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"creature."-" We are his workmanship, created "in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God "hath before ordained that we should walk in "them." "For in Christ Jesus neither circum"cision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, "but a new creature." What are we then to understand by these energetic expressions? Will any sensible man maintain, that a new creed or name may properly be called " a new creation?" Will he affirm that nothing more was meant than a decent moral conduct, or an external reformation? Does this amount to any thing more than the cleansing of "the outside," while the heart remains full of pollution? Such frigid interpretations must be merely the word of man; for "the word of God "is quick and powerful, sharper than any two"edged sword; piercing even to the dividing "asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and "intents of the heart." 2


It is however, proper to observe, that he who is a new creature continues, in many respects, the same as before. His body with all its members and senses is the same; though he finds himself disposed to make a new use of it: his soul and all his faculties are the same, though his judgment and affections are entirely changed. He possesses his former measure of capacity and learning, with the peculiarity of his genius and the original complexion of his mind. The man of enlarged powers does not lose that superiority of talent; while he is content to be thought "a fool for Christ's sake,"

'Gal. vi. 15. Eph. ii. 10.

2 Heb. iv. 12. Jer. xxiii. 29.

to seck wisdom from him with the teachableness of a little child, and to devote all his endowments to the glory of the Giver. The man of slender abilities and illiterate education makes no advances in learning or ingenuity, except as he becomes of "good understanding in the way of godliness." No alteration takes place in any person's relative situation or rank in society: he can claim no additional civil immunities or advancement, when he is" in Christ a new creature:" nor does he forfeit any of his rights; though persecution may deprive him of them, and love of Christ make him willing to renounce them. In general he abides in his calling, if lawful; but endeavours to fill it up in a

new manner.

What then is especially intended ?—Here again the scripture assists our inquiry by apt illustrations. "Ye were," says the apostle," the servants " of sin, but ye obeyed from the heart that form " of doctrine which was delivered you." 1 Learned men generally agree, that the concluding words would be more exactly rendered, "into which ye were delivered;" alluding to the mould into which melted metal is poured, that it may thence take its intended fashion and impression. When vessels of silver have been thus formed again, they are as really new, as if the metal had just been brought from the mine. Thus sinners are, in themselves, "vessels of wrath fitted for de"struction," bearing the image of fallen Adam, and disposed to imitate his rebellion and apostacy: but the new creation forms them into "vessels of

1 Rom. vi. 17.

mercy, prepared for glory," stamped with the image of Christ, "fitted for their Master's use, and "ready for every good work." They are the same men, yet new creatures.

The grafted tree also is in many respects the same as before: yet it is a new tree, and as the poet beautifully expresses it,

Miraturque novas frondes, et non sua poma.

'It wonders at its new leaves, and fruit that is not ' its own.'-Thus, when the word of truth is engrafted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, the same man becomes" a new creature," and his thoughts, words, and actions also become new.

The scriptural emblems of sinners, according to their different propensities, are taken from lions, tigers, foxes, swine, and serpents, and other fierce, crafty, ravenous, or filthy animals: but a sheep or a dove is the emblem of a Christian; and the new creation effects this marvellous change. "The "wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leo“pard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, "and the young lion, and the fatling together; " and a little child shall lead them. And the cow "and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall "lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw "like the ox: and the sucking child shall play "on the hole of the asp; and the weaned child "shall put his hand on the cockatrice den: they "shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy moun"tain." Does not every man perceive that, if

Isa. xi. 6-9.


Almighty God should dispose these animals to live together in perfect amity, as here described, they would be new creatures; though the same outward form, and many other peculiarities of each species should remain? And who can deny that, if the grace of God so change the ambitious, rapacious, covetous, fraudulent, contentious, revengeful, cruel, sensual, and profane, that they willingly live together, "in all the commandments and "ordinances of the Lord blameless," they are to all religious purposes "new creatures ?"

Let any considerate and impartial man compare the character and spirit of St. Paul, before and after his conversion; and determine for himself, whether the apostle was not "a new creature." His body and soul, his abilities and ardent turn of mind, continued the same; but, in other respects, he differed as much from his former self as from any other man in the world. The change would probably appear as remarkable in the case of Matthew, Zaccheus, or Onesimus, had we as copious an account of them as we have of the apostle. Nay, the thief upon the cross gave evident proofs, that "the tree was made good;" for the fruit began to be good, and would doubtless have been abundant had his life been spared. Even when a man's outward conduct has been irreproachable, the internal change in his views, purposes, and desires, is clearly manifest to his own mind, though the effects be less visible to others.

The various metaphors, under which this new creation is spoken of in scripture, confirm this explanation. "A new heart will I give you, and "a new spirit will I put within you," saith the

Lord. But reformation, without an inward change of disposition, would be a mere counterfeit of the promised blessing.-" Ye must be born again.”— "Blessed be God who hath begotten us again to " a lively hope."2 The allusion is made, in this common scriptural language, to the production of a creature which before had no separate existence, but now possesses life, has capacities of action and enjoyment, wants nourishment, and may be expected to grow to maturity: and it is the invariable rule of nature, that the offspring bears the image and inherits the propensities of the parent animal. The emphatical meaning of "being born again," "born of the Spirit," "born of God," must be very manifest: and, had our Lord only intended an outward ordinance or reformation, when he said, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be "born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" it could not have been denied that he had perplexed a plain subject by a needless obscurity of expression.

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"You hath he quickened," saith the apostle, "who were dead in trespasses and sins." Man, as the Lord created him, possessed animal life and its propensities; as a rational creature, he was capable of actions and enjoyments of a higher order ; and, as spiritual, he was capable of finding happiness in the love and service of God: but he has lost his spiritual life and is "dead in sin." Fallen angels possess the powers of reason to a very great degree: yet they are spiritually dead; they are incapable of loving and enjoying God, and finding

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