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reproach upon Christ, than by making his name and profession a cloke and cover to their filthy lufts.
Thirdly, The neceffity of crucifying the flesh, appears from the method of falvation, as it is ftated in the gospel. God every where requires the practice of mortification, under pain of damnation. Mat. xviii. 8. "Wherefore if thy hand, or thy foot, "offend thee; cut them off, and caft them from thee: it is bet"ter for thee to enter into life halt, or maimed, rather than, "having two hands, or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.” The gofpel legitimates no hopes of falvation, but fuch as are accompanied with ferious endeavours of mortification. I Joha iii. 3. "Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth him
felf, even as he is pure." 'Twas one special end of Chrift's coming into the world, "to fave his people from their sins,” Mat. i. 21. nor will he be, a faviour unto any who remain under the dominion of their own lufts.
Fourthly, The whole ftream, and current of the gospel, puts us under the neceffity of mortification; gofpel-precepts have refpect unto this, Col. iii. 5. "Mortify your members, therefore, "which are upon the earth." 1 Pet. i. 15, "Be ye holy, for I "am holy," Gofpel prefidents have refpect unto this, Heb.xii. I. Wherefore feeing we, alfo, are compaffed about with so great "a cloud of witneffes, let us lay afide every weight, and the "fin which doth fo eafily befet us," &c. Gofpel threatenings are written for this end, and do all press mortification in a thundering dialect. Rom. viii. 13. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall "die." Rom. i. 18. "The wrath of God is revealed from hea66 ven,.. againft all ungodliness, and unrighteoufnefs of men.” The promifes of the gospel are written defignedly to promote it, 2 Cor. vii. 1. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." But in vain are all these precepts, presidents, threatenings, and promises written in the fcripture, except mortification, be the daily ftudy, and prac tice of profeffors.
Fifthly, Mortification is the very scope and aim of our regene ration, and the infufion of the principles of grace. "If we live "in the fpirit, let us walk in the fpirit," Gal. v. 25. In vain were the habits of grace planted, if the fruits of holiness, and mortification, be not produced; yea, mortification is not only the defign, and aim, but it is a fpecial part, even the one half of our fanétification.
Sixthly, If mortification be not the daily practice, and endea vour of believers, then the way to heaven, no way anfwers to
Christ's description of it in the gofpel. He tells us, Mat. vii. 13. 14. "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to de"ftruction, and many there be that go in thereat; because "ftrait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto
life, and few there be that find it." Well, then, either Christ must be mistaken in the account he gave of the way to glory, or else all unmortified perfons are out of the way: for what makes the way of falvation narrow, but the difficulties, and feverities of mortification?
Seventhly, In a word, he that denies the neceffity of mortifi cation, confounds all discriminating marks betwixt faints, and finners; pulls down the pale of distinction, and lets the world in. to the church, and the church into the world: 'Tis a great de fign of the gospel, to preferve the boundaries betwixt the one and the other, Rom. ii. 7, 8. Rom. viii. 1, 4, 5, 6, 13. But if men may be Chriftians without mortification, we may as well go into the taverns, ale-houses, or brothel-houfes, among the roaring, or fottish crew of finners, and fay, here are thofe that are redeem. ed by the blood of Chrift; here are his difciples, and followers; as go to feek them in the pureft churchés, or most strictly religious families: by all which the neceffity of mortification, unte all that are in Chrift, is abundantly evidenced.
Fourthly, In the next place, we are to enquire into the true principle of mortification; 'tis true, there are many ways attempted, by men, for the mortification of fin, and many rules laid down, to guide men in that great work; fome of which are very trifling, and impertinent things: fuch are those prefcribed by Popib Votaries. But I fhall lay down this as a fure conclufion, that the fanctifying Spirit is the only effectual principle of mortification; and, without him, no resolutions, vows, abftinences, caftigations of the body, or any other external endeavours, can ever avail, to the mortification of one fin. The moral Heathens have prescribed many pretty rules, and helps, for the fuppreffion of vice: Ariftides, Seneca, and Cato, were renowned, among them, upon this account: formal Chriftians, have, alfo, gone far in the reformation of their lives, but could never attain true mortification; formality pares off the excrefcences of vice, but never kills the root of it; it ufually recovers itself again, and their fouls, like a body not well purged, relapses into a worfe condition than before, Mat. xii. 43, 44. 2 Pet. ii. 20. This work of mortification, is peculiar to the Spirit of God, Rom. viii. 13. Gal. v. 17. and the Spirit becomes a principle of mortification in believers two ways, namely,
1. By the implantation of contrary habits.
2. By affifting those implanted habits, in all the times of
First, The Spirit of God implants habits of a contrary nature, which are destructive to fin, and are purgative of corruption, John v. 4. Acts xv. 9. Grace is, to corruption, what water is to fire; betwixt which, there is both a formal and effective oppofition; a contrariety, both in nature, and operation, Gal. v. 17. There is a threefold, remarkable advantage, given us by grace, for the deftruction, and mortification of fin. For,
First, Grace gives the mind, and heart of man, a contrary bent, and inclination; by reafon whereof, fpiritual, and heavenly things, become connatural, to the regenerate foul. Rom. vii. 22. "For I delight in the law of God, after the inner-man." Sanctification is, in the foul, as a living fpring running with a kind of central force heaven-ward, John iv. 14.
Secondly, Holy principles deftroy the intereft that fin once had in the love, and delight of the foul; the fanctified foul cannot take pleasure in fin, or find delight in that which grieves God, as it was wont to do; but that which was the object of delight, hereby becomes the object of grief, and hatred. Rom. vii. 15. What I hate, that I do.
Thirdly, From both thefe follow a third advantage for the mortification of fin, in as much as fin being contrary to the new nature, and the object of grief, and hatred, cannot possibly be committed without reluctancy, and very fenfible regret of mind; and actions done with regret, are neither done frequently, nor eafily. The cafe of a regenerate foul, under the furprizals, and particular victories of temptation, being like that of a captive in war, who marches, not with delight, but by constraint, among his enemies *. So the apostle expreffeth himself, Rom. vii. 23. "But I fee another law, in my members, warring against the law "of my mind; and bringing me into captivity unto the law of
fin, which is in my members." Thus the Spirit of God promotes the defign of mortification, by the implantation of contrary habits.
Secondly, By affifting thofe gracious habits, in all the times of need, which he doth many ways; fometimes, notably awakening, and rouzing grace, out of the dull, and fleepy habit, and drawing forth the activity, and power of it, into actual, and fuccefsful refiftances of temptations. As, Gen. xxxix. 9.
Αιχμαλωτίζω, i. e. When one is fo taken that he can neither truggle, nor refift him by whom he is taken captive.
"How can I do this great wickedness, and fin against God ?" Holy fear awakens firft and raises all the powers of grace in the foul, to make a vigorous refiftance of temptation: the Spirit, alfo ftrengthens weak grace, in the foul. 2 Cor. xii. 9. "My grace is fufficient for thee, for my ftrength is made perfect in "weakness:" And, by reason of grace, thus implanted, and thus affifted," he that is born of God, keepeth himself, and "the wicked one toucheth him not."
Fifthly, The laft query, to be fatisfied, is, how mortification of fin folidly evinceth the foul's interest in Chrift; and this it doth divers ways, affording the mortified foul many found evidences thereof. As,
Evidence. 1. Whatsoever evidences the indwelling of the holy Spirit of God in us, muft needs be evidential of a faving intereft in Chrift, as hath been fully proved before; but the mortification of fin doth plainly evidence the indwelling of the Spirit of God; for, as we proved but now, it can proceed from no other principle. There is as frong, and infeparable a connexion betwixt mortification, and the fpirit, as betwixt the effect, and its proper caufe; and the felf-fame connexion betwixt the inbeing of the Spirit, and union with Chrift: So that to reafon from mortification, to the inhabitation of the Spirit, and from the inhabitation of the Spirit to our union with Christ, is a strong fcriptural way of reafoning.
Evidence 2. That which proves a foul to be under the covenant of grace, evidently proves its intereft in Chrift; for Chrift is the head of that covenant, and none, but found believers, are under the bleffings, and promises of it: but mortification of fin is a found evidence of the foul's being under the covenant of grace, as is plain, from thofe words of the apoftle, Rom. vi. 12,. 13, 14. Let not fin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, "that ye fhould obey it in the luft thereof; neither yield ye "your members, as inftruments of unrighteoufnefs unto fin; "but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from "the dead, and your members as inftruments of righteousness "unto God: for fin fhall not have dominion over you; for ye
are not under the law, but under grace." Where the apostle preffeth believers unto mortification by this encouragement, that it will be a good evidence unto them of a new covenant-intereft; for all legal duties, and endeavours, can never mortify fin: 'tis the Spirit, in the new covenant, which produces this. Whoever, therefore, hath his corruptions mortified, hath his intereft in the covenant, and confequently in Chrift, fo far cleared unto him.
Evidence 3. That which is the fruit and evidence of faving faith, muft needs be a good evidence of our interest in Christ; but mortification of fin, is the fruit, and evidence of faving faith. Acts xv. 9. "Purifying their hearts by faith." I John V. 4. "This is the victory whereby we overcome the world, e44 ven our faith." Faith overcomes both the allurements of the world, on the one hand; and the terrors of the world on the other hand; by mortifying the heart, and affections, to all earthly things a mortified heart is not eafily taken with the enfnaring pleasures of the world, or much moved with the disgraces, loffes, and fufferings, it meets with from the world; and fo the ftrength, and force of its temptations, is broken, and the mortified foul becomes victorious over it; and all this by the inftrumentality of faith.
Evidence 4. In a word, there is an intimate, and indiffoluble connexion betwixt the mortification of fin, and the life of grace. Rom. vi. 11. "Reckon yourfelves to be dead, indeed, unto fin, "but alive unto God, through Jefus Chrift:" and the life of Christ must needs involve a faving interest in Christ. By all which, is fully proved, what was afferted in the obfervation from this text. The application follows, in the next fermon.