“1. The Christian indeed, hath not only reason for his religion, but also hath an inward, continual principle, even the Spirit of Christ, which is as a new nature, inclining and enlivening him to a holy life; whereby he mindeth and savoureth the things of the Spirit. Not that his nature doth work blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures; but at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in rational creatures, where the inclination is necessary, but the operations free, and subject to reason. It is a spiritual appetite in the rational appetite, even the will, and a spiritual, visive disposition in the understanding. Not a faculty in a faculty; but the right disposition of the faculties to their highest objects, to which they are by corruption made unsuitable. So that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, nor a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal disposition or habit. It is the health and rectitude of the faculties of the soul. Even as nature hath made the understanding disposed to truth in general, and the will disposed or inclined to good in general, and to self-preservation and felicity in particular; so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the understanding to spiritual truth, to know God and the matters of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and holiness, not blindly, as they are unknown, but to love and serve a known God. So that whether this be properly or only analogically called a nature, or rather should be called a habit, I determine not; but certainly it is a fixed disposition and inclination, which Scripture calleth the “Divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4.), and “the seed of God abiding in us;” 1 John 3:9. But most usually it is called the Spirit of God, or of Christ in us. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his;” Rom. 8:9. “By one p 388 Spirit we are all baptized into one body;” 1 Cor. 12:13. Therefore, we are said “to be in the Spirit, and walk after the Spirit, and by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body;” Rom. 8:1. 9. 13. And it is called, “the Spirit of the Son, and the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;” or are inclined to God, as children to their father; and the “Spirit of grace and supplication;” Rom. 8:15. 23. 26. Gal. 4:6. 5:17, 18. Eph. 2:18. 22, 4:3, 4. Phil. 1:27. 2:1. Zech. 12:10. From this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are called new creatures, and quickened, and made alive to God; 2 Cor. 5:17. Eph. 2:15. Rom. 6:11. 13. It is a great controversy, whether this holy disposition and inclination was natural to Adam or not, and consequently, whether it be a restored nature in us, or not. It was so natural to him as health is natural to the body, but not so natural as to be a necessitating principle, nor so as to be inseparable and unlosable.
2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the weakest Christian also, but in a small degree, and remissly operating, so as that the fleshly inclination oft seemeth to be the stronger, when he judgeth by its passionate strugglings within him. Though, indeed, the Spirit of life doth not only strive, but conquer in the main, even in the weakest Christians; Rom. 8:9. Gal. 5:17–21.
3. The seeming Christian hath only the ineffectual motions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual motions, and inward dispositions to some common duties of religion. And from these, with the natural principles of self-love and common honesty, with the outward persuasions of company and advantages, his religion is maintained, without the regeneration of the Spirit; John 3:6
Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 8 (London: James Duncan, 1830).
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