Wright - BT300 W8 1788

40 The NEW and COMPLETE' LIFE of our BLESSEb would not fuffer his prejudices to prevent him from fairly and impartially inquiring after truth, in an affair offuch importance, and therefore he determined to have an interview with Jesus himfelf. He did not think it advifable to wait on our Lord in public ; for he thought he might be re- proached by the rulers and great men among(' the Jews, and therefore concluded to make this vifit in private ; and that it might be the more fo, he chofe to make it in the night. He accofied our Redeemer with a con- fefion of his conviaion of the truth and reality of the miracles he had performed, and that they could not be produced by inchantment, or any infernal Affiance ; but the nature of them proved them to be produced by the mighty power of God, and confirmed the doarines Jesus taught tobe divine : Rabbi, faid he, we know that thou art a teacher come from God ; for no man can do thole miracles that those dolt, except God be with him. "It does not by this falutation appear, that Nicodemus was convinced that Jesus was the Meffiah; that was the point which he wanted to be more fully demonrrated, and hoped, by this interview, to receive fome fatisfaflion concerning it Our Lord did not think proper to fatisfy the fcruples of this ruler of Ifrael concerning this, but took the op- portunity to infiruil him in a matter. of greater importance, and lead him into an acquaintance with the nature of his reli- gion : in order to this, he began with in- troducing the &rf great doarine of the gofpel, refpefing it's operation on the mind of man; Verily, verily, Ifay unto thee; except a man be born again, he cannot fee the kingdom of God. Our Saviour, by thefe remarkable words, may be fuppofed to inform the ruler of Ifrael, that though the.-luf're of his miracles had forced him to acknowledge, that he had received his commiffion from on high, yet he could not difcern, that he really was the Meffiah, nor underfand the fpiritual nature of his 3 kingdom, without the operation ofa fuper- natural power, which mull produce fuch a change in his foul, as might fitly be de- fcribed by being born again. Nicodemus, being an utter (ranger to this doarine, and thinking our Lord's words had no figurative allufion, but had reference to a natural birth, was very much furprifed at the affection : for he could not imagine that the feed of Abraham flood in need of any fecond birth, to render them the children of God, and the heirs of his kingdom ; and therefore hafily and ear- neflly' inquired, How can a man be born when he is old; can he enter afecond time into his mother's womb, and be born ? Our Lord then proceeded. to inform him, that his words had not a natural, but a fpiritual meaning, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, Paid he, he cannot fee the kingdom of God. Nicodemus mightlearn, from thefe words, that his apprehenfions were .grofs and wide from the purpofe ; for ifit were polfible for a man to be born a fecond time of his earthly parent, he would not . thereby become fo holy and pure, as would render him fit for the kingdom of God : but the birth our Re- deemer had reference to, was of a fpi- ritual nature, which, by producing that faith which had a lively and powerful in- fluence on the heart and life, might pre- pare the poffeffers of it for the divine acceptance : That which is born of the AA is f pS; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Whatever is born of woman, partakes of the imperfeE'ions and finfulnefs of human nature ; but that which is born of the Spirit, is pure and holy, and prevails over thofe things which render mankind unfit to be partakers of the kingdom of God, by implanting a new and powerful principle of a&ion, and working an entire renovation in the foul, which may very fitly be compared to a new birth. Nicodemus, fill con- tinuing full of hefitation and furprife, our Lord proceeded to inform him, that the thing would not appear fo myferious when