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liberate act, either of grace or corruption, exerted, but what must first break through a whole army of its enemies, set to oppose it. Gal. v. 17. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and
the Spirit against the flesh so that ye cannot do the things
that ye would: that is, neither can ye act according to the bent of your corrupt will, nor yet of your sanctified will, without opposition and resistance from one of these two quarrelling principles within, the flesh and the Spirit. Such men are like those builders in Nehemiah, that wrought with one hand, and with the other held their weapons: so, truly, if a child of God, in whom corruption is yet too prevalent, work the works of God with one hand, he must hold the weapons of his spiritual warfare in the other. This is that unpeaceable and turbulent condition, into which an unmortified lust will certainly bring you. And though, indeed, in the most mortified Christian on earth, there will sometimes be combatings between these two contrary parties; yet it is not with so much distraction, anguish, and terrors, as where corruption is more violent and outrageous.
That is the last thing.
I might add that an utter neglect of mortification binds you over to eternal condemnation: If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. Your election itself cannot save you; your vocation, regeneration, and whatever else you might build the certainty of your salvation upon, are all in vain if you do not mortify. There is no other way, by which you can possibly get to heaven, but by marching over the necks of all your lusts. But I shall insist no longer on this head.
And now, if to profess God with our mouths and to deny him with our hearts and lives, if to talk of religion and live without it, if to have a form of godliness and to- deny the power of it, be indeed this necessary mortification, I need press this duty no farther: we have such mortified ones, more than enoupb. But, if wantonness, censoriousness, contempt of the means of grace, giddiness of opinions, libertinism, and strange large allowances that men take to themselves in their conversations, be signs of an unmortified heart; never certainly was there any professing age in the world, that had more need to have this doctrine often pressed upon them, than that in which we live. I am not now urging you to that churlish and rigorous way of mortifp. cation, consisting only in a froward abstinence from the comforts and conveniences of this life, which some perhaps blind devotionists have too rigidly exercised themselves with: I know the maceration of the outward man is not the mortification of the Old Man; and yet were there among professors a greater moderation even in the use of the lawful comforts of this life, there would not possibly be so great an advantage given to deceivers as now there is, who, under the specious shew of selfdenial in these things, draw away numbers of proselytes after them, as being the only mortified men. It is the inward mortification, that we. labour to press upon you, which were it once industriously exercised, outward exhorbitancies would of themselves fall into a decency and sobriety.
But, alas! when men shall talk at such a rate of spiritualness, as if some angels sat upon their tongues; and yet live at such an excess of vanity, it may be of profaneness, as if legions possessed their hearts; what shall we judge of such men? If we judge the tree by the leaves, what other can we think of them, but that they are trees of righteousness, and plants of renown? but if we look to their fruits, unprofitableness in their relations, envy, strife, variance, emulation, wrath, excessive pride, worldliness, selfishness, what can we think of them, but that heaven and hell are now as near together, as these men's hearts and mouths? And, truly, to let go these gross professors, have we not cause to take up sad complaints even of true Christians themselves, in whom the reigning power of sin is in their regeneration mortified? may we not take up the same speech concerning them, as St. Paul doth concerning the Corinthians, 1 Cor. iii. 3. Ye are yet carnal and walk as men? If the Apostle could have laid in charge against these Corinthians, not only envy,strife, and divisions; but hatred, bitterness, implacableness of spirit, brain-sick opinions, and self-seeking practices, joined with a great measure of neglect and contempt of the glory of God; as justly as we can against the Christians of our times; certainly his reproof would not have been so mild, as to tell them that they walked as men; but, rather, that they walked as devils. Would to God their miscarriages were not so generally known, as that every one could not supply the sense!
III. I have already set before you the great evils, that follow Upon a neglected mortification. As to your own particulars, if \hat cannot affect you, there is but little ground to hope that vour charity to others should prevail: yet give me leave to mention TWO GRAND EVILS, THAT HEREBY BEFAL OTHERS.
i. Hereby They Are Induced To Think All ^professors Are
KUT HYPOCRITES, AND RELIGION A MERE MOCKERY; and SO Come
to have their hearts embittered against the ways of God, as being all but mere deceit and cozenage.
It is a sad accusation, Rom. ii. 24. The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you: How so? because, as in the former verses, they rested in the Law, and had a form of godliness, and were confident that they were guides to the blind, and lights to them which were in darkness: eminent professors they were, like the men of our days: but mark, Thou, which teachest another*, teachest thou not thyself?....Thou, that makest thy boast of the Law, through breaking the Law dishonourest thou God? Thou, who professest mortification, dost thou indulge thyself in thy lusts? Thou, who pretendest to near fellowship and communion with God, dost thou live as one without God in the world ? Tremble at it, the name of the Great God is blasphemed among wicked wretches through you: those, who were profane, you make atheistical; scoffing and deriding godliness, as an idle whimsy: and, because they see so little in their lives, they presently conclude there is no other difference between saints and sinners at all, but that the one have their tongues a little better tipped and their fancies a little higher wound, than the other. What is the common raillery of these profane persons ?" Oh! this, forsooth, is a saint, and yet how covetous, how griping and greedy! Well, of all men deliver me from falling into the hands of a saint." Beware, lest these their blasphemies, be not at last charged upon you; who, through a loose, wanton, and unmortified conversation, have made religion even to stink in their nostrils. It is mortification alone, that can convince the world, that religion is any thing real: but while men profess largely and live at large too, this keeps men off from religion; not because they think it a thing above them, but because they scorn it as a baseness below them, so to juggle and dissemble with the world,
ii. Hereby, also, Wicked Men Flatter Themselves In Their Sinful Estate, supporting themselves upon the lives of uiimortified professors, that certainly they are in as good a condition as they.
"They are proud, and impatient, and earthly: and, if these men get to heaven, why may not I? It is true they talk of selfdenial and mortification; but look into our lives, and mine is as harmless and innocent as theirs: they discourse of experiences, and communion and acquaintance with God, and a road of words that I skill not; but, certainly, if God will not condemn them, although they do nothing but talk, he will not condemn me, for not talking as they do." And thus the hands of wicked men are mightily strengthened, and hereby they fortify themselves in their unregeneracy.
Now, Christians, if you would adorn the Gospel, and bring a credit upon religion, live so that your conversations may be a conviction to all the world, that God is in you of a truth: which will be, when mortification is more endeavoured and practised. You have a principle within you, which would you exert to the utmost, mere moralists, ,with all their civility, and legalists, with all the forced harshness which they use to curb and restrain sin in themselves, must confess that they fall short of true mortification.
IV. Now, though there be, in the whole course of Christianity, no other duty that can plead more for itself than this of mortification; yet there is none, that hath more cause to complain of a general neglect from the most of professors, than this hath. A slight superficial Christianity is that, which now serves the turn; and, if men can but keep themselves from the gross and scandalous pollutions of the world, and together with that maintain a shining blaze of profession, whatever other mortification ii pressed upon them, they reject as a needless rigour and severity. To ENQUIRE INTO THE CAUSES WHY IT SHOULD BE SO would be to uncase a considerable part of the deceitfulness of sin, and the stratagems of Satan. I shall, therefore, content myself with the discovery of some few grounds, that are more obvious and apparent.
1. The HARSHNESS AND DIFFICULTY OF A THOROUGH MORTIFICATION deters many from going to the bottom of it.
If lust will take pet, and die of spite and sullenness, for a few sharp words spoken against it, or for a few hard thoughts conceived of it; then, indeed, the professors of our age are generally very mortified Christians. But, when we tell them that corruption is both tenacious and powerful, and must be dealt roughly with as a stubborn enemy; that it will cost much sweat and blood, many sad thoughts, many bittef conflicts and agonies of soul to subdue it; this frights them from so hot a service: it is a hard saying, and they cannot bear it. What saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 9, 26, 27? So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I beat down my body, for so the word signifies, and bring it into subjection. But is there any such hardship in this? would any man be frighted with the difficulty of such a combat, wherein he may beat down his enemy, and yet suffer nothing from him? were it no more but to beat it down, trample upon it, and triumph over it, who would ever detract this spiritual warfare? See 2 Cor. xii. 7. There was sent me....a messenger of Satan, to buffet me. Paul beats down his body, and the messenger of Satan buffets him: he and his corruption are already at blows, and the contest grows sharp between them. Heb. xii. 4. The Apostle speaks of resisting unto blood, in striving against sin. Striving against sin and mortifying it, is not so trivial and easy a work, as the generality of professors make it: it will draw tears from the eyes, and groans from the heart. Our Saviour compares it (and indeed the comparison is drawn home) to plucking out the right-eye, and cutting off the right-hand: Matt. v. 29, 30.
Now there are Two things, that make this exceeding difficult.
The Pain and Anguish: and the Unnatnralness of it.
And both these are suited to a double distemper too prevalent in the best Christians, whereby the work of mortification is rendered very hard and difficult: and they are,
A sinful Niceness, Tenderness, and Delicacy, utterly mis-
1. Christians, through a spiritual sloth, that hath seized upon