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Ah! how little is this delightful, yet solemn 'truth considered by the great bulk of professing Christians. Solemn indeed, when viewed in reference to Christians in general; delightful, when contemplated in connection with the present holiness, and future happiness of the new creation of God.
To be made a new creature, two important changes must pass upon us.
We must be renewed in the spirit of our mind ; and we must walk before God in newness of life.
He, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, must shine into our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, before we can walk in the light, as he is in the light. When thus enlightened, we shall walk circumspectly; watch ourselves narrowly; feel our own helplessness; lament our depravity ; cast ourselves on Jesus unreservedly; plead his merits; implore his mediation ; pray without ceasing ; de. light in the Scriptures ; love the people of God; shun carnal pleasures; delight in labour for Christ and souls; stem the torrent of general impiety, and seek to abound in every good word and work. If this be a faithful miniature of the new creature, we must, whilst looking at unconverted man, exclaim : " What hath God wrought !"
The true believer has been justly compared to a little flame miraculously burning in the midst of mighty waters.
There is every thing around him, and within him, that is calculated to extinguish the holy fire. Satan, the prince of the power of the air, is constantly agitating these troubled waters. The world is dashing its surges against it; and the flesh, with its mire and dirt, is labouring to smother the sacred flame. But all in vain.
But all in vain. He, who kindled it, is Almighty. He, who has promised that it shall never go out, is Almighty.
Oh! then let not the afflicted, tempest-tossed believer be dismayed, but rather rejoice, inasmuch as the power and grace of Jesus are glorified by those very trials, which tend to increase the graces of his redeemed people. St. John hath declared, that “ he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.”
If then we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, we shall have the following indubitable evidence of regeneration in our souls:
Our perceptions will be new. A divine light will break in upon our minds. The darkness of error which obscured the truth from our view, will be dissipated. We shall see with unveiled face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. In his light we shall see light; and following Jesus who is the light of the world, we shall become the children of the light and of the day.
Our principles will be new. We shall act from pure, holy, disinterested motives. Faith working by love will be the grand moving principle. Self will no longer be the pivot on which we turn, but Jesus will be our all in all.
Our practice will be new. We shall live no longer according to the sinful customs of the world, or the powerful solicitations of the flesh, but according to the holy precepts of the everlasting Gospel. We shall delight in the law of God after the inward man. It will be our meat and drink to do the will of our Father which is in heaven.
Our plans will be new. We shall dedicate ourselves and all we have and are, to the service of that divine Saviour who loved us, and gave himself
We shall not be daily occupied in forming plans for worldly pleasure; or projecting schemes
for the acquisition of worldly profit; but in devising means for carrying on the cause of truth, and for spreading the knowledge of a crucified Redeemer throughout the earth.
Our prospects will be new. The darkness being past, and the true light now shining, we shall see the distant radiance of the heavenly Zion, and behold with the telescopic eye of faith, the land which is
very far off.
Our privileges will be new. God will be now our reconciled Father. Jesus, our elder brother, Saviour and friend. The Holy Ghost, our sanctifier and comforter. Angels, our ministering spirits. And heaven, our eternal home.
Our portion will be new. All those exceeding great and precious promises, which in Christ are yea, and in him amen, to the praise and glory of God, will be ours. We shall be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. We shall be the citizens of the New Jerusalem, and inherit that kingdom, which is incorruptible and undefiled, prepared for all the new creatures in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world.
To sum up all this blessedness, we shall experience in this world, a progression in holiness, and in world to come, a perpetuity of bliss.
Blessed Lord ! my soul longs for this rich grace, this unspeakably glorious state. 0! suffer me not to lie a moment longer in nature's darkness, but speak thou the word, and light shall start into existence. Then, shall the lineaments of the new creature, formed to thy glory, be daily unfolding themselves in greater likeness to thyself, till the happy hour shall arrive, when every remnant of corruption shall be for ever destroyed, and my soul be made perfect in thy everlasting kingdom.
Lord, what I want, and still implore,
Then, when the sacred drops descend
With holy love and humble joy,
XXV. ON CHRISTIAN UNITY.
We read much in the New Testament about Christian unity. The strength and beauty of the Church consists in the oneness between Christ and his people.
How powerful were the pleadings of our great Advocate for the unity of his redeemed people! “ Holy Father, keep through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are ;" “ that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one ; and that the
world may believe that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
St. Paul also dwells much on this important subject: “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body--and have all been made to drink into one spirit.” “ Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind.” “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judginent. “ Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another, according to Christ JeSUS ; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
From our Lord's intercessory prayer we learn, that all who are the subjects of grace, are the gift of the Father to the Son ; that to such, the Son gives eternal life ; that the beginning of this eternal life is to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent; that this knowledge is imparted by Jesus Christ through the teaching of the Spirit of truth, the Comforter; that this knowledge is of a sanctifying nature ; that it leads to a separation from the world, and an union to each other; that these happy souls are kept from the evil that is in the world, and preserved unto eternal glory.
Hence all strife, divisions, and contentions, disfigure the beauty and tarnish the glory of the church of God.
St. Paul sharply reproves the Corinthian church for their want of unity: “ Ye are yet carnal : for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" Whilst to the Ephesian converts, he gives this beautiful exhortation : “I therefore, the prisoner of