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nant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” But I now address myself, in the
2d Place, to those happy persons who are in a state of friendship with God. To you then I say, that this gracious promise should both excite, and encourage you to stedfastness in the waysof religion. “ For if God be with you, who can be against you?” “ Be strong then in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” All necessary aid is provided for you in the tenor of the well-ordered covenant, and will not fail to be imparted to you in the time of your need. Your help is laid on one who is mighty to save, and who is no less willing than able to support you under all your trials. “Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end.” But the principal improvement which you ought to make of this promise, is to put away from your minds all dissatisfaction with your present condition, or anxiety about your future provision in the world. God hath charged himself with the care of providing for you while you are here. He hath not, indeed, promised you an exemption from poverty, hardships, or afflictions ; but he hath assured you, that these things are no tokens of his displeasure ; nay, on the contrary, that they are intended for your greatest good, and that he is never nearer to his people than when they are in the furnace of affliction. What abundant reason then have you to be contented with whatever lot he is pleased to appoint you in
the world, and to look beyond all the momentary distresses you now suffer, to that incorruptible inheritance which is reserved for you in heaven. “ Let your conversation then be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye bave: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
Preached on a Day of Thanksgiving, after the dispensation of
the Lord's Supper.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh,
with the affections and lusts.
No man, who hath experienced the deceitfulness of his own heart, will think the subject of this text improper for the present occasion. It is true this day is set apart for thanksgiving; and with the highest pleasure would I enter on the delightful theme of divine love and condescension, which shall employ the praises of the redeemed through endless ages. But a solicitous concern, that your joy may be well founded, hath induced me to propose to you a strict examination of yourselves, whether you have indeed an interest in him, through whom all favour and good-will to sinners is conveyed. The text furnisheth us with an infallible rule to direct our judgment in VOL. III.
this inquiry. They that are Christ's," not all who are called by his name, but they who are united to him, as the branches are united to the vine, who are governed by his Spirit, and have a right to the benefits of his purchase, are distinguished by this attainment, “ They have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
In discoursing on these words, I propose,
First, To show what is meant by crucifying the flesh, with the affections and lusts.
Secondly, To show, that it is the distinguishing character, and the real attainment of all who are Christ's, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. And then to conclude with an improvement suited to the occasion of our present meeting
I begin with inquiring what is meant by “crucifying the flesh, with the affections and lusts." By“ “ the flesh," we are to understand the corrupt nature of man; and by “the affections and lusts, those depraved appetites which maintain their power within us, until the renewing grace of God implant in us those seeds of holiness, by which the image of God is formed on our soul. When man came first from the hands of his Maker, his reason, pure and uncorrupted, was the governing princi. ple of his mind. But by transgressing the original commandment, and eating the forbidden fruit, in compliance with a mean corporeal appetite,
the sensitive part of his nature obtained that dominion or predominancy which it still maintains in every unrenewed man.' Accordingly, we find our natural condition opposed in Scripture, to our regenerated state, under these metaphorical expressions of flesh and spirit. " That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The meaning is plainly this : the temper and dispositions which we bring with us into the world by ordinary generation, are, since the fall, carnal and depraved; whereas the temper and dispositions which we receive by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost, are, like their original, spiritual and holy. The same idea is expressed in the 17th verse of this chapter ; where it is said, “ the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these two are contrary the one to the other.” It appears, then, that by the “ flesh, with the affections and lusts,” we are to understand the corrupt state of man's mind since the first transgression, and all those depraved dispositions and affections which naturely flow from the corrupt principle, and which incline us to seek happiness from earthly things, independent of God. We learn too what is meant by “ crucifying the lusts and affections of the flesh;" namely, that this natural depravity of mind is subdued; that the carnal principle, like a crucified malefactor, languishes and decays; until, by degrees, gracious or renewed habits are for