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fleed,1et us earnestly apply to God, through Jesus Christ, for the enlightening, quickening and sanctisying influences of the Holy Spirit, to make us dead unto sin, but alive unto God:" and under his gracious influences, which are readily granted to the humble and hearty seeker, let us refolve upon a vigorous and persevering warsare against the carnal mind, which" wars against the foul."
'Vi How thanksul should every true Christian be, that he is delivered from fo great a death! much more than for any temporal deliverance, that he has received or can receive. The evil here was the greatest that we could escape, spiritual death at present, and eternal death in profpect: we were fast bound in the chains of this death, To that none but God could have opened a way of escape: and notwithstanding the difcovery of such a way, thoufands in every age still remain in the fame miserable condition. Let all that is within us then bless the .Lord, who has made us to differ.
. 8.' Let christians behave as sensible of their remaining carnality, and osits deadly nature, as far as it does remain. Let them live in the daily sense of this, ,that though the change in them be real and great, compared with the bent of depraved nature, yet it is incompleat at best in this lise; and as far as carnality remains, fo much death remains. Let us all therefore walk humbly with our God, as sensible that he has still much against us, is he would be strict to mark iniquity. Let us watch against indwelling sin, the new actings
os it, and the temptations which may excite 'it; because we have not yet put osf the harness, nor can justly apprehend ourselves out of danger. We should use habitual endeavours to "mortisy-our affections which are upon the earth," Col. iii. 5. and to "perse£t holiness in the sear of God;" as thofe who have not yet attained, nor are already persect. And whenever by neglect, and the force of temptation, carnality breaks out asresh, or recovers new strength, there should be an immediate care to repair.and strengthen dying graces, Rev. iii. 2. "Be watchsul, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die." And since we must have occasion for this conslict more or less, while we fojourn in the body, it must ever be worthy of a real christian, to look forward with longing expectations to the persect lise besore him, where he will be entirely spiritually minded, "like the angels of God in heaven." Matth. xxii. 30.
9. Let the consideration of the .fad condition of carnal minds, engage all true christians in their proper places to use their utmost endeavours for the recovery of others out of such a state. This becomes heads of families towards . thofe under their immediate care, and one friend towards another, and every one ac* cording to his insluence and talents. We., who are ministers should especially "be instant in seafon and out of seafon" to this very purpofe; since it is the direct design and scope of a Gofpel-ministry. And surely we need not a stronger motive to animate us all, than
that which is left us by the apostle James, ver. v. lg, 20. "Brethren, is any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall fave a foul from death, and mall hide a multitude of sins."
Faith the main Principle of the Christian Temper.
2 Cor. v. 7..
For wt xvalkby Faith, not by Sight.
IT is plain from the context, that the apostle's main design in these words is, to express a difadvantage in a christian's present state, compared with that which he hath in prospect. He observes, that . he, ,and such ether primitive servants of Christ, ** having the earnest of the Spirit," or the Spirit as the .earnest of the promised inheritance, "therefore were always consident," ver. 5, 6. i. -e. undaunted in their work, whatever dissiculties they met with, whatever dangers they were expofed to, even of lise itself: "knowing," •as he adds, " that while we are at home in the hody^jAfe are absent from the Lord." Or, a* we may render it more agreeably to the emphasis of the original, "knowing that whilst Vol. I. M "we ''we fojourn in she body, we are absent from ** our home with the Lord." "For we Walk by faith, not by sight;" that is, w While -we ** are in the body, the main things by which •' we govern and conduct ourselves -as chris
dans, are only perceived by saith; not by ** sight, as they will be, when we come to be "present with the Lord."
Faith is represented heie as a way of perception, which falls short of sight: and fo itcertainly is. But then, on the other hand, .fo is intimated to be the best and most .extensive principle we have in our state of trial: a principle of force and influence sufficient to regulate our walk and conduct: a principle strong enough at that time to inspire the apostle himself and the primitive christians with boldness and courage in the face of danger: sufficient to make them willing to leave the body, that they might arrive at the higher dispenlation of Jight. So .that the greatest heights of christianity in this world are let out here as flowing from faith.
I have therefore chosen this pasfage to shew .the eminent place which faith holds jn forming and animating the whole christian temper and life: "We walk by faith., and not by sight." We .christians .conduct ourselves by faith, as the best principle .of action we have, till we arrive at light, and as esteeming it our wisdom to walk under the insluence of it thro' pur patfage-state.
Jn the profecution of this subject, I shall,
I. Endeavour to give you fome account of faith, the christian's principle. And,
If. Shew the sitness of it to have a most powersul and commanding influence upon she whole of the christian temper and lise.
Which will make way for fome serious cx-, hortations.'
I. The nature of faith is to be explained, which is eminently the christian principle.
When we sind it distinguished from Jight, this at once points us. both to the special objects about which it is converfant, and to that kind of persuasion which is implied in the term faith.
1. The special' objects about which faith is conversant, are things not seen. This is intimated, when it is opposed to' sight. And fo they are'expressly called more than once in' d;e New Testament, 2- Cor. iv. 18. "We took not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." And Heb. xC t. " Faith is the evidence of things not seen." By this representation of the things which the christian believes,
(1.) They are plainly distinguished from the concerns and interests of this visible world. The generality of people have their main regard to seen things, that is, to present things, which come within the notice of sense :' they govern themselves chiesly by a respect to' these; and have their hopes and sears, which are the immediate principles of action, principally raised by the apprehension of outward good and evil. Bodily ease and pleasure, external advantages and interests, honour and reputa