« ForrigeFortsæt »
Romans came off conquerors in the end. So the pious Christian may receive some foils, but “ at last he shall be more than a conqueror,” yea, “a triumpher" through the Captain of his salvation, Rom. viii. 37.
8. The new creature renders the person that hath it, safe, in a safe condition. He “ that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” The holy angels are a royal guard to these “ new-born babes of salvation." Many are the dangers to which the new creature is exposed; but one angel is as a whole camp, to encompass and deliver God-fearing souls. * The God of angels is also nigh them, and saves them; he will secure them from seduction, and the evil of temptation. It is not possible that the elect should be finally and irrecoverably seduced; for grace establisheth the heart, and they “that are of us, shall no doubt continue with us :" they shall be kept“ by mighty power, through faith to salvation.” † And we know that these souls that are born of God, are so kept, “ that the wicked one toucheth them not :” God will “ keep them, that they shall not be tempted above what they are able.” God will furnish his child with armour of proof against Satan's assaults; his breastplate may be shot at, but never shot through; the “Christian's bow abides in strength,” and he stands as a rock in the midst of waves. † He can neither be stormed nor undermined, if the saints have but a little strength, yet it shall be lasting, yea, everlasting
9. The new creature makes Christians that possess it useful and profitable to all about them. It is natural for this new creature to propagate religion : as
* Psalm xci. 1. Heb. i. 14. Psalm xxxiv. 7, 18.
sin, so grace is assimilating: how solicitous was the church for her "little sister that had no breasts, when she should be spoken for?” How did the blessed apostle Paul pant after the conversion of his countrymen, the Jews? The believer labours to do good to all about him, both good and bad. He would fain pluck sinners out of the fire of hell, and engage them for heaven ;* and he spurs on his brethren in heaven's road, by counsels, admonitions, prayers, example, and all holy exercises in christian communion. Such become the pillars of the place and nation where they live: ten righteous persons inight have saved Sodom; and Lot's presence there bound the angels' hands till he was gone. The Christian will never know while he lives what use he has been of in the world. Every pious soul is a fruitful tree, that “brings forth fruit in due season, yea, in old age.” +
10. This new creature prepares souls for gospelprivileges; it is only the new creature that is a vessel proper to receive the new wine of the gospel, Matt. ix. 16, 17. In the gospel all things are new, Rev. xxi. 5. There is a new name, Rev. iii. 12; new church, Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 2; new way, Heb. x. 20; new covenant, Heb. viii. 8; a new commandment, John xiii. 34; new sacraments, Matt. xxvi. 26. xxviii. 19; a new relation, 1 Pet. ii. 9; a new condition, 2 Pet. iii. 13; and a new song, Rev. xiv. 3 : yea, new heavens and a new earth. And surely it is very fit that Christians should have new hearts, which God promiseth in the new covenant, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” New qualifications prepare persons for new dispensations ; therefore God joins the new heavens, and “new
; Cant. viii. 8. Rom. ix. 1-3. x. 1. Jude, 22. + Gen. xviji. 32. Psalm i. 3. xcii. 14.
earth with the new seed," Isa. lxvi. 22, else there would be a great inconsistency.
11. The new creature prepares persons for death and heaven; “To these to live is Christ, and to die gain ; living and dying, these are the Lord's;” it is this that renders persons “meet for the heavenly inheritance.”* None can see God, but those that are pure in heart; these, and only these, are “wrought for this self-same thing." Heaven is not like Noah's ark, that had clean and unclean creatures brought into it; “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” | Frogs came into Pharoah's court; but no unclean thing can enter heaven. A sensual palate could not taste the sweetness of that wine which is in our Father's kingdom, for it is new wine, and renewed souls only are capable of taking pleasure in it. Happy is the man that hath got Christ in the arms of his faith, and in his heart by this new nature, he may lift up his head, and say with Simeon, “Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” + And is not this important to souls ?
12. This new creature is heaven begun; it is a considerable part of heaven; holiness is happiness; it is the seed and embryo of the heavenly state, Grace and glory form a blessed connexion, Psal. lxxxiv. 11; they differ only in degree, not in kind; grace is glory begun, glory is grace consummated; grace is the bud, glory is the flower. This new creature is the key of paradise, the inlet into glory; yea, it is salvation already, 2 Tim. i. 9, “Who hath saved and called us.” This blessed work of the new creature is a "quicken
• Phil. i. 21.
Rey. xxi. 9.
Rom. xiv. 8. Col. i. 12.
ing of us together with Christ, and raiseth us up together, and makes us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ;” and thus we are saved in our repre'sentative, Eph. ii. 5-7. This divine principle is heaven begun, not only as a pledge, but part of it. The scriptures often tell us, that God's children have eternal life, John xvii. 2.' And this is, in pretio, in price, for it is a purchased possession, Eph. i. 14.-In promisso, in promise, for God hath promised eternal life to all that obey him.-In semine, in the seed, the water within the believer, is a well springing up to eternal life, John iv. 14.-In pignore, in pledge, this is called sometimes the "seal of the Holy Spirit;" sometimes the earnest, which is part of the thing to be enjoyed; sometimes the witness of the Spirit, who never bears his testimony to a lie; “He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the witness in himself; for the Holy Spirit beareth witness with our spirits.”* And in these respects the new creature is important in such a manner, as no external gospel privileges, or worldly enjoyments are to the children of men.
SOME INFERENCES DRAWN FROM THE PREMISES.
IV. For the practical improvement of this important truth, I shall keep close to the method which the Holy Ghost prescribes for the discussion of all truths; 2 Tim. iii. 16, “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor
• Heb. v. 9. Eph. i. 13, 14. 1 John v. 10. Rom. viii. 16.
rection, for instruction in righteousness. These are the uses I shall make of this subject :
First, For doctrine, or information of the judgment, that our minds may be acquainted with points proper to be known.
Now there may be an inquiry into seven things relative to the new creature, which I shall reduce to question and answer.
1. Qu. Is the framing of this new creature in the soul miraculous ? The reason of this question is, because we have compared it to, and even shewed its precedency above the first creation, which was a miracle, therefore it should seem that this also must be so.
Answ. (1.) Some things are miracles, yet not a creation; as Stephen seeing Jesus at God's right hand, Acts vii. 55; or barren Sarah's conceiving, Gen. xxi. 2; or the sun's going back, or standing still, Isa. xxxviii. 8: for then nature only proceeds beyond its ordinary course.
(2.) Some things are both a miracle and a creation, as the virgin Mary's conceiving, and bearing a Son, yet remaining a virgin, Luke i. 35. The production of manna was both a miracle and a creation, Exod. xvi. 15.
(3.) Some things only seem miraculous to ignorant people, as an eclipse of the sun, but mathematicians know the cause.
(4.) Some things are a creation, yet not a miracle, as the conversion of a soul, the subject is a rational soul, and so capable of a principle of grace, and had once God's image; but it was lost, and is recovered by a spiritual creation, of that which man had lost by his fall and folly.
2. Qu. Is there any inclination in man towards this new creation ? Or, is there any spark of good