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of your Duty, whether to Good or to Bad, SERM.
MATT. iv, I.
Wilderness, to be tempted of the Devil.
Have fixed on thefe Words to discourfe
on at this Time, with the same View that the Church proposes them to our Thoughts and Meditations upon this first Sunday within the Season of Lent. During this Season she fuppofes us to be in fome Degree employed in looking into and examining our Spiritual State, in observing what Progress or Proficiency we have made in Religion and Virtue, and what Hindrances and Obstructions the Enemy of our Salvation still throws in our Way, or lays before us. And whilst we are taken up with such Thoughts as these, she concludes we shall see the Necessity of our continuing still militant here, in order to be victorious or triumphant hereafter. And
therefore that our present Difficulties and Dif- SERM.
But before we descend to
Now the Reason of the Son of God's being made manifest in the Flesh, St. John tells us, was, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil, ίνα λύση τα έργα τη Διαβόλα, 1 John ji. 8. or rather that he might loose them, (as the Greek Word signifies) iie. that he might counter-act the Devil's Part, and set Men free from the Dominion and Power
SERM. which Satan by tempting our first Parents
had obtained over them. He was to undo,
The first Adam, though placed in the
in Futurity, they both greedily swallow the SER M.
Bait, and find indeed, as the Devil told them, their Eyes opened, but opened to what? why to see their own Folly, Nakedness and Shame; their knowledge of Good and Evil enlarged, but by the woful Experience of the Loss of every Thing good to themselves, and the implanting of every Thing evil in it's Room.
And the common Parents of all Mankind being thus vanquished by the Devil's Wiles; the whole Race and Progeny of Men that descended from them, under the Curse and Effects of this original Sin, must naturally remain in Subjection to him. A Subjection from which it was impoffible ever again to be free, unless every Man singly for himself, or another general Representative and Head of all Mankind, should, in the Name of all, renew the Combat, and enter the Lists with the Devil again, and by vanquishing and subduing him, spoil him of the Dominion and Power he had before obtained over us.
But now this was .what no natural Son of Adam could ever propose. For if Adam himself, whilft in his original Righteousnefs, and fortified with superior Assistance and Grace, could not stand his Affaults ; how could
descended from him after his Fall, after his Nature was