Excerpts from “Regeneration”, Evangelical Magazine, January 1799, pp. 18-19, H.K.
Except a man be born again he cannot see, he cannot understand, the things of the kingdom of God, so as to discern their nature and importance; to feel their influence, and to relish and enjoy their excellence. A true knowledge of these spiritual objects is communicated by the Spirit, accompanied by a taste of them them, and a delight in them. When a man has once obtained this kind of knowledge, it begins a new ear in the system of his experience, and in his life and conduct.
It is evident that what in Luke viii.10 is called knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is the same that is here meant by seeing them. And what is knowing when applied to spiritual things, but the mind’s perception of them in a manner which gives them a due influence upon the minds?
Heb. xi. 1. “It is the perception, or mental conviction of the reality of things not seen or invisible;” that is, of the things of the Spirit of God, and of the kingdom of heaven. It is a perception of these heavenly realities by the mind, illuminated by a supernatural influence; so viewing them as to choose and love them before everything, and so live under the influence of them in this manner.
It is possess a relish for them, and a pleasure in them superior to anything we habitually feel or the things of sense. They will then give a decided bias to the mind, and manifest their native tendency to holiness. They will form the heart and life anew. The word of Christ is, indeed, the word of the kingdom, and is described as a seed of a divine and incorruptible quality; and being introduced into the mind, by the agency of the Spirit, produces a creature like itself, holy and heavenly, which in Scripture is called a new man and a new creation.
We must become fools in our own estimation to be wise; we must become weak to be strong, and lowly to be exalted. Without such a frame of heart, we cannot enjoy the things of the kingdom of God: we cannot love, we cannot delight in them, we cannot receive them. Let the reader seriously enquire whether his professed acquaintance with divine truth produces these effects; for without them, nothing is more certain than, that his faith and hope are only fatal presumption and delusion.