« AnteriorContinuar »
the new creature, which is the complex frame, or system of all the graces together?
Secondly, To conclude; Where all the causes of an interest in Christ are found, and all the effects and fruits of an interest in Christ do appear; there, undoubtedly, a real interest in Christ is found: but wherever you sind a new creature, you find all the causes, and all the effects of an interest in Christ: For there you shall sind,
First, The impulsive cause, viz. The electing love of God, from which the new creature is inseparable, i Pet. i. 2.; with the new creature, also, the meritorious, efficient, and sinal causes of interest in Christ, and union with him, are ever found, Eph. ii. 10. chap. i. 4, 5, 6.
Secondly, All the effects and fruits of interest in Christ, are found in the new creature; there are all the fruits of obedience, for we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Epb. ii. 10. Rom. vii. 4. there is true, spiritual opposition to sin.
I John v. 18. "He that is begotten of God, keepeth himself,
II and that wicked one toucheth him not." There is love to the people of God; 1 John iv. 7. "Every one that loveth, is born *' of God." There is a conscientious respect to the duties of both tables; for the new creature is created after God in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24. There is perseverance in the ways of God, to the very end, and victory over all temptations; for whosoever is born of God, overcometh'the world, 1 John v. 4. It were easy to run over all other particular fruits of our union with Christ, and shew you every one of them in the new creature. And thus much of the doctrinal parr of this point.;
2 Cor. v. 17. Theresore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
AFTER the explication of the sense of this scripture, we observed,
Doct. That God's creating of a new supernatural work of 'grace, in the soul of any man, is that man's sure, and infallible evidence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ. You have heard why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new creation; in what respect every soul in Christ is renewed; what the eximious properties of this new creature are; the iridispensibleness, and necessity thereof, hath been al, so proved; and how it. evidences our interest in Christ, was cleared in the doctrinal part: Which we now come to improve^ in the several uses serving for our
5. Consolation'." '-
First Use, for information.
Is the new creature the sure and insallible evidence of our saving interest in Christ? From hence then we are informed,
Infer. 1. How miserable, and deplorable an estate, all untenewedsouls are in; who can lay no claim to Christ, during that state, and therefore are under an impossibility of salvation. O reader! if this be the state of thy soul, better had it been for thee not to have been God's natural workmanship, as a man, except thou be his spiritual workmanship, also, as a new man. I know the schoolmen determine otherwise, and. say, that damnation is rather to be chosen, than annihilation; a miserable being is better than no being: and it is very true, with respect to the glory of God, whose justice shall triumph for ever, in the damnation of the unregenerate; but, with respect to us, 'tis much better never to have been his creatures, in the way of generation, than not to be his new creatures, in the way of regeneration. So Christ speaks of Judas, that son of perdition, Mark xiv. 21. " Good had it been for that man, if he had never
Vol. II. P p p
been born: For what is a b<.ing, without the comfort of it? What is life, without the joy and pleasure of life? A damned being is a being without comfort; no glimpse of light shines Into that darkness; they shall, indeed, fee, and understand the felicity, light an>joy of the saints in glory; but not partake, in the least measure, of the comfort. Luke xiii. 28, " They "stnll see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of "God, but they themselves shut out:" Such a sight is so far from giving any comfort, that it will be the aggravation, and increase of torment, O it is better to have no being at all, than to have a being only to capacitate a man for misery; to desire death, while death flies from him, Rev. iv. 6. The opinion of the Schoolmen will never pass tor found doctrine among the damned. Think on it, reader, and lay it to thine heart, better thou hadst died from the womb, better the knees had prevented thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked, than that thou shouldest live and die a stranger to the new birth, or that thy mother should bring thee forth only to increase, and fill up the number of the damned.
Infer. 1. And, on the contrary, vie may hence learn, what cause regenerate souli have to bless God, for the day -wherein they 'were born. O what a privileged state doth the new birth bring men into! 'Tis possible, for the present, they understand it not; for many believers are like a great heir lying in the cradle, that koows not to what an estate, and honour he is born: nevertheless, on the same day, wherein we become new creatures, by regeneration, we have a firm title, and solid claim to all the privileges of the sons of God, John i. 12, 13. God becomes our Father, by a triple title, not only the Father of our beings, by nature, which was all the relation we had to him before, but our Father by adoption, and by regeneration: which is a much sweeter, and more comfortable relation. In that day the image of God is restored, Eph. iv. 24. this is both the health and beauty of the soul. In that day we are begotten again to a lively hope, 1 Pet. i. 3. a hope more worth than ten thousand worlds, in the troubles of life, and in the straits of death: this is a creature which lives for ever, and will make thy life happy for even' Some have kept their birth day as a festival, a day of rejoicing; but none have more cause to rejoice that ever they were born, than those th it are new born.
Infer. 3. Learn from hence, that the -work of grace is -wholly supernatural; 'tis a creation, and a creation-viork is above the power of the creature. No power, but that which gave being to she world, can give a being to the new creature: almighty power goes forth to give being to the new creature. This creature is not born of flesh, or of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God, John i. 13. The nature of this new creature speaks its original to be above the power of nature; the very notion of a new creation spoils the proud boasts of the great asser' tersof the power, and ability of the will of man. When God, therefore, puts the question, who maketh thee to differ? And what hast thou, that thou hast not received? Let thy foul, reader, answer it, with all humility, and thankfulness, 'Tis thou, Lord, thou only, that madest me to differ from another} and what 1 have received, I have received from thy free grace*
Infer. 4. If the work of grace be a new creation, Ut not the parents and friends of the unregenerate utterly despair of the converfion of their relations, how great soever their present discouragements are. If it had been possible for a man to have seen the rude, and indigested chaos, before the Spirit of God moved upon it, would he not have said, can such a beautiful order of beings, such a pleasant variety of creatures, spring out of this dark lump? Surely it would have been very hard for a man to have imagined it. It may be, you fee no dispositions, or hopeful inclinations in your friends, towards God, and spiritual things; nay, possibly they are totally opposite, and filled with enmity, against them; they deride, and jeer all serious piety, wherever they behold it: this, indeed, is very sad; but yet reimember the work of grace is creation-work: though there be no disposition at all in their wills, no tenderness in their consciences, no light, or knowledge in their minds; yet God, that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, can shine into their hear * to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the sace of Jesus Christ: he can say to the dry bones, live; to the proud and stubborn heart, come down and yield thyself to the will of God; and if he command, the work is done. God can make thee yet to rejoice over thy most uncomfortable relations, to say with thq sather of the prodigal, Luke xv. 74. " This my son was dead, and is alive again; he "was lost and is found; and they began to be merry;" difficulties are for men, but not for God: he works, in cou version, by a power which is able to subdue all things unto itself.
Infer. 5. If none but new creatures be in Christ, how small a remnant, among men, belong to Christ, in this world I Among the multitude of rational creatures inhabiting this world, how few, how very few, are new creatures? 'Tis the observation of the learned Mr. Brercwood, that if the world be divided into thirty parts, nineteen parts are heathenish Idolaters: six parts Mahometans; and only five, out of thirty, which may be, in a large fense, called Christians; of which, the sar greater part is overspread with Popish darkness: separate from the remainder, the multitudes of prophane, merely civil, and hypocritical professors of religion; and how few will remain for Jesus Christ, in this world? Look over the cities, towns, and parishes, in this populous kingdom; and how few shall you sind that lpeak the language, or do the works of new creatures? How few have ever had any awakening convictions on them And how many of those, that have been convinced, have miscarried, and never come to the new birth? The more cause have they, whom God hath indeed regenerated, to admire the riches of God's distinguishing mercy to them. .
Infer. 6. If the change, hy grace, be a new creation, how universal, and marvellous a change, doth regeneration make upon men f The new creation speaks a marvellous, and universal alteration, both upon the state, and tempers of men; they come out of darkness, gross, hellish darkness, into light, a marvellous, and heavenly light, i Pet. ii. 9. Eph. v, 8. their condition, disposition, and conversation, (as you have heard) is all new; and yet this marvellous change, as great and universal as it is, is not alike evident, and clearly discernible, in all new creatures: and the reasons are, . .
First, Because the work of grace is wrought in divers methods, and manners, in the people of God. Some are changed from a state of notorious prophaneness, unto serious godliness 5 there the change is conspicuous, and very evident; al! the neighbourhood rings of it: but, in others, it is more ini?usibly distilled in their tender years, by the blessing of God, upon religious education, and there it is more indiscernible.
Secondly, Though a great change be wrought, yet much natural corruption still remains for their humiliation and daily exercise; and this is a ground of fear and doublings; they fee not how such corruptions are consistent with the new creature.
Thirdly, In some, the new creature shews itself, mostly, in the affectionate part, in desires and breathings after God; and bus little in the clearness of their understandings, and strength . of their judgments; for want of which, they are entangled, and kept in darkness, most of their days.'
Fourthly, Some Christians are more tried, and exercised, by temptation from Satan, than others are; and these clouds darken the work of grace in them.
ftfthtyi There is great difference, aad variety, found in tho