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searful expectations of things to come, are the gnawings and bkings of the worm of conscience, at every bite whereof, damned fouls give a dreadful thrick; crying out, O the worm! the worm! Would any man, that is not forsaken by reason, run the hazard of those eternal miseries, for the brutish pleasures of a moment?
Meditation 6. Bethink yourselves what inexcusable hypocrisy it will be in you, to indulge yourselves in the private satisfaction of your lusts, under a contrary prosession of religion : yon are a people that prosess holiness, and prosessedly own yourselves to be under the government and dominion of Christ: and must the wofthy name of Christ he only used to cloak and cover your lo/te and corruptions, which are so hateful to him? God forbid. You daily pray against sin, yon consess it to God, you bewail it, you pour oat supplications for pardoning and preventing grace; are you in jest or earnest, in these solemn duties of religion? Certainly, if all those duties produce no mortification, you do but flatter God with your lips, and put a dreadful cheat upon your own fouls. Nay do you not frequently censure and condemn those things in others, and dare you allow them in yourselves? What horrid hypocrisy is this? Christians are dead to fin, Rom. vi. 2. dead to it by prosession, dead to it by obligation, dead to it by relation to Christ, who died for them; and bow (hall they, that are so many ways dead to sin, live any longer therein? O think not that God hates fin the less in yon, because you are his people *, nay, that very consideration aggravates it the more, Amos iii. 2.
Meditation 7. Consider with yourselves what hard things some Christians have chosen, to endure and sufser, rather than they would defile themselves with guilt; and (hall every small temptation ensnare and take your souls? Read over the xi. chapter to the Hebrews, and see what the saints have endured to escape sin; no torments were ib terrible to them, as the displeasure of God, and woundings of conscience; and did God oblige them more by his grace and favour, than he hath obliged you? O Christians, how can you, that have found such mercies, mercies as free, pardons as full as ever any souls found, show iess care, sese sear, less tenderness of grieving the Spirit of God than others havte done; certainly, if you did see fin with the fame eyes they saw it, you would hate it as 'deeply, watch against it as
♦The very faults and fins of the faithful are the objects of God's hatred and drspleasure, but this is merely a hitred of their sic, not of thew p»rs«BS. Dave/i, enCel. i. fev
Carefully, and resist it as vigorously as any of the saints have doo& before you.
Meditation 8. Consider with yourselves what sweet pleasure* rational and solid comfort is to be found in the mortisication of fin: It is not the fulfilling of your lusts can give you the thousandth part of that comfort, and contentment that the resistance of them, and victory over them will give you. Who can express the comfort that is to be found iu the chearing testimony of an acquitting, and absolving conscience? 2 Cor. i. 12. Remember what satissaction and peace it was to Hezekiah upon his supposed death-bead, when he turned to the wall, and said, "Re"member, now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked "before thee in truth, and with a persect heart; and have done "that which is good in thy sight," Isa. xxxviii. 3.
Fourth use, for examination.
In the next place, this point naturally puts us upon the examination, and trial of our own hearts, whether we, who so confidently claim a special interest in Christ, have crucified the flesh with its affections and lulls. And because two sorts of persons will be concerned in this trial, viz. the weaker, and the stronger Christians; I shall therefore lay down two sorts of evidences of mortification, one respecting the sincerity, and truth, the other respecting the strength, and progress of that work in confirmed and grown Christians, and both excluding salse pretenders.
First, There are some things that are evidential of the truth and sincerity of mortification, even in the. weakest Christians: as,
. First, True tenderness of conscience in all known sins, one as well as another, is a good sign sin hath lost its dominion in the soul. O it is a special mercy to have a heart that shall smite and reprove us for those things that others make nothing of: To check, and admonish us for our secret sins, which can uever turn to our reproach among men: this is a good sign that we bate sin: However, through the weakness of the flesh we may be ensnared by it. Rom. vii. 15. " What I hate, that I do."
Secondly, The sincere and earnest desires of our souls to God in prayer for heart-purging, and sin-mortifying grace, is a good sign our souls have no love for sip. Canst thou say, poor believer, in the truth of thy heart; that if God would give thee thy choice, it would please thee better to have sin cast out, than to have the world cast in; that thy heart is not so earnest with God for daily bread, as it is for heart-purging grace? This is a comfortable evidence that sin is nailed to the cross of Christ.
Thirdly, Do you make conscience of guarding against the occasions of fin? Do you keep a daily watch over your hearts and senses, according to 1 John v. 18. Job xxxi. 1. This speaks a true design and purpose of mortification also.
Fourthly, Do you rejoice, and blei's God from your hearts, when the providence of God orders any means for the prevention of fin? Thus did David, 1 Sam. xxv. 33. "And David "said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which seut "thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy advice, and blef"sed be thou which hast kept me this day from coming to "shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand."
Fisthly, In a word, though the thoughts of death may be terrible in themselves, yet if the expectation, and hope of your deliverance from sin thereby, do sweeten the thoughts of it to your fouls, it will turn unto you for a testimony, that you are not the servants and friends of sin. And so much briefly of the first sort of evidences.
Secondly, There are other signs, of a more deep and thorough mortification of sin, in more grown and confirmed believers, and such are these.
First, The more submissive and quiet any man is under the will of God, in smart and afflicting providences', the more thac man's heart is mortified unto sin, Psal. cxix. 67, 71. Col. i. 11.
Secondly, The more able awy one is to bear the reproaches, and rebukes of his sin, the more mortification there is in that man, Psal. cxli. 5.
Thirdly, The more easily any man can resign, and give up his dearest earthly comforts, at the call and command of God, the more progress that man hath made in the work of mortification, Heb. xi. 17. 2 Sam. xv. 25.
Fourthly, The more power any man hash to resist sin in the first motions of it, and stifle it in the birth; the greater degree of mortification that man hath attained, Rom.vii. 23, 24.
Fisthly, If great changes, upon our outward condition, make no change for the worse upon our spirits, but we can bear pros* perous, and adverse providences with an equal mind; then mortification is advanced sar in our fouls, Phil. iv. 1 t, 12.
Sixthly, The more fixed, and steady our hearts are with God in duty, and the less they are insested with wandering thoughts, and earthly interpositions; the more mortification there is in that soul. And so much briefly Gf the evidences of mortification.
Vol. III. C
Fifth use, for consolation.
It only remains, that I (hut up all with a sew words of consolation unto all that are under the mortifying influence of the Spirit. Much might be said for the comfort of such. In brief,
First, Mortified fin shall never be your ruin: 'Tis only reigning fin that is ruining fin, Rom. viii. 13. Mortified iins, and pardoned sins, (hall never lie down with us in the dust.
Secondly, If sin be dying, your fouls are living; for dying unto fin, and iiving unto God, are inseparably connected, Rom. vi. ir.
Thirdly, If sin be dying in you, it is certain that Christ died 11 for you, and you cannot desire a better evidence of it, Rom. vi. 5, 6. "."
Fourthly, If sin be dying under the mortifying influences of the Spirit, and it be your daily labour to resist and overcome it, you are then iu the direct way to heaven, and eternal salvation; which sew, very sew in the world shall find, Luke xiii. 24.
Fifth/y, To (hut up all, if you, through the Spirit, be daily mortifying the deeds of the body, then the death of Christ is effectually applied by the Spirit unto your fouls, and your interest in him is unquestionable: For they that are Christ's have crucified the flish with the affections and lusts, and they that have so crucified the flesh with its affections and lustr„ are Christ's.
Blessed he Cod for a crucisied Christ.
S ER M O N XXIX.
Of the Imitation of Christ, in holiness of Life, and the necessity of it in all Believers.
I John ii. 6. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also . so to walk, even as he walked.
TH E express, and principal design of the apostle in this chapter, is to propound marks and signs, both negative sod poftive, for the trial and examination of men's claims to Christ; amongst which (not to spend tkne abput the coherence) my text is a principal one; a trial ofmens interest in Christ, by their imitation of Christ. It is supposed by some expositors, that the apostle, in laying down this mark, had a special design to ovctthrow the wicked doctrine of the Carpocratians, who taught (as Epiphanius relates it) that men might have as much communion with God in sin, as in duty. In full opposition to which the apostle lays down this proposition, wherein he asserts the necessity of a Christ-like conversation, in all that claim union with htm, or interest in him. The words resolve themselves ifito two parts, viz.
1. A claim to Christ supposed.
2. The only way to have our claim warranted.
First, We have here a claim to Christ supposed; " if any man "say he abideth in him:" Abiding in Christ is an expression denoting proper, and real interest in Christ, and communion with him ; for it is put in opposition to those temporary, light, and transient efsects of the gospel, which are called a morning dew, or an early cloud; such a receiving of Christ as that, Mat. xiii. II. which is but a present stash, sudden and vanishing; abiding in Christ notes a solid, durable, and efsectual work of the Spirit, thoroughly and everlastingly joiqing the soul to Christ. Now, if any man, whosoever he be (for this indefinite is equivalent to au universal term) let him never think his claim to be good, and valid, except he take this course to adjust it.
(2.) Secondly, The only way to have this claim warranted, and that must be by so walking even as he -walked; which words carry in them the necessity of our imitation of Christ. But it is not to be understood indefinitely, and universally of all the works or actions-of Christ, some of which were extranrdinary and miraculous; some purely mediatory, and not imitable by us: In these paths no Christian can follow Christ; nor may so much as attempt to walk as he walked. But the words point at the ordinary, and imitable ways, and works of Christ; therein it must be the care of all to follow him, that prosess and claim interest in him; they must so walk as he walked, this [so] is a very bearing word in this place; the emphasis of the text seems to lie in it; however, certain it is that this so walking doth not imply an equality with Christ in holiness, and obedience; for as he was filled with the Spirit without measure, and anointed with that oil of gladness above his sellows, so the purity, holiness, and obedience of his lise are never to be matched, or equalized by any of the saints. But this so walking, only notes a sincere intention, design, and endeavour to imitate and follow him in all the paths of holiness, and obedience, according to the different measures of grace received. The lise of Christ is the believer's copy, and though the believer cannot ,