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is comforting and relieving. So it is said of Rachel, Jer. xxxf. 15. "Rachel weeping for her children, would not be comforted, "because they were not." So the Israelites hearkened not unto Moles, because of the anguish of spirit, and the cruel bondage, Exod. vi. 9. Thus we studiously rake together and. exasperate whatsoever is piercing, wounding, and overwhelming; and (hm our ears to all that is relieving and suporting, which is cruelty to our own bodies, and that which hath so far broken the health and strength of some bodies, that they are never like to be useful instruments to the soul any more in this world; such deep and desperate wounds have their own souls given them by immoderate grief, as will never be persectly healed, but by the resurrection. Of those wounds the body may fay, as it is Zech. xiii. 6. These are the wounds "with which I was wounded in the ." house (or by the hand) of my friend;" thus my own soul Jhath dealt cruelly and unmercifully with me.
Secondly, Others offend in the excess and extravagancy of their love to the body, and these are a hundred to one in number with those that sin in desect of love. My friends, upon 2 •due search, it will be found, that the love of our souls generally degenerates into fondness and folly: there is but little well-tempered and ordinary love found among men. We make fondlings, yea, we make idols of our bodies; we rob God, yea, our own souls, to give to the body. .It is not a natural and kindly heat of love, but a mere severiih heat, which preys upon the very spirits of religion, which is found with many of us-. The severish distemper may be discovered, by the beating of our pulse, in three,or four particulars.
(1.) This appears by our sinful indulgence to our whinning appetites. We give the flesh whatsoever it craves, and can deny it nothing it desires; pampering the body, to the great injury and hazard of the soul. Some have their conversation in the lusts of the flesh, as it is, Eph. ii. 3. trading only in those things that please and pamper the flesh: "They sow to the "flesh," Gal. vi. 8. i. e. all their studies and labours are but the sowing of the seeds of pleasure to the flesh. Not a handful of spiritual seed sown in prayer for the soul all the day long: what the body craves, the obsequious soul, like a flave, is at its beck to give it; Tit. iii. 3. "Serving divers lusts and pleasures;" attending to every knock and call, to fulfil the desires of the flesh, O how little do these men understand the lise of religion, or the great design of Christianity! which consists in mortifying, and not pampering and gratifying the body, Rom. xiv. *2, ?4; And according to that rule, all serious Christians or
der their bodies, giving them what is needful to keep them serviceable and useful to the soul, But not gratifying their irregular desires; giving what their wants, not what their wantonness calls for. So Paul, r^or. ix. 27. "I beat.it down, and "keep it under;" he understood it as his servant, not his master. He knew that Hagar would quickly perk up, and domineer over Sarah, expect more attendance than the foul, except it were kept under: these two verbs, vrcumaZu and h\xy«yu, are very emphatical; the former signifies to make it black and blue with bufseting, the other to bring it under by checks and rebukes, as masters that understand their place and authority use to do with insolent and wanton servants.
11 Was a rare expression of a Heathen, Major sum, et ad tnajora status, quam ut corporis mei sim manciptum I am greater, and born to greater things, than that I should be a stave to my body. And it was the saying of a pious divine, when he selt the flesh rebellious and.wanton, Egofaciam, aselle, ut ne calcitres; I will make thee, thou ass, that thou shalt not kick. I know the superstitious Papists place much of religion in these external things, but though they abuse them to an ill purpose, there is a necessary and lawful use of these abridgments and reilraints upon the body; and it will be impossible to mortify and starve our lusts without a due rigour and severity to our flesh. But how little arc many acquainted with these things? They deal with their bodies as David with Adonijah, of whom it is said, 1 Kings i. 6. His f&thec had not displeased him at any time, in saying, Why hast thou done so? And just so our flesh requites us, by its rebellions and treasons against the foul; it seeks the lise of the foul, which seeks nothing more than its content and pleasure: this is not ordinate love, but fondness and folly, and what we shall bitterly repent for at last.
(2.) It appears by our sparing and savouring of them, in the necessary uses and services we have for them in religion. Many will rather starve their fouls, than work and exercise their bodies, or disturb their fiuggish rest: thus the idle excuses and pretences of endangering our health, oftentimes put by the duties of religion, or at least lose the fittest and properest season for them: we are lazying upon our beds, when we should be wrestling upon our knees: the world is suffered to get the start of religion in the morning, and fo religion is never able to overtake it all the day long. This was none of David's course, he prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried, Psal. cxix. 147. and Psal. v. 3. " My voice shalt thou hear in the moruina, Vol. III. Hh
"O Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, "and will look up." And indeed we should consecrate unto God the freshest and fittest parts of our time, when our bodily senses are most vigorous; and we would do so, (except God by his providence disable us), were our hearts fully set for God, and religion lay with weight upon our spirits.
Some I consess, cannot receive this injunction, being naturally disabled by prevaiiing infirmities; but those that can, ought to do so. But O how many slothful excuses doth the flesh invent to put off duty! We shall injure our health, be. O the hypocrisy of such pleas! If profit or pleasure calls us up, we have no shifts, but can rise early, and sit up late.
0 friends, why hath God given you bodies, if not to wast* and wear them out in his service, and the service of yonr own souls! If your bodies must not be put to it, and exercised this way, where is the mercy of having a body? If a stately horse were given you on this condition, that you must not ride or work him, what benefit would such a gift be to you? Yonr bodies must and will wear out, and it is better to wear them with working, than with rusting: we are generally more solicitous to live long, than to live usefully and serviceably; and it may be our health had been more precious in the eyes of God, rf it had been less precious in our own eyes. It is just with God to destroy that health with diseases, which he fees we would cast away in flothfulness and idleness. Think with thyself, had such a soul as Timothy's or Gaius's been blest with such a body as thine, so strong and vigorous, so apt and able for service, they would have honoured God more in it in a day, than perhaps you do in a year. Certainly this is not love, but laziness; not a due improvement, but a sinful neglect and abuse of the body, to let it rust out into idleness, which might be employed so many ways for God, for your own and others fouls. Well, remember death will shortly dissolve them, and then they can be of no more use; and if you expect God should put glory and honour upon them at the resurrection, use them for God now, with a faithful self-denying diligence. . (3.) It appears by our cowardly shrinking from dangers that threaten them, when the glory of God, our own and others salvation, bid us expose and not regard them. Some there are, that rather than they will adventure their flesh to the rage of man, v/ill hazard their souls to the wrath of God *. They are
* Here the foul receives a deadly wound upon itself, to ward it off from the body. So did Spira.
too tender to suffer pain or restraint for Christ, but consider. not what sufferings are prepared for the searful and unbelieving in the world to come, Rev. xxi. 8. How many sad examples do the church-histories of antient and latter times afford us, of men, who consulting with flesh and blood in time of danger, hare, in pity to their bodies, ruined their fouls!
There be but sew like-minded with Paul, who set a low price upon his liberty or lise for Christ, Acts xx. 24. or with those worthy Jews, Dan. lit. 28. who yielded their bodies to preserve their consciences. Few of Chrysostom's mind, who told the empress, Nil nisi peccatum timeo, I sear nothing but sin; or of Basil's, who told the emperor, God threatned hell, whereas he threatned but a prison. That is a remarkable rule that Christ gives us, Mat. x. 28. The sum of it is, to set God against man, the soul against the body, and hell against temporal sufferings; and so surmounting these low fleshly considerations, to cleave to our duty in the sace of dangers. You read, Gal. i, 16. how in pursuit of duty, though surrounded with danger, Paul would not conser, or consult -with slesh and blood, i. e. asle its opinion which were best, or stay for its consent, till it were willing to suffer; he understood not that the flesh had any voice at the council-table in his foul, but willing or unwilling, if duty call for it, he was resolved to hazard it for God.
We have a great many little politicians among us, who think to husband their lives and liberties a great deal better than o« ther plain-hearted, and too forward Christians do: but these politics will be their perdition, and their craft will betray them to ruin. They will lose their lives by saving them, when others will save them by losing them, Matth. x. 39. For the interest of the body depends on, and follows the sasety of the soul, as the cabin doth the fhip.
O my friends, let me beg you not to love your bodies into hell, and your fouls too for their sakes: be not so scared at the sufferings of the body, as, with poor Spira, to dash them both against the wrath of the great and terrible God. Most of those souls.that are now in hell, are there upon the account of their indulgence to the flesh, they could not deny the flesh, and now are denied by God. They could not suffer from men, and now must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire,
(4.) In a word; it appears we love them fondly and irregularly, in that we cannot with any patience think of death and separation from them. How do some men fright at the very game of death1 And 00 arguments can persuade them seriously
to think of an unbodied, and separated state. It is as death to them, to bring their thoughts close to that ungratesul subject. A Christian that loves his body regularly and moderately, can lock into his own grave with a composed mind, and speak familiarly of it, as Job xvii. 14. And Peter speaks of the putting off of his body by death; as a man would of the putting off of. his cloaths at night, 2 Pet. i. 13, 14. And certainly such mem have a great advantage above all others, both as to the tranquillity of their lise and death. You know a parting time must come, and the more fond you are of them, the more bitter and doleful that time will be. Nothing, except the guilt and terrible charges of conscience, put men into terrors at death, more than our fondness of the body. I do consess, christless persons have a great deal of reason to be fhy of death; their dying day is their undoing day: but for Christians to startle and fright at it, is strange, considering how grest a friend death will be to them that are in Christ. What are yon afraid of? What, to go to Christ? to be freed of sin and affliction too soon? Certainly this hath not been so comfortable a habitation to you, that you should be loth to change it for a heavenly one. Use third, of exhortation.
To conclude; Seeing there is so strict a friendship and tender affection betwixt foul and body, let me persuade every soul of you to express your love to the body, by labouring to get union with Jesus Christ, and thereby to prevent the utter ruin of both to all eternity.
Souls, if you love yourselves, or the bodies you dwell in, shew it by your preventing care in season, lest they be cast away for ever. How can you say you love them, when you daily expose them to the everlasting wrath of God, by employing them as weapons of unrighteousness, to sight against him that formed them? You seed and pamper them on earth, you give them all the delight and pleasures you can procure for them in this world; but you take no care what shall become of them, nor your souls neither, after death hath separated them. Oh cruel souls! cruel, not to others, but to yourselves, and to your own flesh, which you pretend so much love to! Is this your love to your bodies Whar, to employ them in Satan's service on earth, and then to be cast as a prey to him for ever in hell? You think the jigour and mortification of the saints, their abstemiousness and; self-denial, their cares, sears, and diligence, to be too great severity to their bodies: but they know these are the most real evidences of their. true love to them; they love them too well tq tast them. away as ybii do.. ' Alas! your lo7e to the body dox\\