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Doctrine (and holding Communication with the CHA P. Head, by duly commemorating his Death, the XV. capital Doctrine of his Religion, in the Lord's Supper, that After-Explanation in Fact of eating his Flesh and drinking his Blood) according to his own immediate verbal Explication, The Words I Speak unto you are Spirit and Life,* i. e. when the Words Vine, Flesh, Blood, Bread or Wine are Emblems and figurative Expreffions that cannot, nor were ever intended to fignify literally, the moral, emblematical, not the literal, is the true Senfe or Spirit of thofe Expreffions: Juft as Spirit is oppofed to Flesh, and Letter, in the Types and Ceremonies of the Jews; one killeth, the other giveth Life, and Meaning.
As God is the Giver of our Faculties, and Exciter and Encourager to Good, whatever of that Nature is the free and wife Product of them, is, at the fame time, the Gift of God; and the Praise and Glory is due to him: Mean time we shall not miss of our Reward for following his Counsel; and confenting to be led by it to our own Happiness; because that Good would not have been done, if God had not beftow'd the Faculty, the Opportunity, the Motive and Direction for it. Thus he is faid to give a new Heart, and a new Spirit, yet he requires us to caft away our Tranfgreffions in order to make ourselves a new Heart and a new Spirit, † There are many Expreffions of the like Import, resolvable into the like Interpretation.
AND as he governs free Agents according to their Nature, and hinders not the bad Effects that refult from the Determination of their own Choice, he is faid in a figurative and foreign
Job. vi. 63.
Ezek. xviii. 31,
CHA P. Sense to harden the Heart; whilft he has no XV. Hand in it, any farther, than permitting Sin to produce its own Effects, and operate upon the Heart, according to the hardening Deceivablenefs of its Nature. He never gives any Man up to a fatal Blindness and Hardness of Heart, till he is irrecoverable by Perfuafion and rational Motives; Deus non deferit nifi deferentem. Or, in other Words, Since you have forfaken me, I will forfake you alfo-You have not forfaken me, but your own felves, faith the Lord, 2 Efdr. i. 25.
THE Comfortable Truth therefore lies in the Middle between the two Extremes, which have both had their Run, and prevailed in their Turns; the irrefiftable Grace of God, on the one hand; and the no Occafion of the internal Aids of his Spirit, on the other. We ought certainly to covet earnestly the best Gifts, and ftrive to regain, as much as we are able, that Degree of Perfection of human Liberty, wherein Man was firft created. Every perfect, as well as good Gift comes from God. He only enjoys Liberty in its abfolute Perfection; by being immutably free from all Defects, and from all Inclination to Evil, which is a Defect. That Immutability is pecu liar and effential to the fupreme Good; nor is there any good in that Senfe, but one, and that is God: He is only infallible in Understanding, and therefore impeccable in Will; and neither one nor the other are communicable to any Creature. Therefore the Degrees of Good, or Perfection of Liberty relative to their feveral Stations, communicated to the rational Creatures he has made, is temper'd with a natural Mutability, or Poffibility of inclining to Evil, and degenerating from what they are. Such are all the Angels. He chargeth even his Angels with Folly. The Angels
being placed in their Paradise or State of Proba-CH A P. tion, not as Man was by a primitive Pair and Succeffion, extraduce, but altogether at once in their own produced Perfons, fome kept not their firft Eftate; and they that ftand being capable of falling, are chargeable with Folly, by being capable of the Folly of thinking themselves in-, dependent of God, or infallible like him. And therefore Fallibility and Frailty from Angel down to Man is continually propt up by various gradations of Dependency, Recourfes, and Religion unto God.
THO' Man, God's youngest Son, was endow'd with Liberty and Reafon a little lower than the Angels, as much lower as difcourfive Reafon is to intuitive Dispatch, and choice of Will with a Tempter, is to one without one, by being ftation'd, for a time, in the midst of fenfual Appetites and Objects, whence more and more Occafion and Inclination to Evil; ftill the Liberty, fuited to his Station, was perfect in its kind, having his primitive Inclinations caft and moulded upright and entire towards Good in dependence upon his Maker, the Author of all his Happiness; that dependent, imitative Image of himself, wherein God had fafhion'd his natural Liberty and moral Agency with a prevailing Biafs and Inclination within towards Good, liable to be altered by nothing but yielding to Sin thro' outward Temptation; but after yielding to it, the Biafs turn'd to the other Side, and made the great Alteration and Disfigurement in the Image of God; what was unknown before, a Temptation from within ever after sprang up, to folicit the natural Liberty and moral Agency; that Temptation from within join'd to Temptation from without ftood therefore in
CHAP. the greater Need of the fupervening, balancing XV. Affiftance, and Advocation of the Holy Spirit. MAN had continued in his firft Aptitude and Biafs, it may be, for many Generations, had not the Tempter (the first Lyar and Hypocrite in the World, and the Father of all Lies and Hypocrify fince) fo foon deceiv'd and prevail'd with the falfe Pretence of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, before Lying or Hypocrify, or the moral Evil of Difobedience were known in the fublunary World: And by deceiving, murder'd the Perfection of his priftine Liberty, and inverted the prevailing Biafs of his Conftitution from Good to Evil. The corruptible Body with its corrupt Affections has prefs'd upon, and too often infulted, ever fince, our Longing and Defire after conscious primitive Liberty, and Rectitude; and a native Love of Truth, and a natural Abhorrence of Falfhood and Hypocrify as our greatest Enemy, ftill lives in us, as if every Man had been present with, and Partaker of that Tranfaction.
So far is Freedom to moral Evil from being the true Liberty of Man, that it is actually his Weakness, Degeneracy, and too frequently his Servitude and Captivity. He has deviated very much ever fince from real Good; which is the true Object of true Liberty; and fluctuated greatly in Error both about Good, and about Liberty; and, because of those Errors, there is a Neceffity for Laws to curb and restrain the ill Effects of them till the Religion of the Mediator Christ Jefus came to fhew him his true Good, and recover him to his true Liberty, and strengthen and perfect him in it, as he grows up to that greater Perfection of it, at the Refurrection, to a new and better Body, called the
glorious Liberty of the Sons of God; by its glorious CHAP. divine Means, Aids, Motives, and Helps; to XV. which all are entitled, who embrace it fincerely; and all who reject, are excluded the Benefit of any of them.
AND what are the Reftraints of the Gospel upon the temerity of Man's Choice of Evil, but perfect Peace and Freedom to our rational Spirit, and the compleateft Liberty of Mind that can be defired in this Life? And what better verifies -the ancient Obfervation of Job; * Behold the Fear of the Lord, that is Freedom, and to depart from Evil is true Liberty? The Truth of the Gospel, that perfect Law of Liberty, is that only which makes Men free indeed.
IF therefore the Deifts were indeed true in their pretended Respect, or confiftent to the Obedience of the Law of Nature, they so much affume to glory in, they would gladly come into the Christian Measures in earneft; which glory in nothing fo much, as in improving Man's Liberty, and increasing his Inclination to perform that Law.
I PRESENT them with a Paffage from Bishop Taylor. "The Cafe of moral Actions and fpi"ritual is all one; for that Action is moral "which is done in Obedience to a Law; and a fpiritual Action is no more; fave only it relates to another Law, to the Evangelical, or. "fpiritual Law of Liberty: But in the Nature "of the Thing, it is the fame; and one may as well be chofen as the other, when they are equally taught and commanded, and propounded under the fame proportionable Ama"bility; and till they be fo propounded, they
* Chap. xxviii. 28.