Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dickson on Regeneration

The following excerpt is from David Dickson's "Therapeutica Sacra" published in 1664. I have left the spelling and punctuation intact.

Regeneration (being one in effect with effectual calling) is the Work of God’s invincible Power and meer Grace, wherein, by His Spirit, accompanying His Word, He quickeneth a Redeemed Person lying Dead in his Sins, and reneweth him in his Mind, Will, and all the Powers of His Soul; convincing him savingly of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment, and making him heartily to embrace Christ and Salvation, and to consecrat himself to the Service of God in Christ, all the days of his Life.

The main thing we must take heed to in this work, is to give to God intirely the Glory of His Grace and Power and Wisdom, so that the Glory of Mans Regeneration be neither given to Man, nor Man made sharer of the glory with God, but God may have the whole glory of His free Grace, because out of His own good-will, not for any thing at all foreseen in Man, He lets forth His special Love on the Redeemed in a time acceptable; and the glory of His Almighty Power, because by His omnipotent and invincible working, He makes the Man dead in sins to live, opens his Eyes to take up savingly the Things of God, takes away the Heart of Stone, and makes him a new Creature, to will and to do His holy Will; and the Glory of His Wisdom, who dealeth so with His Creature as He doth not destroy, but perfect the natural Power of Man’s will, making the Man regenerat, most freely deliberately and heartily to embrace Christ, and to consecrate himself to God’s service. The reason why we urge this, is, because Satan, by corrupting the Doctrine of Regeneration, and perswading Men that they are able of themselves by the common and the natural strength of their own free-will, without the special and effectual Grace of God, both to convert themselves and others also, doth foster the native pride of Men, hindereth them from emptying and humbling themselves before God, keepeth them from Self-denyal, doth mar the Regeneration of them that are deluded with this Error, and obscureth what he can, the shining of the Glory of God’s Grace, Power, and Wisdom in the conversion of Men: for whatsoever Praise, proud Men let go toward God for making Mens Conversion possible, yet they give the whole Glory of actual Conversion to the Man himself, which Christ ascribeth to God only, and leaveth no more for Man to glory in his spiritual Regeneration, then he hath to glory in his own natural Generation. Joh. 3.5, 6, 7, 8.

And the same doth the Apostle teach, Ephes. 2. 8, 9, 10. and Philip. 2. 13. It is God (saith he) which worketh in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. And therefore it is the duty of all Christ’s Disciples, but chiefly their duty who are consecrat to God, to preach up the Glory of God’s free Grace, omnipotent Power and unsearchable Wisdom, to live in the sense of their own Emptiness, and to depend upon the furnitour of Grace for Grace, out of Christ’s Fulness; and zealously to oppose the proud Error of Man’s natural ability for converting himself, as they love to see, and to find the effectual blessing of the Ministry of the Gospel, and themselves accepted for true Disciples at the day of their meeting with Christ the Judge at His second coming.

David Dickson, Therapeutica Sacra, Bk 1 , Ch. 3

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