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landing port of our spiritual enemy; here he finds us ready and disposed to receive him ; our hearts are open, and our affections bid him welcome.

It were heartily to be wished that we were as careful to defeat his attempts, as we are not ignorant of his devices. But it goes against us to kill and crucify our beloved just, which courts us with such bewitching tenders of satisfaction. To cut off the right hand, and pluck out the right eye (in a literal sense) is not a greater violence to nature. But, dear as our favourite sin is, I must proceed in the

Second place, To shew the extreme danger of indulging this our beloved lust.

Virtue has ever been esteemed a steady, con'stant, 'and uniform principle. Therefore, St. James tells us, that whosoever shall-offend in one point (i.'e knowingly, wilfully, habitually offend) is guilty of all. Could a man, indeed, carry his obedience so far as to sin but in one point, (which is the 'case supposed by St. James) yet so long as he harbours one darling bosom vice, in hopes that the Lord will pardon him in this thing, 'all his righteousness that he hath done 'shall not be mentioned ; but in the trespass that he haih trespassed, and in the sin thut lie hath *sinned, in them shall he die.

'Till our duty comes in competition with some valuable interest, or prevailing passion, we cannot take the measure of it. But where or interest or pleasure stand in competition with our duty, how is every the most base and wretched thing preferred before Christ? Hov.

often do we determine, as the Jews did heretofore, not this man but Barabbas? Such was the policy of the Gadarenes, who, for fear of losing their swine, besought Jesus that he would depart out of their coasts.

Is the sin (preferred before Christ) dear and useful as the right hand ? Why, it is no extraordinary thing, when the right hand is likely to corrupt the whole body, to cut it off and cast it from us, that we may preserve the maimed trunk, and die a little later. And is, this severity not to be borne in order to save the soul, and secure it from the danger of infernal punishment? This is certain, to enjoy the present satisfaction of sin, and yet to escape damnation, are two things utterly inconsistent, and according to the word of God, impossible. .

St. Paul has enumerated the several sins which exclude from the kingdom of God. Be not deceived, says he, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor coretous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God, It is not necessary, it seems, in order to the attainment of damnation, that we add to our intemperance, uncleanness; to uncleanness, idolatory; to idolatory, extortion; to extortion, envy, and the like ; and so to complete the body of sin in all its parts: one belored lust will supply the want of all the rest; and as surely bring to the same end, as :{ a multitude of other sins were called in to its assistance. . So one

mortal stab will effectually kill the body, without mangling every limb. I would not be understood here to mean accidental failings or surprize, or even some deliberate and wilful acts of sin. But this I say, every beloved lust heartily espoused, indulged, and continued in, will defeat all our hopes of entering into the kingdom of heaven.

The gospel covenant has treasures of mercy for those who have not obeyed the law in the strictness of unerring obedience. Evangelical righteousness shall be accepted where the legal is not to be had; but then we must take care to make honest and punctual payment of the evangelical.

Seeing, then, the best of men are surrounded with infirmities, whicli they can no more part with than they can shake off their flesh, can it be maiter of wonder to any Christian, if he find himself not only tempted to evil, but incessantly urged and stimulated to the commission of it? Or need lie, as not knowing the cause of his inward struggle between inclination and duty, enquire with St. Paul how it comes to pass that he sees a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin? This is a case far from being new or uncommon. The utmost man can pretend to, is not to fall totally and finally. But to get above temptations, out of the reach of the allurements of sense is, (as I said just now) beyond the measure of flesh and blood. What then, shall we lay down in sloth, complaining of our weakness, but use no

endeavours of recovery? Or, shall we charge the blame upon God the author of Nature? No, he made uş upright; depravity and corruption are the work of our own hands.

Still, at the worst, our case is not desperate; nor are we sunk into a total degeneracy. Though our inclinations to vice are strong, yet it is our fault if we are enslaved by them.

To swim against the current of impetuous desires, and to turn Nature from its bent, it must be confessed, are no easy undertakings, not to be effected with cold wishes and lazy hands. But a vigorous resolution will do the business. Old sturdy habits will give way to it, much more will it prevail to check our vicious inclinations, and stop their growth into habits.

Let us then search and examine in which of our affections we stand most exposed to temptation; which passions give the most frequent alarm to our virtue; and what is the sin that doth so easily beset us. Here lies our greatest danger; here then let us post our whole strength, and implore the assistance of heaven to protect and defend us. Let us not in the Apostle's phrase) beat the air, but single out our favourite bosom lust, and let us level all our arrows against it. Let us go out, therefore, against Satan, as David did against the Philistine, in the name of the Lord; and let us cut off the head of our spiritual Goliah, and make an offering of it worthy of God. This is a sacrifice resembling, by a faint similitude, that of Abraham when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar. Take notice how highly God was pleased with this noble act of faith and obedience. Now I know, says he, that thou fearest God; and, by myself have I sworn, that because thou hast done this thing, in blessing I will bless thee. A declaration which we may be bold, in some measure, to extend to all who, at the command of God, are ready to give up what is most dear and precious to them, and so .shall entitle themselves to the character of Abraham's children, who is the father of the faithful.

But, alas ! how few copies are to be found of this fair original! Every darling lust is dearer to us than Isaac was to his father Abra. ham, and we strive not to conquer the evil affections of our nature.

Let us weigh the danger against the enjoys ment.

If the sin be pleasant, yet it is not so to be in hell. Is it profitable? But will it countervail the loss of heaven ? Shall we accept of such base momentary satisfactions in exchange for our inimortal souls? Far be it from us to be deluded into so foolish a choice! , If, therefore, we are in earnest, and indeed resolved to mortify and kill our beloved lust, let us pinch and starve it by degrees; add no fuel to the flame, but cut off all occasions that may give advantage to the sin which doth already but too easily beset us. Let us be frequent and assiduous in the exercise of that grace which is most opposite to our darling lust; and so, by degrees, nourish a virtuous habit, in order to root out and supplant its

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