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spirit which now became them. As the legal dispenfation is called " the spirit of bondage", and that of the Gofpel, " the spirit of adoption", Rom. viii. 15. because in the one God dealt -with his church more like servants, and in the other more like fons: fo here when the disciples would have the Samaritans consumed by sire from heaven, as thofe were upon the application of the antient prophet; they should have considered that this was not suitable to the milder dispenfation of the Gofpel. A spirit of rigour and severity was more apparent in the whole Mofaical œconomy, in the precepts, in the threatenings of temporal evils, during that period of the church; and fo in the methods used to punilh an indignity offered to- a prophet of the- Lord: but Christ came tointroduce a more spiritual and a milder dispenfation, wherein the main severities are reserved to be executed in-another world, upon those who shall be found sinally incorrigable. He came into the world, breathing grace and truth: his doctrine proclaimed God's good-will towards men; his miracles were miracles of benesicence; and in his example he was meek and lowly. Instead of teaching his disciples such a temper towards enemies, he had already taught them the moll exalted charity; to " love their enemies; to bless them that cursed them, to do good to them that hated them, and to pray for them which should despitesully use them, and persecute them"; Matt. v. 44. It became his followers rather to be of this evangelical spirit, a forbearing, forgiving, gentle spirit,. than. w
imitate imitate the rigiour of Elias. This sense iscountenanced by the words which immediatelyfollow: "For the Son of Man is not come to-' destroy mens lives, but to fave them"!, ver. 56^ So that Ave learn from hence.
That a siery wrathsul spirit, even against men most erroneous in matters of religion, is . very opposite to the spirit and genius of the Gofpel. Christ, aster this, prayed for thofe who not only resused him, but crucisied him ;and, aster his resurrection-, ordered his apostlesto begin at Terufolem, in making the tendersof his Gofpel, Luke xxiv. 474 Nor would' he have his religion propagated, or his most obstinate enemies suppressed, by any methods ©f external violence: "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men; apt to teach, patient:- in meekness instructing thofe that oppofe themselves, is God peradventure will give them repentance unto the acknowledgment of the truth" ; 2 Tim. ii. 24.25. This is the spirit prescribed by the Gofpel to thofe who-would serve the interest of Christ and his truth :- thofe who use other methods, know not what spirit they are of.
3. They seem to have been ignorant of the true frame and temper of their own spirits, when they made this motion. - They would say, like Jehu, " Come see our zeal for the Lord"; our love to our master, our concern for his honour, our indignation at thofe who treat him fo unworthily: but Christ, who faw what was in man, probably discerned that there was too much of private revenge and' resentment siring them upon this occasion, or
at at least a desect of charity; and this he might justly blame in them, that they did not more caresully attend to the motion of their own spirits, and fo were not sensible what spirit
This last is the view of the words in which i propofe to consider them, as introductory to several other practical discourses.: and accordingly -I observe from them,
That it is a.very faulty thing in any, and especially in thofe who prosess to be the disciples of Christ, not to know what spirit they are of.
Upon which observation, I would sirst consider the matter to be known; and then, secondly, the necessity and importance of this j)art of knowledge. ^
I. The matter to be'known is a liule more particularly to be inquired into. What spirit we are of. .1 will not abfolutely consine .myself to that particular inquiry about our spirits, the want of which Christ, as has been observed, had occasion to blame in his disciples; but fliall take in that, and fome other things too, which tl^e words are apt enough to express, and which k will be no small disadvantage to us in our best interests to be unacquainted with. We are much concerned to know these three things;
What spirit we are eminently of by natural temper.
What principles and ends govern us in particular motions of our spirits and actions of
What is the prevailing and predomineni dispositions of our fouls; whether the christian temper, or that which is oppofite to it.
1. What spirit we are eminently of by natural temper. Nothing is more obvious than the vast disserence of tempers among mankind: and that not only arising from disserence of education, and of external impressions; which, without doubt, make no small change in the dispositions of men: nor yet owing merely to long habits and customs of vice on the one hand, or the peculiar grace of God, and to eminent holy diligence on the other; which certainly make the greatest distinctions between man and man.: but alfo a difserence sounded in natural constitution. We may see this in childhood, besore the mind is moulded by instruction, or example, or a course of practice; and on the contrary, it is hardly ever extinguished in riper years. Besides the general corruption of nature, apparent in fome instance or other in all; fome from the very sirst dawnings of reafon discover more than others, either a four or rugged difposition, or a hastiness of temper, or fome such difagreeable biass, which grows up with them to men. And though this may be considerably abated by a good education, and especially is much rectisied by the grace of God in good men; yet, where it is the constitutional bent, it usually sinds people more work for care and watchsulness all their days, than it does to others. If we turn our view the other way, there is early visible in some an easiness and gentleness of disposition, an inclination
dination to humanity and tenderness, or the like engaging turn of mind.
Now in this sense it would be the wisdom of every man to know what spirit he is of, to study his own temper, which way that most naturally and readily carries him. For according to xhe tendencies of our constitution, if we caresully observe them, we may discover what temptations in the ordinary course of lise need most to be psovided against, and in what way we are most likely to be usesul.— Thofe sins most easily beset men, and are hardeft to be overcome, which have constitution strongly on their side: a man may justly esteem them to be eminently his own iniquity. And as every fort of natural temper has its particular difadvantages and dangers; fo no sort is without fome advantages, which, is caresully attended to, and improved, may contribute to our servioeablenels in lise.— Those of a fanguine make, are more expofed to the temptations of levity and sensuality, and therefore have most occasion to be there on their guard; but then they are better prepared for a chearsul •activity in doing good, is they be right set. The heavy and phlegmatic^ as they are more prone to indulge (loth and idleness, fo, is they get over this temptation, they can with greater ease bear clofe and long application, than those of more quick and active spirits. The dark and the melancholy temper lays men open to unreafonable sears and despondencies, to malice and cenforioufness, is the devil and a corrupt heart have the government of it; but under the direction of grace, Vol. I. C it