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ever, in the view of his very enemies.— Flesh and blood would have to d him, that he might have dispensed with a little ceremony of opening windows, and exposing him to danger that way; nay, but he consulted not with fleih aud blood.
III. We now proceed* to assign the reasons, why we must not consult with flesh and blood. We shall only condescend on the four following.
1. Because flesh and blood are utterly unable to give advice, in the matters of God. Fitsh and blood could not'so much as tell how a man might be born again; ,pr regenerated, uinless he should go into his mother's womb again; as you see in the instance of Nicodemus, a learned man, a ruler of the Jews, and a master In Israel, John iii. i,—4. Yea, when it was explained 111 part to him, it was impossible for flesh and bleed to understand it, as he himself conlcssvd; "How can these things be ?" John iii. 9. Flesh and blooJ are altogether unable to give advice in the matters of God.
2. Because . flesh and blood are unwilling to. give advice in the matters of religion; for, they are in a constant rebellion against God and godliness; "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these two are contrary the one to the other," Gal. v. 17. Yea, flesti and blood are enmity against God: "—Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are after the flesh, cannot please God," Rom. viii. 7, 8. Hence,
Because flesh and blood are unsit ft r giving advice in the matters of God, and conscience, and religion: is they be unable and unwilling, surely they are unssit to .be consulted with. It is a folly to consult with them; for, their counsel is like that of Ahitho,phel, that will be turned to foolishness. Flesh and blood will be sure to give us wrong advice, and bad counsel in the matters of God. Is it sit, in the matters of God, to consult the enemies of God? No; for, "What sellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And t . .. , what what communion hath light with darkness? What concord hath Cliritt with Belial? Or what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15, 16. Again,
4. Because it is dangerous to consult with flesh and blood. It is very dangerous, in several respects; particular!)' in the four following ones.
(1.) It is dangerous, because tLsh and blood will hinder us from duty, is we conser with them. What hindered thofe that were bidden to the gospel-seast? Wny, one consulted with his Farm, another with his Merchandise; and so they made light os the invitation, by consulting with fLsh and blood, and advising with carnal reason, and carnal ease, Matth. xxii. 5. Whnt hindered the rulers that believed in Christ from consess ig him? John xii. 42, 43. Even sear, "Lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for, they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." They consulted with flesh and blood.
(2.) It is dangerous, because is we consult with flesti and blood, it will not only hinder ns from entering upon a prosession of Christ, and so lead us to the omission of duty, but also will make us venture upon those things, which God hath expresty discharged, and commanded that we should not do: So Saul, when he went to destroy the Amalekites, he had an express command to spare nothing, iSam.'xv. 3. But Saul consulted with flesti and blood; "He spared Agag, and some of the best of the cattle." What might flesh and blood say to Saul? O, I/may be in the like case; and he that shews no mercy, shall have no mercy shewn him; so he spared him. And he also consulted with flesh and blood concerning the cattle, and 'sheep, and oxen: carnal reason told him, they would serve for burnt-offerings, ver. 15. But Samuel told Saul afterwards, " That obedience was better than sacrisice; and to hearken, than the sat of rams," ver. 22. It was consulting with siesti and blood that caused Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit: "She saw it was sair to the eye, and meat to be desired," Gen. iii. 6.
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(3.) It is dangerous, because is we consult with flesh, and blood, it will hinder us from susfering, in the cause of God. The apostles rejoiced in this, That they were counted worthy to susLr ihame for his name, Acts v. 41. Tney counted it a great honour. It is a gist of God, ,when it is given, not only to brlieve, but to suffer for his name. Had Paul consulted with flesh and blood, he would never have been willing to die for Christ's fake, as Acts xxi. 11. 13. "What mean ye to weep, and to break mine heart? I am ready, not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus." Flesh and blood, inliead of suffering for Christ, will tell a man to persecute the cause of Christ, and the followers of Christ, against knowledge and conscience, is he consult his own carnal ease, interest, credit, and honour in the world. , (4.) It is dangerous, because is we consult with flesh ,and blood, it sends a man at last to consult with the Devil, and to take advice of hell, as you see in the case ,of Saul, 1 Sam. xxviii. 7. " Seek me a woman that hath a samiliar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her." Thus he consulted with the witch of Endor. Having so long consulted with flesh and blood, he at last sought to the Devil himself, to consult with. If we* still ,consult with flesh and blood, who are the Devil's friends and savourites, we are in danger of consulting next with the Devil himself.
IV. We come now to the Application of the subject, which we stiall essay in an Use of Information, Caution, Reprehension, Dehortation, and Direction.
1st, Let us then improve the Doctrine, in an Use of Information. Hence we may see,
I. What advice it is, that the wicked of the world <3o follow; and what is the counsel that doth destroy them, and miflead them. Why, they are wholly under the conduct and counsel of flesh and blood; they have a daily conserence stated with carnal ease, carnal reason: and the conserence is held in the heart; and at this council. Satan presides; he works in the children of disobedience. And what can be expected, as the result of
fuch a black and hellish consultation: For, at this council, iniquity is eilablished by a law; and no acts passed, but acts of rebellion and hostility against heaven. Indeed, the wicked world listen to no solicitations, no arguments, but what are drawn from stem and blood: And hence, in a suitableness to the dictates of carnal inclination, some are hotly pursuing their pleasures, some their prosits, some their honour: The voluptuous man, his pleasure, his cups, and queans; the covetous man, his prosits, his worldly gains; the ambitious man, his honour, his credit and grandeur.—Whence is it that all manner of wickedness, prosanity, and carnality abound? Why, the world are all busy conserring with flesh and blood: this is the principle that sways them; hence so wearied in duty, secret, private, and public.
2. See wherein it is, that the immortal soul, and its everlasting concerns, are so much slighted and neglected by the world, while the body, and outward things, draw away all the concern alter them; why, it is because men consult with flesh and blood; they consult their carnal ease and outward conveniency; but do not consult their soul's everlasting welsare. Flesh and blood goes no higher than itself, and takes no notice of the soul; or, is it doth, if provides no better for the soul than for the body, like the fool in the gospel, who thought his soul might be happy with sull barns '> "—Soul, take thy rest, thou hast goods laid up for many years." Alas! short-lived happiness for an immortal soul; "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee."
3, Hence see the root of superstition and will-worfliip; it flows from conserring with flesti and blood; which hating the spirituality of worship, is most taken up with carnal ordinances and human inventions, and uninstituted ceremonies: " In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'* It is too remarkable, that the more carnal that the generation is growing, the more is abjured ceremonies creeping in among us, and the less testisying against the same; though yet it be "A burden, which neither we cor our sathers were able to bear," as the Apostle say?,
N 3 Acts Acts xv. 10. "Why tempt ye God to put a yoke V— The Apostle there speaks of a yoke of ceremonies, once enjoined of God himself, that now being abolished, it was a tempting of God; much more is the yoke of ceremonies that never were enjoined. But while we consult with flesh and blood, we tamely submit to the yoke of carnal ordinances, as they are called, Heb. ix. 10.; and while the spirituality of worship is neglected and detested, and the internal glory of ordinances is out of sight.
4. See what is the spring of all corruption in the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the house of God: it will bs found that consulting with fbsh and blood, in the matters of religion, is at the bottom thereof.
(r.) Whence is it that the doctrines of the gospel have been so much corrupted? It is jull from carnal reason, and consulting with that rather than with the word: We err, no: knowing the Scriptures, not con, serring with the Scriptures: Or, is men conser with the Scriptures, and consult the word, it is not with the word and the Spirit together; but it is with the word and their own spirit, their own carnal sentiments :—1 Hence so many carnal interpretations of the Scripture, and carnal glosses upon the word, suiting the natural apprehensions of men concerning the Law, as is it was lull standing in force, as a covenant, against believers, as well as unbelievers; or, as is personal obedience thereto, were the way to eternal lise, while yet the Scripture testissies of Christ, as the only way to lise; and our obedience now, when evangelical, as being only the necessary fruit and evidence of union to him. }'ride of reason, founds Sacinianilm; pride of the will, Arminianism; pride of self-righteousness, Neonomianil'm.—How is the doctrine of Justisication and Sanctilication confounded *, by mens conserring with flesh and blood? Carnal reason suggesting, that God will not justisy us, but upon some worthy consideration,
* Tiie ditference between Justisication and Sanctisicatinn, is clearly fluted by our Author. See the pa^e in the beginning of Vol. II.