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I should treat of the operation of the Spirit, and the ways of obtaining it, grieving, and quenching it; this would demand a peculiar treatife. I will here only obferve, that it is the work of the Spirit to repair, in fome degree at leaft, the ruins of the fall; to rectify nature; to improve our faculties, and to imprint in us the divine Image: that meditation and prayer, and a careful conformity to the divine will, obtain and increafe the grace of the Spirit: that negli gence and prefumptuous wickedness grieve and extinguish it. As to the knowledge of the gofpel, I fhall not need to fay much here, I have confidered this matter in the chapter of Illumination, and will only obferve, that the doctrines of the gospel are fuch, as, if they be thoroughly imbibed, do effectually raife us above a ftate of nature, and fet us free from the power and prevalence of our original corruption. Were we but once perfuaded, that we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth: that all carnal gratifications do war against the foul: that our fouls are properly our felves, and that our firft cares are to be for them: that God is himself our foveraign good, and the fountain of all inferior good: that our perfection and happiness confift in the love and fervice of him: that we have a mighty Mediator, who once died for us, and ever lives to make interceffion for us that a kingdom
kingdom incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, is referved in heaven for all meek, faithful, and holy fouls: were we, I fay, but once thoroughly perfuaded of these truths, with what vigour would they impregnate our minds? How clear would be the convictions of conscience? How uncontroulable the authority of reafon? How ftrong the instincts and propenfions of the mind towards righteousness and virtue? Thefe would alienate the mind from the world and the body, and turn the bent of it another way; thefe would infpire it with other defires and hopes, and make it form different projects from what it had before; old things are done away, and all things are become new. The fecond branch of this fecond particular rule is, that we must accuftom our felves to retire frequently from the commerce and converfation of the body. Whether the eating the forbidden fruit did open to the mind new scenes of fenfuality which it thought not of, and fo called it down from the ferenity and heights of a more pure and contemplative life, to participate the turbulent pleasures of fenfe, immerfing it as it were by this means deeper into the body, I pretend not to judge. But 'tis certain a too intimate conjunction of the mind with the body, and the fatisfactions of it, does. very much debafe it. 'Tis our great un
happiness, that the foul is always in the fenfes, and the fenfes are always upon the world; we converfe 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 eased 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
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 observed in fome, that fweetness of temper; in others, that coldnefs and abfolute command over themselves, with refpect to the pleasures; and in feveral, that innate modefty and humility, that na
tural indifference for the power, honour, and grandeur of life, that I could scarce forbear pronouncing, that they had fo far each of them efcaped 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 converfes with.
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 !