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deceit; the poison of asps will be under their lips; their mouth will be full of cursing and bitterness; their feet will be swift to shed blood. Let a sinner only know this plague of his own heart, the want of all good principles, and he will see cause enough for self-reproach and self-abhorrence.
3. It hence appears that such as hope they are christians, had need be very cautious and thorough in self-examination. Many are the ways in which men may experience a superficial conversion, and seem to be religious, when all, at bottom, is nothing but self-love. There is also great danger of mistaking conscience, for a good heart; or natural compassion, and other partial kind affections, for that love which is the fulfilling of the law-that charity which is the bond of perfectness. By these means, undoubtedly, multitudes are deceived; thinking themselves something, when they are nothing. And for these reasons, it greatly concerns supposed converts, again and again, to examine and prove their own selves.
4. Christians, the most assured and best of them, should hence be led to adore the sovereignty of divine grace; and to walk humbly with God, and meekly among their fellow-men. To this purpose, I shall conclude with the words of Paul to Titus: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness to all men. For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God appeared; not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
ON MAN'S NATIVE OPPOSITION OF HEART, TO THE SUPREME BEING.
ROMANS VIII. 7.
The carnal mind is enmity against God.
THAT mankind may be brought to a
compliance with the proposals and terms of the gospel, a deep conviction of sin, as well as misery, is altogether necessary. In vain are any called upon to repent, or receive an offered Saviour, before they are sensible that they are sinners. In vain do we persuade men to be reconciled to God, as long as they see not that they are in a state of irreconciliation.
Many have little apprehension of the evil of their ways: when, therefore, the gospel is preached to them, they make light of it, and pay little attention to it. Others, though they have some conviction of their external sins, and feel some concern what they shall do to be saved; yet perceive not the desperate wickedness of their hearts, and hence their hurt is healed slightly, by a superficial amendment. In order to a true repentance and turning to God, a sinner must know, as Solomon expresses it," the plague of his own heart." Nor is a conviction of one's
total want of true holiness, all that is necessary to answer every important purpose. It is said, "The heart of the sons of men is full of evil;" and perceiving this, as well as that in it there dwelleth no good thing, is useful, if not absolutely requisite, that a sinner may have a proper sense of his need of gospel grace.
The apostle, in the words now to be insisted on, asserts the extreme positive wickedness of the heart of fallen man, in very strong and striking terms. In discoursing upon this subject, it is proposed to show;
I. What we are here to understand by the carnal mind.
II. What is meant by its being enmity against God.
III. What other evidence we have that it is really so: and,
IV. What is the cause of this enmity; or how it can rationally be accounted for.
By the carnal mind, I conceive, the apostle means, the mind of the natural man: the mind which all men are of, until, in the language of our Saviour, they are born again. The word carnal, it is true, signifies the same as fleshly. Carnal is opposed to spiritual, as flesh is opposed to spirit. And by the word flesh, when applied to man, we sometimes mean the body, in distinction from the soul. Whence, perhaps, some might be ready to think, that by the carnal mind, is most naturally to be understood, a mind that is uncommonly under the dominion of bodily appetites. The mind of a glutton, a drunkard, or of one abandoned to lewdness. But from the frequent use of similar phrases and expressions in scripture, and even from the passage in connection with our text itself, it may well be
concluded, that nothing more worse is here meant, than the mind of every unregenerate sinner. By the flesh, in the New-Testament, is very frequently intended, the whole man, as he is by natural generation. Our Saviour, having observed to Nicodemus, that, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" to explain himslf, and to give the reason of the necessity of this second birth, he says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." And all sorts of sins are called works of the flesh. "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, and heresies, are so called, Gal. v. 20, as well as drunkenness and uncleanness. By the flesh, in these places, must necessarily be understood, "the old man which is corrupt;" and by the spirit, "the new man, which is created after God in righteousness and true holiness." In the same manner the words flesh and spirit, carnal and spiritual, are evidently used in the context, both before our text and after it. The apostle had said, ver. 1, " There is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." And ver. 5, 6, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." He then adds, ver. 7, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." And he goes on to say, ver. 8, 9, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." He is manifestly describing the essential difference, in temper and state, between the regenerate and the unregenerate; and it is plain from the whole passage, that by the carnal mind is meant, the mind of the natural man-the mind of all the sons and daughters of Adam, except such as have been