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"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in sins and trespasses; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, " &C. - Ver. 1,2

Dead in sins and trespasses; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world.
Now in this second verse here is -
I. A continued course of life; expressed by 'walking.'
IT. The path in which they walked; ' in sins and trespasses'
III. The guides which they were guided by in walking : -
1. The world, the 'course' of it.
2. The devil, the 'prince of the power of the air.'
3. The flesh, which in Rom. viii. is called 'walking after the flesh.'
First, Their continued course, expressed by 'walking.' It is strange that dead men should walk; we call it, if a dead man appear, walking; it would affright us all to see a dead man walking; yet, you see, dead men here are said to walk. Walking, therefore, first of all, importeth life : though it be a death in sin, yet it is a life in sin too, Col. iii. 7, ' In which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.' And so, in I Tim. v. 6, ' She is dead whilst she liveth.' That I may open this unto you, you must know that sin is in itself but a mere privation of spiritual life, yet it is a privation in a positive being that liveth. The soul is alive as it is a soul, all the activity of it remaineth still, no naturals are taken away; it is dead only in respect of God and spiritual good. It is not in this as it is in the death of the body, that there is no life remaining; yes, here is a life remaining, but it is not life spiritual. It is as if you should suppose the reasonable soul only left a man, and that the fancy of man, the sensitive soul, remains still such as in beasts, or higher, for it is higher raised in a man, which hath all the powers of reason in it still. So it is here. Now then, walking in sin follows upon being alive ; for this soul having all its inclinations, all its desires still, only it is cut off from the life of God and communion with him, must live; in itself it cannot live, God hath so ordered the soul of man that it should not live in itself, it must live in something else; it is like the stomach, if it hath not meat it dies; or as fire, if it hath not fuel it dies; in respect of the well-being of it. Now this soul that liveth a natural life, being cut off from the life of God, estranged from it, its activity must work somewhere; therefore now it falls upon the pleasures of sin, and all its comfort lies in sin. Therefore, Eph. iv. 18, 19, we read that the soul being estranged from God through the ignorance that is in them, they have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. The soul must have comfort, therefore having it not in God, it will run out some other where.
And hence now, they are not only said to be dead in sin, but to be alive in sin too, which is a strange contradiction, but it is not in the same respect. They are dead in sin in respect of God, being cut off from life in him; hut they are alive in sin too. Why? Because all the comfort of their lives lies in what comes in by sin, and by inordinate affections, even as it is distinguished by our Saviour Christ, John ii. 40. When he told the Pharisees they were blind, say they, 'Are we blind?' Blind they were, utterly blind, there was a sight in respect of which they were utterly blind; for the natural man perceiveth not the things of God; yet saith Christ, 'If you did not see, you had no sin.' So you may say here, they are dead in respect of God, but if they were not alive, they would have no sin. And therefore as they are dead in sin, so they are alive in sin too and it is their life and the more life, the more activity any one's soul hath, the more sinful he is.In that Col. iii. 7, the place I quoted even now, saith he, ' in which ye walked, whilst you lived in them.' They are dead in sin, as here, and they are there said to be alive in sin too. And you see likewise that their having life. and having all the comfort of their lives lying in sinning, and all their activity running out that way, it is the cause of their walking in sin 'in which ye walked,' saith he, ' whilst ye lived in them.' The Apostle indeed speaks philosophically; as we say, there is the operation, and power from which it flows; so here, the reason, saith he, why ye walk in sin is because you live in sin. The one is the cause, the other is the effect.
As, on the contrary, why doth the godly man walk in the Spirit? Read Gal. v. 25, 'If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.' Hence, therefore, because whilst a wicked man is dead in one respect, he is yet alive in sin, (all his life, his comfort - for life is taken for comfort, as in Luke xii. 15 - lieth in sinning,) he is said to walk in it. There is only this difference they need no exhortations to walk in sin, but we need exhortations to walk in the Spirit, though we live in the Spirit. Why? Because we are naturally dead in sin, and we have a body of death in us, and we have no more life nor actings of life than is infused into us. It importeth then, you see, a life; for that the soul hath, notwithstanding it is thus dead; yea, and a life in sin, though it is dead in sin, because it is cut off from the life of God. And, indeed, their being dead in sin is the cause of their living in sin; and their living in sin, or having a life of sin, is the cause of their walking in sin. Therefore the Apostle fitly joins these together, being dead in sins and trespasses, in which, you walked.
I will only add this, that their living in sin is only in this life, while they are in their way; therefore, it is said, they shall perish in their way, or from their way, Ps. ii. I do not say they do not sin hereafter; but in hell, though men sin, - that is, though their actions are contrary to the law, - yet it is not their life ; and the reason is this, because then they are stripped from all objects whatsoever; therefore the soul dies, for it cannot live in itself. And though men set up themselves here, yet in hell they are lost in themselves: therefore they are said to be lost creatures ; not only dead creatures, in respect of living in any thing else, but they are lost to their own ends, there is no way to accomplish any end in hell ; therefore the creature is lost, it is undone, the creature dies there. Only whilst it liveth here in this world it may live in sin and walk in sin ; hereafter it shall not.- Now then this word, 'in which ye walked,' sets out their miserable condition. We may consider it in a twofold notion. First, as it sets out their miserable estate in. respect of sin, how sinful it was, for that is one scope of it ; the Apostle would let them see how sinful their lives had been. And this phrase of walking doth exceedingly express the sinfulness of a mans condition in his conversation.
Secondly, it may be considered as it is an infallible character and sign of an unregenerate estate. And both are intended for his scope is to humble these Ephesians snider the sight of their sinfulness; and to do it, he doth express their lives to be a walking in sin. And the other is as clearly expressed and held forth; 'in which ye walked sometime,' implying that now they did not and therefore it is a proper character an unregenerate man for to walk in sin.
For the first; as this phrase, walking in sin, is here put to express the abundancy of sin that was in them, it implies, in the first place, that all their life and every act thereof was sinful; they could not act or walk out of sin ; there was not a step in their way but was sinful. And, my brethren, every thought is a step, every power, and faculty, and motion is a step a man walketh by every desire, by every thought, by every purpose, by every end and passion that stirreth in him. I may compare the ungodly soul of a sinner to these black worms that walk upon so many feet : so doth the soul walk; every power and faculty of it is a foot, and there is not the least motion but it is a step.
Now, did they walk in nothing but sin? Could they not get out of it? What abundance of sin must then this rise up to, as the Apostle here representeth it? Every thought and every imagination in the heart was evil, continually evil; for it was a walking. This is that which the Apostle here expresseth; they were never out of sinning in some path or other, they were never out of that circuit, go whither they would. In the second place, walking implieth that as every action of theirs was a sin, every thought, and the like, so it implies that they were never idle, they never stood still; but this soul of theirs was continually doing something, and all that was sin. Saith the first Psalm, 'Blessed is the man that walketh not in the way of the ungodly;' the Hebrew word that is there put for ungodly or shiner signifies restless. The word is opposed unto quietness, in Job xxxiv. 29. And therefore walking and restless are in Ps. i. joined together; 'walk in the way of the restless,' that is, of the ungodly, that are continually restless, continually going up and down. In Isa. lvii. 20, the wicked are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. So that now the meaning is this, they hurried up and down, for indeed it is not an ordinary walking, it is but a tumbling up and down. As Seneca said well of a man that had done no good in his life, that he had but tumbled up and down in the world, like a ship, saith he, that hath been tossed up and down in the sea, but never sailed; so this walking is not a proper walking, it is but a restlessness, a continual activity. And in Eccles. vi. 9, you shall find there that the word walking is put for restlessness. 'Better,' saith he, 'is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the spirit;' the word in the original is, than the walking of the spirit; his meaning is this, than for a man to be always desiring, and his spirit continually wandering up and down for new desires and objects ; he speaks of the restlessness of a covetous man, that is continually looking down for more, walking up and down. And then again, 'in which ye walked;' he saith not, in one sin only, but ' in sins and trespasses,' that is, in all sorts of sin.
And, fourthly, walking with the greatest security, for so walking implieth, as men that walk in the highway, or in their gardens, thinking nothing. He knoweth not, saith Solomon, Prov. vii. 23, speaking of the foolish man, that it is for his life. ' Walking' implies a secure condition too, and such was yours, saith he.
And, fifthly, delighting in nothing else, that the word implies too ; as men walk for recreation, as they walk up and down in their gardens to refresh themselves, so, saith he, do you. It is an observable thing that in Scripture men's continuing in sin is expressed by all sorts of postures. in Ps. i., you have three. ' walketh in the counsel of the ungodly, standeth in the way of sinners, and sitteth in the seat of the scornful.'
And elsewhere it is called 'wallowing in the mire,' and the 'world lying in wickedness;' the phrase there, lying, is put for lying down, as in Luke ii. 12. For variety of postures is that which causeth delight and ease in man, he could not be always in one posture; and here 'walking is put for them all. And then again, sixthly, 'in which you walked '- that is, you walked in them as these that would not be put out of their way, you went on obstinately and perversely, for so an unregenerate man doth. In that first Psalm, as he is said to 'walk in the counsel of the ungodly,' so to 'stand in the way of sinners;' one would think that walking and standing are opposite, but the meaning is, he persisted in it; it implies only a firmness and steadiness, he would not be put out of it. And then again, walking implies a going from strength to strength. In Ps. lxxxiv. 7, it is said that the godly go from strength to strength, till they appear before God in Zion; so the wicked go from strength to strength, and increase in it.
Then, eighthly, walking, they departed from God all the while. I remember once a man that was turned to God, when he had considered his miserable condition, this was the sum of all that was set upon his spirit: 'I have run from God,' saith he, 'all my days.' A man in sin still goes from God all his days, and there is still a further elongation; it is therefore called a departing from the living God, a turning the back upon him, and not the face.
Lastly, it is called a walking, because at last they should have arrived at a miserable journey's end. The end, saith the Apostle, is death. It is therefore called the way of death, Prov. ii. 18, 'Their steps,' saith he, 'take hold of death.' And therefore now they are fitly joined here, dead in sin, and walk­ing in sin; for the issue of all sin, the end of the journey, is death; they walk but as men do through a green meadow to execution. - And so much now for that part of the phrase, walking in sin, as it expresseth their sinfulness and their misery.
Secondly, We are to consider it as it is a character of an unregenerate condition. It is proper to men whilst unregenerate to walk in sin; afterwards they walk in good works, as the expression is in the 10th verse of this chapter; they 'walk in the Spirit,' as elsewhere it is. That this is his scope, to set forth the character of an unregenerate man in this expression, is clear too. You see he coupleth it with being 'dead in sins and trespasses :' so that he that is dead in sin walketh in sin; and he that walketh in sin is dead in sin. And it is evident, likewise, by the word of distinction, 'sometime ye walked,' - for this observation now explaineth only the word sometime, - but not now that God hath turned you. The first Psalm was on purpose made to distinguish carnal men from godly men in David's time. The world then magnified others, and thought these that had riches and estates, &c., blessed. 'Blessed is the man,' saith he, 'that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners;' whose way shall perish, saith he in the latter end of that psalm; but the way of the godly is known to the Lord. Now, a carnal man walketh in sin, not only because all his actions are nothing else, because he performs all with delight, securely, and the like, but because there is usually some one way, some one tract in his life which may discover him an unregenerate man to himself, if he narrowly search his way. 'Search me,' saith David, Ps. cxxxix. 23, 'and know my heart, and see if there be any way of wickedness in me,' implying that there is in unregenerate men; and if he had had it, he had been an unregenerate man. And the reason is this: look, whatsoever principle of life is within, the walking and way of a man will be such; for no man can live without delight, and delight is his life; if his life lie in sin, lie will certainly walk in some sin or other. Aud though he may be scared out of his way, and fall into the ways of God for a while, yet notwithstanding, as it is in Ps. cxxv. 5, there are crooked ways maintained, for which God leads them forth at last with the workers of iniquity. A godly man may fall into the ways of sinners, yet he walketh not in them. And a wicked man may strike into the ways of godly men for a while, as Judas did, yet walketh in the ways of sin. Like to the planets, as Jude compares them, though they go with the common motion of the heavens, yet they have a secret motion of their own, so it is with carnal professors. You may know it likewise by this: what a man sets up for his chiefest end, - and it is a certain thing that a carnal man's end is carnal, - that is his way; so it is called in 2 Pet. ii. 15, 'They follow the way of Balaam.' What was that? He 'loved the wages of unrighteousness.' And so much now for the opening of that. Although every action of an unregenerate man is sinful, and it is a walking in sin; yet, to discover him to be an unregenerate man to all the world at the latter day, and unto himself now, if he would search himself, God leaveth him to walk in some way. Therefore let every man examine the haunts of his heart, which for recreation's sake he walketh in, and the like. - And so much for that phrase.
Now I come to the guides; for all this is but still proper to the text. Here are three guides.
Here is -
1. The world; 'according to the course of this world,' saith he.
First, 'What is meant by world here? Some interpreters say the things of the world are here meant; as often in Scripture the world is taken for the things of the world, as 1 Cor. vii. 31, 'using the world, as not abusing it;' 1 John ii. 15, 'Love not the world, nor the things of it.' And so, they say, the meaning is this: men that are worldly, and seek after worldly things. That was your case and your condition whilst you were in unregeneracy. But certainly that is not the meaning of it; because following the world - that is, worldly objects, and worldly pleasures, and the things of the world - is evidently included in the 3d verse, where he saith, 'fulfilling the lusts of the flesh;' for to fulfil the lusts of the flesh and to walk after the world is all one; for the objects of a man's lusts are the world, and some things in it or other. Therefore you shall find in that 1 John ii. 15, when he had said, 'Love not the world, nor the things of it,' he adds, 'All in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.' He calleth the objects of the world the lusts, because that they are the objects of lusts; as the doctrine of faith is called faith, because it is the object of faith. Therefore here now 'world' is to be taken strictly for the men of the world; as when he saith, 'The whole world lieth in wickedness,' 1 John v. 19; and, 'The world will love its own,' John xv. 19. It is usual in Scripture.
And so now, my brethren, by the way, do but take notice of this: that there is a mistake, I have perceived it often in many men's speeches; they say they love not the world, and they are not for the world, and they are not worldly, because, say they, we love not riches, and the like. But world is not only nor chiefly taken when flesh and devil are joined with it, as here; and, as you know you use to say, there are three enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil; by flesh are meant all the lusts that are set upon the things of the world, now world is not taken in this division for the things of the world, but it is taken for the carnal men of the world. Therefore, if thou joinest with the carnal men of the world, thou art a man worldly in that sense; thou art a man under the power of that enemy, therefore under the power both of flesh and devil too. Men understand not that vow they made in baptism, to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil: the world is not only the things of the world, but it is the men of the world; yea, it is strictly and properly so taken, and not for the other, in that vow, and so not here.
Now then, by world here is meant all carnal men, live they where they will in the church, or wherever else; all the heap, the fry, and the cluster of them. These are the world, and these will all join together, as I shall shew by and by. And there doth arise a strength from the union of one with another in their ways and courses, and in their rage against godliness and the power of it. As in coals, though every coal hath fire in it, yet lay all these coals together and the fire is strengthened: so there is an intension from the union of all the parts, from the connexion of this world. So that now the collection of all carnal men in one and the same principles, practices, and ways, these are meant here by the world.
Then, secondly, for that word, course of the world, I shall open that briefly. You must know this, that that word in the Greek which is here translated, 'the course of the world,' itself in the original signifies the world - ' according to the world of the world;' both these words, signify the world in Scripture. God hath 'delivered us out of this evil world,' Gal. i. 4; it is the same word that is here translated course. 'Be not conformed to the world,' Rom. xii. 2; it is the same word that is translated 'course of the world' here. Now when that word which is translated 'course' is distinct from the word 'world,' it implies two things. First, it implies an age, or a time in which men live, and the word 'world' implieth persons. And so then here is one meaning of the text. They lived according to the course of the world, - that is, according to the time, according to the age of the world that then was, or of men in the world that then were. Every age hath almost a new dress, though it is the same world, and still carnal men live according to it. But yet, secondly, it signifies that custom, that manner, that mould and trade of life, that the world, or generality of carnal men, - take the stream, the gang, as I may call it, of men in a cluster, - walk by and hold forth; the opinions and practices that are in the world. Thus, in Rom. xii. 2, 'Be not conformed to the world;' it is the same word that is translated 'course' here; it is the custom of the world, - and the Apostle speaks it in matter of worship, - the shape of the world. First, the word there, 'be not conformed,' is, 'be not cast into the figure of the world.' Therefore, in 1 Cor. vii. 31, it is said, 'The fashion' it is the same word - 'of the world passeth away.' There is a fashion, a mould, that the world is cast into, and every age almost casts the world into a new mould, and men conform themselves to it, and are apt so to do. So that now clearly the meaning is but this: that these Ephesians, whilst unregenerate, walked according to the custom of the world; they did de-facto as the most of the world did; for their judgments, they were ruled by the same principles the world were ruled by; they judged as the world did, they cried up what the world magnified, walked in the same counsels, framed their lives to the same pattern, configured themselves to the fashion of the world; and the stream, and course, and tide of it carried them, being dead men, as the stream useth to carry dead fish. This is plainly and clearly, in a word, the meaning of this here, 'they walked according to the course of this world.' Look what the world then was, such were they, and that in two respects, as interpreters well observe
First, they were such for their morals; they walked in the same sins, the same vices, that the Gentiles walked in. Eph. iv. 17, 'Walk not as other Gentiles;' so they had done. And therefore they are called by Peter, (2 Peter ii. 20,) 'the defilements of the world;' because the world defile themselves and live in them.
And then again, secondly, in respect of religion, which, Zanchy saith, is principally here meant and intended; that worship, that idolatry, which then they were zealous for, and were carried away with the stream. And how the world went with Ephesus in this respect you may read at large in Acts xix. 34, 35. There you may see how the gang went. 'They all with one voice, for the space of two hours together, cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.' And all the world knows, saith the town-clerk, that this city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter. Now this is that the Apostle aims at, and Zanchy gives some three or four reasons for it : because afterwards, in this epistle, which he wrote to these Ephesians, he saith they were strangers from God, aliens from the promise, and now made nigh; they were then Gentiles. 'Remember that ye were Gentiles,' saith he, not only Gentiles for your morals, but for idolatry, and for all sorts of idolatry. You may see in that Acts xix. what a mighty torrent there was, what zeal for their false worship; they broke through with rage. 'They rushed,' saith the text, 'with one accord into the theatre.' Thus the world went at Ephesus, and thus the Ephesians were carried. You have the like in 1 Cor. xii. 2; for when he tells them of their unregenerate estate, still he hath an eye unto that : 'You know,' saith he, 'that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.' The word is emphatical, you were carried away with madness, with the stream; and, saith he, in point of religion men are easily led.
So that now you have clearly what the Apostle here intendeth, when he saith, 'In which ye walked, according to the course of the world,' - viz., all the principles of the world that then were, the things that the world then cried up, the ways of the world, and the sins that the world then lived in. Now then, to come to some observations from hence, for all this is for exposition.
Obs. 1. - The first observation is this, That in all ages, there is and will be a combination of carnal men, in a uniformity and conformity of ways and courses. They will all cling together; these Ephesians did so, and the course of the world, the stream runs still, and will do while the world is. And the reason of it in one word is this: in every man there is the same common nature and the same lusts and the same corrupt principles; originally there is in every one the seeds of them all. And therefore in 1 Peter iv. 2, the lusts that are in every man's heart are called the lusts of men; not only a man's own lusts, but the lusts of others: 'That ye should no longer live to the lusts of men,' saith he. And the hearts of men savour the same things that one another do. In Matt. xvi. 23, 'thou savourest the things of men,' saith Christ, speaking to Peter, in whom the devil had then stirred up an unregenerate part. Now what was in him in part is in all mankind; they savour the things of men, one of another. It is the same like phrase that is used in Rom. viii. 1, they savour the things of the flesh, and therefore 'walk after the flesh ;' so they savour the things of men, therefore they walk after men and the course of the world. What most men are for and relish in their judgments, that every carnal man is for, and they all agree in their judgments.
Now, in 1 Cor. ii. 12, saith the Apostle, 'We have not received the spirit of this world.' Mark it, there is a common spirit of the world in every man, not the spirit that is in him, but the spirit of the world, that doth possess one and the same, and all sorts of men more or less. But, saith he, 'we have received the Spirit of God.'
Now as that Spirit leadeth the saints into the same truths, for the substance so the spirit of the 'world leads wicked men, in their judgments, in their principles, practices, and opinions : therefore you shall have them cry up the same thing, magnify the same thing, one that another doth. There is a spirit in them that is presently capable of what the world saith, of worldly understanding therefore the children of the world, as they are called, Luke xvi. 8, are said to be wiser in their generation than the children of light; because they have another kind from the children of God, and they are wiser in that kind, and with the like kind of wisdom. I shall not need to enlarge upon it. Now all these men, meeting with the same kind of principles one with another, from the collection of them together cometh a union, a strength, and a prevalency. As I said before, a company of coals laid together, what a mighty heat do they cause The sea being a collection of waters, from the union of the sea what a vast body is it ! how it tumbleth up and down You shall have it tumble this way, and then that way, and all the waters will go that way. And thus it is with the world. And their being thus joined together in one corporation or body, as I may call it, it makes that mighty rage against the power of godliness, and their zeal, for they are zealous, not only for themselves, but one for another, for their own principles.
And, my brethren, you must know this, that the reason why this world is thus combined together in all ages is this : because it is under the power of Satan ; so it follows in the text, 'according to the course of the world,' and, 'the prince of the power of the air.' For it is the devil that makes that gang, though they do not see it. They are a sea, being united together, and of themselves they tumble one way; but if the wind comes and bloweth upon that sea, how it rageth, how strong are the streams then! There is a breath, a spirit; the spirit of the power of the air, the word signifies, - as I shall open when I come to it, - viz., the devil sendeth forth an influence whereby, as the wind that boweth the trees which way it bloweth, so he boweth and swayeth the hearts of the multitude one way. For he is a monarch, a prince; therefore he doth not divide, but the world is subject to him as to a monarch, therefore they are still carried one way; there is one course, one stream, which still the world hath, for he is the god and prince of the world. And the devil is cunning in it so to do; you know he doth not divide his own kingdom, and he can do no hurt upon men but by the world, or at least he doth a great deal of hurt that way; therefore he carries them in one stream, sways them, bows them one way.
I shall give you an instance for it. When Popery was to be set up, it is said, Rev. xin. 3, that 'all the world wondered after the beast.' Nay, in Rev. xvii. 13, it is said, that the kings of the earth did agree to give their power to the beast; the maddest act that could be, for kings to subject their power to the Pope. They were no way constrained to it, it was but a tacit agreement. What was the reason? Why, the devil was in it. So chap. xiii. 4, the dragon, the devil, gave that power he had in the Roman empire unto the Pope, and made the kings of the earth thus to agree, to be all of one mind; and so he swayed the world thus one way, that the whole world ran wondering after the beast. The devil, I say, hath a mighty hand in this. When all the coals lie together, they make a great fire; but if bellows come, they make the fire much more intense.
Obs. 2. - In the second place, you may consider these words not simply, but as the world is a great cause of prevailing upon the hearts of men. Take you Ephesians singly ; you walked, saith he, according to the course of the world. Every carnal man squareth his course to it, he is carried down with the stream. The world, as I said, is a sea, wherein all men may find themselves to be of a like nature, and agree in the same lusts. Now, take a carnal man, when he grows up in this world from a child, he is as a drop in that sea, he mingleth in that sea; and which way the sea goes, he goes with it ; he finds them suitable to his principles, and the world finding him suitable to them, hugs him, embraces him : and thus it comes to that mighty power and prevalency, especially Satan working together with it. And men are apt to please others, to live to the lusts of men, 1 Pet. iv. 2 ; to receive honour one from another, John v. 44, and the examples of the most: for what the most do, all will do; these have great influences upon men. Therefore, man being a sociable creature as he is, be goes with the drove of the rest of mankind; and the world being before him, and having been always before him, he grows up to it, is moulded into it, and so is carried with the stream that carrieth to perdition and destruction. It is a hard matter therefore, my brethren, to be converted and turned to God; it is hard for a man to come out of this world, to swim against thus stream, to bear the contradiction of sinners, as it is said of Christ, Heb. xii. 3 ; to be a man alone, a wonder to the world, for the world will observe anythnng that differs from them. It is a hard matter to be crucified to this world; the meaning is, the world, when a man leaveth it, and forsaketh it in any of the common courses of it, looks upon him as a lost man, let him have never so much learning, as Paul had - And so much for a second observation.
Obs. 3. - A third observation is thus, That the general course of most men in the world, they are courses which if a man will live by, he shall be an unregenerate man. Let the world be never so refined, let a man be made never so much a temporary believer, - for the truth is, the world hath had many refinements, and new fashions and dresses, put upon it since this Ephesian world, wherein the devil was worshipped, - yet still there shall be so much of carnal principles left, which if a man walk by, he shall be no better than an unregenerate man ; for here he describeth their unregeneracy by walking according to the course of this world. Christ distinguisheth, in that Luke xvi. 8, the children of thus world from the children of light. It is therefore called the present evil world. Therefore Christ, that made a prayer for his disciples to the end of the world, - for he prayed not only for hus apostles, but for all that should believe in his name, - ' Keep them,' saith he, 'from the evil that is in this world.' And, in 1 John v. 19, ' The whohe world lieth in wickedness.' And, therefore, everywhere you have opposed the things of God and the things of men. 'thou savourest not the things of God, but the things of men,' saith Christ to Peter, Matt. xvi 23. The spirit of the world and the Spirit of God are opposed, 1 Cor. ii. 12. ' The things that are in great esteem with men are an abomination unto God,' Luke xvi. 15; that is, not but that the world may turn to many things that are good, but still there shall be something left, that if a man will walk according to the latitude, according to the most, he shall be an unregenerate man, he shall cry tip that which is abonnnabhe unto God. Therefore, my brethren, take it for a certain sign of an unregenerate estate, to be carried thus along with the stream, and to be moulded to the same principles the generality of the most of men are and the generality of the most of men are civil men. It is a sign, I say, of death; 'dead in sins and trespasses, wherein ye walked according to the course of thus world.' A fish that is alive will and can swim against the stream, but a fish that is dead the stream carries it along with it. And the truth is, he that walketh in the world, walketh with Satan. Why? It is clear, 'according to the course if the world, according to the prince,' saithi he. As these that walk with the saints walk with God, so he that walketh with the world, certainly he walketh with Satan, though he sees it not, nor knows it. I might likewise enlarge upon this, that men that are holy walk contrary to the world, but I will not stand upon it.
Obs. 4. - Another observation is this, and it is proper to the text, for I shall give you no other. It is one of the greatest mercies in our salvation and redemption, to be delivered from this world, to be turned out of it, to be turned from the opinions and practices of it, from the stream of it. This is clearly the Apostle's scope here, for all this is but to magnify the mercy and the grace of God. God, saith he, ver. 4, who is rich in mercy, according to his rich grace quickened us, and raised us, and pulled us out of this world. I will give you but a scripture for it, and so pass from it: Gal. i. 4, speaking of Christ, saith he, ' who gave himself for our sins.' What to do? Surely some great matter? 'That he might deliver us from the present evil world.' There is never a vain tradition that thou suckest in, - and there are I know not how many traditional sins that men receive in, traditional ill opinions that men have of the ways of God, a company of apocryphal sins, as I may say, received from their fathers down from one age unto another, which men suck in, - .to be delivered from any of these cost the blood of Christ. Therefore now, not only thy being pulled out of the world at first, when first converted, but to be turned from any carnal principle the rest of the world goes on in, and perhaps some godly men too, is a fruit of the redemption of Christ.
I will give you a clear place for it : 1 Peter i. 1 8, ' Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from our fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ.' He speaks to the Jews, for Peter wrote to the Jews that were dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, &c. Now they had received a world of traditions from their fathers, which had made their conversation, even in the worship of God, in many particulars, vain; they had washings and the like, in religious respects. Bless God, saith he, that he hath redeemed you from all these traditions, and hath shewed you the mercy to clear up your judgments in them. This is the fruit, saith he, of the blood of Christ; nothing else could have done it. Our Lord and Saviour Christ therefore spent a great deal of time to work out these traditions; as he spent his blood for it, so he spent a great deal of his breath for it, as appeareth by many of his sermons, especially that in Matt. v.
I have but a word to open, and that is this: 'according to the course of this world;' and so in other places still you shall find it, 'from this present evil world,' &c. Now there is a double sense of it, which will afford us an observatioii or two, and so I will end.
Either it is called this world in opposition to that to come, as in the former chapter; 'this world,' saith he, ' and that to come.' Or else, ' this world' hath a relation to that present age, because he speaks of these Ephesians, they lived according to tile course of that world then, as other unregenerate men afterward; let the world alter never so much, they live still according to the most, and the most will still be corrupt. And there is something besides : that which is translated now, signifies the age, the spirit that now works, that is, in this age. I shall join both in one observation, and it is this. . .
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