« PreviousContinue »
crowning with eternal glory what thou hast already begun in me, and the glory shall be ascribed to thee, as co-eqnal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son in one Jehovah, to whom be unceasing praise. Amen.
On Mortification of Sin-shewing how the Believer is dead to sin in Christ-what effects this produces in him, and how it is mani. fested in his putting off the old man with his deeds.
HE apostle Paul says exprefsly, that, "If any man have not the "Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." None, who know any thing of Christ, will dare to venture to deny it. God hath revealed no pofsible way to eternal life in his most holy word, but the free, Sovereign gift which he has made of it in his Son; nor any other way of conveying spiritual and eternal life to us, but by his Spirit. The record or testimony, which the Lord has given us in the Holy Bible of his ways with his people, is from the beginning to the end of it so full of the same spirit, that there is no getting rid of the term without absolutely rejecting the whole word of God. The fountain of eternal life is in God. "With thee," says the Psalmist, "is the fountain of life.' It is conveyed through Jesus Christ, by whom all things are and were created. The free grant of it is recorded in the ever
lasting gospel, which is the only way whereby we come to the knowledge of it, of our title to it, and also to the pofsefsion and enjoyment of it. It is the eternal spirit who is called the spirit of God and of Christ, that makes the conveyance of it effectual to us. Our eternal life consists in the abiding and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. This eternal life is conveyed to us in and with our new and second birth; which is styled, a being born again, a new creation, and the workmanship of God. And the effect of it is styled, a new
Mortification of sin proceeds from this, as the effect from the cause. It is the fruit of this spiritual life, thus communicated to the regenerate soul. It most naturally and necefsarily follows upon it. The man in Christ, who is by regeneration and conversion to the Lord a new creature in Christ Jesus, hath in his new nature received from the Holy Spirit a perfect hatred, an entire aversion, and contrariety to all the sin, impurity, and sinfulness inherent in his fallen nature. And as life is opposite to death, purity to impurity, holiness to sin, spirituality to carnality; so there is now felt and experienced a severe combat between sin and grace, which reside and dwell in one and the same person:
from hence forward therefore, the inward conflict is perpetual, as each strives for mastery. Hence proceeds the absolute necefsity for the believer to be sober and to watch unto prayer. The apostle suits his exhortation most exactly to the case. "This I say then, walk in the "Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts "of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth "against the Spirit, and the Spirit against "the flesh; and these are contrary the
one to the other: so that ye cannot "do the things which ye would. But if
ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not "under the law." It is of vast importance to the believer in Jesus to have clear and scriptural views of what he is, as the subject both of sin and grace. We have Paul's personal experience of it recorded in his Epistle to the Romans". He says he saw another law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which was in his members. This caused him most bitterly to exclaim, "O wretched man that I am. As the child of God is led to view and consider what actually pafses within himself, and as he compares it with what the apostle has declared, he finds that the one case is explanatory of the other. This leads him to study himself in the a Gal. v. 16, 17, 18.
b Chap. vii.
various motions and operations of inhe rent sin, and inherent grace. From hence he will practically learn that in himself, i. e. in his fallen nature, dwelleth nothing that is good. Grace does not sanctify sinful nature, but leaves it as it was. Our Lord gives us a most exact account of this when he says, "That "which is born of the flesh is flesh, and "that which is born of the spirit is
spirit." Nothing but sin and corruption is introduced into our nature by the one life; nothing but holiness, grace, and purity by the other. There is no holinefs in our fallen nature, nor sinfulnefs in our new. It is absolutely necefsary that the believer should see and acknowledge the truth of this; because although sin received its death-wound in him the first moment he was quickened by the Holy Ghost with spiritual life, and though he hungers and thirsts after Christ, has real communion with him, and is under the influence and reign of grace, at seasons he feels, that, notwithstanding with the mind he serves the law of God, yet with the flesh he serves the law of sin; so that every ordinance, every providence, every case, every circumstance, every temptation, and every experience proves to him, that he is every moment, in his fallen nature, carnal, sold under sin, and that, when he