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the godly out of temptation, draw a rational argument to venture upon a temptation if he
For firft, upon a principle of common gratitude or humanity, will or can any one make mercy itself a motive to fin? and the greatest kindness a provocation to the fouleft hoftilities? Will a fon kick against his father's bowels, only because he knows that they yearn over him? And if this be monftrous and incredible, can we believe that a principle of grace can suggest or endure fuch reafonings, as common humanity would abhor?
Or, in the next place, will a principle of common prudence fuffer a man under a capital guilt, to offend, grieve, and affront his advocate? Shall I fpit in the face of him who is to plead for my life, and I am a dead man if he does not? And if common fenfe will and must explode fuch practices, can a principle of grace, which enlightens the understanding, as well as purifies the heart, carry a man to that which common fenfe would fecure him from? All these are paradoxes in reafon and nature, and therefore infinitely more fo in religion.
Well, but admit, that the enormous strength of a man's corruption should so far overbear all those discourses both of reafon and religion, as to make him fin, and then prefume upon mercy
in spight of them. Why, then it will follow ̧ that fuch an one has no reason in the earth to reckon himself in the number of the godly and regenerate; to whom alone, an intereft in those two great benefits does belong: and confequently, that he prefumes without any ground. In which cafe, it is not this, or any other gofpeldoctrine, but the man's own ignorance and misapplication of that to himself, which he has no claim to, which causes his prefumption.
And therefore, fhew me that man, whó can make fuch curfed inferences from those two high privileges; and I will undertake to demonftrate to him, that thofe inferences and conclufions, are much more effectual arguments to evince, that he has no interest at all in that mercy, and that interceffion, than they can be to prove that that mercy, and that interceffion will be employed, or concerned to deliver him out of temptation.
For a principle of true grace; nay, even a probable perfuafion; nay further, a full affurance of that grace, would keep any one from arguing at fuch a villanous rate. For as much as no man ever attains to fuch an assurance, but by a long course of piety, and an habitual ftrict communion with God, and fuch an eminent, controuling degree of grace, as shall render it morally impoffible for a person
fo qualified, to make fuch horrid conclufions.
But the truth is, error, and a wicked mind will draw poifon out of any thing, and turn the choiceft benefits, and the richest cordials of the gofpel into gall and hemlock. But for all that, God is not mocked, though men love to be deceived. Nor are the means of falvation at all the lefs fo, because fome abuse them to their deftruction. I am fure we have all cause to pray, that God would keep us from fo dangerous a delufion, in fo great a concern.
To whom be rendred and afcribed, as is most
due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and for evermore. Amen.
Deliverance from Temptation, why to be reputed a great Mercy.