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conscience, and then it is by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. iii. 21. Rom. x. 9. The gospel preaching is “the power of God to salvation;" yet all are not saved by it; “faith comes by hearing,” Rom. x. 17. Yet all that hear, do not believe; “for who hath believed our report?” Ordinances are but channels, not springs of grace; the blessing upon them depends entirely on sovereign grace. How many thousands have gone to hell with baptismal water on their faces ! Ishmael, Esau, and all the house of Israel, in Jeremiah's days, were uncircumcised in heart, chap. ix. 26. Rest not satisfied with this, but see you “ be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire,” Matt. iii. 11.
6. Qu. Wherein doth this new creature excel shining morality, or the splendid, common graces of hypocrites?
Answ. (1.) In the root or principle, produced by a saving change from nature to grace : carnal men, though they have never so fair a flower, yet want the “root of the matter,” Job xix. 28. This unsoundness of heart is the hair in the moralist's pen that blurs all his fair writing; as it was said of a person, of such and such virtues, yet he is a leper, (as was said of Naaman the Syrian,) still graceless, unprincipled.
(2.) In its universality : “ Zacharias and Elizabeth walked in all the commandments of the Lord,” Luke i. 6. But of the moralist and the hypocrite it may be said, “ The legs of the lame are not equal :” they are addicted to halting and halving: they are always partial, seem excellent in one grace, but defective in another; yea, totally want what is essentially necessary to constitute a saint. The moralist is defective in compliance with the first table of the law, the hypocrite with the second ; but the new creature lies square to all commands and duties, at all times, Psalm cvi. 3.
(3.) The new creature acts for a right end,God's glory and communion with him; but the moralist or
hypocrite always, and in every action, secretly casts his eye upon himself, his own profit, pleasure, or honour, as Jehu and the Pharisees.
(4.) The new creature always regards Jesus Christ, both for assistance and acceptance; the moralist and hypocrite stand upon their own legs, and think their penny, current money with God; but the gracious soul denies himself in all; his “ works are wrought in God :" “ He is accepted in the Beloved :" “ In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
7. Qu. Wherein lies the difference betwixt this new creature, which consists in sanctification, and the state of justification ? The reason of this query is, because Papists and some others confound them.
Answ. (1.) The new creature in sanctification, is an inherent production within us. " A new spirit will I put within you :” and “ the kingdom of God is within you.” And though at first it be immediately caused by the Spirit, yet the Christian is an agent in promoting his sanctification; he may and must cleanse himself. † But now justification is in consequence of a work done without us, by the Lord Christ, by his satisfaction of divine justice on the cross, and by his intercession at God's right hand, we have “ redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” The red lines of Christ's blood, blot out the black lines of our sins from God's debt-book : he “ washeth us from our sins in his own blood :" “ He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” [ No other person or thing is interposed; not faith itself, as a work, hath any causality in
• John iii. 21. Eph. i. 6. Isa. xlv. 25. + Ezek. Xxxvi. 26. Luke xvii. 21. 2 Cor vii. 1 1 John iii. 3. # Ephes. i. 7. 1 John i. 7. Rev. i. 5. Rom. iv. 25.
this work; it is only God's free act of grace for Christ's sake, to forgive sins.
(2.) The new creature in sanctification, is not produced in the same measure or degree in all the saints of God; some that are sincere, come far short of others; there are “some babes, others strong men.” It is said of some kings of Israel, " there was none like them :" “ Hananiah feared God above many :" there was none like Job in the earth. So there were different products of the seed, yet all in good ground. * Some Christians abound in faith, love, humility, patience, knowledge, mortification,-others are defective. But justification is alike to all, “and upon all that believe, for there is no difference.” The meanest, weakest believer hath as large a portion as the strongest. The apostle John saith, “ I write unto you little chil
I dren, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” They are as much justified as fathers and young men : Mary Magdalene and the penitent thief were as much justified as Peter: the reason is, because they are all“ partakers of like precious faith.” + The least measure whereof attains its end of receiving Christ, as well as the greater; for it is Christ received by faith, that justifies : a weak hand may receive a gift as well as a stronger, though not so steadily; but it is the gift that enricheth, not the strength of the hand.
(3.) The new creature comes on by degrees, it is not complete at the first instant; it is first an embryo, Christ formed in the heart, and then “increaseth with the increase of God, till it come to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The apostle thanks God for the Thessalonians, that their “faith did grow exceedingly, and charity.”* It is like the sun that “shineth more and more to the perfect day;" a good man grows stronger and stronger. But now justification is complete at first, every whit as much at first, when ingrafted into Christ, as afterwards; all that “ believe, are justified from all things; no charge can be brought against them.” + God “forgiveth all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting;" he thoroughly “washeth away his children's blood;" there is not a spot to be seen on them, no indictment can be drawn up against them.” I But you may ask,
* Heb. v. 13, 14. Neh. vii. 2. Job i. 8. Matt. xiii. 23. + Rom. ii. 22. 1 John ii. 12. 2 Pet. i. 1.
Why then are Christ's disciples bound to pray daily for pardon ? Matt. vi. 12.
I answer, Because we are daily committing new sins, in “many things we offend all;" we miss it in every thing; oh, how“many are our secret faults;"||--and because God would have us daily lie under the sense of our former guilt, the desert of sin, and the worth of pardoning grace. David was assured of pardon by Nathan; yet afterwards prays for it. The prodigal son confessed his fault, after his father had fallen on his neck.s Pardoning grace may be clouded in the sense and assurance of it, and in this respect the righteousness “of God is revealed from faith to faith,” Rom. i. 17; from a less to a stronger faith.—And besides, we may distinguish betwixt a justified state, and applications of pardon to the soul, “ there is forgiveness with God,” which must be daily sued out by faith and prayer, Psal. cxxx. 4.
* Col. ii. 19. Eph. iv. 13. 2 Thess. i. 3. + Prov. iv. 18. Job xvii. 9. Acts xiii. 39. Rom. viii. 1.
Col. ii. 13. Ezek. xvi. 9. Rom. viii. 33. ll James iii. 2. Psal. xix. 12. § 2 Sam. xii. 13. Psal. li. 2. Luke xv. 20, 21. VOL. V.
(4.) Another difference between this new creature and justification, is that the grace of the new creation is never perfect in this life; the holiest saints have some spots and defects: who can say, “I have made
I my heart clean; I am pure from my sin ?" “There is not a just man on earth, that doth good, and sinneth not.” John Baptist needs a new baptism; all the disciples need their first washing; a Paul complains of a body of death ;* it is in heaven only that the “spirits of just men are made perfect.” But justification is perfect; there is no spot in the justified ; "Fair as the moon,” as to sanctification; “clear as the sun,” in respect of justification; white as snow. God deals with them, as if they had never offended, “ casting their sins behind his back, into the depths of the sea, he remembers them no more.”+ But it may be objected,
Doth not God punish his people for sin ?
I reply, What in this objection are called punishments, are not properly acts of vindictive justice, but fatherly chastisements, coming from God, not as a judge to punish a malefactor, but as an indulgent father to correct his wandering and wayward child. It is true, afflictions are materially a curse, but they are formally a blessing. With reference to this pardoning grace, it is worth noting what Dr. Ames observes, † that there is fourfold pardon :-In God's decree and purpose, Gal. iii. 8.-In Christ's undertaking, our sins being laid on him, Isa. liii. 6.–Virtually on the Christian's first relation to God, Rom. viii. 1.-Expressly applied on the believer's repentance, exercising faith, and having a sense of pardon, Rom. v. 1; and I may add there is a day for publicly proclaiming this pardon before the
* Prov.xx. 9. Eccl. vii. 20. Matt. iii. 14. John xiii. 8. Rom. vii. 24. + Heb. xii. 23. Cant. vi. 10. Psal. li. 7. Isa. xxxviii. 17. Mic. vii. 19. Jer. xxxi. 34. # Amesii Medul.