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It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again: who died to make satisfaction for the sins of the world, and rose again to shew that it was accepted; so that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. As surely as many, according to the state of nature, were made sinners by one man's disobedience; so surely also by the obedience of one are many made righteous. Thus abundantly is the evil of unrighteousness provided against.
The next thing in order is the renovation of the understanding. Of the old man it was said, there is none that understandeth; but the new man is said to be renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him*. When God changes us from natural into spiritual men, he restores the spiritual powers of discernment, which we lost by the fall; and in which the image of God consisted. As the sight of the mind is now dark by nature, God is said to enlighten the eyes of the understanding and as the eyes are shut to spiritual things, Christ is therefore said to have opened the understanding of his disciples, that they might understand the scriptures. The psalmist speaks as one sensible of this defect-Open thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things
of thy law whence it follows, that a man, whom God hath enlightened, sees some things in the scripture, of which that man can have no understanding, who views it with the eyes of nature. Sometimes this principle is called faith; which is a divine sense superinduced to the senses of nature: it signifies a right apprehension of God, a love of his wisdom, a trust in his promises, and an expectation of the world to come. This principle is the gift of God; and they who are blessed with it are of one mind; but they who have it not are always jarring and disputing about the plainest things, and will be so to the world's end.
But God doth not only renew the mind, and restore the right use of the understanding: he also supplies true matter to it. He reveals to us the knowledge of himself, the true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier of Men. "The Son of God hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true:" therefore till he gives us this understanding, we have no knowledge of any proper object of adoration. Besides the true notion of God's Being, the bible opens to us the ways of his providence in the government of the world, and the wonders of redemption in the salvation of
his Church by Jesus Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
But still there is no right understanding without a proper rule of action: therefore we have such a rule offered to us in the commandments of the law, and in the precepts of the gospel, by which all the colours of vice and virtue are properly distinguished; so that the Christian is delivered from that miserable folly, to which all the world is subject, of confounding good and evil, and putting one for the other. On these considerations, we may subscribe to those divine words of Solomon-The Lord giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous; he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea every good path*.
This leads us to the next article, the error of our way. All men are out of their way, and the gospel undertakes to put them into it.
7 are represented as wandering in a pathwilderness, such as this world is to all those are not under the direction of God; but in is wilderness, he that led the Israelites from
Prov. ii, 6, &C#
Egypt makes a path so plain and direct, that the wayfaring men, though fools, (though never so simple in the estimation of the world,) cannot err therein. So far as we have followed the dictates of nature, we have erred and strayed from that right way, which leads to God, and the happiness of his kingdom; in which capacity we are compared to lost sheep, whom Christ came to seek and save. Such as are willing to be found, are conducted by him to the Father; and he himself becomes a new and living way to them, by means of the doctrine which he taught; by his death, which opened to them the kingdom of heaven; by his life, which serves as an example to direct them thither, and by his Spirit leading and supporting them; so that if this way be kept in view, they cannot fail of attaining their end, even the salvation of their souls.
Then again, instead of that unsound speech, which is the effusion of the natural man, the gospel dictates a new sort of speech, agreeable to the doctrines of grace, and seasoned with salt, to preserve it from corruption. When a man is reformed from that hateful condition of the open sepulchre, no filthy communication proceeds out of his mouth; but such only as becometh a saint, and may minister grace to the hearers. If the man himself is holy, his speech
will be holy; it will agree with the purity of that doctrine which is laid up in his heart. He is no longer a sepulchre, defiled with death; but an earthen vessel, inclosing the inestimable treasure of divine grace: a lamp, instead of a grave; sending forth the odours of incense in his prayers; which the angels of heaven will present before the throne of God. His tongue is cleared of its native poison, and instead of spreading discord, becomes an instrument of peace: all cursing, and bitterness, and malice is put away from him; he blesseth, and curseth
That blood-thirstiness of wild beasts, which is common to the men of this world (not ex cepting those whom courtesy calls gentle), is no longer found in the true Christian. His feet, instead of being swift to shed blood, are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. He is taught, that it is far more honourable in the sight of God to for n injury, than to revenge it. True g of mind is necessary to he one ery low qualities (to 4) will se for the is imp
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