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happiness, that the foul is always in the senfes, and the fenfes are always upon the world; we converse with the world, we talk of the world, we think of the world, we project for the world; and what can this produce, but a carnal and worldly frame of fpirit? We muft meditate heavenly things; we must have our conversation in heaven; we muft accuftom our felves to inward and heavenly pleafures, if we will have heavenly minds: we must let no day pass, wherein we must not withdraw our felves from the body, and fequefter our felves from the world, that we may converse with God and our own fouls. This will foon enable us to difdain the low and beggarly fatisfactions of the outward man, and make us long to be fet free from the weight of this corruptible body, to breathe in purer air, and take our fill of refined and fpiritual pleasure. I have infifted thus long on the cure of original fin, not only because it is the root of all our mifery, but also because there is fuch an affinity between this and the fin of infirmity, which I am next to speak to, that the fame remedies may be prescribed to both; fo that I am already eafed of a part of the labour, which I must otherwise have undergone in the following chapter.

I am now by the laws of my own method obliged to confider the effects of this U 3


branch of Chriftian Liberty in the perfect man, and to fhew what influence it has upon his happiness. But having, fect. 1. ch. 4. difcourfed at large of the fubferviency of Perfection to our happiness; and in fect. 2. chap. 3. of the happy effects of Chriftiand liberty in general, I have the less need to fay much here on this head: yet I cannot wholly forbear faying fomething of it, The conqueft over original corruption, fuch as I have defcribed it, raises man to the highest pitch of Perfection that our nature is capable of; makes him approach the neareft, that mortality can, to the life of angels, and plants him on the mount of God, where grace, and joy, and glory, fhine always on him with more direct and ftrong rays. Now is virtue truly lovely, and truly happy; now the affurance of the mind is never interrupted, its joy never overcaft; it enjoys a perpetual calm within, and sparkles with a peculiar luftre that cannot be counterfeited, cannot be equalled. Some faint and partial refemblance, I confefs, of this virtue, or rather of this ftate or confummation of it, have I, tho' very rarely, feen in fome masterly ftrokes of nature. I have obferved in fome, that fweetness of temper; in others, that coldnefs and abfolute command over themselves, with refpect to the pleafures; and in feveral, that innate modefty and humility, that natural

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tural indifference for the power, honour, and grandeur of life, that I could fcarce forbear pronouncing, that they had fo far each of them escaped the contagion of original corruption, and could not but blefs and love them. But, after all, there is a yaft difference between these creatures of nature, and those of grace: the Perfection of the one is confined to this or that particular difpofition; but that of the other is in its degree univerfal: the Perfection of the one has indeed as much charm in it as pure nature can have; but the other has a mixture of fomething divine in it; it has an heavenly tincture, which adds fomething of facredness and majefty to it, that nature wants the Perfection of the one is indeed eafy to its felf, and amiable to others; but the Perfection of the other is joy and glory within, and commands a veneration as well as love from all it converses with. Bleffed ftate! when fhall I attain thy lovely innocence! when fhall I enter into thy divine reft! when shall I arrive at thy fecurity, thy pleasure !

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Of liberty, with respect to fins of infirmity. An enquiry into these three things, 1.Whether there be any fuch fins, viz. Sins in which the most perfect live and die. 2. If there are, what they be; or what diftinguishes them from damnable or mortal fins. 3. How far we are to extend the liberty of the perfect man in relation to these fins.


HIS is a fubject, wherein the very being of holiness or virtue, the fal vation of man, and the honour of God, are deeply interested: for if we allow of such fins for venial, as really are not fo, we deftroy the notion, or evacuate the neceffity of holiness; endanger the falvation of man, and bring a reflection upon God as a favourer of impiety. On the other hand, if we affert thofe fins damnable, which are not really fo, we miferably perplex and difturb the minds of men, and are highly injurious to the goodness of God; representing him as a fevere and intolerable mafter. But how important foever this fubject be, there is no other, I think, in the compafs of divinity, wherein fo many writers have been fo unfortunately engaged; fo that it is over-grown with difpute and controverfy, with confufion and obfcurity, and numberlefs abfurdities and contradicti


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ons. This I have thought neceffary to ob serve in the entrance of my discourse, not to infult the performances of others, or to raife in the reader any great expectation for my own; but indeed for a quite contrary reason, namely, to difpofe him to a favourable reception of what I here offer towards the rendring the doctrine of fins of infirmity intelligible, and preventing the differvice which mistakes about it do to religion.

By fins of infirmity, both ancients and moderns, papifts and proteftants, do, I think, understand such fins as are confiftent with a ftate of grace and favour; and from which the beft men are never intirely freed in this life, though they be not imputed to them. This then being taken for granted, I fhall enquire into these three things.

1. Whether there be any fuch fins fins in which the most perfect live and dye.

2. If there are, what these be. What it is that distinguishes them from damnable or mortal ones.

3. How far we are the extend the liberty of the perfect man in relation to thefe.

1. Whether there be any fuch. That the best men are not without errors, without defects and failings, and that not only in their past life, or unregenerate ftate,


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