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leaves from the trees in autumn: and he will find that the society of his most agreeable old companions is become irksome; for they seem far more profane and frivolous than they used to be.
Time would fail, should we particularly consider how the new convert's former discourse is passed away: and how his idle, slanderous, profane, or perhaps polluting, words are exchanged for such as are pure, peaceable, and edifying'. And it is almost needless to state, that his old course of behaviour also is finally renounced. The particulars that have been mentioned, may serve for a specimen: and it should be remembered, that in every respect in which "old things pass away, all things become new," the apostle, by inserting the word behold, hath emphatically demanded our attention to this circumstance!
This too might be illustrated, by considering the various operations of the believer's mind, and the objects of his affections. He hopes and fears, grieves and rejoices, desires and hates, in a new manner; and his passions have respect to new objects. He fears the wrath and frown of God; he hopes for glory and immortality; he mourns for his own sins, and the miseries of other men; he rejoices in God, hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and abhors that which is evil. His judgment and taste are gradually formed upon God's
Col. iv. 6. Jam. i. 26. iii.
Eph. iv. 29. v. 4.
word; his memory is replenished with divine truths, and his imagination employed in realizing invisi ble things. The company of his choice, the places of his willing resort, the books he prefers, his select topicks of discourse, the use he makes of his time and talents, the manner in which he conducts business, and enjoys the comforts of life, might be enlarged upon, to shew in what respects "all things are become new." For the real Christian desires, that "whether he eat or drink, or "whatsoever he do, he may do all to the glory of "God."
The extent of the apostles' meaning may, however, be further illustrated, by shewing that the believer does the same things in a new manner, in respect of the best part of his former conduct, and the worst of his present.-He used perhaps to attend on religious ordinances: and though his heart was not engaged, nor his professions sincere; he returned home well satisfied with having done his duty, or elated with an idea of his own goodness. But now, when his prayers and praises are the language of his habitual judgment and desires, and he is upon the whole a spiritual worshipper; he is continually humbled for the unallowed defects and evils of his services, and seeks to have all washed in the atoning blood of Christ.
On the other hand, it must be allowed that sin dwelleth even in the true convert; and he may possibly fall into the same evil, in which he once
habitually indulged with little remorse.
this case he is filled with anguish; he deeply abases himself before God, confesses his guilt, deprecates deserved wrath, submits to sharp correction, craves forgiveness, and "prays to be restored to "the joy of God's salvation, and upheld by his "free Spirit." Even in these respects "all things "are become new."
In short, the proposition is universal: and the true believer, in all things acts from new motives, by a new rule, and to accomplish far other purposes, than he formerly had in view. But the more particular examination of the subject must be left to your private meditations, while we conclude at present with a brief application.
There are persons professing to be Christians, who avowedly disregard this subject; and if we speak of regeneration or the new creature, are ready to answer, "How can these things be?" or perhaps to retort an indiscriminate charge of enthusiasm. But do you intend to answer your Judge in this manner? Do you expect to enter heaven, by disproving the truth of his most solemn and repeated declarations? Is your judgment the standard of truth? Can nothing be needful to salvation, which you do not experience? If God be indeed glorious in holiness: if the society and joys of heaven be holy, and if man be unholy, an entire change must, in the very nature of things, take place, before he can possibly delight
in God, or enjoy heaven, were there no other obstacle to his salvation. Let me therefore earnestly beseech you to reconsider the subject: let me prevail with you to search the scriptures, and to beg of God to shew you the true meaning of them; and to grant, that if these things be indeed true and needful, you may know them by your own happy experience.
Again, some religious people profess to know that their sins are forgiven, and others are anxious to obtain this assurance. If then it be asked, how can any man be thus certain in this matter? I answer, by a consciousness, that "he is in Christ "a new creature, that old things are passed away, "and all things are become new." When our Lord forgave the sins of the paralytick, he enabled him to carry his bed; this proved his sins forgiven, both to himself and others. And in like manner, when we know that, in consequence of having applied to Christ for salvation, we abhor all sin, love the ways of God, and delight in pious company; we have a witness in ourselves, and the testimony of God in his word, that we partake of the gift of righteousness by faith. The clearer this evidence of our new creation appears, the fuller ground of assurance we possess: we are therefore exhorted, "to give all diligence to make
our calling and election sure:" but, without this, all impressions and supposed revelations, declaring our sins to be pardoned, are manifest
delusions; for they contradict the express testimoof God in his holy word.
Too many profess the gospel, who give no evidence of this gracious change, and stumble others by their unholy lives: but the text at once cuts off such men's pretensions; and the reproach ought to rest on themselves, and not on the holy doctrines which they disgrace,
But, as "the path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect day," I would earnestly and affectionately caution the serious enquirer, not to undervalue feeble beginnings; but to take encouragement from them to press forward, in the diligent use of the means of grace; that the change may be rendered more evident, and that he may "abound in hope by the power of the holy Ghost."
Let discouraged souls likewise, who feel sin to be their burden, grief, and terror, and who are ready to say to the Saviour, "Lord, to whom shall "I go? thou hast the words of eternal life:" let such fainting, and feeble minded believers, learn to derive encouragement from their very fears, jealousies, sighs, groans, and tears, because "of the sin that dwelleth in them ;" and "because they cannot do the things that they would:" for these are, without doubt, effects and evidences of the new creation.
Finally, my brethren, if you can rejoice in the assurance, that you are partakers of these inestimable benefits; shew your gratitude to God, by