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Then the bloom of health begins to appear in the sweet tints of peace and joy, of love and humility, of meekness and heavenly-mindedness, which beautify the soul, and cause the believer to shine in the image of his divine Redeemer.
The happy believer now knows his malady and his remedy. He takes with gratitude those medicines which infinite wisdom prescribes. He daily feeds upon Christ by faith, and daily derives strength from this gracious source of blessedness. He feels his own weakness, and experiences the power of Jesus. He loathes himself and truly loves his Saviour, in whose righteousness he appears all lovely in the eyes of his heavenly Father. As a pilgrim, he journeys onwards under the guidance of that Holy Spirit, who dwells in him as in a temple, and who has promised to keep him by his mighty power through faith unto salvation. The world fascinates no longer. The mask falls from its face, and he beholds the idol in its natural deformity. He sees the emptiness of human applause; the madness of ambition; the deceitfulness of riches ; the folly of dissipation. Every thing beneath the sun assumes its true character, whilst he views it through the medium of God's holy word.
He learns to form a proper estimate of temporal things. He prays for grace to use the world as not abusing it; to be moderate in the enjoyment of all created good; knowing that the fashion of this world passeth away.
Has the believer no enjoyment of life? Is he destitute of all rational delights because he makes the Lord his portion? It would be an impeachment of the goodness of God, to suppose his service a mere Egyptian bondage.
The true believer in esiis has the sweetest enjoyment of life. He can eat his meat with sin
gleness of heart, praising God. He can taste the sweets of Christian friendship and domestic life: He can enjoy all the endearing charities of husband, father, brother: He can feel his heart expanding towards the poor, and find his joy in pouring the balm of consolation into the troubled breast : He can delight in all the beauties of natural scenery ; and relish all the charms of sound philosophy: He can rejoice in every opening prospect for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, through institutions devised by Christian wisdom and conducted in Christian simplicity: He can weep in his best moments over the ruins of the fall, not only as felt in his own heart, but as beheld in the abject condition of the millions of mankind. He can rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Say then, can such a man be miserable ? can such a man be destitute of sources of real enjoyment ? He lives by faith. He longs for heaven. He desires to be daily conformed to Jesus, and to glorify him more, whether it be by life or death. To him to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Such is the character of the converted sinner. O! how precious, how divine, how rare a character. Lord, impart this grace unto me, who am less than the least of all thy mercies, till faith shall end in the glorious, fruition of thyself in thy everlasting kingdom of light and glory.
Blest Saviour, condescend
Incline my soul to love
Preserve me by thy care ;
Let angel-guards surround,
When death the message brings
XXIV. ON THE NEW CREATURE.
The heart cannot be too deeply impressed with the absolute necessity of regenerating grace; or seek too earnestly for the promised blessing.
If the value of one immortal soul exceeds in amount all the wealth of the globe, yea, of millions of material worlds; how strange that men should barter their souls for trifles light as air, and empty as vanity itself.
Awful infatuation !-By many persons, faith is considered as the cheapest commodity, and of the most easy attainment ; forgetting that the eternal Son of God paid the price of his own most precious blood, that we might receive this heavenly grace, and be made partakers of everlasting glory.
Faith is the gift of God; and if any man be in Christ, or in other words, if any man possess this gift of faith, he is a new creature; with him, old things have passed away, and behold all things have become new.
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. 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 be- · liever 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 lans for worldly pleasure; or projecting schemes