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And to the same purpofe our apostle bespeaks the Colosiians, Col. iii. 2, 3, 4. Setyour affections on things above, not on things below. For ye are dead., (you prosess to be dead to the world) and (is you are really fo) your life (your better lise) is hid with Ch ifi in God. When Christ, who- is our Ufa /hall. appear, them Jliallye also appear withhim in glory.
The spiritual mind is itself a meetness for heaven.. As it is of heavenly.descent, fo it. tends towards heaven. While the carnal mind . in its progress is ripening for hell, the renew- ed temper makes a man.*4 meet for the inheritance among the Saints in. lights" Such a man has his heart, and thoughts, and pursuits,. directed to the fame objects, which make the happiness of heaven; only they are seen and > enjoyed in the other world- aster the manner of heaven. The fame God, the same Redeemer, the same holiness, which the christian . chiefly pursues now, will make the selicity of the suture state: only we shall then know these • objects even as we are known,. 1. Cor. xiii. 12*
And thofe who have their minds thus set, . have the beginnings and pledges of everlasting lise. The spirit is "in them as a well of water springing up into everlasting lise," John i iv. 14. He is an "earnest of the inheritance," Eph. i. 13, 14.. As far as they.are spiritual- ized, they have heaven brought down into . their souls; the fame temper formed there in . part which gloriously shines in the inhabitants of the upper world; and therefore may properly be called glory begun: besides which, to some. of his servants God has vouchfased
. . such; sSch fore-tastes of the land of Canaan, white they were in the wilderness, such refreshing views of his love and favour, as have carried them for a while in appearance above the . world, enabled them to rejoice in tribulation, and to long to depart and to he with Christ.
Now certainly a mind, intitlcd to lise by divine promise, made meet for it by divine grace, and into which God is used to let down. somewhat of heaven now, cannot fail to istue ia everlasting lise..
I will dole with fome reflections..
i; We may justly six this in our minds, as the principal and most important distinction which can be among men -; the carnal and the spiritual mind.. Other differences make a far louder found,. and draw more general attention. Distinctions made by. wealth and honour, by beauty or wit, by learning or by party^ names, have many more observers and admirers. But tho' the kingdom of God comes withoid observation, and is chiefly within men; yet as far as its authority. and power over the minds of men is discovered by. the genuine fruits, it. deserves . more regard and esteem, than any. other peculiarity wherein one can excel another. Tne question for divine approbation will not be, whether men are high or low, learned or•. unlettered, whether. of this or that dividing name among Christians; but whether they mind. earMy things, .or seek thcje which are above. A man of low capacities and circumstances, may be rich in faith, eminently partake of the divine nature, and be an assured . heir. of the promise; And how much
more more excellent and happy is such a man, thartt of thofe who make the. most shining sigure inlise, is by choice and title they have their por- . tion only in this world?
a. We may consider this farther, as the principal thing, wherein one christian is better than another. People of all parties are apt tovalue others most, when they agree with themselves in bearing the fame name of distinction,. in observing the same outward forms of religion, or in maintaining the fame speculative notions. And, without doubt, tho' any mere name among christians signisies little; yet it. will not pass fora small matter with thofe who are truly devoted to Christ, .that they and others should form the justest notions they can of every divine truth,.and observe the externals of religion in the nearest conformity they can. to the rule given them; fo far they, who agree best with the standard,. certainly excel others. But still it is a more vital and important difference, which is made by. the de- grees of spiritual-mindedness. He is the best, christian, whofe foul is most sully attempered to spiritual things, and hath gone farthest in> overcoming the remains of a carnal mind.. This is the most essential mark of growth in , grace.
3. If we are ready to entertain fome high i thoughts of ourselves, because we are reafonable creatures, and have the capacities of mind which thofe of the lower creation are strangers to; it is enough to mortisy our pride, to think that this very mind of ours is become carnal. What can the nobler capacity lerve for, but
out' our greater disgrace, and aggravated condem* nation, without a suitable improvement? Better had it been for us, that we had been placed at sirst in the lowest rank of beings, instead of the rational, is we debase ourselves into the beast, when God has made us men, is our minds are only employed to make provision for the slesh, or to resine upon the gratisications of the body, instead of reaching aster and relishing the proper glory and happiness of an immortal spirit..
.*. 4, What reafon is there to be thanksul for that which we commonly call restraining grace?' When a carnal mind is fo natural to all, is still predominant in most people, and wherever it prevails, has fo strong a biass in itself to all that is evil; in what a dismal state would this world be for the pjresent, is it was not for such things, as the biass of a good education, the admonitions of natural conscience, the awe of civil magistracy, the sense of shame from men, the providential preventions of opportunity for doing many evils, - or staving off temptations to them ?. Such things as these, where a religious sear.of God is wanting, are of great service to keep the world in tolerable order at p/esent: Without them, we should live in a constant hell .upon earth, and one man of a carnal mind would be a devil to another. >i .5, When-the human apostacy was sunk sa low, it was unspeakable grace in the great and holy God, to take in hand creatures fo car. nalized, in order to their cure. That he should form a design of their recovery fromliich a degenerate state; in order to it, should;
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fend his only begotten Son to atone for this. Horrid apostacy, and restore his holy Spirit torecover lost fouls to their true taste and primitive difposition. He faw the diforders of our' nature to be fo great and inveterate, that they would never be set to rights by any hand inserior to his own; that our case was desperate, and past retrieve, is he did not undertake it himself. And therefore, notwithstanding the heniousness of the crime, though he might justly have given up for ever creatures who-had ruined themselves; yet, out of his abundant grace, he mukes our recovery practicable,, sets up an all-sufficient physician, and invitesus to commit ourselves in his hand for healing. There is glory to God in the highest upon this account; let us, who are directly concerned, heartily join in the fong of praise for this good-will toward men.
6. When a method of cure is settled by a' gracious and all-wise God, how much does it lie upon every one of us in particular to see that the carnal mind is subdued in ourselves !that at least, the mortal fymptoms are taken away, that it has no' longer the dominion in' us. Without this change, all our prosession of religion is a vain thing; we shall only havea name to live, while really we are dead.— Without this, we shall' sind, in the great day ef account, that it had been better for us, is we had never been born, or never possessed of higher capacities than the brutes, or never favoured with the discoveries of the Gofpel, which shew us our disease and the way of cure.. Under a conviction therefore of our