"There is Therefore Now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who Walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit. "
Rom. viii.1. -- "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

There are three things which concur to make man miserable, -- sin, condemnation, and affliction. Every one may observe that "man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward," that his days here are few and evil. He possesses "months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed" for him. Job v.6, 7, vii.3. He "is of few days and full of trouble," Job xiv.1. Heathens have had many meditations of the misery of man's life, and in this have outstripped the most part of Christians. We recount amongst our miseries, only some afflictions and troubles, as poverty, sickness, reproach, banishment, and such like. They again have numbered even these natural necessities of men amongst his miseries, -- to be continually turned about, in such a circle of eating, drinking, and sleeping. What burden should it be to an immortal spirit to roll about perpetually that wheel! We make more of the body than of the soul. They have accounted this body a burden to the soul. They placed posterity, honour, pleasure, and such things, which men pour out their souls upon, amongst the greatest miseries of men, as vanity in themselves, and vexation, both in the enjoying and losing of them, but, alas! they knew not the fountain of all this misery, -- sin and the accomplishment of this misery, -- condemnation. They thought trouble came out of the ground and dust, either by a natural necessity, or by chance, but the word of God discovereth unto us the ground of it, and the end of it. The ground and beginning of it was man's defection from God, and walking according to the flesh, and from this head have all the calamities and streams of miseries in the world issued. It hath not only redounded to men, but even to the whole creation, and subjected it to vanity, ver.20 of this chapter. Not only shall thou, O man, (saith the Lord to Adam,) eat thy meat in sorrow, but thy curse is upon the ground also, and thou who wast immortal, shalt return to that dust which thou magnifiedst above thy soul, Gen. iii.17. But the end of it is suitable to the beginning. The beginning had all the evil of sin in it, and the end hath all the evil of punishment in it. These streams of this life's misery, they run into an infinite, boundless, and bottomless ocean of eternal wrath. If thou live according to the flesh, thou shalt die, it is not only death here, but eternal death after this. The miseries then of this present life are not a proportionable punishment of sin, they are but an earnest given of that great sum which is to be paid in the day of accounts, and that is condemnation, "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power." Now, as the law discovers the perfect misery of mankind, so the gospel hath brought to light a perfect remedy of all this misery. Jesus Christ was manifested to take away sin, and therefore his name is Jesus, "for he shall save his people from their sins." This is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Judgment was by one unto condemnation of all, but now there is "no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," so these two evils are removed, which indeed have all evil in them. He takes away the curse of the law, being made under it, and then he takes away the sin against the law by his Holy Spirit. He hath a twofold virtue, for he came by blood and water, (1 John v.6, 7,) -- by blood, to cleanse away the guilt of sin, and by water, to purify us from sin itself. But in the meantime, there are many afflictions and miseries upon us, common to men: why are not these removed by Christ? I say, the evil of them is taken away, though themselves remain. Death is not taken away, but the sting of death is removed. Death, afflictions, and all, are overcome by Jesus Christ, and so made his servants to do us good. The evil of them is God's wrath and sin, and these are removed by Jesus Christ. Now they would be taken away indeed, if it were not good they remained, for "all things work together for good to them that love God." ver.28. So then we have a most complete deliverance in extent, but not in degree. Sin remains in us but not in dominion and power. Wrath sometimes kindles because of sin, but it cannot increase to everlasting burnings. Afflictions and miseries may change their name, and be called instructions and trials, -- good and not evil; but Christ hath reserved the full and perfect delivery till another day, which is therefore called "the day of complete" redemption, and then all sin, all wrath, all misery, shall have an end, and "be swallowed up of life and immortality," ver.23.

This is the sum of the gospel, and this is the substance of this chapter. There is a threefold consolation answerable to our threefold evils there is "no condemnation to them which are in Christ." Here is a blessed message to condemned lost sinners who have that sentence within their breasts, ver.1. This was the end of Christ's coming and dying, that he might deliver us from sin as well as death, and the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, and therefore he hath given the Holy Spirit, and dwells in us by the Spirit, to quicken us who are "dead in trespasses and sins." O what consolation will this be to souls, that look upon the body of death within them, as the greatest misery, and do groan with Paul, O wretched man that I am! &c., Rom. vii.24. This is held forth to ver.17. But because there are many grounds of heaviness and sadness in this world, therefore the gospel opposes unto all these, both our expectation which we have of that blessed hope to come, whereof we are so sure, that nothing can frustrate us of it, and also the help we get in the meantime of the Spirit to hear our infirmities, and to bring all things about for good to us, ver.28. And from all this the believer in Jesus Christ hath ground of triumph and boasting before the perfect victory, -- even as Paul doth in the name of believers, from ver.31 to the end. Upon these considerations, he that cried out not long ago, "O miserable man, who shall deliver me?" doth now cry out, "who shall condemn me?" The distressed wrestler becomes a victorious triumpher; the beaten soldier becomes more than a conqueror. O that your hearts could be persuaded to hearken to this joyful sound -- to embrace Jesus Christ for grace and salvation! How quickly would a song of triumph in him swallow up all your present complaints and lamentations!

All the complaints amongst men may be reduced to one of these three. I hear the most part bemoaning themselves thus: Alas, for the miseries of this life, this evil world! Alas for poverty, for contempt, for sickness! Oh! miserable man that I am, who will take this disease away? Who will show me any good thing, (Psal. iv.6,) any temporal good? But if ye knew and considered your latter end, ye would cry out more, ye would refuse to be comforted, though these miseries were removed. But I hear some bemoaning themselves more sadly -- they have heard the law, and the sentence of condemnation is within them. The law hath entered and killed them. Oh! "what shall I do to be saved?" Who will deliver me from the wrath to come? What are all present afflictions and miseries in respect of eternity? Yet there is one moan and lamentation beyond all these, when the soul finds the sentence of absolution in Jesus Christ, and gets its eyes opened to see that body of death and sin within, that perfect man of sin diffused throughout all the members. Then it bemoans itself with Paul -- "O wretched man -- who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Rom. vii.24. I am delivered from the condemnation of the law, but what comfort is it, as long as sin is so powerful in me? Nay, this makes me often suspect my delivery from wrath and the curse, seeing sin itself is not taken away.

Now, if you could be persuaded to hearken to Jesus Christ, and embrace this gospel, O what abundant consolation should ye have! What a perfect answer to all your complaints! They would be swallowed up in such a triumph as Paul's are here. This would discover unto you a perfect remedy of sin and misery, that ye should complain no more, or at least, no more as those without hope. You shall never have a remedy of your temporal miseries unless ye begin at eternal, to prevent them. "Seek first the kingdom of God," and all other things "shall be added unto you." Seek first to flee from the wrath to come, and ye shall escape it, and besides the evil of time, afflictions shall be removed. First remove the greatest complaints of sin and condemnation, and how easy is it to answer all the lamentations of this life, and make you rejoice in the midst of them!

You have in this verse three things of great importance to consider, -- the great and precious privilege, the true nature, and the special property of a Christian. The privilege is one of the greatest in the world, because it is of eternal consequence, and soul concernment, the nature is most divine, -- he is one that is in Jesus Christ, and implanted in him by faith, his distinguishing property is noble, suitable to his nature and privileges, -- he walks not as the world, according to his base flesh, but according to the Spirit. All these three are of one latitude, -- none of them reaches further than another. That rich privilege and sweet property concentres and meets together in one man, even in the man who is in Jesus Christ. Whoever enters into Jesus Christ, and abideth in him, he meets with these two, justification and sanctification, these are nowhere else, and they are there together.

If ye knew the nature and properties of a Christian, ye would fall in love with these for themselves, but if these for your own sakes will not allure you, consider this incomparable privilege that he hath beyond all others, that ye may fall in love with the nature of a Christian. Let this love of yourselves and your own well-being pursue you into Jesus Christ, that ye may walk even as he walked, and I assure you, if ye were once in Christ Jesus, ye would love the very nature and walking of a Christian, no more for the absolution and salvation that accompanies it, but for its own sweetness and excellency beyond all other. Ye would, as the people of Samaria, no more believe for the report of your own necessity and misery, but ye would believe in Jesus Christ, and walk according to the Spirit, for their own testimony they have in your consciences. You would no more be allured only with the privileges of it to embrace Christianity, but you would think Christianity the greatest privilege, a reward unto itself. Pietas ipsa sibi merces est, -- godliness is great gain in itself, though it had not such sweet consequents or companions. That you may know this privilege, consider the estate all men are into by nature. Paul expresses it in short, Rom. v. "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all unto condemnation and the reason of this is, by one man sin came upon all, and so death by sin, for death passed upon all, because all have sinned," ver.18, 12. Lo, then, all men are under a sentence of condemnation once! This sentence is the curse of the law -- "Cursed is every one that abideth not in all things commanded to do them." If you knew what this curse were, ye would indeed think it a privilege to be delivered from it. Sin is of an infinite deserving, because against an infinite God, it is an offence of an infinite majesty, and therefore the curse upon the sinner involves eternal punishment. O what weight is in that word, (2 Thess. i.9,) Ye "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power." If it were duly apprehended, it would weigh down a man's soul, and make it heavy unto death. This condemnation includes both damnum et poenam, poenam damni et poenam sensus, and both are infinite in themselves, and eternal in their continuance. What an unpleasant and bitter life would one lead, that were born to a kingdom, and yet to be banished it and lose it? But what an incomparable loss is it to fall from an heavenly kingdom, which heart cannot conceive, and that for ever? In God's favour is life, and in his presence are rivers of pleasures for evermore. When your petty penny losses do so much afflict your spirits, what would the due apprehension of so great a loss do? Would it not be death unto you, and worse than death, to be separated from this life, to be eternally banished from the presence of his glory? If there should be no more punishment but this only; if the wicked were to endure for ever on earth, and the godly, whom they despised and mocked, were translated to heaven, what torment would it be to your souls to think upon that blessedness which they enjoy above, and how foolishly ye have been put by it for a thing of no value? What would a rich man's advantages and gains be to him, when he considereth what an infinite loser he is? How he hath sold a kingdom for a dunghill? Now if there were any hope, that after some years his banishment from heaven might end, this might refresh him, but there is not one drop of such consolation. He is banished, and eternally banished, from that glorious life in the presence of God, which those do enjoy whom he despised. If a man were shut up all his life-time in a pit, never to see the light once more, would not this be torment enough to him? But when withal there is such pain joined with this loss; when all this time he is tormented within with a gnawing worm, and without with fire; those senses that did so greedily hunt after satisfaction to themselves, are now as sensible in the feeling of pain and torment. And when this shall not make an end, but be eternal, O whose heart can consider it! It is the comfort and ease of bodily torments here, that they will end in death. Destruction destroys itself, in destroying the body; but here is an immortal soul to feed upon, and at length the body shall be immortal. That destruction cannot quite destroy it, but shall be an everlasting destruction and living death.

This is the sentence that is once passed against us all in the word of God, and not one jot of this word shall fall to the ground: heaven and earth may fail sooner. Ye would think it were an irrepealable decree, if all the nations in the earth, and angels above, convened to adjudge a man to death, did pass sentence upon him. Nay, but this word that is daily spoken to you, which passeth this sentence upon you all, is more certain: and this sentence of death must be executed, unless ye be under that blessed exception made here and elsewhere in the gospel. I beseech you, consider what it is to have such a judge condemning you. Would not any of you be afraid, if ye were under the sentence of a king? If that judgment were above your head, who of you would sit in peace and quietness? Who would not flee from the wrath of a king, that is like the roaring of a lion? But there is a sentence of the King of kings and nations above your heads. "Who would not fear thee," to whom it doth appertain, "O King of nations?" It is not a great man that can destroy the body, that is against thee; it is not he who hath power to kill thee, and he hath also a great desire so to do. This were indeed much; but it is the great and eternal Jehovah, who lifts up his hand to heaven, and swears he lives forever, -- he is against thee. He who hath all power over body and soul is against thee, and so is obliged to improve his omnipotency against thee; he can kill both soul and body, and cast them into hell, and by virtue of this curse he will not spare thee, but pour out all the curses in this book. Thou wouldst be at no peace if thou wert declared rebel by the king and parliament; but alas! that is a small thing. They can but reach thy body, nay, neither can they always do that; thou mayest flee from them, but whither canst thou flee from him? Thou canst not go out of his dominions; for the earth is his, and the sea, and all that therein is. Darkness cannot hide thee from him. He may spare long, because he can certainly overtake when he pleases; men may not, because they have no assurance of finding. I beseech you, then, consider this. It is of soul consequence; and what hath a man gained, if he gain the world, and lose his soul? If the gainer be lost, what is gained? And it is of eternal consequence; and what are many thousand years to this? You can look beyond all these, and might comfort yourselves in hope; but you cannot see to the end of this. There is still more before than is past; nay, there is nothing past, -- it is still as beginning.

O that ye would consider this curse of God that stands registrate upon us all? What effects had it on Christ, when he did bear it? It made his soul heavy to death: -- it was a cup that he could scarcely drink. He that supported the frame of this world was almost near succumbing under the weight of this wrath. It made him sweat blood in the garden. He that could do all things, and speak all things, was put to this, "What shall I say?" When this condemnation was so terrible to him, who was that Mighty One upon whom all help was laid, what shall it be to you? No man's sorrow was ever like his, nor pain ever like his, if all the scattered torments were united in one; but because he was God he overcame, and came out from under it. But what do you think shall be the estate of those who shall endure that same torment? -- and not for three days, or three years, or some thousands of years, but beyond imagination, -- to all eternity?

I beseech you consider this condemnation which ye are adjudged unto, and do not lie under it. Do ye think ye can endure what Christ endured? Do ye think ye can bear wrath according to God's power and justice? And yet the judgment is come upon all men to this condemnation. But alas! who fears him according to his wrath? Who knows the power of his anger? Ye sleep secure, as if all matters were past and over your head. We declare unto you in the Lord's name, that this condemnation is yet above you, because you have not judged yourselves. It is preached unto you that ye may flee from it; but since ye will not condemn yourselves, this righteous Judge must condemn you.

Now, since it is so, that such a condemnatory sentence is passed on all men, what a privilege must it be, to be delivered from it, -- to have that sentence repealed by some new act of God's mercy and favour? David proclaims him a blessed man whose sins are forgiven and covered; and indeed he is blessed who escapes that pit of eternal misery, though there were no more. Though there were no title to an inheritance and kingdom above, to be delivered from that wrath to come upon the children of disobedience, this is more happiness than the enjoyment of all earthly delights. "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life." These riches and advantages and pleasures that men spend their labour for, all these they part with in such a hazard. The covetous man, he will cast his coffers overboard ere he will lose his life; the voluptuous man, he will suffer pain and torment in cutting off a member, ere he die. But if men knew their souls, and what an immortality and eternity expects them, they would not only give skin for skin, and all that they have, for their soul, but their life also. Ye would choose to die a thousand deaths to escape this eternal death. But "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt. xvi.26; though he would give, yet what hath he to give? There are two things endear any privilege to us, and heighten the rate of it, -- the necessity of it, and the preciousness of it; and these two are eminent here. Is it not necessary to be, to live, and have a being? All men think so, when they will give all they have to redeem themselves. All other things are accidental to them, they are nearest to themselves; therefore all must go, ere themselves go. But I say this is more necessary, -- to be well eternally, than to be simply; to escape this condemnation, than to have a being. And this shall be verified in the last day, when men shall cry for hills and mountains to fall on them, and save them from the wrath of the Lamb, Rev. vi.16. Men will choose rather not to be, than to fall in that wrath. O how acceptable would a man's first nothing be to him in that great day of wrath! Who shall be able to stand in it? -- when kings and princes, bond and free, great and small, shall desire mountains to grind them into powder, rather than to hear that sentence of condemnation, and yet shall not obtain it. O blessed are all they that trust in him, "when his wrath is kindled but a little," Ps. ii.12. Ye toil and vex yourselves, and spend your time about that body and life; but for as precious as they are to you now, ye would exchange them one day for immunity and freedom from this wrath and curse. How will that man think his lines are fallen in pleasant places, -- how will he despise the glory of earthly kingdoms, though all united in one, -- who considers in his heart how all kings, all tongues and nations, must stand before the judgment-seat of God, and the books of his law be opened, to judge them by, as also the books of their consciences, to verify his accusation, and precipitate their own sentence, and then, in the open view of all the sons of Adam, and the angels, all secrets be brought out, -- their accusation read as large as their life-time, and as many curses be pronounced against every one, as there be breaches of the law of God, whereof they are found guilty; and then all these will seek into corners, and cry for mountains, but there is no covering from his presence. What do ye think the man will think within himself, who will stand before God, and be absolved in judgment by Jesus Christ, notwithstanding his provocations above many of them? What will a king then think of his crown and dominions, when he reflects on them? What will the poor persecuted Christian then think of all the glory and perfection of this world, when he looks back upon it? O know, poor foolish men, what madness is in venturing your souls for trifles! Ye run the hazard of all greatest things for a poor moment's satisfaction. Ye will repent it too late, and become wise to judge yourselves fools, when there is no place to mend it.

But this privilege is no more necessary than it is precious. Your souls are now kept captive under that sentence of everlasting imprisonment. Ye are all prisoners, and know not of it. What will ye give in ransom for your souls? Your sins and iniquities have sold you to the righteous Judge of all the earth, as malefactors, and he hath passed a sentence of your perpetual imprisonment under Satan's custody in hell. Now what will you give to redeem your souls from that pit? How few know the worth of their souls! And so they offer unto God some of their riches for them. Doth not many of you think ye have satisfied for sins, if ye pay a civil penalty to the judge? Many think their own tears and sorrow for sin may be a price to justice, at least if it be joined with amendment in time coming. And so men conceive their sins are pardoned, and their souls redeemed. But alas! the redemption of the soul is precious, yea, it ceaseth for ever; all your substance will be utterly contemned, though ye offered it. How few of you would give so much for your souls! And yet though ye give it, it will not do it, -- ye must pay the uttermost farthing, or nothing. Your sorrow and reformations will not complete the sum, no, nor begin it. "Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me," -- yet there is still condemnation for thee. Though all the world should convene about this matter, to find a ransom for man; suppose all the treasures of monarchs, the mines and bowels of the earth, the coffers of rich men were searched; nay, let the earth, the sea, the heavens, and sun and moon be prized at the highest; -- join all the merits of angels above and men below, all their good actions and sufferings, yet the sum that amounts of all that addition, would not pay the least farthing of this debt. The earth would say, it is not in me; the heaven behoved to answer so; angels and men might say, we have heard of it, but it is hid from all living. Where then is this redemption from the curse? Where shall a ransom be found? Indeed God hath found it; it is with him. He hath given his Son a ransom for many, and his blood is more precious than souls, -- let be(157) gold and silver. Is not this then a great privilege, that if all the kingdoms of the world were sold at the dearest, yet they could not buy it? What a jewel is this! What a pearl! Whoever of you have escaped this wrath, consider what is your advantage. O consider your dignity ye are advanced unto, that you may engage your hearts to him, to become his, and his wholly! for "ye are bought with a price," and are no more your own; he gave himself for you, and was made a curse to redeem you from the curse. O how should you walk as privileged men, as redeemed ones!

I beseech you all to call home your thoughts, to consider and ponder on this sentence that is passed against us. There is now hope of delivery from it, if ye will take it home unto you; but if ye will still continue in the ways of sin, without returning, know this, that ye are but multiplying those curses, platting many cords of your iniquities, to bind you in everlasting chains. Ye are but digging a pit for your souls, ye that sweat in your sins, and travel in them, and will not embrace this ransom offered. The key and lock of that pit is eternal despair. O consider how quickly your pleasures and gains will end, and spare some of your thoughts from present things, to give them to eternity, that thread spun out for ever and ever; -- the very length of the days of the Ancient of days, who hath no beginning of days nor end of time! Remember now of it, lest ye become as long miserable as God is blessed, and that is for ever.

All men would desire to have privileges beyond others, but there is one that carries it away from all the world, and that is the believer in Jesus Christ, who is said to be in Christ, implanted in him by faith, as a lively member of that body whereof Christ is the head. Christ Jesus is the head of that body, the church; and this head communicates life unto all the members, for "he filleth all in all." There is a mighty working power in the head, which diffuseth itself throughout the members, Eph. i.19, 22, 23. There are many expressions of union between Christ and believers. There is no near conjunction among men, but this spiritual union of Christ with believers is represented to us under it. The foundation and the building have a near dependence, the corner-stone and the wall -- these knit together; and Christ Jesus is the foundation and "the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple," Eph. ii.20, 21. The head and members are near united, so is Christ and believers; they "grow up into him," Eph. iv.15. Parents and children are almost one, so is Christ Jesus the everlasting Father, and he shows to the Father the children which he hath given him. We are his brethren, and he is not ashamed to call us so; but which is more, we are one flesh with him. There is a marriage between Christ and the church, and this is the great meditation of the song of Solomon. He is the vine tree, and we are branches planted in him. Nay, this union is so strict, that it is mutual, "I in them," and they "in me." Christ dwelleth in us by faith, by making us to believe in him, and love him; we dwell in Christ by that same faith and love, by believing in him, and loving him. Christ Jesus is our house where we get all our furniture; he is our store-house and treasure, our place of strength and pleasure, a city of refuge, a strong tower and a pleasant river to refresh us. We again are his habitation where he dwelleth by his Spirit; we are his workhouse, where he works all his curious pieces of the new creature, forming it unto the day of his espousals, the great day of redemption.

This gives us to understand what we once were. We may stand here and look back upon our former condition, and find matter both of delight and sorrow. We were once without Christ in the world, and if without Christ, then without "hope and without God in the world," Eph. ii.12. I wish this were engraven on the hearts of men, that they are born out of Christ Jesus; wild olives, growing up in the stock of degenerated Adam. He was once planted a noble vine; but how quickly turned he into a degenerate plant, and instead of grapes, brought forth wild grapes, and sour! We all grow upon an "olive tree which is wild by nature," Rom. xi.24. It grows out of the garden of God, in the barren wilderness, and is meet for nothing but to bring forth fruit unto death, to be cut down and cast into the fire. It is a tree which the Lord hath cursed, -- "never more fruit grow upon thee henceforth:" this was the fatal sentence pronounced on Adam. O that you would know your condition by nature! how all your good inclinations, dispositions, and education, cannot make your stock good, and your fruit good! "Israel is an empty vine," -- this is our name. Nay, but many think they bring forth fruit. Have not heathens spread forth their branches, and brought forth many pleasant fruits of temporal patience, sobriety, magnanimity, prudence, and such like? Do not some civil men many acts of civility profitable to men? Doth not many a man pray and read the scriptures from his youth up? Yes, indeed, these are fruits, but for all that, he is an empty vine, for he brings forth fruit to himself; and so, as in the original, he is a vine emptying the fruit which it gives, Hos. x.1. All these fruits are but to himself, and from himself; he knows not to direct these to God's glory, but to his own praise or advantage, to make them his ornament; and he knows not his own emptiness, to seek all his furniture and sap from another. What were all these fair blossoms and fruits of heathens? Indeed they were more and better than any now upon the multitude of professed Christians: and yet these were but splendida peccata, shining sins. What is all your praying and fasting, but to yourselves, as the Lord charges the people, Zech. vii. "Did ye at all fast unto me?" No, ye do it to yourselves. Here is the wildness and degenerateness of your natures. Either you bring forth very bitter fruits, such as intemperance, avarice, contention, swearing, &c., or else fruits that have nothing but a fair skin, like apples of Sodom that are beautiful on the tree, but being handled, turn to ashes; so there is nothing of them from God, or to God. I think every man almost entertains this secret persuasion in his breast, -- that his nature may be weak, yet it is not wicked; it may be helped with education, and care, and diligence, and dressed till it please God, and profit others. Who is persuaded in heart that he is an enemy to God, and cannot be subject to God's law? Who believes that his "heart is desperately wicked?" Oh! it is indeed "deceitful above all things," and in this most deceitful, that it persuades you ye have a good heart to God. Will not profane men, whose hands are defiled, maintain the uprightness of their hearts? Nemo nascitur bonus sed fit. I beseech you once, consider that ye are born out of Christ Jesus. Ye conceive that ye are born and educated Christians; ye have that name indeed from infancy, and are baptized. But I ask about the thing; baptism of water doth not implant you into Jesus Christ. Nay, it declares this much unto you, that by nature ye are far off from Jesus, and wholly defiled, -- all your imaginations only evil. Now, I beseech you, how came the change? Or is there a change? Are not the most part of men the old men, -- no new creatures? He that is in Christ is a new creature, 2 Cor. v.17. Ye have now Adam's nature, which ye had first. Ye have borne the image of the earthly, and are ye not such yet, who are still earthly? Think ye that ye can inherit the kingdom of God thus? Can ye pass over from a state of condemnation to a state of life and no condemnation, without a change? No, believe it, ye cannot inherit incorruption with flesh and blood, which ye were born with. Ye must be implanted in the second Adam, and bear his image, ere ye can say that ye are partakers of his blessings, 1 Cor. xv.47-49, &c. Now I may pose your consciences, -- how many of you are changed? Are not the most part of you even such as ye were from your childhood? Be not deceived, ye are yet strangers from the promises of God, and without this hope in the world.

the preface
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