BELIEVERS Mortification. Of SIN by the SPIRIT: OR, GOSPEL-HOLINESS Advanced by the Power of the Holy Ghost on the hearts of the Faithful. Whereunto is added the Authors Three last Sermons, on Gen. 3.15. By the Learned and Pious Mr. Alexander Car­michael, formerly of Scotland, and late Preacher of the Gospel in London. Published by his own Copy.

LONDON, Printed for Dorman Newman, at the Kings-Arms in the Poultrey. 1677.

To the Christian Reader; espe­cially the Godly and Reve­rend Allies and Acquain­tance of Mr. C. deceased.

Dear Sirs,

T This little Posthume (left very fairly Transcribed, yet not intended for the Press) humbly begs your Patronage, shall I say, or rather perusal; When our Friends are gone down to the Chambers of Darkness, we are then apt highly to value their Pictures, when we cannot enjoy their Persons. And why then may not these Papers find grace in your Eyes: [Page]for in them you will find worthy Mr. C's very Picture drawn to the life? Here, Sirs, you have the ge­nuine off-spring of those two great burning, shining Lights of yours, Knox and Gillaspy, exactly Lim'd out by his own Pencil (Sic oc­culos, sic ille manus, sic ora fere­bat. Whoever intimately knew the Original, will easily conclude these to be the Copy, the real Transcript both of his Brain and Life; the most Lovely pourtrait both of judi­cious Learning, and mortified Con­versation. As to the Work, it needs neither Bush nor Paint: Let it be but seriously perus'd by a per­son really vers'd in that great and Heavenly (though now hor­ribly neglected) Work of Mortifi­cation, and it will certainly be priz'd at no little Rate. As to the truly Worthy Author himself; It had been impossible for me so far [Page]to have curb'd in my Zeal, as not to have attempted at least a display of those many and great Ex­cellencies, which with so much modesty and humility he endeavour'd to conceal from the World; but that his dying breath fixt a Lock upon my lips, and utterly denied me the liberty of being but just in his Commendation. Only this he left as his grand Depositum with me, to be faithfully declared by me, That he died with very great peace of Conscience, with full satisfaction of Soul, in those wayes of God wherein he had walked, and where­in he died: in particular, That God as a gracious Father had abundant­ly made good to him that faithful Promise, Matth. 19.29. Mark 10.30. Thus for him that's gone be­fore. As for that flesh of his flesh, and the fruit of his Loins: as for that Ruth and Gershom that he [Page]hath left behind him, I question not, but so long as the Saints among you continue to bear your old Name Philadelphia (so the old Puritans of England have us'd to stile you) you will not, you cannot forget to shew kindness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan's sake. No more but the Psalmists prayer for every one of the faithful Brethren in the whole Church and Nation, Psalm 122., 6, to the end: with his Amen, Amen, Who is,

Your real Brother and Com­panion in the Kingdom and Patience of Jesus Christ, Tho. Lye.
ROM. VIII. 13.

If ye through the Spirit do mortifie the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

HEre is Life and Death laid down before you, If ye walk after the flesh, ye shall die: a dreadful word, spoke even to those who are in Christ, and to whom there is no Condemnation, who yet need to be warned of their dan­ger. Conditional-threatnings may be mustered to them, without bringing them back to a spirit of bondage; and the Lord works on their fear, as well as on their love and will have them keep one eye on Hell, and another on Heaven: or rather, he'l sometimes have them look behind them, that at the sight of Hell and Wrath, they may flye the faster to the Hope that's set before them: do not deceive your selves with an opinion of your Priviledges.

Well then, What must we do that we may be saved? the words of the Text tells you: where mark, that the Apostle is speaking to such as are in Christ: If ye ask what an unrenewed man should do to be saved? the Scripture Answers, [Page 2] Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Act. 16. 1 Joh. 3.23. Get into Christ. But if ye ask, What the man that is in Christ shall do? the Text tells you, which takes in, or rather supposes holy walk­ing, or walking after the Spirit; for as light comes in, darkness goes out: so that Mortification is one part of the Condition upon which we attain the possession of eternal Life, though it be by faith, by our first believing, that we acquire a right to it.

Now in the words, we have, 1. The Act en­joyned, Mortifie. 2. The Object about which it is conversant. 3. The way or the means by which this is to be effected, through the Spirit: 4. The Promise annexed, Ye shall live: 5. The Conditionality of the Promise: If, &c.

For the first, What it is, we shall after shew; only now the Original word signifies, to slay, to pursue to Death. Sin is not at once slain, itgets a deaths-stroke, by the first saving-work of grace: it never recovers that; but yet it dies but lin­gringly (therefore called a Crucifixion); and its a great part of the Christians work to follow it to death, to be driving nails into it, and keep it bleeding till it expire.

For the second, Let us observe the various Scri­pture-expressions: as 1. Flesh, so frequently in this Chapter; this sometimes signifies the state of the natural man: he that is in the flesh cannot please God; so John 3.6. Sometimes the remain­der of sin in the Regenerate, Gal. 5.16. And so we read of the works of the flesh, Gal. 5.19, these are the deeds of the flesh. 2. Sin is spoke of as a body, as in the Text; sometimes called a [Page 3]body of sin, Rom. 6.6. Sometimes, the body of this death, Rom. 7.24. It's a Body, not a Phantasm, we are to conflict with: it's not to beat the air we are called to: its weight is not found, because it is in its place, in its Element. Now this Body hath various Members, these we are to mortifie: Col. 3.5. The stump of sin cannot be got out, but we must be daily mutilating it, and cutting off its members: the stump we cannot pluck up; the body and mass of in-dwelling sin we cannot discern, nor reach; but its deeds and workings we feel. And albeit Gods faving-work upon the Soul (wherein we are passive) does wound and weaken the Body, sin: yet any work of grace wherein we are active, does immediately only strike at the members of sin, and at the deeds of it: therefore says the Text, If, &c. mortifie the deeds of the body. 3. Sin is called a Man, an old Man, to hold forth the strength and cunning of it, and its interest in the soul and body of a man. It's not a dead Carcass; nor is it seated only in the outward members of a man: Now we read of the deeds of this old man, Col. 3.9, Lye not one to another, seeing you have put off the old man with his deeds: these are the same with the deeds of the Body.

3. By the Spirit, is here understood, first and mainly the Holy Ghost; by whose immediate Ef­ficiency this work is effected: yet, 2. May be taken in also, the graces of the Spirit, by the act­ing of which this work is carried on.

Now from the words, I shall take occasion to speak to these particulars in short: 1. What Mortification is. 2. What's the Object and ex­tent [Page 4]of it. 3. The necessity of it. 4. What is the work of the Spirit in it. 5. I shall apply the whole.

For the first: It's necessary in the first place, to shew you some bastard-kinds of Mortification, whereby ye may know what it is not. The first is, A Philosophick mortification to such things as are seen by the light of Nature to be empty and un­satisfactory, for Reason may go far here; hence some of the old Philosophers seemed to contemn Riches, and to be above trouble for outward changes, as Diogenes, &c. Yet they were either but Dissemblers, as Seneca, who writes against Avarice, and tells us, That Nature was satisfied with water for Drink, and with a house of Turf; yet he was a Covetous man. So was Cicero an aspiring man, for as much as he writes against Pride, not by the Spirit and the Cross of Christ, but from meer moral Considerations, as that of the old Pagans (revived again by some who call themselves Christians) who taught men to moderate their inordinate desires and passions, by the precepts and habits of moral Virtue. This especially flourished among the old Family of Philosophers, called Stoicks, who pretended to be without all passions, which (said they) were not incident to wise men. If they met with any extraordinary mischance, they thought a wise man might step out at any door he would, into their imaginary heaven and happiness. Hence Cato, who was the Worlds-Wonder for his Wis­dom, stabbed himself; and his Servants finding him, bound up his wound, which when they were gone, he teared open again: yet not expi­ring [Page 5]soon enough, he was forced to use some o­ther violence to himself. So Seneca and others. Now this way of Mortification, all who deny the necessity of special Grace (as Pelagians, Ar­minians, Quakers) must needs fall into: for what­ever different names they give to any word, prin­ciple or power; yet if common to every man, it's still but Nature, which is capable of improve­ment: and indeed how far common Reason may be improved to the regulating of a mans passions, is plain from the manifold instances of old and late Moralists, to the shame of many called Chri­stians.

Yet plain it is, that they did but keep under their lusts, and not mortifie them: and that by their depressing one lust, they did but exalt ano­ther; as those who died for their Countrey, and forfook all for meer love of Learning; But what avails it (says one) to be dead to a bit of Clay, and alive to Vain-glory, which is indeed the life of Sin, and of the Old-Man. Pride especi­ally did grow upon the ruines of other lusts: so that their seeming Self-denial and Motification, was really but Self-magnifying. Yea, to that height of Pride did some of them grow up, that Lucre­tius and Seneca endeavoured by Argument to exalt their virtuous men above their gods: in as much as these were necessarily good; But men were such voluntarily and by choice and whoever now they be, who would lessen [...] ­tural pravity and misery, and who oppose the imputed Righteousness of Christ, and Justificati­on by Faith, (whatever their seeming mortifica­tion and moral endowments be) they must needs [Page 6]fall into the same Condemnation; for ignorance of these grand Truths, was the root that the Pa­gan Arrogance grew upon: as for that inward Tranquility that followed the moderation of their passions, it was but a Lye.

2. A second Bastard-way of Mortification, is that of the Papists, it stands in some outward se­verities: as lying on the Earth, whipping them­selves, going bare-footed, with Ropes about their waists begging: living in Cells, Hermitages, Vows of Poverty, and single life. They suppose, says Luther, That when they enter their Cells, that they are crucified to the World, when indeed they are crucified to Christ, and Christ to them, Pride and Self-righteousness being thereby quick­ned. We may as well sacrifice our lives, as shed a drop of blood, in such a way as Baals Priests did, which had the same ground and bottom that Popish-whippings and Penances have. But what Pride, Epicurism, and monstrous lusts have been, and are cherished under these pretences, I need not tell you. We grant, That to keep the body in subjection, is a part, and a means of further mortification. But this is not to be done by rigour and cruelty: But by the sparing-use of outward Comforts, and refusing to gratifie the inordinate desires of the flesh. Some such seve­rities, as going naked, &c. some Quakers have al­so espoused, but this is not through the Spirit to mortifie, &c. These means of mens devising, do but cherish Self-righteousness and Pride. Satan is not so easie as to be beaten or buffeted out: were he to preach, he would preach such Do­ctrine as this, and prescribe such Methods: wit­ness [Page 7]some Pagans, who in these have out-gone Papists.

A 3d false way of Mortification, is that of the Antinomians, who place it in the want, or suppressing of all challenges of inward sense and trouble for sin; these they cry down as Legal, and the ground of this is another no less Error, viz. That what is sin in others, is none in them: sup­pose even gross outward wickedness. But our Lord came to redeem Sinners, not sin: He justi­fies our persons, not our sins: this were the way to vivifie sin, and to mortify holiness. Sure Da­vid knew not then what mortification meant, Psal. 51.3. But I will not rake into the ashes of this (I hope) buried Error.

The 4th false way of Mortification, is that which lies in refraining from ourward impieties: where­as the first motions of sin, if not consented to, are pleaded not to be sin. Thus Papists and Qua­kers: for these last have espoused this among other Popish Errours: and if they fall not into gross impieties, they blasphemously father them upon the holy Spirit. But are not the first mo­tions, the deeds of the body? do they not flow from some evil principle or habit in the Soul? if they do, they are to be mortified: if you say, we mortifie them, when we consent not to them: I answer, Mortification imports more, even the extirpation, and as much as may be, the supressi­on of them; for their very being in the Soul is irksome to the godly man: the new creature can­not bear them, Rom. 7.24, 25; and were it not for Christ, we should be condemned for them. Chap. 8.1. They foolishly tell us, that these [Page 8]motions are from Satan; James tells us, they are from a mans own lust, Chap. 1.14. Our Lord says, They are from the evil treasure of the heart, Luke 6.45, so that they are plainly the deeds of the Body. But hence we see, what friends these people are to inward holiness; and that the per­fection they boast of, is but a Cheat: even sup­pose they were altogether free of outward acts of sin, which yet they are too blind and credu­lous that believe it.

A 5th false way of Mortification, is the laying sin asleep. Now a sleeping man, looks as if he were dead: so does sin, till upon some occasion it be awaken'd; yea and it grows thus stronger than be­fore. Saul, one would think, had now overcome his wicked malice, when he cryes out, My son Da­vid, thou art more righteous than I; but it grew upon him, and soon broke forth with more vio­lence. It may be, that for want of opportunity, of a temptation, or provocation, thou mayst think thy corruption mortify'd, when its only like waters bound up, or like fire under the ashes.

A 6th false way, is the letting of sin die a­lone, or of its self: as youthful lusts, vanity, prodigality, revenge, &c. Either sin kills thee, or thou must kill it: but when it dies alone, it's an evidence, that it has undone thee; and now like a victorious Champion, it dies in peace on its bed, and is not vanquished by thee. O Sinner, shall thine Enemy die in peace? wilt thou not pursue it to death, and be avenged on it for thy two eyes, for thy two hands, &c. for all the mi­series, sorrows and woes, that it has wrought thee?

This is a sort of natural and necessary mortifica­tion arising from impotency to sin, and to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Children have no passions for Treasures, Houses and Lands, &c. yet that is not mortification, there is a living seed of sin there. There is as much Fire virtually in every bit of flint as would burn a City: and there's as much sin in seed, in every Infant, as would set on fire the World. So in the aged, all the actings of the man are blunted: that which Barzillai says of himself, may be in the letter of it truly said of some that have not mortified the deeds of the body, 2 Sam. 19.35. There may be some deadness of actual lusts, yet Original sin lives: as the root of the Tree is fresh, when leaves and fruit fail in the Winter: yea, it may be, when the stock above ground, may be either cut or rotted; for the Soul is the chief seat of sin, and it never waxes old. Hence Sins that are more special, are often ripest in old age: so that the conversion of an old person is harder and rarer: and for bodily sins, if the case be altered, it's from no change upon the soul, yea, nor is sin gone out of the body; but as Flint or Steel have Fire virtually in them, even when beaten into dust, though you cannot now strike it out of them; So there is sin in the very dust of Sinners, for they go to their grave with their bones full of it, and that not only in respect of the guilt thereof.

7. There's another sort of counterfeit Mortifi­cation, which is more occasional and transient: The sight of a dying dear Friend, or an occasion of some great loss by Sea or Land; the sudden fall of some great man; the burning of a stately [Page 10]House or City, the pain and sickness, the miser­able and ignominous end of some Sinner, sup­pose some unclean wretch; these often excite ab­horrence of sin, some contempt of the World: how many unmortified souls can on such occasions talk of the vanity of the World, and the mischief of sin! And such may even die, with these or the like words in their mouth, O what is man! he is like water spilt upon the ground. O this vain vexatious World: I would not live again for a Kings Crown. Sore trials, especially of long continuance, breed a weariness of the World, and a sort of carelesness of worldly concerns, which is often mistaken for Mortification. Sometimes this transient mortification comes from some com­mon Convictions, from some awaking work, which is ordinarily accompanied with some restraining-grace. Judas can now despise his thirty pieces of Silver: when the smell of Hell comes up into a mans nostrils, it will make him throw away his Idols. When Achan is to be stoned, he thinks not much of his wedg of Gold: when under Convictions, Sin often couches and contracts its self: and when these are over, it dilates its self. None of these occasions are fit seasons for men to make a Judg­ment of their mortification. So much for the counterfeits of Mortification: Amongst which I might have reckoned that which naturally arises from mens Complexion, by reason whereof, some are more meek, temperate, chaste than others: which when set off by Wit and Learning, looks very like Mortification.

Come we now then to shew what it is, ha­ving seen what it is not. Mortification may be either actively or passively considered: con­sidered actively, it is a work of the Spirit; whereby the Soul strives not only to beat down the motions and stirrings of every sin, but endea­vours to destroy the body of it, and to slay it in the root thereof: which in some measure every Believer does effect. Mortification passively con­sidered, lies in a deadness of the whole Man, in order to things forbidden: and in some sense also to things lawful; the Soul is taken off from sin­ful Objects, and from inordinate appetite of law­ful Objects.

Now to speak to it in both these Considera­tions: Mortification actively considered; it lies not in unconstant, uneven, and flashy fits of indig­nation and opposition against some sin; as some take vengeance upon some sins, and spare their prime lust, as Saul did the King of the Amale­kites: but it's a constant and daily warring of the Soul against great and small, especially against our Idol-lusts, wherein the man not only endea­vours to destroy the love of sin, and delight in it, but the very being of it. And this leads us to the second thing proposed, the consideration of the object of Mortification, actively considered.

And this is first and chiefly the sin of our Na­ture; Paul calls it a Body of Death, Rom. 7.24. It was this that Paul had most in his Eye, it was this that laid him low: it was the sight of O­riginal Sin especially that first slew him, Ver. 9. And after all his Attainments, it's this that keeps [Page 12]him humble; and O, how blind are they that see not this Body! and no man that sees it, but will say of any sin, Am I a Dog to commit this? It will keep a man upon his Watch-Tower, and help to maintain a holy fear and diffidence of self, and dependance on Grace. It it right con­victions of this, that advances the Souls esteem of Christ; of his redemption, and of free grace, yea, of the all-sufficiency of grace: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me! as if he had said, If ever grace or strength were posed, it would be in delivering of me, &c. but I thank God through Jesus Christ, ver. 25.

And indeed the sinfulness of Sin, the exceed­ing sinfulness of Sin, the mysterie of it is never understood, till the Original pravity of our Na­ture be seen, Rom. 7.13. Sound Convictions dis­cover the evil of actual sins, but they let us see more malignity in this, than in all the sins of our life: yea, than in Murders, Adulteries, Ly­ing, Swearing: it's a fruitful womb that has mil­lions of sin in it, and would be eternally bring­ing forth, though there were no Devil to tempt, nor to Midwife it into the World. And final­ly, they let us see, that its being transmitted to us, and not contracted by us, does not lessen the guilt nor danger of it.

Here then Mortification must begin: it will be in vain to dam up the streams, while the Fountain runs, it will either carry down the dam and run the more impetuously, as is evi­dent in the case of many, who have been a while under restraints; or it will run out some other way, and find out another Channel for it self.

And indeed mens devised false methods of Mortification, serve only to dam up sin, or to lop off its branches: it's the light of the Spirit accompanying the Word, that only discovers this, Rom. 7.7, I had not known, &c. and it's by the Spirit only that this is mortified, as the Text shews: hence it is only the true Believer that does any thing to purpose in this; and the more the Believer is exercised in the mortification of Original corruption, the weaker and fainter are the acts of Sin, and the stronger and the purer are the actings of his Grace; for it's the strength of this that does sensibly weaken the actings of Grace, and does secretly and insensibly weaken the principle of Grace. Now this corruption of our Nature is sometimes called, 1. A body of sin, to hold out the greatness of it; and 2. A body of death, because it works death, and has Death and Hell in it, and because of its being loath­som and burthensom to the Believer. 3. It's cal­led Enmity against God, Rom. 8.7, to shew its desperate and dangerous Nature: 4. It's called Sin that dwelleth in us, Rom. 7.17, to shew its nearness to us, and its access to hurt us. 5. It's called The law of sin in our members, Rom. 7.23, to shew what usurped Authority it has over us. 6. It's called The old man, Col. 3.9, to shew its Skill and Cunning, and because it has the first possession of us, and in the Regenerate is waxing feeble. 7. It's called The flesh, Rom. 8.1. Gal. 5.24, to shew (as some think) how it is propagated, and how it is cherished viz. by Flesh-pleasing Objects, and how it in­clines to Flesh-pleasing courses, and puts the [Page 14]flesh in the room of the Soul. And finally, to shew how dear it is, even as our flesh. 8. It's called Lust that intices, to shew its restless Activity; it will not let thee alone, though thou wouldst for­bear it, James 1.4. 9. It's called A root of bit­terness, Heb. 12.15, to shew its hidden Nature, and its fixedness in the Soul; and that as in its Soil (it is not ingraft or inoculated in us); so does it influence our Actions: there is no sap in the Branches but what comes from the Root: but O the bitter fruits of it! there's no true sweet­ness in the Root, nor in the Branches: Lamen­tation, sorrow and wo grow upon it! Now, how this should be mortified, may come to be spoken to in the Application.

2. The Effects or Actings of this Origi­nal Corruption, are also the Objects of Mor­tification actively considered. This bitter Root has many Branches: this Body has many Mem­bers: These Paul calls our Members which are up­on earth, Col. 3.5, that though differing among themselves, yet make up one intire body of Sin, and does execute what the law of sin commands. They are formed in us, as soon as hand or foot of our natural Body, and grow up as the out­ward members do; and by these members, Sin fights and wars against the Soul; and yet are they as dear to us as a right Eye, or Hand, or Foot: Finally, it holds out to us, how sin is seated in every member: and so powerful is the law of sin in our members, that they may be cal­led members of sin: they are so animated as it were with sin, Rom. 6.13. Sometimes these be called the lusts of the flesh, Rom. 13.14. Gal. 5.16. [Page 15]1 Pet. 2.11. The Apostle speaks of the Kind and Species too, Rom. 6.12, and Rom. 7.8. He insinuates great variety of Lusts; 1 John 2.16, we find three especial Lusts mentioned: some­times these are spoke of as acts of the mind and heart: hence it's called the imaginations of the heart; walking in the vanity of their mind. And sometimes taking in mind and affections too: hence called the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, Ephes. 2.3.

Now though these Original Corruptions have originally the fame interest in the man, yet by reason of some accidental advantages, as a mans natural Complexion, Education, Employment, &c. some get above the rest, and prevail so, as to make other lusts Lacquey them, and upon every occasion to give place: Sometimes the lust of the Eye, that is Covetousness: sometimes that of the Flesh, or Voluptuousness: sometimes Pride. Sin is as a great King, and these are its three chief Princes, that command all men under it: they are universal lusts; some call them Sins, or the Worlds Trinity; and these admit many subdi­visions: some of these may more properly be cal­led the lusts of the flesh, that have the sensual and brutish part of men only or mostly for them, at least engage only mens corrupted affections; some of these are more subtil and refined, and are called the lusts of the mind: when they gain not only our affections, but our Judgment to be for them. Men by their prudence may disguise their Pride, their Covetousness, their Prodigali­ty (especially when it runs not on sensual Ob­jects) and hide it not only from others, but [Page 16]from themselves. Indeed, ordinarily the Affe­ctions are first intangled, and these bribe, and byass and corrupt the mind, and engage it first to contrive the fulfilling of their lusts, and then to justifie them. And one would wonder to see men rational in other things, and so much blinded in the matter of their predominant lusts. Now these must be mortified: and this is held out to us, by plucking out the right Eye, &c. they that are Christs, must crucifie the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof. 1. We must not fulfil the lusts of the flesh: we must not let Sin bring forth. Nay, 2. We must not let it con­ceive: much of this Duty of Mortification lies in beating down the first motions of Sin, and the first risings of corruption in the heart: be it of Pride, Covetousness, or Unbelief; as soon as the evil tendency of any Thought or Imagination is discovered, or as soon as the least influence of any tempting Object upon the mind, or heart or affections is perceived, it should be checkt, and some Act of the contrary grace excited and put forth.

And indeed it is (comparatively) easie to conquer the first motions of Sin: and were we making conscience of this, we should prevent much labour and sorrow: a little spark is soon quenched, yet may it burn a City. It's storied of Archimedes, That he framed such Engines as could pull the strongest Oak up by the root; and that with the wind of his Mouth, he could set them on work: Truly Satan hath such En­gines in mens hearts, and there's need humbly to recognize our Debt to Divine Grace upon [Page 17]every advantage, even against the faintest motions of sin: and to beware of Pride, which can rise and get up upon every Mole-hill: O, were we un­der right impressions of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, our hearts would start back at the first appearance of it; or, were we living near God, and in a holy heavenly frame, we would abhor every hellish suggestion, James 4, compare 7, with 8 ver. If you be afar off, you will begin to parley with Satan, and by degrees he prevails: and by frequent viewing of sin, tenderness wears off, and hardness comes on, and the consci­ence is defiled, which when kept pure, smites a man for every sin. There's need of watchful di­ligence, for this piece of Mortification is a labo­rious work; sin is so active and stirring continu­ally, and we naturally idolize our ease: and when we give up our selves to it, we become as Cities without walls. But O, how many deliverances from sin, does the watchful Christian Observe! And how many stones of Remembrance does he set up! and how much sweet communion with God, has he in this hourly resistance and morti­fication of sin.

In the next place, let us speak to Mortificati­on as passively considered; and I shall shew you to what we must be mortified. In general, we must be mortified to Self: the Apostle speaks of his being crucified to the world, Gal. 6.14, but it's only to the World as it feeds and maintains Self; man has fallen from God to himself, so that Self is now the god of this world, and selfishness is the life of sin, it runs like blood & Spirit through every sin. Now Self is either Natural, Moral, or Religious: we must be dead to all.

1. For natural Self, we must be mortified to it: and, 1. To all natural Abilities and Accom­plishments; to Strength: Strength is the glory of Behemoth, and is subdued by Age; the Rose and the Lilly has more Beauty than thou. Bloud is a borrow'd good, its the Parents glory, not thine; we must be mortified to Strength, Beauty, and Bloud, and honourable Birth; yea to life it self; this was eminent in Paul. To be mortified to Life, is to have Life: for Christs mortification to life, is our victory in suffering-times, Rev. 12.11. Love of life is the life of sin, when it is not loved in God. 2. To the Mammon and to the Pleasures of the World; Paul saith not only as Samuel, Whose Ox, &c? 1 Sam. 12.3. but, I have co­veted no mans silver, or gold, or apparel, Acts 20.33, and Lev. 26.36. Deut. 38.65. What is Courage, when he can make the shaking of a Leaf, bring on fear, and terror, and fainting? there's a se­cret Confidence men have in Riches, which is the life of Covetousness: Job purges himself of this, Chap. 31.24, 25, If I have made gold my hope; or have said to fine gold, thou art my Confidncee; or have rejoyced, because my wealth was great. A poor man that wants bread, may be he is not tempted nor troubled with vexing desires of ship­fuls of Gold, hunger and want being his door-Enemy, and lies between him and the hope of great Riches; and yet there are often delight­ful Speculations, and tumbling-waves, and floods of wishes for such Riches: so that the heart is not mortified to the love of Bread, nor of Riches either.

Indeed, the desire of Food and Raiment is natu­ral [Page 19]and lawful, but it's the unmeasurable, the doubt­ings, anxious, diseased desire that must be mortified: the feverish man calls for drink, but it's not so much the man, as the disease that desires it; for it helps not the man, but the disease. 2. There must be deadness to Pleasures: Voluptuousness is the most lively lust in some, the flesh is the master in most men: the wretched Soul must serve and lacquey it, must plot and contrive to satisfie it; must think, and will, and love as it pleases: and in most men it yiedls a willling subjection to sinful flesh, and is pleased when it can please the flesh. What disorder has sin made? some groan under it, others cherish it: O the delicacy and softness of some! some make a god of their Belly, others of their Beauty, and bestow their cost and labour upon a piece of painted Clay! Is this to mortifie the flesh? will such endure burning quick, or sawing asunder? Many stumble and fall here, Luke 14, I cannot come; the mor­tified is dead to all his senses, to the pleasure of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching: he has his Eye under Authority, Job 31 (unmor­tified looks speak an unmortified heart): he can in the vigour of youth say as Barzillai, 2 Sam. 19.35, Can I taste what I eat, or hear the voice of singing men, or women? he is dead to Sport­ing, Jesting, Laughing, Eccles. 2.2. Penitent So­lomon says, its mad: But were not Solomon (be­fore that) and David, mortified men? Answer, It's true, they were: but though in the mortifi­ed man; sinful habits and principles are broken, and weakned, and reduced, confined and contra­cted as it were into Corners, into langushing in­clinations: and though Original corruption be [Page 20]impaired, yet the old man is put off but by de­grees; and the Lord withdrawing, and some strong temptation assaulting, this broken and dying prin­ciple may put forth strong acts of sin, which gives some reprieval, yea, a sort of resurrection to Original sin in the man. So that David and Solo­lomon, for a while, seem not to be the same men they were: and this tells us, that Mortificati­on is not a days nor a years work.

3. This part of Mortification takes in deadness to a mans friends, to his Countrey, to his Fa­thers house, to a House, Lands or Estate of our own. Our Countrey, may be, cannot bear us, nor our words: Father and Mother may forsake us, Isa. 49.15. Friends, yea all our friends, yea our inward bosom friends, may not only forsake, but abhor us, Job 19.19. 2 Tim. 4.16, Then eease from man; there must be a ceasing also from, and deadness to outward peace and tranquility, to days safety, and nights rest; to Horses and Cha­riots, to trading by Sea or Land, to fair and well­furnish'd Houses, to rich, populous and state­ly Cities; for the Day of the Lord may be, and has been upon these; and the hand of the Lords Anger is yet stretched out.

2. There must be a deadness to Moral-self. There must be a deadness to Wisdom and Gifts, and Moral Excellencies; to natural and acquired parts: for the wisdom of this world is but folly; Learning and Books are but vanity: I gave my heart to know wisdom and folly, this also is vanity, Eccles. 1.17. Riches, Grandeur, and Great­ness, are not so apt to blow up an ingenuous man, as Learning or Virtue; Knowledg puffeth [Page 21]up, who excel in Learning; who admires not the birth of his Mind, his Writings, Discourses or Notions? who would not have every one reverence them, were they never so ridiculous; Where it even (as one says) to hold, that there is a World in the Moon? Men love to be called Rabbi; but my Bre­thren, be not many Masters: the mind must be mortified to the mind, 1 Cor. 8.1, 2, and so must be to all Moral habits and Actions: the old Phi­losophers that could trample upon Riches, were yet vainly elated with this: When Zeno heard, that his ship he used to Trade by, was broke; Well done Fortune (said he) quae nos intra pal­liolum compellis, who compels us to go within our Cloak: he meant, to live upon the glory of Learn­ning and Virtue. A man may bear to have his Face spit upon, and to be trod upon, that can­not endure to have his Gifts, or his Morals vi­lified: But Heart-risings for Injuries of any sort, bewray want of Mortification.

3. There must be a deadness to Religious Self: that is, 1. To our Graces and spiritual Excellen­cies. Our Lord Jesus has a Noble Self, yet was he above it, Rom. 15.3, he pleased not himself. Mortification sets us above Renewed Self, Gal. 2.20. Grace is a pleasant and fragrant Flower, but it's not Christ; it grows out of him, and cut it off from him, it would wither: we must not trust in New-self, more than in Old, 2 Cor. 1.9. We often look to it with a neglect of Christ; and think that when we are once set right in the way to Heaven, that we can find out our way hence­forward. But the mortified man sees not him­self in what he is; he admires not, loves not, de­lights [Page 22]not in himself, nor in his graces, as they are in him, but as they are in Christ; he looks on them as drops of his fulness, as Rays and Beams of his blessed Perfections and Excellencies: hence Paul is dead to his knowledg of Gospel-my­steries: he was not rude in knowledg, yet would he not glory in it, 1 Cor. 13.2. Let us not boast of our Gospel knowledg; and let us not hope in our hope, nor believe in our Faith as some do, who fetch their peace and joy, not from Christ, but from their own faith, or their own act of believing. But a little more as to the Mind: we must be dead to our Light; this Quakers make an Idol of: I do not mean, that we ought to despise it; or that a man ought to act a­gainst it: but we must be dead to it so far, 1. as not to prefer any corrupt dictate of our Mind, to plain Scripture-Truths or Duties: we ought to judg of it by the Scripture, and not e contra. 2. So far, as not to lean to it in times of Tryal, or when in some doubt, though thou hast been well guided in former times. It betokens evil, when one says or thinks there's no hazard, I'le do well enough, for I have gone through great Tryals ere now. 3. Thou must be so far dead to thy Light, as not to follow it to the of­fence of others, if it be in things indifferent: Paul was clear enough, that he might eat flesh, yet, &c. 4. So far as to be willing, if the Lord so will to lead thee blind-fold, thou must depend upon him, when thou cannot see a foot before thee.

2. Thou must be dead to thy forwardness and zeal, 1. So far as not to venture on a seen snare or temptation, because you find your heart [Page 23]in a good frame. Peter was a resolute man, but he had nothing to do in the high-Priests Hall. 2. So as not to trust thine own heart, nor to learn to thine own strength: 3. Thou must be dead to all thy Graces and Duties: 1. so far as not to rest in any measure of Grace, or liveliness in Duty; may be when in a good frame, thou may readily say, I were a happy man, if I could hold up at this rate of praying, mourning, believing, &c. When Paul was at his best, he reckoned not upon it: not as if I had already attained, &c. 2. So far as not to attribute what we are, or do, to our selves, 1 Cor. 15.10, By grace I am what I am: and not I, but, &c. Isa. 45.24. 2. In point of Acceptance, either as to thy Duties, or as to thy Person: for the former, thou must not attribute it to thy Graces, or Duties themselves, or to the liveliness or spiritual manner of doing them. We are apt to say of Prayer (for instance) when answered, it must have been so, I or he was so fervent and enlarged in it; hence some pray fer­vently for a mercy, and confidently look for it, and yet are disappointed: and why? because not dead to praying and believing, but lay more weight on Faith in God, and praying to God, than on God himself, or on Jesus Christ. Some believe in their believing, and pray to their pray­ers. And then, 2. Thou must be dead to these, as to the acceptation of thy Person, and as to the matter of Righteousness, Rom. 7.4. 1 Cor. 4.4. I know nothing, &c. Psalm 3.8, 9. Paul counts all dung, &c. And here lies the greatest difficulty, but it's the right Art of well-doing, for one to work and to labour as hard, as if they could earn [Page 24]Heaven: and when all is done, to be so far dead to it, as to account it Dogs meat as to accepta­tion with God; and that it weighs not a feather in the reckoning of our Righteousness.

2. This deadness to spiritual-Self carries in it a deadness to spiritual Comforts: some are more alive to Comforts, than to the Comforter; But the Rays and Beams of the Sun, are not the Sun: That's the true light of Mortification, when one is alive only to their objective happiness; when one is dead to sensible feelings and actual Com­forts: It's true, that feeling, and sensible Com­forts, are in themselves sweet and desirable things: But herein we are to blame, when our Comfort arises either from our own act of Love, Joy, De­sire, or from the effects of Gods love to us, more than from the God of all Comfort. Now some may think much of this; yet it's plain, that we must be dead to these: 1. so as not to Question the love of God, only for the want of them: 2. So as not to be angry with him, when he with­holds them. It's necessary we be sensible of it, but it's sinful when we charge him foolishly for denying of them: for as the Night and Evening­shadows are good for Flowers and Herbs, and bet­ter than a continual hot Sun; so are desertions of special use, they feed humility, and quicken hun­ger and thirst. 3. So as to maintain an humble hardiness in believing under angry like dealings, especially when we have ground to think they are only for trying and humbling us; indeed, when sin has smoaked out Christ and Comfort; That's like a Boil (says one) on each side, that a man cannot ease himself on either. 4. So as not to be so­cure [Page 25]when we have them. Some carry, as if heavenly Comforts could maintain themselves, Song. 5.1, 2. 5. So as to be in case to mourn with them that mourn, and not so to be taken up with your personal Comforts, as to be untouched with the Concerns of Christ, or the afflictions and suf­ferings of his followers. See Dan. 9.23. Com­pare with Chap. 10.2, 3.

On the other hand, a mortified man is dead as to the sense and feeling of great outward and in­ward trouble: if it be agood time with a child of God in common, he forgets his own private sad exercise. 2. In as far as his trouble and sor­row may weaken his heart or his hands in Duty. 3. In as far as they encline you to quarrel with the holy Majesty of God; rather forget your sorrow, and cease thinking on it, when you can­not do it, without reflecting on God.

3. This takes in a deadness to Priviledges, to a flourishing Church-state; if the Lord will plow Zion like a field, we must say Amen to the word of the Lord, as the Prophets of old did; we must be dead to godly Rulers, (indeed this is not the temptation of the day: though I doubt not but many now alive have faulted in this kind, and are smarting for it) to sudden and miraculous deli­verances; to the glory of Martyrdom & sufferings. True, now few exceed in coveting this, yet many have: Finally, to Ministers and Ordinances: for Judg and Prophet, Isa. 3, and teaching-Priest may be taken away, and Vision may cease; the Ark and the Tabernacle, and the Temple, are not God; the Temple may be burned,— and the Sanctuary prophaned, and such as enjoy them, need not glo­ry [Page 26]over others, as the unmortified remnant who abode in the Land, and in the City, gloried over their captive Brethren, Ezek. 11.15, Get you far from the Lord, unto us is this Land given in pos­session.

We do not mean, that men should be morti­sied to the presence of God in Ordinances: you cannot be lively enough in following of God in Ordinances, but you must be dead to the purest Ordinances (though the choisest outward mercy) externally considered so far, 1. As not to hang and depend too much upon them: how many of these Nations that were lately as the Garden of God, are now like a parched Wilderness? who have now instead of pure Ordinances, and sweet Gospel-Preachers, only dumb-Dogs, and dead forms. 2. So as not to pay too dear for them, nor to buy them at the expence of Truth or Holiness: no sufferings are too much; but any sin, any wrong to God or Christ, is too much for them. 3. So as not to limit the Lord to them: we often sinfully tie Gods presence to preaching, pray­ing, breaking bread, &c. and have a carnal zeal and liveliness to means and naked Ordinances. Some tie their Faith, and Edification, and Com­fort so to an Ordinance, or to one man, as they cannot be content if they get not their desire. A godly Minister may be too much alive to Preaching, and bear restraint with sinful Impa­tience; and a private Christian may be too eager, and hang too much upon one mans mouth: But so much of God and Christ, and the substance of the Gospel, must be over-look'd, as Means are idoli­zed. 4. Then we must be so far dead to them, [Page 27]as humbly to submit to the want of them, and not misdoubt God, but to believe that he will make them up to us; He will be instead of a San­ctuary, and Ordinances, and Ministry, if we do not sinfully put them away: or if we be duly sensible of his displeasure, and humbled for our Church-desolating sins: He can restore them, and in the mean while afford subsistance another way: yea, if it were to feed us with a Rod; for some have thriven better by a sanctified Rod, than they have done by lively Ordinances.

In the third place, we come to consider the ne­cessity of Mortification: this the Text does plain­ly hold out to us. The Question then is, Upon what grounds is it necessary? I Answer, 1. More generally: It is necessary by virtue of the Com­mand of God: this the Text points out, and it's express, Col. 3.5. And indeed, wherever Holi­ness is commanded, this is; for, Mortification is a great part of Gospel-holiness: for the Covenant of works, it takes no notice of this, for it suppo­ses no sin to mortifie. Now in the Gospel-com­mand, take notice, 1. of Gods Authority; He has right to Command, and Authority to punish Disobedience: look to it, for your allowing your self in any sin, imports some forgetfulness or neg­lect of this Authority. And it should be a Chri­stians care to keep up the sense of this, especial­ly such things and occasions wherein ye are most like to neglect it; as in secret Retirements, and Enjoyments, and Temptations: or in your con [...] with others, may be, ungodly persons, whereby casting off the sense of this, we often cast the honour of our profession to the ground, and by [Page 28]out sinful neglects or compliances, unframe our selves: or in the matter of our Trade, wherein many allow themselves in some thing less or more, that is of such secret use and gain to them, that no sense of Gods Authority can move them to re­linquish or mortifie it.

2. Let us consider, that Mortification is the killing of our Disease, of that which would kill us: it's the cure of the depravation of our Na­ture, which thus came to pass: Man not being contented with his Estate, would be as God; and by this means fell from what he was, and became like unto the beasts, 2 Pet. 2.12. Man has now more of the bestial, than of the Divine Nature; and men out of Christ, have not only to answer for the enormities of their Actions, but for the debasing of their Nature. But let us consider this corruption of our Nature, not as it renders us obnoxious to wrath, but as it is our misery; for Man is now like a condemned Malefactor, that has also a mortal Disease upon him; and that needs not only a Pardon, but a Physician. And then Mortification must be our cure; It was the great result of Solomons fearch, that he found that at first Man was not of the same make and mould that now he is of, Eccles. 7.29. Sin has now cor­rupted and blinded the mind, and debauched the whole Man, and brought him under the power of his divers lusts: he is now become flesh: if any remain­der of light peep out, but smothers, or blows it out: What disorders have mens lusts filled the World with? see some hint of Nature, Rom. 3.13, 14, 15, 16. It's not the outward man he intends only, but especi­ally the power of mens lusts, and the inward readiness [Page 29]of the mind to all ill. The thousand part of what is plotted there, breaks not forth: for one man can contrive more wickedness, than all the World can Act. See some account of mans inward wick­edness, Gen. 6.5, Evil, only evil, continually evil; Mens lusts are insatiable; such as have the great­est opportunities and advantages for satisfying them, do but encrease them; and this is mens sin and plague both, and issues into mens ruine: and the less men know or feel this, the greater their misery, so that Sinners heaven is indeed a part of Hell in them, for their lusts even now do torment them: and all their relief is in their various sinful Objects, which feed their lusts, and encrea­ses their misery.

Now Mortification only can cure this; true, some are naturally of a sedate temper, and not subject to such perturbations and enormities as others. But there may be more dirt and mud at the bottom (says one) where there be fewest Waves: and a River may run with great strength, when yet it runs smoothly and without noise. Some are ingeniously educated, which may a little polish the outward and inward man both; but re­fining of lusts, is not mortifying them: there's no recovery from our misery and servitude, and dis­orders through our Corruptions, but by the put­ting off the old man, and mortification of the body and its deeds.

Let this then be a second Consideration, which shews the necessity of it, viz. That it's the cure of our sin and misery, which lies in the frame and actings of corrupt Nature. If any say, That those who set themselves to mortifie sin, do but [Page 30]raise tumults and disorders in the Soul: who has less inward quiet than Paul? Rom. 7. Some that are well Educated, and of good natural Tempers, seem to have the better of many who pretend to Mortification.

I Answer, 1. The peace of unmortified Souls, is much like that in Hell among the Devils: they are all combined against God, and are not divi­ded amongst themselves. If this sort of peace please you, you may have your fill of it in Hell. 2. Other mens peace proceeds from their [...] of servitude, rather than to endure the trouble of a Conquest-World; If the Believer give the Tyrant Sin it's will, he should have peace with it, but he chuses the trouble of a constant War with it, rather than to War with God and his Conscience. Sin Reigns over others, and keeps all quiet: but Grace Reigns in the Saint; and Sin rebels and breeds some disturbance; but never is able to ruine and dissolve the Government of Grace. 3. It is indeed no trouble to the godly man to oppose sin, for he does it with de­light; he has peace with God, and joy in his heart, when he is in the midst of his Conflict with sin; and the more vigorously he opposes sin, the greater is his peace: he is heartned and ani­mated, when he remembers what he contends for, and when he thinks on his Assistants: And more, when he feels strength renewed, he is put on fre­quent acting of Faith, and there is some inward pleasure in every act of Faith: yea, and when sin is too strong for him, he is drawn forth in Acts of godly sorrow; wherein the Believer has a real pleasure; the trouble of others for sin, is but the [Page 31]beginning of sorrow, and of the same kind with that which is in Hell: therefore they would fain flee from them, but sorrow for sin is the bitterest fruit of these Conflicts, yet it is mingled with Joy. Outward Joys have a sting and a wound in them, and the mortified man is uneasie under them; But godly sorrow has a sweetness in it, therefore the Believer by all means seeks to cherish it. Finally, Every advantage he gets against sin, raises his heart; and the hope, yea, the assurance he has of a final Conquest, does so far animate him, that he can antidate Praises, and sing a Tri­umph in the sight of Victory, Rom. 7.25. He finds, may be, some strong Lust so rooted in his natural Temper (which one well resembles to the mire, without which the Rush cannot grow) which has often prevailed; and to the acting of which his own heart prompts him, and Satan also solicites him; yet when he looks to Christ, to his strength, and grace, and redemption from the guilt and power of sin, Rom. 7.25, and to the sure word of Promise, Rom. 6.14, he is heartned to oppose it.

May be, some will further say, that many who pre­tend to Interest in Christ, and to have the Spirit; are yet proud, vain, passionate, envious, unpeaceable, revengeful; How then does Mortification cure the distempers of our Nature? Answer, If any who pretend to have the Spirit, be such, the more shame to them; these are unlike to the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5.22.

But many lay claim to that which they have no right to: and by reason of such, is the way of God evil spoken of, What has given so much oc­casion [Page 32]to men to Preach and Print, That Noncon­formists are the worst Parents, Masters, Mistresses, Wives, Neighbours, &c. If there be such, or if any pretend to the Spirit, who do not thereby mortifie, &c. Let us rather question or deny their Religion, than that Grace or the Spirit does not mortifie sin. 2. Some need more Grace to mor­tifie sin than others: Some have as much as o­thers, yet not enough (if I may say so) for themselves. Some have a harder task than others in mortifying the deeds of the Body: Sin has grea­ter advantages in some than in others: some are under worse circumstances than others, such as raises and draws forth their corruptions, 1 Sam. 1.6, Her Adversary provoked her sore, for to make her fret. Some have fewel daily laid in for their Corruptions; and it may be want of this, that makes others corruptions look as if dead: as Fire wanting fewel, and when under ashes, looks as if it were gone out: So it may be ordered for the tryal and humiliation of some. What Saint al­most seems more impatient than Job? yet who more mortified than he. Finally there is in every Believer, a spiritual principle that is working to­wards the death of all sin. But for the expedi­ting the matter, our utmost diligence is neces­sary, 2 Pet. 1.5. Sin is at first really wounded, but not at once killed: and when we pursue not our advantage against it, it recovers some strength, and rages, and is exasperated more, than where it was never touched.

3. Let us consider, that it was our Lords Er­rand into the World to destroy sin, which is the work of the Devil: it was sin that crucified and [Page 33]killed him: and it ought not to live in us; but by his Death he slew and vanquished sin, and by the vertue of Christs Cross must we mortifie it, Gal. 6.14. It's a chief Blessing we have by Christ; to be able to overcome sin. What was Christs mind upon the Cross set upon? it was the purging away of sin, Ephes. 5.25, 27. See wherefore God sent him, Acts 3.26. Now he turns not only from, but against sin: by Converting-grace he turns from sin; by exciting and Assisting grace he pro­moves in us the death of sin; They have most of Christ, and are the best Christians, who have their corruptions most mortified. Value this more than talking, more than a plausible way of praying, &c. yea, more than Raptures.

It's our sin and shame, that we improve not our Christianity more to the destruction of sin, and that we do not more promote the glory of Christ: by his holy spotless life he bore witness against sin, and condemned it; and by our Imita­tion of him, we ought to glorifie his holy life; by our sins we bespatter it, and others are apt to think such a one was Christ. By his Doctrine he has also cryed down and condemned sin; he preach­ed and prayed against it, John 17.17. He re­joyced at the sight of the ruine of it, John 12.30. His Word is a Glass to see it in: his Promises and Threatnings are so many Methods against it; and by eschewing sin, we adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour, Tit. 2.10. Moreover, As a Priest by his death, he condemned sin in the flesh, and we ought to condemn it over again. His blood purges from sin: in Baptism we covenant a­gainst it; in breaking of Bread, &c. Christs death [Page 34]is set forth to us, not only as a Propitiatory, but as a Pattern to us to die to sin: we despise his bloud, and render his Cross of none effect, when we yield to sin. Mortification would make us look like Christians: Ah! we spare our selves, and cry out of our Impotency, and the strength of sin; we spend our time more in fruitless complaints, than in endeavours. Though Christ as King, Priest and Prophet, takes away and destroys sin, think not he will cure you as by a Charm. Must he con­demn it, and you Absolve it? Must he kill it, when ye cherish it? must his Spirit assist you against it, when ye betray your selves into its hands? when under a Temptation, and his Spi­rit stirs in you, he puts it to your choice, If Christ or sin shall reign over you: and indeed it is, whether will you be Christians, or not?

A 4th Consideration shewing the necessity of it, may be taken from verse 12, We are not deb­tors to the flesh: as for our bodies, we are debtors to them by the necessity of Nature, so far as not to famish them: they may challenge a right to what God allows; but for corrupt Nature, which inclines to please the flesh more than God, and to care for it above the Soul; to this we are not debtors. And the Context shews that we are debtors to the Spirit. It's the Spirits work too, to convince of sin, to witness against it, to restrain from it, and to mortifie it. Our new Nature in­clines to it, our Priviledges obliges us to it: We are debtors for, and to the Spirit; and this debt we own in Baptism, wherein we renounce the false Trinity, and dedicate our selves to the true, Rom. 6.11, Reckon not your selves, &c. Baptism [Page 35]is a vowed Death to sin: hence the Apostle ar­gues against living to sin, Rom. 6.3, 4, and ver. 2, He argues not ab impossibili, but ab incongruo. Compare that verse with Col. 3.3, Ye are dead: yet ver. 5. Mortifie, &c. Sin is dead in Vow at our entry to Christianity. Now the Apostle Pe­ter, 1 Ep. ch. 3.21, tells us, That it's not the ex­ternal part of it, viz. the putting away the filth of the flesh, that effecteth this; but the answer of a good Conscience towards God. God puts this Question to the Conscience: Do ye renounce sin and Satan? the good Conscience says and does it. Now every Oath of Dedication implies an exe­cration or consent to a curse in case of failing, &c. Neh. 10.29. Now he is the only true Christian, who makes conscience of paying this debt: If sin get any power over him, it's not of right, he owes nothing to it: and this may be his An­swer to the flesh, when it tempts, I owe thee no­thing.

5. Consider the necessity of this in order to the Souls communion with God, who is a holy God; yea, glorious in holiness. May be, the reason ye are kept at the door for many days, is your filthy garments: ye must fight every step of near­ness to God, and must conquer 'em before the Triumph, Rom. 7.24, 25. and 8.1. As Life is en­sured in the Text, to Mortification: so the more that one mortifie sin, the more of the beginnings of this Life have they here; he that overcomes, eats of the hidden Manna, Rev. 2.17, and he is ad­mitted to read his Name in the book of Life; he gets a white stone, and in the stone a new Name; Com­pare Rev. 2.17, with Rom. 8.8, 14. A Christian [Page 36]intermitting the exercise of Mortification, can­not keep up Communion with God, nor the faith of his interest in God. If we say we have fel­lowship with him, and walk in darkness (that is, in ignorance and sin) we lye, 1 John 1.6. God is light, and in him is no darkness: he is not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness. Unmortified souls must needs have base thoughts of God: as the more profligate Heathens painted their gods in ugly and lascivious forms: but generally Na­ture taught them something of the purity of God; and such as have no mind to be like him, will think or wish he were like them.

Now, 1. This is necessary in order to our reco­very of the Image of God; it was sin obliterated this, and by the death of sin we recover this, and become capable of divine Delight and Compla­cency, Col. 3.5. Compare with 9 and 10 ver. 2. Without this, we can have no intercourse with God, nor acceptance with him; your Duties affords no glory to God, and convey nothing from him to you. Of old there was no polluted thing to be brought before him: Ye cannot serve the Lord, says Joshua, Josh. 24.19, where he speaks on supposition of their abiding in their sins. Preaching and Praying are great Duties: but to the wicked he saith, What hast thou to do, &c. And when ye stretch forth your hands, I will not hear, Isa. 1. O what madness is it for the love of some lust, to forfeit all the fruit of your Du­ties? See that some unmortified sin be not a Moth in them: look what it is that distracts you most in Duty, and be jealous of that. 3. Without this, you shall not, nor cannot live for ever with God; [Page 37]ye are not meet to inherit Heaven, Rev. 21.27, in no wise. Your hopes and pretences to Heaven, are but so many Reproaches cast on God and Hea­ven. Heaven is not a place for mortifying sin, nor can you expect that your sins should be all killed at once: nay, indeed a man that desires not, and seeks not the death of every sin, cannot with­out a contradiction be said to desire or seek Hea­ven; nay, put an unmortified man in Heaven, and it would be a Prison to him, as a stately Palace would be to Swine. Seneca brings in Nero knock­ing at Heavens-gate: Answer is made, That there was nothing there wherein he delighted; where­upon Hercules is ordered to beat him away with his Club. It's by our success in Mortification, that we make our access to, and acquire a fitness for Heaven: Can ye love and cherish sin here, and think to hate it in Heaven? Ye mistake Heaven, if ye think it stands so much in freedom from trouble, as in freedom from sin: and in­deed, the successful practice of Mortification will clear more what Heaven is to you, than all your studies and speculative Contemplations of it.

If any Object, that if sin hinder our Union, Acceptance, or Communion with God; how can any on Earth enjoy these, since every sin is not actually slain in any Soul? Answer 1. The Soul wherein sin lives and reigns, can have no fellowship with God: that of 1 Joh. 1.6, does hold all you say of it, and expect of it, as a lye, and will prove such. 2. While sin, the dreg of our Disease, re­mains with us, there's no perfect Communion with God, nor is the Soul so compleatly united and sodered to him, but there's some disjun­cture, [Page 38]as it were; and what makes eclipses in the Soul, but the interposition of some sin? 3. Our Union and Communion with God in Christ, is by the new Nature, through the Spirit; it's only in so far as we are freed from sin. Now whatever sin be in the person, there's none in this new Divine Na­ture; the seed of God is pure and undefiled with sin. 4. While we are pursuing sin to death, there's no remainders of it that debars us from Communi­on with God, according to the Covenant of Grace. None were cut off of old from the congregation for being defiled, that did not neglect the appointed Purifications. Hear the rule of our acceptance with God, and of continued Communion with him; If ye through the Spirit do mortifie, &c. Finally, the Chri­stian that makes conscience of Mortification, is help­ed in his work by his Union and Communion with God in Christ; there's some Union necessary to the taking away of sin: and there is some that is the reward of Mortification. Our Lord took not his Church to be one with him, to be his Spouse, because she was pure, but that he might make her so, Ephes. 5.25, 26, 27. In a word, we cannot have full nor immediate Union and Com­munion with God, till we be like the Angels in Heaven: nay, till we be like God; which is the highest description of Heaven. 6. Ponder the weight of the first word of the Verse, If ye live, &c. Compare with Col. 3.6, which shews the necessity of it. Finally, Consider the necessity of it in order to Eternal life; Ye shall live, Compare the Text with Col. 3.4, 5. Mortifie therefore, &c.

In the fourth place, we should consider what is the Spirits work in Mortification. Of this a [Page 39]word only. I Answer, 1. The Spirit disco­vers sin; sin is the fruit of Ignorance, Acts 26.18. Satans Kingdom is a Kingdom of darkness: Sin reigns by Deceit, it entices, James 1.14. There the Apostle speaks not of outward Objects allure­ing. Now the Spirits Light makes sin manifest, Gal. 5.18, 19. It discovers that to be sin, which the light of Nature never charged a man with, John 16.8. 1 John 2.20. Now discover sin once, and you ruine it, it cannot abide the light; this sets a man a-work to War with it, and destroy it.

2. The Spirit affects with shame and sorrow for sin; it lets the Soul see sin, not only in the glass of the Law, but of the Gospel, as it is a­gainst Christ and the love of God; and this im­bitters it, and raises the heart against it. The Soul cannot endure that that which was the death of Christ, should live in it, Zech. 12.10. The Spirit also lets a man see sin practising and war­ring against his Soul, plotting and acting against his life: and so true self-love sets a man to seek its death, 1 Pet. 2.11; yea, and lets him taste so much bitterness in it, and gives such experimen­tal knowledg of the malignant nature of it, that makes a man weary of it, and seek to extirpate it.

3. The New Nature which is born of the Spirit, cannot bear it: the Spirit hence is said to lust a­gainst the flesh, there's a contrariety between them, that like Fire and Water in the Cloud, make a thun­der in the Soul: the man that wants the Spirit has no principle in him that opposes sin, as sin; or that seeks the death of sin.

4. By the Spirit we are united to Christ: and by vertue of this Union with Christ, we are enabled to [Page 40]overcome sin, we thereby receive strength and sup­plies of Grace, and are made conformable to him: we are crucified with him, and die with him, and rise with him, Gal. 6.14. The Soul sees not only a Pattern of Holiness and mortification to sin, in Christ, but is made partaker of the same holiness that is in Christ, and so has the same abhorrence of sin; and the nearer it be to the Soul (the Lord Jesus had no sin in his person) the more it loaths it. That which put him on destroying the works of the Devil, prompts them to seek the destruction of sin.

5. The Spirit promotes Mortification, by actuating, assisting, and strengthning Grace in us; the Spirit excites the exercise of Grace. Now says Paul, If ye walk after the Spirit, ye shall not, &c. Gal. 5.16. Compare it with John 7.38. The exercise of Grace engages the Spirit to as­sist his own work; and this he will do, if not grieved. And thus the Spirit does not only hin­der the fulfilling or bringing forth the lusts of the flesh, but also marrs the conception of them: the Spirit by filling with the fruits of holiness and righteousness, leaves no room for the works of the flesh, Gal. 5.19, 21. Phil. 1.11. 2 Pet. 1.9. Now these Acts of holiness, &c. the Apostle calls the fruits of the Spirit: for these the Spirit excites and produces, not by moral means only, but by an internal immediate effectual work, for which end especially he dwells in them, viz. to cherish his own work, and to excite the act­ings of Grace; as in the old Creation, the Spirit moved upon the waters, &c. and they brought forth living creatures: so does he move upon the New Creature in the Soul, and it brings forth fruits: [Page 41]which for this reason (I say) are called the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5.19. The Spirit draws forth godly sorrow, and that is like poison to sin; the Spirit draws forth Acts of Love, and this kills the love of sin, which is the life of it.

But this the Spirit does more especially, by exciting Acts of Faith, which do in a peculiar way destroy sin, Acts 15.9. We can never advance ho­liness, nor ruine sin, by meer multiplying of Du­ties. Indeed, we are said to be purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, 1 Pet. 18.2. But the Apostle means thereby, believing, as appears from ver. 21, (which is called the obedience of faith, Rom. 1.2.) Hence the unbelieving and the defiled are the same, Tit. 1.15, But unto them that are de­filed and unbelieving, is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Now Faith does expel sin, not only as it is a part of the Image of God renewed in us (for such the ha­bit of Faith is, though indeed in its actings it answers not to any divine Perfection, at least as it imports trust, confidence and dependance on another) and a part of our inherent ho­liness. Nor only as it excites and brings into ex­ercise other graces that tend to the mortificati­on of sin in us. But

1. And especially, as it is the Mean whereby the Spirit unites us to Christ, and which receives and applies the bloud of Christ, whereby we are cleans­ed from sin; it's called a cleaving to the Lord, Deut. 4.4. Acts 11.23, which infers a se­paration from sin: and if the woman by a touch of Christ did fetch Vertue from him, for dry­ing up her issue of Bloud, how much more shall the [Page 42]Soul derive Virtue from him to heal its plague by a constant cleaving and sticking to him by Faith? it keeps the Soul near the Fountain that washes away sin; it lays sin close under the stroke of him who came to destroy sin, and to save from it.

2. The Spirit does, by drawing forth the exercise of Faith, let into the Soul the efficacy of those means that are subordinated to the blood of Christ, and have their efficacy from it, for the taking away of sin. As 1. There is the Word, hereby we are made clean, John 15.3. and sanctified, John 17.17. and healed, Psal. 107.20. It is the sword of the Spirit, Ephes. 6.17, whereby the Spi­rit wounds and kills sin: It's quick and discerning in finding out of sin, Heb. 4.12; and powerful for preventing sin, and rescuing from it. The Spirit brings the Word seasonably to our re­membrance, and also puts life in it: The Spirit brings the Command with Authority upon the Soul, when the Commands and Prohibitions of the Word come in the evidence and demonstra­tion of the Spirit; they come with power, 1 Cor. 2.4; When the Commandment comes as to Paul, Rom. 7. sense of sin may live, but sin is really wounded: he that is the father of sin could not withstand Christs Word, for it was with power, Luke 4.32. None despise the Word, but such as never felt this Power. 2. The Spirit puts an edg on the Threatnings: they are Corrosives to sin, when the Spirit fastens such a Word as this: If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; it's as a Nail dri­ven into the Temples of sin: Better that sin die, than I die, says the Soul. 3. The Spirit makes the promises of the Word effectual to work out [Page 43]sin, 2 Cor. 7.1. Who would not zealously op­pofe sin, and throw it away, that he may be in­terested in such precious promises? or, who that knows his interest in these promises, would not study the greatest possible freedom from sin? who that knows that God is his God and Father, and will dwell and walk with him (2 Cor. 6.16, 17.) will beg or borrow from Satan or the World: or think to better his Condition by the honours, profits, or pleasures of sin? Who that knows, that he is the temple of God, will prophane himself with Idols? and who that knows he is the mem­ber of Christ, will make himself the member of a harlot; and who that has the hope of eternal life, would not purifie himself, 1 John 3.3? Now it's by exciting Faith, that the Spirit makes either the Commands, or Threatnings, or Promises of the word available to the furtherance of Mortification.

3. The Spirit renders these Ordinances, we call Sacraments, effectual for the mortification of sin. 1. For Baptism: It's not only the sign of our de­dication to Father, Son and Spirit; but it's a sign of our fellowship with Christ in his death, Rom. 6.3, Know ye not that so many of us, as were bap­tized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death, ver. 4: therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, ver. 6, Knowing that our old man is crucified with him, &c. ver. 7, For he that is dead, is freed from sin, ver. 11, Reckon, &c. Now it's the baptism of the Spirit that effecteth this, John 1.33. Acts 1.4; and this John calls Baptism with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, Matth. 3.11. pro­bably alluding to the live coal which the Sera­phim took from the Altar, and wherewith he [Page 44]touched the Prophets lips, saying, Lo, thine ini­quity is taken away, and thy sin is purged, Isa. 6.6, 7. Now it's by Faith that the efficacy of this Ordinance is taken in: sometimes at the time of the Administration of it, sometimes afterward: what Faith Infants have, I shall not debate: I see not why some sort of actual Faith may not be admitted in them; and why a supernatural in­stinct may not carry them forth to Christ, as well as a natural instinct prompts them to seek the Mothers breast. John Baptist leaping in his Mo­thers womb, at the salutation of Mary, &c. does seem to confirm this, Luke 1.41, which did not proceed meerly from the Mothers joy, as appears from her words (being filled with the holy Ghost) in ver. 44. For lo as soon— the Babe leaped in my womb for joy; and though there may be some­thing extraordinary in it: yet it plainly says, that Infants are capable of some spiritual Acts, as well as of natural: so

2. For the Lords Supper; The bread we break, and the cup of blessing — is it not the communion of the body and blood of Christ, 1 Cor. 10.16? therein we have fellowship with him in his sufferings: and all our Communion with Christ is through the Spirit, 2 Cor. 13.14. Hence now there is required in such as partake of this, a more espe­cial separation from sin: for we cannot drink of the cup of the Lord, &c. (that may be said of o­ther Sins, as well as Idolatry) 1 Cor. 10.21. And the abuse of this Ordinance, we see in a spe­cial manner punished, 1 Cor. 11.30. Sometimes Satan goes down with a Sop, and it feeds sin: but when Christ is indeed received by Faith, the [Page 45]evil Spirit goes out: and there comes in a new re­cruit of power to expel sin.

4. The Spirit sanctifies Providences, and ren­ders them of use to the mortification of sin: as for instance, The observation of Gods severity upon others, more especially our own afflictions: they are Gods Furnace, he threshes us, that our husk may go off, Zech. 13.9. Isa. 31.15, & 48.15. 1 Cor. 3.13. Materially, all afflictions belong to the Covenant of Works; but by the Cross of Christ they are transferred to the New Covenant; they are thereby made healthful, as the Tree that Moses cast into the waters, took away their bitter­ness (which some think was a type of this); Af­flictions are bitter, and men murmure at them, as the Israelites at the bitter waters; but the Cross of Christ makes them wholsom waters: they are like Salt to the Sacrifices, Levit. 2.13. They consume mens excrementitious and corrupting hu­mours: we are apt to taint and corrupt, to settle on our Lees, therefore we are emptied from ves­sel to vessel: Roots of bitterness spring up, that defile, Heb. 12.15; so Afflictions like Salt, pierce and macerate a Man; and we must be macera­ted ere we come to Heaven; and what is Morti­fication, but the quashing and macerating of the Irascible and concupiscible faculties of the Soul? More particularly,

1. Afflictions are witnesses of Gods displeasure against sin, yea, they are sensible demonstrations of the bitterness of sin: for God would have us lay all at sins door, Jer. 2.19, Thine own wick­edness shall correct thee— know therefore and see, &c. how Gods anger at sin, and the felt evil of it, [Page 46]sets the Soul against it. 2. They dissolve that wretched union between our corruptions within, and tempting Objects without us: such an Union is this, that they never present themselves to our corrupted faculties, but they excite and draw out some sinful Act: we never let out our hearts upon the Creatures, but we are corrupted by them: we cannot think of filthy Lucre, or sensual Pleasures, but they defile us. Now the Cross crucifies us to the World, and it to us, Gal. 6.14. (Many take the Cross there metanymically, for what we bear); the heart now is not so inclin'd to com­mit Lewdness with them: as Rebukes from the Lord makes a mans beauty to consume away like a Moth, Psalm 39.11; so it takes off in the mans eyes, that beauty and desirableness in the Crea­ture, that drew forth inordinate desires: and it does enervate the strength and vigour of the affections, that used to stir at the first seeing or hearing of any thing that was desirable. 3. Afflictions open a door to the Word, and lays the Soul open to its smitings and woundings: for when God speaks in mens prosperity, they hear not: Now he does not spurn at reproofs of sin, but is content to have it exposed. 4. Afflictions, quicken the actings of Grace, of Faith, of love, submission, hope, &c. and these do secretly wound and work out sin. It is an ill sign, when there is no notable acting of some Grace, at least, or when Affliction is gone off, and no sin wounded or slain; when we are consumed with Affliction, and no sin consumed, Jer. 6.10; when the work is over, and done, and we purged from no sin, and made partaker of none of the holiness of God, Heb. 12.10. Tremble at the thoughts [Page 47]of this. O dreadful! to be burned up with the fire of affliction, and sin not touched; to be wound­ed, and sin whole; to be broken with affliction, and not a bone of the body of death broken: it's sin, it's your corruptions, that the holy Lord aims, and levels his strokes at: But foolish we, inter­pose and venture our Souls to rescue and save sin; for which of it's evil Offices is it that you will make war with God, and die for sin? It's for some Sheba that God besiegeth thee, and batters thy wall, as Joab did the City Abel, 2 Sam. 20.15, deliver him up, cut off his head, and he will re­tire, ver. 21.22.

Now all this is the Spirits work, hence called a spirit of judgment and of burning, Isa. 4.4. By Afflictions, the Spirit judges, condemns and exe­cutes sin, and helps us to judg, and condemn, and destroy it. When God has taken his Spirit from Saul, he runs to Endor in his straits. Some are consumed, some pine away: some are hardned when the Spirit is not at work. And finally, it's by Faith, that the efficacy of afflictions is let in­to the Soul: for it sees them coming from God, and that according to his Word; and it sees what they aim at: and sometimes can look upon Gods chastning, as his proper dealing with sons, Heb. 12.7.

We come now to the Application.

Ʋse 1. For Tryal: the Scripture tells us, there are but two sorts of Men, two Principles, two Ends, two Ways, and two eternal states of Men: And it does also plainly tell us to which of these we belong: we need go no further than the Text; to the same purpose is that, Gal. 6.8, He [Page 48]that soweth to the flesh, &c. If you think Marks be tedious, and that some have too much multi­plyed them; here's a short Tryal. And were men but serious in applying this, they might easily divine what shall be their eternal state. But here lies the difficulties: There are so many Counter­feits of Mortification, and by the power of Self-love, some are so passionately carried forth a­gainst some Sins, as contrary to, and incon­sistent with their happiness; And on the other hand, where sin is routed, yet it keeps some bro­ken feattered Forces on foot: and where it's mor­tified, it's not nullified; That it's not easie to sa­tifie the sincere Soul, nor to undeceive the pretend­er only: Sin sometimes goes out, when it is not cast out; it's often asleep, when it's not dead; it often retires, when it's not defeated. Or, if in some particular it be resisted, it is either gratified some other way, or it reinforces its self, and then prevails. Yea, how many Professors keep up a green and flourishing profession, that know not what Mortification means; and it may be are clean in their own eyes, yet are not purged from their sins? And I doubt not also, but that for some time there may be some encrease of true fruits, where there is no growth downward, no ad­vance in Mortification. Indeed, it will be hard for any long time to keep up a green Profession when the root is withering, or when a man is going back in the secret part of Religion; If the roots of sin be lively and strong, it will be hard to keep it under-ground.

Now in short, There be these things which speak out the strength and liveliness of sin in a [Page 49]Man: 1. When a man makes a mock of sin, and thus bids a defiance to the Almighty; and says Aha to his Trumpets! 2. When a man has much pleasure in sin, and sins with greediness, Ephes. 4.19, and does evil with both hands earnestly, Mica 7.3: when a man seeks to extract all the pleasure that is in sin, and would suck out the heart of it. 3. When a man solicites his own heart to sin, Prov. 1.12, 13, and 7.18, and complains as it were of his slackness in it: he is not surprized, nor overtaken, but devises iniquity, Mic. 2.1. com­pare with ver. 3.4. 4. When a man makes pro­vision for his lusts: when he plows wickedness, and sows iniquity, and is at a great deal of pains to sa­tisfie and gratifie his lusts. The Christian is not at half the toil in mortifying lusts, that others are in satisfying them: if the one be hard work, the other is impossible: so that the poor Creature is tormented between the restless and impatient cra­vings of his lusts, and the weakness and scantness of the means he has to satisfie them. 5. When a man sins under a small temptation, or none at all: some are like Powder and Flax, set on fire by a spark: yea, some draw on temptations, and then out-go them, Isa. 5.18: they are not drag'd by a temptation, but draw, and pull, and pain themselves to sin: they meet the temptation mid­way, and are glad of it, as the Jews were when Judas offered to betray his Master unto them, Mark 4.10, 11.6. When one is got above Convictions of sin, and above shame: Prov. 30.20, the adulterous Woman saith, she hath done no wickedness. Jer. 8.6, and 6.15, Were they asham­ed, &c? Jer. 3.3, Thou hadst a whores forehead: [Page 50]or, 2. When one sins after frequent convictions of the folly and hazard of sin, Isa. 57.10, Thou wast wearied in the greatness of thy way, yet saidest thou not, there is no hope: when a man will ad­venture to wade through wrath to satisfie lusts, and overtake his Idols: when Divine Commands and threatnings (which to the godly man are more than Angels with drawn-Swords) are no lets nor banks to sin: when the Omnisciency, and Holiness, and Justice, and Power of God, even when actually represented to the man, yet does not restrain him from sin. It's said of some, that they did evil in the sight of the Lord, 1 Kings 21.20. 3. When one hates Convictions, and en­deavours to hold them out, or to kill them. 4. When one is under Rebukes for sin; yea, may be, under terrors for sin, yet goes on, as Isa. 57.17. Isa. 22.13, 14. Jer. 2.25, Thou saidst, there is no hope, &c. Ezek. 33.10.

These things shew forth the absolute power of sin in the Soul. But now in the second place, there are some things that are evidences of great short­coming in Mortification: yea, even in the Re­generate.

1. When a man is under continual indisposi­tion to Duties, and wants a readiness of Soul to them, and is much distracted or diverted in them: When sin is mortified, and Idols thrust to the door, a man will be at more leisure to pray, and meditate without disturbance, and the spirit will be more composed: a mortified man has more power over his spirit, he is not like a City without walls: but for the unmortified, he has many to please: this Idol must have a look, [Page 51]and this must have a word, and he cannot serve God without distraction, nor with all his Soul, nor with delight: nor does he thrive by his Duties, for his Idols consume and eat up the profit of them: think on this, you who complain of distractons in Duties. Indeed, sometimes the heart is carried away by more trivial Imperti­nencies: but ordinarily it's our Idols that come in so freely and unseasonably: and may be these more trivial diversions have some respect to them, at least they proceed from want of a deep sense of the Majesty of God upon the heart, which also evidences some notable defect in Mortification: for as much as we die to sin, we are alive to God. Finally, When a man wants freedom and confi­dence in his Approaches to God: a Child that's often faulting, cares not for the Fathers presence; sin makes a shyness to God, less or more it does secretly estrange the heart from him. When the North-wind of the Spirit has killed sin, then the Spouse is inviting Christ, Song 4.16: then the Soul is saying, O when shall I appear before thee? But when a temptation to gratifie carnal ease pre­vails, then the Soul cares not for his Company: it has no eyes, nor hands, nor legs, Song 5.2, 3, 4.

2. An habitual unwillingness to die, shews the power of some sin: there may be some unwil­lingness at certain seasons, proceeding from some other cause, but ordinarily this is it; a morti­fied man is like a ripe Apple that comes away with the touch of a hand; or as a loose tooth, that comes out with a gentle pluck. Moreover, the more a man exercises himself in Mortification, he is [Page 52]the more afflicted with the remainders of sin: and the more successful he is in mortifying sin, the more feeling he is of every motion of sin: hence he is often crying out, I am oppressed, under­dertake for me: or with Paul, Rom. 7.24. This Captive-exile doth lawfully hasten to be deliver­ed: this Prisoner is looking out at his Windows till Christ come and knock off his Irons: and this makes him groan earnestly for his full freedom from sin, and he cares not how fast the outward man decay, if the inner-man be renewed, and if sin decay as fast: it's easie to die, when sin is first dead; but if there be any lust lively, the guilt of it makes a man dread Eternity, and the Judg­ment to come; and the strength and liveliness of it, makes him dread death; when the Soul is strongly united to any Idol, Death is like the rending of one member from another: But a mortified Soul does leave the body as chearfully, as a man throws off an old torn ragged suit of Ap­parel. 2 Cor. 5.1, He is much in longing for, and in rejoycing in the hopes of Heaven; and Hea­ven is Heaven to him, rather for it's freedom from sin, than for it's freedom from troubles that now annoy; whereas an unmortified man has cold thoughts, and faint desires of Heaven: why do ye not lift up your heads? it's either from unbelief, or some prevailing lust: were you fighting for your life, the news and assurance of Victory would anticipate the Triumph; for the man is no fur­ther carried out after the true happiness, than he is taken off the false. Hence one that is wholly under the power of sin, cares no more for the true perfection of the Soul, than a beast cares to [Page 53]be a man; yea, and the regenerate man that's un­der any prevailing-lust can hardly keep up his assu­rance, at least he has no actual aptitude and meet­ness for Heaven; and no wonder he long not much for it; but see what a Song that is in, 2 Tim. 4.7, 8, I have fought the good fight of Faith, &c.

3. When the Soul is in a continual restlesness and vexatious anxiety, when there are many inward perturbations and disorders in the Soul; may be, sin has not the throne, yet is it breeding great tu­mults, and making many and great insurrections against grace in the Soul: the guilt of them fills the Soul with fear; their opposition and contra­riety to grace, makes them painful to the Soul, in so far as it is sanctified: and then there is that Tor­ment, which is unseparable from all corrupt inclina­tions and lusts, which proceeds from the impossibili­ty to satisfie them; It's upon the account of this lust, especially, that the man that is defective in Mortifi­cation, is troubled; partly also in respect of the guilt of sin.

For the second, The more success in Mortifi­cation, and the livelier Grace be, the more feeling has the Soul of every stirring of sin, and the more pain it is to the new Creature; and indeed, the more that sin be struck at, the more it struggles: the Old man has a strong heart, and is loath to die; and our lusts being as a right-hand, cannot be cut off without pain; but that which is pain­ful to the Old man, is a pleasure to the New: It's the strength of remaining sin that afflicts the New man. The more the Soul be delivered from sin, the more it thinks it thinks it self a captive, and the fuller freedom it breathes after, Rom. 7.24, the re­mainder [Page 54]of sin in the midst of his highest comforts, are worse than Water amongst Wine: so that the poor Believer needs a Banner, even when he is taken into the Banquetting-house, Song. 2.4. How pitiful­ly does the poor Spouse speak, Song. 6.13, in the be­ginning of the ver. Return, return, O Shulamite: re­turn, return, that we may look upon thee; see her An­swer, What will you see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two Armies: Alas! What will you see in me, but War, and Bloud, and Rebellion? when the poor Christian thinks he has cut off one head of sin, there starts up another, or more: the more you make it your work to mortifie sin, the more discoveries you shall have of sin; and the more ye will lie in wait to discover it, the more of the Spirits light shall you have to see sin: That which is but a shadow to others, is a Body to Paul, it was once otherwise with Paul, Rom. 7.9. He was as whole and sound as any man: he was as little troubled with sin as the Pharisees of our time, who with disdainful pride scoff at the humble bemoanings, and self-abasing confessions of serious Christians, and will not admit that Paul, Rom. 7, speaks of himself, as Regenerated. I wonder what such think of their own Liturgie, which frequently teaches them to call themselves mise­rable sinners: at which the Quakers were wont as foolishly to Triumph, as now they do at us for the like humble acknowledgments of sin.

4. When the reflecting upon, and remembring of former lusts and Idols, do excite our affecti­ons, or is accompanied with delight, or does pro­voke new desires, Ezek 23.19, she multiplyed her whoredomes, in calling to Remembrance the days of [Page 55]her youth; or as it is ver. 21, The lewdness of her youth: this is an acting over of sin. It's sad when we cannot look upon the Picture: nay, nor read, or hear the name of our Idol-lusts, but we bow down our head, and our affection is kindled, or some cor­rupt passion stirs: where sin is mortified, every remembrance of it revives our sorrow for it; it's like a new stroke upon an old wound, espe­cially after the Soul has been held over Hell for it, and may be under much outward trouble al­so: for its indeed some unmortified sin that ordi­narily brings on desertion and trouble, Isa. 57.17, when the Moon (an Emblem of this World) is un­der our feet, Rev. 12.1, there can be no eclipse of the Sun, and no storms. The Lord may for his own holy ends, exercise the most mortified Chri­stian, but its ordinarily some root of bitterness springing up that he strikes at: And O what a Sea of temporary wrath does our indulgence to some sin expose us too! yet how hard is it to bring us to lay all at the door of a beloved lust! it were easie to cure most mens inward troubles, were they but faithful to themselves.

5. When one is not constantly underfelt-need of Christ, not only to save from the guilt, but the power of sin. The man that labours in Mortifi­cation, he is hourly calling on his Aid, he can­not live without Christ, sin is sin indeed to him; and Christ is Christ indeed to him: he cannot ex­alt Christ enough, nor magnifie the grace of God enough: he sees it's no little help he needs, and that no common aid will serve his turn; (I do much question if such as oppose the doctrine of special Grace, ever knew what Mortification was) [Page 56]he speaks with another spirit than the Pharisee, when he thanks God that he is not like other men, Luk. 18.9, 10. (You see the Free-willers (as you vul­garly call them, for such were the Pharisees) in Christs time owned the necessity of some Divine Assistance); how warmly doth Paul speak, Rom. 7.25, as he had with much feeling bemoaned him­self? Ver. 24. He seems to want words to exalt God, and stops as it were in the middle: his thoughts are over-matched; thus praise waits, or is silent for God; it is silent to other things, and it waits to be employed about him, Psal. 65.1. The Believer is often put to a Non-plus, in crying up the grace of God, and wants words to express its greatness; yea, to answer the elevation of the thoughts: the heart indites a song of praise, but he cannot tune it. The Apostle is stopt as it were through admiration (which is Silentium intelle­ctus); for when the mind can rise no higher, it falls admiring: hence some say, God is most exalted with fewest words. The experience of the supplies of Grace for overcoming sin, is one of those mer­cies that uses to provoke the Soul to cry out, Exalt thy self, O Lord! worthy art thou to receive Blessing and Honour, &c. But thou art above all Bles­sing & Praise! Others make no great matter of this.

6. When a mans heart is pierced through with sorrows, when his Idols are blasted and smitten: when in the time of trouble, fear and sorrow sill the heart: when our Idols are fallen, or when our lusts out-live their Objects. As, suppose a mans Estate be decayed, or his dear Friends be dead, before inordinate love to them be decayed, or dead; we are apt to sit down upon the graves [Page 57](as it were) of our buried Idols: and cry out, Ah my Lord! Ah my Comfort! Ah my Hope!

But how does a mortified man carry in refe­rence to the lawful things of this World? An­swer, 1. With a great indifferency: If he live, if he be rich, if full, if he abound, it's well: and if he die, if he be poor or empty, it's also well. If David be on the Throne, it's well, he can then also pen Songs of praise; If he be at home in his house, in the Sanctuary, it's well; if banished and chased from the house of God, it's well. Hezekiah is Victorious, the Assyrians are slain, it's well. Isaiah prophecieth that his Treasures shall be spoiled, and his Children carried captive, this is good too. Our blessed Lord is the same, when the people sing Hosanna, and when they cry, Crucifie him, and spit in his face. The mortified man is peremptorily about nothing here: he trembles at such a word, as, give me children ere then I die: nay, Children or no Children, Riches, or no Riches, that's well; or when one loves, rejoyces, weeps, as if not, &c. 2. The heart goes slowly and faintly out after Creatures: if any thing work upon the mortified man, it affects him not much, Acts 20.24. Peter will not have the Saints burn­ing quick, strange to them, 1 Pet. 4.12. Psalm 131.2, as a weaned Child: Grace makes the heart move leisurely to all things beneath God. A mortified man is as a Sea that hath no winds, that ebbs not, and flows not, Psalm 62.2, He only is my Rock, I shall not be greatly moved. The mortified man sings, and is not light; and weeps, and is not sad; is zealous in Gods cause, and yet composed in spirit: he is not so eager on any thing, but he can quit it for God: Ah! few can [Page 58]act, but they over-act. There's often in young Converts too great and fervent out-goings of the Soul even after spiritual created Comsorts; this is some way childish: Mortification is a gracious well-composed grave temper of Soul, as for God: the man weeps, as if he weeped, &c. the Soul goes forth in its full strength. 3. The actings of the mor­tified man in reference to the Creatures, are in some sense no actings: rejoycing, &c. is as no re­joycing; things here are but shadows and pictures of being (God only is); therefore our affections should be but affections, Psalm 35.12, They speak mischievous things: ver. 13, But I as a deaf man heard not. Psalm 39.9, I was dumb, &c. Eccl. 2.8: he cannot find in his heart to sing and dance at shadows. Grace longs at nothing: it shouts, admires, wonders at nothing: it weeps also at nothing. The mortified man he is dead, he is cruci­fied with Christ; pleasant sights and sounds work not upon him.

Now for you in whom sin lives and reigns, we have but heavy tidings to tell you: The Text layes a heavy burthen upon you: if it was the Gospel that Paul preached, this Gospel condemns you; you are dead, while alive: your right-eye that you will not pluck out, and your right-hand that you will not cut off, shall be the chief seat of your pain; there shall the fire begin, and ne­ver cease burning, and these shall be as fewel to burn the whole body: Out of these shall the worm that never dies, grow.

And for you, Christians, that are slack and neg­ligent, and not strenuous and successful in this work of Mortification; you mar your own mer­cies: it's this that renders you uncapable of Di­vine [Page 59]Comforts, and it's this that multiplies your sorrows; you may be first in profession, in know­ledg, and gifts, in doing of works of holiness and righteousness, and first and chief in sufferings for the Gospel; and yet be last in Gods reckoning, and least in the Kingdom of heaven above: thou mayst with much difficulty get through the Needles-eye, and through the strait-gate, but thou losest thy hundredfold here: and for any thing thou knowest, puts everlasting life to a ven­ture; you mar and blur this great evidence for Heaven in the Text; you cannot read your name in the Promise. If sin be not your death, yet it blackens, lames, cripples and wounds you, and keeps you weak, and your Soul always a bleed­ing; any unmortified sin marrs your freedom with God: it's like a weight upon the Soul, that thou cannot run thy Race, Heb. 12.1, 2. Or it's like a thorn in the foot: it's like a Wound in the work­ing-hand, it leaves a print upon every Duty; any unmortified lust brings on deadness and formali­ty; and Duties are rather Ornaments, than meat and drink to the man. Or upon the bearing shoul­der; It is hence that some real Christians bear afflictions with more trouble and impatience than some others; afflictions wound our Idols, and these are as pieces of our selves: they are like Da­vids forked arrows stuck into our right-hand, or right-eye, we have a quick sense of these: God would have us pluck out the eye, and let all go; or cut off the arm, and we should not feel the arrow; but we pluck at the arrow, and tear our flesh: What is it but our loathness to let our I­dols go, that makes affliction bitter? It's not po­verty, [Page 60]or want of Estates, Trading, Relations, that in themselves afflict; for we see many con­tentedly want these: but it's our unmortified cor­ruptions, our inordinate love and desire of these, this in less or more is common to some godly, with others. 2. The holy Lord doth by afflictions of­ten bring forth mens secret unmortified lusts, and writes them on their foreheads, Ezek. 16.36, 37. Sometimes by the kind of their afflictions, some­times by their carriage under it. But 3. There is besides this in the Believer, a quicker sense and apprehension of Gods anger than in others, and this makes afflictions sit the sorer to them: Hence comes such Complaints, as Lam. 3.1. This by­standers do not consider, but observing their trouble, think it comes from the same cause that the trouble of others proceeds from. Ah! its our short-comings in Mortification, that makes men confound us with others, that darkens our difference from the World, in every state of life we are in: If under wants, we are perplexed and thoughtful as others; if we abound, we are vain, and frothy, and proud, and supercilious as others. This is the bane of many Professors, for this the Name of God is spoke ill of; for this the imputed Righteousness of Christ is reproached; for this, the Spirit in his in-dwelling and work­ings is reproached by the Rabsheka's of the time: for this, Free-grace and Gospel-faith are reviled: did we not put this sword in our Enemies hand, they should have no Weapon wherewith to fight against Truth or us: this may indeed wound us, though it wound not Truth: Reproach hath broken my heart, saith David; it would not have done [Page 61]so, had he not given occasion for it. Our works does not justifie our Faith; the fruits of the Spirit are not manifest as the fruits of the flesh are: our deeds are not so different from others, as our prin­ciples and profession are different from theirs.

Yet something I must say for the encouragement of such as are sensible of their defects and short-comings in Mortification. 1. I must offer you Pauls Relief, Rom. 7.25. for however successful he was, yet the encouragement is such as may serve every Soul that does heartily fight the Bat­tels of the Lord, though not so successively: the poor Believer is often crying out as Elisha's ser­vant, Master, What shall we do? But were our eyes open, we should see more for us, than a­gainst us: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are en­gaged too, through this blessed Work; ye have right to the same aid (if ye will but use it) that Christ had in his contest with, and conquest over principalities & powers, Ephes. 1.19, 20, so that our impotency can be no excuse to us; Faith gives the Soul the greatest resemblance of Divine Omnipo­tency. 2. Take that word, Rom. 8.1, You feel and know that there are many things condemn­able in you; yea, enough to condemn millions of Men or Angels: But O the mysterious depths of Free-grace, that should divide and separate be­tween Condemnable & Condemnation. Indeed, the more Conscience one makes of mortifying sin, the more sense and assurance of their Absolution and In­dempnity. If sin be prevailing, it's hard to maintain the sense of this; yet in some cases one may: as when the Soul is under a deep afflicting sense of prevailing-sin, and solicitously striving against it, [Page 62] Psal. 65.3, Iniquities prevail against me, &c. You may yield to the Antecedent, and deny the Con­sequence: yea, you make the prevailing of sin an Argument in prayer for Pardon, Psalm 25.11. Those same Iniquities that set Justice a-work, Gen. 6.5. He can make an Argument for mercy, Gen. 8.21. Indeed, if one keep up any perswasion of their freedom from Condemnation, it's a great doubt if they can keep up the comfort of this per­swasion too; for, these are often separated. Da­vid has his Absolution, 2 Sam. 12.13, yet does he afterward beg the comfort and joy of it; or at least a closer Application of it. 3. Know that oft-times Satan and Corruptions stir most where they have least possession, and real power; and al­so that they make most ado, when they are nearest to be cast out.

But if you enquire, why the holy Lord does suffer sin to prevail so much over some of his own? I answer, The Captain of our salvation knows how to bring his followers to Glory; and he knows that it's better for some to be kept sighting (even though often foiled) than to be Triumphing. The rising of some is their falling, and the falling of others is their rising; Success is sometimes worse to carry under, than a De­feat; Pride and Self-righteousness often get up upon our Trophies over sin: and for this end some­times the Lord suffers some sin to prevail: If he see a Soul enclining to establish its own righteous­ness, Ezek. 33.13, If he trust to his own righte­ousness, and commit iniquity. Pride often rises up­on the ruins of other lusts: but thus the Lord suffers not the foot of Pride to get up, he keeps [Page 63]the Soul under a deep impression of its exceeding sinfulness and vileness; indeed, it is a trial to Faith, when the Soul sees nothing in it self, and yet can believe; and then is Faith purest, when others reckon upon themselves as the worst of Sinners. David reckons himself as a beast, Psal. 73: And he not only mourns for sin, as a man; but he roars as it were like a pained beast, Psal. 32.3. He seems fitter for a Wilderness to cry out, than for a secret Chamber to weep in: at other times he can water his couch in the night, now he roars all the day-long: at other times his moisbure is dried, now his bones: the pillars of his house shake and wax old.

2. Thus the Lord lets the Soul see its need of constant supplies of Grace, and so keeps it in a closer dependence on himself: were we always vi­ctorious, we should not know so well our own insufficiency, nor the sufficiency of Grace. Some are kept Cripples, because they would either run away from him, or neglect him. It's evident, that we are oftnest with God, when we have most need of him; how often does necessity prompt us to Duty, more than love, or conscience of Du­ty? hence we pray seven times, when we praise once.

3. The Lord often punishes his people by this: letting them know the difference between Christs yoke, and sins.

4. He manifests his power in their final Con­quest, after so many foils: On this account Paul glories in his infirmities, 2 Cor. 12.9, 10: thus al­so he manifests the riches of his Grace. The Con­version of the Soul from sin to God, is a wonder [Page 64]of Free-grace; but the Conversion of some is a greater wonder. Mortification of sin in any Soul is a marvellous work of the Spirit, but more mar­vellous in some; where sin was deeper rooted and more fortified, and where the name of lusts was begun: even so, the salvation of the most morti­fied Soul, is a new wonder of Free-grace: but the salvation of some Souls, is a supereminent act of superabounding-grace; the High-praises of God shall be in all their mouths: but the songs of some shall rise higher than others: were not the holiest so much in admiring how themselves were saved, it might be an astonishment to them to see, may be, some in Heaven, whom in their thoughts they have sometimes reprobated: how much sin do some bring to Heavens-door with them? At Heavens-gate is the grave and burying-place of many strong Corruptions: Death, which is the wages of sin, is made the grave of sin. And what the Red-sea was to the Egyptians, these Corrup­tions that keep poor Souls in bondage, and that still pursue them, they shall see no more the cer­tainty of your final Conquest. Is it not good news from a far Countrey, that the Captain of your salvation stands ingaged for you? and it is more his concern than yours, that you be victorious. And O what Hosanna's shall be sung to him, when he shall ride in Triumph through the streets of the new Jerusalem that is above, with his triumphing followers, each having a Crown on their head, and Harp in their hand; his Conquest is a pledg of yours, John 16. You are often thinking that some day you will fall by the hand, &c. You have had as good aid engaged to save you, as Christ [Page 65]had, Ephes. 1.19, 20: and you being so nearly united to him, he reckons not his Conquest com­pleat, as long as you are in a Militant state: If you be fighting the good fight, Christ is upon his way to relieve and fetch you off victorious; Know you not that he has said, I will that they be where I am? he knew his Trust, and that it was the Fathers will; and well it is for us, it de­pends not on ours.

Ʋse 2. What we have said, does speak sadly to such as either neglect this great Duty, on which the Text lays so much stress: or who think to mortifie sin by meer moral means, or considera­tions. For the first sort: 1. There be some that instead of mortifying sin, cherish and feed it, and make provision for it: that are in league with it, that have common Friends and common Foes with it: yea, to some it's as themselves. It's as a right-hand, &c. yea, it's their life; wound their lusts, and their heart dies: speak to such of Morti­fication, and you may as easily, and more, perswade them to stab, or at least to lance themselves. Hence men have found out so many counterfeits of Mor­tification, they will rather kill thousands of Rams and Bullocks, yea, their sons and daugh­ters, ere they slay sin; What severities have some used to themselves, to save their sins? What vast sums have some given to redeem the life of their sins? This hath enriched the Po­pish and Prelatick Clergy, more than ever their own, or the Benefactors Piety or Zeal have done.

2. There be some that seem to be grieved with [Page 66]the power of sin, that are daily poring upon their sins, but never are able to come out of them; that are much in complaining of the power of sin, but never able to mortifie sin. Now here I shall shew 1. What it is that ordinarily hinders the mor­tification of sin. 2. How it comes that convin­ced Souls that are often complaining of sin, yet take up short of Mortification.

For the former, let us consider, 1. The frame and corrupt Habit of the mind of Man. There's in it Ignorance, Atheism, Inconsiderateness and Unbelief. First, There's Ignorance, the god of this world hath blinded men: and then he makes them grind in his Mill. Sinners see no Enemy to fight with, they see no harm in sin, they feel no sting or poison in it: and instead of crucifying it, are apt to say, Why, what evil hath it done? for sin is marvellously tame, where it's kindly used. It's Satans policy to teach men to call evil, good, and so to advance it: and to call good, evil, and so to persecute it: thus we see him carry on the mor­tification of Holiness. 2. There's Atheism: whe­ther there be any speculative Athesm, I enter not upon. I am apt to think, that if there be a head-Atheism, it proceeds from heart-Atheism: But certain it is, that when men have blotted out all sense of God upon their mind; sense of sin must needs be gone too (no doubt, it's from the pre­valency of Atheism in these days, that some have denied any real difference between good and evil): did men live under the impressions of an infinite­ly holy, just, soveraign Majesty, they durst not so affront his Law and Authority, nor maintain his Enemies, which he would have slain. 3. There [Page 67]is Inconsiderateness. Sinners do not count the cost and charges of sin: they see not the hook, the poison that is in it; consider not what bitter­ness it will be in the latter end, when they shall mourn at the last, &c. Prov. 5.12. Many suffer more for it, even in this life, than the godly does for holiness; but the latter end of it is another thing. Now what men have in Oblivion, they con­sider not, or look upon at a great distance: To the godly man, Judgment and Eternity are near; therefore he deals with sin, as he would do if he heard the last Trumpet, or saw the great white Throne set, and the Ancient of days sitting upon it, &c. 4. There's Unbelief; did men believe what evil were in sin, what it is in its Nature and Effects, and Consequents, their hearts would rise with indignation against it; they would seek to extinguish their lusts and passions, as men do fire, when it breaks out in their houses. Now the re­mainders of these are in the Regenerate.

2. There is the engagedness of the heart and affections to sin: the heart is the chief seat and strength of sin. There's a heart-union between a Sinner and his Idols, such as resembles that be­tween a Man and his Wife: hence, mens Idols are called their Lovers: and the back-sliding of Pro­fessors, is called Adultery and Whoredom; hence instead of killing their lusts, they love them, and cherish them as their own flesh. To mortifie sin, were to mortifie themselves: Will a man slay the wife of his Bosom, the desire of his Eyes, or thrust through his intimate Friend? Sin is as meat and drink to them, they drink it as the Ox does water: It's as Air to breathe in, it's as spirits and [Page 68]blood to them; Kill me, says the Sinner, and re­strain me from this or that: when we speak a­gainst sin, men take it, as if we spake against them­selves: when we cry out against sin, it's to them, as if we were reproaching them: where the eyes are full of sin, a man cannot cease to sin; much less when the heart is full of it: love does strongly unite the heart to it; there's a League, a Covenant of friendship between the heart and sin. Now sin may in a sort keep true to the man for a time, viz. while it is conceiving and grow­ing; but when it is perfected, it brings forth death. When one, as Ephraim, is joyned to Idols, there is little hope of him.

3. There is the strength of sin: our Natures are leavened with sin, not coloured with it: But sin is like blood and spirits (as is said); and as we grow up, sin encreases and grows up, till at length we be wholly inslaved to it. Sin is a great King: Pride, and Covetousness, and Sensuality, are its three great Princes: each of them have millions of slaves. How many Kings and Princes, are but Lacqueys to the lust of the Eye, or the Flesh, or to the pride of Life. The greatest Conquerors of the World have been in bondage to these: such as affected the utmost soveraignty over men, have been absolute slaves to their lusts: O the violence of mens lusts and passions! It's a hard task to vanquish those usurping Tyrants, espe­cially where they have had long possession; such are too hard for a man to mortifie; the more strength, and the longer possession any sin has had, the more difficulty to overcome it.

4. This proceeds from the deceitfulness of sin, [Page 69]and Satan; he often paints Sin in the colour of Virtue, and it escapes free; and he blackens Holi­ness, and we strike at it, and seek to mortifie it: Or sometimes, when we are angry at sin, it sneaks away and couches in some corner: and when our anger is over, and the strength of the Convicti­on which bred it, worn off, sin comes forth again, and its peace is made, there's no more of it: yea, such is the deceitfulness of sin, that it can advance it self by the want of tempting-Objects, as well as by the abounding of them. Hence, as the richer and higher some grow, Pride and A­varice grows: So the poorer and the more despi­sed some grow, the more Pride (as appears in Achitophels case) and Covetousness encrease. So Lust oft-times grows most, where there be fewest temptations to blow it up; It takes life upon the withdrawing of the Object (as the blast­ing or absence of mens Idols often encreases their Idolatry with the memory of them): the want of the Object does feed Lust more, than the ha­ving of it, as appears in Ammons waxing lean day by day, for love of his sister; and aftewards how did he hate her? O the depths of Satan, and the cunning of Sin! how many policies does it use to preserve it self: it promises so fair, and smiles so upon a man, that he cannot find in his heart to slay it.

5. That which also hinders the mortification of it, is the suitabless of it to our corrupted Na­tures: there is something in Applause, that gra­tifies that Self-exalting principle in man. Men find pleasures sweet, and they cannot but believe their senses, before any testimony from without: [Page 70]they see, and feel, and taste some sensible good in sinful Objects: and it's hard to dispute a man out of his Senses. Nature craves something, and the things of this World have some subserviency and suitableness to Nature, in its pure primi­tive Consideration. And Sinners cannot now distinguish between purely Natural, and inordi­nate desires: and indeed the pleasures of sin are now as suitable to our corrupted Nature, as poor natural delights were suitable to Adam in Inno­cency. Now look what pain it is to have Nature starved or oppressed; such pain it is to have sin mortified.

6. The splendid Condition of some, and the merry life that Sinners lead, makes men in love with their way: they who deal most kindly with their sin, and indulge and satisfie a proud and sensual disposition, they live the gayest lives, and with their blustring Jollity they carry the voice, in the opinion of most men, who have no Sanctuary-light. As for Mortification, they think it dispirits one, or makes a man a Mope; and that to mortifie sin, is to mortifie all Pleasure and Mirth.

7. Libertinism, or perverting of the grace of the Gospel; some have doctrinally, and others practically, made that a Sanctuary for sin, which God has made a City of Refuge for peni­tent Sinners. Some think it improper to speak to Believers of sin, or mortification, at least that we should not to them preach against any sins, but such as argue them to be in a good state (as there are some diseases that argue a good constitution of Body) and that we should urge love and gra­titude only, and not Hell nor Wrath; but whose [Page 71]doctrine is the Text? and to whom is it directed? This pretended heat of Spirituality, has often issued into loosness and prophanity. This pra­ctical Abuse of Grace, is that wherein all unsound hearts do really conspire. Antinomian, Liber­tine, and Ranting principles, are the most imme­diate inferences and conclusions that natural hearts draw from the doctrine of Free-grace; which, were not men strangely byassed, and prejudiced by their lusts, may easily appear to be horrid perversions of the Gospel. Thus he that came to destroy sin, is made the Saviour of sin.

For the second Question; Whence it is that some complain of the power of sin, yet rest in something short of the mortification of it? [...]. 1. Some are convinced of the power of sin in them, and are troubled at it, but hope that Duties will weaken it, and wear it off; when alas, they never hurt it. Or, 2. That time will do it; that when temptations are over, and fewel withdrawn, lusts will die of themselves: and that when they are got out from under such and such cir­cumstances, Corruptions will not have such ad­vantage against them: when alas, sin can live without temptations, and has fewel enough with­in, and can create temptations to it self. Or, 3. Upon every inconsiderable resistance to, or advantage against their sin, they begin to hope well of themselves: as Micah foolishly concludes that God will bless him, seeing he had a Levite to be his Priest; so do some dream of Heaven, upon every little success against a temptation to sin, or upon every passionate wish to be freed from sin, as inconsistent with the hope of Heaven; though [Page 72]such wishes do often grow out of Nature, and self love. Or, 4. Such satisfie themselves with meer complaints of sin; trouble for sin does sometimes secretly harden in sin, and issues in secure despair (as burning, though it be painful, yet it stops bleed­ing); or else such satisfie themselves with some common Comfort, and are all on a sudden as Jo­vial as ever; (There's a great deceit in folks com­ing out from under Soul-trouble) or if they can get some tears to bewail their sins, these are to them as good a Plaister as Christs blood; O the deceitfulness of tears, when they are not the juyce of a broken heart: they do but water sin, and make it more fruitful. Or finally, By their passi­on [...] Complaints, they get the pity and prayers of others, and are well lik'd of, and look'd upon as the Mourners, and broken-hearted, whom our Lord has blessed: and the prayers and good-like­ing of others, does insensibly work them into a good opinion of themselves.

In the second place, They deserve Reproof, who think to mortifie Sin by their own endeavours, or by meer moral means: No endeavours no Duties, no consideration of Sins opposition to, and in­consistency with our happiness, without the influ­ence of the Spirit, can mortifie any one Sin. The Apostles manner of urging this great Duty, de­serves a Remark: on the one hand, he will not have people think that the Spirit was to do all, and they to do nothing; or that they are to be meerly passive in the business of Mortification; If ye mortifie — and on the other hand: he will not have them think that there is any power in them to mortifie Sin, but that it is through the Spirit. [Page 73]It is the Spirits special work: and hence we may be instructed, how to press all Gospel-duties so, as to avoid Enthusiasm and Antinomianism on the one hand, and Arminianism on the other. For there's nothing more common, than for people to ap­prehend some sufficiency of power in themselves to obey, when they hear Gospel-obedience pressed: and on the other hand, to grow sloathful and se­cure, and to expect such a power as will kill Sin, and carry them through Duties, without their concurrence (or may be, knowledg); when they are told of their Impotency, and of the necessi­ty of the Spirits special assistance; whereas in respect of dependance, humility and self-denial, we should carry as if the Spirit acted all; but in respect of diligent endeavours, we should act, as if we acted all; and not the Spirit.

Ʋse 3. Of Exhortation; If you would escape the second Death: if you desire or hope to live with God, and to be eternally happy in the enjoy­ment of him; set about the mortification of sin. 1. O­riginal corruption must be mortified, the root of Sin must be killed: lay the ax to the root of the tree; one stroke at the Root will do more harm to the Tree, than many strokes at the Boughs. In the Doctrinal part, I hinted at the necessity and usefulness of this. I shall only now point a little at the way of mortifying the Body of Sin. 1. A through sight and discovery of it is necessary: I do not mean, that any man can fathom or com­prehend the heghth and depth of it, Jer. 17.9, Who can know it? Now the deceitfulness of the heart is but a branch of the corruption of it: It's [Page 74]a Mysterie that we cannot now unfold; yea, and without the Spirits teaching, we cannot have such a discovery of it, Rom. 7.7. Some Heathens have seen, and bewailed it as their disease, which yet they thought curable by moral Habits: but they never saw it as sin, nor in its deadly damning Nature; Nay, nor did ever any common work of the Spirit give such a discovery of it, as is neces­sary to the mortification of it; the Hypocrite sees no more of it, than what he thinks some com­mon work sufficient to cure. Hence it is, that all such as advance Nature, are depressers of Grace; and that such as extenuate original Corruption, make no great business of Conversion. And e con­tra — hence it is also, that we find not a Hypo­crite in all the Scripture, complaining of this o­riginal Corruption, as we find Paul and David do­ing, Rom. 7, and Psalm 51. Now in order to this sight of Sin, 1. Thou must be much in the study and observation of thine own heart, and of the secret motions of sin there; they are stran­gers to their own hearts, who may not find every sin there, even such as they never heard named: or as the gracious heart complies with such Du­ties, as may be, it never heard to be such; so does the corrupt heart encline to such sins as are not to be named; or upon the mention of every sin there's some inward stirring to it, especially if it be plausibly spoke of. 2. Study the spirituality of the Law; there thou mayst see the holiness of God, which will not admit of the Ieast mo­tion to Sin: and there also thou mayst read thine own Impurity and sinful Impotency. 3. Seek the Spirits light, it's the Spirits work to discover Sin: [Page 75]let it be thy Souls desire, that he would open some door or window, and let thee see more in­ward, greater and greater Abominations, and what is doing in the secret Chambers of the Ima­gery of thy heart; and when thou hast discover­ed the depths of Sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of in-dwelling sin, sit down and bewail thy felf, and mourn over it. And alas, two months will not sufficiently bewail it, Judg. 11.37, Thy seventy or fourscore years are too few for thee to go up and down the Mountains with thy Companions. Now godly sorrows break the heart of Sin; tears that are squeezed and wrung from a man, and that come only from some inward Compunction, and pricking of the heart, may fortifie and feed Sin; but when they are the juice of a broken heart, or flow from a contrite heart, that is melt­ed down by the heavenly warmth of Divine love, they stifle and extinguish Sin. Sin can dwell with fear and horror, for these are the native fruits and products of it: and when Sin shall be per­fected in Hell, so shall these: but it cannot bear with godly sorrow, nor can this sorrow tolerate it; or it strikes at the root and fundamental evil of Sin.

2. Cherish Grace in the heart: the two in­ward principles of Grace and Sin work upon one another, as Fire and Water: Sin is like a strong malignant humour in the Body. Now the way to expel it, is to corroborate and help Nature in its operations: as the New man grows up, he wears off the Old out of doors; Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be cloathed with humility, love, long-suffering, mercy and brotherly-kindness; and pride, anger, wrath, malice will vanish away: See Col. 3.5, [Page 76]6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13; as Light comes in, Dark­ness goes out. Bend a crooked stick streight, and its crookedness is gone: Grace and Sin are alway acting against other, and no Conflict can be long in equal terms; either Grace or indwelling Sin is upon the growing hand: Vivification and Mor­tification (the two parts of Sanctification) do ad­vance equally.

3. Observe and trace every Sin, and run it up to the heart, from whence it had its rise: then drag your heart before the Lord, and cry, Lord here's the Atheist, the Unbeliever, the Murmurer, the injurious person, here's the Rebel and the dis­obedient person. The poor Believer, even many times would tear his heart in pieces, and is ready to say, Except I had a better heart, I would I had none; had I only drunk Poison, I might be piti­ed: but when the poison of Asps is in my Nature, I deserve to be abhorred: did I hide the Lords Enemy in my house only, I were a Traytor to him; much more, when I hide and nourish Sin in my heart. Bring the body of death before Gods Tribunal, and cry for Judgment against it: and say, Lord, here's thine and mine Enemy: life for life, and blood for blood.

4. If thou wouldst mortifie Original Sin, thou must be sure to mortifie Self; for selfishness is the soul of Sin. This is the great Idol that all others truckle under: Mans first sin was self-exaltation, and self-satisfaction; and that depravation of our Nature, which is the punishment of this first Sin, does mostly appear in our self-willing, self-loving, self-seeking, self-pleasing. The Natu­ral man beholds himself, apprehends some excel­lency [Page 77]in himself; believes himself, loves him­self, pleases himself, designs himself, and that as his last end, wherein he rests. Hence the first step of our recovery to God, is self denying, self-a­basing, self-loathing, self-annihilating; and the lower self be, the weaker is the body of Sin: the more a man is emptied of self, and dead to self; the more he is filled with the fulness of God, and alive to God. When Christ is all, and Grace is all, the Old-man and indwelling Sin are at the lower ebb; when self is nothing, and Christ is all the mans light and life: All, to the Judgment, heart and affections; all the mans wisdom, all his righteousness, all his sanctification, all his re­demption, and all his strength, this stabs Sin at the heart. Arminians and Jesuits, no wonder, they oppose the doctrine of Original Sin; for their principles, as they are the very issue of the body of Sin, so they feed and cherish it. Self-exalta­tion has begot their Tenets, and they honour and advance Self as their Father.

5. As Self is the soul of this body of Sin, so Pride, Worldliness, and Voluptuousness are the chief members of it: the lust of the eye, and of the flesh, and the pride of life, are, as it were, the head and heart of the body of Sin: a wound in these is deadly; mortifie these radical lusts, and you mortifie the body of Sin: knock down pride, and you dash out the brains of Sin. Bring the flesh under a due subjection unto the Spirit, so that it bear no sway, nor act any thing against the Government and interest of Christ in the Soul, and you wound the heart, and stop the breath of this Body of Sin.

This leads us to a second Branch of the Text, viz. To mortifie your most prevailing lusts: your Idol-sins, which your Condition, Calling, or cir­cumstances do often expose you to. And O what a hard task is this, considering what the power of Sin is in some! (as I have formerly shewn) what interest it has got in them: in their judg­ment, their heart and affections, that it often en­gages them in open rebellion against God to maintain it: yea, some to wish that there were no God, and no Law to oppose it. What vigo­rous resistance do some make, to all those means that God uses to discover and destroy Sin? Sin has strong Holds in the mans heart: every mans Idols are fortified with Walls and Bulwarks in his bosom, and O what ado is there to storm them; for the Old man is watchful, and cannot be sur­prized: hardness of heart is the Armour of Hell, wherewith sinners beat back the strokes of word and Providences; they will give up any thing, ere they will give up their Idol-sin; they'l cry out of any thing, ere they ever name Sin; they will be beaten to powder, ere they be beat from Sin. Hence that's the doom of many, they are joyned to Idols, let them alone: be it unto you, even as you will: you will not forsake Sin, let it bear you company for ever.

Are there not some here, who never gave a harsh word, nor an angry look to their Idols, who never spent half an hour in this war­fare with Sin? the strong-man reigns in them, and he keeps watch and ward, and guards every pass: and none go out, or come in without his leave: every Moral or Re­ligious [Page 79]action, every thought and word, pays Cu­stom, Toll and Tribute to him. Now, 1. I shall shew you what are the prejudices the Soul sustains by every predominant lust. 2. What are the advantages that come by mortifying these Sins. 3. I shall shew by what means such Sins may be mortified.

For the first, If you be under the prevalency of any Sin, you will never be free of fear and doubts; you make the issue of your war with Sin doubtful. It's but rare, that one under the pre­valency of any Corruption, can take any comfort in that word (or the like), Rom. 16.20, And the God of peace, &c. you fight but dubio morte. What the Apostle saith of not advancing in god­liness, 2 Pet. 1.9; We may say of such as do not vigorously carry on the mortification of every Sin, He that lacketh these things, is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins (It's sad, when any Sin is so far re-inforced, that a man forgets how bitter once it was to him, and how he was gra­ciously delivered from it, and can see little diffe­rence between his unregenerate and regenerate state): Sin puts out a mans eyes, and stops a mans ears, that he cannot see the Land that is afar off, nor can he hear the voyce of joy and gladness, Psalm 51.8. Such a man can see no more through the Promises, than if they were stone-walls; any prevailing Sin clips the wings of Faith, that when it's sent out, it returns not with one Olive­leaf in its mouth. Scarch and see, if it be not some prevailing Sin, some carnal interest in­croaching upon Christs interest in your Soul, that [Page 80]sills you with fears: It's the nature of Sin to breed fear and trouble; and the Lords Evangelick Ju­stice requires that ye should taste of the bitter­ness of sin, and of the fruit of your doings. Should he speak comfortably to you, when not only your warfare is not accomplished, but you are in league with some Enemy of his? Nay, he will write bitter things against you: if you will not do justice upon your Idols, they shall cost you dear: if when the lot is fallen upon them, you refuse to cast them over-board, you may row hard, but you shall never come to shore; the wind shall encrease, and the sea shall work and be tempestuous. Where is the man or woman a­mongst you, that is not under some rebuke from the Lord? let them stand forth? Is there no gall nor wormwood in your Cup? are there no bro­ken bones amongst you, nor teeth with Gravel­stones? Are none of the arrows of his Quiver en­tred into your Reins? Are there none whose Soul is filled with trouble, and removed far from peace, and are feeding upon affliction and misery? Do you not know how to father your Afflictions? how long shall it be, ere you will avenge your selves upon your Idols, ere you will pluck out the Dart that wounds you, and that keeps you bleeding? Will you not do justice upon the Achan that troubles Israel? Come to God, and bring with you words, and say, I have sinned, what shall I do unto thee, &c? I can make no amends, but I'le be avenged on my Idols for my two Eyes, and two hands, and for all the trouble they have caus­ed to me.

You will say, 1. Are not some under the pre­valenty [Page 81]of some sin, and yet have more freedom from fears and doubts, than some that are more mortified than they? I Answer, Some mens peace is their plague, at least their punishment; and the solicitous fears of some, are their mercy, and help to keep them awake: it's better to be in a Fever, than in a Lethargy. 2. There is some peace and comfort that flows from the death of sin, and the encrease of holiness, by way of natu­ral reluctancy and emergency; and there's some trouble that flows from sin by the same natural necessity: sure the more of the former, the more peace; and the more of the latter, the more trouble: and if the wicked be as the troubled Sea, sure the more that sin work, the more trouble there will be. 2. There is some inward peace that follows Mortification by way of Re­ward, over and above what naturally follows from it, as that which comes by the Testimony of the Spirit, &c. and the more that sin be mortified, ordinarily the more of this; the more you walk according to the law of the New Creature, the more peace shall be upon you: so that there is some trouble that is the punishment of unmorti­fied sin, over and above what it naturally breeds; and ordinarily, the more lively that any sin be, the more trouble and sorrow in the Soul, and the more of Hell here, except the Conscience be seared, or the Soul be smitten with stupidity as a greater plague. Indeed, as sometimes Gods comforts do not keep peace with our measure of Mortification, but sometimes exceeds it: so some­times one that is not habitually so much under sin as another, may yet have more inward trouble.

2. Is the greatness of outward trouble an ar­gument of the strength of sin, or the liveliness of any lust? Do not we see, that the most mortifi­ed, are often most afflicted? I answer, It's hard taking the measure of ones Mortification, and to judg how anothers heart stands affected to this, or that: One may be in great measure dead to pleasures or worldliness in the gross sense, and yet alive to some near Relations: and one may be dead to the dearest Friend, and yet alive to some spiritual lust, may be, spiritual pride in gifts or graces, &c. Or if the man be dead to these, yet may he be too much alive to spiritual comforts: I do not say, that the Lord would have the Be­liever content to lie under the impressions of wrath (much less content to be damned), but he would have the man lie at his feet under chese, and bear witness to his holy Justice, when under outward or inward troubles. Now the more spi­ritual mens sins be, and the more refined these lusts are, they are the more provoking. 2. As the sins of Believers are in some respect more ex­ceeding sinful than the sins of others: so the more grace one have, his sin is proportionably aggra­vated. Moses suffers more for a word, than ma­ny others for deeds. 3. As afflictions are Co­venant-mercies, and fruits of fatherly affections to all the children of God, so the more dutiful any child of God be, the greater may his Corrections be when he does fault, and so God is most gracious to him; yet the more a man tolerate any sin, if he be not more afflicted than others, there's at least more anger in his afflictions, which is the soul and spirit of afflictions, or the more spiritual [Page 83]are his punishments. Finally, The reason why some eminently godly are under many outward afflicti­ons, may be, because they have some time or other (may be) dishonoured God by some publick sin, whether before or after conversion: and as they are provoking to God, and scandalous to others, so he manifests greater severity on such; this is plain in Davids case, so that it's still some un­mortified sin that brings on trouble.

A second prejudice that comes by the preva­lency of any Corruption, it keeps the Soul lean and low, and makes it a Cripple in Duties: it not only mar [...] Confidence and Chearfulness in Duties, but diligence and activity also, for these may be separated: yea, it insensibly hardens the heart. What a fearful security and stupidity brought on sin upon David? Where was Davids tenderness now, when he can plot Ʋriahs death? it's as sickness to the Soul; for sin is the Souls disease that does enervate its strength, and make it languish. What is said of whoredom and wine, is true of e­very sin: they take away the heart, yea, and the hand too; the man, as he is like a silly Dove, without heart, he cannot behave himself a right in Gods presence, so he cannot speed at Gods work, for he works cum laesis facultalibus, his foul hands blackens holy Duties, his fingers drop much sin upon them: the old man leaves the print of his heels upon them. O, what is it that keeps you out of Heaven, at least from seeing it afar off! it's some sin that besets you, and hinders your motion Heaven-ward: how few paces have you advanced for these many days, Heb. 12.1, 2? Whence is it, that you see not so much as the top [Page 84]of the Towers of the new Jerusalem? How come many that did begin after you, yet to get before you? some weight presses you down: some cor­rupt affection, like a long-garment, entangles you, or you stumble and fall often in the way. It is not so much external Duties, as the secret exercise of Mortification, that keeps grace lively; and when this is neglected, and any sin prevails, Grace wi­thers, and often the Lord blasts a mans gifts al­so; or, if gifts be intire, they are left for a share, as Eccles. 2.9. It was Solomons snare, that when he was pursuing vanity; My wisdom remain­ed with me (says he): It is the Curse of many this day, and that which hardens them in their ill way, that their Gifts and Learning rémain with them.

3. Think what loss of Communion with God, you sustain by your Idol, or your unmortified corruption. Sampsons Delilah cost him his two Eyes, his Liberty, and at length his Life: But the departing of the Spirit of the Lord was the saddest of all; by letting the king of your lusts live (as Saul did Agag) you hazard your Crown of Glory, at least you have little of Heaven up­on Earth. Tell me, Christian, when was you last in Heaven? it may be, not for many days: and know you not, what keeps you out? It's a sad word, Ezek. 14.5, They are all estranged from me through their idols: Isa. 59.2, Your iniquities have separated betwixt you and God, and your sins have hid his face from you: yea, and often-times prevailing-sin does blot out the impression; and sometimes the remembrance of that solacing sweetness that the Soul had in his Company, [Page 85]begets some satisfaction in this dreadful state of distance from God; thy Idols of Jealousie sepa­rate thee from thy chief Friend; by this means thou wears out thy intimacy, if not thy Ac­quaintance: may be, thou makest not a visit to Heaven in many days: and if the Lord at any time come to thee, thou art not at leisure, but busied, entertaining thy Idols. Ah! have you no sense of these things? I need not tell you what's the mournful moan and ruful complaint of many Souls: Ah! it was well with me till such a time. O, how many good days had I? what a Heaven upon Earth had I? what Communion with God in Prayer, in the Lords Supper, and other Ordi­nances, till I did begin to dally with such an Idol, till such a Corruption began to get power of me: but since thou intermitted the vigorous exercise of Mortification, where are thy Tro­phies and Triumphs? where are thy Bethels, thy Penuels, thy Eben-ezers? And it's well for thee if ever thou recover this. Distance from God and indisposition to Duty, grows more in one day than thou canst make up, or wear out in many. I doubt, if ever Davids bones were as sound as before; if ever he had such Joy and glad­ness in Gods Company, in the Sanctuary, or elsewhere, as before; or that ever God appeared to Solomon, as he had done twice before his fall. I doubt, the holy Lord deals with many of his people in this life, as he did with the Levites, E­zek. 14.44, who had gone astray from him af­ter their Idols: they were to be keepers of the charge of the House for the service thereof (as keeping the Gates, and slaying the Sacrifices), [Page 86] but they shall bear their iniquity, and they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a Priest unto me: nor come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place, &c. See ver. 11.12, 13, 14: He will not put thee out of doors, yet may never let thee come where thou hast been, and never set thee so high on this side of Eternity.

4. Any Idol or unmortified lust will clip the wings of Prayer, and intercept the return of it, Isa. 59.1, 2, The Lords hand is not shortned, nor his ear heavy, &c. But, &c. Ezek. 14.3, 4, and 20, 31, As I live, saith the Lord, I will not be enquired, &c. Psalm. 66.18, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: the man that has his Idols set up in his heart, he grieves the Spirit who helps our infirmities in Prayer, &c. if he has any pleasure in approaching to God, yet he has no pleasure in God: he comes not to him as his exceeding Joy, though may be, he cannot pass evening and morning without saluting him in a formal complementing way, in such a man­ner as men use to many they care not for: and indeed many know no other use of their prayers, than of their formal Salutes and Complements, viz. to keep fair terms with such as they care little for; yet are not willing to disoblige. Is it any wonder that God regard not such prayers? any unmortified sin shuts Heaven, and lays an Arrest upon the profit of thy Duties: there's no profi­table trading between the Soul and Heaven, there's no profiting by Means or Ordinances: if thou would lose the Arrest, mortifie thy sin, give up thy Idol, cast over board thy Jonah's: If thou hast any suit depending before the Throne [Page 87]of Grace; if in the mean while thou offend God, or grieve his Spirit, thou art like to lose thy cause; who will provoke the Judg when his cause is before him? Hence that word, Deut. 23.9, When thou goest forth against thine Enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. When a man has some special dependance on God, and has some special expectation from him, it's unseasonable then to provoke him to Jealousie.

5. Think what thou wouldst do in a dying day: how will you look upon your Idols? What will you do in the day of Visitation? where will you hide your glory? How would you look upon a Temptation, or upon the tempting Objects of your darling lusts: all your sweet morsels, and stollen waters, will then be bitter; but the more sweetly any sin went down, the bitterer will it be when it comes up again: may be, your Idols and you were pleasant in your lives, but they are sad Company in the valley of Death: Can the Camel go through the Needles-eye? nay, if there were no more to hinder but the bunch upon his back, he could not; Can you go through the strait gate? if there were no more but one unmortified lust, you cannot, Can you think to leap into Hea­ven, warm and smoaking with sin; as many times you come to speak with God, when the last word you spoke was with your Idol? Can you sing that sweet triumphant Song, O Death, where is thy sting! O Grave, where is thy victory! 1 Cor. 15.55? For lo, here sin that is the sting of death, and the victory of the Grave, sticks in thee; when o­thers shall be singing Hallelujah, and harping with Harps. Death is no dark shade to the Son of [Page 88]Righte ousness, having lightned it, by his passing through it; thou shalt be little better than the Hypocrite, whom fearfulness surprizeth, &c. If the Master knock, when thou art either asleep, or wasting his goods, or eating and drinking with the drunken, thou will be afraid to go down and open; he must break open the gates if he get in: O what sad work will any living lust make, when thou comes to die!

Let us now mention a few advantages you shall have by the mortification of sin, especially your most potent sin: 1. The mortification of your most predominant lust, will be a great evidence to you of your sincerity, Psalm 18.23, I was also upright before him, &c. When any lust is strong, or when any Idol has a great interest in the Soul, the heart is as 'twere divided: and then cannot know whether Christs interest, or its, prevails, and bears most sway in the Soul: but where there is no competition, the case is clear; when one can say, If any thing interfere with Christ, it's this: If any thing render my case suspicious, or in­trench upon Sincerity, it's this Corruption, this Idol; But sure I am, this is so far under, that it cannot disprove my integrity; when the Lord tryes his peoples sincerity, he uses to hit their sore, to prove them in their Idols: (indeed, when he intends to discover their weakness, he puts them to tryal in the grace they excel most in; as Peter in his Courage, Moses in his Meekness); if thou can deny thy self in this; if thou can offer up thy Isaac; hereby thou mayst know thou fears God, and that thou loves God. Now the know­ledg of this fills the Soul with exceeding Joy, [Page 89]2 Cor. 1.12. O the sweet Calm it brings in, it's better felt than can be told: whereas the preva­lency of any Corruption, deprives you both of the Testimony of the Spirit of God, and of your own spirit.

2. If thou can mortifie thy predominant lust, thou may with the more ease mortifie other Cor­ruptions: Commonly, all a mans lusts are made sub­servient to some one (though indeed sometimes they thwart, as pride and covetousness, pride and sensua­lity, or covetousness and sensuality), if you can kill that, the greatest difficulty in Mortification is over: if you can take the strong City, all the Villages and Countrey about will be subject to you. If Go­liah be slain, the Philistins will fly: may be you complain of many things, and innumerable evils compass you about: but see if some one unmor­tified Corruption do not maintain them all, and you cannot conquer these, till you have subdued that which sets these on work, and which feeds and recruits them: this would ease you of many evils you complain of; the cutting off one mem­ber of sin, will weaken the Body of sin: they are so united, that it will make all the other members of sin to languish, and does help on to a through Conquest.

3. Consider, that there is more real satisfa­ction in mortifying lusts, than in making provisi­on for them, or in fulfilling them: There's more true pleasure in crossing and pinching our flesh, than in gratifying it; were there any true plea­sure in sin, Hell would not be Hell: for the more sin, the more Joy; you cannot satisfie one lust, if you would do your utmost, and make your [Page 90]self never so absolute a slave to it; you think if you had your hearts desire, you would be at rest; you much mistake: they had it, Psalm 78.29, but yet they were not estranged from their lusts, ver. 30. How many a man, in the fulness of his sufficiency, is yet in pain for more? Job 20.22? O, but the mortification of that sin, makes a Jubiles, in the Soul; Who are they that sing Tri­umphs here, and set up Trophies of Victory, and divide the spoils, when others are living under troubles without and within, and have their Soul removed far from peace? who shall wear Crowns on their heads in Heaven, and Palms in their hands, and have High-praises in their mouths, but they who turn the Battel to the Gate, who have over­come their Enemies? Would you be able to sing a Triumph, even when drawing your last breath? See what's the Tune, what's the matter and the ground of Pauls Song, 2 Tim. 4.8: and with what a Transport of Spirit he sings it; (as on the other hand it tells us, that it's faint or unsucces­ful warring with sin, that makes men unmeet to die). He goes in at the Gates of Heaven with flying Colours, and has an abundant Entrance ministred unto him; how much more will it make a man joy in Tribulation? It's some unmortified Corruption that makes the Cross heavy, that makes a man uneasie under affliction or suffering. O, what Dust will a lively lust raise? what con­fusion and combustion in the Soul? When the hand of God falls heavy upon a Man while he is dandling some Idol, or pursuing some carnal In­terest, the man is out of measure amazed; every unmortified Corruption makes even the thoughts [Page 91]and apprehensions of trouble, full of horrour: and no wonder, for it's fearful when God comes to take vengeance on mens inventions, even when he forgives their iniquity. It's true in such cases, when the Lords people are meeting with trouble from men for his sake, he makes not his quarrel visible; he often scourges their Conscience, when he does not visibly contend with them, (and one lash from his hand, is sorer than Pauls 39 from the Jews): indeed, he sometimes suspends his quarrel, when he does not bury it. And some­times Adversaries wrath does as it were mitigate his, Deut. 32.27. Now a mortified man cannot be moved by any thing: If there be no lust alive, no trouble or affliction can come wrong.

In the next place, let me offer you some Di­rections how to carry on the mortification of pre­vailing Corruption.

And first in general, Get a clear sight of your sin, or else you cannot level your strokes at it a­right: be content that God should by his Word and Spirit, light upon your Idol, and wound it. And if any man will tell you of sin, your Enemy, count him thy Friend; say as Saul to the Ziphites, when they told him where David was, Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have had compassion on me, 1 Sam. 23.20, 21: that which you can least en­dure a Reproof for, is your Master-sin; as like­wise, that which you are most partial in, seek most to cover or excuse, which you wish were no sin, and are readiest to pardon your self for, or else are most sorrowful when it cannot be dispensed with, Matth. 19.21, 22: that sin which rises and goes to bed with you; which [Page 92]haunts you when alone, or in Company; when in your shops, and in your Closets, which you are at the greatest toil for, which you do or suffer most for; that is the sin, that like the man of sin, 2 Thess. 2.8, exalts it self. O look to Heaven, and see what work it made there: how sin cast so many Angels out of their first habitations, and thrust them into chains: those evil Spirits that now solicite thee to sin, are dreadful Ex­amples of the mischief of sin: it's a wonder they have a face to tempt to sin; it's as if Murtherers hung up in Chains, should solicite Men to mur­ther. Look to Paradise, and see what desolation it made there; it had almost in a moment ruin­ed the whole Creation. Look to Golgotha, or Mount Calvary, or the Garden, and see what sad work it made there, Look into Hell, and hear what a howling it has raised there! Alas, we paint it, and then play with it as Children do with painted Lions: And when thou has seen it, then thou cryes out, O the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and of my sin! And let one sin set thee in quest of more: but never think thou sees all thy sins, nor all the evil that is in any one sin: O, comply with the Spirit, and do not defeat his firk Work, which is Conviction; and when thou has seen thy sore, hold thy finger upon it, and cry to him who is the soveraign Physician of Souls, to make incision there: cut off this hand or foot that gangrenes; yet keep not both thy eyes up­on it, lest it should overwhelm thee with hor­rour.

2. Get your hearts broken for Sin: your hearts are as fallow-ground; you cannot pluck up [Page 93]your thorns; they must be plowed up; you must rub and reinse your Souls seven times in the wa­ters of Marah, in tears of godly sorrow, ere thy Leprosie die; but see thy tears bathe not sin, in­stead of drowning it: and beware thy throws go not off, when thou art even about to be de­livered from it: it's a token of the strength of sin, the Soul is at a low ebb, when trouble for sin is gone, when sin has made its peace again. Some mens troubles do not kill sin, but only break some bone of it, which when healed again, is stronger than before: therefore when thou has got a Nail fastned into the Temples of the old man, or into the heart of the body of death, drive it to the head; when the Spirit brings home any word, and smites Sin, follow home the blow, and endeavour to maintain the warmness of that word, and the power of it upon thy Spirit, till thy Soul be drench'd with tears of Contrition, till thy heart be melted, and the dross go away.

3. If thou would mortifie Sin, thy heart must be filled with distaste of it: thy sorrow must be attended with hatred, and this seeks the life of Sin; this will make a man defile the covering of his graven-Images of Silver, and the Ornament of his molten-Images of Gold; nothing less will serve thee than the death of thy Sin, thou wilt pursue it in thy self and others: as Haman's ha­tred sought Mordecai's life, yea, and the life of all the Jews for his sake. Hide not thy Idols, as Rachel sate upon hers: search thy heart and thy way, that thou may find all out; and what thou canst not find, pray, the Lord may find for thee, Psal. 39.34: leave no Corruption which Satan may [Page 94]fit and brood upon. These things must needs be previous to Mortification.

Now more particularly for the means of car­rying on this great business of Mortification. 1. Prayer, especially private Prayer, is of singular use (I mention only this at present, not being solicitous of Method): I say, private Prayer; for, your secret Sins and particular Corruptions may shelter, and shroud, and hide themselves from all your prayers in publick, or in fellowship with others (and alas, many who are others mouths to God, have enough to do to mortifie pride, and vanity, and selfishness in praying with others: let it be, by their prayers to get other Corruptions mortified, or to get pride and sel­fishness in other things mortified): Prayer, and Lusts, or Corruptions, are like Moses and the A­malekites: when Moses hands are up, Israel pre­vails: when they fall down, the Amalekites pre­vail, so is it in this case. It was Pauls Relief, 2 Cor. 12.7, 8: when Satan was working on the remainder of some Coruption: For this, I besought the Lord thrice, and he was helped. It may be, sense of some prevailing Corruption has sent you to your Closet, and put you upon your knees: and you have found Relief, and then you have lest off praying, and your Corruption has pre­vailed again. Hence, after the Apostle has arm­ed the Christian for his Conflict, Ephes. 6. He adds, ver. 18, Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance; Set-times for Prayer, are as necessary as constant Set-meals of meat for the Bo­dy: How often, I determine not; the fewest we find, [Page 95]is twice a day, Morning and Evening: Daniel prayed thrice a day; yet it is not right, when we limit our selves to times, were it seven times a­day. We find Daniel, Chap. 9.1, 2, setting him­self to pray, as if his three times a-day had been nothing. There are special Occasions that call for more fervent praying, as our Lord conflict­ing in the Garden, and being in an Agony, pray­ed thrice: and prayed yet more fervently. Now this is a special season, when attached by any Corruption, we should sound an Alarm to Prayer, and let every Prayer be as an Arrow shot against Sin: and never think thou prays to any purpose, but when thou wounds some Corruption. O, but blunt Prayers will never draw blood of sin: nor will sleepy prayers hurt sin; therefore thou must watch unto Prayer, and must awake thy gift, and thy grace, and thy tongue too: (as the Psalmist does in praising, Psalm 51.8,) for that may further the fervour of the Spirit; and some have judged meer men­tal Prayer, in some cases, to be a quenching of the holy Spirit of God. It's true, that sometimes a poor Believer, when buffetted by Satan, and in an Agony through the power and violence of some Corruption, cannot put his troubled thoughts into words, when yet his unexpressible sighs and groans may make the old man groan as a deadly wound­ed Man. Look to this, inveterated Diseases, strong Corruptions, will not go out without much praying.

2. You can mortifie no Corruption without ex­ercising Faith, much less your strongest Corrup­tions; for you must not think first to mortifie Sin, and then believe; you must be in Christ, and [Page 96]be a Believer, before you can mortifie one Sin: Nature prompts men to pray in every exigence: but praying without believing, will not do, but no Corruptions can stand before Faith; it can re­move Mountains, it can bring down strong-holds: it can put to flight Armies of Aliens, of lusts; it can quench the greatest Combustions in the Soul, kindled by Satans fiery Darts: hence, says the Apostle, Above all things, take unto you the shield of faith, Ephes. 6.16. The Lord lends Faith his power (so to speak) This is our victory, whereby we overcome the world, even our faith, 1 John 5.4. Now what this World is, see 1 John 2.16, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, &c. Now, how does Faith assist against these?

Answ. 1. Faith giveth a true judgment of them, and values all things aright, when others are cheated by their corrupted Senses. 2. By Faith we see into Eternity, and what will be the fruit of gratifying our lusts; what will be the reward of Sin. A carnal Heart that had seen Dives at his sumptuous Table, and in his gorgeous Appa­rel, and Lazarus at the Gate, and the dogs lick­ing his sores, would have blessed the one, and saved himself from the other: But Faith at first sight can see the one in Heaven, and the other in Hell, Psal. 73.17, 18. 3. By Faith we see, that the best things of this World cannot further our Happiness, nor the worst things of the World hinder it: that worldly Honours and Pleasures are not all a-kin to everlasting Honour and Joy. 4. By Faith, we see, that the design of Tempta­tions is to deprive us of our Happiness; and that Satan and the World, who work upon our cor­rupt [Page 97]passions, and minister fewel to our lusts, have no good will to us, even when they are courting us. 5. Faith does not only assent to what God and Christ, and Heaven and Holiness are; but it makes proof, and gets experimental discoveries of these: and this makes a man despise the painted Beauty and sweetness of the Creatures, the sight of Christs matchless Beauty and Excellency, all a mans Idols are divorced. When we see the Sun with our own eyes, we believe the Moon is not the most glo­rious light, it looks but like a clod in the Firmament: many can speak contemptibly of the honours, and riches, and pleasures of the World, who are not mortified to them, but with all their might pur­sue them: nor indeed will you ever be able by all the rational discoveries of the vanity of these, to mortifie inordinate love to, and delight in them, till you taste and see something that's better: and this taste and sight, Evangelical Faith can only afford. No experiences of the Worlds va­nity, no Contemplations of an Immortal state, can do it; for Sense will still object, Where can you do better? and meer Contemplations breed only Notions: this brings in the substance of things into the Soul, Heb. 11.1.

6. Faith does more especially contribute to the mortification of our Corruptions, by its ingaging the assistance of Divine Power. It's on this ac­count that there is a sort of Omnipotency attri­buted to Faith. You do not doubt but the Lord Jesus is able to help against your strongest Cor­ruptions; But how shall we have his help? I An­swer, You need not say, Who shall ascend to hea­ven, and bring him down, &c? Rom. 10.6, 7. This [Page 98]thou mayst do by Faith; But how does Faith do it? Answ. 1. Faith does it, as it is an assent to the Promises. The Promises, hold forth the power of Christ for subduing of Sin, 2 Pet. 1.3, compared with Rom. 6.14. Now we are interested in these Promises, by believing, Heb. 4.2: when we be­lieve that it [...]ll be as he has said; this some count a Phanatical point: But is it phantastick or pha­natick to rest upon an honest Mans word, much lesser? sure this gives more glory to God, than all our endeavours to mortifie Sin; yet takes not men off other subordinate means, but puts them upon the use of them: especially upon Prayer, That it may be as he has said, Rom. 6.14. Man fell at first by taking Satans word before the Lords. And it were our wisdom, in all Insinuations of the like nature, to suspect the hand of Satan. Now Faith does not only assent to the truth of the Promises, of strength to overcome Sin; but it rests and relies upon them; all Grace comes through the Promises. And indeed, the first re­cumbency of Faith, is a great and proper act of it: and as they are blessed who have no assurance of their interest in the Promises, and yet can resolutely rely on it; for as those that seek the Lord are bid­den to rejoice, Psal. 105.3, though they have not yet found him, because of the Promise, Isa. 45.19. So may those encourage themselves in the hope of success against Sin, who rest upon Gods Word, though they have not yet obtained the victory; for the Lord taketh pleasure in them that hope in his mercy, Psal. 147.11. The recumbency of the Soul upon his Word, ingageth both the honour of his Mercy and his Fidelity.

2. And so does also effectually engage his Power; it's by this power through Faith, that we are kept from what would hinder our Salvation, 1 Pet. 1.5. Divine Power strengthens Faith; and by Faith we derive Divine Power: by faith Christ dwells in the heart, Ephes. 3.17. And now we have one in us, stronger than he that is in the world, who takes his Armour from him, &c. that is, taketh those things from him wherewith he fortified himself, and secured Sin. Satan sometimes serves himself of mens Wisdom, Reason, Thoughts, Affections: these Christ brings into captivity to his own obe­dience; our members which were the weapons of sin, are made instruments of righteousness unto ho­liness: Riches and Gifts, which were fewel and provision for lusts, are consecrated to Christ. Would you then have greater advantage against the old man of sin? sit not down complaining of your impotency, and the strength of Sin, and your hard circumstances: but by Faith strengthen your Union with Christ, and make his strength yours.

Finally, It is by Faith that you must make use of all your other spiritual Armour: that word, Eph. 6.16, Above all taking the shield of Faith, &c. seems not only to give Faith the preheminence, but to point out the universal usefulness of it, for securing and right using all the other parts of our Armour. 1. As for Truth; if you take it as relating to the Mind, for soundness of Doctrine, this is a fruit of faith, Acts 24.14. If you take it for Sincerity, it's believing (which makes God near, and sets him before us) that advances this, Gen. 17.1. So, 2. For Righteousness; if you take it for the righ­teousness of Christ, which as a breast-plate secures [Page 100]the Heart and Conscience, Rom. 8.33. (If the heart be found, a wound elsewhere may be healed; if the Conscience be whole, we may bear other infirmities). Now it's Faiths work to improve this: or, if we take it for Inherent-righteousness, that is a fruit of Faith. 3. Whatever Furniture the Gospel prepares for us, it is of no use without Faith. Nor, 4. Can the sword of the Spirit be weild­ed without it. 5. The Helmet of salvation, which is Hope, (as is plain, 1 Thess. 5.8), the Grace that secures our head from Errour, or which keeps our head above water, that we faint not, that sup­ports Faith: its work is to look for the fulfilling of the Promise, which Faith believes. 6. Prayer must needs take it in: hence we see, why our Conflict with Sin and the World is called the fight of faith, 1 Tim. 6.12.

3. Be much in the meditation of the sufferings and Death of Christ, and of your own approaching dissolution, and of what follows on the back of that.

For the first of these, Peter presses Holiness from thence, 1 Pet. 1.18, 20. But, let us con­sider Christ first as a Pattern: he made it his work to destroy Sin (though he had none in himself), all his Offices struck at Sin; and you are none of Christs, if you study not conformity to him in this. It's true, the Prince of this world had no part in him, yet was he molested with his Tempta­tions: and when its so with thee, think with thy self, What would the Lord Jesus Christ have said in this case? 2. Look on suffering Christ, as meriting and procuring his peoples final Con­quest over all their Enemies. We may in this [Page 101]case apply that, Rev. 12.11, They overcame by the blood of the Lamb; his blood by Faith applyed to the Soul, is like a Refiners fire and Fullers Sope. It's the only Purgatory for taking away Sin; Satan has carryed most of the World from the law of Nature, into Paganism; and others from the Law of Christ, into Antichristianism: and in both these Apostate states, Satan has endeavour­ed to substitute something in the room of what God had appointed for purging away Sin; and under both he seems more zealous against Sin; than God, and would seem to out-do Gods way: if God appoint Beasts to be slain and offered up, he will have their Children to pass through the fire; and now once offering up of Christ, must not serve; it must be done every day. So for purg­ing out of Sin: Satan had among the Heathen his Lotions and Lustrations, and has now his Sprink­lings and Whippings: and, to compleat all, has made men hope, that what these do not, Purga­tory-fire will do. And truly, Sin may say, Aha to these: as Satan does to these Exorcisms. But in­deed, Satans diligence and industry in taking men off the true way of purging away Sin, (viz. by the blood of Christ) and substituting. Mock­means in its room, may tell us what weight the Lord lays upon this way. Now, how by Faith we come to find the efficacy of this blood, I have already shewn.

3. The sufferings of Christ may further Mor­tification by way of Argument; and here we must take in the greatness of his sufferings, the hand our sins had in them: and the love that moved him to engage and go through with all: Oh, [Page 102]would not you burn the Spear that pierced him! how would you look upon the Sword that slew your dearest Friend? See how Paul argues, 2 Cor. 5.14, 15, The love of Christ constrains us: for we thus judg, That if one died for all, then were all dead, that we should henceforth no more live to our selves. And Peter on the same ground presseth Mortification, 1 Pet. 4.1, 2, For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, &c. Had you been witness to his wrestlings in the Garden: Had you heard these words out of his own mouth, If it be possible, let this Cup pass, &c. Had you seen his drops of blood. Had you known the trouble of his Soul, when upon the sight of his sufferings, he knew not well what to say (to speak with Reverence), John 12.27. Had you seen him Nailed: and heard him crying out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Would you not have vowed a Revenge on Sin? Could you have loved and hugged the Soldier, and been sond on the Spear that pierced him; Thou art the Man, and thy be­loved Lust is the Spear. And will you act this Soldiers part over again? Your other sins are as the Nails, but this is as the Spear that made a great wound in his Side, and went nearer his Heart: and who shall save thee, if thou crucifie him afresh? Who shall comfort thee, if thou grieve his Spirit, by thy indulgence to sin?

2. I mentioned the serious Meditation of your own death, as a Mean to help on Mortification. It were good for us we were oftner among the Tombs, and laying our selves in our graves: the Rich mans skul is not gilded there, nor has the delicate persons any better colour, or smell; [Page 103]nor has the proud man any precedency there: their dust and skuls, and dead bones are not di­stinguishable: yet what's the business and labour of most unmortified Souls, but to adorn, or pamper, or honour this corruptible, sinful, and burthen­som flesh? we never live like Christians, till we can trample upon it, and it be under our Souls feet: and till we live as if we were the next mo­ment to die; and till we deal with sin as we would do, when a-dying. One would think that wise Solomons sad Retractations might be a warning to the Fools of following generations: How many gain little more by all their labour and care, than the Horse does by carrying rich Commodities, a sore back and weary legs perhaps? but a fore galled gangren'd Conscience when you come to die, is sorest of all; you who minister to your lusts, and never offended them: you who make provision for them, you are but plotting a cruel and torment­ing death to your selves, at least you are making provision for endless sorrow: you are preparing Axes and Saws, and carrying faggots and fewel to your Fire; and you that tread upon the heels of such, you lose your dying comforts, and Hell shall tread upon your heels, and come as near as can be: If you be saved, it shall be with more difficulty, and as it were by fire; O learn to look on Bosom-sins in health, as you will do in sick­ness: of all sins, these will be the ugliest, filthiest and bitterest; this is that which has undone me, says the poor Soul, I know whence all this trouble is come.

4. Watchfulness is of singular use to such as would be successful in this business of Mortifica­tion: [Page 104]you must fight with Sin, ere you can mor­tifie it, for Sin is not so tame as to made no re­sistance. Now would you prosperously war with it? our life is a warfare; and in time of War, all places keeps watch and ward: You must first then watch its motions when it begins to move: Sin makes sudden sallies; and O how suddenly is a Temptation formed! it sometimes comes like a fiery-flame, or lightning, we know not whence: yea, even temptations to that sin which under some strong Conviction, &c. seems to yield, or to fly; and that corrupt affection that is strongest, is soonest set on fire: there's need of most care that no fire come near the place where Powder or Flax lies. 2. There's need of Watching, in order to the improving the advantages we at any time have against our Corruptions, whether by afflicti­ons, or by some providential Rebuke, respecting that sin; or by some strong Conviction upon the Mind, or by some special recruit of fresh inward strength and liveliness of Soul; or by some sen­sible success against sin, and sins of falling as light­ning from heaven, &c. The watchful Christian dis­cerns and makes good use of these: any seen ad­vantage does encourage the Soul to keep up the Warfare, and also hearten it to pursue it's advan­tage. 3. It keeps a man under continual sense of weakness and impotency, and need of borrowed strength; the more a man makes conscience of conflicting and warring with sin, he cannot but the more experience these. Now, much of our strength lies in an humble sense of weakness: hence says Paul, When I am weak, then am I strong: this puts the Soul on praying and believing; when [Page 105]any Grace grows faint, and Sin gets ground, the watchful man observes this, and calls in Prayer and Faith to his assistance; he engages him in whom is everlasting strength; he lays over the business on him, and then the Battel becomes the Lords: as, 2 Chron. 20.5, 6, &c. with ver. 15. The watchful Christian observes when, and where he is weak, and what disadvantages he is at, and what is the craft and policy, and power of his Adversaries, and he makes an Errand to God; yea, and an argument of each of these in Prayer: and indeed, the watchful Christian sees himself never out of danger, and so never wants matter of Prayer; as he dare not cast off Prayer, so wants he not work after Prayer: hence Watching, and Praying are so often coupled together: Watch­fulness discovers the danger, and Believing Prayer prevents it; it lays the matter at Christs door. The reason why some are so seldom victorious o­ver Temptations, is, because they are seldom on their knees, or their hands are a short while up: and the reason why they are seldom at the Throne of Grace, and have little to say, or soon tir'd, is, because they are seldom on their Watch-Tower.

Under this Direction, I may take in the cut­ting off the occasions of that sin especially, that oftnest prevails with you: this cuts off inter­course between Satan and the Soul. Whthhold fewel from thy lusts: without this, you do no­thing, all your labour is in vain. If there be fewel in thy hand, or thy house, and there be dai­ly occasion to sin ministred, so much as to the eye, thou cannot be safe; seek by all means to starve [Page 106]thy Idols: as in War, when an Army can do no more, they demolish the Enemies places of strength, and endeavour to obstruct their Re­cruits, and to stop their provisions: do thou in like manner with sin; whatever thou hast used as an occasion to the flesh, fee that in that thou af­flict thy self: and cut off that occasion, as Mary Magdalen did with her Hair, Luke 7.39. Run away from a Temptation, and go not to the out­most borders of thy liberty: and venture not up­on what some others may lawfully do, being in other circumstances: study moderation in things lawful, use not thy liberty as an occasion to sin, &c. Suspect things that are pleasant to thee: there is danger, where thou finds delight. Solomon is fre­quent in pressing the avoiding of snares. Prov. 5.8. and 23.31. That Prohibition, Deut. 25.13, is memorable to this purpose, Thou shalt not have in thy Bag divert weights, a great and a small. So Deut. 12.13, You shall not enquire how the Na­tions serve their gods.

Now in pursuance of this, 1. You must keep a strict guard upon your senses, and double your guard when there is need: it is by the senses that inordinate affections are kindled: the Wanton is infected and enticed, by gazing upon anothers Beauty; the Drunkard and the Glutton, by seeing or tasting the Cup, or some pleasant food; Silly effeminate Souls are tempted by the sight of gawdy fashions: the sight of Pomp and Magni­ficence kindleth Ambition; the Covetous cannot see Money, nor fine Buildings, nor rich Furni­ture, nor a pleasant Field, but his heart akes with Ahabs disease; Take an account of all that [Page 107]comes in by your senses, for you must give an account: suffer not any of your senses to stir without leave: or if they do, let them not fix and settle without leave. If the Door shall stand alway open, the House will certainly be robbed; therefore pray and practice that, Psalm 119.37. 2. Look also narrowly to your thoughts, these are the Shop in which sin is forged: Do you not feel what advantage Satan hath against you in these? If you feel your thoughts stepping out, then call them in, and examine them, as Elisha did to Gehazi; be sure your hearts will be such as your thoughts; you cannot have a serious heart, if vain thoughts lodg within you, Jer. 4.14. 3. Fly the society of such as are sick of that disease thou dreads most, and which thou art aptest to be in­fected with: It is not good fighting against the Devil (says one) in the midst of his own Camp: Mens bold venturing on this, has often brought them off wounded. It's hard to keep up a due abhorrence of sin, that we daily see and hear; some ill savour at least will stick to us, if it bring you not to a compliance, yet it abates your zeal against it; therefore shun such Employments, Oc­casions and Company, as may draw forth thy Cor­ruption. It was Peters snare to be in the High­priests Hall; and Judas's, that he carried the Bug. It's hard for Powder and Flax to be near Fire, and not kindle.

The 5th Direction: Improve Afflictions for the mortification of thy sin: by these the Lord takes away sin, and makes us partakers of his holiness; the finer any Vessel be, and the more used, the oft­ner it's scoured, and the more it be rubbed, the [Page 108]cleaner it is, Lev. 6.28, and 11.33, The earthen pots when they were fouled by boiling of the Sa­crifices, they were to be broken in pieces; but the brazen pots were to be reinsed with Water, and scoured and cleaned: the oftner you are on the fire, the cleaner should you be. Now when God is wounding your Pride, your Covetousness, your Sensuality, take the advantage of slaying these lusts: when he makes thy right-hand, or Eye to ake, then pluck it out, &c. Canst thou love the World when it pinches, and straitens, and de­sames, and reproaches thee? Canst thou love thy flesh, when pain and grief have taken up their dwelling in it, and when it's such a trouble to thee? Will you not now cry out upon all as vanity and vexation, when your sense and your Experi­ence tells you so, when you feel the bitter fruits of sin? you have now great advantage against your sin, and to help on the mortification of it, when sense and Experience disparage and decry it, and your very flesh is convinced of the folly of flesh-pleas­ing; O that you would take this advantage, and use this World, as it does or will use you; and use your sins as they do, or will use you. There be indeed some unmortified men, who when they suf­fer by sin and by the World, will speak hardly enough of them: but their friendship (which is rooted in their Nature) is soon made up again: But should it not heighten your Enmity with them? the Lord makes your sin buffet, and abuse, and rend, and wound you; that by the pain, and smart, and sorrow it breeds, he may maintain and encrease your enmity, and excite diligent endea­vours to destroy it: he had rather that sin should [Page 109]pain you here, than torment you in Hell; and he would have sins stroke to fall upon it self: as sin killed it self in killing Christ, so he would have it in his people: Let your afflictions, let the death of your Creature-comforts, be the death of sin. If it turn your very breath into groans, let these groans be against sin: if it turn your Joy into mourning, your Songs into sighs, and cries, and tears, let all these be against sin; and so your Life, and your Light, and your Comfort shall rise out of the ruins of your sin. O let sin gain nothing by the hurt it does you; If it has brought a cross upon thy Person, or Family, take it, and crucifie it upon this Cross, else thou losest the benefit of it: if thus thou dealest with it, it's a happy Cross, and thou hast fellowship with Christ in his Cross, on which sin suffered. Many have been convinced of the ill of Sin, that have fought but faintly with it, till it has wounded them.

And now, let me a little enquire if this has been the fruit of your personal or Family-afflicti­ons, or of the sore astonishing Judgments of God upon this place: You have seen many Houses and Streets burnt down in fewer days than they were hundreds of yeares in building. You have seen Riches that were many years in ga­thering, scattered, or may be in a few hours consumed: and the Lord knows how many have lost their Souls, and forfeited eternal happiness to build, and furnish, and gather that which a few moments pulled down, scattered and con­sumed: and yet when you have but a little in­termission and breathing-time, are you not as [Page 110]eagerly at it again? You have seen or heard of what desolations God did make, and what a Cry was almost in every House: not the cry of Egypt, not the first-born only; but as a man emptieth a Dish, and turneth it upside down, so did God with many Families, and many Houses: Have the dismal Looks and Out-cries of these days morti­fied you to carnal Mirth? Have you learned Righteousness? Have you made your dwellings Bethels? You have seen or heard of but a few years ago, many as delicate Persons as your selves, whose Carcasses were carried out in Dung-carts, and thrown into pits, heaps upon heaps? and will you yet please and pamper such Carcasses? Will you gather and patch up (as it were) their rags to adorn your Bodies with? Ah! the ashes of London, and the dust of those dead Bodies, shall be witnesses against the present Inhabitants: Does your Houses, your Tables, your Apparel speak any growth of Mortification? the highest Turret or Pyramid, is but a poor childish Memorial. Is there a Memento written upon each of these? But alas, what then means your ceiled and well-fur­nished Houses, while the House of God lies waste? What means your strange Apparel, and sumptu­ous Tables, while, may be, there be few Backs or Bellies of Christs Disciples that are blessing you?

Have you not fallen into Old London's sins, sooner than men took up the Old Worlds sins? Noah did indeed for once border upon the sin that God had buried in the Waters: And are not many Professors more guilty in reviving sins that God has burnt up (to speak so)? Ah! Will you [Page 111]break through, not only Armies of Ordinances, but Armies of Judgments? Will you in your pride of heart, and in your practice, also say, the Bricks are fallen, and we will build with hewen stone; the Sycamores are cut down, but we will exchange them into Cedars? Will you say, we will have better Houses, and finer Cloaths? If you have forgotten what your Eyes have seen, and your Ears have heard, come and behold yet the works of the Lord, and see what desolation he is now making amongst others! Not only Lon­don, but other places, that were like the Vinetrees amongst the Trees of the Forest, God has given them to the fire for fewel, Ezek. 12.20. He hath made Lebanon to open its doors to the fire, to devour the Cedars that are fallen; and the Fir-tree howls also: yea, the Oaks of Bashan howl, Zoch. 11.1, 2. He makes these smart, that others may fear: But Oh, shall such things as happen for Ex­amples, and are worthy to be recorded for Ad­monition to the end of the World, have no ef­fect upon th [...]se to whom they happen? Shall the same generation repeat, yea, out-do their for­mer sins? Can you with grief remember your Losses, and with no regret remember your Pride and Covetousness? Will you frustrate Reproach, and defame Gods Methods of Judgment, and pro­claim to the World, that his design has miscarri­ed upon you, and that you will not be healed? Shall the Rod in Moses's hand cleave the Rock, and shall it in Gods hand cleave no hearts? Must the Lords Ministers with grief of heart, go and complain against you to him, and say, Lord, Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; [Page 112]thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive Correction; they have made their faces harder than a Rock: This is a Nation, and this is a City that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord, nor receiveth Correction. And O that we could sigh for this, even to the breaking of our Loins. Now, how can you weep with them that weep, that have forgotten your own afflicti­ons, or rather never could weep aright for your selves? Or, if there be any Mourners among you, yet sure I am, you are far from Sackcloth and Ashes. But do you think that God has done with you? there's a dreadful word, Ezek. 15.6, 7, I will set my face against them; and they shall go out from one fire, and another shall devour them: Hath he not strange punishments for the Workers of Ini­quity? If London's sins be greater now than be­fore the Pestilence, or before the Fire, what Won­der, if greater Judgments from God come? If God shall give you up into the hands of bloody Papists, it will be worse than Fire or Pestilence, in Davids reckoning, as we see by his choice; and yet better have fallen into the hands of the Phi­listins, or Ammonites, or any Enemies David had, than into the hands of Antichristian Butchers: And for any thing we know, we are not half a hand-breadth from it. I pretend not to any ex­traordinary Discovery of Gods Counsels: but as we may Prophecy from sin to punishment, so from greater and stranger sins, to greater and stranger punishments.

I might mention other Directions, as the in­gaging all thy might against that sin that prevails most over thee, 2 Chron. 8.30: and the endea­vouring [Page 113]to grow particularly in the opposite grace. Finally, the Consideration of Christs second Com­ing, Col. 3.4, with ver. 5. 1 John 3.2, with ver. 3. Will you wallow in sin when Christ is so near? Must thou be made like to him, and wilt now let thy Soul swarm with noisom lusts? Can thou look for him, and not mortifie what cruci­fied him. But I proceed to speak in the third place to the mortification of the first motions of Sin.

Now here I shall, 1. shew the sinfulness of these. 2. I shall shew whence it is, that they abound so much with some. 3. I shall press the mortifi­cation of them from several Considerations. 4. I shall mention some helps to this.

For the first, That every motion arising from the Corruption of the Heart, or from habitual Lust, whether it has a particular Object, or be but a vagrant Imagination, though not delight­ed in, nor consented to, is sin before God, will easily appear; if we consider, 1. That they arise from a sinful Principle: they are born of the flesh, and are of the nature of Original sin; and if the Tree be corrupt, so must every bit of the fruit. 2. They are disconform to the Law of God (and so must be sinful in their Nature, as well as in their Rise) they lust against, and oppose the Spirit, Gal. 5.17. and so must oppose the Law of God; If they be against the Law in the heart, they are also against the written Law: Though you should crush them, yet once they were; if they had no inordinacy in them, why were they crushed? If there be any disorder or inordinacy in them, it is from us they have these; and so they must [Page 114]leave a guilt upon us. 3. Their sinful tendency and effects prove this. To instance but a few: 1. They are incitements to sin, and promote obe­dience to the law of sin, and the fulfilling of its commands. 2. They make way for other sins, beside what they do immediately and directly tend to: they open the door, and keep it open, for temptations to gross sins, and gives Satan access to blow up the Cole. 3. They keep out good Motions, and so must obstruct Duties, and unfit a man for them. 4. As they are contrary to right Reason, and not answerable to that Angelical Holiness and Purity that should be in us: so they cannot but leave some blot and defilement behind them: let these Motions be never so passing and transient, and run never so swiftly through us, they must needs taint us, by reason of our corrup­tion, that in less or more still sideth with them: they have alway the virtual consent of the will, in as far as not regenerated, and so cannot simply be said to be involuntary (which is the great Ob­jection made against this Truth), though they be against the renewed Will, which Paul speaks of, Rom. 7. O how many vile sins are stirring in the heart, that are not deliberate nor expli­citely consented to, yet are voluntary, because they have their seat and rise in the Will, as well as other faculties. 5. They hinder our Commu­nion with God; do you think, that if he had his due, there would be any room left for these? Have they any place in Heaven, where the Saints enjoy full Communion with God? and if they be inconsistent with that, they must be a hinderance to this.

Now it is upon these accounts, that the faintest Motions and stirrings of sin, are grievous to the godly, especially when it is best with them. The tender lively Christian, as he groans under a body of sin, so it never stirs but he feels it, and is pain­ed with it: the most sudden vagrant motions of the Mind, Heart and Affections, are burthensom to him: and that not only as they bewray a li­ving principle of sin in his Soul, but as they are sinful gaddings, and in some measure whorish de­partings of the heart from God, and inconsistent with that intire and uninterrupted delight the Soul should have in him; and that continual af­fectionate working, and out-going that should be in the Soul toward him. It may be indeed, he delights in the Law of God after the inward-man, yet he cannot reach full conformity to it within, more than in his practice outwardly: when he resolveth on some good, ere he be aware, his heart is wandring a hundred ways, and so ill is present with him.

O be convinced of the sinfulness of this: how often is your Mind stirring and roving? (for it's a restless thing) and how rarely can you say that these motions are conformable to the Law of God, or subservient to any spiritual good. What Ar­mies of vain Imaginations that are unaccount­able? you know not how they come in, nor how they go out; infinite are the occasions that ex­cite these; You can see nor hear of nothing, but habitual Corruption may some way stir: yea, you think of nothing, whether existent or not, but it excites some inordinate Motions: hence they are called the Imaginations of the heart, Gen. 6.8, The [Page 116]wandring of the desire, Eccles. 6.9. It's true, this is a further degree of sinful stirrings in the heart, when it entertains wild Imaginations, and pleas­eth it self with idle Fancies, that give rise to many sinful projects. Indeed, Nature it self teacheth this to be a sin, and it's an evidence of a discon­tented frame of spirit; for ordinarily these phan­tastick rovings of heart, respects some other per­sons Condition, or something at least that we want: the delight that accompanies these, is e­nough to prove them sinful; but it's plainly some­thing less than these that Paul speaks of, Rom. 7: for it's something he had not known to be sin, but by the Law. Now men by Natures light know that inordinate motions consented to (though not acted); yea, or but delighted in, are sinful. But it's the Scriptures-light only that convinces of the sin of these first stirrings in general: and it's the Spirit's Saving-light, that affects the heart with godly sorrow for them in particular.

For the second thing proposed, viz. Why they abound so much with some, more especially that they are exceeding frequent with all, I think none that know themselves will deny; and what swarms of them do mens busie-Minds and Imaginations bring forth? How hard is it to bring every thought inconsistent with that Duty and love we owe to God, and that we owe to Men, into sub­iection? It's hard to expel them when they come in, and much harder not to suffer them to come in; such is the cunning and activity of sin, such access has Satan to work upon us, and so Leavened are our Imaginations and Minds with sin.

Yet in some they are more frequent than others: [Page 117]the best groan under them, but some are almost smothered with them (to speak so) and their grace almost suffocated with them. Habitual Corruption is a fruitful Womb, and this is livelier in some than in others: and the same person is nearer God, and in a livelier frame, and has more inward serenity, and composure of spi­rit at one time than another: and so is like a City with Gates and Bars. At other times a man is at greater distance from God and out of frame; and then he is like a City broken down, and without Walls, and the heart is haunted with Satyrs and Owls. When the heart is in an ill frame, it is like damp Tinder to divine Motions: but it's like dry Tinder to every spark of a temp­tation that comes in by the senses, or by roving Imagination; yea, it takes fire of its self: and if it be not well watched, would quickly come to a flame. Indeed, it's no easie task to keep out these, there is so many several passages they come in at, and they can creep in at a small rent or hole: therefore there's need of the utmost watchfulness and diligence to keep them out, and to knock them down when they come in.

For the third thing proposed, viz. Some Con­siderations for pressing the mortification of these first stirrings of our Corruptions: 1. I shall mention some Aggravations of the sin and sad consequences of these. 2. I shall mention some ad­vantages the Believer has by mortifying these. For the first of these, Consider, 1. How frequent­ly by these you incur the guilt of sin: O the numberless multitude of these inordinate moti­ons! When are you free of them? When is the [Page 118] body of death asleep? not when you are asleep, for waking and sleeping, these inordinate motions are some way stirring: and it were easie to prove, e­very inordinate, extravagant, lustful, covetous, ambitious motion, even when asleep, and dreaming, to be sinful and defiling: and indeed, what proves the first motions of sin, when awake to be sinful, does also prove them such when asleep; and the more power a Christian when awake, has over them; the more holy he be, the less is he troubled with these: and it is ma­nifest that they are the flowings out, the bub­lings, and springings up, or emanations of our O­riginal Corruption, or the imperfect motions of vitious principles or habits: for as Innocent dreams follow the sinless constitution of the body, so sinful dreams follow the vitious constitution of the Soul, which possibly a mans natural temper of body hath advantaged; and so are gross out­ward acts of sin also, which yet does not prove them to be no sins. We cannot think that our Nature in the state of Innocency would have brought forth any such inordinate motions, sleep­ing or waking: so that the Apology some make for them, as being Natural, is naught; they are in no other sense Natural, nay, nor necessary, than the same motions when one is awake: If any shall say, they are from Satans injections which ren­der us not culpable:

I Answer 1. This is the same with what the Quakers say of the first risings of Corruption, when one is awake: the contrary of which our Lord tells us, Luke 6.45. And James tells us, they are from a mans lust, James 1.14. And truly, I [Page 119]think we do often sinfully transfer our guilt over to Satan, when there's not sufficient ground for it, no not so much as Eve had, though her plea was not relievant. Ordinarily we attribute horrid, blasphemous, or other abominable thoughts or Ima­ginations to him, when we cannot apprehend how such or such a thought should arise in us: so, what­ever we think unaccountable, we lay at his door, when indeed the height and depth of our Cor­ruption is unmeasurable, and its subtilty, and activity, and way of operating, is unaccount­able. 2. It is not Satan that thinketh or wil­leth in us: he may represent Objects, but the acts are ours: he can dart in a Temptation, but it's through our sin and Corruption that it takes fire in the least: indeed such is now our Constitution, that a temptation cannot enter, but there is some­thing within that complies with it, and is excited by it: and this is one great reason why we ought to pray, not to be led into temptation; were there no Corruption in us, Satans temptations would be like little sparks of fire thrown into a Sea of water; and indeed, Satan would not be so busie with his Injections into our Minds, when sleeping or waking, did he not intend thereby to defile us with them, and involve us into sin: his design cannot be meerly to afflict men with them, for they are no grief nor affliction to many that are yet filled with them. It's true, the Saints grieve more, and are more affected with them, and hum­bled for them, than for many afflictions that in themselves are more troublesome; but this in­ward trouble of Conscience for them in the godly, does rather prove them sins, than meer afflictions.

If any say, That these Motions when asleep, are not acts of our Reason, but of meer phancy and Imagination, and so not sinful. I answer, 1. The holy Law of God reaches to the whole man, even the Imagination: and we cannot sup­pose but that imperfect holiness, and persect holi­ness in Heaven, extends to every faculty of the Soul. 2. They are not meer acts of the phancy, for the Mind has some use of Reason, though more imperfect, even when asleep: Hence there is some correspondence ordinarily between mens thoughts waking and sleeping; and sometimes one asleep, will reject a temptation upon rational and so­lid grounds: I do not indeed think there's so much guilt in these Motions asleep, as when awake, be­cause of a more perfect use of Reason in a waking man.

2. Consider the innumerable Objects of these sinful Motions, and so into how many several species or forts of sin these Motions engage and involve you in. You cannot see nor hear of any thing: you cannot think of any thing, whether it have a being or not, but it may minister occa­sion to some inordinate motion. Innumerable are the occasions of these; what stirrings of de­sires, and wishes, and sometimes how pleased with idle Imaginations.

3. Consider what pretences men have to evade Convictions of the sinfulness of these Motions, when not consented to, nor may be delighted in, especially when the object of these is some lawful thing, much more when its some spiritual good; the Spirit that is in us, doth often lust secretly to envy others: when, may be, discontented or en­vious [Page 121]thoughts are not perfectly formed: these are but little observed in us. 4. Consider, that not mortifying of these, is the way not only to further sin, but it does insensibly bring on hard­ness of heart; when the heart is habitually haunt­ed with these, it's hard to expel these swarms that have had quiet possession: they do exceed­ingly wear out tenderness, and the sense of the sinfulness of Sin in every degree of it. 5. They do unframe the Soul, and unfit it for spiritual Duties: Thus, when we would do good, evil is pre­sent with us; they justle out holy Meditations, at least they weaken and divert the Soul in it, and cause many interruptions in it: they mar fixed­ness of heart in Duties, and they not only polute them, but eat out the life of them: they are like ravenous Birds upon our Sacrifices, that are not to be suffered to light upon them. Finally, What a woful tendency have they, and what an inlet to temptations, and to further degrees of Sin? they even invite Satan to tempt, Satan and Sin never say they have enough: every conception of Sin is in order to a Birth: and every stirring of Sin, is for the carrying on its war against God and thy Soul, 1 Pet. 2.11. But of this already.

Now 2dly, A little of the advantages of mor­tifying the first motions of Sin. 1. This is the way to prevent much Sin; and were we making conscience of this, we should find Mortification a much more easie work: An Oak, when a plant, is easily pulled up; a little spark is soon quenched: you complain of the strength of your Corrupti­ons, but you are first to blame that you have suffered the habits of Sin to grow so strong, and [Page 122]then that you crush not the first actual Inclinati­ons of these corrupt habits; If you suffer them to proceed but a little, they may be indeed too hard for you. O foolish Souls, who put off this; Is it hard to mortifie the first motions of thy heart to Sin? and does thou think it will be easie to mortifie Sin at once, when it's increased into thousands, and fortified with strong holds? If thou cannot tell the first thoughts of it, how wilt thou do when it has got thy hearty consent, thy love and delight, and long possession? 2. This is the way to keep the Con­science pure and clear: a renewed Conscience will charge guilt upon thee, upon the account of these; and no reasoning or extenuations will satisfie it, till thou be truly humbled before the Lord for these; and vigorously also setting thy self to suppress them. A tender Conscience has a deep Impression of the sinfulness of these, as Paul had, Rom. 7.24: and thou cannot maintain thy peace, nor assurance of thy freedom from Condemna­tion, nor keep up thy glorying in God, but by dealing with them as he did. Oh, how small a matter (if I may so speak) will break a tender Christians peace! less than a wrong look or word will do it; he cannot let half a thought away without a challenge; he has but one eye upon his priviledges and comforts, and a little Cloud will darken that. What makes a man go without much light or comfort, in whom yet you can see no spot nor flaw, and who also are not under the power of any particular, inward, or heart-sin; the Spirits Comforting-work, and Wit­nessing-work is easily marred. Oh, but the man [Page 123]that is daily keeping or beating down the first risings of Sin, may glory as Paul, Rom. 7.25, & 8.1; He thus preserves a sweet serenity, and calm within: he suffers no Clouds to gather, he dissipates the malignant Vapours that arise from within, and suffers them not to unite; He crushes Satans design against him in the very Egg.

3. This will keep the Soul in case for con­versing and walking with God; in case for speak­ing to him, and for every spiritual Duty: every inordinate Thought or Imagination is a looking away from God, and imports a heedlesness and a listlesness to him. Walking with God requires an holy, even, uniform frame of Spirit: And O how much would this raise and spiritualize Prayer, Meditation and other Duties? then are our Sa­crifices holy and untainted, when neither Birds nor Flies are suffered to light, at least not to sit upon them.

4. This were the way to weaken and destroy the very body of sin: When a Tree is cut down, the living Root sends up a great many sprouts and small twigs: But if you will pave the place where the Tree stood, or make a High-way over it, the very Root will die, which otherwise would have preserved it self; So after Sin is sore smit­ten, yet the Root abiding through the seat of waters, that is, Satans Influences, it may spring: But when these first shootings up are nipt, when the Root of Sin cannot put forth it self, it dies: this does as it were stop the breath of Sin: this makes the old man pant and die, even as Grace lan­guishes, when the actings of it are obstructed.

Now in the fourth place, take a few Directions: 1. For preventing these stirrings of sin within, and 2. For compressing and laying them, when they are up.

For the first of these, take these Directions: 1. In general, what is formerly said of Watchful­ness, is of use here, more especially; sometimes Temptations seize upon our Judgments, and some­times upon our Affections unawares: and when they have tainted the Affections, they have easie access to the Mind, and need to be carefully watch­ed. Look to the first springs of Sin: when we are asleep, the Enemy is sowing tares, and they quickly grow up; Temptations do often sudden­ly assault, and the thoughts and motions of the Heart are nimble, they are swift and instantane­ous: a spark of fire does no sooner kindle Powder, than a Temptation does excite some inordinate mo­tion of the Heart; If all the doors and windows of the Soul be not kept close, there will be fiery dants flung in, and some sparks of temptations will take fire, and thou can never shut doors and windows so close, but when thou hast done all, thou hast need to watch: Satan can espy a pas­sage into thy heart that thou didst not think of; he has a party, and thou hast an Enemy within thee, that will let him in. If thou be asleep, it may be indeed thy severity to indwelling sin will irri­tate it, and provoke it to mutiny, and so occa­sion greater confusion in thy Soul: but dread not this, nor ever look for good from thy indulgence and tenderness to thy corrupt lusts or affections, their war is better than their peace: suspect that inward quiet that comes from any favour to sin, or connivance at it.

The Apostle tells us, Rom. 7.8, That sin took oc­casion by the Commandment, &c. One great hinde­rance of Mortification, is, that sin is thought not so noisom as it is; but when the Commandment comes: when the Word beats down that conceit, by exacting thorough Obedience, upon the highest peril, and laying bonds on the very thoughts, this inrages Corruption, and it grows more un­ruly: It is not the proper effect of the Law to stir up sin, more than the impetuous' running of water is the proper effect of a Bank of Earth, which was made to dam it up; nor is it the pro­per effect of diligent endeavours for mortifying all inward motions, to excite them and make them more tumultuous. Sometimes strict watching of sin makes it more cunning: sometimes it provokes an eruption of it, and then the poor Believer is apt to think his case worse than before. But was it worse with Paul, Rom. 7, than formerly? In­deed, it's hard to keep Corruption in close Pri­son, and to marr all communication between Satan and it, to suffer none to go out or come in: But Watchfuln ss will do much, thoughts will be stir­ring, and affections will be stirring; therefore it were our wisdom, to ask them whence they come, and whither they go? if from Satan, or from the flesh? if from Heaven, or from the Spirit? and arrest what have an evil aspect, or tendency or favour, and do Justice upon them: what are dubious, keep them Prisoners, till thou has further examined them; for Satans messengers oft-times come disguised, and with Christs Word in their mouths; and the motions of sin are often mistaken for spiritual motions: as the Porters [Page 126]stood continually at the door of the Temple; to keep out the unclean of all sorts, so must you do with all that defile, or is like to defile, if you be holy Temples to God to dwell in. Yet for all that I have said of them, a Believer must not be too much in examining of them, so as to be taken off more profitable work; nor indeed can we ever keep account of them, they are so innumer­able: should we ever be pursuing and tracing them, there should be room for no Duty else. And finally, because as they come suddenly, so often they fly as swiftly away.

Now under this Head, I would commend un­to you a careful search into, and intimate ac­quaintance with thy own heart, that thou may know where thou art weakest, and what advan­tages Satan has against thee: What sin does most intirely beset thee: which is the soft place of thy Soul, which Satans darts do with most ease enter into? What corrupt passions and affections are most easily kindled in thee. And where thou sees the greatest danger, keep the strongest watch: and do not only keep at distance from such oc­casions and temptations, as may most likely draw out thy Corruptions; but keep thy very thoughts at the greatest distance from these: suffer not thy self to think of them, except it be to reproach them, or to provoke greater abhorrence of them: and this also must be prudentially ma­naged.

2. Endeavour to keep your hearts under a deep sense of the sinfulness of Sin, even of these first motions: a Natural man is not troubled for the sin of these, or for the disconformity of them [Page 127]to any Law (though he may for outward actings of sin) because Natures light does not discover the sinfulness of them: though it may be, he may be angry at them as they molest him, or tend to something that he abhors: and here lies one diffe­rence between the truly godly, and others; yet we must grant that oft-times the godly think but too meanly of these, and do not apprehend so much ill in them as there is: and hence guard not sufficiently against them, nor yet do sufficiently bewail them; may be, you are easily satisfied with your Repentance for these, and think gene­ral confessions and complaints sufficient: Do you use to make an Errand to God, to confess these, and to beg a particular pardon for them. Peter makes a Peradventure of the forgiveness of Si­mon Magus's thought, Acts 8.22. True, that [...]s a more deliberate approved thought, but an ex­ercised Soul will many times make a peradventure to it self, of the forgiveness of a more imperfect and rejected Thought.

I would not grieve such: but for others let me ask you, Do you not know that God is a Jealous God? Jealousie amongst men, importeth an apt­ness to suspect an Jnjury; a Husband, viz. is jea­lous when he is apt to suspect his Wifes want of love, or loyalty to him upon small circumstances, without evident ground so to do; and withall, it imports indignation against the smallest ground of suspition: this it cannot endure, viz. Any thing that looks like the inclination of the heart to a­nother: says Joshua, You cannot serve the Lord; for he is a holy God, Chap. 24. ver. 19. It's true, He hath manifested this especially in the matters of [Page 128]his Worship and Institutions, according to his threatning annexed to the second Commandment, as in the instance of Aaron's two Sons, and Ʋzza, and the Bethshemites, &c. But may we not think that God is as jealous of the heart as of any thing, and that he will take notice of every motion of it, and will resent every disloyal glance of the thoughts, though it come not the length of a purpose: nay, nor any deliberation in or­der to a purpose or resolution? Is there not more sin in many sudden-passing thoughts (though re­jected) than in Ʋzza's hasty catching hold of the Ark, or in the Bethshemites looking into it? or is the Lord less jealous now than he was? Does his clearer coming under the most kindly and con­descending Relations, any way abate it? Nay, they rather heighten it, though they may occasion some change in his way of resenting injuries, and expressing his displeasure, Jer. 2.14. The Lord deals with his people now in a more Son-like way; he chastizes them as much or of tner than formerly, but not in that manner: he will keep up his Soveraignty, even when he is owning thy Soul; hee'l have thee know that he must be thy Lord, and thou must worship him, Psalm 45.11. so shall the King greatly desire thy Beauty: for he is thy Lord, &c. He will not have his kindliest Relations diminish his Honour, nor wear out our inward awe and fear, lest an un­suitable frame, or any unholy motion of heart should provoke his jealous Eye. It's a re­markable word, Deut. 28.58, He will have his people fear this glorious and fearful Name, The Lord thy God; may be you think Thy God, a [Page 129]sweet name and a kindly; ay, but he glories in it, and so mayest thou, and yet ought to be also a fearful Name. And truly a Conscientious care to prevent the very first stirrings of sin in the heart, is the most genuine fruit, and the most satisfying evidence of this fear, and of our Covenant-state: Other things may influence and incline us to op­pose sin in its further proceedings; as on the o­ther hand, an awful Impression upon the heart of God, as God, and as our God, is of great effi­cacy to keep out sinful Imaginations: It will make the soul not only tremble at yielding to such a sin as Joseph was solicited to, but even shrink at the first touch of the smallest temp­tation: and this leads to another direction.

3. Indeavour to keep thy heart in a holy, ten­der, heavenly and lively frame. What's the rea­son that temptations and suggestions from Satan do at the first excite some sinful motions in the heart? the fundamental reason is, our remaining Corruption that they work upon: But the nea­rest reason is, an ill frame; when Satan finds us as dry tinder, he strikes fire, and every part catches and kindles. 1. Then maintain a tender frame, and this will make thee feeling and sensi­ble of every inordinate motion of the heart. It will grate upon the Conscience, and thou wilt be loath by these to grieve the spirit, as well as by consenting to, or acting of them, to quench or resist the Spirit: for as the eye is hurt by the smallest dust, or smoaks, and if it were aware, would shut it self against them, so is it with a tender Conscience; and if any dust has got into the eye, it is not at ease till it has wept it out, [Page 130]or till it be wipt out: so is it also with the man who has true tenderness of heart. 2. Maintain a lively Spiritual frame; let thy heart be always bending and working towards God: stir up ho­ly thoughts and affections, and let thy soul be filled with these, and there will be no room for sin to get in; do you not find that sometimes when the heart is strongly ca [...]ed out to God, that sinful Imaginations dare scarce present them­selves: for as we use to say, that liveliness in du­ties is the way to prevent wandring thoughts in them; and that Birds will not light upon burn­ing Sacrifices: so it's in this case. But when the heart is dead, and cold, and empty, and idle, then Satan and indwelling sin take their oppor­tunity and fill it, and busie it; he comes and warms it, and kindles fire in it: when therefore any thing is offered to thy eye, or thy ear, or thy taste, or thy thought, that may excite any inordinacy in thy heart, or in the least measure raise thy Corruption to stir, antidote thy heart, and prepossess it with some gracious Acts. Let the understanding, the heart, the affections, the memory; yea, thy senses and outward man, be filled with the fulness of God, then shall sin be some way out of doors: you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; yea, there shall be no room to the lustings of the flesh. If thy soul be exerci­sed in holy meditations and affections, and thy hand be much in heavenly work, if thou con­verse in heaven, and live near God, and dwell on High; were the soul always upon the wing, and flying heaven-ward, and were God every way thy all, Satan durst not offer to force thee in the [Page 131]presence of thy Lord and Husband; Satan shall not have such access to thee: and this poor world, and its gilded nothings, should not work upon thee: and if the body of death should stir, you might with the more ease, at least, beat it down. When the Soul is as it were in Gods presence al­way, Satan will not venture so to force it, (as it were) Esth. 7.8. Yea, the body of sin it self would shrink into a corner: when the virtue re­ceived from the Loadstone is worn off, the needle wavers hither and thither: but when new touch­ed, it bends steadily Northward. So it's with the soul that's under fresh influences, and that is near God.

But, 2. How shall we do with these first mo­tions of sin? how shall we deal with them in their first attempts upon us? Ans. 1. If any sin begin to stir in thy imagination or mind, look well it get not into thy heart, or affections, for that will instantly weaken thy Judgment. 2. If thou would keep thine own Vineyard well, pluck up every weed as soon as it appears, else it will quickly be overgrown; as soon as thou feels sin stir, let thy heart recoil, and start back with ab­horrence: indeed sin is so often stirring, that thou may possibly weary to be always watching and warring with it: and the heart does so easily and naturally move that way, that it may possi­bly be a pain to thee to oppose it. Therefore thou must be armed with a great deal of reso­lution, not to hear the pleadings of the flesh, nor to parley with a temptation: and know, that when ever sin stirs in thee, thou art under an actual temptation to more sin. 3. Protest and bear [Page 132]witness against every motion of sin in thee: en­ter thy dissent from it. And though this can­not absolve thee in the Court of strict-Justice, yet the Court of Grace shall acquit thee. This was Paul's Gospel-plea, Rom. 7.15, 19. and from this he infers, ver. 17, and also ver. 20, Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me: What thou dost not own, and dost not consent unto, God will not charge up­on thee, so as to condemn thee (even as what thou hast consented to, if thou hast retracted it by repentance, he will not bring it in, in judg­ment against thee). I do not mean as if there were no need of repentance for these, for thou cannot sincerely protest against them, if thy heart be not penitent for them. (It's one of the loose Doctrines of the times, that for lesser sins there is a pardon in course, and that there needs no repentance); and if thou hast wilfully betrayed thy self into such occasions as drew forth these acts of sin, these first stirrings of Corruption, thy subsequent dissent, and crushing them, will not serve without more particular and solemn repentance. I mean therefore such motions of sin as are excited by the suddenness and subtil­ty of temptations, and such as are the natural and necessary effects of the body of sin, and the hour­ly breathings of it. If thou with tears protest against them, God will not charge them on thee: yet finally, every dissent from, or dislike of them, will not discharge from the sin of them: some may dislike them for their tendency, and others as they are troublesome; But I mean a dislike of them for themselves, and protesting against [Page 133]them, as provoking God, and polluting the soul.

4. Ejaculatory prayer (as its called) is a no­table expedient for crushing the first motions of sin; we formerly commended secret prayer, for the mortification of predominant lusts: But its impossible one can have opportunity for solemn addresses to God, every time they find Corrup­tion stirring in them: these sudden motions of sin must have some speedier cure; they may be op­posed and smuthered by sudden ejaculations and desires sent up to heaven, which no straitnedness as to time, place, or business need to hinder. They may be in a prisoner before his Judg, in a Courtier when he is standing before his Prince, Neh. 2.4. This way of praying, is more especially necessary, 1. When thou hast no opportunity of retiring in secret, so that thou needs not say thou wants time or place, though I fear some does with­out necessity restrain private prayer under the pretext of this. 2. When there is a good mo­tion started in thy heart, that it may be cherish­ed, that a good purpose may be kept in the heart for ever. 3. Upon every change of thy Company, and upon lesser change of what busi­ness thou art about, when thou goes out and comes in, when thou comes from Company to Solitariness, & e contra: when thou visits thy friend, reproves or advises him; yea, when ever thou opens thy mouth in Company, or ever thou resolve on, or promise any thing, though it seem small and nothing disputable: many such occasi­ons might be instanced. But, 4. That which is to our purpose, is, when any spark of a temptati­on [Page 134]comes in; when Habitual Corruption begins to stir, when any corrupt affection does in the least begin to take fire, this is a good way to quench it. This the godly man finds true in fre­quent experience; but if this doth not, then get into thy secret Chamber; this is an honest errand to the throne of Grace; cast thy self down at his feet, and tell him, That if he will trample up­on thee, let him do it, thou will lay thy hand upon thy mouth, but let not thine enemy and mine oppress me, and tread me under: Lord I would not sin against thee, but thou seest how I am oppressed, O undertake for me. Lord, I ra­ther dye at thy foot, than live as Satan and my corrupt heart would have me. Worm Jacob that prevailed with him, did not wrestle upon an ho­nester account than this is. If thus thou betake thy self to him, thy bow shall abide in strength, and thou shalt find him to be strong and mighty in Battel, Psal. 24.7, 8. In the secret of his ta­bernacle, in his Pavilion shall he hide thee, and set thee as upon a rock. Psal. 27.5. O do not yield to Satan, nor to indwelling-sin, for it may be ere you rise off your knees you shall have help (to allude to 1 Sam. 11.9). I am sure he is faith­ful who has promised, &c. and never any that took his appointed method, that were overcome by a temptation, 1 Pet. 5.7.

5. Take the method prescribed in the Text: You cannot rightly mortifie sin in its rise, or af­ter some progress: you cannot mortifie Original sin, nor your predominant lusts; nay, nor the first motions of sin, but through the spirit: If you walk in the Spirit, you shall not fulfil the lusts of [Page 135]the flesh, Gal. 5.16. Sin shall never conceive nor bring forth. Now in the beginning I told you, that by the Spirit we may understand the graces of the Spirit, by the acting of which, mortifica­on is carried on. But, 2. And more especially, The Holy Spirit, by whose immediate efficacy sin is mortified: for the former, I did commend the cherishing of grace in the heart, in order to the mortification of Original sin, and habitual lusts; and did also mention it as necessary to the mor­tification of predominant lusts, That one should indeavour to grow, especially in, and to cherish that grace which is most directly opposite to that sin. If it be pride, set thy self especially to stu­dy humility; if worldliness, heavenly mindedness, if passion, study meekness; look what sin is most advantaged by your natural temper (for ordi­narily that is the predominant), and set your self especially against that, else it will marr the lustre of any grace or excellency that may be in thee, and it will keep thee a dwarf in Religion all thy days, and like Reuben thou shalt never excel; indeed a little grace when any way advantaged by education, or the natural disposition, will go far, and this makes it hard to judg of the com­parative degree; (at least) of other mens gra­ces, and oft-times makes men mis-judg themselves, or think too highly of themselves. But when grace is to roll against wind and tide both, it had need to be strong; when Original corruption is so and so advantaged in any of its particular mem­bers.

But as to our present purpose: when any Cor­ruption begins to stir in you, if you would [Page 136]through the Spirit (in this sense) mortifie it, put thy heart instantly upon the acting of that grace which is most opposite thereunto. So the Psalmist, At what time I'm affraid, I'le trust in thee: correct carnal fear by hope and holy con­fidence in God. If inordinate worldly sorrow be stirring, labour to beat out of thy heart some spark of spiritual joy. If thy wants or losses begin to afflict thee, indeavour to unlock the Cabinet where thy Jewels and treasure lies; come study, and behold an All-sufficient God, and an All in all Christ. See if thou misses House, or Land, Son, or Daughter, Brother or Sister here. If thy heart be inclined to run out in carnal, frolick mirth, let deep and serious reflections on the sufferings of Christ, without which a sinful thought could not have been pardoned on a dying hour; and the last trumpet, and followng judgment, give check to it. If pride begin to stir, go and abase thy self; thus sin shall be a loser by every at­tempt it makes.

2. If thou cannot come this length, if thy heart and affections will run out so and so, then in­deavour to alter the objects of them; turn the stream a little aside into another channel, if it will not run in a contrary way; and by this means thou shalt also mortifie them. If thou find thy heart inclining to passion at others, turn it to an holy indignation against sin. If inclined to sor­row upon any worldly account, endeavour to turn it into sorrow for sin, or for the afflictions and sufferings of the people of God; let these have their due, and thou wilt not have many tears to spare for other things. If thy heart be inclining [Page 137]to exceed in frolick mirth, indeavour to get thy mirth and joy to run into another channel, to turn it into holy joy in God, in Christ in his goodness to thee, and to his people. Indeed there may be much deceit in this, that thou had need to guard against; for as a good disposition some­times passes for a sanctified nature; so does these, for sanctified acts and affections; and as the former, when advantaged with grace goes far; so these high affections when tinctured with grace, pass for high spiritual motions of the soul: many un­der affliction mistake their carnal sorrow for Spi­ritual sorrow; and others mistake their natural and occasional cheerfulness, for Spiritual joy; and the reason is, because they judg of these acts only by the objects, which they thought last upon; as for instance, May be one under great sorrow, in­termingles with other things, some thoughts of sin, and then he thinks his sorrow to be god­ly sorrow; or when in a cheerful frame, or in some good mood (as you call it) he intermingles some thoughts of God, of Christ, of Heaven, and then it passes for heavenly joy. Nothing is more ordinary than this: A pregnant instance we may have of it in the publick prayers of our forma­lists, who having by Organs and Musical Instru­ments excited in themselves some natural affecti­ons, put to (may be) some thoughts of God and of the joys of Heaven, and thus these moti­ons of their hearts that are excited by meer na­tural causes, and their own endeavours, pass cur­rent for high sublime raised affections; and this is all the holiness, and heaven too, of some. But here lies the deceit; men look only to the Im­mediate [Page 138]casual object of their acts, and not at all to the principle of them; nay, nor to the object that did at first excite these acts, viz some outward loss, or some outward good (I mean ordinarily). When therefore you would turn na­tural or worldly sorrow into Spiritual, (and so with joy) you must look well that there be a change, not of the object only, but in the very nature of the acts or affections; for the object a­lone is not enough to specifie an action; a meer change of the object will not render a natural affection, or passion, Spiritual. There may be much natural Carnal joy in a spiritual and supernatu­ral object, as Heb. 6.4; even as there may be a spiritual joy, when the immediate object is natu­ral, and so of other affections. If you Object the difficulty of this, and ask, What advantage one has by following this direction? I Answ. 1. You have the advantage of being diverted from sin­ful objects, and from inordinate motions, towards lawful outward objects. 2. You have this ad­vantage, that when the affections are lively, they move with a greater facility towards spiri­tual objects, though indeed this contributes no­thing to their spirituality; sin and grace they are seated in the same powers and faculties of the soul; and when sin commands, the more lively these powers and faculties be, the more are the actings of sin advantaged; and so it is also when grace is uppermost, whether in the understanding, or the will, or the affections. As on the other hand, when the natural vigour of the soul, espe­cially of the affections, is gone, or any way ob­structed, the actings of grace in them are not [Page 139]so sensible, and seem low and faint; hence many aged persons and others, are apt to conclude hard­ly against themselves, at least to apprehend a de­cay of grace when there is none. Therefore when you find any of these vigorous and fresh, let grace set them on work; and if there be any par­ticular affection more lively and stirring than an­other, heavenly wisdom directs us to see that that be well employed; and if it be in the hand or possession of sin, to redeem and rescue it un­to its proper use: whatever principle or object did first move, excite, or draw it forth; the pow­ers of the soul, and all their operations are ca­pable of good or evil, as they are used: as a strong Castle or sharp sword may be well or ill used; yea, suppose an usurping enemy helped to fortifie the Castle, or sharpen the sword, if they can be taken from him, they may be used to the more advantage against him.

Now 2dly, I told you, that by the Spirit in the Text, was especially to be understood the holy Spirit, by whose special assistance Sin is mortifi­ed in the Believer: If ye through the Spirit, &c. set about this with the Spirits aid, and in a com­pliance with the methods of the Spirit; which im­ports, 1. Our own impotency: Never think to mortifie any sin in thy own strength: how small a temptation will overturn us when we stand up­on our own legs! and how strong temptations and inward lustings are we helped to withstand and mortifie, when we engage the Spirits assistance! 2. It imports the ineffectualness of meer ratio­nal or moral Considerations, Motives, and Means to mortifie sin; the Consideration of the turpi­tude [Page 140]and infamy of sin, of its debasing our Na­ture; of that distraction and disorder that inor­dinate passions and affections breed in the Soul: the weakness and transitoriness of the Crea­ture comforts, the impossibility to recover our loss by inordinate grief, &c. These may restrain or refine sin, or change the Channel it runs in, but can never mortifie it. Nay, nor 3. Will any means of Gods appointment do it without the Spirit; neither meditation of Death, nor Judgment, nor of the death and sufferings of Christ. Nor will Prayer, or Word, Promises, or Threatnings, or Sacraments, or Afflictions, if se­parated from the Spirits influences and assistances; This is so sadly verified every day, that I need not prove it. They that want the Spirit, can­not mortifie one sin: and they that improve not an indwelling Spirit, cannot by other means mor­tifie sin.

If any object, That sin doth grieve, and vex, and quench the Spirit, and provoke him to with­draw; how then doth the Spirit mortifie sin in us? I answer, It's true, that even the sins of the godly do grieve, and some way quench the Spirit, But what sins are these? or how do men quench the Spirit? It's by their opposing the Spirits san­ctifying and mortifying operations. I grant, this may be done by opposing his witnessing and comforting Work, but mostly the former, which is the chief work of the Spirit. 2. The godly do never so grieve the Spirit, as to provoke him al­together to leave them, Psalm 51.11. There re­main some motions and assistances of the Spirit, which if hearkned to, and improved, may reco­ver [Page 141]the Soul again, and bring back more plenti­ful and greater assistances of the Spirit. First then, beware of marring the Spirits work. 2. Learn to comply, and actively to co-operate with the Spirit in all the methods and ways whereby he destroys sin. 3. When sin is not allowed, the Spirit is not grieved, so as to withdraw or suspend his operations.

For the first, Resist not the Spirit, else the bonds of your sins shall be made strong: Where the Spi­rit of the Lord is, there is Liberty, 2 Cor. 3.16. This is not a Liberty of speech only or mainly, he works out our freedom and Adoption; but when he is resisted or opposed, he brings under bondage to fear (for both these, Rom. 8.15, 16, are the effects of the same holy Spirit) and brings Adoption under debate again, Jer. 3.19. 1. O do not counter-act nor counter-work the Spirit: when he discovers sin, do not you shut your eyes, or wink hard to hold out his light; some will not know Sin, because they have no mind to leave it, much less to mortifie it; they put out the Candle, that they may sin the more freely; such Ignorance does highly aggravate guilt: how many defend their ignorance of Truths and Du­ties, Errours and Sins, against the Spirit of God? and thus for some base lust sell Truth and Holi­ness, which are glorious Beams of God; and at the highest rate and peril, make a Conquest of Errour or Sin, which are the excrements of the Devil and of Hell. Oh, to what a height of sin in this particular, have many arrived at? who in­stead of complying with what Light and Convi­ctions the Spirit does minister to them; will have [Page 142]the Spirit comply with their darkness, their Sins and their Errours; when men study the Scrip­ture to seek a cover for them: or get to them­selves Teachers after their own lusts, after the manner of Achab, as ordinarily great men especi­ally do their Ministers and Chaplains. Thus men would make the Spirit of God of their own mind, and to approve Sin: some are angry at the Light, as it mars their carnal Mirth, and as it opens the eyes of others to think of them, what they would not be thought. How many also do with the Spirit within, as they do with the Spirit in his Ministers, and as the Jews did with Jeremy, Ch. 44, They seek Light, but are determined in their mind, only they would have the Spirit to serve their turn. 2. Do not not oppose the Spirit when drawing the heart off Sin, when engaging and raising purposes in the heart against Sin, or when arming the passions against it; as many do, who thereby render outward helps for Mortification, and also the inward workings of the Spirit, powerless and ineffectual; and thus when God would heal them, they discover their iniquity as Ephraim, and as those do, who not only call evil, good, &c. but draw iniquity like Cart-ropes: who the more they are striven with, the more they stretch themselves forth to sin: this is ordinary with the unregenerate.

But 2dly, Do not grieve the Spirit (this is more common to the godly). Now you grieve the Spirit, 1. When you covet his Comforts more than his sanctifying Operations, and his killing of sin in you. It's worse to be under the power of Sin, than to be under terrours for sin. 2. We [Page 143] grieve the Spirit by every act of sin, by the least indulgence to sin; the very first motions of sin, they are lustings against the Spirit: and the fur­ther they proceed, the more they grieve the Spirit; If they be delighted in, or consented to, which is the conception of sin, much more if they be brought forth, and amongst sins: the more spiri­tual any sins be, the more it grieves the holy Spirit, as leaving upon the Soul the character and resemblance of the contrary evil Spirit: As for instance, Pride; and the more spiritual Pride be, and the more excellent the object of it be, the more provoking it is; though indeed in some respect sensual pleasures and bodily sins, may be said to grieve the Spirit more, in as much as they not only defile his Temple, but also polute the Soul (which should be the inner Temple, and therefore kept more holy), with sensual affecti­ons which alienates the Soul from the Lord, and which also weaken the Soul, Hos. 4.11. Hence see the opposition, Ephes. 5.18. Jude 19: and which are a real service and proper tribute to the flesh: whereas we are debtors only to the Spirit, Rom. 8.12: and it cannot but exceedingly grieve the Spirit, when we pay our liveliest affections as tribute to his great Enemy in us.

For the 2d Direction mentioned, viz. Com­pliance and Co-operation with the Spirit: You must not think that the Spirit will mortifie sin when you are asleep, or without your own en­deavours, much less when you are actually indulg­ing and giving scope to it: If ye through the Spirit do mortifie, &c. But ere I press this more particular­ly, let me exhort you to endeavour as much as in [Page 144]you lies, to keep your Souls in such a frame as is fit for the holy Spirit to work upon, an humble, meek and ductile frame of spirit: the best frame will not enable to mortifie any sin: but when the Lord finds the Soul in a good frame, he works suitably upon it, Psalm 27.14: but when there's nothing to work upon, or when the heart is like clamp Tinder: either heavenly sparks are with­held, or they die out.

And when the Spirit does his part, then be true to yours: when thou art conflicting with sin, and the Spirit comes in and takes thy part against it, happy thou, if thou can improve it. But Oh, sin not away such blessed assistance; may be, thou sinds not much of it at first, for he uses to try us with a little, ere he trust us with much: and as we refuse or close in with his first offers, so does he deny, or afford us further assistance; he gives a little to make way for more. Now, the prejudiced Soul discerning that such a motion is levelled at its beloved lust, which is its life; and foreseeing the difficulty and pain of Mortificati­on, does reject the motion, and refuse this assi­stance; Even as some wretches (says one), mar their conceptions, to prevent the pain and incon­veniencies of Child-bearing: But O, do not hold out these Messengers, nor murther these Births of the Spirit, that would assist thee in the killing and mortifying of thy sin. Oh hide not, and plead not for thine Enemy, when the Spirit comes to avenge thee on it, for all the injuries it has done thee: go not forth against it in thy own strength, nor yet refuse to follow him when he gives the Alarm, or the Signal for Battel: [Page 145]hastily buckle on thy Armour, and thou shalt pre­vail; but if any Temptation meet thee all alone, thou art weak as water: or hadst thou been as strong as Sampson, if thy locks be shaven, and the Spirit be gone, thou wilt be as other men, any Cords will now bind thee: Satan will put out thy eyes, and make thee grind in his Mill.

But more particularly, I told you, The Spirits first work in reference to the mortification of any Sin, was a particular conviction of it; therefore thy first care must be to welcom and entertain Convictions of Sin. Take heed of holding out, or smuthering divine Light: none so hardned in sin, as such who have opposed most the Spirit's Light; there is more hope of a man that hath only Natural light, than of him that hath opposed much Divine light; and in such oft-times God puts out Natural light; when Men refuse the greater light, the Lord blows out the lesser: If they will not see with the Sun, he often blows out their Candle; the Gospel Maranatha extinguishes it. Hence some that have been once enlightned, turn prodigiously prophane; and Sin is never so secure nor strong, than where it has repelled and out-striven most Convictions: And alas, Is not the godly mans faint assent to, and compliance with the Spirit's light, when convincing of sin in them, the reason of many a disconsolate hour? for when Satan comes to question our state, and the truth of our Grace, we run to a tryal with it, and of­ten can find nothing to repel Satans allegations with; we can see nothing but sins set in order be­fore us: these stare us in the face, especially our injurious dealing with the holy Spirit of God. [Page 146]And is it any wonder, that when we comply not with the Spirit's light discovering sin in us, that he deny light, to let us see Grace in us? and without his light, we cannot make a clear and com­fortable judgment of our state. If we comply not with his Convincing and reproving Light, we shall not have his comforting Light; and it's upon this account that many poor Souls under trouble and exercise, are not able to discern any gracious fruits of the Spirit in themselves, but their eyes are held poring upon the fruits of the flesh, upon those sins especially whereby they have grieved the Spirit; when the Spirit says to the Soul, as Reuben did to his Brethren in their strait, Spake I not unto you, &c? You are now in trouble and under terrors; But did not I tell you? did not I admonish you? the Spirit helps our spirits to repeat the good motions and the charming-Argu­ments that we repelled: and be sure Satan will not fail to act his part at such a time.

Oh say not to the Clouds, Drop not; and to the Winds, Blow not; and to the Seers, See not; and to the Prophets, Prophecy not; and to the Spirit, Convince not, Reprove not. For the Spirit not only admonishes men of sin, but argues with them: as the word imports, John 16.8. But some other listen not, or else endeavour to an­swer the Spirit's arguments, or to oppose carnal Reasons to them.

But if thou would through the Spirit mortifie any sin, cast open thy doors and windows to the Spirit's Light; the Spirit often darts in Beams of Tormenting light, whether men will or not: but he does not mortifie sin, whether men will or not. [Page 147]Oh be thankful for heavenly Light; put thy finger now upon thy sin, and hold it there: may be, thou hast formerly known such a thing to be a sin, but now thou hast an opportunity to know the exceeding sinfulness of it. And truly, the Spirit's light does leave that impression of the sin­fulness of sin (as the first effect of it), which if lost once, is not easily recovered again: And if this impression upon the Mind be lost or lessened, it will be so with any effect left, or impression the Spirit made upon the heart or affections, or any further endeavours to mortifie sin.

2. Comply with the Spirit of God, when he begins to affect the heart with godly sorrow for sin, Zach. 12.10. The first kindly effect of a thorow Conviction, and of a right sight of the sinfulness of sin, is sorrow; the Conviction of the Righteousness of God, and of the guilt of Sin, breeds fear; the Convictions of the holiness of God, and of the ugliness of sin, breeds a holy shame; the Convictions of the graciousness of God in Christ, and of the injuriousness of sin to the grace of God in Christ, breeds godly sorrow, according to that passage, Zach. 12.10, 11: where this sorrow is mentioned as the first emi­nent and sensible fruit of the pouring out of the Spirit. Oh, beware you lose not that first Im­pression that a thorough sight of sin makes: all thy smiting and hammering upon thy heart will not recover it. And according to your measure of this, so may you judg what measure of the Spirit you have: you who are whole and unbro­ken, you have none of the Spirit; and it's a sign the body of death is whole and found: I do not [Page 148]mean you, who may be cannot mourn; deep sor­row sometimes causes deep thoughts of heart, when less sorrow will have more tears; there­fore look you miss not this proper and kindly ef­fect of right Convictions: let not the Spirit's work stop here. Some leap over this step, they are moved by some Convincing work of the Spi­rit's to forsake and relinquish sin; but sin cannot be mortified, till the heart be imbittered against it: the Spirit affects the heart with a fense of sins accession to Christs death, and puts the Soul to seek a Revenge, and nothing but the death of sin will satisfie it. Oh, cherish godly sorrow, if you would morifie sin; think it not a legal frame, when the Spirit moves thee to go alone, and makes Company and business burthensom to thee, and begins to melt thy heart: take hold of the oppor­tunity, thou knows not the meaning of the Spirit; when there is some sorrow seeking a vent, fall thou to pump it out: yet think not that tears will drown sin, they sometimes feed it, and make it more fruitful: but where they flow from a broken heart, they tend to the death of Sin.

3. When the Spirit moves thy heart against Sin, and excites hatred, distaste and indignation a­gainst sin, and stirs up thy anger against it, blow upon the Coal. Some let not the Sun go down upon their anger at it, such are not true to the Spirit of God; his Controversie with sin is like that with Amaleck, for ever. When the Spirit is lusting against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit, joyn thou with the Spirit: Now thou hast an advantage a­gainst sin, which if thou improve, may tend more to the death of sin, than many months or years [Page 149]of thy single endeavours, or fruitless formal Com­plaints. Pursue the advantage thou hast, and press hard upon sin; If the new Nature in thee cannot bear sin, and when its weak, and the Spirit comes into its assistance, how glad should thou be, and how welcom should this aid be, when the Spirit discovers sin, excites the heart and affections too against it? If you will now awake your self as the Psalmist, when his heart is fixed, and when he has awaked his tongue and his harp, Psalm 57.7, 8, I my self also will awake; You may cut the sinews of your predo­minant sin: but if you shrink back, and comply no further with the Spirit than your carnal ease or interest will admit, you cannot but look for the withdrawing of the Spirit, and the preva­lency of some evil Spirit. And suppose you only resisted the Spirit in some things, you cannot but think it righteous, that he should not afford you his assistance in other things: but leave you to your own lusts, and to the swing of your own hearts.

When the Spirit then does animate thee a­gainst any sin, hath bended thy heart, and raised or corroborated holy resolutions against it: maintain them (for the heart is naturally like a miscarrying womb); pray as 1 Chron. 29.18, and fall instantly on the mortifying of that sin. Holy endeavours strengthen holy purposes: and if these be vigorous and strong, thou mayest now get over the difficulties that used to hinder the mortification of that sin, and may do so hereaf­ter: that is, may hinder hereafter, if through delays, or neglect of present endeavours, you let not your purposes cool or slacken; whereas proba­bly, [Page 150]if this difficulty be overcome, thy Conquest of sin may ever after go better on: But do not think, that when you are aided by the Spirit, you shall meet with no difficulties, or that because of sins vigorous opposition, you are not influenced or aided by the Spirit. There is no War without trouble, and difficulty, and danger; the Spirit does not altogether remove difficulties: the lusting of the Spirit does not extinguish the lusting of the flesh; yea, the Spirit may be stirring the heart, even when the flesh is prevailing: the groans of a holy Soul, even when overcome by sin, are from the Spirit; but it's the Spirit's work to help over these difficulties which were otherwise insuper­able; and this he will do, if there be no failing on our part. But ah! the Spirit's aid meets with such opposition and reluctancy from the Soul in so far as it is unrenewed, that neither spiritual purposes nor endeavours can be mantain'd and kept up without striving and earnest contending on our part: and this must be done, maugre our ease, humour, and the mighty opposition of the body of death. He that would not be worsted by sin, must [...]. Luke 13.24, Strive as in an Army: there's no striving with other things that will put the Soul in an Agony, set aside Sin: there's no difficulty besides this in the way to Heaven; see Heb. 12.4. The power of sin will put any sensible Soul in an agony, as well as the guilt of it; Paul seems acquainted with it, Rom. 7.24: and no doubt he had much of the Spirit, even when he thus cryed out. Do not then ex­pect such assistance from the Spirit, as will kill thy Corruption at one stroke: the truer thou [Page 151]art to thy help, the more thou shall have; and the more the Spirit does, the more thou must do.

4. When the Spirit (who is a spirit of supplica­tion) does strongly influence thy heart in Prayer, improve it unto the mortification of sin, for the ne­cessity and usefulness of Prayer in reference to Mor­tification, I have spoke to already, and now urge the improvement of the Spirit's assistance in Prayer, as one of those ways whereby through the Spirit we are to mortifie sin. And in order to this, whatsoe­ver measure of the Spirit's aid and assistance thou hast, let thy Prayers be chiefly levelled against sin: and that not only nor mostly against the guilt of sin, but especially against the power of sin. Nature may raise the desires of freedom from guilt high, which may be mistaken for the influence of the Spirit It is true, that Natural self-love may also draw out strong desires of free­dom from the power of sin, as their passions and corrupt contradictory lusts and affections do mo­lest and trouble them: but especially as they know them to be inconsistent with any well-grounded hope of Heaven; as for unregenerate mens usual formal Petitions for deliverance from temptations, and from the power of their sins, there is ordinarily not so much as moral sincerity in them (even when that may be in their Pray­ers for Pardon) they really would not that God should hear them, and are sometimes afraid he should; so that what Augustine confesseth of him­self before his Conversion, is indeed a Common Case.

But to return, When the Spirit makes inter­cession in thee, helps thee to make intercession [Page 152] with groans which cannot be uttered: Let these groans be against sin, rather than for Divine Comforts. Groan rather for Redemption from sin, than from any other misery: do you [...] with the Spirit, as the Apostle beseeches the Romans, for the love of the Spirit, to do with him, Rom. 15.13; we render it, Strive together: the Spirit makes intercession with groans, as if he were in an Agony; O for the love of the Spirit, strive together with him, &c. And when the Spirit gives greater enlargement, and mightily draws out the heart in Prayer; know, that then the Lord is saying to the Soul, as it were, What is thy Request? Thou hast now got the King's Ear, then let thy Request be the death of thy sins: and amongst all thy sins, especially, that he would give thee the head of thy greatest lust that has most dishonoured God, and done the most mischief, that has often left thee wounded and groaning. Now thou hast an opportunity to be rid of it, and avenged on it, pursue thy advantage, and return not from the pursuit till thou hast divided the spoil: thou may now get more ground of sin, than by many years praying against it in thine own spirit; when your prayer is [...], as the word is James 5.16: that is, full of the holy Ghost, or Prayer, wherein the holy Spirit puts forth his Power and Energy, and sets the whole Soul on work; [...], signifies, one possessed with, and acted by a spirit. If it do not instant­ly kill sin, and deliver thee from such a Corrup­tion, yet it avails much to the death of it: and if continued in, thy sin shall not so far prevail, as to mar thy acceptance with God; or Commu­nion [Page 153]with him, or darken thy evidence for Hea­ven.

5. If you would by the Spirit mortifie sin, comply with the Breathings and influences of the Spirit in Ordinances, in the Word & Sacraments: This were the way (says one) to make Ordinances, and the times also glorious; the Apostle useth the dwel­ling of Christ, and of the Word in us, promis­cuously; men grieve the Spirit when they despise the Word, or any helps that God hath given them, Isa. 7.13: they are the means whereby the Spirit discovers sin, purges it away, or kills it, Psalm 119.9, and 107.20. John 15.3, and 17.17. Heb. 4.12: Render them not powerless to your Souls, by letting the Impressions that the Spirit has made by them, wear out: Has the Lord by his Word and Spirit discovered sin to you? fix your thoughts upon it, and pry more and more into the sinfulness of it. Muse upon it till your heart be hot within you: and till your heart be fired with anger, indignation and zeal against it; and when the Word makes your heart burn within you, blow upon the Coal that it die not out again; you must [...], the Spirit some­times wounds the Soul for sin, and makes some word like an Arrow, pierce the heart: but Sin­ners pluck it out again, and lick their wound whole again, and thus sin is whole again; sin puts the Soul between the stroke and it: whereas, when the Spirit by the Word smites, we should expose sin to it, and be content to have it not only discovered, but beaten and left dead upon the place; be content to find the Word as a two-edged sword; and love those best, in whose mouth [Page 154]is the sharpest sword; and hold up thy sins to its strokes when they are found out; Be content that the Word be as a Corrosive-plaister to thee, and keep it close upon the sore place.

O how many have their judgments enlight­ned by the Spirit in Ordinances: but they im­prison Light, imprison Truths, and suffer not the power of them to reach their hearts and af­fections. True, some find also the heart shaken and troubled for sin, and resolutions raised against it, yet it is not mortified, all miscarryes: and why? Truly, because in some these have no root; and for others that are truly godly, they yet take not pains enough with their own heart, to main­tain what the Spirit by the Word has wrought in them: they labour not to drive the Nail to the head, and to keep the Bow in bent. Slothfulness is a slighting of the Spirit, and provokes him to withdraw; and when the Sun is gone, light and heat is quickly gone. When the Spirit does by any Ordinance animate you against sin, and fix it upon your heart to seek the death of any sin, give it no reprieval for an hour: give not Satan time to tempt thee, nor sin time to prepare some charm to entice thee again: let not these things that use to choak the Word, deface and obliterate spi­ritual Impressions; if when the Spirit by the Word has heated your affections, you immerse your self in your business, this like frosty Air will soon cool you; if you do unwarily meddle with it, it will quickly take off your edg; and they are the most dangerous colds that come after great heats: hence many not only abate their zeal against sin, but sin is advantaged by this means; the heart [Page 155]like the earth which in Winter is thawed by the Sun at Noon, freezes the harder the next Night. 6. Observe, and comply with the Spirits moti­ons and methods when under affliction, which is a special season of the Spirits teaching and work­ing: afflictions use to be the Seal to Gods Instru­ction, Job 33.16. Seals give weight and autho­rity to Writings; the Spirit now sets Instructions home. Therefore consider what sin thou hast most need to mortifie, and what the Lord does especially aim at in afflicting thee: and in order to this, observe what his Spirit did charge most up­on thee before affliction came; and mark how the Lord follows affliction: the Spirit uses to bear in some sin more especially, and to make a mans Conscience deal impartially with him; hear what that says especially after Prayer; and when the Spirit by afflictions does humble thee, and cause heaviness in thee, 1 Pet. 1.5, let not sin raise up it self; for thou canst never rise again, but upon its ruins; and when the spirits work tends to the stirring up of Grace, in all thy acting of Grace, have an eye upon the sin that has most indan­gered thee, and comply with the spirit, e­specially when thou art moved to the acting of that Grace that is most contrary to thy stron­gest Corruption. It's a token of a sanctified af­fliction, when thy sin is discovered in its sinful­ness: when there is fixed purposes of heart rai­sed against it, and when there is some notable acting of the Grace that is most opposite to it excited.

And now when the lot is fallen upon it, do not spare it, do not think to roll it to shore, and save [Page 156]it alive, do with it as the Jews did with Paul, Act. 21.28, They laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel help, This is the man that teacheth the people against the law, and hath polluted this holy place. Labour to fix your thoughts, and purposes, and affections you now have; and af­terwards be often asking thy soul, what is be­come of them? and deal with sin as then you wished you had never done.

I shall in the next place answer some Objecti­ons against what has been delivered. And, 1. May be some see nothing in themselves that need to be mortified; they can say as the Pharisee, Luk. 18.11, yea, can bless God that they are free not only from such gross things as the Pharisee mentions, but even from such abominable thoughts and motions of heart, and from such horrid temptations and suggestions as some complain of.

Answ. 1. Was it any better with the Pharisee for his foolish opinion of himself? but would thou see thy self as in a glass? See Rev. 3.17. Look thou be not like a standing Pool, that has more mud and dirt at the bottom, than the raging Sea; and indeed sin is never more stirring than when it seems asleep, or moves smoothly: thou art not yet come the young mans length, Mark 10. who may be has outdone thee in every thing, yet saw there was something lacking; and in­deed besides faith in Christ, there was mortifica­tion to the world wanting. 2. How came thou by this freedom from sin, and so much inward quiet? thou must be in League with Hell; sure I am, the holiest Christians make sad complaints [Page 157]of sin within, and temptations without, and sel­dom want some excercise; but it seems you let sin live, and sin lets you live. 3. It's a token that sin has never been irritated, much less slain; we know thou art not pure by nature, more than others; nor can education purge out sin, though it may qualifie it; and we know that it cannot be mortified with much ado, such an interest has it got in the soul. But here it is, the Command­ment has never come in its spirituality and pow­er to thee; till then Paul troubled himself as lit­tle with sin as thou dost: sin prevails in the heart, yet is not grievous, because there's no­thing in thee that is contrary to it, to oppose it. It's but a short way that a natural Consci­ence goes; it charges no man with Original cor­ruption, nor with the first motions of sin, that the body of sin breaths out every moment, and which the smallest temptation will excite. And in many, reason, and conscience, and affection, and all is in bondage to sin; and there is no­thing to present its proceedings, but there's a thorough satisfaction with its servitude. Sin is in thee, as in its proper place, and therefore feels not heavy. 4. Thou mayest easily mistake, when thou compares thy self with others, whose Corrupti­ons some sharp tryals, or strong temptations, has brought forth; there may be much more sin at bottom in thee. 5. Know that such as Satan has possession of, he does not so much trouble them, he cares not how peaceably they come to hell; he lashes few till they begin to turn out of his road; he cares not how neat a way they come to hell, nor how swept, and clean the house be, [Page 158]and how well garnished. There may be access and room for the more evil spirits. And truly I think, that Satan may be as careful to keep temptations from some, lest they should be di­scovered to themselves and to others, as he is to multiply temptations to others; here's the mise­ry of many: God bindeth them, and Satan bind­eth them, and they cry not: God blinds men, and Satan blinds men, and they feel not, discern it not, and will not believe it, Joh. 9.39, 40. He hardens them, and they know not how; the stone in the heart grows as insensibly, as the stone in the bladder.

2. Some Carnal hearts may object the pain that is in mortifying a sin that's dear and useful; and that to mortifie sin, is to mortifie mirth. This has been formerly obviated. In short, you must know, 1. That this is not the proper time nor place for mirth, Joh. 16.20, Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoyce; and when we rejoyce, our mirth must not be a-kin to theirs. We read but once, that Jesus rejoyced in spirit, and that was not with the joy of this world, Luk. 10.21. He was a man of sorrows, and it becomes not his Disciples to be men of mirth. I speak this the rather, because that under pretence of removing an occasion of offence, and stumbling of some at the way of God, many drown themselves in Carnal mirth. No man comes leaping and laughing to heaven; then, and not till then shall all tears be wip't a­way; were there none, there needed no wiping; as long as sin is not throughly purged away, sor­row must not fly away. 2. There is indeed pain and trouble in mortifying sin, as there is in cut­ting [Page 159]off a living member of the body, and as there is in the rending of the soul from the bo­dy; for sin cleaves as close to the soul and to the body, as the soul and body doth to one ano­ther. Yet, 3. This pain is only, or at least more especially at some times; as when a man first sets about the mortification of sin: But when sin has once begun to fall before him, he is heart­ned, and his work goes more easily on, and diffi­culties fly away. 4. It is the being of sin, and the strength of sin that breeds trouble, and grief, and pain to the godly man: not so much the mortifying of sin, for that relieves him. 5. As we formerly told you, there's a great deal of more pain in serving and satisfying any lust, than in mortifying it, Job 20.22. Psal. 78.29, 30. Would you set about the mortification of sin, and make tryal, you should find it so: The reason why men think not their lusts burdensome, is their love to them; and their being habituated to them, disin­gages the affections to them, and they torment a man; that which makes them sweet, is the vicious constitution of their souls and bodies; when a man is recovered of his disease, they are like gall and wormwood to him; that which les­sens their trouble and pain in serving of them, is their imputing it to the scantness of provision for them; whereas when they have multiplied and diversified the objects of them, they are ne're the nearer satisfaction in them. 6. Man is born to affliction, as the sparks flie upward; and if the godly man find pain and trouble in mortifying sin, he has rest in the evil day to compensate that. If sin be mortified, it's easie to bear a cross; if [Page 160]sin be dead, it's easie for a man to die. Where­as others are uneasie under afflictions, and on a death bed, unmortified sin makes a man feeling of affliction; the trouble and pain of it is more than the pleasure of sin, and more than the pain of mortification; and how much more does the pain and sorrow of hell exceed these? Will you chuse to pine away in pain, rather than let a gangrene Limb be cut off, or a broken Limb be set again? Will you lye a million of years in tor­ment, ere you indure a moments pain? the odds is not so great, as between time and Eternity. 7. Where there is a principle of true Grace, it's greater pain to the new man to sin, then to mor­tifie sin. 8. It is no pain or trouble to a man, in so far as he is renewed, to oppose and morti­fie sin; he does it with delight, and the more effectually he do it, the more is his peace and joy. 9. If at any time sin prevails, the heart is drawn forth into acts of godly sorrow, and indeed the godly man chuses that before the worlds mirth, and therefore cherishes it; whereas the trouble and anguish others have, is a kin to that of hell, which makes them shun it, and fly from it. Yea, 10. The very trouble which the mortification of sin breeds to the old man, is a pleasure to the new; then one rises upon the ruins of the other: and when he considers what assurance of a final conquest he has, he is heartned, he knows that the death of sin is his life, that if he through the spirit mortifie sin, he shall live; he can bear to have a right hand cut off, when his life is at the stake; and if he feel pain, and trouble, and complain of it, as Rom. 7.24, he checks himself [Page 161]next word, and turns his moan into a Song, Act. 25. & 8.1.

3. Some object the impossibility of mortifying such and such Corruptions; some will acknowledg a self-denyed and mortified life to be the best life; but say you, No body knows my tempta­tions, and circumstances; there's such a woful proneness in my nature to such and such things, that I know not how to withstand it, though I have prayed, and resolved, and hoped against it.

Answ. It's true, thou art utterly impotent, and by thy own endeavours thou cannot mortifie any sin; but art thou a Christian, and hast no faith? or in Christ, and hast thou not the spirit of Christ: Hast thou Christ in thee, and the Spirit of the living God in thee, and yet no strength, or cannot mortifie a beloved lust by it? But does not this excuse them that want the Spirit, and his special assistance? Answ. No, 1. Because some such, at least, think they can re­sist and overcome many sins, and yet do not; why do they put off Repentance and Mortification, with express purposes some other time to repent, and mortifie sin? and why do they, when under outward trouble, or inward terrors, cry out, O that I had known this. 2. They will not so much as try whether they can mortifie sin or not. 3. The natural man does not only freely and wil­lingly, but chearfully fulfil the lusts of the flesh, without regard to, or sense of his Impotency to do otherwise, or any necessity he is under, saving what he lays upon himself: they could not do it more freely, supposing there were no pow­er [Page 162]above them determining even [...] [...] could not do it more chearfully no [...] [...] supposing it were the true happiness: [...], though deceitful, will tell us so, viz. [...] is not from any compulsion to sin, nor [...] a­bility to do the contrary, that we sin; [...] a willingness and satisfaction in so doing: and thus they do willingly consent to the want of the Spirits assistance, that's necessary to the mor­tification of sin. And, 4. They are even willing that there be insuperable difficulties in their way, that they cannot mortifie sins; they are so in love with their lusts, that they are content to have their ear bored, and to be servants to them for ever; they love to have it so, Jer. 5.31. and are grieved when their crazy bodies cannot serve their sinful, Ambitious, Covetous, Vindictive souls; yea, it may be they are glad that they have this pretence of impotency to plead for themselves; and it being so universal, they think their plea will be the more relievant.

But, 5. That which may stop every mouth is this, You do not what you may do, for the mortification of sin; sure I am, If you cannot get the better of a vain, proud, light heart, you may yet restrain your tongue, and rectifie your garbs. But O, when poor Ministers cannot pre­vail with you, for Christs sake, to cut off the superfluities of your own, or others hair, and to forsake sinful and foolish fashions, which any may do with much ease: how shall we prevail with you to cut off a right hand, to aban­don what is as dear to you as your life, and what cleaves closer to you than a girdle [Page 163]does to the loyns of a man, or the soul does to the body?

In a word, how much might you have done to the mortification of such or such a lust, that you have neglected? so that this pretence of Im­potency, is but a froward Objection of the flesh: for (as an excellent man saith) the Spirit is e­ver before-hand with us, preventing us with some knowledg, and some ability, which if we joyn with, the Spirit is ready to increase, and carry us further. If the Lord concur to those works to which he does not previously move the heart; how much more to those works which he ex­cites, and is the first mover? The holy Lord fol­lows the worst of men, a great way; but they will have none of him; so that the Question, Whe­ther God will condemn the man that did his ut­most, ought to be out of doors, for no man out of Christ, ever did all that he could by common assistance of the Spirit.

But is not the godly man heartily willing to be rid of sin, when yet he cannot? Answ. As the unrenewed will is Christs greatest enemy, and Satans greatest strength; so indeed, much of the strength of Grace lies in the renewed will, and in the new man. It's Christs greatest friend, and sins greatest enemy, Rom. 7.17, 23, The heart may be willing, when the flesh is weak. And when there is some defect and short-coming in the ex­ecutive powers of the soul, our diligence in du­ty and actual opposition to sin, seldom or never an­swer the desires of a willing mind, or of an inlarged heart. Yet, 1. Know, that there is some wil­lingness; were the will perfectly set against sin, [Page 164]a man should be perfectly holy. Paul, Rom. 7, speaks only of his renewed will, or his will in so far as renewed; for its certain his will was in part for evil, else he could not have done it; true, there was force as it were on the renewed will (therefore he pleads Not guilty in some fense); but this was by the unrenewed will, in part, though more especially by the inferior soul. 2. The believer, if he quench not the Spi­rit, yet is often grieving him, and so provokes him to suspend his assistance. And I judg we may say, This the holy Spirit rarely or never does, but after some unkind usage. 3. None of them are destitute of all assistance against sin; and they are culpable in so far as they improve not these, and in as far as they do not conscienti­ously shun all provocations to sin, and use all Gods appointed means and methods, with which the spirit uses to concur, and whereby he conveys supplies of grace and strength to the soul.

If any ask how this necessary assistance of the Spirit may be obtained? I Answ. 1. Negative­ly, Do not resist the Spirit. 2. Quench not the Spirit. 3. Grieve not the Spirit. 2. Posi­tively, 1. You must be convinced of your utter impotency to mortifie any sin. 2. You must highly prize the Spirit's assistance, and thirst and hunger for it, as a child for bread to nourish him. 3. You must pray for the Spirit, Luk. 1.13, Your hea­venly Father will give the Spirit, &c. See how the Disciples were busied, Act. 1.14, Prayer brings down the Spirit, and the more of this Spirit, the more prayer. Or the Lord will have such as have none of the Spirit, yet to seek him by pray­er, [Page 165] Ezek. 36.27. compared with v. 37. Indeed there is no promise that God will give his sancti­fying Spirit, to every unrenewed man that asks him: that of Luk. 11.13, concerns only children, and a further measure of the Spirit. But if thou hast any thing of the Spirit, the way to get more is by believing-prayer. I say, by believing-pray­er: compare Act. 1.4. with 8.14. See also Isa. 40.30, 31. though thou find not much of this, yet believe the promise, and wait. O it's not known what advantage there is in believing promises! Joh. 11.20. There is some present strength that accompanies this, and more that certainly follows it. 4. Improve what measure of the Spirit you have, were it but on the account of that general promise, Matt. 25.21. and Prov. 1.23, Turn ye at my reproof; and behold, I'le pour out my spi­rit upon you: be content that the Spirit should not only dwell in you, but influence and act you. Walk after the spirit, that what Paul says of Christ, you may say of the Spirit, Gal. 2.20. and of Grace, 1 Cor. 15.10. Think it no bondage, but true liberty, to be led by the Spirit; happy they, who are ever in such a frame as are fit for the Spirit to operate upon. Indeed it requires careful attention to observe, and much humility and self­denyal to walk by the Spirit. O let not convictions cool, nor holy motions die; turn every motion against sin into a purpose, and every purpose in­to endeavours against sin. Attend diligently on Ordinances, Act. 10.44, While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy-Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. But mark what's said, ver. 33, Now therefore we are all here present before God, [Page 166]to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Thou must see thy self as in the presence of God; and get a heart ready to receive his Instructions or Commands.

Finally, If thou hast lost that aid of the spi­rit that thou wast wont to have, search how thou came to lose it; If there be not some secret lust that thou wast willing to spare: this may not only undo thy comforts, but universally marr the Spirits operations. May be there is some old reckonings which were never distinctly counted for, nor scored off, which the Spirit has brought to your remembrance, and yet you will needs bury them. But ordinarily its something in thy present frame or way, and may be it's something that you think but little of (often the cause of Gods Controversie with a land, or with a par­ticular person, is that which we would little su­spect); may be a fretful, unbelieving, or injurious thought; take heed to the first motion of sin; for sin has no bound (says one), but what the Spirit puts to it, whom therefore we should not oppose, but kindly intreat; therefore look to thy thoughts, and to thy words: (see the Gonnexion, Eph. 4.29, 50.) especially in carnal company, whose converse mightily cherishes these sins in us which we should mortifie; and by complying with, or gratifying their spirits, we often wound our own, and grieve Gods Spirit; and thus give sin some reprieval. We cannot converse with such, but they will either afflict us, or defile us; look di­ligently then into thy carriage, and remember when and where the Spirit began to withdraw his usual aids: and when you have found out [Page 167]the cause, 1. You must by renewed acts of re­repentance, and faith, be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ: for the bestowing of the Spirit is an eminent fruit of the satisfacti­on of Christ, and of the favour of God, and is not given to dwell in the soul, and habitually to assist, till one be first reconciled to God; and expect no new gift of the Spirit, till thou hast made up thy peace again with God through Christ. 2. Beware of that way, in the beginning of which thou found the Spirit begin to leave thee: if thou think that this requires great circumspection and heedfulness, it being a matter of such infinite ad­vantage to thy soul, thou needs not think strange that it should; especially considering how care­ful thou art to keep some friend here, and what diligent endeavours thou uses to provide or se­cure a little of this worlds goods, that will not go far with thee; and wherein thou hast not such assurance of success: for thou mayest rise ear­ly, &c. and eat the bread of sorrow all the day.

In the last place, Let us speak a little to some few cases: And I begin with that touched upon in the third Objection, viz. the case of such as complain of the strength of their corruptions. If their mortification of sin be so necessary to sal­vation; alas! what shall I think of my self, who am so much under the power of this or that cor­ruption?

Answ. There are several degrees of the power and prevalency of sin. 1. The highest degree of it is, when men voluntarily yield themselves as servants to it, Rom. 6.16, Know ye not that to whom ye yield your selves servants to obey, his ser­vants [Page 168]ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, &c. when men are agents in resigning them­selves up to sin; as servants tender their service to their master, they do not explicitely intend to be captives, but it necessarily follows, and they are willing sufferers or patients under it: the word used for Christs giving himself for us, Eph. 5.25. and committing himself to God as judg, 1 Pet. 2.23. is used of some mens giving themselves o­ver to Lasciviousness, to work uncleanness with greediness, or in abundance, [...], Eph. 4.19. this is the case of unrewed man, whose heart and will is for sin, and who do manifest an utter want of mortification: from this degree of sin the Apostle acquits the Romans, ver. 17.18. 2. There is a lower degree of it, 2 Pet. 2.19, Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage. This being overcome, imports some opposition, yet not what is sufficient. 3. Another degree of the power of sin we find, Rom. 7.23, I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. Where we see the law of sin is not in the mind or will, but in the members; that is, the carnal affections. Grace has beat sin out of the higher powers of the soul, and it has fortified it self as it were, in the affections, and in the nether part of the soul. And observe, that here the Captivity is not a leading to outward acts of sin, but a bowing down the power of the mind, and a weakning of the actings of Grace in the mind and will, and impeding the lively effects of Grace in the heart.

Now judg which of these is your case: the first cannot be the case of any godly man: such as are under it, mortifie not sin, but the Convictions of Conscience, and the common motions of the Spirit; and herein they are often successful: whereas a Believer accuses himself, and joyns ac­tively with the Spirit, to convince of sin, and to mortifie it, Psalm 51.1, 21. Dan. 9.5, 6. Con­victions come on them, and they tremble and seek to be rid of them. For the third case, it's common to the holiest among Believers, to such as are most exercised, and most successful in Mor­tification. It is the second case then that is doubtful, there is some opposition made to sin (so that this case differs from the first) but with­out success: yet are they servants to sin (and so this case differs from the third): the Mind is not only bowed down, oppressed and captivated, but a man is carried to the outward actings of sin, and the fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, or the de­sires of the body of sin. Now this is the case that many poor souls complain of: And 1. What ought we to judg of it? How may a poor Soul be helped out of it? will appear in what we shall speak to this Case.

For the first of these: I Answer, That in some cases a poor Creature may make use of Pauls en­couragements, even when the body of death pre­vails much more than it did with Paul, Rom. 7: and does not only inwardly lust against the Spirit, but the power of it breaketh forth in words, or deeds, as when thou dost not make way for these, nor open a passage for them: but sets thy self to oppose first the rising of them in the [Page 170]heart, and then the out-breaking of them, as Paul did. If thy heart strive and gain-say, and not only does not regard iniquity, but opposes it and protests against it; And when it's leading thee captive, thou would even then be glad to be rescued from it, and can bless the Lord as David did Abigail, when thou art kept back from sin; his heart relented: whereas Saul commands to kill the Lords Priests; his servants refuse; but there's no back-going, nor heart-smiting in Saul; he finds no fault with himself; and sometimes such as he are glad of provocations, and tempta­tions to sin. Judas offers himself to betray Christ, and the High-priests are glad: but where there is any thing of true Mortification, the heart is afraid of a temptation, and trembles at the thoughts of it, though perhaps it may be carried away with it; but the renewed Will never consents; hence the Believer has little plea­sure in sin, in the acting of it; but when he is sinning, he is sighing, and suffering, and much more does he sigh and suffer, when after sinning he is come to himself: he feels what Paul felt when he cryed out, Rom. 7.24: and is led to prize and make use of Christ as he was, ver. 25, to see the need of his blood to make an Atone­ment, and also take away the blot of sin; when sin is prevailing, Grace is often saying, O that it were otherwise! O captive that I am! this sate forer to Paul than all the crosses he ever met with; all his sufferings never occasioned such a Complaint; and if Faith in Christ be not kept up, this is enough to sink the Soul into despair.

If any say, That this does not answer the case, [Page 171]because such as never mortified one sin, may yet make opposition to many sins: as that place, 2 Pet. 2.19, imports; where it's clear, that such as may some way oppose sin, may yet be so far o­vercome, as to perish in it. I Answer: That in­deed every opposition will not prove that there is the least degree of Mortification. The com­mon principles of Nature may ingage a man a­gainst some sins; Morality and Education may further this; the common operations of the Spirit may heighten this opposition, and also extend it to more sins. The Question then is, How shall I know whether my opposition to sin, be from a common or saving-work of the Spirit? And in­deed, the knowledg of the difference is of great and universal use; for upon the one hand, natu­ral men finding some conflict in themselves, ap­prehend there is some grace in the opposing sin: There's none (say they) but have Corruption in them, and hereupon please themselves, if they find any thing in themselves, like opposition to it. On the other hand, the Believer is in doubt, whe­ther his opposition to sin be such as Paul speak of, and his doubt is encreased when he perceives his Conscience upon natural grounds and common reasons opposing sin; not considering that the Spirit in mortifying sin, may make use of com­mon sense and reason, as well as gracious or super­natural Considerations: for the supernatural op­position to sin, does not destroy the natural; as Reasons aversion to what is contrary to Nature, does not destroy the Aversion in our senses to it.

I answer then to the Question, That the com­mon [Page 172]operations of the Spirit, does not change the inward principles, and motives, and ends that men in Nature act from, and by. 1. Then, the difference appears in this, that the inward oppo­sition that Natural men make to sin, proceeds from some common, low, selfish principle. Na­ture or Education may have imprinted some faint Notions of the ill of sin: but there is no antipa­thy nor contrariety of Nature to sin, as in the godly man, who hates sin as God hates it. One wicked man may hate and oppose another: but there's no rooted contrariety in their Nature, as there's between a wicked man and a godly, Pro. 29.27; it's in sound only, one sin striving against ano­ther; refined sins oppose gross sins, or the same lust seeking itself divers ways: as Herod was sor­rowful, because he was in a strait; and whatever he did, was a dishonour.

2. The Natural man, his motives be also mean and mercenary: It is not love to Ho­liness, nor a desire to please God; it is not the contrariety of such or such a sin to the holiness of God, or to the holy Law of God, or the injuriousness of sin to the love of God, or Christ, or the inconsistency of it with Commu­nion with the Father, Son and Spirit, that sets him on work against sin: Were there no strange punishments here to the workers of Iniquity, and no Hell hereafter, the Natural man would inlarge himself in many things: It would be a Jubilee to him, to hear there were no Hell; some sins are against a mans interest and honour, and no won­der there be much opposition to them. Herod beheads John Baptist with reluctancy; but whence [Page 173]came it? not because it was against the honour of God: but partly, because to murther an In­nocent man, was a torment to his Conscience. A natural Conscience never opposes sin, in favour of the spiritual Law of God; for the carnal mind is enmity in the Abstract. I grant, that takes in the Will: yet it shews that there's no true friend­ship to God, even in the Mind or Conscience; so that nothing the Conscience says, or does, is pure­ly for God; and its arguments and motives are always Carnal, Carnal fears or hopes; or if the object of fear or hope be spiritual, yet they are apprehended, and so influenced in a Carnal way.

3. As the unrenewed Man opposes no sin, out of hatred to it as sin, so it's only against some sins that his opposition is levelled: more espe­cially gross and scandalous sins, that are infa­mous or contrary to Moral honesty, or contrary to his natural disposition. A Natural Conscience will tremble at Murther consummated, but not at every degree of it: not at secret inward sins, nor at the first motions of sin; not at Lucritive sins, and such as a prophane age has made an ho­nour, in the vulgar esteem; especially not at un­belief. It's true, a Natural man may be sensible of the sin of his thoughts, and of inward disor­ders, by some common illumination of the Spirit, and may be troubled at them, as they disturb his quiet, or lead to something which he abhors. But 1. It is not with every degree of every sin; if he be convinced and troubled at Unbelief as it excludes him from Heaven, yet it's not at eve­ry degree of unbelief: Nor 2. Is it for the sin­fulness [Page 174]of these motions, but the importunity and tendency of them; and as they evidence him to be yet in nature, and so without hope, he looks on them as the disease of his Nature, and not his sin. 3. If he be displeased with the acts and stirrings of sin, yet not with the root of them; If he can restrain the acts, he could let the body of sin dwell contentedly in him. But it's far o­therwise with the godly; for as sin opposes e­very gracious act, so Grace opposes every known sin: yea, and does secretly (though not so sensi­bly) resist every sin, whether known to us to be such, or not; Grace in the heart feels that to be sin, and contrary to its nature, which know­ledg in the head does not discern to be sin (the Law written in the Heart, goes farther than what's in the Head): as eating of what one has antipathy against, will cause trouble, though the man knows not of it; but more, if he does.

4. As the Natural man is not uniform in op­posing all sins, so he is not even as to all times, he seldom or never pursues sin, but when God or his Conscience are pursuing him; and he is ne­ver so eager in his opposition to sin, but he will admit of a treaty with it, and is easily induced to grant a cessation of Arms: he is content to hear what can be offered, to reconcile such a thing to the Law of God, and for shewing the consi­stency of it with peace of Conscience here, and with the hope of glory, at least with his interest and honour in this World; the new man is deaf to any motion of a parley, and stands out to the last, and fights upon his knees, and is sometimes overcome, but never treats nor yields: the Na­tural [Page 175]man opposes sin as a flowing Tide does a Vessel going down a River: but straightway the Tide turns, and helps the Vessel. But the Conflict in the renewed man, is like that be­tween fire and water: there's no yielding nor cessation of Arms till the one be overcome; nay, not then. True, the Believer often intermits vi­gorous opposition to sin, and may lose more ground in an hour, than he can regain in many days: yet Grace never gives over entring its dissent and protestations, nor intermits all opposition to sin, even when its worsted.

5. The unrenewed man never strives lawfully against sin; he goes forth against it in his own strength, not in the name and strength of the Lord, 1 Sam. 17.45, 46: He seeks not to en­gage the Spirits assistance: he considers, or knows little the strength of spiritual Adversaries: and hence is easily overcome.

6. In Natural men, the conflict is between the Conscience and the depraved Will, or corrupt Passions, which is like a foreign War: but in the renewed, it's like an Intestine War (as one calls it), the renewed Conscience against the unre­newed; the renewed Will and Affections against the unrenewed. There's a Will, and a Will-not, in a Believer: hence the Notion of a double per­son, Rom. 7.15, 19, 20: there's no such division in others, they may do what Conscience approves not, but cannot say, that they would not; the godly hate the evil they do, and love the good, they do not; whereas the Natural man does hate the good (the spirituality of it) he does, and loves the evil which he does not; and may be, [Page 176]dare not do. In Natural men, there's some sparks of light in the Conscience, but there's no sancti­fied light in it; the Will and Affections are total­ly corrupted, so that there's nothing in them as a principle to set them against themselves: but in the renewed man, there's flesh and spirit in every faculty (so that the fight is more close): and in every gracious, and in every sinful work, they both put forth themselves: and as the flesh weakens the acts of the Spirit, so the oppositi­on the Spirit makes, weakens the acts of sin in the Believer (for division weakens): and so a Believer never sins with all his heart, as other men do; the renewed part never gives over all resistance. And it's upon this account, 1. That the sins of Believers are not so great as the sins of others. It's true, Gods electing Love, Redemption, and Regeneration, lay special Bonds upon the Belie­ver which highly heightens sin, and adds many degrees of guiltiness to it: But if we look to the principle of sin, and whence it immediately pro­ceeds, the unregenerate mans sin is greatest, for it is with all his heart, there's not a bit of the man that be-friends Christ; there's nothing in such of you that holds with him. As for what opposition the Conscience makes, it is not with your will, if there be any made at all; it's grie­vous, but no pleasure to you: so that you seek out shifts and means, either to stifle it, or bribe it, or bring it over to be for that which the will and affections are for. Some think the Belie­vers sins are more heinous, because against more Light: indeed, this were a good Argument, if the Mind were the only principle of our acti­ons, [Page 177]and not the will, or elective faculty. But let none abuse this: for truly sin is so dreadful in both, that it's not easie to tell in whom its worse. Hence, 2. We see the reason why the Believer hath not so much pleasure in Sin as others have, having two parties in him: whatever pleases the one, displeases the other; the natural man having but one, is more pleas'd at heart with sinful ob­jects: the opposition the Conscience makes, hin­ders not: but that he deliberately chuse, and de­lightfully act it, and obstinately persist in it. The Believer is sometimes tasting of the forbid­den fruit, but Grace marreth the result of it: and the more he finds he is pleased with it, the worse he is pleased with himself.

7. The Natural mans opposition does not any way break the power of Sin, nor does continue till the man get up again; if he fall, he lies still: whereas the Spirit in the Believer, ceases not to strive till he be got to his feet again: Sin was painful to him in the going down, but its more bitter in his belly, and he resteth not till he hath vomited it up again: the Conscience will cease to strive, but grace never; yea, the godly man often rises by his falling; he grows more humble, and watchful, and dependent: the grief which sin breeds, consumes the Sin that bred it. Whereas the natural man, when he overcomes, he is overcome; he grows proud and conceited; the seeming mortification of one Sin, does vivifie, or give life and strength to another.

8. The Natural mans opposition tends only to restrain or keep in Sin, not to mortifie it: if Sin will be quiet and peaceable, he can let it live; [Page 178]the Believer seeks the death of it, the extirpati­on and abolition of it. If you ask, how we shall know when a Sin is mortified, and when re­strained only? or what's the difference between restraining and mortifying a Corruption? An­swer 1. When any Corruption is mortified, one is thereby advantaged against all other Corrup­tions: for the killing of one member, or any branch of Original Sin, does weaken the whole; whereas the restraining of any Sin does not wea­ken the body of sin: for when it's only restrain­ed, what the body of sin loses one way, it gains another way. Try then, Art thou universally advantaged against every Sin? 2. Is thy mind, will, and affections, dead to that Sin? mortifying sin is a metaphorical expression; and this death that it implies, is not only nor principally the ceasing of the acts of Sin, but especially a dead­ness in the Soul as to Sin: 1. In the Mind and Judgment, Sin has lost the mans good opinion of it. 2. In the will and affections, he cannot think nor hear of it without abhorrency; where Sin is only restrained, a man can yet with plea­sure roll it in his Mind, the inclination to it is not broken; many a man likes and loves the Sin which he does not; the mortified man hates the evil which he does. 3. Thou mayst know by what went before, and by what follows: 1. Did thou come easily by this power over Sin? It's true, there is often difficulty in restraining Sin: but what, means did thou use to compass this, and overcome the difficulty? Was it by Prayer and Fasting, and after much wrestling with God, and by the blood of the Lamb, that thou over­came? [Page 179]Or, was it by other means, or by the meer force of an obstinate resolution thou took up? 2. After the mortification of any Sin, there's a new Song ordinarily put in the mans mouth: and the Soul is not only some way eased, but is fil­led with Joy. There is some Joy that flows na­tively from the mortification of Sin, and there's more that follows by way of reward: as for a Natural man, if he have any Joy upon restrain­ing the acts of Sin, it is but a spark of his own kindling: or it results meerly from the nature of the thing; the travel and labour the man is at in suppressing Sin, does more than coun­ter-balance that, and is but the scant fruit of the testimony of his natural Conscience; it will not bear him out to challenge Death and the Grave, it heartens not a man against them: some such may die securely, but never one, I think died triumphantly. Mens delusions may suspend the horror of Hell from them for a while, when a-dying; but it's some true Faith, true Ho­liness, true Mortification, that fills the Soul with joy unspeakable. 5. Sins that are only restrain­ed, do ordinarily break forth again, and that with more force than before: as waters bound up, that do fortifie themselves, and then carry all down before them: but a Sin that is mortified, as it rarely recovers; so if it do, yet it is so broke, that it is but half an act.

But here may come in two other Cases: 1. What is to be thought of the case of such as relapse into Sin? 2. What's to be thought of the case of such, as after some serious Essays to mortifie, feel their Corruptions more lively than before?

For the first, That a godly man may commit an act of that Sin, which is in some measure mortifi­ed, is past all doubt, else it were impossible he could sin at all; for the first sanctifying saving work of the Spirit does strike at the root of e­very Sin: and so begins the mortification of every Sin; but this doth not nullifie or wholly extin­guish Sin. No Believer is absolutely secured from any particular act of Sin, pro hic & nunc, except from the great Transgression.

2. When one is in the state of Grace: as after their particular Repentance for some particular Sin he is fallen into; so after special endeavour, yea, and success too, in mortifying that Sin, he is not absolutely secured from every act of it for the future: for though a mans Pardon (as it im­ports a freedom from eternal Condemnation) be perfect, yet neither is Repentance nor Mortifica­tion perfect. Now to clear this, Let us con­sider, 1. The gracious encouragements God hath given to such, Jer. 3.1. Isa. 55.7, com­pare with ver. 3. His Covenant does not se­cure against every Relapse, but it secures the multiplication of pardon, Jer. 3.14, 19, 23. Hos. 14.4; Back-sliding supposes some former re­covery: Mark there the ground of what's pro­mised, I'le love them freely; the falling into such Relapses is the highest provocation to God, and a Sin against most love; and Recovery from such, is the notable effect, and Signal discovery of the greatness and freeness of Gods Love. Consi­sider, 2. That the mortification of such a parti­cular Sin, gives a man a greater advantage against that Sin, and puts at some greater distance than [Page 181]from other Sins; yet this advantage against this, and distance from it, is only gradually, more than against or from other Sins, and so makes the re­turn of it not so probable or easie (and if it re­turn, do aggravate it), but not impossible, more than the return of any other Sin; especially, when we consider, that that Sin, which by the first san­ctifying work of the Spirit was in a special man­ner opposed and mortified, may yet recover. And 3. The advantage that the most holy man has over the most mortified Corruption, is of the same kind: but for degrees, much below the advantage that Adam in Innocency had over every Sin, and so is not able to secure it self; the strongest Grace cannot preserve it self from the most mortified Corruption. Hence the Believer must watch and pray, and depend for as­stance against it, else he should more easily fall into it, than Adam did into sin. It's true, there are Promises ascertaining the Believers preserva­tion from the dominion of Sin, and his final Con­quest over Sin: (whereas Adam in Innocency had no promise of the like nature) but there is no word (I know of) in the Bible, that ascertains the Believers preservation from every act of that Corruption, which through the Spirit he has par­ticularly mortified.

4. There wants not Examples of the Saints relapsing into Sins: as Sampson, Judg. 16.1, 4; Abrahams twice denying his Wife; the Disciples twice contending for Supremacy; Jehoshaphats instance is remarkable, 2 Chron. 18.1, 2, 31, 32, & 19.2: yet ch. 20. v. 35, he Relapses. Not to instance several things related of Peter. These [Page 182]Examples, though they do not answer in every circumstance to the case proposed: yet by plain consequence they confirm our Position. For if a Believer may act contrarily to that grace which is strongest in him, and may be overtaken with that Sin, or an act of that Corruption which is weakest, and that over and over again (as was Abraham and Peter): then there is no degree of Mortification that secures him from repeating an act of that lust that is mortified. If any say, that though Mortification do it not, yet true Repentance does it? I answer, If true Repen­tance does it, it's either from the nature of Re­pentance, or some special promise of Grace made to the Penitent: Not the former: For 1. The nature of Mortification should rather secure from it. 2. If true Repentance at first Conversion do it not, why should it do so afterward? Not the 2d: Let that Promise be produced: what ever Promise (that I know of) can be produced, will plead as much against a Believers falling into any Sin, which at his first Conversion he did truly re­pent of.

But to prevent Abuses of what's said; Let me admonish you, 1. That there are some Sins, which Paul calls dead works, Heb. 6.1; Peter calls them mens old sins, viz. which they had lived in before Conversion, Ephes. 2.1, 9: and the pollution of the world, 2 Pet. 2.19; in these the whole World wallowed before Christ's Coming. A Relapse in­to these he speaks of as dangerous, Ephes. 2.2, 19, 20, 21. Much debate there was about this of old: and many utterly refused to re-admit such into their Communion, as in times of Persecu­tion [Page 183]did comply with Idolaters, and returned to Idolatry; which was the chief of these old Sins that Peter mentions, 1 Ep. 4.3. And I doubt not, but in the debate that arose thereupon, there were extreams on both hands: those that fell upon the one hand, were many, and by their mul­titude helped to carry the decision of the Que­stion in their favour: and the promiscuous re-ad­mission of such, tended to the Corruption of the Church ever after; yet on the other hand, I dare not deny, but a godly man may be intangled a­gain in some act of these old sins, through the force of some great or sudden temptation. Yet I must add, that it is a rare case; the fixed bounds how far, and how often, God doth not determinate­ly set in his Word; I think the Lord does not ordinarily suffer his people to fall again and a­gain into those gross acts of Sin: though we can­not say, but they may be overtaken with Passion, Pride, inordinate love to the World, which though no less sinful in their own nature, yet in their inward actings are not so scandalous, nor such occasions to others to blaspheme. Nor can we deny but that there may be, and will be some lustings towards the gross actings of these old sins: But the acting over of them, I think rare. A man may fall into some other heinous sin of another nature with more ease: for mortificati­on of a particular lust does in an especial manner advantage a man against the return of that; though it weaken the whole man of sin, yet it weakens that particular lust in special. Hence there is often a change of the godly mans greatest Corruption, and he gets some special advantage [Page 184]against that which sometime did most prevail, and another lust comes in its room, which shews the strength of the body of sin: yet disproves not the truth of the mortification of the former pre­vailing lust.

For the 2d Case mentioned, viz. of those who after some serious endeavours to mortifie Sin, find their Corruptions more lively than former­ly. In answer to this Case: 1. If Corruptions break forth more than formerly, it's the same with the former Case: and thy safest course is not to stand disputing thy state before that, but to study acquaintance with the depths of Sin in thee, and in the humble broken-hearted sense thereof, to fly unto Jesus Christ for pardon and for grace to sanctifie thy Soul, and to mortifie Sin. If they be only more stirring inwardly than before, and so seem more strong; it is a Case commonly incident to such of the people of God, as before their regeneration were careful to walk blamelesly, and were morally educated, and such as were formal in Religion. And 1. This may proceed from the malice of Satan, who when his interest in the Soul, was not brangled, made no great noise; Now as the Dog is put to the Door, he howls to be in again; so he blows the Trum­pet to an insurrection and intestine war in the Soul, and if it were possible would have possession again, or have the Soul back into bondage again; and this the holy Lord suffers, to manifest the strength of his Grace, and that he may, having brought forth the strength of indwelling sin, have occasion with more observation to discomfit them. As sometimes Ru­lers, in policy let some discontented party break [Page 185]out, on purpose to ruine them more effectually.

2. It may be, thy inward Corruption is not stronger than it was, but spiritual light and gra­cious tenderness may be growing; the Spirit now may be opening up the depths of thy Corrup­tion. And this the Lord usually does by degrees, as he dealt with Ezekiel in a like case, Chap. 8.6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15. (where mark, that they had put a wall between God and them), he is shewed greater and greater Abominations; so the secret Chambers of Sin are opened up, and thou sees that which makes thee tremble, and abhor thy self more than ever: for the first saving-Convi­ction does not convince to the utmost; the first saving-light shines not into every Corner (or at least not so brightly, that the man can dive into all the mystery of Sin within) but leaves room for after-discoveries: such Complaints as Pauls, Rom. 7.24, are rather the fruit of growing-dis­coveries of Sin, and growing Mortification, than of the growing power of Sin; Bless the Lord for such discoveries, for they are necessary to the mor­tification of Sin.

3. It may be, thou wast going about to esta­blish thine own righteousness; and the Lord sees it meet to fright away such thoughts, by suf­fering Satan to rake up the Dunghil of thy Cor­ruptions: when thou art aiming at such a mea­sure of holiness, and freedom from Sin, in the strength of thy own endeavours, and with a se­cret neglect of the imputed Righteousness of Christ; and when thou will not make use of that, till thou hast overcome such a Corruption, and will not maintain thy Justification without such a mea­sure [Page 186]of Sanctification, and Mortification; I think not strange, if God should let open the sluce of thy Cor­ruption, to constrain thee to hold by the righteous­ness of Christ for Justification, and also on his Spirit for the mortifying of thy Corruptions, and to live by faith in Christ, both for Righteousness, and Sanctification or Holiness; and to seek neither of these, nor any part of them any other way: for it may be, if thou be not proud of thy Righte­ousness (to thy own sense) yet thou may think too much of thy own strength (indeed the one is rarely or never really separated from the o­ther: for wheresoever a man thinks he has one of these, he seeks the other also. Hence, there are none erroneous in the point of Free-will and Grace, but they err also in the doctrine of Ju­stification, & e contra, Isa. 45.24,) and lay too much stress on the strength, at least of the since­rity of thy purposes and endeavours against Sin. These can no more secure thee against Sin, than a single thred can hold a Ship at Anchor in a storm; the Lord will teach thee the necessity of this Method in the Text, by the Spirit to mortifie Sin.

And this leads us to an Answer to that great Question; How it comes that the godly are so strangely intangled in sin, after so many Promises to God, and purposes against Sin? They decree the death of Sin, but it is not established: Here the matter lies; they take not in the Spirit's as­sistance, in their promises and purposes, nor in their endeavours, to answer their promises: there's some tang of self-sufficiency, that marrs all such vain brags as Peters are, Cords that are [Page 187]easily broken: and his opinion of self-ability dis­covered it self by his supposition, Though all men should deny thee; He might well have said, Lord, I would deny thee, though all men should: But he speaks, as if there were some peculiar Ability in him to resist Temptations, and his purpose was like Sampson's green withs: such suppositions are hazardous and suspicious, though useful, if managed with humility. It's a great mysterie (says one) to purpose so, as yet to believe we can do nothing: and also to believe, that Christs strength is as effectual for mortifying such a lust, as if it were our own. And I add, 3. To en­deavour as industriously, as if we could do all alone: and indeed, it's through ignorance or neglect in all these that our purposes miscarry; Pride hinders the first, Unbelief the second, and Sloth the third. There are other reasons also: therefore let me ask you, 2dly, Do you think that Purposes or Promises, yea, or Vows, can break the inclination to sin, of themselves? or break the cursed union that's between the heart and Sin? They are ordinarily the effects of strong Convictions, which do alway disingage the heart and affections to sin: and when these are not loosed from Sin, no bonds will be strong enough.

I have formerly shewn you, that Convictions may make a man purpose; yea, and pray also a­gainst Sin, when the heart and affections may se­cretly dissent and desire that God should not hear; and if the affections seem at any time to con­spire with an enlightned Judgment against Sin, yet they are exceeding mutable and unfixed: [Page 188]and when they are low, or rather byassed the other way, no wonder our purposes be ineffectu­al. 3. They sometimes miscarry by reason of some sinistrous ends: may be you are ashamed of your passions, or you are affraid your corrup­tions should make some eruption, to your dis­grace and infamy; or you intend to bottom your hopes upon the grave of such a lust; or you design freedom from such an impetuous lust, rather for your own ease and quiet, than out of love to holiness, or hatred to sin. And some re­solve and engage against sin, only to shift, and for the time put by a present challenge for what is done, without any more of it; or to be an excuse for letting a good frame of spirit go, or at least to ease the mind, as if ingaging were performing.

But it may be some have such experience of the treachery of their hearts, that having purpo­sed so often, and yet failed, they think it in vain for them to take up new resolutions; yea, ha­ving broken their promises that they made, to ab­stain from such a sin, they think it better to promise no more, and come under no more engagements against sin. Answ. 1. It is not Ar­bitrary to us to bind our selves against sin: we are obliged to fortifie our selves against it, as strongly as we can, and to fortifie our resolutions, by promises to, and Covenants with God, against sin. And sure such as do not so, are more easi­ly prevailed against, and are sooner intangled: If many Cords bind you not, the one of a sim­ple resolution will not; but may be two or three will, when one will not. If you purpose to mor­tifie [Page 189]sin, be sincere: why will you not corrobo­rate it? but here appears the treachery of our hearts; we will certainly sin, think we. And since it must be, we indeavour that it be as lit­tle trouble to us as may be, that our sin may want those aggravations which make it biting and stinging to our Consciences.

Finally, I doubt the Lord letteth the man fall that will not engage, because his refusal saith as much, as he trusted not God for his assistance to perform or keep his engagements.

But is not sin after special engagements against it, more heinous than if there had been none? Answ. 1. He is more accessary to his own sin, in not using all Gods ways for preventing it; and he sins more unexcusably in omitting that which was in his power to do; as on the other hand, the man that performs his engagements to God, is more acceptable to him than he that simply forbears sin, inasmuch as it manifests a greater abhorrence of sin, and manifests a regard to a double Com­mand, viz. of abstinence from such a sin, and of keeping our promise or vow to God; the sim­ple forbearance of sin is a compliance with a single Command, and doth not manifest so much of the mans aversion to sin.

If any ask then, how shall we purpose and in­gage against sin, so as we may be disintangled of it, and effectually get it mortified? Answ. 1. Be sure you be sincere in them. 2. Be sure your affections concur with your judgment, else they will intangle you yet. 3. See that you be also deliberate, and that your resolutions and engage­ments against such a lust be not only from the [Page 190]present heat of affections. 4. Strive to keep such a frame as you had when you engaged that awe of God, and that hatred of sin you then had; and be often thinking on your engagements, hum­bling your selves for the least breaches of them, 5. Take in the Spirit's assistance in your purposes and endeavours. 6. If one engagement bind not strongly enough, we must renew and multiply them. If one knot hold not (says one) we must cast more, that we may never want some bond over our head. And whereas our breaches aggra­vate our sin, we must bring the aggravations, to­gether with the rest of our sins, to Jesus Christ, for pardon, and maintain our peace (says he) rather by repeated acts of Faith and Repentance, and by often washing our selves from the filth of these sins, than by pleading no breach at all; and see that you suffer not the guilt of the smallest breach to lye for any while unrepented of, lest it make way for more and greater breaches. Thus you see how a poor creature may keep up his hope of eternal life, and assurance of interest in God, when he is under convictions of many breaches with God, and great short-coming in mortification.

I add another Consideration to this: know that our engagements against sin, do not tye us to be altogether without sin: (though the holy law of God doth) such purposes and engagements were foolish and impossible; but they oblige us honestly and sincerely to wrestle with, and oppose sin: we cannot oblige our selves to overcome it, but to use the means which are in our power a­gainst it; and to leave nothing unessayed, that [Page 191]we think to help will mortifie it. And therefore a believer may plead, he has not broke his en­gagements, notwithstanding many infirmities, and many stirrings of a Corruption; yea, even when there is some visible out-breaking of it, seeing we do not, nor cannot absolutely oblige our selves as to the event: he may even in this case say, (in an Evangelick sense) that he has not broken with God, Psal. 44.17. his Conscience bearing him witness, that he dealt not falsly with him. And that he bound himself to nothing, but what he intended to perform, and what he had actually endeavoured in some measure to per­form; and when he is overcome by sin, he yields not, consents not, approves not, de­lights not in it; But dissents, protests, and crys out, as a chast woman when forced, and is made more watchful, and more fearful to be overta­ken again, every time he gets up; and knowing the treachery of his heart, dreads it: as one re­covering from a dangerous disease dreads the re­turn of it, when he had rather dye than return again to it: when his heart bleeds for the abuse of Gods Grace. In this case thou mayest main­tain thy peace, and there's ground of hope, that Grace shall in the end be victorious over thee. I speak to such as are ready to dispond (if o­thers will needs abuse it, upon their peril be it) Shall I sin and break with God, and repent and engage a-new? and again break, and again en­gage? shall I defile my self, and wash? and again defile and wash? If this be not to cast my self out of Covenant with God, and abuse his grace, what is it? can this consist with begun-mortifi­cation? [Page 192]But knowest thou not, that every sin against God, yea against thy Covenant with God, does not dissolve the Covenant? Jer. 3.1, 4, 12, 13, 14, 19, 23. See 1 Joh. 2.1, 2. It answers thy case fully: his mercy is not narrower than ours, which should extend beyond seventy-seven times; he heals backslidings more than so many times.

The last Case I shall speak to, is that of such as are in doubt about their condition, because they find not mortification growing, but the strength of sin is much the same it was long ago. Answ. Some are sinfully curious in enquiring after the measure of their progress in holiness and mortification, that they may glory in it; but for a man to search out his own glory, is not glo­ry, Prov. 25.27. And sometimes to prevent this, the Lord hides the advantages they have over sin, from some of his people; he draws a vail over their graces and attainments, and discovers the strength of their sin, that he may necessitate them to make more use of Christ, both for righte­ousness and sanctification. And indeed, accord­ing to the usual chance of war, there are so ma­ny turns and vicissitudes in the success that sin and grace have against each other, that one can hardly judg of the measure of his mortification: for he that is victorious one day, yea, one hour, is led captive the next.

I did formerly give some discoveries of short­comings in mortification: Now if thou would know thy progress in it, 1. How stands thy heart affected to the things of the world, that feed sin within? are they lower in thy esteem? [Page 193]the weak Disciples were contending for preceden­cy the night their Master was taken from their head; yet after, we find even the Apostle born out of time, counting that and all things loss, &c. Phil. 3.7. Knowest thou better how to part with them? canst thou distinguish between complaining of God, and complaining to him for want of them? Angry Jonas evidenced little mortificati­on. 2. How carry you in reference to others, or to the society you are in? Flattery, Conten­tion, or Envy, (the ordinary diseases of unmor­tified souls) bewray want of mortification, or great short-coming in it. 3. How carry you in re­ference to temptations, especially when they come in time of duties? does the heart rise, recoyl? is it frighted at them? or is it easily set on fire, at least brought to treating-terms. 4. How carriest thou in reference to reproofs? a mortified man will bear well with them, whether they be well managed or not. Asa bewrayed much want of mortification; it argues strong corruption when a reproof wakens it, and occasions more sin.

But take some marks of further proficiency in mortification, 1. Hast thou a fixed resolution to seek thy hearts ease, rest, and satisfaction in God alone, and that in the heaviest and most calamitous time? Heb. 3.18. Is thy expectation purely from him? and if thou hast a competence, or may be, abundance of the good things of this world, yet are all thy springs in him? and when thou wantest, canst thou take Gods bill of exchange, and believe that all will be answered either here, or in the land where holiness and glory dwell? [Page 194]2. Dost thou put thy mouth in the dust, when under Gods rod? dost thou adore the wisdom of God, in chusing such a rod for thee? does pri­vate afflictions melt thee, or break thee? Impa­tience argues a great degree of Impenitency, and unmortifiedness. If the liveliness of sin be thy grief, thou wilt be content that he should rid thee of it, and make thee partaker of his holiness, any way he will; canst thou submit to desertions, I mean, so as to keep up thy love to God, and thy purpose to call on him night and day, and in the morning to prevent him with thy prayer? Psal. 88. & 22.1, 2. Can you wait the Lords time? can you after the greatest earnestness in prayer, make a reference to his good pleasure? does the case of the Church of God afflict thee more than thy private case? or canst thou not sit down quiet with thy personal accommodations, when thy conscience tells thee that thou art ac­cessary to the common calamities of others, as David? 3. Canst thou retrench thy self in what God allows thee, when the using of thy liberty is like to be a stumbling to the weak? 1 Cor. 8. Rom. 15. 4. Are spiritual pollutions as loath­some to thee, as bodily sins? or rather, is thy grea­test care to keep thy heart pure. O, but those who cannot overcome the bordering-Towns or Castles of a Land, are sar from overcoming the whole Land.

I shall shut up all with some uses that we should make of these remainders of sin in us; which by our utmost diligence we cannot fully mortifie. 1. When thou observes the strength, even of the broken forces of sin, which thou would [Page 195]earnestly expel, and yet art not able; thou must needs see cause to ascribe the begun destruction of sin, and conquest over it, not to thy own ability or free-will, but to the grace of God; and indeed, if every man have sufficient power to cast down sin from its dominion, and to give it a deadly wound, it is strange that no man should have pow­er totally to destroy it, or to kill it out-right: for he that may do the greater, may do the less. The Hypothesis of effectual grace, does easily solve the doubt, and refers the reason that sin is not destroyed wholly in every believer, to the good pleasure of God: but the Hypothesis of free­will and sufficient-grace will never do it. 2. Let the feeling of the reliques of sin, further self-de­nial, and humility, and hide pride from thine eyes, 2 Cor. 12.7. Let them provoke the lively ex­ercised, and train thee up in prayer. ver 8, For this I besought the Lord, &c. and in dependance, ver. 9, My grace is sufficient for thee, &c. Admire the freeness of his grace, and the greatness of his power in carrying a poor weak Creature to hea­ven, which is more wonderful than the carrying of a small burning Candle through the tempestu­ous and blustering air. 3. See the ugliness and the treachery of the old man, and the misery that Christ came to deliver from. If you credit not what the word says of it, see it in your selves: see the enmity that is in your nature to God. If you see not evil enough in one lust, look on more: had you only seen this at your first Conversion, you might have forgot the sin and miisery the Lord has delivered you from. 4. Let this pro­voke compassion to such as are in bondage to sin; [Page 196]and meekness to such as through weakness fall and are intangled with sin, Gal. 6.1. Tit. 3.2.5. Let this confirm you also in the doctrine of Justification by free-grace: all natural men go a­bout to establish their own righteousness; and in the renewed man there's often some Inclination to it, and some neglect of Christs righteousness (this inclination may rise when other lusts are al­most buried. It troubled Mr. Knox when he was near to die, yet was quickly overcome) even when we have most need of it: And hence our confidence grows, as inherent righteousness grows. O, what then would we have done, were there no sin in us, nothing to necessitate us to flie to Christs righteousness; if as it is, there's some inclination, either to set up our own alone, or in conjunction with Christ's! The Lord will have his people looking both on their Justificati­on and sanctification every day, as new gifts; and that song to be daily in our mouths, Psal. 103.1, 3. Lastly, Be longing for the coming of Christ, and for thy full redemption; welcome him for this final deliverance from sin: Let this commend heaven to you, and make it heaven in­deed.

Mr. Carmichael's Three last Sermons

GEN. III. 15.

I'le put enmity between thee and the wo­man, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

THE poor mans head was now up­on the block: and lo, here's the first intimation of Relief. Sin and misery was now got into the World, and mankind was now in a hopeless and helpless condition; and here's the first break of day, and dawning of Deliverance, and the first discovery of Com­passion, grace, and tender mercy of God to Sin­ners.

In the words we have, 1. A Promise of de­liverance wrapt up in a Threatning against the Serpent. 2. A hint of the manner of mans de­liverance, and of the Serpents Ruin.

For the Explication of the words: 1. They [Page 198]are directed to the Serpent, by which is to be chiefly understood, Satan, called the old Serpent, the Devil: for, though some part of the Threat­ning belong to the Instrument he used, ver. 14: yet it's plain, from comparing the Text with Rom. 5.11, 12, 13, & 16.20. 1 John 3.8. Rev. 20.2, 3, that Satan is mostly meant. It cannot be conceived, how [...] [...]eature should have been capable of such a Plot against the glory of God, and the happiness of Man; nor how it should have managed it with speech, and so much seeming-Reason. Some say, That God indued the Serpent with Reason and Speech for that sea­son; but that is no small reflection on God; in­deed, being used by Satan as the Instrument, it is involved in the Curse, and is become hateful to man: there is an enmity between man and it; and the sight of it, ought to quicken our enmi­ty against Satan: yet every one of them have nor their head bruised, and but very few of man­kind have their heel bruised by that Creature: so that we must not understand it literally. By the Woman, is not meant Evah only, or one indivi­dual; hence, some infer that there's a bitterer enmity between Satan and the Woman, than be­tween him and men, that Sex being the weakest and most subject to fears and suspitions, and so the apter to conceive hatred. By the seed of the woman is to be understood, 1, and especially, Je­sus Christ, in the same sense, that he is called the seed of Abraham, of David. Sometimes seed is taken collectively for a Multitude; sometimes for a single or particular person, Gal. 3.16, To Abraham and his seed were the promises, made: [Page 199]he saith not, and to seeds, as of many: but of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. It was Christ then that was mainly meant by seed, in the pro­mise to Abraham, Gen. 12.1, 2, 3, & 18.18. & 22.18: which places are explicatory of this seed in the Text, and a confinement of this Pro­mise to the Family of Abraham. Here he is cal­led the seed of the woman: It's like with some re­spect to his taking flesh only of a woman, Isa. 7.14. Yet here, 2. We must also take in Christ's select Seed, Heb. 2.13, compare with Rom. 16.20. For they are parties in this quarrel and enmity: they have their heel bruised, and they bruise Sa­tans head, Rom. 16.20. And seeing all that's here said of the womans seed, agreeth to all the Elect: why should we not think them included in this seed? yet in a different sense, the enmity and victory are perfect in Christ, not in us. It's remarkable, that when the Promise is made con­cerning the seed, the believing Parents are inclu­ded; hence Gen. 22.17, I will multiply thy seed: Heb. 6.14, I will bless thee, and multiply thee: even so when the promise is made to the believing Parent, the believing seed are included. Hence Gen. 12.3, In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed, Acts 3.25; the Apostle expounds it, In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed: the enmity then is not only between Christ personal and the Devil, but also between Christ mystical, &c. And the victory over Satan is promised, not only to Christ personally con­sidered, but to Believers who are his seed: yet in a secondary sense only, Rom. 16.20.

By the Serpents seed, are meant the Reprobate [Page 200]World: for so they are called, Matth. 3.7. Matth. 23.33, Generation of vipers. John 8.44, Ye are of your father the devil. Acts 13.10, Child of the devil. 1. Joh. 3.8, He that committeth sin is of the devil; and to them agree what is spoke of the Serpents seed, viz. their enmity and op­position to the godly, as far as in them lyeth.

By the Serpents head, is meant his craft and power, his cunning: he had contrived mans ruin, this policy and power is to be bruised or crush­ed: the word is used only here, and Job 9.17, He breaketh me with a tempest: this is expound­ed Joh. 12.31. Col. 2.14, 15. 1 Joh. 3.8. heel, or footstool, a figurative expression; also inti­mating the ineffectualness of Satans attempts a­gainst Christ and his seed: he may wound them, but not mortally; he had a hand in bringing Christ to the Cross, thereby he wounded his heel, his Humane nature, but that brought him under Christs feet: some think it, (Musculus) not pro­per to attribute bruising to Satan, and there­fore render Conouliel, he shall smite his heel. Tunius thinks there is nothing here attributed to Satan, as if he could hurt Christ or his King­dom: but that the word imports only Satans cunning and indirect attempts, as Gen. 49.17; and that when he is just about to bite, Christ shall tread upon him, Isa. 25.8. 1 Cor. 15.53, 57. Some think the Psalmist has an eye to this Promise, Psal. 49.6, 26.

2. We have in the words the manner of our Deliverance pointed out, 1. Whence it has its rise; from infinite Wisdom and Mercy, I will put. 2. How will he do it? Hee'l break that [Page 201]league and friendship that sin had made between Man and the Devil; from this their sin and mi­sery had it's rise. Now this does import the re­covery of Man to favour with God, and to the Image of God; for while man abides in sin, this friendship lasts, John 8.44, His work he does. But what shall be the event and issue of this En­mity and War? I Answer, This seed of the wo­man shall conquer Satan, and destroy his King­dom; but first he must suffer by Satans means, and have his heel bruised. In the latter part of the words, the singular number is used, he and they, rather than thy seed; because Christ was to vanquish the old Serpent, who seduced our first Parents: and he being destroyed, his seed perish with him, John 12.31. & 14.30. Now it's ob­servable, that though first the womans seed is mentioned, which meaneth all the godly which were to come of her: yet the Pronoun it, or he, as it's in the Hebrew, does plainly de­note some single person, viz. Christ; the vul­gar Edition has it, ipsa, as if it respected the Woman, not her Seed, or any one to come of her.

This was the first, and for ought we know, the only Declaration of Gods Purpose about our Redemption made to our first Parents: This was all that the faith of the people of God had for some Ages to live upon; and this was the soun­dation of all the Religion of succeeding Ages, and to which all the Sacrifices from the beginning had respect.

There be some that would hence infer, the Covenant of Grace to be as large as the Cove­nant [Page 202]of works, and the one to be made with all mankind as well as the other; and that all man­kind had some Revelation of Christ in their first Parents: and thus they think to weaken that Argument against universal Redemption, taken from the non-revelation of Christ to most of mankind, seeing we connot suppose God to have really intended the salvation of all by Christ; and not have given all a sufficient Revelation of him.

But 1. Adam is never spoke of in Scripture as a publick person in respect of the second Cove­nant, as he is in respect of the first, Rom. 5.15, 16, 17, 18; had Adam been guilty of Unbelief, and so have forfeited the benefit of the second Covenant, that had not prejudged his posterity of the good of it. Now it is certain, that this Revelation of Jesus Christ was in a few Ages ut­terly lost; and no wonder, considering the ob­scurity of it, and mans proneness to corrupt all divine Revelations and Institutions. Indeed, all the Superstition and Idolatry which the Apostate world fell into, was founded on an Opinion, That there was some way for attaining to the favour of God; but what that way was, they were in a few Ages as ignorant, as if there never had been any such Revelation: and the knowledg of it not being transmitted to Posterity, or there being no Revelation made of it to them, by no Law were they bound to know it, and so shall be judged only by the Covenant of works. And for the Heathens Notion of a possible way of re­covering the favour of God; whatever it was founded on for some Ages at first, it does now, and did partly then, proceed from the mistakes [Page 203]and carnal apprehensions of God, and then igno­rance of their exceeding sinfulness; for we see that when Adam has any fresh and lively sense of it, he runs away from God, Indeed, it is na­tural to apprehend a Natural love in God (which Arminians call Antecedent love) strongly inclining him to the salvation of all: which destroys Free­grace, and is as unsuitable to the nature of God, as the Jewish Fables of Gods afflicting himself in a secret place for the burning of the Temple, and for their Captivity: And that for these he smites his breast, and pours two tears into the Ocean every day; so the Heathens made Jupiter to la­ment the Destinies which he could not mend; and the Alcoran makes God wish well to Mahomet, but cannot free him from death.

But to conclude this; Gods discriminating love is plain from this first promise: there's the seed of the Woman, and the seed of the Serpent. The Mes­siah is not promised to all: Christ the seed of the Woman, is not promised to the seed of the Ser­pent, nor suffers for that seed; Jesus Christ broke the Serpents head, and destroyed Satan as a pub­lick person for the whole elect Seed, but not in the room and stead of the seed of the Serpent: yea, you see that in the very first promise of Christ, there are some excluded, viz. all the Re­probate, called the Serpents seed: their enmity is foretold as soon as Christ is promised, and their ruin is foretold as soon as the salvation of the elect Seed; and indeed if we observe the words, and consider the Context, they are as much threatning to the one, as they are a promise to the other.

The Text affords great variety of weighty mat­ter: I shall only touch upon it, and give some truths from the words. We see that there is an established enmity, and irreconcilable feud be­tween Satan and his followers on the one side, and Christ and his followers on the other: Satan gets power to vex and trouble the Church of God, and to leave some marks of his malice upon them, both in their inward and outward condi­tion; but Christ with his followers shall at length utterly overthrow and crush him. And O, what a sweet Scripture is this, and how much to be stu­died! here's the Marrow of the Old and New Te­stament, and the first out-breaking of Gods Eter­nal Council, and glorious Contrivance about fal­len Man!

Observ. 1. That God did not leave all Mankind to perish in their Apostacy from him and in their contracted friendship with Satan — The salvati­on of Sinners was now as near to an Impossibili­ty as could be; Satan knew the threatning, and concluded, That if he could entice man to sin, he had ruin'd and involved him in as remediless Wrath, as himself was under: he knew man could not, and supposed God would not interpose; or if he would, he could not die, nor suffer; there­fore Christ must be Man and God both, that he may suffer and triumph also. Satan was at his first fall cursed; he is again for his accession to mans sin cursed, and the Beast that was but the Instrument, is cursed, ver. 14, The earth is curs­ed for his sake; ver. 17, yet himself is not curs­ed. And here appears the kindness and love of God our Saviour; (he will not have us looking only [Page 205]to the kindness of Christ our Saviour, but chiefly to the Fountain-love of God), Tit. 3.3, 4, 5. Here is opened up the Sealed-fountain of his heart, which no sin could dry up: Man is now wholly at Free-graces courtesie, and yet unmeet for mercy: but Mercy unasked, and no doubt unexpected, steps out, when they had no Con­fidence to ask it. It was in contemplation of this promised seed, that they were fot a moment reprieved, that the sentence of Death did not immediately after they had sinned, take place, and this was all they had to quiet their fearful Con­sciences with. The womans seed dieth (which upon the account of the lowness of his Humane nature, and his overcoming of Death, is called but the bruising of his heel) and bruiseth the Ser­pents head, which carries in it the destruction of Death, for thereby he destroyed him that had the power of death; see Heb. 2.14.

Observ. 2. That albeit this be not a personal sa­tisfaction made by the guilty man, yet it is a le­gal satisfaction according to Gods own Law — By which the near kinsman was to redeem the last Inheritance: he is our near kinsman, Job 19.25. Heb. My kinsmen, the seed of the woman. God did not alter the first Covenant or Law, nor the Sanction of it, for Unbelievers are yet under it, John 13.36. Some say, there was here a Re­laxation of the Law in the Translation of the pu­nishment to another: Indeed, all positive Laws are relaxable, and the admitting of this, infers no change in God: for he can abrogate Laws, which is more (as he has done the Ceremonial), sup­posing he had not declared he would not do it, [Page 206]and this without any change in himself. Some say, that in reference to the Elect, the Obligation to death first and second, was declared null by the Promise in the Text; but neither is this true: for before they are in Christ, they are obnoxious to it, Ephes. 2.3. Some chuse rather to call it a De­claration of the meaning of the threatning, which in Gods intention and purpose was purely le­gal, viz. in respect of the Reprobate, that they should actually and eventually die the first and second death, except that God intended in many to suspend the present execution of it, and that upon Christs account also, and that it was in re­spect of the Elect partly Evangelick, In the day thou eatest, thou or thy Kinsman; or, thou and all thy Children, shall die the first and second death; or else I must substitute one in thy room. It's true, Adam was not to believe this exception, till it was revealed; nor was he bound to believe that God would not provide a Remedy; he was not obliged to despair between his fall and the promise in the Text, but to believe that God was able to save him, and to rely upon that accord­ing to the law of Nature; for the Threatning did only shew what God might justly do, not what he absolutely would do; so Adam was not absolute­ly to believe that he should die, nor yet that he should not die, as the Serpent would have per­swaded him, Gen. 3. If any say, May not Sin­ners hope that all his Threatnings against them, in reference to this life, and that which is to come, may admit of Tacit Conditions? I an­swer, Gospel-Threatnings are not only declara­tive of what sin deserves, but also of what shall [Page 207]be the event: they are not simple Threatnings, but certain predictions; or they are such Threatnings as are confirmed by an Oath, and so declared to be irrevocable: and this may also obviate a doubt which some may have about the Promises; Why may not the Lord relax them, or have some se­cret Condition (that I know not of) in his Pro­mises, as he had in this first Threatning? for in the Promises, we have all the evidences that can be of the certainty of them as to the event. And in­deed, there's a great odds between Promises and Threatnings in this respect, that Promises give to the party a right to the thing promised, and he cannot be loosed without the parties consent; a meer Threatning does only declare the desert of sin in the person sinning: yet when confirmed by an Oath, as Heb. 4.3, or Heb. 3.11, 18, And to whom sware he, that they should not enter into his Rest, but to them that believe not? or, has any other Declaration of Gods purpose annexed to it as irrevocable as his Promises. We might hence draw many useful inferences.

Hence, what support to our Faith! and what an­swer to make to the Law! our kinsman was bruis­ed, &c. We may learn with what boldness all the seed of the woman may now come to Christ, as be­ing some way in kin to Christ; he was the Churches comfort in all their straits of old, in case of sin, as in the Text: and in case of outward distress, the renewing of the Promises was the great en­couragement that God would not destroy them, Isa. 7.14. Mic. 5.5. and still it is so to us. Now his Divine Nature is the great support to our faith and comfort; yet his being of our flesh, is a [Page 208]great inducement to come to him, and a help to our faith and comfort. Without his Divinity, it will be comfortless; but as united to his God­head, its a rich Mine. May we suppose you had a Brother in any Court, that were in as much favour with the King, as he is with God, and whom you could acquaint with your case, as ea­sily as you can do to him, would you not be often at Court, and would you not come more freely; at least be often sending thither? Are the promises far off to you? Is pardon, grace, peace, healing, righteousness or strength, far off from you? Why are they strange to you? Why are you strange to Christ? Will he hide himself from his own flesh? Rich and poor are equally near to him. May not this help our weakness in coming to God? Of old few Sea-faring men ventured on the Ocean, but coasted along the shoar for want of skill: the Godhead is a bound­less Ocean, you dare not venture on it: here's a safe and easie shore, by which you may come at God without being swallowed up. And learn hence to plead your part in him; plead this re­lation to him, till you get a nearer, as the peo­ple plead a general relation to God, Isa. 64.7, 8. David took it well of the men of Judah, but Christ will take it better: he will not scorn thee, as some do their poor kindred.

It was one great end he had in his assuming our nature, that he might be a merciful High-Priest: the Angels would have made greater High-Priests, but they would not have had such bow­els as one man has to another, Heb. 5.1, 2. Eve­ry High-priest taken from among men, is ordained [Page 209]for men: who can have compassion, &c. So Heb. 2.16, 17. (and now he cannot more cease to be merciful, than he can cease to be man, or dissolve the union of his Natures which shall never be); in the Greek it is [...], that he might be made merciful. The expressions of his com­passion there used, cannot be meerly metaphorical, as often such words are, when attributed to God under the old Testament: for the words import such mercy, or rather being merciful, in such a way, as being God alone, could not have been. Indeed God cannot be made more merciful by taking on our nature: But thus he became mer­ciful in a new way, and in a manner more com­fortable to us, even as man. Nothing can be added to the greatness of Gods mercy; and there's no mercy in the humane nature, but what it had from the Divine; and had he not had the mer­cy of the God-head to inlarge his compassion to sinners, his mercy could never have held out: But the assumption of the seed of the woman, adds a kindliness and naturalness (as one says) to his mercy to us: so that what is metaphorically spoke of, is liberally true of the Mediator. And though now in heaven he has no afflicting passions, nor what imports infirmity and frailty, as he had on the earth; yet for the substance they are the same, and instead of that afflicting frailty that was in them, there's now a greater largeness and liveliness of affection, which does as effectually prompt him to relieve us. Sure our High-priest laid not aside his love pity and compassion, when be entered within the holy-place. You will say, That though he was the seed of the woman, yet [Page 210]not having experience of sin as I have, What can his humane nature further his compassion to me? Answ. 1. What makes a gracious soul pity them that are fallen, but it's Conformity to Christ? Gal. 6.1. 2. He felt the guilt of more sin, and in a livelier manner than ever thou didst; he knows what desertion for sin is, what a wounded heart is, and what the bitterness of sin is. And, 3. He was grieved for the sin of others, and so knows how to compassionate those who are grieved for sin in themselves. And finally, why may we not say, That as when he healed the sick, he used to take their sickness as it were upon himself, Matt. 8.16, 17. and some way to afflict himself, Joh. 11.38. by sympathy, though he was never sick? so being to satisfie for the elects sin; when he saw any of them sin, he might be said to be af­fected with it, as if it had been his own; some think this the meaning of that obscure place, Matt. 8.16, 17. Let none say, What is all this to me? Christ is not promised to the Serpents seed; and what know I but I am one of these, I find such enmity to God and Christ? and thus I obviated the last occasion. Only now, 1. You may be among the other seed, for ought you know, as well as they, and a may-be is much in this case. 2. They are not all the serpents seed, who have of the serpents seed in them. 3. Is thy enmity thy burthen? Art thou willing to lay it down, and to come over to Christs side?

3. Obs. That the recovery of lapsed man is O­riginally and solely from God; I will put, &c. A­dam did not propose, nor devise this, but was flying and hiding, when this news overtakes him. [Page 211] Man he was not called to counsel, Isa. 40.30. Nor was so much as in speaking-terms with God; there's neither Merit, nor Motive, nor Impulsive cause in man; his misery could be no cause, for the fallen Angels were no less miserable: and indeed this is a plot worthy of infinite wisdom, as well as mercy, and which the quickest finite understandings were so far from being able to find out, that when revealed, they cannot com­prehend it, 1 Pet. 12, but are yet at School, and Learning it: and indeed it had been blasphemy for Men or Angels to have spoke it, before it was revealed. Jerome makes Isa. 63.1, 2. to be the words of wondering Angels. And no doubt the words of the Text made the Devils ama­zed.

The plot it self, the designation of Christ for this business, the manner of carrying it on, the stability of this promise, the choice of the seed to whom it's made, was solely of him and he him­self revealed it: Adam was not thinking of it when it was first mentioned. God will needs carry the first news of it himself; had he sent An­gels, guilty consciences might likely have mis­doubted them. It's true, he sends news of this to us by men gifted of purpose for such tydings: But till he himself reveal this mystery to our hearts, it is not understood nor revealed, Matt. 13.11. & 11.25. And finally, it is his proper work to break the sinners friendship with Satan, and to reconcile them to himself: and all that's here promised is the effect of his grace.

Ʋse. See your self scored off from all sharing [Page 212]in the glory of your own Salvation. Grace, appears in the whole contrivance, and in the Application of it: you may read fallen Adams case, and your own too, Ezek. 16.3, 4, 5, 6. It's true, that is spoke with respect to Abraham, and his Idola­trous extract; but is applicable to every Nation, and to every particular person; does that pro­mise in the Text reach you? know, you were in no better, if not a worse case than Adam, when it took hold of you. Therefore, 1. Own him in the whole business of your Salvation, from first to last, in the revealing of it in the Branches and Contents of it, and in bringing you to close with it, and making you to cleave to it; in breaking your friendship with Satan, and bringing you o­ver to his own side. 2. You that are yet on Satans side, and are beginning to weary; Imploy him to bring you over to his party: imploy himself to reveal this mystery to you contained in this great promise, Matt. 13.11. To reveal Christ in you, and to rescue you effectually from Satan; to engage you in this warfare, and to make you successful in it.

But more particularly: Let us consider this enmity, and war, and the event of it, and that with respect to ones inward condition. 2. Or with respect to sin and holiness, with respect to your outward. For the 1st, Satan has spued sin, his seed, into our first Parents, and they have transmitted it to all their posterity. Now those who are begot again by Jesus Christ, they have his seed in them: Grace, or the Divine Nature is called the seed of God, 1 Joh. 3.9. Not ex­clusively of Christ, this is that which makes us like Christ; and to represent him as a Child does [Page 213]the Parent; hence called, Christ formed in us; even as sin makes one resemble Satan, 1 Joh. 3.8, and may be called Satans seed: some speak ignorantly, as if there were the material seed of the Devil in men; which may be they fetch from the Turks Alcoran, which says, that there's a drop of black blood in the middle of every ones heart, which they call the seed of the Devil; and which they say, the Angels having opened up Mahomet when a child, washed out of him. Nor is their notion much unlike that of the Cartesians, about their glandula pinealis in Cerebro, from the mo­tion whereof proceeds all inordinate desires. But, 2. The godly have a party without to conflict with: from the whole observe, 1. Some thing supposed, viz. that sin having entred the world, all men are on Satans seed, and in enmity with God, till this promise take effect on them. 2. That Satans interest is not at once destroyed, nor are the elect at once perfectly saved: Satan has a party still in the world; yea, he hath some part in every man here. None can say as Christ, Joh. 14.30, The Prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me; he is at perfect vari­ance with Satan; Satan could get nothing in him to fasten his temptations upon; he has some par­ty and some footing in the godly man, his seed is not at once purged out, but is still stirring and con­flicting, and counteracting Christ and his interest in the soul. It's so ordered by the holy Maje­sty of God: Satan begot this enmity, and God in his holy providence suffers it to remain in part. Now for the 1st, It is supposed that there's nothing in men, but enmity to Christ, and a heart [Page 214]working against him. There was nothing else in Adam when this promise began to take effect on him; and there's nothing else now in sinners when it begins to be fulfilled on them; this is the nature of sin, and the best notion we can have of it, enmity to God, and to Christ, and to his Image; It's contrary to him; It's an enemy to his being, and makes the sinner wish God were not, Psal. 14.1. And it's pleasing to him to think, May be there is none: this enmity in the abstract is in every natural mans mind, Rom. 8.7, much more in the heart and affections; and all the members of the body are imployed as weapons to fight against him. Men hate him not indeed, as Creator or Preserver, &c. but as Holy and Righteous, as a Lawgiver and Judg; and this is for no wrong on his part, but they have wrong­ed him, and would be rid of him: this was ma­nifest in Adam. And O that this notion of sin were more fixed in our hearts: it must be in e­very true penitent. In Hell there's no repen­tance, because there's nothing but enmity to God there: in heaven there's none, because there's no­thing but Amity: here there is something of both in the godly; indeed in the natural man there's only enmity. Now, Rom. 6.12, 13, 14. Lev. 26.40, 41, the penitent bewails that he has walked contrary to God: there's nothing at all that be­friends God in the natural man; he is wholly for Satan; there's no spark of pure light within, for the mind and Conscience are engaged against God, and conspire with Satan, the foundation of whose Kingdom is laid in darkness: may be the natu­ral man trembles at a sight of the Devil, as be­ing [Page 215]in a sort a creature of another world, and being represented as an enemy to Mankind. But is it not apparent how much sinners conspire with him, in his enmity and contrariety to God; some there be that Covenant with him, some ex­presly, some virtually; in many places of the world he is familiarly convers'd with; yea, and worshipped; and did not evil spirits frequently and familiarly haunt houses in times of Popery, and seem'd to do good offices unto them; and were called by the vulgar, Faries, Brownyes, by some Familiars, good Neighbours? and how well affected many are yet to Satan, appears by their application to him, or his instruments, in case of lost or stoln goods, or the like doubtful cases: But what a secret power and interest has he with thousands where he is not so discreetly owned? how many do merrily dance when he pipes to them? how many willing, loving slaves has he? his power with them is manifest, by their acting such prodigious wickedness sometimes, at which even corrupt humane nature in others is made to tremble. Others he deals more gently with, and puts them not on such hard service; they are at peace with him, and for a while he keeps peace with them; they trouble not him, and he troubles not them: he has a claim to them, part­ly by his own request, partly by their own con­sent, one way or other, and partly by the Lords holy and righteous giving them up to him, as a just punishent of mans first breaking with him, taking himself to Satan. And not only has he a claim to them, but he has possession of all out of Christ (and one would think that this [Page 216]were enough to waken sinners): may be some of them at some times take up some dislike of their state; but, yet are easily reconciled to it again; or make some little breach, or fall at some odds with the Prince of this world, but soon reconcile themselves again.

Now when this promise comes to take effect on any soul, the Lord comes and casts out Sa­tan, and he seizes on the soul: this is called his apprehending it, Phil. 3.12. Satan is loth to lose the sinner. But Jesus Christ, that is stronger than he, casts him out, and he must bring down and de­molish strong holds ere this be done, 2 Cor. 10.4, 5, 6. and put forth that power whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself: Satan pulls, and Christs draws, and the Father draws: Satan and the sinner joyn all their strength to­gether: he does with sinners, as the Turks do with their Galley-slaves, that make them serve against their friends, and such as would set them free: Only here's the difference, these do it by con­straint, but sinners do heartily joyn issue with Satan, and resist Christ, as if he were about to hurt them. Now at length Satan is cast out, and the sinner yields, 2 Chron. 30.8. Rom. 6.12, 13. Both places allude to such as are besieged or as­saulted: hence Conversion is called a turning from Satan unto God, Act. 26.21. Colos. 1.14. 2 Tim. 2.25, 26. See the manner of Christs Conquering fouls, Luk. 11.21. Matt. 12.29. 1. He binds the strong man, puts some restraint on Satan; he takes away the power he had to lead the man Captive, does as it were cancel his Commission: Satan cannot come and go as he did; he was wont [Page 217]to come as a man to his own house: Now he comes as a thief or a robber; he cannot set such a lust on fire, nor blow up such a Corruption, nor send on such an Errand, nor employ the mans Eye, or Ear, or Tongue, or Hand, or Foot as he did, he must have Christs leave. Now, 2. He spoils Satan of his goods: the members of the body, and the faculties of the Soul, Satan made a pur­chase of them in Paradise; there they were mar­red and spoiled, and unfitted for Gods use, and fit only for Satans: First, Christ recovers them to the right owner; he first makes them meet for him, and then restores them to him; he retrieves the Mind from ignorance, errour, and diabolick light: sets the Will at liberty from lusts, breaks the refractoriness of it, and makes it sweetly yield in the day of his power, Psalm 110.3: and so all within and without, are now yielded as weapons of righteousness unto holiness. 3. He takes away his Armour, that wherein Satan trusted: Satan, though he had secured his interest in the Soul by customary sinning, which had strengthned the habit of sin, and hardned the heart in it, and made the man bold in sin; Christ comes as a Prince, and makes the man tremble: he gives repentance, and breaks the stone in the heart. May be, 2. Satan had corrupted mans judgment, and fortified his interest with carnal reason; when the true light comes, the man sees himself a fool; Or, may be, 3. He has strongly engaged the affections in sin, and trusted to that: Christ disintangles them. Or, may be, 4. He had fitted them with suitable temptations: for, as there is a malignant influ­ence and energy in all Satans temptations, so [Page 218]he uses to chuse out suitable temptations, from pleasure perhaps, riches or honour; Christ im­bitters these, and debases them; they lose their operation. And now having destroyed the power of sin, he destroys Satans reign in the Soul: for all the title Satan has to Sinners, is by means of sin, which is his feed.

Christ had done all this meritoriously upon the Cross, as a publick person in the Elects stead, ac­cording to the promise in the Text: there he judg­ed and cast out Satan, John 12.31. He was for­merly judged and cast out of Heaven; but be­coming head of sinful men, he is again judged and dethroned by Jesus Christ; see this at length, Col. 2.13, 14, 15, He spoiled principalities and powers (in Greek, stript them): Hence Isa. 53.68, He shall divide the spoil: he made a shew of them openly (an allusion unto Conquerors, who for a Trophy use to hang up the Armour and Ensigns of their conquered Enemies: so that Sa­tan was out-witted in putting Judas on betraying, and the Jews on crucifying him, triumphing over them in it: he led Captivity captive: and as Con­querors used to bind their Captives to their Cha­riots, and lead them in Triumph; so did he on the Cross: and by virtue of this Conquest, the E­lect are preserved and kept alive, and also kept from sinning irremedilesly, or unto death, before their Conversion; and in due time are actually rescued from Satan, and set against him.

Now we come to the second thing observ­able, viz. That this enmity to God, is not all re­moved at once: Satans head is not bruised at first, either in his person or in his seed: he that has [Page 219]decreed the enmity between the godly and the wicked, hath also decreed the enmity between Grace and sin; what is of Christ, and what is of Satan, in the same Soul; there's something in the man who is in Christ, whereby Satan has access to trouble and molest the Soul: he makes the poor Believer go halting, and makes all his spi­ritual motions uneasie and ungrateful; were it not for this, had not Satan some part within us, we might laugh at his assaults: and were it not for this, the World could not defile us, 1 John 1.15. It's true, Satan invaded man, and prevail­ed, when he had no part within him: but he has now further advantages against us; we cannot hold him out, though we would, as man might then have done; he has some within to open the gates to him; he has a party still in Arms for him within us, a whole body of sin that has many members, and these all under the law of sin, and stir when ever Satan will, Rom. 7.23, 24: And O how fierce are the assaults of this body of sin? It made Peter swear against Christ; It made Asa rage against the Prophet; It made fierce dissen­tion between Paul and Barnabas: and there's no reconciling this enmity, Rom. 8.2, 7; it will not, and cannot be sufficient, &c. The old man may be slain and mortified, but will never yield.

Observ. 3. That all who side with Christ, must resolve to maintain enmity and war against Sa­tan, and that party that Satan has in them. From the day that one is born again, there's a war begun; there's two parties in the man: and there's nothing the one does, but the other op­poses; so that neither good nor evil can be done [Page 220]with full consent, or with the whole Soul: If Satans side carry it, Christs party dissents, and protests, and bears witness against it. If any good be set about, the old man shall either make the work to cease, or else some way marr it. Satan shall have his soul fingers on every Duty: all who lay claim to Christ, are bound to main­tain this war, and hold up this enmity, and think it a mercy, that God will let you call the bet­ter part in you, you your self; and the worst part, but your flesh, Rom. 7.25. So then with the mind I my self serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Obs. 4. That Satan and indwelling sin are li­mited and bounded; the guilt of sin shall not outlaw the Believer: if the Serpent sting you, yet your wound shall not be deadly. Satan may leave his marks upon you: and indeed, were it not for him who was lifted up after the manner of the brazen Serpent, every bite of this Serpent were mortal: this remaining inward enmity will be working, and Satan will be sneaking about your heels, and seeking to intangle your affe­ctions (which are as the feet of the Soul): but he can come no higher than your heel; he may darken your light indeed, but it's by corrupting your affections; and when he has done all, he cannot extinguish Divine Light. Indwelling sin may raise Sedition, and cause much opposition and disturbance to Christs Kingdom within, but it shall not be able to dissolve his Govern­ment.

Obs. 5. That all who side with Christ, and maintain this enmity against Satan and his seed, [Page 221]shall in the event be victorious; Christ in them shall bruise Satans head: for we must not think to hold our own, much less to overcome without him. Now concerning this Victory: 1. See that it's no fancy to think that the weakest fol­lower of Christ that's often foiled, yet shall conquer Satan through Christ; you shall not die of your wounds: you may trust to this first Gospel-promise, that to this day has never fail­ed. 2. That when Satan is doing you most harm, and getting most advantage against you, he is nearest his overthrow: when he is bruising your heel, he hazards the crushing of his head; this is Christs fittest way to destroy him: thus he makes Temptations work for good, yea, and de­feats Satan; he makes them strong by their falls: this is a part of the Mysterie of Christ, yet is an established and experienced Truth; he would ne­ver let Satan touch your heel, but that thereby he might to the greater glory of his Wisdom and Grace bruise his head. 3. Though this be a certain Truth that he will bruise Satan, yet has he not told us when, nor what way he will do it; may be not now, nor a month, nor a year hence: may be neither this way, nor any you can think of: It's enough for us to know that it is decreed, and that Gods faithfulness is in pledg for it. The day is coming that you shall be Vi­ctors: and the Apostle tells us, It shall shortly be, Rom. 16.20.

Ʋse 1. You that are out of Christ, see your misery: you are on Satans side, are slaves to him, under chains, curse, servant of servants; he has a [Page 222]Throne in you: he fills your heart, as Ananias; he entices to your ruin, as Achab, his will you do; you eat, and drink, and sleep, and work for him: who shuts your eyes against Gospel-light, But he? 2 Cor. 4.4. Who opposes and repels our pleading for Christ? who furnishes you with cavils against Christ, but he? they are certainly brutish that engage in the service of Tyrants, and that kill others, and daily oppose their own lives to pro­mote the ambition of others; or may be for their bread, or a name among such fools as them­selves: how much more those who to gratifie Satan, war against their own souls? Oh, is it nothing to you to be under the malignant influ­ence of Satan: he has some brutish pleasures to entice you, but they are only pleasant poisons.

Ʋse 2. Hereby prove your selves; you are either fighting on Christs side, or against him; you cannot be at peace with Satan and Christ also: What know you of the Conflict between the flesh and the Spirit? Are you chearful actors in sin? or are you sufferers by it, Rom. 7, beyond what you ever found in any other thing? Or, is there any protestation entred in Christs behalf, or in behalf of the spiritual Law of God? Is the heel or your head bruised by Satan? No doubt you find something within you ready to join with what comes from Satan; but do you also find any thing within that's ready to comply with what comes from Christ, that falls in with Truth and Duties, with the motions and assistances of his Spirit? Finally, his seed and servants you are, whose work you do, Rom. 6.16, 17. Rom. 8.13.

Ʋse 3. You that are in Christ, think not to be free of Satans enmity: I speak not now of E­nemies without, but look that he fire not the house within; expect an intestine War; you have bo­som, restless Enemies; Satan can muster many cor­ruptions within: Atheism, Pride, Worldliness, Sensuality, Unbelief: these all stand for Satan, and you are in more hazard of them, than all Enemies you have without you, 1 Pet. 4.14. Then be not secure: this had almost undone Pe­ter; keep watch and ward, especially when you know that the Enemy is within you, and examine all that come and go to and from thy heart, for it's time of War: (There be some who at their Conversion are zealous and vigorous in their con­flicts with indwelling sin, who are much in Pray­ers and strong cryes, &c. but soon abate; and why? not because Satan and sin are quite de­feated and expelled, but because they are weary to keep up a continual conflict with themselves, and therefore at least make a cessation of Arms: Satan lets them alone, and they let him alone: they go on smoothly in Duties, they find no comfort in them, yet find no trouble: sin in the heart prevails, yet is not grievous, because not opposed, so that there needs a new Conversion and a new Conquest (such as we have spoke of), Matth. 12.29.

4. Hence we see how poor weak Creatures come to be victorious, Rom. 8.36, through him, &c. Were it not for Christ, he that overcame Adam in innocency, would easily defeat us. It's not for want of Adversaries that some get to Heaven, and [Page 224]not others; it's not for want of Temptations: the Angels had not these, yet fell; and some now have them; and yet perish not by them. It's not for want of sin within: Satan had no part in Adam, yet overcame him; he has a part in the Believer, yet cannot overcome him. It's not from our willing, or working, or vigorous warring with sin that we overcome, but it's through him who is the seed of the woman: yet not as such, or considered meerly as a man; strength of inherent Grace secured not Paul, the aged and experien­ced Soldier of Christ, Rom. 7.24.25. 2 Cor. 12. Christ is Captain of the Lords Host: Angels could not keep themselves: were it not for Christ, we should soon be as fishes in an ill net. We see what a small matter made Asa rage, Jonas fret to death almost, Peter deny Christ, and curse.

5. You that are on Christs side: be encoura­ged, he has already condemned sin, and undone the condemning-power of it; and if you be his, it is dying in you: indeed he inflicts a lingring death on it, Gal. 5.24. Where it reigns, it kills, therefore he breaks his power at first stroke: which makes young Converts so tender, and so severe to it in themselves and others: if at any time it make head, he knocks it down again, yet not wholly; for he manifests the sufficiency of his Grace now more in keeping up the conflict, than in conquering: And you have more cause to fear the sins you are at league with, than those you war with. It's true, the best side is some­times worsted; but it's so ordered, that the suc­cess Satan gets, tends to his overthrow, and the Believers Conquest, Rom. 8.36; for Christ will [Page 225]not lose his own in the Believer, he never loses possession, Rom. 7.18, 19. He sins, yet consents not: and in time Christ turns the Battel, and by little and little carries on a compleat Vi­ctory.

Is not this good news to you that are in Christ? Sin may vex you like the Midianites, but it shall not be your ruin; he has not exempted you from trouble for sin, nor from war with it: and may be, when one head is cut off, as with Hydra, another starts up: yet it shall not outlaw you, nor separate from Christ, nor be gainer in the War, though it may in some Battel. What hinders then your joy? is it because you see not your sins lying dead (as the Isaelites saw the E­gyptians? for God has promised to cast them into the bottom of the Sea, alluding to this, in the Red-sea of Christs blood) and are afraid that one time or other they will undo you? but it shall as soon fetch Christ out of Heaven, as keep any of his seed out of it; and shall as soon bring Christ to the Cross again, as send any of them to Hell. It's true, If you live after the flesh, you shall die, Rom. 8.13. But it's true also, that the Believer cannot live in it; for how can we that are dead to sin, live in it? Rom. 6.2.

Now, may be some will say, It's indeed good news, that God has promised a Deliverer; that in the Volume, or in the Head, Beginning (for so the word signifies) of the book it is written of him, Psalm 40.7: (which some think relates to that first Promise). And it's good to hear that Christ shall subdue and defeat Satan and sin: But what is that to me? how shall the unworthy apply [Page 226]this Promise? Now to obviate exceptions of this nature, there are several things considerable in the first circumstances of the Promise, which may meet with your case: 1. The Promise was made to as sinful Creatures as ever were any; To Adam and Evah, who sinned against the greatest Light, the greatest Obligations and Favours, a­gainst the fairest warning; who sinned most hei­nously against first and second Table; who sinned with a design to dethrone God, and make them­selves like to him, to the overthrow and ruin of their posterity: and all this by the motion of Gods greatest Enemy, and that in the appearance of a creeping beast, which bid eat that which God had forbidden; a sin which all mankind may be ashamed of; yet notwithstanding all this, they have this promise made by the Lords own mouth to them. 2. It was made when no means were essayed, in order to the obtaining of it; it never came in their heart to cry for mercy; but when they were running away, then did these good tidings overtake them: then thou who art beg­ging for mercy, may hope for it. If you say, you are not using means for it: I would not encou­rage the neglect of them; yet would not lay too much stress upon them: they did not reject the Promise upon such an account: it's but a tempta­tion to think thou cannot make use of this Pro­mise; art thou content of all the parts of it, to war with Satan and Sin, as well as to have a Re­deemer to fight and conquer for thee? If thou like Christ, and be satisfied to be on his side, cer­tainly it will belong to thee: thou must be of one of those two sides. Now, which like you [Page 227]best? 2. This promise is made, as to great Sin­ners, so to such as were as little sensible of sin as could be: there was no kindly sense nor heart-breaking for it: they hid themselves for fear and shame: yet when arraigned and accused for sin, they will not take with it; Adam turns it partly over on God, and partly on his Wife: she turns it over on the Serpent; were they like to have such a promise made to them? then let no poor Soul be discouraged for little sense of sin; seek it, but be not troubled about the measure of it; we must preach Christ and Free grace to all: may be, a Gospel-poomise will work that sense of sin, which otherwise thou cannot get. To conclude then, If you have need of this Promise, take it; but be sure you take it all together, that you side with Christ, and war against Satan, and know, that the words have also the force of a Command, and that to the whole Church, to all that hear the Pro­mise; for so the expression imports, Exod. 20.3, 4, 5.

Now let us in the next place speak to the words, as they relate to mans outward state; and concerning this, let us lay down some Do­ctrinal Truths from them:

1. That there is a decreed and stated Enmity between Satan and his followers on the one side, and Christ and his followers on the other: Now, 1. For the parties; Satan he is the head of those that oppose Christ and his Ided, he is always spoke of as the party, Rev. 12.7, who the Dra­gon is, see ver. 9. Rev. 12.13, The Dragon per­secuted the woman, &c. So ver. 17; Others do but war under him: they derive their malignity and enmity from him, and have as it were their Com­mission [Page 228]from him, Rev. 13.2, The Dragon gave his power, his seat, and authority unto the Beast: that is, to Antichrist; Satan had his seat there before, and the idolatrous Heathen persecuting Emperors were his great Vassals and Deputies. Now those failing him; he gives his power to the Pope, and he becomes the Devils great Lieu­tenant. Inferior persecuting Princes and Pre­lates are either Antichrists underlings, or they have their power from Satan the same way that Antichrist has. If you say, Are not all powers of God, Rom. 13.1? And what power has Satan to give? I answer. No doubt the Antichristian powers is from God as a punishment to the World, 2 Thess. 2.10: yet it is from Satan. If we consider the nature of it, the very Office it self of Popes and Prelates being contrary to the word of God, or the things wherein he arroga­teth power. And also, if we consider the way of his coming by it, and his blasphemous and tyrannical manner in exercising it, of all which Satan is the Author, as he is of all the exorbi­tances of every Government that are to the pre­judice of the godly; hence, as the worshippers of Antichrist are said to worship the Dragon, who gave power unto the Beast, Rev. 13.4: so the al­lowers and admirers of any wicked Constitution in Church or State, or any power that is levelled against Christ and his feed, do in so far own Sa­tan the God of this World; and in so far declare themselves to be on his side, and joyn issue with him.

If any object, the horror and hatred men have naturally at the Devil, how then came they to [Page 229]be on his side? I Answer, Whatever hatred na­tural men have to the Devil, and horror they conceive at his appearance, as a Creature of a­nother Order, and as a powerful Spirit, represent­ed also as malicious and envious at the good of mankind; yet it's clear, that they conspire in their enmity to God, and Christ, and his seed: There's a fundamental friendship with him, even when they are blessing themselves from him, and speaking against him, even as there is a radical enmity in Sinners to God; though Custom or E­ducation has taught them to speak well of him. Satan is the god of this World; and though he be a Tyrant, and keep Sinners in bondage, and ruleth them at his pleasure, yet sometimes he personates a servant to them: and ordinarily em­ploys them in such work as is suitable to their corrupted nature, and takes such ways with them as are pleasing to the flesh; so that there needeth no force to keep them in servitude: they are so well-pleased with their Lord, that his fetters are as Gold-chains to them; yea, some of them are so far transformed into the spirit and image of the Devil, as to commit such prodigious acts of wickedness, that one would think humane Nature corrupted as it is, should tremble at it: and, in nothing has this appeared more than in the pro­secution of this Enmity in those horrid and dia­bolical methods, and arts of violence and cruelty, that have almost in all Ages been invented and used against the godly; and as for that Dread men commonly have at his appearance, it is known how easily they are familiarized; yea, he has taught men to call evil Spirits, Familiars, good [Page 230]Neighbours, &c. And how many are in express Covenant with him? There's no man can deny this, but with the same breath he denies Christ, the Scriptures, and experience (it is credibly reported of 17 Popes, one after another): And in most, if not all places of the World he has been, and in many yet is visibly worshipped, and hath a Neighbourhood, or rather a visible Kingdom a­mong them.

2. Against whom, and what is this enmity of Satan and his seed levelled? I Answer, Prima­rily against God; he is an Adversary to God and holiness, and so to Jesus Christ as God, and also as man; because he had so much of God in him, more than any man: and to the Saints, be­cause of their relation to God and Christ: his en­mity to God appears in his whole design and bu­siness: more particularly in his blasphemous in­jections into the minds of poor Creatures, and in his using the tongues of some that he possesses, to blaspheme God; and indeed, his enticing of men to war against Heaven with their tongues, in cursing and blasphemous Oaths, where there is nei­ther profit nor pleasure to allure them, is a suf­ficient evidence, both of the Devils and of mans enmity to God. 2. This is levelled against Jesus Christ; how early stirred he up persecution a­gainst him as soon as he was born, and did all he could against him? and such enmity has he to his Name, and to the very shadow of Christianity, that he will admit none unto a strict consederacy with him, till they have renounced Christ, and the sign of their dedication to him. And Oh, what an astonishing meditation is it, to think that Spi­rits [Page 231]once so holy and wise, should have fallen in­to such deeps of sin, or risen into such a height of indignation against infinite holiness and good­ness, that now their only scope and delight should be to dishonour God, and to mar his work in the World, and his Image in man! And what an astonishing witness is this of the patience of God! we wonder he bears so long with men that are Vessels of wrath, who are but like grass on the house-tops: whereas he has suffered Satan for several thousand years, to range and tyrannize up and down the World, and yet this mars not the lustre and beauty of Gods wise Government of the World. 3. This Enmity is also levelled against the followers of Christ: all the actings of evil spirits in the World have a tendency to mens hurt (whatever friendship they may pretend): and it is not any outward concern of mens, that they especially intend to ruin, and are at pain and la­bour to undo; It is the great and eternal Con­cern of their immortal Souls that they level at; they envy them that happiness which they are out of hope of; or their hatred to God and Christ is heightned from their passing by them, when they chose and redeemed some of lost men. Now, as the Lord designs his peoples good, by all the seeming contrary dealings with them; so does the Devil by his contrary methods intend to hurt them: whether he tempt, or forbear to tempt; whether he solicite Peter to hinder Christs suffer­ings, or prompts Judas to further them: when he seems asleep, and when he rages, there's as much enmity in his peace, as in his war; If he keep truce with such as are explicitely or impli­citely [Page 232]in Covenant with him, it's but for a while. Now this Enmity is chiefly against the Church or Churches, where he can get a true visible Church, Rev. 12.13. It's with the Woman; where we see also that Gods special preservation of his Church, and disappointing or frustrating hellish designs against a Church, does greatly gall Satan, and ex­asperate him against them; when the Dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecu­ted the woman, &c. And ver. 17, The Dragon was wrath with the woman, the earth having helped her (sometimes God makes carnal men helpful to his Church, and restrains their Enmity). Why? the Woman had done him no wrong, was only escaped: and this diabolick disposition, we may clearly see in his seed: there's nothing pains some so much, as that they cannot do mischief to the people of God. Do we not see some acted with fury and unsatiable cruelty against the people of God, without the least provocation, beyond what men express in other cases, and beyond what mens natural enmity to Truth and Holiness does ordi­narily carry them? even such fury as discovers some violent excitement from Hell, and carries a lively resemblance of the Devil? Now, ver. 17. We see also, that when Satan cannot find a visible pure constituted Church, then he bends his ma­lice against single Professors, that keep themselves pure from the corruption of the place they live in, they are there called the womans seed: he went to make war with the remnant of her seed. The de­scription of these are worth our observing, ver. 17; they are such as keep the Commandments of God: that is meant in opposition to those whose [Page 233]Religion lies most in obedience to Customs, Tra­ditions and Commandments of men, whereby they make void the Institutions and Commands of God.

2. They are such as have the Testimony of Je­sus; that is, that bear Testimony to him in all his Offices, in opposition to those, who by their Ce­remonies, Humane satisfactions and self-righteous­ness, deny Christ to be come in the flesh; and also to those who deny, or incroach upon any of his Of­fices: These two contain much of the distin­guishing Characters of the true Church, and true members of Jesus Christ, from the false.

3. As for the Nature and properties of this Enmity between the two seeds: 1. It's for no private particular quarrels; Oh, what a bitter Antipathy do men manifest, even to those from whom they never received any personal injury; their own hearts must tell them, that it can be from nothing but the appearance of the Image of God in them; their pretending to hate their Hypocrisie, is vain. For 1. Under this pretence, Christ and the godly of old were persecuted, 2. Why do they not hate the openly prophane, who yet call themselves Christians, and are angry when denied outward priviledges, and the Seals of Christianity. 3. How comes it that the holiest and sincerest are most hated? and that the looser any Professor be, he has the more favour from them: let them run with them to the same excess of Riot, and they can be one with them; let them but see you have no more Religion than they have, and you may gain their friendship. Some pretend their disconformity to [Page 234]the publick Laws; and indeed, on this founda­tion were all the persecutions, almost of former times bottomed; the wiser Heathens even in the Primitive times brought it to this. But 1. Whence is it that Laws comes to be enacted and levelled against the godly? What disturbance does the purity of Religion create to the publick peace? Is there no prejudice to the publick by Comedi­ans, and Stage-players? and is there so much from Ministers preaching Jesus Christ? Are Meetings for the worship of God the only dangerous As­semblies, when yet our Adversaries do not so much as pretend that there is any thing in our Worship contrary to the Scriptures? 2. Whence is it that everywhere these Laws that are level­led against Christ and his followers, are with more care and severity executed than other laws? yea, than laws against such things and persons that are apparently dangerous to the Publick? whence is it that ordinarily men outdo in the one, and come short of the Law in other cases?

2. This Enmity is universal; in all the seed of the Serpent, against all the seed of Christ: it is not lately taken up, but has shewed it self in all the Ages of the World, and in every place where Christianity has been, or is known. Parents transmit it to their Posterity, and the Children shew themselves heirs to it, and consequently to all the effects of it, from, Cain, &c. Matth. 23.35. And is it not apparent that the calmest of them, and such as have been much polished and civilized by Religion, yet have a bitter prejudice and secret working of heart against the power of it, and will upon occasions break forth in rage [Page 235]against it where it appears; there wants not clear evidences of this, even in the most calm and peace­able dispositions, and such in whom this enmity is most restrained, and who profess great friend­ship and favour to Christ and his followers, yet cannot endure the shining and condemning-Light that's in the truly godly: but reproach, cen­sure and hate them, for having that which them­selves would be thought to have, Mal. 3.1, 3: Yea, such is this Enmity, that let the godly be never so quiet and peaceable, and useful in the Societies they live in, it is never the less: yea, such is it, that no natural Bond nor Relation can extinguish it: no Friendship, and no Bond in Na­ture so firm, but it can break and dissolve. No sooner gets Christ a little footing in a Family, or Town, or Village, but there's discords and jar­rings: Satan and his party takes the Alarm; as soon as any thing of Christ appears in one, he is as a sign and a wonder to a prophane generation: the World is like a Stepmother, and nearest Friends change their countenance.

3. This is an irreconcileable Enmity; this Con­troversie could never be taken up nor composed; the hatred is so rooted, that the wisest and great­est Reconcilers and Peace-makers, could never yet unite these two parties, no more than they can alter mens Natures. It's folly to think or talk of reconciling them; this Decree of Heaven is stronger than the Decree of the Medes and Per­sians: Men may talk of Accommodations, and Comprehensions, and Condescensions: they may talk of prudence and moderation, and mutual for­bearance, and dispensing with some things for peace-sake; [Page 236]But can light and darkness, can Heaven and Hell agree? There may be healing methods found out for uniting the godly, when differing in some particulars; their having one spirit and new Na­ture, is a good foundation for agreement: but for the unsanctified, the godly differ from them, not so much in opinions and outward practice, as in their spirit; so that though they should unite so far, as to profess the same truths, and wor­ship God in the same outward manner; were there never so much uniformity in these things, yet can they never sement, nor come to the kindly union of spirit.

And all this we may see in our day, this En­mity was never more manifest: there's a party driving Satans design; there be various forms a­mongst them; but all conspire against the truly godly, as Edom, Ammon and Amalek: and there is a party that maintain Christs cause, that keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus, though under divers denominations al­so; and that the others quarrel with them, is meerly from the old Enmity, were easie to make out. It is manifest, that whatever different no­tions men have of forms of Worship and Church-discipline, yet the matter lies not there; for how unlike are they to many godly persons of the former generation, and to some yet in outward Communion with them, who professed the same principles? And what a kindly sympathy and warm side have they to the prophane, and to Pa­pists, from whom they would seem in their prin­ciples to differ more than from us. Oh, see here your temper and state by Nature, and bless God [Page 237]if he has slain this enmity to Christ, and brought you over to his side.

What remains in the Text, I shall in a few words absolve. 2. Then observe, That as the Lord had decreed this Enmity, so he has decreed that Satan shall vex Christ and his followers, he shall bruise their heel: think not to get to Hea­ven without some hurt, or something that will make thee halt; reckon upon it, to bear the mark of Satan and his seeds malice.

Observ. 3. That God has bounded the vexa­tion that Satan and his party shall give to the godly. Fear no great hurt from them, their wound is not deadly, it comes not near their heart: in­deed, they are said to make war with the Saints, and overcome them, Rev. 13.7: but that's only in their outward concerns, and over their bodily lives; the Lord would not have you to think much even of that, but count temporal death as a hurt only in the heel: compare that with Rev. 12.11. and Rom. 8.37. Psalm 44.17, 18, 19, 20; see the worst Satan and his party can do, you are above them: if they bite your heel, it's no great damage.

Observ. 4. That Christ and all that side with him, shall certainly be victorious. Satans head, and the head of all his followers shall be bruised: as sure as they now hurt your heel, their head shall be bruised. Think on this, you who are rea­dy to say, That it's but folly to essay to with­stand the spite of the time, and therefore would either yield when tryals are sharp, or would be at composing matters, and complying a little with Satans party, for it's certainly decreed, that they shall lose the day: and that Christ and his fol­lowers [Page 238]shall be the last in the Field; and who will join with a party that are sure will be broke, whatever success they may seem to have for a while? Let this help your faith; shall Satan and his party prevail? shall they extinguish the light of the Gospel, or hinder the progress of it? shall they pluck the stars of the Churches out of Christs hands? any, no more than they can hin­der the Sun to rise, or the Moon from giving its light, or the Sea to flow: then fear not Papists, or Prelates that shall die, and wither like the grass. Antichrist and all his party, they are now ripen­ing fast, and are like fuel drying for the fire. Tophet is prepared of old for them: yet a little while and they shall blaze and flame, the Breath of the Lord like a River of Brimstone shall kindle them; their Enmity is chiefly levelled against Christ, and it's against the godly for his sake; and you doubt not but he is able to conquer Sa­tan; and shall not the Saints share in his Con­quest? You need not doubt of Satans overthrow, since Christ is his chief party.

Observ. 5. That the most compendious way for Satan and his parties ruin, is their attemp­ting against Christ and his followers, the biting of their heel: when they are doing most mischief, they are nearest his stroke, they are now with­in his reach: this was clear in Christs sufferings, wherein Satan and his party were active, by his death he slew him that had the power of death, he set his foot on the Serpents neck: when they bite his heel, he will strike out their teeth, hee'l trample on them with his feet of brass, and break them with his Mace of Iron like a Potters-Ves­sel: [Page 293]when you see the Serpent busiest, biting the heel of the godly, you may say, now God is a­bout to set his foot on the neck of his Enemies: he takes the shortest and the wisest way to ruin them.

Observ. 6. From the time that this Promise of the Enemies overthrow was given to the Church, that deliverance waits not for our good frame. Adam and Evah were lying securely in sin without sense of it, unwilling to take with it, using no diligence for their relief; there's little regret for sin amongst us, and small appearance of the ruin of the Churches Adversaries; yet, who knows how soon the vengeance of the Temple may overtake them? That Promise could not be but a perfect surprisal, and so is ordinarily the accomplishment of it also: both as to the spiritual Salvation intended in it, and as to the outward deliverance of the Church that it con­tains.

Now to conclude: You see here that in this one expression, given forth as in one Breath, se­veral things inseparably connected together: here's the first intimation of a Redeemer, and of Re­demption; and at the same time we are told of a warfare with a wicked party, with whom we must debate, and from whom also we must suf­fer; these we must by no means separate: you must be content to contend with Satan and his party, and resolve to have your heel bruised by them; you must defie the worst they can do, else you must quit Christ and his party; cleaving to Christ, and warring against them, are joyned [Page 240]in one Article: yea, are the first clause in the Go­spel Writings: if you account Christs Cross your Crown, you shall have part and portion with him. If you will not debate with Satan and his party, and fight under Christ, then think not to get any good by Christ. You see the Terms then, clause you which of them.


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