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SERMON XV. Of the Means of overcoming Temptation, [From Bishop Taylor's “ Life of Chrift.”j

HEB. ii, 18,
For in that he himself bath suffered, being

témpted; be is able to succour them that
are tempted.
YOD, who is the fountain of good,

did chuse rather to bring good out

of evil, than not to fuffer any evil to be: not only because variety of ac cidents do better entertain our affections and move our spirits; but also that the glory of the divine providence might be illustrated, in turning the nature of things, into the designs of God; and that we may, in a mixt condition, have more obferva, tion, and after our danger and our labour may obtain a greater reward. T 3

For For temptation is the opportunity of virtue; God having difpofed us in such a condition, that our virtues must be difficult, our inclinations averse to good, pur hinderances many, our hostilities bitter, our dangers proportionable; that so, our labour might be great, our inclinations suppressed and corrected, our enemies be resisted, and our dangers pass into security and honour, after a contestation, and a vicu tory, and a perseverance.

It is every man's case: Trouble is as certäinly the lot of our nature and inheritance, and we are so sure to be tempted, that in the deepest peace and silence of spirit oftentimes is our greatest danger; not to be tempted, is sometimes our most subtle temptation : And it is certain, we cannot be secure, when our security itself is our enemy." But therefore we must en deavour to make the best of it, and not be fad at that which is the publick pora : tion and the case of all men; but order it according to the intention, place it in the eye of virtue, that all its actions and motions may tend thither, there to be changed

into

. XV. overcoming Temptation. 279 into felicities. For unless we be purified by suffering, we shall not be fo susceptible of the rewards of virtue. The carefses of a pleasant fortune, are apt to swell into extravagancies of spirit; and unmixed joy is dangerous: But if trouble fometimes be intermixed, to correct our wildnesses, this will allay our spirits, and make them to retire from the weakness of difpersion, to the union and strength of a sober recollection.

And therefore we must not wonder, that oftentimes it so happens, that nothing will remove a temptation, no diligence, no advices, no labour, no' prayers; not because these are ineffectual, but because it is most fit the temptation should abide, for ends of God's designing. And although St. Paul was a person whose prayers were likely to be prevalent, and his industry and prudence of much efficacy towards the removing of his temptation ; yet God would not do it, but continued the affliction, only promising to send him fuccour, -My grace is sufficient for thee: meaning, he should have an enemy to try his T4

spirit,

spirit; and improve it, and he fhould alsa: have God's grace to comfort and support it, but as without God's grace the enemy would spoil him, fo without an enemy God's grace would never swell up into glory and crown him. Even our blessed Saviour was made perfect through fuffers ings, leaving an example to us that we 1hould follow his {teps, and promising to us his assistance in resisting or sancțifying those afflictions of which he himfelf was a partaker : For in that be bimself bath Juffered, being tempted; be is able to fuca cour them that are tempted.

Since therefore it is no part of our em: ployment or our care, to be free from all ike attempts of an enemy, but to be safe in despite of his hostility; it will concern us to inform ourselves of our danger, and then to make provision against it accordingly. In order to which I propose to Thew,

I. In what respects we are more particuJarly subject to temptation.

II. What are the remedies thereof.

1. Let

I. Let us consider, in what respects we are more particularly subject to temptation.

ONE great principle of temptation is, that general mistake, which excuses very many of our crimes, upon pretence of infirmity; calling all those fins, to which by natural dispofition we are inclined, (though by carelessness and evil customs they are heightened to a habit), by the name of fins of infirmity; to which men suppose they have reason and title to pretend. If, when they have committed a crime, their conscience checks them, and they are troubļed, and, during the interval and abatement of the heats of defire, refolve against it, and commit it readily at the next opportunity ; they then cry out against the weakness of their nature, and think, as long as this body of death is about them, it must be thus, and that this condition may stand with the state of grace. And then the fins fhall return por riodically, like the revolutions of summer and winter, hot and cold for ever, till death furprizes them in their security.

And

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