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now, I think, sufficiently y?#ta/ the notion of true liberty; and, I hope, sufficiently guarded it: and have nothing to do but to proceed to thefruits of it; which will serve for so many motives or inducements to its attainment.

§. 2. Of the fruits of liberty.

These may be reduced under four beads.

i. Sin being a great evil, deliverance from it is great happiness.

2. A second fruit of this liberty is good .works.

3. It gives us a near relation to God.

4. The great and last fruit of it is eternal life. 1

'These are all comprised by the apostle in Rom. vi. 21, 22, 23. What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from fin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of fin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. And these are the great ends which the gospel, that perfeSl law of liberty, aims atj and for which it was preached to the

world;

world; as appears from those words of our Lord to St. Paul, Actsxxvi. 17, 18. Unto .whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of fins, and inheritance among them which are JanSlified by faith that is in me. I will here insist on these blessed effects of Christian liberty; not only be-* cause the design of the chapter demands it, but also to prevent the being obliged to any tedious repetition of them hereafter, under every distinct branch of Christian liberty.

§. i. Sin is a great evil; and therefore deliverance from the dominion of it is a great good. To make this evident, we need but reflect a little on the nature and effeBs of fin. If we inquire into the nature of fin, we shall find that it is founded in the subverfion of the dignity, and defacing the beauty of human nature: and that it consists in the darkness of our understanding, the depravity of our affections, and the feebleness and impotence of the will. The understanding of a finner is incapable of discerning the certainty and force of divine truths, the loveliness of virtue, the unspeakable pleasure which now flows from the great and precious promises of the gospel, and the incomparably

bly greater which will one clay flow from the accomplishment and fruition of them. His affections, which is fixed and bent on virtue, had been incentives, as they were designed by God, to noble and worthy actions, being byasted and perverted, do now hurry him on to lewd and wicked ones. And by these the mind, if at any time it chance to be awakened and rendered sensible of its happiness and duty, is overpowered and oppressed. If this were not the true state of a finner; if thestrength of fin did not thus consist in the disorder and impotence of all the faculties of the foul, whence is it that thefinner acts as he doesf^ Is it not evident that his understanding is infatuated, when he lives as if he were merely, wholly, body? As if he had no soul, or none but one resulting from, and distblved with, its temperament and contexture? One designed to no higher purpose, than to contrive, minister to, and partake in its sensualities? Is it not evident that be has little expectation of another world, who lays up his treasures only in this ; and lives as if he were born only to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof? 'Tis true, all finners are not equally stupid or obdurate: but even in those in whom some sparks of understanding and conscience remain unextinguisshed, how are the weak desires of virtue baffled and

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over-powered by the much stronger pas{ions which they have for the body and the world? Do they not find themselves reduced to that wretched state of bondage, wherein the good that they would do, that they do not; but the evil that they would not do, that is present with them? 'Tis plain then that fin is a disease in our nature: that it not only extinguishes the grace of the Spirit, and obliterates the image of God stamped on the foul in its creation; but also scatters and diffuses I know not what venom and infection thorough it, that makes it eagerly pursue its own misery. 'Tis a disease that produces more intolerable effects in the soul, than any whatever can in the body. The predominancy of any noxious humour can breed no pain, no disturbance, equal to that of a predominant passion: no stars or ruins which the worst disease leaves behind it, are half so deformed and loathsome as those of vice: nay, that last change, which death it self produces, when it converts a beautiful body into dust and rottenness, is not half so contemptible or hateful as that of fin; when it transforms man into a beast or devil. If we do not yet sufficiently comprehend the nature of Jin, by viewing it as it exists in our minds and hearts, we may contemplate it in our actions. And here, 'tis blindness and folly, rashness' and

madness, madness, incogitance, levity, falshood, and cowardise; 'tis every thing that is mean and base: and all this aggravated by the molt accursed ingratitude that human nature is capable of. These and the like reflections on the nature of Jin, cannot chuse but render it hateful. And if,

Secondly, We make any serious ones on the effects of it, they cannot fail of rendering its rightful 3.11a dreadful to us. These effects may be especially reduced to three: i. The ill influences has upon our temporal concerns. 2. Guilt. And, 3. Fear. As to the first of these, I shall only say, 'that we suffer very few evils but what are owing to our own fins: that it is very rarely any calamity befals us, but we may put our finger on the fountain, the fin, I mean, from whence the mischief flows. Whence comes wars and fightings among/I you. iaith St. James, come they notfrom your lusts., which war in your members? This is every jot as applicable to private as publick contentions: and 'where envy, strife, and contention is, no evil work, no disaster will be long absent. I might run through all the different kinds of evils that infest the body, or embroil the fortune; that blast our hopes, or stain our defires: and easily {hew, that they all generally spring from

our

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