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of souls and spirits, finally proportion capacities and states (for the other world will be admirable for congruities) and fit moral actions and dispositions with recompence and reward, that no challenge may befal his superintendency, and government.

DISCOURSE XXI,

The Necessary REPENTANCE of a

SINNER.

IS AIH i. 16. Washi ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your do

ings, &c.

T

Wo things are necessarily to be acknowledg

ed and supposed to encourage motion in re

ligion, endeavours after piety, and application to God,

First, To know and be affured, that God will not bę wanting to afford the assistance of his grace and spirit.

Secondly, That by this assistance of God's grace and spirit, we are enabled to do our duty. That God doth afford his aid and affiftance ; and that by this we are enabled to do our duty, and that which God requires of us ; these two things are necessary for us to believe and understand, to

strengthen

ftrengthen our hands in our work, and so encourage us in good endeavour, and to make application to God, or else we shall fall into one of these two inconveniencies.

First, We shall be ready to say or think, that God doth reproach us when he doth seem to exhort us, and that he doth as it were but mock at us, in our misery and necessity, when he speaks most kindly to us ; than which, nothing is more unworthy the divine goodness. This is to do something like that which St. James doth reprove, James ii. 16. for one to say to a brother or a sister, that is naked and destitute of food, be ye warmed and filled, but gives them not those things that are necessary for the body. Now I ask, can we think that God will do that himself, which he finds fault with in others ? Is there not quite another representation made of God, Psal. ciii. 13. That God pities them that fear him, as a father doth his children : because that he knoweth their frame, and remembers that they are but fesh.

By which the prophet would teach us, that God doth make allowance for our advantage, and that he is full of compassion, and that it is far from him to make a shew of that, which he doth not mean ; this being a thing so horrid, that no person among us of any fairness, candour, or ingenuity, is guilty of; and when any one is found out, to speak that which he did not mean, and intend to perform ; he is the more difrelished and avoided.

Or else, Secondly, That the exhortations that are in scripture are to no purpose, and shall take no effect

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all which doth ill reflect upon God, and misrepresents him to his creatures, and difcourages qur application to him, and is apt to take us off from following after God, and laying hold of him, as the phrase is, Prov. iii. 18. of wisdom, lay hold of her, let her not go, for she is thy life. Should we believe any thing of this nature, concerning God, it would be so great a discouragement, that we should let all alone, and not think ourselves greatly concerned to act in a way of religion.

For I remember the great philosopher hath observed, * That no man, in point of wisdom, tho' he be concerned never so much, will take into consideration things that are impossible.

There are two things which no wise man doth submit to his own cate or thought, and they are necessaries, and impossibles. For things necessary, he needs not charge himself with them ; for they will be done of course ; and for things impoffible, it is a vain thing for him to undertake ; for they cannot be done by him, or any power whatsoever. Wherefore we are not to conceive ourselves to be in the state of impossibility ; therefore we must suppose, that God is with us by his grace and affiftance ; ; and while God is with us, that we are able to do those things that he requires of us, to wash and make us clean, and to put away the evil of our doings. Which words are to be considered,

First, According to their form.

* Arift. Rhet. 1. I. C. 41

Secondly,

Secondly, According to their matter.

1. According to their form, they are an exhortation; and so for that purpose, I have made choice of them to set on a former argument : it having been made appear, that God is not wanting in necessaries, nor doth forsake till he be forsaken, and that it is not in vain, that we are exhorted to our duty.

2. As the words may be considered in respect of the matter, they afford these two observations.

First, That fin is, in itself, a thing of defilement and pollution.

Secondly, That religion is a motion of restoration, for this is religious motion, to wash and make us clean, and to put away the evil of our doings.

But that which I shall infift upon, is to consider thefe words as an exhortation made by an instrument of God, one that God did affume, own, and stand by; and therefore we may imagine that God was present with this exhortation, and that those who were thus exhorted, not only ought, but might do something in answer to this exhortation : for no intelligent agent acting in a way of wisdom, as the all-wise God always doth, would call any one to that which he knew was not in his power to do : and therefore we must not attribute any such thing to the all-wise God. No man of wisdom and understanding, does either himself attempt, or call upon others to do that, which neither he, nor they are able to do.

We do therefore conclude, that when God calls upon persons to do any thing, he doth afford neces

sary sary affistance, by which they are enabled to obey and do the thing he commands. In Ezek. chap. xxxvii. we find God to ask this question of the prophet, can these dry bones live ? the prophet gives a wise answer, O God thou knowejt, intimating that by the power of nature it could not be done ; but if God would make use of his power (as we read he did) then it was posible ; for he calls to the wind to blow and bring bone to his bone, and caused flesh and sinews to cover them ; by which means, he caused dead and dry bones to live.

In common philosophy we determine, that some things cannot be done, but then we confine it to the power of nature : but by the power of God, things that are impoflible to be done by the power of nature, may be done. The like instance is of Lazarus, he was dead, and had been dead for some time ; yet our Saviour calls to Lazarus, and bids him come forth, John xi. 43. Now as I before hinted to you, the way of motion in intellectual nature, is different from the

way

of motion in inferior nature : In intellectual nature, the way of motion is to propose, declare and shew, to excite by reason and argument, to warn, to admonish, to foretell, to convince, to promise, to threaten, to reward, to punish, to enlighten the understanding, to move the will, to affect the conscience, and the like. These are the ways

of motion in intellectual nature ; now, he who by his voice doth rend the rocks, and make mountains to quake and tremble : he doth also, when he pleaseth, melt and break the stony heart; but then it is in this way, as it is remarkable what

we

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