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er, or by stamping the merit and dignity of the blood of Christ upon its works and performances; it never makes the death of Christ a cloke to cover fin, but an instrument to destroy it. And whatsoever doctrine it is which nourishes the pride of nature, to the disparagement of grace, or encourages licentiousness and fleshly lust, is not the doctrine of Christ, but a spurious offspring begotten by Satan upon the corrupt nature of man.
Inter. 7. If mortification be the great business and character ot a Christian, Then that condition is most eligible and desireable by Christians, -which is least of all expofed to temptation, Pro/. xxx. 8. "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but seed "me with food convenient." That holy judicious man was Well aware of the danger lurking in both extremes, and how near they border upon deadly temptations, and approach the very precipiece of ruin, that stand upon either ground: sew Chiistians have any head strong and steady enough to stand upon the pinacle of wealth and honour; nor is it every one that can grapple with poverty and contempt. A mediocrity is the Christians best external security, and therefore most desirable: and and yet how.do the corruption, the pride and ignorance of our hearts grasp and covet that condition which only serves to warm and nourish our lusts, and make the work of mortification much more difficult i Tis well for us, that our wise Father leaves us not to our own choice, that he frequently dashes our earthly projects, and disappoints our fond expectations. If children were left to carve for themselves, how often would they cut their own fingers?
Infer. 8. If mortification be the great business of a Christian, then Christian fellowship, and society duly managed, and improved, must needs be of singular use, and special advantage to the people of God. For thereby we have the friendly help and assistance of many other hands, to carry on our great design, and help us in our most difficult business; if corruption be too hard for us, others, this way, come in to our assistance, Gal. vi. 1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a sault, ye which are spi"ritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness." If temptations prevail, and overbear us that we sall under sin, it is a special mercy to have the reproofs, and counsels of our brethren, who will not suffer sin to rest upon us, Levit. xix. 17. Whilst we are stuggish and fleepy, others are vigilant, and careful for our sasety: The humility of another, reproves and mortifies my pride: The activity, and liveliness of another, awakens and quickens my deadnefs: The prudence, and gravity of another, detects and cures my levity and vanity; The hcavcnlineis, aud spirituality of another, may be exceeding useful, both to reprove, and heal the earthliness, and sensuality of ray heart. Two are better than one, but wo unto him that is alone. The devil is well aware of this great advantage, and therefore strikes with special malice sgainst embodied Christians, who are as a well disciplined army, whom he therefore more especially endeavours to rout, and scatter by persecutions, that thereby particular Christians may be deprived of the sweet advantages of mutual society.
Inser, p. How deeply hath sin fixed its roots, in cur corrupt nature, that it should be the constant work of a Christian's whole tife, to mortify and destrqy it ? God hath given us many excellent helps, his Spirit within us, variety of ordinances and duties are also appointed as instruments of mortification: And from the very day of regeneration unto the last moment of dissolution, the Christian is daily at work, in the use of all sanctified means, external and internal, yet can never dig up, and destroy corruption at the root all his lise long. The most eminent Christians, of longest standing in religion, who have shed millions of tears for sin, and poured out many thousand prayers for the mortification of it, do, after all, find the remains of their old disease, that there is still lise, and strength in those corruptions which they have given so many wounds unto in duty. O the depth, and strength of sin! which nothing can separate from us, but that which separates our souls and bodies. And upon that account, the day of a believer's death, is better than the day of his birth. Never till then, do we put off our armour, sheath our sword, and cry victory, victory.
Second use, for exhortation. , If they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, &c. Then as ever we hope to make good our claim to Christ, let us give all diligence to mortify sin, in vain else are all our pretences unto union with him. This is the great work, and discriminating character of a believer. And seeing it is the main business of lise, and great evidence for heaven, I shall therefore press you to it by the following motives and considerations.
i Motive. And first, methinks the comfort, and sweetness, resulting from mortification, should effectually persuade every believer to more diligence about it. There is a double sweetness in mortification, one in the nature of the work, as it is a duty, a sweet christian duty; another as it hath respect to Christ, and is evidential of our union with him. In the first consideration there is a wonderful sweetness in mortification, for dost thou not feel a blessed calmness, cheariness, and tranquillity in thy coascience, when thou hast saithfully repelled temptations, successfully resisted and overcome thy corruptions r Doth not God smile upon thee; conscience encourage, and approve thee I Hast thou not an heaven within thee? whilst others seel a kind of hell in the deadly gripes, and bitter accusations of their own consciences : are covered with shame, and filled with horrors. Rut then, consider it also as an evidence of the foul's interest in Christ, as my text considers it; and what an heaven upon earth must then be found in mortification! These endeavours of mine to subdue and mortify my corruptions, plainly speak the Spirit of God in me, and my being in Christ; and O what is this! What heart hath largeness, and strength enough to receive and contain the joy, and-comfort which flaw from a cleared interest in Jesus Christ! Certainly, Christians, the tranquillity, and comfort of your whole lise depends upon it: and what is lise without the comfort of lise: Rom. viii. 13. "If ye through the Spirit do "mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live," (i. e.) you fhall live a serene, placid, comfortable lise; for it is corruption unmodified which clouds the sace of God, and breaks the peace of his people, and consequently imbitters the lise a Christian.
2. Motive. As the comfort of your own lives, which is much, so your instrumental fitness for the service of God, which is much more, depends upon the mortification of your sins, 2 Tim. ii. 7ii "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be "a vessel unto honour; sanctified and meet for the Master's "use, and prepared unto every good work." Where is the mercy of lise, but in the usefulness and serviceableness of it unto God? It is not worth while to live sixty, or seventy years in the world, to eat and drink, to buy and sell, to laugh and ay, and then go down to the place of silence. So sar as any man lives to God, an useful, serviceable lise to his praise and honour ; so far only, and no sarther doth he answer the end of his being. But it is the purged, mortified foul which is the vessel of honour, prepared, and meet for the Master's use. Let a proud, or an earthly heart be employed in any service for God, and you shall find that such an heart will both spoil the work, by managing it for a self-end as Jehu did; and then devour the praise of it by a proud boast: Come see my zeal. When the Lord would employ the prophet Isaiah in his work and service, his iniquity was first purged; and after that he was employed, Isa. vi. 6, 7, 8< Sin is she soul's fickness, a consumption upon the inner man; and we know that languishing consumptive persons are very unfit to be employ'd in difficult and strenuous labours: Mortification, so sar as it prevails, cures the disease, recovers our strength, and enables us for service to God in our generations.
3. Motive. Your liability, and sasety in the hour of temptation, depends upon the success of your mortifying endeavours. Is it then a valuable mercy in your eyes to be kept upright, and stedfast in the critical season of temptation, when Satan shall be wrestling with you for the crown, and prise of eternal lise 1 Then give diligence to mortify your corruptions. Temptation is a fiege, Satan is the enemy without the walls, labouring to force an entrance; natural corruptions are the traitors within, that hold correspondence with the enemy without, and open the gate of the soul to receive him. It was the covetousness of Judas his heart which overthrew him iu the hour of temptation. They are our fleshly lusts w.hich go over unto Satan in the day of battle, and sight against our fouls, 1 Per. ii. 11. the corruptions (or insectious atoms which fly up and down the world in times of temptation, as that word fttae-fixra, 2 Pet. ii. 20. imports) are through lusts, 2 Pet. i. 4. It is the lust within, which gives a lustre to the vanities of the world without, and thereby makes them strong temptations to us, 1 John ii. 16. Mortify therefore your corruptions, as ever you expect to maintain your station in the day of trial: cut off those advantages of your enemy, lest by them he cut off your fouls, and all your hopes from God.
4. Motive. As temptations will be irresistable, so afflictions will be unsupportable to you without mortification. My friends, you live in a mutable world, providence daily rings the changes, in all the kingdoms, cities, and towns, all the world over. You that have hufcands or wives to day, may be left desolate to-morrow: You that have estates, and children now, may be bereaved of both before you are aware. Sickness will tread upon the heel of health, and death will assuredly follow lise, as the night doth the day. Consider with yourselves, are you able to bear the loss of your sweet enjoyments with pati*nce? Can you think upon the parting hour .without some tremblings r O get a heart mortified to all these things, and you will bless a taking, as well as a giving God. It is the living world, not the crucified world, that raises such tumults in our fouls in the day of affliction. How chearful was holy Paul under all his sufferings! and what think you gave him that peace and chearfulness, but his mortification to the world? Phil. iv. 12. " I know both how to be abased, and I know how "to abound; every where, and in all things I am instructed, "both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound, and suf
4" ser need." Job was the mirror of patience, in the greatest
(hock of calamity, and what made him so, but the mortifiedness of his heart, in the fullest enjoyment of all earthly things? Job xxxi. 2?.
fj. Motive: The reputation, and honour of religion, is deepconcerned in the mortification of the prosessors of it: For unmortified prosessors will, first or last, be the scandals, and reproaches of it. The prosession of religion may give credit to you, but to be sure you will never bring credit to it. All the scandals, and reproaches that fall upon the name of Christ: in this world, stow from the fountain of unmortified corruption. Judas and Deraas, Hymeneus and Philetus, Ananias and Saphira ruined themselves, and became rocks of ofsence to others, by this means. If ever you will keep religion sweet, labour to keep your hearts mortified aud pure.
6. Motive. To conclude, what hard work will you have in your dying hour, except you get a heart mortified to this world, and all that is in it? Your parting hour is like to be a dreadful hour, without the help of mortification. Your corruptions, like glew, fasten your affections to the world, and how hard will it be for such a man to be separated by death •' O what a bitter, and doleful parting have carnal hearts from carnal things! whereas the mortified foul can receive the messengers of death without trouble, and as chearfully put off the body at death, as a man doth his cloaths at night: Death need not pull and hale; such a man goes half way to meet it, Phil. i. 23. "I desire to "be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is far better." Christian, wouldst thou have thy death-bed soft and easy; wouldst thou have an tvt*t*a-i*, as the philosopher desired for himself, an, easy death, without pain or terror; then get a mortified heart: the chirurgeon's knise is scarce selt, when it cuts ost a mortified member.
Third use, for direction.
Are you convinced, and fully satisfied of the excellency an4 necessity of mortification, and inquisitive after the means, in the use whereof, it may be attained? then. for your help and encouragement, I will, in the next place, offer my best assistance, in laying down the rules for this work. (
Rule 1. If ever you will succeed, and prosper in the work of mortification, then get, and daily exercise more faith. Faith is the great instrument of mortification: "This is the victory, (or "sword by which the victory is won, the inflrnment) by which "you overcome the world, even your faith," 1 John ?. 4. By faith alone eternal things are discovered to ycur souls, is
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