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felt towards Christ, as a magnanimous Master. Does this love spend its force in the heart? No. The heart regulates the life ; as the first is, so the last will be. This love and this honour are both exhibited in the public walk and conversation of believers. They are devoted to his service, and submit to his authority. His personal excellence is their delight; his government is their joy. Has he died to redeem them from sin ? Love and gratitude, and devotedness to his cause, lead to a hatred of sin, and an avoidance of it. Has he commanded them to maintain good works? Honour, reverence, and submission to his law, lead to fruitfulness in well-doing.
The love of Christ, like an exterminating angel, annihilates the dominion of sin now, and it will hereafter annihilate its very existence in the hearts and lives of believers. Hence it follows, that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are done away, all things are become new.
To be in Christ, is to be a sincere follower of Christ. A sincere follower of Christ is a new creature. He has undergone a new creation ; · he is regenerated. This great change is spiritual in its nature, and universal in its effects, affecting the whole man. It is a renovation of the temper; a renewal of the whole soul, after the image of him who created him. This image consists in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.
He who is regenerated is a new creature in his knowledge; it is a spiritual knowledge, sanctified to his heart—in his righteousness; it is a righteousness flowing from the righteousness of faith--in his holiness; it is a holiness originating in the cleansing efficacy of Christ's blood. Thus his understanding is enlightened, his will is renewed, his affections are sanctified. He has no new faculties imparted to him, but a new direction is given to all his natural faculties. Old things are done away. What he once loved is now hated; what he once hated is now loved. Thus all things are become new.
This great moral change, originating in the love of Christ, is not merely a reformation. It is more: it is truly and emphatically a new creation! As much power as was exercised in making something out of no
thing, is exercised in making of a sinner a saint. ..
This new creation is visible to beholders. It is visible in the objects of desire, in the subjects of conversation, in the tenor of life. It produces a new life: a virtuous, a moral, a holy life. The love of Christ felt in the heart constrains to universal obedience of all God's precepts. To detail them, would be to detail the whole system of duty.
A brief sketch of them will be attempted. God commands us to love him and serve him. This is the primary, and radical precept. The next is love to each other, as to ourselves. The former includes all religion, strictly so called, or the obligation we are under to serve God. The latter includes all moral duties, as they relate to the individual, to families, to states.
As individuals, we must do to others as we would be done by ourselves. We must guard our virtue, our health, our reputation, our happiness; avoiding temptation, and striving against our sinful passions and appetites; being kind, affable, sociable, patient, temperate, chaste, honest, industrious.
In families, masters must treat their servants justly, and servants must obey their masters; parents must not provoke their children to wrath, and children must honour their parents; husbands must love their wives, and wives reverence their husbands.
In states, the magistrate must be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well; subjects must submit for conscience' sake, praying for their rulers. Law must be respected, crimes must be punished.
In the performance of these duties, self must be denied ; and a calm, deliberate courage, which eyes duty as its object, must be displayed.
Such is an extremely brief sketch, a hasty outline of all those moral duties to which the love of Christ constraineth. It is a principle which overcomes the passions, and gives stability and excellence to right reason. It operates in families to keep alive mutual love, and mutual forbearance, thus cherishing mutual happiness. It operates in states, clothing justice with mildness, preserving to the ruler his dignity, to the subject his obedience, and to nations their consequence. Where it is realized, it makes a
faithful servant, a kind master, an affectionate child, an estimable parent, a tender husband, an endearing wife, an upright magistrate, a peaceable subject, a sober, temperate, honest, industrious citizen, an obliging neighbour, a brave soldier, and the best of friends.
It was the love of Christ, that effected such a change in the ancient heathen who embraced the Gospel. Besides the testimonies of the apostles, we have the apologies of ancient fathers, who confidently appeal to this very fact. “ Among “ us,” saith one, “ men in the lower sta“ tions of life, and who by manual labour “ support themselves, and old women, though “ they cannot explain the utility of their “ profession in a discourse, make it evident “ by their conduct. They do not recite, “ but shew their good works; when smitten, “ they smite not again ; when spoiled, they “ do not prosecute the offenders; to those “ who ask they give, and love their neigh“ bours as themselves.” “We keep not * back,” saith another", " that which hath
e Athenagoræ Legatio pro Christianis, Coloniæ, 1686. f Tertulliani ad Scapulam.