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"divine goodness appearing in tem; for, unto gracious souls
they shine only by borrowed light. This accounts for the saints loving all men, and yet hating those that hate God, and contemning the wicked as vile persons. They hate and contemn them for their wickedness; there is nothing of God in that; and, therefore, nothing lovely nor honourable in it; but they love them for their commendable qualities, or perfections, whether natural or moral; because, in whomsoever these are, they are from God, and can be traced to him as their fountain. Finally, Regenerating grace sets the affections so firmly on God, that the man is disposed, at God's command, to quit his hold of every thing else, in order to keep his hold of Christ; to hate father and mother, in comparison with Christ, Luke xiy. 26. It makes even lawful enjoyments, like Joseph's mantle, to hang loose about a man; that he may quit them when he is in hazard to be ensnared by holding them.
If the stream of our affections was never thus turned, we are doubtless going down the stream into the pit. If the Just of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, have the throne in our hearts, which should be possessed by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; if we never had so much love to God as to ourselves; if sin has been somewhat bitter to us, but never so bitter as suffering, neyer so bitter as the pain of being weaned from it; truly we are strangers to this saving change. For grace turns the affections up-side down, whenever it comes into the heart.
Fourthly, The conscience is renewed. Now, that a new light is set up in the soul in regeneration, conscience is enlightened, instructed, and informed. That candle of the Lord, Prov. xx. 27. is now snuffed and brightened ; so as it shines, and sends forth its light into the most retired corners of the heart, discovering sins which the soul was not aware of before ; and in a special manner discovering the corruption or depravity of nature, that seed and spawn whence all actual sins proceed. This produces the new complaint, Rom. vii. 24.“ wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” That conscience, which lay sleeping in the man's bosom before, is now awakened, and makes its voice to be heard through the whole soul ; and, therefore, there is no more rest for him in the sluggard's bed; he must get up and be doing, arise, haste and escape for his life. It powerfully
; incites to obcdience, even in the most spiritual acts, which lay not within the view of the natural conscience; and powerfully restrains from sin, even from those sins which do not lie open to the observation of the world. It urgeth the sovereign authority of God, to which the heart is now reconciled, and which it willingly acknowledges ; and so it engageth the man to his duty, whatever be the hazard from the world ; for it fills the heart so with the fear of God, that the force of the fear of man is broken. This hath engaged many to put their life in their hand, and follow the cause of religion they once contemned, and resolutely walk in the path they formerly abhorred, Gal. i. 23. “ He which persecuted us in time past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” Guilt now makes the conscience to smart. It hath bitter remorse for sins past, which fills the soul with anxiety, sorrow, and self-lothing. And every new reflection on these sins is apt to affect, and make its wounds bleed afresh with regret. It is made tender, in point of sin and duty, for the time to come ; being once burnt, it dreads the fire, and fears to break the hedge, where it was formerly bit by the serpent. Finally, The renewed conscience drives the sinner to Jesus Christ, as the only physician that can draw out the sting of guilt ; and whose blood alone can purge the conscience from dead works, Heb. ix. 14. refusing all ease offered to it from any other hand. And this is an evidence, that the conscience is not only fired, as it may be in an unregenerate state, but reconciled also with regenerating grace.
Fifthly, As the memory wanted not its share of depravi. ty, it is also bettered by regenerating grace. The memory is weakened with respect to those things that are not worth their room therein; and men are taught to forget injuries, and drop their resentments, Matth. v. 44, 45. “ Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you..That ye may be (i. e. appear to be the chil. dren of your Father which is in heaven.” It is strengthened for spiritual things. We have Solomon's receipt for an ill memory, Prov. iii. l. My son, saith he, forget not my law. But how shall it be kept in mind ? Let thine heart keep my commandments. Grace makes a heart memory, even where there is no good head memory, Psal. cxix. 11. Thy word have I hidin mine heart. The heart,truly touched with the powerfulsweetness of truth, will help the memory to retain what is so relished. Did diyine truths make deeper impressions on our hearts, they would thereby iinpress themselves with more force onourmemories, Psal.cxix.93. 6 I will never forget thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me.” Grace sanctifies the memory. Many have large, but unsanctified memories, which serve only to gather knowledge, whereby to aggravate their condemnation ; but a renewed memory serves to remember his commandments to do them, Psal. ciii. 18. It is a sacred store house, from whence a Christian is furnished in his way to Zion; for faith and hope are often supplied out of it, in a dark hour. It is the store house of former experiences; and these are the believer's way-marks,by noticing of which he comes to know where he is, even in a dark time, Psal. xlii. 6. “O) my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan," &c. It also helps the soul to godly sorrow and self-loathing, presenting old guilt anew before the conscience; and making it bleed afresh, though the sin be already pardoned, Psal. xxv. 7. « Remember not the sins of my youth.” And where unpardoned guilt is lying on the sleeping conscience, it is often employed to bring in a word, which in a moment sets the whole soul astir : As when Peter remembered the words of Jesus, he went out and wept bitterly, Matth. xxvi. 75. The word of God, laid up in a sanctified me. mory, serves a man to resist temptations, puts the sword in his hand against his spiritual enemies, and is a light to di. rect his steps in the way of religion and righteousness,
Sixthly, There is a change made on the body, and the members thereof, in respect of their use; they are consecrated to the Lord. Even the body is for the Lord, 1 Cor. vi. 13. It is the temple of the Holy Ghost, ver. 19. The members thereof, that were formerly instruments of unrighteousness untosin, becomeinstruments of righteousness unto God, Rom. vi. 13. « Servants to righteousness unto holiness," ver. 19. The eye that conveyed sinful imaginations into the heart is underacovenant, Job xxxi. to do so no more; but to serve the soul in viewing the works, and reading the word of God. The ear that had often been death's porter, to let in sin, is turned to be the gate of life, by which the word of life enters the 'soul. The tongue that set on fire the whole course of nature is restored to
the office it was designed by the Creator ; namely, to be an instrument of glorifying him, and setting forth his praise. In a word, the whole man is for God, in soul and body, which by this blessed change are made his.
Lastly, This gracious change shines forth in the conversation. Even the outward man is renewed. A new heart makes newness of life. When the King's daughter is all glorious within, her cloathing is of wrought gold, Psal. xlv. 13. The single eye makes the whole body full of light, Matth. vi. 22. This change will appear in every part of one's conversation, particularly in these following things :
1. In the change of his company. Though sometimes he despised the company of the saints, now they are the excellent, in whom is all his delight, Psal. xvi. 3. “I am a companion of all that fear thee;" saith the royal Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 63. A renewed man joins himself with the saints ; for he and they are like minded, in that which is their main work and business ; they have all one new nature; they are travelling to Immanuel's land, and converse together in the language of Canaan. In vain do men pretend to religion, while ungodly company is their choice; for, “ A companion of fools shall be destroyed," Prov, xiii. 20. Religion will make a man shy of throwing himself into an ungodly family, or any unnecessary familiarity with wicked men; as one that is clean, will beware of going into an infected house.
2. In his relative capacity, he will be a new man. Grace makes men gracious in their several relations, and natively leads them to the conscientious performance of relative duties. It does not only make good men, and good women; but makes good subjects, good husbands, good wives, children, servants, and in a word, good relatives in the church, commonwealth, and family. It is a just ex. ception made against the religion of many, namely, that they are bad relatives, they are ill husbands, wives, masters, servants, &c. How will we prove ourselves to be new creatures, if we be still just such as we were before, in our several relations, 2 Cor. v. 17. “ Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away ;. behold all things are become new.” Real godliness will gain a testimony to a man, from the con. sciences of his nearest relations, though they know more of his sinful infirmities than others do, as we see in that case, 2 Kings iv. 2. “Thy servant, my husband, is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord.”
3. In the way of his following his worldly business, there is a great change. It appears to be no more his all, as sometimes it was. Though saints apply themselves to worldly business, as well as others; yet their hearts arc not swallowed up in it. It is evident they are carrying on a trade with heaven, as well as a trade with earth, Philip. iii. 20. “ For our conversation is in heaven.” And they go about their employment in the world as a duty laid upon them by the Lord of all; doing their lawful business, as the will of God, Eph. vi. 7. working, because he hath said, “ Thou shalt not steal."
4. They have a special concern for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ in the world ; they espouse the interests of religion, and prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy, Psal. cxxxvii. 6. How privately soever they live, grace makes them a public spirit, which will concern itself in the ark and work of God; in the gospel of God; and in the people of God; even those of thein whom they ne'ver saw in the face. As children of God, they naturally care for these things. They have a new and unwonted concern for the spiritual good of others. And no sooner do they taste of the power of grace themselves, but they are inclined to set up to be agents for Christ and holiness in this world; as appears in the case of the woman of Sie maria, who, when Christ had manifested himself to her, went her way into the city, and saith unto tlie men, “ Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did : Is not this the Christ?” John iv. 28, 29. They have seen and felt the evil of sin, and therefore pity the world lying in wickedness. They would fain pluck the brands out of the fire, remembering that they tliemselves were plucked out of it. They will labour to commend religion to others, both by word and example ; and rather deny themselves their liberty in things indifferent, than by the uncharitable use of it, destroy others, 1 Cor. viii. 13. " Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."