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the new creature, which is the complex frame, or system of all the graces together?
Secondly, To conclude; Where all the caufes of an interest in Christ are found, and all the effects and fruits of an interest in Chrift do appear; there, undoubtedly, a real interest in Chrift is found: but wherever you find a new creature, you find all the causes, and all the effects of an interest in Christ: For there you fhall find,
First, The impulfive caufe, viz. The electing love of God, from which the new creature is infeparable, 1 Pet. i. 2.; with the new creature, alfo, the meritorious, efficient, and final caufes of interest in Chrift, and union with him, are ever found, Eph. ii. 10. chap. i. 4, 5, 6.
Secondly, All the effects and fruits of intereft in Chrift, are found in the new creature; there are all the fruits of obedience, for we are created in Christ Jefus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. Rom. vii. 4. there is true, fpiritual oppofition to fin. 1 John v. 18. "He that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, " and that wicked one toucheth him not." There is love to the people of God; John iv. 7. “Every one that loveth, is born "of God." There is a confcientious refpect to the duties of both tables; for the new creature is created after God in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24. There is perfeverance in the ways of God, to the very end, and victory over all temptations; for whofoever is born of God, overcometh'the world, 1 John v. 4. It were eafy to run over all other particular fruits of our union with Chrift, and thew you every one of them in the new creature. And thus much of the doctrinal part of this point.
2 COR. v. 17. Therefore if any man be in Chrift, he is a new creature: old things are paffed away; behold, all things are
AFTER the explication of the fense of this scripture, we
Do&t. That God's creating of a new fupernatural work of grace, in the foul of any man, is that man's fure, and infallible evidence of a faving intereft in Jefus Chrift. You have heard why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new creation; in what respect every foul in Chrift is renewed; what the eximious properties of this new creature are; the indifpenfiblenefs, and neceffity thereof, hath been alfo proved; and how it evidences our interest in Christ, cleared in the doctrinal part: Which we now come to improve, in the feveral ufes ferving for our
Firft ufe, for information.
Is the new creature the fure and infallible evidence of our faving intereft in Chrift? From hence then we are informed,
Infer. 1. How miferable, and deplorable an eftate, all unrenewed fouls are in; who can lay no claim to Chrift, during that ftate, and therefore are under an impoffibility of falvation. O reader! if this be the state of thy foul, better had it been for thee not to have been God's natural workmanship, as a man, except thou be his fpiritual workmanship, alfo, as a new man. I know the schoolmen determine otherwife, and fay, that damnation is rather to be chofen, than annihilation; a miferable being is better than no being and it is very true, with respect to the glory of God, whofe juftice fhall triumph for ever, in the damnation of the unregenerate; but, with respect to us, 'tis much better never to have been his creatures, in the way of generation, than not to be his new creatures, in the way of regeneration. So Chrift fpeaks of Judas, that fon of perdition, Mark xiv, 21. "Good had it been for that man, if he had never VOL. II.
been born: For what is a being, without the comfort of it? What is life, without the joy and pleasure of life? A damned being is a being without comfort; no glimpse of light thines into that darknefs; they fhall, indeed, fee, and understand the felicity, light an joy of the faints in glory; but not partake, in the leaft measure, of the comfort. Luke xiii. 28. "They "fhall fee Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of "God, but they themselves fhut out :" Such a fight is so far from giving any comfort, that it will be the aggravation, and increase of torinent, O it is better to have no being at all, than to have a being only to capacitate a man for mifery; to defire death, while death flies from him, Rev. iv. 6. The opinion of the Schoolmen will never pass for found doctrine among the damned. Think on it, reader, and lay it to thine heart, better thou hadst died from the womb, better the knees had prevented thee, and the breasts which thou haft fucked, than that thou shouldest live and die a stranger to the new birth, or that thy mother should bring thee forth only to increafe, and fill up the number of the damned.
Infer. 2. And, on the contrary, we may hence learn, what cause regenerate fouls have to blefs God, for the day wherein they were born. O what a privileged state doth the new birth bring men into! 'Tis possible, for the present, they understand it not; for many believers are like a great heir lying in the cradle, that knows not to what an estate, and honour he is born: neverthelefs, on the fame day, wherein we become new creatures, by regeneration, we have a firm title, and folid claim to all the privileges of the fons of God, John i. 12, 13. God becomes our Father, by a triple title, not only the Father of our beings, by nature, which was all the relation we had to him before, but our Father by adoption, and by regeneration: which is a much fweeter, and more comfortable relation. In that day the image of God is restored, Eph. iv. 24. this is both the health and beauty of the foul. In that day we are begotten again to a lively hope, Pet. i. 3. a hope more worth than ten thousand worlds, in the troubles of life, and in the ftraits of death: this is a creature which lives for ever, and will make thy life happy for ever. Some have kept their birth day as a feftival, a day of rejoicing; but none have more cause to rejoice that ever they were born, than those that are new born.
Infer. 3. Learn from hence, that the work of grace is wholly fupernatural; 'tis a creation, and a creation-work is above the power of the creature. No power, but that which gave being to the world, can give a being to the new creature: almighty
power goes forth to give being to the new creature. This crea-
Infer. 4. If the work of grace be a new creation, let not the parents and friends of the unregenerate utterly defpair of the converfion of their relations, how great foever their prefent discouragements are. If it had been poffible for a man to have seen the rude, and indigefted chaos, before the Spirit of God moved upon it, would he not have faid, can fuch a beautiful order of beings, fuch a pleasant variety of creatures, fpring out of this dark lump? Surely it would have been very hard for a man to have imagined it. It may be, you fee no difpofitions, or hopeful inclinations in your friends, towards God, and spiritual things; nay, poffibly they are totally oppofite, and filled with enmity, against them; they deride, and jeer all ferious piety, wherever they behold it: this, indeed, is very fad; but yet re member the work of grace is creation-work: though there be no difpofition at all in their wills, no tenderness in their confciences, no light, or knowledge in their minds; yet God, that commanded the light to fhine out of darkness, can shine into their hear to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jefus Chrift: he can fay to the dry bones, live; to the proud and Rubborn heart, come down and yield thyfelf to the will of God; and if he command, the work is done. God can make thee yet to rejoice over thy most un. comfortable relations, to fay with the father of the prodigal, Luke xv. 24. "This my fon was dead, and is alive again; he "was loft and is found; and they began to be merry;" difficulties are for men, but not for God: he works, in converfion, by a power which is able to fubdue all things unto itself.
Infer. 5. If none but new creatures be in Chrift, how small a remnant, among men, belong to Chrift, in this world! Among the multitude of rational creatures inhabiting this world, how few, how very few, are new creatures? 'Tis the observation of the learned Mr. Brerewood, that if the world be divided into Ppp 2
thirty parts, nineteen parts are heathenifh Idolaters: fix parts Mahometans; and only five, out of thirty, which may be, in a large fenfe, called Chriftians; of which, the far greater part is overspread with Popish darkness: feparate from the remainder, the multitudes of prophane, merely civil, and hypocritical profeffors of religion; and how few will remain for Jefus Chrift, in this world? Look over the cities, towns, and parifbes, in this populous kingdom; and how few shall you find that fpeak the language, or do the works of new creatures? How few have ever had any awakening convictions on them? And how many of those, that have been convinced, have miscarried, and never come to the new birth? The more caufe have they, whom God hath indeed regenerated, to admire the riches of God's diftinguifhing mercy to them.
Infer. 6. If the change, by grace, be a new creation, how univerfal, and marvellous a change, doth regeneration make upon men! The new creation fpeaks a marvellous, and univerfal alteration, both upon the ftate, and tempers of men; they come out of darkness, grofs, hellifh darkness, into light, a marvellous, and heavenly light, I Pet. ii. 9. Eph. v. 8. their condition, difpofition, and converfation, (as you have heard) is all new; and yet this marvellous change, as great and universal as it is, is not alike evident, and clearly difcernible, in all new creatures: and the reasons are,
First, Because the work of grace is wrought in divers methods, and manners, in the people of God. Some are changed from a state of notorious prophanenefs, unto ferious godliness; there the change is confpicuous, and very evident; all the neigh bourhood rings of it: but, in others, it is more inufibly dif tilled in their tender years, by the bleffing of God, upon religi ous education, and there it is more indifcernible.
Secondly, Though a great change be wrought, yet much natural corruption ftill remains for their humiliation and daily exercise; and this is a ground of fear and doubtings; they fee not how fuch corruptions are confiftent with the new creature.
Thirdly, In fome, the new creature fhews itself, moftly, in the affectionate part, in defires and breathings after God; and but little in the clearnefs of their understandings, and firength. of their judgments; for want of which, they are entangled, and kept in darkness, most of their days.
Fourthly, Some Chriftians are more tried, and exercifed, by temptation from Satan, than others are; and these clouds darken the work of grace in them.
Fifthly, There is great difference, and variety, found in the