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and out of pure Conscience submitted to his Will. And thus I have finished what the Straitnesses of the Time would suffer me to discourse from this Head.
Now to the King Immortal, &c.
A Discourse, shewing the Na
ture, Deceitfulness, and
2 COR, . Verf. 11.
Left Satan should get an Advantage of
us ; for we are not ignorant of his
HESE Words were directed to the
Governours of the Church at Corintb by St. Paul; and they are his Advice unto them, Concerning the Case of the Incestous Person,
then under the Sentence of Excommunication: That they should not insist too rigorously upon their Authority, in refusing to absolve, and receive him to the Communion of the Church again upon his Repentance ; left by their too great Severity therein, Satan should tempt him to final Apostacy.
In And the Caution which the Apostle here gives the Corinthians, upon that particular Oco de casion, is of universal Use and Concernment to all Christians, as to the general Behaviour and Course of their Lives.
For Satan is not only a very crafty and deceitful, but he is also a very malicious and revengeful Spirit. He hath various Methods of Deceit: The Instruments of Cruelty are in his Hands, and he manages them with all possible Art and Spight. He addresses him. self to the different Dispositions of Men's Minds, and the Humours of their Bodies. He obferves to what Errors, or Vices Men are most inclined by Nature, Education or Custom. He consults the Circumstances of Action, of Time and Place; of Opportunity and Leisure ; of Fitness and Decency. He attends the several Stages and Periods of human Life ; of Infancy and Youth ; of Manhood and Old Age. He views the particular Professions and Employments ; the Stations and Capacities Men bear in the World. In all these he watches where, and when, and how he may most advantagiously fix a Tempand thereby work their Ruin.
It behoves us therefore, if we have any regard to our present, or future. Safety, to counter-plot him in his Designs; to understand his Devices; and, as far as is possible, to deprive him of those : Advantages he has against us, by a suitable Caution and Watchfulness: In order whereunto, I shall (from these Words)
endeavour to comprize the Chief of them un(der this twofold Distribution, Either
1. Those Advantages which are given him
from the Circumstances of our State and Condition in this world. Or,
II. Those which he takes and improves
from the Treachery and Malignity of his own Nature.
I. I begin with those Advantages which are given him from the circumstances of our Štate and Condition in this World ; and these are of Three Sorts. Either,
1. Such as are drawn from the Frailty and
Corruption of our Nature. Or, 2. From the kind and Manner of our Education, Or, 3. From the Ways of Living, we af
terwards chuse and pursue. 1. The First is drawn from the Frailty and Corruption of our Nature.
The Human Nature at its first Creation and as it came out of the Hands of God, was
excellent and noble Being. The Lord
God (says Moses) formed Man of the Dust of jen. 2.7.the Ground, and breathed into his Nostrils the
Breath of Life, and Man became a living [according to the Chaldee Paraphrafe, he became a reasonable] Soul,
And the Prophet PL. 8. 5. 6.
David, He made him little lower than the Angels, and Crown'd him with Glory and Honour;
and made him to have Dominion over the Works of bis Hands. All the Faculties of his Mind then thone in their true Lustre and Perfe&ion. His Understanding was bright and piercing ; his Memory retentive and faithful; his Will regular and orderly ; his Bodily Appetites and Passions governable, and obedient to the Laws of Reason; and under the Direction and Influence of these he was to have spent a few pleasant Years upon Earth, and then to have been translated to Heaven.
But Man being thus at first formed a noble Spirit, endowed with the Principles of Knowledge and Virtue, and capable of Immortality ; he foon forfeited all these Privileges ; ' loft at once his Innocence, and his Happiness, in disobeying the Law of his Creator ; the whole Crasis of his Nature was changed, and all the Faculties of his Mind suffered a mighty Eclipse. and Dimunition in the Fall of Adam, Thence came Obscurity and Error in his Understanding ; Inadvertency and Forgetfulness in his Memory; Irregularity and Perverseness in his