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Serm, the dominion of conscience over the lower
to preserve the harmony of nature ; and
natural to us, and selfish affections, which Serm. are very strong, the discipline of religion is I. irksome to men, especially at their first entrance into it; so that true virtue, as practised in opposition to the bent and tendency of depraved appetites and passions, is justly represented under the notion of self-denial and mortification. This at first view may, to unattentive minds, have an unnatural appearance, and not seem worthy the name of wisdom; for that which is to be denied, thwarted, and controuled, being a part of qur nature, the discipline which prescribeth the denying it, must necessarily prescribe pain, (indeed the rule of our religion acknowledgeth this, representing that part of the exercise it enjoineth, under the notion of pulling out the right eye, and cutting off the right hand) and therefore it may seem to be a discipline not wisely calculated for promoting the felicity of the human nature, which is confessedly an end of wisdom, Yet upon a more close and serious consideration, it will appear, that self-denial and mortification is a necessary part of wisdom, as a remedy accommodated to the infirmities of our present state, and the disorders of our nature,
We are divided against ourselves, and find I. opposite tendencies in our hearts, carnal inunclinations and passions leading one way, and
reason and conscience proposing' another di-
Since, then, this doctrine of Solomon sets
a price put in our hands to attain it, let us Serm. not be of the fools who have no heart to 1, purchase it. This is the unhappy condition of many to whom divine wisdom crieth, and understanding lifteth up her voice. The impetuous clamor of their lusts and passions prevaileth against the calm voice of reason ; their depraved affections, indulged, grow up to such confirmed vicious habits, as harden their hearts to an utter insensibility, and a total neglect of wisdom's most earnest folicitations. Solomon, in this chapter, representeth the fatal consequences of this in a very clear and affecting manner ; and with his words I shall conclude: Wisdom utteretb her voice in the streets, and crieth in the chief places of concourse, in the opening of the gates, and in the city; that is, in the plainest and most intelligible manner : But then he adds, in the name of wisdom, Because I called, and ye refused; have set at naught my counsels, and would none of my reproofsthey hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord; therefore, shall they eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
· SERMON II.
The Excellency of WISDOM.
PROVERBS VIII. 6, 7.
and the opening of my lips Mall be right
things; for my mouth fball Speak truth. SERM. LJAVING endeavoured to explain the
II. 11 nature, characters, ends, and uses, of s o that wisdom which Solomon recommendeth
in this book, shewing that it comprehendeth the whole system of religious virtue, the fear of God, all the pious devout affections and regards which are due to the supreme Being; justice and good will to men; fobriety, or a due government of our infem rior appetites and passions, together with the proper effects of these qualities and difpofitions of mind in our conversations, doing good, and eschewing evil; and having endeavoured to justify the notion he intendeth to give us, that it may have a proper influence on our temper and practice, that this is true wisdom ; I lhall, next, apply myself