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mercy; his heart, until then a sink of impurity and profanation, is transformed into a house of prayer; and his mouth, once the seat of blasphemy, is consecrated into an altar of praise. Denton.

Some are more

I therefore proceed to give an account of the manner of persons being wrought upon; and here there is a vast variety, perhaps as manifold as the subjects of the operation; but yet in many things there is a great analogy in all. Persons are first awakened with a sense of their miserable condition by nature, the danger they are in of perishing eternally, and that it is of great importance to them that they speedily escape and get into a better state. Those who before were secure and senseless, are made sensible how much they were in the way to ruin, in their former courses. suddenly seized with convictions-it may be, by the news of others' conversion, or something they hear in public, or in private couference-their consciences are smitten, as if their hearts were pierced through with a dart, Others are awakened more gradually—they begin at first to be something more thoughtful and considerate, so as to come to a conclusion in their minds, that it is their best and wisest way to delay no longer, but to improve the present opportunity. They have accordingly set themselves seriously to meditate on those things that have the most awakening tendency, on purpose to obtain convictions; and so their awakenings have increased, till A sense of their misery, by God's Holy Spirit setting in therewith, has had fast hold of them. Others, who before had been somewhat religious and concerned for their salvation, have been awakened in a new manner, and made sensible that their slack and dull way of seeking was never like to attain their purpose. These awakenings, when they have first seized on persons, have had two effects: one was, that they have brought them immediately to quit their sinful practices; and the looser sort have been brought to forsake and dread their former vices and extravagancies. When once the Spirit of God began to be so wonderfully poured out in a general way through the town, people had soon done with their old quarrels, backbitings, and intermeddling with other men's matters. tavern was soon left empty, and persons kept very much at home;


none went abroad, unless on necessary business, or on some religious account, and every day seemed in many respects like a sabbath-day. The other effect was, that it put them on earnest application to the means of salvation-reading, prayer, meditation, the ordinances of God's house, and private conference; their cry was, "What shall we do to be saved?" The place of resort was now altered-it was no longer the tavern, but the minister's house; that was thronged far more than the tavern had been wont to be.

There is a very great variety, as to the degree of fear and trouble that persons are exercised with, before they attain any comfortable evidence of pardon and acceptance with God. Some are from

the beginning carried on with abundantly more encouragement IF


hope than others. Some have had ten times less trouble of mind than others, in whom yet the issue seems to be the same. Some have had such a sense of the displeasure of God, and the great danger they were in of damnation, that they could not sleep at nights; and many have said that when they have lain down, the thoughts of sleeping in such a condition have been frightful to them. They have scarcely been free from terror while asleep, and they have awakened with fear, heaviness, and distress, still abiding on their spirits. It has been very common, that the deep and fixed concern on persons' minds, has had a painful influence on their bodies, and given disturbance to animal nature.

The change which a man undergoes when born again, and in bis repentance and conversion, is the same that the scripture calls "the circumcision of the heart." This may easily appear by considering, that as regeneration is that in which are attained the habits of true virtue and holiness, as has been shown, and as is confessed; so is "circumcision of heart." Deut. xxx. 6. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

Conversion is that whereby men come to have the character of true Christians; as is evident, and as is confessed; and so is circumcision of heart: for by this men become Jews inwardly, or Jews in the spiritual and christian sense, (and that is the same as being true Christians) as of old, proselytes were made Jews by circum

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cision of the flesh. Rom. ii, 28, 29. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God."


That" circumcision of the heart" is the same with conversion, or "If thou wilt turning from sin to God, is evident by Jer. iv. 1-4. return, O Israel, return unto me. Circumcise yourselves unto the Lord, and put away the foreskins of your heart." And Deut. x. 16. Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked." Circumcision of the heart" is the same change of the heart that men experience in repentance; as is evident by Levit. "If their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they accept the punishment of their iniquity."

xxvi. 41.


The change effected in regeneration, repentance, and conversion, is signified by baptism; and so is "circumcision of the heart signified by the same thing. None will deny, that it was this internal circumcision, which of old was signified by external circumcision nor will any deny, now under the New Testament, that inward and spiritual baptism, or the cleansing of the heart, is signified by external washing or baptism. But spiritual circumcision and spiritual baptism are the same thing; both being " putting off the body of the sins of the flesh;" as is very plain by Col. ii. 11-13. In whom also ye are circumcised, with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him," &c.


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This inward change, called regeneration and circumcision of the heart, which is wrought in repentance and conversion, is the same with that spiritual resurrection, so often spoken of, and represented This apas a "dying unto sin, and a living unto righteousness. pears with great plainness in that last cited place, Col. ii. “In whom ye are circumcised, with the circumcision made without hands, buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God," &c. "And you, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he


quickened together with him; having forgiven you all trespasses." The same appears by Rom. vi. 3-5. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life," &c. ver. 11. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord:" In which place also it is evident, and by the whole context, that this spiritual resurrection is that change, in which persons are brought to habits of holiness and to the divine life.

On the whole, the following reflections may be made:

1. That it is a truth of the utmost certainty, with respect to every man born of the race of Adam, by ordinary generation, that "unless he be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”— This is true, not only of heathens, but of them that are born of the professing people of God, as Nicodemus, and the Jews, and every man "born of the flesh." This is most manifest by Christ's discourse in John iii. 3-11.

So it is plain by 2 Cor. v. 17. " that every man who is in Christ is a new creature."

2. It appears from this, that it is most certain with respect to every one of the human race, that he can never have any interest in Christ, or see the kingdom of God, unless he be the subject of that change in the temper and disposition of his heart, which is made in repentance and conversion, circumcision of heart, spiritual baptism, dying to sin, and rising to a new and holy life; and unless he has the old heart taken away, and a new heart and spirit given, and puts off the old man, and puts on the new man, and old things are passed away, and all things made new.

3. From what is plainly implied in these things, and from what the scripture most clearly teaches of the nature of them, it is certain that every man is born into the world in a state of moral pollution. For spiritual baptism is a cleansing from moral filthiness. Ezek. xxxvi. 25. compared with Acts ii. 16. and John iii. 5. So the washing of regeneration, or the new birth, is a change from a state of wickedness. Tit. iii. 3-5. Men are spoken of as purified in their

regeneration. 1 Pet. i. 22, 23. See also 1 John ii. 29. and iii. 1, 3. And it appears that every man, in his first or natural state, is a sinner; for otherwise he would then need no repentance, no conversion, no turning from sin to God. And it appears that every man, in his original state, has a heart of stone; for thus the scripture calls that old heart which is taken away, when a new heart and a new spirit are given. Ezek. xi. 19. and xxxvi. 26. And it appears that man's nature, as in his native state, is " corrupt according to the deceitful lusts," and of its own motion exerts itself in nothing but wicked deeds. For thus the scripture characterises the "old man," which is put off, when men are renewed in the spirit of their minds, and put on the new man. Eph. iv. 22-24. Col. iii. 8-10. In a word, it appears that man's nature, as in its native state, is a "body of sin," which must be destroyed, must die, be buried, and never rise more. For thus the "old man" is represented, which is crucified, when men are the subjects of a spiritual resurrection; Rom. vi. 4-6. Such a nature, such a body of sin as this, is put off in the spiritual renovation, wherein we put on the " new man," and are the subjects of the spiritual circumcision. Eph. iv. 21–23. President Edwards,

She who of daily faults could once but prate,

Sees now her sinful, miserable state:

Her heart, where once she thought some good to dwell,
The devil's cab'net fill'd with trash of hell.
Her boasted features now unmasked bare,
Her vaunted hopes are plung'd in deep despair.
Her haunted shelter-house in by-past years,
Comes tumbling down about her frighted ears.
Her former rotten faith, love, penitence,
She sees a bowing wall, a tott'ring fence:
Excellencies of thought, of word, and deed,
All swimming, drowning in a sea of dread.
Her beauty now deformity she deems,
Her heart much blacker than the devil seems,
With ready lips she can herself declare
The vilest ever breath'd the vital air.

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