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COLOSSIANS iii. I.
Things which are above, where Chriftsitteth
*OW much the metaphorical
Language of Scripture has been H
mistaken, and what Errors and
Absurdities Men have fallen YOGS
into, under Pretence of adhering to the literal Sense, is well known. The Words of the Text are hardly capable of being so abused; for it is not poffible to imagine that St. Paul should intend to tell the Colosans, or that the Colossians should believe him if he did, that they lived no longer in this World, but were, in the literal Sense, Men raised from the
Dead. But, as our State and Condition in this World is often set forth in the Scriptures in metaphorical Language, it has not fared so well in all Parts of it, but Men have sometimes lost Sight of the Metaphor, and raised very abfurd Notions from a literal Interpretation, as I shall have Occasion to observe
you in treating upon this Subject.
The Words now read to you are an Inference from what had been before said, as is evident from the Manner in which they are introduced: If ye then be rifen with Chrift. It is plain likewise that they must refer to fomething which had been said of our Refurrection with, or in Christ: For this Conclufion supposes that Doctrine already laid down and established. To find this Connection, we must look back as far as the Middle of the foregoing Chapter, where the Doctrine referred to in the Text is plainly declared. At the tenth and following Verses thus you
will read: And ye are complete in him, (that is, in Christ Jesus) which is the Head of all Principality and Power. In whom also ye are circumcised with the Circumcision-made without Hands, in putting off' the Body of the Sins of the Flesh by the Circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in Baptism, wherein also you are ri
fen with him through the Faith of the Operation of God, who hath raised him from the Dead: And you being dead in your Sins, and the Un- . circumcifion of your Flesh, bath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all Trespases. From this the Inference in the Text naturally follows: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those Things which are above, where Christ fitteth on the right Hand of God.
For the Explication of these Words, it will be necessary to set before
the Representation which the Scripture makes of the Natural State and Condition of Man, and of his Gospel State upon his becoming a Christian.
In the State of Nature the Scripture represents Men, Eph. iv. 17, 18. as walking in the Vanity of their Minds. Having the Understanding darkened, being alienated from the Life of God, through Ignorance and Blindness of Heart. As walking according to the Course. of this World, according to the Prince of the Power of the Air, the Spirit that worketh in the Children of Disobedience, Chap. ii. 2. As Children of Wrath, having their Conversation in the Luft of the Flesh, fulfilling the Defires of the Flesh and the Mind, ver. As Strangers to the Covenants of Promise, as having no Hope, and without God in the World, ver. 12. Vol. III,
As Servants of Sin, yielding their Members Servants to Uncleanness and to Iniquity, unto Iniquity, Rom. vi. 19, 20. And because the End of these Things is Death, therefore this State of Sin is called likewise a State of Death: You hath he quickened, says our Apostle, who were dead in Trespasses and Sins, Eph. ii. 1. The fame he repeats at the fifth Verse. Whilst Men were thus dead to God, and unto themselves, they lived only to Sin and Unrighteousness. Sin therefore is said to reign in them, to have Dominion over them. The natural Passions and Affections in this State of Corruption were but the Instruments of Sin, in all things subservient; and therefore are said to constitute the Body of Sin, that Body over which Sin, as the Soul or active Principle, had entire Rule and Dominion. Thus we read, Rom. vi, 6. The old Man is çrucified with him, that the Body of Sin might be destroyed, that benceforth we should not serve Sin. And in the second of the Colossians, and eleventh Verse, we are said to put of the Body of the Sins of the Flesh. The Members, of which this Body is made up, are in the next Chapter described: Mortify therefore your Members which are upon Earth, Fornication, Unclean
ness, inordinate Affection, evil Concupiscence, and Covetousness, which is Idolatry, Eph. iii. 5. This Body is by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, called the Body of Death, for the same Reason that the State of Sin is called the State of Death: O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from the Body of this, Death; or, as the Margin renders it, from this Body of Death, Ch. vii. 24. The Body, together with the Soul, which is the active Principle of Life, and the Influencer and Director of the Body and all its Motions, constitutes the Man. From hence therefore, by an easy and natural Metaphor, these depraved Appetites and Affections, which are the Instruments or Members of Sin, and which compose the Body of Sin, together with the evil Principle ruling in us, and directing these Affections in the Pursuit of all Uncleanness and Iniquity, and which is called Sin, are said in Scripture to be the Old Man; the Man which only lived before the Regeneration by Christ Jesus. Thus, Rom. vi. 6. The old Man is crucified with him, that the Body of Sin might be destroyed. And the Ephesians, Ch. iv. 22. are exhorted to put off, concerning their former Conversation, the old Man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful Lufts. This is the State of Nature,