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me in the straight paths of sanctity, without deflections to either hand, and without the interruption of deadly sin; that I may, with facility, zeal, assiduity, and a persevering diligence, walk in the ways of the Lord. Be pleased, that the axe may be laid to the root of sin, that the whole body of it may be cut down in me; that no fruit of Sodom may grow up to thy displeasure. Thoroughly purge the floor and granary of my heart with thy fan, with the breath of thy Diviner Spirit, that it may be a holy repository of graces, and full of benediction and sanctity; that when our Lord shall come, I may at all times be prepared for the entertainment of so divine a guest, apt to lodge him and to feast him, that he may for ever delight to dwell

And make me also to dwell with him, sometimes retiring into his recesses and private rooms, by contemplation, and admiring of his beauties, and beholding the secrets of his kingdom; and, at all other times, walking in the courts of the Lord's house, by the diligences and labours of repentance and an holy life, till thou shalt please to call me to a nearer communication of thy excellences : which then grant, when, by thy gracious assistances, I shall have done thy works, and glorified thy holy name, by the strict and never-failing purposes and proportionable endeavours of religion and holiness, through the merits and mercies of Jesus Christ. Amen.

with me.

DISCOURSE IV.

Of Mortification and Corporal Austerities.

1. “ From the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force," said our blessed Saviour. For now that the new covenant was to be made with man, repentance, which is so great a part of it, being, in very many actions, a punitive duty, afflictive and vindicative, “ from the days of the Baptist" (who first, by office and solemnity of design, published this doctrine,) violence was done to the inclinations and dispositions of man, and by such violences we were to be possessed of the kingdom. And his example was the best commentary upon his text; he did violence to himself; he lived a life, in which the rudenesses of camel's hair, and the lowest nutriment of Aies and honey of the desert, his life of singularity, his retirement from the sweetnesses of society, his resisting the greatest of temptations, and despising to assume false honours, were instances of that violence, and explications of the doctrine of self-denial and mortification, which are the pedestal of the cross, and the supporters of Christianity, as it distinguishes from all laws, religions, and institutions of the world.

2. Mortification is the one half of Christianity; it is a dying to the world ; it is a denying of the will and all its natural desires : “ An abstinence from pleasure and sensual complacencies, that the flesh being subdued to the Spirit, both may join in the service of God, and in the offices of holy religiona.” It consists in actions of severity and renunciation; it refuses to give entertainment to any vanity, nor uses a freer license in things lawful, lest it be tempted to things unlawful; it kills the lusts of the flesh by taking away its fuel and incentives, and by using to contradict its appetite, does inure it, with more facility, to obey the superior faculties: and, in effect, it is nothing but a great care we sin not, and a prudent and severe using such remedies and instruments, which in nature and grace are made apt for the production of our purposes. And it consists in interior and exterior offices; these being but instruments of the interior, as the body is organical or instrumental to the soul, and no part of the duty itself, but as they are advantages to the end, the mortification of the spirit; which by whatsoever means we have once acquired and do continue, we are disobliged from all other exterior severities, unless by accident they come to be obligatory, and from some other cause.

3. Mortification of the will or the spirit of man, that is the duty; that the will of man may humbly obey God, and absolutely rule its inferior faculties ; that the inordinations of our natural desires, begun by Adam's sin, and continued and increased by our continuing evil customs, may be again placed in the right order ; that, since many of the Divine precepts are restraints upon our natural desires, we should so deny those appetites, that covet after natural satisfactions, that they may not serve themselves by disserving God. For therefore our own wills are our greatest dangers and our greatest enemies; because they tend to courses contradictory to God. God commands us to be humble ; our own desires are to be great, considerable, and high ; and we are never secure enough from contempt, unless we can place our neighbours at our feet : here, therefore, we must deny our will, and appetites of greatness, for the purchase of humility. God commands temperance and chastity ; our desires and natural promptness break the band asunder, and entertain dissolutions to the licentiousness of Apicius, or the wantonness of a Mahometan paradise, sacrificing meat and drinkofferings to our appetites, as if our stomachs were the temples of Bel, and making women and the opportunities of lust to be our dwelling, and our employment, even beyond the common looseness of entertainment: here, therefore, we must deny our own wills, our appetites of gluttony and drunkenness, and our prurient beastly inclinations, for the purchase of temperance and chastity. And every other virtue is, either directly or by accident, a certain instance of this great duty, which is, like a catholicon, purgative of all distemperatures, and is the best preparative and disposition to prayer in the world.

a Την επί καθαιρέσει του φρονήματος σαρκός προς τον της ευσεβείας σκοπόν επιτηδευομένην ảox Tây hồ ady.- S. Basil.

4. For it is a sad consideration, and of secret reason, that since prayer, of all duties, is certainly the sweetest and the easiest, it having in it no difficulty or vexatious labour, no weariness of bones, no dimness of eyes or hollow cheeks, is directly consequent to it, no natural desires of contradictory quality, nothing of disease, but much of comfort, and more of hope in it; yet we are infinitely averse from it, weary of its length, glad of an occasion to pretermit our offices; and yet there is no visible cause of such indisposition, nothing in the nature of the thing, nor in the circumstances necessarily appendant to the duty. Something is amiss in us, and it wanted a name, till the Spirit of God, by enjoining us the duty of mortification, hath taught us to know, that immortification of spirit is the cause of all our secret and spiritual indispositions : we are so incorporated to the desires of

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sensual objects, that we feel no relish or gust of the spiritual. It is as if a lion should eat hay, or an ox venison; there is no proportion between the object and the appetite, till, by mortification of our first desires, our wills are made spiritual, and our apprehensions supernatural and clarified. For as a cook told Dionysius the tyrant, the black broth of Lacedæmon would not do well at Syracuse, unless it be tasted by a Spartan's palate; so neither can the excellences of heaven be discerned, but by a spirit disrelishing the sottish appetites of the world, and accustomed to diviner banquets. And this was mystically signified by the two altars in Solomon's temple; in the outer court whereof beasts were sacrificed, in the inner court an altar of incense : the first representing mortification or slaying of our beastly appetites; the second, the offering up our prayers, which are not likely to become a pleasant offertory, unless our impurities be removed by the atonement made by the first sacrifices; without our spirit be mortified, we neither can love to pray, nor God love to hear us.

5. But there are three steps to ascend to this altar. The first is, to abstain from satisfying our carnal desires in the instances of sin; and although the furnace flames with vehement emissions at some times, yet to " walk in the midst of the burning without being consumed,” like the children of the captivity: that is the duty even of the most imperfect, and is commonly the condition of those good persons, whose interest in secular employments speaks fair, and solicits often, and tempts highly; yet they manage their affairs with habitual justice, and a constant charity, and are temperate in their daily meals, chaste in the solaces of marriage, and in their spirits, unmingled with sordid affections in the midst of their possessions and enjoyments. These men are in the world, but they are strangers here : they have a city, but

not an abiding one b;" they are proselytes of the house, but have made no covenant with the world. For though they desire with secular desires, yet it is but for necessaries, and then they are content"; they use the creatures with freedom and modesty, but never to intemperance and transgression; so that their hands are below, tied there by the necessities of

pure

b Heb. xii. 14.

c 1 Tim. vi. 8.

their life; but their hearts are above, lifted up by the abstractions of this first degree of mortification. And this is the first and nicest distinction between a man of the world and a man of God; for this state is a denying our affections nothing but the sin; it enjoys as much of the world, as may be consistent with the possibilities of heaven. A little less than this is the state of immortification, and “ a being in the flesh,” which, saith the apostle, “ cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The flesh must first be separated, and the adherences pared off from the skin, before the parchment be fit to make a schedule for use, or to transmit a record. Whatsoever, in the sense of the Scripture, is flesh, or an enemy to the Spirit, if it be not rescinded and mortified, makes, that the laws of God cannot be written in our hearts. This is the doctrine St. Paul taught the church: “ for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” This first mortification is the way of life, if it continues; but its continuance is not secured, till we are advanced towards life by one degree more of this death. For this condition is a state of a daily and dangerous warfare; and many inroads are made by sin, and many times hurt is done, and booty carried off: for he that is but thus far mortified, although his dwelling be within the kingdom of grace, yet it is in the borders of it, and hath a dangerous neighbourhood. If we mean to be safe, we must remove into the heart of the land, or carry the war farther off.

6. Secondly : We must not only be strangers here, but we must be dead too, « dead unto the world :" that is, we must not only deny our vices, but our passions ; not only contradict the direct immediate persuasion to a sin, but also cross the inclination to it. So long as our appetites are high and full, we shall never have peace or safety, but the dangers and insecurities of a full war and a potent enemy; we are always disputing the question, ever struggling for life : but when our passions are killed, when our desires are little and low, then grace reigns, then“ our life is hid with Christ in God;" then we have fewer interruptions in the righteousness; then we are not so apt to be surprised by

way of

d 2 Cor. v. 6.

e Rom. viii. 13. "O quàm contempta res est homo, nisi super humana se erexerit!-Sen.

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