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If we would but take care thus to. call our felves to Account every Night, and impartially to cenfure the Actions of the day, it is not to be imagined how faft 'twould fet us forward in our Christian Warfare; how much the Reflection on a well-pent Day would cheer and enliven us; how the grateful Senfe of it would fpirit our Faculties, and encourage us to go on against all Oppofitions; how much the Review of the Day would contribute to make our Reafon more vigilant, and our Confciences more tender for the future; how much the Pleasure of our Sins would be allayed and abated by the stinging Reflections we should make upon them, and how much the Dread of having the fame Reflections repeated to us at Night, would fecure us against the Temptations of the Day.

VII. To profper the Courfe of our Christian Warfare, it is alfo neceffary that we should be very watchful and circumfpect. For this alfo is one, of thofe militant. Duties which the Gospel injoyns


Thus Matt. xxvi. 41. Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation; and Mark xiii. 37. What I fay unto you, I say unto all, watch: fo alfo, 1 Cor. xvi. 13. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit your felves like men, and 1 Thef. v. 6. Wherefore let us not fleep, as do others, but let us watch and be fober; where the Nature of the Duty is plainly discovered by its Oppofite or Contrary, Let us not fleep, but watch, i. e. do not behave your felves like men that are asleep, that take no Notice or Regard of what is done by, to, or about them; but be fure you exercife a faithful, prudent, and conftant Care over your own Actions, and those manifold Tempta

Temptations that affault and furround you. And therefore elsewhere 'tis expreit by walking circumspectly, Eph. v. 15. i. e. looking round about you, weighing the nature and circumstances of your Actions, and using all honeft Care either to prevent the Temptations that threaten you, or to provide against them; fo that in fhort the fenfe of this Duty is this, that we carefully avoid acting rafhly and precipitantly without confidering beforehand the Nature of our action whether it be good or evil; that in all doubtful and fufpicious Cafes we impartially confult our Rule and Confcience, and look before we leap, and take care to fatis fie our felves of the Goodness of our Designs, before we put them into Execution; in a word, that we do not carelefly run our felves into Temptations, but, if poffible, to avoid them, if not, to be fure to arm our felves against them, and keep as far off from all fin, efpecially from that we are moft inclined to, as is confiftent with our neceffary Occafions; or, in fewer words, 'tis to be always well advifed in what we do, whether it be good or evil; and if it be evil, to remove fo far as we can from all Occafions that lead to it, and provide our felves with Confiderations against it, and to keep them always awake in our Minds, that we may not be furprized by it un


Which is a Duty indifpenfably necessary for us in the whole Courfe of our Chriftian Warfare. For whilst we accuftom our felves to act rafhly and inconfiderately, without bethinking beforehand what we fay or do, we wander like blind men in a Field that is full of Pits and Quagmires



and are every moment in danger of ftumbling into one Mischief or other, and fhall certainly plunge our felves into many an evil Custom before ever we have bethought our felves of the evil of it; and fo instead of conquering our old Sins, we shall be ever and anon running our felves into new ones, and while we are running away from one evil, fhall many times ftumble into another, and to avoid the Defects of Vertue leap headlong into the Exceffes of it. For in most moral Actions the Transition from the utmost of what is lawful into the nearmoft of what is finful is indifcernable; and that Line which parts this Vertue from that neighbouring Vice is generally fo Small, that 'tis hard to distinguish where they are separated, and to fix the just Boundary whitherto we may go and no farther. But then confidering that almost every Vertue lies in the Middle between two finful Extremes, neither of which are feparated from it by any plain or visible Land-mark; how is it poffible for us, without great Care of our Steps, to keep on ftedfaftly in the right Path, when there are fo many wrong ones bordering upon it? For when we perceive we have wandred too far towards either Extreme, and are endeavouring to retrieve our felves, if we do not take great Care of our Steps we fhall be apt to wander as far the other way, and fo ftumble out of one Extreme into another. For he who lives heedlefly and incuriously, regards not how near he approaches to any fin, provided he doth but keep himself out of it and when once a man takes the Liberty to go as near to any Sin as he thinks he lawfully may, it is a thousand to one but he will be tranfported by


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his Inclination a great deal further than he should. So true is that of Clem. Alex. Padag. lib. 2. c. 1. Ταχὺ νὰ καταπίπλεσιν ἐπὶ τὸ δρᾶν τὸ μὴ ἐξόν, οἱ Távta dgävtes äov, i. e. they who will do all things that are lawful, will quickly be induced to do what is unlawful, especially if they be strongly inclined to it; because the very Nearneß of what a man loves, doth always render it more tempting and alluring to him. Thus he that hath a ftrong inclination to Lying, can never be safe so long as he allows himself to be excessive talkative; he that is vehemently propenfe to fleshly Luft, must needs indanger his Innocence if he come too near the farthermoft Limits of a modest Freedom and he whose nature is prone to Malice and Revenge cannot but run a mighty Hazard if he indulge to himself the utmost degree of a just and lawful Refentment. For bad Inclinations are never fo impatient of Restraint, as when they are within Profpect of their proper Satisfactions, and the objects which attract them are near and eafie to be injoyed. Upon which Account it must needs be a very dangerous thing for fuch as are engaged in the Christian Warfare to live within Sight of the Temptations they are most, inclined to; becaufe the nearer they are to them, the more they will court and importune them, and while a man comes near a beloved Luft and doth not enjoy it, he doth but Tantalize himself, and inrage his Appetite after thofe vicious Satisfactions whofe alluring Relishes he had almost forgotten. If therefore he would obtain a perfect Victory over his Luft, he must not only forbear to At, but also to approach it; at least, till he hath fo far weaned his Inclination

Inclination from it, as that its Nearneß ceases to be a Temptation to him. For Inclination, like all other Motion, is always fwifteft when it is nearest its Center, and when once 'tis within the Reach and Attraction of it, it hurries towards it with Fury and Impatience; and if in this its violent Rage it happen to break out to its beloved Sin, and to taste the forbidden Pleasure of it, 'twill thereby immediately recover all its impaired Strength, and become as headstrong and outragious as ever; and fo all that Ground which we get in a Months Abstinence from our fin, we fhall lofe in a Moments Injoyment of it. Upon this account therefore it highly concerns us, if we would fucceed in our Chriftian Warfare, to be very watchful and circumspect, to look well to our Steps, and not approach too near to any Sin, but especially to any that we are strongly inclined


VIII. To give us good Succefs in this our Christian Warfare, it is alfo neceffary,that we be diligent and induftrious in our particular Callings. This is one of thofe inftrumental Duties which our Religion prescribes throughout the whole Course and Progres of our Chriftian Warfare. Thus 1 Thef. iv. 10, 11. We befeech you brethren that you increafe more and more, and that ye ftudy to be quiet, and to do your own business, and work with your own hands, as we commanded ye; and this 2 Thef.iii. 10. be backs with another, that if any would not work, they should not eat, i. e. that they fhould not be maintained in their Sloth and Idlenefs, and like Drones be permitted to dwell at eafe in the Hives and devour the Labours of the more industrious ·Bees;

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