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Library of Old English Divines,
UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF
WILLIAM G. T. SHEDD, D.D.,
PROFESSOR IN UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK.
SERMONS OF ROBERT SOUTH.
ROBERT SOUTH, D.D.,
PREBENDARY OF WESTMINSTER, AND CANON OF CHRIST CHURCH, oxford.
IN FIVE VOLUMES.
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON.
459 BROOME STREET.
THE CHIEF HEADS OF THE SERMONS.
THE DOCTRINE OF MERIT STATED, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF MAN'S MERIT
It is an impossible thing for man to merit of God, 6. And although,
I. Men are naturally prone to persuade themselves they can merit, 7, because, 1. They naturally place too high a value upon themselves, and performances, 7.
2. They measure their apprehensions of God by what they observe of worldly princes, 9, yet,
II. Such a persuasion is false and absurd, 10, because the conditions required in merit are wanting; namely,
1. That the action be not due, 10. But man lies under an indispensable obligation of duty to God by the law of nature, as God's creature, 11, and servant, 12, and by God's positive law, 14.
2. That the action may add to the state of the person of whom it is to merit, 14. But God is a perfect being, wanting no supply, 15, and man is an inconsiderable creature, beholden for every thing to every part of the creation, 16.
3. That the action and reward may be of an equal value, 17, which cannot be in the best of our religious performances, 18, notwithstanding the popish distinction between merit of condignity and congruity, 18.
4. That the action be done by the man's sole power, without the help of him of whom he is to merit, 20. But God worketh in us not only to do, but also to will, 20. And,
III. This persuasion hath been the foundation of great corruptions in religion, 22, namely, Pelagianism, 22, and popery, 24.
But though we are not able to merit, yet,
IV. This ought not to discourage our obedience, 25. Since,
1. A beggar may ask an alms, which he cannot claim as his due, 25.
2. God's immutable veracity and promise will oblige him to reward our sincere obedience, 25.