« PreviousContinue »
tues ; in which we are bid to be Followers of him as dear Children. And when we are arriv'd to that, we may be faid with the Disciples in the Text, to forsake all, and follow him,
This is the whole Drift and Design of this Day's Gospel; which having improv'd all along as I have gone in it, there can be no need of any farther Application. Briefly then let us learn from hence,
Ift, To confirm our Faith and Hope in our Blessed Saviour, and in all times of Difficulty and Disappointment stedfastly to believe and stick to him.
2dly, From this Instance of his miraculous Power and Goodness, learn to go on diligently and chearfully in the Duties of your several Callings, and in the Use of all lawful Means firmly trust and rely upon his Providence for the Issue and good Success of them.
3dly, Let us from hence learn to be constant and faithful Followers of Christ, both in his Doctrine and Example; so shall we, who now follow him in Grace and Holiness here, hereafter follow him to Glory: Which God grant, for the Merits of Jesus Christ, ác.
DISCOURSE X.XII. The ÉPISTLE for the Sixth Sunday after
Rom. vi. 312. Know ye not, that so many of us, as were baptized
into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his Death? Therefore we are buried with him by Baptifma into Death; that like as Christ was raised P. from the Dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also sbould walk in Newness of Life, &c.
HE Collect for this Day minds us of the good things which God hath prepard for them that love him,
which are indeed such as pass Man's Understanding; and from thence teaches us to pray to him to pour into our Hearts such Love towards him, that we loving him above all things, may obtain his Promises, which exceed all that we can desire, thro Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now because these good things are obtain'd for us by the Death of Christ, and the Promises of them depend much upon his Resurrection; therefore the Epistle for the Day mentions our Conformity to both, as the best Means to procure a Title to them, and to secure an Interest in them : which things are represented to us in our Baptism, and the Profession made in it obliges us to them.
As for our Conformity to the Death of Christ, the Apostle asks the Question in the beginning, Know ye not, that so many of us, as were baptized into Chrift, were baptized into his Death? meaning, that 'twas a thing well known among Chriltians, that the Immersion in Baptism refer'd to the Death of Christ: the patting the Perfon baptiz'd into
with the Water, represented and proclaim'd his Death; and the plunging him over head and ears in the Water, according to the Custom of those Countries, signify'd their being bus ry'd with Christ. Therefore (faith the Apostle in the next
Verse) Verse) we are buried with him by Baptism into Death: Our being dip'd in Water in the Font being a Sacred Figure of his being dip'd in Blood, and laid up in the Grave;
. which in the next Verse is stild, our being planted together in the Likeness of his Death, that like as Christ was swallow'd up of Death, and bury'd in the Earth, so we are overwhelm'd in Baptism, and bury'd in the Water.
This is briefly our Conformity to Christ's Death, as 'tis represented in Baptism, the End whereof is to mortify and kill Sin in us: and therefore antiently they who were baptiz'd were woat to put off their Garments, as a Sign or Token of their putting off the whole Body of Sin, and being dead to it, as we shall see after.
As for our Conformity to Christ's Resurrection, that likewise is here set forth as represented in Baptism: for as the being cover'd all over in Water, according to the antient Ceremony, signify'd the being dead and bury'd with Chrift; for the rising up again out of the Water, signify'd their rising again with Christ : that like as he was rais'd from the Dead by the Glory of his father, even so we also should walk in Newness of Life; and as we are planted in the Likeness of bis Death, jo are we in the Likeness of his Resurrection: the dipping of the Body under the Water, and the rising of it again out of the Water in Baptism, being lively Symbols and Figures of both.
But what were the Ends or design d Effects of this Likeness or Conformity to Christ's Death and Resurrection? Why, that the following Part of this Epistle will inform us. And,
Firt, The End of our Conformity to Christ's Death was (as I hinted before), the killing of Sin in us, and the forfaking of it in the whole Course of our Conversation : fo the next words speak of it as a thing well known and taken for granted; Knowing this (faith the Apostle) that our old Man is crucified with him, that the Body of Sin might be deftroyed, that benceforth we fould not serve Sin. Where, by the old Man, we are to understand that Corruption of Nature, which we deriv'd from our first Parents, whereby all the Faculties of the Soul, and the Members of the Body be. came the Instruments and Servants of Şin. This Depravede ness of Nature is in Scripture often calls the old Man, which is corrupt according to the finful Lults. Now the End of Christ's Death was to crucify this old man; and pur conforming to it, is to have it crucify'd with him : fo
St. Paul declares of himself, I am crucify'd with Chrift, Gal. 2. 20. Because the World is apt to draw us into the Love and Service of the old Man, he tells us, that the Would was crucify'd unto him, and he unto the World ; Gal. 6. 14. withal minding us, that they that are Christ's have crucified the Flesh with the Affections and Lufts; Gal. 5. 24. And all this, that the Body of Sin may be destroy'd in us. St. Paul complain'd of this Body of Sin as the greatest Burden he groan'd under, and of which he most delir'd to be easid, saying, wretched Man that I am! who mall deliver me from this Body of Sin and Death ? Rom.7. 24. Now Christ by his Death hath deliver'd us from this Body of Death ; and our being baptiz'd into his Death at once represents and entitles us to that Deliverance, by which we are so far nade free, that henceforth we mould not serve Sin: which Freedom hath deliver'd us both from the Power and the Guilt of Sin.
As for the Power of Sin, that is destroy'd for us by the Power of Divine Grace; insomuch that Sin shall no longer rcign in thereof. Sin indeed domineers and rules in the Hearts of
four mortal Bodies, that we mould obey it in the Lufts the Children of Disobedience; it hath fet up its Empire or Kingdom within them, and so made them Slaves and Vaf fals to their vile Affections; but this Kingdom is pullid down and destroy'd by the Influence of the Divine Spirit: so that now if we manfully withstand it, it can have no Dominion over us, and without our own yielding and consent it cannot prevail against us; its Power is broken, and the Grace of God is sufficient to fortify us against its strongest Temptations : which made St. Paul say, that he could do all things thro Christ that strengthned him.
And as the Power of Sin is destroy'd, fo is the Guilt of it remov'd by the Death of Christ; the Sting of it is pluckt out, and it can now do us no more harm than a dead Lion or a painted Serpent; the Cry. of it is silenc'd by the Blood of Christ, and its Obligation to Punishment wholly taken off by his pardoning Grace : for there is now no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8. 1.
These things are all confirm'd to us in the next words For he that is dead is freed from Sin. As a Man that is dead is free from the Dominion of any, that before had power over him, so he that is dead to Sin, is deliver'd from the Dominion and Power of it; all hunian Slavery ends with
Death; for then, as fob fpeaks, the Servant is free from his Mafter, Job 3. 19. So all spiritual Slavery and Thraldom to our ghostly Enemies is ended with this fpiritual Death : He that is dead and buried with Christ by Baptism, is no more to lead or continue in any sinful Course, than a dead Man can live again his former Life. So St. Peter tells us, that as Christ suffer'd in the Flesh for Sin, so. We that suffer and are dead with him are to cease from Sin, that we should no longer live the rest of our time in the Flesh, to the Lufts of Men, but to the Will of God; 1 Pet. 4. 192. By all which it manifestly appears, that as the Delign of Christ's Death was to destroy Sin, so the End of our being baptiz’d into his Death, is to kill Sin in us, to take away the Power and Dominion of it, that it may no longer reign in our Bodies, or bring Damnation to the Soul. This is briefly our Conformity to Christ's Death, by dying unto Sin, for which he died, and burying our Iniquities in the fame Grave in which he was laid.
Secondly, As for our Conformity to Christ's Resurrection, and the End of that, both those consist in living unto God, and in walking before him in Newness of Life. The proving and clearing of this is indeed the main Design of the Epistle for this Day: for as the Belief of Christ's Death, into which we are baptiz’d, implies our being dead unto Sin, for which he died; fo the Belief of his Resurrection, which is likewise declar'd and profess'd in Baptism, implies our living unto Righteousness, of which his rising again from the Dead was both a Sign and Seal. So the words already discours’d of, and those that follow, manifestly import. The Newness of Life before mention'd, ver.4. implies such a new regenerate Life, answerable to Christ's Resurrection, as consists in a Course of Sanctity and religious Walking with God. The being planted in the Likeness of his Resurrečtion, mention’d ver. F. lignifies our Obligation to initate and answer that in the Fruits of a new and holy Life, of which his Resurrection was a lively. Image or Resemblance: for as the Corruption of our Nature, that we receiv'd from Adam, is callid the old Man, which we are requir'd to put off; fo the Regeneration of it, that we have by Christ, is called the new Creature, which we are commanded to put on,
As in Adam all die, both a natural and spisitual Death, so in Chrift mall all be made aliven by a Life of Grace here, and of Glory hereafter. This is the Apostle's