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"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires (or, the wills) of the flesh and of the mind," etc. - Ver. 3.

IN the words before, the Apostle had mentioned the two external causes of all the corruption in the lives of men by nature, - namely, the world and the devil; 'wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.' In these words you have the third cause, and that the intrinsical one, 'the lusts of the flesh.' And when he cometh to lay open that as the cause, which is indeed the bottom and root of all the corruption in men's lives, he doth it -
1. In a general way.
2. More particularly.
He first doth it in a general way: 'We had all our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh.' And then he doth particularise those lusts:
'the lusts of the flesh' - the body - ' and of the mind.'
I have opened formerly what is meant by flesh, and told you that by it is here meant that inherent corruption in our natures, whether that which we derive at the first by birth, and brought into the world with us, or that increase and addition to it, - for by every actual sin an addition thereunto is made, - that which the Apostle calleth the indwelling of sin. I shewed formerly why it is called flesh; and among others, I gave this reason : because that when God is taken out of the heart, then all the objects that the heart is carried to are things of the flesh. And I did prove by many places of Scripture that that was the meaning of the phrase, and to that it did extend, when it is said, 'Those that are after the flesh seek the things of the flesh.'
I gave you a description of the thing itself, as well as an account of the phrase, why it is called flesh. It is that sinful disposition in man's nature, whereby the whole man is empty of all good, and full of all inclinations to whatsoever is evil.
I came the last day to shew you what was meant by lusts; 'the lusts of the flesh.' They are the immediate sproutings of that inherent corruption, all the motion; and inward workings, and first risings and agitations of the heart of man, either against what is good or unto what is evil, (I may add that to what I said the last discourse, it is not only the motions of the heart unto what is evil, but also against what is good,) as in Gal. v. 17, 'The flesh,' saith he, 'lusteth against the Spirit.'
I opened to you the nature of these lusts. I did it two ways: -
1. I opened in general the nature of lusts, or of the lustings of the soul.
2. I opened the sinfulness of it.
I opened first, in general, the nature of these lustings. I told you that God hath made the soul of man, in the essential constitution of it, mere emptiness, to be filled up by something else. It is all things in capacity, but it is nothing, not in happiness, or pleasure, or comfort, unless it be joined with something else. The soul of man is nothing but a chaos of desires, a mere stomach, as I may express it, mere appetite, mere hunger; and all the faculties, both of soul and body, like so may birds in a nest, stand gaping for some good. 'Who will shew us any good ?' Ps. iv., is the voice of all mankind. Now this being the original constitution of the soul of man, if you ask me in the general, what 'lust' or 'lustings' are; why, it is the moving, or extending, or putting forth of any faculty or power in soul or body in desires and longings after any object agreeable thereunto, and in which it may find pleasure and contentment. It is, I say, the goings forth of this soul, or of any power of it, to any object suitable unto it; this in the general nature is lusting. Now the soul that God thus made mere emptiness, and stomach, and appetite, he put into a body, for our souls are clothed with flesh; and when he first made us in the state of innocency, he did, for objects to fill up this soul in this body, first, ordain himself to satisfy the desires of it; he did ordain himself to be the chiefest good and happiness to this soul. And, secondly, he made a world of creatures, which we see and behold with our eyes, which are all suited to the variety of desires of man's soul dwelling in this body. Therefore Solomon saith, 'he hath placed the world in man's heart.' There is nothing in the world but is suited to man; and there is nothing in man but there is something in the world suited unto it. And then, thirdly, God did put into man's soul this principle, to love himself as well as to love God, and in loving.God to love himself most; and so to rejoice, when as his desires were satisfied with God himself, or with the creatures, in a subordinate way unto him. Here now is the natural constitution and condition of the soul of man.
Now I must shew you the sinfulness of all these lustings and desires. If I must shew you the sinfulness, I must shew you, first, wherein the holiness of them lay whilst we were in the state of innocency; for one contrary is known by another. Now the holiness of all the desires of the soul of man, which was nothing in itself but desires, lay in this, that God touched, I so express it, all these desires of the heart of man as the iron of the needle is touched with the loadstone. He did put a magnetic virtue into it, his own image of holiness, which did guide and carry all these desires unto himself. And there being holiness then in the soul, the holy God was suited to this soul, and all the desires thereof, to satisfy and fill it; and so by the guidance of this magnetic virtue, the heart still went Godward.And then, secondly, the holiness that God did implant and stamp upon all the desires and lustings of man's heart, it did regulate, and order, and subordinate all other desires that we had to creatures, to comforts here below; it did subject them all unto God, that we should seek nothing above God, we should seek nothing but in order unto God, not have a desire stir but as related unto him.
Now then, the sinfulness of all these lusts and desires is easily to be known. For now the image of God being gone, the heart having lost that magnetic virtue, that virtue of the lodestone that once touched it, it is now mere dull iron, and now it moveth not at all unto God; neither unto him as its chief good, nor unto him as its chief end; nay, it is opposite unto him. Saith the Apostle, in Rom. iii. 11, speaking of all mankind by nature, 'None understandeth,' - namely, none understandeth God, - ' none doth seek after God.' Now although that holiness that did carry us out to God be gone, yet all the desires remain still the same; I speak for the natural constitution of them; the soul is nothing but desires still. Now, as I told you before, that God did not only suit this soul to himself, but to all creatures and comforts here below in this visible world, - now when God is gone, and a man is without God in the world, as it is in the 12th verse of this chapter, what doth his desires do? They are all left to themselves, to run which way they will, to this creature, and to that creature, as their chiefest good, to have happiness in them. And God being gone, and all love unto him being gone, there is nothing left but self - love, which is the great original desire in man, and which seeks after comfort in all things merely for itself, and for pleasure's sake. In this lies the sinfulness of all the lustings of man's heart; that now when God is gone, the way to God is stopped, the heart runs a thousand ways, to this and that creature, to this and that comfort, and doth it merely for pleasure's sake, doth it merely out of that natural desire of self - love, which, love unto God being gone, is the next heir in the heart of man. Now then, as the corruption of the heart is therefore called flesh, as I shewed when I opened that phrase, because it is carried out to the things of the flesh, and take God out of anything, and it is a thing of the flesh; so, take but God out of the world, and let the lusts of the heart then go whither they will go, though they run to things in themselves lawful, yet because they run to them without God and instead of God, and but for themselves, hence they are all sinful and abominable lusts in the sight of God. Now then, look how many things there are that are not God, or that may be sought or desired without him, so many lusts are there in the heart of man. Not only all things that are evil, as fornication and the like, - as in 1 Cor. x. 6 it is said they 'lusted after evil thing;' speaking of their rising up to play, - things that are forbidden, but all things lawful, without God, whether honours, or riches; or beauty, or pleasures of any kind, which in themselves are lawful; all these, take God out of them, and let the desires of man's heart be carried to them without God, and subordinate unto him, and in reference unto him they are all sinful lusts. Therefore Christ, in Mark iv. 19, saith, 'The cares of the world, and the lusts of other things,' - mark that phrase, the lusts of other things; be they what they will be, if they be lust; that is, if they be inordinate lusts, not subjected unto God as the chiefest good, tasting him in them, and subordinated unto him as our chiefest end, they are all lusts which will choke the word and undo the soul.
I shall illustrate the sinfulness of these lusts to you by this ordinary comparison, in all the parts of it. Go, take a man now that is out of health, that is in a fever, whose stomach and palate are vitiated; as I told you, the soul is nothing but stomach. Suppose this stomach to be a vitiated and distempered stomach and palate, as a man in a fever hath. I ground my similitude upon that in Eceles. v. 17, speaking of a man by nature, 'All his days; saith he, 'he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.' A man leadeth but a sick life that leadeth a life of lusts, living upon the creature, and he hath much anguish and sorrow and vanity with it. Now take a man that is sick, wherein lieth his distemper, you shall see the like explaineth fully the corruptions that are in man's heart. It lieth -
1. In this; that by reason of that distemper that is in him he is taken off from delighting in what is good and wholesome, and is the natural nourishment to him. Bring him meat, his stomach riseth at it, at the least scent of it; if he either hear it spoken of, or if he think of it, the representing it in any way to his fancy turns his stomach. So now take the soul of man by nature, that is thus distempered in his lusts, when God and holiness is gone, whatsoever holdeth forth God to him in a spiritual way, to bring him to communion and fellowship with God in any duty, his heart riseth against it, against holiness, against the spiritual law, against the spiritual part of religion, the power of godliness. Why? Because he is nothing but lusts distempered. These were once the natural food and nourishment of his soul, but now he is distempered. So that now here is a privation with an opposition unto God.
2. Take a man that is distempered and his stomach thus vitiated, such things as will hurt him, such things he mightily and greedily longeth for; as also whatever else he desires, he doth it with a violence, with a thirst beyond natural thirst. So now doth the soul of man by nature, whilst it hath nothing but lusts in it. He both lusteth after what is contrary to the will of God, and such creatures as God did make for man, and are lawful for him to use in themselves, yet his heart is carried out to them with a vehemency of thirst. The expression is in Dent. xxix. 19: it is called, 'adding drunkenness to thirst.' And the reason is this, because the soul having been made for God, and widened for him, now that God is gone, you can no more fill these desires with the creatures, than you can fill a cistern with a drop of water. Therefore the desires are enraged, like a man in a fever. Saith he, in Eccles. vi. 7, 'All the labour of a man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.' He speaks of a covetous man. The meaning of it is this: It is strange, saith he, that although a man needs no more, and needs labour for no more, than what will feed him, than what will fill his mouth and his belly; and if you have meat and raiment, saith the apostle, be therewith content; and nature is content with a few things: yet though nature be content with a few things, and a man need labour for no more, yet there is an inordinacy in the very appetite, a man must have more than will serve the turn, the appetite is not filled.
3. Take a man in a fever, and his desire of drink, or of what will hurt him, is merely to satisfy his humour, it is merely to please himself, and to satisfy the inordinacy, and for no other end; it is not to nourish, he knows it will do him hurt. So now the desires of the hearts of men and their lusts are therefore sinful, because they are carried out to all things merely for pleasure's sake. They are not carried out to other things for God, - ' whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God,' - but it is merely to satisfy a humour, it is merely for pleasure's sake, and to please himself. Therefore you shall find still in Scripture, as in Titus iii. 3, we are said by nature to serve divers lusts and pleasures; they are both joined together. 'Lovers of pleasures,' saith the Apostle in 2 Tim. iii. 4, 'more than lovers of God.' And in James iv. 3, they are said to consume upon their lusts; that is, all that they get is merely for their lusts' sake, it is merely to satisfy the desire, to satisfy the humour, all is spent upon that; and that is all the fruit thereof,
Now then in these three things lies the sinfulness of the lusts of man's heart. I shall give you them in Scripture phrase. You have three epithets that are attributed to our lusts : -
1. They are called ungodly lusts; so you have it in Jude, ver. 18. Why? Because they are carried on to all things without God; yea, and in an enmity and opposition unto him. They are taken off wholly from him, and therefore they are ungodly lusts. And -
2. They are carried to other things, merely for a man's own sake, out ot love unto himself, and for pleasure's sake. So in the same 18th verse of the Epistle of Jude, 'their own ungodly lusts.' And therefore for a man to live to his lusts, 1 Peter iv., and to live to himself, 2 Cor. v., it is all one. To live to a man's lusts, that phrase you have in 1 Peter iv. 2, and to live to a man's self, that you have in 2 Cor. v. 15. Therefore they are called in Rom. i. 24, 'the lusts of their own hearts.'
3. They are called worldly lusts. You have that in Titus ii. 12, 'denying all ungodly and worldly lusts.' Why? Because when God is gone, and the desires are carried out no more unto him, they run out to all things in the world. - And so now you have the sinfulness of the lusts of man's nature laid open to you.
I made entrance into the next, which is a more particular explanation of the diversity of those lusts which the heart of man doth follow. 'Fulfilling', saith he, 'the desires of the flesh and of the mind'. In the original it is, 'the wills of the flesh and of the mind.' I did give you an account of that phrase in the last discourse, which I will not now stand upon; only I shall add one or two things more.
I told you that all the lusts, even the lusts of the body and of the mind, be they what they will be, the poorest lusts in a man, they are all the wills of the flesh, when they are fulfilled. Why? Because that no lust can be satisfied by action but the will must give its consent. God hath placed in man a supreme lord and power, a will, and that must give consent; and when lusts have once its consent, then they are wills. Now here he speaks of them as fulfilled, therefore he calls them the 'wills of the flesh and of the mind.' To which only let me add this further: it is corruption in the will, from whose influence these lusts are called 'wills.' The will doth not only give its consent to every lust that passeth into action, but it doth oftentimes strengthen and stir up and provoke lnsts. A man's own will is his owu tempter: and he hath an obstinacy in his will to follow his lusts: the will doth not only thus follow after, but it goes before. So in 1 Tim. vi. 9, 'They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare;' and in John viii. 44, 'The lusts of yonr father ye will do.' You see it is not only that the lusts come and tempt the will, but the will strengtheneth the lusts, and sets the lusts on work, and puts a resolution, a back of steel to the lusts. A man is resolved to be rich, and resolved to be revenged, &c. 'The lusts of your father you will do.'
And so I come now to the second thing which I am to open and explain, namely, the diversity of these lusts in the hearts of men; 'fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the mind.' You must know that by flesh here is not meant corrupt nature, but it is here spoken of as in opposition to the mind of man; and therefore the body is here meant. In Titus iii. 3, he calls them there, divers lusts; 'serving,' saith he, 'divers lusts and pleasures.' Now here you have the diversity of them in two general heads. There are, you see -
1. The lusts of the flesh, or of the body. And there are - . - - .
2. The lusts of the mind.
The soul, as I told you, is nothing else in all the faculties of it but a chaos of desires. Therefore now, look into how many parts you may cut or make a division of the man, accordingly you may make a division of his lusts. And look into what eminent parts the soul of a man may be divided, into these his lusts may be divided.
In Gen. ii. 7, it is said, 'God breathed into man the breath of lives,' - so it is in the original, - as being more than one. The soul of man, so far as it is the subject of lusts and desires, is divided into two parts, and nature hath made that division; and indeed death makes it when it divides the soul and body: and the philosophers made it. There is - (1.) The sensitive soul, which is common to us with beasts. The soul of a beast, as some say, runs in the blood; it is a sensitive soul, it is the quintessence of the elements, - I cannot stand to describe it, - it contains two things, the inward senses and the outward senses. The inward senses, the fancy, of which I shall speak anon, for your beasts have fancies, for they dream; as you see by the starting of beasts in their sleep; this is eminent in apes, monkeys, and elephants. And they have outward senses, as hearing, seeing, and the like, which have objects suited to them. Now a man hath the like. And the lusts of the flesh are those lusts that are seated in the sensitive part, in the fancy, and in all the other senses. There is in man - (2.) The reasonable soul, which a beast hath not; the reasonable soul which is put to dwell in a body. And as man partakes with beasts in respect of his sensitive part, so he partakes with angels in respect of his spiritual part, his understanding and his will, whereby he is able to rise to higher objects than beasts are, to put a valuation upon honours, riches, and the like, which beasts do not.
The soul of man now being thus divided, it comes to pass that the lusts of man's soul are accordingly divided. There are either -
1. Those lusts which are common to him with beasts, - though they have a tincture of reason in them, for even the senses, the fancy, is by participation reasonable; yet because it is in a beast too, it is, I say, but a sensitive faculty, - which are the sensitive appetite, whether it be in the fancy in things suited to it, or in the outward senses in things suited to them. Or there are -
2. Those lusts which are common to men with devils. For, as the spirit of man, whilst he was holy, had such desires as angels have that are holy; so when he is corrupt, his spirit hath such lusts as devils have.
I will give you Scripture for both, that you may see that the Scripture runs upon this division. All such good things as are suited to the senses, and which the soul takes a pleasure in by means of the senses, are called 'lusts of the flesh,' or of the body. But all such lusts as a man takes in purely by his understanding, - though his understanding, dwelling in a body, would not approve of many things to be good, yet it is the understanding that simply approves of the goodness of things, as of riches and honours, and the like, - these, I say, are called the 'lusts of the mind.' I will give you Scripture for them both.
1. For those lusts which are in the sensitive part, - sensual lusts, - you shall find it in Jude, ver. 10; speaking there of false teachers which were corrupt and abominable in their way, saith he, 'These speak evil of things they know not ' - spiritual things, which they understand not, and are opposite to them, they oppose mightily, - ' but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves;' they are given over, saith he, to brutish lusts. To open this to you a little, you must know that the second Epistle of Peter and this of Jude are parallel epistles, and speak both of the same sort of men, according to this division mentioned. The apostle Peter had shewed, 2 Pet. ii. 10, the corruptions that are in the understanding, the superior part of these corrupt teachers; they were 'proud, self - willed,' 'having men's persons in admiration for advantage;' these are lusts in the reasoning part. Now Jude here saith that they were not only corrupt therein, but in other lusts also; for, saith he, 'what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.' I have formerly taken the meaning of these words to be this, that they came to sin against the very light of nature; that look, what light they had against gross sins, they even sinned against it; and that they had sinned away their light. I thought, I say, that that had been the meaning; and the truth is, that which deceived me was the placing of the words in the translation : for the translation runs thus, 'what they know naturally, as brute beasts;' but in the Greek it runs thus, 'what they naturally, as brute beasts, know. And so examining by learned expositors, Estius, and Gerard, and others, I did find that the meaning of the Apostle is clearly this, that those things which they know as brute beasts, naturally, - natural knowledge here being taken, as Estius saith, in opposition to rational knowledge, - what they know by senses in a natural way, as beasts do, in these things, saith the Apostle, they corrupt themselves, thereby shewing the further corruption of their hearts. So as his scope is not to shew the manner of their sinning against the light of nature, but the matter of their sinning, and that not only in corrupt opinions, but brutish lusts also - that they were given up to those lusts that beasts were given up to. 'What they know, as beasts, naturally,' saith he, 'in those things they corrupt themselves;' as in meats, and drinks, and sleep, and the like. So you have mention of their 'feeding themselves without fear,' ver. 13, and 'defiling the flesh through filthy dreams,' ver. 8 of this Epistle of Jude; and 'having eyes full of adultery,' &e., as in Peter. In these lusts, saith he, they corrupt themselves, in sensual lusts, - namely, that are common to beasts, - of uncleanness, and the like. And these are the lusts common to beasts.
2. You shall find another sort of lusts that are in the spirits of men, which are called the devil's lusts; and they are the 'lusts of the mind.' As in John viii. 44, Christ speaking there of the Jews that had a malice against him, saith he, 'Ye are of your father the devil; and the lusts of your father ye will do.' Mark, as the Apostle had said of those corrupt men that they were corrupt in bodily lusts, in sensitive lusts, such as are common to beasts; so Christ speaks of the Jews, who were malicious and envious against him, and aimed to kill him, and he saith that they did do the lusts of the devil. The devil, you know, is of a spiritual nature, he mindeth not the lusts of the body, he minds not beauty, or any such thing; he is of a spiritual nature, and he is taken with spiritual excellencies, therefore he is called 'spiritual wickedness,' Eph. vi. 12. All his lusts are spiritual lusts - revenge, and pride, and envy, and malice, and the like; these are lusts of the mind. They are not called the devil's lusts, efficiently, because he stirs them up in men; but they are called his lusts by way of imitation, men doing the same lusts that he did. ' You seek to kill me,' saith he, and he is a murderer as well as ye, and ye as well as he. These now therefore are the 'lusts of the mind.'
So then, as the man is divided into these two parts, a body and a mind, the sensitive part and the rational part, - in the one he partakes with beasts, (you see, there are lusts common with beasts in men,) in the other he partakes with spirits in devils, - therefore there are the lusts which are in men also.
I will give you one scripture, to close up all, for the proof of this. It is in 2 Cor. vii. 1, 'Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh ' - namely, of the body - ' and of the spirit.' Here, you see, all sinful lusts, all filthiness whatsoever, is reduced to these two heads. How do I prove that all is meant here? All that is to be purged is reduced to these two heads, therefore all is meant ; and, saith he, 'growing up to holiness in fear.' Therefore now all the sinfulness of man's nature is reduced to these two heads either bodily wickedness, sensitive wickedness, inward or outward, in the fancy, and the like ; or intellectual wickedness, spiritual wickedness, as the schoolmen, and the fathers, upon such and the like scriptures, have grounded this notion. So now you have the lusts of the mind, and the lusts also of the flesh. This is a clear and certain truth, that look, how far pleasure and desire extendeth, so far sinful lusts extend. As there are pleasures in the body, and from the desires of the body, so sinful lusts; so likewise in the soul. Some things the soul takes pleasure in, merely by the help of the body, which, when it is out of the body, it shall have no pleasure in other things it takes pleasure in, merely as it is an intellectual substance; for revenge hath a pleasure in it, it is no bodily lusts yet it is the sweetest lust to them that are revengeful, in the world.
Now then, to open these more particularly, that I may a little anatomise your hearts unto you - The lusts of the flesh are reduced to two heads the one lower, or more sensual; the other more superior.
There are, as I said before, the inward and outward senses; for besides hearing and seeing, in a man and in a beast, there is fancy, which is but a fleshly faculty; for it is suited to buildings and pleasant gardens, and a thousand of these things which are artificial, beauty and the like; all these are seated in the fancy, they are not seated in the reason. The fancy hath a little kind of reason in it materially; it is but a very mechanic, an apprentice to the understanding, to make shapes for it, as the understanding is pleased to call them up, to represent its own thoughts to himself. You have fancy in the night. Whence are all your dreams? They are not from your understanding so much, the understanding doth but heavily and dully accompany them; they are from the fancy, and the nimbleness of it, and the species there. Now you have the same fancies awake, only they appear lively in the night when you are asleep, because then reason is down; but they are wan and pale when you are awake. I use to say that fancy is as the moon, that ruleth the night; and reason as the sun, that rules the day. When the sun is down, the moon is up; but when the sun is up, the moon grows pale and wan, though it remains still, even when the sun shines most. Now then there are these two sorts of lusts in the sensitive part there are lusts in the fancy, and the lusts in the brutish part of man, in the body, the more sensual part. I take it, that is the meaning of John, in 1 John ii. 16. There are the lusts of the eye, saith he, and the lusts of the flesh. By the 'lusts of the eye,' he meaneth the fancy. Walk, 0 young man, saith Solomon, (who are fullest of fancy,) in the sight of thine eyes. And then there are the lusts of the flesh, which are the more brutish lusts. To distinguish these two a little meats, and drinks, and sleep, and the like, all other refreshments to the body, to the sensual part of it, are lusts of the flesh, properly so called, in opposition to the lusts of the eye.
The lusts of the eye are such as beauty, apparel, buildings, pleasant stories, jests, pomp, and state, and a thousand of these kind of things; all these are the puppets of the fancy, as I may so express them. In Acts xxv. 23, you have a notable place for this; it is said there that Agrippa and Bernice came 'in great pomp.' That outward state and garb, with fine clothes and glorious attendants, which they were so pleased and taken with, is called great pomp; but what is it in the original? 'They came with great fancy;' it is called so. Why? Because such things as these are the objects of the fancy. So those little additaments to women's ornaments, we call them fancies; it is but the calling of the thing by that which it suiteth to. Now, though a thousand of these things are lawful in themselves, - for this is certain, that God made not anything but there is something in man to suit it and take pleasure in it, and it were to destroy a work of God to deny it, - but take God out of all these, when a man's fancy, his spirit, is carried out to these without God, when there is not grace in the heart to subdue all these to God, then it is sinful. These are the lusts of the flesh.
There are, secondly, the lusts of the reason, of the mind. You must know this, that the word here in the text which is translated, 'lusts of the mind,' in the Greek it is, 'lusts of the reason,' - that is, of the understanding of man.
Now in the reasoning part of man there are two sorts of lusts. I take it, you have these in that place of John I quoted even now. There are, saith he, the lusts of the eye, the lusts of the flesh; and what they are I have told you, the lusts of the eye is the fancy, that of the flesh is the brutish part. And, saith he, there is the 'pride of life,' which is the lusts of the understanding. I say, these lusts of the understanding are of two sorts, that I may diversify them unto you. They are either -
1. Direct lusts; that is, which are carried out directly in objects before them, suited to them, suited to the understanding, which it apprehends an excellency in. Or -
2. Collateral lusts; lusts that by a rebound rise and spring from thence. There are lusts which are primary; and there are lusts which arise from them, and are secondary. I will explain them to you as I can.
1. The understanding of a man hath a world of direct lusts, - that is, lusts that are directly carried on to objects suited to it. As, for example, 'pride of life,' which the Apostle mentioneth there in John: look, whatever excellency the understanding hath, or knoweth, or is in a man, of beauty, or parts, or wit, and the like; in all these there is pride, which the Apostle calleth pride of life, as the other he calleth the lusts of the eye, and the lusts of the flesh. Affectation of power, and of glory, and of sovereignty, of subjection, to carry on a man's plots, and to accomplish them, to carry on a man's ends; pride in wisdom, learning, parts, whatever else it be; any excellency that the understanding only apprehendeth, - all these are called the pride of life, these are lusts of the reasoning part : excellency in civil virtues, conformity to the law, of which Paul boasted in Phil. iii. The philosophers in civil virtues; as he said, - Diogenes went in a poor habit, and Plato in costly apparel; he would tread upon his coat, and the other trod upon Diogenes's. It was a humility, but it was his pride. To rise higher yet, there are lusts of the mind towards religion. Idolatry is mentioned in Gal. v. 20 amongst the works and lusts of the flesh; for in the 16th verse he had said that you should not 'fulfil the lusts of the flesh;' and what followeth? Among the works of the flesh which spring from these lusts, idolatry is one; for if men set up an idolatrous worship, they are 'inflamed with their idols;' so the prophet saith, Isa. lvii 5. If men be superstitiou they are puffed up with that superstition, it is a lust of the understanding. In Col. ii. 18, 'Let no man beguile you in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.' Go now, and take a form of religion that men fashion to themselves, suited to their lusts, though it is in itself a good religion, yet they making but a form of it, as the Pharisees and Paul did; conformity to the law of God is good, but he made a form of it, it was suited to his worldly lusts and ends ; - when you take the spiritual part, the power out of religion itself, wind it up as high as you will, it is certain that there are lusts towards it. A man hath a zeal for it, but what saith the Apostle? You are zealous towards God, establishing your own righteousness. You shall see men as hot for that which is the way of their religion; though it be but a form, carnal men will be for it. This zeal, I say, if you resolve it, it is properly the lust of the mind; for take any religion, any elevation, any pitch of religion that a man sets upon and is zealous for, if it doth not rise up to spiritualness, all his zeal for that religion is but lust. These you see are the direct lusts that are in the mind of man.
2. There are also lusts that spring from hence; as from pride and self - love. Look what excellency any man affecteth, if it be eclipsed by another, envy ariseth; if any oppose him in it, hatred ariseth; if any hinder him in it, revenge ariseth. These now are not direct lusts, but are lusts that arise upon a rebound, when the desires of a man's heart are crossed, and yet they are lusts. You shall find in Gal. v. 20, 21, that envyings, murders, and witchcrafts, and all these, are called lusts. Do but compare the 16th verse, where he bids them not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh; and then he shews them what the works of the flesh are that arise from these lusts; saith he, 'idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, here - sies, envyings, murders,' &c. Now would one think that witchcraft were a lust? No man hath a mind to go and give his soul to the devil simply; it is not a direct lust, but thus. When Saul was put to it for a kingdom, then he goes to the devil. When men would have what they inordinately desire, and cannot get it by other means, then they do not go to the devil simply, for no man naturally delighteth to converse with him; nay, there is naturally an averseness to it in the heart of man : but it is a collateral lust, it ariseth from the other. And so doth envying, and so doth wrath and sedition. 'Whence come envyings amongst you I come they not hence, even of your lusts?' saith the apostle James, chap. i.
I come now to the next thing, which having despatched, I have explained this part of the text. You understand what is meant by 'the lusts of the flesh and of the mind.' There is one word more must be opened, and that is,fulflhling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
The word, if I should translate it, I would translate it thus, according to the phrase we now use, acting their lusts; it is, if you will so render it, 'doing their lusts.' We translate it well, 'fulfilling their lusts,' either by outward actions, or by a continuation of inward thoughts and fancies, or musings upon such things as the soul would have, or desires. It is elsewhere called 'obeying of lusts;' so Rom. vi. 13. It is called 'serving of lusts;' so Titus iii. 3. It is called 'perfecting' or completing 'a man's lusts;' so Gal. v. 16. It noteth out to us these five things in an unregenerate man. It noteth -
1. That lusts are the ground of all his actions. And therefore you shall find in 2 Peter 1. 4, that all the corruption that is in the world is said to be 'through lusts.' It is some lust, some inordinate desire, either in the understanding or fancy, or other of the outward senses, which is the ground of all the corruption that is in the world; that as all the grace that is in the heart is in and through Christ, so all the corruption that is in the world is through lust. I could give you a world of scriptures for it, that lusts are the foundation of all action in a carnal man; not a thought stirreth, not a consent, not a consultation that the heart hath, examine it when you will, but a lust is in the bottom of it ; - that is, an inordinate desire and love to something that the heart would have, that sets all these on work.
Now that lust is the ground of all action, - and that is one part of the meaning, - it is clear by what hath been said. Do but lay all these together. The soul of man, in the first p]ace, is nothing but emptiness of good, it is mere want, mere stomach, nothing but desires, it would have somewhat; it wants and it would be filled: therefore that which we translate committing sin 'with greediness,' in Eph. iv. 19, is in the original, 'to have enough,' it would have something it wants. The soul wants now, and being corrupt, it cannot go to God; it spies out some objects suitable to it, that it thinks will fill up that want, and which if once it could enjoy it should have pleasure; which is always a conjunction of two things suitable. When a man's desires and what he desireth meet, then doth pleasure arise. As now in Ps. lxxviii. 18, when they asked quails (they should have been content with manna) it is said, 'they asked meat for their lusts.' For lust is nothing else but the extending of the soul, which is a wanting, hungry thing, to something it desires, and spies out something suitable unto itself. But now, when the soul hath put forth desires to this thing suitable, there wants some action or other, either of thought or outward action, to make the object and the soul meet And hence comes that which is called putting a man's hand forth to wickedness, it is to bring the heart and the object together; and, by reason of that action, the heart hath communion and pleasure with what it doth desire. So that now all the actions which a man goes about, they are merely his lusts' business. And what is his lusts' business but to aim at pleasure? And how shall pleasure be gotten but by bringing the object and the heart together? and that is done by action. Therefore they are still joined, living in pleasures,' and 'living in lusts;' it is all one, as in James v. 5. And James hath an emphatical expression in that place, 'they nourish their hearts.' The heart is mere stomach, and must have meat. Now all the objects which a man desireth are but to nourish the heart, merely to keep life in it. And look, as the stomach hath contentment by eating, and when the meat comes down into it, so hath the soul by action. Hence now it comes to pass, that in all a man doth, he doth act his lusts. The expression that is in Gal. v. 16, is extremely emphatical; he calls it, fulfilling of a man's lusts. He speaks of action, for he doth not say, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not have lust, but, 'You shall not fulfil them.' He speaks of action therefore, and the word in the Greek is perfecting and accomplishing. Lust is an imperfect thing; it is a motion towards pleasure, but it is imperfect. Now action cometh and perfecteth it, completeth it, attaineth to what it would have. So James expresseth it : 'lust, when it conceiveth, brings forth sin;' he compares the lust to the conception, and the outward act to the bringing forth of sin. And that is the first thing which fulfilling, or doing, or acting lusts doth imply; that action which the soul continually goes about, it is some way or other to satisfy some lust or other.
2. It implies that lust is the master, and the heart, and the action; and all these are but instruments, set on work by the lust that hath power to command. How prove you that? By John viii. 34, 'He that doth sin ' - it is the same word that is used here - ' is the servant of sin :' and because he is the servant of sin, he therefore does it, in the sense there spoken of and here also. Saith the Apostle in Rom. vii. 5, 'the motions of sin had force;' the word is, they had 'energy,' they did work effectually: therefore it is called 'serving divers lusts and pleasures' in Titus iii. 3. In an unregenerate man a lust saith, 'Do this, and he doth it,' as the centurion speaks of his servants unto Christ; so as he cannot cease from sin, 2 Peter ii. 14. What hard tasks doth covetousness, to instance in that, set a man about! What a slave doth it make a man! 'He that will be rich,' saith he in 1 Tim. vi 9, 'falls into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts,' which his own reason tells him to be so, hurts himself, pines his carcass, eats the bread of carefulness, riseth up early, goes to bed late, and all to get a little money more than he needs. Do but read Eccles. vi., and there you have his description ; what a toilsome thing it is to serve that lust! Therefore the phrase is, 'obeying sin in the lusts of it.' He compares lust to a law, the 'law of the members,' so he calls it, Rom. vii. 23. Yea, James compares it not only to a law in time of peace, but to the force of arms in war, 'the lusts that war in your members,' saith he, in ,James iv. Therefore now all the members and faculties, they are ready instruments to please lusts. 'Their feet are swift to shed blood, and they run greedily after the ways of unrighteousness.'
3. To do lusts, as the word here signifies, noteth out an industry, a study, and carefulness. So the word 'doing' is taken in Scripture, as Musculus observes upon that speech of Christ, when he said unto Judas, 'What thou doest, do quickly.' What was Judas a - doing then? He was plotting and contriving, he was thinking how to do the business of betraying his Master. 'What thou art doing, do quickly;' so he interprets it. Therefore in Rom. xiii. 14, men are said to take thought, to be careful to fulfil the lusts of the flesh.
4. It noteth out, in the Scripture phrase, constancy. To do iniquity is not to do an act of iniquity, but it is to make a trade of it. So in 1 John iii. 8, doing is taken, whether it be meant of sinning or meant of righteousness : ' He that committeth sin,' saith he, - the word in the original is the same with that here in the text, - ' he that doth sin is of the devil.' What is the meaning of ' doing sin' here? It is making a trade of sin. How do I prove that? Because it is doing as the devil doth. And how doth he do? For, saith he, the devil sinneth from the beginning. When a man doth make a trade and course of sinning, as the devil doth, he it is that the Apostle meaneth when he saith, 'he that doth sin.' 'Whosoever is born of God,' saith he, ver. 9, 'doth not commit sin;' he doth not do sin then; he doth not make a trade of any sin, it is impossible he should. 'In this,' saith he, ver. 10, 'the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil : whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.' For to do righteousness is to set a man's self to make a trade of it; as in 1 Peter iii. 11, 'If thou wouldest see good days, do good, and eschew evil.' What! do one good action? No, but doing good there is the same word here in the text, and is meant, making a trade of it, setting a man's self in the course of good. So, to do a man's lusts, or to act a man's lusts, or fulfil them, as we translate it, implieth constancy.
5. It implieth universality; the meaning whereof is this, that an unregenerate man is never but a fulfilling some lust or other; he hath never but some one imp or other sucking of him, as I may so express it, either lusts of the body or of the mind. For the soul of man never can be idle; it is like the heavens, always moving; it is always wanting, and there must be meal in the mill, it must grind something or other; it is nothing but lusts, and all the actions of it are nothing but to satisfy those lusts, and so he makes up his whole life, and a sorrowful life it is, in satisfying first one lust, and then another lust; he is always acting for them one way or other.
So now you have the nature of these lusts opened. I shall make an observation or two.
Obs. 1. - The first observation is this; That the whole man, and all the parts, both of soul and body, are corrupt. And it is a great observation to humble us; my brethren. The body, and all the desires of it; the mind, the will, whatsoever is; there is almost no part but there is something in the text here that holds forth the corruption of it, either directly or implicitly. Here is the 'lusts of the flesh,' you see, of the body, the sensitive part: here is the 'lusts of the mind,' the reasoning part : here is also, the will, the corruption of that; for he calleth lust; because they come to action, 'wills of the flesh and of the mind.' Here is the understanding in the word, for so the word properly referreth to the understanding. And here likewise are all the sensitive powers of a man included in the word 'flesh,' which belongeth to his body in common to him with beasts. Therefore corrupt nature in Scripture is called a man; so you have it in Eph. iv. 22, 'Put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.' Why is it called a man? Because it is spread over the whole man, and hath members as large as a man's soul and body hath. In Rom. iii 10, he goes over all the powers of man. In the mind: there is none that understandeth, no, not one. In the will : none seeks after God. In all the other parts : the throat is an open sepulchre, under their lips is poison, their feet are swift to shed blood; itching ears, 2 Tim. iv. 3; hands full of blood, Isa. i. 15. Yea, if you will have it, the tongue is a world of evil, so saith James. And in Isa. i. 6, from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no one whole part. - That is the first observation.
Obs. 2. - The second is this, That our superior parts, the mind and the will, have their corruption as well as the sensitive part. It is a strange thing that the Papists should go and cut off at one blow half of a man's corruption; they would make the understanding to be a kind of virgin, the will only to be as one that is bound; if the fetters were but off he would go. My brethren, this is a certain rule, that there is the same subject of privation, and of the habits. I shall explain myself to you. The eye is the subject of sight; the eye therefore is the subject of blindness, if sight be gone. What parts in man were the subjects of holiness? The understanding and the will, it is certain. Therefore when holiness is gone, what is sin? The want of holiness. What must be the subject of it then? Certainly the understanding, and the will too, is the chief subject of it. That which deceived the schoolmen, who brought up that notion first, was the gross interpretation of the word 'flesh' in the Scripture, as only taking it for the body; whenas the Scripture doth not speak like the philosophers, but the Scriptures speak theologically. 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh.' He doth not only say he, but that; there is not that thing in man that is born of flesh, and propagated, but it is flesh; that is, it is corruption.
The fathers likewise in the primitive times spake gently of the corruption of the mind and of the understanding, because they approved so much good, and the philosophers magnified that, for they knew no other good in man but that : the other spake too gently, by reason of the opposition of the time; and to take off the absurdities of the doctrine of Christian religion, and not according to the Scriptures. My brethren, the greatest sins of all are in the understanding, as I might shew you if I had time.
Envy and wrath, which are lusts properly in the understanding, and revenge, and the like, are all called lusts of the flesh ; that is, of corrupt nature, yet they are lusts properly seated in the understanding.
My brethren, they are the devil's lusts, they are therefore the worst lusts of all the rest; the devil's lusts, I say, most opposite unto Christ; the highest idolatry lies there. Therefore when he speaks of an intellectual lust, such as covetousness; he saith, 'which is idolatry;' because the inward idolatry of the mind is the worst idolatry of all the rest. Men that sin against the Holy Ghost, what is it makes them so wicked? It is their understanding and their will. Julian the Apostate was a civil man, he was not given up to gross sins, yet sinned against the Holy Ghost It lies in revenge, in the devil's lusts. The wisdom of the world, saith he, is 'earthly, sensual, and devilish,' the very wisdom is. There are, in a word, other corruptions in the understanding. There i; first, a darkness as to the knowledge of all spiritual things. There arc also all sorts of principles contrary to true principles. The fool saith, There is no God, and God seeth not, Psalm x. There are also in it lusts of its own, proper to itself, which are the strongest lusts, and have the greatest influence into men's lives of any other; as outward excellencies apprehended by the understanding, to have honour, and riches, and power, and greatness, and the like; these are the objects of the understanding, and these are the great lusts of the world; other lusts are but petty ones, these have the great influence into men. I could shew you that covetousness and such lusts are lusts of the understanding. Men are not covetous merely because they love to see money and to see gold; but covetous to uphold their state and greatness; that they may be said to be worth so much, to leave behind them a name, and a house, and an estate for their children. These are the lusts of the understanding, and these are the grounds of covetousness. And so likewise the understanding is set on work to accomplish all worldly lusts. Men are wise to do evil, saith Jeremiah, and to do good they have no understanding. I have not walked among you, saith Paul, with fleshly wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. I could name many more, but I pass them over.
Obs. 3. - A third observation is this. You see how much more man that is a sinner hath to be humbled for, in some respects, than devils. For he hath more lusts, and a greater capacity of sinning, than the devils themselves have in some respects. The devil indeed is the father of all sin, because he began it; but all the lusts of the body, and the like, he is not capable of. But now look how many desires are in the outward senses, or in the fancy, and the like, unto all things in this world, so many ways of sinning hath man; and then all the ways that the devils have of sinning he hath too : of revenge, and pride, and all such lusts.
And, my brethren, see how hard a thing it is to be saved; for take a man in his natural condition, holiness being gone, look how many several things the soul is fitted to desire, or to lust after, so many ways he hath to hell; and that is, ten thousand thousand, for the desires of the heart of man are infinite every way. Suppose now that a man were moated about in a great compass, and there were a thousand paths to walk in; let him take which path he will, if he would walk, being blindfold, he must certainly fall into the moat: so is it here.
And likewise you may see by this the evil of all our lusts. Either we are beasts or devils. If we satisfy the lusts of the body, we are beasts; if of the mind, devils. Choose which of these two you will be, for into one you must fall.
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