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A NEW CREATION EVIDENCED BY ITS EFFECTS,
CONSEQUENCES, AND OPERATIONS.
FOURTHLY, The last way of discovering the truth of the new creation in the soul, is by its proper fruits and effects, as “the tree is known by its fruits,” and the quality of the spring by the streams which issue from it. I can but name these :
1. The new creation produceth a new tongue, new speech, new expressions. The person that was wont to speak the language of Ashdod, now speaks the language of Canaan: his tongue was wont to swear, lie, curse, and rail at religion, or was engaged in vain jangling, idle tales, and impertinent stories, or at best but about weather, trading, and news : now he changeth his note; “ The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.” Why so ? " the law of God is in his heart; out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” What say you, sirs ? do you speak as becometh saints, not filthiness, foolish talking, or jesting? Is your speech always with grace, seasoned with salt?” * not “corrupt communication, but that which is good to the use of edifying? Do you exhort, and “provoke one another to love and good works ?” Do you speak reverently of God, his word, and works ? Do you « with one mind and one mouth glorify God ?” | edify saints, and convince gainsayers ? Ribaldry, obscenity, and railing are far from a pious man's mouth : rather you hear giving of thanks, asking and answering serious questions with his tongue, which is his glory.
* Psal. xxxvii. 30, 31. Matt. xii. 34. Eph. v. 3, 4. Col. iv.6. + Eph. iv. 29, 31. Heb. x. 24, 25. Rom. xv. 6.
2. New works : not only new expressions, but new actions. The new creation engageth men to a new course of life, to “cast off the works of darkness, and to put on the armour of light, to walk honestly as in the day.” What a change doth it make in men's employments; their backs are now where their faces were, and their faces where their backs were. This grace of God “ teacheth them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly;" yea,
“ to be zealous of good works.” They were wont to work hard for the world; now they “ work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. They used to follow sports and stage-plays; now they find other employments, reading, praying, meditating, examining their consciences, and mortifying their passions : they find something else to do now, than to spend their time in idleness, and inventing pastimes, to pass away life: they have many graces to exercise, duties to perform, personal and relative; they have no time to be idle, but must fill up their days with profitable employment, to God's glory and their own good account. O how busy are the children of God, "striving to enter in at the strait gate,”—“ taking the kingdom of heaven by violence,”—and giving diligence “ to make their calling and election sure;” † and that their Master may not find them idle, but that they may be found of him in peace.
3. A new rule suitable for the new creature. Alas, in time past, the poor sinner“walked according to the course of this world.” The old traditions and customs of men were wont to be his canon ; he followed the multitude in conformity to the world; but now the rule of the new creature is the star he steers his course
• Rom. xiii. 12–14. Tit. j. 11, 12, 14. Phil. ii. 12. + Luke'xiii. 24. Matt. xi. 12. 2 Pet. i. 10.
by.* Bring me a warrant from the word in a plain text, or a direct unstrained consequence to ground my obedience upon, or you say nothing. God's will is my rule of obedience, that only binds conscience; and the new creature lies square to every command. The authority of God sways it, because there is something in the soul that suits and is adapted to every precept: if he'cannot keep any, yet he "hath respect to all God's commandments.” He is, as it were, pliant to every thing God makes his duty; but a hypocrite is like a round globe, which toucheth only in some corner, he omits all, except what his interest or fancy calls him to at that juncture : if he “should even keep all, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” A true Christian is of a catholic spirit, a universalist, like Zacharias and Elizabeth, who " walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” These were indeed righteous ; if there be circumcision of heart, there will be circumspection in life. See then you walk circumspectly, árpißost according to command, and to the height of every command, balk none, abate nothing of what God makes duty. 4.
A new end, or design. Alas, self is the end and great idol of a carnal heart, till grace rectify and regulate it; all “ seek their own,” Phil. ii. 21. Matt. vi. 2, self-ease, pleasure, self-profit, self-honour, or applause. The water will rise no higher than the spring : new grace changeth the bias of the soul, as a ship sailing westward, when there comes a strong gale of wind, and carries it directly to the east. Self-seeking is so natural, that till grace alter the constitution of the soul, the sinner will never be beaten off; self-denial is the Eph. ij. 2.
1 Pet. i. 18. Rom. xii. 2. Gal. vi. 16. + Psal. cxix. 6. James ii. 10. Luke i. 6. Eph. v. 15.
first and last lesson our Lord teacheth his disciples, Matt. xvi. 24; this is the first step and highest round in Jacob's ladder ; hath thy soul so far learned it, as to make God's glory, and communion with him, the chief aim of thy duties, studies, endeavours ? canst thou, soul, throw thyself in the dust, that God may be on the throne ? disappear, that God may only be seen, as John Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John iii. 30; if any good be done, “it is not I, but the grace of God with me,” 1 Cor. xv. 10; let him alone have the glory; let the crown be set no where but on Christ's head, it becomes him best; I will cast down my crown before the throne, and
say, “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power." As all the lines tend to the centre, so shall all my actions tend only to thy glory; “Let God in all things be glorified,” though I be vilified. This rent will I daily pay as a tribute to the crown of heaven; I am resolved to glorify God in my body and soul, which are his ; * better lose my life, than lose the end of my life, God's glory.
5. New worship is always a companion of the new creature. It is true, the carnal man might hear and read the word, pray, receive the sacrament, and perform the external acts of religion before, but formally, heartlessly, hypocritically, God knows; “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” 2 Tim. iii. 5. But as soon as the grace of God hath formed the new creature in the heart, then it is said, as of Paul, “Behold he prayeth,” Acts ix. 11; why, did not Paul pray before? Yes, doubtless, he was a Pharisee, and Pharisees made long prayers, it is likely he had a great gift of prayer; aye, but now Paul had the grace of prayer, behold he prays, now he prays with a witness; his prayer hath all the requisites
* Cant. iii. 11. Rev. iv. 10, 11, 1 Pet. iv. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 20.
essential to prayer. Oh now, if you could lay your ear to the closet of this new born saint; what sighs and groans would you hear! Rom. viii. 26. What throbs and tears; what self-loathing confessions; what heart-rending complaints; what heaven-piercing expostulations, would you witness! What believing, pleading of promises ; what improvement of Christ's mediatorship! this is not formal or heartless canting. As soon as ever this new creature was formed, the soul was turned from idols, " to serve the living and true God;" that is, “ in spirit and in truth.” If the words be the same, the workings of heart are as different as a living man's tone from dead organ pipes; the one hath breath, the other not. The gracious soul engageth his heart to approach unto God: yea, he also saith, “let us lift up our hearts with our hands;"* that is, let us pray and use our utmost endeavour to obtain what we pray for. † The hypocrite's tongue may be employed; but the new creature sets the heart a breathing, the hands on working, the feet on walking. Oh how he is concerned in the performance of duty!
6. A new war is commenced by the new creature. As soon as this new creature becomes visible, Satan musters all the powers of darkness against it; and now begins this holy war, which never ceases while the soul is in the body: and oh, how many a sharp skirmish hath the Christian with Satan and his armed bands! The carnal heart holds correspondence with the enemy, and the devil lets the sinner alone, and all his goods or soul's faculties are in peace; he sleeps quietly in the devil's tents, little dreaming whither he is going: or rather he is carried in a golden dream into Satan's territories ; or as Solomon's young gal
* 1 Thess. i. 9. John iv. 24. Jer, xxx. 21. Lamen. iii. 41. + Oremus et laboremus.