many men from the habitual practice of several vices to a virtuous (I had like to have said also a religious) life; why should any man think so meanly of God's holy word and sacraments, as to doubt, but that much rather they should be able to make us “new creatures, to make us wise unto salvation;" especially considering that continual assistance of God's Holy Spirit, which infallibly attends the use and exercise of those his blessed means? Do you think God is so favourable to the devil or his instruments, (our lusts) that he is unwilling to have them subdued and mortified in us? And if he be not unwilling, surely much less is he unable, to perform this great work in us, even to the end.

26. Therefore, as before, speaking of those outward forces, God and his holy angels, which are ready to take our parts, and fight on our sides against the devil and his angels, we applied that saying of Elisha to his servant, If thine eyes were opened, thou shouldst perceive, that “they which are with us, are more than they which are against us;" so likewise in the case in hand we make use of that saying of St. John, “Greater is he which is in you, than he which is in the world;" implying, that God is not only in himself stronger than the devil, but also as considered in us, i. e. as working in our hearts by his grace: this way,

I say, he is stronger than the devil; his Spirit cooperating with the means of our salvation, is more vigorous and powerful to renew us into the image of his holiness, if we will but do that which lies in our own power, than the devil (though taking his advantage of that concupiscence, which in some measure is continually resident in us) is or can be to corrupt, and so to destroy us. For his power is not considerable, unless we be willing to join with him. Thus you see, though our enemies be allowed all the advantages they can challenge; yet in exact esteem, without any flattering of ourselves, we may conclude, that they who are readý, and desirous to join forces with us, are greater, in all respects, than they which are against us.

27. But yet, for all this, since the conducting and managing of those forces is left to our discretion, (for God will not fight single against the devil in our behalf, unless we lend him our aid and assistánce) and therefore, (Judg. v. 23.) “ Curse yè Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord, (in the victorious song of Deborah) curse bitterly the inhabitánts thereof :” and why must poor Meroz be so bitterly cursed ? “Because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty:" hereupon it may seem, that Almighty God will not put to his strength in our defence, unless we join with him; he will not be our champion to fightwhilst we sit still, only spectators of the combat. And therefore this consideration alone may be sufficient to abate that confidence, which the foregoing discourse might be apt to raise in us, especially if we be not utter strangers to ourselves, if we be not ige norant of our own weakness.

28. For satisfaction therefore to this discouragement, I will now endeavour to demonstrate by proofs drawn from undeniable reason and experience, that there is no sinful temptation só strong, but that an ordinary Christian may (bý the assistance beforementioned) easily conquer it. And lest my proceeding herein may lie open to any manner of exception, let me choose from among you the weakest, most inexperienced Christian, I dare oppose this man against the sharpest and most furious temptation; and will make him confess, though he be (de facto) subdued by it, yet that came to pass merely by his own voluntary and affected unwatchfulness and cowardice, and that it was truly, in very deed, in his power to have resisted it.

to have resisted it. I will make choice to instance in the sin of uncleanness and fornication; a sin, that generally finds such excuse and patronage in the world, because it is supposed to be so naturally born and bred up with us, that there is no shaking it off; it is a sin so resolved upon to be unconquerable, that few men go about to restrain it. The ancient antidotes against this sin, watching and fasting, are grown out of use with us; we conclude they will do us little good against this hereditary evil, and therefore the best way is to give them clean over.

29. Yet I say, let me suppose an ordinary Christian, environed with all the strongest temptations to this so natural, and therefore concluded, so excusable a sin ; let him have the most charming beauty, that has the most artificial ways of solicitation, together with opportunity, and all circumstances which are not fit to be supposed here; yet for all this, if that man should say he is not able to resist such a temptation, he lies against his own soul: for if at that instant a sudden message should interrupt him, a threatening of death, if he did not free himself from the danger of her filthy embraces, would he not do it? I desire only, that each one of you in his heart would an



swer for him. Then it is clear, he is able to resist this pretended, irresistible temptation : and why should not the consideration of the danger of eternal torments be as persuasive against any sin, as the fear of a momentary death? But I will not make my advantage of so frightful an enemy to his pleasure, as death. Suppose, in all those circumstances beforementioned, a good sum of money were but offered him, upon condition he would abstain but that time from the execution of his filthy lust; I doubt not at all, but that upon these terms he would find strength enough to conquer this temptation. Shall Satan then be able to cast out Satan, and shall not God much more do it? Shall one sin be able to destroy the exercise of another, and shall not grace much rather?

30. Besides, if we believe, that generally it is not in our power to resist any of these temptations; how dare you, who are fathers, suffer your daughters, after they are come to years, to live unmarried? How dare you expose their souls to such dangers, unless you think, that ordinarily any man or woman is able to resist the temptations of the flesh? How dare you, who are merchants, for the hope of a little gain, live in foreign countries, as if you were divorced from your wives; if you religiously think, that, were it not for the benefit of marriage, they could not ordinarily be honest ?

31. Lastly, You may remember, that our Saviour (in his descriptions of hell) seldom leaves out this phrase, “where the worm dieth not;" which worm is generally by interpreters moralized into the sting of conscience, i.e. a continual vex


ation of soul in the reprobates, caused by the consideration, how it was merely their own fault, their wilful folly, which brought them to that misery. Now this worm would die, and be quite extinguished in them, if they were of some men's opinions; that the reason why they sinned, was not because they would sin, but because they could not choose but to do it; because they wanted power to resist all the temptations which were objected to them. Such a conceit may serve indeed to vex them, but it is not possible it should trouble their conscience; for by this reason Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, might with as good reason be tormented in conscience for falling into hell, when the earth opened under them, as for their sin of rebellion against Moses; if the reason why they committed that sin, was the subtraction of Divine grace and assistance, without which it was impossible for them not to be rebels. But, indeed, why should Almighty God withdraw his grace from any man? Because (say some) by falling, they may experimentally learn their own weakness without his assistance, and so be discouraged from trusting or relying upon themselves. A strange reason, no doubt! for as long as they have the grace of God, they will not rely upon themselves; and when they are destitute of his grace, they cannot rely upon him: so that, it seems, God takes away his grace from a man for this end, that, wanting it, he may sin; and by that means, when he has got that grace again, he may perceive, that when he is destitute of God's grace, he cannot choose but sin! which was a thing which he knew at the first without all this ado. But there may be a better reason given,

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