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excusable with a pretence of infirmity: because that sin is certainly noted, and certainly condemned, and therefore returns, not because of the weakness of nature, but the weakness of grace: the principle of this is an evil spirit, an habitual aversation from God, a dominion and empire of sin. And, as no man, for his inclinations and aptness to the sins of the flesh, is to be called carnal, if he corrects his inclinations, and turns them into virtues: so no man can be called spiritual for his good wishes and apt inclinations to goodness, if these inclinations pass not into acts, and these acts into habits and holy customs, and walkings and conversation with God. But as natural concupiscence corrected becomes the matter of virtue, so these good inclinations and condemnings of our sin, if they be ineffective and end in sinful actions, are the perfect signs of a reprobate and unregenerated state.
The sum is this: an animal man, a man under the law, a carnal man (for as to this they are all one), is sold under sin, he is a servant of corruption, he falls frequently into the same sin to which he is tempted, he commends the law, he consents to it that it is good, he does not commend sin, he does some little things against it; but they are weak and imperfect, his lust is stronger, his passions violent and unmortified, his habits vicious, his customs sinful, and he lives in the regions of sin, and dies and enters into its portion. But a spiritual man, a man that is in a state of grace, who is born anew of the Spirit, that is regenerate by the Spirit of Christ, he is led by the Spirit, he lives in the Spirit, he does the works of God cheerfully, habitually, vigorously; and although he sometimes slips, yet it is but seldom, it is in small instances; his life is such, as he cannot pretend to be justified by works and merit, but by mercy and the faith of Jesus Christ; yet he never sins great sins: if he does, he is for that present fallen from God's favour. and though possibly he may recover (and the smaller or seldomer the sin is, the sooner may be his restitution); yet, for the present (I say), he is out of God's favour. But he that remains in the grace of God, sins not by any deliberate, consultive, knowing act : he is incident to such a surprise as may consist with the weakness and judgment of a good man; but whatsoever is, or must be considered, if it cannot pass without considera
tion, it cannot pass without sin, and therefore cannot enter upon him while he remains in that state. For he that is in Christ, in him the body is dead by reason of sin.' And the Gospel did not differ from the law, but that the Gospel gives grace and strength to do whatsoever it commands; which the law did not: and the greatness of the promise of eternal life is such an argument to them that consider it, that it must needs be of force sufficient to persuade a man to use all his faculties and all his strength, that he may obtain it. God exacted all upon this stock; God knew this could do every thing: "Nihil non in hoc præsumpsit Deus," said This will make a satyr chaste, and Silenus to be sober, and Dives to be charitable, and Simon Magus himself to despise reputation, and Saul to turn from a persecutor to an apostle. For since God hath given us reason to choose, and a promise to exchange for our temperance and faith, and charity and justice; for these (I say), happiness, exceeding great happiness, that we shall be kings, that we shall reign with God, with Christ, with all the holy angels for ever, in felicity so great, that we have not now capacities to understand it, our heart is not big enough to think it; there cannot in the world be a greater inducement to engage us, a greater argument to oblige us, to do our duty. God hath not in heaven a bigger argument; it is not possible any thing in the world should be bigger; which because the Spirit of God hath revealed to us, if by this strength of his we walk in his ways, and be ingrafted into his stock, and bring forth his fruits, the fruits of the Spirit,' then 'we are in Christ,' and 'Christ in us,'—then we walk in the Spirit,—and the Spirit dwells in us,'—and our portion shall be there, where 'Christ by the Spirit maketh intercession for us--that is, at the right hand of his Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
THE DESCENDING AND ENTAILED CURSE CUT OFF.
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me :
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.-Exod. xx. 5, 6.
It is not necessary that a commonwealth should give pensions to orators, to dissuade men from running into houses infected with the plague, or to entreat them to be out of love with violent torments, or to create in men evil opinions concerning famine or painful deaths: every man hath a sufficient stock of self-love, upon the strength of which he hath entertained principles strong enough to secure himself against voluntary mischiefs, and from running into states of death and violence. A man would think that this I have now said, were in all cases certainly true; and I would to God it were: for that which is the greatest evil, that which makes all evils, that which turns good into evil, and every natural evil into a greater sorrow, and makes that sorrow lasting and perpetual; that which sharpens the edge of swords, and makes agues to be fevers, and fevers to turn into plagues; that which puts stings into every fly, and uneasiness to every trifling accident, and strings every whip with scorpions,-you know I must needs mean SIN; that evil men suffer patiently, and choose willingly, and run after it greedily, and will not suffer themselves to be divorced from it: and therefore, God hath hired servants to fight against this evil; he hath set angels with fiery swords to drive us from it, he hath employed advocates to plead against it, he hath made laws and decrees against it, he hath dispatched prophets to warn us of it, and hath established an order of men, men of his own family, and who are fed at his own charges,-I mean the whole order of the clergy, whose office is like watchmen, to give an alarm
at every approach of sin, with as much affrightment as if an. enemy were near, or the sea broke in upon the flat country; and all this only to persuade men not to be extremely miserable, for nothing, for vanity, for a trouble, for a disease: for some sins naturally are diseases, and all others are natural nothings, mere privations or imperfections, contrary to goodness, to felicity, to God himself. And yet God hath hedged sin round about with thorns, and sin of itself too brings thorns; and it abuses a man in all his capacities, and it places poison in all those seats and receptions, where he could possibly entertain happiness for if sin pretend to please the sense, it doth first abuse it shamefully, and then humours it it can only feed an imposture; no natural, reasonable, and perfective appetite: and besides its own essential appendages and proprieties, things are so ordered, that a fire is kindled round about us, and every thing within us, above, below us, and on every side of us, is an argument against, and an enemy to sin; and, for its single pretence, that it comes to please one of the senses, one of those faculties which are in us, the same they are in a cow, it hath an evil so communicative, that it doth not only work like poison, to the dissolution of soul and body, but it is a sickness like the plague, it infects all our houses, and corrupts the air and the very breath of heaven: for it moves God first to jealousy, and that takes off his friendship and kindness towards us; and then to anger, and that makes him a resolved enemy; and it brings evil, not only upon ourselves, but upon all our relatives, upon ourselves and our children, even the children of our nephews, ad natos natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis',' to the third and fourth generation. And therefore, if a man should despise the eye or sword of man, if he sins, he is to contest with the jealousy of a provoked God if he doth not regard himself, let him pity his pretty children: if he be angry, and hates all that he sees, and is not solicitous for his children, yet let him pity the generations which are yet unborn; let him not bring a curse upon his whole family, and suffer his name to rot in curses and dishonours; let not his memory remain polluted with an eternal stain. If all this will not deter a man from sin, there is no instrument left for that man's virtue, no hopes of his feliVirg. Æn. 3. 98.
city, no recovery of his sorrows and sicknesses; but he must sink under the strokes of a jealous God into the dishonour of eternal ages, and the groanings of a never-ceasing sorrow.
"God is a jealous God"-That is the first and great stroke he strikes against sin; he speaks after the manner of men; and, in so speaking, we know that he is jealous,—is suspicious, he is inquisitive, he is implacable. 1. God is pleased to represent himself a person very suspicious,' both in respect of persons and things. For our persons we give him cause enough for we are sinners from our mother's womb: we make solemn vows, and break them instantly; we cry for pardon, and still renew the sin; we desire God to try us once more, and we provoke him ten times farther; we use the means of grace to cure us, and we turn them into vices and opportunities of sin; we curse our sins, and yet long for them extremely; we renounce them publicly, and yet send for them in private, and shew them kindness; we leave little offences,but our faith and our charity are not strong enough to master great ones; and sometimes we are shamed out of great ones, but yet entertain little ones; or if we disclaim both, yet we love to remember them, and delight in their past actions, and bring them home to us, at least by fiction of imagination, and we love to be betrayed into them: we would fain have things so ordered by chance or power, that it may seem necessary to sin, or that it may become excusable, and dressed fitly for our own circumstances; and for ever we long after the flesh-pots of Egypt, the garlic and the onions and we do so little esteem manna, the food of angels, we so loathe the bread of heaven, that any temptation will make us return to our fetters and our bondage. And if we do not tempt ourselves, yet we do not resist a temptation; or if we pray against it, we desire not to be heard; and if we be assisted, yet we will not work together with those assistances so that unless we be forced, nothing will be done. We are so willing to perish, and so unwilling to be saved, that we minister to God reason enough to suspect us, and therefore it is no wonder that God is jealous of us. We keep company with harlots and polluted persons; we are kind to all God's enemies, and love that which he hates : how can it be otherwise but that we should be suspected? Let us make our best of it, and see if we can recover the