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power. The vials of divine wrath will be eternally poured out upon thein. They shall be shut up in darkness, thick darkness, that may be felt, where the smoke of their torment will ascend forever and ever.
None can be exempted from the obligation of being conformed to God in holiness. The command of heaven is, “ Be ye holy as " I am holy." It is an affecting reflection, that even true chris. tians are very imperfect, and are only sanctified in part. It is true, they ought to rejoice in the grace of God, yet they ought also daily to mourn over the residue of their corruptions. Though none are perfect in this life, yet perfection ought to be the object of the most vigorous pursuit of all.
The old man, the body of sin, with all its corrupt members and deceitful lusts, stand in force, in direct opposition to every thing that is holy and righteous ; they cannot yield to God, or submit to liis goverment ; therefore, they will destroy, or they must be destroyed. All the friends of Jehovah, are under the highest possible obligations from the divine perfections, from the divine law and government, from the nature of things, from their duty and interest, from their baptismal vows, from their enjoyment of the light of the gospel, from all their immunities, priviledges and advantages, from their hopes in time and eternity, “ To put “off the old man which is corrupt, according to the deceitful “ lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of their minds, and to put « on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness ss and true boliness."
A few observations, in the way of improvement, must close this discourse.
First, A plain observation offers itself to view from the prea ceding ductrine, that the heart of man is exceedingly depraved, and altogether disposed to evil. By reason of this inherent and dreadfui sinfulness, all inen are by nature the children of wrath. And it is this awful frame of miød, terr per and disposition, to
gether with the issues of the same, which constitute the old man, with all his concomitant corruptions. Thus every imagination of man's heart is only evil, and that continually. It is not said, some imaginations and thoughts are of this sort, but this is the character of each and every one of them. No good operations of mind, no good principles, no holy tempers in men by nature ; all is evil and wrong ; there is none that doth good, no, not one: Therefore, the apostolic counsels are of unchangeable verity. This guilty frame of heart, this base disposition of soul, this ungodly practice, must be relinquished and laid aside. « The old « man must be put off ;" the old principles, the old tempers and biasses ; the old enmity to God and his law; all these must be cast off as old and filthy garments. Other principles, frames, tempers, and practises must be assumed or put on, directly the reverse of the former. His conversation must be changed, his corruptions abandoned, and his lusts in all their tortuous deceivings, must be mortified and renounced. When this change takes place, he becomes a new creature.
Secondly, We observe upon this doctrine, that all the children of Adam must be regenerated, must be born again and converted, in order to be partakers of eternal felicity. Nothing that is unclean or defileth, can pass through the gates of the holy city, or enter into the new Jerusalem. Therefore, the old man, which is the unmixed mass of moral corruption, must 'be put off, and the new man put on, which is precisely the same idea with being converted and sanctified. Hence the whole of this alteration or renovation, is described in the verse succeeding our text, by “ being renewed in the spirit of our minds.” All who are thus altered in heart, conduct and conversation, are declared, “ To « have put off the old man with his deeds, and to have put on the « new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of * him, that created him." This change is so great and remarkable in its origin and effects,
that it may certainly be known. To affirm that the precise time; particular place, and beginning of it can be ascertained by all, has long been discarded by the church, as proving many times delusion and absurdity. Some intsances of this kind may take place, as in the conversion of St. Paul, ihe jailor, and a few others. Yet this is never laid down in the scriptures as a mark or evidence by which christians are ta examine themselves, or try the reality of their experiences ; therefore, never ought to be employed as a standard for private or public purposes. Notwithstanding, this change may be known, as the tree is, by its fruits. When the old man is dethroned, and the new unan elevated to his place, new and different effects will proceed therefrom. Hence we are commanded, “ To give all diligence to make our calling and elec. “ tion sure. Know you not your ownselves," says St. Paul ta the Corinthians, “how that Christ Jesus is in you, except ye kc “ reprobates ?"
· Thirdly, We observe, that this subject ought to lead us into a serious examination of our hearts and lives. We should call our former and latter experiences with the habitual tenor of our conversation, to the test of divine truth. As by this we shall be judged, so by this we ought to try ourselves. Let us, in the presence of the heart searching God, ask ourselves, whether we have put off the old man, which concerning the former conversation is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts ? Are we putting off the body of sin and death? Are we crucifying the flesh with the lusts and affections thereof? Have you put off the old enmity to God, his law, and government ? discharged the old carnal mind, and forsaken your former conversation ? Have we relinquished our former carelessness, indifference, coldness and backwardness to that which is good ? Are we carrying on war against our deceitful lusts, corrupt affections, and perverse propensities? Are we putting on the new man, and striving after conformity to God? Is our path of righteousness, shining more and more to our consolation? Do we behold more of the glories of God, the excellencies of Christ Jesus, and the beauties of holiness ? Is the practice of prayer, the public worship, and the private dutjes of devotion more pleasing and delightful to us? Are we growing in knowledge, holy tenderness, affection, and every virtue and grace?
Those who can answer to these třings in the affirmative, what season have you for joy, and praise, and gratitude ? While you rejoice in the wonders of divine and glorious grace, mourn daily over your failings, infirmities and remaining corruptions ; press forward after greater measures of holy purity ; seek higher attainments in experimental religion ; and proceed on in every duty, and hasten along the narrow way which leads to eternal life.
Allow me to close the subject in a brief address to those who know they have not put off the old man, but are still under the power and dominion of sin, walking in your former conversation, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. How long, O ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity ? When will the blessed time come, that ye will awake from your delusive slumbers ?. O that God would sound the awakening alarm in your ears, so that your souls might be filled with the solicitous concern, to know what you shall do to be saveda
Remember; if you will not now hear, tlie day is fast approach ing when your fears will be aroused, and you will cry in torment. ing anxiety, to the rocks and to the mountains to fall on you, and crush you out of existence, or hide you from the face of the Lamb. God is calling, but ye are refusing ; he is stretching out the hand of mercy, but ye are not regarding it. O sinners, be persuaded to hear before it be too late. Seek God while he may be found. Let this text be written as with a point of a diamond upon your hearts. “ Put ye off concerning the fore ** mer conversation, the old man which is corrupt, according to 1. the deceitful lusts.. .
ACTS XV15. 30.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now com
mandeth all men every where to repent. .
REPENTANCE is a doctrine abundantly taught in the sac cred oracles. It is ever exhibited as of the utmost importance: It is an absolutely necessary pre-requisite in every sinner, in order to his obtaining pardon and acceptance with God. Notwithstanding the atoneinent of Christ Jesus, the satisfaction he made by his obedience and sufferings to the law and justice of the great Supreme, by the constitution of the gospel, none can be saved, but in the way of repentance. The gospel offers no salvation for impenitent sinners more than the law. Two parties have been often affirming either implicitly or explicitly, that true penitents inay be saved without an atonement, and impenitents by it.Both these doctrines are unknown in the system of revelation, and irreconcileable with the nature of things. The former abhors a heavenly revelation, asserting that repentance is a proper and sufficient satisfaction for sin, and it would be unworthy of God to require or institute any thing besides. This is the fundamental principle of the best of all the deistic tribe. If penitents can arrive at happiness in this way, then the salvation of the gospel is