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could not touch his body without a Farther S E R M. permission. But what can we suppose our ". gracious heavenly Father suffereth his ana our enemy to do? Not surely to tempt irresistibly: an irresistible power he doth not himself exert upon the human mind, because he will preserve that liberty which is essential to its nature; and he will not permit an envious being to exert a resistless power to our destruction; if that being had such a power, which he certainly hath not. We may well conclude, that God's not permitting the devil to tempt us above our strength to resist, is imported in this, that God tempteth no man; for that, indeed, would be the fame thing to all the intents and purposes of mens inevitable destruction, and vindicating themselves from being the causes of it. But the apostle exhorteth us chap. iv. of this epistle and 7th verse, tests the devil, and he will fee from you. Be not iri a pannic on the account' of his attempts, Which Will1 give him an advantage against you instead' of being any security; but ami yourselves with strong virtubds resolutions; his temptations then will be ineffectual!, and they will soon cease even to vex you. The truth is, they are all grafted upon youf* 6wn lusts, Without which his solicitations will

S E R M. be in vain; and by them you are chiefly in "■ danger of being drawn away. And therefore, Thirdly, If we would maintain our integrity, let us keep the strictest watch over our own appetites and passions, and here place our strongest, for it will be the most effectual defence. To this end, it will be necessary to use a severe discipline, that carnal affections may be brought under the government of reason and conscience: The more they are indulged, the more impetuous and exorbitant they will grow; but if we accustom ourselves to restrain them, not only to deny their most licentious demands, but even to check their first risings, and to retrench the gratifications which may be strictly called lawful; and on the other hand, industriously cherish virtuous dispositions; if I fay, we accustom ourselves to this, the mind will, by degrees, grow up to liberty and an established self-dominion, which will yield it the truest enjoyment. Nor let us imagine this to be a needless severity; so great an example of virtue as St. Paul, and so eminent a servant of Christ, whose attainments in religion, and service to its cause, were unequaled even by his brethren the other apostles, thought it necessary for himself; he faith, i Cor. ix. 27. / keep under my body and bring it into sub- Serm. jec7ion> lest that by any means when I have II. preached to others, I myself stould be a castaway', or disapproved and rejected of God. It is true, I have said before, that when the motions of carnal affection are only proposed to the mind, and are under its consideration, but not consented to, they are only temptations, not sins: But as we naturally have some power over our own deliberations, a power to transfer our thoughts from one object to another, and there is a danger that the longer temptations are entertained in our thoughts, they will acquire the greater strength, and even some degree of evil may be contracted before a full and peremptory determination to comply with them, the mind ought to exert its utmost force that they may not rest in it, lest it should at last be enticed by them into finished transgressions,



Os Natural, Moral, a,nd Civil
Liberty. ..


Stand j"aft therefore in the liberty wherewith
Chriji hath made us free,

Serm. I ,A VERY man is conscious of a self de

III. J j termining power in his own mind, a

'power of choosing or refusing, of acting or forbearing to act, within a certain sphere; which seemeth to be inseparable, from, our constitution and condition of being, and absolutely necessary to. our pursuing its true ends; without it we could not be moral agents, which is our highest character, whereby we are distinguished from inferior animals, nor enjoy a rational happiness. I mall not enter into any perplexing debates concerning the nature and extent of human liberty, wherein it consisteth, whether we are necessarily determined in our elections by motives, and by the last judgment of the

under" understanding, or if the will in determining-S E R M. itself be possessed of an absolute indifference III. chusing independantly of any motives, or' any judgment formed upon them; but only observe, that as every man is conscious to himself of volition and choice, so freedom is plainly implied in the ideas which! are expressed by these words; a freedom which is equally the privilege of all mankind, as being essential to the constitution of human nature; this freedom or liberty, for distinction fake, I call natural. But the highest privilege of'mankind, under the notion of liberty, is, a power of chusing and acting according to' the direction of un-: derstanding, and the original fense of good" and evil; of doing what to themselves appeareth to be best, most becoming their nature, and most conducive to their perfection and happiness: And this liberty may be termed moral. To act spontaneously, but indeliberately, belongeth to the brutal kinds; in following their instincts and appetites, without any scruple or hesitation, they follow their nature, and satisfy all its demands: But their is a superior capacity in man, to consider, to examine, to compare together, and judge upon a variety of motives; preferring some to others; especially; it is to E 4 " be

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