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the reward, and by describing the rules of the combat ;-in both there are spectators to applaud or censure, and an umpire to determine the success of the several persons who have entered their names on the lists;-in both temperance and exertion are absolutely requisite to a rational hope of victory. By these considerations the Apostle tried to excite holy ambition in the bosoms of the Corinthian Christians, to rouse them to exertion, and to invigorate their minds. “Every one that striveth for the mastery" in these games “is temperate in all things ;" abstaining from whatever might enervate his strength, and submitting to a regular course of diet, exercise, and hardship, that he may be the more capable of exerting himself with success. “ Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, “ but we an incorruptible.” The object of their zealous pursuit, for the attainment of which they submit to sacrifices of personal ease and indulgence the most severe, is nothing more than a garland of wild olive, laurel, pine-tree, or parsley-rewards that have no intrinsic value, and that must soon wither. Whereas our object is a substantial crown of glory that fadeth not away,-a durable benefit. The rigours to which the combatants in the antient games submitted appear to have been very great, so ardent was their desire of attaining the bauble of human applause.* And Oh! what sacrifices should we not be willing to make, whose souls are at stake, before whose eyes hell displays its terrors on the one hand and heaven its glories on the other, whose ears will either be saluted with the seraphic sound of “Come ye blessed," or for ever tingle with the horrible denunciation, “Go ye 4 cursed !”
* Respicit ad morem Athletarum, qui certâ victûs ratione utebantur, et corpus variis exercitiis ad certamen præparabant. Horatius.
Qui studet optatam cursu contingere metam,
It is not in the article of our food only that abstinence is required, but the requisition has respect to every worldly and carnal concupiscence. The world must be « crucified to us, “and we to the world.” (Gal. vi. 14.) - The “flesh" also must be crucified with its af* fections and lusts." For he that soweth to - the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; ** but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.'
« If our right eye offend us,” by proving an inlet to sin,
we must pluck it out, and cast it from us. " And if our right hand offend us,” by becoming an instrument of unrighteousness, we must scut « it off, and cast it from us. For it is profitable “ for us, that one of our members should perish, “ and not that our whole body” and soul “ be " cast into hell." Matt. v. 29, 30. The animated exhortation of St. Peter is of the same general complexion : “ Dearly beloved, I beseech you,
as pilgrims and strangers abstain from fleshly “Justs which war against the soul.” (1 Pet. ii. 11.) In our dress, company, employments, relaxations, and a variety of other things, indeed in all,
Vis in Olympicis vincere? Oportet itaque te ordinem servare, cibos præscriptos comedere, a bellariis abstinere, statis horis exerceri, in æstu, iv frigore; non aquam bibere, non vinum; denique præfecto tuo, tanquam medico, prorsus te tradere. Poli Synopsis in 1 Cor. ix, 23.
the spirit of a Christian pilgrim is required to be exemplified by us.
Now who is so blind as not to perceive the necessity of Divine grace to a compliance with the requisitions of Scripture respecting the abstinence which it enjoins ? Who can fail of approving the language of our collect in which we pray for it?
Who can be so stupid and insensible to his own interest, so great a stranger to the genuine spirit of Christianity, and to the corruption of his own heart, as to refuse a cordial union with the cry of the church in supplicating for the grace of religious abstinence
The end for which we implore the grace of abstinence is very important. It is that “ Our “ flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever
obey the Godly motions of Him, who for our “ sakė did fast forty days and forty nights, in
righteousness and true holiness, to His honour «s and glory, who liveth and reigneth with the “ Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world “ without end." In all believers « the flesh “ lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against « the flesh; and these are contrary the one to " the other, so that they cannot do the things “ that they would.” In the most advanced Christians corrupt propensities still exist which require watchfulness, abstinence, and prayer, to keep them under; for “ in us, that is in our “ flesh,” even to the end of life, “ dwelleth no “ good thing.” The subjugation of the flesh to the Spirit is therefore the object of earnest prayer and of constant endeavour to the true Christian, whether he be a child, or a father in Christ. It is supposed to be the object, aim, and end of all the members of our church; for unless it be, they cannot use our collect without hypocrisy. Let the reader inquire if it be his.
By "Godly motions" we are to understand those holy thoughts which are suggested to the mind, and that heavenly attraction which is communicated to it, by the Word and Spirit of Christ. Obedience to these is that “ holiness, s without which no man shall see the Lord.” And as the Spirit of God, moving on the face of the deep, was the primary cause of arrangement and beauty in the chaotic mass out of which all things have been formed, so also it is the motion of the Divine Spirit on the human soul which is the producing agency of “all holy “ desires, good counsels, and just works.”. “It “ is He that worketh in us both to will and to “ do of His good pleasure.”
Now without abstinence the flesh cannot be subdued to the Spirit; for the health and vigour of the one is the sickness and infirmity of the other. The reciprocal antipathy of these contending principles is such that they cannot flourish together; so that, without a subjugation of the flesh to the Spirit, the Godly motions of Christ within us cannot be obeyed. How important then is our prayer for the grace of abstinence, in order that, by obtaining it, selfmortification may produce and cherish within us the new life of holiness! The transformation of the caterpillar affords an apt emblem of the process of the life of grace. At first it crawls on the ground a mean and despicable worm, leading an earthly and sensual life. That life is then extinguished, after which it becomes a new creature. Its life is ethereal. Its habits, food, and enjoyments, are all new.
In our abstinence from carnal gratification and its consequent effects, “ the honour and glory” of God our Saviour is nearly concerned ; yea, “the honour and glory” of each person in the adorable Godhead. For herein the Father sees the fruit of His everlasting love; the Son, the fruit of His redeeming grace; and the Holy Ghost, the fruit of His renewing power. It is to the honour “ and glory of i Him who liveth and reigneth with the Fa“ther and the Holy Ghost, one God, world « without end,” that we be enabled to use “such abstinence that, our flesh being sub“ dued to the Spirit, we may ever obey His
Godly motions in righteousness and true holi« ness. ” For it proves that He" liveth” to make intercession for us; and that He reigneth to conquer in us those enemies which no arm but His own could subdue. Those who are “sanc“ tified in Christ Jesus" will be an everlasting monument to His praise.
It may be asked whether the doctrine taught in this essay be not popish and legal? If the drift of it be misapprehended, it will appear to be such.
therefore to observe that the necessity of self-mortification has no connection with the justification of the fallen soul in the sight of God, as a cause has with its effect; for the worshippers who use this collect are considered, on a supposition of sincerity in their profession, as persons who have believed in Christ to the salvation of their souls; and, consequently, self-mortification in them is the effect, not the canse, of a transition from death vnto life. The object then which is proposed by the use of abstinence is not justification but sanctification, as our collect fully declares. And even in this relation it is not the efficient cause of purification, but a mean employed for jis promotion. The amputation of a mortified