« PreviousContinue »
The necessity of crucifying our affec
tions and lusts.
GALAT. V. 24.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the
flesh, with the affections and lufts.
tive expression of a very large extent, XXIX.
Se r M. ty years after.) The body thus nailed and fastXXIX. ened, hath lost the use of all its members;
it is past the exercise of any of its powers and faculties; it grows still more faint and languid, , till at last it expires, and has neither sense nor motion left. And that which makes this manner of speaking yet more apt and expressive is, the fimilitude there is between the great trouble and uneasiness men find in crossing and breaking the force and prevalence of their affections and lusts, and that pain and anguish endured by a body nailed to a cross. It is in allusion to this, that the style of the New Testament runs so much upon our being dead to fin, and living to holiness. Rom. viii, 10. If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of fin; but the spirit is life, because of righteousness; consonant to which, the whole complex of all the evil propensions and tendencies of our corrupt nature is called the body of sin. Our old man, says St. Paul, Rom. vi. 6. is crucified with bim, that the body of fin might be destroyed, In other places, it is called the flesh, in which the fame Apostle says there dwelleth no good thing, Rom. vii. 18. And in another place, Gal. v. 17, that the flesh lufteth against the fpirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other.
Thus we see the great excellency of this manner of speaking, which is plain and easy, yet very expressive and full of signification, infomuch that the opposition made between the flesh and spirit, the crucifying the one, and
the cherishing and encouraging of the other, SE RM. together with the comparison fo frequently XXIX. made between the natural life and death of the body, and the good or ill condition of the mind, with respect to virtue or vice (the sure effect and consequence of which is, literally, either the everlasting life, or death of body and soul;) these obvious figures, I say, and easy comparisons, have given greater light into the knowledge, even of natural religion, than all the morality of the Heathen world; they enlarge our thoughts, and open to the mind a vast scene of the most uieful and necessary knowledge, a distinct knowledge, void of all confusion; it takes away all blindness and uncertainty concerning our greatest interest; our duty is hereby fixed and determined, and the work of our life plainly cut out for us; so that there is no difficulty now left in the theoTy, but in the practice,
We must not mind the things of the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof: We are to mortify the deeds of the body; so that our very members must be made instruments of righteousness. And in the words of the text, we must crucify the flesh, with the affections and lufts; we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and Spirit, and be renewed in the Spirit of our minds. This is the work that lies before us; in this consists the true perfection of our nature; thus we are to be restored to a state of innocence, to the favour of God; and thus we are to avoid the misery, and attain to the
Serm. happiness of another world, and thus we fee XXIX. that Christ crucified, which to the Greeks was
foolishness, appears to be in truth the power of God to restore fallen man
and the wisdom of God in a mystery, which God ordained before the world
for our glory. In discoursing of these words, I shall observe this method:
I. I shall instance those affections and lusts in particular, which are to be crucified.
II. I shall speak of the most effectual means and method of performing this.
III. I shall observe two or three things as rules of prudence, for our better conduct herein.
IV. I shall apply the motives implied in the text, to prevail on us to the performance of this
And ift. As to the first then, St. Paul tells us, at the 19th verse of this chapter, that the works of the flesh, which are to be crucified, are manifest; i. e, they are well known by the light of reason; they are against natural religion, and the common sentiments of the best informed
part of mankind, which are these ; peorrea Adultery, the wronging and defiling the marriage-bed; Topveía Fornication, the defilements of persons unmarried, either with one another, or with married persons, cxa Japoio Uncleanness, by which is signified all manner of luftful actions that are incestuous or unnatural, and whatever is not referred to adultery and fornication; dcényera, Lasciviousness, to which is to be referred all the unchastity of the mind,
impure thoughts; all obscenity in words and SERM.
The next is cidWronatgía, Idolatry. This was
pay that worship, which is due to
Paquecereid, Witchcraft; which, besides the groffer act of compact with the devil, implies the consulting of fortune-tellers; using of any means of incantation by spells or charms, which is at this day in practice among the ignorant and superstitious; though it be in truth no other than going to the devil for solution of their doubts, and repair of their loffes.
"Ex@gai, Hatred, manentia odia, fays Grotius ; settled inveterate hatred conceived against any one, or for any caufe, which prompts us to wish for and catch at all advantages against him we hate, to vent our rancour and spleen Vol. II,