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THE NEW YEAR.
2 COR. v. 17.
“ Old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become :
THESE words, taken in connexion with the words that precede them, have reference to the great change which passes over a man when he becomes a true Christian --such a change as that which passed over St. Paul and over all the early converts, at the first preaching of the Gospel and out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. This was so great, so entire, so affecting the whole life in all its operations—the thoughts, words, and works of a man—that it was called a new creation. The persons who experienced it were said to be born again, to be renewed, to be new creatures, to have “passed from death unto life.”
“ If any man be in Christ,” ¿. e. in union with Christ, “he is a new creature.” The old thingsthe old habits, the old views, the old motives, all that described the man as he was before he was converted, is changed. It has passed away – he has put it off--and “ behold, all things are become new.” Everything about the man partakes of his new calling in Christ; he has new views, new tempers, new affections, and new hopes — in a word, he is a new man— created in Jesus Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Such appears to be the meaning of the text as it stands in the fifth chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthians. And I need hardly say, that as it so stands it is full of matter for our learning. It suggests the inquiry, whether we ourselves have been converted ? whether we, who for these many years have enjoyed the benefits of Christianity, have been made, “ members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of heaven?” have realised our position; have walked worthy of our calling; have, in the strength of His Spirit, done as was promised — died unto sin, and risen unto righteousness; have “put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and have put on the new
man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness ?”
I repeat, the statement in my text forces, as it were, such an inquiry upon us, and it is one that I would earnestly urge each of you, brethren, to follow up more at length for himself. “Examine and see,”
prove your ownselves.” Do not rest contented with the name alone of Christian; seek also the reality. Search out in your heart and life for those sure tokens and proofs of Christ in you which alone are to be taken as evidence that you are regenerated,-“ Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Search and see if gradually, as you get older, you are getting more completely free from your old sins --more able to resist temptation - more resolute in choosing the good way. Remember that the Christian course must be a course of progress, an advance, a going forward, a gaining ground. Remember his path -(the path of the just) — must be “ as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
And this leads me to another application of the text; and that a somewhat different application to what it bears in the Epistle—“ Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
May not this be said in quite a literal sense of this present time? Is it not, as it were, the very