« السابقةمتابعة »
SER M. XXVI vated. If ever you will act becoming the principles and nature of new creatures, then feek earthly things with fubmission, enjoy them with fear and caution, refign them with cheerfulness and readiness; and thus "let your moderation be known unto "all men," Phil. iv. 5. Let your hearts daily meditate, and your tongues difcourfe about heavenly things; be exceeding tender of fin, ftrict and punctual in ever duty; and hereby convince the world, that you are men and women of another fpirit.
Fifth ufe, for confolation.
Let every new creature be cheerful and thankful: if God' hath renewed your natures, and thus altered the frame and temper of your hearts, he hath beftowed the richest mercy upon you that heaven or earth affords. This is a work of the greatest rarity; a new creature may be called, One among a thousand it is alfo an everlasting work, never to be destroyed, as all other natural works of God (how excellent foever) muft be: it is a work carried on by almighty Power, through unfpeakable difficulties and mighty oppofitions, Eph. i. 12. The exceeding greatnefs of God's power goes forth to produce it; and indeed no lefs is required to enlighten the blind mind, break the rocky heart, and bow the ftubborn'will of man; and the fame almighty power, which at firft created it, is neceffary to be continued every moment, to preferve and continue it, 1 Pet. i. 5. The new creature is a mercy, which draws a train of innumerable and invaluable mercies after it, Eph. ii. 13, 14. 1 Cor. iii. 20. When God hath given us a new nature, then he dignifies us with a new name, Rev. ii. 17. brings us into a new covenant, Jer. xxxi. 33. begets us again to a new hope, 1 Pet. i. 3. intitles us to a new inheritance, John i. 12, 13. It is the new creature which through Chrift makes our persons and du. ties acceptable with God, Gal. vi. 15. In a word, it is the wonderful work of God, of which we may fay, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." There are unfearchable wonders in its generation, in its operation, and in its prefervation. Let all therefore, whom the Lord hath thus renew. ed, fall down at the feet of God, in an humble admiration of the unfearchable riches of free grace, and never open their mouths to complain under any adverfe or bitter providences of God.
Of the Nature, Principle, and Neceffity, of Mortification.
GAL. V. 24: And they that are Chrift's, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lufts.
W O great trials of our interest in Christ, are finished; we now proceed to a third, namely, The mortification of fin : They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh." The icope of the apostle, in this context, is, to heal the unchristian breaches among the Galatians, prevailing, by the instigation of Satan, to the breach of brotherly love. To cure this, he urges four weighty arguments.
First, From the great commandment, to love one another; up. on which the whole law (i.e.) all the duties of the fecond table, do depend, ver. 15.
Secondly, He powerfully diffuades them, from the confideration of the fad events of their bitter contests, calumnies, and detractions, viz. mutual ruin, and destruction, ver. 15.
Thirdly, He diffuades them, from the confideration of the contrariety of these practices, unto the Spirit of God, by whom they all profess themselves to be governed, from ver. 17. to ver. 23.
Fourthly, He powerfully diffuades them from these animofities, from the inconsistency of these, or any other lufts of the flesh, with an interest in Chrift: " They that be Christ's, have cru"cified the flesh," &c. q. d. You all profefs yourselves to be members of Chrift, to be followers of him; but how incongru ous are these practices, to fuch a profeffion? Is this the fruit of the dove-like Spirit of Chrift? Are thefe the fruits of your faith, and profeffed mortification? Shall the sheep of Chrift fnarl, and fight like rabid, and furious beafts of prey? Tantaene animis caeleftibus irae? So much rage in heavenly fouls? ✪ how repugnant are thefe practices with the ftudy of mortification *, which is the great ftudy and endeavour, of all that are in Q ૧ ૧ 2
*..... Non fecus ac.
Cum duo converfis inimica, in praelia tauri,
Christ!"They that are Chrift's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lufts." So much for the order of the words; the words themselves are a propofition wherein we have to confider, both
1. The subject.
2. The predicate.
First, The fubject of the propofition, they that are Christ's, viz. "True Chriftians, real members of Chrift; fuch as truly "belong to Christ, such as have given themselves up to be go"verned by him," and are, indeed, acted by his Spirit; füch, all fuch perfons (for the indefinite is equipollent to an universal) all fuch, and none but fuch.
Secondly, The predicate; "They have crucified the flesh, "with the affections and lufts." By flesh, we are here to understand carnal concupifcence,, the workings, and motions of corrupt nature; and by the affections, we are to understand, not the natural, but the inordinate affections; for Christ doth not abolish, and destroy, but correct, and regulate the affections of thofe that are in him: And by crucifying the flesh, we are not to understand the total extinction, or perfect fubduing of corrupt nature; but only the depofing of corruption from its regency, and dominion in the foul; its dominion is taken away, though its life be prolonged for a feafon; but yet, as death furely, tho' flowly, follows crucifixion, (the life of crucified perfons gradually departing from them, with their blood) it is just so in the mortification of fin; and therefore what the apoftle, in this place, calls crucifying, he calls, in Rom. viii. 13. mortifying. “If 66 ye, through the Spirit, do mortify," Javarts; if ye put to death the deeds of the body: But he chufes, in this place, to call it crucifying, to fhew, not only the conformity there is betwixt the death of Christ, and the death of fin, in respect of fhame, pain, and lingering flowness; but to denote, alfo, the principle, means, and inftrument of mortification, viz. the death, or cross of Jefus Chrift, in the virtue whereof, believers do mortify the corruptions, of their flesh; the great arguments, and perfuafives to mortification, being drawn from the sufferings of Chrift for fin. In a word, he doth not fay, They that believe Chrift was crucified, for fin, are Chrift's; but they, and they only, are his, who feel, as well as profefs the power, and efficacy, of the fufferings of Chrift, in the mortification, and sub.
+ Vere Chriftiani qui ad Chriftum pertinent, qui fe ei dedere regender. Pol. Synop.
duing of their lufts, and finful affections. And fo much, briefly, of the parts, and fenfe of the words.
The obfervation followeth.
Doct. That a faving interest in Christ, may be regularly, and ftrongly inferred, and concluded, from the mortification of the fleb, with its affections, and lufts.
This point is fully confirmed, by thofe words of the apostle, Rom. vi. 5, 6, 7, 8. "For if we have been planted together in "the likeness of his death, we shall be alfo in the likeness of his "refurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with "him, that the body of fin might be destroyed, that henceforth 66 we should not ferve fin; for he that is dead, is free from sin : "Now if we be dead with Chrift, we believe that we shall alfo live with him."
Mark the force of the apostle's reafoning; if we have been planted into the likeness of his death, viz. by the mortification of fin, which resembles, or hath a likeness to the kind and manner of Chrift's death (as was noted above) then we shall be, alfo, in the likeness of his refurrection; and why fo, but because this mortification of fin is an undoubted evidence of the union/ of fuch a foul with Chrift, which is the very ground-work, and principle, of that bleffed, and glorious refurrection: And therefore he faith, ver. 11. "Reckon ye, alfo, yourselves to be dead, "indeed, unto fin, but alive unto God, through Jefus Chrift "our Lord;" q. d. Reafon thus with yourfelves, these mortifying influences of the death of Chrift, are unquestionable prefages of your future bleffednefs, God never taking this courfe with any, but those who are in Chrift, and are defigned to be glorified with him. The death of your fin is as evidential, as any thing in the world can be, of your spiritual life for the prefent, and of your eternal life with God hereafter. Mortification is the fruit, and evidence of your union, and that union is the firm ground-work, and certain pledge, of your glorification; and fo you ought to reckon, or reafon the cafe with your felves, as the word Ayios there fignifies. Now for the stating, and explicating of this point, I fhall, in the doctrinal part, labour to open and confirm these five things.
1. What the mortification, or crucifixion of fin, imports. 2. Why this work of the Spirit is expreffed by crucifying. 3. Why all that are in Chrift, must be so crucified, or mor tified unto fin.
4. What is the true evangelical principle of mortification. 5. How the mortification of fin evinces our intereft in Christ. And then apply the whole.
First, What the mortification, or crucifixion of fin, imports. And, for clearness fake, I fhall fpeak to it, both negatively, and pofitively; fhewing you what is not intended, and what is principally aimed at, by the Spirit of God, in this expreffion.
First, "The crucifying of the flesh doth not imply the "total abolition of fin, in believers, or the deftruction of its very being and existence in them, for the prefent; fanctified "fouls fo put off their corruptions with their dead bodies at "death" This will be the effect of our future glorification, not of our present fanctification. Sin doth exist in the most mortified believer in the world, Rom. vii., 17. it still acteth, and lufteth in the regenerate foul, Gal. v. 17. yea, notwithstanding its crucifixion in believers, it ftill may, in refpect of fingle acts, furprize, and captivate them, Pfal. Ixv. 3. Rom. vii. 23. This, therefore, is not the intention of the Spirit of God, in this expreffion.
Secondly, Nor doth the crucifixion of fin confist in the fuppreffion of the external acts of fin only; for fin may reign over the fouls of men, whilft it doth not break forth into their lives, in grofs, and open actions, 2 Pet. ii. 20. Mat. xii. 43. Morality in the Heathens (as Tertuallian well obferves) did abfcondere, fed non abfcindere vitia, hide them, when it could not kill them; Many a man fhews a white, and fair hand, who yet hath a very foul, and black heart.
Thirdly, The crucifixion of the fieth doth not confist in the ceffation of the external acts of fin; for, in that refpect, the lufts of men may die of their own accord, even a kind of natural death. The members of the body are the weapons of unrighteousness, as the apoftle calls them; age or fickness, may fo blunt, or break thofe weapons, that the foul cannot use them to fuch finful purposes, and fervices, as it was wont to do, in the vigorous, and healthful feason of life; not that there is lefs fin in the heart, but because there is lefs ftrength and activity in the body. Juft as it is with an old foldier, who hath as much fkill, policy, and delight, as ever in military actions; but age, and hard fervices have fo enfeebled him, that he can no longer follow the camp.
Fourthly, The crucifixion of fin doth not consist in the fevere caftigation of the body, and penancing it by stripes, fasting, and tirefome pilgrimages. This may pafs for mortification among
Mortificari carnem non eft eam ita perimi, ut aut prorfus non fit, aut nulla prava in homine defideria commoveat, quod in corpore martis bujus non contingit, &c. Eftius in loc.