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Like a slave therefore, when the bribe and the whip are out of sight, he renounces the master, and leaves the employment that he hates; and spends his time more agreeably to his inclinations. When therefore he succeeds in laying his conscience asleep, his diligence is done with; and there wants only a suitable occasion, and temptation, to induce him to return like a dog to his vomit, "and like a sow that is washed to her wallowing "in the mire."
The regenerate man is influenced by hopes and fears, both such as are common to him, with others under serious impressions; only more stable and operative: and such as are of a nobler and more sanctifying nature. For certainly if any seem to refine religion to such a degree of disinterestedness, as to discard all personal regard to happiness; they strain the bow till it breaks; neither the nature of a rational creature, nor the nature of religion, nor the nature of happiness can bear such refinement. To seek all our happiness from the favour and love of God; and to give up all personal regards of a temporal nature, when the will and glory of God, and the benefit of man require it; is all that the law commands; all that ever prophet, or apostle attained unto; nay, with reverence be it spoken, all that Christ Jesus exemplified. But besides these hopes and fears, in all their variety or energy; the regenerate man has a capacity of another sort, totally different in
kind, from all that any other man ever possessed. He is made partaker of the divine nature; and being created in knowledge, "righteousness, and "true holiness after the image of God," he sees, judges, chooses, desires, delights, according to God. By this new nature he is enabled to discern, and be delighted with the holy excellency and beauty, which is in divine things;' "finding "them sweeter than honey and the honey-comb, he "desires them more than wine," "remembers them "more than wine;" and so relishes them, that proportionably he loses his relish for other things. They are as delightful harmony to his ears, and fragrant" as ointment poured forth;" and the pleasure they excite in the soul is represented by those several kinds of pleasing sensations of which the body is capable. All these things imply a love of, desire after, and delight in divine things, for the sake of that excellency now perceived in them, and that relish experienced of them; which does not supersede, but comes in aid of those other principles, and renders them habitually, and permanently superior to, and victorious over all remaining opposite inclinations; and over the pressure of all worldly hopes and fears, even in the time of the most vehement temptations. I do not mean independently so; for both natural and spiritual life depend upon, and are invigorated by him who first gave them.
The person of the Saviour, and the brightness of the Father's glory, seen in his face, is the primary object of love, admiration, desire, and delight, to this spiritual capacity, imparted in regeneration; but it is not the only object. There is a glory and beauty, and excellency suited to it in all divine things; and particularly in the divine law. Now then we may, I think, ascertain the precise difference. A speculative knowledge, a cold, and forced approbation, and an unwilling, constrained obedience, are all the unregenerate man can attain to; and he inwardly disrelishes the whole, and would wish, if he durst, the precept less strict. But the regenerate person, even in the lowest class, cordially approves the law of God, as far as known, has some real love to it, and longs after conformity to it, as a most desirable, excellent, and blessed thing. The one, I say, inwardly would have the law changed in compliance to his inclinations; and the other his inclinations changed into conformity to the law. The difference between the new-born babe, and the mature christian; and the variations to which the best are liable, must be allowed for; but according to the measure of grace in exercise, the regenerate soul will see beauty, taste sweetness, and hear divine harmony in every precept: and the native language of his heart will be, "Oh, how I love thy "law" "Oh, that my ways were directed to
keep thy statutes!" "I delight in the law of "God after the inward man."
The effects of these views will be such as follow. A heart-felt sorrow upon remembrance of former violations of duty, even though they be supposed to be forgiven: shame and self-loathing on considering the opposition which hath subsisted, and doth still subsist in so great degree, betwixt this perfect rule, and his conduct, character, and disposition; hence proceeds a broken and contrite heart; which of all things the hypocrite fails most in counterfeiting; though nothing be more essential to, and distinguishing of, a true believer: a cordial approbation of the honour done the divine law in the obedience and death of the incarnate Son of God; with a sincere application to him, and an undivided dependence upon him, as "the end of the law for 'righteousness unto every one that believeth:" This will, in this case, be at the same time accompanied with a tenderness of conscience, renewed grief and shame upon every renewed transgression, and a dissatisfaction with every present attainment in holiness; because so far beneath that admired and beloved standard. In this person's mind the ideas of perfect holiness and perfect felicity will be habitually associated: sin will be groaned under as the greatest burden, and dreaded and prayed against as the greatest evil; chastenings will be welcomed (upon reflection) when they restrain from sin, or conduce to holi
ness; and however the man values and longs for comfort, yet he especially hungers and thirsts after righteousness. The law is not only treasured in his head, but "written in his heart;" and the correspondent dispositions there created, will produce repentance, faith, and holiness, of a nature totally distinct from, and in their smallest degree vastly superior to, the most splendid attainments of hypocrites.
N. B. I would recommend the character and conversation of Talkative, and Faithful's discourse with him, in "The Pilgrim's Progress," to the reader's careful perusal, as full to the purpose.
Remarks on the Parable of the unjust Steward.
THE several replies made to Indagator's question on our Lord's inference from the parable of the unjust steward, though very pertinent and useful, seem not to have exhausted the subject, or to have precluded the propriety of making some further observations upon it.
"The Lord commended the unjust steward, be"cause he had done wisely." The injustice of his expedient was glaring, but the policy of it was admirable; and his conduct in this particular was proposed by Christ, to his professed disciples, as