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Showing That In Order To Understand The True Nature Of Repentance, We Must Necessarily Know The Distinction Between The Old And The New Man; Or, How In Us Adam Must Die, And Christ Live; Or, How In Us The Old Man Must Die, And The New Man Live.
We know this, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.—Rom. 6:6.
In every Christian there is found a twofold man, opposed, like their fruits, to one another. This will more fully appear from the following statement:
|Old man,||New man.|
|Outward man,||Inward man.|
|Old birth,||New birth.|
|Tree of death,||Tree of life.|
|Evil fruit,||Good fruit.|
|Old Jerusalem,||New Jerusalem.|
|Kingdom of the devil,||Kingdom of God.|
|Seed of the serpent,||Seed of God.|
|Natural man,||Spiritual man.|
|Image of the earthly,||Image of the heavenly.|
The truth of this statement, the Scriptures, as well as experience, abundantly confirm. The former speak largely of the old man and the new, of the inward and outward man. See Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:9; 2 Cor. 4:16. They teach also that the Spirit of God is in us: Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13. And likewise Christ, Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 13:5. Experience, moreover, demonstrates the same. Hither may also be referred that striving and struggling of the flesh and Spirit, from which even the saints are not free. Rom. 7:23. Likewise there belong here the different fruits of the flesh and Spirit reckoned up by St. Paul. Gal. 5:19-23. This point is therefore clearly stated in Scripture, and too certain to be called in question by any Christian. It is the hinge, as it were, on which all the Scripture moves, and the foundation on which the true knowledge of man depends. Out of the same fountain issue true repentance, or the death of Adam, and the life of Christ in us. For no sooner does Adam die in us, but there perishes with him all that is originally derived from him; the old outward man, the old birth, the flesh, nature, corrupt reason, darkness, the tree of death, evil fruits, sin, death, damnation, the seed of the serpent, the natural man, the earthly image, the old Jerusalem, and the kingdom of Satan. But as long as Adam lives, there also live and reign with him the old man, and the carnal birth, the flesh, nature, corrupt reason, darkness, and the whole train of evils before mentioned, being all comprised under the kingdom of Satan, and subject to damnation, and to the curse everlasting. But if, on the other hand, Christ live in any one, then verily there live and reign with him the new and inward man, the new birth, the Spirit, grace, faith, light, the tree of life, good fruits, righteousness, life, happiness, the seed of God, the spiritual man, the heavenly image, the new Jerusalem, and the kingdom of God. All which proceed from the divine blessing, and tend to eternal salvation. Here is a matter of importance, namely, so to order one's life and conduct, that Christ the new or second Adam, and not the old Adam, may live and reign in us.
2. Therefore it is necessary for a man to watch, to fast, to pray, fight, and strive; and, as St. Paul expresses it, to examine himself if Christ be in him. 2 Cor. 13:5. He is to work out his salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2:12. He is to enter through the strait gate and the narrow way in Christ. Matt. 7:13. That is, man must now hate and deny himself, forsake all (Luke 14:26), and die unto sin. Rom. 6:2. This surely is not to be effected, as the delicate Christians of this age imagine, by any careless and slight application of mind, but by an inward and profound sorrow, contrition, and brokenness of heart, together with groans and tears that cannot be uttered. These inward exercises, and acts of devotion, are most feelingly set forth by David in his Penitential Psalms, which abound with expressions of this nature. Ps. 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143. The apostle calls it a crucifying of the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof. Gal. 5:24. Whoever attains to this state, in him verily Christ lives, and he reciprocally in Christ by faith. Then Christ conquers and reigns in man, whose faith is become “the victory that overcometh the world.” 1 John 5:4.186
3. But since the world, which thou art to strive against, is not without thee, but within thee, it follows, that it is also to be conquered not without, but within thee. For what is the world, but “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life?” 1 John 2:16. As these are in thee, so in thee they are to be subdued, that thus thou mayest worthily bear the name and character of a true child of God. “For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4); and if thou overcomest, and gainest the victory over thy great enemy the world, thou art then a child of light (Eph. 5:8), a member of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30), and the temple of the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor. 6:19. Thou art now a good tree (Matt. 12:33), that freely and without constraint, yea, with joy, love, and pleasure, bringeth forth fruit to the glory of God. Matt. 5:16.
4. But if thou livest in Adam, and Adam reigns in thee, then thou art not a child of God, nor born again of him. For since thou art overcome by the world, and since the prince thereof rules in thee by pride, ambition, and self-love, thou art on this very account to be numbered amongst the children of the devil. John 8:44. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. And, on the contrary, as many as are led by Satan, they likewise are his children; yea, they are the very members of Satan, sons of darkness, a habitation of unclean spirits, an accursed Babylon, full of impure and of abominable beasts; as it is represented by the ancient prophets (Isa. 13:21; Rev. 18:2); but particularly by the prophet Ezekiel. He being brought in spirit into the temple at Jerusalem, beheld two remarkable things: one whereof was, “every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about;” and secondly (which was still more detestable), “seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, worshipping these beasts and images, and offering them incense.” Ezek. 8:10, 11.
5. Behold, O man, a lively representation here given of thy depraved, brutish, and beastly heart! If thou wilt but enter into this temple of thy heart, thou shalt surely find therein vast numbers of foul, detestable creatures, images, and idols, fashioned and represented by all manner of corrupt and impure thoughts in the carnal mind, imagination, and memory. Moreover (and this is the greatest evil of all), though these idols and horrid abominations should be utterly banished from the heart, and this detestable evil, by which man is made the habitation of unclean and pestilential reptiles, should, by all means, be destroyed by repentance, by mortification of the flesh, and by penitential tears and humiliation; yet, instead of doing that, thou lovest these serpents, adorest these vile monsters, and servest and caressest them. Alas! thou but little regardest that Christ is cast out of thy soul by these abominations, and is utterly banished from thy heart; and that by this means thou deprivest thyself of the supreme and eternal Good, losing the Holy Spirit with all his excellent gifts and graces. O miserable man! thou exceedingly grievest when any outward trouble befalls thee, or when thou losest anything in the world that is dear to thee; why then is it, that thou art not at all concerned at the loss even of Christ himself, and at the deplorable state of thy soul and body, which are 187 both become a habitation of malignant spirits!
6. If these things be seriously pondered and laid to heart, we shall soon understand what Adam and Christ are; and how they live and act in men. To this head we may also refer the following observations. First, In Adam we are all naturally equal, nor is one better than another; since we are all, both as to body and soul, equally polluted and corrupted, so that it is affirmed by St. Paul, not only of Jews and Gentiles, but even of all men in general, that “there is no difference.” Rom. 3:22. Hence it is also true, that in the sight of God, no man is better than the most profligate criminal. For though that perverse temper which is natural to all, does not equally in all break out into works, yet God judges all men by the inward state of the heart, that poisoned fountain of all sin. Nor is there any sin so heinous, which man by nature would not freely commit, were he not strongly restrained by divine grace. For by the bent of our nature we are but too much inclined to pollute ourselves with all manner of wickedness (Jer. 13:23); and if the inclination be not always attended with the external effect itself, it is wholly to be attributed to the grace of God, and not to any strength or prudence of our own. Gen. 20:6. This consideration should excite us to the practice of true humility, and to an unfeigned fear of God; and at the same time restrain us from rashly despising our fellow-creatures, lest, by reflecting on others, we ourselves split upon the dangerous rock of carnal presumption. Secondly, it is proper to observe, that as in Adam we are all equally bad with regard to the corruption of nature; so by Christ we are all made equally just and holy; no man receiving for himself any prerogative of a peculiar righteousness in the sight of God. For since Christ is our perfection, our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11), we, who in Adam are alike, are also alike in Christ. For as in Adam by nature we are all one man and one body, infected with the foul contagion of disobedience and sin, so all true Christians are as one man in Christ, and make up one body, completely purified and sanctified by faith, and the blood of Christ.
7. This truth is a remedy against spiritual pride, namely, that none should account himself better before God than others, though perhaps adorned with greater gifts, and endowments. For even these are no less bestowed on him of pure grace, than are righteousness and salvation themselves. Upon this principle of pure grace, be careful to keep thy mind constantly fixed. If thou dost so, then this grace shall protect thee against the dangerous snares of pride and arrogance; and as, on the one hand, it will convince thee of thy own misery and poverty in spirit, so, on the other, it will give thee a most lively insight into Christ, and into the exceeding riches of grace, offered through him to all mankind.
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