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But where has God prescribed bodily flagel-, is not safety. And the thought cannot be lations? Where does He require us to with- always banished; it will sometimes intrude, draw from society ? to turn mendicants ? to and mar all your peace and pleasure. But live in deserts and caves? to go barefooted ? blessed is the man whose transgression is for. and sleep on the cold ground? Is God pleased given, whose sin is covered." The curse is only as we are tormented ? does He surround removed from all his trials. He has a covenant us with enjoyments only that we may not right to all his mercies. God is his fathertaste of them? To enjoy is to obey, because death is his friend-heaven is his home-the it corresponds with the obvious will of God. Bible is his treasure-he has nothing to do What says Paul of those who “ forbid to with events. Providence is engaged to make marry, and command to abstain from meats all things work together for his good.* AD which God hath created to be received with his interests are secured-not a hair of his thankfulness, of them which believe and head is unnumbered-he dwells safely, and know the truth? They preach the doctrine is “in quiet from the fear of evil.” This is of devils." And what says the wise man in the man to enjoy life; every thing smiles this book?“ Let thy garments be always when God smiles. “Go thy way, eat the white; and let thy head lack no ointment. bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest merry heart; for God now accepteth thy all the days of the life of thy vanity, which works.” he hath given thee under the sun, all the Having called upon you to rejoice, let me days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in exhort you also, with the royal preacher, this life, and in thy labour which thou takest IJ. TO DO GOOD. “I know that there is no under the sun.”
good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to Some Protestants have had a tinge of Po- do good in his life." Here let us inquire, pery, and have enjoined themselves austeri- What is the good these things will enable 13 ties which God has never required. Their to do? How we are to perform it? and, Why motive, perhaps, in some cases, has been we should be concerned to accomplish it? good; and they adopted these mortifications, What good can these things enable us to not to recomiend them to God, so much as do?-It is of three kinds. to promote their sanctification. But God They enable us to do religious good. This knows our frame. His own means are the is the chief. No charity equals that which best; and we ought not to distinguish our regards the souls of men; and what an honour selves by morals and self-denial of unscriptu- is conferred upon property, that by means of ral devisings; but, remembering that we it you can be instrumental in the salvation of serve a good master, gratefully use what his sinners, in the diffusion of the Scriptures, in providence supplies. * For every creature the preaching of the Gospel, and the estaof God is good, and nothing to be refused, if blishment of the Redeemer's empire! But so it be received with thanksgiving : for it is it is; and every thing, under God, depends sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” upon the pecuniary resources of his agents.
Lastly. Seek after a knowledge of your What, at this hour, hinders, or limits, a thoureconciliation with God. It is your mercy sand exertions in the cause of truth and of that you know how this is to be obtained. righteousness--but the want of a silver and Jesus is the only Mediator, and he made gold," to replenish the funds of wisdom and peace by the blood of his cross. He “once zeal? “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that harvest, that he will send forth labourers into he might bring us unto God.” Through him, his harvest :" by which we mean, not minis“God, now waits to be gracious, and is ex- ters only, but men of independence, who will alted to have mercy upon you." You are al- say, Lord, I am thine, and all that I have: lowed, you are invited, you are commanded men of trade and commerce, who will gain, to “seek him, while he may be found, and to not to squander away in extravagance, or call upon him, while he is near.” And can hoard up in the miser's bag; but to honour you be happy without any well-grounded the Lord with their substance, and to realize hope of your pardon and acceptance with the prediction concerning the deliverance God? Could a man enjoy a feast if a sword and conversion of Tyre: “And her merchanwas suspended over his head by a hair?- dise and her hire shall be holiness to the Could he be charmed with the finest music Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; if he knew he was hanging over a bottomless for her merchandise shall be for them that pit by a rotten thread? Can you enjoy life dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and while you know-that death is certain—that' for durable clothing." it cannot be far off-that it may be very near They enable us also to do intellectual —that after death is the judgment-and after good. This takes in education: and whatthe judgment—the sentence, “ Depart from ever the advocates for mental darkness supme, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared pose—who plead that because a man is born for the devil and his angels?" You may, in- to poverty he is born to ignorance, and will deed, banish the thought; but forgetfulness fill his place the better the less he knows; no
property can be better expended than that, harvest will very slowly follow the seed-time. which is laid out in the instruction of the Zeal, without patience, will do nothing. young. A little education gives a poor child“Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou the use of his understanding. It opens to shalt find it after many days. In the morning him a thousand sources of pleasure, to allevi- sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold ate his condition. It prepares him to support not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether himself, and to be useful to others. While it shall prosper, either this or that, or whether is friendly to religion, by teaching him the they both shall be alike good. Let us not be nature and grounds of his duty, and enabling weary in well doing, for in due time we shall him to read the word of truth.
reap, if we faint not.”—Let us inquire, They enable us to do corporeal good: by 1 Thirdly. Why we should be concerned to which we mean, that which immediately accomplish it. regards the body, though the mind will also Why? Because the bounties of Providence derive cornfort from it. Here we can never were conferred upon us for this very purpose. be at a loss. We are surrounded with the The Donor looked beyond ourselves in comdefenceless, the hungry, the naked, and the municating them. He designed them to be sick. We live in a world full of misery, and not only indulgences, but talents; he constiwhatever be our situation, it is impossible to tuted us not so much the proprietors as the
elude cases of distress. But are we to elude stewards; "and it is required in a steward, • them? Are we to hide ourselves from our that a man be found faithful.”
own flesh? “Pure religion and undefiled Why? Because God hath commanded it. before God and the Father is this, To visit the He is our sovereign master; and if we are fatherless and widows in their affliction, and servants rightly disposed, we have often asked, to keep himself unspotted from the world." “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And
Secondly. In what manner are we to do has he left us ignorant of his will ? Did you it? We are to do good
never read, “as we have opportunity let us Immediately, and with diligence. « With- do good unto all men, especially unto them hold not good from them to whom it is due, that are of the household of faith ?" Can any when it is in the power of thine hand to do reason be assigned why he is to be obeyed, it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and when he commands us to believe on the name come again, and to-morrow I will give, when of his Son Jesus Christ, and when he enjoins thou hast it by thee." He may be dead be- us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves fore to-morrow, or you may be dead; and together-and despised, when he issues the thus the action will be lost for ever. For the charge, “Charge them that are rich in this saints on earth have one privilege above the world that they do good, that they be rich in saints in heaven; it is the opportunity of good works, ready to distribute, willing to doing good; but this opportunity, we should communicate ?" always remember, is as short and precarious Why? Gratitude requires it. How much as it is precious: “Whatsoever thy hand has God done for us, notwithstanding all our findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there unworthiness and guilt! What an instance is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor of unparalleled goodness does the Apostle of wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." | love mention with rapture; and how natural, We are to do good
how forcible, the inference he draws from it, Extensively, and with impartiality. Some while teaching us to derive Christian morals cases indeed will have stronger claims than from evangelical motives; “Herein is love, others, and the most generous ability cannot not that we loved God, but that he loved us, reach every case. But it is only preference and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our not exclusion, it is only want of means-not sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought indisposition, that must limit our exertions. also to love one another." Gratitude consists We are not to be restrained by relationship, in a disposition to return a favour received : or country, or religion, or even personal and from man to man, it may be so expressed, injury-yea, says our Saviour,“ Love your as that a compensation may be made, yea, enemies, bless them that curse you, do good and even more than an equivalent be returnto them that hate you, and pray for them ed. But we can never discharge the obligawhich despitefully use you, and persecute tions we are under to God. Let us, however, you; that ye may be the children of your show that we are sensible of them. Let us Father which is in heaven: for he maketh ask, “What shall I render unto the Lord for bis sun to rise on the evil and on the good, all his benefits towards me?" And if He is and sendeth rain on the just and on the un-exalted above all blessing and praise, and our just.”_We are to do good
goodness extendeth not to him, let it extend Perseveringly, and without declension. We to those who are appointed to receive, as his must reckon upon encountering much, very substitutes, the acts of our beneficence. He much, that will try us. We shall often meet will judge of our disposition towards himself, with very unworthy returns. We shall whom we have not seen, by our conduct frequently seem to labour in vain. The towards his creatures, and his children, whom
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, nor Lord shall deliver him in time of trouble. uncircumcision ; but faith that worketh by Blessed are the merciful; for they shall ob- love.” “ For in Christ Jesus neither cir. tain mercy." But it would be needless to cumcision availeth any thing, nor uncirmention 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, avai)— 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 WA that cried, and the fatherless, and him that NEW CREATURE." II. WHAT IS TO BE IN had 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." O 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! THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH 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
sanguine or phlegmatical, tending to severity
or mildness. And this is no inconsiderable eth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new
proof of sineerity: 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
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 same; 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 he 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 his Providence!“ (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. 1 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 esteem 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 Di eous 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 chil. creation? '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, “0 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 thankshown what is implied in a "new creature," ful if you are favoured with civil freedom; if let us,
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;