The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
by John Flavel
File 29
(... continued from file 28)

Sermon 27. 
Of the Nature, Principle, and Necessity of Mortification. 
Gal. 5: 24. 
And they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the 
affections and lusts. 
    Two great trials of our interest in Christ are finished; we now 
proceed to the third, namely, The mortification of sin: "They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh." The scope of the apostle in 
this context is, to heal the unchristian breaches among the 
Galatians, prevailing, by the instigation of Satan, to the breach of 
brotherly love. To cure this, he urges four weighty arguments. 
    First, From the great commandment, to love one another; upon 
which the whole law, i.e. all the duties of the second table do 
depend, ver. 15. 
    Secondly, He powerfully dissuades them from the consideration 
of the sad events of their bitter contests, calumnies, and 
detractions, viz. mutual ruin, and destruction, ver. 15. 
    Thirdly, He dissuades them from the consideration of the 
contrariety of these practices unto the Spirit of God, by whom they 
all profess themselves to be governed, from ver. 17. to ver. 23. 
    Fourthly, He powerfully dissuades them from these animosities, 
from the inconsistency of these, or any other lusts of the flesh, 
with an interest in Christ: "They that are Christ's, have crucified 
the flesh," &c. q. d. You all profess yourselves to be members of 
Christ, to be followers of him; but how incongruous are these 
practices to such a profession? Is this the fruit of the dove-like 
Spirit of Christ? Are these the fruits of your faith and professed 
mortification? Shall the sheep of Christ snarl and fight like rabid 
and furious beasts of prey? Tantaene animis caelestibus irae? So 
much rage in heavenly souls? O how repugnant are these practices 
with the study of mortification!, which is the great study and 
endeavour of all that are in Christ! "They that are Christ's have 
crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." So much for the 
order of the words; the words themselves are a proposition wherein 
we have to consider, both 
    1. The subject. 
    2. The predicate. 
    First, The subject of the proposition, they that are Christ's, 
viz. "True Christians, real members of Christ; such as truly belong 
to Christ, such as have given themselves up to be governed by him," 
and are indeed acted be his Spirit. such, all such persons (for the 
indefinite is equipollent to an universal) all such, and none but 
    Secondly, The predicate; "They have crucified the flesh, with 
the affections and lusts." By flesh we are here to understand carnal 
concupiscence, the workings and motions of corrupt nature; and by 
the affections we are to understand, not the natural, but the 
inordinate affections; for Christ does not abolish and destroy, but 
correct and regulate the affections of those that are in him: And by 
crucifying the flesh, we are not to understand the total extinction 
or perfect subduing of corrupt nature, but only the deposing of 
corruption from its regency and dominion in the soul; its dominion 
is taken away, though its life be prolonged for a season; but yet, 
as death surely, though slowly, follows crucifixion, (the life of 
crucified persons gradually departing frown them, with their blood) 
it is just so in the mortification of sin; and therefore what the 
apostle in this place calls crucifying, he calls in Rom. 8: 13. 
mortifying. "If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify," "tanatoute"; if 
ye put to death the deeds of the body: But he chuses, in this place, 
to call it crucifying, to show not only the conformity there is 
betwixt the death of Christ and the death of sin, in respect of 
shame, pain, and lingering slowness; but to denote also the 
principal means and instruments of mortification, viz. the death, or 
cross of Jesus Christ, in the virtue whereof believers do mortify 
the corruptions of their flesh; the great arguments and persuasives 
to mortification being drawn from the sufferings of Christ for sin. 
In a word, he does not say, They that believe Christ was crucified 
for sin, are Christ's; but they, and they only, are his, who feel as 
well as profess the power and efficacy of the sufferings of Christ, 
in the mortification and subduing of their lusts and sinful 
affections. And so much, briefly, of the parts and sense of the 
    The observation followeth. 
    Doct. That a saving interest in Christ may be regularly and 
         strongly inferred and concluded frown the mortification of 
         the flesh, with its affections and lusts. 
    This point is fully confirmed by those words of the apostle. 
Rom. 6: 5, 6, 7, 8. "For if we have been planted together in the 
likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his 
resurrection, knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, 
that the body of it might be destroyed, that henceforth we should 
not serve sin: for he that is dead is free from sin: Now if we be 
dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 
    Mark the force of the apostle's reasoning; if we have been 
planted into the likeness of his death, viz. by the mortification of 
sin, which resembles, or has a likeness to the kind and manner of 
Christ's death (as was noted above) then we shall be also in the 
likeness of his resurrection; and why so, but because the 
mortification of sin is an undoubted evidence of the union of such a 
soul with Christ, which is the very ground-work and principle of 
that blessed and glorious resurrection: And therefore he saith, ver. 
11. "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive 
unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord;" q. d. Reason thus with 
yourselves, these mortifying influences of the death of Christ are 
unquestionable presages of your future blessedness, God never taking 
this course with any but those who are in Christ, and are designed 
to be glorified with him. The death of your sin is as evidential as 
any thing in the world can be of your spiritual life for the 
present, and of your eternal life with God hereafter. Mortification 
is the fruit and evidence of your union, and that union is the firm 
ground-work and certain pledge of your glorification; and so you 
ought to reckon or reason the case with yourselves, as the word 
"ligidzeste" there signifies. Now for the stating and explication of 
this point, I shall, in the doctrinal part, labour to open and 
confirm these five things, 
    1. What the mortification or crucifixion of sin imports. 
    2. Why this work of the Spirit is expressed by crucifying. 
    3. Why all that are in Christ must be so crucified or mortified 
unto sin. 
    4. What is the true evangelical principle of mortification. 
    5. How the mortification of sin evinces our interest in Christ. 
    And then apply the whole. 
    First, What the mortification or crucifixion of sin imports. 
    And, for clearness sake, I shall speak to it both negatively 
and positively, showing you what is not intended, and what is 
principally aimed at by the Spirit of God in this expression. 
    First, "The crucifying of the flesh does not imply the total 
abolition of sin in believers, or the destruction of its very being 
and existence in them for the present; sanctified souls so put off 
their corruptions with their dead bodies at death:" This will be the 
effect of our future glorification, not of our present 
sanctification. Sin does exist in the most mortified believer in the 
world, Rom. 7: 17. it still acteth and lusteth in the regenerate 
soul, Gal. 5: 17. yea, notwithstanding its crucifixion in believers, 
it still may, in respect of single acts, surprise and captivate 
them, Psal. 65: 3. Rom. 7: 23. This, therefore, is not the intention 
of the Spirit of God in this expression. 
    Secondly, Nor does the crucifixion of sin consist in the 
suppression of the external acts of sin only: for sin may reign over 
the souls of men, whilst it does not break forth into their lives in 
gross and open actions, 2 Pet. 3: 20. Mat. 12: 43. Morality in the 
Heathens (as Tertullian well observes) did absconders, sed non 
abscindere vitia, hide them, when it could not kill them: Many a 
mull shows a white, and fair hand, who yet has a very foul and black 
    Thirdly, The crucifixion of the flesh does not consist in the 
cessation of the external acts of sin; for, in that respect, the 
lusts of men may die of their own accord, even a kind of natural 
death. The members of the body are the weapons of unrighteousness, 
as the apostle calls them; age or sickness may so blunt or break 
those weapons, that the soul cannot use them to such sinful purposes 
and services as it was wont to do in the vigorous and healthful 
seasons of life; not that there is less sin in the heart, but 
because there are less strength and activity in the body. Just as it 
is with an old soldier, who has as much skill, policy, and delight 
as ever in military actions; but age and hard services have so 
enfeebled him, that he can no longer follow the camp. 
    Fourthly, The crucifixion of sin does not consist in the severe 
castigation of the body, and penancing it by stripes, fasting, and 
tiresome pilgrimages. This may pass for mortification among Papists, 
but never was any lust of the flesh destroyed by this rigour. 
Christians, indeed, are bound not to indulge and pamper the body, 
which is the instrument of sin; nor yet must we think that the 
spiritual corruptions of the soul feel those stripes which are 
inflicted upon the body: See Col. 2: 23. it is not the vanity of 
superstition, but the power of true religion, which crucifies and 
destroys corruption; it is faith in Christ's blood, not the spilling 
of our own blood, which gives sin the mortal wound. 
    Secondly, But if you enquire, what then is implied in the 
mortification or crucifixion of sin, and wherein it does consist? I 
    First, It necessarily implies the soul's implantation into 
Christ, kind union with him: without which it is impossible that any 
one corruption should be mortified: They that are [Christ's] have 
crucified the flesh: The attempts and endeavours of all others are 
vain and ineffectual: "When we were in the flesh, (saith the 
apostle) the motions of sin which were by the law did work; in our 
members, to bring forth fruit unto death," Rom. 7: 5. sin was then 
in its full dominion, no abstinence, rigour, or outward severity; no 
purposes, promises, or solemn vows could mortify or destroy it; 
there must be an implantation into Christ before there can be any 
effectual crucifixion of sin: What believer almost has not in the 
days of his first convictions, tried all external methods and means 
of mortifying sin, and found all in experience to be to as little 
purpose as the binding of Samson with green withs or cords? But when 
he has once come to act faith upon the death of Christ, then the 
design of mortification has prospered and succeeded to good purpose. 
    Secondly, Mortification of sin implies the agency of the Spirit 
of God in that work, without whose assistances and aids, all our 
endeavours must needs be fruitless: Of this work we may say as it 
vas said in another case, Zech. 4: 6. "Not by might, nor by power, 
but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." When the Apostle therefore would 
shew by what hand this work of mortification is performed, he thus 
expresseth it, Rom. 8: 50: S. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify 
the deeds of the body, ye shall live:" The duty is ours, but the 
power whereby we perform it is God's: The Spirit is the only 
successful combatant against the lusts that war in our members, Gal 
5: 17. It is true, this excludes not, but implies our endeavours; 
for it is we through the Spirit who mortify the deeds of the body; 
but yet all our endeavours without the Spirit's aid and influence 
avail nothing. 
    Thirdly, The crucifixion of sin necessarily implies the 
subversion of its dominion in the soul: A mortified sin cannot be a 
reigning sin, Rom. 6: 12, 13, 14. Two things constitute the dominion 
of sin, viz. the fulness of its power, and the soul's subjection to 
it. As to the fulness of its power, that rises from the suitableness 
it has, and pleasure it gives to the corrupt heart of man: It seems 
to be as necessary as the right hand, as useful and pleasant as the 
right-eye, Mat. 5: 29. but the mortified heart is dead to all 
pleasures and profits of sin; it has no delight or pleasure in it; 
it becomes its burden and daily complaint. Mortification presupposes 
the illumination of the mind and conviction of the conscience; by 
reason whereof sin cannot deceive and blind the mind, or bewitch and 
ensnare the will and affections as it was wont to do, and 
consequently its dominion over the soul is destroyed and lost. 
    Fourthly, The crucifying of the flesh implies a gradual 
weakening of the power of sin in the soul. The death of the cross 
was a slow and lingering death, and the crucified person grew weaker 
and weaker every hour; so it is in the mortification of sin: The 
soul is still "cleansing itself from all filthiness of the flesh and 
spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Cor. 7: 1. 
And as the body of sin is weakened more and more; so the inward man, 
or the new creature, is "renewed day by day," 2 Cor. 4: 16. For 
sanctification is a progressive work of the Spirit: And as holiness 
increases and roots itself deeper and deeper in the soul; so the 
power and interest of sin proportionately abates and sinks lower and 
lower, until at length it be swallowed up in victory. 
    Fifthly, The crucifying of the flesh notes to us the believers' 
designed application of all spiritual means and sanctified 
instruments for the destruction of it: There is nothing in this 
world which a gracious heart more vehemently desires and longs for 
than the death of sin and perfect deliverance from it, Rom. 7: 24. 
the sincerity of which desires does accordingly manifest itself in 
the daily application of all God's remedies: such are daily watching 
against the occasions of sin, Job 31: 1. "I have made a covenant 
with mine eyes;" more than ordinary vigilance over their special or 
proper sin, Psal. 18: 23. "I kept myself from mine iniquity:" 
Earnest cries to heaven for preventing grace. Psal. 19: 13. "Keep 
back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have 
dominion over me:" Deep humblings of soul for sins past, which is an 
excellent preventive unto future sins, 2 Cor. 2: 11. "in that ye 
sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness wrought it?" Care to 
give no furtherance or advantage to the design of sin by making 
provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof, as others do, 
Rom. 13: I3, 14. Willingness to bear due reproofs for sin, Psal. 
141: 5. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness:" These, 
and such like means of mortification, regenerate souls are daily 
using and applying, in order to the death of sin. And so much of the 
first particular, what the mortification of sin, or crucifying of 
the flesh implies. 
    Secondly, In the next place we shall examine the reasons why 
this work of the Spirit is expressed under that trope, or figurative 
expression of crucifying the flesh. Now the ground and reason of the 
use of this expression, is the resemblance which the mortification 
of sin bears unto the death of the cross: And this appears in five 
    First, The death of the cross was a pained death, and the 
mortification of sin is a very painful work, Mat. 25: 29. it is as 
the cutting off our right and plucking out our right eyes; it will 
cost many thousand tears and groans, prayers and strong cries to 
heaven, before one sin will be mortified. Upon the account of the 
difficulty of this work, and mainly upon this account, the scripture 
saith, "narrow is the way, and strait is the gate that leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it," Mat. 7: 14. and that the 
righteous themselves are scarcely saved. 
    Secondly, The death of the cross was universally painful; every 
member, every sense, every sinew, every nerve, was the seat and 
subject of tormenting pain. So it is in the mortification of sin; it 
is not this or that particular member or act, but the whole body of 
sin that is to be destroyed, Rom. 6: 6. and accordingly the conflict 
is in every faculty of the soul; for the Spirit of God, by whose 
hand sin is mortified, does not combat faith this or that particular 
lust only, but with sin, as sin; and for that reason with every sin, 
in every faculty of the soul. So that there are conflicts and 
anguish in every part. 
    Third, The death of the cross was a slow, and lingering death; 
denying unto them that suffered it the favour of a quick dispatch; 
just so it is in the death of sin: though the Spirit of God be 
mortifying it day by day, yet this is a truth sealed by the sad 
experience of all believers in the world, that sin is long a dying: 
And if we ask a reason of this dispensation of God, among others, 
this seems to be one; corruptions in believers, like the Canaanites 
in the land of Israel, are left to prove and to exercise the people 
of God, to keep us watching and praying, mourning and believing; 
yea, wondering and admiring at the riches of pardoning and 
preserving mercy all our days. 
    Fourthly, The death of the cross was a very opprobrious, or 
shameful death: they that died upon the cross were loaded with 
ignominy; the crimes for which they died were exposed to the public 
view; after this manner dieth sin, a very shameful and ignominious 
death. Every true believer draws up a charge against it in every 
prayer, aggravates and condemns it in every, confession, bewails the 
evil of it with multitudes of tears and groans; making sin as vile 
and odious as he can find words to express it, though not so vile as 
it is in its own nature. "O my God, (saith Ezra) I am ashamed, and 
even blush to look up unto thee," Ezra 9: 6. So Daniel in his 
confession, Dan. 9: 7. "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, 
but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day." Nor  can it grieve 
any believer in the world, to accuse, condemn, and shame himself for 
sin, whilst he remembers and considers, that all that shame and 
confusion of face which he takes to himself goes to the vindication, 
glory and honour of his God. As David was content to be more vile 
still for God, so it pleaseth the heart of a Christian to magnify 
and advance the name and glory of God, by exposing his own shame, in 
humble and broken hearted confessions of sin. 
    Fifthly, In a word, the death of the cross was not a natural, 
but a violent death: Such also is the death of sin: sin dies not of 
its own accord, as nature dieth in old men, in whom the balsamum 
radicale, or radical moisture is consumed: for if the Spirit of God 
did not kill it, it would live to eternity in the souls of men; it 
is not the everlasting burnings, and all the wrath of God which lies 
upon the damned for ever, that can destroy sin. Sin, like a 
salamander, can live to eternity in the fire of God's wrath; so that 
either it must die a violent death by the hand of the Spirit, or it 
never dieth at all. And thus you see, why the mortification of sin 
is tropically expressed by the crucifying of the flesh. 
    Thirdly, Why all that are in Christ must be so crucified, or 
mortified unto sin: And the necessity of this will appear divers 
    First, From the inconsistency and contrariety that there is 
betwixt Christ and unmortified lust, Gal. 5: 17. "These are contrary 
the one to the other." There is a threefold inconsistency betwixt 
Christ and such corruptions; they are not only contrary to the 
holiness of Christ, 1 John 3: 6. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth 
not; whosoever sinneth has not seen him, neither known him"; i.e. 
whosoever is thus ingulphed and plunged into the lust of the flesh, 
can have no communion with the pure and holy Christ; but there is 
also an inconsistency betwixt such sin and the honour of Christ, 2 
Tim. 2: 19. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart 
from iniquity." As Alexander said to a soldier of his name, 
recordare nominis Alexandri, remember thy name is Alexander, and do 
nothing unworthy of that name. And unmortified lusts are also 
contrary to the dominion and government of Christ, Luke 9: 23. "If 
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross daily, and follow me:" These are the self denying terms upon 
which all men are admitted into Christ's service: And without 
mortification and self-denial, he allows no man to call him Lord and 
    Secondly, The necessity of mortification appears from the 
necessity of conformity betwixt Christ, the Head, and all the 
members of his mystical body; for how incongruous and uncomely would 
it be to see a holy, heavenly Christ, leading a company of unclean, 
carnal, and sensual members? Mat. 11: 29. "Take my yoke upon you, 
and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly," q. d. it would be 
monstrous to the world, to behold a company of lions and wolves 
following a meek and harmless lamb: Men of raging and unmortified 
lusts, professing and owning me for their head of government. And 
again, 1 John 2: 6. "He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself 
also to walk, even as he walked," q. d. either imitate Christ in 
your practice, or never make pretensions to Christ in your 
profession. This was what the apostle complained of, Phil. 3: 18. 
for "many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you, even 
weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ." Men 
cannot study to put a greater dishonour and reproach upon Christ, 
than by making his name and profession a cloke and cover to their 
filthy lusts. 
    Thirdly, The necessity of crucifying the flesh appears from the 
method of salvation, as it is stated in the gospel. God every where 
requires the practice of mortification, under pain of damnation. 
Mat. 18: 8. "Wherefore if thy hand, or thy foot, offend thee, cut 
them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter 
into life, halt or maimed, rather than having two hands, or two 
feet, to be cast into everlasting fire." The gospel legitimates no 
hopes of salvation, but such as are accompanied with serious 
endeavours of mortification. 1 John 3: 3. "Every man that has this 
hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." It was one 
special end of Christ's coming into the world, "to save his people 
from their sins," Mat. 1: 21. nor will he be a saviour unto any who 
remain under the dominion of their own lusts. 
    Fourthly, The whole stream and current of the gospel, puts us 
under the necessity of mortification; gospel precepts have respect 
unto this, Col. 3: 5. "Mortify your members, therefore, which are 
upon the earth." 1 Pet. 1: 15. "Be ye holy, for I am holy." Gospel- 
precedents have respect unto this, Heb. 12: 1. "Wherefore seeing we, 
also, are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us 
lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us," 
&c. Gospel-threatenings are written for this end, and do all press 
mortification in a thundering dialect, Rom. 8: 13. "If ye live after 
the flesh, ye shall die". Rom. 1: 18. "The wrath of God is revealed 
from heaven, against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men." 
The promises of the gospel are written designedly to promote it, 2 
Cor. 7: 1. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us 
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 
perfecting holiness in the fear of God." But in vain are all these 
precepts, precedents, threatenings, and promises written in the 
scriptures, except mortification be the daily study and practice of 
    Fifthly, Mortification is the very scope and aim of our 
regeneration, and the infusion of the principles of grace. "If we 
live in the spirit, let us walk in the spirit," Gal. 5: 25. In vain 
were the habits of grace planted, if the fruits of holiness and 
mortification be not produced; yea, mortification is not only the 
design and aim, but it is a special part, even the one half of our 
    Sixthly, If mortification be not the daily practice and 
endeavour of believers, then the way to heaven no way answers to 
Christ's description of it in the gospel. He tells us, Mat. 7: 13, 
14. "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to 
destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: because strait is 
the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few 
there be that find it." Well then, either Christ must be mistaken in 
the account he gave of the way to glory, or else all unmortified 
persons are out of the way; for what makes the way of salvation 
narrow, but the difficulties and severities of mortification? 
    Seventhly, In a word, he that denies the necessity of 
mortification, confounds all discriminating marks betwixt saints and 
sinners; pulls down the pale of distinction, and lets the world into 
the church, and the church into the world: It is a great design of 
the gospel to preserve the boundaries betwixt the one and the other, 
Rom. 2: 7, 8. Rom. 8: 1, 4, 5, 6, 13. But if men may be Christians 
without mortification, we may as well go into the taverns, ale- 
houses, or brothel-houses, among the roaring or sottish crew of 
sinners, and say, here are those that are redeemed by the blood of 
Christ; here are his disciples and followers as to go to seek them 
in the purest churches, or most strictly religious families: by all 
which the necessity of mortification, unto all that are in Christ, 
is abundantly evidenced. 
    Fourthly, In the next place, we are to enquire into the true 
principle of mortification it is true, there are many ways attempted 
by men for the mortification of sin, and many rules laid down, to 
guide men in that great work; some of which are very trifling and 
impertinent things: such are those prescribed by Popish Votaries. 
But I shall lay down this as a sure conclusion, that the sanctifying 
Spirit is the only effectual principle of mortification; and, 
without him, no resolutions, vows, abstinences, castigations of the 
body, or any all or external endeavours, can ever avail to the 
mortification of one sin. The moral Heathens have prescribed many 
pretty rules and helps for the suppression of vice: Aristides, 
Seneca, and Cato, were renowned among them upon this account: 
formal. Christians have also gone far in the reformation of their 
lives, but could never attain true mortification; formality pares 
off the excrescences of vice, but never kills the root of it: it 
usually recovers itself again, and their souls, like a body not well 
purged, relapses into a worse condition than before, Mat. 12: 43, 
44. 2 Pet. 2:20. 
    This work of mortification is peculiar to the Spirit of God, 
Rom. 8: 13. Gal. 5: 17. and the Spirit becomes a principle of 
mortification in believers two ways, namely, 
    1. By the implantation of contrary habits. 
    2. By assisting those implanted habits in all the times of 
    First, The Spirit of God implants habits of a contrary nature, 
which are destructive to sin, and are purgative of corruption, 1 
John 5: 4. Acts 15: 9. Grace is to corruption what water is to fire; 
betwixt which, there is both abnormal and selective opposition; a 
contrariety both in nature and operation, Gal 5: 17. There is a 
threefold remarkable advantage given us by grace, for the 
destruction and mortification of sin. For, 
    First, Grace gives the mind and heart of man a contrary bent 
and inclination; by reason whereof spiritual and heavenly things 
become connatural to the regenerate soul. Rom. 7: 22. "For I delight 
in the law of God after the inner man." Sanctification is in the 
soul as a living spring running with a kind of central force heaven- 
ward, John 4: 14. 
    Secondly, Holy principles destroy the interest that sin once 
had in the love and delight of the soul; the sanctified soul cannot 
take pleasure in sin, or find delight in that which grieves God, as 
it was wont to do; but that which was the object of delight, hereby 
becomes the object of grief and hatred. Rom. 7: 15. What I hate, 
that I do. 
    Thirdly, From both these follow a third advantage for the 
mortification of sin, in as much as sin being contrary to the new 
nature, and the object of grief and hatred, cannot possibly be 
committed without reluctancy and very sensible regret of mind; and 
actions done with regret are neither done frequently nor easily. The 
case of a regenerate soul under the surprisals and particular 
victories of temptation, being like that of a captive in war, who 
marches not with delight, but by constraint among his enemies. So 
the apostle expresseth himself, Rom. 7: 28. "But I see another law 
in my members warring against the law of my mind; and bringing me 
into captivity unto the law of sin which is in my members." Thus the 
Spirit of God promotes the design of mortification, by the 
implantation of contrary habits. 
    Secondly, By assisting those gracious habits in all the times 
of need, which he does many ways; sometimes notably awakening and 
rousing grace out of the dull and sleepy habit, and drawing forth 
the activity and power of it into actual and successful resistances 
of temptations. As Gen. 39: 9. "How can I do this great wickedness 
and sin against God?" Holy fear awakens first and raises all the 
powers of grace in the soul to make a vigorous resistance of 
temptation: the Spirit also strengthens weak grace in the soul. 2 
Cor. 12: 9. "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness:" And, by reason of grace thus implanted 
and thus assisted, he that is born of God keepeth himself, and the 
wicked one toucheth him not." 
    Fifthly, The last query to be satisfied is, how mortification 
of sin solidly evinceth the soul's interest in Christ; and this it 
does divers ways, affording the mortified soul many sound evidences 
thereof. As, 
    Evidence 1. Whatsoever evidences the indwelling of the Holy 
Spirit of God in us, must needs be evidential of a saving interest 
in Christ, as has been fully proved before; but the mortification of 
sin does plainly evidence the indwelling of the Spirit of God; for, 
as we proved but now, it can proceed from no other principle. There 
is as strong and inseparable a connection betwixt mortification and 
the Spirit, as betwixt the effect and its proper cause; and the self- 
same connection betwixt the inbeing of the Spirit and union with 
Christ: So that to reason from mortification to the inhabitation of 
the Spirit, and from the inhabitation of the Spirit to our union 
with Christ, is a strong scriptural way of reasoning. 
    Evidence 2. That which proves a soul to be under the covenant 
of grace, evidently proves its interest in Christ; for Christ is the 
head of that covenant, and none but sound believers are under the 
blessings and promises of it: but mortification of sin is a sound 
evidence of the soul's being under the covenant of grace, as is 
plain from those words of the apostle, Rom. 6: 12, 13, 14. "Let not 
sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in 
the lust thereof; neither yield ye your members as instruments of 
unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those 
that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of 
righteousness unto God: for sin shall not have dominion over you; 
for ye are not under the law, lint under grace." Where the apostle 
presseth believers unto mortification by this encouragement, that it 
will be a good evidence unto them of a new covenant interest; for 
all legal duties and endeavours can never mortify sin: it is the 
Spirit in the new covenant, which produces this. Whoever, therefore, 
has corruptions mortified, has his interest in the covenant, and 
consequently in Christ, so far cleared unto him. 
    Evidence 3. That which is the fruit and evidence of saving 
faith, must needs be a good evidence of our interest in Christ; but 
mortification of sin is the fruit and evidence of saving faith. Acts 
15: 9. "Purifying their hearts by faith." 1 John 5: 4. "This is the 
victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith." Faith 
overcomes both the allurements of the world on the one hand, and the 
terrors of the world on the other hand, by mortifying the heart and 
affections to all earthly things: a mortified heart is not easily 
taken with the ensnaring pleasures of the world, or much moved with 
the disgraces, losses, and sufferings it meets with from the world; 
and so the strength and force of its temptations are broken, and the 
mortified soul becomes victorious over it; and all this by the 
instrumentality of faith. 
    Evidence 4. In a word, there is an intimate and indissoluble 
connection betwixt the mortification of sin, and the life of grace. 
Rom. 6: 11. "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive 
unto God, through Jesus Christ:" and the life of Christ must needs 
involve a saving interest in Christ. By all which is fully proved 
what was asserted in the observation from this text. The application 
follows in the next sermon. 

The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
(continued in file 30...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flamt-29.txt