Here are excerpts from Booth's book, which is now out of
It is objected, 'Though it be not necessary for a
sinner to know that he is born again, before he believe in Jesus Christ, yet
regeneration must precede faith. For the heart of a sinner being naturally in a
state of enmity to the Divine Character, he will never turn to God, while in
that situation, for pardon and acceptance.' In answer to which, the following
particulars are proposed for consideration.
Before this objection can be
justly considered as valid, it must be evinced, not only, that regeneration
precedes faith; but also, that it is necessary to authorise a sinner's reliance
on Jesus Christ: than which, few sentiments are more foreign from the genuine
[Theory:] Regeneration must precede faith. This, though
assumed as a certain fact, may be justly doubted: for the page of inspiration
does not warrant our supposing, that any one is born of God, before he believe
in Jesus Christ; or, that regeneration is effected by the Holy Spirit, without
the word of grace. For we are taught, by the sacred writers, to consider the
word of truth, with regard to adults, as the means of regeneration, and of many
other happy effects. They teach, for instance,
is the instrument of enlightening the mind, of awakening the conscience, and of
softening the heart.
"The entrance of thy word giveth light" -- Psalm
"The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" -- Ephesians
"Is not my word like as fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer,
that breaketh the rock in pieces?" -- Jeremiah 23:29.
Corinthians 1:4, 5; Revelation 1:16, 2:12, l16; 19:15,
That it is the instrument, or seed, of
"The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and
they that hear shall live" -- John 5:25.
"The words that I speak unto
you, they are spirit, and they are life" -- John 6:63.
"In Christ Jesus I
have begotten you through the gospel" -- 1 Corinthians 4:15.
Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds" -- Philemon 10.
"Of his own
will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits
of his creatures" -- James 1:18.
"Being born again, not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth
forever" -- 1 Peter 1:23.
See also 1 Corinthians 1:18;
That they only, who believe in Christ, are the
children of God.
"As many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" -- John
"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" --
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of
God" -- 1 John 5:1.
That it is the mean, in the
hand of the Spirit, of conversion, of sanctification, and of
"The law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul" -- Psalm 19:7.
"He called you by our gospel, to the
obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" -- 2 Thesssalonians
"He that received seed into the
good ground, is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it; which also
beareth fruit" -- Matthew 13:23.
"Ye are clean through the word which I
have spoken unto you" -- John 15:3.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy
word is truth" -- John 17:17.
"That they also might be sanctified through
the truth" -- John 17:19.
"God be thanked, that ye were the servants of
sin, but ye have obeyed, from the heart, the model of doctrine into which ye
were delivered" -- Romans 6:17.
"The new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and holiness of the truth" -- Ephesians 4:24.
gospel, which is come unto you, as it is in all the world, and bringeth forth
fruit" -- Colossians 1:5, 6.
"The word of God, which effectually worketh
in you that believe" -- 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
"You have purified
your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit" -- 1 Peter
"The gospel of Christ -- is the power
of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth" -- Romans 1:16.
gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye
stand; by which also ye are saved" -- 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2.
or doctrine of the cross, is to us who are saved the power of God" -- 1
"The engrafted word, which is able to save your souls"
-- James 1:17.
Booth continues on page
Such is the language of inspiration, relative to the
high importance of revealed truth, in the great plan of salvation by Jesus
Christ! Hence, it appears, that few things are more evidently contained, or more
strongly asserted, in sacred scripture, than the INSTRUMENTALITY OF DIVINE TRUTH
IN RENEWING THE HEARTS OF SINNERS.
For it is there described as the
honoured mean, as the seed of God ((1 Peter 1:23-25), by which the Holy Spirit
effects regeneration, the sanctification, and the consolation, of those that are
But it is impossible for us to conceive of the mind being
enlightened, of the conscience being relieved, of the will being regulated, and
of the affections being purified by the word of truth, any further than it is
believed. It may therefore be concluded, that regeneration is not, in order
of time, prior to faith in Christ, and justification by him.
contend, indeed, that regeneration must be prior to faith, and to justification,
is like maintaining that the eldest son of a nobleman must partake of human
nature, before he can have the filial relation to his father which constitutes
him an heir to the paternal estate, and entitles him to those honours which are *
hereitary in the family. For the human nature, derived from his parents, and the
relation of a son, being completely of the same date; there is no such thing
as priority, or posteriority, respecting them, either as to the order of time,
or the order of nature. THERE ARE INSEPARABLE, NOR CAN ONE EXIST WITHOUT THE
Thus it is, I conceive, with regard to regeneration, faith in
Christ, and justification before God. For, to consider any man as born of God,
but not as a child of God; as a child of God, but not as believing in Jesus
Christ; as believing in Jesus Christ, but not as justified; or as justified, but
not as an heir of immortal felicity; is, either to the last degree absurd, or
manifestly contrary to the apostolic doctrine.
Consequently, as they are
the ungodly whom the Spirit regenerates by the truth, so persons of that
character are warranted to believe in Jesus.
Mr. Booth then
gives the quotes from Charnock to which we have often referred, contained in
Stephen Charnock's A Discourse
of the Word, the Instrument of Regeneration.
He follows the
Charnock quote with one from Dr. John Owen:
[regeneration] is wrought by the word. We are born again, not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. Wherein, not only the thing
itself, of our regeneration by the word, but the manner of it also, is declared.
It is by the collation of a new spiritual life upon us, whereof the word is the
seed. As every life proceeds from some seed, that hath in itself virtually the
whole life to be deduced from it, by natural ways and means; so the word in the
hearts of men is turned into a vital principle, that, cherished by suitable
means, puts forth vital acts and operations. BY THIS MEANS WE ARE BORN OF GOD,
and quickened, who, by nature, are children of wrath; dead in trespasses and
sins. So Paul tells the Corinthians, that he had begotten them, in Jesus Christ,
by the gospel. It is the INSTRUMENT OF GOD for this end; and mighty and
powerful, through God, it is for the accomplishment of it. (Owen on Hebrews 2:2,
3, 4, Vol. I, page 178).
Abraham Booth goes on his book to
consider some of the objections and arguments of the hyper-Calvinists of his day
who taught "pre-faith regeneration." It is noteworthy that some of the same
thought is expressed today by hypers, Hardshells, and hybrid
I looked in the index of James White's book, The
Potter's Freedom, and noticed he has no reference to great passages used by Mr.
Booth which teach the necessity of the means of the Gospel or Word in
regeneration. No reference to John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 4:15; 1
Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; 1 Peter 1:23. The absence of
such passages in White's books is consistent with his "pre-faith regeneration"
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