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is sure to be frozen
thither. But it may
be objected, If a legal righteousness, produced by our own strength, will not justify a sinner, yet this new creature, or the habit, or exercise of evangelical righteousness will surely justify ?
The apostle himself answers, no; and he instanceth in two famous saints in the Old Testament, the one is Abraham, the other David, Rom. iv. 1, 6. Faithful, holy Abraham, though no idolater, but circumcised, offering his son, must not glory in any habit or acts of grace. And David, though a man after God's own heart, yet saith, “ Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified :” “ If the Lord mark iniquity, who can stand ?" Holy Paul dares not stand in his own righteousness at God's bar, but“ in the righteousness, which is of God by faith.”* Indeed this imparted or inherent holiness, was communicated to the soul for other ends than to justify a sinner before God, from the guilt of any one sin; and yet this new creature is very important to the souls of men in these twelve cases :
1. This new creation rectifies the soul's faculties, which were marred by Adam's fall. The former structure, though once a famous edifice, was, in consequence of transgression, not only tottering, but a ruinous house, and lies in rubbish; this new creation reedifies it in a more stately, sumptuous manner : yea, it is richly adorned thereby : “ They shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” Thereby the Christian“ is more excellent than his neighbour,” “ of an excellent spirit,” more excellent than himself was : * he is thus become like the angels,
* Psalm cxliii. 2. cxxx. 3. Phil. iii. 7-9. + Prov. i. 9. xii. 26. xvii. 27.
yea, like God himself: and though he be short of Adam in the degree of grace, yet upon better ground,
, in point of duration : and now “great grace” is upon all true believers, Acts iv. 33. Man, by his fall, “ became like the beasts that perish," Psalm xlix. 12: but this new creature makes him better than other men. All men are on a level as to God, till this new creation sets a divine stamp on some. “ The tongue of the just is as choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is little worth,” Prov. x. 20. God only hath sovereignty and authority to rate his creatures : this is the estimate he forms.
2. This new creature is the fruit and evidence of everlasting love; this is the legible print of God's purpose from eternity. “ He hath chosen us,—that we should be holy,” Eph. i. 4: this is the proper result of free, undeserved grace. Gal. i. 15, God “ calls by his grace :” this is the glorious display of his banner of love over the souls of men. In the old creation there was the strength of God's arm; in this there is the working of God's bowels. God found all mankind alike involved in sin and misery, but “
grace makes some to differ froin others," 1 Cor. iv. 6,7. As a curious landholder seeing a forest spreading over his ground, marks some trees, designing to make of them some rare pieces of workmanship; thus God carves his own image on a common log, and sets it apart for himself: this is an act of discriminating love, and when the sinner sees it, he must cry out, “Who am I, O Lord
“ God, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?” “ grace of God I am what I am ;” this, this is a " shed
- . ding abroad of his love in my heart :"* I read love in every line and letter of this new impression; and doth not this avail a person much?
* 2 Sam, vii. 18. 1 Cor. xv. 10. Rom. v. 5.
3. This new creation consecrates the soul' to be a residence for God, and renders the person acceptable to him. God dwells in the humble and holy heart: there only he takes up his lodging, when he hath perfumed the heart with myrrh and frankincense: having built this mansion-house, it becomes a habitation of God through the Spirit, a temple of the Holy Ghost.” * God hath two thrones-one in heaven, and the other in a holy heart : the soul and body is a “sacrifice holy and acceptable to God,” Rom. xii. 1. Happy soul, that is thus owned by the great God: no matter should men reject you, if God receive you; if men desert you, yet if God abide with you, you are happy : God casts out the devil's furniture, and saith, “ This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it,” Psalm cxxxii. 14, 15. No bad house will be kept there where God dwells, for he makes all welcome; this is important.
4. The first instant of this new creation, commences a communion with God; this is a consequence of the former, and the peculiar privilege of a saint: “ “ Trúly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son.” This communion with God, is a mystery to most men: every one that hangs about the court, doth not speak with the king : many meddle with duties, but meet not with God. “ It is good for me to draw nigh to God.” How oft doth the Christian cry out, Oh when shall I come and appear before God ?” † This new creature puts a bias in the soul God-wards, it naturally carries the believer upwards, to engage “his heart in approaching to God ;” and the “ Lord meets him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness.” Birds cannot converse with men, there is not a suitableness
* Isa. lvii. 15. Cant. iii. 6. Ephes. Ü: 22. ] Cor. vi. 17, 19. + 1 John i. 3. Psalm lxxiii. 28. xlii. 2. VOL. V.
of nature'; a “hypocrite cannot, dare not come before God ;" * but a saint can draw near with boldness through Christ ; for he is like God, and communion is founded in similitude. +
5. This new creature evidenceth a soul's interest in Christ, and union to him; yea, puts the poor believer in a capacity of deriving influence from him, as the child in the womb draws nourishment from the mother. It is this new creature that evidenceth our interest in Christ; “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” This was one end of our Lord's giving himself for us, to “purchase to himself a peculiar people.” Christ's cross was both an altar and a laver, to expiate and to purify, to sanctify and justify; you shall obtain continual supplies of grace from Christ, and of his fulness receive grace for grace. The new creature hath a constant spring to feed it, and to recruit it in its decays; God still saith, “My grace shall be sufficient for thee;" so he becomes indefectible, the new creature needs not to fear famishing, having such breasts of consolation to suck, and such a storehouse; so saith the apostle, “ The God of all grace, who hath
, called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that
ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you;" || surely then this new creature avails much.
6. The new creature is the inlet or avenue to true joy, peace, and satisfaction; though in its first infancy, there be a casting down, yet it is in order to a lifting up. Light is sown for the righteous; it may for a season lie in the furrows of gospel sorrow;
• Jer. xxx. 21. Isa. lxiv. 5. Job. xiii. 16.
that sow in tears, shall reap in joy,” just like the pangs of a child-bearing woman, that end in comfort. kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ;* all joy comes in at this door ; that is but a spurious, yea diabolical peace, which is not a companion of the new creature ; " when a strong man
a armed keepeth the palace, his goods are in peace;” the palace is the heart, the goods are the soul's faculties ; the strong man is the devil; the soul hath never a quiet hour in God's way, till Satan be dispossessed, and a rightful Lord introduced, that is, our Lord Jesus. It is true, there are oft furrows in the face of the new creature, but they are for sin, and for want of the sense of its in-being; but in God's time," he will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;" sorrowful sufferings will at last “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” † And is this worth nothing ?
7. This new creature hath all things profitable entailed upon it. “Godliness is profitable to all things;" yea, "godliness with contentment, is great gain.” All the good things of heaven and earth, are made sure by covenant title to this new creature; “ All things are yours,” saith God; every thing turns to advantage; the Christian is the true chymist, to extract gold out of every thing; “ All things work together for good to him;" | though not singly, yet jointly, combined with other ingredients; he gains for the improvement of this new man by outward losses. Every mercy, ordinance, providence, and affliction becomes a talent by which he is a gainer, Matt. xxv. 27. If he fight with Satan, he gets ground at last. In petty skirmishes and some battles the Carthaginians obtained victories, but the
• Psalm xcvii. 11. cxxvi. 5, 6. John xvi. 21. Rom. xiv. 17. + Luke xi. 21, 22. 1 Pet. i. 8. Heb. xii. 11. * I Tim. iv. 8. vi. 6. I Cor. iii. 21. Rom. viii. 28.