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In prosecuting this subject:, through supernatural as* sinance, we shall observe the following method and order.
L VvTe wouM explain what is to be understood by flesh and blood; and not conserring with it.
II. We would consirm the truth of the doctrine by scripture-examples.
III. Give the reasons why we ought not to' consult with flesh and blood.
IV. Make application of the whole subject, in several uses.
I. We- would explain the doctrine, by enquiring,
1. What we are to understand by flesh and blocd.
2. What it is not to conser with flesti and blocd.
1st, We are to enquire what is understood by flesh and blood. In general, Man, who is flesh and blocd, 1s . here' principally intended; men, whether good or bad: the apostle consulted not with men, but gave himself up to God. More particularly, by flesti and blood we may understand carnal ease, carnal reason, carnal friends, and carnal counsels of spiritual triends.
1. By flesti and blood is meant carnal ease and interest'. Master, spare thyself; what need all this toil and trouble? is the language of easy nature. Paul, being now converted, and so in a happy state, having-his salvation secured, carnal ease' might say, What need you go and essay these travails, and encountersuch hardships, in propagating the gospel os Christ, andspreading the knowledge of his name? Nay, but Paul, having got Christ revealedin him, he would not consult with carnal ease: he would*now. spend and be spent fer Christ.
2. By flesh and -blood is u rid er stood carnal reason*. Paul was now divinely taught, as Peter was, of whom Christ' says, " Reih and blood hath not revealed 'these things, unto thee:" So Christ was revealed in Paul, not by flesh, and blood; that is, not by carnal reason, or natural understanding:- and-theresore he would not conser with
flashflesh and blood. We ought not to consult with carnal reason, in the matters of religion.
3. By flesh and blood is meant carnal friends: and by these I understand not only natural relations, as sather,- mother, brother and sifter, who, when loved anc! followed more than Christ, it is a consulting with flesh and blood ; and graceless relations, with whom our conserence and consultation cannot but be a conserring with flish and blood; but also all ungodly neighbours and acquaintances, whether blood-relations or not: to consult with them, or put any considence in them, is to consult with flesh and blood.
4. By flesh and blood, is meant even the carnal counsels, and carnal arguments of spiritual friends: for godly and pious friends may ofser ungodly and impious counsels; sucK as Peter to his mailer, when he would disfuade him from going up to Jerusalem to sufser: and Job's wise to her husband, when site said to him, " Curse God and die;" or, is it may be rendered, "Bless God an 1 die," it was an impious intention wherewith it was given. They that would not consult with blood, must not rest in the counsel of godly flesh and friends, or trust thereunto.
5. In a word, by flesh and blood we may understand all carnal considence whatsoever, whether from without or from within; in others, or in ourselves: for, while we have any considenece in the flesh, in our own or others natural wisdom, righteousness, or strength, we so sar consult with flesh and blood. But this leads me to consider,
2dly, What is to be understood by not conserring with flesh and blood. We snail lay down what we take to be the import thereof, in the following particulars.
1. Not conserring with flesh and blood, imports a shunning their company, in a manner. When we would not conser with a man, then we shun his company; we resuse to converse with him: so, when we conser not with flesh and blood, we resuse, in a manner, the company of such ill guests. The man that consers- not with flefli and blood, in the matters of Gcd, he lets in
to to his company the wondersul Counsellor for his guest, to converse withal; and sluits all carnal counsellors to the door. The man that will not conser with flesh and blood, he avoids the salutations thereof, and stiuns conversation therewith.
2. Not conserring with flesh and blood, imports a not giving ear thereunto. When a person will not conser with one, is he tannot get his company altogether avoided, yet he will stop his e3r, that he may not'hear what he says: so, is flesh and blood will be in to our company, not to conser therewith is to give a deaf ear to the suggestions of carnal reason, in the matters of God, and religion, and conscience. Shut the door against all carnal counsel.
3. Not conserring with flesh and blood, imports, not taking their advice,,nor regarding their solicitations, but rejecting their motions. If flesh and blood will be in with a word, and that we cannot get our ear siopt so fast but that we must hear what it says; then, is it will be heard, yet it must not be regarded. It is vastly dangerous to hear, and much more to join with carnal counsellors, as Jacob of Simeon and Levi; " O my foul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united," Gen. xlix. 6.
4. Not conserring with flesh and blood, imports, a not following the dictates thereof. It may he, that, through the prevalence of corruption, even in the godly, flesh and blood, and carnal counsellors, are let in to their company; and, when once admitted, they are heard; and, when heard, they are too much regarded: but here, at least, they are to Hop; in regard they have gone too sar; for, there wants nothing, in that case, but a putting the carnal counsel into execution: and theresore, they are to go back all the steps, by which they have gone forward, in this course; and to beware of walking in the counsel of flesh and blood, or practising according to the advice thereof. If we walk in the counsel of the ungodly, we are in danger of standing in the way of sinners: is we stand in the way of sinners, we are next in danger of sitting in the seat of the scornsul, as you have it, Pfal. i. 1. If flesh and blood will be in with its word, yet it must not be heard; is heard, yet it must not be regarded; is regarded, its advice mull not be followed, otherwise we Conser'with flesh 'and blood.
5. In a word, not to conser with 'flesh and blood, is not only to reject conserence and consultation therewith, but to receive other counsellors, and'embrace better counsel than flesh and blood can give; and particularly, to consult with the oracles of the living God, ahtl follow the conduct of his word and Spirit.
II. We are next to consirm the truth of the doctrine, tya sew scripture-examples, that we are not to Consult with flesh and blood, in the matters of God and conscience. You may observe these four excellent examples in this matter.
1. To begin with the example of Christ, the great pattern of our imitation, in all his imitable persections. When Peter came in with his carnal counsel, after Christ 'had been fortelling his death and sufserings, Peter began, 'forsooth, to rebuke him, saying, "Be it sar from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee," Matthew xvi. 22. What! wilt thou sufser such indignity? There was the language of flesh and blood. But, how doth Christ entertain it? He turneth himself to Peter, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but
those that be of men." So, when flesh and blood
comes in with its solicitations, we ought to banish the same with a Get thee behind me, Satan.
2. We have the example of Abraham, when he went out of his own country at the commandment of God, not knowing whither he went, Heb. xi. 8. and so not confulting with flesh and blood: yea, when God called .him to offer up his fan, his only son Isaac, flesh and blood might have objected a thousand things: that he was the child of the promise: nay, that his offering Isaac would contradict the command of God; "Thou shalt not kill:" and contradict the promise of God, That in Isaac should his seed be called: that it would contradict the rule of natural affection. Yea, but Abraham consulted fuited not-with flcsli and blood; but by saith offered up Isaac, as it is said, Heb. xi. 17. As little did he consult with stesh and blood, when he took God's word, and trusted in him, with relation to his having Isaac, when both his body and Sarah's was dead.
3. We have the example of Moses, of whom it is faid, Heb. xi. 24,—27. "By saith Moses resused to be called the son os Pnaraoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer asfl'clion with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," &c. Is he had conserred with flesh and blood, he had rather chosen to dwell at ease in Pharaoh's court, and enjoy all the pleasures and treasures thereof: but he had Teamed, not to conser with flesh and blood.
4. We have the example of Daniel, chap. iii. 15, 16, 17. when commanded to worship Nebuchadnezzar's gold image: is Daniel had consulted with flesh and blood, he would easily have complied with the courses of the times, and rather have worshipped the golden image, than have been cast into the siery surnace: for, flesh and blood would have told him, that it was better to be wife than too precise. Yea, but he and his companions could not be persuaded to a little outward obedience; for, they consulted not with flesh and blood, but consulted with God, saying, "We are noE caresul to answer thee, O king, in this matter; for, the God whom we serve, is able to save us." Yea, so sar from consulting with fleflt and blood was he and they, that they would not desile themselves with a portion of the king's meat, Dan. i. 8.; nor with the wine which he drank. Flesh and blood would have told him, that there was no harm in meat; that it was a thing indifferent: but they were under another .influence and conduct, than that of flesh and blood. Yea, so obstinate was Daniel from consulting with flesh and blood, that notwithstanding the conspiracy of the nobles against him, because of his devotion towards his God, and their obtaining a decree of casting all into the lion's den that should, for thirty days, worship any other, or ask any petition of another, except os Dariua, Daniel went more openly and worshipped his God than
V01. II. f N ever,