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couragement. And if you are thus walking, I see not the least cause you have to suspect your being passed from death unto life, although I know also the devil will be persuading you to the contrary. Give him no heed ; tell him you know his character, that he is the accuser of the brethren ; and you know his doom too, that he shall as such be cast down, Rev. xii. 10. Insist upon it against him, that by nature sin had the whole power of you, but now, though it lives, it doth not reign ; that you are sure this could not be through any power of your own, any more than a dead body can raise itself out of the
Insist, that once you were dead, but now you are alive, for you find spiritual life in you, you feel the motions, the desires, the longings, the resolves of one whose soul lives, and you are sure it is not your natural self which doth this, but Christ who liveth in you. And if you are charged with in-dwelling sin and imperfection, acknowledge it, but avouch the righteousness of Christ, and insist, notwithstanding, that you are accepted in the well-beloved. You, brethren, are the very children of God in Christ Jesus. God hath called, justified, and sanctified you, and you are in the way to glory. You ought to be sensible of the inestimable gift you have received, to value the noble honour you are admitted to, to boast of the high privileges you enjoy in Christ Jesus. Ah, sirs ! a very little time will show the world how blessed you are : the day of the Lord will show it. When Jesus comes with power and glory in the clouds, the whole world shall own that 5 ye are the blessed of the Lord who made heaven and earth." Then sinners of every degree, then malignant devils shall own it to their confusion, “ when Christ shall be glorified in his saints, and honoured in all them that believe.” Be of good comfort, therefore, “ be strong, acquit you like men;" hold fast the beginning of your confidence steadfast unto the end, for God will bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Obe sensible how great things the Lord hath done for your souls !
ACTS xvi. 30.
What must I do to be saved ?
Our last Discourse on the Church Catechism related to the necessity of the baptismal vow in all the parts of it, which necessity was seen to lie in our fallen and lost estate by nature, from which the actual renunciation, faith, and obedience spoken of in the vow, is a present, true, and real deliverance.
The way, therefore, is now opened to a particular examination of the three distinct parts of it. The first of them is the renunciation of the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh." Which renunciation you see also hath its three parts ; each of which must be separately considered. And it will be proper to introduce this particular explanation by observing (for the better understanding the whole of it, and that the renunciation itself may be seen at once in a comprehensive view), that by and since the fall there is a principle of sin in the nature of man, which I cannot better describe than by calling it a principle of carnal independency, by which man (as the devils did before him) withdraws himself from dependence on God, and sets up for his own master, and to be happy as well as he can without God. Now man thus set up for himself, and determined by his fallen nature to have nothing to do with God, and to seek his happiness not in God, finds himself in a world which he looks upon as his own, and to which he entirely gives himself up, seeking in the things of it to gratify his proud independent spirit, and to please his carnal inclinations. Into this state of carnal independency he was originally led through the malicious artifice of the devil, who, having seduced him into this apostasy, and thus fixed him
on the world, has made him his own subject, and, by means of this carnal independency in his nature, continually wrought upon by the things of the world, does keep him actually and truly under his own proper direction and guidance all the while he continues in this natural state. So that, you see man in his natural state is a creature who, according to his power, has made himself independent of God in pride, and is under the power of carnal inclination ; who is fixed upon the world for the gratification of the independent carnal principle that is in his nature; and is secretly led by the devil, who, by working upon this principle of sin in a continual and engaging representation of the things of the world, does entirely, yet with the man's own freest choice, direct and lead him as he pleases.
Here we may find, then, to what the renunciation before us has regard ; that it is a professed renunciation of this natural state, and consequently imports a declaration to this purpose : “I do solemnly and resolvedly renounce the service of my sinful nature, neither will I henceforward in the pride of my heart live as independent of God, nor yield myself a servant to my carnal inclinations. And therefore I do avow myself determined to forego that worldly course of conduct which is the gratification of my natural pride and carnal inclination. As also herewith and hereby I reject Satan's dominion, being steadfastly purposed by no art of his to be prevailed upon to return to his service, by yielding myself to live after the natural desires of my heart, which I will constantly oppose notwithstanding all his allurements or terrors, being firmly determined, in my own person, as well by my example as by my influence, to do what in my power is to combat with and destroy the practice of sin, and therewith the dominion and tyranny which by means of sin the devil has established, and is still maintaining in the world.”
After this general view of the baptismal renunciation, I am now at full liberty to proceed to the several parts of it. The first of which is a renunciation of the devil and all his works. Here we will first explain the words themselves, and then come to certain practical considerations arising from them.
And, first, for the explanation. And here we must show what is meant by the devil, what by his works; and, under cach, what it is to renounce him and them.
The devil. Every one knows that by the devil is meant the fallen angels, the leader of whom is here only mentioned, though all of them be intended. But seeing the point is, we are here renouncing the devil, it is plain that he is considered not simply as he is in himself, but as he stands related to us.
For to renounce signifies to refuse, forsake, and cast off; and this we could not be called upon to do in the present case, unless the devil had concerns with us. Wherefore by the devil, in this place, is to be understood, the devil as he stands related to us in our natural state. And what his relation to us in that state is, is very plain, from the titles given him in Scripture ; where he is called the prince of this world, the god of this world, and the like: expressions which evidently set him out as having dominion over the world, that is, over the inen of the world, all of us by nature, who, while we are in our natural state, are of this world, and, as such, of the devil, his actual, real, subjects. By the devil, we mean the devil as having usurped a dominion over us, the devil as our king, prince, and ruler.
Consequently, when we say we renounce the devil, we mean, that we renounce the devil as having dominion over us, that we cast off his service, that we no more allow him to have any guidance and direction of us. An angel may say, “ I have no dealings with the devil ;" but a sinner must say more. “Once I did, but now I will serve him no longer, I will submit to no more of his orders, I declare myself none of his subjects, I will pay no regard to his intimations, I will not yield myself again to him upon any of his fair but false enticements, I will not be seduced by his lies, nor frightened by his terrors into his service; him as my prince and master I absolutely and for ever disavow, and to him and his interests I am a professed determined enemy." It follows,
And all his works.-I not only renounce him, but also all his works. Though it be true that all sin in general is originally the work of the devil, as far as his tempting thereto may make it his; and though it be true, also, that there are certain sins, such as pride, malice, envy, and the like, which in a peculiar propriety may be called his, because first and most malignantly in him : yet, inasmuch as sin in general, and these devillike sins in particular, are more properly ours, when considered as dwelling in us, than his, who does but tempt us to them; and inasmuch, also, as all sin in general and particular is actually included under the lusts of the flesh, and there renounced ; I conceive that by the works of the devil here must be understood something different, and, therefore, that it means sin, in general and particular, in a peculiar reference to the devil's kingdom, and all such things as the devil supports his dominion by; for these are his own proper works, and are wrought for his own
Accordingly, when I say I renounce all the works of the devil, I declare, First, That, because it is by sin that the devil maintains his dominion in the world, I will practise no sin : neither in me nor by my means shall he hold dominion through my sin. I declare, Secondly, That, since it is by the general countenance given to sin in the world that he upholds his tyranny, he shall not have the countenance of my example and influence to support his cause. And I declare, Thirdly, That I myself will not give into it, and will discourage in others those various lying artifices of his by which he keeps up his hellish usurpation upon earth ; such as all kind of superstitious usuages, which have no foundation in the word of God, and do serve to keep men from him by the deceit of the devil, and his holding them under unreasonable fears, as idolatry among the Heathen, false worship among the Papists, and, among us, faith in charms, ominous days, fortune-tellers, conjurers, and the like. Fourthly, Since by raising persecution against the church of God the devil attempts at last to support his kingdom, therefore I will not have a hand in any such work. Seeing by these and the like things the devil works to support his kingdom, which by seducing Adam unto sin he erected in the world, I declare that I will not meddle with any of them, and that I disclaim all his works of darkness, being absolutely resolved, that, as I will no longer serve him myself, so I will not allow myself in the practice of any one thing, great or small, by which he does in his subjects and followers labour to keep himself in the possession of his usurped government over the wicked world.
And thus much of the explanation. Let us come now to the improvement; which shall consist of an examination, and a suitable exhortation as our case shall be.