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thence remedies are to be derived against perturbations and actions criminal. And this is determined by the apostle in fairest intimation, “ Mortify, therefore, your earthly memberse;" and he instances in carnal crimes, “ fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness,” which are things may be something abated by corporal mortifications : and that these are, by distinct manner, to be helped from other more spiritual vices, he adds, “ But now, therefore, put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and lying.” To both these sorts of sins, mortification being the general remedy, particular applications are to be made, and it must be only spiritual, or also corporal in proportion to the nature of the sins 8: he seems to distinguish the remedy by separation of the nature of the crimes, and possibly also by the differing words of " mortify h” applied to carnal sins, and put offl” to crimes spiritual.
18. Secondly: But in the lesser degrees of mortification, in order to subduing of all passions of the sensitive appetite, and the consequent and symbolical sinsk, bodily austerities are of good use, if well understood and prudently undertaken. To which purpose I also consider, no acts of corporal austerity or external religion are of themselves to be esteemed holy or acceptable to God, are nowhere precisely commanded, no instruments of union with Christ, no immediate parts of Divine worship; and therefore, to suffer corporal austerities with thoughts determining upon the external action or imaginations of sanctity inherent in the action, is against the purity, the spirituality, and simplicity of the Gospel. And this is the meaning of St. Paul, “ It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not with meats, which have not profited them which have walked in them';" and, “ The kingdom of God consists not in meat and drink, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghostm;" and, “ Bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things".". Now, if external mortifications are not for themselves, then they are to receive their estimate as they co-operate to the end : whatsoever is a prudent restraint of an extravagant passion, whatsoever is a direct denial of a sin, whatsoever makes provision for the spirit, or withdraws, the fuel from the impure fires of carnality, that is an act of mortification; but those austerities which Baal's priests did use, or the Flagellantes, an ignorant faction that went up and down villages whipping themselves, or those which return periodically on a set day of discipline, and using rudenesses to the body by way of ceremony and solemnity, not directed against the actual incursion of a pungent lust, are not within the verge of the grace of mortification. For, unless the temptation to a carnal sin be actually incumbent and pressing upon the soul, pains of infliction and smart do no benefit toward suppressing the habit or inclination : for such sharp disciplines are but short and transient troubles ; and although they take away the present fancies of a temptation, yet, unless it be rash and uncharitable, there is no effect remanent upon the body, but that the temptation may speedily return. As is the danger, so must be the application of the remedy. Actual severities are not imprudently undertaken in case of imminent danger; but to cure an habitual lust, such corporal mortifications are most reasonable, whose effect is permanent, and which takes away whatsoever does minister more fuel, and puts a torch to the pile.
e Col. iii. 5.
f Verse 8. 8 Ut corpus redimas, ferrum patieris et ignes,
Arida nec sitiens ora lavabis aquà. Ut valeas animo, qnicquam tolerare negabis? h Νεκρώσατε τα μέλη. 1 'Aπόθεσθε τα πάντα. k 'O érzus sugiou naápns papriywv. — Clem. Alex. Pædag. 2. 1 Heb. xiii, 9.
m Rom. xiv. 17.
19. But this is altogether a discourse of Christian prudence, not of precise duty and religion ; for if we do, by any means, provide for our indemnity, and secure our innocence, all other exterior mortifications are not necessary, and they are convenient but as they do facilitate or co-operate towards the end. And if that be well understood, it will concern us that they be used with prudence and caution, with purity of intention, and without pride : for, since they are nothing in themselves, but are hallowed and adopted into the family of religious actions by participation of the end, the doing them not for themselves takes off all complacency and fancy reflecting from an opinion of the external actions, guides and
n 1 Tim. iv. 8.
purifies the intention, and teaches us to be prudent in the managing of those austerities, which, as they are in themselves afflictive, so have in them nothing that is eligible, if they be imprudent.
20. And now, supposing these premises as our guide to choose and enter into the action, prudence must be called into the execution and discharge of it, and the manner of its managing. And, for the prudential part, I shall first give the advice of Nigrinus in the discipline of the old philosophers: “He that will best institute and instruct men in the studies of virtue and true philosophy, must have regard to the mind, to the body, to the age, to the former education, and capacities or incapacities of the persono;" to which all such circumstances may be added, as are to be accounted for in all prudent estimations, such as are national customs, dangers of scandal, the presence of other remedies, or disbanding of the inclination.
21. Secondly: It may also concern the prudence of this duty, not to neglect the smallest inadvertencies and minutes of lust or spiritual inconvenience, but to contradict them in their weakness and first beginnings. We see that great disturbances are wrought from the smallest occasions, meeting with an impatient spirit, like great flames kindled from a little spark fallen into an heap of prepared nitre. St. Austin tells a story of a certain person “much vexed with flies in the region of his dwelling, and himself heightened the trouble by too violent and busy reflections upon the inconsiderableness of the instrument, and the greatness of the vexation alighting upon a peevish spirit. In this disposition he was visited by a Manichee, (an heretic that denied God to be the maker of things visible): he being busy to rub his infection upon the next thing he met, asked the impatient person, whom he thought to be the maker of flies? He answered, I think the devil was; for they are instruments of great vexation and perpetual trouble. What he rather fancied than believed, or expressed by anger rather than at all had entertained within, the Manichee confirmed by such arguments, to which his
ο και τον άριστα παιδεύεις ανθρώπους προαιρούμενον, τούτο μεν ψυχής, τούτο δε σώματος, τούτο δε ηλικίας τε και της πρότερον αγωγής εστοχάσθαι. - Lucian. Nigrin, Bipont. vol. i. p. 51,
adversary was very apt to give consent by reason of his impatience and peevishness. The Manichee, having set his foot firm upon his first breach, proceeded in his question, If the devil made flies, why not bees, who are but a littlė bigger, and have a sting too? The consideration of the sting made him fit to think, that the little difference in bigness needed not a distinct and a greater efficient, especially since the same workman can make a great as well as a little vessel. The Manichee proceeded, If a bee, why not a locust? if a locust, then a lizard ? if a lizard, then a bird ? if a bird, then a lamb ? and thence he made bold to proceed to a cow, to an elephant, to a man. His adversary, by this time, being insnared by granting so much, and now ashamed not to grant more, lest his first concessions should seem unreasonable and impious, confessed the devil to be the maker of all creatures visiblep.” The use which is made of this story, is this caution, that the devil do not abuse us in flies, and provoke our spirits by trifles and impertinent accidents : for if we be unmortified in our smallest motions, it is not imaginable we should stand the blast of an impetuous accident and violent perturbation. Let us not, therefore, give our passions course in a small accident, because the instance is inconsiderable ; for, though it be, the consequence may be dangerous, and a wave may follow a wave, till the inundation be general and desperate. And therefore, here it is intended for advice, that we be observant of the accidents of our domestic affairs, and curious that every trifling inadvertency of a servant, or slight misbecoming action, or imprudent words, be not apprehended as instruments of vexation; for so many small occasions, if they be productive of many small disturbances, will produce an habitual churlishness and immortification of spirit.
22. Thirdly: Let our greatest diligence and care be employed in mortifying our predominant passion: for if our care be so great as not to entertain the smallest, and our resolution so strong and holy as not to be subdued by the greatest and most passionate desires, the Spirit hath done all its work, secures the future, and sanctifies the present; and nothing is wanting but perseverance in the same prudence and religion. And this is typically commanded in the precept of God to
p Tract 1. in Joh.
Moses and Aaron, in the matter of Peor : “ Vex the Midianites, because they vexed you, and made you sin by their daughters.” And Phinehas did so; he killed a prince of the house of Simeon, and a princess of Midian, and God confirmed the priesthood to him for ever; meaning, that we shall for ever be admitted to a nearer relation to God, if we sacrifice to God our dearest lust. And this is not so properly an act, as the end of mortification. Therefore it concerns the
prudence of the duty, that all the efficacy and violence of it be employed against the strongest, and there where is the most dangerous hostility.
23. Fourthly: But if we mean to be masters of the field, and put our victory past dispute, let us mortify our morosity and natural aversations, reducing them to an indifferency, having in our wills no fondnesses, in our spirits no faction of persons or nations, being prepared to love all men, and to endure all things, and to undertake all employments, which are duty or counsel in all circumstances and disadvantages. For the excellency of evangelical sanctity does surmount all antipathies, as a vessel climbs up and rides upon a wave; “ The wolf and the lamb shall cohabit, and a child shall play and put his fingers in the cavern of an aspick;” nations, whose interests are most contradictory, must be knit by the confederations of a mortified and a Christian spirit, and single persons must triumph over the difficulties of an indisposed nature, or else their own will is unmortified, and nature is stronger, than can well consist with the dominion and absolute empire of grace. To this I reduce such peevish and unhandsome nicenesses in matters of religion, that are unsatisfied, unless they have all exterior circumstances trimmed up and made pompous for their religious offices; such who cannot pray without a convenient room, and their devotion is made active only by a well-built chapel, and they cannot sing lauds' without church music, and too much light dissolves their intention, and too much dark promotes their melancholy; and because these, and the like exterior ministries, are good advantages, therefore without them they can do nothing, which certainly is a great intimation and likeness to immortification. Our will should be like the candle of the eye, without all colour in itself, that it may entertain the species of all colours from without: and when we lust after