Romans 8:6
The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace,
Sermons
Carnal and Spiritual Mindedness and Their EffectsT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 8:6
Death and LifeT. M. Herbert, M. A.Romans 8:6
Spiritual MindednessJ. Alexander.Romans 8:6
Spiritual MindednessG. Corney.Romans 8:6
The Carnal and the Spiritual MindP. Strutt.Romans 8:6
The Spiritual and the Carnal ManS.R. Aldridge Romans 8:6
The Spiritual MindD. Moore, M. A.Romans 8:6
The Spiritual MindC. A. Barrel.Romans 8:6
To be Carnally Minded is DeathThomas Horton, D. D.Romans 8:6
True Piety Peacefully PleasantD. A. Clark.Romans 8:6
Paradise RegainedR.M. Edgar Romans 8:1-11
The Judgment-Day, and How to Prepare for itC.H. Irwin Romans 8:1-11
Carnal and Spiritual MindednessJames Gage, B. D.Romans 8:5-6
Description of Regenerate and UnregenerateThomas Horton, D. D.Romans 8:5-6
Minding the Things of the FleshT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 8:5-6
Nature and SpiritW. Gladden.Romans 8:5-6
Spiritual AffinityRomans 8:5-6
The Carnal and Spiritual MindT. G. Horton.Romans 8:5-6
The Carnal and Spiritual MindP. Strutt.Romans 8:5-6
The Carnal and the SpiritualR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Romans 8:5-6
The Contrast Between the Carnally Minded and the Spiritually MindedJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 8:5-6
The Contrast Between the Unconverted and the RegenerateJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 8:5-6
The Contrasted CharactersW. Tyson.Romans 8:5-6
The Opposition Between the Things of the Flesh and the Things of the SpiritArchdeacon Gifford.Romans 8:5-6
The Things of the Flesh and the Things of the SpiritD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 8:5-6
The Flesh and the SpiritT.F. Lockyer Romans 8:6-9
Being free from sin in Christ Jesus, we are also free from its results - condemnation and death; or rather - for the result is one - the death, of which condemnation is but one aspect.

I. THE MIND OF THE FLESH. In a state of sin, as in a state of holiness, there is activity, though the activity be abnormal. The "flesh," equally with the "spirit;" has its "mind," i.e. its purpose, its aspiration; an activity which tends to a goal. And what is the dread goal to which the activity of sin must lead? Death! Yes, "the mind of the flesh is death;" this is as surely the result of such a perverse activity of our nature as though it were consciously designed and sought after. What is death, to such a one as man? The complete separation of the soul from God! And how is such death wrought by the "mind of the flesh"? By the reciprocal hostility between sin and God, which must work an utter mutual exclusion.

1. Sin's hostility to God. (Ver. 7.) The very essence of sin is rebellion against the Divine authority. The "flesh," viz. all the lower desires and passions of man's nature, broken loose from their proper governance, together with the more spiritual faculties which have been dragged down by the riotous animal impulses into a kindred perversion and anarchy - the flesh is "enmity against God." And, this being so, man's very sin, by its own action, shuts out God. Oh, what a suicide is here! For, with God, all good must ultimately be gone. The rebel rioters bar every avenue to shut out God; they darken the windows that the light of heaven may not shine; they exclude every breath of life and liberty.

2. God's hostility to sin. (Ver. 8.) But God is not a mere passive influence, whose exclusion from sinful man is determined solely by the express action of man's sin itself. God is a Spirit! Yes, no mere influence, but a living Person; a living Will! And God were no God, if he were not a holy God; and, being holy, ever hostile to all sin. It must be so. And therefore, when man erects his own rebellious will against his Maker, God's presence is not merely shut Out from the soul by sin, but God in grief - yea, and in wrath, in holy wrath - withdraws himself. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." So, then, on these two grounds, "the mind of the flesh is death." Both by the repugnant action of sin to God, and by the repugnant action of God to sin, all the favour and love and life of God are banished from the heart.

II. THE MIND OF THE SPIRIT. But if the inevitable result, and in some sense the conscious choice, of sin is the loss of God, what is the result of the true and right activity of the renewed nature, when the "spirit" is inspired by the Spirit of God, and restored to its proper ascendancy over the "flesh"? "The mind of the spirit is life and peace:" this is the necessary result; this is the result which is consciously sought after and desired. What is this life? The perfect possession and enjoyment of God, and of all good in God. And how is it wrought by the "mind of the spirit"? As in the former case, by the reciprocal action between the renewed spirit and God; though here, not reciprocal enmity, but reciprocal love.

1. The craving for God. "The spirit thirsts for life in God, which is its element, and sacrifices everything to succeed in enjoying it perfectly" (Godet). This is the very essence of the new life, as of all true spiritual life, a desire for God (see the Psalms, passim). And, by the appropriating power of faith, the spirit possesses itself of that which it desires. It hungers, and is fed.

2. The response of God. As above, God is not a mere atmosphere to be breathed, but a living God to give or withhold himself. And just as he withdraws in holy wrath from sinful man, so he imparts himself in gracious love to the humble, believing soul (see John 14:17, passim). So then "the mind of the spirit is life" - life which consists in the full possession of God, and, with him, of peace, joy, strength, and perfect liberty. Yes, "this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Which shall be our portion, our destiny? Life? or death? We answer, practically, by living according to the flesh or the spirit. But this latter is possible only in one way: does the Spirit of God dwell in us? - T.F.L.







For to be carnally minded is death.
I. THE CARNAL MIND.

1. The disposition.(1) The expression is an abstract one. The apostle touches a principle which he finds at work, and laying hold of it says, "I wish you to look at it so that you may see its nature and tendency," just as a physician might describe the symptoms of a disease.(2) This disease is named the mind of the flesh. This "minding" is like other verbs in which the organ gives the name to the act. When we put our hand to a thing we handle it, the eye, to eye it, the affections, to affect it. "Minding the flesh" is not gross vice, but simply worldly mindedness.

2. The consequence. To be carnally minded is —(1) Death.(a) It is the forerunner of eternal death. For such a disposition could never find a home in heaven.(b) A sign of present spiritual death — a deadness to spiritual things,(2) Enmity against God — a condition which men do not realise. Only conscious of indifference or ignorance, they resent the charge of enmity. But the apostle describes a tendency, ready at any moment, at any pressure of God's demands, to break out in hostility.(3) Is not subject to the law of God. "Law" here is equivalent to "will." The law which worldly mindedness follows is what it and not what God likes. It must be taken away.(4) Cannot please God.

II. THE SPIRITUAL MIND.

1. How it is produced. "If so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." No man is spiritually minded by nature. Respecting this Holy Spirit, note —(1) His importance. The dispensation under which we live is called the "dispensation of the Spirit." While Christ is our only hope, upon the Holy Spirit depends our entire success.(2) His mystery (John 3:8).(3) His position. It is safer to honour Him too much than too little when we know that the sin of neglecting Him will never be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come.(4) The privileges He introduces — regeneration, help, comfort, sanctification.

2. Its characteristics.(1) Life. Material life is union of body and soul. True life in the mind is contact with the objects which draw out all its susceptibilities, On becoming spiritually minded we cater on a new world of spiritual realities. As experienced here, it is spiritual life; as experienced here. after, it will be eternal life. All other life is death because it is in union with perishing things and all its elements are dying.(2) Peace. Life in sunshine. In proportion as we become spiritually minded is our peace secured. And that peace rests not upon a foundation which may be disturbed by conscience, poverty, or bereavement. "Nothing can separate us," etc.

3. The privilege of which this mind is the seal — Christ's Spirit. A man may have much that bears the semblance of piety — a head stored with knowledge, a mouth full of argument, a life full of work. "But if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." As a matter, then, of fact, every man may test his condition and state by this proof.

(P. Strutt.)

I. THE DEATH HERE SPOKEN OF is something more than penal death.

1. It is not future, but present, and arises from the obtuseness or the extinction of certain feelings and faculties which, if awake to their corresponding objects, would uphold a life of thoughts and sensations and regards, altogether different from the life of unregenerate men. Just figure an affectionate father to have all the domestic feelings paralysed. Then would you say of him that he had become dead to the joys and the interests of home. And the death of the carnally minded is a death to all that is spiritual — a hopeless apathy in all that regards our love to God and righteousness.

2. And such a death is not merely a thing of negation, but of positive wretchedness. For with the want of all that is spiritual about him, there is still a remainder of feeling which makes him sensible of his want, and a remorse and a terror about invisible things, even amid the busy appliance of this world's opiates. And there are other miseries which spring up from the pride that is met with incessant mortification — from the selfishness that comes into collision with selfishness — from the moral agonies which essentially adhere to malice and hatred, and from the shame that is annexed to the pursuits of licentiousness. All these give to the sinner his foretaste of hell on this side of death.

II. From what we have said of the death of those who are carnally, you will be at no loss to understand what is meant by THE LIFE OF THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY MINDED. We read of those who are alienated from the life of God, and to this it is that they find readmittance. The blood of Christ hath consecrated for them a way of access; and the fruit of that access is delight in God — the charm of confidence, of a new moral gladness in the contemplation of God's character, an assimilation of their own character to His, and so a taste for charity and truth and holiness; and a joy, both in the cultivation of all these virtues and in the possession of a heart at growing unison with the mind and will of God. These are the ingredients of a present life, which is the token and the foretaste of life everlasting.

III. THE PEACE OF THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY MINDED. There are two great causes of disturbance to which the heart is exposed.

1. A brooding anxiety lest we shall be bereft or disappointed of some object on which our desires are set. The man who is spiritually minded rises above this, for there is an object paramount to all which engrosses the care of a worldly man; and so what to others are overwhelming mortifications, to him are but the passing annoyances of a journey. To him there is an open vista through which he may descry a harbour and a home, on the other side of the stormy passage that leads to it; and this he finds enough to bear him up under all that vexes and dispirits other men.

2. There is nought in the character of the spiritually minded that exempts them from the hostility of other men; but there is the sense of a present God in the feeling of whose love there is a sunshine which the world knoweth not; and there is the prospect of a future heaven in whose sheltering bosom it is known that the turbulence of this weary pilgrimage will soon be over; and there is even a charity that mellows our present sensation of painfulness, and makes the revolt that is awakened by the coarse and vulgar exhibition of human asperity to be somewhat more tolerable.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

To be spiritually minded is life and peace.
I. ITS NATURE. Note —

1. The objects which a spiritually minded man regards. There is a spiritual as well as a material, an intellectual, and a moral world — a world the existence and contents of which are not ascertained by the exercise of the senses, nor by the mere exercise of intellectual energy; "for eye hath not seen," etc. They are, however, graciously revealed to us by the Spirit in the Scriptures; they comprehend the existence, character, and government of God; the responsibility, guilt, and depravity of man; the person, character, and mediatorial work of the Redeemer; the instructions and influences of the Holy Spirit; the graces which adorn the Christian character; and the glory to which the believer is graciously destined.

2. The manner in which a spiritually-minded man regards these objects. He has a spiritual discernment, in the exercise of which he regards spiritual things in a totally different way than he did before. The things themselves remain the same, but he is changed. He regards them now —(1) Devoutly. He meditates on them not as matters of mere speculation, but as the means of holiness and of eternal life. You may think of religion in all its aspects and yet he as far from all spiritual contact with religion itself as the astronomer is from the star he contemplates. But if you think of them devoutly, your thoughts will be accompanied with such feelings as correspond with their character and importance.(2) Supremely. Not that he disregards those which are secular and temporal, but to him their importance is secondary; "he seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."(3) Habitually. It is no uncommon thing for a worldly-minded man, under the influence of strong excitement, to direct his attention to spiritual things, and with some degree of anxiety. But his regard is as transitory as the excitement by which it was occasioned. But spirituality is the law of the mind of a spiritually-minded man, and it displays itself both by its resistance to evil and by its pursuit of good.(4) Practically. Its internal influence on the heart is indeed invisible, but this is always connected with visible effects, like the sap which secretly circulates through the tree, and then exhibits its existence by the fruit. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

3. The general principles by which a spiritually-minded man's regard to these objects is regulated.

(1)A firm belief in the existence of spiritual things.

(2)A solemn conviction of the Divine presence.

(3)An obedient regard to Divine authority.

(4)A holy love to the Divine character.

(5)A penitential conviction of guilt.

(6)The prospect of standing before the judgment seat of Christ.

II. THE LIFE AND PEACE WITH WHICH SPIRITUAL MINDEDNESS IS CONNECTED.

1. To be spiritually minded is life. This life is —(1) Real. A speculative knowledge of the gospel is not life; nor is a performance of the ceremonies of religion; nor a visible union with the Church. These things may adorn the worldly-minded professor, as fragrant flowers adorn the lifeless corpse. There is no life, unless you live by the faith of the Son of God.(2) Is of the highest and noblest character. The lowest degree of life is vegetable life; the next is animal; the next is intellectual. But beyond all these is spiritual life, which assimilates its possessor to its Divine source.

2. To be spiritually minded is peace. This peace arises from —(1) Pardon, for, "being justified by faith we have peace with God."(2) Confidence in God; "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."(3) The smile of God, when we walk in the light of His countenance.(4) Peace in affliction; for "in the world ye shall have tribulation, but in Me ye shall have peace."(5) Peace in death; for "mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH SPIRITUAL MINDEDNESS MAY BE PRODUCED AND PROMOTED.

1. Carefully avoid everything which is opposed to spirituality of mind.

2. Contemplate the Word of God in the exercise of faith.

3. Pray without ceasing.

(J. Alexander.)

I. WHEREIN THIS STATE OF MIND CONSISTS. In —

1. Renewal of the mind by the Spirit (John 3:6, 7).

2. Abstraction of the mind from the world.

3. Exercise of the mind on spiritual objects.

II. WITH WHAT THIS STATE OF MIND IS IDENTIFIED. "To be spiritually minded," according to "the wise men after the flesh," is to be mad; according to the votaries of sensual pleasure, is to be melancholy; according to the Word of God, "life and peace." Spirituality of mind is —

1. The evidence of spiritual life. It is not natural to nor acquired by man. No cause is adequate to the production of it but the Holy Ghost. He, therefore, who is "spiritually minded" has the witness of the Spirit that he is "born of God." In the feelings of life experienced, and the functions of life performed, there is the evidence of life.

2. The element of a happy life. "To be spiritually minded is life and peace." It yields pure and permanent enjoyment when all other sources fail, and in every variety and change of circumstance, and is productive of perfect felicity in heaven.

3. The earnest of eternal life — both as a pledge that it shall be given, and as a part already given (vers. 29, 30; John 4:14).

III. HOW THIS STATE OF MIND MAY BE ORIGINATED AND PROMOTED. By —

1. Dependence on the Spirit of God.

2. Attendance on the means of grace. The Spirit ordinarily works by means, the chief of which are the study of the Scriptures, private devotion, and public worship.

3. Seclusion from the world. Not that lawful occupation is incompatible, but there is in the world much that has tendency to sensualise the mind; and the further we remove from the sphere of its attraction, the better for the cultivation of this grace.

4. Christian converse. When Christ talked with two of His disciples by the way, their hearts burned within them.

5. Meditation on death and the world to come.The subject may be viewed and improved —

1. As a test of character.

2. As an excitement to joy.

(G. Corney.)

I. WHAT IT IS. The mind which the Holy Spirit infuses into the regenerate, and which desires and pursues after spiritual things. In its more advanced and perfect form, it is the enthronement of the Divine will over the human; the voluntary subjection of the whole man to a Divine influence, whereby Christ is formed in us.

II. WHENCE HAVE WE IT?

1. Its efficient cause is the Holy Spirit. To awaken conscience from its sleep, to turn the will from its waywardness, to eradicate the seeds of evil, and to fill the heart with love for whatever is holy, is the province of the Holy Spirit, and of Him only: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," etc.

2. The instrumental means is "the Word of God," which by the Spirit, is made "effectual in them that believe." "Sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth," go together. The Spirit uses the truth to obtain influential access to man's soul, in all its parts — to the understanding, that it may be opened; to the judgment, that it may be convinced; to the will, that it may be subdued; to the conscience, that it may be restored to its rightful supremacy; to the affections, that they may be set on God and heaven.

III. IN WHAT FORMS DOES IT MANIFEST ITSELF?

1. In the quickened condition of the religious sensibilities; the transformation of "the heart of stone into the heart of flesh." "To be carnally-minded is death." While a man is in this state, he is dead to all the objects and interests of the spiritual world. Of "the beauty of holiness" he has no knowledge. The favour of God has no part in his aspirations, and the eternal and unseen never occasion a serious thought. Hence, awakened sensibility is the first sign of an inner life. We feel spiritually. There is a keen sensitiveness to the presence of evil. The favour of God is life to us. True, it may be "life" without "peace." But life it is, and must be. Spiritual emotions, be they painful or be they joyous, can come only from a spiritual mind. A tear is as good a sign of life as a smile. But remember that this awakened sensibility is a thing of degrees. The mind of the Spirit belongs as truly to "the babe in Christ" as to "the perfect man"; to the awakened sinner, in his first convictions, as to the triumphant saint just entering on his rest. There must be life in us, while we are manifesting any of the functions of life.

2. In the increasing prevalence of religious thoughts and affections. "They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit." The thoughts make the man, and the thoughts are the man. He is "carnal," if he gives the first and largest place in his heart to the things of the world; he is "spiritual," if he gives that preeminence to the exercises of faith.

3. In the centering of its best affections in a personal Saviour, as the medium through which the soul orders all its intercourse with the heavenly world.

IV. ITS FRUITS AND EXPERIENCES. "Life and peace." There is the life and peace of —

1. The resting and settled heart. The life of carnal-minded men is one of miserable unrest, which comes of their doing violence to a law of their being. They have taken up with something below that which their souls were made and fitted for. But the spiritual man in the midst of a conflicting, shifting, uncertain, and unstable world, rests in the Lord.

2. The resigned and submissive will, walking confidently after Divine guidance. In the embarrassments of moral choice, in the oppositions of conflicting duties, we look to have the mind of the Spirit.

3. Spiritual liberty. There is a service which may be laborious, exact, and costly, but it is the service of a bondsman — of one who is labouring to obey, before he has been fully brought to believe. But the spiritual mind changes constraint into cheerfulness, and duty into happiness, and the restless activity of a self-devised and legal worship into the calm repose of a commanded and accepted sacrifice.

4. Devotion. For, having the Spirit, we have in ourselves an agency for helping our infirmities. He moulds us into the praying form, suggests to us praying thoughts, forms in us the praying habit.

V. THE BEST MEANS OF ATTAINING IT.

1. Prayer for the influences of that Spirit through whom this great gift comes to us. The most eminent effusions of the Spirit were not only afforded to prayer, but appear to have taken place at the very time these sacred exercises were being performed (Ezekiel 36:37; Acts 2:1).

2. The cultivation of such tempers as are most congruous with His revealed character, and calculated to invite His gracious presence in our souls. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." A Spirit of "love," He is grieved at the indulgence of envious and malignant passions. A Spirit of "supplication," He is grieved when we grow remiss in the exercises of devotion. He cannot, as a Spirit of "holiness," remain in a heart to be the companion of unforsaken sin. And as we retest not grieve the Author of the spiritual mind, so we must be careful not to "quench" His sacred influences. The gifts of the Spirit are not bestowed upon us to lie idle. Their fruitfulness depends upon their being kept in constant exercise.

3. All those tendencies which the apostle includes under the name of the "carnal mind," must be brought into subjection. The flesh and the Spirit cannot reign together. Hence we are required to "mortify the deeds of the body." And this we do by denying them indulgence.

4. The observance of stated seasons of religious retirement.

5. Making subservient thereto things which are not spiritual — pressing into a sanctified service every turn in the lot of life. "It is a great art," as Bishop Hall says, "to learn the heavenly use of earthly things." As the raging fire turns everything which is cast into it into its own nature; or as the flower makes common use of the rain and the snow drift, the sunbeam, and the dew, to minister to the nourishment and support of its own vitality; so, by the power of a Divine affinity, does the spiritual mind assimilate all things to itself.

6. The study of those practical models of Christian character which are given to us in the Holy Scripture.

7. Above all looking to Christ, the great Exemplar, as in all things, so in this.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

We often hear it said of one or another individual, "He is a very spiritual person," or "He is very unspiritual." What is meant by these expressions? In the first place, the passage informs us that "to be spiritually-minded" is opposed to being "carnally-minded." The sensual thought, the eyes that rove after, the imagination that shapes, the soul that hankers for, forbidden pleasures, are anti-spiritual. Again, while the spiritual is opposed to the carnal mind, we learn from other passages of Scripture it is more than what we commonly signify by morality. A man may be honest in his worldly affairs, blameless in every earthly relation, without being truly spiritual; for, besides the earthly and human relations in which we stand, we sustain relations heavenly and Divine. A supreme, uncreated excellence must sanctify and draw us on to another citizenship than that we hold amid these clay-built abodes, before the spiritual mind, with its "life and peace," can be unfolded within us. Once more, "to be spiritually-minded," while standing in opposition to what is "carnal," and completing what is "moral," is also the significance of what is "formal." The outward observances and institutions of our religion have no sense but to express and awaken the exercises of our spiritual nature. According as we go through these punctual rites of prayer and praise, communion and consecration, with a worldly or a spiritual mind, they will be a mechanical and unmeaning mockery to us, or the very reflections of the gates of heaven. But the spiritual mind, while opposed to what is carnal, completing what is moral, has of course a position and intrinsic quality of its own, which we must go beyond all terms of negation and comparison to set forth. To be spiritually-minded, then, is to have a sense, a conviction, and inward knowledge of the reality, solidity, and permanent security of spiritual things. It is to believe and see that there is something more in God's universe than outwardly appears; something more than this richly compounded order of material elements, with all its beauty; something beyond the sharply defined glittering objects that crowd the landscape. It is to understand that day and night, seed time and harvest, summer and winter, are not the only facts possibly subject to the notice of the undying soul. It is to be aware that even the broad streets and mighty pathways which the astronomer descries, laid out from globe to globe, do not embrace the whole or highest survey of God's creation. But beyond, within, or above all, there verily is a scene, a society of lofty, intelligent existence, where are brighter displays of God's nearness and love. The spiritual mind not only sees, as in cold vision, the inner or upper world gloriously triumphing in its stability over the passing kingdom of earth and sense, but enters into relation with it, feels surrounded by it, bows to it, and realises an inspection from the living firmament of its power. Mortal creature, spirit of Almighty inspiration, clothed in flesh! believest thou only in what comes to thee through these five windows of the senses, so advantageously placed to let in the notices of material things; or wilt thou credit that thy Maker also fashioned thy heart to yield for the entrance of Himself and retinue of attending spirits? Breather of earthly air, yet partaker of a heavenly privilege; birth of yesterday, yet heir of immortality; mystery to thyself, definite figure, illimitable being! thy feet do not more surely gravitate to the earth than thy inward nature holds of a loftier sphere. Awake to thy spiritual relations; live up to their solemn dignity.

(C. A. Barrel.)

To be thus minded is life and peace; or the life of true piety is a life of peaceful pleasure.

1. A life of holiness is calculated to fill the mind with the richest enjoyment, and raise it to its highest state of improvement. The objects of contemplation that lie before the believing mind are dignified and worthy its occupancy.

2. A life of piety furnishes the heart with those affections which give it the highest pleasure, and best promote its improvement. There is no small object in God's kingdom. If He is not the immediate object of the affections of His people, still they have a noble object. If they love His law, His gospel, His government, His Church, or even the humblest individual in His household, there is no one of these affections of which angels would be ashamed.

3. Piety cultivates a better conscience than can be found in the carnally-minded. Other things being equal, he is far the happiest man who has the purest conscience, who most promptly applies for its decision, and most cheerfully obeys its dictates. Still, in every good man, conscience is more or less honoured and cultivated, while in the opposite character it is hated and neglected as Heaven's unwelcome sentinel.

4. A life of piety promotes happiness. To be spiritually-minded is life and peace. This is a point that will generally be con. ceded. It is said, however, that there are some whom religion has made unhappy. They are cut off from the pleasures of sense, while their hopes of glory and their enjoyment of God are too inoperative to render them happy. That in many cases this appears to be true there is no doubt; but there can be as little doubt that the failure is chargeable, not to religion, but to its absence.

5. There is opened before the believer a vast resource of comfort. He has joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, whom having not seen we love, and in whom though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. He has fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. He enjoys the ministry of angels. He is conscious of penitence, and has ordinarily a hope of forgiveness. He is permitted through rich grace to cast an eye forward toward heaven as his everlasting home.

6. The covenant that binds him to his Lord is an everlasting covenant, well ordered in all things and sure. Hence, while he is assured that to live is Christ, he is equally confident that to die would be gain. What he shall be it does not yet appear.

(D. A. Clark.)

1. Two of the sublimest words in the language, expressing two of the sublimest facts of our experience; but What is life? What is death? The answers take us far out of our depth. Life presents itself to us in a series of activities, governed by purpose; and, in the case of conscious life, it exhibits the delightful forms of intelligence and feeling. Life, then, as we generally see it, is bright, beautiful, and attractive. But of the inner springs which regulate these activities, of the essential nature of life we are ignorant. So with death. The aspect in which it presents itself to us is dark and repellent. We know it as the cessation of the cheerful activities of life, the dissolution and decay of the fair material form. It appears to us, therefore, as a great enemy.

2. But the way we look at both death and life is partial and illusive. This verse gives us the views of one occupying a point of view different to the one we are accustomed to take.

I. DEATH CONSIDER AS THE MINDING OF THE FLESH.

1. That death is the cessation of activities which befalls the living body, is a natural, but cannot even we see it is a partial way of viewing it? For what we deplore when our friends die is not chiefly the disappearance and decay of their bodies, but the withdrawal of that mind and heart from our society of which the body was but the instrument.

2. The answer which these words give to the question, What is death? speak of what it means to the conscious soul. A soul which finds its aims and expends its energies in catering for the needs and pleasures of its bodily instrument, is virtually dead. And why? First, if the aims of the soul be confined to its perishing tenement, it follows that the soul's occupation and pleasures will be gone when the body dies. And, besides, there is the ignoble procedure of making it the chief employment of the higher powers of our nature to cater for the lower. Now, the Scriptures are very far from countenancing neglect of the body; they exalt it as the instrument of Christian service, the temple of God. And a body in cheerful health is no small aid to the attainment of health of soul. What is called death of the soul here, is not such minding of the body as promotes its efficiency for worthy work, but such minding of it as makes the soul the slave of the body, its chief object to minister to its indulgences and pleasures.

3. That, I need not say, is a very different thing from death as we understand it. Is there any reason why things so different should be called by the same name? What is the death of the body? When the constant changes which go forward in the body nourish and preserve its life, it lives; but when they cease to do that, then it dies. But, observe, a dead body does not cease to be the subject of changes; on the contrary, they go forward; they consist of the repulsive changes of lingering decay and corruption. Now does not that justify the parallel of the apostle? The death of the soul is not its ceasing to think, to feel, to will, but its thinking, feeling, willing in base unworthy ways, as unlike its proper ways of acting as the odious processes of bodily corruption are unlike the fair processes of life.

II. LIFE CONSIDERED AS THE MINDING OF THE SPIRIT. The soul's occupying itself mainly with aims and efforts belonging to its higher nature. It recognises its duties to others and to God, and its endeavours are made to discharge these though at cost of self-denial to the body. To follow Christ is its life task. To be approved of Christ its reward; to see Christ, and to resemble Him, its eternal happiness. These are the things it "minds," and the body is the servant which aids it in doing so. The ideal, indeed, is not reached here, but the ceaseless and earnest effort after the ideal is the conflict of the Christian life. He who engages in it minds the things of the Spirit. And in proportion as it is attained, and the soul, rising superior to the claims of the flesh, feasts its powers on the things unseen and eternal, and labours at its task here with reference to them, and to Him who dwells there, in that proportion the soul lives; occupies itself in a way which trains it for immortality, and prepares it to see God.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

First, the subject, the carnal mind. This we may see made good in the several branches of it. As, first of all, take it in the mind and understanding, which is the higher part of the soul, that which should rule all the rest. This is corrupted, and so tending to death (thus Romans 1:22, and Ephesians 4:8). And we may see it in these several distempers, as — First, there is ignorance of the things of God and which concern our own eternal salvation (Jeremiah 4:22; 1 Corinthians 15:54). Secondly, as there is ignorance in the mind, so there is also a curiosity and an affectation of the knowledge of such things as belong not to us. Again, darkness of apprehension when we are taught, as the disciples, slow of heart (Luke 24:2, 5; Mark 16:14). Thus we see the carnality of our reason and higher part. This may serve to humble us, and lay us low in our own thoughts. That which is best of us, it is by nature tainted in us. This shows us what ill judges of the things of God and the matters of religion such persons are as are merely carnal, and have no more but the light of reason in them, which is so much dimmed and obscured by sin, is as if blind men were to judge of colours, which is very improper and impertinent. Secondly, as there is corruption in the understanding, so likewise in the will and affections. "The flesh lusts against the Spirit" (Galatians 5:17). And (ver. 24) the affections and lusts they are both joined together, as who should say lustful affections. This first of all teaches us how impotent and unable anyone is by nature to his own conversion, while we are depraved in every part of us. Secondly, we see here also God's goodness in His powerful and victorious grace, in that He suffers corruption to break out no further sometimes than it does, if not by wholly removing it, yet at least by restraining it. Now further, secondly, here is considerable of us the predicate, what is declared concerning it as to the evil and mischievousness of it, and that is, that it hath the name of death fastened upon it. The Spirit of God makes choice of such an expression as might most of all terrify us, and move all such persons as are yet remaining in their natural condition to labour to come out of it. First, it is in sort and in a certain sense temporal or natural death. This is not always presently, or actually, or in effect, as experience does many times show. First, it is so originally, and as the first occasion of this death. Secondly, it is death also demeritoriously. It is that which does deserve death. Thirdly, this carnal mind is oftentimes also temporal death actually and in the consequence of it. There is many a man who by his sin and wickedness does hasten and procure his own end. "Be not over much wicked; why should'st thou die before thy time?" says the preacher in Ecclesiastes 7:17. Secondly, it is death also spiritually, which is somewhat further here intended. It is enmity against God, as it follows in the next verse to the text, and it is a deprivation of the life of God which should be in us. Thirdly, it is also death eternal. And this is that which is principally intended here in this place, as the worst and greatest of all. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). There are divers persons who have great need to this purpose to be awakened out of this dead condition. First, all worldlings, who savour of nothing but of the earth and of the things of the earth. Secondly, here may likewise be warned and admonished occasionally from this present truth, all such persons as content themselves in a mere abstaining from grosser sins and the outward acts of the flesh. Thirdly, hereby also are admonished all vain glorious and Pharisaical persons, who have nothing in them but a form of godliness. To set home this further upon us, let us take in these considerations with us. First, that this carnal mind perverts the greatest human excellences and perfections which are considerable in any; the wits, and parts, and understandings, and such things as these. A man that has these without grace, he is but a dead man for all that. Secondly, this carnal mind corrupts even the best duties; it makes those performances which being considered in their own nature are good, yet coming from such a person that performs them to be turned to sin unto him, because the principle from which he performs them is not right in him (Proverbs 21:27). This carnal mind envenoms the greatest comforts, and takes away the profitable use of all the creatures that are for us. Hence it is that it is expressed indefinitely, "to be carnally-minded is death"; namely, whatever condition a man be in, in regard of the world, whether rich, or noble, or powerful, or whatever we can think of. The second is the end of the spiritual, which is expressed in two terms to us, in life and in peace. Each of these is such as is consequent to spiritual-mindedness in those who are the subjects of it. First, spiritual-mindedness is life. That is one thing which is attributed to it as a privilege attending upon it. Secondly, for spiritual life. This spiritual-mindedness is life in sundry regards. First, originally, as proceeding and springing from this life. Those that are spiritually-minded, they are so from the Spirit of life which is in Christ Himself, and communicated to them who are members of Him. Secondly, objectively. Spiritual-mindedness is spiritual life so also. Forasmuch as the matter of it, it is conversant about things of that nature, as grace, and conversion, and regeneration, and such things as these. Thirdly, operatively. Spiritual-mindedness is spiritual life likewise so. Forasmuch as it does very much tend to the preserving, and strengthening, and nourishing, and increasing of this spiritual life in us. The third and last notion of life which is here signified, and that indeed which is mainly intended, is that it is life eternal. The second is peace, which may be taken either in the generical notion or in the specifical. If we take it generically and comprehensively, so it does imply in it all kind of happiness at large, it being usual with the Hebrews to express all kinds of good whatsoever under this name, so as when they wished to any persons peace, they did under that expression pray for their absolute welfare and success. If we take it specifically and restrictively, so it does point out that blessing which is properly and peculiarly so-called, and that in all the several kinds and distributions of it. And thus, indeed, do I rather take it here in this place, the blessing of peace, as it is called, and which God hath promised to bestow on His people (Psalm 29:11; Psalm 119:165; Proverbs 3:17; Romans 2:10; Galatians 6:16), etc. And peace, as I said, in the full extent. First, with God Himself (Romans 5:1), etc. Secondly, with man's own self. Peace of conscience, tranquility of spirit, quietness of mind. Grace it is of a calming and composing nature, it puts all things into a state of quietness. Thirdly, with others (Proverbs 16:7). The ground of all this is, first, the gift and legacy of Christ. Secondly, the nature of grace itself, and the manner of the working of it; for it composes the passions of the mind, and scatters the distempers of it; and from thence occasions peace unto it. This may serve to show us the great difference betwixt the children of God and other men; betwixt those that are spiritually-minded and those that are carnal. As for this latter, they have no share in peace as belonging unto them (Isaiah 57:20, 21).

(Thomas Horton, D. D.)

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