Joseph A. Benton Collection

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Joseph A. Benton came to California in 1849, during the gold rush. He first settled in Sacramento, where he founded the First Congregation Church in 1851. He was a pastor for many years as well as a professor of Biblical literature at Pacific Theological Seminary. This collection consists of correspondences and sermons dating from 1848 to 1893. Please note that historical materials in the Gold Rush Collections may include viewpoints and values that are not consistent with the values of the California State Library or the State of California and may be considered offensive. Materials must be viewed in the context of the relevant time period but views are in no way endorsed by the State Library. The California State Library’s mission is to provide credible information services to all Californians and, as such, the content of historical materials should be transcribed as it appears in the original document.

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1 Cor. [Corinthians] 4:15. "In C. J. [Christ Jesus] I have begotten you thro the gospel." – In Bible change is sometimes as cuted [cutted] to truth – sometimes to preacher – Sometimes to God – but ever in con-nection with truth as the means ~ (Truth is the occasional, not the efficient cause.) ~ (2) Same is manifest from t. [the] nat. [nature] of t. [the] change – as a moral change ~

Shown before – the change intelligent, voluntary, &c. [etc.] – but no such change can be without previous kn. [knowledge] – thought – desire i.e. – truth known, seen, apprehended, – no choice – no change without this first.

Anything done in one, without his action – is not his – may affect his physics – not his moral character – that can't be forced on him – nor forced away from him – by any power – something of his own – for wh. [which] he only is responsible – as one free intelligent ~

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One takes his affect from t. [the] world, & fixes on G [God] – in conseq. [consequences] of t. [the] motives wh. [which] truth presents to his view, – in no other way is conversion possible ~

III ~

What is it to use these means of Regeneration?

May respect G. [God] to convert – Sinner to be converted.

(1) God employs the means of regeneration in every form & variety; to save sinners ~

Does it in every way in wh. [which] truth is made to shine upon the soul – to affect the heart.

(a) By his works. The invis. [invisible] things of Him from t. [the] creation are already &c [etc.]

[b] By his providences. How stupendous are these. Look over t. [the] world to-day [today] &c. [etc.]

(c) Esp. [Especially] by Afflictions. Loss of prop. [property], of health – of friends – &c. [etc.] teach solemn lessons wh. [which] sh'd [should] use

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(d) By his servants. – holy lives – good deeds – the church aligns in the world – their active endeavors ~

(e) By his mercies. Sharing – forbearing – Striving – atoning – &c. [etc.]

"The goodness of God leadeth to repentance."

(f) His word – Prominently by his ministry.

This is his institution – not of man alone – Saves "by t. [the] foolishness of preaching" – This great means – nothing else like it. Urging the truth on the mind and consc. [conscious] –

Declares his view – when he says – How s. [soul] bel. [believes] on him of wh.m [whom] have not heard — & how hear without a Preacher?

In New Test. [Testament] all sinners most were converted by preaching – public or privte.

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(2) Sinner uses means of grace – when he applies the truth to his own heart – yields obed. [obedience] – & gives right influences sway in his soul ~

(a) To think – to feel on the subject – but never act – never comply – is rather an abuse – than a proper use of means.

(b) May have them before as at our com-mand and never rightly use them.

To hear preaching – to read Bible – to pray – these are means – – but they are not fully used till we go through with an entire change of character.

Will not save – of necessity – must be more done – many sinners lost so ~

(c) Two opposite modes of tesching – One makes all a sinner does till – Sometime t. [the] heart is changed – positively sinful & wrong.

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The other teaches him to seek, read, pray, &c. [etc.] & he will be saved – – but this is not so. – No good in there of themselves – many have done these things – yet never been regenerated. I don't say they are wrong – but they are only half the duty –.

No need of any delay – of this slow process of hours, days, & weeks, & months – it often happens so – but no necessity for it – do wrong in not yielding more promptly & heartily –

(d) True mods thus – – Sinner is to change his own purposes his own affect, his own char. [character] to wait for nothing make no delay – to repent on the Spot – – He is to use theses means – all the truth he knows on t. [the] Sub. [Subject] & go right through – in view of what the two things are he should decide to be the Lords [Lord's] ~

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