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But what then? Is it not as certain from Thus as to the soul. If the will bids the the text, that God sometimes accepts the will, understanding think, study, and consider ; it as it is from those forementioned Scriptures, will accordingly apply itself to thought, study, that God commands the deed ? Yes, no and consideration. If it bids the affections doubt; since it is impossible for the Holy love, rejoice, or be angry; an act of love, joy, Ghost to contradict that in one place of or anger will follow. And then for the body; Scripture, which he had affirmed in another. if the will bids the leg go, it goes; if it bids In all the foregoing places, doing is expressly the hand do this, it does it. So that a man commanded, and no happiness allowed to is a moral agent only as he is endued with, any thing short of it; and yet here God is and acts by, a free and commanding principle said to accept of the will; and can both these of will. stand together without manifest contradic And therefore, when God says, “My son, tion? That which enjoins the deed is certainly give me thy heart,” (which there signifies God's law; and it is also as certain, that the the will,) it is as much as if he had comScripture that allows of the will is neither the manded the service of the whole man; for abrogation, nor derogation, nor dispensation, whatsoever the will commands, the whole nor relaxation of that law.
man must do: the empire or dominion of the In order to the clearing of which, I shall will over all the faculties of soul and body (as lay down these two assertions,
to most of the operations of each of them) (1.) That every law of God commands the being absolutely overruling and despotical. obedience of the whole inan.
From whence it follows, that when the will (2.) That the will is never accepted by has exerted an act of command upon any God, but as it is the obedience of the whole faculty of the soul, or member of the body, it
has, by so doing, done all that the whole man, So that the allowance or acceptance of the as a moral agent, can do, for the actual exerwill, mentioned in the text, takes off nothing cise or employment of such a faculty or memfrom the obligation of those laws, in which ber. And if so, then what is not done in such the deed is so plainly and positively enjoined ; a case, is certainly not in a man's power to but is only an interpretation or declaration of do; and, consequently, is no part of the obethe true sense of those laws, shewing the dience required of him; no man being comequity of them ; which is as really essential to manded or obliged to obey beyond his power. every law, and gives it its obliging force as And therefore, the obedience of the will to much as the justice of it; and, indeed, is not God's commands, is the obedience of the another, or a distinct thing from the justice of whole man, (forasmuch as it includes and it, any more than a particular case is from an infers it,) which was the assertion that we universal rule.
undertook to prove. But you will say, how can the obedience of But
if the prerogative of the the will ever be proved to be the obedience of will be such, that where it commands the the whole map ?
hand to give an alms, the leg to kneel, or to For answer to which, we are first to con go to church, or the tongue to utter a prayer, sider every man as a moral, and consequently all these things will infallibly be done ; supas a rational, agent; and then to cousider, pose we now, a man be bound hand and foot what is the office and influence of the will in by some outward violence, or be laid up with every moral action. Now, the morality of an the gout, or disabled for any of these functions action is founded in the freedom of that prin- by a palsy ; can the will, by its command, ciple, by virtue of which, it is in the agent's make a man in such a condition utter a power, having all things ready and requisite prayer, or kneel, or go to church ? No, it is to the performance of an action, either to manifest it cannot ; but then you are to know perform or not to perform it. And as the also, that neither is vocal prayer, or bodily will is endued with this freedom, so is it also kneeling, or going to church, in such a case, endued with a power to command all the any part of the obedience required of such a other faculties, both of soul and body, to person ; but that act of his will hitherto execute what it has so willed or decreed, and spoken of, that would have put his body upon that without resistance ; so that upon the last all these actions, had there been no impedidictate of the will for the doing of such or ment, is that man's whole obedience; and for such a thing, all the other faculties proceed that very cause that it is so, and for no other, immediately to act according to their respec- it stands here accepted by God. tive offices. By which it is manifest, that in From all which discourse, this must natupoint of action, the will is virtually the rally and directly be inferred, as a certain whole man; as containing in it all that which, truth, and the chief foundation of all that can by virtue of his other faculties, he is able to be said on this subject; namely, that whosodo ; just as the spring of a watch is virtually ever wills the doing of a thing, if the doing of the whole motion of the watch ; forasmuch as it be in his power, he will certainly do it; it imparts a motion to all the wheels of it. and whosoever does not do that thing, which
he has in his power to do, does not really and “ Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor," properly will it. For though the act of the too frequently and fatally verified upon himself. will commanding, and the act of any other | The seventh of the Romans (which has been faculty of the soul or body executing that made the unhappy scene of so much controwhich is so commanded, be physically, and in versy about these inatters) has several passages the precise nature of things, distinct and to this purpose. In a word, to judge what several; yet morally, as they proceed in sub- ought to be done is one thing, and to will the ordination, from one entire, free, moral agent, doing of it is quite another. both in divinity and morality, they pass but No doubt, virtue is a beautiful and a glorious for one and the same action.
thing in the eyes of the most vicious person Now, that from the foregoing particulars breathing; and all that he does or can hate in we may come to understand how far this rule it, is the difficulty of its practice ; for it is of God's accepting the will for the deed holds practice alone that divides the world into good in the sense of the apostle, we must con virtuous and vicious ; but otherwise, as to the sider it in these three things,
theory and speculation of virtue and vice, 1. The original ground and reason of it. honest and dishonest, the generality of man2. The just measure and bounds of it; and, kind are much the same ; for men do not 3. The abuse or misapplication of it. approve of virtue by choice and free election ;
And first for the original ground and reason but it is an homage which nature commands of this rule; it is founded upon that great, all understandings to pay to it, by necessary self-evident, and eternal truth, that the just, determination; and yet, after all, it is but a the wise, and good God neither does nor can faint, inactive thing; for in defiance of the require of man any thing that is impossible, judgment, the will may still remain as peror naturally beyond his power to do; and verse, and as much a stranger to virtue, as it therefore, in the second place, the measure of was before. In fine, there is as much diffethis rule, by which the just extent and bounds rence between the approbatiou of the judgof it are to be determined, must be that power ment, and the actual volitions of the will, with or ability that man naturally has to do, or relation to the same object, as there is between perform the things willed by him. So that a man's viewing a desirable thing with his wheresoever such a power is found, there this eye, and his reaching after it with his hand. rule of God's accepting the will has no place ; (2.) The wishing of a thing is not properly and wheresoever such a power is not found, the willing of it, though too often mistaken there this rule presently becomes in force. by men for such; but it is that which is called And accordingly, in the third and last place, by the schools an imperfect velleity, and the abuse or misapplication of this rule will imports no more than an idle inoperative consist in these two things,
complacency in, and desire of the end, with1. That men do very often take that to be out any consideration of, nay, for the most an act of the will, that really and truly is part, with a direct abhorrence of the means ; not so.
of which nature I account that wish of 2. That they reckon many things impos- Balaam, (Numbers, xxiii. 10,) “Let me dio sible that indeed are not impossible.
the death of the righteous, and let my last end And first, to begin with men's mistakes be like his.” about the will, and the acts of it; I shall note The thing itself appeared desirable to him, these three, by which men are extremely apt and accordingly he could not but like and to impose upon themselves,
desire it ; but then it was after a very irra(1.) As, first, the bare approbation of the tional, absurd way, and contrary to all the worth and goodness of a thing, is not properly methods and principles of a rational agent; the willing of that thing; and yet men do which never wills a thing really and properly, very commonly account it so. But this is but it applies to the means by which it is to properly an act of the understanding or judg- be acquired. But at that very time that ment, a faculty wholly distinct from the Balaam desired to “die the death of the will, and which makes a principal part of righteous,” he was actually following the that which in divinity we call natural con wages of unrighteousness, and so thereby science, and in the strength of which a man engaged in a course quite contrary to what he may approve of things good and excellent, desired ; and consequently such as could not without ever willing or intending the prac- possibly bring him to such an end. Much tice of them. And accordingly, the apostle, like the sot that cried, “ Utinam hoc esset (Rom. ii. 18,) gives us an account of somé laborare," while he lay lazing and lolling who approved of things excellent, and yet upon his couch. practised, and consequently willed, things But every true act of volition imports a clean contrary; since no man can commit
a respect to the end, by and through the means; sin, but he must will it first. Whosoever and wills a thing only in that way in which observes and looks into the workings of his it is to be compassed or effected; which is the own heart, will find that noted sentence, | foundation of that most true aphorism, That
he who wills the end, wills also the means. by the blood or spirits,) he may at length The truth of which is founded in such a neces- plant in his soul all those contrary habits of sary convection of the terms, that I look virtue : and therefore it is certain, that while upon the proposition, not only as true, but as inclination bends the soul one way, a wellconvertible ; and that, as a man cannot truly disposed and resolved will may effectually and properly will the end, but he must also draw it another. A sufficient demonstration, will the means ; so neither can he will the doubtless, that they are two very different means, but he must virtually, and by inter- things; for where there may be a contrariety, pretation at least, will the end. Which is so there is certainly a diversity. A good inclitrue, that in the account of the divine law, a nation is but the first rude draught of virtue
e ; man is reckoned to will even those things but the finishing strokes are from the will ; that naturally are not the object of desire ; which, if well disposed, will by degrees persuch as death itself, (Ezek. xviii. 31,) only fect; if ill disposed, will, by the superinducbecause he wills those ways and courses, that tion of ill habits, quickly deface it. naturally tend to and end in it. And even God never accepts a good inclination, instead our own common law looks upon a man's of a good action, where that action may
be raising arms against, or imprisoning his prince, done; nay, so much the contrary, that if a as an imagining or compassing of his death ; good inclination be not seconded by a good acforasınuch as these actions are the means tion, the want of that action is thereby made directly leading to it, and, for the most part, so much the more criminal and inexcusable. actually concluding in it; and consequently, A man may be naturally well and virtuthat the willing of the one is the willing of ously inclined, and yet never do one good or the other also.
virtuous action all his life. A bowl may lie To will a thing, therefore, is certainly much still for all its bias ; but it is impossible for another thing from what the generality of a man to will virtue and virtuous actions men, especially in their spiritual concerns, heartily, but he must in the same degree offer take it to be. I say, in their spiritual con at the practice of them : forasmuch as the cerns; for in their temporal, it is manifest dictates of the will are (as we have shewn) that they think and judge much otherwise ; despotical, and command the whole man. It and in the things of this world, no man is being a contradiction in morality, for the will allowed or believed to will any thing heartily, to go one way, and the man another. which he does not endeavour after propor And thus as to the first abuse or misapplitionably. A wish is properly a man of desire, cation of the great rule mentioned in the text, sitting, or lying still ; but an act of the will, about God's accepting the will, I have shewn is a man of business vigorously going about three notable mistakes, which men are apt to his work; and certainly there is a great deal entertain concerning the will; and proved of difference between a man's stretching out that neither a bare approbation of, nor a mere liis arms to work, and his stretching thein out wishing, or inactive complacency in, nor, to yawii.
lastly, a natural inclination to, things virtuous (3.) And lastly, a mere inclination to a and good, can pass before God for a man's thing is not properly a willing of that thing; willing of such things; and consequently, if and yet in matters of duty, no doubt, men men upon this account will needs take up frequently reckon it for such. For otherwise, and acquiesce in an airy, ungrounded persuawhy should they so often plead and rest in sion, that they will those things which really the goodness of their hearts, and the honest they do not will, they fall thereby into a gross and well inclined disposition of their minds, and fatal delusion : a delusion that must and when they are justly charged with an actual will shut the door of salvation against them, non-performance of what the law requires of They catch at heaven, but embrace a cloud; them?
they mock God, who will not be mocked ; and But that an inclination to a thing is not a deceive their own souls, which, God knows, willing of that thing, is irrefragably proved may too easily be both deceived and destroyed by this one argument, that a man may act too. virtuously against his inclination, but not 2. Come we now, in the next place, to conagainst his will. He may be inclined to one sider the other way, by which men are prone thing, and yet will another; and, therefore, to abuse and pervert this important rule of inclination and will are not the same.
God's accounting the will for the deed ; and For a man may be naturally inclined to that is, by reckoning many things impossible, pride, lust, anger, and strongly inclined so too, which in truth are not impossible. (forasmuch as these inclinations are founded And this I shall make appear, by shewing in a peculiar crasis and constitution of the blood some of the principal instances of duty, for and spirits,) and yet by a steady, frequent the performance of which men commonly repetition of the contrary acts of humility, plead want of power; and thereupon persuade and chastity, and meekness, carried thereto themselves, that God and the law rest satisfied by his will, (a principle not to be controlled, with their will.
Now these instances are four.
a senseless thing; and Christ would never (1.) In duties of very great and hard labour. have prayed, “ Father, if it be possible, let Labour is confessedly a great part of the curse ; this cup pass from me,” bad the bitterness of and therefore, no wonder if men fly from it; the draught made it impossible to be drunk which they do with so great an aversion, that of. If death and danger are things that really few men know their own strength for want cannot be endured, no man could ever be of trying it : and, upon that account, think obliged to suffer for his conscience, or to die themselves really unable to do many things, for his religion ; it being altogether as absurd, which experience would convince them, they to imagine a man obliged to suffer, as to do have more ability to effect, than they have impossibilities. will to attempt.
But those primitive heroes of the Christian It is idleness that creates impossibilities ; church could not so easily blow off the docand, where men care not to do a thing, they trine of passive obedience, as to make the fear shelter themselves under a persuasion, that it of being passive a discharge from being obecannot be done. The shortest and the surest dient. No, they found martyrdom not only way to prove a work possible, is strenuously possible, but in many cases a duty also ; a to set about it, and no wonder, if that proves duty dressed up indeed with all that was terit possible, that, for the most part, makes it rible and affictive to human nature, yet not so.
all the less a duty for being so.
And such a “Dig,” says the unjust steward, “I cannot." height of Christianity possessed those noble But why? Did either his legs or his arms souls, that every martyr could keep one eyo fail him? No; but day-labour was but a steadily fixed upon his duty, and look death hard and a dry kind of livelihood to a man and danger out of countenance with the other; that could get an estate with two or three nor did they flinch from duty for fear of marstrokes of his pen; and find so great a trea- tyrdom, when one of the most quickening sure as he did, without digging for it.
motives to duty was their desire of it. But such excuses will not pass muster with But to prove the possibility of a thing, God, who will allow no man's humour or there is no argument like to that which looks idleness to be the measure of possible or im- backwards; for what has been done or suffered, possible. And to manifest the wretched may certainly be done or suffered again. And hypocrisy of such pretences, those very things, to prove that men may be martyrs, there which upon the bare obligation of duty are needs no other demonstration, than to shew declined by men as impossible, presently that many have been so. Besides that the become not only possible, but really practi- grace of God has not so far abandoned the cable too, in a case of extreme necessity. Christian world, but that those high primitive As no doubt that forementioned instance of instances of passive fortitude in the case of fraud and laziness, the unjust steward, who duty and danger rivalling one another, have pleaded that he could neither dig nor beg, been exemplified and (as it were) revived by would quickly have been brought both to dig several glorious copies of them in the succeedand to beg too, rather than starve. And if ing ages of the church. so, what reason could such an one produce And (thanks be to God) we need not look before God, why he could not submit to the very far backward for some of them, even same hardships, rather than cheat and lie? amongst ourselves. For when a violent, vicThe former being but destructive of the body, torious faction and rebellion had overrun all, this latter of the soul : and certainly the and made loyalty to the king and conformity highest and dearest concerns of a temporal to the church crimes unpardonable, and of a life are infinitely less valuable than those of guilt not to be expiated, but at the price of an eternal; and consequently ought, without life or estate ; when men were put to swear any demur at all, to be sacrificed to them, away all interest in the next world, to secure whensoever they come in competition with a very poor one in this ; (for they had then them. He who can digest any labour, rather oaths to murder souls, as well as sword and than die, must refuse no labour, rather than pistol for the body ;) nay, when the persecu
tion ran so high, that that execrable monster (2.) The second instance shall be in duties Cromwell made and published that barbarous, of great and apparent danger. Danger (as heathenish, or rather inhuman edict against the world goes) generally absolves from duty; the poor suffering episcopal clergy, That they this being a case in which most men, accord- should neither preach nor pray in public, nor ing to a very ill sense, will needs be a law to baptize, nor marry, nor bury, nor teach school, themselves. And where it is not safe for no, nor so much as live in any gentleman's them to be religious, their religion shall be to house, who in mere charity and compassion be safe. But "Christianity teaches us a very might be inclined to take them in from perdifferent lesson : for if fear of suffering could ishing in the streets ; that is, in other words, take off the necessity of obeying, the doctrine that they must starve and die ex officio, and of the cross would certainly be a very idle and l being turned out of their churches, take posses
sion only of the churchyard, as so many vic But now, had the whole nation morked tims to the remorseless rage of a foul, ill-bred God and their king at this shuffling, hypocrityrant, professing piety without so much as tical rate, what an odious, infamous people common humanity; I say, when rage and must that rebellion have represented the persecution, cruelty and Cromwellism were at English to all posterity? Where had been that diabolical pitch, tyrannizing over every the honour of the reformed religion, that thing that looked like loyalty, conscience, and could not afford a man Christian enough to conformity; so that he, who took not their suffer for his God and his prince? But the engagement, could not take any thing else, old royalists did both, and thereby demonthough it were given him ; being thereby strated to the world, that no danger could debarred from the very common benefit of the make duty impossible. Jaw, in suing for or recovering of his right in And, upon ny conscience, if we may assign any of their courts of justice, (all of them still any
other reason or motive of the late mercies following the motion of the high one ;) yet of God to these poor kingdoms, besides his even then, and under that black and dismal
own proneness to shew mercy, it was for the state of things, there were many thousands sake of the old, suffering cavaliers, and for the who never bowed the knee to Baal-Cromwell, sake of none else whatsoever, that God deBaal-covenant, or Baal-engagement; but with livered us from the two late accursed conspia steady, fixed, unshaken resolution, and in a racies. For they were the brats and offspring glorious imitation of those heroic Christians of two contrary factions, both of them equally in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the mortal and inveterate enemies of our church"; Epistle to the Hebrews, “ endured a great which they have been, and still are, perpefight of afflictions, were made a gazing-stock tually pecking and striking at, with the same by reproaches, took joyfully the spoiling of malice, though with different methods. their goods, had trial of cruel mockings; In a word : the old tried Church of Engmoreover of bonds and imprisonments ; some land royalists were the men, who, in the darktimes were tempted, sometimes were slain est and foulest day of persecution that ever with the sword, wandered about in hunger befell England, never pleaded the will in exand nakedness, being destitute, afflicted, tor cuse of the deed, but proved the integrity and mented.” All which sufferings surely ought loyalty of their wills, both by their deeds and to entitle them to that concluding character their sufferings too. in the next words, “ of whom the world was But, on the contrary, when duty and dannot worthy.” And I wish I could say of ger stand confronting one another, and when England, that it were worthy of those men the law of God says, Obey and assist your
For I look upon the old Church of king; and the faction says, Do if you dare : England royalists (which I take to be only for men, in such a case, to think to divide another name for a man who prefers his con themselves, and to pretend that their will science before his interest) to be the best obeys that law, while all beside their will Christians and the most meritorious subjects in obeys and serves the faction ; what is this but the world; as having passed all those terrible a gross fulsome juggling with their duty, and tests and trials, which conquering, domineer a kind of trimming it between God and the ing malice could put them to, and carried devil ? their credit and their conscience clear and These things I thought fit to remark to you, triumphant through, and above them all, con not out of any intemperate humour of reflectstantly firm and immovable, by all that they ing upon the late times of confusion, (as the felt either from their professed enemies or guilt or spite of some may suggest,) but betheir false friends. And what these men did cause I am satisfied in my heart and conscience, and suffered, others might have done and suf that it is vastly the concern of his majesty, fered too.
and of the peace of his government, both in But they, good men, had another and more church and state, that the youth of the nation artificial sort of conscience, and a way to in- (of which such auditories as this chiefly conterpret off a command, where they found it sist) should be principles and possessed with dangerous or unprofitable to do it.
a full, fixed, and thorough persuasion of the “God knows my heart,” says one, “I love justness and goodness of the blessed old king's the king cordially ;" “ and I wish well to the cause; and of the excellent piety and Chrischurch,” says another," but you see the state tiauity of those principles, upon which the of things is altered ; and we cannot do what loyal part of the nation adhered to him, and we would do. Our will is good, and the king that against the most horrid and inexcusable gracious, and we hope he will accept of this, rebellion that was ever set on foot, and acted and dispense with the rest.”. A goodly pre- upon the stage of the world; of all which, sent, doubtless, as they meant it; and such as whosoever is not persuaded, is a rebel in his they might freely give, and yet part with heart, and deserves not the protection which nothing; and the king, on the other hand, he enjoys. receive, and gain just as much.
And the rather do I think such remarks as