power of God to salvation,' Rom. 
i. 16. If it be the power of God in the outward preaching of it, then all 
would believe. If all do not believe, then some other secret power attends 
it, which makes it efficacious in one, not in another ; it is ' to them that 
are saved ' only, ' the power of God,' 1 Cor. i. 18; to others, though of great 
reason, foolishness. If the strength of arguments be the cause in one, what 
is the reason those arguments have not force upon another ? What is that 
which makes the difference ? All men have reason ; and what is common 
reason doth conduct all men more or less. If men could open the eyes of their 
mind to understand the excellency of gospel proposals, what is the reason 
that among those great multitudes to whom it is preached, so few in all ages 
have embraced it, though the things proposed are in themselves desirable, 
and suit so well, in respect of the blessedness promised, to the natural desire 
of man for happiness! When it was preached by the apostles, it was 
edged with miracles, attended with a remarkable holiness, yet they com- 
plained that few received their report. Even in that age, and succeeding 
ages, men have been so far from receiving it, that they have scoffed at it, 
persecuted with all their fury the professors of it. It hath been thus 
despised, not only by the meanest and blindest sort of people, but by men of 
the most elevated understanding among the heathen philosophers, that 

John I. 13. J the efficient of eegeneeation. 199 

could pierce into the depths of nature ; and by the Jews too, who had the 
Messiah promised to them, expected him about that time, had so many pro- 
phecies decipering him, wbich all met with their accomplishment in his 
person ; who were also amazed at the miracles he wrought in his life, and those 
which accompanied his death. Doth not all this shew the natural blindness of 
man, that there is need of some higher power to open his eyes, besides the 
objective proposal, that he may acknowledge the excellency of those things 
which are presented to him ? Do we not find men ready to acknowledge 
reason upon other accounts, to be wrought into warm affections by pathetical 
speeches ? Why are they not as ready in this, if it were in the power of their 
own understandings and wills ? Do we not find the wills of men averse 
from it, though in their consciences they approve of the doctrines of it ? 
What is the reason a man is renewed at one time, and not before, when he 
hath heard the same arguments inculcated many a time ? Many drops 
would not work it before, and one drop works it now in an instant. Is it 
from the power of reason in man? What reason is there, then, that he 
should be mastered by one reason now, who was not mastered by the same 
reason, and many more as strong, formerly ? Whence comes that light into 
the mind '? What is the reason such a man was not regenerate before, when 
he hath in some fits meditated upon former arguments, and afterwards one 
effects it, by a secret insinuation, without any previous meditation, and a 
sudden turn of the will is wrought ? Can this be supposed to be from the 
will principally ? Rather from some divine spirit spreading itself over the 
soul, and opening the passages of it which were before shut. That place, 
Mat. xi. 21, where our Saviour speaks of the Tyrians and Sidonians, if the 
gospel had been preached to them, they would have repented in sackcloth 
and ashes, doth not prove the power of man to renew himself, but that they 
would have testified some outward humiliation, as Ahab did at the threaten- 
ing of Elijah; * or rather, Christ exaggerates the hardness of the Jews' hearts 
in comparing them with the Tyrians in a hyperbolical manner of expression ; 
as we do when we reproach a man for unmercifulness, we say, Had I en- 
treated a Turk or barbarian as much, I should have bended him ; not that 
we commend the humanity of the Turks, but aggravate the cruelty of those 
we have to do with. The proposal of an object is not sufficient without the 
inspiration of a will, whereby that concupiscence which masters that faculty 
may be overpowered. 

2. If regeneration were the fruit of man's will, what is the reason that 
men convinced by the preaching of the gospel, and under great terrors too, 
find themselves unable to turn to God ? What is the reason they are not 
presently renewed ? Would they be torn with such horrors, and bear about 
them such racks in their consciences ? Would they fill heaven and earth 
with complaints, were it in their own power to make themselves such as 
God commands them to be ? If this were found in the more ignorant sort 
of people, the reason then might be charged upon their want of knowledge ; 
but men of great wits and insight are filled with those complaints when God 
begins to rebuke them. And such as have a great deal of grace, as David, 
when God charges sin upon him : Ps. li. 10, ' Create in me a clean heart ; 
renew in me a right spirit ;' why should they solicit God for renewing 
grace, were it in the power of their own hand ? Would any that fear God, 
as David did, mock him at such a rate, as to desire that of him which they 
are able to do without him ? Were there a natural power in man to turn 
himself, why did not Judas, after his conscience lashed him, go to his 
Master's knees to desire pardon, rather than to the gibbet ? He had long 
* Amiraut. Ser. de Evang., Ser. 6, p. 286. 

200 charnock's works. JJohn I. 18. 

experience of the merciful disposition of his Master ; he had not grace given 
nun to incline his will to such an act ; yet Peter was turned after his denial 
of his Master ; was there anything more by nature in him than in Judas ? 
Or did Peter do that by the strength of his own will, which Judas did not 
do ? No ; the Scripture assures us, it was from the prevalency of Christ's 
prayer, a secret influence from Christ's look, stirring up that grace that was 
already in his heart ; he might else have gone out cursing his Master as 
long as he had lived : ' No man can come to me, except the Father draw 
him,' saith our Saviour; though he be convinced, there must be the Father's 
traction as well as conviction to complete the work. All drawing implies a 
resistance, or at least a heaviness and indisposition in the thing so drawn, 
to come of itself. There is much difference between the proposal of the 
object, and the cause of our entertaining it. The object is the final cause 
which puts us upon motion ; the object moves the will as an end, but it 
gives no power to move. If a man hear of an alms to be distributed at such 
a place, and he knows he stands in need of it, and hath a desire to go to 
receive it, this knowledge of the necessity of it will not give him legs to go, if 
he be lame and unable to go ; and he that doth go to receive the alms, the 
desire to receive the alms puts him upon motion ; but the intention of re- 
ceiving the alms was not the efficient cause of that motion. If he had not 
had strength in him from some other cause than the alms, he could never 
have gone. Our motion to God must proceed from some higher cause than 
barely the proposal of the object, and a conviction by it. 

4. Argument is drawn from the condition of the regenerate themselves. 
They are not able to rid themselves of the remainders of sin, much less 
can natural men of the body of sin. From the impotency after grace, we 
may rationally conclude a greater weakness in a natural man that hath not 
one spark of grace within, to be blown up from any breathing of grace from 
without. The flesh lusts against the spirit in a regenerate man ; how peace- 
ably doth it enjoy its dominion in a natural man, where there is no spirit to 
control it, and lust against it ? Eegenerate men ' cannot do the good they 
would,' and they 'do the evil which they hate,' Rom. vii. 15, 19, though 
they have a law of grace in their mind, set up in contradiction to the law of 
sin in their members. How can a natural man, then, do so good a thing as 
the renewal of himself, and the destruction of his sin, who hath no will to 
the one nor hatred of the other, who hath the law of sin flourishing in him, 
and delights to read the characters of it and perform the wills of the flesh 1 
If there be such an inability in a renewed man, who hath a relish of God 
and the goodness of the law, who hath sin in part mortified, and cast out of 
the mind, to the members and suburbs, how much greater must the in- 
ability and resistance be where there is nothing but opposing flesh ! What 
need the apostle issue out such heavy complaints : ' wretched man that I 
am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' Rom. vii. 24, if 
he had power in his own hands to free himself from this oppressing sin ? 
If Paul, a living tree in God's garden, having both the root and sap of 
grace, be so wretched, so weak and unable to free himself from those suckers, 
how wretched then is a dead rotten stake, which hath no spiritual root ! 
How can he free himself from a total spiritual death, when this great apostle 
could not free himself from a partial spiritual death by all that stock of 
grace already received ? If a good man finds it so laborious a task to en- 
gage against the relics of nature, and manage an open hostility against the 
wounded force of his sensual appetite, much more is it a difficult task for 
a natural man to row against the stream of unbroken nature, when the 
natural resistance is in its full strength, and the bent of nature standing 

John I. 13.1 the efficient of regeneeation. 


point-blank against God. If a well-built and well-rigged ship, with her 
sails spread, can only lie floating upon the waves, and make no way till a 
fresh wind fills the sails, surely the rough timber that lies upon the ground 
can never fit and frame itself into a stately vessel.* 

5. It is against the whole order which God has set in the world, for any 
thing to be the cause of itself, or of a higher rank of being than what it has 
by nature. No effect is nobler than its cause ; grace is more noble than 
nature. A seal cannot convey any other image than what is stamped upon 
itself, and no further than its own dimensions ; neither can nature stamp 
anything of grace upon the soul, because it hath no such image engraven on 
it by God. Nature, though never so perfect in its own kind, can never pro- 
duce a thing of higher perfection than itself; a plant can never produce a 
beast, nor a beast a man, nor a man an angel. No natural quality can be 
changed in any subject by itself, but by the introduction of some other 
quality superior to it. The fire can never freeze while it is fire ; water can- 
not part with its coldness without some superior acting upon it ; and can 
those that are naturally bad ever become spiritually good but by an almighty 
power ? No nature can exceed its own bounds, because nothing can exceed 
itself in acting. Whatsoever a natural man doth is but natural, and can 
never amount to grace, without a change of nature and addition of a divine 
virtue. If any thing could rise above its own sphere, it would be stronger 
than itself. Nothing can never make itself something ; the best apostle 
counts himself no better, — 2 Cor. xii. 11, 'I am nothing,' — and entitles grace 
the sole benefactor of all his spiritual good, 2 Cor. xv. 10. _ What thing 
ever gave itself its own shape ? Every piece of art is brought into figure by 
the workman, not by itself. Conformity jp Christ is a fruit of the election 
of God, not first of the choice of our own wills. Rom. viii. 29, ' Whom he 
did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his 
Son.' The first link of the chain in the providential and in the gracious 
administration is in the hands of God. Hence in Scripture the gracious 
works in the soul run in the passive for the most part : ' Ye are justified, ye 
are sanctified ; ' not you justify or sanctify yourselves ; though sanctification 
and purging and working out salvation is ascribed to them that have received 
grace and life, as acting afterwards for such ends, and producing such eftecls 
by the strength of grace received from God, and grace accompanying that 
first grace in its acts. 

As we have proved that man by his own strength cannot renew himself, 
let us see whether he can do it by his additional capacities. 

1. Man, by the help of instituted privileges, doth not produce this work 
of regeneration in himself, without a supernatural grace attending them. 
Ordinances cannot renew a man, but the arm of God, which doth manage 
them, edgeth them into efficacy, as the arm that wields the sword gives the 
blow. Means are the showers of heaven, but they can no more make the 
heart fruitful till some gracious principles be put in, than the beams of the 
sun, the dews of heaven, and the water-pots of the clouds, can make a bar- 
ren ground bring forth flowers, without a change of the nature of the soil, 
and new roots planted in it. All the spectacles in the world cannot cure a 
man's eyes, he must have a visive faculty to make use of them. Our faculty 
must be cured before we can exercise it about objects or use means proper to 
that faculty. All persuasions will not prevail with a dead man ; the fairest 
discourses, the most undeniable arguments, the most moving rhetoric will 
not stir or affect him, till God take away the stone from the grave and raise 
him to life. The report of the prophets will do no good without the revela- 
* Gurnal, part i. p. 21. 

202 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

tion of God's arm, Isa. liii. 1, because all those things do not work in a 
physical way, as drugs and plasters, which attain their end without any 
active concurrence of the patient, but in a moral way ; the will therefore and 
nature must first be changed before those can do any good. You can never 
by all your teachings teach a sheep to provide for winter, as an ant doth, 
because it hath no such instinct in its nature. If any thing were like to 
work upon a man, the most stupendous miracles were most likely to produce 
such an effect upon the reasons of men ; yet those supernatural demonstra- 
tions without a man only cannot make him believe a truth. Miracles are a 
demonstration to the eye as well as preaching to the ear ; though they be 
confessed to be above the strength of nature, yet all the spectators of them 
are not believers : John xii. 37, ' But though he had done so many miracles 
before them, yet they believed not.' Many of those that saw our Saviour's 
works did not believe his doctrine ; nay, they irrationally ascribed them to 
the devil, when they could find no reason in the nature of them to charge 
them upon such a score. The raising Lazarus from the dead was as high a 
miracle as ever was wrought ; yet, though many of them believed, yet others 
did not, but accused him to the pharisees, who thereupon more vigorously 
took counsel to put him to death, John xi. 45, 46, 47, 53, though they 
acknowledged that he did many miracles. They had reason as well as others ; 
the miracles were undeniable, as being acted before many witnesses ; the 
natural force of them upon all reasons was equal, the considerations arising 
from them unanswerable. There were evil habits in the will, not removed 
by grace, which resisted the unanswerable reason of the miracles. What 
made the difference between them and those that believed ? Why did not 
the wills of the enemies follow the undeniable reason, as well as the wills of 
others ? Miracles may astonish men, but cannot convert them without a 
divine touch upon the heart. 1 Kings xviii. 39, the people were astonished 
by that wonderful miracle of fire falling from heaven and consuming the 
sacrifice, and licking up the water in the trench ; and some reverential reso- 
lutions were produced in them : they fell upon their faces and said, ' The 
Lord he is God ;' they shewed their zeal in taking Baal's prophets, and 
helping, or at least suffering, Elijah to slay them ; yet those people revolted 
to idolatry, and continued so till their captivity. The easiness of faith upon 
the apparition and instruction of one risen from the dead was the opinion of 
one of the damned : Luke xvi. 30, ' If one went to them from the dead, they 
will repent ;' but this opinion was contradicted by Abraham, ver. 31, who 
positively asserts, ' If they did not hear Moses and the prophets, they would 
not be persuaded though one rose from the dead.' If their wills were 
obstinate against the means God had appointed for their conversion, the 
same wills so corrupted would be as obstinate against the highest sort of 
miracles. If that, then, which is above the hand of nature to act, and bears 
the character of omnipotency upon the breasts of it, doth not work upon 
men's hearts and wills of themselves, surely nature itself cannot turn the 
heart to God. 

The two great dispensations of God are law and gospel ; neither of these 
can of themselves work this. 

(1.) The law. The law will instruct, not heal.* It acquaints us with our 
duty, not our remedy ; it irritates sin, not allays it ; it exasperates our 
venom, but doth not tame it ; though it shews man his miserable condition, 
yet a man by it doth not gain one drop of repentance. It tells us what we 
should do, but corrects not the enmity of our nature whereby we may do it. 
The apostle takes notice of the enmity of man to the law : Rom. v. 6, 7, 
* Judicat et damnat peccatum in uatura hominis, non tollit. — Melanclon. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 203 

• Yet enemies,' ' yet sinners.' That yet may refer to what he had spoken of 
the law in the chapter before. Though men had had so much time from the 
fall to recover themselves, and had so many advantages by the law and the cere- 
monies of it, yet all those years spent from the foundation of the world had 
produced no other effect than the weakening of them ; as creatures that are 
wounded, by their strugglings waste their own strength. Yet sinners, till 
this time sinners, whereby the load of sin which lay upon the world was 
made more heavy by the continual addition made to those heaps. The 
offence did rather abound by the law than was diminished : Rom. v. 20, ' The 
law was given that sin might abound.' Though it made a clear discovery of 
the will of God, yet it rather aggravated sin ; it added no power to perform 
that will. The motions of sin were exasperated by it, ex accidentia and 
brought forth fruit unto death ; all the means by the law forthe repressing 
of sin did rather inflame it. Sin could not be overcome by it, because the 
law was ' weak through the flesh ; ' that is, had not so much power as sin 
had ; it was like a little water put upon fire, which did rather enrage than 
quell it : Rom. vii. 8, 9, * Sin revived ' when the law came, it had a new 
life, and the apostle found himself utterly unable to overpower it. There 
were, ver. 5, ' motions of sin,' •ra^/./.ara, not only a power in sin, but an 
enraged power, which adds to the strength of a person ; ' sin slew him : 
taking occasion by the commandment,' ver. 10, and a dead man is wholly 
at the disposing of nis conquerors. The law was ' holy,' it had an impres- 
sion of God's holiness upon it, Rom. vii. 12-14, there was also equity and 
conveniency in it, it was 'just and good,' and though these were considera- 
tions enough to spur men on to rid themselves of this tyrant sin, yet they 
could not, they had not strength enough to do it ; though it was holy, just, 
and good, yet it was not strong enough to rescue them ; and the reason of 
it, the apostle lays upon the difference in the nature of both : ver. 14, ' We 
know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin ; ' there was 
an enmity in his nature to it, and therefore he must lie under the power of 
it till a mighty deliverer stepped in to conquer it. Do we find any better 
effect of the ceremonial law, which was the gospel in a mask, and which was 
the instrument of all the regenerations among the Jews ? How few do we 
find renewed among them under that means which they enjoyed solely, and 
no other nation in the world partners with them in it ! How frequent were 
their revolts, and rebellions, and idolatries, inconsistent with regeneration, 
we may read in Joshua and Judges. The inefficaciousness of means appears 
evidently in that nation which had greater advantages than any in the world 
besides ; the covenants, sacrifices, oracles of God, warnings by prophets, 
yet so frequently overgrown with idolatry from the time of their coming 
out of Egypt to the Babylonish captivity, and ten tribes wholly cashiered 
for it. 

(2.) The gospel. Though the veil of ceremonies be taken off from it, and 
it appeareth open faced, yet till the veil be taken off the understandings of 
men, it will produce little fruit among them, 2 Cor. iii. 14. The gospel is 
plain, but only ' to him that understands,' Prov. viii. 9, as the sun is 
clear, but only to him that hath an eye to see it. The gospel itself cannot 
remove the blindness from the mind. The proposal of the object works no 
alteration in the faculty, without some acting on the faculty itself. The 
beams of the sun shining upon a blind man make no alteration in him. The 
Jews, to whom the gospel was preached by our Saviour himself, could not 
believe, because God blinded their eyes, &c, John xii. 39, 40. There must 
be a supernatural power, besides the proposal of the object, to take away 
this blindness and hardness which is the obstruction to the work of the 

204 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

gospel. Though the Son of God is come, and the gospel be preached, yet 
the understanding whereby we know is given us by him : 1 John v. 20, 
1 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an under- 
standing, that we may know him that is true ; ' the light of the gospel shines 
upon all, but all have not an eye given them to see it, and a will given them 
to embrace it. The mere doctrine of it doth not regenerate any man ;* some 
have tasted of the heavenly gift, that is, have had some understanding of 
Christ, who is the heavenly gift, the Son given to us, Isa. ix. 6, and are 
partakers of some common illumination of the Holy Ghost, yet are not 
regenerate. Was not the gospel preached to the Jews, even by the mouth of 
our Saviour whom they crucified ? And was it not preached to the Gentiles 
by the mouths of those apostles whom they persecuted ? Were there not pro- 
posals that suited the natural desires of men for happiness, yet did not many 
that seemed to receive it, receive it not in the love of it ? If God himself 
should appear to us in the likeness of a man, and preach to us as he did to 
Adam, if he did not overpower our hearts with an inward grace, he would do 
us no good at all by his declarations. We do not read of any work imme- 
diately upon Adam at the promulgation of the gospel by God himself, though 
it appears that afterwards there was, by his instructing his sons to sacrifice, 
and his expectations of a Messiah. But we certainly know that our Saviour, 
God manifested in the flesh, declared the gospel in his own person, and 
found no success but where he touched the heart inwardly by the grace of 
his Spirit. All mere outward declarations are but suasions, and mere suasion 
cannot change and cure a disease or habit in nature. You may exhort an 
Ethiop to turn himself white, or a lame man to go ; but the most pathetical 
exhortations cannot procure such an effect without a greater power than that 
of the tongue to cure nature ; you may as well think to raise a dead man by 
blowing in his mouth with a pair of bellows. Judas had enjoyed the best 
means that ever were, yet went out of the world unrenewed ; and the thief 
upon the cross, who never perhaps was in any good company in his life till 
he came to the cross, nor ever heard Christ speak before, was renewed by 
the grace of God in the last hour. 

2. Neither can a man renew himself by all his moral works, before faith. 
Our calling is not according to our works, but « according to God's own 
purpose and grace,' 2 Tim. i. 9. Paul, before his conversion, was ' blame- 
less as to the righteousness of the law,' Philip, iii. 6, yet this was loss ; a 
bar rather to regeneration, than a means to further it. For all this legal 
comeliness he ranks himself, before his conversion, in the number of the 
dead : Eph. ii. 5, < When we were dead in sins ;' not you, but we, putting 
himself into the register of the dead. Whatsoever works a man can morally 
do before faith, cannot be the cause of spiritual life ; they are not vital 
operations ; if they were, they were then the effects of life, not the cause ; 
the Scripture makes them the effects of grace : ' created to good works,' 
Eph. ii. 10. What is an effect cannot be the cause. The best works before 
grace are but a refined sensuality, they arise from self-love, centre in self- 
satisfaction, are therefore works of a different strain from those of grace, 
which are referred to a higher end, and to God's well-pleasing. In all works 
before grace there is no resignation of the soul to God in obedience; no self- 
denial of what stands in opposition to God in the heart ; no clear view of the 
evil of sin; no sound humiliation under the corruption of nature; no inward 
purification of the heart, but only a diligence in an external polishing. All 
those acts cannot produce an habit of a different kind from them. Let a 
man be stilted up with the highest natural excellency ; let him be taller by 
* Cocceius, de Fcederc, c. 15, p. 472, 473. 

John I. 18.] the efficient of regeneration. 205 

the head and shoulders than all his neighbours in morality, those no more 
confer life upon him than the setting a statue upon an high pinnacle, near the 
beams of the sun, inspireth it with a principle of motion. The increasing 
the perfection of one species can never mount the thing so increased to the 
perfection of another species. If you could vastly increase the heat of fire, 
you could never make it ascend to the perfection of a star. If you could 
increase mere moral works to the highest pitch they are capable of, they can 
never make you gracious, because grace is another species, and the nature 
of them must be changed to make them of another kind. All the moral 
actions in the world will never make our hearts, of themselves, of another 
kind than moral. Works make not the heart good, but a good heart makes 
the works good. It is not our walking in God's statutes materially, which 
procures us a new heart, but a new heart is in order before walking in God's 
statutes, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Our regeneration is no more wrought by works 
of our own than our justification. The rule of the apostle will hold good in 
this, as well as in the other : Rom. xi. 6, ' If it be of grace, it .is not of 
works ; otherwise grace is no more grace ; ' and faith is ' the gift of God, 
not of works, lest any man should boast,' Eph. ii. 9. And the apostle, 
Titus iii. 5, opposeth the ' renewing of the Holy Ghost ' to • works of 
righteousness.' He excludes works from being the cause of salvation ; 
and would they not be the cause of salvation, if they were the cause of the 
necessary condition of salvation ? 

Prop. 3. As man cannot prepare himself to this work, nor produce it, so 
he cannot co-operate with God in the first production of it. We are no 
more co-workers with God in the first regeneration, than we were joint 
purchasers with Christ in redemption. The conversion of the will to God 
is a voluntary act ; but the regeneration of the will, or the planting new 
habits in the will, whereby it is enabled to turn to God, is without any con- 
currence of the will. Therefore, say some, we are active in prima acta, but 
not in primo actus; or we are active in actu exercito, but not in actu signato. 
Some say, the habit of faith is never created separate from an act, as the 
trees at the creation of the world were created with ripe fruit on them ; but 
the tree, with the power of bearing fruit, and the fruit itself, were created at 
one and the same time by God. Yet though the habit be not separate at 
first from the act, yet there is no co-operation of the creature to the infusion 
of that habit, but there is to the act immediately flowing from that habit ; for 
either that act of grace is voluntary or involuntary. If involuntary, it is not 
a gracious act ; if voluntary, it must needs be ; since the tone of the will is 
changed, then the creature concurs in that act ; for the act of believing and 
repenting is the act of the creature. It is not God that repents and believes 
in us ; but we repent and believe by virtue of that power which God hath 
given us. In the first act, therefore, there is a concurrence of the creature ; 
otherwise the creature could not be said to repent and believe, but some- 
thing in the creature, without or against the will of the creature. But in 
the first power of believing and repenting, God is the sole agent. Jesus 
Christ is the sun that heals our natures, Mai. iv. 2 ; the rain that moistens 
our hearts : Ps. Ixxii. 6, ' He shall come down like rain upon the mown 
grass.' What co-operation is there in the earth with the sun to the produc- 
tion of flowers, but by the softness it hath received from the rain ? It would 
else be parched up, and its fruits wither. The Holy Ghost doth by his own 
power make us good trees ; but we afterwards, by virtue of that power, work 
together with him, in bringing forth good fiuit.* Yet this is also a subordi- 
nate, not a co-ordinate working; rather a sub-operation than a co-operation. 
* Pemble, p. 31. 

206 chaenock's works. [John I. 13. 

1. The state wherein man is at his first renewal excludes any co-working 
with God. The description the apostle gives of a state of nature excludes 
all co-operation of the creature in the first renewal : Titus iii. 3, ' For we 
ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts 
and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.' 
And Eph. ii. 2, 3, • Among whom we all had our conversations in time past, 
in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.' 
Every man is naturally taken up in the fulfilling the desires of the flesh ; not 
only the Gentiles, to whom Paul writes, but himself ; for he puts himself 
and the rest of the Jews in the number. In the second verse it was ' ye 
walked ;' in ver. 3, it is ' we all ;' and in Titus iii. 3, ' we ourselves.' We 
who had the oracles of God, that had greater privileges than others, were 
carried out with as strong an impetus naturally, till grace stopped the tide, 
and after stopping, turned it against nature. When the mind was thus pre- 
possessed, and the will made the lusts of the flesh its work and trade, there 
was no likelihood of any co-operation with God in fulfilling his desires, till 
the bent of the heart was changed from the flesh and its principles. The 
heart is stone before grace. No stone can co-operate with any that would 
turn it into flesh, since it hath no seed, causes, or principles of any fleshly 
nature in it. Since we are overwhelmed by the rubbish of our corrupted 
estate, we can no more co-operate to the removal of it, than a man buried 
under the ruins of a fallen house can contribute to the removal of that great 
weight that lies upon him. Neither would a man in that state help such a 
work, because his lusts are pleasures ; he serves his lusts, which are plea- 
sures as well as lusts, and therefore served with delight. There is naturally 
in man a greater resistance against the work of grace, than there is in the 
natural coldness of water against the heat of the fire, which yet penetrates 
into all parts of the water. 

2. Regeneration is a new principle. What operation can there be before 
a principle of action ? All co-operation supposeth some principle of work- 
ing ; as actus secundus supposeth actum prirnum. But a man, before his first 
regeneration, is blind in his mind, perverse in his will, rebellious in his 
affections, unable to know the truth, unable to do good, dead in sin. If he 
does co-operate with God before the habit be settled, then we can act before 
we have a power to act. We can please God in taking his part, and joining 
issue with him, before we have a gracious principle ; which is contrary to the 
Scripture, which tells us w r e are first begotten of God before we can keep 
ourselves, or exert one act for the bettering ourselves : 1 John v. 18, ' He 
that is begotten of God keeps himself.' The preservation of ourselves, and 
every act tending thereto, follows the infusion of the first principle. And the 
apostle Paul implies, that God works in us to will before we work : Philip, ii. 
12, 13, ' Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God works 
in you both to will and to do,' &c. The apostle supposeth not any opera- 
tion in them before, because he supposeth not their working without God's 
giving them a will, the act of volition. The working of the creature sup- 
poseth some divine work first upon the will. Did the dust of the ground, 
whereof Adam's body was formed, co-work with God in figuring it into a 
body ? or doth the body contribute any more than a passive receptivity to 
the infusion of the rational soul ? Lazarus did not concur with Christ till 
his powerful voice infused life and strength into him. His rising and walk- 
ing was from a power conveyed, wherein Christ did work ; but there was no 
co-working in him in the conveyance of that power. We do not say that a 
man co-works with the sun in enlightening a room, because he opens the 
shuts which barred out the light ; the opening whereof is no cause of the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of eegeneration. 207 

sun's shining, but a conditio sine qua non. But do we so much in the first 
renewal ? It is God alone who darts his beams, and opens our hearts too, 
to admit it : Acts xvi. 14, it is said, ' the Lord opened Lydia's heart.' The 
will cannot concur in the actual infusion of a gracious principle, because it 
hath no spark in itself by nature, suitable to that principle which is bringing 
it into the soul itself. Tbe shining of God into the soul is compared to 
the chasing away that darkness which at the first creation was over the 
face of the deep : 2 Cor. iv. 6, ' For God, who commanded the light to 
shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the 
knowledge of the glory of God.' What co-working was there in that dark- 
ness to remove itself, but a necessity upon it to obey the command of God, 
who had the sovereign power over his own works ? If the creature did co- 
work with God at first, it could no more be said to be dead than a man asleep 
may be said to be dead ; a*nd grace were only an awakening, not an enlivening. 

3. If there were any co-working of the will with God in the first infusion 
of grace, God would not be so much the author of grace as he is of nature 
in any other creature. The creature would share with him in the first prin- 
ciple of its action, which no creature in the world can be said to do. It 
would rather be a concourse of God than a creation ; but all the terms 
whereby God sets forth himself in the work of regeneration import more 
than a bare concourse or a co-operation with the creature : ' I will take away 
the heart of stone ; I will write my law in their hearts ; I will put my Spirit 
into them,' are loftier expressions than are used to signify a co-working only. 
He appropriates the whole work to himself, without interesting the creature 
in any active concurrence, any more than at his creation. 

4. If the will of man did co-work with God in regeneration, it would then 
share part of the glory of God. The whole glory would not belong to God, 
which he challengeth to himself in Scripture. He were then but an half 
Saviour, an half new-creator. We should be in joint commission with him, 
by the power of our own wills, in the first motion. If creation and resur- 
rection are acts of an almighty power, man co-operating with him in the 
very act of creation and resurrection would partake with God's almightiness, 
and in some sort be co-equal with him, and a joint partner with God in a 
work which required almightiness for the effecting it. Surely since the 
same power which raised Christ from the dead works first in every believer 
for his spiritual resurrection, he contributes no more to it than the body of 
Christ in the grave did to its resurrection, which was a work not of his 
humanity, but divinity. Plucking out of the power of Satan is an effect of 
the power of grace, and God's gift, 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. God first ' gives 
repentance, that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.' 
A slave, whose hands and feet are laden with fetters, can contribute nothing 
to his deliverance but a will and desire to be delivered ; nor that, if he be in 
love with his fetters, which is the case of every one of us by nature, who are 
as fond to be in the devil's custody as he is to have us. What co-operation 
can there be in this case ? Whatsoever is an act of mercy, and an act of 
truth in God, he is to have the sole praise of; it doth not in any sort belong 
to the creature. The psalmist emphatically excludes man from it : Ps. 
cxv. 1, ' Not unto us, Lord, not to us, but unto thy name give glory, 
for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.' Not unto us, twice repeated, but 
to thy name give glory. Do believers beg of God the giving glory to him- 
self, and not unto them ; and will they contradict their prayers, by sharing 
the praise with God ? This is expressed for deliverances. Much less doth 
any praise and glory belong to the creature for the most excellent deliverance 
of all, from the power of sin, Satan, and death. 

208 charnock's works. [John I, 13. 

6. How can men co-work with God in the first regeneration, when they must 
needs acknowledge that in the progress of it they are oftener hinderers than 
furtherers of it ? If God did not work more strongly in us than the best of 
us do in ourselves, and breathe a willingness into our wills, after regenera- 
tion, we should come short of salvation for all the first stock. How often 
do the best complain of their disability ! Is it not frequent in the mouths 
of Christians in all ages as well as of Paul : Eom. vii. 18, ' To will is pre- 
sent with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not' ? How 
easily are our purposes shaken, and our strength staggers ! Can we then 
co-operate with God, when we have no purpose, no strength ? Let every 
man's experience speak for himself, how apt he is to check the motions of 
the Spirit ; to let our Saviour stand and knock, and not open. What strag- 
glings of the body of death ! What indispositions in an holy course ! Is 
there not often a kind of rustiness of soul, cold damps in spiritual duties ? 
What faint hands in any holy work ! What ebbs and floods, ups and downs 
in his heart ! What feeble knees in his walk ! What hung-down heads in 
laying hold of Christ in repeated acts of faith ! What frequent returns of 
spiritual lethargies ! And all this after habitual grace. If our co-operations 
with God after grace received, are but a remove from non-acting, next neigh- 
bours to no working at all, we must conclude it to be worse with man before 
grace was settled in the soul, and that there was no active concurrence with 
it in any manner of acting; otherwise there would be as much co-operation 
before the implantation of habitual grace as after, which is hard to be ima- 
gined, that a man should be no stronger with grace received than under the 
want of it. 

Prop. 4. Man by his own strength cannot actuate grace after it is received. 
To what purpose did the saints of old pray to quicken them, if they stood 
not in as much need of exciting grace from God as of renewing grace : Ps. 
lxxx. 18, ' Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name;' Ps. cxix. 25, 27, 
and many places in that psalm. The new creature is little better than an 
infant in the best, and cannot go unless God bear it in his arms, as he speaks 
of Ephraim, Hosea xi. 1, 3. They cannot move unless led by the Spirit. 
The child hath a principle of motion in it, but cannot go without the assist- 
ance of the nurse ; nor the soul, without the assistance of God, actuate that 
principle of grace. Habitual grace is the instrument, not the principal agent. 
A sword, though it hath an edge, cuts nothing till it be moved by some strong 
arm. The first principle of the motion of grace resides in God. Purifica- 
tion in its progress is attributed to faith as an instrument, but to God as a 
principal agent. It is said, Acts xv. 8, 9, ' God gave them the Holy Ghost, 
as he did to us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their 
hearts by faith.' Yet the will of man concurs in this actuating of faith, as 
a subordinate cause : 1 John iii. 3, a man is said to • purify himself by hope.' 
A well-rigged soul, with its habit of grace spread, as well as a ship with its 
sails, must wait the leisure of the wind before it move. Paul acknowledges 
his acting for the service of God to be not from himself principally: 1 Cor. 
xv. 10, 'Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.' It was the 
grace of God used me as an instrument; the glory must not stick to my 
fingers ; it was the grace of God with me, affording strength and help to 
that grace which was in me. If this concourse of God be necessary in all 
natural actions, it is much more in the spiritual frame of the soul to keep it 
up, and to keep it acting. It is not we that work to will and to do, but God 
works to will and to do. It is to be considered that the apostle writes to 
them that are in a state of grace, exhorting them to a progress in salvation, 
depending upon God, who works the after will and the after doing, as well 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regenebation. 209 

as the first will and compliance with the grace of God. Do we not find 
renewed men not able, with all the grace they have, to quicken themselves 
sometimes in duty ? What is the reason they lie spiritless before God, often 
with breathings, sighs, and groans for quickening, and it is far from them ? 
They stir themselves up, meditate, summon up all the powerful considera- 
tions they can, yet find themselves empty of a spiritual vigour. Surely there 
is some principal power wanting to spirit their grace, and make them leap in 
duty ; some invisible strength hath withdrawn itself, which did before conduct 
and breathe upon them, and fill their souls with a divine fire. They find it 
not in the power of the hand of their own will to actuate and quicken the 
grace they have, much less is it in the power of any man's hand to renew 
himself. The work of grace is not only a traction at the first, but a con- 
tinual traction, as conservation is a continual creation : ' Draw me, and we 
will run after thee,' Cant. i. 4. The church there speaks it as regenerate, 
desiring a continual traction from God, as the first ground of her race after 
Christ. Life she had, for she promiseth to run ; yet this race she could not 
begin nor continue, without traction from God. 

Prop. 5. Man cannot by the power of his own will preserve grace in him- 
self. Our Saviour's prayer to his Father, John xvii. 11, 15, to ' keep them,' 
imports, that they were too weak to keep themselves : ' Unless the Lord keep 
the city, in vain doth the watchman wake,' Ps. cxxvii. 1. Unless God pre- 
serve the soul, all the watchfulness of habitual grace will be to little purpose. 
All creatures, if God hide his face, are troubled, Ps. civ. 29, much more the 
new creature, whose strength doth more necessarily depend upon God, be- 
cause of its powerful opposites. Were it not for the assisting grace of God, 
the unruly lusts in our hearts would soon bear down habitual grace in the 
best. How many temptations are prevented which we cannot foresee ! How 
many corruptions are restrained, which the best grace cannot fully conquer ! 
How is the tide and torrent of these waters beaten back, which otherwise 
would go over our heads ! The poor will of Adam preserved him not against 
a temptation, when he had no indwelling corruption to betray him ; nor did 
the will of the angels, who had no temptation, keep them from forsaking their 
habitation. How can any renewed man, alive with all his grace, merely by 
the strength of his own will, keep himself from sinking down in the lake of 
his old corruption ? He that would ask the fallen angels in the midst of 
their torments, what was the reason of their fall, would receive no other 
answer but that their strength was unsuccessful, because it depended upon 
their own will.* The knowledge of the gospel and evangelical impressions 
are never like to keep up without the Holy Ghost: 2 Tim. i. 14, ' That good 
thing which was committed unto thee, keep, by the Holy Ghost,' not by 
thine own strength. If we cannot keep a form of sound words, which, as it 
is knowledge, is more agreeable to the natural appetite of man, without the 
Holy Ghost, much less can w r e preserve grace in us, which is more stomached 
by coiTupt nature. Neither are good frames like to be preserved in us with- 
out God's keeping : 1 Chron. xxix. 18, ' Keep this in the imagination of the 
thoughts of the heart of thy people.' Our hearts will not let any good motion 
sink into them, unless God give a pondus to his own motion. If, then, re- 
generate men are unable of themselves to actuate and preserve grace received, 
much more inability is there in a natural man to gain that which he hath not 
a spark of in his own nature, but an enmity to. 

Quest. But, do you divest man of all power, all freedom of will ? Is he able 
to do nothing in order to regeneration ? 

* Senault, Christian Man, p. 203. 
vol. in. o 

210 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

Ans. We do not divest man of all power ; therefore, before we consider 
what power belongs to man, we may consider, 

(1.) Man simply in his fall. So man lost all his natural ability by his 
first sin, and was the meritorious cause of his losing supernatural grace, 
which God by a judicial act removed from him ; and in this state man had 
no ability unto anything morally good. Nothing was due to Adam but the 
state of the devils, who have no affection to anything morally good, but al- 
way do that which is in its own nature evil, and always sin with evil inten- 
tions. Adam would have been thus, had the threatening, according to the 
tenor of it, been executed ; there had been no common affections, no more 
light in his understanding than what might have served for his torment ; as 
wicked men, after death, are deprived in a judicial way of that light in their 
minds, those velleities and good motions which sometime hovered in them, 
those affections which were here exercised now and then towards God. The 
sentence given against Adam is then pronounced against them, and they 
laid under the final execution of it, which was to die the death: Gen. ii. 17, 
' Thou shalt surely die ; ' a death of all morality, all affections to anything 
that hath the resemblance of goodness. It might be a prediction of what 
would be in course, as well as what would be inflicted in way of judicial re- 
compence. None of these things can be looked for in Adam, or any of his 
posterity, as fallen ; not a grain of life, or anything tending that way, was 
due to him, but only death. 

(2.) Man is to be considered as respited from the present suffering this 
sentence by the intervention of Christ ; whereby he is put into another way 
of probation. So those common notions in our understandings, and common 
motions in our wills and affections, so far as they have anything of moral 
goodness, are a new gift to our natures by virtue of the mediation of Christ. 
In which sense he may be said to ' taste death for every man,' Heb. ii. 9, 
and be ' a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.' By virtue of which 
promised death, some sparks of moral goodness are preserved in man. Thus 
his 'life was the light of men;' and he is 'the light that lightens every man 
that comes into the world,' which sets the candle of the Lord in the spirit 
of man a-burning and sparkling, John i. 9, and upholds all things by his 
mediatory as well as divine power, Heb. i. 3, which else would have sunk 
into the abyss. By virtue of this mediation, some power is given back to 
man, as a new donation, yet not so much as that he is able by it to regene- 
rate himself; and whatsoever power man hath, is originally from this cause, 
and grows not up from the stock of nature, but from common grace. 

Which common grace is either, 

[1.] More general, to all men. Whereby those divine sparks in their under- 
standings, and whatsoever is morally praiseworthy in them, is kept up by 
the grace of God, which was the eause that Christ tasted death for every 
man : Heb. ii. 9, ' That he by the grace of God should taste death for every 
man ;' whereby the apostle seems to intimate, that by this grace, and this 
death of Christ, any remainders of that honour and glory wherewith God 
crowned man at first are kept upon his head ; as will appear, if you consider 
the eighth Psalm, whence the apostle cites the words which are the ground 
of his discourse of the death of Christ. 

[2.] More particular common grace, to men under the preaching of the gos- 
pel. Which grace men ' turn into wantonness ' or lasciviousness, Jude 4. 
Grace they had, or the gospel of grace, but the wantonness of their nature 
prevailed against the intimations of grace to them. Besides this common 
grace, there is a more special grace to the regenerate, the more peculiar fruit 
of Christ's mediation and death for them. All this, and whatsoever else you 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 211 

can conceive that hath but a face of comeliness in man, is not the birth of 
fallen nature abstracted from this mediation. Therefore when the Gentiles 
are said to ' do by nature the things contained in the law,' it is not to be 
understood of nature merely as fallen, for that could do no such thing ; but 
of nature in this new state of probation, by the interposition of Christ the 
mediator, whose powerful word upheld all things, and kept up those broken 
fragments of the two tables of law, though dark and obscure. And consider- 
ing God's design of setting forth the gospel to the world, there was a neces- 
sity of those relics, both in the understanding, and affections, and desire for 
happiness, to render men capable of receiving the gospel, and those inexcus- 
able that would reject it. So that by this mediation of Christ, the state of 
mankind is different since the fall from that of the evil angels or devils. For 
man hath, first, a power of doing that which is in its own nature good ; 
secondly, a power of doing good with a good intention ; not indeed supremely 
for the glory of God, but for the good of his country, the good of his neigh- 
bours, the good of the world, which was necessary for the soldering together 
human societies, so that sometimes even in sins man hath good intentions. 
Whereas the devil doth always that which in its own nature is evil, and al- 
ways sins with evil intentions.* Without this mediation, every man had 
been as very a slave to sin as the devil ; though he be naturally a slave to 
sin, yet not in that full measure the devil is, unless left in a judicial manner 
by God upon high provocations. 

There is then a liberty of will in man ; and some power these is left in 
man. And here I shall shew, 

1. What kind of liberty this is. 

2. That there is some liberty in man. 

3. How far the power of man by common grace doth extend. 
Quest. First, what kind of liberty this is. 

Ans. 1. The essential liberty of the will remains. Liberty is of the essence 
of the will, and cannot be taken away without extinction of the nature of 
man ; it is free from compulsion, otherwise it were a not-will, which liberty 
doth not consist in a choice of good or evil. For even under this depravation 
it cannot choose evil qua malum, as such. It can choose nothing but what 
appears to it under the notion of good ; though it many times embraceth that 
which is materially evil, yet the formal consideration upon which it embraceth 
it is as good, either in reality or in appearance ; as the sight in every colour 
sees light. And when it is carried out to that which is really evil, and only 
apparently good, it is by force of those habits in the understanding, which 
make it give a false judgment ; or, by the power of the sensitive appetite, 
which hurries it on to the object proposed, but alway it respects in its mo- 
tion everything as good, either an honest, pleasant, or profitable good. 

Ans. 2. Though the essential liberty of the will remains, yet the rectitude 
whereby it might have been free only to that which was really good is lost. 
Man by creation had a freedom of will to choose that which was really good, 
yet had a mutability, and could choose evil ; and by choosing evil rather 
than good, sank his posterity into this depraved liberty which now remains. 
Though since the fall man is preserved in his natural freedom, and cannot 
be forced, yet he hath not a power to will well, because that righteous prin- 
ciple whereby he did will well is departed from him ;f yet because the essen- 
tial freedom due to his nature remains, whatsoever he wills he wills freely, 
so that though something the will wills may be materially good, yet it wills 
that good in an ill manner, for being overcome naturally by sin man can do 

* Dr Jackson, vol. ii. fol. p. 3091. 

t Ames Medul. lib. i. cap. 13, thes. 10. 

212 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

nothing but according to that law which sin, as a master that hath conquered 
him, imposeth upon him : 2 Peter ii. 19, ' They themselves are the servants 
of corruption : for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought 
in bondage.' And of all men in a state of nature, though under common 
grace, the apostle pronounceth, Rom. iii. 11, that 'there is none that seeks 
after God ;' that is, in any thing they do, though never so good, they seek 
not God but themselves. 'There is no fear of God,' no respect to God 
' before their eyes,' ver. 18, whence it comes to pass, that by reason of this 
dominion of sin nothing can be done well. Heuce man is said to be dead ; 
not that the life which doth constitute the nature of the soul is taken away, 
but that which renders it fit for performing actions pleasing to God ; for such 
a life doth consist, not in the nature of the soul or will, but in that habitual 
integrity which was in man by creation. As the body when it is dead doth 
not cease to be a body, but ceaseth to be animated, by the separation of the 
soul from it, so the soul may be truly said to be dead, though the power of 
the soul be not taken away. If the spiritual rectitude in that power which 
did constitute it spiritually living be departed, by the removal of this right- 
eousness, the will is not free to spiritual things, though it be to natural. It 
is ' free among the dead,' as the psalmist speaks of himself, Ps. lxxxviii. 5 ; 
free to dead works, not to living ; to this or that dead work, to any work 
within the verge of sinning, as a bird in a large cage may skip this way and 
that way by its natural spontaneous motion, but still within the cage. 

Ans. 3. Therefore, though man hath lost this liberty to good, he retains a 
freedom to the commission of sin, under the necessity of sinning. This free- 
dom is a power of choice and election of a thing, which differs from that spon- 
taneity which is in beasts, who act by instinct, without any reasoning in the 
case, because they want a reasoning power. Though man be under a neces- 
sity of sinning, yet it is not a necessity of constraint, but a necessity of im- . 
mutability, which as 'Consistent with liberty, though the other be not. A 
creature may he lUncbangeably carried to good or evil, and yet be free in 
both : to good, as the angels and glorified saints cannot will to sin, because 
their wills are immutably determined to good. They cannot but praise and 
love God, yet they freely do both ; and our Saviour did freely do that good 
which he could not but do by reason of his hypostatical union, otherwise he 
could not have merited, for all merit requires the concurrence of the will. 
To evil.; the devils cannot will to do good, because their wills are unchange- 
ably determined to evil, yet they sin as freely as if there were no immutable 
necessity upon them. So man cannot but naturally sin in all that he doth, 
yet he is not constrained to sin, but sins as freely and voluntarily as if there 
were no necessity upon his nature to corruption, — as freely as if God had 
not foreseen that he would do so. Man sins with as great a pleasure as if 
he were wholly independent upon the providence of God ; and the more a 
man is delighted with sin, the greater freedom there is in it. Hence the 
Scripture lays sin upon the choice of man : Isa. lxvi. 3, 4, ' They have 
chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations.' They 
were their own ways, that is, ways proper to corrupt man ; but they chose 
them and delighted in them. Man is voluntary under his depravation, free 
in his aversion from God ; a free necessity, a delightful immutability. The 
will cannot be compelled to will that which it would not, or not to will that 
which it would. When sin ariseth from a settled habit, the freer is a man in 
his sin ; and though he cannot act otherwise than according to that habit, 
yet his actions are most voluntary, because he is the cause of that habit 
which he acquired by evil acts, and by succeeding acts testifies his approba- 
tion of it. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 213 

2. That there is some liberty in man, some power in man. Not* indeed 
such a power as the Jews thought man had naturally, of exercising himself 
about anything that God should reveal, without the infusion of a new power, 
to enable him to act that which God required by supernatural revelation. 
Some power and liberty must be allowed, 

(1.) To clear the justice of God. No just man will punish another for 
not doing that which was simply and physically impossible ; and ' shall not 
the Judge of all the earth do right ?' It is a good speech of Austin, If there 
were not the grace of God, how could the world be saved ? If there were 
not free will, how could the world be judged ? If man were divested of all 
kind of liberty, he might have some excuse for himself; but since the Scrip- 
ture pronounceth men without excuse, Rom. i. 20, some power must be 
granted to clear the equity of God's justice. No man sins in that which he 
is under an inevitable constraint to do, and so would be unjustly punished. 
It doth not appear that God doth condemn any man simply for not being 
regenerate, but for not using the means appointed to such an end, for not 
avoiding those sins which hindered his regeneration, and which might have 
been avoided by him if he would, though indeed every unregenerate man will 
be condemned. The pouring out the wrath of God upon man is principally 
for those sins which they might have refrained, and had sufficient reason 
against : Eph. v. 6, for ' because of these things,' that is, for those gross 
sins which they might have avoided, mentioned ver. 5, ' comes the wrath of 
God upon the children of disobedience,' anndiag ; men that would not be 
persuaded, which obstinacy was in their will. As these are the causes of 
God's wrath, so these will be alleged as the principal reasons of the last 
sentence. And our Saviour in his last judgment doth not charge men with 
their unregeneracy, but with their omissions of what they might have done, 
and that easily ; and commissions which they might have avoided, Mat. xxv. 
41-43, w T ith their not feeding his members when they were hungry, &c, 
which were things as much in their pow T er as anything in the world. And 
the reason Christ renders of the sentence passed upon men, to depart from 
him, was their working of iniquity : Mat. vii. 23, 'Depart from me, you that 
work iniquity ;' that work it voluntarily, and work that you might have for- 
borne. Though unregeneracy doth exclude a man from heaven, as a condi- 
tion without which a man cannot come there, yet nothing of this is mentioned 
in the last sentence. It' man had a firm will to turn to God, and had not 
then a power conferred upon him to turn, I know not what to say ; but man 
hath no will to turn, yea, he hath no will to do those things which he might 
do. Supposing man hath a power to avoid such and such sins, he is justly 
punished for not making use of that power. Nay, supposing he had no 
power to avoid them, yet if his will be set to that sin he is justly condemned, 
not for want of power, but for the delight his will took in it. From which 
delight in it, it may be gathered that if he had had a power to have shunned 
it, he would not have shunned it. If a man be assaulted by murderers that 
will cut his throat, if he will not use his power against them, but take a 
pleasure in having his throat cut, is not this man a self-murderer, both in the 
judgment of God and man ? Let me use another illustration, since the 
end of all our preaching should be to humble man and clear God. If a man 
be cast out of an high tower, and be pleased with his fall, would he not be 
justly worthy of it, and to be neglected by men, not because he did not help 
himself in his fall, for that was not in his own power, but because he was 
mightily pleased and contented with his fall, and with such a pleasure, that 
if he had been able to have helped himself he would not ? So though man 
* Smith, Select Discourse, p. 290, &c. 

214 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

be fallen in Adam, yet when he comes to discern between good and evil, he 
commits the evil with pleasure. So that supposing he had no power to 
avoid sins, yet he is worthy of punishment because he doth it delightfully. 
Whence it may be concluded, if he had had power to avoid it, he would not, 
because his will is so malignant. 

(2.) Without some liberty in the will, free from necessity of compulsion, 
man would not be capable of sin, nor of moral goodness. No human law 
doth impute that for a vice, or a virtue, to which a man is carried by con- 
straint, without any power to avoid. Where anything is done without a 
will, it is not an human action. Beasts therefore are not capable of sin, be- 
cause they want reason and will. If man had not liberty of will, he would 
be as a beast, which hath only a spontaneous power of motion without reason. 
Sin could not be charged upon man, as God doth all along : Ps. xcv. 10, ' It 
is a people that do err in their hearts ;' and Ps. cxix. 21, ' Thou hast rebuked 
the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.' It had 
been no error in them, if they had not done it voluntarily. The erring from 
God's commandments ariseth from pride of heart, they had not else deserved 
a rebuke. Who would chide a clock for going wrong, which hath no volun- 
tary motion ? Man without a liberty of will could not be the author of his 
own actions, and sin could no more be imputed to him, than the irregular 
motion of a watch can be imputed to the watch itself, but rather to the work- 
man or governor of it. Without a voluntary power, man would be as an 
engine, moved only with springs ; and human laws, which punish any crime, 
would be as ridiculous as Xerxes' whipping the sea, because it would not stop 
its tide. Neither were any praise due to man for any moral virtue, no more 
than praise is due to a lifeless picture for being so beautiful, or to the 
limner's pencil lor making it so : the praise is due to the artist, not to the 

(3.) Without some liberty and power of motion in the will, all the reason 
of man, and those notions in the understanding, left by the virtue of Christ's 
mediatory interposition, would be to no purpose. The reason why men do 
err is because they do not take right ways of judging according to those means 
they have : ' Ye err,' saith our Saviour, ' not knowing the Scripture, nor the 
power of God,' Mat. xxii. 29. They have a faculty of judgment, and means 
whereby to judge, which would prevent errors. There is therefore some 
suitable power in man to follow the judgment of reason, if he will. He would 
be in vain endowed with that power of reasoning, if there were not a power 
of motion in some measure suitable to that reason. The authority of judg- 
ing in the understanding would be wholly insignificant ; all debates about any 
object proposed would be to no end, if the will had not a liberty to follow 
that judgment. How can God make appeals to men as he doth, if they had 
not a power of judging that they ought to have done otherwise, and might 
have done otherwise than they did ? Though man hath not a sufficient light 
left in his nature for salvation, yet he hath such a light of reason in him to 
which he might be more faithful in his motions than he is, otherwise the 
apostle could not have argued from that light the heathens had to their con- 
viction, as he doth, Eom. i. 19-21, &c, and manifests their unfaithfulness to 
that truth which God had manifested to them, and manifested in them in 
their nature. Most sins do arise from the neglect of being guided by that 
light which is in men. 

(4.) The glory of God's wisdom in the government of the world would 
not have been so conspicuous, if some liberty had not been allowed to the 
will. It is no great matter to keep in order an inanimate thing, as a clock 
that must obey a necessity ; God would have been but like a good clock- 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 215 

keeper only, as one* saith. But how much doth it make for the wisdom of 
God, to make the free motions of his creature, the various humours in the 
will of man, centre at last in his own glory, contrary to the will and design 
of the creature ; that they have their natural motions, their voluntary mo- 
tions, and God superintends over them, and moves them according to his 
own will regularly, according to their nature, without crossing them ? ' The 
determinate counsel of God,' in the death of our Saviour, and the free will 
of Pilate and the Jews, meet in the same point : God acting wisely, gra- 
ciously, justly ; their wills acting freely and naturally, reduced, without injury 
to their nature, to the due point of God's will. 

Quest. 3. The third question, How far doth the power of man by common 
grace extend ? 

Am. As in a body deprived of the soul there is some power of growth 
left in the hair and nails, so some power is left in the soul, though it be 
spiritually dead. As a regenerate man by special grace hath a power of 
doing that which is spiritually good, so a natural man by common grace 
hath a power of doing things morally good, if he will. God keeps the key 
of regenerating grace in his own hands, and unlocks what hearts he pleases, 
and brings in a vital spirit into whom he pleases ; but there is by common 
grace an ability in men to do more than they do, but that they harbour, 
cherish, and increase those vicious inclinations in their own souls. But let 
it be remembered that this power is not to be abstracted from God's common 
grace, as the power of a renewed man after grace is not to be abstracted from 
special grace, nor the natural powers of motion to the actual motion, not to 
be abstracted from God's general providential concourse. 

(1.) Man hath a power by common grace to avoid many sins : I say, a 
power by common grace ; for sometime, upon the neglecting the conduct of 
natural light, God pulls up the sluice of his restraining grace, lets out the 
torrent of their natural corruption upon them, which forcibly hurries them 
to all kind of wickedness ; as it is said, Rom. vii. 24, 26, ' Wherefore God 
also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts ; for 
this cause God gave them up to vile affections.' Wherefore, and for this 
came, that is, for going contrary to that natural light they had, God let the 
lusts of their own hearts, which he had restrained, have their full swing 
against them. In this case sin can no more be avoided, than a man can stop 
a torrent. 

Again ; though a man, as he is in a state of nature, cannot but do evil, 
yet he is not necessitated to this or that kind of sin, but he may avoid this 
or that pro hie and nunc in particular, though he cannot in general ; as a 
man who hath the liberty of walking where he pleases in a prison, he may 
choose whether he will come into this or that walk within the liberty of the 
prison ; but let him move which way he will, he is a prisoner still. 

Quest. If it be said, if a man hath power to avoid this or that sin, why 
may he not avoid all ? 

Am. I answer, If he had power to avoid all, he would be restored to the 
state of Adam. But the reason is this,f the power to avoid this or that par- 
ticular sin ariseth from a particular cause, the natural subjection of appetite 
to reason, the lightness of temptation ; or if the temptation be more vehe- 
ment, the stirring up reason and pressing considerations against it ; but the 
power to shun all sin depends upon the subordination of the faculties one 
to another, in the due order of their creation, and an universal subjection of 
them to God. Though a man, by a careful watch, may withstand a parti - 

* Ingelo. Bentivol. part 2, p. 99. 

f Fitzherbert, Policy and Religion, part 2, chap, xvi., sect. 13. 

216 chaenock's works. [John I. 13. 

cular temptation, yet as long as he is alienated from God, and hath corrupt 
habits in him, which are prone to sinful acts, he will one time or other, by 
some sudden temptation, be carried out according to his natural inclination, 
before he is able to premeditate, and set reason on work. And sometimes 
the motions to sin come in such troops, that he cannot stir up his force 
against all, so that while he is combating against one, another comes behind 
anrl surpriseth him. As another Romanist illustrates it,* a vessel hath three 
holes to leak at ; a man with two hands may stop two of them, which he will, 
but the third will remain open of necessity. None will say that the devil can 
avoid all sin in general, and become holy for the future, because his will is 
determined to sin, but this or that individual act of sin he may ; for he may 
choose whether he will assault this man or that with such a "temptation, or 
whether at this time or another. As if two commands were given to the 
good angels, and it be left to their wills whether they will do that or the 
other, though they cannot but do good, because their wills are so determined, 
yet they have a liberty to choose which command they will at present follow. 
And the reason of this is this : there is no physical necessity upon a man 
to this or that sin, as there is that the fire should burn. Lusts only offer 
themselves ; they have no force upon a man, but by his own will ; they have 
no authority from God to compel him ; then God should be the author of 
sin. Satan can give no commission to them to break open our hearts ; and 
though he be a strong adversary, he cannot break them open. If the door be 
open, it is our own act. Is there any necessity upon a man to run into this 
or that infectious company, or drink brimful cups, till he hath drowned both 
his reason and sentiments of morality ? Hath he not power to quell many 
incentives to sin ? Shew me that man in the world that, upon serious con- 
sideration, would say, it is utterly impossible for him to avoid this or that 
particular sin when he is tempted to it. What men do in this case, they do 
willing, though a strong temptation may be the first motive of it. It is said, 
Hos. v. 11, 'Ephraim willingly walked after the commandment,' though the 
first motive to it was the command of their prince Jeroboam. 

To evidence this, let me do it by some queries, which may both satisfy 
that we divest not man of all power, and prevent the ill use men may make 
of this doctrine, to encourage sluggishness. 

1. Cannot you avoid this or that foreseen occasion of sin ? Cannot he 
that knows how prone he is to overthrow his reason when the wine sparkles 
in the glass, avoid coming within the sight of it ? What force is there upon 
his legs to go, or his hands to take the cup ? Can we not starve those 
affections we have to this or that particular sin, by neglecting the means to 
feed them ? If a man stood by with a drawn sword to stab you if you went 
into such a place, could you not forbear going in ? What is the reason ? 
Fear. And why might not a natural fear of God, heightened by considera- 
tion, be of as much force with you as the fear of man, unless atheism hath 
swallowed up all sentiments of a Deity ? Do you not rather wish for oppor- 
tunities, and court a temptation ? put your heads out of the window, with 
Sisera's mother ; why is the chariot of the devil so long a coming ? It is 
said, Prov. xxi. 10, ' The soul of the wicked desires evil.' 

2. Have you not a power to avoid gross sins ? Is there any force upon 
men, to open, sensual sins ? Have they not a power to abstain from fleshly 
lusts ? Has not the will a commanding power over the members ? What 
hinders it from exercising that power ? The members are not forced, but 
they are « yielded up ' by consent of the will to sin, Rom. vi. 19. Had not 

* Soto, Council of Trent, book 2, p. 197. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 217 

Achan as much natural power to forbear taking the wedge of gold and tbe 
Babylonish garment, as tbe rest of that vast number of the Israelites ? Not 
one of their bands toncbed any of the ^poil. Had he not as much power as 
any of them to have restrained his bands, though he could not quench bis 
covetousness ? The law of nature tells us, we ought not to do that to 
another which we would not have done to ourselves. Have we not as much 
power to observe this as the Gentiles, who did by nature tbe things contained 
in the law ? Why may not a man's will command bis tongue to speak that 
which is true, as well as that which is false ? Is there not power to con- 
trol it from speaking blasphemy, and belching out cursed oaths ? Cannot 
you command the hand to forbear striking another wrongfully ? Has not 
a murderer power to keep his sword in bis scabbard, as well as to sheath it 
in his neighbour's bowels ? Can any man say, that there was one gross sin 
in the whole course of his life, but be had a power to avoid it if he would ? 
Forbearance of gross sin consists in a naked omission and a not acting, 
which is far more easy than a positive acting, and every man hath a power 
to suspend his own act. 

3. Did you never resist a temptation to a particular sin ? Why may you 
not then resist it afterward if you will, since the same common grace attends 
you ? If the will be disengaged one moment from a sin under a great 
temptation, why not another moment from sin, under a less temptation ? No 
temptation can overpower your strength, unless the will freely shake hands 
with it : Acts v. 3, ' Why hath Satan filled thy heart, to lie to tbe Holy 
Ghost ?' His meaning is not, why Satan bath done it, for Ananias could 
not render a reason of that ; but why didst thou suffer Satan to fill thy 
heart ? If you have given a check to Satan before, is it not as easy to say 
again, ' Get thee behind me, Satan ' ? 

4. Have you not power to shun many inward sins ? Man, where he hath 
least power, yet he hath some, viz. over his thoughts. We cannot, indeed, 
hinder the first risings and motions of them, which will steam up from the 
corrupt fumes and lake whether he will or no ; but cannot we hinder the 
progress of them ? Is there not a power to check the delight in them if we 
will, or divert our thoughts another way, not listen to their suggestions, and 
hold no inward converse with them ? Though you cannot hinder their 
intrusion, may you not hinder their lodging ? ' How long shall vain 
thoughts lodge within you ?' Jer. iv. 14. Sure we have a power by common 
grace to forbear any conference with the motions of flesh and blood. 

5. When you do sin, had you not many assistances against it, which if 
you had hearkened to, you might have avoided it ? Were there not previous 
dissuasions from that inward monitor, conscience ? When sin hath been 
enticing you on one hand, and conscience warning you on the other, have 
you not more willingly listened unto the pleasant reasoning of sin, than the 
wholesome admonitions of conscience ? Can you not as well listen to what 
conscience as to what sin doth propose ? But have you not wilfully scorned 
its judgment ? Have you not raged against it with a confidence in sin (which 
is the case of the foolish sinner, Prov. xiv. 16, ' The foolrageth, and is con- 
fident '), and would ' not consider any of the ways of God ' it minded you of, 
Job xxxiv. 27, and gave no more regard to its sober dictates, or its louder 
pressings, than you have to the barking of little curs in the street ? Why 
could you not, with those assistances, have avoided that particular act of sin? 
The fault was clearly in your wills. Can you not rather choose a cup of 
wine, than a cup of poison ? clear streams, than muddy waters ? Besides 
those assistances, you might have had more, if under the batteries of temp- 
tation you had sought to heaven for them. Might you not, then, have 

218 chabnock's works. [John I. 13, 

avoided this or that sin, when you had such assistances, and might have had 
more ? 

6. Have you not avoided sin upon less accounts and considerations ? 
The heathen philosopher could observe, that men may live better than tbey 
do.* The wrestlers and champions in the Olympic games lived most temper- 
ately and continently during that time, to be more fit for the gaining the 
prize. May not rational considerations do as much, if excited in your minds, 
as an ambitious desire of honour and affection to victory did in them ? Had 
not Saul a power to withdraw his hand from the unrighteous persecution of 
David before, as well as when he was sensible of David's kindness in sparing 
his life when he might have killed him ? A drunkard under the disease and 
pain caused by his sin, can forbear his cups ; doth his disease confer any 
power upon him more than he had before ? No ; why could he not then 
have forborne his drunken revellings ? Can men be restrained from some 
sins by the eye of a man, the presence of a child ? What power do their 
eyes confer upon them ? They only excite that which they had before. 
Cannot men forbear a sinful act for a sum of money if it were proffered them, 
or in the presence of a king, who is said to ' scatter away evil with his eyes,' 
Prov. xx. 8, or in a visible and imminent danger ? If a gibbet or a stake 
were set before men, that tbey should be immediately executed if they did 
not forbear such a sinful action, or if they did not go to hear a sermon ; 
can any be so foolish, to think that the glister of gold, the penalty of the 
law, the sight of a gibbet, should confer a power upon you which you were 
not before possessed with ? It is not then the want of power to avoid sin, 
but the want of will. 

7. Why doth conscience check any man after the commission of sin, if it 
were not in his power to avoid it ? All those actions which fall under the 
cognisance and check of conscience, are actions in our own power, and 
within the verge of our wills. For the pain of conscience is of another kind 
than that pain or grief which is raised by those accidents we could not 
avoid. It ariseth from the liberty of the will, and galls the soul when it 
considers, that that which it hath done was in its power to be done other- 
wise. This is the common language of men upon the regrets of conscience : 
I might have done otherwise, I was warned by my friends ; I slighted their 
warnings, I had resolutions to the contrary, but I stifled them. All men 
have laid the fault upon themselves, and what is universal consent hath a 
truth in it ; the consciences of all men would not gall them for that which 
they had no power to decline. Indeed, if men were necessitated to sin, 
they could not be tormented in hell, for the torment there is conscience 
acting rationally, and reflecting upon them for their wilfulness in the world. 
If man had not a power to refuse sin, conscience would have no ground for 
any such reflections to rack and torment them. And it is observable, that 
natural men, somewhat awakened upon a deathbed, are not so racked by 
their consciences simply for not being regenerate, as for not avoiding those 
sins which were hindrances, and not using those means which were ap- 
pointments of God for such an end, because those were in their power ; but 
they wilfully embraced the one, and as wilfully refused the other. 

Prop. 2. Man hath a power, by common grace, to do many, more good 
actions (actions materially good) than he doth. Evangelical works we can- 
not do without union to Christ ; so himself saith, ' Without me you can do 
nothing,' John xv. 5 ; nothing according to the order of the gospel, nothing 
spiritually, nothing acceptably, because no such fruits can arise, where faith, 
the root of such works, is wanting. Though man be much crippled in regard 
* Fitzherbert of Folicy and Religion, part ii. chap. xxx. sect. 32. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 219 

of morals, yet he is not wholly dead to them, as he is to spirituals. A man 
may ' break off his sins by (moral) righteousness, and his iniquity by shewing 
mercy to the poor ;' by taking off the yoke of oppression, and restoring of 
what he hath rifled, which counsel Daniel gives to Nebuchadnezzar, chap, 
iv. 27. Though a sick man cannot do all the acts of a sound man till he be 
perfectly cured, yet he hath some power of acting some things like a sound 
man, remaining with his disease. The young man in the Gospel (yet out of 
Christ) morally kept the law ; so may men under the gospel keep the outward 
and material part of the precept. There are not only some common notions 
left since the fall, but also some seeds of moral righteousness in the nature 
of man. The Gentiles did not only, by nature, in part restored, know the 
things written in the law, but they did by nature do them, Rom. ii. 14 ; upon 
this stock they bore many excellent fruits. What patience, chastity, con- 
tempt of the pleasures of the world ! "What affections to their country, and 
bowels of compassion to men in misery ! And what devotion in the external 
worship of their gods, according to their light, were exemplary in them, 
though only under the conduct of nature ! And these works, though they 
were not according to the exactness of the law, and failed also in the man- 
ner of them, and could not please God for want of faith, yet so far as they 
were agreeable to the law of nature, and in regard of the materiality of 
them, were not offensive to God. This moral righteousness of theirs was 
only external, and rather an image of righteousness than a true one. Abi- 
melech had a natural integrity, which God acknowledges to be in him, and 
did arise from his moral nature, though he also appropriates to himself 
the restraint of Abimelech, and his concurrence with an approbation of that 
moral integrity : Gen. xx. 6, ' I know that thou didst this in the integrity 
of thy heart : for I also withheld thee from sinning against me, therefore 
suffered I thee not to touch her ;' yr\T\i *& I gave thee not up to touch her. 
If men did nourish a moral integrity, which they might do, God would con- 
cur with them to preserve them from many crimes. If those which were 
only under the guidance of natural light had so much power to do many 
moral acts by a common grace, is man's power less under the gospel, where- 
by they have an addition of a greater light to this natural ? If man was 
able to do so much by the light of nature, there can be no inability brought 
upon him under the light of the gospel, unless men, by their sluggishness 
and obstinacy, provoke God judicially to deprive them of that power, and 
withdraw his hand from them, and so give them up to all kind of wicked- 
ness, as it is the dreadful case of many in these days. Man may keep the 
law of nature better than he doth, and for not keeping that he is con- 

Prop. 3. Men have a power to attend upon the outward means God hath 
appointed for regeneration. Though man cannot renew himself, yet he hath 
a natural power to attend upon the means God hath afforded. Though a 
man hath not power to cure his own disease or heal his wound, yet he hath 
power to advise with others, and use the best medicines for his recovery. 
There is not an outward duty a renewed man doth, but a natural man hath 
power externally to do it ; though what is essentially good in all parts, can- 
not be done without special grace, yet what is externally good may be done 
by the assistance of common grace. Have you not passions, fear, love, de- 
sire, grief? "Why cannot you exercise them about other objects than ordi- 
narily they are employed about ? "Why can you not make hell the object of 
your fears, and heaven the object of your desire ? "Why might not Esau 
have wept for his sins, as well as for the loss of the blessing ? Might he not 
* Preston, vol. iii. p. 39. 

220 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

have changed the object if he would ? Why may we not exercise our inward 
affections more in our attendance on God ? Is not a little excuse sufficient 
to put off from duty, a great excuse not sufficient to keep you from com- 
mitting sin ? Great business must be laid aside for sin, not the least laid 
aside for God. Every little thing is a lion in the way then. Do you not 
many times rack your minds to invent pleas for neglect of duty ? Why can 
you not set them on work to consider reasons to move you to service ? 
Have we not power to be more serious in the use of means than we are ? We 
can be so when some affliction presses us, or conscience gnaws us. Neither 
of these furnishes us with a new power. Conscience is like the law, acquaints 
us with our duty, but gives us no strength. The charge God brings against 
Ephraim was, that he ' would not frame his doings to turn towards God,' 
Hosea v. 4 ; he would entertain no thoughts, not one action that had the 
least prospect towards repentance ; he would use no means for that end, or 
have a look that way. If a man will not do what is in his power, it is a sign 
he will not be renewed. Can he pretend to a desire to live, who will not eat, 
and endeavour to prevent foreseen dangers ? Or can he pretend to a desire 
to build, that will not use materials when he may ? 

There are two great means : hearing the word, and prayer. 

(1.) Hearing the word. Have not men power to go to hear the word, 
to hear a sermon, as well as to see a play? Have they any shackles upon 
their feet, that they cannot carry them to a place of worship as well as to a 
place of vanity and sin ? Can you not as well read the Scripture as a ro- 
mance ? Hath not the will a despotic power over the members of the body ? 
How came Herod to have more natural power to hear the word, and to hear 
it ' with pleasure,' Mark vi. 20, than other men have ? May you not strive 
against diversions, resist carnal affection, rouse up your souls from their 
laziness, and endeavour to close with the word ? How smilingly would God 
look upon such endeavours ? If men do not, it is out of a natural sluggish- 
ness and enmity of will, not for want of power if they would. Men do not 
what they might. Certainly he doth no more desire regeneration who neglects 
and despiseth the great instrument of it, than he can be said to desire his own 
preservation, who neglects medicines proper for the cure of his disease. 

(2.) Prayer. I do not mean a spiritual prayer, which is by the special 
assistance and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, but of a natural prayer by com- 
mon instinct ; such a one as the apostle puts Simon Magus upon, who he 
knew was destitute of any air of the Spirit to breathe out, as being ' in the 
gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity,' Acts viii. 22, 23, yet supposeth him 
to have a power in some manner to express his desires to God ; or such a 
power that was common in heathens, upon any distress to run to their altars, 
and fill their temples with cries to their gods. You cannot pray in the Holy 
Ghost, but you may send up natural and rational cries to God. Did not 
Jonah's mariners cry every man to his god ? Have you not as much power 
to cry to the true God as the heathens to false ones ? There is the natural 
prayer of those mariners, as well as the natural integrity of Abimelech, which 
was not a new-covenant integrity. Can you not be as devout as the pub- 
lican, and cry, with more seriousness of affection than generally men do, 
' Lord, be merciful to me a sinner' ? When men are upon a death-bed, 
ready to take their leave of the world, they can then cry. It is not their 
death-bed inspires them with power, more than they had before, but they 
have more mind, and see a greater necessity of crying to God. They have 
more power in the time of their health, by how much the habit of sin wanted 
that strength which hath been acquired by a continuance of acts till the time 
of their sickness ; for the fewer sins have been committed, the less is the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 221 

power impaired. Though God hath kept other things in his hand, yet he 
hath given us a power of begging, if we will use it as a means to obtain them. 
Can you not kneel down before God, and implore his assistance ? Can you 
not acknowledge before him that it is impossible for you to change yourself, 
but that your eyes are upon his grace ; that you cannot attain bv your own 
strength a spiritual heart ; that you will seek nowhere else for it but from 
his hand ; and that you will not be at rest till he hath put in his hand and 
dropped upon your hearts ? Can you not thus cry out, Oh that I were a 
renewed person ! as well as cry out, Oh that I were rich and honourable in 
the world ! Had Paul a new tongue when he cried out, ' Who shall deliver 
me from the body of this death ?' Was it not the same member wherein he 
had breathed out threatenings against the disciples ? 

Prop. 4. Man hath a power to exercise consideration. He hath seminals 
of jus and aquu/n, and a power of judging according to them: Luke xii. 57, 
' Yea, why even of yourselves judge you not what is right ? ' Our Saviour 
checks them for not making use of their natural power ; in the searching 
their own consciences, and judging their own acts, as well as they did in dis- 
cerning the face of the sky, and what weather would follow. There is a 
power of consideration in a rebellious heart ; for God acknowledges it in a 
rebellious nation : Ezek. xii. 3, ' It may be they will consider, though they 
be a rebellious house.' 

1. Can you not reflect upon yourselves ? Every man hath a reflexive 
faculty ; otherwise he is not a man. Reflection is the peculiar privilege of a 
rational creature, without which he is not rational. The Pharisees could 
reflect upon themselves, and say, 'Are we blind also?' John ix. 40. Can 
you not then take a survey of your past lives ; cast up the accounts of your 
souls, as well as your books ? Can you not view your particular crimes, 
with the aggravations attending them ? Yea, you can, if you would. Can 
you not look back upon the means you have neglected, the love you have 
slighted, and the light you have shut your eyes against ? As long as a man 
bath reason, he may use his reason in these things as well as in others. 
Why may he not reflect upon himself in spiritual concerns, as well as civil 
affairs in the world ? Cannot he, by comparing the face of his soul with the 
glass of the word, understand his own state, and by self-reflection come to 
an understanding of his own lost condition and weakness ? 

2. Can you not consider the word ? Cannot your reasons be employed 
about the objects the word offers, as well as the objects the world offers ? 
Though you cannot act spiritually in the duties of religion, can you not act 
rationally in them, as men ? Are you endued with a rational soul, to con- 
sider the proposals of worldly affairs and concerns, and can you not exercise 
the same power in considering the proposal made to you by the gospel ? 
The gospel is not only spiritual, but rational. As long as you have a think- 
ing faculty, can you not consider what the reasonable meaning of it is ? 
Though you have not a spiritual taste, you have a rational understanding ; 
why may it not be busied about one object as well as another ? The natural 
repentance of the Ninevites at Jonah's preaching, implied the consideration 
of his threatening sermon. Why is there not a power in you to think of 
what is proposed to you out of the word, as well as you can think of what 
you read of a mathematical or philosophical book, or some history ? The 
power is the same in both, the faculty the same. As the object proposed 
adds no power to the faculty, so it takes away no power the faculty already 
hath. Surely man is not such a block or stone, but he may turn these 
things over and over, press them upon his own soul, which may make way 
for the sensibleness of his state, and putting the will out of its sinful indiffer- 

222 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

ence. What any natural man hath done, that may all under the same 
means do, if they will. Why may not the veriest wretch among us humble 
himself at the hearing of the word, as well as wicked Ahab ? 1 Kings xxi. 
27, 29, ' When Ahab heard these words, he rent his clothes. Seest thou 
how Ahab humbleth himself ? ' He discovered an external humiliation, after 
the consideration of the threatening denounced by the prophet. 

3. Can you not cherish, by consideration, those motions which are put 
into you ? There is not a man but the Spirit strives with, one time or other, 
Gen vi. 3. Hath not man a power to approve any good counsel given 
him, if he will ? Have you not had some supernatural motions lifting you up 
towards God, and pressing obligations upon you, to walk more circumspectly ? 
Why might you not have cherished them, as well as smothered them ? 
Why could you not have considered the tendency of them, as well as have 
considered how to divert and drown them, by engaging in some sensual lust ? 
Was the power of consideration lost ? No ; you could not then have cast 
about in your minds, by what means you should be rid of them, or how you 
should resist them. Have you not wilfully rejected them, even when con- 
sideration hath been revived at a sermon ? And yet you did industriously 
let that good motion die for want of blowing up the spark, by following on 
the consideration which was raised upon its feet. When you have ' begun 
well, who did hinder you' from a further obedience ? ' This persuasion 
comes not of him that calls you,' Gal. v. 7, 8. There was no necessity 
upon you, to fortify yourselves in your corrupted habits against the attempts 
of the Spirit. Could you not as well have fallen down before the throne of 
grace, to have begged grace to second them, as kicked at them, and spurned 
them away ? Was it want of power to do otherwise ? or was it not rather 
your own obstinate wilfulness ? Since I appeal to you, whether your own 
consciences have not tugged at you, and spurred you on at such seasons, 
why could you not then beg of God, that such a good motion might not have 
departed out of your coasts ? Because a man cannot renew himself, there- 
fore to lie down in sluggishness is not the design of this doctrine. 

4. Can you not consider those notions you have by natural light ? Man 
hath a conscience which minds him of moral good, and pulls him from evil. 
No man can deprive himself of these. It will check in those things wherein 
others commend us, and commend us in those things wherein others accuse 
us. May we not observe the motions of conscience within us ? May we 
not consider the charge it brings against us for any act committed, so as to 
avoid the like for the future ; and the excusations of conscience, in com- 
mending us, so as to do the like acts for the future ? As we have a law 
without us, which we may consider, so we have a conscience within us, 
which witnesseth to the equity of the law, accusing us for what we do con- 
trary to it, and excusing us for what we do in observance of it, Rom. ii. 15 ; 
and this in man's corrupt state. Cannot man then observe the dictates of 
conscience ? Can he not find out the sense of this law in his mind, though 
it be much blurred ? Cannot he act like a man, in following the dictates of 
this rational principle, as well as like a beast follow the allurements of sense? 
No rational principle in man puts him upon evil, but upon moral good ; 
whatsoever draws him from good, or puts him upon evil, are principles 
common to him with one brute or other, profit, pleasure, honour, all which 
are found in some beast or other. Why may not a man then consider the 
rational reports of his own conscience, as well as the brutish whisperings of 
sense ? But doth not man endeavour to shuffle off his conscience, and is 
mighty jolly when it keeps silence, or when he can stop its mouth with an 
excuse ? Do not men wilfully choke the sentiments of it, and keep the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 223 

truth deposited in their sonls, in unrighteousness, Rom. i. 18 ; and like the 
scomer, « hear not its rebukes,' Prov. xiii. 1 ? Whatsoever man hath by 
the relics of natural light, he may think of. He knows by nature there is a 
God; he knows something of his attributes, and of his law; may not those 
be his morning thoughts? Is he not stirred up sometimes to contemplate 
on them ? May he not do it at other times, since this common grace is 
always with him, and leaves him not till he leaves valuing and embracing 
its divine assistances ? Let it be remembered, that in all this which man 
may do, the power is to be ascribed to common grace through a mediator, 
keeping up by his interposition the pillars of the earth, and preserving some 
relics of natural light, and the seeds of moral righteousness in man ; not in 
the least to be ascribed to bare nature ; and that man's corrupt will, stuffed 
with sinful habits, is the cause he makes no use of this power. 

Quest. 2. If we have not an ability to renew ourselves, why doth God 
command us to do so ? And why doth God make promises to men if they 
will turn ? Is not this a cruelty ? as if a man should command another to 
run a race, and promise to reward him if he did, and yet bind him with 
fetters that he cannot run ? Both the command would be unjust and the 
promise ridiculous. 

Ans. In general. God may command, and his command doth not signify 
a present ability in man. 

(1.) He may command, because we have faculties suited to the command 
in respect of their substance. For the death of a sinner was not a physical 
death, but a moral. Man lost not his faculties, but the rectitude of them ; 
he lost the purity of his sight, the integrity of his will, but not the under- 
standing and will itself. 

(2.) God's command doth not signify a present moral ability to perform 
it. God's command, which acquaints us with our present duty, is no argu- 
ment of a present power ; for if a command signified more than the duty 
man owes, it signified more than a command in its own nature could signify. 
God's command to us to renew ourselves implies no more an ability inherent 
in the creature to do so than Christ's voice to putrefying Lazarus, ' Lazarus, 
arise, come forth,' John xi. 43, implied a power in Lazarus to raise himself; 
or his speech to the palsied cripple, ' Arise, take up thy bed,' implied a 
power in himself to do it himself before a supernatural conveyance of it. 
Do not men exhort every day to sobriety those that have contracted a pro- 
found habit of drunkenness and lust, that philosophy doth acknowledge it is 
not possible for them to abstain from ; yet no man accuseth those that exhort 
them of impertinence, nor those that chastise them of unjustice. God's 
commands are not the measures of our strength, but the rule of our dutv, 
and do not teach us what we are, but what we should be. 

But to clear this more particularly : 

God may command, though man hath not a present moral ability to renew 
himself. For 

[1.] First, Man once had a power to do whatsoever God would command 
him ; he had a power to cleave to God. He had not else, in justice, been 
capable of any such injunction ; there had been ground of a complaint and 
charge against God, if man had been created defective in any of those abili- 
ties necessary for his obedience to this command. The command is just ; 
God would not else have imposed it, because of his righteousness ; and every 
man's conscience testifies that it is highly just he should honour God, love 
God, and cleave to God. If it were just, then man was capable to perform 
this command ; for man, as a rational creature, is capable of a law, and can- 
not be governed otherwise ; and no law could be given so proper for him as 

224 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

to stand right to his Creator. Since, therefore, the law was just in itself, 
and since God did justly impose it, man was certainly created by God in a 
capacity to observe it. No question but God, who furnished other creatures 
with an ability to attain their several ends, and perform the orders God had 
set them in at the creation, was no less indulgent to man. He that was not 
deficient to the lower creatures would not be deficient to the noblest of his 
sublunary works. He would have been worse in his rank, without a sufficient 
stock, than other creatures were in theirs. There would not have been a 
physical goodness and perfection suitable to his station in the world, and his 
excellency above other creatures. How could God then have pronounced 
him good, among the rest of his works, if there had been in his creation a 
natural inability to answer the end of his creation ? If God had created man 
in such a state that he could not do righteously, and yet commanded him to 
do righteously, and, because he did not, punish him, he would have been 
unjust ; as if a man should command another to reach a thing too high for 
him, and that when his hands were tied behind him, and because he did not, 
beat him. This would have been the case had not man had power at first 
to do righteously. Had man preserved himself in that created state, no just 
command of God (and it was impossible any unjust command should have 
proceeded from infinite righteousness) would have been too hard and too 
high for him. 

[2. J God did not deprive man of this ability. Man was not stripped of 
his original righteousness by God, for man had lost it before ever God spake 
to him, or passed any sentence upon him after his fall : Gen. iii. 10, ' I was 
naked.' If God had taken it away without any offence of Adam, he might 
have expostulated the case. It had been alike unjust, as if God had never 
given him power at first to observe the command he enjoined him. It would 
have been unreasonable to require that of man which God himself had made 
impossible. But God did not take away man's original righteousness.* If 
God had taken it away before man's fall, then man was unrighteous before 
he fell ; and God, taking it away from him while he was perfect, had made 
him, of an holy and righteous man, unholy and profane ; as he that deprives 
a malefactor of his sight, for his demerit, makes him of seeing blind. If 
God took it away after he spake to Adam in the garden, it would then follow 
that Adam was righteous after his fall till God deprived him of it, and so was 
innocent while he was sinful, and strong while he was weak. God did not 
take it away from him before, but had told him that the loss of it would be the 
natural consequent of his eating the forbidden fruit, Gen. ii. 17 ; nor after, 
for after we find only temporal punishments threatened. God indeed did 
judicially deny him the restoration of it, which, as a governor and a judge, 
he might justly do, resolving to govern him in another manner than before. 
So that it would be an unjust imputation on God to say, God cut off man's 
legs, and then commanded him to run, and come to him. What if God did 
foresee that man would fall ; was God therefore the cause of his fall ? God's 
prescience, though it is infallible, is not the cause of a thing, no more than 
our foreknowledge that the sun will rise to-morrow morning is a cause of 
rising of it. 

[3. J Therefore, since God did not deprive man of it, it follows that man 
lost it himself ; and not barely lost it, but cast it away. He did voluntarily, 
by an inordinate intention of will, cast away this original perfection, and fell 
a-hunting after his own ' inventions,' Eccles. vii. 29. He did not stick to 
that command God had given him, nor implore God's assistance of him, as by 
his natural ability he might have done. He consulted not with his com- 
* Trigland de Grat. p. 275. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 225 

mand upon the temptation, but was very willing to cast off that righteous- 
ness wherewith God had endowed him, for an affected godhead. Man 
readily swallowed the bait; he did not debate the business with Eve, ' She 
gave to her husband with her, and he did eat,' Gen. iii. 6. So that the fault 
was wholly in himself, and his present state voluntarily contracted ; for 
though the devil tempted him, yet he had no power to force him. He was 
easily overcome by him, for it was not a repeated temptation, but a surrender 
at the first parley. 

[4.] Therefore God's right of commanding, and man's obligation of re- 
turning and cleaving to God, remains firm. God's right still remains. God 
gave him a portion to manage, though man prodigally spent it. God may 
challenge his own. Cannot a master justly challenge that commodity he sent 
his servant with money to buy, though he spent it in drunkenness and gam- 
ing ? God gave Adam a sufficient stock ; he trifled it away. Must God's 
right suffer for his folly, and man's crime deprive God of his power to com- 
mand ? The obligation to God is natural, therefore indelible ; the corrup- 
tion of the creature cannot render this first obligation void. Righteousness 
is a debt the creature, as a rational creature, owes to God, and cannot refuse 
the payment of it without a crime. Who deprived him of the power of pay- 
ing ? Himself. Should this voluntary embezzlement prejudice God's right of 
exacting that which the creature cannot be excused from ? A debtor, who 
cannot pay, remains under the obligation of paying. The receipt of a sum 
of money brings him into the relation of a debtor, and not his ability to pay 
what he hath received. Such a doctrine would free all men who were unable 
to pay from being debtors, though the sums they owed were never so vast. 
That judge would be unjust that would excuse a prodigal debtor, because he 
could not pay when sued by his creditor. No doubt but the devils are bound 
to serve God, and love him, though by their revolt they have lost the will to 
obey him. If, because we have no present power, our obligation to turn to God 
and obey him ceased, there would be no sin in the world, and consequently 
no judgments. Who will say, that if a prince had such rebellious subjects 
that there were little hopes to reclaim them, he should be therefore bound 
not to command them to return to their duty and obedience ? If it be 
reasonable in a prince, whose rights are limited, shall it not be reasonable in 
God to exact it, who hath an unbounded right over his creature? Either 
God must keep up his law or abrogate it, or, which is all one, let it lie • in 
the dust. His holiness obligeth him to keep up his law ; to abrogate it, 
therefore, would be against his holiness. To declare a willingness that his 
creature should not love him, should not obey him, would be to declare 
that which is unjust, because love is a just debt to an amiable object and 
the chief good, and obedience to a sovereign Lord. Must God change his 
holiness because man hath changed his estate ? The obligation of man re- 
maining perpetual, the right of God to demand remains perpetual too, not- 
withstanding the creature's casting himself into an insolvent condition. If 
man still owes this duty to God, why may not God exact his right of man ? 
Much more may God call for a right use of those means and gifts he hath, 
as a benefactor, bestowed upon man since his fall. No man will deny this 
right to God upon serious thoughts. These new gifts and means were given 
him not only for himself, but for his Lord, to improve for his glory. God 
may justly require the right use of those moral principles and evangelical 
means for the ends for which he appointed them. 

[5.] It will appear more reasonable, because God demands no more; nay, 
not so much as he required of Adam in innoccncy. It is but obedientiu 

VOL. III. p 

226 chaenock's works. [John I. 13. 

redintegrata, a return in part to that perfect holiness which was inherent in 
man, and to that obedience in part which was in a great measure due to 
God. As when a prince demands the return of rebels, he demands a restora- 
tion of that subjection which they paid him before. God required a perfect 
obedience in the first covenant, he requires not so much in the second, so 
that for want of it a creature shall be cast off; but a sincere obedience is 
required, though not in degree perfect. Adam had a fundamental power in 
him to perform that obedience which is required, in faith and repentance, 
the two great parts of regeneration. Faith is nothing bat an embracing and 
accepting of Christ the mediator. Adam had a power of believing and 
accepting Christ for his head, had he been proposed to him in paradise, as 
the mediator of consistency and confirmation, and the vinculum of holding 
him for ever close to God. Had not Adam a power to accept him under this 
notion, as well as the good angels have accepted him for their head, and 
worship him as mediator; that is, pay him an obedience as mediator when 
he comes into the world, Heb. i. 6. Had he not a fundamental power to 
grieve, though since sin was extraneous to a state of innocency, he could not 
have exercised that grief for himself, repentance being extraneous to obedi- 
ence, and unmeet for him in a sinless state? Suppose God had commanded 
him to grieve for the sins of the fallen angels, Adam having this passion in 
his nature, might have done it. He might have known what sin was in 
them, and might have grieved for the dishonour of God by them ; even as 
our Saviour did grieve for the sins of others, Mark iii. 5, who knew no sin 
himself. And in grieving for his own sin, there was only a change of the 

[6.] It is yet more reasonable if we consider, that every natural man 
thinks he hath a power to renew himself, and turn to God when he will ; 
practically, though not all of them notionally. What reason then hath man 
to quarrel with God, and accuse him of demanding that which he thinks he 
can give to God, and will not at present, but take his own time to do it, when 
he sees it fit ? This practical opinion runs in the veins of every natural 
man under the gospel, as well as in the heathens, which appears by the 
general wilful delays of men about their eternal concerns, by their vows and 
resolutions upon the blows of conscience of reforming their lives, and be- 
coming new men without having recourse to the grace of God, or taking any 
notice of him in their resolves. This I think is a clear case. ' Yet a little 
more sleep,' saith a man, that thinks he can rise time enough when he will, 
and despatch his business in a moment, Prov. vi. 10. With what face can. 
man accuse God of not giving him power, when he thinks he hath power 
enough himself ? or be angry with God for demanding his debt, when he 
thinks himself in a solvent condition ? No man will blame another for re- 
quiring that of his servant, which his servant boasts he hath power in him- 
self to do. The Israelites thought so when they said, Exod. xxiv. 3, ' All 
the words which the Lord hath said we will do,' without any applications 
to the grace of God to enable them. All men are like Israel in this ; only 
the regenerate are most sensible of their own impotence, and scarce any 
man else. 

|"7.] From all this it follows, that God is not bound to give grace to any ; 
and where he doth bestow it, it is an act of his sovereign pleasure. If God 
hath given man power, and never took it away, but it was cast away by man, 
therefore God's right is not prejudiced, but he may justly demand of man 
what once he gave him power to do, especially since it is less than what man 
at first owed him ; and when man thinks he hath power to pay him, it will 
evidently follow, that God is not bound to give any new power. If God 

John I. 13.J the efficient of regeneration. 227 

were bound to give a new power to accept of the gospel, he were then un- 
just not to confer it ; if he be not bound, it is of mere grace that he bestows 
it. God proposeth pardon to all upon such conditions, but he is not bound 
to give the condition to any ; he commands all to renew their obedience to 
him, but he is not bound to renew any one person. He gives the command 
to turn, as a lawgiver and governor ; he gives the grace to some to turn, as 
a benefactor. It is gi-ace therefore, not debt. When God confers it, it is 
an act of his compassionate mercy ; when he denies it, it is an act of his 
just sovereignty. He may, if he please, ' suffer all nations to walk in their 
own ways,' Acts xiv. 16. Yet if he please to propose the means of grace to 
any, the very knowledge of those mysteries of heaven is a peculiar gift, as 
well as the outward proposal : Mat. xiii. 11, 'To you it is given to know 
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.' If 
we improve reason to the highest, God is not obliged to give us grace, no 
more than if a beast improved sense to the highest, he were bound to give 
him reason. Though if there could be a man found in any age of the 
world, who did improve reason to the utmost of his power, I would not 
doubt God's giving him the addition of supernatural grace, out of the 
largeness of his bounty, though still there is no obligation upon God , 
because man doth no more than his duty. 

And that God doth not give grace to all to whom the means are offered, 
and yet doth command them to turn, and promise to receive them ; — 

(1.) It doth not entrench upon his sincerity in his proposals. His pro- 
posals are serious, though he knows man will not receive them without an 
over-powering grace ;* and though he be resolved not to give the assistance 
of his grace to every one under those means, but leave them to the liberty 
of their own wills. The gospel is to be considered as a command ordering 
men to believe, or as a promise alluring men to be renewed, by representing 
to them the happiness of such a state. Consider it as a command, God is 
serious in it, though he resolve not to give grace to all to whom the precept 
comes, for under this consideration of a command it is a declaration of 
man's duty, and a demonstration of God's sovereign authority. Doth God's 
resolution of not giving grace weaken the obligation of man to his duty, or 
diminish God's authority, or give ground to man to charge him with in- 
sincerity ? Consider it as a promise, doth it hinder God's seriousness in 
it if he resolves not to give the condition of it to all ? It is sufficient to 
shew God's seriousness in it, to declare, that if men will be regenerate, 
it will be very pleasing to him ; that he will make good to them what he 
hath promised ; that if they be renewed, he will make good every tittle of 
the promise to them ; and if they will seek, and ask, and knock, he will not 
be wanting to them to assist them. 

(2.) It doth not disparage his wisdom to command that to man which he 
knows man will not do without his grace, and so make promises to man 
upon the doing it. If man indeed had not a faculty naturally fitted for 
the object, it might entrench upon God's wisdom to make commands and 
promises to such a creature as it would be to command a beast to speak. 
13ut man hath a faculty to understand and will, which makes him amanjf 
and there is a disposition in the understanding and will which consists in an 
inclination determined to good or evil, which makes us not to be men, but 
good or bad men, whereby we are distinguished from one another, as by reason 
and will we are from plants and beasts. Now the commands and exhortations 
are suitable to our nature, and respect not our reason as good or bad, but 

* Aniiraut. Sor. sur Phil. ii. 13, p. 79. t Ibid. p. 383. 

228 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

simply as reason. These commands presuppose in us a faculty of under- 
standing and will, and a suitableness between the command and the faculty 
of a reasonable creature. This is the reason why God hath given to us his 
law and gospel, his commands, not because we are good or bad men, but 
because we are men endued with reason, which other creatures want, and 
therefore are not capable of government by a command. Our blessed Lord 
and Saviour did not exhort infants, though he blessed them, because they 
were not arrived to the use of reason ; yet he exhorted the Jews, many of 
whose wills he knew were not determined to good, and whom he told that 
they would die in their sins. And though God had told them, Jer. xiii., that 
they could no more change themselves than an Ethiopian could his skin, yet 
he expostulates with them why they ' would not be made clean :' verse 27, 
' Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean ? when shall it once be ? ' Be- 
cause, though they had an ill disposition in their judgment, yet their judg- 
ment remained, whereby to discern of exhortations if they would. To pre- 
sent a concert of music to a deaf man that cannot hear the greatest sound 
were absurd, because sounds are the object of hearing ; but commands and 
exhortations are the object, not of this or that good constitution of reason, 
but of reason itself. 

(3.) Neither doth it disagree with his justice. It is so far from being un- 
just for God to demand what men are obliged to do, though he knows that 
they will not do it, that God would be unjust to himself if he did not 
demand it, if he let men trample upon his rights without demanding restitu- 
tion of them. If a prince sets forth edicts to rebels to return, and promise 
them pardon upon their returning, though he knows they are rebelliously 
bent, that they will not entertain a thought of coming again under his 
sceptre, but will still be in arms, and draw down his wrath upon them, will 
not all interpret this to be an act of clemency and goodness in the prince ? 
Neither is God an accepter of persons, because he doth not give grace unto 
all; for may he not do with his own what he please without injustice? 
Those to whom we give alms have reason to thank us ; those to whom we 
give not an alms have no reason to complain ; we have gratified the one, but 
we have done no wrong to the other. We are all by nature criminals, de- 
serving death ; should God leave us in that deplorable estate wherein he 
found us, can we accuse him of injustice ? Those that by grace are 
snatched out of the pit, have reason to acknowledge it an admirable favour, 
as indeed it is ; those that are destitute of grace, and by their own wilful 
rejection left to sink to the bottom, eannot impute their unhappiness to him ; 
for he left them not without witness ; he presented them the word, exhorted 
them to hearken to him ; but, instead of paying their duty, they fiercely 
rejected him, abhorred his exhortations, and gave themselves over to sin and 
vice. If a man proclaim by a crier that such that can bring such a mark 
shall receive such an alms, he sends this private mark to some ; they come 
and receive an alms. Had he not power to do what he pleased with his 
own, to send his distinguishing token to whom he pleased ? What injustice 
is done to the other, to whom he sends not this mark ? 

We have shewn that God may command. Let us see why God doth 
command, when he knows man hath no power to renew himself ? 

1. The first reason is, 

To make us sensible of our impotency. The design of God is not to 
signify our power to perform it, but sensibly to affect us with our inability, 
that we may be the better prepared for a remedy ; as the moral law was 
given with such terrifying marks, to make men despair in themselves, and 
the ceremonial law annexed to it, to give some glimpse of a Mediator in 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 229 

whom they might have strength. And therefore when the Israelites were 
so affected, Deut. xviii. 16-18, as to desire not to hear the voice of the 
Lord in that manner, nor to see that great fire any more which attended 
the law, that they might not die, he commends them for it : verse 17, 
1 They have well spoken that which they have spoken.' God is highly 
pleased with this sense of their own inability to answer the terms of the first 
covenant, since it makes them fly for help and supply to the prophet of the 
second covenant. The cabalists therefore say, that the law was given to 
take away the venom of the serpent ;* that is, not that we should fulfil the 
law, but that we might learn how far we were swerved from the duty we 
owed to God, and how unable to gain the happiness we had lost. A conceit 
of self-sufficiency secretly lurks in every one of us ; we should think our- 
selves gods to ourselves if we saw not the picture of our own weakness in 
the spirituality of the command. Therefore, though we cannot ourselves 
perform this command of regeneration, it is necessary it should be directed 
to us, to make us abject in our eyes, and strip us of all confidence in the 
flesh, which is the first step toward a being endued with the Spirit ; to make 
us hang down our proud plumes, and sink into that despair in ourselves, 
which is necessary to the superstructure of a saving faith. It is necessary 
the law should be commanded, to make sin appear exceeding sinful, to give 
us a true prospect of ourselves in the glass of the command : the rectitude 
of it shews us our crookedness ; the holiness of it, our impurity ; the justice 
of it, our unrighteousness ; the goodness of it, our wickedness ; and the 
spirituality of it, our carnality and fleshliness. God doth not command us 
(though we have no power) to upbraid and triumph over us, but to lay us 
low, and humble us. 

2. To make us sensible of the grace of God, and urge us to have recourse 
to it. It is necessary that man should understand the perfection of divine 
righteousness, and what the condition of man was before the fall, that thereby 
he may understand the necessity of the remedy, and be more willing to come 
under God's wing than Adam was to keep under it ; but without a sense of 
his own weakness man would never come to God. God commands us, not 
that he expects we should renew ourselves, for he knows we cannot ; but 
that being acquainted with our feeble frame, we should implore his grace to 
turn us, and have recourse to him, who delights to be sought unto and de- 
pended upon by his creature. That this command of renewing ourselves, 
and returning to our due obedience, is given to this end, is evident by the 
promise of the gospel, which did accompany the command, both to encou- 
rage and direct men where to find assistance for the performance of what 
the first covenant exacts, and the second accepts. Therefore, with the com- 
mands of the law, there is the promise of a great prophet to teach them, an 
ordaining typical sacrifices to relieve them ; and the gospel, under the mask 
of the ceremonial law, attended the fiery and impossible commands of the 
moral. God might have exacted his right without making any promise, it 
had been summum jus; but God exacts not his right now, but with a pro- 
mise ; where there is jus in one, and remissio juris in the other. And very 
frequently in the Scripture, where the command is given to shew us our 
duty, yet a promise is joined to it, to shew that though obedience be our 
duty, yet sanctification is God's work, as Lev. xx. 8, ' Ye shall keep my 
statutes and do them ;' whereupon it immediately follows, ' I am the Lord 
which sanctify you.' The precept is to acquaint us with our duty ; the pro- 
mise, to acquaint us with the sight of a gracious ability ; the precept minds 
us of our debt, the promise minds us of the means to pay it : what is 
* Morntc do Keligio. Christian, cap. xxxi. pp. S60, 361. 

230 chaenock's works. [John I. 13. 

required in the precept is encouraged in the promise. Every precept, heing 
a part of the law, is to ' shut us up' to faith, and to ' bring us to Christ,' 
Gal. iii. 23, 24. God makes us amends ; that as he requires of us what we 
lost by another's fault, he hath provided us a remedy by another's righteous- 
ness, which we never performed ; and by his own Spirit, which we never 
purchased, if we will but seek it. If God did work it in us without com- 
manding us to work it ourselves, we could not have a foundation to make 
such sensible acknowledgments of his grace and omnipotent kindness. It is 
our work as a due debt; it is God's work as a fruit of his grace ; Isa. xxvi. 12, 
' Thou hast wrought all our works in us.' The promise, therefore, of a new 
heart and a new spirit, is made indefinitely ; none are aimed in it, nor any 
excluded, that will but seek it. And supposing they are predictions rather 
than promises, yet they run in the nature of a promise : they are to be 
pleaded, for God ' will be inquired after concerning them ;' and the fulfilling 
of them to the soul is as pleadable as the fulfilling other prophecies to the 
church ; the grounds of the plea are the same in both, the truth of God : 
Ezek. xxxvi. 37, ' Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired 
of by the house of Israel, to do it for them ;' which may reasonably be con- 
cluded to respect the whole antecedent promising discourse of God. 

3. These commands and exhortations are of use to clear the justice of 
God upon obstinate sinners. God is a judge, and judges by law; com- 
mands therefore are necessary, because a rational creature is only governable 
by law. If God were not a lawgiver, he could not be a judge ; his judicial 
proceedings depend upon his legislative power. Men being to be judged by 
their works, must have some law as the rule of those works ; and his law is 
no more than the first law in innocency, that is, to return to obedience and 
righteousness. These commands and exhortations are the whips and scourges 
of perverse consciences, whereby they are galled while they obey not the 
motions of them, and render them inexcusable and unworthy of mercy in 
despising the conditions God requires of them, and make the case of Sodom 
' more tolerable in the day of judgment' than the condition of such men, 
Mat. xi. 24. We are apt to bring an unreasonable charge against God of 
cruelty and injustice, as though his punishments did not consist w T ith right- 
eousness. God therefore shews us our duty, and demands it of us, and it 
is confessed by us to be our duty ; man is therefore deservedly punished, 
because he doth wilfully cherish the old nature in him, the fountain of all 
sin ; he hath the truth, and he holds it in possession, but in unrighteous- 
ness, therefore the wrath of God is justly revealed from heaven against that 
unrighteousness of his, Bona, i. 18. God calls sinners, though he knows 
they will not renew themselves, as men send servants to demand the posses- 
sion of a piece of ground, though they know it will not be delivered to them ;* 
but they do it that they may more conveniently bring their action against 
such a person that will not surrender. So upon God's command to men to 
be renewed, his justice is more apparent upon their refusal ; as he sent 
Moses to Pharaoh, though he knew before that Pharaoh would not hearken 
to him. This punishment is only accidental to the gospel, it becomes the 
savour of death per accidens, because of the unbelief of those that reject it ;f 
the gospel is designed for the salvation of men, not for their condemnation. 
If the corruption of man produceth condemnation to himself, must God 
abstain from doing good to the world ? There is not a man but abuseth 
the light of the sun which shines upon him, and the mercies God gives him, 
and thereby brings wrath upon himself, and God knows they will do so ; 
would we have God, therefore, to put out the light of the sun, and divest 

* Cartwright, Harrao. in John vi. 43. | Amiraut. Ser. sur Philip, ii. p. 90, &c. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 231 

the earth of its fruitfulness ? Shall God lay aside his right of commanding, 
and take away the preaching of the gospel, and so excellent a thing as the 
happy revelation of his gracious promises and exhortations, because many 
men by their wilfulness bring the just wrath of God upon them for their 
refusal ? Will any man accuse our blessed Lord and Saviour, when he 
comes to judgment, that he did them wrong to come and die for mankind, 
and cause the news and ends of his death to be published, and exhort 
sinners thereupon to believe in him ? Surely men's consciences shall be 
full of convictions of their own wilfulness, and the equity of God's justice 

4. The commands and exhortations are of use to bring men to God, 
according to the nature of rational creatures, and also to keep them with 
God. Man not having lost his reason, though he hath lost his rectitude, 
cannot be drawn to God in a rational way but by cords proper to man ; for 
he is a creature governable only by laws, and therefore must have laws 
suited to his nature ; and commands and exhortations are so, for the weak- 
ness brought upon men to answer them is by their own defection. God 
doth not bring men to him by instinct, as he brought the beasts to Adam, 
or the creatures into Noah's ark ; such a conversion would not be reason- 
able, nor spiritual, nor agreeable to God, no more than the obedience of 
the beasts to Noah.* God therefore draws men by commands, and promises, 
and exhortations thereupon convenient to the nature of man, accommodated 
to the rational capacity of the creature ; for man being created after the image 
of God, ought to be conducted and governed after another manner than other 
creatures. The grace of God therefore working suitably to the nature of 
man, cannot be conceived by us in any other way than in this of commands 
and exhortations. And when men are renewed, the commands for perfect 
regeneration are still incumbent upon them (though they cannot attain it in 
this life), to stir up their hearts to an exercise of that gracious ability they 
have to walk in the ways of holiness, and to that end to a reliance on the grace 
of God. The promises are given to them to inflame them to a love of holi- 
ness, and to shew them where their chief strength lies ; this appears plainly 
to be the intent of the Spirit of God in that command and promise, Philip, 
ii. 12, 13, • Work out your own salvation ; for it is God that works in you 
to will and to do.' He writes to those already regenerate, Work out your 
salvation, use your gracious power, and be encouraged by the assistance 
God gives you. Use your own power as if there were no grace to help you 
in the performance ; depend upon the grace of God which works in you 
both to will and to do, as if you had no power at all of any motion in 

So that to sum up the whole of this later discourse, the impotence of man 
doth not excuse him. 

1. Because the commands of the gospel are not difficult in themselves to 
be believed and obeyed. If we were commanded things that were impos- 
sible in their own nature, as to shoot an arrow as high as the sun, or leap 
up to the top of the highest mountain at one start, the very command 
carries its excuse with it in the impossibility of the thing enjoined. But 
the precept of regeneration and restoring to righteousness is easy to be 
comprehended ; it is backed with clear and manifest reason, and proposed 
with a promise of happiness which is very suitable to the natural appetite 
of our souls. To command a thing simply impossible is not congruous 
to the wisdom, holiness, and righteousness of God ; it would not be justice, 
but cruelty. No wise man will invite another man by any promises to do 
* Goulart de Providence, pp. 172-174. 

232 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

that which is simply impossible ; no just judge will punish a man for not 
observing such a precept ; no righteous and merciful person would impose 
such a command. But these commands of the gospel are not impossible in 
their own nature, but in regard of our perversity and contumacy. The 
command of righteousness was possible when first given, and impossible 
since by our own folly ; impossible in our voluntary corrupted nature, and 
by reason of our voluntarily cherished corruption. The change is not in 
the nature of the law, but in the nature of the creature ; and what is impos- 
sible to nature is possible to grace, and grace may be sought for the per- 
formance of them. 

2. Because we have a foundation in our natures for such commands, 
therefore man's weakness doth not excuse him. It had been unjust for 
God to have commanded Adam in innocency to fly, and give him no wings ; 
this had been above Adam's natural power, he could not have done it, 
though he would fain have obeyed God, because his nature was destitute of 
all force for such a command. It would be strange if God should invite the 
trees or beasts to repent, because they have no foundation in their nature 
to entertain commands and invitations to obedience and repentance ; for 
trees have no sense, and beasts have no reason to discern the difference 
between good and evil. If God did command a man that never had eyes to 
contemplate the sun, man might wonder, since such a man never had organs 
for such an action. But God addresseth himself to men that have senses 
open to objects, and understandings to know, and wills to move, affections 
to embrace objects. These understandings are open to anything but that 
which God doth command, their wills can will anything but that which God 
doth propose. The command is proportioned to the natural faculty, and 
the natural faculty proportioned to the excellency of the command. We 
have affections, as love and desire. In the command of loving God and 
loving our neighbour, there is only a change of the object of our affections 
required ; the faculties are not weak by nature, but by the viciousness of 
nature, which is of our own introduction. It is strange, therefore, that we 
should excuse ourselves, and pretend we are not to be blamed, because God's 
command is impossible to be observed, when the defect lies not in the want 
of a natural foundation, but in our own giving up ourselves to the flesh and 
the love of it, and in a wilful refusal of applying our faculties to their proper 
objects, when we can employ those faculties with all vehemence about those 
things which have no commerce with the gospel. 

3. Because the means God gives are not simply insufficient in themselves. 
God doth afford men beams of light ; he makes clear discoveries, as it is, 
Bom. i. 19, ' He hath shewed it to them, itpaniguts, ' it is manifest in them.' 
He displays in their hearts some motions of his Spirit, produceth some vel- 
leities. The standing of the world under the cries of so many hideous sins, 
is a daily sermon of God's kindness and patience in bearing up the pillars 
of it, and is a standing exhortation to repentance; as Bom. ii. 4, ' The for- 
bearance, long-suffering, and goodness of God leads to repentance.' The 
object is intelligible : ' The word is near us, in our mouths, in our hearts ; ' 
it is apprehensible in itself, Bom. x. 6, 7. The revelation is as plain as the 
surface of the heavens, Ps. xix. 1-3, applied to the preaching of the gospel, 
Bom. x. 18. That men are not renewed, and turned to God, is not for 
want of a sufficient external revelation, but from the hardness of the heart ; 
not from any insufficiency of the means, but the pravity and wickedness of 
the soul to whom those means are offered. The commands and means of 
the gospel are no more weak in themselves than the law was ; but weak 
through the flesh, by reason of the inherent corruption man hath fastened in 

John I. 13.J the efficient of regeneration. 233 

himself, Rom. viii. 3. Would not the hundredth part of any revelation of 
some worldly object, connatural to man's corrupt heart, be sufficient in itself 
to put him upon motion to it, and embraces of it ? The insufficiency doth 
not lie in the external means, for the gospel is an act of mercy and grace ; 
the call is an act of kindness. It is clear to man that God offers ; it is clear 
that God will accept, if man will embrace his counsel ; and shall this be said 
to be insufficient, because man will reject it ? 

4. Because this impotence in man is rather a wilfulness than a simple 
weakness, therefore man's pretended weakness doth not excuse him from the 
command. It is not a weakness arising from a necessity of nature, but an 
enmity of will, whereby some other apparent good is beloved above God, 
and some creature preferred before him. There is a double impotence, 
mercB infirmitatis, which is a want of power in the hand, when there is a 
readiness in the will to perform ;* or malignitatis, wbich is seated in the will 
and affections, whereby though a man hath a power to perform, yet he 
cannot because he will not ; he will abhor any return to God, and will not 
be whetted by his promise to any endeavour. A simple impotency deserves 
pity, for it is a rational excuse ; but an obstinate perversity is so far from 
an excuse tbat it is an aggravation. The deeper the habit of obstinacy, the 
more inexcusable the person.* What a ridiculous excuse would this be, to 
say to God, (1.) that I ought not to be obliged to restore myself to right- 
eousness, and obey the command of the gospel, because I am of so perverse 
a disposition that I will not obey, and will not be restored; or (2.) that God 
is bound to restore to him that will to obey and renew himself, otherwise he 
is guilty of no crime. f The first would be ridiculous, and both impious. 
What hinders any man from being regenerate under the call of the gospel, 
but a moral weakness, which consists in an imperious inclination to evil, and 
a rooted indisposition in corrupt reason and will to believe and repent? 
And here the Scripture lays it upon the hardness of the heart, Rom. ii. 5, 
and a rebellious walking after our own thoughts : Isa. lxv. 2, ' I have spread 
out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walk in a way that 
was not good, after their own thoughts.' We are impotent and cannot, 
because we are rebellious and will not. For since man hath an understand- 
ing capable to weigh arguments on both sides, and see the advantage of the 
good proposed, and the disadvantage of the evil tempting, if he doth the evil, 
and refuses the good, is not the fault clearly in his will ? And when by a 
custom in sin we ripen the power of our evil habits, we contract an impossi- 
bility of doing the good required, and casting out the evil forbidden. This 
doth in no sort excuse us, because it is an inability contracted by ourselves.f 
God himself threatens punishment to the Israelites, when he confesseth 
that they could not attain to innocence : J Hosea viii. 5, ' My anger is kindled 
against them : how long will it be ere they attain to innocence ? ' V?^ fcO ; 
How long can they not ? Purity or innocence. They had raised such an 
habit in them, by casting off voluntarily the thing that is good, ver. 3, that 
they could not divest themselves of it, which was so far from excusing them 
that it sharpened the anger of God against them. 

5. This weakness doth not excuse from obedience to this command, because 
God denies no man strength to perform what he commands, if he seek it at his 
hands. No man can plead that he would have been regenerate, and turned 
to God, and could not ; for though we have not power to renew ourselves, 
yet God is ready to confer power upon us if we seek it. Where did God 

* Trigland de grat. p. 303. t Ibid. 

% Quando vitium consuetudine et progressu corroboratum velut naturalitcr inolevit, 

voluntatc sumpsit exordium. — Aug. Civ. Dti. lib. 12, cap. 3. 

234 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

ever deny any man sufficient strength, that did wait upon him in serious and 
humble supplications, and conscientiously used the means to procure it. A 
man cannot indeed merit grace, or dispose himself for it, so that it must by 
a natural necessity come into his soul, as a form doth into matter upon dis- 
positions to it. But if a man will do what he can do, if he will put no 
obstacle to grace, by a course of sin, would not God, out of his infinite 
bounty to his creatures, and out of that general love whereby he would 
have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, give him special 
grace ? Hath not our Saviour made a promise in his first sermon to the 
multitude, that God • will give good tbings to them that ask him,' with a 
much more than men give good gifts to their children, Mat. vii. 11. They 
were not only his disciples that he preached that sermon to, but the multi- 
tude, comparing it with Mat. v. 1, and Mat. vii. 28. Hath not God declared, 
that he ' delights not in the death of a sinner,' Ezek. xxxiii. 11, and doth he 
not out of his infinite goodness condescend to beseech us to be reconciled to 
him ? Will not the same infinite goodness bow itself down to form a new 
image in them that use the means to be reconciled and conformed to him, 
as much as they can ? Has not our blessed Saviour already given a testi- 
mony of his affection to such endeavours, in loving the young man for his 
outward observation of the law, Mark x. 21, who wanted but one thing only 
to pass him into a gracious state, the refusal whereof barred him of it ? 
And shall not he have a choicer affection to those that strive to observe the 
rules he hath left in his gospel ? Will he not be pleased with such motions 
in his creatures towards their own happiness ? Will he not further that 
wherein he delights ? Think not therefore to justify yourselves at the bar 
of God for your sloth, because you are too weak to renew yourselves. It 
will not help you then. The question will then be asked, Did you ever 
seriously beg it, as for your lives ? Did God ever desert you when you would 
tight against sin, when you set yourselves seriously and dependency on him 
for grace ? God gives us talents, but by our sloth we embezzle them. It 
is upon that score Christ lays it, Mat. xxv. 26, ' Thou wicked and slothful 
servant.' God hath not promised to furnish you with more talents, when 
you improve not the talents you have already ; non-improvement of them 
cuts off all pleas men may make against God upon the account of their im- 
potence. As there never was a renewed man, but acknowledged his regene- 
ration as a fruit of God's grace, so there was never any man that can say, 
he did use his greatest industry in trading with the talents God intrusted 
him with, and God refused him the supply of his special grace. If you have 
not a new heart and a heart of flesh, ask your own hearts whether ever you 
did seriously inquire of God to do it for you. God never fails them that 
diligently seek him. 

For the use of this : 

1. For information. 

(1.) See the strange misery of man by his fall. We cannot be the authors 
of strength to our own souls, since we are despoiled of that vital principle 
which constituted us spiritually living in the first creation. How are we 
sunk many degrees below other creatures, who alway have, and still do 
answer the ends of their creation, when we, wretched we, have lost both the 
will and power to answer the end of ours ? We can understand, will, move, 
but not as man in innocency could. In ourselves we are nothing, we have 
nothing, can bring forth nothing spiritually good and acceptable to God ; a 
mere composition of enmity to good and propensity to evil, of weakness and 
wickedness, of hell and death ; a fardel of impotence and conceitedness, per- 
versity and inability, every way miserable unless infinite compassion relieve 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 235 

us. We have no more freedom than a chained galley slave till Christ 
redeem us ; no more strength than a putrefied carcase till Christ raise us ; 
an nnlamented hardness, an unregarded obstinacy, an insensible palsy 
spread over every part, a dreadful cannot and will not triumphing in the 
whole soul. The heart turned into pleasure with its own wounds and chains 
is an amazing misery both to good men and angels, because it is so great, 
and yet unbewailed/ To see a man endued with a soul so rare, even with 
its crack, that the heathens thought it to be a particle of God ; an under- 
standing that can peer into heaven, fathom the earth by contemplative 
inquisitions, yet cannot strike up a spark of enlightened reason about ever- 
lasting happiness ; that that reason, which understands a worldly interest, 
should be so blind, so weak, about a heavenly bliss ! A short-sighted mind, 
that cannot cast a look so high as to spiritual things, nor rise up in one 
holy thought without the grace of God ; a perverse will, that cannot com- 
mission one spiritual desire ; a weak arm, that cannot strengthen itself to 
grasp and hold one spiritual gift ; a dry wilderness, that cannot issue out a 
tear till God open the fountain of the great deep of grace to flow in upon it ; 
a hard heart, that relents not under afflictions on earth, nor could under the 
flames of hell without grace ! What a woful thing is it to be miserable, and 
have no strength to be happy ! to look into a law. and behold it wholly 
spiritual, and to reflect upon our souls, and behold them wholly carnal ! 
Rom. vii. 14, to find a command of regeneration in the judgment of our own 
consciences, just for God to impose, good for us to receive, and an utter 
inability to square ourselves according to it ! 

(2.) See the vast power of sin. It is this that hath cast its infectious 
roots so deep in our souls, that it is impossible for us to pluck up this 
degenerate plant.* The first defection from God was of that nature, that it 
did per se, of itself, produce an inability in us, as sickness doth in a body, or 
disjointing a member doth weakness in a man; otherwise man, after he had 
sinned, had been found in strength, and had had a power to do good, till 
God by punishment had taken away that power, and inflicted a contrary 
weakness, which would be very absurd to affirm. Adam threw off the royal 
robe of righteousness ; and in all those ages which are run out since, man 
could not find by all the inquiries of nature how to put it on again without a 
supernatural strength. This sin that hath taken held of us, keeps us down, 
that we cannot lift up our heads to divine knowledge, or reach out our hands 
to perform any divine precept ; it is this has emptied us of our treasure, 
stripped us of our strength, made us as poor as Job upon the dunghill, and 
as feeble as the cripple at the pool ; and which is worse than this, hath not 
only deprived us of our health and strength to cure ourselves, but of our 
will to be healed by another ; and possessed us with such a frenzy that we 
are friends to our madness, and enemies to those that would deliver us from 
it ; we are all possessed with a legion of devils, that makes us cry out against 
Christ before we be turned to him, Mark v. 7. It is this first poison diffus- 
ing itself in the heart of Adam has made us all by nature a generation of 
vipers, and infected our very tongues, that we cannot, being evil, speak that 
which is good; that is, perfectly and spiritually good, as it is Mat. xii. 34, 
1 generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things?' and 
poisoned our souls at the very root, tbat not one grape of grace can grow 
upon the thorn of nature. All the coin of our actions bears the impression 
of the evil treasure in our hearts, Luke vi. 43-45. 

(3.) "We may from hence see the groundlessness of any conceits rising in 
u.s, of the power and freedom of our own wills to anything spiritually good. 
* Triglaud, de Grat. p. 308. 

236 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

This conceit reigns in most men's hearts naturally"; it is a legacy left to our 
natures by the will of Adam. The not submitting our wills to the will of 
God, in a way of humble waiting upon him, is the source of the misery of 
mankind ; such imaginations will creep up in our hearts, that our under- 
standings can aspire to all knowledge, our wills spring up in grace, as natu- 
rally as a clear fountain in pure waters. The cause of such conceits is the 
ignorance both of the depth and largeness of the wound original sin hath 
made in all our faculties. Paul, while a pharisee, without question was of 
this mind, and cried up the liberty of the will as much as he cried down the 
truth of the Christian religion; he was 'alive without the law once,' Rom. 
vii. 9. But when he takes out the lesson of the sinfulness of natural con- 
cupiscence, Rom. vii. 7, the experience of his slavery, and being sold under 
sin, grew up with the notion of the extent of original corruption, and he 
found himself a mere dead man, as may be observed in several passages in 
Rom. vii. Every man is born with this conceit, since we find the only 
peculiar nation God had in the world asserting it in the whole body of them, 
in the face of God, Exod. xxiv. 3. When Moses told them all the words 
and judgments of the Lord, all the people answered with one voice, 'All the 
words which the Lord hath said will we do;' and ver. 7, 'All that the Lord 
hath said will we do, and be obedient.' Not one man among them duly 
sensible of natural slavery, nor making any application to God for grace to 
keep them ; but as confident of the strength of their mutable wills as if they 
had as much power as the first man in innocence. This vain confidence 
hath its bitter root in the imagination of all Israel ; and that it may not 
appear to be a sudden and rash passion, they assert it again more solemnly 
upon second thoughts : ver. 7, ' All that the Lord hath said will we do, and 
be obedient.' 

[1.] It is a high piece of pride. To boast of a great estate, when a man 
hath not a farthing in his purse, is very ridiculous, or for a slave to brag of 
liberty, with his chains upon his hands and feet. What a vain self-reflection 
is it when we are bound naturally in our sins, as a slave in his shackles, 
with Satan's padlock upon us, till the Son make us free indeed ! John viii. 30. 
It is the very moth of pride which ate out the beauty of Adam's garment, 
who, whilst he would stand upon his own bottom, laid the scene of his own 
ruin ; he affected to be his own conductor, and proved his own cut-throat ; 
and aspiring to an independency on God, fell down into the dungeon of 
slavery to, and dependency upon, Satan. It is a pride like that of Adam's, 
an invasion of God's property, an affecting to be that by ourselves which we 
can only be by Christ ; it is an arrogance like that of the Babel builders, to 
think by this slime of nature to raise up a spiritual building as high as 
heaven. We sin over again more formally the sin of Adam, by affecting an 
equality with God. 

[2.] It is a disparagement to God. It is an unquestionable idolatry, and 
never yet practised, to set up any creature as the author of the temporal good 
of the whole world. Is it not more to set up many thousands of free wills 
as the authors of the spiritual good of the creature, to make every man's will 
an idol ? Is the robbing God of the glory of his grace less criminal than the 
divesting him of the glory of his outward work ? Or are the works of grace 
in the soul more inconsiderable than those of nature ? It disparageth God's 
grace ; it makes his grace subsequent, not preventing ; it makes the highest 
spiritual work to be the seed of man, not the seed of God. If this conceit 
takes place in your hearts, God is like to be without much praise from his 
creature. Peter will be no more beholden to God than Judas, Paul no more 
than Simon Magus ; both had the outward revelation, and so both owe a 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 237 

praise to God ; but what further debt of praise did Paul owe to God, if his 
regeneration sprang forth into being by the power of his own will, without 
any further contribution from God than an objective proposal ? It takes off 
the crown of glory from the head of Christ ; for though it will be acknow- 
ledged that he bruised the head of the common serpent by the power of his 
death, yet the destruction of the works of the serpent in our hearts, which 
is our immediate happiness, was wrought by the seed of free will. It would 
be strange that the apostle Paul should be so over- seen, to give such praise 
to the grace of God manifested to him, if he had not been particularly be- 
holden to that for the turning of his heart. By this God is beholden much 
to the creature's will, in being a great cause of keeping up the interest of 
God in the world, which had no footing, notwithstanding his revelation, 
without the compliance of man's will, untouched by any supernatural grace. 
Such a conceit of man's power seems to envy God the glory of his whole 
grace. And such a bitter root of this, I doubt, may be one secret cause 
that we are so heart-tied and tongue-tied in the praises of God for his grace. 

[3.1 It takes away a great part of the glory of the Spirit's work in the 
world. Was his convincing the world of sin and righteousness only external, 
by the objective proposals of the word, and fitting the apostles for the pro- 
pagation of that convictive revelation ? Was he to stand only as a spectator, 
to behold which way the motion of free will would cast the balance ? Is he 
to preserve grace in the heart ? and is there not more need of his creatine it 
there, than preserving it after ? Is there more danger of the devil's quench- 
ing the flame kindled in the soul, than there was of its first touch upon the 
heart ? Is he a Spirit of grace only to propose it, not to work it ? The 
Spirit makes no verbal proposal of it, that is by man ; if an inward proposal 
barely by applying it to the understanding, has not man as much power to 
do that, as to work it in his will ? How can it be a well of water springing 
up to eternal life, if it works nothing efficaciously upon the heart ? This 
secret pride and conceit in the heart may be a cause we make so few appli- 
cations to the Spirit of God, taking little notice of him in our attempts. 

[4.] It puts a bar to all evangelical duties. It makes us cleave to ourselves 
rather than to God, and presume upon our own strength rather than reby 
upon his. The heathens (as Seneca) asserted, that it was a silly thing for a 
man to desire that of heaven which he had power to do without it. Why 
should we go to him for renewing grace, when it is in our own power to re- 
new ourselves ? May it not be said to us, as it was in another case, ' Why 
trouble you the master ? ' As long as we think we can spin a righteousness 
out of our own bowels, we will never go to Christ for a robe of his weaving, 
though never so rich. And while we think we can rear a stately spiritual 
building by our own skill, we shall never desire the art of another workman. 
Our Saviour would have nothing to do with his fulness, if we stood in no 
need of it ; and what need had we of it, if we could despatch this great 
business of grace ourselves? This secret imagination in the heart is one 
cause of the neglect of duties, especially prayer, or of a slightness and cold- 
ness in it. 

[5.] This conceit endangers a man's destruction, by encouraging a delay 
of using the means necessary to this work in God's ordinary course. What 
sensualist would not delay using means for repentance, who conceits he can 
repent when he will, and that to will is in his own power ? This makes men 
think they have a key to unlock heaven at their pleasure, and have the com- 
mand of the treasuries of grace ; and therefore are afraid to attend upon 
evangelical means, for fear they should be put upon serious reflections too 
soon. The common sentiments of men are a sad evidence of this ; you shall 

832 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

hear many acknowledge their weakness in other things, but not in this ; they 
cannot leave such a coarse of sin, they cannot pray with so much affection, 
yet their hearts are right ; they can repent and believe when they will ; 
that is in their own power ; which makes them sluggish and careless at the 
calls of God. But what a folly this is, let Solomon witness, who sets the fool's 
cap upon such confidence ; ' He that trusts in his own heart is a fool,' Prov. 
xxviii. 26 ; it is to trust in a weathercock that is mutable with every wind of 
tamptation. To depend upon our wills, is to depend upon the oldest and 
the most certain bankrupt in the world, that broke as soon as it was set up, 
many ages since, and never recovered itself. Who told you, therefore, that 
you can melt the stone within you at your pleasure ? that you can cast the 
strong man out of your wills without a stronger than he ? But suppose the 
grounds were rational, and that you had a power to cure yourselves ; the 
consequent is very irrational, for that cause to delay it ; for what man in his 
wits would endure a wound or deformity many years, because he can heal or 
beautify himself at his pleasure in a moment ? Take heed therefore of such 
fancies of your own power to regenerate yourselves, and upon that account 
to neglect that which you have power to do ; but imitate Ephraim with all 
speed, notwithstanding your cheating imagination, and cry out, ' Turn thou 
me, and I shall be turned,' Jer. xxxi. 18. 

(4.) It informs us, that regeneration is not wrought merely by moral 
suasion, or only by exhortations ; then it would principally be the work of 
the will of man. Our Saviour had a will to preach to all in Jerusalem, but 
he had not a will to quicken all : John v. 21, ' the Son quickens whom he 
will ; ' so that it depended upon his inward operation, not only upon his out- 
ward exhortations. It is true there is a suasion in the ear by the word, but 
the persuasion is in the heart by grace ; the suasion in the word may cause 
some rational reflections as a moral cause, but no spiritual motion towards 
God as a physical cause. Men are not disputed or exhorted, but created 
into grace ; the proposal of a good by the understanding is not always em- 
braced by the will, unless it be a good suitable and connatural to those 
habits in the will. Where, therefore, there is no suitable habit planted in the 
will, rational reflections in the mind and conscience are not like to prevail 

[1.] If it were only by suasion and exhortation, the most eloquent preach- 
ing were like to do most good. Whereas it never was God's method to 
found conversion upon the ' words of man's wisdom,' though ' enticing ' in 
themselves, but upon the • demonstration and power of the Spirit,' 1 Cor. 
ii. 4. The most eloquent preaching would then most fill the gospel nets. 
And the reports of that rhetorical prophet Isaiah would have been soon be- 
lieved, which were not so, because ' the arm of the Lord was not (alway) 
revealed with them,' Isa. liii. 1. If any words, as words, were like to have 
an edge to cut deep into the soul, they must be the words of our Saviour ; 
since ' never man ' (even in the judgment of some of his enemies) ' spake as he 
spake.' But though 'his lips were full of grace,' Ps. xlv. 2, most of his hearers' 
hearts were empty of it under his ministry ; not the eloquence and pressing 
reasons of Christ, nor the wrath of God revealed from heaven, can reclaim the 
heart of man, without the power of grace. The Pharisees were prouder 
under Christ's melting bowels, and the Jews harder under God's wrathful 
blows, Isa. i. 5 ; neither hearing nor feeling will prevail upon hardened souls. 

[2. J What bare exhortations can work upon a dead man ? Can a well 
composed oration, setting out all the advantages of life and health, raise a 
dead man, or cure a diseased body ? You may as well exhort a blind man 
to behold the sun, and prevail as much. No man ever yet imagined, that 

John I. 13.] the efficient of eegenekation. 239 

the strewing a dead body with flowers would raise it to life; no more can the 
urging a man, spiritually dead, with eloquent motives, ever make him to open 
his eyes and stand upon his feet. Did our Saviour come out of his grave, 
or could he ever have done it, by mere suasion, without the power of God to 
raise him ? Eph. i. 19, 20. The working of mighty power is a title too 
high for the capacity of mere moral exhortations. A mere suasion doth not 
confer a strength, but suppose it in a man, for he is only persuaded to use 
the power which he hath already. 

> [3.] Doth not daily experience testify the contrary? Have you never 
discoursed with some profane, loose fellow, so pressingly, that he seemed to 
be planet-struck at every reasoning, shaken out of his excuses for his sinful 
course, yet not shaken out of his sin ; that you might as soon have per- 
suaded the tide at full sea to retreat, or a lion to change his nature, as 
have overcom e him by all your arguments. Have you not seen many at a 
stand in sin, by the force of some convincing reasons, return again to their 
vomit ? Have not many tears at command in anything that concerns them- 
selves, the loss of some estate, or some dear friend, but in the things of God, 
in his dishonours, as dry as the parched earth ? That you may almost as soon 
extract water out of a rock, as repentance for sin out of their stony hearts. 
So that it is not the faint breath of man, or the rational considerations of 
the mind are able to do this work, without the mighty pleadings and powerful 
operations of that great Paraclete or Advocate, the Spirit, to alter the temper 
of the soul. 

[4.] There is no likelihood that any man in the w T orld would be renewed, 
if it were only by moral suasion. Satan's logic would be stronger than 
God's ; his arguments would more suit our imagined interest, and our real 
enmity against God ; his persuasions would find more kindred in the prin- 
ciples of our minds and habits of our wills to take fire by him, than the 
suasory allurements of God, which will meet with nothing in our hearts 
but contrariety to them. The deceitfulness of sin within us, and the subtilty 
of Satan without us, both being active as well as persuading adversaries, 
would fix us in our rebellion, without a contrary power, as well active as 
exhortative ; and God would do no more towards our restoration than Satan 
doth towards our destruction, since the devil can only propose to us, not by 
any physical touch incline our wills. We are wholly inclined to him in our 
own natures, in love with the knife that cuts our throats, and too fond of our 
shackles ever to knock them off. The will is so enamoured with its corrupt 
habit, that were this work left barely to self-will, and no other power em- 
ployed in it than exhortative, not one person were every likely to come unto 

[5.] If it were wrought by suasion, the will would have the whole praise 
of the work. For suasion or exhortation is nothing else but the proposing 
arguments to the understanding ; but the motion, according to those argu- 
ments, is wholly from the will, which hath a power to receive them or refuse 
them.* God, indeed, would be the first speaker, but not the first agent ; 
God would be only the assisting cause, as all moral causes are ; he would 
only assist the motion of the will, not cause it. The motion of the will is a 
physical act; if, then, the physical act be from the will, and God only the 
moral cause, the will will be the greater sharer in the work ; for moral 
causes are in vain without a physical effect in those things they work morally 
upon : as all the reasoning of one man with another will be to little pur- 
pose, if there be not a physical motion of the will of that person to comply 
with the other's reasonings. If, therefore, the reasoning part be only from 
* Parken'a Thes ; Ames, contra Gre vine. 

210 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

God, and physical motion from man, the most debauched wretch, under the 
preaching of the gospel, is as much beholden to God as the highest believer, 
who had both the same suasions and exhortations ; for though the suasion 
was from God, the persuasion was from their own wills. God only made 
the revelation, and was afterwards a spectator, not an actor. 

(5.) Information. We may draw a conclusion hence whereby to judge 
ofthe truth of doctrines. Man cannot renew himself. Whatsoever doctrine 
doth depress and humble man and advance the glory of God, is true, it 
answers the main design of the gospel, which all centres in this, that man 
is to be laid low, and God to be exalted as the chief cause. It pulls man 
from his own bottom, and transfers all the glory man would challenge into 
the hands of God ; it lays man in the dust at God's footstool. That doc- 
trine which crosses the main design of the gospel, and encourageth pride in 
man, is not a spark from heaven : ' No flesh must glory in God's presence,' 
1 Cor. i. 29. The doctrine of justification by works is thrown down by the 
apostle with this very argument as a thunderbolt : Rom. iii. 27, ' Where is 
boasting then ? it is excluded by faith ;' that is, by the doctrine of the 
gospel ; boasting would be introduced by ascribing regeneration to nature, 
as much as it is excluded by denying justification by works ; the doctrine of 
the gospel would contradict itself, to usber in boasting with one hand whilst 
it thrust it out with the other. Our Saviour gave this rule long ago, that 
the glorifying God is the evidence of truth in persons : ' He that seeks his 
glory that sent him, the same is true,' John vii. 18. By the same reason 
also in things and doctrines ; and indeed, Christ speaks it in relation to his 
doctrine, as appears, vers. 16, 17. All truth gives God the pre-eminence in 
all gracious works ; the first creation, the progress and top-stone, are the 
works of this great Bezaliel, this mighty artificer, both the first draught and 
the last line. To confound nature and grace together, is to join the creature 
in commission with God, and make them co-heirs in the glory which is only 
due to the only wise and almighty Creator. 

Use 2 is for exhortation. 1. To the regenerate. If this doctrine be 

1. Then ascribe nothing to flesh. (1.) Not to yourselves. No more 
praise is due to us than to gold for being melted by the fire and wrought by 
the workman into a vessel of honour ; it is due to the skill of the artificer, 
not to the vessel itself. When the reparation of human nature was to be 
wrought by the gospel, w T hen the crooked should be made straight, and the 
rough places plain, then should flesh be as grass, when the Spirit of the 
Lord should blow upon it ; yea, the people, those that are God's peculiar 
ones, by reason of privileges, are grass, Isa. xl. 4, 6, 7, they should be 
nothing in themselves, that God might be all in all : the Spirit of God blows 
upon all their self-confidences. If God be the God of all grace, what share 
have our wills in it then ? He calls, he opens the heart, he strengthens, he 
perfects ; all the grace we have is his ' treasure,' 1 Peter v. 10. He first 
delivers from Egypt ; preserves in the desert ; conducts to a footing in 
Canaan. Grace triumphs in the whole work, from Dan to Beersheba, from 
the beginning of the work to the end. What glory can belong to us ? We 
will, it is true, but God gives that will ; we work, but God bestows and 
stands by that power to work ; what have we then to do with the praise ? 
It is ' in his light we see light,' Ps. xxxvi. 9. The rays whereby we have a 
glimpse of him are not darted from us to him, but from him to us. The 
light in the air springs not from itself, but from some other body enlighten- 
ing it; how can any good be ascribed to us, where there is nothing but 
insufficiency and defect? It is to belie the Lord, to entitle a work of 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 241 

omnipotency to so infirm a cause ; it is worse than the pharisee, who, in 
the midst of his boasts of his own moral righteousness, thought a tribute ot 
praise due to God : ' Lord, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,' 
Luke xviii. 11. Shall we entitle God the author of our beings, and our- 
selves the creators of our spiritual beings ? Is it less to have an elevation 
of our faculties, and an animation of them by a new virtue, than to have 
simply the faculties themselves ? If the creature be unable of itself to move 
without a dependence on God in way of common providence, much more un- 
able is it to move without dependence on God in a way of supernatural 
vitality. The glory of the act is as little due to man as the glory of the first 

Now, 1, review yourselves, consider what you were before regeneration, 
what after it; and then, how can you ascribe anything to yourselves? 

(1.) What you were before regeneration. Was not sin as deeply rooted 
in you as any other, which made you as incapable to raise yourselves as the 
wickedest man in the world ? Were you not prisoners in chains, captives 
under locks and bolts, when grace first set up its standard for your recovery? 
How thick was the darkness of your minds ? how stout the perversity of 
your wills ? how impetuous the violence of your sinful affections ? Did 
they not all conspire together to make as stout a resistance against the work 
of the gospel as any others ? Can you then say, that because God saw you 
more inclinable to grace than another, that he drew you ? You were created ; 
did you bring clay enough to compose the least particle of flesh about you ? 
You are new created ; what part of the new man was formed by your direction ? 
Did you bring grace enough of yourselves to form one holy thought, or send 
out one holy desire ? Did your own will single you out of that multitude of 
degenerate men of better natures than yours, left still in their own nothing- 
ness ? Was it nothing but your own will that planted you in the nursery 
of the invisible church, that made you capable of a divine union ? Were 
not other men's reasons as strong as yours ? the means they enjoyed 
greater ? their moral disposition sweeter ? What was the reason their 
wills did not bend themselves as well as yours ? What is the reason 
they did not hold out their hands to catch this all-necessary grace ? Did 
this noble birth cost none any pains but yourselves ? Was this goodly 
fabric reared by your own wills ? Look on it ; methinks it is a piec*e too 
comely and noble for human skill. 

(2.) What are you since your regeneration ? What, do you find no rebel- 
lion of the law in your members against the law of the mind ? Are there 
not powerful allurements of the flesh ? Are your thoughts alway flying up 
to God, and hovering about him ? Are you alway nimble in your praise of 
him ? or not rather lifeless many times under the breathings of the Spirit ? 
Why are you thus ? Did you first by your own force begin this noble con- 
quest of sin ? And can you not by the same power make a better progress ? 
Did you breathe a life into yourselves when you had not a spark, and can 
you not blow up this spark into a greater liveliness ? Surely then this 
work was not at first the birth of your own wills. Do you not yet find some 
scale and thick matter upon your understandings that you cannot pick off ? 
some darkness in your minds, as there is some in the air after it is en- 
lightened ? Are there not obstructions in your wills ? no shackles upon the 
executive power ? Can you not remove that darkness with that great light 
you have ? nor unlock those fetters by the strength of your habitual grace ? 
Can then the first powerful entrance of it, the fall of the first scale from the 
understanding, be judged to be the work of your own hands ? or the first 


242 chaknock's works. [John I. 13. 

teeming of your wills with grace to be the effect of your own power ? View 
yourselves well in both states, and you will find no ground whereon to build 
so much injustice towards God, and pride in yourselves, but must needs 
acknowledge that God and not yourselves have wrought all your works in 
you, Isa. xxvi. 12, not only your temporal advantages, which the church 
there means, but your spiritual, and much more spiritual than temporal. 

To stave off any ascribing to yourselves, consider, 

[2.] He that ascribes it to his own will hath great reason to question 
whether he be regenerate or no. He may well doubt whether he under- 
stands or feels what it is, since those in Scripture who have been most ex- 
perimented in it, and therefore are the most competent judges, have most 
highly magnified the grace of God, and most deeply vilified themselves ; 
they have given the glory of it so entirely to God that they have not let a 
grain of it stick to their own fingers. Tbus David often, ' Thou hast quick- 
ened me.' The apostle Paul owns his effectual call to be owing to the 
• grace of God,' Gal. i. 15, and to an abundant ' grace in Christ,' 1 Tim. 
i. 14; he was a persecutor, but his faith and love was from the abun- 
dance of the grace of God, and that in Christ too, not from any thing in 
nature. Peter is not behind him in the admiration of it : 1 Peter i. 3, 
' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to 
his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again.' And it is that the church in 
the times of the gospel prophesied of: Ps. c. 3, ' It is he that hath made 
us, not we ourselves;' made us his people, as it follows, ' We are his people, 
and the sheep of his pasture,' ' not we ourselves.' Whenever the naughti- 
ness of their hearts hath been ready to launch out to self-praise, they have 
turned the tide quickly to the grace of God. When Paul had owned grace 
as the cause of his spiritual being, 1 Cor. xv. 10, and began to speak of his 
labouring more abundantly than they, he flies back in haste, as one that bad 
gone beyond his line, ' Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me ;' 
another, ' Yet not I :' Gal. ii. 20, ' I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.' 
There is no mention of any in Scripture that ever in this case did sacrifice 
to tbeir own net. 

[3.J If a man be regenerate, such a boasting of himself is very dangerous. 
Though it may not rifle you of the new nature, yet by tbe just judgment of 
God,* it may cloud the comfort of it. If such a man be renewed, this pride 
is but a prologue of some dark veil to be drawn between him and the light of 
God's countenance, between him and the sight of his own grace. A swelling 
up in pride presageth a sinking down in desertion. If God be not owned by 
you to be the God of all grace in you, he will not own himself to be the God 
of all comfort to you. Grace follows humility, and some shrewd shock 
attends spiritual pride ; it is such an idolatrous robbing God of his glory 
(whereof he is most jealous), and giving it to another, that he will not let it 
pass without a remark. The clouding of your grace will be the fruit of the 
smothering of his glory. For since the main intendment of the gospel is to 
humble, God will humble you if any grace be in you. If the Spirit of grace 
hath breathed upon your souls to renew you, he will blow upon your grass 
to consume it, Isa. xl. 7, he will pull down those proud thoughts and strong 
holds, and cause your vain confidences to wither and come to nothing. 
Ascribe it not therefore to yourselves ; be not so presumptuous, as, while 
you allow God to be the author of the being and motion of a little fly, to cry 
up your own wills as the chief cause of grace, a work more excellent than 
the material world. 

2. Ascribe nothing to instruments, either men or means. It is not of 
the will of man, not another's will. Without the efficacious working of the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 243 

Spirit, the gospel itself is but as a dead letter, the Spirit only quickens it. 
It is not outward teaching and blowing which of itself will kindle these 
sparks ; an instrument cannot act without the strength of an agent to manage 
it ; the chisel forms the stone into a statue, but according to the skill and 
strength of the artificer moving it. It is not the breath of man, and a few 
words out of his mouth, can produce so great a work as the new creation ; 
this might be a reason why God chose so weak an instrument as man to 
preach the gospel, to evidence that the great work was not from the weak- 
ness of man but the power of God. 

Exhortation 2. Let us be humbled under our own natural impotence and 
inability, and keep up this humiliation. There is danger of the pharisee's 
pride climbing up into the heart, even after regeneration. Renewed men 
have instructions to humility above other men ; their sin may strike them 
low, because it is the growth of their own nature ; their grace may keep them 
low, because it is no plant of their own setting ; sin, because it is originally 
theirs ; grace, because it is originally none of theirs ; it is no beam of their 
own understanding, no stream from the fountain of their own will. If we 
think believingly and fruitfully of Christ at any time, we cannot but think of 
our own weakness, nothing in him but minds us of it ; our weakness to obey 
the law was the cause of his coming ; our weakness to satisfy God was the 
cause of his dying ; our inability to repair and support ourselves was the 
cause of his fulness. His death minds us of our impotence to redeem our- 
selves, his grace minds us of our impotence to renew ourselves. The more 
we grow up in the new birth, the more deeply sensible shall we be of our 
impotence. Oh, let this text be writ in our hearts, ' Not of the will of the 
flesh, nor of the will of man.' 

3. Resolve nothing in your own strength. The power to believe and be 
renewed is a power ' given,' not inbred, Philip, i. 29 ; our strength is depo- 
sited, not in the cracked cabinet of our own wills, but in the treasures of 
Christ. Our purposes are weak without grace to strengthen them, our reso- 
lutions vanishing without grace to establish them. If we should be left to 
the sails of our own faculties, without the breath of the Spirit to fill them, 
we should lie wind-bound. The will can never in this life be so firm but the 
allurements of the great tempter will make inroads upon us and overset us, 
without the special grace of God to establish and strengthen us. As we are 
not to do anything for our own glory, so we are not to do anything in our 
own strength. As we must not be our own end, so we must not be our 
own principle ; the power the best have is but derived, the stream must 
know it is but a stream still. The actual exercise of Paul's ability grew from 
strength in another hand, ' I can do all things through Christ strengthening 
me,' Philip, iv. 14 ; all things by him, nothing by himself. When the Israel- 
ites went out with God, no sons of Anak, no walls of Jericho, nor chariots of 
iron could stand before them. "When they trusted in themselves, nothing 
could be resisted by them. The devil was certainly none of the lowest rank 
of angels ; he had a great clearness of gifts, yet he falls for cleaving to his 
own will and strength, not to the grace of God. And Adam, in depending 
upon himself, lost himself and his posterity. For us to undertake the govern- 
ment of ourselves is like a ship without a pilot, to be dashed soon against a 
rock. To lean on our own wisdom and will, is to lean on broken reeds, 
deceitful supports ; self-confidence is the worm of grace, conceit of a spiritual 
fulness in ourselves is the way to an emptiness of spiriiual comfort. Self- 
will and self-wisdom are the great idols of the soul, and some little images of 
them are in the hearts of the best men, which they are ready sometimes to 
fall down before and worship ; they would oppose temptations themselves, 

244 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

do duties themselves by the strength of habitual grace, without regard to 
the strength of God, the great support of it. 

4. Therefore live dependency upon God. Do you not find how apt you 
are to stagger at every temptation ; how weak your wills are to good ; 
how easily your purposes are broken, the thoughts of God few and distracted, 
your motions heavy in divine ways ? Is there not, then, need of a constant 
looking unto God, as they did upon the brazen serpent, for the healing of 
our natures, while the wound remains imperfectly cured ? All bodies on 
the earth, though they have a principle of motion in themselves, yet depen- 
dency upon the heavenly bodies. If the motions of the heavens should 
cease, that all motions in the earth would cease too is the opinion of philo- 
sophers. Without dependence on the grace of God and fulness of Christ, 
we sink into weakness and impotency, as a beam expires into duskiness upon 
the clouding of the sun. It is God only can be a 'dew to Israel,' Hosea 
xiv. 5. Think not of bringing forth the after-fruits of grace without his 
influence, no more than you could plant in yourselves the first root of grace 
without his power: the same breath of the Spirit must blow the fire up. as 
well as kindle it. As by our own wills we should never turn to God, so 
without the continuance of efficacious grace we should quickly start from 
God. ' As you have received Christ, so walk in him,' Col. ii. 6. You 
received him by faith, walk in him by faith. This is the reason of the dif- 
ferent thrivings of one Christian above another, under the same means. One 
endeavours to act upon his own bottom ; the other clings to the vine. Christ 
knew the things of God by lying in the bosom of the Father ; we come to 
know and do the things of God by lying in the bosom of the Son. All 
natural effects, if taken off from the influence of their own cause, bj' which 
they live and increase, lose their power and die. The soul separate from 
God, by non-exercise of faith, loses its strength, become stiff and inactive. 
How often do we return 1o our wonted coldness, bring forth lazy fruits, creep 
like snails in *the ways of God, without the spur of quickening grace ! And 
we want it because we do not seek it ; for though we be armed with the whole 
armour of God, helmet, shield, breastplate, yet prayer and supplication must 
be added as a mark of our necessary dependence : Eph. vi. 18, ' Praying 
alway with all prayer and supplication.' Then will the Spirit endue us with 
a fresh vigour, confirm our languishing wills, restrain the flames of natural 
corruption, and excite the fear and faith of God in the heart. 

2. The second branch of the exhortation, to those yet in a natural con- 

1. Endeavour to be sensible of your natural impotence. Be deeply hum- 
bled at the feet of God, strip yourselves (as much as in you lies) of the 
conceitedness of reason and pride of will. Every man is born with high 
conceits of himself and his own power ; it being a natural evil, should cost us 
the deeper humiliations. Consider yourselves by nature under the dominion 
of sin, the demerit of wrath, the curse of the law, the hatred of God, and a 
feebleness to help yourselves in this wretched condition. View yourselves 
often in the glass of the law, bring the spiritual word and the carnal heart 
together, and behold the beauty of the one and deformity of the other ; let 
all the nasty corners of the heart come under the examination of that purity, 
and then let the carnal mind hang down at the thoughts of your inability to 
frame yourselves according to a spiritual law. The view of our natural con- 
dition cannot work regeneration in us, but it is some kind of preparation 
towards it. ' The law is a schoolmaster to drive to Christ,' Gal. iii. 24. It 
works not this grace, but it fires a man out of himself, shews him how much 
he differs from the holiness of God, and is an occasion for casting about and 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 2-45 

looking after some remedy, whereby he may be made like to God, and of 
earnest crying for the showers of grace. Be sensible also of your contrariety 
to the grace of God ; our wilfulness against it is worse than our emptiness 
of it. God ' will teach the bumble his ways,' Ps. xxv. 9, those that are sen- 
sible of their own insufficiency to guide themselves. 

2. Make use of the power you have. Man (as hath been shewn) hath 
some power by those restored relics of nature. There is no plea therefore 
to lie snorting upon a bed of sluggishness. We must not expect a divine 
assistance will fly to us from heaven while we play the sluggards. Though 
God doth rouse up some on the sudden, before any previous act of their 
wills, yet we must not expect God will use the same methods to all. Our 
own power must be stiri-ed up and exerted as much as may be. To be faith- 
ful in a little is the way to be made ruler over much. Though the top of 
nature cannot merit grace, yet if nature struggles to come to the top it may 
find an invisible hand helping it up step by step. The damnation of most 
men will not be for the fault of their first parents, but for the abuse of their 
own power, the perverseness of their wills, and neglect of what they might 
have done towards the seeking of God. Though Moses had a promise of 
victory over Amalek, yet Joshua must fight, and the Israelites stand to their 
arms. God saves not men in ways encouraging their laziness. ' The slug- 
gard desires and hath nothing ; but the soul of the diligent shall be made 
fat,' Prov. xiii. 4. The sluggard hath nothing but lazy wishes, not active 
endeavours. If it be not worth the having, why do you desire it ? If it be 
worth the desiring, why not worth the seeking ? 

(1.) Avoid those sins you have power to avoid. Every sin, though never 
so little, doth increase our weakness, as every wound doth the distemper of 
the body. It makes us weigh down towards the centre of sin. Every grain 
cast into the scale makes it the more unable to rise, As a virtue which is 
risen to that height that it cannot degenerate into vice is most worthy of 
praise, so the vice that possesses the soul so deeply as to incapacitate it to 
the doing good, being contracted by ourselves, is the more worthy of wrath. 

(2.) Use the means appointed" by God. Though we are torches which 
cannot light ourselves, yet we may bring ourselves to the word, which may 
both melt and kindle us. Though the giving rain and the increasing the 
fruits of the earth be from God, yet no man ever held ploughing, and sow- 
ing, and pruning unnecessary. The work of grace is the work of the Spirit, 
who is a ' wind which blows where it lists,' John iii. 8. But may we not 
wait for those gales ? May we not spread our sails and watch for the suc- 
cessful breathings ? How do you know but whilst you are waiting upon 
God in an humble posture, God may unlock your hearts, and pour in the 
treasures of his grace ? Acts x. 44, ' While Peter yet spake these words, the 
Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.' If you will not harden 
your hearts to-day, God may soften your hearts to-day : Heb. iii. 15, ' To- 
day, if you will hear his voice.' These are the times wherein God parleys 
with the soul, and inclines it to the happy surrender. Though the power is 
God's, as the water is the fountain's, yet he hath appointed the channels of 
his ordinances through which to convey it : ' Ministers by whom you be- 
lieved,' 1 Cor. iii. 5. The gospel begets instrumentally, God principally, 
1 Cor. iv. 15. God calls by the gospel, 2 Thes. ii. 14. As God is the 
governor of the world, yet it is by instruments and second causes, which he 
clasps together to bring about his own designs. He that doth not use these 
means may fear that God will never work savingly upon him, for it is an 
utter refusing any acceptance of this grace, or anything tending to it. This 
is to be peremptory, never to do ourselves any good, or receive any from 

246 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

God. Iii despising the means, you despise the goodness of God. As God 
gave up the heathens to themselves, because they were ' unthankful,' Rom. 
i. 21, for that light of nature and means which they had, so if we use the 
means of the gospel with thankfulness to God, God may give himself up to 
us. But by neglect of them we take the larger strides to destruction, and 
the same dreadful sentence may be pronounced against us as against them 
in Ezek. xxiv. 13, ' Because I have purged thee,' that is, offered thee means 
whereby thou mightest have been purged, ' and thou wast not purged, thou 
shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more ; but in thy filthiness thou 
shalt die.' The using the means afforded by God hath a common illumina- 
tion, and a ' taste of the heavenly gift ' attending it, Heb. vi. 4. 

[1.] Use the means fervently, with as much ardour as you set upon 
anything of worldly concern ; do it with all your might, since the eternal 
blessedness of your soul depends upon it : Eccles. ix. 10, ' Whatsoever thy 
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' Stir up your souls to hear and 
meditate, as David doth to bless : Ps. ciii. 1, 2, ' Bless the Lord, my 
soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.' Employ all your 
faculties in this useful work ; bring your hearts as near to the word as you 
can, screw up your affections to what you meditate upon, check your 
hearts when they begin to rove. Consider your own particular case in 
anything you hear; and let the word be as a delightful picture in the view of 
your minds continually ; let every evangelical object excite your inbred 

[2.] Use the means dependent!]) . Objective proposals are not useless, 
because God hath ordained them ; though they are not always successful, 
unless God doth influence them. The means do not work naturally, as a 
plaster cures a wound, or a hatchet cleaves wood; nor necessarily, as fire 
burns ; for then they should produce the same effects in all, as fire doth in 
combustible matter; but as God pleases to accompany them with his grace, 
and edge them with efficacy, they must be used with an eye to God, build- 
ing with one hand, and wrestling with God with the other. Men speed best 
in ordinances as they strive in prayer. There are promises to plead before 
you come to hear: Exod. xx. 24, ' In all places where I record my name, I 
will come unto thee, and bless thee.' The promise was made to the whole 
nation of Israel, the visible church, therefore pleadable by every one of them ; 
and fix it upon your hearts, that as the death of Christ only takes away the 
guilt of sin, so the grace of Christ only takes away the life of sin, and the 
death of nature. 

3. Pray earnestly. Entreat God to send his grace; beg of him to issue 
out a divine force, and a quickening pow T er, to enlighten your minds, incline 
your wills. Lie at his feet, groan, wait till this work be wrought in your 
soul. How do you know, but while you are looking up to God, God may come 
down to you ? Can a man be wounded, and not cry for plasters ? Can he 
be shipwrecked and not cry out for some vessel to relieve him ? Let such 
a voice frequently issue from you, ' "What shall I do to be saved ? ' Is there 
no balm for a wounded soul, no hope for a distressed sinner, no city of 
refuge for one pursued by wrath and vengeance ? Do you pray for daily 
bread ? Why do you not for special grace ? Are there no rational pleas 
you can urge ? Is there not a fulness of arguments in the word ? Why do 
you not then use those arguments God hath put into your hands ? Why do 
you not spread his own word before him? Put him in mind how his 
thoughts were busy about the work of redemption, and that the regeneration 
you desire of him was the great end of that, and a thing pleasing to him ? 
Why do you not reason with God, to what purpose he sent his Spirit into 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 247 

the world, but to do this work in the hearts of men which you are now soli- 
citing him for ; and that you come not to beg any alms of him, but what he 
freely offers himself ? You may daily read such arguments in the word, 
where a revelation is made of them ; you may daily plead them : if you do 
not, it is not your cannot, but your will not. Cry out of the blind eyes you 
cannot unscale, the iron sinew you cannot bend, the false heart that will 
not go right, and the fallen nature which cannot reach so high as a holy 
thought. Surely God will not be deaf to the natural prayers of his rational 
creatures put up to him with a natural integrity, no more than he is to the 
cries of animals, to the voice of the lion seeking for his prey, into whose 
mouth he puts, by his providence, what may satisfy it. God gives the Spirit 
to them that ask him ; not to the idle, lazy, and peevish resister of him and 
his grace. If you have power to regenerate yourselves, why do you not do 
it ? If you have not, why do you not seek it ? Is the way of heaven shut 
to you ; or rather, do you not shut your own hearts against it ? Have you 
sought it earnestly, and can you say God denies it you? No man can say 
so ; there is a promise for it : James iv. 8, ' Draw near to God, and he will 
draw near to you ; ' he speaks it to sinners, as it follows, ' Cleanse your 
hands, you sinners.' You can pray for other mercies, why not principally 
for this particular determination of your wills to God, above all other things ? 
Lord, give me to will and to do. Never leave off praying till God hath 
crowned your petitions with success ; and be encouraged to seek to him, whose 
great business in the world was to destroy the works of the devil, whose prin- 
cipal work was the spiritual death of man. If you have such earnest desires 
in your souls, that you would rather have it than the whole world, and 
esteem it above all worldly wealth or honours, be of good comfort, some of 
the rubbish of nature is removed ; the steams of such desires shall be welcome 
to God, and the Spirit's commission shall be renewed to breathe further 
upon your souls. Desire as vehement as hunger and thirst shall be satis- 
fied, if our blessed Saviour's promise be true, who never deceived any, or 
broke his word : Mat. v. 6, ' Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after 
righteousness : for they shall be filled.' A fulness attends a sense of empti- 
ness, accompanied with hungering desires. But I am afraid few people put 
up their petitions to God for it ; that I may say, as Daniel of his nation, 
' all this evil ' of unrighteousness and sin is ' come upon us ' by our depraved 
natures ; ' yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we 
might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth,' Dan. ix. 13. 

4. Nourish every motion and desire you find in your hearts towards it. 
Have you not sometimes motions to go to the throne of grace, and beg 
renewing grace of God ? Do you not find such tugs and pulls in your con- 
sciences ? Is there not something within you spurs you on ? Kick not 
against it, nor resist it, no, nor smother any spark of an honest desire in your 
hearts ; be constant observers of lessons, your natural consciences, or what- 
ever any other principle set you. Natural notions are not so blotted, but they 
remain legible ; would men be more inward with themselves, than abroad 
with the objects of sense, which draw their minds from pondering that deca- 
logue writ in their souls. There is not the wickedest man under the gospel, 
but hath sometimes more bright irradiations in his conscience than at other 
times, but they are damped by a noisome sensuality; he hath some velleities 
and heavings, some strugglings against the solicitations of unrighteousness, 
some assents upon the presenting of virtue ; for as grace is not always so 
powerful in a good man as to stifle temptation, so neither is corruption so 
powerful in a wicked man as always to beat back those motions to good 
which rise up in his soul, whether he will or no. As the law of the mind is 

248 chaenock's wokks. [John I. 13. 

not always so sovereign in a gracious man, but that it is affronted by the law 
of the members, so neither is the law of the memhers so absolute in a wicked 
man, but that it is somewhat checked by the law of nature in the mind. 
Are there not upon hearing the word, or reflecting upon yourselves, some 
wishings, some inward velleities which partake of reason, and the nature 
of that faculty which represents the necessity of it to you? As there is some 
kind of weak knowledge left in us since the fall, there is also something of a 
weak desire. Cannot these desires be improved and represented to God ? 
Why is not the grace of God fulfilled in you ? Because you persevere not 
in these desires, you quench the sparks of the Spirit, and willingly give 
admission to Satan to chase them out. Shut not your eyes then against 
any light, either without or within you, which may provoke God to withdraw 
this grace from you. How do you know but, upon using the means, praying 
earnestly, observing inward motions, God may give you an actual regenera- 
tion ? The neglect of these is a just reason for God to refuse you any 
further gift; and may take off all things which you may think to bring against 
him in your own defence. The use of them hath been beneficial to many, 
and no example can ever be brought, that God hath condemned any that 
conscientiously used the means of salvation. Therefore I say again, if any 
man use the means, pray earnestly for this grace, observe the motions of the 
Spirit in him, he will not want a superadded grace from an infinitely good, 
tender, and merciful God. 



Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of 
man, but of God. — John I. 13. 

Two doctrines were raised from these words. 

1. That man, in all his capacities, is too weak to produce the work of 
regeneration in himself. 

This I have despatched, and now proceed to the 

2d Doct. God alone is the prime efficient cause of regeneration. 

It is subjectively in the creature, efficiently from God. Ezekiel's dry bones 
met not together of their own accord, Ezek. xxxvii. 5, 6, or by chance, but 
were gathered by God, and inspired with life ; and not only the last act of 
life, but the whole formation of them in every part, he doth particularly own 
as the act of his own power. And doing every part of it by degrees, they 
should know, by that admirable work upon them, that he was God : ' I will 
cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews 
upon you, and will bring flesh upon you, and cover you with skin ; and you 
shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.' This work doth as much 
discover the glory of his deity, and speaks him God in a more illustrious 
manner than the creation of the world. We know him to be the Lord Je- 
hovah by his creation of the world ; but a clearer knowledge of him in his 
power is added by his regeneration of the soul. The sinews, flesh, skin, all 
the preparations to grace, are from God, as all the preparations of that mass 
of clay for the breath of life in Adam were from the power of God, as well as 
the living soul itself. Most do understand it of the recovery of the Jews from 
the captivity of Babylon ; but certainly it hath a higher import, and respects 
the time of the gospel, and the renewing of life in the soul of all the Israel 
of God. (1.) Because the prophecy extends further than the two tribes cap- 
tivated in Babylon ; for, verse 11, the bones are said to be ' the whole house 
of Israel,' who despaired of ever seeing any good, complaining that their 
bones were dried : ver. 11, • Our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts.' 
Which could not be rationally the complaint of the Jews, who had a promise 
that, after seventy years' captivity, they should return, and therefore their 

250 chap.nock's works. [John I. 18. 

case was not so desperate. (2.) Because, verse 14, he speaks of ' putting 
his Spirit into them;' meaning thereby that work he had spoken of in the 
former chapter, Ezek. xxxvi. 7, which certainly, being a covenant of grace, 
respected the times of the gospel. If it be said that it is meant of forming 
the church, it must also be meant of forming every member of it, since 
the least member of Adam was formed by God, as well as the whole body. 
Certainly, if renewed men, after some great falls, having still the root of 
habitual grace in them, cry to God, out of a sense of their own insufficiency, 
for the creating a clean heart, as David doth, Ps. li. 10, ' Create in me a 
clean heart, God, and renew a right spirit within me ;' if he then, who 
had this root remaining, and had some sparks which presently were blown 
up upon Nathan's speech to him, cries out for a new creation, what need 
hath he then of an almighty breath who hath not any warm ashes of grace 
or any one string of a spiritual root in his soul ! Whatsoever, therefore, is 
holy, good, and spiritual in us, we owe to the new-creating grace of God. 
All graces are his p^ae/V/xara, his free donatives, over and above his common 
largesses to nature, a present from his infinite liberality. 
I shall shew, 

I. That God is the efficient. 

II. That it is necessary he should be so. 

III. From what principles in God it flows. 

IV. How God doth it. 

V. The use of it. 

I. That God is the efficient. 

1. God doth always appropriate this work to himself. 

(1.) In the first promise, Gen. iii. 15, 'I will put enmity,' &c. In which 
promise is included the whole work of redemption, and new creating man 
under another head, with another nature, which should not comply with the 
designs of Satan, or gratify the great enemy of God and mankind by un- 
ravelling the work of God, and subjecting himself to misery. It was neces- 
sary to our happiness that the league between Satan and us should be broken, 
that we should turn to God, hate the works of the devil, and join with the 
interest which Satan endeavoured to overthrow. And God promises that 
he would do it ; he challengeth it as his own work : ' I will put enmity ;' 
he leaves it not to men or angels to begin this hostility. Every one, there- 
fore, that is at a true variance with Satan is ' God's workmanship, created 
in Christ,' by a second creation, as well as he was created to a natural life 
in Adam by the first creation, and ' created to good works, that he may walk 
in them,' Eph. ii. 10. That is, is fashioned by God to walk in ways con- 
trary to those of Satan, which is the greatest enmity we can express to the 
devil, who envied God a service from the holiness of Adam's nature. And 
Satan having made that conquest, and gained man to be his friend, it is not 
easy to conceive how any lower power could unfasten this knot, and set them 
at variance, since the devil had both wit enough to humour man and strength 
enough to keep him. 

(2.) In the times of the gospel. No less than seven times I will he doth 
affix to his promise of the covenant, as hath been observed before, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 25-27. What seed was left to keep up the name of God among the 
Jews was of his begetting : Rom. ix. 29, ' Except the Lord of Sabaoth had 
left us a seed,' cited out of Isa. i. 9. Their standing was not their act, but 
God's : and 1 Kings xix. 18, ' I have left me seven thousand, all the knees 
that have not bowed to Baal.' Others were left to themselves ; these were 
signally wrought upon by his grace. Others are but instruments ; God is 
the principal agent in all the seed of the church scattered in the whole earth : 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 251 

Hosea ii. 23, 'I will sow her to me in the earth,' alluding to the name 
Jezreel, which signifies the seed of God. If ever the sons of Japhet/ dwell 
in the tents of Shem,' it must be by God's ' persuasion,' Gen. ix. 27. The 
word rendered enlarge signifies to allure. The Spirit of grace is of God's 
effusion, Zech. xii. 10 ; it is God's pouring out a Spirit of grace on them 
before their looking up to God. (Where, by the way, observe a signal tes- 
timony of the deity of Christ ; ' They shall look upon me whom they have 
pierced ;' he that pours upon them the Spirit of grace is he whom they 
pierced, which was the Lord Jehovah, verse 8 ; for where in your Bibles 
Lord is written in great letters, the Hebrew word there is Jehovah; the 
highest name of God is here attiibuted to Christ.) And even in the last 
times he will still be the only agent in it. When God speaks of the Jews' 
dispersion, under which they are at this day, he owns this work upon their 
hearts at last to be an act of his own power and of covenant mercy : Deut. 
xxx. 6, ' The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart,' &c, which some of 
the Jews understand of the time of the Messiah. God will challenge this 
work as his own right to the end of the world. 

2. Christ appropriates it to God, and acknowledges it to depend only 
upon his will. Had any other cause been in conjunction with God, our 
Saviour would not have deprived it of its due praise, nor with so much 
thankfulness and amazement admired the gracious pleasure of his Father 
as he did, — Mat. xi. 25, ' At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, 

Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even so. 
Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,' — at that time, after he had 
been discoursing of the judgments upon them for their refusal of the gospel, 
worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. It was God's pleasure not to reveal it 
to them, and God's justice to punish them for refusal, because they 
wilfully refused it. The outward teaching was to all in the ministry of 
Christ, the inward revelation only to few according to the good pleasure of 
God. Christ was the outward teacher, but God the inward inspirer. That 
others are not renewed by him is not because he cannot, for he is Lord of 
heaven and earth, but because he will renew some and not others. Our 
Saviour refers it here only to the good pleasure of God ; he had erred much 
in ascribing it to God, if he had had the assistance of any other cause. Why 
this part of the clay he had created was formed into the body of Adam and 
not another, had no other cause but his pleasure ; why this part of corrupted 
Adam is formed into a temple, a divine image, and not another, can be 
ascribed to no other but the same cause. He that formed Adam in the 
earthly paradise, forms every believer in the church, the spiritual paradise, 
and neither hath a co-worker nor motive without himself. 

3. The Scripture everywhere appropriates it to God. They are there- 
fore called his saints, Ps. xxxiv. 9, as being sanctified by him as well as 
belonging to him, 'his people,' 'the branch of his planting,' 'the work of 
his hands,' peculiarly his, as being created for his glory, ' that I may be 
plorified,' Isa. Ix. 21. Their fitness by grace for glory is the work of his 
hands. The vessels of wrath are fitted for destruction, not by God, but by 
themselves, Rom. ix. 22. But the vessels of mercy are prepared by him, 
ver. 23, ' He had before prepared unto glory.' Adam lost himself, but who- 
soever of his posterity are recovered are ' wrought by God for glory,' 1 Cor. v. 5. 
It is observable that the apostle ascribes this in the whole frame of it to God : 

1 Cor. i. 30, 'But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto 
us wisdom, righteousness,' &c, because he would remove all cause of boast- 
ing in the creature. He did not only set forth Christ at first as a principle 

252 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

of righteousness, and redemption, and sanctification, but engrafted in him, 
whosoever is in him, for the enjoyment of those privileges, and made him not 
only in general to the world, but to us, in the particular application, a prin- 
ciple of sanctification as well as righteousness. Union with Christ, en- 
grafting in him, new creation, putting into another state, are all purely the 
work of God. He hath no sharer in it. As Christ trod the wine-press 
alone in the work of redemption, so God engrafts men alone into this vine. 
As Christ was the sole worker of redemption, so is God the sole worker of 
regeneration. In him we are created, but solely by God's skill ; Christ the 
vine, and believers the branches, the one planted and the other engrafted by 
the same husbandman, John xv. 1, 2 ; he only planted and dressed Christ 
for us, he only plants and dresseth us in Christ. It is * by his own will,' 
not any other, that ' he begat us,' James i. 18. ' Of his own will,' his own 
good pleasure was the motive, his own strength the efficient. Hence he is 
called ' the Father of spirits,' Heb. xii. 9, not so much (as some interpret 
it, and that most probably) as he is the Father of souls by creation, as by 
regeneration, which adds a greater strength to the apostle's argument for 
submission to him and patience under his strokes. He keeps in his own 
hand the keys of the heart, no less than the key of the womb, which was 
alway acknowledged to be in the hands of God. It is with this prerogative 
of God that Jacob silenceth Rachel, when she so impatiently cried out for 
children, as if she had a resolution to kill herself if she had them not, with 
this, ' Am I in God's stead ? ' Gen. xxx. 1, 2. He only opens the womb of 
the soul as well as that of the body, impregnates it with grace, and brings 
forth the fruit of holy actions, as Philo in his allegory descants upon the 
place. The Jews perhaps meant no less in that saying in their Cabala,* 
Abraham had not had Isaac if a letter of the name of God had not been 
added to his name ; the power of God, a letter of his name, must go to 
regeneration. It is appropriated to none but God in Scripture : to the 
whole Trinity, without the conjunction of any creature ; to the Father as 
the author, therefore called ' Our Father ; ' to Christ, as the pattern ; to 
the Spirit, as the inspirer of that grace whereby we are made the sons of 
God. The very heathen have acknowledged this ; some philosophers have 
affirmed, that the great virtue, wherein they placed the happiness of man, 
could not be had but by the favour of God, and all thought their heroes to 
be born of their gods. 

And the Scripture affirms that, 

(1.) All preparations to this work, as well as the work itself, are of God. 
The removing indispositions, and the putting in good inclinations, is the 
work of the same hand ; the taking away the heart of stone, as well as the 
giving a heart of flesh. He removes the rubbish as well as rears the build- 
ing ; razeth out the old stamp and imprints a new ; destroys sin, which is 
called the old man, and restores the new by the quickening of the Spirit. 
The preparations of the dust of the ground to become a human body, had 
the same author as the divine soul wherewith he was inspired. 

(2.) All the parts of the new creature are of God. Faith, which is the 
principal part of it, is < the faith of the operation of God,' Col. ii. 12 ; not 
but that love and other graces are wrought by God, but in this grace, which 
is a constitutive part of the new creature, God comes in with a greater 
irradiation upon the soul, because it hath not one fragment or point in 
nature to stand upon, carnal reason and mere moral righteousness being 
enemies to it, whereas all other graces are but the rectifying the passions, 
and setting them upon right objects. Yet all these, too, own him as the 
* Nisi nomini Abraham, litera He addita fuisset, Abraham non generasset. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 253 

author. Our knowledge of God is a light growing from his knowledge of 
us ; ' we know God ' because we ' are known of him,' Gal. iv. 9. The 
elective act of our wills is but a fruit of his choice of us : John xv. 16, ' You 
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you ; ' our willing of him is a birth 
of his willing us, our love a spark kindled by his love to us. God first calls 
us my people, before any of us call him my Cod, Hosea ii. 23. The moon 
shines not upon the sun till it be first illuminated by it. God first shines 
upon us before we can reflect upon him ; he calls us before we can speak to 
him in his own dialect ; our coming is an effect of his drawing, and our 
power of coming an effect of his quickening. Every member in Adam was 
a fruit of his power, as well as the whole body ; every line drawn in the 
new creature is done by his pencil as well as the whole frame. 

(3.) The acts of the new creature. God doth not only give us the habit 
of faith, but the act of faith : Philip, i. 29, ' Unto you it is given in the behalf 
of Christ, not only to believe, but also to suffer for his sake.' By believing 
is meant the act of believing, as by suffering is meant not only the power of 
suffering, but actual suffering ; as the fruits upon the trees at the first crea- 
tion were created as well as the tree which had a power to bear. The very 
attention of Lydia to the gospel preached by Paul was wrought by God, as 
well as the opening of her heart, Acts xvi. 14. Our walking in his statutes 
is a fruit of his grace, as well as the putting in his Spirit to enable us there- 
unto. The very act of motion is made by the head and heart ; if there be 
a failing of spirits there, if any obstruction that they cannot reach the indi- 
gent part, the motion ceaseth. David acknowledged God his continual 
strength in his holy pursuits, ' My soul follows hard after thee,' Ps. lxiii. 8. 
But what was the cause ? ' Thy right hand upholds me.' His life and 
power issued out from the right hand of God. The graces of God's people 
stand in need of the irradiations of God, like the Urim and Thummim, 
before any counsel could be given by them. 

(4.) The continuance both of the power and acts are from God. Habitual 
grace is called the • fear of the Lord ' put into the soul ; the continuance of 
it is by his constant sustentation, it is that we may not depart from him, 
Jer. xxxii. 40, ' from upon him,' from leaning upon him, or believing in 
him, as the word vJJO imports. If that fear put in did once depart from 
us, we should no longer cleave to God ; we stick to him only because he 
ties us to himself, and cannot be continually with him unless he ' holds us 
by his right hand,' Ps. lxxiii. 23. The grace that is wrought, as well as 
the gospel which instrumentally wrought it, is ' kept by the Holy Ghost,' 
2 Tim. i. 14 ; he begins every good work, and he performs it. He was the 
sole active cause in the creation of the faculties, and the principal cause in 
preserving them ; he is the sole cause of the elevation of the faculties, and 
the preservation of them in that elevated state. As the virtue of the load- 
stone is not only the cause of the first attraction of the steel, but of its con- 
stant adhesion, therefore it is said : 1 Cor. i. 21, that ' God doth establish 
us,' not hath done, to note the continual influence of his grace upon us. 
It was the dropping of the two olive trees that constantly fed the lamps in 
the candlesticks, Zech. iv. 2, 3. Take this new birth in all the denomina- 
tions of it, it is altogether ascribed to God. As it is a call out of the world, 
God is the herald, 2 Tim. i. 9 ; as it is a creation, God is the creator, Eph. 
ii. 10 ; as it is a resurrection, God is the quickener, Eph. ii. 5 ; as it is a 
new birth, God is the begetter, 1 Peter i. 3 ; as it is a new heart, God is the 
framer, Ezek. xxxvi. 26 ; as it is a law in the heart, God is the penman, 
Jer. xxxi. 33 ; as it is a translation out of Satan's kingdom, and making us 
denizens of the kingdom of Christ, God is the translator, Col. i. 13 ; as it 

254 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

is a coming to Christ, God is the drawer, John vi. 44 ; as it is a turning to 
God, God is the attracter. 

II. The second thing ; it is necessary God should be the efficient of re- 
generation. He is, or none. 

In regard of God. 

1. As he is the first cause of all things. He is the creator of the lowest 
worm, and the highest angel ; the glimmering perfections of the least fly, as 
well as the more glittering eminencies of the angelical nature, are distinct 
beams from that fountain of light and power. Shall not he then be the cause 
of the divine motions of the will, as well as of the natural motions of the 
creatures ? Every perfection in a rational creature, or any other, supposeth 
that perfection to be somewhere essentially ; every impression supposeth a 
stamp that made it, every stream a fountain from whence it sprang, every 
beam a sun, or some lucid body from whence it darts. Whence should this 
gracious work then be derived ? Not from nature, which is contrary to it ; 
not from Satan, who is destroyed by it. It must be then from God, since 
it must have some stable and perfect cause. He who was the cause of all 
the grace in the head is also the cause of all the grace in the members. The 
same sun that enlightens the heavens enlightens the earth. The grace that 
Christ had was ' the gift of God,' John iii. 34, much more must it be his 
gift to us, though we had souls as capacious as his. If the head derived not 
his grace to himself, the members cannot ; for Christ being a creature, in 
regard of his humanity, must necessarily be dependent ; for to make any 
creature independent upon God is to advance it above the degree of a crea- 
ture-state, and make it God's fellow, yea, to have a godhead in itself, as 
being the first principle of its own being. To say any creature can move 
to God, without being moved by God, or live without his influence, is to 
make the creature independent on God in its operations ; and if it be inde- 
pendent in its operations, it would be so consequently in its essence ;* 
besides, if it be not created by him, it may subsist without him, it stands in 
no need of his quickening. The believers in Scripture were very unadvised 
then to pray to God for his quickening and establishing grace, if he were 
not the enlivener and author of it. His power works in preservation as well 
as creation, John v. 17, and whatsoever is dependent on him in preservation 
is dependent on him in creation and the first framing. And if it doth not 
depend upon him in preservation, it is not his creature, but it is a god. All 
creatures have a dependence upon something immediately superior to them. 
The moon receives her light and chief beauty from the sun, which else would 
be but a dusky body ; the earth its influence from the heavens. In artificial 
things the little wheels in a watch depend upon the greater, that upon the 
string,! that in its motion upon the hand that winds it up. The higher any 
creature is, the more immediately it depends upon God in its production ; the 
waters brought forth the fish, but God himself formed man. 

2. As he is the promiser of it. The divine promise is only fulfilled by 
a divine operation, it is necessary then for the honour of his truth to be the 
performer of it. All his promises concerning this matter run in that strain, 
I will : Hosea ii. 19, ' I will betroth thee to me for ever ; I will betroth thee 
to me in righteousness, in judgment, in loving-kindness, and in mercy : I 
will even betroth# thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the 
Lord.' The Lord promise th by this of knowing him all gracious works upon 
the soul, regeneration, faith, &c, for this knowledge is an effect of the 
covenant which God promises in that great copy of it : Jer. xxxi. 34, ' They 
shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.' It is not a simple 

* Sicut quid se habet in operando, sic et in essendo. f Qu. ' spring ' ? — Ed. 

John I. 13. J the efficient of regeneration. 255 

abstracted knowledge, for so the devils know God, and Christ crucified, but 
such a knowledge that implies faith and love, and a new frame of soul. It 
is necessary his power should make good what his goodness hath promised. 
It was not necessary any word of promise should go out of his mouth, there 
was no engagement upon God to do it, but it is necessary this promise should 
be performed ; though he were free before he promised, yet he is not free 
after he hath promised, because his truth engageth him to perform it, and 
perform it as his own act, as much as his mercy moved him to promise it 
as his own act. As mercy made it, so his mercy is as pressing for the per- 
formance ; and there comes in a superadded obligation from that of his truth 
over and above his mercy, to perform it in the same manner he promised it, 
and in all the circumstances of it. So that, supposing (which cannot be 
supposed) that his mercy should repent of making it, he would not be true 
if he did not perform it ; besides, it consists not with his truth not to per- 
form that by himself which he hath promised by himself, nor with his wisdom 
to leave that to an uncertain cause at the best, and, further, a cause utterly- 
unable (as every creature is) to produce that which he had promised to do 
with his own hand, as the cleansing the soul, pouring clean water upon it, 
pouring out a spirit of grace, writing the law in the heart, which imply his 
own act principally in this affair, in concurrence with the means he hath 
ordained to that end. The performance of God's promise is as infallible as 
the cause that made the promise. No power can perform that for another 
which he promises himself to do ; for the thing itself may be done by another, 
yet not being done by the party promising to do it, it is not truly done, and 
in conformity to the promise made. If it were possible then to be done by 
any but a divine hand, it would not be done truly, because God promises it as 
his own act, and therefore the working it must be his own act in conformity 
to his truth. 

3. As he hath the foreknowledge of all things. It is necessary God 
should foreknow everything future, and that shall come to pass. This is a 
perfection necessarily belonging to God ; and to imagine the contrary is to 
frame an unworthy notion of God, and infinitely below the great creator 
and governor of the world. He therefore wills everything, for if he fore- 
knew anything before he willed it in itself, or in its necessary causes, he 
foreknew nothing. If he did not will it, how can it come to pass ? There- 
fore he did not foreknow that it would come to pass. If he did foreknow 
it, then he willed it, otherwise his foreknowledge depended upon an uncertain 
cause, and he might have judged that to come to pass which never might; 
unless the cause be determined by God, it is merely contingent. He willing 
therefore a work of grace in such and such persons, did foreknow that h 
would be wrought, because he did will that it should be, and his working is 
done by an act of his will : Rom. viii. 29, ' Whom he did foreknow, he did 
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.' The foreknowledge 
of God being stable and infallible, and being in this case a foreknowledge of 
what makes highly for the glory of all his attributes, can have no dependence 
upon an uncertain and fallible cause, but upon a cause as stable as his fore- 
knowledge, which is his will, himself. His foreknowledge of this is not a 
foreknowledge of it in any created cause, but in himself as the cause ; be- 
cause, as it will appear further, no created cause could accomplish it. 

In regard of the subject of this new birth. 

1. In regard of the subject simply considered, the heart and will of man, 
none can work upon it but God, or have any intrinsic influence to cause it to 
exercise its vital acts. Angels, though of a very vast power, cannot work 
immediately upon the heart and will of any other creature, to incline and 

256 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

change it, by an immediate touch. All that they can do towards any mov- 
ing the will, is by presenting some external objects, or stirring up the inward 
sensitive appetite to some passion, as anger, desire ; whereby the will is in- 
clined to will something. But the stirring up those natural affections in an 
unregenerate man, can never incline his will to good ; for being the affections 
of the flesh, they are to be crucified. Angels also may enlighten the under- 
standing, not immediately, but by presenting similitudes of sensible things, 
and confirming them in the fancy ; but to remove one ill habit from the will, 
or incline it to any good, is not in their power. God gave an angel power to 
purge the prophet's lips with a coal from the altar, Isa. vi. 6, 7 ; but that 
was done in a vision, and a symbol or sign only that his uncleanness was 
removed. A coal could have no virtue in it to purge spiritual pollutions 
from the spirit of a man. Neither can man change the will ; men by allure- 
ments or threats may change, or rather suspend the action of another, as a 
father that threatens to disinherit his son ; or a magistrate that threatens to 
punish a subject for his debauchery, may cause a change in the actions of 
such persons ; but the heart stands still to the same sinful points, and may 
be vicious under a fair disguise. He only that made the will, can incline 
and ' turn it as the rivers of waters ; the heart of the king is in the hands of 
the Lord,' Prov. xxi. 1, and so is every man's heart kept in the hands of him 
that created it, both cabinet and key.* No man knows the heart ; no, the 
heart itself knows not everything which is in it. God knows all the wards 
in the heart, and knows how to move it. If a man could turn the heart of 
another, it could only be in one or two points ; it cannot be conceived how 
he should alter the whole frame of it, make it quite another thing than it was 
before. The spirit of man being ' the candle of the Lord,' Prov. xx. 27, not 
to give light to him, but lighted by him, can only when it is out be re- 
lighted, and, when it burns dim, be snuffed by the same hand. Or, suppose 
for the present he could do this, it must be with much pains and labour, 
many exhortations and wise management of him upon several occasions. 
But to do this by a word, in a trice, to put a law into the heart in a moment, 
and give the hidden man of the heart possession of the will, that a man 
knows not himself how he came to be changed, this whole work bears the 
mark and stamp of God in the forehead of it. Men may propose arguments 
to another, and he may understand them if he hath a capacity, but no man 
can ever make another have a capacity who is naturally incapable ; it is God 
only can make the heart capable of understanding, he only can put a new 
instinct into it, and make it of another bent ; it is he that renews the spirit 
of the mind to enable it to understand what he doth propose, and elevates 
the faculty to apprehend the reason of it. 

2. In regard of the subject, extremely ill qualified. Can any question 
the divinity of the work, when stones are made children to Abraham ; when 
waters of repentance are drawn out of a hard rock ; Aaron's dry rod made 
to bud and blossom, and bring forth fruit, Num. vii. 8 ; when souls deeply 
allied to the kingdom of darkness are translated into the kingdom of light ? 
To see habits strengthened by custom, in a consumption, and hearts filled 
with multitudes of idols in several shapes, casting them out with indignation, 
and flourishing with new springing graces, it is too great a miracle to be 
wrought by the hand of any creature. Could anything but the arm of the 
Lord change the temper of the thief upon the cross, to advance further in 
the space of an hour in the kingdom of God, than all the apostles had done 
in the three years' converse with their Master ;f to confess him, when one of 
the most eminent of them had denied him ; to be more knowing in an instant, 
* 3-s7ov Ig-ri nufclv ru; if<ux*s. — Athanas. t Moulin. 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 257 

than they had been in a long time ; and acknowledge his spiritual kingdom, 
when they even after his resurrection, and just before his ascension, expected 
a temporal one ? Acts i. 6, ' Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to 
Israel ? ' If a Socrates, or a Cato, or those braver lights among the heathen, 
were turned to God, the interest of God in the work might upon some seem- 
ing ground be questioned ; but when the leviathans in sin, drunkards, ex- 
tortioners, adulterers, men guilty of the greatest contempt of God and tbe 
light of nature, in whom lust had kept a peaceable possession in its empire 
for many years, are thoroughly changed, who can doubt but that such 
must indeed be ' washed and sanctified by the Spirit of our God ' ? 1 Cor. 
vi. 11. What can this be but the will of God, since their hearts were so 
delightfully filled with evil, that they had no room nor love for any holy 
thought ? It is not conceivable that where sin hath made such a rout, 
and cut and slashed all morality in pieces, things should be set in order 
there, but by a power stronger both than sin and the law, from whence sin 
derives its strength. It is no less than a divine miracle to renew an habi- 
tuated sinner. 

(3.) In regard of the nature of this new birth. It is a change of nature ; 
a nature where there was as little of spiritual good as there was of being in 
nothing before the creation. It is a change of stone into flesh ; a heart that 
like a stone hath a hardness and settledness of sinful parts, a strong resistance 
against any instrument, an incorporation of sin and lust with its nature. 
Where the heart and sin, self and sin, are cordially one and the same, none 
can change such a nature but the God of all grace, who hath all grace to 
contest with all the power of old Adam. No man can change the nature of 
xhe meanest creature in the world ; he may tame them, bring them to part 
with some of their wildness, but he cannot transform them. If no man can 
transform the lowest creature from one nature to another, much less can any 
but God transform man into another nature. 

This nature is changed in every believer; for it is impossible a man should 
stand bent to Christ, with his old nature predominant in him, any more than 
a pebble can be attracted by a loadstone, till it put on the nature of steel. 
An unrighteous nature cannot act righteously, it must therefore be a God, 
who is above nature, that can clothe the soul with a new nature, and incline 
it to God and goodness in its operations. Now to see a lump of vice become 
a model of virtue ; for one that drank in iniquity like water, to change that 
sinful thirst for another for righteousness ; to crucify his darling flesh ; to be 
weary of the poison he loved for the purity he hated ; to embrace the gospel 
terms, which not his passion but his nature abhorred ; to change his hating 
of duty to a free-will offering of it ; to make him cease from a loathing the 
obligations of the law, to a longing to come up to the exactness of it ; to 
count it a burden to have the thoughts at a distance from God, when before 
it was a burden to have one serious thought fixed on him, speaks a super- 
natural grace transcendently attractive and powerfully operative. Heavy 
elements do not ascend against their own nature, unless they be drawn by 
some superior force. To see a soul weighed down to the earth, to be lifted 
up to heaven, must point us to a greater than created strength that caused 
the elevation. These acts are supernatural, and cannot be done by a natural 
cause ; that is, against the order of working in all things, for then the effect, 
as an effect, would be more noble than its cause. 

(4.) In regard of the suddenness of it. Peter and Andrew were called 
when they thought of nothing but their nets ; and Paul changed by a word 
or two, who before was not only unwilling, but rebellious. Some have gone 

258 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

into a church wolves, and returned lamhs. This change comes upon some 
that never dreamt of it, and hath snatched them out of the arms of hell ; 
upon others who have resisted with all their might any motion that way, and 
were never greater enemies to any, than to those that would check their sin- 
ful pleasures with such admonitions ; and yet these have been on the sudden 
surprised. What ground is there to ascribe any of this, but to a divine work ? 
Many have dropped in unto a sermon with no intention to stay, who have 
felt God's hook in their souls ; have leaped like fish out of their element for 
a while, and God hath catched them in his hand. Have you never heard of 
some who have gone to make sport with a convincing sermon, or to satisfy 
lust with unclean glances, who bave been made prisoners by grace before 
their return ? This quickness of the soul in coming to Christ was promised 
to be the fruit of the gospel : Hosea iii. 5, ' They shall fear the Lord and 
his goodness,' when they should ' seek the Lord and David their king.' The 
word "1HD signifies not only to fear, but to hasten ; both significations may 
be joined together in the sense of the verse. They shall make haste to fear 
the Lord and his goodness ; surely the power that performs it, is the same 
with the goodness which promised it. Thus some of the disciples have fol- 
lowed Christ at the first call, and moved readily to him, as iron to the load- 
stone. For a man that was at a great distance from God, and any affection 
to him, to be filled on the sudden with a warm love and zeal for him, when 
nothing of interest could engage him (and sometimes it hath been with loss 
of friends, estate, }"ea, life too), is as great a discovery of a divine hand, as if 
a fly were changed into the shape and spirit of a hero ; because a spiritual 
change is more admirable than a natural ; and the more by how much the, 
enmity, which was greater, is driven out, for a choice affection to rise up in 
its stead. The season when such a work is wrought is more significant of a 
divine force, when men have been in the heat and strength of the pursuit of 
their sinful pleasures, being then torn out of the embracements of lust with 
an outstretched arm of God. 

(5.) In regard of the excellency of the new birth. Is it reasonable to think 
that the image of God should be wrought by any other hand than the hand 
of God, or the divine nature be begotten by anything but the divine Spirit ? 
Since none but man can beget a child in his own likeness, none but God can 
impart to a soul the divine nature. It is not a change only into the image 
of God with slight colours, an image drawn as with charcoal; but a glorious 
image even in the rough draught, which grows up into greater beauty by the 
addition of brighter colours. ' Changed,' saith the apostle, 2 Cor. iii. 18, 
• into the same image from glory to glory ; ' glory in the first lineaments as 
well as glory in the last lines. Is it not too beautiful then, even in the first 
draught, to be wrought by any pencil but a divine ? It is next to the for- 
mation of Christ, for it is an initial conformity to him. God is the fountain 
of all our good things. If ' every good and perfect gift comes from him,' 
James i. 17, shall not the best of beings be the author of the best of works? 
If believers are \ light in the Lord,' Eph. v. 8, they are no less light from 
him and by him who is the ' Father of lights.' It is a ' heavenly calling,' 
Heb. iii. 1, therefore a heavenly birth. The new T heart, the spiritual house 
wherein God dwells, as well as in the heavens, was not made with a less 
power and skill than the earth, which is his footstool, or the heaven, which 
is his throne. If none be able to make God a footstool, much less a throne, 
as Jerusalem, the church, is called in the times of the gospel, Jer. iii. 17. 
(The embroideries and ornaments of the material tabernacle were not made 
by common art, but by a Bezaleel inspired by the Spirit of God, Exod. 
xxxi. 3) ; can any but himself rear up a temple for the God of heaven to 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 259 

dwell in ? 1 Cor. iii. 9. Or is the spiritual house of God fit to be made by 
any but by that God that dwells in it ? It was according to the image of 
God that we were first created ; it is according to the image of Christ that 
we are new created, Rom. viii. 29. Who understands the image of the Son 
but the Father ? Who knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the 
Son will reveal him ? The new creature, according to the copy, can only be 
wrought by him to whom the copy is only visible. It is for the honour of 
God to allow him to be the framer of all creatures in the rank of beings. Is 
it not a dishonour to him not to acknowledge him the framer of the new 
creature in the rank of spiritual beings, since the later is more excellent than 
the treasures of the earth or the stars of heaven, than body or soul; since 
the image of God consists not so much in the substance of the soul as in a 
likeness to God in a holy nature ? Eph. iv. 24. To be a righteous regene- 
rate man is more excellent than to be a man ; the most glorious effect, then, 
must have the most glorious cause. One beam of this divine image is too 
excellent to be the workmanship of any but a divine hand. The very first 
regenerate thought, to the last dropping off of impurity, is from the same 
hand. The first drawing us from sin, much more the stripping us of it, is 
more admirable than the drawing us out of nothing. 

(6.) The end of regeneration manifests it to be the work of God. It is to 
display his goodness. Since this was the end of God in the first creation, 
it is much more his end in the second. What creature can display God's 
goodness for him, or give him the glory of it, without first receiving it ? 
Goodness must first be communicated to us, before it can be displayed or 
reflected by us. The fight that is reflected back upon the sun by any earthly 
body beams first from the sun itself. Both the subject and the end are put 
together in Isa. xliii. 20, 21, ' The beasts of the field shall honour me, the 
dragons and the owls : because I give waters in the wilderness, to give drink 
to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall 
shew forth my praise.' The Gentiles shall have the gospel, who are beasts 
of the field for wildness, dragons for the poison of their nature, owls for 
their blindness and darkness. The waters of the gospel shall flow to them 
to give drink to their souls. This people have I formed for myself. Even 
beasts, dragons, owls, if formed for himself, they could not be formed but by 
himself, who only understands what is fit for his own praise. How can such 
incapable subjects be formed for such high ends, without a supernatural 
power? So in Isa. lx. 21, ' The branch of my planting, the work of my 
hands, that I may be glorified.' Planted by God, that God might be glori- 
fied by them. As God only is the proper judge of what may glorify him, so 
he is the sole author of what is fitted to glorify him. Nothing lower than the 
goodness of God can instil into us such a goodness as to be made meet to 
praise, serve, and love him ; such a holiness as may fit us to be partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light, and enjoy him for ever. As infinite 
wisdom formed us in Adam, and moulded us with his own hand to be a 
model of his perfection, so are we no less his workmanship in Christ by a 
second creation to good works, which, as they are ordained by the will of 
God, so they are wrought in us by the skill and power of God ; what is 
ordained positively by him and for him is wrought by him. The whole 
world consists but of two men and their offspring : the first man, Adam, the 
second man, Christ ; both they, and all in them, created by God. It is a 
forming a creature for himself for his own delight. What delight can God 
take in anything but himself, and what is like himself? Man in his best 
estate is vanity. As his being is, so are his operations. Vanity, and the 
operations flowing from thence, are no fit object for the delight of an infinite 

260 chabnock's works. [John I. 13. 

excellency and wisdom. What pleasure can he have in those things which 
are not wrought by his own finger ? Who knows how to dress anything 
savoury and pleasant to God but his own grace ? Can a finite thing touch 
an infinite being to enjoy him without the operation of an infinite virtue ? 
Can God delight in anything principally but himself, as he is infinitely good ; 
or in other things but as they come nearest to that goodness ? Whatsoever 
hath a resemblance to a superior being must be brought forth into that like- 
ness by something superior to itself. 

Now since the ends of this work are so high as to fit us for his praise, his 
delight, and a fruition of him ; since it is to bring the interest of God into 
the soul, set him up highest in the heart who before was trampled under our 
feet, enthrone him as king in the soul, cause us to oppose all that opposeth 
him, cherish everything that is agreeable to him, this must be his work or 
the work of none. 

(7.) The weakness of the means manifests it to be the work of God. How 
could it be possible that such weak means, that were used at the first plan- 
tation of the gospel, should have that transcendent success in the hearts of 
men without a divine power ? That a doctrine attended with the cross, 
resisted by devils with all their subtilty, by the flesh with all its lusts, the 
world with all its flatteries, the wise with all their craft, the mighty with all 
their power, should be imprinted upon the hearts of men ; a doctrine preached 
by mean men, without any worldly help, without learning, eloquence, craft, 
or human prudence, without the force, favour, or friendship of men, should 
get place in men's hearts without a divine inspiration, cannot well be ima- 
gined. If it be said there were miracles attending it, which wrought upon 
the minds of men, it is true ; but what little force they had in our Saviour's 
time the Scripture informs us, when they were ascribed to Beelzebub, the 
prince of devils. Though miracles did attend it after the ascension of our 
Saviour, yet the apostle ascribes not so much to them as the means, as he 
doth to the 'foolishness of preaching; ' it was that which was the 'power of 
God,' 1 Cor. i. 18; it was that 'whereby God saved them that believe,' 
1 Cor. i. 21. But the greatest change that ever was wrought at one time 
was at the first descent of the Spirit, by a plain discourse of Peter's, Acts ii., 
extolling a crucified God before those that had lately taken away his life, 
those that had seen him die, a doctrine which would find no footing in their 
reasons, filled with prejudice against him, and had expectations of a tem- 
poral kingdom by him. Must not this change be ascribed to a higher hand, 
which removed their rooted prejudices and vain hopes, and brought so many 
as three thousand over at once? If there be ' diversities of operations, it is 
the same God that works all in all,' 1 Cor. xii. 6. He conveys this 
' treasure in earthen vessels, that the power might appear to be of God, and 
not of men,' 2 Cor. iv. 7. Such weak means as earthen vessels cannot work 
such miraculous changes. Therefore perhaps it was that the preaching of 
•Christ in his humiliation had so little success attending it, that nothing 
should be ascribed to the word itself, but to the power of God in it. To 
evidence that success depended on the good pleasure of God, who would 
not make his preaching in person so successful as that in his Spirit, which 
appears by Christ's thanksgiving to his Father for revealing these things to 
babes, and not to the wise : ' Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy 
sight,' Luke x. 21. Have you never heard of changes wrought in the spirits 
of men against their worldly interest, when they have been made the scorn 
of their friends, and a reproach to their neighbours ? Can the weakness of 
means write a law so deep in the heart, that neither sly allurements nor 
blustering temptations can raze out ; that a law of a day's standing in the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 261 

heart should be able to mate the powers of hell, the cavils of the flesh, and 
discouragements from the world, when there are no unanswerable miracles 
now to seal the gospel, and second the proposals of it with amazement in the 
minds of men ? The weakness of the means, and the greatness of the diffi- 
culties, speaks it not only to be the finger but the arm of God, which causes 
the triumphs of the foolishness of preaching. When the proposal crosses 
the interest of the flesh, restrains the beloved pleasure, teacheth a man the 
necessity of the contempt of the world, and that men should exchange their 
pride for humility, the pleasure of sin for a life of holiness ; for a man not 
only to cease to love his vice, but extremely to hate it ; to have divine 
flights, when before he could not have a divine thought ; to put off earthly 
affections for heavenly, and all this by the foolishness of preaching, it is an 
argument of a divine power, rather than any inherent strength in the means 

(3.) The differences in the changes of men evidence this to be the work 
of God, and that it is from some power superior to the means which are used. 
As God puts a difference between men in regard of their understandings, 
revealing that to one man which he doth not to another, so he puts a differ- 
ence between men in regard of their wills, working upon some and not upon 
others, working upon some that have known less, and not working upon some 
that have known more, some embracing it, and others rejecting it. We 
may see, 

[l.J The difference of this change in men under the same means. One is 
struck at a sermon, when multitudes return unshaken. Why is not the case 
equal in all, if it were from the power of the word ? How successful is 
Peter's discourse, closely accusing the Jews of the murdering of their Lord 
and Saviour, which is the occasion of pricking three thousand hearts ? Yet 
Stephen using the same method, and close application of the same doctrine, 
Acts vii. 52, had not one convert upon record. While Peter's hearers were 
pricked in their hearts, these gnashed with their teeth, ver. 54. The corrup- 
tion of the former was drawn out by the pricking of their souls, the malice 
of the latter exasperated by the cut of their hearts. What reason can be 
rendered of so different an event from one and the same means in several 
hands, but the over-ruling pleasure of God ? The reasons were the same, 
set off with the same human power ; the hearers were many of the same- 
nation, brought up in the reading of the prophets, full of the expectations of 
a Messiah ; they had both reasons and natural desires for happiness, as well 
as the other, yet the one are turned lambs, and the others worse lions than 
before ; the bloody fury of the one is calmed, and the mad rage of the other 
is increased. The grace of God wrought powerfully in the one, and lighted 
not upon the other. Two are grinding at the same mill of ordinances, one 
is taken and another is left. Man breathes into the ears, and God into what 
heart he pleases. 

[2.] The differences in the changes of men under less means. One is 
changed by weaker means, another remains in his unregeneracy under means 
in themselves more powerful and likely ; some are wrought upon by whispers, 
when others are stiff under thunders. The Ninevites by one single sermon 
from a prophet are moved to repentance ; the Capernaites, by many admoni- 
tions from a greater than all the prophets, seconded with miracles, are not a 
jot persuaded ; some remain refractory under great blasts, while others bend 
at lighter breathings. One man may be more acute than another, of a more 
apprehensive reason ; yet this man remains obstinate, whilst another becomes 
pliable. Whence doth this difference arise, but from the will of God draw- 
ing the one, and leaving the other to the conduct of his own will, since both 

262 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

will acknowledge what they are advised to, to be their interest, to be true in 
itself, necessary for their good, yet their affections and entertainment are not 
the same ? Some of those Jews who had heard the doctrine of Christ, seen 
the purity of his life and the power of his miracles, admired his wisdom, yet 
crucified his person ; they expected a Messiah, yet contemned him when he 
came ; when the poor thief who, perhaps, had never seen one miracle, nor 
heard one sermon of our Saviour, believes in him, acknowledges him to be 
the Son of God, whom he saw condemned to the same death with himself, 
and dies a regenerate man under great disadvantages. A figure (saith one) 
of all the elect, who shall only be saved by grace, and a clear testimony of 
an outstretched arm of grace. Those that our blessed Saviour admonished 
only as a doctor and teacher were unmoved, none stirred but those he 
wrought upon as a creator. 

[3.] Difference of the success of the same means in different places. How 
various was the success of the apostles in several parts of their circuits ! 
Paul finds a great door of faith opened at Corinth, and in Macedonia, and his 
nets empty at Athens ; multitudes flocking in at one place, and few at another. 
He is entertained at Corinth, stoned at Lystra, Acts xiv, 19, in danger of 
his life at Jerusalem, while the Galatians were so affected with the gospel, 
that they could have ' pulled out their eyes' for him. The apostle was the 
same person in all places ; the gospel was the same, and had a like power in 
itself ; men had the same reasons, they were all fragments from the lump of 
Adam : the difference must be then from the influence of the divine Spirit, 
who rained down his grace in one place and not in another ; on one heart, 
and not on another ; who left darkness in Egypt, while he diffused light in 

[4.] Difference in the same person. What is the reason that a man be- 
lieves at one time under the proposal of weak arguments, and not at another 
under stronger ? It is not ex parte objecti, for that was more visible and 
credible in itself, when attended by strong arguments, than when accompanied 
with weaker. Perhaps God hath stricken a man's conscience before, and he 
hath undone that work, shaken off those convictions ; he hath contended 
with his maker, and mustered up the power of nature against the alarms of 
conscience ; struggled like a wild bull in a net, and broke it, and blunted 
those darts which stuck in his soul ; he hath afterwards been screwed up 
again, and the arrow shot so deep, that with all his pulling he could not 
draw it out. What but a divine hand holds it in, in spite of all the former 
triumphs of nature f How come convictions at last to be fixed upon men, 
which many a time before did but flutter about the soul, and were soon 
chased away ? And God by such a method keeps up the honour of his grace 
in men after regeneration, and teaches them the constant acknowledgment 
of his power in the whole management. Do we not daily find that the same 
reasonings and considerations which quicken us at one time in the ways of 
God stir us not at another, no more than a child can a millstone ; that we 
are quickened by the same word at one time, under which we were dull and 
stupid at another ; and the same truth is deliciously swallowed by us, which 
seemed unsavoury at another, because God edgeth it with a secret virtue at 
one time more than another ? Hereby God would mind us to own him as 
the author of all our grace, the second grace as well as the first. Upon all 
these considerations this can be no other than the work of God. Can a 
corrupt creature elevate himself from a state of being hated by God, to a 
state of being delighted in by him ? Satan's work none can judge it to be ; 
the destroyer of mankind would never be the restorer ; the most malicious 
enemy to God would never contribute to the rearing a temple to God in the 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 263 

soul, who hath usurped God's worship in all parts of the world. Good angels 
could never do it, they wonder at it ; the wisdom of God in thus creating 
all things in Jesus Christ is made known to them by it, Eph. iii. 9, 10. They 
never ascribed it to themselves ; if they did, they could never have been good, 
their goodness consisting in praising of God, and giving him his due. Good 
men never did it ; the first planters of the gospel (whereby it is wrought) 
always gave God the praise of it, and acknowledged both their own action, 
and the success, to be the effect of the grace of God, and upon every occa- 
sion admired it, Acts xi. 21, 23. It was ' the hand of the Lord' and ■ the 
grace of God.' 

III. The third general head, from what principles in God it flows, or what 
perfections of God are eminent in this work of regeneration. What is 
observable in the forming Christ in the womb of the virgin, is observable in 
the forming Christ in the heart of a believer : grace to choose her to be the 
holy vessel ; sovereignty to pitch upon her rather than any other of the 
lineage of David ; truth to his promise in forming him in the womb of a 
virgin, and one of the house of David ; wisdom and power in the formation 
of him in a virgin's womb, above the power of nature; mercy bears the first 
sway as the motive of the decree, but in a way of sovereignty to call out 
some, and not others ; truth to himself obligeth, after sovereign mercy had 
made the resolution ; wisdom steps in to contrive the best way to accomplish 
what mercy had moved, and sovereignty had decreed ; holiness riseth up as 
the pattern ; and power rides out for the execution. Mercy moves, so- 
vereignty decrees, truth obligeth, wisdom counsels, holiness regulates, power 

1. Mercy and goodness is a principal perfection of God, illustrious in 
this work. • Born not of the will of man, but of God,' of the will of his 
mercy. Plato thought that heroes were born l£ s'gwro; diu>v, the love of God ; 
divine love brings forth an heroic Christian into the world ; all outward 
mercies are streams of God's goodness, but those are but trifles if compared 
with this. There is as much of God in imparting the holiness of his nature 
as in imputing the righteousness of his Son. We are justified by Christ, 
quickened by grace, saved by grace ; grace is the womb of every spiritual 
blessing. To be delivered from places and company wherein we have occa- 
sions and temptations to sin, is an act which God owns as the fruit of his 
mercy : ' I brought thee out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees,' Gen. xv. 7, 
an idolatrous place ; it is a greater fruit of his goodness to be delivered from 
a nature which is the seed-plot of sin. ' He heals our backslidden nature,' 
because he ' loves us freely.' It is therefore called grace, which is not only 
goodness and mercy, but goodness with a more beautiful varnish and orna- 
mental dress. 

(1.) Therefore in this take notice of the peculiarity of mercy. Such a 
goodness that not one fallen angel ever had, or ever shall have a mite of ; 
neither did mercy excite one good thought in God of new polishing any of 
those rebellious creatures ; mercy cast no eye upon them, but justice left 
them to their malicious obstinacy. That the rivers of living water should 
refuse to run in such a channel, or flow out of such a belly, to run in the 
heart of a man more muddy ! As peculiar grace pitched upon the very flesh 
of Christ, to be united to the second person, so the like grace pitches upon 
this or that particular soul, to be united to the body of Christ. That 
singular love which chose Christ for the head, chose some men in him to 
be his members : ' Chosen us in him,' Eph. i. 4. And the anointing which 
is upon the head is poured out by such a peculiarity of love upon the mem- 
bers, not only by an act of his power as God, but by an act of appropriated 

264 charnock's works. [John I. 13. 

goodness, thy God, Heb. i. 9. God anoints his fellows with that holy 
gracious unction, as their God, not only as God ; for anointing him as the 
head, under that particular consideration, he anoints also his fellows, his 
members, under the same consideration too, because he is as^well their God, 
the God of the members, as well as the God of the head, for they are his 
fellows in that unction; the difference lies in the greater portion of grace 
given to the human nature of Christ. And the apostle Peter, 1 Peter i. 3, 
intimates in his thanksgiving to God, that God begat us as tbe Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ : ' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ ; ' the paternal affection he bears to Christ being the ground of the 
regeneration of his people; the paternal affection first pitching upon Christ, 
then upon others in him. Indeed, it is a peculiar affection. In his mercy 
to the world, he acts as a rector or governor ; in that relation he proposeth 
laws, makes offers of peace, urgeth thtm in his word, strives with men by 
his Spirit, enduing men with reason, and deals with them as rational 
creatures ; he uses afflictions and mercies, which might soften'their hearts, did 
they not wilfully indulge themselves in their hardness. This is his rectoral 
mercy, or his mercy as a governor, and as much as his relation of a governor 
can oblige him to. If men will not change their lives, is God bound as a 
governor to force them to it, or not rather to punish them for it ? But in 
regeneration there is a choicer affection, whereby, besides the relation of a gover- 
nor, he puts on that of a father, and makes an inward and thorough change in 
some which he hath chosen into the relation of children. As a father, who 
cannot persuade his son lying under a mortal distemper to take that physic 
which is necessary for saving his life, will compel him to it, open his mouth, 
and pour it in ; but as he is a governor of his servant, he will provide it for 
him, and propose it to him. To do thus is kindness to his servant, though 
he doth not manifest so peculiar an affection as he doth to his son. God 
governs men as he is the author of nature ; he renews men as he is the 
author of grace ; he is the lawgiver and governor ; it doth not follow that 
where he is so he should be the new creator too ; this is a peculiar indulgence. 

(2.) As there is a peculiarity of mercy, so there is the largeness of his 
mercy and goodness in this work. It was his goodness to create us, but a 
full sea of goodness made us new creatures : 1 Peter i. 3, ' Who according 
to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope,' xara rbwokv 
cbrou eXiog. His own mercy, without any other motive ; muah mercy, 
without any parsimony ; not an act of ordinary goodness, but the deepest 
bowels of kindness, an everlasting spring of goodness, an exuberancy of 
goodness. The choice love he bears to them in election cannot be without 
some real act ; it is a vain love that doth not operate ; one great part of 
affection is to imitate the party beloved ; but since that is unworthy of God 
to imitate a corrupt creature, he performs the other act of love, which is to 
assimilate us to himself, and bring us into a state of imitation of him, endow- 
ing us with principles of resemblance to him. It is abundant mercy to love 
them ; it is much more goodness to render them worthy of his love, and 
inspire them with those qualities, as effects of his love of benevolence, which 
may be an occasion of his love of complacency. Worldly mercies do many 
times, yea, for the most part (if you view the whole globe of the earth) con- 
sist with his hatred, but this is a beam from a clear sun. At best other 
benefits are but the mercies of his hand, this of his heart. In those he 
makes men like'others of a higher rank, in this like himself. 

[l.J It is a goodness greater than that in creation. It is more an act of 
kindness to reform that which is deformed, than to form it at the beginning, 
because it is more to have a happy than a simple being. To repair what is 

John I. 13.] the efficient of regeneration. 265 

decayed is a testimony of greater goodness than at first to raise it. Creation 
is terminated to the good of a mutable nature, regeneration is terminated to 
a supernatural good, and partaking of the divine nature. The creation was 
an emanation of his goodness, never entitled the work of his grace. Man's 
first uprightness was an impress of God ; his second uprightness is far more 
pleasing to him, as being the fruit of his Son's death, wherein all his attri- 
butes are more highlv glorified. It is a regeneration ' by the resurrection of 
Christ,' 1 Peter i. 3; that being the perfection of it, includes his death, 
which is the foundation of it, as the perfection of a thing includes the 
beginning. God pronounced all the structures of the first creation good, 
but not with those magnificent titles of his delighting in it, forming it for 
himself, that it might shew forth his praise, which expressions testify a 
greater efflux of his goodness in this second creation. Nor did Christ ever 
say his delight was in that, or in that one man Adam, but in the sons of men, 
of apostate Adam, as to be redeemed and renewed by him after their apostasy : 
Prov. viii. 31, ' My delights were with the sons of men.' What sons of 
men ? The exhortation, ver. 32, intimates it, those that are his children 
renewed by him, that hearken to him and keep his ways. God pronounced it 
good, but not his treasure, his portion, his inheritance, his seijullah, his house, 
his diadem. All those things which he made, even the noblest heaven, as well 
as the lowest earth, he overlooks and speaks slightly of them: Isa. lxvi. 1, 2, 
1 All those things hath my hand made, and all those things have been,' &c, 
to fix his eyes, E'ON, upon a contrite spirit, a renewed nature. He speaks of 
them as things passed away, and is intent only upon the new creation; 
values it above heaven and earth, and all the ceremonial worship. What is 
the object of his greatest estimation partakes of a greater efflux of his good- 
ness to make it so. And the apostle Peter aggrandiseth this abundant mercy 
in regeneration, from the term, 'unto a lively hope ;' not such an uncertain 
hope as Adam had when he was fullest of his mutable uprightness ; a living 
hope, Wttiba. ^Sffav, that grows up more and more into life, till it comes to 
an inheritance that fades not away as Adam