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death : But in the instant he begins to live, he is generate born again. Wherefore no intermediate state be- in the first
act. tween the regenerate and unregenerate can be imagined so much as in thought, if we mean regeneration in the first act: for one is either dead or alive; has either the Spirit of the flesh and the world, or the Spirit of God actuating him ; is either in the state of grace, or in the state of malediction, either the child of God, or of the devil; either in the way to salvation, or damnation. There neither is, nor can be any medium here. The holy fcripture divides all mankind into two classes, Meep and goats, Mat. 25. 2, 3; and compares their goings to two ways; whereof the one, which is broad, leads to distruction ; the other, which is narrow, to life, Mat. 7. 13, 14; and there is none, who does not tread in one or other of these
ways, And what if he, whom some imagine to be in an intermediate state, fhould depart this animal life, before he be fully brought to the spiritual life, would such a one be received into heaven? But heaven is open only to the actually regenerate, John 3: 3; or thrust into hell ? But hell is allotted only for the goats, and for those who, all their life long, have walked in the broad way: or perhaps such will be received into some intermediate place, where, being free from the pains of hell, and deprived the joys of heaven, they will delight themselves in I know not what degree of natural happiness; as fome Popith doctors, discourfing in the council of Trent,, of infants dying without baptising pleafed themselves with these fond sportings of their imagination ; wnich the author of the history of that council, Lib. 2. p. 157, has not dismissed without a good deal of acrimony and sharpness. Or, you will say, perhaps, it is a case which never happens, that any one should die in that intermediate state. But produce me the vouchers of such an affertion, whereby fecurity is given those, in this
intermediate classes, of spinning out their lives,
new life are owing.
regenerated. When we weré DEAD IN SINS, he hath
felves but from God, we have this held forth by the fimilitude of a resurrection; in which a body is restored from matter, prepared by no qualifications: yet because here, certainly, is matter, but in the refurrection of the soul there is nothing at all, therefore we have added the figure of ä creation, Pr. 51. 10, Eph. 2. 10; by which we ate taught, that à new creature exists from a spiritual nothing, which is fin: but as there was not something in nothing, to assist and sustain creation, so there was nothing to oppose and refift; but fin is so far from submitting to what God does, that it is reluctant thereto, and in a hostile manner at enmity, with him; accordingly, the other images did not fully compleat the idea of this admirable action, till at length it is called the viftory of God: victory, I say, over the devil, who maintaing his palace, Luke 11. 21, and effectually worketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2. 2. All these operations of God, which Alexander More has, in an elegant order, ranged one after another, de vi&oria Gratia, Diß. i. Thel. 10, tend to exclude, as får as possible, all preparations from the beginning of our regeneration.
X. The Semi-pelagans therefore of Marseilles were The opimistaken, who infifted, that a man comes to the
Pilagius grace, whereby we are regenerated in Christ, by a refuted. natural faculty; äs by afking, feeking, knocking; and that, in some at least, before they are born again, there is a kind of repentance going before, together with a forrow for fin, and a change of the life for the better, and a beginning of faith, and an initial love of God, and a desire of grace: it is true, they did not look on these endeavours, to be of such importance, as that it could be faid, we were thereby rendred worthy of the grace of the Holy Spirit ; as Pelagius and Julian profesied: but yet they imagined, they were an occasion by which God was. moved, to bestow his grace ; for they faid, that the mercy of God is such, that he recompenses this very ** Vol.II.
sınall beginning of good with this illustrious reward
XI. There have been likewise some among our- Preparafelves, who have spoken of preparations to regineration, or conversion ; but in a quite different sense fome of
dopted by from the favourers of Pelagianism. In persons to be the orthoregenerated, they have affigned, ift, A breaking of dox, but
in a difthe natural obstinacy, and a Aexibility of the will. 2, A serious confideration of the law. 3, A confi- fenfe. deration of their own sins and offences against God. 4, A legal fear of punishment, and a dread of hell, and consequently a despairing of their falvation, with respect to any thing in themselves. For, in this order Perkins, Caf. Conscient. c. 5. quæft. i. sect. . reckons up these preparations; and Âmes in the same imanner, Caf. Conscient. lib. 2. c. 4. And the British, divines explained themselves almost' to the same purpose in the synod of Dort. p. 139, of the Utrecht edition, 1620 fol., ist, There are some external works, ördinarily required of men, before they are brought to a state of regeneration, or conversion, which are wont fometimes to be freely done, fometimes freely omitted by them: as going to church, hearing the word preached and the "like. 2dly, There are some internal effeéis, previous to conversion, or regeneration, excited by the power of the word and spirit in the hearts of those, who are not yet justified: as the knowledge of the will of God, sense of fin, dread of punishment, anxiety about deliverance, fome hope of pardon. But they differ from the favourers of Pelagianism in this manner.
ist, That they are not for having these things to proceed froni nature, but profess them to be the effects of the spirit of bondage, preparing a way to himself, for their actual "regeneration. 2dly, That they are not for God's bestowing the grace of regeneration from a regard to, and moved by occasion of, these preparations, much less by any merit in them; but they imagine, that God, in this manner, levels a way for himself, fills up vallies, depresses mountains and hills, in order the better to smooth the way for his entrance