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SERM. vent their irreverfible Doom, it must be by XI. the diligent Performance of these two Duties of Sobriety and Watchfulness.

AND to this End it will be neceffary to confider,

III. WHAT are the chief Letts and Hinderances which keep us from the confcientious Performance of these Duties of Sobriety and Watchfulness, in order to remove them.

1. AND these are, first, Infidelity; we live in an atheistical and fceptical Age, when Men call in queftion the fundamental Articles of their Faith, and doubt of every Thing which is not the Object of their Senfes; and though it is made a Question, whether there are any down right Atheists, Men that are confirmed in their Opinion that there is no God, or first Cause of Things, but that the World was from Eternity; yet it is evident, that that Herd of Men, called Deifts, are too numerous; and you may find every where those who will not own the Providence of God, or that they shall give any Account of their Actions: Which were looked upon as a Sort of Atheists by the more fober Part of the Heathen World.

THERE are others, who, with the Sadduces of old, will not believe there is any Angel or Spirit, neither can be brought

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Men as are given up to their unruly Paf-SE RM.
fions and Affections, are faid to be fold XI.
to do Wickedness, and to be in Bondage
unto Sin; and when they return to God,
and lead an holy and religious Life, they
are faid to be fet at Liberty. From
whence it appears, that, when the Apostle
commands us to be sober, it is, as if he had
faid, Keep your Bodies and Souls in such
an equal and even Temper, that your Ad-
verfary the Devil may take no Advantage
either from your Intemperance in Meats
and Drinks, or from the Disorder of your
Affections, The Irregularity of your Paf-
fions, to feduce you into Sin; but that
whenever he comes, and fets upon you by
his Allurements and Temptations, he may
find you upon your Guard, ready to refift
him.

2. NEXT the Apostle adds, Be vigilant, Be not puffed up and fecure, when you have got the Better of your Adversary, and withstood his first Affaults, and refifted the Temptations of the Devil, and escaped those Snares which he laid for you; be not filled with Pride and Vain-glory, and a Pharifaical Conceit of your own Righteousness, becaufe you think you have behaved yourself better than others have done; but fet a continual Watch over yourself, be conftantly upon your Guard, at all Times, and

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SERM. juft and reasonable, and fhine with fo XI. bright a Luftre, that whofoever feriously confiders them, must give up their Affent to them; but then they will not allow themselves Time to reflect upon these Matters; or, if they do, it is only in general; they do not take the Pains to make a particular Scrutiny into their own Hearts, or to confider whether their Lives and Converfations have been fuch, as they can give a comfortable Account of at the Laft-Day; they make it their Bufinefs to eat, drink, and be merry, and to live at Fafe in this Life; and thus, being hurried perpetually from one Bufinefs or Diverfion to another, they give themselves no Time to confider the prefent or future Condition of their Souls, and what Effects the Doctrines, they profess to believe, fhould produce upon rational Creatures. And this

brings me to confider the

3. THING which diverts Men from being fober and vigilant; and that is Senfuality, and the too earnest Purfuit of the Honours, Pleasures, and Advantages of this World. There has been no more fuccefsful Stratagem to furprise an Enemy, than to give him a false Alarm, and hereby to divert him from that Post where they design to attack him.

AND

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greatest Strength, was feduced by the fub- SERM.
tle Infinuations of that old Serpent, the XI.
Devil, and betrayed by his own inordinate
Lufts. And therefore, even in Paradife,
God gave Adam this Command of Vigi-
lancy and Watchfulness: And, if Man, in
his first Innocency, had Need of fuch a
Caveat, much more has he Occafion for it
now, when weakened by Sin and in Bondage
to his own vile Lufts and corrupt Affections:
How much more Need have we, who are
fo prone to Vice and Wickedness, fo ready
to close with the Temptations of the De-
vil, to ftand upon our Guard?

ALAS! we are Creatures of Senfe hurried on by the Violence of our fenfual Appetites, our Reafon is biaffed by our Paffions, and our Wills are led afide by the falfe Judgments we make of Things; and then, how difficult a Thing is it, to withstand a Temptation baited with Pleasure, and to resist the Importunity of our carnal Defires; how readily do we close with Objects which, at prefent, feem either pleafing or profitable to us, without any Regard to the Future, or confidering what the Confequence of Things will be?

2. WE have Reafon to be fober and vigilant, if we confider the Power and Cunning of our Adverfaries; that we R 4

are

SERM. 4. And Laftly, WE are frequently diXI. verted from Watchfulness and Sobriety by Prefumption. There are many who lay the Strefs of their Salvation on Orthodoxy in Faith, and believe they fhall certainly be faved, because they are Members of the true Church. There are others, who please themselves with the Conceit, that they are the elect People of God, and predeftinated to Salvation; and therefore it is impoffible for them to fall away from Grace and finally miscarry. Both thefe Opinions tend to make Men fecure, and to presume of their Salvation without any juft Grounds; and to take them off from Vigilancy and Sobriety, and to give themselves up to the Conduct of their corrupt Appetites.

FOR why fhould a Man deny himself the Gratifications of Senfe, or put himself under the uneafy Circumstances of Mortification and Self-denial, when he is affured, that he fhall be drove on by an irresistible Impulfe and Divine Decree, and saved at last, whether he will or no? Or elfe, that fome few pious Ejaculations on his Death-bed, joined with fome Acts of Contrition, will move God's Pity and Compaffion; and that the Soundness of his

Faith,

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