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impressions, or restraints of the flesh for a season, would amount to that character, then Felix, who trembled under conviction,' and Herod, who did many things in consequence of the Baptist's preaching, had been real Christians. If the estimable qualities of social life were a proof that Christianity had its full effect on the mind, then the young ruler, who had kept the second table of the law from his youth upwards, would have had an unreserved approbation from our Lord. But Felix and Herod relapsed under the dominion of their lusts; and through the love of this world, the young ruler fell short of the kingdom of heaven. In the
2d place, From what hath been said, let each of us be prevailed on to try how matters stand with himself. You see that it is not a point to be lightly taken for granted, that a man hath a real interest in Christ. I have already mentioned several things under my first head of discourse, which may serve as hints to direct you in this trial. All that I have further to beg of you is, that you would judge yourselves impartially, as those who expect a judgment to come. Try every ground of hope upon which you have hitherto rested; let every rotten pillar be removed, or else the whole building, however glorious in appearance, will shortly fall to the ground. Self love may, for a season, blind your eyes ; but remember, that it will throw no veil over that im
partial judgment which will overtake you at the bar of God. Compare, then, your actions and dispositions with that holy and spiritual law which flatters no man; and then, if conscience gives an unbiassed judgment, I have little doubt that numbers in this assembly will discover, that “ the flesh, with its affections and lusts,” is not only alive, but in full vigour. Nay, the very best will find cause to conclude, that the corrupt prin-' ciple is not yet crucified as it ought to be.
As for those of the first class now mentioned, if the text itself does not furnish them with a sufficient motive for crucifying the flesh, I despair of being able to offer any other which will be more powerful. I might tell you, how mean it is to let sense give law to reason, and to prefer the earthly tabernacle to its immortal inhabitant. I might assure you, that you are serving an ungrateful master, whom you can never satisfy; that, while you feed one lust, you must starve another, whose importunate cravings will destroy the relish of your imagined happiness. I might tell you,
that the flesh must ere long be reduced to rottenness and dust, and be buried under ground, that it may be no offence to the living. But what are all these arguments compared with that motive which is implied in the text, that, unless you crucify the flesh, you do not belong to Christ; and if you have no interest in Christ, God is a consuming fire? So that this furnish
eth me with an address, to the same purpose with what a brave officer made to his soldiers in a day of battle, “ Unless ye kill your enemies,” said he, " they will kill you.” In like manner, I say to you, Unless ye crucify the flesh, it will be your everlasting ruin. “ For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.”
As for you who are mourning over the remainders of corruption, and struggling to get free from them, I know that you will require no motives to engage you to go on in this opposition to the carnal principle. I shall, therefore, only offer you a few directions, with which I will now conclude. Keep a strict watch over your senses.
Let nothing enter into the soul by these avenues without a strict examination. Avoid with the utmost caution all those things which may inflame your passions, and accustom yourselves to contradict them in their first tendencies to evil. A spark may easily be quenched, which, after it hath kindled a flame, will baffle all your industry. Improve that holy ordinance, which you have been celebrating, to this salutary purpose. The contemplation of a crucified Saviour, is an excellent mean to assist you in crucifying the flesh. When your appetites solicit any unlawful indul. gence, remember him who had not even the common accommodations of nature. When your flesh requires ease and pleasure, think of him who pleased not, or minded not himself, but for your
sakes submitted to hunger and thirst, weariness and watching, pain and reproach, and at last to an ignominious death. When riches inflame your desires, reflect on the history of Jesus, “ who, though he was rich, for your sakes became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich.” When the desire of applause, or the fear of censure from man, tempt you to desert the path of duty, then remember him, who for you made himself of no reputation, gave his head to be crowned with thorns, and his body to be arrayed with the garb of derision, and was suspended on a cross in the company of malefactors. In all these views, let your eyes be directed to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Above all, depend much on the grace of God, and pour out your souls in fervent supplications for the Spirit of Promise, by whose assistance alone you can mortify the deeds of the body, and crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts. Principles of philosophy may restrain our evil passions; but nothing less than the Omnipotent power of divine grace can overcome them. Plead, therefore, earnestly, that he who is now ascended up on high, and hath received gifts for men, may grant you every needful supply in this difficult warfare ; that so when you have fought the good fight, and overcome your enemies, both within and without you, you may be publicly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly happy in the full enjoyment of God for ever. Amen. VOL. III.
PSALM iv. 6, 7.
There be many that say, Who will shew us any
good ? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
THE chief distinction between a child of God and a man of the world, lies in the prevailing tendency of their desires. Both of them are engaged in the pursuit of happiness. But the one aims at nothing higher than the present gratification of his appetites, while the other rises above this world, and aspires at the supreme felicity of his immortal nature. The one seeks information from every quarter concerning the object of his pursuit ; the other asks the blessing directly from the Giver of all good. The one seeks a happiness separated from God: the whole earth, without the light of God's countenance, would appear to the other a barren wilderness, and a place of exile.--I propose, in discoursing on this subject,