صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of Christ by others, to preach down his credit, Phil. i. 18.

[ii.] In the next world also, this new creature will form an illustrious monument to the glory of Jehovah, “ When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe,” 2 Thess. i. 10. The existence of this new creation will reflect more glory to the author than that of the old one. O what a glorious sight will it be to see so many bright stars in the firmament of glory, borrowing their light from, and reflecting light to the Sun of righteousness !

Besides, the new creature is the only person on earth that is qualified for communion with God; he only can say, “ 'Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” 1 John i. 3. It is this new creation that raiseth this clod of clay above the earth, and engageth the heart to approach to God, while others “worship afar off," Jer. xxx. 21. Exod. xxiv. 1. These holy souls are they that worship in the

temple of God, and at the altar," Rev. xi. 1. Psal. cxlviii. 14. God admits them into his presence, as a people near to him. The Christian is the man who sanctifies God's name in his worship, and is satisfied with the fatness of God's house. Here is the blessed merchant that trades in rich pearls, that goes from port to port, from ordinance to ordinance; not to see places, but to take in his lading of communications, graces, privileges, assurance, and comfort from God.

CHAP. III.

REASONS FOR THE DENOMINATION, NEW CREA

TURE. A PARALLEL BETWEEN THE OLD CREA-
TION AND THE NEW.

II. It is now my province briefly to assign reasons, why the Holy Ghost gives this saving conversion the title of a “new creature,” or, as the word is, a“ new creation.” Now the answer is, because in many things it bears some analogy and resemblance to the first spacious universe of heaven and earth, this magnificent structure. I shall run the parallel between them in these twelve particulars :

1. God is the first and only cause of the creation of the world, not angels nor created intelligences of any rank, who though they be mighty, yet are not Almighty. It is the peculiar prerogative of Elohim, the infinite God, to create. God orders the Jews in Babylon to repeat that famous sentence in the Chaldee language, to confute their idolatry, Jer. x. 11, “ Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens." The reason is given in the Hebrew language, ver. 12, “He hath made the earth by his power; he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” In creation, divines say, God is the only cause simply, but in his other works, he is the cause of this creature being different from that.* So none but God can create this new man;

• Have we not all one Father? hath not one great God created us ? We are God's workmanship, it is the same

Deus est causa simpliciter in creatione, at essendi hoc in aliis.-Vide Weems's Image of God in Man, page 3.

VOL. V.

D

6. He

mighty power that raised Christ from the dead that gives faith to the souls of men, and quickens the dead."

2. God made all things of nothing, that is, of things that had no existence before he made them. calleth those things which be not, as though they were.”*

Indeed we are told that nothing is taken in a threefold sense.

(1.) It is taken privatively, so an idol is nothing ; that is, it hath no divinity in it.

(2.) Comparatively, so all the world is nothing before God.t

(3.) Nothing negatively or simply; so there was no fruit upon the fig-tree. $ In this sense God made the world of nothing; there was no pre-existent matter for him to work upon. Just thus in the new creation, when God comes to operate upon a sinner, he finds no principle of grace or inclination to good in him. “I know," saith blessed Paul, “ that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing," Rom. vii. 18. Nay, there is much evil in us; even worse still, there is antipathy to what is good, within our depraved hearts. Thus, as in the first creation, God produceth a habit from the negation; he works a principle of grace where there was no such thing.'

3. God made all things by Christ, his infinite and co-eternal Son. “All things were made by him,” that is, by the essential word, “and without him was not any thing made that was made,” John i. 3. “ By him were all things created, visible and invisible.” By this Heir of all things he made the worlds, both according to the matter and form thereof, Col. i. 16. Heb. i. 2. And thus it is in the new creation, for

* Mal. ii. 10. Eph. ii. 10. i. 20. Rom. iv. 17. + 1 Cor. viii. 4. Isa. xl. 17.

# Mark xi. 13.

we

are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Eph. ii. 10. After him the new creature is formed; for God in his unveiled majesty is invisible, not obvious clearly either to corporeal eyes or human minds, but Christ is the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3; and manifests the glorious perfections of the infinite God: that “as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, we should bear the image of the heavenly,” i Cor. xv. 45, 49, that is Christ; thus in the incarnation, God became man; in regeneration, man becomes like God.

4. God created all things with a word: so saith the apostle, “ Through faith we understand, that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” Heb. xi. 3. God's fiat, or let it be, produced the whole fabric of heaven and earth. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them, by the breath of his mouth," Psal. xxxiii. 6. Art needeth many helps; nature needeth few; God needeth none, nor doth use any instrument in the creation, for nothing can intervene between the first cause and the first effect; it is an immediate product of his sovereign will and pleasure. So it is in this new creation; James i, 18, “ Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” God speaks the word, and the sinner is converted. If it be said, that ministers are instruments in conversion, I answer, but still they are nothing, “neither is he that planteth any thing,” i Cor. iii. 7. They need God; God needs not them, he can do his work without them; yea, in the first infusion of a principle of saving grace, there is nothing of instrumentality, it is done immediately.

5. God made all things good and perfect at first. Every creature of God is good ; and God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good ;* nothing was made either unadvisedly or to no purpose. A thing may be said to be good, as it is correspondent to the idea of the divine wisdom, or as it is fit for that use to which it is designed, and for which it serves. It needs not be enquired, whether God could not have made the world, or its parts, better or more perfect ; for if we consider the world in respect of the whole, it is perfect both as to its degrees and parts. But as to its parts severally, God could have made them better; as in a camp, there are captains, soldiers, and a general; in some respect if a soldier were a captain, he would be better, but in respect of the whole army, which consists of superiors and inferiors, he is better as a soldier. So in this new creature, it is perfect in its kind, in subserviency to God's great purposes, though defective in point of degree in this world ; hence God's children are said to be not perfect, as “having not attained,” Phil. iii. 12. “yet they are perfect,” ver. 15.

6. Though God from eternity purposed to create the world, yet the world was created only in time, not from eternity ; Gen. i. 1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. God worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will,” Eph. i. 11. It is true, all things had a kind of being in God, as in the cause whence all things flow, in the eternal mind or idea according to which all things were framed ; but they had not their real or actual existence, till God in his wisdom thought good to produce them. “In thy book,” saith David, Psal. cxxxix. 16, “were all my members written.” Thus it is in

* 1 Tim. iv. 4. Gen. i. 31. + Quia nec temere nec frustra factum.

« السابقةمتابعة »