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stories; and ascribe more to evil spirits, than we have any sufficient cause. For there is no religion in favouring such fancies, or giving credit to such tales; and there hath frequently arisen a great deal of hurtful superstition from them. This we are sure of, and it is enough, that neither Satan, nor all his angels, have power, either to force any one of us into sin, or to hinder us from repenting; or, without God's especial leave, to do any one of us the least hurt in any other way. And we have no cause to think, that leave to do hurt is ever granted them, but on such extraordinary occasions as are mentioned in Scripture. They are, indeed, often permitted to entice us to sin, ás we often entice one another. But these enticements of evil spirits may be withstood by us just as effectually, and nearly by just the same methods, as those of evil men. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you; draw "nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." 3 Unquestionably our danger is the greater, as we have not only flesh and blood, our own bad inclinations, and the allurements of other bad persons to encounter, but the efforts of an invisible enemy likewise. And, therefore, it was great mercy in God, to grant us the knowledge of this interesting, and otherwise undiscoverable circumstance of our condition, that we may increase our watchfulness in proportion. And if we do, "Greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world :"4 and " he "will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear.”5
But, though the devil hath no power of his own over us, we may give him as much as we will, and become slaves and vassals to him as long as we please. In this sense, his empire is very large, and, on account of it, the Scripture calls him the prince
(3) James iv. 7, 8. (4) 1 John iv. 4. (5) 1 Cor. x. 13.
of the power of darkness, and even the god of this world. For he was, and is still, in great propriety of speech, the god of many heathen nations; who, instead of the righteous and good Maker of heaven and earth, worship deities of such vile and mischievous characters, as we justly ascribe to the evil one. And even where faith in the true Deity is professed, yet pretended arts of magic, witchcraft, conjuring, fortune-telling, and such like wicked follies, approach more or less to the same crime. For, if any of the wretches, guilty of these things, either have, or imagine they have, any communication with the devil, they plainly rebel against God, and endeavour, at least, to confederate with his enemy. Or, if they only pretend a communication with him, as indeed usually, if not always, it is mere pretence; yet, this is very inconsistent with renouncing him. And, even when they do not so much as pretend it, and would make us believe, that they have such extraordinary skill and power derived from more innocent sources, though they profess no respect to his person, they imitate him in one of his worst qualities, as he is the father of lies. And the lies of this kind are very pernicious ones. They corrupt the notions of religion; give persons unworthy opinions of God; and lead them to imagine, that other beings, as the stars, or even mere names, as Chance and Fate, share with him in the government of the world. But, indeed, lies of all sorts are peculiarly the works of him, who was a liar as well as a murderer from the beginning. And other sins mentioned in Scripture, as more especially diabolical, are pride, envy, malice, false accusations. Whosoever, therefore, allows himself in any of these things, "is of his "father the devil, and the lusts of his father he "doth." But whosoever is by baptism"delivered (6) Ephes. ii. 2. Col. i. 13. (7) 2 Cor. iv. 4. (8) John vië. 44. (9) Ibid.
"from the power of darkness, and translated into "the kingdom of God's dear Son," renounces them all.
Ask yourselves then: Do you renounce them all in fact? For mere words are nothing. Do you carefully avoid them, and labour to preserve yourselves free from them; or do you live in any of them, and love them? That is, are you children of God, or of Satan? and whose are you willing to remain? Make us thine, good Lord, and keep us for ever.
2. We renounce in Baptism, "all the "all the pomps "and vanities of this wicked world." The world, which God created, was good: and so far as it. continues good, we renounce it not. Therefore, the innocent gratifications, which he hath provided for us in it, we ought not to condemn, but to partake of them with moderation and thankfulness; the difference of rank and stations, which is requisite for the due order of society, we ought to maintain with prudent humility; and every one should take his proper part, as Providence directs him, in the various employments which furnish to us the necessaries and conveniencies of life. Labouring to procure such a competency for ourselves and ours, as will support us comfortably in our present condition, is what we are bound to. And if, by lawful methods and reasonable care, we can rise higher, we may allowably do it, and justly consider it as the promised blessing of God upon our industry. In these respects then we do not renounce the world; for in these it is not wicked. And we should not affect to detach ourselves too much from the state of things, in which heaven hath placed us; but, ordinarily speaking, take our share, (whatever it happens to be) and that contentedly, of such employments as contribute to
(1) Col. i. 13.
the common good. If we do meet with difficult trials in our way, as they are of God's choosing for us, we are not to fly from them improperly, but trust in him for ability to go through them well. And they, who resolve to retire out of the reach of all such temptations, seldom fail to run into more dangerous ones of their own creating.
We ought not, therefore, to shun what our Maker hath appointed us to engage in ; but then we ought to engage in it only in such a manner as he hath appointed; and to recollect continually, "that we are of God, and the whole world lieth "in wickedness."2 Not only the Heathen world had its idolatrous pomps, or public spectacles, and its immoral vanities, which were peculiarly meant in this renunciation at first; but that, which calls itself Christian, is full of things, from which a true Christian must abstain. All methods of being powerful or popular, inconsistent with our integrity; all arts of being agreeable at the expence or hazard of our innocence; all ways of encroaching on the properties of others, and all immoderate desires of adding to our own; all diversions, entertainments, and acquaintances, that have a tendency to hurt our morals or our piety; making common practice the rule of our conduct, without considering whether it be right or wrong; filling our time in such manner, either with business or amusements, (be they ever so innocent in themselves) as not to leave room for the main business of life, the improvement of our hearts in virtue, the serious exercise of religion, and a principal attention to the great concerns of eternity; these are the things, in which consists "friendship with "the world," which is "enmity with God;" "and if any man love it" thus, "the love of the "Father is not in him." Which, then, do you
(2) I John v. 19. (3) James iv. 4. (4) 1 John i. 15. с
renounce, and which do you choose? The world, or the Maker of it? Surely you will adopt the Psalmist's words: "I cried unto thee, O Lord,
and said, thou art my hope, and my portion "in the land of the living."5"
3. We renounce, at our Baptism, "all the " sinful lusts of the flesh;" that is, every unreasonable and forbidden gratification of any appetite or aversion that belongs to the human frame. Whatever inclination is truly primitive in our na ture, may be innocently gratified, provided it be in a lawful manner, and a due subordination to the higher principles within us; but when these bounds are transgressed, there begins sin. All such indulgence, therefore, in eating and drinking, as obscures the reason of persons, inflames their passions, hurts their healths, impairs their fortunes, or wastes their time; all sloth, indolence, and luxurious delicacy; all wantonness, impurity, and indecency, with whatever tempts to it; these are renounced under this head; and not these only, but every other sin, that hath its first rise within our hearts. For, in the language of religion, as the spirit signifies the inward principle of all good, so doth the flesh that of all evil. Therefore, vanity and self-conceit, immoderate anger, ill-temper and hard-heartedness, repining at the good of others, or at our own disadvan tages; in short, whatever disposition of our souls is dishonourable to God, prejudicial to our neighbour, or unreasonable in itself, falls under the same denomination with the aforementioned vices. For "the works of the flesh (saith the Apostle) "are manifest; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, "hatred, variance, wrath, strife, seditions, envy. "ings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I also told you in time past, that
(5) Psal. cxlii. 6.