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with a Conceit of our own Righteousness and Merit that destroys all : these are the Things on which Multitudes rely; whereas Nothing can fècure us from final Condemnation, but that which the Apostle calls a new Creature ; and which, God willing, shall be further explained to you the next Opportunity. But in the mean Time, as we must all be sensible, that we want something, and most of us, it may be feared, a great deal, of being such Creatures as we ought; why should we postpone our Reformation or Improvement one Hour longer ? So many Years have already past over our Heads; and what hath been done in them towards preparing for Eternity? If enough to be accepted, let us thank God, and go on our Way rejoicing, whatever our Condition be in other Respects : and press forward with redoubled Earnestness, to obtain a double Reward. If we have Cause to doubt our State, there can be no Doubt so important for us to clear up instantly. And if it be, a bad one; if we have lived in the Commission of Sins, the Neglect of Duties, the wilful Neglect of any one Duty ; what a Prospect have we before us, and what Need to change it? Let us think of ourselves as well as we can ; are we
content, that Death and Judgement should overtake us just such as we are? or have we not every one something to do, before we are ready? And if so, when shall it be done ? Not a Moment, beyond the present, are we sure of : and why should the one Thing needful be deferred till the next? Delays are Nothing but Cheats, that we put upon our Souls : and never, I believe, did any one's Resolution of Amendment hold good, who did not resolve to amend immediately. If then you mean it at all : now is the accepted Time, now is the Day of Salvation". And may God, who now calls upon you by me, grant, that in this our Day we may all know the Things that belong to our Peace, left they be for ever bid from our Eyes '.
S E R M 0 N
GAL. vi. 15.
For in Christ Jefus neither Circumcison availeth
any Thing, nor Uncircumcision, but a nero Greature.
you may remember I 1. To vindicate the Justice and Good
ness of God, in diftinguishing the
Jews by a peculiar Covenant :
tion of that Covenant, and its ceafing to oblige or avail any part of
Mankind : III. To Thew, what alone can avail Men :
explaining for that Purpose, the Phrase of a new Creature, by which the Apostle here describes it.
I have finished the two first of these Heads
5 and shall proceed, without any Repetition, to the third : a Point the more worthy of your careful Attention, both as the Subject itself is of the utmost Importance, and as the figurative Expressions used in Relation to it, here and elsewhere in Scripture, are not only despised and ridiculed by the profane, as unintelligible or extravagant ; but, through Inconsiderateness or Prejudice, too commonly misunderstood by the serious ; who from thence fall into Notions, which, if they are not rectified, may greatly affect, often their present Peace, and sometimes their future Happiness.
To explain the new Creation, it will be requisite to begin with the old. God created Man in his own Image a, holy and pure : and unquestionably furnished him with sufficient Powers and Motives to continue such. But by his miserable Fall he became prone to Sin, as well as mortal. His primitive Uprightness, and Strength of Mind, were by that pernicious Indulgence depraved and weakened: his Affections and Appetites grew irregular ; and his now corruptible Body pressed down
a Gen, i. 27.