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Will ; Corruption and Pravity in his Defires and Passions ; and all that Train of Natural and Moral Évils, which subject him to the Dominion of Death and Sin, and give Satan that fatal Advantage over him. These are now the unliappy Circumstances of our Condition,

and this is the lamentable State of Human 7 Nature.

'Tis true indeed, he has no abfolute and despotical Power over us, especially over out Rational Nature : The intellectual Faculties, and the moral Endowments of our Minds, do more incline us to Virtue than to Vice : They are under the Conduct of Reason, the Authotity of Conscience, and the Direction of the Spirit of God. But inferiour Nature lies wide open to his Treachery and Malice; 'tis Rath and Foolish ; Heedless and Indeleberate; Flexible and Sequacious, and eafily drawn aside. He has secret Ways of Address to our corrupted Inclinations ; he can caft a Mist before our Senses. He can play with our Fancies ; and humour our Affe&ions, and mingle himself with our bodily Pallons. And, which fenders him the most formidable Adversary of all, is, the Skill that he has got in these Arts of Seduction by long Use and Practice ; for he has managed this Point, ever since he fell from Heaven. i. é. ever fince he becaing a Devil.

Upon this Account it will concern us all to look narrowly into our felves; to consult

: frequently what Natures God has given us,

and which Way the Inclinations of them tend to find out, and mortify the Predominant Corruption, the Sin which doth so easily be{et us: And in order thereunto to call in the Aids of Supernatural Grace, the Succours of God by daily Prayer and Repentance.

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2. Secondly, Another Advantage which is given to Satan is from the Manner of our Education. This is that critical,Period, of human Life, which the Devil watches with a particular Observation and Attendance; because then Reason isweak, and the gentler Whispers of Conscience lịttle regarded : The Propensions of Nature, Sense, and Lust, very strong and violent. And yet, alas! through the very blameable Neglect of Parents, it is seldom so well guarded as it: ought to be.

The Minds and Manners of Men are as much, perhaps more formed by Education than by Nature it self; and the Impressions they then receive generally grow up with their Years ; live and die with them. The Table is then smooth and soft ; you may, draw what Lines, and engrave what Images of Things you please upon it. If you take the first Opportunity to infțill wife and wholesom Inftrudions, there will be seen in the future Course of their Lives, their fair and even, and lovely Characters of Virtue. But if you let that slip, there will nothing appear, but Stains and Blots, the crooked and ill-favoured Scrawls of Vice.


I was just now saying, That the Minds and Manners of Men were as much, or more form ed by Education than by Nature : And it is but too manifest in the Observation of the World that they are so : What other Account cản be given of the Growth and spreading of Atheism, which is so repugnant to the original Distates of Reason, and natural Light ? For it is cer: tain, that we are all born into the World with a Reverence and Dread of God, with an Abhorrence of Atheism and Infidelity upon our Minds: To what elfe fhall we attribute that wretched and accursed Custom of Swearing, fo fcandalously common amongst Boys and Children? This must of Necessity be owing either to the Devil, or to bad Education; for there is no imaginable Temptation to it in Nature.

It is of infinite Concern therefore, that the Principles of Religion be laid by a good Education, that Children be taught betimes, their Prayers, and their Catechism.; and to give them the early Tinctures and Prepossessions of Piety : And this with the Divine Grace and Blessing, will happily anticipate the Devil in his future Attempts upon them. But

3. Thirdly, Another Advantage which is given Satan, is, from the Ways of Living we afterwards chuse and pursue. Men having passed through the first Stage of their Life, viz. that of Youth; and therein received the Impressions, either of a good or bad Educa

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tion, they then set up for themselves, and fix upon such Ways and Courses of Living as they intend to pursue.

If their Inclinations and Abilities lead them to an Ingenuous and Laudable Profeffion; or their Necessities determine them to more labo. rious and servile Employments; these, (whilf they are engaged upon them, and pursue them with Industry and Faithfulness) are a very good' Guard and Security to their Virtue ; they are then in God's Way, and under the Care and Blessing of his Providence; the Devil when he comes to assault them, finds them busy, and hard at work; they are not at leisure to attend to his Suggestions. But if the Fortune of their Birth, and the plentiful Provision their parents have made for them, fet them above the Cares and Toils; and they have little else to mind, but the Ease and Diversions of this Life (though they keep themselves within the Bounds of what is Just and Lawful) yet even this gives Satan too fair an Advantage against them. For there are many Things which are Lawful in themselves, yet by the too frequent Use of them, insengbly betray us into those that are not so.

May I take the Liberty to mention some of them. Such are, " Profuse Entertainments « and Feasting; staying long in Company, “ complimental and needless Visits; an eager " Delights in Sport, Recreations and Gaming. I will suppose that these are Lawful, and sometimes Useful and necessary for the Relief


of our Natures ; for the brisking up our Spi¿ rits, and rendering us more fit for Converfa

tion and Business. But it is by no means advifeable always to go to the utmost Stretch of what is lawful; ’tis very dangerous to dwell continually in the Neighbourhood of Vice. These Things, if they do not destroy, yet they do too much relax the Seriousness of our Thoughts, and the Gravity of our Behaviour They contract a Habit of Lightness ; I had almost faid of Impertinence upon our Minds: They take up too much of our Time ; which I fear we can give no good Account of, either to God, or to our felves. But I shall have Occasion to speak more to this by and by. And so I proceed to the Second Head of Discourse, viz.


II. Those Advantages Satan takes and in

proves from the Treachery and Malignity of his own Nature. And these are of two Sorts. Either,

1. His secret Frauds. Or, 2. His more open


I begin with 1. His secret Frauds, And they are chiefly

these Three.

First, By encouraging Men to go to the

utmost Bounds of what is lawful.


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