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I Cor. vi. 15.
upon higher, and contemning thofe who had received lower Measures of the same kind, is here condemned, and forbidden.
This I conceive to be the meaning of the Three foregoing Verses, and These the Virtues press’d upon us in them. It remains only, that I shew, how they are enforced, by this Consideration of our being united as one Body in Christ. To which purpose a very
few Words may suffice.
That the First of them is so, which consists in mortifying the sensual and carnal Appetites, and consecrating our Bodies to the Service of God, I need no other Proof, than this Apostle's own Authority. Observe, how he endeavours to create in the Corinthians, a particular Abhorrence of unclean Lusts. Know ye not, says he, that
Bodies are the Members of Chriji? Shall I then take the Members of Christ, and make ihem the Members of an Harlot? God forbid. And farther yet, to make them sensible, that this Argument ought to take place, not only against the gross Acts of Impurity, but even all Pollution of the Thoughts and Desires; He proceeds, Wbat? Know
je not that He which is joined to an Harlot is l'er. 16, 17.
one Bolly? But, Ile that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit. You see, by the very manner of the Apostle, how exceeding contrary to, how utterly unbecoming our Character, any sinful Indulgence in carnal Pleasures is. So manifestly thus, That he does not descend to a cool and formal Argument, but turns the matter off with Scorn and Detestation ; and represents it so absurd and monstrous, that a Man must be perfectly stupid, not to perceive the horrid Vileness, and Incongruity of it.
And sure, if we go to the Reason of the thing, this single Reflection ought to have great weight with
For, if the Moralists of old could discern the Reafonableness of restraining, denying, despising, those
1 Cor. vi. 19.
vicious Gratifications, which degrade Us and our Nature; How much more just is a Christian's Abstinence and Disdain, who cannot debase himself alone, but at the same time commits an Indignity upon Christ? Surely He ought to treat his own Person, as a Member belonging to that Head: to respect a Body which is the Temple of the Holy Ghost : not to prostitute a thing so sacred and venerable, to the Filthiness of Brutes; nor invade the Property of that God, to whom he hath the Honour, by so manifold a Title, to belong.
2. The Second, of a New Heart and Life, is no less evident a Consequence of this Union. For, since we know that Christ abideth in Us, and we in Him, by the Spirit be hath given us ; since his Spirit is here distinguished from a worldly Spirit, his Kingdom from the Kingdoms of this World; it follows, that to retain the One of these, is to declare we have nothing to do with the Other; and, that, to make the One our Aim and End, is to abandon the other. As Christ then is our Head, with regard to his directive Power; we must see to the keeping that Correspondence, which appears in Nature. The ready Consent of every Faculty to execute, what the Head contrives and appoints; The nimble Sallies of our Animal Spirits, that Ay, we know not how, as fivift as Thought, through every Nerve, and instantly move the most distant Limbs of our Bodies; These are lively Emblems of that ready and chearful Conformity, which should be paid this mystical Head, in every instance of his Will, signified to us, whether by Precept, or his own Example. Hence we are told of every Thought being brought to the obedience of Christ. That so in this, as in our ordinary Composition, no such thing as Rebellion may be known. For, if at any time the Dictates of the Soul be not obeyed, this comes to pass through Weakness and Indifpofition. Sometimes for want of
2 Cor. X. 5:
Power, but never for want of Will. But, not to have the like mind in Us, that was in Christ Jesus, is to suppose two Spirits, and two contrary Wills: Which quite destroys the Notion of one and the same Body. And therefore All, who would maintain this Union, must make His Will Theirs ; and have no Opinions, no Affections, no Delights of their own ; but in all things be transformed into, and (as the Scripture expresses it) put on Christ.
3. Of the Third, which is Humility, there can remain no doubt, since this Allusion of a Body is urged by the Apostle, as an express Reason for it. But, of this, more hereafter.
The short is. As the Principles of natural Vigour, and Motion, and Sensation, are dispensed from the Head, as from a common Fond, through these Bodies of Flesh : So are the Graces of the Spirit, from Christ. But with this difference, that His Distributions are not niechanical, but voluntary, and entirely free. These therefore are derived down, in such quality and proportion, as his Wisdom sees fit, for the common Exigencies and Benefit. They are not the Effect of Ours, but the Overflowings of His, Goodness. And therefore our part is, to dispose our selves, for giving them a meek and thankful Reception, to improve under them, to admire and adore the Kindness of the Giver: But often to beat down those unfeasonable and dangerous Self-complacencies, ( which any partial and distinguishing Bounty in our Favour is fò ready to
blow up,) with a Who hath made thee to
differ from another? And what hast thou, that thou hast not received ? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? And especially, It will become us to remember with great Seriousness, that the Issue, upon which every Christian's Fate will turn at last, is not the Quantity of what he receives, but the Use, or the Neglect of it,
1 Cor. iv. 7.
the Answering or Defeating the Purposes, for which it was bestowed. This leads to another Inference, drawn from this Comparison, which will come under Consideration the next Lord's Day.
The First Sunday after the Epiphany.
41,42. His Parents diYear at the Feast of the Passover.
ligently observed that 42. And when he was twelve Years Law, which exprelly old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the Custom of required the Attentbe Feaft.
dance of all the Males
at Jerusalem, to celebrate three solemn Feasts every Year, of which the Passover was one. See Exod, xxiii. 15, 17. Levit. xxiii. Deut. xvi. Upon which occasion the Females (though not expressed ) were not excluded, but frequently attended also : And their Children, when capable of understanding the Intent of those Festivals, were bound to it.
43. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they 43. This Solemnity returned, tbe Child Jesus rarried bebind in Jerusalem, and lasted seven days, at the Josepb and bis Morber knew not of it.
expiration whereof you
feph and Mary began
their Journey back to Nazare:b. 44. But tbey, supposing him to have been in the company, went a days Journey; and they fought bim among their Kinsfolk and among their Acquain
45. And when they found him not, they turned back to 45. Not hearing of Jerusalem, Jecking bim.
him upon the Enquiry made, (Ver. 44.) the second day they went back. 46. And it came to pass, that after three days 46, 47. The Third tbey found bim in the Temple, fitting in the midji of day, (computed from
be Doctors, borb bearing ibem and asking them Que their setting out homefiions.
ward) they found him 47. And all that beard bim were astonished at bis in that part of the TemUnderstanding and Answers.
ple, where the Learned
in the Law used to teach, and expound publickly. With whom he conferred, to the Admiration of all People present.
48. This was a sight 48. And when they saw tim they were amazed; very surprizing to them; and bis Morber said unto bim, Son, why taft tkou ibu's and his mother, out of dealt wiib ws ' Bebeld, thy Fa: ber and I bave fougbe the vehemence of her tree forrowing. Affection, expostulated with him about what had passed.
49. Towhom his An 49. And be said unto them, Hoou is that ye fought swer was, That a Son me ? wift ye not, ibat I must be about my Farber's was no where so pro- bufiness? perly as in his Father's House, nor so fitly employed, as about his Father's Affairs.
50. The meaning of 50. And they understood not that Saying which be this Answer they did spake unto tbem. not perfecily comprehend.
51. Hereupon he bore 51. Ard be went down with them, and came to them Company home, Nazareró, and was subječt unto them. But bis Mober and submitied to their kept all these sayings in ber Heart, Authority, like common Sons. But none of thcfe things palied without the particular observation and remenbrance of his Mother.
52. Mean while Je 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and sature, and fus grew in his Mind in favour with God ard tan. to maturity of Judgment, as well as in his body to the full proportion of a Man, by gradual and visible accessions of Both, like other Youths: And behaved himself 10, as to engage the general Love and Approbation of all sorts of People.
THE Gospel for this Day deserves our very par
ticular Consideration, because containing all the Account, thought fit by the Holy Ghost to be given us, of our Blessed Saviour's Life, from his Infancy, to his Baptism, and the Entrance upon his Prophetick Office. A little compass of Words for so long a tract of time ; and chiefly confined to one single Occasion. But That is such, as furnishes a great deal of matter for useful Reflection and Practice. And to these purposes it should be our endeavour to improve it, with regard to the following Instances particularly.
1. The Forty-first and Forty-second Verses take notice, how religiously Joseph and Mary observed the Passover ; that the distance of their dwelling did not