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the true Father, whose word it is, and that is God, even the Father of light, who of his own will begat us with the word of truth.' Thus whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God;' which regeneration is as it were a second creation : for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.' And he alone who did create us out of nothing, can beget us again, and make us of the new creation. Hence hath he the pame of Father, and they of sons who are born of him; and so from that internal act of spiritual regeneration another title of paternity redoundeth unto the divinity. Nor is this the only second birth or sole regeneration in a Christian sense; the soul, which after its natural being requires a birth into the life of grace, is also after that born again into a life of glory. Our Saviour puts us in mind of the regeneration,
when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory. The resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth, and entering upon immortality, a nativity into another life."*
§ 27. To be “born of God” is a second birth, and a second birth is surely regeneration: But “he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ,
* Pearson on the Creed, Art. i. p. 27. 4th ed.
is born of God;" and therefore is regenerated, according to the plain testimony of scripture. Now, according to the same testimony, adult converts were required to believe that Jesus is the Christ before they were baptized; and the apostles consequently baptized them as regenerated persons; for, as believers, they were born of God. This is a plain fact, that appears on the face of the Christian history, and pervades the whole spirit and design of the Christian dispensation; and with this before him, let the impartial enquirer determine, whether the word regeneration is in scripture solely and ' erclusively applied to the one immediate effect * of baptism once administered.'
§ 28. As the Holy Scriptures, in the rational estimation of Protestants, are the rule of faith and practice, to the exclusion of the decisions of ecclesiastical councils and fathers, and as we have the sacred text in at least equal purity with what the church had in their days, it is of little moment to us how they interpreted the text. They were as liable to err as those who succeed them; they had the same source of fallibility, and in many respects their advantages were inferior to our own. : It may be worth while, however, briefly to examine whether this assertion . be perfectly correct, viz.-That the ancient Christians 'never use the word regenerate
or born again, but that they mean or denote by it baptism:' and, in other words, that 'regeneration in the language of the Fathers constantly signifies the participation of the sacrament of baptism.'
§ 29: . CLEMENS, of Alexandria, speaking of a woman of suspicious virtue, and alluding to the words of scripture “ she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth,” observes, that “she lives indeed in sin, but is dead to the divine commands: but becoming penitent, as if born again by conversion, she has the regeneration of life. The old offender indeed is dead, but she who has a birth by repentance has entered into life again.”* Eusebius applies the term regeneration to the renovation of the world at the last day:" + and Basil, the Great, employs it in the same way, when, in reference to the Stoics, he observes, that they introduce an unlimited number of corruptions and renovations (or regenerations) of the world.” | St. AUGUSTINE, alluding to Matt. xix. 28, (sv on Taniyyeveria) in the regeneration, remarks, that our Lord
* αναγεννηθεισα παλιγγενεσίαν κατα μετανοιαν γεννηθεισης. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. ii.
+ TWY Owv azdiyyeveriav. Euseb. Prepar. Evang. lib. IV. cap. 11.
1 απειρους φθορας κόσμου και παλιγγενεσιας. ΒAstL. Mar. Hom. iii. in Hexaëm.
intends, doubtless, in this place, by regeneration, the final resurrection ;"* and we find expressions to the same purpose in different parts of his works. The word regeneration is employed in a similar manner by OrigeN, JEROME, and BERNARD. THEOPHYLACT, explaining our Lord's expression, Matt. xix. 'says expressly, “ understand by regeneration, the resurrection.”+ And THEOPHANES, paraphrasing the same words, says, “ Ye shall be rewarded in the general resurrection; which he called regeneration, as it begets us anew, and restores ús into our pristine state.” I The same writer again observes elsewhere, that the “ resurrection is a restoration to our primitive state, which we expect to obtain in the regeneration, by the favour of him who has renewed us by himself, and has endowed our nature with incorruption."|| Thus also DIONYSIUS, the Areopagite, discoursing on the future perfect state of the saints, remarks, that “ holy souls, which in the present state are liable to failures, shall in the regeneration be transformed to a state of immutability and of
* Regeneratione hoc loco, ambigente nullo, novisimam resurrectionem vocat. Aug. Ep. ad Pelag. lib. iii, cap. 3.
+ Παλιγγενεσιαν, την αναστασιν νόει. Τheop. in Μatt. xix.
Η ην παλιγγενεσίαν εκαλεθεν, ως αυθις αναγενωσαν ημας. THEOPH. Hom. xli.
Η ην και ημεις απεκδεχομεθα εν τη παλιγγενεσια λαβειν Hom. xxxiv.
complete conformity to God."* speaking of the supreme artificer, in allusion to prophetic language, under the character of a potter, observes, that “it behoved him to take care of the vessel formed by his own hand; and though, on account of its being vitiated through disobedience, it was meet to turn it into its original mass of clay, yet in the regeneration, he should restore the vessel, by a resurrection, to its ancient brightness and beauty.”+ Basil, of Cæsarea, speaking of scornful phiłusophers, says, “ they laugh at us inordinately when we tell them of the end of this world and the regeneration of life," or a future period of existence. ATHANASIUS: “ In the regeneration we shall all rise as one man.”| ISIDORE of Pelusium observes, “ I could shew from all the sacred writings that the affairs of the Jews are brought to an end, and shall have no regeneration."
* Ev tn Transyysveria. Dionys. Arcop. de Hier. Eccl.
+ Iνα αυθις εν τη παλιγγενεσια ανασκευαση το αγγος εν τη αναστασει. . EPIPH. Heres. xxxvii.
1 Περι συντελειας του κοσμου τουτου και παλιγγενεσιας as wrog.
Babil. Cæsar. Hom. i. in Hexaëm. Η Εν τη παλιγγενεσια ως εις ανθρωπος απανιστάμεθα. ATHAN. Quest. xxiv, ad Antioch,
1 Και παλιγγενεσιαν ουκ εξει. . ISID. Pelus. lib. ir. epist. 17.