صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Papists, but never was any luft of the flesh deftroyed by this rigour. Chriftians, indeed, are bound not to indulge and pamper the body, which is the inftrument of fin; nor yet muft we think that the fpiritual corruptions of the foul feel thofe ftripes which are inflicted upon the body: See Col. ii. 23. it is not the vanity of fuperftition, but the power of true religion, which crucifies and destroys corruption; it is faith in Chrift's blood, not the fpilling of our own blood, which gives fin the mortal wound.

Secondly, But if you inquire, what then is implied in the mortification or crucifixion of fin, and wherein it doth confift? I answer,

First, It neceffarily implies the foul's implantation into Chrift, and union with him; without which it is impoffible that any one corruption fhould be mortified, they that are [Chrift's] have crucified the flesh: The attempts and endeavours of all others are vain and ineffectual: "When we were in the fleth,



(faith the apostle) the motions of fin which were by the law, "did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death,' Rom. vii. 5. fin was then in its full dominion, no abstinence, rigour, or outward feverity; no purposes, promifes, or folemn vows could mortify or destroy it; there must be an implantation into Chrift, before there can be any effectual crucifixion of fin: What béliever almost hath not in the days of his first convictions, tried all external methods and means of mortifying fia, and found all, in experience, to be to as little purpose as the binding of Sampson with green withs or cords? But when he hath once come to act faith upon the death of Chrift, then the defign of mortification hath profpered, and fucceeded to good purpose.



Secondly, Mortification of fin, implies the agency of the Spirit of God in that work, without whofe affiftances, and aids all our endeavours muft needs be fruitlefs: Of this work we may fay, as it was faid in another cafe, Zech. iv. 6. " Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, faith the Lord." When the apostle therefore would fhew by what hand this work of mortification is performed, he thus expreffeth it, Rom. viii. 13. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye "fhall live:" The duty is ours, but the power whereby we

*They mistake the very nature of Christian mortification, who place it in afflicting and ufing violence to the body; whereas true mortification refers not principally to the body, or inferior part of the foul, but chiefly to the mind and will. Dav. on Col. §, 256.

SERM. XXVII. perform it, is God's: The Spirit is the only fuccessful combatant against the lufts that war in our members, Gal. v. 17. it is true, this excludes not, but implies our endeavours; for it is we through the Spirit that mortify the deeds of the body; but yet all our endeavours, without the Spirit's aid and influence avail nothing.

Thirdly, The crucifixion of fin neceffarily implies the fubverfion of its dominion in the foul: A mortified fin cannot be a reigning fin, Rom. vi. 12, 13, 14. Two things conftitute the dominion of fin, viz. the fulness of its power, and the foul's fubjection to it. As to the fulness of its power, that rises from the fuitableness it hath, and pleafure it gives to the corrupt heart of man: It feems to be as necessary as the right hand, as useful and pleasant as the right eye, Mat. v. 29. but the mortified heart is dead to all pleafures and profits of fin; it hath no delight or pleasure in it; it becomes its burden and daily complaint. Mortification prefuppofes the illumination of the mind, and convic-. tion of the confcience; by reafon whereof, fin cannot deceive and blind the mind, or bewitch and enfnare the will and affections, as it was wont to do, and confequently its dominion over the foul is destroyed and loft.

Fourthly, The crucifying of the flesh implies a gradual weakning of the power of fin in the foul. The death of the crofs was a flow and lingering death, and the crucified perfon grew weaker and weaker every hour; fo it is in the mortification of fin: The foul is ftill "cleanfing itself from all filthiness of the flesh "and fpirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Cor. vii. 1. And as the body of fin is weakened more and more; fo the inward man, or the new crearure, is "renewed day by day, 2 Cor. iv. 16. For fanctification is a progreffive work of the Spirit: And as holiness increases, and roots itself deeper and deeper in the foul; fo the power and interest of fin proportionably abates, and finks lower and lower, until at length it be swallowed up in victory.


Fifthly, The crucifying of the flesh, notes to us the believers defigned application of all spiritual means, and fanctified inftruments, for the deftruction of it: There is nothing in this world which a gracious heart more vehemently defires, and longs for, than the death of fin, and perfect deliverance from it, Rom. vii. 24 the fincerity of which defires doth accordingly manifest itself in the daily application of all God's remedies: fuch are daily watching against the occafions of fin, Job xxxi. 1. "I have "made a covenant with mine eyes;" more than ordinary vigilancy over their special or proper fin, Pfal. xviii. 23. "I kept,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


myfelf from mine iniquity:" Earneft cries to heaven for preVenting grace. Pfal. xix. 13. "Keep back thy fervant alfo from prefumptuous fins, let them not have dominion over me:" Deep humblings of foul for fins paft, which is an excellent preventive unto future fins, 2 Cor. ii. 11. "in that ye forrowed

[ocr errors]

after a godly fort, what carefulnefs wrought it?" Care to give no furtherance or advantage to the defign of fin, by making provifion for the flesh, to fulfil the lufts thereof, as others do, Rom. xiii. 13, 14. Willingness to bear the due reproofs of fin, Pfal. cxli. 5. "Let the righteous fmite me, it shall be a "kindness:" Thefe, and fuch like means of mortification, regenerate fouls are daily ufing, and applying, in order to the death of fin. And fo much of the firft particular, what the mortification of fin, or crucifying of the flesh implies.

Secondly, In the next place, we fhall examine the reafons, why this work of the Spirit is expreffed under that trope, or figurative expreffion, of crucifying the flesh. Now the ground and reafon of the use of this expreffion, is the refemblance which, the mortification of fin bears unto the death of the cross: And this appears in five particulars.

First, The death of the crofs was a painful death, and the mortification of fin is a very painful work, Mat. xxv. 29. it is as the cutting off our right hands, and plucking out our right eyes; it will coft many thousand tears, and groans, prayers, and ftrong cries to heaven, before one fin will be mortified. Upon the account of the difficulty of this work, and mainly upon this account, the scripture faith, narrow is the way, and "strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that "find it," Mat. vii. 14. and that the righteous themselves are fcarcely faved.


Secondly, The death of the cross was univerfally painful; every member, every fenfe, every finew, every nerve was the feat and fubject of tormenting pain. So is it in the mortification of fin; it is not this, or that particular member, or act; but the whole body of fin that is to be deftroyed, Rom. vi. 6. and accordingly the conflict is in every faculty of the foul; for the Spirit of God, by whofe hand fin is mortified, doth not combat with this, or that particular luft only, but with fin, as fin and for that reafon with every fin, in every faculty of the foul. So that there are conflicts, and anguish in every part.


Thirdly, The death of the cross was a flow, and lingering death; denying unto them that fuffered it the favour of a quick dispatch. Juft fo it is in the death of fin; though the Spirit of


God be mortifying it day by day, † yet this is a truth fealed by the fad experience of all believers in the world, that fin is long a dying And if we ask a reafon of this difpenfation of God, among others, this feems to be one; corruptions in believers, like the Canaanites in the land of Ifrael, are left to prove, and to exercise the people of God, to keep us watching and praying, mourning and believing; yea, wondering, and admiring at the riches of pardoning, and preferving mercy all our days.

Fourthly, The death of the cross was a very opprobrious, and Shameful death; they that died upon the crofs were loaded with ignominy; the crimes for which they died were exposed to the public view; after this manner dieth fin, a very shameful, and ignominious death. Every true believer draws up a charge against it in every prayer, aggravates and condenins it in every confeffion, bewails the evil of it with multitudes of tears and groans, making fin as vile, and odious as they can find words to exprefs it, though not fo vile as it is in its own nature. “O my "God (faith Ezra) I am afhamed, and even blush to look up unto thee," Ezra ix. 6. So Daniel in his confeffion, Dan. ix. "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us "confufion of faces, as at this day." Nor can it grieve any believer in the world, to accuse, condemn, and shame himself for fin, whilst he remembers and confiders, that all that shame and confusion of face which he takes to himself, goes to the vindication, glory and honour of his God: As David was content to be more vile still for God, so it pleaseth the heart of a Chri ftian to magnify, and advance the name, and glory of God, by expofing his own fhame, in humble, and broken-hearted confeffions of fin.


[ocr errors]

Fifthly, In a word, the death of the cross was not a natural, but a violent death: Such alfo is the death of fin: fin dies not of its own accord, as nature dieth in old men, in whom the balfamum radicale, or radical moisture is confumed; for if the Spirit of God did not kill it, it would live to eternity in the fouls of men; it is not the everlasting burnings, and all the wrath of God which lies upon the damned for ever, that can destroy fin. Sin, like a falamander, can live to eternity in the fire of God's wrath; fo that either it must die a violent death

+ Mortification of fin is not compleated in one moment, but is a daily conflict. Sin languishes as foon as the work of mortification is begun; in the progress of it, fin waftes and pines away, and in the end, even at our death, it is destroyed. Origen on Ep. te


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

by the hand of the Spirit, or it never dieth at all. And thus you fee, why the mortification of fin is, tropically, expressed by the crucifying of the flesh.

Thirdly, Why all that are in Christ must be so crucified, or mortified unto fin: And the neceffity of this will appear divers ways.

First, From the inconfiftency and contrariety that there is betwixt Chrift and unmortified luft, Gal. v. 17. "These aré


contrary the one to the other." There is a threefold inconfiftency betwixt Christ and such corruptions; they are not only contrary to the holiness of Chrift, 1 John iii. 6. "Whofoever a"bideth in him finneth not; whofoever finneth hath not feen him, neither known him," (i. e.) whofoever is thus ingulphed and plunged into the luft of the flesh, can have no communion with the pure and holy Chrift; but there is alfo an inconfiftency betwixt fuch fin and the honour of Chrift, 2 Tim. ii. 19. "Let every one that nameth the name of Chrift, depart from. "iniquity:" As Alexander faid to a foldier of his name, recordare nominis Alexandri, remember thy name is Alexander, and do no nothing unworthy of that name. And unmortified lufts are also contrary to the dominion, and government of Christ, Luke ix. 23. "If any man will come after me, let him deny "himself and take up his crofs daily, and follow me:" Thefe are the felf-denying terms upon which all men are admitted into Christ's service: And without mortification and felf-denial, he allows no man to call him Lord and Master.

[ocr errors]

Secondly, The neceffity of mortification appears, from the neceffity of conformity betwixt Chrift the head, and all the members of his myftical body; for how incongruous and uncomely would it be to fee a holy, heavenly Chrift, leading a company of unclean, carnal, and fenfual members? Matth. xi, 29. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am "meek and lowly," q. d. it would be monftrous to the world, to behold a company of lions and wolves following a meek and harmless lamb: Men of raging, and unmortified lufts, profeffing and owning me for their head of government: And again, I John ii. 6." He that faith he abideth in him, ought himself alfo *fo to walk, even as he walked," q. d. either imitate Christ in your practice, or never make pretenfions to Chrift in your profeffion This was what the apoftle complained of, Phil. iii. 18. for " many walk of whom I have told you often, and now


tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cros "of Chrift:" Men cannot ftudy to put a greater difhonour and

« السابقةمتابعة »