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it in favour of his first disciples, 'when his church was yet in its infant state, and therefore stood in need of greater indulgence. But these seemingly hard sayings express the true spirit of Christianity, and afford the most convincing proof of its divine original. Man fell by seeking himself, and must therefore be raised in the way of self-denial. He forfeited his innocence and happiness by hearkening to the solicitation of a fleshly appetite ; and, be.fore he can regain happiness, the flesh must be crucified, with the affections and lufts.
Accordingly, we find that our Saviour's : : meaning was well understood by his immedir ate followers; and their practice is the best commentary on his injunctions. What he recommended, they laboured to attain. Thus : Paul writes to the Corinthians, .“ I keep un“ der my body, and bring it into subjection, « left when I have preached to others, I my: “ self should be a cast-away." The remainders of corruption within him, made him cry out with all the emphasis of distress, “O « wretched man that I am, who shall deliver “ me from the body of this death.” Nay, se sensible was he of the importance and neceffi
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ty of this deliverance, that, as he expresseth it himself, “He counted all things but lofs and « dung ;" first, “ That he might win Chrift, " and be found in him, not having his own “ righteousness, but that which is through “ the faith of Christ, the righteousness which c. is of God by faith.” And next, “ That he “ might know Christ” experimentally, “and " the power of his resurrection, and the fel“ lowship of his sufferings, being made con« formable unto his death.” Nor was this only his wish; we find also that it was his real attainment. “I am crucified,” says he, “ with Christ : nevertheless, I live ; yet. not “ I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life “ which I now live in the flesh, I live by the « faith of the Son of God, who loved me, “ and gave himself for me.” And “ God “ forbid that I should glory, save in the cross « of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the “ world is crucified unto me, and I unto the « world.” Neither was Paul singular in this. It appears to have been the common attainment of all true Chriftians in his time. For it is spoken of in my text as the badge of Christianity, the verything which distinguished
Christians from all other men. “ They that
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with “ the affections and lusts.” I have given a recital of these passages of Scripture, as they ferve to explain one another : and I hope that when they are compared together, and duly: considered, they will appear to be a fufficient demonstration, that none whose flesh is not crucified, with its affections and lusts, can, with a Scriptural warrant, lay claim to an interest in Christ.
Thus I have endeavoured to explain what is meant by “ crucifying the flesh, with the “ affections and lufts;" and have ihown you, that this is the actual attainment of every true Christian. Allow me now to conclude this discourse with a practical improvement of the subject. From what hath been faid, then, we learn, in the ; · Ift place, What is the true nature of our holy religion. It is not a mere bodily exerçise, consisting only in external ceremonies or observances.. Earthly rulers can ask no more but an outward homage : but the Searcher of hearts challengeth the sincere adoration of the inner man : he who is a Spirit, must be wor
shipped in spirit and in truth. So that to attend the church, to partake of religious ordinances, and to perform the external duties of religion, will be of no avail in the light of God, unless these outward services praceed from a heart warmed with his love, in which every usurping lust, that would share his place, ís, vanquished and dethroned. To be a real Christian, therefore, is not so easy an attainment as many seem to imagine. Flesh and blood must be wrestled with, and overcome ; “ for flesh and blood cannot inherit the king“ dom of heaven.” Every gratification that is contrary to the holiness of the divine nature, although dear to us as a right hand or a right eye, must be denied. Nay, the very inclination to vicious indulgences must be subdued, otherwise our abstaining from the, outward acts of them will be of. no avail. It is the heart that God requires; and if we deny him this, we can give him nothing that is worthy of his acceptance.
An inoffensive outward deportment may footh your consciences, and prevent the uneasy feelings of remorse, but will not save you from final ruin. The very interests of the
flesh may make a man forbeár disgraceful fins, and may, for a time, chain up, without weakening the vigour of corruption. You may be poilelled of many amiable qualities, by which you deserve well of society, and yet be total strangers to that character of real Christians which is given in this text. If temporary good impressions, or restraints of the flesh for a season, would amount to that character, then Felix, who trembled under conviction, and Herod, who did many things
in consequence of the Baptist's preaching, had · been real Christians. If the estimable quali
ties of focial life were a proof that Christianity had its full effe& on the mind, then the young ruler, who had kept the second table of the law from his youth upwards, would have had an unreserved approbation from our Lord. But Felis and Herod relapsed under the dominion of their lufts; and, through the love of this world, the young ruler fell short of the kingdom of heaven. - In the
2d place, From what hath been said, let each of us be prevailed on to try how matters stand with himself. You see that it is not a point to be lightly taken for granted, that a