Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

according to the Representation and Language of Holy Scripture: And it is easy to see what must become of this old Man, this Man of Sin, upon the Appearance of Christ Jesus, who came to destroy the Works of the Devil, to give Light and Life to those who fat in the Shadow of Darkness and Death ; he and his Works must be destroyed to make way for the Spirit of Righteoulness, and his holy Works. But thus to destroy the old Man, to root out all the corrupt Affections of Nature, and to implant a new Principle of Life and Holiness, to restore the decayed Image of God, to give new Desires to the Soul, new Affections to the Heart; what is it but to new-make the Man, and by a second Creation to restore him to the Rights and Privileges of the first, which were long since forfeited by Sin and Disobedience? For this Reason the Christian is said to be a new Creature: If any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature, 2 Cor. v. 17. In Christ Jesus neither Circumcison availeth any Thing, nor Uncircumcihon, but a new Creature, Gal. vi. 15. In the second Chapter of the Ephesians, we are said to be the Workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good Works. And in the fourth Chapter, ver. 23 and 24, we are said to be renewed

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

in the Spirit of our Mind: To put on the new Man, which after God is created in Righteoufness and true Holiness. Nay, we are said even to put on Christ, from the Similitude of Will and Affections between Christ and his true Members: As many of you as have been baptized, says the Apostle to the Galatians, have put on Christ, Chap. iii. 27

From this Account it is easy to understand the Propriety of the Words or Phrases made use of to express these two Conditions. Sometimes we read, that we were dead before the Knowledge of Christ: Sometimes, that we died and were buried with Chrift: Again, that we rose with Christ, and are alive in him. Now, to be dead before the Coming of Christ, and

yet to die with Christ after his Coming, and yet still to be alive in Chrift, may seem to be Affertions inconsistent with respect to the same Person : And so indeed they are. But, if we take the same View of Man that the Scripture does, the Inconsistency will foon vanish. Man was at first created after the Image and Likeness of God, with a Rectitude of Mind and Will, with Inclinations. adapted to his true Happiness, and subject to the Influence and Direction of Reason: This was Man after the Image of God. But, upon

Disobedience,

T 3

Disobedience, Man became a quite different Person; his Understanding was darkened, his Will corrupted, his Inclinations distorted to the Pursuit of Evil continually. This Change was a real Death of the Man created after the Image of God; he could no longer exercise

any

of the Functions proper to his Life, but lay buried under the Ruins of Sin and Iniquity : And this was the Death of the World before the Knowledge of Christ. What then was the Life of the World at the Coming of Christ? It was the Life of Sin; of the earthly Man, made not in the Image of God, but after the Likeness of the Son of Disobedience. To destroy this Man of Sin, Christ came into the World; and they that are Christ's have crucified the Flesh, with the Affections and Lufts, Gal. v. 24. And thus, with respect to the Life we had at the Coming of Christ, which was the Life of Şin, we are said to die with Christ, and to be buried with him; because we renounce that Life, and the Affections proper to it. Thus dying to Sin, we begin again to live unto God, and unto true Holiness: And this is a Resurrection of the Man made after the Image of God, which beforə was dead in Trelpasses; and therefore we are said to be made

alive

I

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fore upon

alire in Chrift, and to rise together with
him,

Farther: This Change was what we had
not Power so much as to wish for, or desire
for ourselves : It was undertaken and effected
by Christ alone; he took our Nature and
our Iniquities upon himself, and underwent
Death in the behalf of all: He dying there-

the Cross for all, all are said to be crucified with him. He, as the Apostle to the Hebrews tells us, tasted Death for every Man, Heb. ii. 9. And it is St. Paul's Inference, that if one died for all, then were all dead, 2 Cor. V. 14. And the Way to attain to the Benefits of the Death of Christ, is, as we learn from the fame Apostle in his Epistle to the Philippians, to be .conformable unto his Death. This Conformity consists, as we have already seen, in dying to Sin, and the Affections of it; in putting off the old Man, in putting on the new Man, who is created after Righteousness. This St. Paul, in the fixth of the Romans, styles, being planted in the Likeness of his Death, and being planted in the Likeness of his Resurrection. To this likewise he plainly refers in the 29th Verse of the eighth Chapter: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed

to the Image of his Son, that he might be the First-born among many Brethren. There are many Precepts likewise in Scripture, founded upon this Notion of our. Conformity with Christ. The Text is one Instance: Another you have in the thirteenth of the Romans; But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not Provision for the Flesh to fulfil the Luft thereof. And again ; How shall we, who are dead' to Sin, live any longer therein? And many

other places there are, which must be opened with this Key.

Nay, the very Essence of Christianity confists in this Conformity with Christ; and therefore Baptism, which is our Admission to the Gospel, is nothing else but a solemn taking upon ourselves this Conformity. This we learn from St. Paul in the sixth of the Romans: Know ye not, says he, that so many of us as were baptized in Jesus Christ, were baptized into bis Death? Therefore we are buried with him by Baptifm into Death; that like as Christ was raised up from the Dead by the Glory of the Father, even fo we also Jould walk in Newness of Life, Chap. iii. 4. To walk in Newness of Life is our Conformity to the Resurrection of Christ, which was to new Life and Glory. For thus the

Apostle

« PreviousContinue »