Regeneration is the beginning of holiness in the soul, and admits of no progression; sanctification is carried on progressively in the heart of the renewed, and will be continued until it is completed in the concluding moment of life.
One has said that Christ excelled all other moralists in this, that He puts the padlock not upon the hand, but upon the heart. But He does not use the padlock at all, He renders such a thing unnecessary. He takes the tiger from the heart, and replaces it with the lamb.
The regeneration of a sinner is an evidence of power in the highest spheremoral nature; with the highest prerogativeto change nature; and operating to the highest resultnot to create originally, which is great; but to create anew, which is greater.
While the agent of renovation is the Divine Spirit, and the condition of renovation is our cleaving to Christ, the medium of renovation and the weapon which the transforming grace employs is the word of the truth of the gospel, whereby we are sanctified.
He that is once born of God shall overcome the world, and the prince of this world too, by the power of God in him. Holiness is no solitary, neglected thing; it hath stronger confederacies, greater alliances, than sin and wickedness. It is in league with God and the universe; the whole creation smiles upon it; there is something of God in it, and therefore it must needs be a victorious and triumphant thing.
Content not thyself with a bare forbearance of sin, so long as thy heart is not changed, nor thy will changed, nor thy affections changed; but strive to become a new man, to be transformed by the renewing of thy mind, to hate sin, to love God, to wrestle against thy secret corruptions, to take delight in holy duties, to subdue thine understanding, and will, and affections, to the obedience of faith and godliness.
Regeneration is the ransacking of the soul, the turning of a man out of himself, the crumbling to pieces of the old man, and the new moulding of it into another shape; it is the turning of stones into children, and a drawing of the lively portraiture of Jesus Christ upon that very table that before represented only the very image of the devil. * * * Art thou thus changed? Are all old things done away, and all things in thee become new? Hast thou a new heart and renewed affections? And dost thou serve God in newness of life and conversation? If not,what hast thou to do with hopes of heaven? Thou art yet without Christ, and so consequently without hope.