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the prevalency of the body, they are unable to act; and Jive conformable to their reason. Their under/landing has indeed light, but not authority: it consents to the law of God, but it has no power, no force to make it be obeyed: it produces indeed some good inclinations, purposes, and efforts; but they prove weak and ineffectual ones, and unable to grapple with the stronger passion raised by the body. And as bondage, so liberty is of different degrees, and differentstrength. For though liberty may be able to subfist, where there is mudi opposttion from the body; yet 'tis plain that liberty is most absolute and compleat, where the oppofition is least, where the body is reduced to an entire submission and obsequiousness, and thespirit reigns with an uncontrouled and unlimited authority. And this latter is that liberty which I would have my perfect man poUessed of. I know very well 'tis commonly taught by some, that there is no such state: But, I think, this dotJrine, if it be throughly considered, has neither scripture, reason, nor experience to >
support it. For as to thole places, Rom. vii. and Gal. v. urged in favour of an almost incessant, strong, and too frequently prevalent lusting of the stesto against the spirit; it has been often answered, and proved too, that they are so far from belonging to the perfeff, that they belong not to P 3 the the regenerate. But, on the contrary, those texts that represent the yoke of Christ easy, and his burthen light; which affirm the commandments of Christ not to be grievous to such as are made perfect in love; do all bear witness to that liberty which I contend for. Nor does reason savour my opinion less than scripture. For if the perfect man be a new creature; if he be transformed into a new nature; if his body be dead to fin, and his spirit live to righteousness; in one word, if the world be as much crucified to him, as he to it; I cannot fee why it should not be easy for him to act consonant to his nature; why he should not with pleasure and readiness follow that spirit, and obey those affections, which reign and rule in him. Nor can I see why a habit of righteousness should not have the same properties with other habits; that is, be attended with ease and pleasure in its operations and actions. 'Tis true, lean easily fee why the habits of righteousness are acquired with more difficulty than those of any other kind: but, I say, I cannot see, when they are acquired, why they should not be as natural and delightful to us as any other. Lastly, How degenerate soever ages past have been, or the present is, I dare not so far distrust the goodness of my cause, or the virtue of mankind, as not to refer myself willingly, in this, po*nt>
to the decision of experience. I am verywell assured, that truth and justice, devotion and charity, honour and integrity, are to a great many so dear and delightful, so natural, so easy, that it is hard to determine, whether they are more strongly moved by a fense of duty, or the instigations of love and inclination; and that they cannot do a base thing without the utmost mortification and violence to their nature. Nor is all this to be wondered at, if we again reflect on what I just now intimated, that the perfect man is a new creature, transformed daily from glory to glory: that he is moved by new affections, raised and fortified by new principles: that he is animated by a divine energy, and fees all things by a truer and brighter light; through which the things of God appear lovely and beautiful, the things of the world deformed and worthless ; just as to him who views them through a microscope, the works of God appear exact and elegant; but those of man, coarse, and bungling, and ugly. My opinion then, which asserts the absolute liberty of the perfect man, is sufficiently proved here, and in chapter the first. And if I thought it were not, I could easily reinforce it with fresh recruits. For the glorious characters that are given us in scripture, of the liberty of the children of God, and the blessed fruit of it, peace
p 4 and and joy in the Holy Ghost, would easily furnish me with invincible arguments: nor would the contrary opinion ever have been able to have kept the field so long as it has done, had it not been favoured by a weak and decayed piety; by the fondnest'es of men for themselves, in spight of their fins and frailties; and by many mistaken texts.
But that this matter may, if possible, be freed from all objections, i. I here diflinguiss h between inordinate and natural affeclions. By inordinate affections, I mean the tendencies of the foul towards that which is unlawful: by natural, its propension to the body with which it is investted; the desire of its health and ease, and the conveniencies and necejfaries of life for this end. Now when religion enjoyns repugnances to the former appetites, the obedience of the perfecl man has no reluctancy in it: but when it enjoyns things, as sometimes occasionally it does, which thwart and cross the latter; here the obedience even of Christ himself could not be exempt from consist; for our natural appetites, in this sense of them, will never be put off till our bodies be. I think this is so clear, it needs not be illustrated by instances: or else 'twere easy to shew, that tho' good men have practised temperance, chastity, charity, and other vuv
tues of this kind with ease and pleasure too •; yet has nature shrunk and startled at persecution and martyrdom: tho' even here too the courage and resolution of some hath appeared to be. much above what human nature ever seemed capable of. 2. I do not in the least suppose that nature is so changed, but that the inclinations to sinful pleasure, or profit, or any other forbidden object, will soon revive again, even in the perfect man, unless he keep a watch and guard upon himself, and pa/s the time of his sojourning here in scar. Not to be subject to disorderly desires, not to be liable to irregular motions, is the privilege of souls when stripped of a mortal body, or cloathed with an immortal one. Till then, the conjunction of sejh and blood will ever render the poor soul obnoxious to carnal and •worldly appetites: and the natural appetites of the body do so easily pass those bounds that divide them fromfinsul ones, that the best of men can never be secure, but when the mind is taken up in contemplation, devotion, good works, or engaged in the prosecution of some just and honest destgn, or amused by some innocent recreation: for in these cases the body is either made the instrument os righteousness; or at leastwise, 'tis innocently busted and diverted from those objecls, to which it |ias too impetuous a tendency. I have