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we have seen. “To do good and to com- that now is, and of that which is to come;" it municate forget not, for with such sacrifices must be desirable to know wherein it conGod is well pleased." The Redeemer at the sists, what are its peculiar attributes, and last day will acknowledge, “ Forasmuch as how it may be distinguished from every thing ye did it unto one of the least of these my that would speciously usurp its place. brethren, ye did it unto me."
To afford us this necessary satisfaction is Why? Profit requires it. What is it that the aim of the Apostle, in several parts of bis attaches one man so powerfully to another writings; and as he wrote under the inspiraand gives him a resource in the tears, the tion of the Holy Ghost, his decisions are inprayers, the attentions, of his fellow-creatures fallible. “We are the circumcision, who in the day of evil? Power may cause the worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ possessor to be feared; wealth, to be envied; Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. genius, to be admired; righteousness, to be The kingdom of God is not in word, but in respected: but, “ for a good man some would power. The kingdom of God is not meat even dare to die.” Yea, goodness secures a and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy man much bigher resources than human in the Holy Ghost. For in Christ Jesus “ Blessed is he that considereth the poor : the neither circumcision availeth any thing, por Lord shall deliver him in time of trouble. uneircumcision ; but faith that worketh by Blessed are the merciful; for they shall ob- love.” “ For in Christ Jesus neither cit. tain mercy.". But it would be needless to cumcision availeth any thing, nor uncitmention all the promises made to beneficence cumcision, but a new creature. by a God that cannot lie, and is never at a The negation extends, by a parity of loss to perform.
reasoning, to a thousand other things. In Why? Pleasure requires it. If you are Jesus Christ neither episcopacy, nor dissentstrangers to the pleasures of benevolence, erism; a liturgy, or prayer without a form; you are to be pitied; for you are strangers kneeling, or sitting at the Lord's-supper ; to the most pure, the most durable, the most sprinkling in baptism, or immersion ; availeth delicious, the most satisfactory, the most any thing. We say not, that all these are God-like pleasures to be enjoyed on this side equally true and proper in themselves, and heaven.
that no degree of importance is attached to And here I unite the two parts of our sub- them; but that real religion is not essentially ject into one. I have called upon you to re-involved in them: real religion may subsist joice in your portion, and to do good with it: without them, and they may subsist without but it is possible to rejoice in doing good. real religion.-Neither will mere orthodoxy, The most beneficent life is the most happy knowledge, gifts, profession, avail— What life. We talk of pleasure! What are the then? “A new creature.” “ For in Christ Jefeelings of the most successful and in- sus neither circumcision availeth any thing, dulged worldling compared with those of Job? nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. " When the ear heard me, then it blessed Let us endeavour to explain and improve this me; and when the eye saw me, it gave wit- subject, ness to me. Because I delivered the poor I. BY EXAMINING WHAT IS IMPLIED IN * A that eried, and the fatherless, and him that NEW CREATURE. II. WHAT IS TO BE IShad none to help him. The blessing of him FERRED FROM ITS UNRIVALLED IMPORTANCE. that was ready to perish came upon me: and I. LET US EXAMINE WHAT IS IMPLIED IN I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." "A NEW CREATURE."
the delight of resembling Him, “who Four explanatory questions may be asked went about doing good !" O the joy of being upon this subject, followers of God, at once the greatest and First. In what sense is a Christian a new the best of Beings!" GOD IS LOVE: AND HE creature? Is it a physical or a moral one?
IN It is only a moral one. New faculties are GOD, AND GOD IN HIM."
not given him; but his faculties have new qualities and applications. Hence the origi
nal complexion, or constitutional peculiarity, DISCOURSE LXXXII. remains; and the man is seen even in the
Christian. His very religion takes a kind of THE NEW CREATURE.
hue from his natural character, whether it be For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avail- or mildness. And this is no inconsiderable
sanguine or phlegmatical, tending to severity eth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new proof of sincerity: for it is custom, it is forcreature.--Gal. vi. 15.
mality, it is hypocrisy, that produces sameIf religion be, as it is commonly acknow- ness; that constrains the lively to revolt ledged, the one thing needful; if it be ab- from cheerfulness; the talkative to keep sisolutely indispensable to every character, lence; and the young to look demurely, and and in every condition ; if it be profitable speak and move with the gravity of old age. unto all things, having promise of the life Had I known the individual turn and temper
DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH
of Martha and Mary before our Lord entered | views of the Saviour are changed. He once their house, I should have viewed them as neglected, or despised him: but now he cries, hypocrites had Mary acted as Martha did, or How great is his goodness, and how great is Martha acted as Mary did: but when I see his beauty! and deems only those happy, who the one “sitting at his feet," and the other enjoy and serve him. “cumbered about much serving,” I see a dif- His desires are new. He no longer asks, ference; but it is principle, operating accord-“Who will show us any good ?" but he “huning to character. To proceed. The man, gers and thirsts after righteousness.” “ Yea, therefore, continues the same as before, and doubtless," says he, “ and I count all things yet is a new creature. His soul, and all its but loss for the excellency of the knowledge powers, are the saine; he has not another un- of Christ Jesus, my Lord. That I may win derstanding, another memory, another innagi- Christ, and be found in him, not having mine nation, another genius: but these are changed own righteousness, which is of the law, but in their use, and sanctified. His body is the that which is through the faith of Christ, the same, and all its senses: grace does not give righteousness which is of God by faith: that him another tongue, or other eyes and ears; I may know him, and the power of his resurbut they are now sacred to new purposes rection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, His condition is the same: he is not another being made conformable unto his death." husband, another father, another master; but | These are the desires of the new creature. he is a different one: he is godly in each of His pleasures are new. The pleasures of these relations. He carries on the same bu- sin he abhors. The dissipations of the world siness: but now he abides with God in his he despises; but it is his meat to do the will calling. He eats and drinks as before: but of his heavenly Father. He calls the sabnow, whether he eats or drinks, or whatever bath a delight. He is glad when they say be does, he does all to the glory of God. If unto him, Let us go into the house of the the covetous become liberal, the proud hum- Lord. He finds his word and eats it, and it ble, and the prayerless devout; they are new is unto him the joy and the rejoicing of his creatures as to religious purposes and this heart. is the subject in question. Compare Paul His pains are new.
He once felt the sorafter his conversion with Paul before his con- row of the world that worketh death; but he version : his body and soul, his learning and now understands that godly sorrow, which abilities, and the ardour of his disposition, worketh repentance unto life. He is not incontinued the same; and yet, was there ever sensible under the afflictions of life; but says a being so different?
he, What is every other loss, to the loss of Secondly. How far does this change ex- the soul? O this evil heart of unbelief! O tend? The reason of this question is obvious; this ingratitude towards the God of my mercy! it is to keep persons from resting in things, O this unprofitableness under the means of which, though good in themselves, come short grace ! O this insensibility under the correcof it. A man may be baptized, and not re- tions of bis Providence ! “O wretched man generated. A new creed, or a new denomi- that I am, who shall deliver me from the body nation, does not make a man a new creature. of this death!" These are the groans of the It is pleasing to see a man reformed ex- new creature. ternally; but he may abandon a course of
His life is new. In simplicity and godly profligacy, and live soberly and righteously, sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the and yet not live godly in the present world. grace of God, he now has his conversation in The new creation is not a change from vicious the world. How shall he that is dead to sin, to virtuous only; but from natural to spiritual, live any longer therein ? If he was not vicious from earthly to heavenly, from walking by before, he now abhors, from disposition, what sight to walking by faith. To go still farther: he once only shunned from selfish motives ; a man may be convinced, and not converted; if moral before, his morality is now evangehe may be alarmed, and not have the fear of lized; and whatsoever he does " in Word or God in his heart; he may receive the word deed, he does all in the name of the Lord with joy, and be a stranger to the comforts Jesus.”—After all, this is only a specimen; of the Holy Ghost. Let us hear Paul. “If the proposition is universal in its reference: any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new!” This, however, regards are become new."
the extent, not the degree of this change. His conceptions are new. His views of him- We therefore ask, self are changed. He discovers that he is a Thirdly. Is this work produced instantaguilty creature, and deserves to perish; that neously, or is it gradually advanced to perhe is a depraved creature, and that his heart fection? Were we to affirm, that it is comis infinitely worse than his life; "wherefore pleted at once, we should offend against the he abhors himself, and repents in dust and generation of God's children; for, though beashes :" nor does he ever again recover those lievers often question the reality of their relofty thoughts of himself he once had. His ligion, they never doubt the imperfection of
it. We should lose the evidence of analogy. in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth If we examine the world of nature, we shall any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new see God producing nothing in immediate per- creature,” this should regulate your inquiries fection; but from imperceptible beginnings —your prayers—your praise--your esteein carrying them, by numberless degrees, to -and your zeal. maturity. Look into the field—there is first First. It should regulate your inquiries. the blade, then the ear, and after that the full You are commanded in the Scripture to excorn in the ear. Look into the fold—there amine yourselves; and, therefore, the examiare lambs as well as sheep. Look into the nation is necessary. But on what is it to family—there are babes as well as young turn? Not on the place, the time, the manmen: even our Saviour himself" increased in ner, the means of your conversion, but the wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with reality. Can you say, “ one thing I know, God and man.” We should lose the authority that whereas I was blind, now I see?" On of Revelation. For what are the commands what is it to turn? On that which is of the of Scripture ? " Grow in grace." “ Be filled highest moment. What is it to know that you with the Spirit.” What are its promises? are right in every thing else ; in your opinions “They shall grow as the vine. The right of church government, in your views of Dieous shall hold on his way, and he that hath vine ordinances, in your notions of Gospel clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger." grace, if your heart is not right in the sight What are its representations? It describes of God? Are you " saved by the washing of Christians as going “ from strength to regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy strength :" as “ renewed day by day:" as Ghost ?" This is the question. “ For in Christ “changed into the same image, from glory Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, to glory.” Who then would reject the bud, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” because it is not the flower; or contemn the It should regulate your prayers. If you dawn, because it is not the day? “Who has are strangers to this work, an experience of despised the day of small things?". Of whom it should be your immediate, your prevailing, is it prophesied, “a bruised reed shall he not your supreme concern. You should lay your break, the smoking flax shall he not quench, unhappy condition to heart. You should retill he bring forth judgment unto victory?" flect on what has been done for millions of
Fourthly. Who is the Author of this new your fellow-sinners, who are by nature chilcreation ? 'The question seems answered by dren of wrath, even as others. You should the very terms employed. Creation is a work consider, that what is impossible to man, is of omnipotence, and belongs exclusively to easy with God. You should remember, that God. This is not denied in any other instance. his power is under the direction of his goodMen will allow, that God alone can make a ness; and that he is not only the Lord God blade of grass; they will allow that in him Almighty, but the God of all grace, and the we live, and move, and have our natural be- God of all comfort. You should remember, ing; and yet, with marvellous inconsistency, that he has provided for your weakness and they would be their own saviours, and derive depravity, as well as your guilt and danger; from themselves that spiritual life, which is and that “ if ye being evil know how to give emphatically called “the life of God,” not good gifts unto your children, how much only to show its resemblance, but its origin. more will your Father that is in heaven give If the stream can rise no higher than the his Holy Spirit to them that ask him." At fountain; if no effect can exceed its cause; his dear footstool, you should plead and pray if no one can bring a clean thing out of an as David did, “ Create in me a clean heart, unclean: how is it to be accounted for, that O God, and renew a right spirit within me." those who were once so depraved as to need Without this, you are undone for ever. Coma universal change, should be in the posses- pared with this, every thing else you want, sion of real holiness? of spiritual excellency? is a trifle. “For in Christ Jesus neither cirIf we appeal to the Scripture, the case is ex- cumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumplained. There we shall find this work, in cision, but a new creature." the perfection, the progress, and the com- Thirdly. It should regulate your praise. mencement, ascribed to the agency of God. You ought to be thankful for every thing you We are said to “ live in the Spirit: to walk enjoy: and in a proper frame of mind you will in the Spirit: to be born of the Spirit.” “You say, with Jacob, “O Lord, I am not worthy hath he quickened,” says the Apostle, “who of the least of all thy mercies, and of all the were dead in trespasses and sins. You are truth which thou hast showed to thy servant." his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto But gratitude should be wise, and measure good works, which God hath before ordained out its favours according to the value of the that we should walk in them.”—Having blessing acknowledged. You should be thank shown what is implied in a “new creature," ful if you are favoured with civil freedom; if
you have the comforts of life; if your body is II. OBSERVE WHAT IS TO BE INFERRED free from pain and disease: but you should be FROM ITS UNRIVALLED IMPORTANCE. And, “ if much more so if the Son has made you free;
To see a sinner turn;
if you have the comforts of the Holy Ghost; | thing, to nothing.” And says not the Aposif your soul prospers, and is in health. What tle the same ? “For in Christ Jesus neither are temporal good things, compared with all circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncirspiritual blessings in heavenly places in cumcision, but a new creature.” Christ! The Disciples, on their return, re- But if our text should regulate our zeal, it joiced in their miraculous powers; but their should also enliven and increase it. “BreMaster corrected them, and said, “ In this re- thren," says James, “ if any of you do err from joice not, that the spirits are subject unto the truth, and one convert him; let him know, you: but rather rejoice, because your names that he which converteth the sinner from the are written in heaven." If God has convinced error of his way shall save a soul from death, you of sin, given you the spirit of grace and and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Here is of supplication, and enabled you to believe on an object worthy of all our powers. And is the Lord Jesus Christ, he has done much the attainment practicable? Can we convert more for you, than if he had enabled you, a sinner, save a soul, hide a multitude of sins? with Balaam, to prophesy, or with Judas, to Yes, the honour, the pleasure,—unspeakable cast out devils. One of these endowed mor- and full of glory,—is placed within our reach. tals was slain fighting among the enemies of O ye who are the subjects of his grace, be God's people, and the other went and hanged anxious to become the instruments 100! Let himself, that he might go to his own place; David's prayer and resolution be your'sbut he has sealed you with that holy Spirit " Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; of promise which is the earnest of our inhe- and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then ritance. Here, therefore, call upon your souls, will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinand all that is within you, to bless and praise ners shall be converted unto thee." his holy name. “Giving thanks unto the Surely, if there was only a probability, yea, Father, which hath made us meet to be par- a possibility of this success, in one instance takers of the inheritance of the saints in only, it should be enough to awaken all your light; who hath delivered us from the power powers, and employ all your efforts, for life! of darkness, and hath translated us into the
“Pleasure and praise run through God's host kingdom of his dear Son. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing,
Then Satan hath a captive lost,
And Christ a subject born.” nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."
Fourthly. It should regulate your esteem. It is said of a citizen of Zion, “In his eyes, a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth DISCOURSE LXXXIII. them that fear the Lord.” And what are all adventitious distinctions, or bodily or mental accomplishments, compared with the grace THE HAPPY PARENT. of God? The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: a man's real worth is his My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall religious worth. But in judging of this, do
rejoice, even mine.-Prov. xxiii. 15. not inquire after his particular opinions, his No person can read the works of Solomon mode of worship, or the denomination to without observing how frequently he adwhich he belongs; but the evidence he gives dresses the young. Two considerations not of being a partaker of the Divine nature. “If only justify his conduct, but render it exemany man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is plary. The first is, The probability of success. none of his;” and if he has, let this be suffi- This
, indeed, is only comparative; for owing cient to endear him. “For in Christ Jesus to the depravity of human nature, many atneither circumcision availeth any thing, nor tempts to promote the welfare of mankind uncircumcision, but a new creature.” will fail at every age. How often have the
Finally. This should regulate your zeal. young themselves been “wooed and awed,” You ought to be concerned to do good: but admonished and encouraged, in vain! Yet, let it always appear, that your aim is, to win surely, the hope of usefulness is greater, besouls to the Redeemer, and not to a party; fore the heart is hardened through the denot to proselyte, but to christianize. To bring ceitfulness of sin, and the offender is enmen into the way everlasting, is something, trenched in long-established habits of iniquity, is every thing; but what is it to detach them which he has learned to defend by those erfrom one place of worship, and fix them in roneous reasonings which vice always renders another, where the same truth is already necessary. “ Can the Ethiopian change his preached? When, therefore, a person who skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye gave little evidence of her being under the also do good, that are accustomed to evil.” power of godliness, one day, said to an emi- The second is, The importance attached to nent minister, now with God, “Sir, I am it. For who can view the young without going to turn from the Dissenters to the concern? Who knows not that they are to Church;" “ Madam,” replied he, who knew fill all future offices ? that they are the sources her disposition, "you are turning from no lof families and churches ? that the nation and
the world will be influenced by the character speaking in their name. Not that all parents with which they grow up?
are concerned for the spiritual welfare of their In doing good it is always wise to make children: some have no more regard for the those peculiarly our aim by whom, if good is souls of their offspring than if they had none, received, it is likely to be multiplied, diffused, and were to die like the beasts that perish; but perpetuated. Now this is the case with the this is what every parent ought to feel, and young. If you do good to an old man it is what every godly parent wiĩl feel. Let us of importance to himself; but it is confined consider,-1. THE ATTAINMENT REQUIRED: to himself, and dies with him. But commu- II. THE CONSEQUENCE ANTICIPATED. nicate right views and dispositions to a child, I. THE ATTAINMENT REQUIRED. “My son, and it will be impossible to calculate the de- if thy heart be wise." A pious youth is said gree of his usefulness: for as he rises up and to be wise in heartspreads abroad, he exemplifies and extends First, to show us that religion is wisdom. them; and in time, thousands may be im- I know, my young friends, that some will enproved and blessed by his instruction, his ex- deavour to make you think that it is folly, ample, and his influence.
and at your time of life, many who have not Solomon well knew all this : hence he so been reasoned, have been ridiculed out of often bespeaks the attention of youth. And every serious notion; for a laugh with you what motive has he not seized and employed often does more than an argument. But in this all-interesting service? Is it the cer- hear what the Judge of all says, “Behold, tainty of eternal judgment ? Rejoice, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart depart from evil is understanding. The fear cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the good understanding have all they that do his sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for commandments. Wisdom is the principal all these things God will bring thee into thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all judgment.” Is it old age as the most unfa- thy getting, get understanding." vourable season for commencing a religious And though our faith standeth not in the course, when infirmities and afflictions, in- wisdom of man, but in the power of God, reastead of allowing exertion, call for consola- son, as well as Scripture, is on our side. tion? “ Remember now thy Creator in the Men, the most pre-eminent in every departdays of thy youth, while the evil days come ment of genius and learning; men, who pernot, nor the years draw nigh, when thou fectly understood the value and force of evishalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Is it dence; men, the last in the world to be the the peculiar regard of Him, in whom are hid dupes of delusion; these men have expressed all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ? a conviction of mind with regard to the truth “I love them that love me; and those that and importance of Revelation, such as they seek me early shall find me.” Is it the con- felt upon no other subject. descension of God, in asking for a surrender
er they ea, and even those who are the wise in which he might demand; and addressing not their own conceit, and even treat the godly as our fear, but our affection? “My son, give visionaries and madmen, will, in a very little me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe time, change their sentiments and their lanmy ways.” Is it the poignant anguish, or guage, and exclaim, “ We fools counted their the delightful satisfaction, a child is capable lives madness, and their end to be without ho of yielding to those who have the tenderest nour! Now are they numbered with the chilclaims upon him; according as he chooses dren of God, and their lot is among the saints!" the way of folly, or of life? “ The father of It is a fine representation which the aposthe righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he tle John gives us of vital Christianity, when that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of he says, " we have an unction from the Holy him. Thy father and thy mother shall be One, and we know all things.” Not that a glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. Christian is taught the secrets of nature, the My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart inventions of art, the mysteries of politics shall rejoice, even mine."
and trade: in all these he may be inferior to Let us enter into our subject. Solomon a man of the world. But he knows all that is was a parent himself; Rehoboam was his essential to his safety and welfare. He is made son; and probably the very person here ad- " wise unto salvation.” He is “wise towards dressed. You know what a foolish, rash, im- God.” He knows himself. And he knows provident, irreligious character he proved; the Saviour of sinners. He that is ignorant yet was he the son of Solomon! And if so- of Him knows nothing: he that knows Him lomon perceived these rising evils when he knows every thing. wrote this passage, with what feelings did he Secondly. That this wisdom is not notionutter the words, “My son, if thine heart be al; but consists principally in dispositions wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.” and actions. Speculative knowledge is, in
Let us consider Solomon as the repre- deed, necessary to experimental and practisentative of every father and mother, and as I cal; but does not always produce it. We