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And thus the state of fin is mistaken for a state of grace; and the imperfections of obedience are miscalled the affections and necessities of nature, that they may seem to be incurable, and the persons therefore apt for an excuse, because for nature there is no absolute cure..

But let it be confidered, that they who fin habitually, that is, constantly, periodically, at the revolution of a temptation, certainly as yet remain in the state of fin and death; their intervals of piety are but preparations to a state of grace, . unto which they may at last arrive, when they {hall not go about to countenance or excufe the fin, or to flatter the person. But if the intermediate resolutions of amendment (though they never go beyond the next affault of passion or desire) be taken for a state of grace, blended with the infirmities of nature; they become destrucs tive of all those purposes, through our mistake, which they might have promoted, if they had been rightly undersțood.

ANOTHER

ANOTHER principle of temptation, fruitful of fin, is a weaker pretence, which less wary and credulous persons abuse themselves withal, pretending, as a ground for their confidence and incorrigible pursuance of their courses, that they have a good meaning ; that they intend sometimes well, and sometimes not ill; and this they think sufficient to fanctify their actions, and to hallow their fin. And this is of worse malice, when religion is the colour for a war,' and the preservation of faith made the warrant for destruction of charity, and á zeal for God made the false light to lead us to disobedience to man. For the end may indeed sanctify an indifferent action, but can never make streight one that is crooked and irregular. It is true, God requires to be honoured ; but it must be in the ways of his own appointment. If we, in our zeal for God, do what he hath forbid, den us; in that case we do not conform to his religion, but make a religion unto ourselves. And every sin committed for religion, is just such a violence done toit, as itself is intended to prevent or remedy. Let us

therefore

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therefore serve God, as he hath prescribed the way; for all our accesses to hiin, bie ing acts of his free concession and grace, must be by his own designation and appointment. We might as well have chofen what shape our bodies should be of, as of what instances the fubstance of our religion (hould consist,

Another principle of temptation is, an opinion of performing actions of civility and complaisance, to the straining a point of piety and stricter duty. 'And good natures, persons of humane and sweeter difpofitions, are too apt to dash upon this rock of offence. There are some evils that by custom become fashionable and reputable, and it is accounted almost impofs fible not to do as others do in the like cafes,

But thefe inconveniences rely only upon false opinions and vain fancies ; having no greater foundation than the foolish disçourses of ignorant and ungodly persons ; apd they have no peculiar and appropriate semnedy, but a refolute severity of mana

ners,

ners, and a consideration what is required of us as Chriftians, to confront against those unreasonable expectations from us, as we engage in the businesses and concerns of the world.

To which purpose we must be careful. not to venture too freely in looser company, never without business or unavoidable accidents; and when we mingle in affairs, it will concern our safety to watcs, left multitude of difcourse, goodness and easiness of nature, the delight of company, and the freedom and ill-customed civilities, do by degrees draw us away from our guards and retirement of spirit. For in these cases, every degree of diffolution difarms us of our strength; and if we give way so far as we think it tolerable, we instantly and undiscernibly pass into that which is unlawful and criminal. But our beft defences are deposited in a severe and prudent understanding, and discerning the fordidnefs of those principles, which represent vice in civil language, and propound a crime to us under the cover of kindnefs; remembering always, that the

scripture

scripture represents to us the friendship of the world, as enmity with God.

AND thus having considered, in what espects we are more particularly liable to temptation; I proceed,

Ildly, To Thew, What may be the remedies thereof.

And, first, Let every man abstain from all occapons of hin, as much as his condition will permit. It is easier to prevent a mischief, than to cure it. To recover from a sin, is none of the easiest labours that concern the sons of men : and therefore it behoves them rather not to enter into difficulties, from which they can never draw back without loss or danger. If God pleases to try us, he means us no hurt, and he doth it. with great reason and great mercy; but if we go to try ourfelves, we may mean well, but not wisely : For as it is unlawful for weak perfons to seek a temptation ; so, for the more perfect, it is dangerous, ,

But to serve this, and all other ends, in the resisting and subduing a tempta

tion;

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