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In the purification of a leprous house, water was used with the blood2
This of Christ
further typified the renewing influences of the Spirit
And David seems to allude to it, when he adds “Wash me," &c.
Nor is this by any means a forced or fanciful distinctionAn inspired writer lays peculiar stress upon ita—
And every enlightened person sees as much need of Christ's Spirit to wash him from the defilement of sin, as of his blood to purge him from its guilt-]
The efficacy ascribed to these means is not at all exaggerated
[There is no sin whatever which the blood of Christ cannot cleanse
We cannot conceive more enormous transgressions than those of David
Yet even he could say with confidence, "Purge me, &c. and I shall be clean".
Purified in this way, his soul would become "whiter than snow"
This blessed truth is attested by the beloved apostleb
And it is urged by God himself as an inducement to repentance
Our renewal indeed by the Holy Spirit is not perfect in this life
But it shall be continually progressive towards perfection— And, when the leprous tabernacle shall be taken down, it shall be reared anew in consummate purity and beauty-] INFER
1. How mistaken are they, who seek salvation by any righteousness of their own!
[We can no more eradicate sin from our souls, than a leprosy from our bodies
No man ever more deeply bewailed his sin, or more thoroughly turned from it, than David
Yet he did not say 66 Purge we with my tears, my repentances, or my duties, but purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean"
He would make mention of no righteousness but that of Christs
Nor would St. Paul himself trust for a moment in any otherh
z Lev. xiv. 43-53. c Isai. i. 18.
f Ps. vi. 6. and xxxviii. 4-6. Ps. lxxi. 15, 16.
.a 1 John v. 6.
b 1 John i. 7.
d 2 Cor. iv. 16. e 2 Cor. v. 1. Phil. iii. 26,
Phil. iii. 9.
Shall we then boast as if we were more penitent than David, more zealous than Paul?—
Let us rather humble ourselves in the language of Jobi And determine to glory in nothing but the cross of Christ-] 2. What encouragement is here afforded to mourning penitents!
[If David did not despair of mercy, who else can have cause to do so?—
If the blood of Christ could so purge him, why may it not us also?—
If it had such efficacy a thousand years before it was shed, surely it will not be less efficacious now it has been poured forth
But it is not the mere shedding of Christ's blood that will profit us
We must, by faith, apply it to our own souls—
Let us then go to the blood of sprinkling which speaketh such good things to us1—
Let us cry with earnest and repeated intreaties, "Purge me, wash me".
Thus shall our polluted souls be whiter than snow itself— And ere long we shall join in that general chorus”—]
i Job ix. 15. and xl. 4.
* Gal. vi. 14.
CXL. THE CHRISTIAN A NEW CREATURE.
2 Cor. v. 17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.
A FAITHFUL discharge of our duty to God has in every age rather provoked the displeasure, than conciliated the favour, of a wicked world. The most eminent characters, instead of escaping censure by means of their distinguished piety, have on the contrary incurred the greatest portion of obloquy and reproach. It was thus that St. Paul's love and zeal were requited by many at Corinth; he was deemed "beside himself." But indiffrenet both to their censure and applause, he declared to them the motives by which he was actuated; he told them plainly that he was under the constraining influence of the love of Christ, and that, however strange his views and actions might appear, they, if they were Christians indeed, would certainly adopt and imitate them; their
present views and habits would pass away, and all become new. In the words of the text we have the character of a Christian
I. Figuratively expressed
A man is said to be "in Christ," when he is ingrafted into him as a branch of the living vine, or, in other words, when he truly believes in Christ: he is then a Christian. But in order to shew what a change every man experiences when he becomes a Christian, the apostle says of him that he is "a new creation." In this term there is a reference to the creation of the world, which may be considered as type or pattern of that work, which God performs in the hearts of his people. The correspondence between them may be seen in the manner, the order, and the end of their formation
1. In the manner
[The world was created by God, according to his own sovereign will, without the intervention of human aid: and, though brought into existence in a moment, was gradually perfected in its various parts. Thus the souls of God's people are regenerated purely by the sovereign will of God, and entirely through the agency of his word and Spirit; though they use the appointed means, it is God alone that renders those means effectual; "He who made the light to shine out of darkness shines into their hearts to give them the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus."e There is an instant of time, however unknown to us, when the new man as well as the old receives the vital principle; a moment, wherein we are "quickened from the dead," and " pass from death unto life:" but the work of grace is carried on in a constant progression, and the inward man is renewed day by day."f]
2. In the order
[Light was the first thing that was produced in the material world; and, after that, the confused chaos was reduced to such a state as that there should be an harmony in all the parts, and a subserviency in each to the good of the whole. Thus light is first darted into the mind of the regenerate man; a view of his guilt and misery is given to him, and then his
e Jam. i. 18. John i. 13. Tit. iii. 5.
a 1 Cor. iii. 5, 6. and Eph. ii. 10. Col. iii. 10.
b Gen. i. 3-31.
e 2 Cor. iv. 6.
f Ib. 16.
disorderly passions, which blinded his judgment and sensualized his soul, are rendered subject to reason and religion.h]
3. In the end
[The world was formed by God for his own glory: as all things were by him, so also were they for him. It is for this end also that he renews the souls of men after his own image. He rejoices indeed in the good of his creatures, and in a subordinate measure may propose that as the end of his dispensations: but we are assured his principal intent is, to shew forth the exceeding riches of his own grace, and to exalt himself in the eyes of his redeemed people.]
We are at no loss to understand the preceding figure, since we have, in the text, its import
II. Plainly declared
Justly is a work of grace represented as a new creation; for, as in the reduction of the confused chaos to order and beauty, so also in the restoration of the soul after God's image, "old things pass away and all things become new." The Christian experiences this change
1. In his views of every important subject
[He once judged sin to be a light and venial evil: if it were of a very gross nature indeed, or committed against himself in particular, he might feel some indignation against it: but if it were not reprobated by the world, or injurious to himself, he would behold it without sorrow and practise it without remorse. But very different are his views of it when once his eyes are opened to behold it in its true colours: it then appears to him as base, loathsome, abominable: he hates it from his inmost soul: he desires deliverance from it as much as from hell itself: he would not harbour it in his heart for one moment, but would extirpate it utterly, as well from his thoughts as from his actions. Nor are his sentiments less altered respecting Christ: he once felt no love towards him, notwithstanding he complimented him with the name of Saviour. But now the name of Jesus is precious to him: he is filled with admiring thoughts of his incomprehensible love: he adores him with devoutest affection; and "cleaves to him with full purpose of heart." He once saw no beauty nor comeliness in him;" but now views him as 66 fairer than ten thousand, and altogether lovely." The same change takes place with respect to the world, and holiness, and every thing that has any relation to eternity: so that he really becomes altogether a new creature.]
Eph. i. 17, 18. Col. i. 9, 10.
i Ib. ver. 16. Rev. iv. 11.
2. In the great ends and aim of his life
[The unregenerate man, to whatever class he may belong, whether he be sensual and profane, or moral and devout, invariably makes self the principle and end of all his actions: his life is one continued scene of self-seeking, self-pleasing, self-complacency. He makes his very duties to God subservient to his main end of gratifying his desire after self-approbation and the applause of man. But these old desires are mortified when once he becomes a real Christian: they wil indeed often rise in his mind, because he is" renewed only in part;" but he has a far higher end, which he infinitely prefers, and to which he gives a deliberate, determined ascendency. He has a concern for the honour of his God; and he strives that God in all things may be glorified through Christ Jesus. Whether his actions be of a civil or religious nature, he still proposes to himself the same end, to glorify God with his body and his spirit which are God's. To this the apostle seems to have peculiar respect in the preceding context;m nor is there any thing that more strongly characterizes the child of God.]
1. Let every one put this question to himself, Am I a real Christian?
[The apostle leaves no room for exceptions in favour of any man whatsoever; "if any man be a Christian, he is, and must be, a new creature.' Nor does this import a mere change from profligacy to morality, or from a neglect of outward duties to the performance of them: the change must be entire; it must prevade every faculty of the soul; it must influence all our words and actions, our thoughts and desires, our motives and principles. Has then this great change been accomplished in us? On this point eternity depends. O that we might not give sleep to our eyes or slumber to our eyelids, till we can return a favourable answer upon sure and scriptural grounds!]
2. Let those who have experienced a work of grace, seck to have it carried on and perfected in their souls
[It must ever be remembered, that the renovation of the soul is a gradual and progressive work: we are to be continually putting off the old man, and putting on the new." Let us then not rest in low attainments; but rather, "forgetting the things that are behind, let us press forward unto that
11 Pet. iv. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 20. 1 Cor. x. 31.
m See ver. 15. with which, rather than with ver. 16. the text is connected. Eph. iv. 22-24.