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over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” Rom. vi. 14: and, Grace shall reign, Rom. v. 21. Then he sets them forth, the old man by the works of the flesh, and the new by the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 19-23. All these particulars together prove that the remaining sin and corruption, which are in all renewed souls, are, because communicated unto us from our first parent Adam, called the old man; and called a man, because they influence at times the whole man, and are found to work in every faculty of the soul, and in every member of the body. And the grace of God, planted in the hearts of all at conversion, is called a new man, because it is a principle planted in the heart, where corruption and sin had long before reigned; and therefore, being in our experience younger than corruption, it is called a new man; though, strictly speaking, grace is older than cosruption, because it was given us in Christ from everlasting: but then corruption is experienced in us before grace, which is cailed the new man; and called a man, because at times it works in or influences every faculty of the soul, and every member of the body.—Thus, turning the natural corruption of our nature, which is left in us to try, prove, humble, and to do us good in our latter end, into a man; and the grace of God, which is planted by the Spirit in the hearts of all believers, and which destroys the reign, though not the in-being of sin, and which is to reigu through righteousness unto eternal life, into a man also; John's meaning is made clear, that the person he speaks of is this new man, as Paul calls him, and is an incorruptible, a holy man, who cannot sin, or do any thing but what is good, being born of God: while, on the other hand, the old man, or the corruptions of our nature, is nothing but sin, a child of the devil, and can do nothing but sin. The devil works in the old man, communicating all his life and power from himself; while God works in the new man, who receives all his life and power from him. Sin and grace are two distinct and separate principles, that cannot unite. One being corrupt, and the other a holy and incorruptible seed, they can have no fellowship with each other, as Paul declares, and so we feel; “ For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would,” Gal. v. 17.— These two distinct principles, whereby the church is called a company of two armies, Song vi. 13, make up the saint's day of prosperity and adversity. Therefore, whether we read of the law in the members and a law in the niind, of that which is born of the flesh and that which is born of the Spirit-of the old man and the new—they all mean one and the same thing, and terminate in these two, sin and grace; and, when John treats of a person who never commits sin, nor is able to sin, he means the grace of God in the heart, and nothing else.
that I have dropped, as we must ever he tossed to and fro upon changes in our frames and feelings, if we are not brought to distinguish the different workings of grace and corruption. Until brought to draw a line here we shall surely go halting, murmuring, fretting and doubting; for there is not a grace of the Spirit planted in us, but there is also a corruption to oppose it, which causes the Christian's continual warfare: but the elder, God declares, shall serve the younger; or, in plainer words, grace shall reign and rule, sin shail not have dominion ; which is a comfort to us in fighting the good fight of faith, for eternal life is the end of it.—But, after this long digression, I return to your letters.
I have perused them many times, meditated much upon them, and compared them with the word of God, the standard of all truth, and the only right rule of judgment; for “ Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" Answer, “By taking heed thereto according to thy word," Psalm cxix. 9. I believe in my soul that, according to scripture, your call and conversion are of God, and constitute a real work of grace, as far as I am enlightened to sce the genuine work of the Spirit of God upon your heart, and that God is the author of, and will ever own and honour it. And I am sure it differs widely from what passes current in our day, for you can sing both of mercy and judgment--of the severity and also of the goodness of God, having been blessed with a saving, experimental knowledge of him. You have back
a knowledge of him in his law as a just God, and in his dear Son as a Saviour; and this is saving knowledge, and eternal life is included in it; " This is life eternal (says Christ) that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” John xvii. 3.
The sum of all God's work upon the souls of sinners is comprised in two branches, wounding and healing; as he says, “I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal,” Deut. xxxii. 39. And Moses makes a further beautiful declaration of the work of God upon the souls of his elect when he thus speaks; “ Thou turnest man to destruction, and sayest, Return, ye children of men," Psalm xc. 3. According to what I understand to be the meaning of this passage, I purpose, by the good hand of God upon me, to answer your letters, or try your experience.
Ist. I will go with you down to destruc
tion; “ Thou turnest man to destruc
tion.” 2dly. From thence we will travel to your
deliverance; “ And sayest, Return, ye
children of men." First, then, of your being turned to destruction.
Divine life is the principal blessing, yea, all others naturally terminate in this --God sent his dear Son into this world that we might have life; and when he puts his Spirit within us, it is that we may lise. If we are blessed with faith, “ Ile
that believeth hath everlasting life.”. If with hope, life is included in it; hence it is called a lively hope. If the Lord is pleased to circumcise our hearts to love him, it is that we may live. If he is pleased to deliver us from all condemnation, by the imputation and application of his dear Son's righteousness, it is justification unto life; so that life is certainly the principal and grand blessing; and so it is written, “ As the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the (not simply a blessing, but the) blessing, even life for evermore,” Psalm cxxxiii. 3. And this commandment, of the blessing of eternal life, was from everlasting given to Christ, as he says, “I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which hath sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak, and I know that his commandment is life everlasting,” John xii. 49, 50. This commandment is given to Christ as a blessing, and the substance of all others, for Mount Zion, or God's chosen people, and no other; for to them only is the word of eternal life spoken, as Christ says, “ My sheep shall hear my voice.”_"The time cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” And then he confines this blessing to his people, whom he calls sheep; “ I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish,” John v. 25, 28, and x. 27, 28. And thus we see that life is first God the Father's gift to us in Christ; “God hath given to us