Imágenes de páginas

creature, 2 Cor. v. 17. the Divine Nature* 2 Pet. i. 4. Does it consequently rule and govern man? Hear how St. Paul expresses this power of the habit of holiness in himself, Gal. ii. 20. I am crucified with Chrifl; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Chrifl liveth in me; and the life •which I now live in thejlesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. This is a constant effect of habits, and is equally discernible in those of vice and virtue, that' they 'sway and govern the man they possess; Rom. vi. 16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield your selves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of Jin unto death, or of obedi( ence unto righteousness t

Shall I go on to a more distinct and particular consideration of the properties of an habit? The first is, a great averfion for those things which are contrary to it, or obstruct us in the exercise of it. And this is directly the disposition of the perfect man towards temptations and fins\ he is now ashamed of those things- which before he gloried in; he is filled with an holy indignation against those things, which before he took pleasure in; and:what before he courted with fondness and passion,, he now shuns with fear .and vigilance:' In brief, the scripture describes such an one as possessed with an utter hatred and abhorrence rence of every evil way, and as an irreconcileable enemy to every thing that is an enemy to his virtue and his God. Thus Plal. cxix. 163. I hate andabhor lying, but thy law do I love; and verse 128. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way. And this is a genuine and natural effect of integrity or uprightness of heart; whence 'tis the observation of our Saviour, Matt. vL 24. No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. And indeed every-where a hatred, a perfect hatred of evil, is accounted as a necessary consequence of the love of God; Pfal. xxxvii. 10. Te that love the Lord, hate evil: and therefore the Psalmist resolves to practise himself what he prescribes to others; Psal. ci. 2, 3. I will behave my self wisely in a perfeB way: O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfeB heart: I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn astde, it shall not cleave to me. And how can this be otherwise? the love of God must necessarily imply an abhorrence of evil; and that habit, which confirms and increases the one, must confirm and increase the other too.

2. The next property of an habit is, that the aBions which flow from it are (if we meet not with violent opposition ) j>erformed with ease and pleasure: what is natural, is pleasant and eafy, and habit is a second nature. When the love of virtue, and the hatred of vice, have once rooted themselves in the foul, what can be more natural than to follow after the one, and sliun the other? since this is no more than embracing and enjoying what we love, and turning our backs on what we detest. This therefore is one constant character of Perfection in scripture: delight and pleasure are evcry-wherc laid to accompany the practice of virtue, when it is once grown up to strength and maturity: The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace, Prov. iii. 17. Perfect love casteth out fear, 1 Job. iv, 18, And to him that loves, the commandments of God are not grievous, 1 Job. v. 3. Hence it is, that the good man's delight is in the law of the Lord, and that he meditates therein day and night, Psal. i. 2. Nor does he delight less in action than meditation, but grows in grace as raucb as knowledge; and abounds daily more and more in good works, as he increases in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Consonant to this property of Perfection it is, that in Psalm xix, and cxix, and elsewhere frequently, , we hear the Psalmist expressing a kind of inconceivable joy and transport iff the meditation and practice of the commands of God. So the first Christian*, who spept their lives in devotion, faith, and charity, are {aid, ASls ii. 46. to have eafen their meat with gladness and fingleness of heart, And 'tis a delightful description we have of the apostles, 2 Cor vi. jo. At sorrowful^ yet away rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possess ng all things

3. Vigour and a&ivity, or much earnestness and application of mind, is a third property of an habit. 'Tis impossible not to he intent upon those things for which we have even an habitual passion, if this exprejfion may be allow'd me; an inclination, which has gathered strength and authority from custan?, will exert itself with some warmth and briskness. Now certainly there is nothing more frequently required of, or attributed to the perfect man inscripture, than zeal and fervency of spirit in the ways of God; and no wonder; for when actions flow at once from principles and custom; when they spring from love, and are attended by pleasure, and are incited and quickened by faith and hope too; how can it be, but that we

should, repeat them with some eagerness, and feel an holy impatience as often as we are hindered or disappointed? and as the watpre of th? thing sjhews, that thus it

x ', . ought ought to be, so are there innumerable instances in the Old Testament and the New, which make it evident that thus it was. Shall I mention the example of our Lord, who -went about doing good. Acts x. 38? shall I propose the labours and travels of St. Paul? these patterns it may be will be judged by some too bright and dazling a light for us to look on, or at least too perfect for us to copy after; and yet St. John tells us, that he, who says he abides in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked, 1 John ii. 6. And we are exhorted to be followers of the apostles, as they were of Christ. But if the fervency of Christ and St. Paul seemed to have soared out of the reach of our imitation, we have inferior instances enough, to prove the zeal and fruitfulnefs of habitual goodness. Thus David&ys of himself, Psal. cxlx. 10. With my whole heart have Isought thee. And sostah, 2 Kings xxiii. 25. is said to have turned to the Lord with all his soul, and with all his might. How fervent was Anna, who departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day, Luke ii. 37 ? How charitable Tabitha, who was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did, Acts ix. 36? where shall I place Cornelius? with what words shall I set out his virtues? with what but those of the Holy Ghost, Acts x. 2. He was a devout


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