GULIELMUS BATESIUS, S. S. Theol▪ Prof. Aetat: 62▪ Nov: 1687.

Sold by N. Ranew & I. Robinson. 1688.

[Page]THE SURE TRIAL OF Uprightness, Open'd in several SERMONS Upon PSAL. xviii. v. 23. ‘I was also upright before him: and have kept my self from mine Iniquity.’


LONDON, Printed for Jonathan Robinson at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1689.


'TIS the blessed Priviledg obtain'd by our Saviour for his People, that sincere though imperfect Sanctifi­cation is graciously accepted of God the Judg of all. This sincere Holiness is strictly and indispensably requir'd by the Law of Faith, in the hand of the Me­diator: Without it we cannot partake of the Treasures of Mercy and of Glory that are reveal'd in the Gospel. 'Tis therefore a matter that infinitely concerns us, both in respect of our present Peace and future Blessedness, to make a true discovery of our Uprightness. And usually all the Fears and Inquiries about our Spiritual State issue in this, whether we are upright or not? The assurance of our Uprightness, is a Fountain of Relief in all perplexing Jealousies about the Favour of God: for notwithstanding our Defects, he will spare us, as a Father spares his Son that serves him.

This great Question of our sincerity may be clear'd by a due observing our Hearts and Ways: for Conscience is an inseparable Fa­culty [Page] of the Soul, and even in the Heathen accus'd or excus'd, as their Actions were exorbitant or regular according to the in­ternal Law, and consequently gave testi­monies of their wickedness, or moral Inte­grity. The Scripture indeed tell us, The Heart of Man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? But this primarily respects the discerning it by others; as the Apostle saith, Who knows the things of a Man, save the Spirit of a Man which is in him? There may be the affectation of the name of Religi­on, joyn'd with a disaffection to the thing: there may be solemn Formality without cor­dial Godliness; an acting of Piety and personating Devotion for vile Ends. But though the impure Artist under a Vail of Hypocrisy may be conceal'd from others, yet he is not from the conviction of his own Mind.

I shall add further, that many from ig­norance or carelesness, may presume they are in a State of Salvation, when they are in the Gall of Bitterness, and Bond of Iniqui­ty. There are many carnal Shifts made use of to palliate the evil condition of Mens Souls, but their Security proceeds from the neglect of due examining their Hearts and Lives. It will be a vain excuse at the last [Page] Day, to plead, the Serpent beguil'd me: for 'tis not meerly our deceivableness, but willingness to be deceiv'd, that exposes us to mistake our spiritual Condition by the in­sinuations of Satan. As the wise Philoso­pherPlut. de adul. observes, A Man is the first and prin­cipal Flatterer of himself, and therefore apt to be deceived by other Flatterers. But if we take the Candle of the Lord, and impartially search our selves, though the Heart be such a dark Labyrinth, that every secret turning cannot be discovered; though all the Deflections and Errors of our Ways cannot be exactly known, yet we may under­stand the habitual frame of our Hearts, and the course of our Lives.

'Tis the End of the following Sermons, to direct Men in the discussion of Conscience, that they may not from an erring Mind, and corrupt Heart, deceive themselves in a Mat­ter that so nearly concerns them, and in­cur the double Punishment in proportion to their Guilt, as our Saviour foretells, When the Blind lead the Blind, both fall into the Ditch.

Many useful Rules are laid down by Di­vines, whereby true Grace may be discern'd from Counterfeit: but the plainest Trial and Level to the perception of the lowest Christian, is, Whether there be a sincere [Page] respect to all God's Commands, without the reservation of any known Sin, how plea­sant soever, to the carnal Appetites, or the exception against any known Duty that is displeasing to them. If Men would retire from the Vanities and Business of the World into themselves, and search their Spirits with that seriousness that is due to so weigh­ty a Matter; if with a resolution to know the State of their Souls, if Conscience were inquisitive as under God's Eye, that has a full prospect into every Breast, they might have an inward Testimony of their Sinceri­ty or Deceitfulness. The Apostle refers the decision of our State with respect to God, to the Testimony of the enlightned Conscience: If our Hearts condemn us not, (of any habitual indulged Sin) then we have peace towards God. If our Hearts condemn us, God is greater than our Hearts, and knows all things. From the neglect of trying themselves, many live in a Cloud of Delusion, and from inward Darkness pass to outer Darkness for ever.

The sure Trial of UPRIGHTNESS.

PSAL. xviii. 23.‘I was also upright before him: and have kept my self from mine Iniquity.’

THE Title of this Psalm declares the Occasion of it: David spake unto the Lord the words of this Song, in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his Ene­mies, and from the hand of Saul. 'Tis a clear Evidence of his Heavenly Mind, that after his Victories and Triumphs, when his Throne was establish'd in Peace, he recounts the signal Acts of Divine Providence with holy Extasies of Praise and Thankfulness, and leaves an ever­lasting [Page 2] Memorial of God's excellent Goodness to him. Carnal Persons in Ex­tremities, may be ardent in Requests for Deliverance, but when 'tis obtain'd, they retain but a cold remembrance of God's preserving Mercy; nay, they of­ten pervert his Benefits: the affluence, and ease, and security of their Conditi­on, occasions the ungrateful forgetful­ness of their Benefactor. Self-love kin­dles desires for what we want, the Love of God inspires a holy Heat in Praises for what we enjoy.

In the Psalm, the inspir'd Composer displays the Divine Perfections in lofty Figures of Speech, suitable to Sacred Poesy, and in a relative endearing Way as manifested in his Preservation. He at­tributes such Titles to God, as are signi­ficant of the Benefits he received: Some­times God discovers the crafty and cruel Designs that are form'd against his Peo­ple, his Eye saves them, and he is stil'd their Light: Sometimes he breaks the strength of their Enemies, his Hand and Power saves them, he is stil'd their De­fence. Here the Psalmist, with exube­rant Affections, multiplies the Divine Titles, The Lord is my Rock, and my For­tress, and my Deliverer; my Shield, and [Page 3] my high Tower, and my Refuge, and my Salvation: A Rock is a Natural, a Tower an Artificial Defence; both are used to express the safe Protection he found in God. He then sets forth the extremity of his Danger, to add a Lu­ster to the Name of his Preserver: The Waves of Death compassed me; the Floods of ungodly Men made me afraid: His ruin was imminent, and seem'd to be inevita­ble: But in that distress, his servent Prayer, his crying to God pierc'd the Hea­vens, God heard his Voice out of his Tem­ple, and speedily in the best Season came for his deliverance. He was seen upon the Wings of the Wind; he rode upon a Che­rub, (those swifter Spirits) and did fly. He describes the Terrors of his coming against his Enemies: The Lord thundred from the Heavens; he sent down his Ar­rows, and scattered them: his Lightning discomfited them. The Acts of Justice re­verst, have the Ensign of Mercy on them: The drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, was the preserving of the Israelites. Briefly, He ascribes his deli­verance to the Favour of God as the sole Mover, and the Power of God as the sole Worker of it. He delivered me, because he delighted in me. His free and compas­sionate [Page 4] Love was primarily active, and drew forth his Power in its most noble Exercise for the Salvation of David. Such an ingenuous and grateful Sense the Psalmist had of the Divine Mercy: this gave the sweetest relish of his delive­rance; this was his true triumph after the final conquest of his Enemies. In­deed his Enemies were unjust and cruel, and God vindicated the justice of his Cause against them: therefore he saith, The Lord rewarded me according to my Righteousness; according to the cleanness of my Hands hath he recompensed me. He declares the Holiness of his Conversa­tion: I have kept the Ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. And as an eminent Instance of this, he saith, in the words of the Text, I was upright also before him: and kept my self from mine Iniquity.

In the Text there is a solemn Declara­tion of David's Uprightness, by his at­testing God the Searcher and Judg of the Heart; I was upright before him: and by an infallible proof of it, I kept my self from mine Iniquity.

There is one Difficulty to be remov'd before I come to discourse upon the Pro­position, and that is, how this Profes­sion [Page 5] of Uprightness is reconcileable with David's Actions in the Matter of Uriah? Whether we consider the Quality of his Sins, the crimson Guilt, and killing Cir­cumstances that attended them; especi­ally the deliberate and cruel Contrivance of Uriah's Death: or whether we consi­der the fearful Interval between his Sin and Repentance: for like some fair Ri­vers that in their Current suddenly sink under Ground, and are lost in their secret Passage, till at a great distance they rise and flow again: thus it was with David, he that was so conspicuous in holiness of Life, sunk into a Gulf of Sensuality and Cruelty, and for a long time was unre­lenting and unreformed, till by a speciall Message from God by the Prophet Na­than, he was renewed to Repentance, and restored to the forfeited Favour of God.

To this Objection some Learned Inter­preters answer, That the Declaration of his Innocence and Integrity, must be un­derstood with a tacit Exception accord­ing to the Testimony of Scripture con­cerning him, That he did that which was right in the Eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his Life, save only in [Page 6] the Matter of Uriah. That Sin, though a dreadful Provocation, yet did not blast the Uprightness of the rest of his Life, and make it unacceptable to God. 2. This affirmation of David may refer to his afflicted State, when his Conscience was tender and vigilant, and his Passions so subdued, that though Saul, his most un­righteous and implacable Adversary, was at his Mercy, and he could as [...] have cut off his Head, as the Lap of his Gar­ment; though he was provok'd to take his full revenge on him, and put an end to his own Fears, yet he rejected the Motion with abhorrence; God forbid I should lift up my Hand against the Lord's Anointed: He spared Saul, and would not by such an irregular Act obtain the Kingdom, though elected to it by God himself. By this we may take an esti­mate of his Integrity, which God re­warded at last.

The Proposition that I shall discourse of is this, That the preserving a Man's self from his Iniquity, is an undeceiving Evidence of Uprightness.

In the managing the Doctrine, three Things are to be considered and unfolded.

  • [Page 7]1. What Sin may be denominated a Man's own.
  • 2. What the preserving ones self from that Sin implies.
  • 3. How this is an undeceiving Evi­dence of Uprightness.

1. What Sin may be denominated a Man's own.

In general, every Sin that a Man com­mits may be stiled his own, as 'tis the issue of his corrupt Nature, and the Off­spring of his depraved Will. St. James expresses it, Every Man is tempted, (that is, effectually) when he is drawn away of his own Lust. The Devil may sollicite and excite, but without the consent of the Will he can never fasten Guilt upon us. Every actual Sin is in some degree voluntary: But some Sins, in an eminent propriety and peculiar manner, may be called our own; such as there is a strong tendency to commit, either from the na­tural I [...]lination, or Custom, that is an accessary Nature, or from special respects that engage the Will and Affections. As in the natural Body compos'd of various Members, some are more dear and use­ful, [Page 8] as the right Eye, and the right Hand: So in the Body of the Sins of the Flesh, as the corrupt Nature is stil'd by the Apostle, from the variety and union of the vicious Affections, there are some particular Lusts, either for Pleasure or Profit, are as the right Eye, or right Hand, in our Saviour's Language, so dear to Men, that they will lose Eternal Life ra­ther than be separated from them.

These reigning Sins, that have a com­pleat dominion in the Unregenerate, are of different kinds in several Persons. I will proceed in the discovery of them. 1. By a direct Light, from their Causes. 2. By a reflex Light from their Effects. The Causes of special Sins are either Na­tural or Moral: The Natural are the dif­ferent Temperaments of Mens Bodies, and the Connexion of the Passions, that so strongly draw the Will, that we may as certainly understand what vicious Actions are naturally consequent, as A­stronomers foretel the Eclipses of the Lights of Heaven.

I will begin with the consideration of the different Temperaments of Mens Bodies, which are the secret Springs of their Inclinations and Aversions. 'Tis re­quisite to premise, that Original Sin, the [Page 9] Poison distilled through all the Faculties of Man by propagation, is an universal supreme Evil: 'Tis a Seminary of all [...]. Pl [...]. corrupt Desires, from whence the Issues of actual Sins are derived: and that some are less inclin'd to notorious Sins than others, is not from naked Nature, but from the singular distinguishing Mercy of God.

This Depravation so general and de­plorable was observed by the wiser Hea­thens, who were ignorant of the Cause of it, the rebellious Sin of Adam, the common Father and Representative of Mankind. This Corruption of Nature doth not extenuate, but aggravate our Guilt: As the Psalmist with deep sor­row acknowledges his native inherent Pollution; In Sin was I conceived, and in Iniquity brought forth. I know many bold inquiring Wits have presum'd to exa­mine the Decrees of God concerning the lapsed State of Mankind: but 'tis much safer Quaeris tu ra­tionem, ego expavesco altitudinem. Tu ratiocinare, ego miror. Aug. Serm. 7. de verb. Apost. to admire the Divine Providence, than to argue; to believe the Revelation, than to dispute against it.

[Page 10]But although the Stultus om­nia vitia ha­bet, sed non in omnia natu­ra pronus est: omnia in om­nibus sunt, sed non omnia in singulis ex­tant. Omnia in omnibus in­sunt; sed in quibusdam sin­gula eminent. Senec. de benef. L. 4. corrupt Nature virtually includes all Sin, yet there is not an equal propensity to all in every Per­son: as in waste neglected Grounds, some Weeds are ranker and rifer than others, from the quality of the Soil; so some kinds of Sin are more predominant and evident in the Lives of Man, according to their peculiar Dispositions.

For the unfolding this, we are to con­sider, That the Soul of Man in its state of Union, has a continual dependance upon the Body, both in its intellectual and moral Operations. Consider it as a Spirit, and in its separate State, 'tis capa­ble of acting as freely and independently as those pure Intelligences that are distant from alliance with gross Matter: but consider the Spirit as a Soul consociated with a Body of Flesh, there is a strange circling Influence between the Soul and the Body: The Dispositions of the Body suitably incline the Soul, and the Incli­nations of the Soul affect the Body. In the Intellectual Operations as the Ani­mal Spirits are qualified, some are of subtil and quick Wits, others of stay'd and solid Minds; some are fit for Con­templation, others for Action. And in moral Actions the Soul works by the [Page 11] active Power of the sensitive Faculties, and the Actions resemble the Instru­ments. The Complexion of our Minds as well as Manners is usually suitable to our natural Temperature. I will more distinctly unfold this. In the Humane Body there is the united Figure of the World, the heavy Earth, the liquid Water, the subtil Air and active Fire en­ter into its Composition: from the mix­ture of these Ingredients results the Temperature of the Bodies; and as the Qualities proper to them are predomi­nant, Men are denominated Sanguine or Melancholy, Cholerick or Flegmatick: Such as the Constitution is, such are the Inclinations, and such are the Actions that flow from them. 'Tis observable, that brute Creatures are either fierce or tame, bold or fearful, stupid or docile, as their Blood is hotter or colder, of a finer or thicker Contexture. And in Children there is an early disclosure of contrary Dispositions according to their Temperaments: thus some are soft and ductile, others stiff and stubborn; some are of a sweet pliable Temper, drawn by Counsel and the Cords of Love; others of a baser cast, will not be led by Reason and Kindness, but must be [Page 12] constrain'd by Fear; some are of an in­genuous Disposition, blushing at any thing that is indecent and disparaging; others defy all Modesty, and will not change Countenance though surpriz'd in a soul Action. As the inclination in A­nimals to Actions proper to their Kind, is discovered by their Offers before they are fit for Action: Birds will attempt to fly before their Wings are form'd; so in Children, Inclinations to particular Vices appear according to their different Constitutions, before their sensitive Fa­culties are capable of compleat Acts.

More particularly, those Persons in whose Complexion Blood is predomi­nant, are usually light and vain, sensual and riotous, insolent and aspiring, bold and presumptuous: Those in whom Phlegm is the principal Ingredient, are idle and slow, cold and careless in things of Mo­ment; the most ardent Exhortations are lost upon them, as Bags of Wool dead the force of Bullets, in yielding without re­sistance. Those who are timerous and deeply tinctur'd with Melancholy, are suspicious, sowr and inexorable. The dark shadows of their Minds are belie­ved as visible Testimonies of Dangers; and their silent Suspicions as real Proofs. [Page 13] They are jealous of all Persons and Things: If in Conversation there be speech of the Vertues they are conscious to want, or the Vices they are secretly guilty of, they imagine 'tis directed to their Reproach. They are intractable, and often revengeful; for Melancholy is a viscous Humour that retains the Im­pressions of the Passions. Those who are Cholerick by Nature, are heady, various, violent, and create perpetual trouble to themselves and others. Such a Soul and such a Body united, are like two Malefactors fastned with one Chain. In short, according to the Elemental Crasis of our Bodies, Objects affect our Senses, and the Fancy with the lower Appetite, are the Centre of the Senses, and there is so near an activity and refe­ference between the Passions and the reasonable Faculties, that the Under­standing and Will receive Impressions accordingly, as the Passions are excited and moved.

'Tis observable, that the corrupt Na­ture in the Language of Scripture, is usually call'd Flesh, not only as 'tis trans­mitted by Carnal Propagation, but as 'tis drawn forth by Carnal Objects, and exercis'd by the Carnal Faculties. And [Page 14] as the same Constitution is heightned in some, and is in a remisser degree in others, so the Lusts proper to it are more or less exorbitant; as the same sort of Vines produce a stronger or weaker Grape, ac­cording to the quality of the Air and Soil wherein they are planted. That vi­cious Inclinations spring from the diffe­rent Temperament of Mens Bodies, there is pregnant proof in the visible diversity of Lusts that are peculiar in degrees of Eminence in some Families, some Countries, and the several Ages of Mens Lives. We often see hereditary Vices transmitted by descent: Some Fa­milies are voluptuous, others vindictive; some sordid and covetous, others pro­fuse; some ambitious, others servile, re­sembling their Parents, from whom the se­cret Seeds of those Dispositions are inge­nerate in their Temper. So in different Climates, according to the Impression made on the Natives by the Air and Diet, they are distinguish'd by their Sunt tam ci­vitatum quam singulorum hominum mo­res: gentes a­liae iracundae, aliae audaces quaedam timi­dae quaedam in vinum & re­cuerem pro niores. Liv. Hist. L. 45. proper Vices (not so generally found in other Nations) as by their Countenances: some are formal and superstitious, others wild and barbarous; some are crafty and treacherous, others are wanton and luxu­rious. As some Diseases reign in some [Page 15] Countries, that are less frequent, and not so fatal in other places. The Apostle tells us of the Cretians, That they are al­ways Lyars, evil Beasts, and slow Bellies; their habitual Vices fastned this univer­sal Character upon them.

And according to the alteration made in the Bodies of Men in the several Ages of Life, their vicious Affections run in several Channels: the Spring is the same, corrupt Nature; and the Issue will be the same, the Lake of Fire; but the Course is different. St. John distinguishes the Corrupt Inclinations that are predomi­nant in the World, under three Titles, The Lusts of the Flesh, and the Lusts of 1. John 2. the Eyes, and Pride of Life: These Lusts have their proper Seasons, and succes­sively take the Throne in Mens Hearts.

In Youth, the Lusts that in propriety are called the Istae volup­tates duae gu­stûs & tactûs solae sunt ho­minibus com­munes cum bestiis, & ideo in pecudum numero habe­tur, quisquis est his serinis voluptatibus praevinctus. Aul. Gil. Lusts of the Flesh, impe­riously reign. Youth is a kind of natu­ral Drunkenness, the Blood runs Races, and with a Heat and Rapture hurries many into sensual Excess and Riots. Youth is highly presumptuous, easily de­ceived, and [...]aereus in vitium flecti monitoribus asper. refractory to Reason: the superior Faculties, the Understanding and Will, are basely servile to the Car­nal Appetites. The wise Preacher inti­mates [Page 16] this in his bitter Irony; Rejoice, Eccles. 11. O young Man in thy Youth, and let thy Heart chear thee in the days of thy Youth, and walk in the ways of thy Heart, and in the sight of thine Eyes: but know, for all these things God will bring thee to judg­ment. Vain Mirth, and loose Desires, are usually indulged in the spring of our Age: therefore the Apostle emphatical­ly warns Timothy, though a mortified young Man, Flee youthful Lusts.

In the maturer Age, the [...]sual Pas­sions are cooler, less vigorous and active, and youthful Lusts are changed for other▪ Lusts that are not so scandalous, and leave not such a visible stain, but are as de­structive to the Soul. 'Tis very ob­servable in humane Nature, that as the Affections in their sensible Operations decay, the Understanding improves and recovers its ruling Power: 'tis visible in many Instances, that Men in their staid Age despise those things that had a ra­vishing force upon them in their unsetled Youth. But when the Mind is taintedConversis stu­diis aetas ani­mus (que) virilis. Quaerit opes, & amicitias, in­servit honori. with a false esteem of present things, (as 'tis in all those who are in a state of polluted Nature) it leads the Will and Affections to pursue Riches and Digni­ties. Carnal Wisdom is distinguish'd [Page 17] by St. James into three kinds; 'tis earth­ly, sensual, devilish, with respect to the tempting Objects in the World, Riches, Pleasures, Honours. The Sensual Wis­dom is in contriving and appointing the Means that may accomplish the Desires of the Flesh. After the Flesh is satiated, the earthly Wisdom designs earthly Things, and uses such Means as are fit to obtain them: to ascend in Power and Command, or to raise Estates, with wretched neglect of the Kingdom of Heaven and its Righteousness, that should be sought in the first place, and with the most ardent Affections and Endeavours. In conjunction with this, the devilish Wisdom is practised; for Pride and Am­bition are Satan's Original Sin, as Envy and Slander are his Actual Sins. He is continually vex'd at the recovery of fal­len Man, and is his constant Accuser. And whilst Men are eagerly contending for the World, they are excited from In­terest and Envy, to blast and defeat their Concurrents that would be superior or equal to them. This worldly Wisdom, though a more solemn Folly, yet is as woful and pernicious as the sensual Wis­dom; for God is injuriously robb'd of his Right, our highest Esteem and Affecti­ons; [Page 18] and Men deceiv'd with the poor Pageant of the World, neglect their last and blessed End, and justly perish for ever.

Old Age has its peculiar Vices. 'Tis true, it mortifies the Affections to some Vanities. Vespasian the Roman Empe­ror was so tir'd with the Pomp of his Triumph, that in the triumphant way, he often reproach'd himself, that being an Old Man he was engaged in such an empty and tedious Show. And Charles the Fifth, in his declining Age, prefer'd the Shade of a Cloyster before the Splen­dor of the Empire. But 'tis attended with other vicious Inclinations. Old Men are usually querulous, impatient, discontented, suspicious, vainly fearful of Contempt or Want: and from thence, or some other secret Cause, are covetous and sordid in sparing aginst all the Rules of Reason and Religion. CovetousnessIn frigidis se­mibus vehe­mentius in­ardescit. is stiled by the Apostle, The Root of all Evil; and as the Root in Winter retains the Sap, when the Branches have lost their Leaves and Verdure, so in Old Age, the Winter of Life, Covetousness preserves its vigour when other Vices are fallen off. Usually the nearer Men approach to the Earth, they are more [Page 19] earthly-minded, and which is strange to amazement, at the Sun-set of Life, are providing for a long Day. Briefly, eve­ry Age has its special Vices suitable to the Constitution of Mens Bodies in them, and we must accordingly make our en­quiry to discover our own Sin.

2. The Connexion of the Passions du­ly observ'd, will discover the predomi­nant Lust. The Passions are the Moti­ons of the sensitive Appetite, whereby the Soul approaches to an Object that is represented under the pleasant Colours of Good, or flies from an apprehended Evil. They are call'd Passions, because in those Motions there is a flowing or ebbing of the Spirits and Humours, from whence a sensible change is caus'd in the Body, and the Soul is in unquiet Agita­tions. 'Tis very difficult to know their Original, though the sensible Operations are very evident: Consider the Soul as a Spirit, 'tis exempt from them; the Spirit, as a Soul, is liable to them. Whe­ther they are derived from the Soul to the Body, or from the Body to the Soul, is hard to determine. They are of ex­cellent use, when subordinate to the di­rection of the renewed Mind, and the Empire of the sanctified Will: When in [Page 20] their Rise, Degrees, and Continuance, they are ordered by the Rule of true Judgment. What the Winds are in Na­ture, they are in Man: If the Air be always calm without agitation, it be­comes unhealthful, and unuseful for maintaining Commerce between the di­stant Parts of the World: moderate Winds purify the Air, and serve for Na­vigation.Ad ulteriora noscenda. And thus our voluble Passions are of excellent use, and when sancti­fied, transport the Soul to the Divine World, to obtain Felicity above. But when they are exorbitant and tempe­stuous, they cause fearful Disorders in Men, and are the Causes of all the Sins and Miseries in the World. From hence it is that Sin in the Scripture is usually exprest by Lust; The Lusts of the Flesh Gal. 5. are manifest: those who are Christ's, have crucified the Flesh, with the Affections and Lusts thereof. Every Man that is tempted, Jam. 1. is tempted of his own Lust. The Reason is, because the corrupt Desires of the Soul, when inflam'd, are the Springs of its Actings, and strongly engage the Mind and Will, and all the active Powers, to procure their Satisfaction.

Now Sin being the Obliquity of the desiring Faculty, we may discover what [Page 21] is the predominant Sin, by considering what Affection is most ardent and vio­lent, and consequently most depra­ved and disorder'd: and this we may, by observing the connexion between them; for they generate one ano­ther. As the Diseases of the Body, tho the Disorder of Nature, yet have cer­tain Causes, and a regular course in their Accession, Inflammation, and Re­volution: as in the Changes of an Ague, a shivering Cold is attended with a fiery Heat, and that with an overflowing Sweat; in like manner the irregular Pas­sions are productive of one another. Love is the radical Affection, and when it leads to a desir'd Object, has always hatred in the Rear, if disappointed and and crost in its Desires: So Joy in the fruition of a dear Object, is attended with Grief, that lies in Ambush, and immediately seizes upon the Soul when the Object is withdrawn. And as in the Vibrations of a Pendulum, the Motion is always as strong in proportion one way, as it was the other; so according to the excess of Love, will be the excess of Grief. Of this we have an eminent Instance in David, whose Sorrow for the Death of his rebellious Son was as im­moderate, [Page 22] as his Love the Cause of it.

2. I shall now consider the moral Causes of habitual Sins, the various Cir­cumstances of our Lives that are influen­tial to give a Custom to Nature, and Viciousness to Custom. As the Sea has Rocks and Sands, Gulphs and Currents, Tempests and Calms, so the present Life has symbolically in its different States, that endanger us in our Passage to the next World. The different Conditions of Life I will consider under four Heads.

  • 1. The several Callings wherein Men are ingag'd.
  • 2. The opposite states of Prosperity or Adversity that are attended with suitable Temptations.
  • 3. The Society with whom we are conversant.
  • 4. The Quality of the Times wherein we live.

1. Let us search for the predominant Sin in the Callings wherein▪ we are in­gag'd; for according to their Quality, Temptations surround us, and are likely to surprize us. The Spider spins his [Page 23] Web, where Flies usually pass to entan­gle and destroy them: so the subtile Tempter lays his Snares in our Callings wherein we are conversant. John the Baptist therefore, when the Publicans addrest to him for Instruction, Master, What shall we do? said to them, Exact no more than what is appointed you: And to the Souldiers he said, Do Violence to no Man, neither accuse any falsly; and be con­tent with your Wages: He warns them against Rapine, and Force, and injuri­ous Accusing others, of which Sins Pub­licans and Souldiers were usually guilty. I will, to be the more instructive, parti­cularly consider some Callings, and the Sins that evidently attend them.

The Sacred Calling of Ministers does not secure them from Temptations; but such is the corruption of their Hearts, and of the World, that it exposes them to dangerous Temptations. The Devil scales us on the Temple-side, and often gets possession of our Hearts. Ministers are often guilty of a spiritless formality in the managing Holy Things. In the composing of Sermons, the Mind is ex­ercised about the Matter, Order, and Expressions, without Holy Affections suitable to Divine Truths: partly, be­cause [Page 24] from Custom the most solemn and concerning Things pass through the Soul without serious Regard and Application; and partly, because the Ministerial Of­fice obliging us to furnish our selves with the knowledg of the admirable Myste­ries of Godliness for the instruction of others, we are apt to make that the on­ly End of our Studies; like Vintners that buy great quantities of Wine for sale, and not for their own use. There is not in many Ministers a spark of that Heavenly Fire which the reflexive Meditation on Spiritual and Eternal Truths inspires into the Soul, which our Saviour came to kindle. Their Knowledg is not lively and operative, but like a Winter's Sun that shines without vital Heat. If they are in­rich'd with rare Talents, they are apt to prophane that Holy Ordinance of Preaching, by secret Aims and Desires of Vain-glory: The Temptation is more dangerous, because esteem and praise for Intellectual Excellencies that are peculiar to Man, and wherein the Eminence of his Nature consists, is ve­ry pleasing, even to those who are of an unspotted Conversation, and free from Carnal Pollutions.

[Page 25] Chrysostom confesses of himself, ThatHabet enim multitudo vim quandam ta­lem, utquem­admodum ti­bicen sine ti­biis canere, o­rator sine mul­titudine au­diente elo­quens esse non possit. Cicer. when he preach'd to a thin Auditory, his words dy'd on his Lips, and his Spi­rit was quench'd; but when he was en­compass'd with a numerous full Assem­bly, his Spirit was enflam'd, and he breath'd Fire. The attention and ap­plause of the Hearers, the regarding one another with Wonder, as if never Man spake better, the reigning over the Spi­rits of Men by powerful Oratory, are apt to inspire vain-glorious Conceits into the Preachers. And many carried along by the Current of their injudicious Audi­tors, are curious to bespangle their Dis­courses with light Ornaments, to please the Ear, and are not studious to preach Christ and him Crucified, in a stile di­stant from all shadow of vanity, to save the Soul.

Another Temptation attending that Holy Calling is, from Humane Passions, which Ministers often bring up into the Pulpit with them, and with a counterfeit Zeal vent their Animosities against those of whom they are jealous, as diminish­ing their secular Interests. God under the Law severely forbids the offering up Sacrifices by common Fire, but only by Celestial, that was preserved Day [Page 26] and Night upon the Altar by the Priests: 'tis symbolical, that the reprehension of Sinners by the Servants of God, should not be exprest with heat of Anger against their Persons, but with holy Zeal; that Love to their Souls should be the pure Motive of the severest Rebukes.

Lastly, The great danger is, lest Mi­nisters have a respect more to the tempo­ral Reward of their Office, than the divine End of it. Therefore St. Peter with that Solemnity enjoins Evangelical Pastors, to feed the Flock of God, taking 1 Pet. 5. 2, 3. the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind: Neither to act as Lords over God's Heritage, but to be Ensamples to the Flock. 'Tis true, the Labourer is wor­thy of his Reward; and if we sow Spi­ritual 1 Cor. 9. 11. Things, is it a great Matter (as the Apostle saith) if we reap your carnal Things? But tho 'tis natural and regular to eat to live, yet to live to eat is prodi­giously brutish; so 'tis a most guilty vile Intention to use the Sacred Ministry for obtaining secular Things. This will corrupt the Heart, and hinder the dis­charging the Office with sincerity and constancy: For the End is the Rule and Measure of the Means, and a worldly [Page 27] Minister will frame his Sermons, and order his Affairs to obtain the World. If it be for his Secular Interest, he will appear as an Apostle, full of Zeal against Errors and Sins: but if the preaching the Doctrines of Truth and Holiness be prejudicial to his worldly Designs, he will neglect his Duty to preserve the Minds of Men untainted from destru­ctive Errors, he will mollify the Threat­nings of Scripture, rebate their Edg, and thereby harden the Hearts of pre­sumptuous Sinners. As 'tis observedPravitas [...] ­tuminum ad similitudinem sui vitem con­figurat. Colu­mel. L. 4. of the Vines, if they are supported upon crooked Stakes, they will grow so; so carnal Preachers will conform themselves according to the Humours of those upon whom they servilely depend.

In Courts of Judicature, the Tempta­tions are intimated in the wise Advice of Jethro to Moses, That he should chuse Men fearing God and hating Covetousness. Without the over-ruling Fear of God, Judges will not do their Duty evenly and couragiously: Humane Respects will tempt them to bend the Rule to the obliquity of their Minds and Desires. When they are influenc'd by the Fear or Favour of Men, they will part with Justice, and Conscience, and true Ho­nour, [Page 28] and their Souls. And how often does the weight of Gold turn the Scales in Judgment, and preponderate the Rea­son of the Cause with those who are most solemnly obliged to universal rectitude in the discharge of their Of­fice? Judges should so impartially, and with that noble Resolution perform their Duty, as to disourage all Attempts to per­vert them. Zeuxes having painted a Boy carrying some Grapes, so coloured according to Nature, that the BirdsAves male exi­stimare de ta­bula, nō ad vo­laturas si puer similis esset. Plin. lib. 35. peck'd at them: An Observer said, The Birds discredited the Picture; for if the Boy had been drawn with equal Life, they had not been so bold to fly at the Grapes; a sign they fancied the Grapes true, and the Boy painted. Thus who­ever tempts those who sit in Judicature to unworthy Things, disgraces their Dignity, and constructively declares that he esteems them to have an appearance of Vertue without sincere Zeal for it. And how many who are pleaders, by fal­lacious Colours commend a bad Cause and discredit a Good, and thereby ex­pose themselves to that terrible denun­ciation, Wo be them that call Good Evil, and Evil Good. A degenerous Mind, and mercenary Tongue, will plead any [Page 29] Cause to obtain the Ends of Avarice and Ambition: as if, according to what an Italian Lawyer said of himself, They were the Advocates of their Clients, and not of Justice.

In short, every Calling has its Temp­tations: In the various ways of Com­merce, there are deceitful Arts which an upright Man observes and abhors. Some Callings expose to more Temptations than others; so that without Circum­spection and Care, Men are undone in the way of their Callings. Some ingage Persons in such a throng of Business, that from one rising of the Sun to another, they never seriously remember God or their Souls. 'Tis therefore a Point of great Wisdom in the choice of a Calling, with a free Judgment to consider what is least liable to Temptations, and affords more freedom of serving God and re­garding our Spiritual State; for the Bo­dy is not the intire Man, and the present Life is not his only Duration. The Apo­stle directs Christians to chuse such a State of Life, that they may have an ad­vantage of attending upon the Lord with­out 1 Cor. 7. 35. distraction.

I shall add, That the several Relations wherein we stand, as Husbands, Parents, [Page 30] Masters, and Wives, Children, Servants, have peculiar Temptations: and many whose general Conversation seems fair and blameless, are not observant of their Relative Duties. A Husband may be harsh and unkind, a Parent fond and vi­ciously indulgent, ('twas Ely's Sin that brought Ruin upon his Family) a Ma­ster may be severe and rigorous. Supe­riors who are to instruct and govern Fa­milies by Holy Counsels and Examples, often neglect their Duty; and by their evil Carriage, set a Copy which their Children and Servants transcribe, and derive a woful Guilt upon themselves from their multiplied Sins. And how often are those in lower Relations care­less of their proper Duties: Wives dis­respectful, and not observant of their Husbands, Children disobedient, Ser­vants unfaithful? If Conscience be in­lightned and tender, it will regard the whole compafs of our Duty, it will see and feel our sinful neglects in any kind, and make us careful according to the ex­tent of its Obligation.

2. The opposite States of Prosperity and Adversity, have suitable Temptati­ons adherent to them.

[Page 31]Prosperity is beset with the thickest and most dangerous Temptations. In a Garden the Tempter lay in ambush, and made use of the Fruit that was plea­sant to the Taste, and pleasant to the Eye, and desireable for Knowledg; and by those Allurements corrupted and ruin'd our first Parents, to the loss of their In­nocence and Felicity. Although Prospe­rity be a Blessing in it self, yet 'tis often more destructive than Adversity, by the inseparable and ingaging Snares that sur­round the Persons that enjoy it: Pride, Luxury, Security, Impiety, grow and flourish in Prosperity. Affliction calls home the wandring Spirit, makes us reflect with solemnity upon our selves, excites us to arm our Minds with Reli­gious Resolutions against the World; whereas Prosperity relaxes and dissolves the Spirit, and foments the Lusts of the Flesh. Those who live in the Courts of Princes, where the Height of Honour, and the Centre of Pleasure are, where Ambition, Hypocrisy, Avarice and Sen­suality reign, are encircled with dange­rous Inchantments, and usually are charm'd and corrupted by them. The Court Life is splendid to the Eye, but very perilous; like a Ship that is finely [Page 32] carv'd & painted, but so leaky, that with­out continual pumping it cannot be kept above Water; so without the strictest guard over their Hearts and Senses, the prosperous cannot escape the Shipwrack of a good Conscience, and fall into many foolish Lusts that drown Men in Perdition. Yet this state of Life many aspire to as the most happy. When Lot separated from Abraham, he chose the pleasant Gen. 13. fruitful Country that was like the Garden of the Lord. Sad choice! the Land was the best, but the Inhabitants the worst: Within a short time the cry of their Sins reach'd as high as the Throne of God, and brought down showrs of Fire and Brim­stone, that turned that natural Paradise into an Hell.

Riches has a Train of Temptations, and Poverty is not exempt from them. 'Twas the wise Prayer of Agur, Give me Prov. 30. 8, 9. neither Poverty nor Riches, lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the Name of my God in vain. A full Estate intirely possesses the Heart, and excludes the eternal World from the Thoughts and Affections: 'tis therefore wise Ad­vice, If Riches increase, set not your Heart upon them, intimating they are a [Page 33] Snare to the most in the corrupt State. They often induce in Mens Minds an ungrateful Oblivion of their Divine Be­nefactor, as 'tis charg'd upon Israel, Their Hearts were exalted, therefore they have forgotten me. They incline Men to presume upon Self-sufficiency, and to rob God of the Homage that is due from his Creatures, an humble thankful de­pendance upon his Providence every day. The Psalmist saith, They trust in their Wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their Riches. They are en­gaging Snares to renounce Religion, when-ever the Sincere, and open pro­fession of it, exposes our Estates to ha­zard. Briefly, as the Israelites made an Egyptian Idol of their Egyptian Jewels; so worldly Things are abus'd for worldly Lusts. The most who enjoy Prosperity, perish by the abuse of it: 'Tis a rare effect of Divine Grace to preserve the Heart and Conversation pure in such a contagious Air, when a thousand fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right Hand. And the contrary state of Po­verty and Affliction in any kind, if sharp, has its peculiar Temptations; Discontent, and the use of unlawful Means to obtain what they want and desire, is the Sin of the Poor. The Af­flicted [Page 34] are ready to faint under the weight of Sorrow: The loss of one Comfort blasts all the Content of their Lives. There is a perpetual consump­tion of their Thoughts and Time in re­volving the afflicting Circumstances of their Condition, and they are apt to think as if God were regardless or very severe to them. Fearful depth! they wretchedly neglect the means that might alleviate their Sorrows, and refuse to be comforted, as if they were Persons con­secrated to Calamity; thus Life is lin­ger'd out in continual Languishings, or ended with deadly Grief.

If the Affliction be singular and extraordinary, Sorrow often increases to such dismal Degrees, that most woful Effects proceed from that Passion. The Anguish of Spirit either breaks out in unkindly and unholy Expressions, or in­wardly festers with Repining, vexatious Thoughts at their Condition. Stubborn Spirits are impatient of the Evils they suffer, and insensible and undervaluing of the Blessings they possess. They nei­ther look upward to the Hand of God that disposes all Evils, nor inward to their Sins, the most righteous procuring Cause of them: But serious Reflection would constrain them to acknowledg [Page 35] that God punishes them less than their Sins deserved, and that their Dross needed the vehemence of the Fire to purge it away: A meek yielding our selves, and a complying with the blessed Ends of his afflicting Providence, will make us to understand by Experience, that all our sharpest Sufferings were most wisely and divinely ordered by our Hea­venly Father.

3. We must search for our peculiar Sin in the Society with whom we are conversant. Our Company that we choose, and are frequently engaged with, discovers us to others and may to our selves. 'Tis a true Glass that by re­flexion makes visible the Countenance and Complexion of our Minds. Love proceeds from Likeness, and the Electi­on of Friends from a correspondence in the Tempers of Men. 'Tis true, there may be Foreign Motives of Friendship and Commerce, with others from our Secular Affairs and Interests; but Incli­nation is the internal Cause of Friend­ship. 'Tis visible, that Carnality in its various kinds, cements Friendships: the Intemperate, the Lascivious, the Worldly, are endear'd to one another by [Page 36] the resemblance in their Minds and Man­ners. Besides, Examples if often in our view, and especially of those whom we love, have a strange Power to change us into their Likeness. 'Tis the Observa­tion of the wise Man, He that has fel­lowship with a proud Man, will be like him. The vicious Affections of the HeartSerpunt vitia, & in proxi­mum quem (que) transiliunt, & contactu no­cent. transpire in Words and Actions, and in­sensibly infect others: and in familiar Society the Contagious Evil the more strongly infects, being immediately con­veyed. If our intimate Friends are worldly Wise, who mind earthly Things, sagacious to forecast Advantages, and active to accomplish their Designs, we may judg of the strain of our Affections; for if our Conversations were in Heaven, if our frequent and serious Discourses were of Things above, how to improve Spiritual Riches, our Company would be ungrareful to them: without Sympa­thy there can be no complacence in So­ciety. The Garlick and Onions of the Egyptian Earth, is more tasteful to their Palats than the Bread of Angels. Be­sides, by constant familiarity our Minds are apt to be corrupted to value the World as our substantial Felicity, and our Hearts to be corrupted with the love of it, [Page 37] which is of the Spring of Mens Sins and Misery. Thus if we are Associates with the Voluptuous, there will steal into the Heart an allowance of Sensuality, and a dislike of Holiness as a sowr Severity. If unregenerate Men, though of a civil Conversation, be our chosen and fami­liar Friends, our Zeal for Religion will decline, and lukewarmness be insensibly infus'd into us. Briefly, as the Wax re­ceives the Figure of the Seal that is ap­plied to it, our Minds receive a likeness from the Impressions of Examples. Therefore a Prudence discreet and severe is necessary in the choice of our Society. In the Humane Life there is no mistake more dangerous than in the choice of Friends with whom we are usually con­versant. 'Tis a comprehensive Rule, and most useful for the guiding us safely to Heaven, to select the Wise and Holy to be our bosom-Friends. As a Ring touch'd by a Loadstone drawsanother by an imprest Virtue, so in holy Society there is Divine Grace attractive of the Hearts of others. He that walks with the Wise, shall be wise; but a Companion of Fools shall be afflicted: That is the penal Conse­quence of being corrupted by them. The Sensual and Luxurious, by their [Page 38] converse, pervert good Dispositions in o­thers, and heighten evil Inclinations in­to Habits: They are Satan's Instruments to draw Men into his Snares, more fa­miliar Devils to tempt and destroy Souls. He that chuses evil Company, is like one that voluntarily frequents a House infected with the Plague; who is either a Fool and disvalues Life, or desperate and seeks Death.

4. We must consider the Quality of the Times we live in, to discover what Sin is predominant in us. There are Evil Days in the Apostle's Language, with respect to the Temptations and Troubles that are concomitant with them, and a wise circumspect walking is requisite to preserve our Innocence and Purity. Sometimes those who are dig­nified with Titles and Powers, are leaders in Sin, and their publick Practices are so commandingly exemplary, that they ea­sily prevail upon many to follow them; for that is the way to insinuate into their favour, and obtain secular Advantages and Rewards. From hence it is that some, as if the opposite Forms of Religion were but different fashions of the same stuff, will put on a new Livery according to the [Page 39] Master they serve. They have a politick Faith, you may coin them a Philip and Mary, or an Elizabeth, as the Mintage of the Times vary. But the Example of the High and Noble is no safe Rule: A Rule of Gold, tho of value for the Mat­ter, yet if crooked, 'tis useless as a Rule. In some Ages the Poison sheds it self into the whole Body of a Nation, that rarely any are untainted. The old World was drown'd in sensuality, and Noah only escap'd. And in the next Age, how did Idolatry, like an overspreading Leprosy infect the World, and Abraham hardly escap'd. In Jeremy's Time the Land mourn'd for Oaths and Curses; Men were turn'd breathing Devils, and spake the Language of Hell before they came there. Sometimes all Degrees are so corrupt, that Vices pass for Vertues, the rage of Duelling for Heroick Va­lour, Luxury and Sensuality for inno­cent and amiable Qualities; and Holi­ness, tho a Divine Excellency, and the very Beauty of the Deity, is despised and derided: Thus Men glory in their Shame, and are ashamed of their Glory. Now there is no Tyranny more violent than of a corrupt Custom, no Conta­gion more catching than of National [Page 40] Sins. The Apostle reminds the Ephesi­ans, that in their Heathen State they walk'd according to the Course of the World. We are therefore strictly commanded, not to be conform'd to the World, but trans­form'd by the renewing of our Minds, that we may prove what is the Good, the acceptable and perfect Will of God. 'Tis the eminent effect of Grace to resist the Torrent of the Times, and to value the Conscience of our Duty before all Worldly Respects: ac­cordingly 'tis recorded to the everlasting Honour of Jehoshaphat, That he walked in the Commandments of God, and not accord­ing to the Doings of Israel.

2. I come to show how the peculiar Sin may be discovered from its Effects, and the discovery from hence is more sen­sible, than from the Causes: for Divine Grace may controul the Efficacy of the Causes, that a Christian may abhor the Sin to which there are strong Tempta­tions, but Effects emergent from inward Lusts, discover the habitual frame of the Heart.

1. The Sin that is frequently and ea­sily committed, and difficulty retract­ed, is a Man's peculiar Sin.

1. Frequently. Single Acts do not denominate a Person, but Habits that [Page 41] proceed from repeated Acts, are chara­cteristical. Noah's single Act of Drun­kenness, which might proceed from his ignorance of the strength of the Wine, or the weakness of his Brain, did not argue his being addicted to it: but fre­quent relapses into that Sin, denominates a Man a Drunkard. A train of sinful Actions is from a disposition strongly bent to them. If a Man be of a chole­rick Nature, Anger will be his quotidi­an; if of a Sanguine, licentious Mirth will be his tertian. 'Tis the Character of Man in his unregenerate polluted State, he commits Sin, 'tis his Trade; and as any particular Lust has dominion in his Heart, such is the course of his Life. When the Inclination leads to a Calling, a Man applies himself conti­nually to it; for the Work produces De­light, and the Delight strongly inclines him to work: Thus according to the tendency of our corrupt Natures is the constant practice of Sin. We may as surely judg of the active Powers of the Soul by the Actions that proceed from them, as of the vigour of the Sap in the Root, by the number of the Fruits of the Tree. 'Tis said of the Scoffers, they walk after their own Lusts: which [Page 42] implies the habitual practice of Sin, the license and pleasure they take in a car­nal Course.

2. The Sin that is easily committed is our own. As the Divine Nature in a Saint makes him fit for every good Work, but especially for the exercise of that Grace that is eminently regent in his Heart, upon the first Call of Con­science, he applies himself to his Duty: so the corrupt Nature prepares Men for evil Works, and its special tendency is presently inflam'd by a suitable Object. This Indication is clear, with respect to the Sins of the desiring and angry Ap­petites. The more quick and speedy the Power of a Temptation is, the more strong is the vicious Inclination. When Achan saw a goodly Babylonish Garment and a Wedg of Gold, he coveted them and took them: the immediate rise of his Affection upon the presence of the Object, his presumptuous Sacrilege, not­withstanding the terrible Interdict, was a convincing sign of his worldly Mind. So 'tis said of the young Man in the Proverbs, that was enticed by the blan­dishments of the Harlot, he went strait­way after her. When the alluring Ob­ject presently inveigles the Senses, and [Page 43] easily obtains the consent of the Will, we may truly infer what Passion reigns in the Heart. So a Man that is soon an­gry, whose Passion like Tinder takes fire at a Spark, a small Occasion may un­derstand what his Nature is. A Man of a cool Spirit, of meek and mortified Passions, is not easily incensed.

3. The Sin that is difficultly retracted. There are Principles of Conscience in laps'd Nature, concerning Good and Evil that cannot be rased out, and are improv'd and heightned by revealed Light; from hence there is often an in­ternal Conflict between the convinced Mind, and the corrupt Heart: But the darling Lust controuls the Efficacy of those Principles, for Nature and Custom are of all things most hardly to be chang'd. Properties inherent in the na­ture of things are inseparable: Thus wallowing in the Mire is natural to a Swine, and though wash'd, will return to it. When a Lust is deeply rooted in Nature, Men cannot cease from Sin. We have a sad Instance of this in St. Austin, before his intire and blessed Conversion. He declares in his Confessions, how ex­tream hard it was to divorce himself from sensual Delights; they were incar­nated [Page 44] in his Nature, ingrafted into his Affections, and the separation from them was as the fleaing him alive. When he prayed for Chastity, it was with a re­striction, Make me chast, but not too soon: In the vigour of his Age, the sinning Season, he was averse to be weaned from those poisonous Breasts. 'Till Divine Grace chang'd his Nature, he could ne­ver rescue himself from the Intangle­ments of his Iniquity.

Custom in Sin usually proceeds from Inclination; and with as strong a sway determines the corrupt Will as Original Nature. Can the Ethiopian change his Skin, and the Leopard his Spots? then may you who are accustom'd to do Evil do Good. Dreadful difficulty! some habi­tual Sinners are secure and stupid, and of such depraved obstinacy, that they will not resolve to cleanse themselves from their Defilements. In others there are some sparks of Religious Fear; but not­withstanding the stings of Conscience, continue in the practice of Sin. The charming Lust so long indulg'd, is impe­rious and peremptory; and till Omni­potent Grace unbinds the Charm, they are never releas'd from the circle of con­fessing their Sins when their Desires are [Page 45] sated, and committing them with new Heat and Rapture upon the returning Temptation. Though Convictions be heightned into Resolutions, the next Temptation hinders the Effect: They rescind their solemn and sacred Engage­ments, perfidiously break double Chains, the Law of God with their own Vows, grieve his Spirit and wound their own; from hence 'tis evident that such Sins are properly Mens own.

2. That Lust to which others are sub­servient, has the supremacy in the Heart. In all the Dominions of Satan, there is some special Lust that is his Viceroy, and keeps possession for him. There is an Order in the Kingdom of Darkness, one Sin wants the assistance and counte­nance of another sometimes to disguise and palliate it, or for the doing it. The reigning Sin has, as it were, its Court and Council, its Guard and Attendants. To illustrate this by its contrary, 'tis ob­servable there is a concatenation of Ver­tues, and the superior Vertue is assisted by other Vertues in its Exercise: as Justice in dispensing what is due to others, is assisted by Fortitude and Temperance, which re­gulate Fear and Desire, that often hinder its most noble Exercise: and the Acti­ons [Page 46] immediately flowing from Courage or Temperance, are ascribed to Justice, to which they are subservient; for the End and Intention constitutes the Kinds in the ranks of moral Things, either Vertues or Vices. 'Tis the Observation of the Philosopher, that one who does an Act of Robbery that he may have Mony to corrupt a Woman, is not so much Covetous as Incontinent. Joseph's Brethren sold him into Egypt, dipt his Garment in Blood to deceive their Fa­ther, and thereby contracted a Crimson Guilt: but Cruelty and Hypocrisy were subordinate to their Envy: They hated him, because the Father's Love to them was faint in comparison to the warm Beams reflected upon Joseph.

2. The Darling Corruption ingros­ses the Thoughts. There is a natural levity and featheriness in the Mind, a strange inconsistency and discurrency of the Thoughts, but Love will fasten them intensely upon its Object. From hence it is that habitual and delightful Thoughts are the best discovery of our Hearts and our spiritual State. Words and Actions may be over-rul'd and counterfeit for di­vers Reasons, but Thoughts are the invi­sible productions of the Soul, and without [Page 47] fear or mask, without restraint or disguise, undissemblingly discover the Disposi­tion of the Heart. Thoughts are the Immediate Off-spring of the Soul; and as the Waters that immediately flow from the Spring are strongest of the Mineral, so the Thoughts are most deep­ly tinctur'd with the Affections. A Saint is therefore described by his meditating Psalm 1. in the Law of God Day and Night, which is the natural and necessary Effect of his Delight in it. Uncounterfeit ReligionDefinitio bre­vis & vera vir­tutis, ordo est amoris. and Holiness consists in the order of Love, as St. Austin briefly and fully describes it. The Will is carried to its Object and End by the Motion of Love, and Love applies the Mind intirely to the Object to which it is strongly inclin'd. When the Heart is corrupt, the ordinary Cur­rent of the Thoughts is in the Channel of our Lusts. The contriving Thoughts, the Devices of the Mind, the contem­plative Thoughts and inward Musings are conversant about the beloved Lust that engages the Mind to it. Thus when Covetousness is the reigning Passion, the Mind is in continual exercise to com­pass secular Ends: 'tis full of Projects how to order the Means most success­fully to increase Riches, and how to re­move [Page 48] what-ever may obstruct the main Design. The Spirit is captivated, and like a drudg in a Mill is continually grind­ing for the satisfaction of the earthly Appetite. When the more sensual volup­tuous Passions are predominant, the con­triving Thoughts are to make Provisions Rom. 13. 1. for the Flesh to satisfy the Lusts thereof. The Understanding is debased to be the Pander and Caterer for the intemperate and incontinent Appetites. The ambi­tious Spirit lays the Scene how to obtain his desired Honour, and forecasts how to ascend to some place of Eminence: so Anger sowred into Revenge, envies at the Excellencies and Advancements of others, turns the Mind to plot Mis­chief.

The contemplative Thoughts and Mu­sings of the Mind, are also fix'd on the darling Lust. As a Holy Believer in whose Heart the desire of enjoying God in Heaven is the supreme Affection, fre­quently ascends in his Mind thither, and by solemn serious Thoughts substantiates his future Happiness, and has an unspeaka­ble glorious Joy in the lively hopes of it: Thus the unrenewed Heart turns the Thoughts to the desired Object, either in representing it in all its Charms, or in [Page 49] reflections upon the enjoyment of what is past, or in expectation of what is to come, and pleases it self with the Sup­position instead of Fruition. A proud Person entertains vain-glorious thoughts of his own Worth, and worships the vain Idol himself: In his Mind he re­peats the Ecchoes of Praise, that his foo­lish Flatterers lavish upon him. 'Tis recorded of Nebuchadnezzar, that as he walk'd in his Palace, he said, Is not this great Babylon that I have built, for the House of the Kingdom, by the might of my Power, and for the Honour of my Maje­sty? His high towring words were the Expression of his Thoughts, and discover'd Pride to be the reigning passion of his Heart. The sensual Wretch surveys his Carnal Paradise, and personates the Plea­sures of Sin by impure Imaginations: his fancy runs riotously over tempting Beauties: by an active Contemplation he contracts a new Stain, and induces a new Guilt upon himself: he commits the same Sin a thousand times, by re­newing the pleasant Thoughts of it, and by carnal complacence in the remem­brance.

In the silence of the Night, when a Curtain of Darkness is drawn over the [Page 50] visible World, and the Soul not diverted by sensible Objects, is most free in its Operations, then the Thoughts are con­versant about the beloved Sin. 'Tis said of the Malicious and Revengeful, They plot mischief upon their Beds. The rich Fool was contriving how to bestow his Fruits and Goods, and entertaining him­self with the thoughts of festival volup­tuous living, in the Night wherein his Soul was required. And in the Morning the Virgin Thoughts are prostituted to the beloved Lust. In the time of Divine Worship, when the pure Majesty and special Presence of God should unite the Thoughts, and compose the Soul to a holy solemn Frame, then the beloved Lust will be so impudent and outragious as to break into the Mind the Chamber of Presence, and seat it self there. As Lot's Wife led by an Angel out of Sodom, turn'd a lingring Eye towards it, so the Carnal Heart even in religious Service and Addresses to God, reflects upon the sinful Object, that has an attractive force upon it. 'Tis charg'd against those fine Hypocrites in Ezekiel; They sit before Ezek. 33. 31. thee as my People, and hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their Mouth they shew much love, but their Heart go­eth [Page 51] after their Covetousness. 'Tis rec­kon'd as an high Aggravation of their Guilt, Yea in my House have I found their Jer. 23. 11. Wickedness, saith the Lord. The fami­liar Lust will haunt Men in the Divine Presence. This makes them cold and careless in Holy Duties; this makes their Devotion so faint and dilute, that God is infinitely provok'd by them. In short, the darling Lust does so intirely and in­tensely fix the Mind upon it, that Mens Accounts are dreadfully increast by the swarms of wicked Thoughts that defile their Souls: and in the Day of Judg­ment, that is called the Day of Revela­tion, there will be a discovery made to their everlasting Confusion.

4. The Sin Men desire to conceal from others, and from Conscience, and are apt to defend or extenuate, and are impa­tient of reproof for it, has a special In­terest in their Affections. Every Sinner is a Master of this Art, to counterfeit the Vertues he wants, and dissemble the Vices that he allows. 'Tis the Observa­tion of Solomon, God made Man upright, but he sought out many Inventions; espe­cially to palliate and hide, or to excuse his Faults. Sin in its native deformity is so foul, that Men employ a great deal [Page 52] of Art and Study, either to conceal it under a Vail of Darkness, or a deceitful Mask of Vertue, or by various Excuses to lessen its Guilt and Ignominy. Adam patch'd up an Apron of Fig-Leaves to cover his Nakedness, a resemblance of his care to hide his Sin. David could not expect to deceive God; but to hide his Adultery with Bathsheba from Men, he sends for Uriah from the Army, that he might have gone home to his Wife. 'Tis observ'd of Caesar and Pompey, whose ambitious Spirits aspir'd to Sovereign Power, they made use of some Ensigns of Royalty, to accustom the People by degrees to them, yet were crafty to hide their Design. Caesar sometimes ap­peared publickly with a Wreath of Law­rel on his Head; but lest the People from his wearing that appearance of a Crown, should be jealous of his Intention, pre­tended it was only to supply his want of Hair, and cover his baldness▪ Pom­pey wore a white Fillet curiously wrought about his Leg, in pretence that his Leg was hurt; but in truth, because it was a Diadem, a Royal Ornament, Pompeio candida fascia crus alligatum habenti, di­ctum fuit, non refert in qua parte corporis sit diadema. Aul. Gell. for which he was reproach'd by some strict Obser­ver. There are innumerable Arts us'd to cover Mens respective Sins. I shall [Page 53] only instance in one that is usually pra­ctis'd: How do many, like the crafty Lapwing that flutters at a distance from its Nest, appear zealous against the vi­sible Sins of others, that under that sha­dowy Deceit they may hide their own? Their Words feather'd with severe cen­sure fly abroad, wounding the Reputa­tion of others for lesser Faults, that they may not be suspected to be guilty of worse Sins secretly cherish'd by them.

But if the beloved Sin be evident, Sa­tan assists the corrupt Mind to frame such colourable Pretences either to de­fend or excuse it, that it may not appear in a ghastly manner, attended with strict Judgment and an everlasting Hell. When a Lust has enticed and drawn away the Will, the Mind is ingag'd to give co­lour to the Consent, and either directly, or in an oblique way to represent the Sin that it may appear less odious and more amiable. Sometimes the Understanding is so perverted by the impression of Plea­sure, that Conscience allows Concupis­cence. 'Tis a repeated Observation of a Vitia nobis▪ sub virtutum nomine obre­punt. Temeri­tas sub titulo fortitudinis latet. Modera­tio vocatur ig­navia, pro cau­to timidus ac­cipitur. In his magno pericu­lo erratur. Senec. Fallit enim vi­tium specie virtutis & um­bra. Juven. 14 Sat. wise Philosopher, that Vices were disguis'd under the resemblance of Ver­tues, and Vertues disparag'd under the names of Vices; from whence the Un­derstanding [Page 54] and Will, the Mind and Manners were depraved, and shame was cast upon the Vertuous, and boldness gi­ven to the Vicious. Profuseness is stil'd Magnificence, Violence, Valour, Disso­luteness, Gentility, Fraud and Craft, Prudence. On the contrary, Sincerity is blasted with the name of Folly, Pati­ence reputed Stupidity, and Conscience Superstition. The Proud will set off the the lofty Humour and Carriage as a de­cent greatness of Spirit, and vilify the Humble as low and sordid. The Chole­rick will ingage Reason to justify his Passion; he will alledge the Provo­cation would anger an Angel. The Luke­warm in Religion, will represent luke­warmness as a discreet Temperament be­tween the vicious Extreams of a Wild­fire Zeal, and a prophane coldness and neglect. The Earthly-minded will put flattering Colours on Covetousness, to make it appear a praise-worthy Vertue, a prudent provision for time to come. If Men are quite destitute of defence, they will by a mild construction extenuate the guilt of their darling Sin. The in­continent Person will make a Canopy for his Lust, as only a humane Frailty. The Intemperate will excuse his Excess, [Page 55] as free Mirth and harmless Society. Ma­ny Apologies are made for the Sins Men indulgently commit; some will plead in excuse, a prone necessity of Nature; some, the Custom of the Places they live in; some, their unsettled Youth; any thing that may lessen the turpitude in the view of Conscience, or in the Opinion of others. Now pleading ar­gues Love, and Love denominates the Sin to be their own. Hoc equae omnium est, vitia sua excu­sare malint quam effugere. Senec. Epist. 50▪ From hence it is that so many contract a desperate hard­ness, and are irrecoverably depraved. But if Men cannot hide or excuse their beloved Sin, they are impatient of re­proof for it, and with secret Discontent, or stormy Passions, reject Admonition. Some of fair Tempers and Conversati­on, if a Minister or Friend be faithful to their Souls, and with holy Zeal urges the divorcing Command of God between them and their pleasant Sins, and repre­sents sincerely the Guilt of their sinful course of Life, they become fierce and vehement, and recoil upon their Re­provers, as arrogating imperious Autho­rity, or for Rigour and Severity, or im­portinence in admonishing them; and sometimes recriminate, that the Repro­ver is as bad or worse himselfl: ike a Ri­ver [Page 56] that passes without noise, till it meets with the Arches of a Bridg that stops its free Current, then it swells and roars. In short, the indulgent Sinner will en­deavour to defend his bosom-Sin, or to subdue his Conscience that it may not torment him for it.

5. The Sin that the enlightned Con­science reflects upon, with anguish and bitter remorse, is usually that which has been indulg'd, and whereby God has been most dishonour'd▪ There is so deep an impression of the Deity in the Soul, and our duty and accountableness, that it cannot be utterly defac'd: and though the rebellious Will and Affecti­ons controul it for a time, yet it remains for the Conviction and Punishment of Delinquents. Conscience is a Spy in our Bosoms, and observes in order to a disco­very; and what is written in its Regi­ster cannot be razed out. 'Tis true, a Spirit of Slumber sometimes seizes upon the Wicked, and Conscience is so stupi­fied, that they sin without reflection and remorse; but there are times wherein Conscience is rous'd up like a Lion, and tears them in pieces according to the fearful Threatning. This is sometimes done by the powerful preaching of the [Page 57] Word: The Apostle describes the Word of God by its admirable efficacy; 'Tis quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged Sword, piercing even to the di­viding asunder the Soul and Spirit, and of the Joints and Marrow, and is a discerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart▪ When the Word by a piercing Applica­tion discovers the bosom-Sin, and the fearful Judgment that attends it, so that the Guilty cannot obscure the Evidence of the one, nor avoid the terror of the other, then Conscience bleeds afresh that was seared before. There is recorded a wonderful Instance of this in the Acts of the Apostles; when Paul the Prisoner rea­son'd of Righteousness, Temperance, & Judg­ment to come, Felix trembled: The discour­singPer omnem saevitiam & li­bidinem Jus regium servili ingenio exer­cuit. Tacit. Lib. 5. Hist. of those Vertues that were directly contrary to his habitual Enormities, ript up his Conscience to the quick, and struck into consternation that lofty Sinner. From hence it is that many decline a sharp and searching Ministry, which is always the Token of a guilty Heart. The Word shining upon the Conscience [...]. (like the reflection of the Sun upon the Waters that made them appear like Blood) makes Sins to appear in their crimson Guilt, their bloody Aggravati­ons. [Page 58] Our Saviour tells us, that the evil John 3. 20. Doer neither loves or comes to the Light, lest his Deeds should be reproved. When a powerful Preacher, as a second Consci­ence, as if he knew the Hearts and Ways of Men, sets their Sins in order before their Eyes, and closely applies the Threatnings of Divine Vengeance to them, Conscience often joins with him, and as a faithful Eccho repeats the terrible Truths to their conviction and anxiety▪

In times of Affliction, when our Sins find us out, we usually find out our Sins. In full Prosperity Men are strangers at Home, and rarely look inward: they will not endure the Inquisition and Judi­cature of Conscience: Wealth and Wickedness harden them against the most serious Counsels, the most solemn Re­proofs and ardent Exhortations: they are blind to the Sun, and deaf to Thun­der; but a sharp Affliction clears the Eyes, unlocks the Ears, opens the Heart, and pricks the tender Vein. The awa­ken'd Penitent will make an exact search to find out the Achan, the troubler of the Soul, and the special Sin is so in the in­terpretation of the vigilant and afflicted Conscience. The bitter remembrance of that Sin is answerable to its Guilt; [Page 59] the more it was indulg'd, the more the Law of God was despis'd, the more it wounds the Spirit: when the Pleasure is past, nothing remains but the Sting and Poison. Joseph's Brethren, who so long had been insensible of their treacherous selling him to Bondage and Misery; yet in their Fears Conscience remembers it with aggravations of their unnatural Cruelty: And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our Bro­ther, in that we saw the anguish of his Soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Lastly, Consider the several kinds of Sins to find out your own: some are of Omission, some of Commission; some are Spiritual and Inward; some are Car­nal, and acted with Noise and Notice; some distinctly flow from visible Causes; some spring from an unsuspected Foun­tain. There are many of a civil com­pos'd Conversation, who are careless of spiritual Duties, of holy Communion with God by raised solemn Thoughts, and ardent desires, of watchfulness over their Hearts, to regulate their Aims and Affections by the pure Law, and are in­sensible of their Neglect and Guilt. The unrenewed Nature has a strong re­luctance [Page 60] against spiritual Duties. Many are righteous to Men, and unrighteous towards God; they do not pay those Du­ties that are indispensibly required from reasonable Creatures to the blessed Crea­tor: the highest Love for his Perfections and Benefits, an obedient respect to his Commands in their Actions, a resigned submission to his Will and Wisdom, an entire trust in his fatherly Providence, and zeal for his Glory. Many rob him of that Time that is consecrated to his Service: the Lord's Day, (though 'tis our Priviledg as well as Duty to keep it Holy) when the Publick Worship is at an end, as if the remainder were un­sanctified, they wretchedly waste in com­plemental Visits, in civil Matters, in Discourses impertinent to the solemn Work of it. Many who are diligent to provide for their Families, yet are as bad as Infidels in neglecting to instruct their Children and Servants in the saving Do­ctrine of the Gospel, to command them to be circumspect in their Ways, to set before them a living Pattern of Holi­ness, and carelesly suffer their precious Souls to perish for ever. How many who▪ are not guilty of open rebellious Sins against the Law, yet neglect the [Page 61] great indispensible Duty of the Gospel, an humble, unfeigned, entire closing with Christ as their Prince and Saviour. They presume upon their moral Vertues, of the safety and goodness of their Condition: they never had a feeling sense of their want of the imputed Righteousness of Christ to reconcile them to God, nor of the Holy Spirit to make them partakers of the Divine Na­ture; as if only the Prophane, Riotous, notorious Sinners, had need of his most precious Merits and Mediation to abo­lish their Guilt, and save them from Hell, and of the Holy Spirit to sanctify them. From hence it is that many civil Persons remain in an unrenewed State, and are the natural Subjects of Satan, and die in their Sins. Some are regular in a course of Religious Duties, they pray, hear the Word, receive the Sacrament, but with­out those Holy Affections that are the Life of Religious Duties, yet content themselves with the external bodily Ser­vice, which is neither pleasing to God nor profitable to their Souls. Some che­rish a secret Pride that they are not so bad as others; some a vain presumption of the Divine Favour, because they serve God in a purer way of Worship than [Page 62] others, when they neglect substantial Religion that recommends us to his gra­cious Eye. Some will severely reflect upon the visible Sins of others, whilst there is an unperceiv'd consumption of the spiritual Life in themselves. This may seem to proceed from the hatred of Sin, when the real inward Motive is to quiet Conscience by an appearance of Zeal against Sin, and make it inobser­vant of their inward voluntary Defects. The most excellent Things may be coun­terfeit, Satan may transform himself in­to an Angel of Light; sinful Affections may be varnish'd and gilded, so as to be mistaken for Divine Graces. Briefly, the Heart is an everlasting Deceiver, and without a perpetual watchfulness, we are in danger of close Corruptions that will blast our Sincerity. To find out our Sin, 'tis requisite to search where we may think there is little reason to expect the finding it.

2. I will now consider what the pre­serving himself from his peculiar Sin implies.

1. An abstaining from the practice of that Sin. When David had an opportu­nity to destroy Saul, his unrighteous and [Page 63] implacable Enemy, and secure himself, when excited to it by Abishai, who would have dispatch'd him at a Blow, yet he rejected the Temptation with abhor­rence; The Lord forbid that I should 1 Sam. 26. 11. stretch forth my Hand against the Lord's Anointed; thus he preserv'd his Inno­cence and Integrity.

Our Saviour tells us, He that commits John 8. Sin, is a Servant of Sin: an indulgent course of Sin denominates a Person a Slave of Sin, and a Rebel against God, and is utterly inconsistent with Sinceri­ty. 'Tis true, an upright Man may fall by suddain surreption, by an insinuating Infirmity into a foul Sin, from which he has a setled aversation, and keeps himself in the general Course of his Life: and that single Act of Sin is a blemish of his Integrity, but retracted by a speedy Re­pentance, does not denominate him a Hypocrite. One may be pale from an accidental surprize by fear, or red through a suddain flush of Blood from Anger, yet not be so by Complexion; for the Complexions, Pale and Sanguine, are drawn by the Pencil of Nature, the lively Characters of the predominant Humours, and are usually visible in the Countenance.

[Page 64]But although an upright Person keeps himself from the gross Acts of Sins that are clearly against natural Conscience, and supernatural Grace; yet whilst we are cloth'd with Flesh, the Body of Sin does not finally expire, and Temptati­ons are as importunate as Flys about us, (from whom the Tempter has his Title) that 'tis morally impossible to be abso­lutely undefiled: therefore Uprightness requires that we should carefully consi­der our weak side, what Passions we are most inclinable to by our Temper, and so diligently fortify our selves against them, that they may not have dominion over us; and though we cannot arrive, yet we may advance towards the com­pleat conquest of Sin. And in our en­deavours against the Sins to which we are most inclinable, and that often foil us, Constancy is inseparable from Sin­cerity. If we neglect the humbling of our Souls for unavoidable Infirmities▪ the earnest seeking for the Divine Mercy and Grace, and a careful watching a­gainst them, we so far decline from Up­rightness.

2. It implies the mortifying the in­ward Affection to that Sin. The Rule of our Duty requires this: Cleanse your [Page 65] Hands ye Sinners, purify your Hearts ye Jam. 4. 8. double-minded. The Will is the proper Principle of Sin, and from the deprava­tion of the free Faculty actual Sins pro­ceed. As the Love of the Subject is the Strength of the Prince, so the Love of any Sin preserves its Dominion. There may be a concurrence of Circumstances to hinder the actual commission of Sin, of which the Heart is guilty. An un­clean Person, when separated from the Object of his impure Desires, may lan­guish in his Lusts, and by contemplative commission be guilty before God. A malicious Person may keep the Fire of Malice in his Breast, without the least discovery by a Spark or Smoak in his Words or Actions, waiting for an op­portunity that he may take his full Re­venge, and is a Murderer in his Wishes. The rapacious desire of anothers GoodsLatro est e­tiamantequam inquiret ma­nus: fecit e­nim quisquis quantum vo­luit. Senec. without actual Robbery, induces the Guilt of Thest. There may be an in­vincible Bar between the sinful Affecti­on and the Object.

Sickness or Age may so waste the vi­gour of the Body, that we cannot per­form the gross Acts of Sin: But this Ab­stinence has no moral Value, for it only proceeds from the disability of the In­strumental [Page 66] Faculties. If one in a Con­sumption leaves his Revelling and Licen­tiousness, 'tis no sign of Divine Grace, but of wasted Nature. As in a sick Person the Appetite fails, the Soul abhors Job 33. dainty Meat; but if he recovers, his Ap­petite revives, and is more craving for his Abstinence: Thus many who could not enjoy their pleasant Lusts in the time of Diseases, being restored to strength, their vicious Affections are reincited by new Temptations, and with greater ex­cess act over their old Sins, as if they would pay Interest for their impatient forbearance. An old Sinner may retain and cherish the Fire of Lust in his Heart, when Age has snow'd upon his Head: As in Mount Aetna the sulphurious Fire and Snow are near together. But as the Philosopher observes, If a young Eye were put into an old Man's Head, he would see as clearly as ever. So if natu­ral strength were restor'd in an uncon­verted Sinner, he would be as ardent and active in prosecuting his carnal De­sires as before.

Terrors of Conscience may stop the current of Mens Lusts: Fear has Tor­ment, and is inconsistent with the Plea­sures of Sin: the fear of visible Ven­geance, [Page 67] that sometimes strikes the Wicked, or the apprehension of Judg­ment to come, may controul the licen­tious Appetites from breaking forth into actual commission of Sins. But as when the Lions spared Daniel, it was not from the change of their wild devouring Na­ture, for they destroyed his Accusers im­mediately, but from the suspending their hurtful Power: so when a strong fear lays a restraint upon the active Powers, yet inward Lust is the same, and would licentiously commit Sin, were the Re­straintAmari licet, potiri non li­cet. taken away.

The keeping ones self from Sin, that is the sign of Uprightness proceeds from the mortification of the Flesh, with the Affections and Lusts thereof. The Apostle tells us, Carnal Circumcision, without the Circumcision of the Heart, was of no avail to obtain the Favour of God: So the outward forbearance of Sin without inward Purity, can never com­mend us to the Divine Acceptance. A Rebel may be driven from the Frontiers, but so long as he keeps the Royal City, he is unsubdued: So if a Lust keeps pos­session of the Heart, tho the executive Powers may be retained or disabled from the outward Acts, it still reigns.

[Page 68]3. I shall now prove that the keeping a Man's Self from his special Sin, is an undeceiving evidence of Sincerity.

1. God approves it: I was upright be­fore him. God has not Eyes of Flesh, he doth not see as Man sees. The deepest Breast is as clear as Christal in his sight. He weighs the Spirits of Men, and exactly knows what is true Gold, and what is counterfeit. He is the Searcher and Judg of our Hearts, and his approbation is the strongest Seal of our Uprightness. As God said to Abraham, Now I know Gen. 22. 12. thou fearest me, in that thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from me. So if we Sacrifice at his Command, the Sin that is as dear to us as Isaac was to his Father, the Sin of our Love and De­light, the Sin that is ours by Choice and Custom, then we shall hear the blessed Testimony from Heaven, that we love God in sincerity; he will own us as his Friends. Sincere Christians can appeal to God in the Psalmist's Lan­guage, and with his Affections; Lord, search me, and try me, and see whether there be any way of Wickedness in me: they are not conscious of any indulged course of [Page 69] Sin, which would make them fearful of his pure and piercing Eye.

2. It will appear that the keeping our selves from our peculiar Sins, is an infal­lible proof of Uprightness, by consider­ing in what it consists. In Scripture Uprightness is equivalent to Perfection and Integrity, and opposite to Guilt.

1. 'Tis equivalent to Perfection; Mark Psal. 37. 37. the perfect Man, and behold the Upright; for the End of that Man is Peace. The absolute perfection of Holiness is not at­tainable upon Earth, none are refin'd to a height of Purity without Mixtures and Allays: But according to the mitigation of the Gospel, the Saints, whose Aims, Desires, and Endeavours are to obtain Perfection, are accepted in the Blessed Mediator as perfect. Now the indul­gence of any darling Sin, is utterly in­consistent with Perfection in the mild sense of the Gospel, and consequently with Uprightness. This will be more evident, by considering, that Upright­ness is equivalent with Integrity. The Psalmist prays, Let Integrity and Upright­ness preserve me. Integrity implies an uniform equal respect to all the Divine Commands. When Conscience of our Duty to God, and the reverence of his [Page 70] Authority shining in his Law, inclines us to obey all his Will, we are upright. Partial Obedience that divides the Pre­cepts, and complies with those that are agreeing with our Carnal Affections and Interest, and neglects the rest, is an in­consistent with Sincerity as Death and Life. As the Soul in the natural Man is a vital Principle from whence all the Actions of Life and Sense proceed; so renewing Grace is a Principle of Uni­versal Obedience. Herod did many things gladly, upon the preaching of John the Baptist: but he would not part with Herodias, his charming Lust still had dominion in his Heart. The young Man observed other Commands of the Law, but when our Saviour tried his Integrity, by commanding him to sell all, and to give it to the Poor, and he should have Treasure in Heaven; 'tis said, he went away sorrowful: Covetousness was his bosom-Sin, and blasted the sincerity of his Obedience.

Uprightness is opposite to Guile. Our Saviour gives this Testimony of Natha­nael, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile; a genuine Son of Is­rael, whose Character was Sincerity. Guile implies a reserved Affection for a [Page 71] particular Sin, under a pretence of reli­gious observing the Divine Law. The Scripture sets forth by Conjugal Love, the dearest resemblance of the Mutual Love between Christ and his Church. If a Wife should take another besides her Husband into her Embraces, she is an Adulteress, false to her Husband; and all her amiable attractive society with him, is but the fine Hypocrisy and pretence of Love. Thus when one bosom-Sin is retain'd, the Heart is false to God, notwithstanding the most specious Devotion: the indulgent pra­ctice of one Sin impeaches our Inte­grity.

To this I shall add select Examples of Uprightness recorded in Scripture. 'Tis said of Noah, he was a just Man, and per­fect in his Generations: for when the whole World lay in wickedness, he preserv'd him­self unspotted from their Pollutions: this was a noble Testimony of his Up­rightness in the esteem of God. Joseph repell'd the impure Sollicitations of his Mistress with indignation; How shall I do this great Wickedness, and sin against God? David when old, and his Blood and Spirits so frozen, that no Cloaths could warm him, that a fair young Virgin [Page 72] lying in his Bosom was not blemish'd by him, was not from Divine Grace, but wasted Nature: But that Joseph in the vigour of his Age, the sinning Season, kept himself undefiled, was the sure symptom of Sincerity. Job has this Te­stimony from God, that he was a perfect upright Man: and in the depth of his Affliction, he tells his suspicious Friends, Till I die, I will not remove my Integrity Job 31. 4, 5, 6, 7. from me: my Heart shall not reproach me so long as I live; that is, of reigning Hypocrisy of which they had accused him. His Uprightness he proves by an Induction: He preserv'd himself from the Sin of his Age: In his Youth, when sensual Lusts are impetuous, he made a Covenant with his Eyes not to look upon a Maid: and for this Reason, because he was under the inspection and observance of God. He kept himself from the Sins of his Calling: he was a Magistrate, and in the exercise of his Office, his Foot ne­ver hasted to deceit, and no Blot cleav'd to his Hand: Upon this he appeals to the inlightned Tribunal Above, Let me be weighed in the Ballance, that God may know my Integrity. He kept himself from the Sins of his Condition; for tho high in Dignity, yet so humble, that he [Page 73] despised not the Cause of his Man-Servant or Maid-Servant that contended with him: tho in full Prosperity, yet so compassio­nate, that as a Father he fed the Poor, and clothed the Naked. He was so sen­sible of his dependent mutable State here, that Gold was not his Hope, nor the fine Gold his Confidence: and so Heavenly and Spiritual in his Mind and Affections, that he did not rejoice because his Wealth was great, and because his Hand had gotten much. This Reflection upon the Tem­per of his Heart, and his Deportment in his prosperous State, was the main assu­rance of his Integrity.


1. Let us be excited to make a Judg­ment of our selves by this Rule. The true Decision of our Spiritual State, re­sults from the Testimony of Conscience concerning our Uprightness or Insinceri­ty. If our Hearts condemn us not of predo­minant Hypocrisy, some indulged habi­tual Sin, then have we Confidence towards God, that we are accepted of him. If Conscience be inlightned and faithful in the Trial, a Man cannot deliberately deceive himself: he must know whe­ther [Page 74] his Resolutions and Endeavours be to obey all the Will of God; or, whether, like an intermitting Pulse, that some­times beats regularly and then faulters, he is zealous in some Duties, and cold or careless in others? Saul would offer Sa­crifice, but not obey the Divine Com­mand to destroy all the Amalekites: for his Partiality and Hypocrisy he was re­jected of God. But 'tis the Character of David, he was a Man after God's own Heart, in that he did all his Will. 'Tis not the Authority of the Lawgiver, but other Motives that sway those who ob­serve some Commands and are respect­less of others. A Servant that readily goes to a Fair or a Feast when sent by his Master, and neglects other Duties, does not his Master's Command from Obedi­ence, but his own Choice. Sincere O­bedience is to the Royalty of the Divine Law, and is commensurate to its Purity and Extent.

There are two Requisites to make a certain Sign of a thing: 1. If the Sign be never without the Thing signified. 2. If the Thing be never without the Sign. The Redness of the Sky is but a Contingent Sign of fair Weather, be­cause the appearance of it in the Mor­ning [Page 75] is often followed with Storms and Rain; and sometimes a fair day is with­out that visible Sign. But Day-light is an infallible sign of the Sun's being risen: for its ascending in the Horizon always causes day, and without the presence of the Sun, all inferiour Lights can never cause Day. Thus the abstaining from the beloved Lust is a sure sign of Up­rightness: For 'tis inconsistent with Hy­pocrisy, and the inseparable Effect of Sincerity. 'Tis inconsistent with Hy­pocrisy: till Divine Grace cleanses the Heart, alters the Taste of our Appe­tites, and purifies our Affections, we shall never detest and forsake our own Sins that are flesh'd in our Natures.

'Tis true, there may be an abstaining from some Sins, when the Heart is not sincere towards God: for some particu­lar Sins are opposite to the respective Tempers of Men, and the Averseness from them is not the Effect of Supernatural Grace, but of natural Constitution. As that Meat that is delicious to one Palate, to another is distasteful; so the Sins that have a Temperamental Relish to some, are disagreeing to others.

'Tis observ'd of those who are stung with a Tarantula, the sweetest Musick [Page 76] does not move them till those Notes are struck that are harmonious with their Distemper, and then delightful­ly transported, they fall a dancing till their Strength is spent. Thus Temp­tations are prevalent according to the Complexional Lusts of Human Nature. But when there is no Harmony and Agreement between the Objects with­out and the Affections within, the Tempter loses his design. Avoluptu­ous Brute, whose Heart is always smo­thering or flaming with impure De­sires, may have no Inclination to Co­vetousness: a covetous Wretch, whose Soul cleaves to the Earth, may feel no Temptation at the sight of an exquisite Beauty. Some are made Captives by one Passion and some by another. In the mysterious Fable, Perseus who en­counter'd the Terrors of Medusa, was easily overcome by the Beauty of Andro­meda. Victor (que) Me­dusae victus in Andromeda. Manil. Vertue victorious over Fear is often corrupted by Pleasure.

Besides, some Lusts are of a repug­nant Nature. This difference is obser­vable between Errors and Truth, Vices and Vertues. Errors are inconsistent and irreconcileable, and at War among them­selves: but Truth has an universal Con­sent [Page 77] and mutual Dependance in all its parts: there is no Contrariety between natural and supernatural Verities. Vices are sometimes so contrary in their Ends and Exercise, that they fall foul upon one another, that none can be so univer­sally wicked, as to commit all Sins, but if he be addicted to one must forsake the other. But there is a Connexion between the Graces of the Holy Spirit; tho different in their Objects and Na­tures, yet they have the same Tendency, the Glory of God and our own Salvati­on, and are united in the Subject. There is but one way to Heaven, as there can be but one straight way to a place: but there are innumerable Deviations from it, as many crooked ways to Hell as there are sinful Lusts that bring Men thither. The Prophet tells us, All we like Sheep have gone astray, every one in his own way. There are many By-paths that lead to Destruction.

We must also observe to prevent Mis­takes, there may be a forsaking of a particular Sin that has been delightful and predominant, without Sincerity to­wards God: for another Lust may have got possession of the Heart and take the Throne. There is an alternate Successi­on [Page 78] of Appetites in the corrupt Nature, according to the Change of Mens Tem­pers or Interests in the World. As Seeds sown in that order in a Garden, that 'tis always full of the Fruits in Season: so original Sin that is sown in our Nature, is productive of divers Lusts, some in the Spring, others in the Sum­mer of our Age, some in the Autumn, others in the Winter. Sensual Lusts flourish in Youth, but when mature Age has cool'd these Desires, Worldly Lusts succeed; In old Age there is no relish of Sensuality, but Covetousness reigns imperiously. And as the Conditions and Interests of Men alter, so their Affecti­ons change; they are not constant to their Bosom-Sins. Now he that expels one Sin, and entertains another, conti­nues in a State of Sin; 'tis but ex­changing of one Familiar for another; or to borrow the Prophet's Expression, 'Tis as if one should fly from a Lion and meet with a Bear, that will as certainly devour him.

2. The forsaking our respective Sin is the inseparable Effect of Uprightness. It has been proved before, that if the Heart be divided between Obedience to the Divine Law, and Inclination to any [Page 79] Sin, 'tis false to God. Repenting Ephra­im said, What have I to do any more with Hosea 41. Idols? an Expression of vehement de­testation: Idolatry had been the reign­ing Sin of that Tribe, and therefore the renouncing of Idols was a clear convin­cing Sign of their sound Conversion. It is impossible that sincere Love to God, and the habitual allowance of a known Sin should be in the same Heart, as for the Ark of God and the Idol of the Philistins to be plac'd on the same Al­tar: Uprightness is consistent with Frail­ties, but not with chosen Lusts. As Loyalty to the Prince is consistent with some Actions contravening his Laws, that proceed from Ignorance or Surprize: But Loyalty is inconsistent with Re­bellion that is open Treason, or with treasonable Designs that are secret Re­bellion. So any Sin that Men presump­tuously live in, or consent to in their Hearts, is absolutely inconsistent with Uprightness.

2. Let us be excited to keep our selves with all Diligence from our Iniquity. This is the Master-piece of Mortificati­on, the noble effect of renewing Grace, and very difficult to the corrupt Nature. [Page 80] To enforce this Duty, I will propound those Motives and Means as are very conducing for our performance of it.

The Motives are,

1. Habitual indulged Lusts are irre­concileable with the state of Grace; they render the Sinner, till forsaken, un­capable of God's pardoning Mercy here, and the heavenly Glory hereafter. The Gospel is a gracious Act of Oblivion for the restoring of Rebellious Sinners to the Favour of God: but the Pardon is ob­tained upon Conditions that are inde­spensable. Mercy is assured to penitent Believers for all their Sins of Ignorance, and those Frailties that are the Causes of their daily Sorrow and Watchfulness, and for all presumptuous Sins retracted by Repentance: but the Saviour of the World excludes the impenitent and un­reform'd from Mercy; unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Now when Re­pentance is sound and solemn, the Spirit is deeply wounded for that Sin whereby God has been most dishonoured, and his Law violated: The remembrance of it o­pens a full stream of Tears, & excits a ho­ly Hatred: and according to the degrees of Sorrow and Revenge, there will be care to preserve our selves from that Sin. [Page 81] The Psalmist saith, Blessed is the Man to whom the Lord imputes no Iniquity, in whose Spirit there is no Guile; implying, that one reserved Lust which is a certain Argument of Deceit in the fairest Pro­fessors of Religion, is a Bar against the Pardon of our Sins. The Tenor of the unchangeable Covenant of Grace is, I will write my Laws in their Hearts; and I will be merciful to their Unrighteousness, and their Sins and Iniquities I will remem­ber no more: God promises to reconcile their Affections to his Commands. The Law may be written in the Mind and Memory of an unsanctified Person, for the Ideas of the most repugnant things are consistent in those Faculties; but the Heart is not capable of contrary Objects: the Love of God's Law expels the pre­dominant Love of Sin. Now since the Promise of Pardon is in Conjunction with inward Sanctification, which implies an universal Aversion from Sin, 'tis evi­dent that indulged habitual Lusts are not capable of Pardon: whatever quality the Sin be of, whether of Omission or Com­mission, the allowance makes it destru­ctive to Sinners. As from what Corner soever a blasting Wind comes, whether from the East or the North, it destroys [Page 82] the Fruits. If but one selected Sin re­mains in the Affections and Practice, it contracts the Malignity of all the rest, and will prove deadly to the Soul.

'Tis not a presumptuous reliance on the Merits of Christ will save Men with their Sins.

The Atonement made to Divine Ju­stice by the precious Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, was never designed for the reconciling God to those who with depraved Obstinacy continue in their Sins: 'tis utterly inconsistent with the Divine Wisdom, Holiness, Justice, and Truth, to appoint a Sacrifice for the Ex­piation of final Impenitency: Such out­sin the Death of Christ, I will not say as to its infinite Merit, but as to the Ap­plication and intended Benefit of it. The Value of his Death to abolish the Guilt, and the Vertue of it to mortify the Power of Sin are inseparable. The preci­cious Balm has a fragrant Smell that re­vives the Spirits, but without applying its Substance to the Wound the Scent will not heal it. The Soul must feel the Power of Christ's Sufferings to kill our Sins, otherwise the pleasing belief of his Righteousness will not justify us before God. The Mercy-Seat sprinkled [Page 83] with his Blood affords Protection from the Avenger to all relenting, returning Sinners; but Justice will tear the pre­sumptuous Sinner from the Horns of the Altar.

The most rigorous Penance will not avail without mortifying the Affection to Sin: the most severe Discipline to the Body, is but like a Mountebanck's ap­plying the Salve to the Weapon without dressing the Wound, that cannot work a found Cure.

The dispensing of the Treasure of Merits to penitent Pay-Masters, and giving mercenary Bills of Exchange to receive Righteousness from others, is so wretch­ed and transparent a Fallacy, that were not the Minds of Men prodigiously stu­pified, it is impossible they should believe it will avail them before the Judgment-Seat of God.

Let our Prayers be never so frequent and earnest, they are of no prevalency with God whilst the beloved Sin is re­tain'd. The Condition of our favoura­ble Audience is set down by Solomon in his Divine Prayer at the Dedication of the Temple; What Prayer or Supplication 1 Kings 8. 38. soever be made by any Man, or by all the People of Israel, which shall know every [Page 84] Man the Plague of his own Heart, and spread forth his hand to Heaven; then hear thou in Heaven, and hearing forgive. If they shall be sensible of the Bosom-Sin, of its pestilential Malignity, and with repenting Sorrow acknowledg and forsake it, they are prepared Objects of Mercy. David saith, If I regard Iniqui­ty in my Heart, the Lord will not hear my Prayer. God sees through all the Dis­guises of Hypocrites, and has a bright prospect into the Heart, if any insinu­ating Infirmity be cherish'd there, it will make him averse from our Persons and Requests.

'Tis not the performance of religious and charitable Duties, that will pur­chase Indulgence for a beloved Sin. The most costly Sacrifices, the most liberal Charities, are neither pleasing to God nor profitable to us without an unfeigned renouncing of our Sins. 'Tis a carnal Shift that many use to excuse the Pra­ctice of a chosen Sin, by the doing some good things: many strict Observers of the Rituals of Religion, are dissolute Epicures: as if they might compensate for their voluntary Defects in one Duty by their care in another. But if Con­science be not so far stupified that it can [Page 85] neither hear, nor see, nor speak, 'tis im­possible but the guilty Deceiver must be terrified with the words of St. James, That whosoever shall keep the whole Law, yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all: The most strict Observance of one Precept will not excuse Disobedience to another: the voluntary continued Transgression of any Command involves a Man under the Guilt of breaking the entire Law, the Divine Authority being despised that makes it binding. I will instance in one kind of Sins. Many that have in­creas'd their Estates by Craft and Cir­cumvention,Putant se [...]a­cere quod praeceptum est, dicunt e­nim rapereres alienas Mamo­na est iniqui­tatis: erogare inde aliquid maxime e­gentibus san­ctis hoc est, fa­cere amicos de Mammona Ini­quitatis Intel­lectus iste cor­rigendus est, imo de tabulis cordisdelendus est. Noli ta­lem pingere Deum. Aug. Ser. 25. de Verb. Dom. or by Violence and Ra­pine, will bequeath part to pious uses, presuming by a kind of Composition with God to be discharged of their guil­ty Gains. St. Austin observes that some in his time thought it to be Obedience to the Command of our Saviour, Make your selves Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting Habitations. This is to defile and debase the Name of the Righteous and Holy God, 'tis to make him altogether like to corrupt Men, as if he would be brib'd to patro­nize their Wickedness. And in other cases, thus monstrously Carnal Men [Page 86] bend the Rule of Rectitude to the Ob­liquity of their Desires. They are wil­ling to deceive themselves, and imagine that only Ministers of a preciser strain will terrify them with eternal Judgment for one retained Sin; they desire and are apt to believe such a Mercy, as will bring them to Heaven with their Sins in their Bosoms. But the Apostle warns us, Be not deceived, God is not mocked; as a Man sows, so shall he reap.

There are sure and tender Mercies for the Upright; but strict and certain Justice for the Wicked. Sincerity is so amiable and pleasing in God's Eyes, that he graciously passes by many Infir­mities upon that account. It is said of Asa, that his Heart was perfect all his 2▪ Chron. 15. 17. days, and notwithstanding some gross Faults, God accepted him. But when the Heart is corrupted by the love of some pleasant or profitable Sin, it ren­ders a Person with the most specious Ser­vices odious in God's sight. In short, indulged known Sins that Men habitu­ally commit in hopes of an easie Absolu­tion, are not the Spots of God's Chil­dren. 'Tis so directly contrary to the Divine Nature, to that holy ingenuous Fear of offending our heavenly Father [Page 87] resulting from it, that only the Wicked are capable of such a disposition. Pre­sumptuous Sins are a contumelious abuse of Divine Mercy, and exasperate that high and tender attribute to the confu­sion of Sinners at the last. Do good, O Psal. 125. 4. Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in Heart. As for such as turn aside to their crooked Ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the wor­kers of Iniquity.

2. We may, by Divine Grace, subdue the strongest Lusts, that from our Na­ture and Temper, or from Custom, and the Interests of the Carnal State have rule over us. The New Covenant assures Believers, that Sin shall not have Domi­nion over them, because they are not under the Law but under Grace. The Law strictly forbids Sin, but the Gospel fur­nishes with strength to subdue it. 'Tis true, inherent Corruption has so deve­sted Men of spiritual Strength, that they cannot free themselves from the Power and Infection of Sin: and when any Lust is fomented by Temptations, and has been frequently gratified, 'tis more hard to be subdued.

The Apostle speaks of some, whose Eyes were full of Adultery, that could [Page 88] not cease from Sin: they were in a state of Carnality, and lov'd to be so: When Lust is imperious, and the Will servile, Men cannot wean themselves from the poison'd Breasts. This disability con­sists in the depraved obstinacy of the Will, that aggravates their Sin and Judg­ment. Yet so foolish are Sinners, as to use this Plea to make them excusable for their habitual Lusts: Conscience checks them, and some faint Desires they have to avoid their Sins, but they cannot change their Natures. They colour Li­centiousness with the pretence of Ne­cessity: they complain of their Chains, to let loose the Reins of their exorbitant Desires in a course of Sin. But natural Corruption that involves us under Guilt, cannot make us innocent. 'Tis true, if in our original Condition, the humane Will had been stamp'd by Fate with an unalterable inclination to Sin, we could not have been guilty: for if there be no Principles of Liberty, all the Names of Good and Evil are cancell'd, and all mo­ralNec bonus quis (que) nec ma­lus dici debe­at, nec esse va­leat, nisi vo­lens. Means, Instructions, Persuasions, Threatnings, are but lost labour. In Brutes there are some natural Resem­blances of Vertue and Vice, yet not worthy of Reward or Punishment; on­ly [Page 89] so far as by Imagination they are ca­pable of Instruction and Discipline, and by coming near to Reason, have a little imitation of Liberty, they are rewarded or punished. But Man in the condition wherein he was created, had perfect free­dom, becoming the dignity of the reaso­nable Creature, and was enrich'd with all the Graces of which Original Righ­teousness was compounded: the harmo­nious Orders, and coherent Dispositions of the Soul and Body qualified him for his Duty. But in the state wherein his voluntary Sin has sunk him, the Body is often distemper'd by the annoyance of the Mind, and the Soul pays an unnatu­ral and injurious Tribute to the vicious Appetites of the Body: And when Cor­ruption is heightned by Custom, and the natural Propensity inflam'd by Tempta­tions, any Lust becomes more irresisti­ble: So that without a new Nature in­spir'd from Above, they cannot rescue themselves from the Bondage of Sin.

Now the moral Impotence in Men to vanquish their Lusts, tho it will be no Apology at the Day of Judgment, yet it will discourage them from making resistance: for who will attempt an im­possibility? Despair of Success relaxes [Page 90] the active Powers, cuts the Nerves of our Endeavours, and blunts the edg of Industry. 'Tis related of the West-In­dians, that upon the first incursion of the Spaniards into their Country, they tamely yielded to their Tyranny; for seeing them clad in Armour which their Spears could not pierce, they fancied them to be the Children of the Sun, in­vulnerable and immortal. But an In­dian carrying a Spaniard over a River, resolved to try whether he were mortal, and plung'd him under Water so long till he was drown'd. From that Expe­riment they took courage, and resolv'd to kill their Enemies who were capable of dying, and recover their dear Liberty lost by so foolish a Conceit. Thus Men will languish in a worse Servitude, if they fancy the Lusts of the Flesh, their intimate Enemies to be insuperable. Fear congeals the Spirits, and disables from noble Enterprises, which Hope persuades and Courage executes. Now we have an Army of Conquerors to encourage us in the Spiritual War with the Flesh, the World, and Satan, Enemies in combination against us: How many Saints have pre­serv'd themselves unspotted from the most alluring Temptations? they were not [Page 91] Statues, without sensible Faculties, but ordered them according to the Rule of Life; they were not without a conflict of Carnal Passions, but by the Holy Spi­rit subdued them: and though some ob­tain'd a clearer Victory than others, yet all were victorious by Divine Grace. The Examples of so many Holy and Heavenly Men, prove as clearly and convincingly, that the strongest Lusts may be subdued, as the walking of Dio­genes demonstrated there was progressive motion against the Sophistical Argu­ments of Zeno. I can do all things, saith the Apostle, through Christ that strengthens me. To Omnipotent Grace all things are easy. Our Saviour speaking of the extream difficulty of a Rich Man's Sal­vation; That 'tis as easy for a Camel to go through the Eye of a Needle, as for a Rich Man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, presently mitigates the Diffi­culty; what is impossible to Men, is possi­ble to God. He can sanctify a Rich Man, that his Humility shall be as low, as his Estate is rais'd above others; that his Affection shall be Heavenly in the af­fluence of the World; that trust in God shall be his dearest Treasure. Divine Grace is a sure Fountain of Assistance to [Page 92] all that sincerely seek it. 'Tis the Pro­mise of God, Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with Idols? The Idols that charm'd their Imaginations, should be rejected with deep abhorrence. Our Saviour cur'd the Paralitick Person that for 38 Years had been in a desperate Case, incurable by natural Remedies: an Emblem of the Efficacy of Divine Grace in curing the most inveterate Ha­bits of Sin. There are recorded some eminent Instances of the Power of Grace in changing the Nature of Men. Nicodemus came to our Saviour conceal'd, at first by Night, as being asham'd or afraid of Observation in the Day: But when he was born again by the renova­tion of the Spirit, what an admirable change was wrought in him? with a holy heat of Affection he defended our Saviour when alive, in the presence of the Pharisees, his unrighteous and impla­cable Enemies: he brought costly Prepa­rations for his Funeral when dead: And these two glorious effects of his Valour, are recorded by St. John with this ad­dition, This is that Nicodemus that came John 7. 19. John 19. 39. to Jesus by Night. No Passion is more ungovernable than Fear, yet even the Apostles did not express such fidelity [Page 93] and fervency for the Honour of their Master. Another Instance is of the Jaylor that kept the Apostles Prisoners: he was of a harsh cruel Temper, a qua­lity adherent to his Office; but Grace so intenerated and softned his Heart, that he took them the same hour of the Night, and washed their Stripes▪ Acts 16. 33. A visible and suddain effect of the Spi­rit of Love and Power, and of a sound Mind. 'Tis recorded of many whoAct. 19. 19, 20. used curious Arts, they brought their ma­gical Books, though counted worth fifty thousand pieces of Silver, and burnt them: so mightily grew the Word of God, and prevail'd. How insuperable soever Sin is to naked Nature, it may be subdued by Grace. St. John gives an honoura­ble Testimony of the Christians to whom he wrote: My little Children, ye are of God, and have overcome the evil One: for the Spirit that is in you is grea­ter than that which is in the World. The Holy Spirit is not only greater in him­self than the Tempter, but as fortifying weak Christians is superior to the Evil Spirit, with all his Train of Artillery, the manifold Temptations which the World affords in his War against our Souls. Satan takes advantage, not only [Page 94] from our Security, but our Pusillanimi­ty: we are therefore commanded to re­sist the Devil, and he will flee from us. What is observed of the Crocodile, is applicable to the great Enemy of our Salvation: He is terrible in his AssaultsTerribilis con­tra sugaces haec bestia, fu­gax contra se­quentes. Plin. upon the faint-hearted, but flies from those who are watchful to resist his Temptations.

To excite Christians to make serious and hopeful Trials for the subduing the strongest Corruptions, I will select two Examples of the vertuous Heathens, who restrain'd Anger and Lust, that are the most rebellious Passions against the Empire of the Mind. Socrates by na­tural Temper was Cholerick, yet he had so far reduc'd his Passions under the com­mand of Reason, that upon any violent Provocation, his Countenance was more placid and calm, his Voice more tempe­rate, and his Words more obliging: Thus by wise Counsel and Circumspe­ction, he obtain'd a happy Victory over himself.

The other is of young Scipio, the Ro­man General in Spain, who when a Vir­gin of exquisite Beauty was presented to him among other Captives, religiously abstained from touching her, and re­stor'd [Page 95] her to the Prince to whom she was espous'd. How do such Examples of the poor Pagans, who in the glimmer­ings of Nature exprest such Vertues, upbraid Christians who are Servants to their Corruptions in the Light of Divine Revelation? If by the practice of Phi­losophy they kept themselves from the Dominion of their Carnal Appetites, shall not Christians by a supernatural Aid obtain a clearer Victory over them? In vain do Men pretend want of strength to vanquish their stubborn Lusts; for if they sincerely seek for Divine Grace, and are faithful in the use of Means proper to that End, they shall obtain a blessed freedom from the Power of Sin.

3. The subduing the ruling Lust, will make the Victory over other Sins more easy. Our Commission against Sin, is like that of Saul against the Amalekites, to destroy them all: if any one be spa­red, it will prove as fatal to us as the Amalekite that dispatch'd Saul, who suf­fer'd him to live when the whole Line­age was doom'd to utter Excision. Now amongst the divers Lusts that war a­gainst the Soul, some are the Leaders that give vigour to the rest, that recall them when withdrawn, rally them when [Page 96] scattered; and renew the Fight against us. As the Vertues of the sanctified Mind, so the Passions of the carnal Ap­petite assist one another: therefore when the corrupt Passion that was so dange­rously influential upon the rest, is sub­dued by Divine Grace, they necessarily de­cline, and are easily mortified.

The Temperamental Lust is the Root from whence many others spring and are fed, and the eradicating of that takes away the Strength and Life of other vi­cious Affections. The King of Syria commanded his Captains not to fight a­gainst Small or Great, but only against the King of Israel; and after he was slain, the Victory over his Army was presently obtain'd. Let us direct our Zeal against the leading Lust, for all the servile Lusts must fall and die with it. When Mithridates the King of Pontus, aIn uno Mithri­date infinitos hostes periisse rati. Flor. fierce implacable Enemy of the Romans was kill'd, their Joy was exuberant in Sacrifices and Feasts, esteeming that an Army of Enemies were extinguish'd in his Death.

Besides, one Victory inspires Cou­rage to atchieve another. When David was to encounter with Goliah, he deri­ved Confidence from his Experience▪ [Page 97] The Lord that delivered me out of the Paw 1 Sam. 17. 37. of the Lion, and out of the Paw of the Bear, he will deliver me out of the Hand of this Philistine. The visible Expresses of the Divine Power in conquering the former Enemies of the Church, were the support of their Faith: Awake, awake, O Arm of the Isa. 51. 9▪ Lord, and put on strength; art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the Dra­gon? Pharaoh and the Egyptian Army. In our Spiritual Warfare, experience of the Divine Assistance is a Cordial that forti­fies the Spirits: If the strongest and fiercest of our Corruptions lie bleeding ready to expire, we shall not fear the rest. The same Grace that has subdued the reigning Lust, will make an im­pression of Obedience upon other Affe­ctions that are less powerful in us.

4. Consider how dearly our Sins cost our Saviour, his Sacred Blood, to recon­cile us to God, and to set us free from their Dominion. This is an Argument purely Evangelical, and most worthy the Breast of a Christian. He dearly purchas'd a Title to our Love, and the serious contemplation of his Passion, has an admirable efficacy to inspire the Flame, and consequently to make Sin odious▪ that must be expiated and pur­ged [Page 98] away by such bitter Sufferings. Our Sins brought our Saviour to the Cross, and can we entertain them in our Hearts with the Crimson Guilt that cleaves to them? Can we live in the practice of them, and crucify him afresh? He came to redeem us from all Iniquity, and purify us to himself, a peculiar People zealous of good Works. How can we defeat the End, and disparage the efficacy of his Death? How can we violate such dear Obligations? To cherish any Sin, is the most ungracious and unkind return to his bleeding dying Love, who valued our Souls more than his most precious Life. Were it not visible by daily Ex­perience, that many are so prodigiously wicked, it would raise our wonder how it is possible, that any Christian to whom the Love of the Son of God in dying for our Sins is revealed, should in­dulge himself in any Sin. If we did frequently, and with solemnity and se­riousness remember the Death of our Saviour, and his blessed Intention in it, we should find that change in our Hearts in regard of our Sins, as Amnon did in his Affections to his Sister Tamar: His incestuous Love to her at first was a se­cret Fire that consum'd him; but after [Page 99] he had dishonour'd her, and polluted himself, his Hatred of her was more ex­tream than his Love before: Thus the Sins that have been as near to us as our Bosoms, as pleasant as our corrupt In­clinations, as familiar and intimate as Custom, that have deeply defil'd our Souls, we should with stronger detesta­tion reject them, than ever with de­light we committed them.

5. The blessed Reward of Upright­ness is a powerful Motive to excite us to keep our selves from our Sins. The Fir­mament is not sowed thicker with Stars, than the Scripture with precious Pro­mises to the Upright. They have a pe­culiar Interest in the Love of God that is the Fountain of Felicity: The Prayer Prov. 15. 10. of the Upright is his delight. He is most graciously ready to supply all their Wants, satisfy their Desires, allay their Sorrows, overcome their Fears. The Psal. 84. Lord is a Sun and a Shield: He will give Grace and Glory, and no good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly. A comprehensive Promise of the Bles­sings of Time and Eternity.

The highest Honour is the Reward of subduing our rebellious Lusts. He that Prov. 16. 32. is slow to Anger, is better than the Mighty: [Page 100] and he that ruleth his Spirit, than he that taketh a City. The Quality of the Ene­my makes the Victory more illustrious. Now the rebellious Passions that war a­gainst the Soul, are Enemies infinitely more dangerous than those who destroy the Bodies and Estates of Men. The Conquest of Armies and Cities is atchie­ved by Boldness and Strength, that are not the peculiar Excellencies of Man, for the Horse and the Lion are superior to him in those respects: but the reducing his unruly Affections into Holy Order, is the Effect of Divine Grace, wherein we resemble God. How many of the fa­mous Heroes, in the World's account, were worse than wild Beasts, Enemies to Humanity, that unnaturally and bar­barously spilt the Blood of thousands to purple their usurp'd Royalty? But in subduing the tyrannous Passions of Lust and Anger under the Sovereignty of the renewed Mind, there is the happy union of Innocence and Victory.

There are degrees in the exaltation of the Saints, as the Passions their inward Enemies which they subdued, were more stubborn, and hardly to be overcome. In some there is such a concord of Hu­mours, such a placid mild Temper, that [Page 101] they enjoy a pacifick possession of them­selves: But this is the Benefit of Na­ture,Magis extra vitia quam cum virtuti­bus. Tacit. Lib. 1. de Claudio. not of victorious Grace. Where there is little Resistance, there is no Ho­nour to overcome; where there is no Matter of Triumph, there is no Glory in triumphing. But when in the natu­ral Temper there are Seeds of Incitation to fierce Anger and inordinate Lust, and when those Propensities are inflam'd by Temptations, if we subdue those disor­derly and violent Passions, 'tis the most noble Effect of Divine Grace. On the contrary, the Sinner that yields himself to the sway of the Carnal Appetites, is the Servant of Corruption: is defil'd and1 Pet. 4. debas'd in such a manner, that he is sunk below the Beasts that perish: For what is baser than Corruption, except the Sinner that obeys it?

The Peace and Joy that is the Reward of Victory over our Sins, cannot be un­derstood but by Experience. What a savour of Life is the Death of a reigning Sin? What an Angelical Comfort was it to Joseph and the blessed Mother of Christ, when the Advice was brought from Heaven to them in Egypt; Arise, for they are dead that sought the young Child's Life? What Consola­tion [Page 102] does it afford, when the Holy Spi­rit witnesses with our Spirits, that the Enemy in our Bosoms, that sought the Life of our Souls, is mortified by Repen­tance? The Psalmist tells us, Light is Psal. 97. 11. sown for the Righteous, and Joy for the upright in Heart. The present sense of God's Favour, and the future Hope of Glory, sheds abroad that bright serenity in their Breasts, that is a reflection of Heaven.

In our Extremity, when a good and quiet Conscience will be more valuable than Crowns and Scepters, and solid Comfort more worth than the World, how refreshing will the inward Testi­mony be of our Uprightness? When Hezekiah was under the Sentence of Death, and his Kingdom could afford him no Comfort, this allayed his Sor­rows, Remember, O Lord, that I have Isa. 38. 3. walk'd before thee with an upright Heart. This Testimony of Conscience will calm our Agonies, and expel the Terrors of that last Enemy: this when we are rea­dy to die, will assure us that our Re­deemer lives. The two substantial Joys, (how Divine!) the one from the re­flection upon the past Life, the other from the prospect of Eternal Life, are [Page 103] the blessed Reward of Uprightness. In short, the sum of Felicity is expresly as­sur'd to them: The Upright shall dwell in thy presence, where is fulness of Joy, and Rivers of Pleasure flow for e­ver.

6. Consider the woful Effects of in­dulging the Lusts, that by Pleasure or Profit bribe Men to give consent to their Commission. The naked Light of Rea­son discovers Sin, and makes it uneasy to Conscience: but a strong Light arm'd with Terrors, the Law of God, with the Doom annex'd to the Precept against rebellious Sinners, makes it fearful. The Command is peremptory and uni­versal, with respect to all Temptations and Allurements to Sin, be they as dear and difficult to be parted with, as the right Eye, or right Hand, the most use­ful and precious Instruments of Life, yet they must with abhorrence be cast from us, or the whole Man will be cast in­to Mat. 5. Hell Fire, where the Worm dies not, and the Fire is not quenched. This terri­bleMark 9. Threatning is sadly repeated by our Saviour three times, to make the more powerful impression upon Sinners.

The guilty accusing Conscience be­gins the everlasting Hell here. Our Sa­viour [Page 104] saith, That a Woman when she is in travail, hath sorrow because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered, she remembreth no more the anguish, for joy that a Man is born into the World: But a Sinner, after he hath brought forth his Sin with pleasure, is struck with hor­ror at the monstrous Birth. When Con­science is strongly awaken'd, it arraigns and condemns without partiality: the Sinner is the Executioner of the Sentence upon himself. The Torment of the Spirit is invisible to others, and in that the liker Hell, and unavoidable. 'Tis as the cruel practice of the Tyrant, related by the Poet, who fasten'd a dead Body and a Living together, that the putre­faction and stench of the one, might cause a lingring death in the other: this is a little resemblance of the Effect of the guilty Conscience charg'd with dead Works, and inseparable from the Sinner. All the Pleasures of the World cannot stupify the Sense, or mitigate the Tor­ments of the wounded Spirit.

In the approaches of Death, the Sins Men have indulgently committed, re­turn to the Memory, and the ghastly Apparition strikes them into consterna­tion: the Thoughts are fearfully trans­ferr'd [Page 105] from the sick Body to the guilty Soul, from the consideration of the first Death to the second, that immediately at­tends it. In vain they desire to live, for Time is irrevocably past, and the Season of Mercy expir'd: in vain they desire to die intirely, and put an end to their Mise­ry, for Immortality is the inseparable but fatal Privilege of their Nature. If they look upward, revenging Justice is ready to pass a heavy Doom; if beneath, a fear­ful Depth is ready to swallow them up. Who can express the Agonies and Throws of the guilty Conscience, the dismal Degrees of the tormenting Pas­sions in the Wicked, under the appre­hensions of Eternal Judgment? Yet the most fearful Apprehensions are not com­mensurate to the prepared Plagues by vindictive Justice for impenitent Sin­ners. Who knows the Power of God's Wrath? The chosen Expressions in Scripture to represent it, will be verified in higher degrees, than can be inflict­ed from the most vehement and terri­ble things in the World. Fire is so tor­menting to Sense, that no Man can en­dure the point of the Flame of a Candle upon his Flesh: Who then can dwell with de­vouring Fire, and with everlasting burning?

[Page 106]Besides, the Damned are not only passive, but active in their wretched State: there is a Hell of Rancor and Indignation within, and of Fire and Brimstone without them: What furious Reflections will they make upon their vo­tary Madness, that for the seeming Plea­sures of Sin that were but for a season, they should continue their Rebellion a­gainst the Omnipotent Deity, and bring upon themselves his fierce and unchange­able Displeasure. This infinitely aggra­vates their Misery: after a Million of Years, the intire Sum remains that re­venging Justice will exact for ever. The Righteous Judg will never so far be reconciled as to annihilate them. Per­fection of Misery! Desperate Sorrow! A Life in Torments that never dies, a Death that never ends.

Now it is impossible for Men that have reasonable Minds to choose the Pleasures of Sin, that are like Bubbles on the Water that presently break and va­nish, when attended with Misery that admits no Ease or End? Is there any possible Comparison between them? The serious belief of Hell cannot consist with the knowledg and purpose of Sin, and the delightful Practice of it: Either [Page 107] the belief of it will infuse and impress such efficacious Vertue into Mens Minds that will restrain them from Sin, or the habitual course of Sin will extin­guish or eclipse the belief of the Pu­nishment.

'Tis recorded of Craesus, when pur­sued by the Army of the Persians, he fill'd a straight Passage between the Mountains with Boughs of Trees and set fire to them, and thereby secur'd his Retreat: If Men were so wise as to set the Fire of Hell between the Temp­tations of Sin and their Affections, it would be a sure defence from their Spiri­tual Enemies. But the Scene of Tor­ments prepared for unreform'd Sinners, is little understood and less believed by Men whilst they are in Prosperity: tho the Saviour of the World has in great Mercy revealed them in such Expressi­ons, as may terrify even secure Carnalists, that only live to Sense. Infidelity lies at the bottom, and renders the most terrible Truths ineffectual. There is such a Riddle in the Tempers of Men, they are not sensible of Divine Mercies till deprived of them, nor of Divine Judgments till they feel them. But if right Reason were attended to, they [Page 108] must be convinced of unseen Rewards and Punishment to be dispensed in the next State. For the Light of Nature disco­vers an essential Difference between Mo­ral Good and Evil: From hence proceeds the Reflections of Conscience either ap­proving or condemning our own Acti­ons, and making a Judgment upon the Actions of others by that common Rule, according to which all acknowledg that Men ought to live. This Truth is so engraven in the Humane Nature, that even the most wicked Sinners, who en­deavour if it were possible to make Con­science so blind as not to see, and stupid as not to feel, yet cannot totally exclude the Application of it to themselves, and will acknowledg the Obligation of it in the general, and with respect to others. Now the Law of God written in Mans Heart necessarily infers a Judgment up­on the Transgressors of it, and the Judg­ment includes a Punishment becoming the Majesty of the Lawgiver that or­dains it, and the extent of his Power that executes it. Divine Revelation makes this Truth much more clear and certain. The Apostle tells us, If we live after the Flesh, we shall die: and will God cease to be holy, and just, and true, [Page 109] that impenitent Sinners may escape Pu­nishment?

But there are some poisonous Princi­ples infus'd into the Hearts of Men, that encourage them in their Sins, notwith­standing their Assent to the Doctrine of a future Judgment.

Some cannot perswade themselves, that God will be so strict and severe, that for a single forbidden Pleasure, when they respect other Commands of his Law, he will condemn them for ever. The secret Presumption that one Trans­gression will not provoke their Judg to extream Wrath, hardens them in a sinful course. But St. James declares, He that offends in one Point is guilty of all. One known allowed Sin that a Man ha­bitually commits, involves him in the Guilt of Rebellion against the Divine Authority that made the Law. It was observ'd before, Herod did somethings ac­cording to John's Divine Instructions, but he would not part with Herodias, and that one Sin denominated him wicked. Ma­ny are like him, they observe some Rules of Religion, perform some Duties, are zealous against some Sins, but there is an Herodias, a Sin pleasant to the Taste of their Temper, that they will not re­linquish, [Page 110] and without any Promise, nay against the Threatnings of God, they believe he will be merciful to them notwithstanding their Wickedness. This Presumption is an unnatural abuse of God's Mercy. This exasperates that high and tender Attribute: For what can be more provoking than to imagine that the Divine Mercy should encourage Sin, and protect unceform'd Sinners from the Arrests of Vindictive Justice?

The Blood that Ahab spar'd in Benha­dad induc'd a deadly Guilt, as that he spilt of Naboth; as God spake by the Prophet to him, Because thou hast spared that Man, whom I appointed to Destruction, thy Life shall go for his Life: The Ap­plication is easy, to spare the Life of Sin will cost the Life of the Sinner. One Lust that adhering Custom, or the clo­ser Nature, or any carnal Interest so endears to Men, that they do not sin­cerely desire and endeavour to mortify and forsake, will be fatal to them for ever.

Some habitual Sinners when terrified with the Apprehension of future Judg­ment, (for God sometimes thunders in the Conscience as well as in the Air) endeavour to quiet their Fears by pre­suming [Page 111] that the Death of Christ will reconcile offended Justice, and his Blood cleanse them from all Sin. They will lean upon the Cross to save them from falling into the bottomless Pit, but not crucify one Lust on it. The Vanity of this has been shewed before: I shall only add, that 'tis most opprobrious to the Son of God, and most destructive to Sinners; for 'tis to make him the Minister of Sin, as if he came into the World to compose a Church of rotten and corrupt Mem­bers, and unite it to himself: Such a Mystieal Body would be more monstrous than Nebuthadnezzar's Image, of which the Head was Gold, and Feet were Miry Clay. And this will be most destructive to their Souls; for by turning the remedy of Sin into an occasion of sinning, they derive a woful Guilt from the Death of Christ instead of the precious Benefits purchased by it for true Believers. For an unreformed Sinner to oppose the Blood of Christ to the Fears of Damna­tion, renders his Condition desperate.

The most who continue in a sinful course, strive to elude the Warnings of Conscience, by resolving that after the Season of sinning is past, they will re­form, and apply themselves to seek the [Page 112] Favour and Grace of God. But how hazardous, how incongruous is the de­lay of serious Repentance? How ha­zardous? The Lives of Sinners are for­feited in Law, their time is a Reprieve depending meerly upon the Favour of the Judg, how can they have a Warrant for a day? But they are young, and strong, and think the day of Death and their last Account to be at a great di­stance. Vain Security! as if Death were not in every place; and every hour, as near Rebellious Sinners as their Sins that deserve it: If thou doest Evil, says God to Cain, Sin is at the Door. Damnation is ready to tread upon the Heels of Sin­ners, and if Divine Clemency and Pa­tience did not interpose, would immedi­ately seize upon them. God sometimes shoots from the Clouds, and breaks the strongest Buildings into Ruins: it is not the Error of his Hand, but his Pity, that impenitent Sinners escape his visible Vengeance. But who can assure them of future time?

Besides, suppose that Sinners who hate to be reform'd whilst present Tempta­tions are so inviting, had a Lease of Time, can they command the Grace of God? They now suppress the Motions [Page 113] of the Spirit, and in effect say to him, as Felix to St. Paul, awakening his Con­science with a Sermon of Righteousness, and Temperance, and Judgment to come: Go away for the present, when it is a conve­nient season I will call for thee. But will the holy Spirit assist them at Death who have always resisted him in their Lives? Without his powerful quickning Grace, they will be unrelenting in their guilty polluted State: and can they have any regular hope to obtain Repentance unto Life, when they have so often quench'd his warm Excitations? Delay proceeds from Hardness of Heart, and merits final Desertion from God.

How incongruous is it to expect, that Divine Mercy will accept of a Death­bed Repentance, that is meerly by con­straint of Fear, and a Resolution to live well when they know they can live no longer? To continue in Sin upon this Conceit, that God will easily be reconciled to Sinners at the last; that Confession with the mixt Affections of Sorrow and Fear, for the sensible Effects of Sin in Pains and Sickness, and worse that immediately attend it in the next State, will obtain a total and final acquittance from our Judg, is an ex­tream [Page 114] Dishonour to his ruling Wisdom, his unspotted Holiness, his incorruptible Justice, and inviolable Truth. The Mer­cy of God that will justify all unfeigned­ly repenting believing Sinners for Christ's sake, will justify God in the condemning wilful obstinate Sinners, who render themselves eternally unworthy of it.

To conclude the Motives; if we de­sire the Favour of God that is better than Life, if we fear his Wrath that is worse than Death, if we would obtain Heaven, or escape Hell, let us mortify our respective Sins.

I shall now propound the Means that are requisite for the preserving us from our special Sins. If the following Rules seem harsh and distasteful to the Carnal Mind, it is to be considered, that Me­dicines for the Recovery and Preserva­tion of Health, are not sweet Meats of a pleasant Relish.

1. In order to the keeping our selves pure and upright, we must be inquisi­tive to understand intimately and di­stinctly what are the Sins to which we are most liable: For he that doth not know what he should fear, is careless, and secure, easily disorder'd and van­quish'd by a Temptation. Some Lusts [Page 115] are open and notorious in the gross Com­mission: others lie deep and are of a har­der Disclosure. Ignorance is the strong defence of Sin; it begins in inward Darkness: the Captive is kept securely in the Dungeon. The Understanding directs the Will, the Will commands the Practice: if the Sin be undiscovered, we are not acquainted with our danger, and shall not avoid it. A principal part of our Knowledg is terminated upon our selves: what is the weakest part with respect to our Natures, Minds and Affections: o­therwise not provided of Defence, we shall be overcome without Resistance.

Now by applying the Rules that have been largely insisted on in explicating the Doctrinal Point, we may understand our peculiar Sins. If we consider our Constitution, we may know what Sins are suitable to our Tempers. Our fre­quent Lapses are a sensible Discovery how the weight of Nature inclines us. The reflecting upon the several Ages of Life and our Conditions in the World will be an Indication what Sins indanger our Souls: The Young are strongly dispos'd to Pleasures, the Old to Avarice, the Healthful and Prosperous to Intempe­rance in the use of Worldly Things, [Page 116] the Sick and Afflicted to Impatience, the Rich to Security, the Poor to Envy.

When the special Sin is found strip'd off its flattering Colours, devest it of its alluring Dress, that it may appear in its foul Deformity, and kindle an Aversa­tion in your Breasts against it. The cor­recting vicious Errors begins in the in­lightned Mind, that discovers them, andEt hoc ipsum argumentum est in melius translati ani­mi, quod vitia suaquam ad­huc ignorabat videt. Senec. Epist. 6. our proneness to them. And since we are so apt to disguise our darling Sins, and to be partial to our selves, let us with the Psalmist, pray to the Father of Lights, That he would search us, and try us, and see whether there be any way of Wickedness in us, to discover it to us by the Light of his Word, and cover it with his pardoning Mercy, and lead us in the way everlasting.

2. Diligent Watchfulness and Circum­spection is an effectual Means to keep our selves from the Sins that easily en­compass us. This implies Prudence to discover dangers, and the exercise of the Spiritual Powers to prevent and resist them. Watchfulness is a universal Du­ty of constant Revolution: There are respective Duties that belong to Persons according to their Relations, and several Conditions: there are Duties of stated [Page 117] Times and Seasons: but the Duty of Watchfulness to prevent Sin, extends to all in this frail State, according to our Saviour's Command to his Disciples, What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch: And at all times; for tho we are not al­ways ingaged in actual Fight, we are al­ways in the Field, liable to manifold Temptations, that are ready to surprize us upon careless neglect of our Duty. Ha­bitual Grace if it▪ be not drawn forth into Exercise by constant Watchfulness, cannot fortify us against Sin.

A Saint that is humble and watchful, preserves himself from the Power and Infection of Sin, that another who in degrees of Grace excels him, but relaxes his Watch, is sadly foiled by. Joseph, a young Man, by Vigilance, and avoiding the Temptation, kept himself untain­ted from the impure Sollicitations of his Mistress: David, tho of great Experience in Religion, and of eminent Holiness, yet when he intermitted his Watch, how suddenly was he surpriz'd? From a care­less glance, Curiosity past into Compla­cence, Complacence into Lust, Lust into Adultery, and is an eternal Example to ex­cite our Fear and Caution. If there be not a continued Diligence, the same holy Per­son [Page 118] that with Defiance and Indignation has resisted the Tempter at some times, has been vanquish'd at other times. Lot was Righteous in Sodom, but how foully and wofully he fell in the Mountain?

Now our chief care must be directed to avoid our special Sins. 'Tis a Funda­mental Rule in the Christian Life, that our weakest part is to be guarded with most Jealousy, and fortified with the stron­gest defence: for the most frequent and dangerous Assaults are on the side that is most open to surprize. The subtileEa maxime quis (que) petitur, qua patet. Senec. Tempter addresses his Insinuations in compliance to our Affections: he knew the softness of Adam towards his Wife, and chose her to be the Instrument of persuading him to eat the forbidden Fruit. Every one has a carnal part, that like Eve the Mother of our Miseries, is prevalent to corrupt us, and accordinglyNumb. 31. 16. he suits his Temptations. 'Twas the crafty Counsel of Balaam to Balac, not to encounter the Israelites with armed Souldiers, but with the Allurements of Women, by whom they were corrupted and seduced to Impurity and Idolatry; and thereby provok'd God's Wrath, and were devested of his Protection. When Ulisses was employed to discover Achil­les, [Page 119] who was conceal'd in the Habit of a Virgin amongst the Maids of Honour, he carried a * pack of Toys, and a Lance:Arma ego fe­mineis ani­mum motura virilem merci­bus inservi. Ovid. and whilst the Women were looking up­on the Ribbons, and Lace, and Glasses, Achilles takes up the Lance, that was sui­table to his Martial Spirit, and so was discovered, and drawn to the Trojan War, that prov'd fatal to him. Thus the Tempter is observant of our Inclina­tions: he will interpret a Blush, a Glance, a Smile, a discontented Gesture, any signs of our Affections, and by proper Motives excites the desiring and angry Appetites, and is usually succesful. His Advantage is chiefly from our Security. 'Tis easy to surprize a suspectless Enemy. St. Peter straitly warns us, Be sober, be 1 Pet. 5. 8. vigilant; because your Adversary the De­vil, as a roring Lion, walketh about seek­ing whom he may devour. His Diligence is equal to his Malice. If we are not wise and watchful, we shall fall into his Snares. There is a fearful Instance of it in Adam, who lost the Image and Fa­vour of God in an Hour, that his Poste­rity cannot recover to all Ages; yet there was no Corruption in his Nature, he was furnish'd with sufficient Grace: he might easily have repell'd the Motion [Page 120] to the confusion of the Tempter; but through carelesness he neglected his Duty to the Eternal Law-giver, slighted the double Death, that of the Soul and the Body, that was threatned to deter him from Sin, and Innocence did not pre­serve him from seduction. What Rea­son is there to make us watchful, both against our Spiritual Enemies, and our own drowsiness, lest security steal upon us without observation? for our Hearts are as ready to sin as Satan is to tempt: besides the impression from tempting Objects without us, there is treacherous danger within: Our prime care must be to keep a severe Command over our Minds and Hearts, to prevent the en­trance of Sin. The Carnal Appetite al­lures the Will to consent to the actual Commission▪ by the mediation of the Mind that represents the Pleasures and Profits of Sin. Therefore Conscience must be a vigilant Sentinel to prevent, as far as is possible, the first springing Thoughts, the first risings of the sinful Affections. Sinful Thoughts and Desires are possible Acts, and are more odious to God than the gross Commission is to Men. The pernicious Inspirations of the Tempter are gradual: as one that [Page 121] kindles a Fire with a small Breath, che­rishes the faint Sparks till rais'd into a Flame; so warm Desires are cherish'd by the Thoughts, till they break forth into a wilder Flame. This is the most difficult part of our Duty; we may more easily decline Temptations from without, than keep a constant Guard within. But there is no Multa sunt observanda pugnantibus, si quidem nul­la est negli­gentiae venia, ubi de salute certatur. Veget. excuse for the neglect of this Duty, the Consequence being of no less moment than Salvation. We are commanded to keep the Heart with all diligence, for out of it are the Issues of Life, and of Death also. As the elective Faculty is inclin'd and determin'd, such will be the quality of our Actions, either Holy and Good, or Vicious and Evil, and such will be the Reward in the next State. 'Tis true, it is morally im­possible for even the best Men to be so exact in their Watch, but vain thoughts may suddainly spring into the Mind, and indeliberate motions may rise in the Will, (which should be matter of Sorrow): but we may suppress those beginnings of Sin, and prevent the mo­rose Thoughts, the musings of the Mind upon the Pleasure or Profit, that makes the Temptation so strong as to overcome us. If a Watch be set at the Gates of [Page 122] a Town, to prevent any Commerce with infected Places, tho 'tis not possible to exclude Pestilential Vapours that mix with the Air, and fly imperceptably a­bout, yet the Persons and Goods that come from infected Places may be ex­cluded. A Child of God keeps himself, that the wicked One touches him not; that is, receives no defiling Impressions, by yielding to his Suggestions.

Our next care must be to avoid the outward Temptations, that are apt to excite those Lusts that are most natural to us. The Art of our Spiritual EnemyEripiu [...] om­nes animo sine vulnere vires: Haec sunt ju­cumdi causa­cibus (que) mali. Ovid. is to make use of Objects without, to en­tice the Affections within us. The World affords variety of Temptations, that through the Senses pierce the Heart and wound the Spirit. 'Tis therefore our Duty and Safety, with the strictest Cau­tion, to guard our Senses. The most make no other use of their Senses than the Brutes; it were well they made no worse. The Acts of the Understanding are immanent and invisible, the Affections mix with sensible Objects, and are actua­ted with Heat and Motion from them. For this Reason Holy Men have been so careful to lay a restraint upon the Senses. Job made a Covenant with his Eyes not to [Page 123] look upon a Maid. David prays, Turn away mine Eyes from beholding Vanity. When Solomon had so earnestly press'd the Divine Counsel to keep the Heart with diligence, he annexes most fitly for that end; put away from thee a froward Mouth, and perverse Lips put far from thee: Let thy Eyes look right on, and let thy Eye-lids look strait before thee. Ponder the Path of thy Feet, and let all thy Ways be establish'd: Turn not to the right Hand or the Left; remove thy Foot from Evil. The sum of which Counsel is, that we should so exactly guard our sensi­tive Faculties, so order our Words, our Looks, our Ways, as to preserve our selves from every evil thing. Our great Security is in flying from Temptations. Lot was strictly commanded not to look back on So­dom: His Wife, by casting a lingring Eye towards it, was turned into a Pillar of Salt, to season the World by her Example, to beware of the occasions of Sin.

'Tis extream Folly to enter into Temptation: for as near as the melting of Waxis when 'tis near the Flame, so are the Carnal Affections of being enti­ced, and the Will of consenting when near enflaming Objects. Our sad Expe­rience may instruct us, how prone our Hearts are to yield to inviting Occasions [Page 124] of Sin, and how often we have been foil'd by venturing into the Confines of Temptation. Solomon observes, Surely in vain is the Net spread in sight of any Bird. If the Toils be never so craftilyProv. 1. 17. laid, and the Bait be very enticing, yet a silly Bird has that foresight and caution, that it will not be tempted to run into the Net, but flie from the present Dan­ger. What unaccountable folly is it in Men, tho the Temptations of Sin are never so alluring to the Carnal Appetites, not to make use of the Eye and Wing, to fear and fly from the intanglements of Iniquity.

Besides, we forfeit the Divine Assi­stance, by entertaining the Temptations of Sin. The Promise of preserving Grace is to us whilst we are faithful to God: He will keep us in all our Ways, whilst we are constant in our Duty, o­therwise we cannot depend upon his gra­cious Presence and Assistance. If a Sol­dier be commanded by a General to fight a Duel with an Enemy, he will arm him with Armour of Proof, and secure him from Treachery: but if one from vain-Glory, from Rage or Revenge, against the Command of his Superior shall in­gage in a Duel, he fights with great ha­zard, [Page 125] and if he conquers, is punish'd for his Disobedience. Thus if in the regu­lar Course of our Lives, the Divine Providence so orders Things, that Temp­tations approach us, upon our earnest and constant Prayer, we shall be furnish'd with the Armour of God, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit, the Helmet of Salvation. But if we run into Temp­tations, we provoke him to desert us; and if we are not overcome by them, yet for our transgressing his Holy Com­mand, we are liable to his Displea­sure.

Confirming Grace is a continual ema­nation from the Holy Spirit, without which we shall fall every Hour. 'Tis therefore extreamly hazardous to venture into Temptations: for the corrupt Na­ture that with weight and violence inclines us to sin is within, and super­natural Strength to controul the com­bin'd Efficacy of the Inclination and the Occasion is from Above, which is justly withdrawn when we grieve the Holy Spirit, by conversing with the Tempta­tions of Sin. The Fear of the Lord is clean, effectively, as it induces an Holy Caution and Circumspection to preserve our selves from the defiling captivating [Page 126] Snares of Sin. 'Tis a Petition more ne­cessary than that for our daily Bread; Lead us not into Temptation: Consi­dering our inseparable Frailty, and the Arts of our Spiritual Enemies to take every advantage over us▪ we should with all possible ardency of Affection pray, that we be not expos'd to Temptations, or not vanquish'd by them: but if we rashly expose our selves, our Prayers will be an Indictment against us, and we shall fall under Condemnation.

3. Serious Resolutions, and solemn Ingagements, are of excellent efficacy to bind our deceitful Hearts from yielding to Sin. In the Christian Life a general Resolution is absolutely necessary of be­ing faithful to God, never to have corre­spondence with his Enemies, but always to cleave to our Duty, notwithstanding all the Allurements or Terrors of the World to supplant our Integrity, and sur­prise our Constancy. David tells us, I have sworn and will perform it, that I Psal. 119. 106. will keep thy righteous Judgments. The Divine Law binds us antecedently to our consent, but having taken the Oath of Fidelity to God, there is superinduced a new Obligation to fasten us to his Ser­vice. After this, to revolt from our [Page 127] Duty, is Rebellion heightned with the Guilt of Perfidiousness. Besides, so­lemn Engagements against particular Sins are necessary: Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with Idols? He had been inchanted with the love of Idols, which he renounces with Indig­nation. A practical Decree, a stedfast reso­lution to forsake our Sin, will produce a di­ligent use of Means in order to that End.

In resolving against Sin, we must de­pend upon the present and perpetual Assistance of the Divine Grace, without which our Resolutions will neither be sincere nor effectual. Carnal Men un­der Judgments, do often relent and re­solve against their Sins: from the con­vinced Mind, transient Wishes, and floa­ting Purposes of Reformation arise: but till the Heart be renewed by Divine Grace, the will is incompleat: There are secret and sometimes undiscern'd Af­fections to Sin, that by new Temptati­ons are drawn forth and betray them to Satan. 'Tis a charge against the Hypo­crites in the Prophecy of Hosea, They were like a deceitful Bow, that being ill made, or ill bent, never sent the Arrow directly to the Mark: sometimes after the Carnal Faculties have been sated [Page 128] with the gross fruition, Men renounce their Sins, and promise they will never return more to folly: but those Resoluti­ons are as insufficient to fortify them against the new incursion of tempting Objects, as a Wall of Glass to resist the Battery of Cannon: for there is no per­manent over-ruling Principle in the Heart, that makes the Resolution sted­fast against Sin. But suppose the Reso­lutions be sincere, and proceed from a full bent of the Heart against Sin, yet if Divine Grace do not ratify them, a strong Temptation will break them, as a gust of Wind breaks the Strings of a Cob­web. St. Peter consulting his Af­fection, not his Strength, presumptuously ingag'd to his Master, Though all Men for­sake thee, I will not forsake thee: but in the time of Trial, surpriz'd with so strong a fear, that precluded serious recollection, and distracted his Mind from the deliberare comparing of the evil of Sin with the instant Danger, he most unworthily deny'd his Master, and is a sad Instance how weak and waver­ing the best Men are, without the con­tinual Influences of the Holy Spirit to determine their Wills, and make them with unfainting Courage persevere in their Duty.

[Page 129]There is a vast difference between the sight of a Storm at Sea, and a Ship in violent agitation by the Winds and Waves, and the miserable Passengers with pale affrighted Countenances, ex­pecting present Death, in a lively Picture; and being in a real Ship, in the midst of a real Tempest, and in real danger of being swallowed up by the Ocean. The sight of such a Spectacle without fear, is but painted Courage, as the Object is upon which 'tis exercis'd: if one should presume that his Heart were impenetra­ble to Fear, because he sees the represen­tation of extream Danger without Fear, it were egregious Folly, and would be soon confuted if he were actually in ex­tream danger of perishing in the raging Sea. Thus there is a great difference between Temptations represented in our Thoughts, and when immediately and really before us: and between religious Resolutions when Temptations are at a distance, and when actually incumbent on us. There may be such Resolutions conceiv'd in the Mind in the absence of Temptations, that we may think our selves guarded safely against our Sins; and yet at the first encounter of a strong Temptation, our Resolutions may cool [Page 130] and faint, and our Vows of Obedi­ence may vanish as the morning Dew be­fore the heart of the Sun: There is such a Ievity and featheriness in our Minds, such a mutability and inconstancy in our Hearts. Therefore the Scripture doth so frequently inculcate the Duty of conti­nual Trust in God, to assist us by his Strength to overcome our Spiritual Ene­mies. Divine Grace raises our Thoughts into stedfast Resolutions against Sin, turns our Resolutions into holy Actions, our Actions into permanent Habits. God works in us, to will and to do of his good Pleasure.

4. If upon intermitting our Watch, we fall into the Sin that we are prone to, speedy and deep Repentance is necessary to recover the Favour of God, and to preserve us for the future against it. Sins of Relapse more easily prevail then in the first Temptation; because the ten­derness and reluctancy of Conscience is lessened by the commission of Sin: they are more pernicious to the Soul, for besides the inhancing of Guilt, the un­clean Spirit returns with more imperi­ousness from indignation that he was ex­pell'd. If we have been effectually tempted to Sin, let us presently retract [Page 131] it by Repentance: There will be a su­spension of God's Favour, whilst we continue without a due sense of our Sin; Let not the Sun go down upon God's Wrath, but with Prayers and Tears sue out his pardoning Mercy. The neglect of present Repentance is a step to final Impenitence, that is un­pardonable. Who can tell the degrees of Danger in continuing in Sin a day? How many have been cut off in their early Sins, and lost their Time, and Hopes, and Souls for ever? But that which more specially belongs to the present Matter, is this, by the neglect of speedy Repentance, Sin is more dif­ficultly retracted. By continuance inOmnia vitia penitus insi­dunt, nisi dum surgunt op­pressa sint: vehementius contra invete­rata pugnan­dum est: nam vulnerum sa­nitas facilior est dum à san­guine recentia sunt, ubi cor­rupta in ma­lum necus s [...] verterunt dif­ficilius curan tur. Senec. ad Marc. Sin, the Heart is more unwilling and unable to mortify it. The Habits of the Mind differ from the Habits of the Body: these wear out by continuance, the others are more firm and powerful: they are second Inclinations, and as vio­lent as the first that are deeply set in cor­rupt Nature. The healing a fresh Wound is much more easy than an inve­terate Ulcer: the healing the Soul, and renewing it by Repentance, is much more easy and safe, presently after the wounding it by Sin, then after [Page 132] continuance under the power and infe­ction of Sin.

A deep Heart-breaking Sorrow will prevent relapses into Sin. When Con­science represents our Sin in its killing Circumstances, as committed against the knowledg of the Divine Law, and our Vows of Obedience, against the tender Mercies, and dreadful Justice of God: that for the low and despicable satisfacti­on of the sensual part, we have made our selves unholy and unhappy: from hence the Soul is struck with a Sorrow so pun­gent, that the love of Pleasure is morti­fied, and the sweetest Sin is imbitter'd. The remembrance of that perplexing anguish will heighten the aversation and resolution against Sin: The Soul will fly with horror the occasions of offending God, and recoil at the first glance of that Sin that cost it so dear, and which if en­tertain'd, will renew its Agonies. As one that narrowly escapes from being consum'd by Fire, retains so strong an impression of the Terror, that makes him always circumspect to avoid the like danger. David's broken Bones made him understand what a fearful Sin Adultery was, and cautious ever after. But a slight Confession, a superficial Sorrow, a [Page 133] few sad Thoughts and Tears, are soon forgot: when the Sinner presumes by a slight Repentance to obtain Reconcilia­tion with God, he is ready to answer the next Temptation, and return to Folly.

5. Fervent and constant Prayer for the renewing Grace of God, is indispensa­bly necessary to preserve us from our Sins. 'Tis by the Spirit of Holiness that we mortify the Deeds of the Body: that we put off the old Man, and put on the new. Sanctifying Grace introduces a new Nature, the Prolifick and Pro­ductive Principle of a new Life: it turns the current of the Affections from Sin to Holiness. This is as astonishing as the miraculous motion of the Shadow upon Ahaz Dial, that went ten degrees backward. Unregenerate Morality may lop the Branches, restrain from the gross Acts, but sanctifying Grace strikes at the root of Sin, the inward Affection. There are some Medicines that will stop the fits of the falling-Sickness for a time, but not expelling the Cause, the Disease in­vades Nature again: So moral Counsels, and Politick Respects, may stop the breaking forth of the Lusts of the Flesh, but the inward Affection of Sin remain­ing will make us apt to fall by the Com­mission [Page 134] of it. Sanctifying Grace makes an inward universal Change in the Soul: he that was unclean in his Thoughts and Desires, by the transforming Power of the Spirit, loves Pureness of Heart, delights in it, and has a fixed Hatred a­gainst any thing that defiles: the Soul that cleaves to the Dust, and pursues the acquisition of Earthly Things as his Trea­sure, being refined and elevated by Grace, seeks the things above, with vigorous Enedavours.

In this the Diseases of the Body differ from those of the Mind: the first, not­withstandingPars sanitatis velle sanari fuit. Ita est paucos servi­tus plures Ser­vitutem tene­ant. Senec. Epist. 21. the most earnest desire of Cures, may be incurable: the other when the Desires are sincere of spiritual Heal­ing, are in the happy way of Cure, for vicious Affections are the Diseases of the Soul. This Change of the Affections the Effect of supernatural Grace, is ob­tain'd by fervent Prayer. Our Saviour assures us, that our Heavenly Father will freely and abundantly give the holy Spirit to those who ask it with such ardent Affections, as flow from their feeling sense of the want of his Influences. In humble Prayer we acknowledg our Unworthiness, our Weakness, our abso­lute necessity of Divine Grace to mor­tify [Page 135] our Lusts: in believing Prayer we glorify his Mercy, and his Omniporence, that he is both willing and powerful to make us victorious over our worst Ene­mies. The Prayer of Jehosaphat, when invaded by a vast Army, conspiring the Destruction of his Kingdom, is a Copy to be transcribed by us: O our God, we have no Might against this great Company that comes against us, neither know we 2 Chron. 20. what to do, but our Eyes are upon thee. Thus Satan, the World, and the Flesh, are combin'd in warring against the Soul, and we are utterly unable to resist them, we must therefore address our selves to the God of all Grace, to strengthen our in­ward Man. And since some Lusts have such strong Possession, that like that stubborn sort of Spirits mention'd in the Gospel, they cannot be expell'd but by Fasting and Prayer, we must with the most zealous Devotion, Prayer joyn'd with Fasting, implore Grace to subdue them.

Prayer must be continual: if we inter­mit this recourse to Heaven we shall pre­sently find our selves like Sampson when his Hair was shav'd, weak like other Men. Grace in the Saints is not like Light in the Sun, that springs from it [Page 136] self, but like the Light of a Lamp that is constantly fed with Supplies of Oil, otherwise the weak Light will faint and dye. Inherent Grace is maintain'd by the continual Emanations from the holy Spirit: Nay the Habits of Grace are drawn forth into Act and vigorous Ex­ercise, by supervenient exciting Grace without which they would be ineffective and useless. As there cannot be actual Sight, unless the Light in the Eye be irradiated by Light of the Air: So without special assisting Grace we can­not do any Spiritual Good nor avoid Evil: we shall be foil'd by every Temptation, even the best will leave God, and pro­voke God to leave them. Our Saviour therefore enjoyns his Disciples the double Duty, Watch and pray, lest ye enter into Temptation. David with his severe Re­solutions to be circumspect, joyn'd his fervent Requests to God: I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my Tongue, I will keep my Mouth with a Bridle, Psal. 143. 3. while the wicked is before me. Set a Watch O Lord before my Mouth, and keep the door of my Lips. His special Guidance is ne­cessary to regulate our Tongues, that we neither offend God, nor justly provoke Men.

[Page 137]Lastly: Faith in the Redeemer is a Soveraign effectual Means for the morti­fying Sin. The Son of God incarnate is the Fountain of inherent as well as imputed Righteousness: Grace and Glory are conveyed to us by the Hands of the Mediator. The Supernatual Power to do Good, and vanquish Evil is from him: Of our selves we cannot conceive a good Thought, through Christ strengthening us we can do all things. Spiritual Blessings he purchas'd for us by his Humiliation, and confers in his Exaltation. He gave himself for his Church, that he might sancti­fy Eph. 4. 8. it, and cleanse it by the washing of Water Psal. 68. and the Word. Being risen and ascended, he received of his Father Divine Gifts, and gives Grace unto Men. He gives Repentance, which principally consists in the mortifying Sin: he blesses us in turn­ing Acts 5. us from our Iniquities.

The Mortification of Sin is peculiar­ly attributed to his Death. 1. With re­spect to its meritorious Causality, that reconcil'd God to us, and obtain'd of him the sanctifying Spirit that is the Seal of his Love, to communicate the Divine Nature to us, by which we escape the Corruption that is in the World through Lust. The Redemption of a Captive [Page 138] may illustrate the Redemption of Sin­ners: for as in restoring a Captive to Li­berty, there must be the payment of the Ransom, and the breaking of his Chains, so in redeeming a Sinner there was the price laid down, the unvaluable Blood of the Son of God, to procure our spiritual Freedom: for the ignominious and cruel Bondage under Satan, was the penal Effect of the first Transgression: and the invisible Chains, the Darkness of Mind, the Hardness of Heart, the Re­bellion of Will, the Disorder of Affecti­ons, and all the vicious Habits that kept him in the Bondage of Satan, are to be broken and removed. For this reason 'tis said, God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful Flesh, and for Sin condemning Sin in the Flesh: that is, Christ dying as a Sa­crifice for Sin, reconciled God, and the Fruit of that Reconciliation, is the break­ing the Tyrannous Empire of Sin under which we were involv'd, that we may enjoy the Liberty of the Sons of God. Sin brought our Saviour to the Cross, and he brought Sin to the Cross: when he dy'd naturally, Sin dyed legally, that is, was condemn'd to lose its Power in the Hearts and Lives of Believers. The excellent Ends of our Saviour's Death [Page 139] are express'd by the Apostle; He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all Iniquity, abolish the guilt of Sin, and purify unto himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works. 2. By way of Representation. As Christ died for Sin, we must die to Sin: He expiated the guilt of all Sin for penitent Believers; and a universal crucifixion of Sin is the imitation of his Death. The Apostle insists on this as a Truth of the clearest Evidence to Christians, Know ye not that so many as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his Death? Therefore we are buried with him in Bap­tism; that as Christ was raised up from the Dead, by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of Life. For if we have been planted toge­ther in the likeness of his Death, we shall be also in the likeness of his Resurrection. Knowing this, that our Old Man is cruci­fied with him, that the Body of Sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve Sin. The sum of which Reason­ing is, that our crucifying the corrupt Nature, with all its various Affections and Lusts, is a lively resemblance of the Death of Christ, which was design'd both to be operative in us of the Death [Page 140] of Sin, and to be significative of it. From whence it follows, 'tis the indi­spensable Duty of all Christians to tran­scribe the Copy of his Death in their Hearts and Lives. 3. The Death of Christ mortifies Sin by moral Influence, as 'tis an Expression of God's transcen­dent Love to us, and his Righteous and Holy severity against Sin; both which are such powerful Motives to destroy Sin, that whoever does not feel their Efficacy, is dead as the Grave, without the least vital Spark of grateful Love to Christ.

Now the unfeigned belief of the me­ritorious and efficacious Sufferings of Christ, is the means by which the Value of his Death is applied, and the Vertue of it derived to us for the killing of our Sins. 'Tis by Faith we are united to him as our Head, the Fountain of Spiritual Sense and Active Power. He dwells in our Hearts by Faith, and by the eminent Operations of his Spirit, strengthens the inner Man. Faith excites us to mortify the inhabiting Corruption, by arguing from the Love of Christ in dying for us: He left Heaven for us, shall not we leave Earth for him? He denied his natural innocent Wills to submit to the [Page 141] Death of the Cross for our Salvation; Shall not we deny our depraved rebelli­ous Wills for his Glory? And unless de­sperate Sinners, who are fallen as low as Hell, who can resist such melting Per­swasions? The Apostle speaks with the most feeling Expressions; The Love of Christ constrains us; has an absolute invin­cible Empire over us, because we thus judg, that if one died for all, then were all dead, that henceforth we should live to him who died for us. And 'tis the noble and sen­sible Effect of quickning Grace to mor­tify Sin. Faith as it obliges, so it encou­rages to subdue our Sins, by reflecting upon the End of Christ's Death, which shall certainly be accomplish'd. St. Paul in his conflict with an uncessant Enemy, was fortified by an Assurance from God, My Grace is sufficient for thee: The Temptation was not presently removed, but strength conveyed by which he was superior to it. Our special Sins so easily encompass us, that considering our im­minent danger, we may fear the Issue of the Fight; but the believing remem­brance of our Saviour's Death, inspires new Life and Heat into us, knowing that he hath not died in vain. Faith raises the drooping Spirit, by reflecting [Page 142] upon the compassionate willingness of Christ to relieve and strengthen us in the Holy War. When he was upon Earth, he prayed his Father to keep us from the Evil of the World. This was the Copy of his continual Intercession for us in Heaven; from whence we are infallibly assur'd, that he is most tenderly inclin'd to assist us, and preserve us from the ma­lignant influence of the World. For these Reasons, Faith in Christ has a cleansing Vertue, a victorious Efficacy attributed to it: Faith purifies the Heart, and overcomes the World. A sincere Be­liever that makes use of the Divine Or­dinances, Prayer, hearing the Word, the confirming Sacrament, and other holy Means for the subduing his Cor­ruptions, shall certainly obtain a final Victory, and the reward of it a trium­phant Felicity.


Some▪ Divinity Books printed for, and fold by Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

MR. Pool's Annotations on the whole Bible, in which the whole Sacred Text is inserted; in two Volumes, in Folio. Useful for Families and Closets.

Dr. Thomas Goodwin's Works: In two Volumes, in Folio. Viz. on the Ephesians, Revelations, The Kowledg of God the Father, Election, &c.

—His Treatise of the Punishment of Sin in Hell: In 8o.

Dr. Thomas Manton's Works; In two Volumes, in Folio. Viz. On the 25th Chapter of St. Matthew. The 17th of St. John. On the 6th and 8th Chapters of the Epistle to the Romans. On the 5th Chapter of the 2d to the Corin­thians: And on the 11th to the Hebrews. With a Treatise of the Life of Faith, and Self-Denial. With several other Sermons.

—His Treatise on the Lord's Prayer: In 8o.

Dr. Bates's Works. Viz. The Harmony of the Divine Attributes, in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of our Redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ. Or Discourses, wherein is shewed how the Wisdom, Mercy, Justice, Ho­liness, Power, and Truth of God are glorified in that Great and Blessed Work.

—His three Sermons, at the Funerals of Dr. Jacomb, Mr. Clarkson, and Mr. Ashurst.

Mr. Pearse's Preparation for Death.

—His Best Match: Or, the Soul's Espousal to Christ.

—Last Legacy: Or Beam of Divine Glory, &c. 12o.

Catechism made Practical. The Christian Instructed.

I. In the Principles of the Christian Religion; Positive­ly, in the Shorter Catechism.

II. In what he is to Refuse, and what to Hold Fast in the Greatest Points of Controversy; and how to Confute Errors, and to Defend the Truth.

III. In the practice of several Duties. Viz. 1. The Pra­ctical Improvement of the Holy Trinity. 2. Baptism. 3. Prayer. And, 4. Preparation for the Lord's Sup­per. 12o.

[Page]An Explanation of the Assembly's shorter Catechism. Price 6d.

Mr. Case's Treatise of Afflictions.

The Epitome of the Bible in English Verse, useful for Children; price 6 d. Bound.

A Present for Children. Being a Brief, but faithful Ac­count of many Remarkable and Excellent Things uttered by three young Children, to the wonder of all that heard them. To which is added, A Seasonable Exhortation to Parents for the Education of their Children. Published by William Bidbanck, M. A. Price 6. d. Bound.

The Sacred Diary: Or, Select Meditations for every Part of the Day, and the Employments thereof. By Wil­liam Gearing, Rector of Christ-Church in Surry.

The Barren Fig-tree: Or, The Doom and Downfal of the Fruitless Professor. By John Bunyan.

A new System of the Apocalyps; or plain and methodi­cal Illustrations of all the Visions in the Revelation of St. John. Written by a French Minister, in the Year 1685, and finished but two days before the Dragoons plundred him of all except this Treatise.

Murmurers Reproved: In a Sermon lately preached by Mr. Hopkins.

England's Call to Thankfulness for Her great Deliverance from Popery and Arbitrary Power, by the glorious Con­duct of the Prince of Orange, (now King of England) in the Year 1688. In a Sermon preach'd in the Parish Church of Almer in Dorsetshire, Feb. 14. 1689. By John Olliffe.

The Easiness and Difficulty of the Christian Religion. In a Sermon preached before the Lord-Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of London, at their Guild­hall Chappel, on Sunday May 26. 1689. By Isaac Bring­hurst, D. D. Rector of Toddinton in Bedfordshire.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.