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and believes all that is necesary to Sal-SERM.
vation, which too many do, who have no X.
Title to Heaven and eternal Happiness,
for the most difficult Part of his Task is
behind still ; which is, to put in Practice
what he knows, and to take Care that
his Faith derives a due Influence on his
Life and Conversation ; that he bid Adieu
to all his finful Pleasures and criminal
Delights, that he root out all evil Cuf-
toms and sinful Habits, which have ta-
ken Possession of his Soul, and set such a
strict Guard over all his Thoughts, Words
and Actions, that he do not fall into any
wilful and presumptuous-Sin; this certain-
ly will require good Store of Pains and In-
dustry ; but, alas! this is but one Half of
his Talk, for he must not only cease to do
Evil, but must do Good; he must plant in
his Soul all Manner of virtuous Dispositions
and Habits, all those Ornaments of the
Soul, such as Humility, Meekness, Jus-
tice, Temperance, Holiness, and Charity,
both to God and Man; to do this is in
effect for a Man to alter his very Nature,
and to become a quite different Person
from what he was before ; and, therefore,
is compared, in the Holy Gospel, to a
New-birth.

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SERM. It is true this Task is more or less difX. ficult, according to the different State and

Condition of Men's Souls. Some there are who have had a strict and virtuous Education from their very Childhood, and have in a great Measure avoided the Pollutions of this World ; and in such Persons as these, Conversion proceeds by flow and insensible Degrees ; they never went far out of their Way, nor wilfully and perversly forsook the right Track, and therefore have not much Trouble to return back ; and their great Careought to be to persevere in the Paths of Righteousness, and to avoid all those Snares which the Devil lays in their Way. He will endeavour to puff them up with fpiritual Pride, to tempt them to presume on their own Strength, and to have a great Conceit of their own Goodness and Righteousness; to entertain an high Opinion of their ownselves and their Performances, and a mean and contemptible One of other Men; these are dangerous Rocks, upon which some, otherwise good Men, run on Ground, and hazard their eternal Salvation.

THERE are others who have contracted evil Habits from their very Childhood, and have been accustomed to a loose Way of living; and therefore it must needs be a

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very difficult, though not an impossible Serm. Talk, to reform such Persons as these X. and,

Lastly. There are a third Sort, who have forsaken their first Love, and, after they had proceeded well for some Time in the Paths of Virtue and Religion, have been led away by the Allurements of Sin and Temptations of the Devil, and turned aside into the By-paths of Vice and Error ; and such Men as these cannot be restored again, without the utmost Labour and Diligence imaginable; their Relapse will be more dangerous than their Disease, their latter End more deplorable than their Beginning. To be a Christian, then, is not so easy a Matter as some Men are apt to fancy; it is not sufficient that they are Members of the true Church, and believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith ; nor will it suffice that they perform all the external Duties of Religion, or that they are eminent for the Practice of some moral Virtues, nothing will put them in a State of Favour with God, but the Newnature, i. e. Purity of Soul and an universal Obedience to God's Will and Commandments, and an extensive Love both to God and Man; and to obtain these

must

1

US.

by the

SERM. must needs be supposed a Work of great
X. Difficulty, especially if we consider,

2. WHAT Opposition we must expect
to meet with, both within and without

Without us the Devil will make Use of all his Arts and Stratagems to seduce us into Sin, and to prevail with us to let go our Innocence. His Temptations will be backed by his wicked Instruments, and many

evil Examples we shall every where meet with ; which are so powerful, that by them Men are said to be made to do Evil, and, by a Kind of Compulsion, to be allured to commit Sin; and within our own corrupt Nature is ready to betray us, and to open the Door to every vile Lust; so difficult a Matter is it for a Man to persevere in his Integrity and to work out bis Salvation, though with Fear and Trembling. And, though this is so difficult a Matter, yet I shall proceed to thew,

II. THAT every good Christian has sufficient Encouragement to set about it.

First, BECAUSE God has commanded us to work out our Salvation.

Secondly, BECAUSE he has promised us such Assistances, as will make our Working successful.

1. God has commanded us to work out our Salvation : For God is not so unreafonable a Talk-master, as to command any

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Thing which is not in our Power to per- SERM.
form, or to impose upon us such Terms X.
of Salvation as are impossible to be com-
plied with; this would be contrary not
only to the Wisdom and Goodness, but
also to the Justice of his Nature, which
inclines him to govern his Creatures by
such Laws are most suitable and conve-
nient to their Natures. He has, there-
fore, in his infinite Wisdom so ordered it,
that our Duty should be neither so easy, as
to encourage our Sloth and Laziness; nor
so difficult, as to be beyond our Strength to
perform, when assisted by his Grace. He re-
quires our Diligence and Industry, and puts
us upon Working out our Salvation, by aftur-
ing us of Success; and hereby leaves us with-
out Excuse, if we fall short either by Pre-
sumption or Despair. There are Difficulties
enough in Religion to keep us continually
upon our Guard; and yet, were they much
greater and more numerous than they are,
it is in our Power to overcome them,
and to be more than Conquerors through
Christ that strengthens us; as will plainly
appear by considering,

2. THAT, if we do our Duty, God
has promised us such Assistances as will
make our Working successful; as will work
in us both to will and to do, of his good
Pleafure. Now this may, at first Ap-

pearance

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