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Spirit, by hearkning to the good Motions it secretly suggests to us within, and by obeying the good Instructions It openly instils to us without j for both these ways the Holy Spirit, of ,God works upon us: 'tis a Voice inwardly whispering t6 us, This is the Way, walk in it j when -we are turning to the right Hand, or to the left: 'tis a Voice outwardly crying to us; like that in the Wilderness, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. But to know the better what it is to walk in or after the Spirit, we must have recourse to the 22d and 23d Verses of this Chapter; where the Fruits of the Spirit are describ'd to be these.
Love, which includes the Love of God and our Neigh* boiin :4 . '. ,• 1
Joy, which implies a Complacence and Delight in both.
Peace, which relates to God and Man ; and what results from both, a Peace with our own Conscience.
Long-Suffering, which imports a patient bearing of Injuries.
Gentleness, which consists in an Easiness to be intreated.
Goodness, which is a Readiness to all good Works'
Faith, which is a firm Persuasion of the Truth of God's Word and Promises.
Meekness^ which is a Freedom from all inordinate Passions. - 1
Temper ance^ which is a moderate Use of all God's Creatures. . '•,;
Against these, the Apostle adds, there is no Law •, that is, there is none to prohibit or punish, but there are many to require and reward them.
These are the Blessed Fruits of God's Holy Spirit-, and they that live in the Practice of them, are truly faid to walk in the Spirit. Bsit^
Secondly, What is it to walk after the Flesh, and to fulfil the Lusts of it? Why, that in brief is, to follow tod much the corrupt Desires and Devices of our own Heart,, and to be carry'd away by the Sway of a carrtal and sensual Appetite. And this will lead us to consider the Works of the Flesh, which are likewise describ'd in the 19th and 2©tfi Verses of this Chapter* And the$ are these i
aduliery, which is the Incontinence of married Pef soris_ or breaking the Bands of Wedlock.
Fornication j which is the Incontirience" of single PersrttiS i whereby they make the Members of Christ the MeaibaM of a Harlot. Vtt*
Vncleanness, which is the Impurity of the Mind, together with the obscene Rites that were paid to the IdolGods.
Lasciviousnefs, which implies all Wantonness of Behaviour, express'd by the Leudness of Words or Actions.
Idolatry., which is the multiplying of Deities, or giving that Worship to false Gods, that is due only to the true.
Witchcraft, which is the contracting with evil Spirits, or the having recourse to them.
Hatred, which is the bearing an evil Mind towards any.
Variance, which is the raising disferent Parties and Opinions.
Emulations, which are a vain Affectation of Glory and Preheminence.
Wrath, which is an excessive or inordinate degree of Anger.
Strife, which is a Desire of, or Delight in Contention. Seditions, which are Mutinies or Insurrections in the State.
Heresies, which are Schisms and Divisions in the Church.
Envyings, which are the Swellings and Sicknesses of th« Mind, arising and occasion'd by both.
Murders, which are a wilful and malicious Shedding of Blood.
Drunkenness, Revellings, andsfuch like, which are an inordinate Use or Abuse of God's Creatures. Of all which the Apostle solemnly declares, that they which do these things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
These are, in shortj the Works of the Flesh; and they that live and delight in them, are faid to toaik after the Flesh, and to fulfil the Lusts of it.
Thus we have a brief Account bo^h of the Fruits of the Spirit, and of the Works of the Flesh; and likewise what it is to walk in the one, and to fulfil the Lusts of the other: by which we may see the true Sense and Meaning of our Text, / fay then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye Jhall not fulfil the Lusts of the Flesh; that is, if we give up our selves to the Guidance and Bleiling of God's Holy Spirit, and labour to bring forth the Fruits thereof, we shall be enabled to conquer all the Reluctance of the carnal Appetite, and subdue the Opposition arising from all theliniul Lusts of the Flesh.
But before I speak to the Victory we have or may have by the Graces of the Spirit over the Works of the Flesh,
y©UY. Pm* . Y 'will 'twill be requisite to observe the Struggle and Combat that i« found between them. This is held forth in the next words to the Text: For the Flesh hsteth against the Spirits and the Spirit against the Flesh; and these are contrary one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye -would: meaning,' that the Flesh strongly inclines and enticeth to Evil; the Spirit, on the other hand, seeks to draw us from it, and powerfully excites to that which is good: both these are striving for the Mastery within us, and, like the Twins in Rebecca's Womb, struggle to overcome and supplant each other. This the Gentile Philosophers found, who took notice of two main Principles, that govern'd the Actions of Mankind; the one they call'd the Principle of Good, the other the Principle of Evil: and these two maintain a continual Contest and Enmity with one another. The Principle of Goodness, which is no other than the Spirit of God working in us, minds and moves us only to things pleasing to God, and agreeable' to his Will. The Principle of Evil, which is no other than the fleshly or carnal Appetite, inclines us only to what is suggested by Satan, and suited to that evil Spirit. And as there is a perpetual Enmity between these two Principles, that which is of God constantly opposing and warring against whatsoever cometh from the Devil; so the Apostle tells us of the Flestf and the Spirit, that these two are contrary one to the other. Other* of' the Antients have expressM this by a good and an evil Genius, which they make the constant Attendants upon every Person the one prompting to Vertue and Goodness, the other to all manner of Vice and Wickedness: These two contrary Principles occasion all that Difference of Action, and all that Struggle that is found in the World between Good and Evil.
The first Rife hereof was from the Apostacy of our first Parents, who by the Fall craz'd all their Faculties, and brought Confusion and Disorder upon the whole Man: before that, all things were well and quiet within us; Reason being plac'd in the Throne, and all the inferior Faculties subjected to its Rule and Governance, which they all readily and carefully obey'd. We came out of God?s Hand very good., having his Image stamp'd upon us, which consisted in Kmwledg,%Righteonsness, and true Holiness: which made Solomon declare, that God made Man upright; but the first Transgression brought a Crookedness and Perverseness into our Nature, which hath broken the Order and Har
-' mony lftony of'lfr our Faculties. Hence it comes tos pass, that •the infer'sorPoNyers oftheSdAtf rife up, and sometimes overrule the superior, the carAal Appetite rebelling against Reason, and the Flesh lusting against the Spirit: These two are Contrary one to the other , God Almighty having put an Enmity between what is bortic,of him, and the Seed of the .Serpent. And -as he divided between the Night and the Day, and put an irreconcilable Opposition between Light 'and Darkness•, so hath he put a perpetual Enmity between . ^the bright Beams of the Divine Spirit, and the filthy Steaiiis of fleshly Lusts: the one leadiijg us to God and all that is <3ood,tthe other leadifig'tis' to'Satan, the World, and all manner of EViL These fwo contrary Principles, by the 'Unhappinefs of our Birth, are still struggling in our Breasts"•, for which reason a Christian's Life is often stil'd a Warsare, and we the Soldiers of Jesus Christ, being listed under his Banner, and sighting against thole- fleshly Lusts, that war• against the Soul.
This Conflict we find St. Paul it large describing in his own Person in the 7th Chapter to the Romans; where he sets fotth the Difficulties he encounter'd, the Assistance he had from the Holy Spirit,' and likewise the Ground that Sin and Satan sometimes got over him in' it. I know (faith he, ver. 18.) that in me, that is, in my Ftesh, dwelleth no good thing for tho to will is present with me, yet how to perform that which is good I find not: that is, his Fleih lusted against the Spirit; and tho by the Light of -the Spirit he knew and approv'd of what'was good, yea, and many times wiii'd and desir'd it too, yet the Flesh was sometimes too hard for him, and overbore all his Resolutions: insomuch (as he goes on) The Good that I would, I do' not, but the Evil I would not, that I do. He consented to what was good, and yet omitted it •, and he diflik'd Evil, and yet practis'd it• , being vanquissh'd by the fleshly Part, aiid carry'd away by the Stream of a sensual Appetite: which', in the next Verse, he stiles, The Sin that dwelled in him. I find then a Law (faith he, v?K 'ify&c.) that when I would do Good, Evil is present with m£'-': His DefireV towards Good ' were sometimes check'd and overrul'd by his Inclinations to Evil: for a1. bejt jhat he delighted in the Law of God after- the inward Man, h'is.wpSrior Faculties convincing'fiim of the Trdth, arid Causing'In him some Delight in what God's Law re-' qoir'd^'Jet'he felt another Law in his Members, warringagainst the Law of-his Mind, and bringing him into Captivity T::-J.:cv/ y a %» to the Law of Sin, which was in his Members:. meaning, that by the Importunity and Sollicitatioris of the Flesh, he was carry'd away to act against the Dictates of his own Mind; which made him cry out in the following Verse, O wretched Man that I ami IVho shall deliver me from this Body of Death f By this Instance we plainly fee the words of our Text verify'd, that the Flesh lusteth against the Spiriti and. the Spirit against the Flesh \ and these are contrary one to the other :. so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. The Truth hereof we all find arid feel by our own daily and doleful Experience. r :, ''.' ',
Now the striving against these ghostly Enemies,' is the Warfare that we are call'd upon to. accomplish. This is that good Fight of Faith, which Christianity engages us in under the Captain of our Salvation: in which, if we manfully acquit our selves, we may be sure of coming off with Success and Victory. And this will lead to the
Third and last Thing propounded- , which was the Victory we may obtain by the Graces of the Spirit over the Works of the Flesh: for if ye walk in the Spirit, ye shall not fulfil the Lusts of the Flesh. If we resist the Devil, we are told, he wiB. flee from us: 'tis bat to stand and oppose, and the day will be ours, for he must either fall or ike before os-, nor can the strongest Assaults of the Flesh prevail without our own Consent and yielding to them. All their Strength lies in our own Treachery, for if we resolve to be true and firm to our selves, all their Suggestions can never hurt us; 'tis but to withdraw our Will and Affections from them, and all their Power over us would soon cease, and come to nothing. Sensual Objects may indeed entice, but they cannot enforce us - , and the most inviting Charms can have no Efficacy, if we turn the deaf Ear to them, 'Tis a great Mistake to think, that the Principle of Evil hath any such uncontroulable Power, as forcibly to enter our, Souls, or lead us captive: No, it hath no such hidden and irresistible Influence, as to force us to any Evil- , we are only betray'd into it by our own Folly and Weakness; and neither Satan, the World or the Flesh have any other but willing Bond-slaves.- l ','. ',' l, .' .
, But the main Preservative against the Power of our Lusts is the Assistance of Divine Grace, that is at all times sufficient for us, and will enable us to resist and repel the strangest Temptations; stronger is the Spirit of God, that
. * worketh