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less till matters be set right again ; like a bird from its nest, a stone from its centre, or as undigested meat on a sick stomach, having no ease till sin be rejected by a vomit of repentance, and renewed acts of faith. “ Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward," 2 John, 8.
4. Seek earnestly the growth of the new creature. Be not content with the habit ; if you say you have enough, you have no grace; your business is to“ perfect holiness in the fear of God;" to grow in grace, that "you may be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Dead things grow not; children
grow, and are fed by what first nourished them, as “new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”* Be often using the means of nourishment, and you will grow up to further maturity. There is, saith one, much scurf on the face of this new-born babe of grace, which by degrees will wear off as it grows up, and so it becomes distinguishable. Growth helps to see its truth : blow up this spark into a flame, and it will be visible. A hypocrite grows not any more than the hands, arms, legs of a pictured child on the wall, let it be there ever so long. Oh, strive to grow every day better, " to go from strength to strength,” Psal. lxxxiv. 7, reaching after perfection in grace; to "run the race set before you;” to get daily more power against corruption. He is a careful and skilful physician that removes the disease, and corroborates or strengthens the body; you must do both. The old man and new creature, are like weights in balances, as the one ascends, the other descends; as the earth and sea, where the one looseth, the other gaineth. Oh, be still on the gaining hand,
• 2 Cor. vii. 1. 2 Pet. iii. 18. 2 Tim. ï. l. 1 Pet. ii. 2.
improve all mercies, afflictions, ordinances, and providences, for nourishing this new creature in your souls: when you are grown most, you will still be defective, something “will still be lacking in your faith,” love, or humility, 1 Thess. iii. 10. You know but in part, you are not yet ripe.
5. Live up to this change, live at the rate of persons so principled, “walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory, worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called;"_" only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel.” Only is here a most comprehensive word: you must act above the style of carnal men, soberly, righteously, and godly. * If you be singled out to be new creatures, “what singular thing do you?” Matt. v. 47. What do you more than others? Remember, sirs, you are new creatures; an old heart would have served well enough to have done the devil's drudgery withal; you are new born to higher employment, now you “must serve not in the oldness of the letter, but in newness of spirit,” Rom. vii. 6. When the temple was built with such assiduous care, and costly materials, surely it was for holy use; sincere Christians are God's “workmanship created in Christ Jesus to good works,” Eph. ii. 10. Now it becomes you to act as you are; yours would be aggravated sin, if you sin, who have such a glorious work of the Spirit on your hearts, as none in the world have besides you: you are consecrated persons, and by your sin you profane God's temple. Others' sins are theft, yours sacrilege, because you rob God of what was devoted to him. When God breathed such a noble soul into man's body, he designed him for higher acts than those of mere sense, as brutes. So, Christian, thou art of a higher ex* 1 Thess. ii. 12. Eph. iv. 1. Phil. i. 27. Tit. ii. 12. .
traction, than to walk as men, as carnal men, 1 Cor. iii. 3; no, friend, as thou“ hast received Christ, so thou must walk in him," Col. ii. 6. O take heed of sin, it is contrary to the divine nature which God hath planted in thee; now we know the more unnatural any act is, the more horrid; as for a woman to kill her own child, or a man to be cruel to his own flesh. Oh beware of killing the babe of grace in thy soul, by sin; but live up to thy principles and privileges.
6. Attend upon God in all his institutions, and in all aim at closer communion with him, in all duties and ordinances, as in hearing the word, prayer, seals of the covenant, christian conference, and communion of saints; this is the air in which the Christian breathes, the most wholesome for this new creature; “Lord,” saith the Psalmist, “I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwells ;” and he often cries out for the living God; “O when,” saith he, “shall I come and appear before God?” Nothing lay nearer David's heart, than God's presence in his ordinances. * It is or should be so with the new creature; but o wait for the Spirit's wafting over thy soul to Jesus; rest not in ordinances, they are but the boat or bridge to carry thy soul over to God; the ordinance is lost, and thy labour is in vain, if thou do not enjoy God in ordinances. O labour to see Christ“ " walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks;" be sure you “hold him in the galleries.” Ordinances are "the golden pipes that empty the golden oil out of themselves ;" be sure that “of his fulness you receive, and grace for grace.” | The Holy Ghost sits in ordinances as a minister of state in his office, ready to distribute to every one's case as there is need : thou art at the right door, wait his leisure, and it shall not be in vain.
* Psalm xxvi. 8. xlii. 1. Txü. 1, 2. lxxxiv. 1, 2. + Rev. ii. l. Cant. vii. 5. Zech. iv. 12. John i. 16.
7. Endeavour to propagate religion, do what thou canst to make others new creatures, thy relations, neighbours, and all thou art acquainted with; this is the duty, yea, the character of the new creature by prayer, advice, example, and procuring the help of ministers, or christian friends; it is true, no man can communicate grace to another, it is not in our own power to effect it, but we must endeavour after it. O how Paul was concerned for his countrymen, the wilful unbelieving Jews, Rom. x. 1: his prayers, tears, and wishes, speak him to be their cordial friend, who were his bitter enemies. God commanded Abraham that all his house should be circumcised, to have him go as far as he could to draw them into affinity with God. True grace makes men love relations better than ever, and causeth natural affection to run in a spiritual channel, for the good of their souls. Be concerned to make a jointure of the promises, to thy wife, an entail of the covenant to thy children; this is a thousand times better than leaving them thousands a year. Should not you desire that one heaven may hold those hereafter, whom one house holds now ? O tremble to think when your house breaks up, of one going to heaven, another to hell ; let your charity extend itself to all you are acquainted with, and let your practice be convincing and winning to all about you. Alas, what multitudes are there, who are unacquainted with this mighty work, yet must feel it, or never be happy; do what thou canst to call in all to this blessed feast, “yet there is room,” Luke xiv. 22. Hast thou none thou lovest so well as to wish them thy happiness? There is no envy in spiritual things, the more and happier, and no less cheer; it will add some pearls
to thy crown to win souls. If a neighbour locked himself in a room on design to murder himself, wouldst thou not break open the door and rescue him? 0 happy souls that are employed and successful in this spiritual charity!
I have long ago, seen a book written by Mr. Reiner of Lincoln, called, " The Rule of the New Creature,” to which I refer the reader that can procure it; at present I shall sum up my thoughts in these twenty brief rules of direction.
(1.) Reason justly, and reckon straight; let your reason be 'regulated by the word of God; it must follow faith, not give law and measure to it. Be sure your accounts be squared by the golden rule of scripture; set all straight against the reckoning day. *
(2.) Demur at no sufferings for Christ, to avoid sin against Christ; be content to fill up Christ's sufferings; nay, be glad to suffer, but tremble to sin. Sinless sufferings are sweet, but sweet sins will be bitterness in the end.t Bear any thing but sin.
(3.) Profess what you are, and be what you profess. Think not to dissemble among men, for worldly ends; but upon a just cause and call, own godliness; be indeed Nathaniels; pretend not more than truth; God knows the heart. I
(4.) Serve God for the service itself, not for wages; or rather, let his service be your wages or reward, for so it is, “God himself is the saint's reward.” Hypo, crites make religion a step to ascend to some other end; let God be thy all. ||
(5.) Be most for God, when God seems most against
* Luke v. 21. 1 Pet. iii. 15. 1 Cor. iv. 3. Rom. xiv. 12. + Col. i. 24. Matt. v. ll. Heb. xi. 26. Rev. ii. 22.
Rom. x. 10. Matt. x. 32, 33. John i. 47. Heb. iv. 13. || Psal. xix. 11. Gen. xv. ). Matt. vi. 4. Psal. lxxiii. 25, VOL. V.