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happiness, that the soul§is always in the senses, and the fenses are always upon the world; we converse with the world, we talk of the world, we think of the world, we project for the world; and what can this produce, but a carnal and worldly frame of spirit? We must meditate heavenly things; we must have our conversation in heaven; we must accustom our selves to inward and heavenly pleasures, if we will have heavenly minds: we must let no day pass, wherein we must not withdraw our selves from the body, and sequester our selves from the world, that we may converse with God and our own souls. This will soon enable us to disdain the low and beggarly satisfactions of the outward man, and make us long to be set free from the weight of this corruptible body, to breathe in purer air, and take our fill of refined and spiritual pleasure. I have insisted thus long on the cure of original fin, not only because it is the root of all our misery, but also because there is such an affinity between this and the sin of infirmity, which I am next to speak to, that the same remedies may be prescribed to both ; so that I am already eased of a part of the labour, which I must otherwise have undergone in the following chapter.
I am now by the laws of my own method obliged to consider the effeBs of this U 3 branch
branch of Christian Liberty in the perfeB man, and to shew what influence it has upon his happiness. But having,y£#. i. ch. 4. discoursed at large of the subserviency of Perfection to our happiness; and injefi. 2. chap. 3. of the happy effects of Christiand liberty in general, I have the less need to fay much here on this head: yet I cannot wholly forbear faying something of it. The conquest over original corruption, such as I have described it, raises man to the highest pitch of Perfection that our nature is capable of; makes him approach the nearest, that mortality can, to the life of angels, and plants him on the mount of God, where grace, and joy, and glory, shine always on him with more direct and strong rays. Now is virtue truly lovely, and truly happy; now the assurance of the mind is never interrupted, its joy never overcast ; it enjoys a perpetual calm within, and sparkles with a peculiar lustre that cannot be counterfeited, cannot be equalled. Some faint and partial resemblance, I confess, of this virtue, or rather of this state or. consummation of it, have I, tho' very rarely, seen in some masterly strokes of nature. I have observed in some, that sweetness of temper; in others, that coldmess and absolute command over themselves, with respect to the pleasures; and in several, that innate modesty and humility, that natural tural indifference for the power, honour, and grandeur of life, that I could scarce forbear pronouncing, that they had so far each of them escaped the contagion of original corruption, and could not but bless and love them. But, after all, there is a vast difference between these creatures of nature, and those of grace: the Perfection of the one is confined to this or that particular disposition ; but that of the other is in its degree universal: the Perfection of the one has indeed as much charm in it as pure nature can have; but the other has a mixture of something divine in it; it has an heavenly tincture, which adds something of Jacrednefs and majesty to it, that nature wants: the Perfection of the one is indeed . easy to its self, and amiable to others; but the Perfection of the other is joy and glory within, and commands a veneration as well as love from all it converses with. Blessed state! when shall I attain thy lovely innocence 1 when shall I enter into thy divine rest 1 when shall I arrive at thy security, thy pleasure!
Of liberty, 'With refpecttoJins of infirmity. An enquiry into these three things, I. Whether there be any suchfins, viz. Sins in which the most perfect live a?id die. 2. If there are, what they be; or what distinguishes them from damnable or mortal fins. 3. How far we are to extend the liberty of the perfeSl man in relation to these fins.
THIS is a subjeci, wherein the very being of holiness or virtue, the salvation of man, and the honour of God, are deeply interested: for if we allow of such sins for venial, as really are not so, we destroy the notion, or evacuate the necessity of holiness; endanger the salvation of man, and bring a reflection upon God as a fa. vourer of impiety. On the other hand, if we assert those sins damnable, whicli are not really so, we miserably perplex and disturb the minds of men, and are highly injurious to the goodness of God; representing him as a severe and intolerable master. But how important soever this subject be, there is no other, I think, in the compass of divinity, wherein so many writers have been so unfortunately engaged; so that it is over-grown with dispute and controversy, with confusion and obscurity, and numberless absurdities and contradictions.
ons. This I have thought necessary to observe in the entrance of my discourse, not to insult the performances of others, or to rziCc in the reader any great expectation for my own ; but indeed for a quite contrary reason, namely, to dispose him to a favourable reception of what I here offer towards the rendring the doctrine of fins of infirmity intelligible, and preventing the disservice which mistakes about it do to religion.
By fins of infirmity, both ancients and moderns, papists and protestants, do, I think, understand such sins as are consistent with a state of grace and favour; and from which the best men are never intirely freed in this life, though they be not imputed to them. This then being taken for granted, I shall enquire into these three things.
J. Whether there be any such sins, fms in which the most perfect live and dye.
2. If there are, what these be. What it is that distinguishes them from damnable or mortal ones.
3. How far we are the extend the liberty of the perfect man in relation to these.
1. Whether there be any such. That the best men are not without errors, without defects and failings, and that not only in their past life, or unregenerate state,