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embrace all that the restless mind of man ever conceived, so that nothing should remain for the imagination to invent, or the desires to pursue; still, what is all this, if we are ignorant of ourselves, and of Christ and holiness? What shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? What indeed are all the fading scenes of this momentary world? The time is at hand, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat3. The period is hastening apace which will for ever put an end to this world and all its concerns; which, like a flood, will sweep away its learning and its ignorance, its distinctions and its disgrace, its applause and its frown, its pains and its pleasures, its good and its evil. The truths of which I have been speaking will ere long be realized. The awful glories of the last judgment will soon be unfolded, when the humble and penitent inquirer, who has done the will of God, and has consequently apprehended by faith that stupendous grace which the doctrine of Christ presented to him, shall be eternally saved; while the merely speculative student, whose secret love of sin and wilful neglect of God have led to his disobedience to the Gospel,
2 Matth. xvi. 26.
3 2 Pet. iii. 10.
shall, notwithstanding his barren notions and schemes, his abortive designs of amendment, and his presumption of final impunity, be for ever undone. In a word, the hour will speedily arrive, when every veil will be torn aside, and they that have done good shall rise to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation *. Comply then without delay with the direction of the text. Do the will of God, and you shall know of the doctrine. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, for he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon3.
• John, v. 29.
5 Isaiah, lv. 6, 7.
THE DOCTRINE OF REGENERATION
THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD,
AT SAINT MARY'S,
On Monday, February 24, 1817;
BEING ST. MATTHIAS' DAY.
Η πορνέυσασα, ζῇ μὲν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ἀπέθανε δὲ ταῖς ἐνδολαῖς· ἡ δὲ μελανοήσασα, οἷον ἀναγεννηθεῖσα κατὰ τὴν ἐπιτροφὴν τῷ βίω παλιγο Γενεσίαν ἔχει ζωῆς· τεθνηκυίας μὲν τῆς πύρνης τῆς παλαιᾶς, εἰς βίον δὲ παρελθέσης αὖθις τῆς κατὰ τὴν μετάνοιαν γεννηθείσης.
Clemens Αlex. sub finem lib. ii. Stromat. p. 424.
JOHN, III. 6.
That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.
In the consideration of all questions in practical religion, there will generally be found some fundamental principle to guide us in our inquiries. If this principle be rightly apprehended, smaller difficulties will commonly disappear, or cease materially to embarrass our judgment. We can scarcely, indeed, expect, without a presumption bordering on a claim to infallibility, to escape every error in the determination of any extensive subject. If we wait for this, we shall wait in vain: but, if we are careful to seize the leading features of truth, as they are drawn in the Holy Scriptures, we shall be successful in the main object of our studies; we shall be right, where it is most important to be right, in the essential doctrines and duties of Christianity. Whereas, a contrary course is