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SERMONS

PREACHED UPON

SEVERAL OCCASIONS

BY

ROBERT SOUTH, D. D.

PREBENDARY OF WESTMINSTER, AND CANON OF

CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD.

A NEW EDITION, IN FIVE VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

OXFORD,

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

MDCCCXLII.

CH

Bayerische Staatsoibliothek Mw München

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THE

CHIEF HEADS OF THE SERMONS.

VOL. II.

SERMON XXII.

PREVENTION OF SIN AN UNVALUABLE MERCY.

1 SAMUEL xxv. 32, 33. And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which

sent thee this day to meet me : and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand. P. 1. This is David's retractation of his

revenge resolved

upon an insolent wealthy rustic, who had most unthankfully rejected his request with railing at his person

and

messengers, 1. From which we may, I. Observe the greatness of sin-preventing mercy, 3. Which appears, 1. From the deplorable condition of the sinner, before that mercy prevents him, 3. 2. From the cause of that mercy, which is God's free grace, 7. 3. From the danger of sin unprevented, which will then be certainly committed; and in such deliberate commission, there is a greater probability that it will not, than that it will be pardoned, 8. because every commission hardens the soul in that sin, and disposes the soul to proceed further, and it is not in the sinner's power to repent, 8. 4. From the advantages of the prevention of sin above those of the pardon of it, 10. which are the clearness of a man's condition, 10. and the satisfaction of his mind, 12.

II. Make several useful applications, 13. As, 1. To learn how vastly greater the pleasure is upon the forbearance, than in the com. mission of sin, 13. 2. To find out the disposition of one's heart by this sure criterion, with what ecstasy he receives a spiritual blessing,

SOUTH, VOL. II.

а

14. 3. To be content, and thankfully to acquiesce in any condition, and under the severest passages of Providence, 15. with relation to health, 16. reputation, 16. and wealth, 17.

SERMONS XXIII, XXIV.

OF THE NATURE AND MEASURES OF CONSCIENCE.

I John iii. 21.

:

a

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confidence toward God.

Pp. 19. 43. It is of great moment and difficulty to be rationally satisfied about the estate of one's soul, 19 : in which weighty concern we ought not to rely upon such uncertain rules, 20. as these : 1. The general esteem of the world, 20. 2. The judgment of any casuist, 21. 3. The absolution of any priest, 23. 4. The external profession even of a true religion, 24.

But a man's own heart and conscience, above all other things, is able to give him confidence towards God, 27. In order to which we must know,

I. How the heart or conscience ought to be informed, 27. viz. by right reason and scripture, 28. and endeavouring to employ the utmost of our ability to get the clearest knowledge of our duty; and thus to come to that confidence, which, though it amounts not to an infallible demonstration, yet is a rational, well-grounded hope, 29.

II. By what means we may get our heart thus informed, 31. viz. 1. By a careful attention to the dictates of reason and natural morality, 31. 2. By a tender regard to every pious motion of God's Spirit, 33. 3. By a study of the revealed word of God, 34. 4. By keeping a frequent and impartial account with our conscience, 37.

With this caution, lest either, on the one side, every doubting may overthrow our confidence, 39. or, on the other, a bare silence of conscience raise it too much, 40.

III. Whence the testimony of conscience is so authentic, 44. viz. 1. Because it is commissioned to this office by God himself, 45. And there is examined the absurdity and impertinence, 47. the impudence and impiety of false pretences of conscience, 52 ; such particularly as those of schismatical dissenters, 48, 54. who oppose

the solemn usages of our church ; the necessity of which is founded upon sound reason, 51. 2. Because it is quicksighted, 56. tender and sensible, 57. exactly and severely impartial, 59.

IV. 'Some particular instances, wherein this confidence suggested by conscience exerts itself, 60. viz. I. In our addresses to God by prayer, 61.

2. At the time of some notable sharp trial, 62. as poverty, 63. calumny and disgrace, 64. 3. Above all others at the time of death, 64.

SERMON XXV.

THE DOCTRINE OF MERIT STATED, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF MAN'S

MERITING OF GOD.

JOB xxii. 2.

Can a man be profitable to God? P. 71. It is an impossible thing for man to merit of God, 71. And although,

I. Men are naturally prone to persuade themselves they can merit, 73. because,

1. They naturally place too high a value upon themselves and performances, 74.

2. They measure their apprehensions of God by what they observe of worldly princes, 75. yet,

II. Such a persuasion is false and absurd, 76. because the conditions required in merit are wanting ; viz.

1. That the action be not due, 77. But man lies under an indispensable obligation of duty to God by the law of nature, as God's creature, 78. and servant, 78. and by God's positive law, 80.

2. That the action may add to the state of the person of whom it is to merit, 81. But God is a perfect being, wanting no supply, 81. and man is an inconsiderable creature, beholden for every thing to every part of the creation, 82.

3. That the action and reward may be of an equal value, 84. which cannot be in the best of our religious performances, 84. notwithstanding the popish distinction between merit of condignity and congruity, 85.

4. That the action be done by the man's sole power, without the help of him of whom he is to merit, 87. But God worketh in us not only to do, but also to will, 81. And,

III. This persuasion hath been the foundation of great corruptions in religion, 89. viz. Pelagianism, 90. and popery, 90.

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