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and labour against. Nor was St. Austin so little acquainted with the sower of the gospel, and of the spirit, as not to be well enough assured that man might be habitually good, and that such were influenced and acted by a firm faith, and a fervent love, and well-grounded hope. The dis. pute between them then, concerning Perfection, did not consist in this, whether men might be habitually good? This was in reality acknowledged on both sides: nor, whether the best men were subject to defects? For this too both sides could not but be sensible of: but in these two things especially; First, What was to be attributed to grace, what to nature? and this relates not to the definition or essence of Perfection, but to the source and origin of it. Secondly, Whether those irregular motions, defects, and errors, to which the best men were subject, were to be accounted fins, or not? neither the one side nor the other then, as far as I can discern, did in truth mistake the nature of human Perfection: each placed it in habitual righteousness; the one contended for no more, nor did the other contend for less, in the perfecl man. And when the one asserted him free from fin, he did not assert him free from defects: And while the other would not allow the best man to be - without fin, they did not by fin understand stand any thing 'else, but such disorders, oppositions to, or deviations from the law of God, as the Pelagian himself must needs own to be in the perfect man. The dispute then was not, what man might or might not attain to? for both sides agreed him capable of the fame habitual righteousness; both sides allowed him subject to the fame frailties: but one side would have these frailties accountedJins, and the other would not.

Numerous indeed have been the controversies between the popish and reformed thurches, about precept and counsel, mortal and venial sin, the possibility of fulfilling the law of God, the merit of good works, -and such like. But after all, if we enquire 'what that height of virtue is to which the -best of men may arrive; what those frailties and infirmities are, to which they are subject; 'twere, I think, easy to shew, that the wile and good are on all hands -agreed about this. Nor does it much con-cern my present purpose, in what sense, or ori what account Papists think some sins venial, and Protefianfs deny them to be ib; since neither the one nor the other exempt the perfect man from infirmities, nor assert any other height of Perfection, than what consists in a consummate and well-established habit of virtue. Some men may, and do talk very extravagantly; Ca but

but it is very hard to imagine that sober and pious men should run in with them. Such, when they talk of fulfilling the law of God, and keeping his commandments, must surely understand .this of the law of God in a gracious and equitable fense: And this is no more than what thescripture .asserts of every sincere Christian. When they talk of I know not what transcendent Perfection in monkery, they must surely mean nothing more, than that poverty, chastity, and obedience, are heroick instances of faith and love, of poverty of spirit, and purity of heart; and that an Afcetick discipline is the most compendious and effectual way to a consummate habit of righteousness. Finally, By the distinction of precept and counsel, such can never intend surely more than this, that we are obliged to some things under pain of damnation; to others, by the hopes of greater degrees of glory: tor 'tis not easy for me to comprehend, that any man, whose judgment is not enilaved to the dictates of his party, should deny either of these two truths, i. That whatever is neither forbidden nor commanded by any law of God, is indifferent. 2. That no man can do more than love the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his „fbul, and with all his might, and his neighbour as himself. I say, there is no degree or instance of obedience, that

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is not compriz'd within the latitude and perfection of these words. But whatever some of the Church of Rome, or it may be the greater part of it may think; this, 'tis plain, was the fense of the ancients. St. Austin (a) could never understand any {a) s>u,emerit or excellence in those things that s8j**J "■" were matter of counsel, not precept, unless /ej/ptcia. they flowed from, and had regard to theli canfilia love of God and our neighbour. And TMTM£r' Cajfiari's (fr) excellent Monks resolved all>»', cum the value of such things to consist in their "/",""""' tendency to promote apostolical purity and jum Deum, charity. And Gregory Nazianzen (c )&/".«thought it very extravagant, to pretend to *"iw£' be perfeSler than the rule, and exaSler than Aug.Ench. the law. %Ttr*.

The Quakers have made much noise and )„je <•« stir about the doctrine of Perfection, and iu>hm vfhave reflected very severely on others, as }£!,'/J;dsfubverting the great design of our redemp- mm, w tion (which is deliverance from sin) and y^^ upholding the kingdom of darkness: but obstmata with -what justice, will easily appear when fin&fiI have represented their Jense, which I 2^'' will do very impartially, and in as few pufiuant, C? andMedi?/"' (J) A Key and piain words as I can. Mr. W. P. {d opening, tejjs USj <ffjaf fjjey are f0 far infallible and perfect, as they are led by the Spirit. This. is indeed true, but 'tis mere trifling: for this is an infallibility and perfection which no man denies, who believes in the Holy Ghost; since whoever follows his guidance must be in the right, unless the Holy/ Ghost himself be in the wrong. He urges, 'tis true, a great number of scrips hires to shew (they are his own words). that a state of Perse 51 ion from fin (thd* not in fulness of wisdom and glory) is attainable in this life; but this is too dark and short a hint to infer the sense of his par\f) Princi- ty from it. Mr. Ed. Burroughs ( e ) i§ Truths more full: We believe (faith he) that the saints upon earth may receive forgiveness of fins, and may be perfectly freed from the body of fin and death, and in Christ may be perfect and without fin, and may have victory over all temptations, by faith in Jesus Christ. And we believe every saint, that is called of God, ought to press after Perfection, and to overcome the devil and all his temptations upon earth :and we believe, they that faithfully wait /- for it, shall obtain it, and shall be presented without fin in the image of the father and stick walk not after the stesh, but after the Spirit, and are in covenant with God, find their fins are blotted out, and remembered

tji, ut pitta nuptias, agticulturam, dim it las, solitudinis rtmotionem, &C. Gillian. Colla. Patr. Talem igitur definiiionem supra Jejunii, &c. Nee in ip/i> spei nojiræ terminum defigamus, fed ut per iffum ad furitJtem cerdts & apoftolicam charitatem pervenire poffimus; ibid.

(0 Mfiil rS tins voni/j-iny;, fmil fpuTffrtgac T~ Æa-rof, n:\l\ T* H0Lviv& tv$vTif&, f*«J5<f hi otic tyuKiTtf®: Greg. Naiian.

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