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THE NEW CREATION.
"If any man be in Christ (says an inspired apostle), he is a new creature." The language of St. Paul is definite and plain. It is not said, If any man belong to this sect of religionists, or to that-if any man comply with this or that ceremony; but "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." To be in Christ is to be a Christian, not in name, but in reality. Christianity is generally professed; and if the profession of Christianity afforded any solid proof of the possession of it, there would indeed be abundant reason to rejoice. There is, however, such a thing as the form of godliness, and there is also the power of godliness. These two are essentially distinct from each other, though very often confounded by an undiscerning world. The form of godliness may coexist with the love of sin in the heart, and the practice of sin in the life; but the power of godliness, on the contrary, cannot coexist with the allowed exercise of either. There may be the form of godliness when we are still under the dominion of Satan, and the evil lusts of the flesh, the subjects of a miserable bondage: but the power of godliness, by its existence in any soul, does imply that the chains of our captivity are broken asunder; that the strong man armed has been disarmed; and that in consequence we can exult in the glorious liberty of the children of God. To be in Christ is to be interested in him as our Saviour from sin and wrath, to be united to him by faith; it is to be "found in him, not
VOL. VII.-NO. CLXXII.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God. by faith." Much is conveyed in the expression "found in Christ,"-found in Christ as a refuge from the storm of Almighty displeasure,-found in Christ as the sweet ark of safety, found in Christ as the hope of immortal glory, when the dark shadows of time have rolled away.
Those who are so happy as to be in Christ, are indeed "passed from death unto life:" it is certain that their consciences have been awakened from the slumber of sin and carnal security; it is certain that an arrow of conviction has reached their hearts, and that the voice, "flee from the wrath to come," has been in their case a voice of power. But let us trace the blessed consequences which result from a vital union with Christ: these are exhibited to our view under the image of the new creation. God spoke the universe into being by the word of his power; God speaks the spiritual creation into being by the same word of his power. The believer in Jesus is born again of the Spirit, through the incorruptible seed of the word; and this is regeneration. A man is introduced into a new state, as different from the old state in which he was by nature, as it is possible to conceive.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." There are three images in Scripture particularly employed to represent the great spiritual change which takes place in the soul by the power of Divine grace: these are, the new birth, the new creation, and a resurrection from the dead; which are all more or less expressive of an important reality. They
[London Robson, Levey, and Franklyn, 46 St. Martin's Lane.]
forcibly indicate the character and circum- , low after holiness in heart and life; they stances of the people of God.
seek to adorn and beautify the tree of profes-. The subjects of regenerating grace are sion by the fruits of love and obedience. It ushered, as it were, into a new world, and were easy to mention various other characare furnished with new perceptions of things; teristics of the new creation in Christ Jesus, the change they undergo is indeed as life to open to our view the wondrous effect of from the dead. It should never be forgotten, Divine grace upon the soul of man. that the new creation in Christ Jesus is a state, and not merely an alteration of some circumstances in the moral and spiritual con- THE SOUL THE GREAT OBJECT OF MINISdition of man. And what are the peculiar
TERIAL WATCHFULNESS. * features which distinguish the new creation ?
CONSIDER the object of our watchfulness, the soul. The apostle informs us, that in the regene
This at once invests the office before us (the ministerated soul, “ old things are passed away; rial) with a solemnity and a weight which belong to behold, all things are become new." This is
no other; inasmuch as the soul of man is to himself a kind of negative description of the circum- the most precious and the most distinguishing of all stances that attend the new birth unto righte- his gifts from God.
Vast is the change which the grace The soul is a conscious being, endued with a power of God makes in the soul of man. The of self-reflection, which distinguishes rational man heart, which was before hard and corrupt, is from all inferior grades, and to which the apostle clearly softened and purified by influence from alludes when he asks, “ What man knoweth the things above; the will, which was before perversely of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ?" set in opposition to God's will, is now sub- (1 Cor. ii. 11). It actuates the mind or understanding dued to the obedience of faith ; the under- within, as that again gives motion and direction to the standing, which was before dark, is now en
outer frame. This, while it is made the object of our lightened by the beams of saving truth; the especial watchfulness, is in every one alike the source judgment, which was before warped to evil, of his highest happiness and his keenest misery; of is now swayed by a bias to good; the con
all his moral and intellectual feelings ; of all that science, which was before asleep, or but half in each one makes the man. Every individual we awake, is now quickened into sensibility ;-in address, whatever be his outward circumstances
, or his
inward state of mind and heart, has, it must be remema word, all the powers and faculties of the new-born soul have experienced a renovating bered, some consciousness within him, conversant with and transforming power. The man is different joy or sorrow, desire or fear, right or wrong: and to from what he was before; the change wrought arguments, touching and affectionate considerations,
this inward principle it is our duty to apply suitable in him makes him a wonder to himself, and
awful warnings, and winning invitations into the paths a wonder to others, who observe the effects of of wisdom and peace. How delicate the structure of that change: "old things are passed away;"
that machine upon which we have to act; that soul of old thoughts, old principles, and old prac- man, which it is our part, by all possible means and tices, are passed away; the new creature the most skilful applications, to lead to its own best acts on new principles, is animated by new happiness and true centre of rest! Surely " he that motives, and is engaged in the pursuit of new winneth," and even he that thus watcheth for "souls, ends. Now he is a happy man; before he is wise." knew nothing of happiness but the name: he Especially so, when we consider further, that this loves now what he did not love before ; he conscious being, with all its passions and desires, its hates now what he did not hate before ; he is habits of thought, natural or acquired, its virtues or its conscious of new hopes and fears; he has vices, is endued with a principle of immortality; and new pleasures, and he seeks new company, must shortly, perhaps very shortly, pass out of time into even that of the excellent of the earth. He an eternal state of existence. At that dread hour which is under the habitual influence of a heavenly closes this earthly scene, we are expressly warned by disposition, and this of course leads to a hea- Christ himself what will then be the irreversible issue: venly practice. “ Created in Christ Jesus " he that is unjust, will be unjust still : and he which unto good works," he is careful to discharge is filthy, will be filthy still: and he that is righteous, every duty he owes to God, and every duty he
will be righteous still : and he that is holy, will be owes to man. Those who are renewed in holy still” (Rev. xxii. 11). Impressive reflection! the spirit of their minds labour to abound
that every emotion and affection of the soul, tending more and more in every good word and
to degrade, disquiet, and torment it, no less than those work. Their unceasing aim and daily prayer assimilate it to himself upon earth, shall continue after
which purify, ennoble, and, through God's grace, is, to “ deny all ungodliness and worldly
death; and not only continue, but be stamped with an lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." They shrink • From “The Christian Watchman;" a very excellent sermon, from sin, under any and every form, with
by Archdeacon Hoare, preached in the chapel of Farnham
Castle, at the ordination of the Lord Bishop of Winchester, a kind of instinctive abhorrence; they fol
Dec. 16th, 1838. London, Hatchards, 1839.
peace with him.
intensity, a vividness and force, expressly suited to that, motives, into a state of reconciliation, communion, and more refined and advanced state of being. In affecting
Suffice it to say, that there are two the soul, in watching for its highest and best interests, leading changes-one of state, the other of disposition the labours of the spiritual watchman reach in their —which are designated respectively by the terms jusresults to the invisible and eternal world. Blessings tification and sanctification. Over these it is that we that never end, the riches of immortal souls, await the are called especially to watch in regard to our flocks ; exercise of our diligence and care : and, on the other these are the events which render our ministerial hand, reproaches loud and agonising, so as to reach, charge, beyond all other trusts, critical and vital. were it possible, the very seats of the blessed, must They are changes which neither education merely, nor issue from those lost souls who may have, to all the arts of refinement and civilisation, por the lessons eternity, to rue the miserable consequences of our of philosophy and worldly morality, can of themselves neglect-the fruits of ministerial indolence or culpable ever produce. Yet do they afiect the everlasting forgetfulness. Let us “ watch," then, as for never- interests of man. And in another especial respect they dying "souls."
demand our extreme vigilance and care, that they are Nor is it only for them as immortal, but as redeemed most liable to mistake or failure; and are, in fact, those also, that we are called to watch. He who will be the against which sin, the world, and the devil, have ever Judge has now become the Saviour of the soul. Christ directed their deadliest attacks, and applied their himself came down from heaven to redeem it: and he subtlest arts. then gave to the "spirit of man" its deepest interest, It has been the character, doubtless, of all times, no and the highest proof of its value and importance, less than our own, it has been an attempt coeval with when he purchased its deliverance with his blood : the fall itself, to substitute something else in the place while his own most touching question, calculated, as it of those true regenerating acts which restore the soul were, upon the very price which he was about to pay to God, and qualify it for the everlasting presence and for it, ascertains its surpassing and inestimable worth; enjoyment of its Maker. With this view have been "What is a man profited, though he gain the whole framed all the idolatries of the heathon, and all the world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give superstitions of the Christian world. In the present in exchange for his soul ?” We have not indeed looked day, the faithful watchman has to guard much against into the eternal world : we have not experienced the the error of supposing even a sound and clear exposiintensity of those joys, or the depth of those pains, tion of the truth itself, “ as it is in Jesus Christ,” to be which last for ever and ever. But we have the clear the whole (though a necessary part) of vital religion. testimony of Him before whom, when he spake, Nor will he be less jealous of a certain tendency, now eternity lay open ; we have the undoubted pledge of abroad, to by-gone superstitions, which would seem to truth and love, sealed with blood, to the awful realities mistake the sacraments of grace for the grace itself of the future and invisible state: and as with an un- which they represent; or which would describe the shaken veracity he who bled for us pronounced from blessings of justification, and even sanctification also, the cross the accomplishment of his own great work, as changes into which we pass unconsciously; transi" It is finished ;" so with unrivalled affection he com- tions of soul conducted independently of that one great mitted to our charge those sheep for whom he laid personal act of justifying "faith,” by which our Church down his life—"Feed my sheep;" « Feed my lambs ;” expressly declares “we first come to God.” Mistakes watch for souls whom I have purchased; warn those or mis-statements of this nature lie at the root of all whom I have redeemed; press the truths that I have error; and they essentially weaken the force of those taught, the price that I have paid, the debt of gratitude solemn appeals made by the most faithful of all human due to me from souls immortal, which eternity itself watchmen; "Christ is become of no effect unto you, never can repay. “Ye are not your own; ye are whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen bought with a price ;” “All souls are mine." Let us from grace : for we through the Spirit wait for the then “watch," as for “souls” which Christ hath re- hope of righteousness by faith ;" adding, “ye did run deemed.
well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the The commission thus placed in our hands acquires truth ?" And the apostle ends his address in the same fresh importance from a further consideration, namely, strain ; “ For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision that whilst here on earth, the soul is the subject of the availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a greatest of all possible changes. Fixed as its character creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, and condition must be for ever hereafter, it has here peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of the opportunity of undergoing a most necessary and
God." important change; a change indeed no less important than that of “passing,” in scriptural language,
THOUGHTS ON HISTORICAL PASSAGES OF darkness to light;" nay, even “from death unto life ;" a translations from Satan's power," or from the power
THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT. of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear Son."
No XI.-David pardoned, but punished.* Without entering at any length on the meaning of By the Rev. Fulwar William Fowle, M.A. these scriptural expressions, it is not too much to Rector of Allington, and Perpetual Curale of Amesbury. affirm that they denote only what might naturally be It has often been remarked that one of the strongest expected of fallen creatures; who, finding themselves internal testimonies to the authenticity of the Bible as in a state of rebellion against their Maker, opposed to the word of God, is afforded by the impartiality with his holiness and liable to his wrath, are yet invited which it records the failings, the follies, and the crimes back, by the tenderest solicitations and most urgent See First Lesson for the sixth Sunday after Trinity,
no less than the virtues, of those characters which it “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of holds forth in their general conduct for our imitation. the Lord, to do evil in his siglit? Thou hast killed It neither magnifies the one, nor palliates the other. Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his And much were it to be wished that we would act in wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword the same manner when we make these characters the of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword subject of our consideration.
shall never depart from thine house; because thou David is first introduced to our notice when anointed | bast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah by Samuel as the future king over Israel, and the first the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, public transaction in which we find him engaged gives Behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thine us an instance of his faith and piety. When the armies own house. Thou didst it secretly; but I will do this of Israel fled before the champion of the Philistines, thing before all Israel, and before the sun." Oh! David said to Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of most terrible sentence, and yet most just! So terhim; thy servant will go and fight with this Philis- rible, that a sinner uninfluenced by Divine grace tine.” And when Saul remonstrated with bim, and would have hardened himself against it; or a sinner said, "Thou art not able to go, for thou art but a youth, unsupported by Divine grace would have sunk into and he a man of war," he replied, that the Lord had despair. Ahab, when sentenced for his sins, sought already enabled him to kill a lion and a bear which to kill the Lord's prophet; and Cain exclaimed, “ My had attacked his flock, and that this uncircumcised punishment is greater than I can bear.” But David Philistine should be as one of them, seeing he had instantly confessed his guilt—" I have sinned against defied the armies of the living God. And when the the Lord.” Nor was this merely a hasty and unPhilistine despised and disdained him, as they drew fruitful acknowledgment of his sin. His grief, his nigh unto battle, he said to him, " Thou comest to me misery, his mental agony, his anguish of heart, his with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but humility, his penitence, are expressed in the 51st I come unto thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, Psalm, composed on this sad occasion. And thouthe God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” sands of broken-hearted sinners, since his time, have The necessary limits of these remarks will not permit been permitted in these words of David to give utterus to go through the long and eventful history of David, ance to their godly sorrow for sin, and to receive further than is necessary to the true development of through them holy consolation. And Nathan said his character, and to shew what it was in him which unto David, “ The Lord also hath put away thy sin ; rendered him, after all the sins into which he after- thou shalt not die.” David's confession and God's wards so unhappily fell, still a subject of Divine mercy pardon stand in the same verse; and I believe there and Divine forgiveness. This we shall find to have are some who imagine that the only punishment which been his faith and trust in God, his humbleness of David's sins received was inflicted in the death of the mind, his zeal for the honour of the Lord. Even when infant, which is related in the same chapter. To an yet a boy, he had killed a lion and a bear in defence of affectionate heart, as David's was, the reflection that his flock, and he ascribed the circumstance to God. his guilt had caused the death of his child must have When he slew the Philistine, he declared before the given the most poignant anguish ; and we read that it whole army of Israel that the battle was the Lord's, did so, in his manner of conducting himself whilst the and the victory from him. When persecuted by Saul, child was yet alive. But if any suppose that this was every measure which he took for the safety of himself the only retribution with which Divine Justice visited or his friends was with this reserve—"till I know what David, it argues a great and sinful ignorance of the God will do for me." In all his distress he sought Old Testament. The pardon which God had given counsel of the Lord. On more than one occasion had been expressed in these words: “ The Lord hath Saul's life was in his power, and some of his attend- put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Thy sense of ants urged him to rid himself of his enemy; he ex- thy sin, thy confession of it, thy sorrow for it, thy reclaimed, “ God forbid that I should touch the Lord's pentance of it, have led the Lord in his mercy to acanointed.” On another, fainting with thirst, three of cept an atonement for thy soul. Thy crimes have his friends had procured him water at the risk of their incurred the sentence of both temporal and eternal own lives; he refused to drink it, pouring it out as death: but thou shalt not die; thy life shall still be an offering unto the Lord. The same spirit of faith prolonged in this world; and in the world to come I and piety led him, when he had sinned against God, to will not close the door of mercy against thee.” This go to God for pardon, freely to confess his guilt, to was the amount of God's promise. But every pardeclare the greatness of his iniquity, and that it was ticular of the threatened punishment in the sentence only of God's infinite mercy that he could look for which had been passed on him was inflicted upon this forgiveness.
unhappy man to the very letter. God had said, “The When Saul had fallen in battle, it pleased the Lord sword shall never depart from thine house;" and so to raise David to the throne of Israel; to which long as David lived, one after another of his family kingly office Samuel, by his command, had long since died by the sword; and his eldest surviving son was anointed him. It was in this exalted station, when put to death just after his father had expired. God surrounded with every incitement to vice, and every had said, “I will raise up evil agains thee out of facility to indulge in it, that he committed the com- thine own house;" and how miserably this prediction plicated crimes of adultery and murder, which shall was fulfilled, the remaining history of David abunever stand against him on God's record upon earth, dantly shews. and which nothing but the all-atoning blood of a And here we gladly close our remarks upon the crucified Saviour can wash away from God's record sins and the sorrows of David. Enough, and more on high. The circumstances were briefly these. He than enough, has been said to shew that the sins of accidentally saw the beautilul Bathsheba; he in- David afford no encouragement to the sinner. Never quired after her-he committed adultery with her. was sin in this world more terribly visited than his. After many fruitless efforts to conceal his guilt, he Let the sinner, then, take warning, but no encouragecaused her husband, who was fighting the battles of ment. David, whose heart from his youth up was his country, to be placed in a post of danger, there generally with God, went down to the grave sorrowing to be deserted by the rest of the army, and to fall for sin; and how shall that man hope to escape the by the hands of the enemy. But he soon found, as punishment due to his offences, who has not only sooner or later we all shall find, how bitter are the repeatedly broken the Divine laws, but has in his fruits of sin. The Lord sent bis prophet Nathan to heart always departed from the Lord ? him; first to convict him of his guilt, and then to The pardon and yet the punishment of David, his pass the sentence of Divine retribution upon it. spiritual pardon and his temporal punishment, afford