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Diligence, and redeem the Time, becauseSerm. their Days have been evil; considering X. that the Day is far spent, and the Night is at Hand when no Man can work. But as for those who have entered upon an holy and religious Life, let them go on to perfeet Holiness in the Fear of God, forgetting those Things which are behind, and prefsing forward to those which are before ; let them endeavour to grow in Grace, and to increase in every Virtue, and God will not fail to work with them, and to bless their pious Endeavours with Success, that fo their Labour may not be in vain in the Lord.
Of Sobriety and Vigilance.
1 Pet. v. 8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your Ad
versary the Devil, as a roaring Lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
SERM. T N these Words, two Duties are com
XI. manded us, to be sober and vigilant ; w
and the Reason is added, because your A Adversary the Devil walketh about, like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may devour.
In my following Discourse, I shall in-
II. What Obligations lie upon us to Serm,
perform the Duties enjoined in them. XI. III. What are the chief Letts and Hin
derances which keep us from performing
these Duties. IV. What blessed Effects the Practising • of them would have upon our Lives
I. I shall inquire into the Meaning and Extent of these Words, Be fober, be vigilant. Now, .
1. By being sober, is chiefly and principally meant such a moderate Use of Meats and Drinks, as will support and refresh Nature, and render us more able to serve God, and to do our Duty in those several Callings and Stations, in which God has placed us. This is Sobriety, in the strict Sense of the Word; but this is not all, for Sobriety implies much more ; and to be sober, in the utmost Extent of the Word, denotes the Management of all our Passions and Affections, by the Rules of right Reason; the Mortifying all inordinate Lusts and Desires, and the absolute Government of all the Appetites of our Soul: For a Man may be drunk with Anger, or Pride, or Ambition, or Envy, or Uncharitableness, as much as with R 2 .
Serm. Wine, and may be betrayed by these utiXI. governable Paffions, into the same foolish
and ridiculous Actions, as another Person is, by being guilty of Intemperance in the Use of intoxicating Liquors. * A passionate, proud, or malicious Person may be as litile capable of governing his Words and Actions, and living up to the Rules of right Reason, as he is, who is transported by the Fumes of Drink.
And this I the rather remark, because there seem to be few who acknowledge any other Kind of Intemperance, but what consists in the Excess of eating and driiiking; or can hardly be brought to confess, that a Man who is overborne with Passion, blown up with Pride, elated with Ambition, or cankered with Envy and Malice, is guilty of the Breach of this Duty of Sobriety, and exposes himself to the same fatal Consequences.
For, when these inordinate Affections and corrupt Inclinations have got the Dominion over a Man, they ferment the Blood and vitiate the Passions; they clap a false Biass upon his Words and Actions, and, whether he will or no, hurry him frequently into Sin and Folly; they lead him captive whither they please, and, in Effect, make him their Servant and Bondslave; and therefore, in Scripture, such
Men, Men as are given up to their unruly Pal-SerM. sions and Affections, are faid to be fold XI. to do Wickedness, and to be in Bondage unto Sin; and when they return to God, and lead an holy and religious Life, they are said to be set at Liberty. From whence it appears, that, when the Apostle commands us to be fober, it is, as if he had said, Keep your Bodies and Souls in such an equal and even Temper, that your Adversary the Devil may take no Advantage either from your Intemperance in Meats and Drinks, or from the Disorder of your Affections, ie Irregularity of your Pasfions, to seduce you into Sin; but that whenever he comes, and sets upon you by his Allurements and Temptations, he may find you upon your Guard, ready to resist him.
2. Next the Apostle adds, Be vigilant, Be not puffed up and secure, when you have got the Better of your Adversary, and withstood his first Assaults, and resisted the Temptations of the Devil, and escaped those Snares which he laid for you; be not filled with Pride and Vain-glory, and a Pharisaical Conceit of your own Righteousness, because you think you have behaved yourself better than others have done ; but set a continual Watch over yourself, be constantly upon your Guard, at all Times,