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er, or by ftamping the merit and dignity of the blood of Chrift upon its works and performances; it never makes the death of Chrift a cloke to cover fin, but an instrument to destroy it. And whatsoever doctrine it is which nourishes the pride of nature, to the difparagement of grace, or encourages licentioufness and fleshly luft, is not the doctrine of Christ, but a fpurious offSpring begotten by Satan upon the corrupt nature of man.

Inter. 7. If mortification be the great bufinefs and character of a Christian, Then that condition is moft eligible and defireable by Chriftians, which is least of all exposed to temptation, Prov. xxx. 8. "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed 6 me with food convenient." That holy judicious man was well aware of the danger lurking in both extremes, and how Dear they border upon deadly temptations, and approach the very precipiece of ruin, that ftand upon either ground: few Chriftians have any head strong and steady enough to stand upon the pinacle of wealth and honour; nor is it every one that can grapple with poverty and contempt. A mediocrity is the Chriftians beft external security, and therefore most desirable: and and yet how.do the corruption, the pride and ignorance of our hearts grafp and covet that condition which only ferves to warm and nourish our lufts, and make the work of mortification much more difficult? Tis well for us, that our wife Father leaves us not to our own choice, that he frequently dashes our earthly projects, and disappoints our fond expectations. If children were left to carve for themselves, how often would they cut their own fingers?

Infer. 8. If mortification be the great business of a Christian, then Chriftian fellowship, and fociety duly managed, and improved, muft needs be of fingular ufe, and Special advantage to the people of God. For thereby we have the friendly help and affiftance of many other hands, to carry on our great defign, and help us in our most difficult bufinefs; if corruption be too hard for us, others, this way, come in to our affiftance, Gal. vi. 1. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are fpi"ritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness." If temptations prevail, and overbear us that we fall under fin, it is a fpecial mercy to have the reproofs, and counfels of our brethren, who will not fuffer fin to reft upon us, Levit. xix. 17. Whilst we are luggish and fleepy, others are vigilant, and careful for our fafety: The humility of another, reproves and mortifies my pride: The activity, and livelinefs of another, awakens and quickens my deadnefs: The prudence, and gravity of another, detects and cures my levity and vanity: The heavenlinefs, and

fpirituality of another, may be exceeding ufeful, both to reprove, and heal the earthlinefs, and fenfuality of my heart. Two are better than one, but wo unto him that is alone. The devil is well aware of this great advantage, and therefore strikes with fpecial malice againft embodied Chriftians, who are as a well difciplined army, whom he therefore more especially endeavours to rout, and fcatter by perfecutions, that thereby particular Chriftians may be deprived of the fweet advantages of mutual fociety.

Infer. 9. How deeply hath fin fixed its roots, in cur corrupt nature, that it should be the conftant work of a Chriftian's whole life, to mortify and deftray it? God hath given us many excellent helps, his Spirit within us, variety of ordinances and duties are alfo appointed as inftruments of mortification: And from the very day of regeneration unto the last moment of diffolution, the Chriftian is daily at work, in the use of all fanctified means, external and internal, yet can never dig up, and destroy corrup tion at the root all his life long. The most eminent Chriftians, of longest standing in religion, who have fhed millions of tears for fin, and poured out many thousand prayers for the mortification of it, do, after all, find the remains of their old disease, that there is still life, and strength in thofe corruptions which they have given fo many wounds unto in duty. O the depth, and ftrength of fin! which nothing can separate from us, but that which feparates our fouls and bodies. And upon that account, the day of a believer's death, is better than the day of his birth. Never till then, do we put off our armour, fheath our fword, and cry victory, victory.

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Second ufe, for exhortation.

If they that are Chrift's have crucified the flesh, &c. Then as ever we hope to make good our claim to Chrift, let us give all diligence to mortify fin, in vain elfe are all our pretences unto union with him. This is the great work, and difcriminating character of a believer. And feeing it is the main business of life, and great evidence for heaven, I fhall therefore prefs you to it by the following motives and confiderations.

I Motive. And firft, methinks the comfort, and sweetness, refulting from mortification, fhould effectually persuade every believer to more diligence about it. There is a double fweetness in mortification, one in the nature of the work, as it is a duty, a fweet chriftian duty; another as it hath respect to Chrift, and is evidential of our union with him. In the first confideration there is a wonderful fweetnefs in mortification, for doft thou not feel a bleffed calmnefs, cheariness, and tranquillity in thy con

science, when thou haft faithfully repelled temptations, fuccefsfully refifted and overcome thy corruptions? Doth not God fimile upon thee; confcience encourage, and approve thee? Haft thou

not an heaven within thee? whilft others feel a kind of hell in the deadly gripes, and bitter accufations of their own consciences: are covered with fhame, and filled with horrors. But then, confider it also as an evidence of the foul's intereft in Christ, as my text confiders it; and what an heaven upon earth must then be found in mortification! These endeavours of mine to fubdue and mortify my corruptions, plainly speak the Spirit of God in me, and my being in Chrift; and O what is this! What heart hath largenefs, and ftrength enough to receive and contain the joy, and comfort which flow from a cleared intereft in Jefus Chrift! Certainly, Chriftians, the tranquillity, and comfort of your whole life depends upon it: and what is life without the comfort of life? Rom. viii. 13. "If ye through the Spirit do

mortify the deeds of the body, ye fhall live," (i. e.) you shall live a ferene, placid, comfortable life; for it is corruption unmortified which clouds the face of God, and breaks the peace of his people, and confequently imbitters the life a Chriflian.

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2. Motive. As the comfort of your own lives, which is much, your inftrumental fitness for the service of God, which is much more, depends upon the mortification of your fins, 2 Tim. ii. 21. "If a man therefore purge himself from thefe, he fhall be 66 a veffel unto honour; fanctified and meet for the Master's ufe, and prepared unto every good work." Where is the mercy of life, but in the ufefulness and ferviceableness of it unto God? It is not worth while to live fixty, or feventy years in the world, to eat and drink, to buy and fell, to laugh and cry, and then go down to the place of filence. So far as any man lives to God, an useful, ferviceable life to his praife and honour; fo far only, and no farther doth he answer the end of his being. But it is the purged, mortified foul which is the veffel of honour, prepared, and meet for the Master's ufe. Let a proud, or an earthly heart be employed in any fervice for God, and you shall find that fuch an heart will both fpoil the work, by managing it for a felf-end as Jehu did; and then devour the praife of it by a proud boaft: Come fee my zeal. When the Lord would employ the prophet Ifaiah in his work and fervice, his iniquity was first purged; and after that he was employed, Ifa. vi. 6, 7, 8. Sin is the foul's fickness, a confumption upon the inner man; and we know that languishing confumptive perfons are very unfit to be employ'd in difficult and ftrenuous labours: Mortification, fo far as it prevails, cures the difeafe, recovers our

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ftrength, and enables us for fervice to God in our generations. Motive. Your ftability, and fafety in the hour of temptation, depends upon the fuccefs of your mortifying endeavours. Is it then a valuable mercy in your eyes to be kept up. right, and stedfast in the critical feafon of temptation, when Satan fhall be wrestling with you for the crown, and prize of eternal life! Then give diligence to mortify your corruptions. Temptation is a fiege, Satan is the enemy without the walls, labouring to force an entrance; natural corruptions are the traitors within, that hold correspondence with the enemy without, and open the gate of the foul to receive him. It was the covetousness of Judas his heart which overthrew him in the hour of temptation. They are our fleshly lufts which go over unto Satan in the day of battle, and fight against our souls, 1 Pet. ii. 11. the corruptions (or infectious atoms which fly up and down the world in times of temptation, as that word μlaruara, 2 Pet. ii. 20. imports) are through lufts, 2 Pet. i. 4. It is the luft within, which gives a luftre to the vanities of the world without, and thereby makes them strong temptations to us, I John ii. 16. Mortify therefore your corruptions, as ever you expect to maintain your station in the day of trial: cut off thofe advantages of your enemy, left by them he cut off your fouls, and all your hopes from God.

4. Motive. As temptations will be irrefiftable, fo afflictions will be unfupportable to you without mortification. My friends, you live in a mutable world, providence daily rings the changes, in all the kingdoms, cities, and towns, all the world over. You that have hufbands or wives to day, may be left defolate to-morrow: You that have eftates, and children now, may be bereaved of both before you are aware. Sickness will tread upon the heel of health, and death will affuredly follow life, as the night doth the day. Confider with yourselves, are you able to bear the lofs of your fweet enjoyments with patience? Can you think upon the parting hour without fome tremblings? O get a heart mortified to all these things, and you will blefs a taking, as well as a giving God. It is the living world, not the crucified world, that raifes fuch tumults in our fouls in the day of affliction. How chearful was holy Paul under all his fufferings! and what think you gave him that peace and chearfulness, but his mortification to the world? Phil. iv. 12. “I know both how to be abafed, and I know how "to abound; every where, and in all things I am inftructed, "both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound, and fuffer need." Job was the mirror of patience, in the greatest

fhock of calamity, and what made him fo, but the mortifiedness of his heart, in the fulleft enjoyment of all earthly things? Job xxxi. 25.

5. Motive. The reputation, and honour of religion, is deeply concerned in the mortification of the profeffors of it: For unmortified profeffors will, firft or laft, be the scandals, and reproaches of it. The profeffion of religion may give credit to you, but to be fure you will never bring credit to it. All the fcandals, and reproaches that fall upon the name of Chrift in this world, flow from the fountain of unmortified corruption. Judas and Demas, Hymeneus and Philetus, Ananias and Saphira ruined themselves, and became rocks of offence to others, by this means. If ever you will keep religion fweet, labour to keep your hearts mortified and pure.

6. Motive. To conclude, what hard work will you have in your dying hour, except you get a heart mortified to this world, and all that is in it? Your parting hour is like to be a dreadful hour, without the help of mortification. Your corruptions, like glew, faften your affections to the world, and how hard will it be for fuch a man to be separated by death? O what a bitter, and doleful parting have carnal hearts from carnal things! whereas the mortified foul can receive the messengers of death without trouble, and as chearfully put off the body at death, as a man doth his cloaths at night: Death need not pull and hale ; fuch a man goes half way to meet it, Phil. i. 23. "I defire to "be diffolved, and to be with Chrift, which is far better." Christian, wouldst thou have thy death-bed foft and easy; wouldst thou have an sulavacia, as the philofopher defired for himself, an easy death, without pain or terror; then get a mortified heart : the chirurgeon's knife is fcarce felt, when it cuts off a mortified member.

Third ufe, for direction.

Are you convinced, and fully fatisfied of the excellency and neceffity of mortification, and inquifitive after the means, in the use whereof, it may be attained? then, for your help and encouragement, I will, in the next place, offer my best affiftance, in laying down the rules for this work.

Rule 1. If ever you will fucceed, and profper in the work of mortification, then get, and daily exercise more faith. Faith is the great inftrument of mortification: "This is the victory, (or "fword by which the victory is won, the inftrument) by which you overcome the world, even your faith," John v. 4. By faith alone eternal things are difcovered to your fouls, in VOL. III.

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