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deeds of this old man are those sins afore-mentioned, and others of the like kind extended to acts. He dissuades from these in other words, but in the same sense, in Ephes. iv. 22, That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.
He means that they have put of the old man sacramentally in undergoing baptism; efficaciously by the operation of the Spirit of regeneration; totally indeed as to the guilt and dominion of sin; inchoatively as to the nature and act or the motion of sin. But having spoken at length concerning this putting off of the old man, on the 12th verse of the preceding chapter, we will refer to that rather than inculcate the same things over again.
Vers. 10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed
in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek, &c.
Here is that other argument connected with the former one; for it cannot possibly happen that he who puts off the old man, should not at the same time put on the new. For as in physics, as soon as the old form (of existence) is expelled, a new one immediately succeeds : So when the old Adam is put off, a new man is at the same time put on : but when the new man is put on, the works and conversation of the old man must cease.
Here are three things to be observed : 1. What does the Apostle point out by this new man, whom he says the Colossians have put on. 2. How has the renovation taken place; by little and little, and continuously. 3. In what this renovation of the new man consists.
The new man.] As to this first, it may be explained in one word : for if the old man (as I have before shewn) designates the inherent corruption of our nature, with the proneness and inclination of all our faculties to do evil; then, by the law of contraries, the new man will designate the renewing, and fresh propensity of all our faculties to do good, infused into and impressed upon the faithful by the power of the Holy Spirit. I delight in the law of God after the inner man, Rom. vii. 22. Thut he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, Ephes. iii. 16. The lIoly Spirit, therefore, strengthens the renewed for those actions for which they before had neither the faculty nor inclination. Two Corollaries arise out of the consideration of this new man :
1. First, it excites to duty. It behoves those who have put on the new man, to adopt a new method of life. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new : 2 Cor. v. 17. He who assumes the character of a king, is both foolish and wicked if he acts the part of a buffoon; so is it with him who puts on the new man, if he shall act the part of the old.
2. Secondly, it depresses pride: for it behoves us to remember whence we obtained this newness, whatever it may be, and good works; namely, from the renewing Spirit. In nothing then, as says Cyprian, should we boast, since nothing is ours. What hast thou which thou hast not received? 1 Cor. iv. 7.
2. Which is renewed.] This word respects the manner, for it indicates the constant workings of the Holy Spirit in renewing us: as if he had said, This your renewing ceases not for one moment; for you have so put on the new man, that ye be more and more to be renewed daily : which is clearly taught in 2 Cor. iv. 16, But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Now the reason why there is need of this daily renewing is on account of the remains of indwelling sin; which the Divine wisdom has not seen fit to eradicate in a moment, but would rather leave it to the day of our dissolution, for the exercise of our virtue and the preservation of humility within us. As, therefore, in wine mingled with water, both wine and water are found in every part: so in the renewed man the conditions of regeneration and some corruptions of the old man are found mingled and wound up VOL. 11.
together. Thus Augustine, de pecc. merit. et remiss. lib. 2. cap. 7 and 8, says, Perfect newness does not exist in the mind itself of the regenerate : and again, cap. 28, The law of sin remains in the regenerate, although overcome and broken through. On this account, therefore, the Apostle says this new man is still to be renewed in the sons of God.
Corollaries. 1. As the Spirit of God renews us more and more in wardly; so it behoves us, thus supported and aroused by the grace and help of the renewing spirit, to advance outwardly in holiness and good works : for men, says Augustine, de correp. et grat. cap. 2, are led by the Spirit of God, that being acted upon they may act, not that they themselves should do nothing. Lest ye receive the grace of God in rain, 2 Cor. vi. 1.
2. Those who deny that sin remains in the renewed, deny this daily benefit of the Holy Spirit renewing and remoulding us continually. For renewing intimates that something of the old man remains: for the old man is nothing else than the body of sin, as the Apostle elsewhere speaks. Thus much on the manner of the renewing: namely, that it is not effected in a moment, but by little and little.
3. Now, in the last place, we must consider in what things this renewing consists. The Apostle seems to place it in two particulars; the illumination of the mind, which he denotes by the word knowledge, and the healing and sanctification of the will, which he points out by the word image.
In knowledge.] As to the former, it is the property of the old man to have the mind darkened, as to what belongs to spiritual and saving knowledge. Having the understanding darkened, Ephes. iv. 8. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. ii. 14. The Holy Spirit, therefore, when he leads us to a knowledge of spiritual things, begins this work of our renewal, by the infusion of life-giving knowledge and the light of faith. Hence that prayer of the Apostle for the Ephesians, i. 17, 18, That the Father of glory may give unto you the Spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, &c. The Apostle uses the word agnition rather than cognition, lest any one should think he spoke of some idle and speculative knowledge; whereas the former word always means with him a lively, efficacious, and operative knowledge. This enlightening, then, of the understanding. and infusion of faith, and spiritual knowledge, is the first effect of a regenerating and renewing spirit. Whence Parisiensis very properly calls faith, the first life of the human mind, and like spiritual light in the works of the re-creation: it is the gate of life through which God first enters the human mind; de morib. cap. 1.
I will here remark, Those who require in Christians only a blind devotion, seem to wish to build up the edifice of holiness without a foundation, and to approve of Christians only half renewed.
After the image of him that created him.] After the light of knowledge and of faith is infused, the regenerating Spirit (who is the Creator of the new man) impresses the image of God upon the will. It is, therefore, another effect of regeneration, that when the mind is enlightened by faith, the human will should be conformed to God, and shew forth a Divine disposition in its love of holiness and righteousness. In this sense the Apostle, in Ephes. iv. 24, says, this new man is after God created in righteousness and true holiness. So 2 Pet. i. 3, 4, Christ is said to have given to the renewed all things that pertain unto life and godliness ; and that these gifts have made us partakers of the Divine nature, and freed us from the corruption which is in the world through lust. By this image is denoted, therefore, a certain representation, as it were, of the Divine sanctity in the human mind. Concerning this image of God there are many disputations among the Fathers and Schoolmen.
First, they are wont to say, that the Son of God alone is the image of the Father; we are made according to this image, while irrational creatures have only the traces of the Divinity, not the image of God, not being made after this image. As to what pertains to this distinction between the eternal and natural Son of God, and we the adopted sons, it is not accurately remarked in Scripture. For as he is called the image of the Father, Heb. i. 3; so we. also are said to be not only made in the image, but the image of God, 1 Cor. xi. 7. We must, however, hold, that Christ is the image of God the Father in one way; we in another: He is the image by equality, having entirely the same nature with the Father of whom he is the image; every regenerated person is the image by imitation, partially representing a certain similitude to the Divine nature in some gifts of grace. Augustine illustrates this by no inapt simile: As the image of an Emperor,' says he, upon a coin differs from that in his son; so does the image of God in us differ from that in Christ.
Secondly, the Schoolmen and Fathers inquire in what this image of God after which we are created, consists ; and the consideration of this more nearly concerns our present purpose. Tertullian, in his treatise against Marcion, lib. 2, determines it in immortality, frecdom of will, and the capacity of knowledge. Augustine, in 9 de Trin. cap. 4, assigns the image of God in the soul as consisting in these three things, mind, understanding, and affections ;* but in 1 de Trin, cap. 11, as memory, inteliect, and the will.t The Schoolmen for the most part say, this image of God consists in natural gifts; but the likeness in gifts of grace; and the Gloss upon Genesis expresses this opinion, in saying that man was made after the image of God, as to natural qualities : after his likeness, as to qualities of grace. We allow, with the Fathers and Schoolmen, that a certain image of God is found in the natural faculties of the mind, which may be called the image of the natural creation; but nevertheless we affirm, both in this passage and every other of Paul, that this image of God (which may be called the image of the supernatural re-creation) is not placed in the powers, faculties, or qualities themselves of the native soul; but in the re-arrangement, sanctification, and confirmation of these according to the nature and will of God.
Mentem, notitiam, anorem. + Memoriam, intelligentium, voluntutem.