Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XX.

ruupee

$ ER M. make good his word, that he would be with them till

the end of this world *.

But more distinctly to survey the many benefits and advantages proceeding from this excellent gift unto us, we may observe, that on it the foundation, the improvement, the completion of all our good and happiness do depend; that to the Holy Spirit in truth and justice are to be ascribed, 1. our better state and being; 2. our spiritual powers and abilities; 3. our good and acceptable performances; whatever we are, whatever we can do, whatever we actually do perform as Christians.

1. We owe to the Holy Spirit our spiritual state and being; our spiritual life, our freedom, our honourable condition.

It is by virtue of this quickening Spirit, that from ζωοποιάν. . death and corruption we are raised to an immortal

and indefectible state of life; that, as St. Paul faith, John vi. 63.

we, that were dead in trespasses and fins, are quickened Eph. ii. 1,

together with Christ; we by this incorruptible seed are i Pet. i. 23born again ; not, as formerly, to a life of vanity and

misery, or to the enjoyment of a few transitory delights, tempered with many vexatious inconveni

ences, pains, and troubles; but to sure capacities of ? Pet. I. 3, most solid and durable contentment, 10 a living hope

of an incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven for us.

It is thereby we are free men enjoying a true and perfect liberty ; being enfranchised from divers intolerable slaveries, to which we naturally are sub

jected, and from which otherwise, we could not be Gal. iv. 24. exempted; from the dominion of a rigorous law *,

which prescribeth hard duties, but doth not afford strength to perform them ; apt to condemn us, but not able to convert us; from the clamorous accusations of a guilty conscience, with anxious fears of

1 Cor. xv. 45.

5.

*Ewis rñs ourtenebas tó aiãvos. Matt. xxviii. 20.

+ Lex os omnium potuit obstruere, non potuit mentem convertere. Ambr.

punish

2.
2 Cor. iii.

punishment, that spirit of bondage unto fear, of which s ER M. St. Paul fpeaketh; from the tyranny of a most crafty, xx. spiteful, and cruel enemy, that wicked one who did captivate us at his pleasure, and detained us under his Rom. viii. power; from the no less unjust, no less mischievous 2 Tim. ii. domination of our own flesh, or natural concupiscence, o

Eph. ii. 2. impofing grievous tasks and destructive necessities upon us ; It is, faith St. Paul, the law of the spirit of Rom. viii. life in Christ Jefus, which fetteth us free from these laws of fin and of death; so that, where the spirit of the 17. Lord is, there is freedom.

From such base thraldoms we thereby are redeemed, and not only so, but are advanced to an honourable condition, are ennobled with illustrious relations, are entitled to glorious privileges : all the benefits and immunities contained in the charter of the new Jerusalem, all the advantages and privileges appropriated to God's court and family thereby appertain unto us; for we have, faith St. Paul, access by Eph. ii. is, one Spirit unto the Father, and are thence no more ig. strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the houshold of God: by this holy unction we are consecrated kings and priests unto God; by participa- Rev. i. 6. tion of this immortal seed, we are engrafted into alli- 1 Pet.ii. g. ance with the heavenly King, become children of God, brethren of Christ, heirs of Paradise (and infinitely better Paradise than that from which we formerly were excluded); for this is that TEVEūla vio fecius, Rom. viii. that Spirit which constituteth us the fons of God, 5;

John i. 13. qualifying us to be so by dispositions resembling God, and filial affections toward him ; certifying us that we are só, and causing us by a free instinct to cry Gal. iv. 6. Abba, Father, running into his bosom of love, and flying under the wings of his mercy in all our noeds and distresses; whence as many as are led by the Spirit, Rom. viii. they, faith St. Paul, are the sons of God; and, the 14. Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the 16. children of God; yea, which may seem yet a farther pitch of dignity, we, by intervention of this Spirit,

[ocr errors]

Rom, viii.

Dd 4

are

XX.

16.

Rom. viii.

9, II.

S ER M. are united and incorporated into Christ himself, be

ing made living members of his body, parraking a common life and sense with him ; by it we are compacted into the same spiritual edifice, dedicated to the worship and inhabitation of God; our bodies and souls are made temples of his divinity, thrones

of his majesty, orbs of his celestial light, paradises of Eph. ii. 22. his blissful presence; for, In whom, saith St. Paul,

yề are built together for an inhabitation of God through I Cor. iii. the Spirit ; and, Know je not that ye are the temple of

God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

By the Holy Spirit we are instated in these inconceivably glorious privileges, and by it only we are assured of them, to our comfort ; the gift of it, as it

is a great part of them, and the chief cause, so it is a Eph. i. 13. fure confirmation and pledge ; Ye, faith St. Paul,

were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the 2. Cor. i. 21, earnest of our inheritance; and, It is God who did esta

blish us with you in Christ, and anointed us, and also sealed 15, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts: all which phrases do import the same thing, that is, a comfortable assurance concerning the reality of the benefits by divine grace exbibited and promised to us.

2. Neither only relatively and extrinfecally is our state bettered and exalted from death to life, froin Navery to freedom, from baseness to dignity; but ourselves answerably are changed, and amended by the fame Holy Spirit, with a real and intrinfecal alteration, transforming us into other things, much dif

ferent from what we were in our former natural Tit. iii. 5. ftate; by that renovation of the Holy Ghost, of which Eph. iv. 23. St. Paul speaketh, we are, faith he, renewed in the

Spirit of our mind; so that not only the decayed frame of our soul is thereby repaired and reformed, but its powers are much improved and enlarged ; we are thence endowed with new and better faculties, as it were; with quicker apprehensions, with fincerer judgınents, with righter inclinations, with nobler paffions, than we had before, yea, than we

could

2 Cor. y. 17

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

XX.

2 Cor. v. 17. Col. iii. 10. Eph. iv. 23.

could have had in our original state ; so that in the S ER M.
language of holy Scripture we thence become new
men, and new creatures, created according to God in
righteousness and true holiness ; according to God, that Eph. iv. 24.
is, in conformity to the divine perfections of recti-
tude in mind and will, so as to resemble God in a
higher degree, and more worthy respects, than for- il. 10.
merly. Our father Adam was made zis Yuxeny zwrav, i Cor. xv.
a creature endowed with life and sense, furnished 45.
with powers and appetites disposing to acquire, pre-
serve, and enjoy the conveniences agreeable to that
frame ; and we naturally are fuxixon är Jewnos, animal 1 Cor. ii.
men ; such as naturally do apprehend, do affect, do 14.
pursue things concerning this present life; the plea-
sures of sense, and the satisfactions of fancy; free.
dom from want and pain, security from danger and
disturbance, together with the means we suppose con-
ducible to those, wealth, honour, and power ; these
are those desires of the flesh and of the mind, the things ostivara
which according to our natural temper and frame we

σαρκός και
like and approve; which most men therefore do high-Eph. ii. 3.
ly value, passionately love, and earnestly seek : nor
doth nature only incline us to a complacence in these
things, but customary fruition greatly endeareth them
to us; so that we continually improve our acquaint-
ance, and contract a firmer alliance with them; but
spiritual and divine things (the things of the Spirit of
God*, as St. Paul calleth them) we cannot receive; Aixiosa.
that is, simply of ourselves, without aid of another
interior principle, we have no capacity to apprehend
them, no disposition to entertain them, no strength
to pursue them; they, as the Apostle faith, are fool-
ishness to us, that is, incongruous to our prejudicate
notions, and infipid to our corrupt palates.

Such doctrines as these ; that our felicity consist. eth not in affluence of temporal enjoyments, but in dispositions of soul crossing our humours, curbing

Tā diavosiv.

* Ta' sê wyrózatos tã Osē. Cor. ii. 14.

our

SER M. our appetites, and quelling our passions; in conformi. xx. ity of practice to rules distasteful to our fense; in

the love and favour of an invisible Being; in reverfion of an estate not to be pofseffed until after our death in another world; that none of these present things do well deserve our serious regard, affection, or care, and that it is blamcable to be folicitous about them; that naked goodness (how low, weak, and poor soever) is to be chosen before all the specious pomps and glories of this world; that the secret testimony of conscience is to be preferred before all the approbation and applause of men ; that the hope of future joy should overfway the desire of present most certain and sensible delights; that the loss of all things may sometime be deemed our greatest gain, being contemned our highest honour, enduring afflictions our inost desirable condition, death our furest welfare, a cross preferable to a crown ; that accordingly it is often advantageous and expedient for us, and a duty incumbent on us, willingly to discard our dearest contents of life, to facrifice our most valued interest, to forsake our nearest relations, to refuse what we most affect, to undertake what we most distaste, to undergo without reluctancy or

regret the most bitter accidents that can befal us; John xii. that we must (to use the holy style) bate our own Like xiv. Jouls

, deny, ourselves, and take up our cross, quit 26. xiv. 33. houses and lands, defert kindred and

friends; anotácorJou não tris lavaš vrápysoi' to renounce, or bid fareCol. iii. 5. well, to all that he hath, or owneth, cut off our right Gal, v. 24. bands, and pluck out our right eyes; circumcise our Rom. vi. 6. hearts, mortify our members ; crucify our flesh, with its khil . iii. 7» affections and lufts ; be crucified to the world; to account

all worldly things damage, dross, and dung, in comparison to spiritual goods : that we must fo far remit and restrain our felf-love, as to love all men, not excluding our greatest enemies, as ourselves ; so as not only to part freely with our particular accommodations, but upon occasion, in imitation of our Saviour,

to

Matt. xvi.

v.

« AnteriorContinuar »