« FöregåendeFortsätt »
fleshly mind are the lusts which arise from the corruption of the mind in its connexion with flesh; such as pride, malice, envy, wrath, hatred, ambition and cove-. tousness. These two sorts of sins the Apostle distinguishes in his epistle to Titus. "We once served divers lusts and pleasures-and we lived in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
The Apostle says, "We all had our conversation ia the lusts of the flesh."
Every unrenewed person is under the power of a carnal mind. No man, indeed, lives in the indulgence of every lust; for some lusts are inconsistent with others; and that which predominates will naturally exclude those which oppose the gratification of itself. Covetousness makes some men temperate; and pride makes others liberal. The denial of particular lusts is not a conclusive evidence of a sanctified heart. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, all things are become new." Though no man indulges every vice, yet every unregenerate man obeys the carnal mind in some way or other; and whoever is under the dominion of any ungodly lust, vicious habit, or evil passion, is in a state of unregeneracy.
V. The Apostle adds, "We were by nature children of wrath, even as others." The words are parallel to those in the 5th chapter; "No unclean person or covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inherit ance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.-Let not uncleanness or covetousness be once named among you, for because of these things, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
The Apostle here expressly warns us, that the indulgence of carnal lusts and passions brings on men the wrath of God. A mind sunk into carnality is incapable of a rational felicity; it is miserable in itself, and from its own corruption and perverseness.
Man is by the Author of his nature endued with reaBon, as the superior, presiding faculty. If this is sub
jected to the lusts and passions, the order of nature is inverted, the law of creation violated, and the Creator dishonored and offended.
Let no man plead, that by fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, he follows nature. The Apostle teaches us, that our nature is corrupted; and therefore our business is not to obey its propensities, but to rectify its disorders. We are, by nature, children of disobedience and of wrath.-We come on the stage of the world, with such an innate depravity, as draws us into evil and exposes us to misery. Now if our nature is depraved and the mind become carnal, then mere propensity and blind inclination cannot be a rule to guide our conduct. Reason must preside over the passions; and that it may preside with equity, it must take its directions from the light which God has given in the gospel. The work of renovation restores reason to its place, and brings the flesh under its dominion.
By the word nature, in our text, some understand habit; and suppose the Apostle to mean, "that by custom and practice we are become children of wrath, having fulfilled the desires of the flesh." But if we admit, that by nature the Apostle intends habit, still the same conclusion will follow, that human nature is in a state of depravity; for he says, "We all had our conversation in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind, and were children of wrath." If this is the character of all men, until they are renewed by grace, we must suppose, that some moral disorder has taken place in our nature; otherwise we cannot account for this universal prevalence of wickedness. If there were in the mind no evil bias, but all were inclined rather to virtue, than to vice, why are there not some-a few at least-who escape these evil habits, and obtain salvation without a renewal of their nature? Whatever be the sense of this particular word, the general doctrine is the same, that all have
sinned; and all need renovation by the Spirit, and pardon through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We see, from the Apostle's description, what is the awful condition of impenitent sinners. They are dead in their sins, and condemned to eternal death. They follow the corrupt ways of a guilty world ;-they are led captive by Satan ;-they are slaves to the lusts of the flesh and the passions of the mind ;-they are under the wrath of a holy God. O sinners can you believe that this is your condition, and yet remain in thoughtless security ?-Awake: Flee from the wrath to come; ay hold on the hope, which the gospel sets before you. 19
Some perhaps, will say, "This description agreed well to the character and condition of those ancient Heathens, but it will not apply to us, who enjoy the gospel, for we have never run to such excesses in vice as they had."
Be it so: Yet remember, that this gospel is the gift of God, and for it you are accountable. If you have not, like them, abandoned yourselves to the grossest forms of vice; it is because you have been placed under superior light, and enjoyed a happier education. Bless God who has made you to differ; and consider also, that, under your circumstances, less degrees of vice may involve you in equal guilt with them. If you have that knowledge of God and religion-those motives and encouragements to virtue-those discoveries of the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men-those hopes of pardon and grace through a Saviour, which they never had, then the excuses which might be pleaded for them, cannot be admitted for you. And if they were children of wrath, because they walked according to the course of this world, indulging the lusts of the flesh and the desires of the mind, how much more are you children of wrath, while you walk like them.
Remember too, that though you may not have indulged all the lusts and vices, which some others have done, yet, if you are children of disobedience, you can no more be saved without renovation of heart and repentance of sin, than they can.-And repentance, in its general nature, must be the same in you, as in them; even a change of heart from the love of sin, to the love of God's commands. If you think this repentance necessary for some gross sinners, know, it is as necessary for you, as for them.-If you believe, that great sinners are children of wrath, krow, that all sinners are such. And such are you, wh the love of sin reigns in your hearts, although, by the restraints of God's Providence and grace, you have been kept back from some presumptuous sins. Think seriously on your guilt and danger, and apply to God, who is rich in mercy, that he would quicken you together with Christ, and raise you up, and make you to sit together with him in heavenly places: For by grace ye
Believers quickened, raised and exalted with Christ.
EPHESIANS ii. 4, 5, 6, 7.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us by Jesus Christ.
IN the preceding verses, our Apostle describes the deplorable state in which the gospel found the Ephesians and other Gentile nations, when it first came among them.
In the words now read we shall contemplate, the happy change which the gospel made in them-the rich mercy of God in effecting this change-and the General purpose of God's particular mercy to them.
I. We will consider the happy change which the gospel made in the Ephesians-a change not peculiar to them, but common to all sincere believers. hath quickened us, raised us up, and made us sit together with Christ.
1. He hath quickened us, or made us alive with Christ, in opposition to the state before described, when we were dead in trespasses and sins. VOL. III.