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. SERMON XVI...
GALATIANS, V. 24.
And they that are Christ's bave crucified the
flesh, with the affections and lufts. -?
TO man, who hath experienced the deIV ceitfulnefs of his own heart, will think the subject of this text improper for the prefent occasion *. It is true, this day is set apart for thanksgiving; and with the highest pleasure would I enter on the delightful theme of divine love and condescension, which shall employ the praises of the redeemed through endless ages. But a solicitous concern, that your joy may be well founded, hath induced me to propose to you a strict examination of
* Preached on a Day of Thanksgiving, after the difpensation of the Lord's Supper.
yourselves, whether you have indeed an interest in him, through whom all favour and good will to sinners is conveyed. The text furnisheth us with an infallible rule to direct our judgment in this inquiry." They that “ are Christ's,” not all who are called by his name, but they who are united to him, as the branches are united to the vine, who are 'governed by his Spirit, and have a right to the benefits of his purchase, are diftinguished by this attainment. They have crucified the “ Aesh, with the affections and lufts.” • In discoursing on these words, I propose,
First, To show what is meant by crucifying the flesh, with the affe&ions and lufts.
Secondly, To show, that it is the distinguishing character, and the real attainment of all who are Christ's, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. And then to conclude with an improvement suited to the oco casion of our prefent meeting.
ag. , .
I begin with inquiring what is meant by "crucifying the flesh, with the affections and “lufts.” By “the flesh,” we are to understand the corrupt nature of man; and by “the
: " affections
ter of a true Christian. He is one who, by the grace of God, hath obtained the victory over his corrupt appetites and inclinations. He is in a great measure rescued from the ruins of the fall, and is no longer a servant of sin, that he should obey it in the lufts thereof. “ He hath put off, concerning the former “ conversation, the old man, which is corrupt « according to the deceitful lufts; and being “ renewed in the spirit of his mind, hath put
" on the new man, which after God is crea:“ ted in righteousness and true holiness.”
“ The law of the Spirit of life, which is in “ Christ Jesus, hath made him free from the “ law of sin and death.” Conscience, long dethroned by imperious passions, hath reaffumed its authority; and all the faculties of his mind purified and exalted, unite in the pursuit of spiritual enjoyments...
And now, my brethren, let me entreat you to stop your ears for a little against the fuggestions of self-love, and let conscience bear testimony, whether you have indeed a claim to this character. Alas ! if you have no claim to it, this can be no day of thanksgiving to you. If you have adventured to approach
the table of the Lord with all your unmortified lusts about you, ye have been guilty of the body and blood of Christ; ye have fealed the sentence of your own condemnation ; and lamentation becomes you better than the voice of praise. You may, perhaps, complain of this as a severe and heavy message ; but dare any of you say that it is a message without a warrant ? Shall I speak peace to those to whom God hath not spoken peace? Shall I foothe 'you with false comforts, which might lead you down to the grave with a lie in your right hand ? No; I remember too well the wo pronounced against the prophet " who *" dealeth falsely, and healeth the wound of ““ the daughter of God's people slightly." I should not wish to be an eternal subject of imprecation to hopeless fouls, which I should well deserve to be, if I spoke any other language to you than what I now speak."
But you have as yet no cause to complain : I have indeed set before you the danger, but I. have not said you must despair. On the contrary, my only object is to prevent your everlasting despair, by awakening your fears ere it be too late, and the door of mercy be shut as - VOL. III. Аа
gainst you. That door is still open, and the call is yet, “ To-day hear his voice.” ( then harden not your hearts against convi&tion. Decline not an impartial scrutiny into your real state. Let this passage of Scripture inform you, whether you indeed belong to Christ. If you do possess the marks of those who are his, take the comfort of your sincerity, and give God the glory. But if the issue of the inquiry should turn out otherwise, O beware of resting in this dreadful condition. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eye-lids, till you have secured an interest in that blood of fprinkling which cleanseth from all fin.
Need I enter on a detail of those lusts and affections which flow from a corrupt and depraved principle within ? “ The works of the “ flesh,” saith the Apostle, at the 19th verse of this chapter, “ are manifeft; which are “ these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, 6. lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, “ variance, ' emulations, wrath, strife, fedi“ tions, heresies, envyings, murders, drun“ kenness, revellings, and such like ; of the “ which I tell you before, as I have also told