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You are not in the Flesh - Romans 8:9

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    You are not in the Flesh - Romans 8:9

    by Thomas Manton

    Romans 8:9. — But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit; if so be the Spirit of God doeth in you.

    In these words the Apostle applieth the property of the justified, unto the Romans. In this application you may observe both his charity and his prudence; —
    1. His charity, but you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit.
    2. His prudence, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you.

    For that clause which expresseth his charity. The phrases of being ‘in the flesh,’ or ‘in the spirit,’ are the same with being ‘after the flesh,’ and ‘after the spirit,’ Romans 8:5, or ‘walking,’ or ‘living after the flesh,’ or ‘after the spirit,’ used in other verses of this chapter.

    In the other clause which expresseth his prudence. The word is either causal or conditional, and signifieth either for so much, or if so be; our translation preferreth the latter rendering; and the sense is, if it were not so, I would not judge you to belong to Christ. As to the latter, observe two things. (1.) To be in the spirit, or to have the spirit dwelling in us, is the same, for the inhabitation is mutual; we are in the spirit, and the spirit in us. (2.) That the Spirit of God and of Christ are all one, witness the proof here subjoined, for he that hath not the Spirit of Christ, is none of his.

    Doct. That they in whom the Spirit of God dwelleth, though they live in the flesh, they do not live after the flesh.

    The terms must be explained.
    The connection proved.

    1. The terms must be explained. Two terms there are: —

    [1] What is the indwelling of the spirit;
    [2.] What it is to live in the flesh.

    @Page:485[1.] What the Spirit dwelling in ns meaneth. Three things are implied, — intimacy, constancy, sovereignty; intimacy with us, constancy of operation in us, and sovereignty over us.

    (1.) Intimacy, or familiar presence. As the inhabitant in his own house, he is more there than elsewhere. God is every where essentially; his essence and being is no where included, and no where excluded: Psalm 139:7, ‘Whither shall I go from the Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?’ He is said more especially to be there where he most manifests his power and presence, so his dwelling is known by his operation, he is in us virlule insignis alicujus effectus, by some notable and eminent effect which he produceth in us. As to the effects of common providence, it is said: Ephesians 4:6, ‘That God is above all, and through all, and in all.’ But be dwelleth in believers, not by the effects of common providence, but by the special influence of his grace, as Christ’s agent begetting and maintaining a new spiritual life in their souls. So he is in them as he is no where else, by his gracious operations performed there: Acts 26:18, ‘Opening their hearts:’ Acts 16:14, comforting and guiding them upon all occasions. This is his gracious and familiar presence, which the world is not capable of: John 14:17, ‘I will send unto you the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.’ The world of natural men are great strangers to the Spirit of Christ; they were never acquainted with his gracious and saving operations; but he intimately discovereth his presence to those that enjoy him in the exercise of grace; they feel and discern his motions, and have that comfort and peace which others are strangers to. This then is the intimate and familiar presence of the Spirit in the hearts of believers. Some have raised questions, whether the person of the Holy Ghost be in believers, or only his gifts and graces. The person questionless. We have not only the fruit but the tree, the stream but the fountain; but he doth not dwell in us personally. The Spirit was in Christ σωματικῶς, bodily or personally, for his soul dwelt with God in a personal union; in all creatures he is πνευματικῶς, by the common effects of his power and providence; but in believers ἐνεργετικῶς? spiritually by gracious effects, which is all the conception we can have of it.

    (2.) Constancy. Dwelling noteth his residence, or a permanent and constant abode. He doth not act upon them, or affect them by a transient motion only, or come upon them as he came upon Sampson, at times, or as he came upon the prophets or holy men of God, when in some particular services they were specially inspired and carried beyond the line of their ordinary abilities; but he dwelleth in us by working such effects as carry the nature of a permanent habit. On the carnal he worketh per modum actionis transeuntis, but on the sanctified there are effects wrought, not transient, but permanent, per modum habitus permanenlis, as faith, love, and hope. There is difference between his acting upon us and dwelling in us; the Holy Spirit cometh to us not as a guest but as an inhabitant; not for a visit and away, but to take up his abode in us. Therefore, when the Spirit is promised, Christ saith, ‘He will give us a well of water always springing into eternal life:’ John 4:14, — Not a draught nor a plash @Page:486 of water, nor a pond, but a living spring: so John 14:23, ‘We will come to him, and make our abode with him. He liveth in the heart, that, by constant and continual influence, he may maintain the life of grace in us, Galatians 5:25; by degrees he deadeneth and mortifieth our dearest and strongest sin, Romans 8:13, and continually stirreth us up to the love and obedience of God in Christ: 1 Peter 1:22; exciteth us to prayer, and quickeneth our spiritual desires, Romans 8:26; giveth us consolation in crosses, 1 Peter 4:14, and counsel in all our ways, and Romans 8:14; and sets us a longing for heaven, Romans 8:23. In short, the Spirit is said to dwell there where his ordinary and constant work is, and where he doth by his constant and continual influence form and frame men’s hearts and lives to holiness.

    (3.) Sovereignty. This is implied also in the notion of dwelling; take the metaphor either from a common house, or from a temple. From an house: where the spirit dwelleth, he dwelleth there as the owner of an house, not as an underling. The apostle inferreth from the Spirit dwelling in us, that we are not our own, 1 Corinthians 6:19. We were possessed by another owner before we were recovered into his hands; our hearts are Satan’s shop and workhouse; the evil spirit saith, Matthew 12:44, 45, ‘I will return to mine own house.’ But he is dispossessed by the Spirit, and then it becomes his house, where he commandeth and doth dispose and govern our hearts after his own will. But it more clearly floweth from the other notion of a sacred house or temple: 1 Corinthians 3:16, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ and 1 Corinthians 6:19, ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?’ A temple is a sacred house, and must be employed for the honour of the God whose temple it is. The heart of man naturally is a temple full of idols; every dunghill-god is worshipped there, Mammon, the belly, Satan; but when this temple is cleansed, and becometh a mansion for the Holy Spirit, he must be chief there, and all things must be done to his honour, that he may be obeyed, reverenced and worshipped in his own temple. This much we get from either notion: of a common house, that the Spirit is owner or lord of that house; or from a sacred house or temple, that he is the god of that temple; and so wherever he dwelleth he is chief, and principally beareth sway in the heart; whatever opposeth or controlleth his motions, it is as an intruder in a common house, or as an idol set up in a temple.

    [2.] What it is to be, or live in the flesh. It noteth two things, the natural life, or the carnal life.

    (1.) The natural life, as Galatians 2:20, ‘The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God;’ that is, while I exercise the functions and actions of this natural life: Philippians 1:22, ‘But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour;’ that is, if I still enjoy this natural life: for the apostle was in a strait which to desire, to be in the flesh, or out of the flesh.

    (2.) The carnal life, as the 8th verse of this chapter, ‘They that are in the flesh cannot please God.’ Sometimes it is put for some acts belonging to the carnal life; but more usually for the state of carnality: ‘if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.’ Now I say, the children of God having his Spirit dwelling in them, though they live in the flesh, @Page:487 though they live a natural life, and Laving not divested themselves of the interests and concernments of flesh and blood no more than others, yet they do not ‘live after the flesh.’ A life carnal, see it notably expressed: 1 Peter 4:2, ‘That he should no longer live the rest of his; time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but the will of God.’ Though the life be in the flesh still, yet it is not ordered by the will of the flesh, but the will of God. It is in the flesh we live, but not after the flesh, — mortifying and subduing the inclinations of corrupt nature yet more and more. Thus we see the sense of the words.

    (2.) Let me prove the connection, that though they live in the flesh, yet they do not live after the flesh. The very explication doth sufficiently show it.

    [1.] For if the dwelling of the Spirit implieth intimacy and familiarity, or such operations in the hearts of believers as are not common to others, but peculiar to them, then certainly God’s children, though they live in the flesh as others do, yet they should and do live above the rate of flesh and blood; for they have an higher principle in them, which others have not. It is a charge on Christians, that they walk as men 2 Corinthians 3:3, κατʼ ἄνθρωπον. If we do no more than ordinary men do, wherein do we differ? What peculiar excellency do we show forth? Some live as beasts, as if they had forsaken all humanity, and had no reason, but sense; others only as men that have reason, but not the spirit. But our way should be with the wise, above, as having a more excellent spirit dwelling in us.

    [2.] If it implieth the constancy of his operations; he doth not sojourn for a season, but dwelleth in us by his continuance and abode in our hearts; for he hath constant work to do there, to quicken and enliven our graces, and check the flesh, and abate the force of it. Surely then the tenor of our lives must not be after the flesh, but after the spirit. There are but few but have their good moods and fits; but a constant habitual influence or principle of life, inferreth more than some good moods now and then, a constant living in obedience to God.

    [3.] If it implieth sovereignty, that he dwelleth as lord in his own house, then he must not be controlled, nor grieved by the indulging the desires of the flesh: so that the terms explained do evidence themselves, and make out their own truth to any man’s consideration. But yet we shall give you some other reasons.

    (1.) The Spirit dwelleth nowhere, but where he hath changed the heart so far as to put a new nature in us. He writeth the word of God upon the heart: Hebrews 8:10, and thereby imprinteth his image upon them, 2 Corinthians 3:18, ‘But we all as with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image;’ so fitting us for God, and making us amiable in his sight. Now they that are thus prepared, are in the flesh, but not after the flesh; they keep the affections which belong to the bodily life, but they are mortified and subdued, they are not governed by them: 2 Peter 1:4, ‘To us are given great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust.’ In which place is intimated a new principle, and that is the divine nature; a new rule, and that is not the course of the world, but the will of God revealed in his word; new ends and motives, and those not the @Page:488 satisfying of our fleshly lusts, but the vision and fruition of God, intimated in the great and precious promises. Now if the Spirit of God dwelleth nowhere but where he hath thus fitted the heart for his residence by sanctifying it and inclining it to God, and the world to come as our happiness, and the word of God as our sure direction thither, it must needs follow, that where the Spirit of God dwelleth, they do not live after the flesh, though they live in it; for then there is a contrary principle, the new nature, which must needs be a curb upon the flesh, if we obey the inclinations of it: Galatians 5:16, ‘Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.’ And a contrary rule, which is the will of God. Romans 12:2, ‘Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.’ For by it they are new formed, and to it they are suited; and there is a contrary end and tendency, which is to love, please, serve, glorify and enjoy God. As the natural soul looketh after the conveniences of the body, and catereth only for the body; so the renewed soul looketh after the pleasing of God. 1 Peter 4:6, ‘We live to God in the spirit.’ Their business lieth with God, and their happiness lieth in God; it is his favour they seek, his work they do, and the fruition of him they aim at. Spiritual life carrieth a resemblance with the life of Christ as Mediator. Now Christ, ‘in that he liveth, he liveth unto God: Romans 6:10; so doth a Christian, his whole life is a living unto God: Galatians 2:19, ‘The life that I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.’

    (2.) When the heart is thus prepared, the Spirit of God cometh to dwell in them, to take possession of them for God’s use, 2 Corinthians 6:10, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; for I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ They have given up themselves to God, and God owneth the dedication, and sendeth his Spirit into their hearts, first, to take possession of them, and then to maintain and keep afoot his interest in their souls against all the assaults of the devil: ‘For stronger is he that is in us, than he that is in the world:’ 1 John 4:4. The world is governed by the evil spirit, but they that are regenerated and enlightened by the Spirit of God, have the knowledge of his will, which is more mighty to establish the saints in truth and holiness, than the spirit of error and persecution to draw and drive them from it. So against the world, 2 Corinthians 2:12, ‘We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God.’ He showeth us better things, and so causeth us to believe them, and to live above all the glory, riches, and pleasures of the world. For the flesh, as he hath set up a contrary opposite principle against it, so his constant working in the heart is to maintain it in predominancy, bringing us more and more to abhor all licentiousness and sensuality, and warning us of our snares and clangers, that we may not make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Indeed this doth not exclude our duty: we are to be led by the Spirit, or else we aie not what we do pretend to be. We arc not to grieve the Spirit, or else we carry it unthankfully towards him, and resist and forfeit his grace; nor do we fulfil our covenant-vow made with the Holy Ghost, if we disobey his sanctifying motions; but it is a great advantage, that we have not only an opposite principle, but an opposite @Page:489 power, which is an enemy to the flesh, and is still contending against it in our hearts.

    Use 1. is information.

    1. How much this is for the glory of God, that he can maintain grace in the hearts of his people; that whilst they live in the flesh, they do not live after the flesh. Take living in the flesh in the softest sense, for the natural life, it is a state of great frailty and weakness. The natural life only seeketh what is good for itself. Christians have the same bodies, and the same affections that other men have, yet they live quite after another manner; their natural inclination is overruled; while they are in the flesh, they are humbled with many wants, afflictions, and weaknesses, hut God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9. The word made perfect is notable; excellent things suffer a kind of imperfection till there be an occasion to discover them. Now our many infirmities give an occasion to show forth the perfection that is in the power of grace, which can maintain us in life and comfort, notwithstanding reproaches, pain, sufferings. Were it not for the animal life, there would be no place for temptations and the exercise of grace; but all that are in the flesh have all these things accomplished in them: 1 Peter 5:19. During our worldly state, we must expect hardships; there goeth more grace to preserve a man in his duty, than goeth to preserve the good angels in their estate; they are out of gunshot and harm’s way. To glorify God upon earth is the greater difficulty: John 17:4, 5, ‘I have glorified thee on earth, and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory I had with thee before the world was.’ Christ pleadeth that now for the saints, in the midst of so many afflictions; to maintain their integrity and delight in God is the great glory of grace; for surely we stand not by our own strength. But besides the natural life which exposeth us to these difficulties, the carnal life is not wholly extinguished; there is flesh in us, though we be not in the flesh: Galatians 5:17, ‘For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other.’ Now not only to maintain the combat, but to obtain conquest and victory, is the great wonder of grace, when there are not only temptations without, but mixed principles within. Surely not only in this frail, but this mixed estate, it is as great a wonder to maintain grace in the soul as to maintain a spark of fire in wet wood. The world hath usually an advantage of us in matter of principle; but we have the advantage of them in matter of motive and assisting power, to whom the glory of the conquest alone is to be ascribed. We have, indeed, a principle which directeth and inclineth us to higher ends than the children of this world look after; but their principles are more entire and unbroken, for they are altogether flesh: Genesis 6:5, ‘And God saw that the wickedness of man was great upon earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ But ours are mixed, flesh and spirit They pour out their whole heart in their sinful and worldly courses. Jude 11, ‘They run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward; ἐξεχύθησαν, ‘they were poured forth, as water out of an open vessel; and Luke 16:8, ‘The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light’ The reasen is manifest; grace, though it be forcible, @Page:490 it is weak, like a keen sword in the hand of a child. But we have the advantage in matter of motive; the flesh cannot propound such excellent rewards as faith propoundeth, eternal happiness in the vision and fruition of God; but now general motives do little prevail against inclination, and our great motives lie in an unseen world; therefore our best security lieth in the assisting power, which is the mighty Spirit of God dwelling in us, who cherisheth and strengtheneth the new creature not only to keep up the combat, but to get a victory, and to overcome the carnal inclination more and more. Therefore thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord; not only over external temptations, but our indwelling flesh: Romans 7:25, ‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ By the Spirit of Christ we have strength to overcome the oppositions of the flesh, and have grace to perform what God will accept, and so far accept, that notwithstanding weaknesses we shall be reckoned rather to be in the spirit, than in the flesh, and obtain the privileges of the justified.

    2. It showeth us the reason why carnal men think so meanly of the people of God, and the spirit that dwelleth in them. They think Christians are but.as other men, and that there is no such great matter to be found in those that profess strictness in religion, no such spirit of God and glory, but what others have. I answer, no wonder that they who are blinded with prejudice and malice, and are loath to see the excellency of others whom they hate, lest it disturb their own carnal quiet, will not see what else would plainly discover itself. But some reason there is for it. This life is a hidden life: Colossians 3:3. It is hidden, partly under the veil of the natural life. It is a life within a life; they live in the flesh as others do, but they do not live after the flesh; they eat, drink, sleep, trade, marry, and give in marriage, as the rest of the world do, but all these things are governed by grace, and carried on to high and eternal ends. The spirit and life are not seen and felt by others, but only discovered in the effects; as these things are carried on holily and with a sincere respect to God’s glory: 1 Corinthians 10:31. Besides, the effects are imperfect, and clouded with a mixture of remaining infirmities; the best Christians show forth too much of the flesh, and do not act as those that have the Spirit of God dwelling in them; now this is a great hindrance to the converting of the world, and a means of hardening to prying atheists, who think all strictness is but a pretence: 1 Corinthians 3:3, ‘While there is yet strife, envying’s, and divisions among you, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?’ Matthew 18:7, ‘Woe to the world because of offences: for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to the man by whom the offence cometh.’ It is dangerous to scandalise the world; but the chief cause is their secret enmity to holiness; they censure and traduce good men by reproaches and base misprisions, and cannot endure that those that take a contrary course should have au excellency owned that might alarm their consciences to reverence: 1 Peter 4:6, ‘Judged according to men. in the flesh, but live to God in the spirit; as deceivers, and yet true’ So reputed in the world as a company of dissemblers; the world’s malice will not give them leave to see any good in those whom they dislike.

    3. It showeth how much it becometh Christians to five such a @Page:491 demonstration and proof of the Spirit’s dwelling in them, that others may be able to say they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. So did these Romans to Paul; they gave ground for his charity to think them justified; so should all that are sincere do. Now these others may be either the godly or the carnal world. First, For the godly, who are best able to judge, they have cause to think so, when you are companions with them in the faith, holiness, and patience of the gospel; the men in the world are tied to one another, like Samson’s foxes by their tails, though their heads look several ways, by their mutual interests and common agreement in mischief and enmity to the godly; but the godly themselves should be joined together in the communion of the spirit, loving one another with a Christ-like love, and seeking each other’s good as their own, and being affected with mutual sympathy towards each other’s condition, as if it were their own case, and with one mind and mouth glorifying God, and promoting the interests of his kingdom; and by their personal holiness bringing his honour in request in the world. Surely whoever do so, we are to judge them heirs with us of the same grace of life, and to bless God for them. Secondly, For the carnal world; you must keep up the majesty of your profession, that they may see there is a generation of men whose life is not spent in carnal pleasures and delights, who are not as other men, nor as themselves once were, and do things which can be accomplished in them by no other means or agent than the Spirit of God; who in their common business act upon reasons and principles of religion, and turn all duties of the second table into duties of the first, discharging all their respects to men out of the love of God, and fear of God; and are led by conscience rather than interest; and begin and end with God in all they do, and cast their whole lives into a holy and heavenly mould, making straight steps to their feet, and walk with a temper becoming religion, in all the inequality of conditions they pass through in the world, looking for no great matters here, but fetching their main supports and comforts from the world to come.

    [1.] Those that do so, will in time overcome malice and prejudice, and convince the world that God is in them of a truth, and they are a heavenly and holy people, and have a spirit and a presence that others have not: Proverbs 12:26, ‘The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.’

    [2.] They will reprove the world: Hebrews 11:7. Noah condemned the world by his ready obedience to God’s warning.

    [3.] They will make the world wonder: 1 Peter 4:4, ‘They think it strange you run not into the same excess of riot with them.’ It is no wonder to see men proud, covetous, revengeful, carnal, self-seeking: corrupt nature will sufficiently prove this. As it is no wonder to see the sun move, though it was a wonder in Joshua’s time when the sun stood still; so it is no wonder to see men loose and wicked; but it is a wonder to see men holy, heavenly, mortified, self-denying.

    [4.] You will justify the ways of God against the cavils of atheists and profane carnal men: Matthew 11:19, ‘Wisdom is justified of her children;’ and Israel justified Sodom, Ezekiel 16.

    Use 2 is to exhort us to get this Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, that he may work in us a divine nature, or that spiritual and divine @Page:492 temper which will teach us to live above and against the inclinations of the flesh.

    The means of infusing the divine nature into us is the doctrine and example of Christ. First, His doctrine, which discovereth higher things than the flesh inclineth us unto, and is the only cure of the carnal spirit. This word was indited by the Holy Spirit: ‘For holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost:’ 2 Peter 2:21. He inspired the holy apostles, first to speak, and then to write, the doctrine of Christ; he ‘led them into all truth:’ John 16:13. The same Spirit attested this doctrine by miraculous gifts: Hebrews 2:4; is conveyed by it: Galatians 3:2, ‘Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or the hearing of faith?’ He prepareth and assisteth the ordinary ministry, that they maybe fitted to convey this great gift: Acts 20:28, ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers;’ and 2 Corinthians 3:6, ‘Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter but of the spirit.’ He writeth this doctrine upon the heart: Hebrews 10:8, and 2 Corinthians 3:3. Doth so renew and sanctify our souls, that we may live unto God. Secondly, The example of Christ, for he had the days of his flesh: John 1:14; and Hebrews 5:7; lived in the world, as men do, but not after the flesh: and God in our nature is the fit pattern for us to imitate, that we may be in the world as he was in the world, and not please the flesh, as he pleased not himself. To this example we are to be conformed; but it doth not barely work as an example, but as sanctified and accompanied by the Spirit; for it is said, 2 Corinthians 3:18, ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord, as in a glass, we are changed into his image and likeness;’ and so we are made partakers of this new and divine nature.

    When the Spirit cometh to work it in us, we must not neglect and refuse his help, but give place to his motions; as when the waters were stirred, they presently put in for cure. To smother convictions breedeth atheism and hardness of heart. When he reproveth, you must hearken and observe: Proverbs 1:23, when he knocketh you must open: Revelation 3:20; when he draweth, you must run: Solomon’s Song 1:4. The smarter the reproof, the louder the knock, the stronger the drawing, the more you are bound to improve it, or else you are left in worse condition than before, by resisting or quenching the Spirit. It will be your advantage to obey him speedily, before the heart cool again: Isaiah 54:6. It is a time of finding which God may not give you again; delaying and shifting is a sign the help offered is rather looked upon as a trouble than a favour; and it is but a deceit of heart to elude the importunity of the present conviction: Matthew 27:24, 25, ‘Pilate took water and washed his hands, saying before the multitude, I am innocent of the blood of this man.’ His conscience boggles, and he makes use of this shift to put off the conviction. Surely God demandeth a present obedience: Hebrews 3:7, 8, ‘To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts;’ and all serious people will take the advantage: Galatians 1:16, ‘Immediately I consulted not with flesh and blood;’ Psalm 119:60, ‘I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.’

    2. Obey him thoroughly. Many will yield to him in some things, but reserve others. He must be obeyed in all things, even in renouncing @Page:493 our sweetest and dearest lusts: Matthew 5:29, 30. Nothing must be spared; every way of pleasing the flesh must be renounced; a partial obedience is rather a following our own humour and inclination than an obeying the Spirit, for he is contrary to all sin; and one sin let alone and allowed, is Satan’s nest-egg in our hearts, that he may come thither again and lay more.

    3. Obey him constantly, for he is still your guide and monitor, to put you in remembrance of your snares and duties: Ephesians 4:30. ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.’ When he hath sealed you, and stamped God’s image and impress upon your hearts, he must not be grieved by your folly and disobedience. The children of God, that are first regenerated by the Spirit, are still guided and led by him: Romans 8:14, ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.’ You are not only to obey at first, but obey still. Jesus Christ, that was at first conceived by the Holy Ghost, was led by him: Luke 1:4, 14. So Christians are always under his conduct. Yon interrupt the course of his love when you are deaf to his motions.

    Use 3 is to put us upon serious reflections. Are we in the flesh, or in the spirit? We are never Christians indeed, till we are in the spirit; you will have flesh in you, but which principle is the most predominant? Surely, that principle is predominant whose object is our chiefest good, or esteemed as our felicity. Objects of the flesh, are contentments of the present world; the objects of the spirit are God and heaven; what do you count your happiness? Psalm 144:15, ‘Happy is the people that is in such a case.’ Many judge them happy that have much of the world; ‘Yea, happy is the people whose God is the Lord.’ There is the natural happiness, and the spiritual happiness; which is most valuable, or most prized by you? Secondly, That principle is most predominant, which doth most employ us. What do we most industriously pursue? the pleasure and prosperity of the body, or the happiness of the soul? All the care of some is about the body and the bodily life, but their neglected soul may complain of hard usage; what have you done to get the soul furnished and adorned with grace, or established in the comfort and hope of the gospel? Matthew 6:33, ‘First seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added;’ John 6:27, ‘Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but the meat that endureth to everlasting life.’ Thirdly, When, to the hurt of the soul and displeasure of God, you frequently gratify the flesh, this is such a constant disobedience to the Spirit’s discipline that you cannot be said to be influenced by him.
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