Imágenes de páginas

Death; for then, as Job speaks, the Servant is free from hit Master. , Job 3.19. So all spiritual Slavery and Thraldom to our ghostly Enemies is ended with this spiritual Death: He that is dead and buried with Christ by Baptism, is no more to lead or continue in any sinful Course, than a dead Man can live again his former Life. So St. Peter tells us, that as Christ suffer d in the Flesh for Sin, so we that suffer and are dead -with him are to cease from Sin, that we should no longer live the rest of our time in the Flefi, to the Lusts of Men, hut to the Will of God; i Pet.4. 1,2. By all which it manifestly appears, that as the Design of Christ's Death was to destroy Sin, so the End of our being baptiz'd into his Death, is to kill Sin in us, to take away the Power and Dominion of it, that it may no longer reign in our Bodies, or bring Damnation to the Soul. This is briefly our Conformity to Christ's Death, by dying unto Sin, for which he died, and burying our Iniquities in the fame Grave in which he was laid.

Secondly, As for our Conformity to Christ's Resurrection, and the End of that, both those consist in living unto God, ancLin walking before him in Newness of Life. The proving and clearing of this is indeed the main Design of the Epistle for this Day: for as the Belief of Christ's Death, into which we are baptiz'd, implies our being dead unto Sin, for which he died; so the Belief of his Resurrection, which is likewise declar'd and profess'd in Baptism, implies our living unto Righteousness, of which his rising again from the Dead was both a Sign and Seal. So the words already discours'd of, and those that follow, manifestly import. The Newness of Lise before mention'd, ver. 4. implies such a new regenerate Life, answerable to Christ's Resurrection, as consists in a Course of Sanctity and religious Walking with God. The being planted in the Likeness of his Resurrection, mention'd ver. 5. signifies our Obligation to imitate and answer that in the Fruits of a new and holy Life, of which his Resurrection was a lively Image or Resemblance: for as the Corruption of our Nature, that we receiv'd from Adam, is call'd the old Man, which we are requir'd to put off j so the Regeneration of it, that we have by Christ, is call'd the new Creature, which we are commanded to put on. As in Adam all die, both a natural and {piritual Death, so in Christ stjall all be made alive, by a Life of 6race here, and of Glory hereafter. This is the Apostle's

Reasoning Reasoning in the next words, Now if we be dead vritB Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him ; that is, i| we truly and sincerely perform our part in imitating of Christ's Death, by dying unto Sin, and transcribe his Refcrrection by rising to a new and holy Life, we shall together with hiui have a joyful Resurrection to eternal Life: if the Death of Christ have that good effect upon us, as to weaken the Strength, and extinguish the Life of Sin in ns, nothing can hinder us from living unto God here, and with him for ever hereafter.

But lest any should mistake here, and think that the leaving of Sin for a while would sufficiently answer the End of Christ's Death, or presume that a few Acts of a holy Life perform'd now and then, would intitle them to all the Benefits and Privileges of his Resurrection •, the Apostle would have them know other and better things; and to that end acquaints them in the next Verse, That , Christ being raiid from the Dead, dieth no more; Death hath no more Dominion over him: meaning, that the-Gopy of Christ's Death, which we are to follow and write after, teaches us so to die unto Sin, as to live no longer therein, nor to softer any Sin to have any more Dominion over us; and the Copy of his Resurrection, which we are to transcribe and imitate, directs us so to lead a Life of Grace, as not to come under the Power of spiritual Death any more : for in that he dy'dr he dy'd unto Sin once but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. The Sense whereof is, that when Christ dy'd for our Sin, he did it but once for all, and never underwent that Death again,: Even so we who are baptiz'd into his Death, should bid a total and final Adieu to all Sin, and never more be brought into Bondage to any. But when he rose from the Dead, he rose not to one single Act of Life and no more, or so as ta live a while, and then to cease from it again ; but he rose to an eternal, immortal, endless Life, that fadeth not away: so our rising with Christ, and living unto God, betoken? our rising to a spiritual Life of Grace, that never ends, but flows into an eternal Life of Glory, persevering here in alt vertuous and godly Living, according to the Precept and Example of our Saviour Cjwift, who rose again never to die more, on purpose to qukken us to everlasting Life. In short, the Example of Christ's Death and Resurrection, to which we arehere bid to conform, teaches us two very excellent and useful Lessons.

1. That

r. That our dying unto, or forseking of Sin, must be total or univerfal, from all Sin, without allowing our selves in any. . '•

2. Thatour living unto Righteousness must be constant, and hold out to the end.:

r. rfty, our forfaking of Sin must be total and univerfal, extending to all Sin, without the least Indulgence to any. This was the end of Christ's Death, so to kilt alt Sin in us, that none might continue or revive in us any more: How shallwe that are dead to Sin (faith the Apostle)* live any longer therein? A dead Man, you Know, hath no Senfation or Perception of any thing •, and if we are-dead to all Sin, as Christ's Death teaches us to be, we (ball have no Motion or Inclination to any; There are some who can well enough dispense with this- or that Sin, which crosses net their Interest or Humour, but stick close to others, that better administer to their Lustsor Designs• , and' what they seem to take away from one Vice, they make up with advantage to another. The Apostle speaks of some who abhor'd Idols, but could greedily enough commit Sacrilege^ Rom. 2. and' we have known many; great Enemies indeed to Idolatry, who yet are well enough reconcil'd to Schism and Sacrilege. Such as these are not dead, but alive unto Sin, to which they most closely adhere ; and are not so much alive, as dead unto Righteousness, whose ways they utterly forsake. Such partial and nominal Christians, like those in the Church of Sardis, have a Name to live, but are indeed dead as to all the Purposes of a spiritual Life • , which will not permit in us the Love or Practice of any one known Sin, but lays the Axe to the very Root, and cuts down all the Branches of Iniquity. In a word, we are to imitate Christ's Death, by dying unto all Sin, not sparing. Agag, or any darling Impiety, but laying aside every Weight, and the Sin that dothso easily beset us.

2. Our living unto Righteousness must be constant, and persevering unto the end; not living to it a while, and then leaving it, but making it the Work and Business of our whole Life, and continuing faithful in it, even unto Death. There are some who seem zealous and good Christians, for a time, running with great Alacrity and Chearfulnels the Ways of God's Commandments• , but after a while flag, and tire, and forfake all: Te did run well (faith the Apostle to the Galatians) who did hinder you, that ye should not they the Truth? that is, ye began and set out well in your Christian Race, receiving the Gospel as it was preached,unto you, and so were in a good way of Faith, . and by it went happily forward towards the Mark of your high Calling in Christ Jesus; but you have falter'd since, and not continu'd on in that Course, and so have lost the Prize for not holding out to the end of the Race: And so shall we, too, js we persevere not, and keep not in it to the last. Tou [hall reap (faith St. Paul) a good Crop of Glory, if ye saint not; but if you give out and grow weary, ye shall reap only the fad Fruit of Shame and Confusion. In short, you must live on a Life of Grace to the end, if ever ye hope to arrive to a Life of Glory.

This is the Sense and Drift of the Epistle for this Day; which shews us how we are to imitate Christ's Death, by dying unto Sin, and likewise how we are to shew forth the Virtue of his Resurrection, by living unto Righteousness.

The, Application of the whole Discourse, the Apostle gives us in the last Verse of-the Epistle, saying. , Likewise reckon ye also your selves to be dead indeed unto Sin, but alive unto God, thro Jesttt Christ our Lord: that is, take this home to your selves, and count upon it, that by your Baptisin you are in a State of Death, as to all sinful Practices, never to love or live in such Courses any more j and that by Christ's Resurrection you are rais'd to a new State of Life, to be led in the Practice of Holiness and Vertue, which you are to live for ever, without ever returning again to any vile or vicious Courses. And this thro Jesus Christ our Lord^ that is, by the Aid and Assistance of his Holy Spirit, yfho is both the Author and Cherisher of this spiritual Life, from whom, as from the Root and Founda- . tion, all our Graces soring.

All that remains is, to exhort you to answer these two great Ends and Effects of Christ's Death and Resurrection, by a total abandoning of all kinds of Sin, and by a constant Practice of all sorts of Vertue. These are the two Parts of that Sanctification, which we have by Baptism , they are commonly exprefs'd by Mortification, which, is a, dying unto Sin ., and Vivification, which is a living unto Righteousness. These likewise are the two great Parts of Repentance, which is a turning from Sin unto God. They, are exprefs'd in Scripture, sometimes by eschewing Evil and' doing Good j sometimes by abhorring that which is Evil, and. cleaning to that which is Good j sometimes by denying Ungodli*. »eP

tiess and worldly Lusts, and living righteously, soberly, and godly in this present World: All which are but disferent Expressions of what we are call'd upon to do this day, namely to die unto Sin, and to live unto God.

Let this therefore be,henceforth our main Study and Exercise. To which end, let us often meditate on the Merits and Virtue of Christ's Death, and the Power of his Resurrection to work these things in us: the one to mortify and kill Sin in us, which is to put off the old Man; the other to quicken and enliven our Graces, which is to put on the new Man, that after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness. This is the great Work and Duty of Re

Eentance, to which we are lo often call'd, and encourag'd y many Promises; and the Neglect whereof is so severely threaten'd with many Punishments. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, faid. St. John, upon our Saviour's first Coming into the World; that being his main Design in it, to bless Mankind by turning them from their Iniqui'.ties. Repent, and be converted (faith St. Peter) that your Sins may be blotted.out, when the times of Refreshment shall come from the Presence of the Lord; Acts 3.19. that being the only means to procure our Pardon, and to gain Admission into the Presence of God. Except ye repent (faith our Saviour) ye shall all likewise perish; Luke 13. 5. All which are so many Warnings and - Exhortations to the . great Duty of this Day, viz.. to die unto Sin, and to live unto Righteousness. I shall conclude all with the following words of our Apostle, Let not Sin reign therefore in your mortal Bodies, that ye should obey it in the Lusts thereof; neither yield ye your Members as Instruments of Unrighteousness unto Sin, but yield your selves unto God as those that are alive from the Dead, and your Members as Instruments of Righteousness unto God: So shall you e'er long receive a Crown of Righteousness, which God the righteous Judg shall give you at the last Day: Which God grant, &c.;

« AnteriorContinuar »