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confidently expofe our felves. For as he is always ready to affift us, fo he always expects that we fhould acknowledge our Need of, and Dependence upon him, and not prefume too much upon our own Strength, which without his gracious Concurrence, is Weakneß and Impotence. When therefore without Gods Call and Warrant we will needs rush into Temptations in Confidence of our own Ability to refift and conquer them, he many times leaves us without his Aid and Affiftance, that fo he may chastise our Prefumption by permitting us to be defeated, and convince us by the woful Experiment of our Fall, how unable we are to stand without his Aid and Support. It is our daily Prayer that God would not lead us into Temptation, but if for our Trial he thinks meet to do so, we have all Affurance that if we be not wanting to our felves, he will not fuffer us to be tempted above what we are able, but will with the temptation alfo make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. x. 13. But if we will lead our felves into Temptation, in Confidence of our own Ability to contend with, and break through it, God is fo far from being obliged to fecond us in our Folly and unwarrantable Rafhneß, that he is juftly provoked by it to abandon us to our felves, and, as a certain Confequence of that, to permit us to be vanquisht and led captive. Wherefore as we hope to perfevere to the End, and to bring our Warfare to a happy Conclufion, it is highly neceffary that we fhould always keep a jealous Eye upon our felves, and not confide too much in our own Strength and Ability.

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II. To our final Perfeverance in the Christian Warfare, it is alfo neceffary that if at any time we wilfully fall and mifcarry in it, we fhould immediately arife again by Repentance. For what is forbidden us as to one fin, equally extends to all, let not the Sun go down upon your wrath, Eph.iv.26. that is, if you have wilfully given the Reins to your Wrath, fuffer it not to break forth into contumelions Behaviour, but repent of it immediately, before the Sun fets; according to that old PraAtice of the Pythagoreans, mentioned by Plutarch, who when at any time they fell into reproachful Language out of Anger, Τὰς δεξίας ἐμβάλλοντες ἀλλήλοις, καὶ ἀσπαζόμενοι πρὶν ἢ ὲ ἥλιον δύναι δια avolo i.e. before ever the Sun fet they always took care to be reconciled, and constantly hook bands with and embraced one another; and the reafon of the Prohibition, which you have in the next verfe, viz. neither give place to the Devil, that is, by fuffering your Wrath to grow into inveterate Malice, equally extends to all other Sins, which if they be not immediately rooted out by repentance, will quickly improve into Habits. So that we have as much reafon to repent of our Luft before the Sun rifes on it, and of our Frand and Oppreffion before it hath run its courfe on it, as of our Wrath before it goes down upon it. And confequently, by a parity of Reafon, the Prohibition must extend to all other Sins as well as this, and oblige us, when ever we have wilfully fin❜d in any Particular, to revoke and expiate it by an immediate Act of Repentance.

For he that hath fin'd wilfully and not repented of it, doth all the while continue an obftinate


Rebel against God, and is so far from perfevering in the Chriftian Warfare, that he is actually lifted a Voluntier in the adverfe Party. And if after we have thus fin'd, Death thould interpose between us and our Repentance, (as who knows but it may if we repent not immediately) we fhall be fo far from confummating our Chriftian Warfare in Victo ry, that we shall die Vaffals to the Devil. But then as by finning wilfully we do defert God, fo by continuing impenitent under it we still run farther and farther from him, and thereby make fo wide a Gap and Interruption in our religious Progrefs, as will not be easily repaired again; and whereas had we repented and come back without Delay as foon as we had frayed from our Duty, we might have foon recovered the Ground we had loft by it, and by a little more Diligence have gotten as far onward as if we had never interrupted our Progrefs at all; by deferring our Repentance we set our felves farther and farther back, and fhall every day be more and more indifpofed to return. For in the Courfe of our Religion there is no ftanding still, but either we are progreffive or retrograde, going backward or forward as long as we live; fo that when once we are out of our Way, we are still going farther out, till fuch time as we return again; and confequently the longer we are out, the harder 'twill be to return, and the farther we fhall have to the end of our Way. For when I first fin, and the Wound of my Innocence is yet green and fresh, it may easily be cured by the timely Application of a forrowful Confeffion and new Refolution of Amendment; but if I neglect it, 'twill rot and putrefie; my Sense of it will be

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bardned, and my Inclination to it grow every day more inveterate, and then if it be not lanc'd and corroded by a harp, a long, and a painful Repentance, it will turn into an incurable Gangrene. Hence the Apostle bids us exhort one another daily, while it is called to day, that is, to repent while it is called to day, left any of us be hardned through the deceitfulness of fin, Heb. iii. 13. So that when we have wilfully fin'd, we run a mighty Hazard of our final perfeverance, if we don't repent_immediately. For all the while we delay, our Confcience grows more feared, and our Luft grows more confirmed, and God knows where it will end, but 'tis fearfully to be fufpected that that neglected Bruife which we got by our Fall will grow worfe and worfe, and determine at last in final Impenitency. Wherefore as we intend to perfevere in well-doing, it concerns us in the first place to take all poffible Care not to give way to any wilful fin, nor fuffer our felves by any Hopes or Fears to be tempted from our good Refolution, but if at any time our wicked Inclinations fhould prevail against it, to betake our felves immediately to a ferious Repentance, to make a forrowful Confeffion of it to our offended God, and folemnly renew our Refolution against it, that fo we may ftop the growing evil betime, before it's capable of indangering our final Apoftafie.

III. To our final perfeverance,it's neceffary that to prevent the like Falls and Miscarriages for the future, we should indeavour to withdraw our Affections from the Temptations of the World, but more especially from thofe Temptations which were the Occafions of our Fall. For thus we are ftrictly

ftrictly prohibited to fet our affections upon things· on the earth, Col. iii. 21. to love the World, and the things that are in the World, 1 John ii. 15. to lay up for our felves treasures upon earth, Matt. vi. 19. and it is the proper Character of a true Chriftian to be crucified to the World, Gal. iv. 14. and to converse as aStranger and aPilgrim in it,Heb.xi.13. As on the contrary, to mind earthly things, and to be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, are made the proper Characters of Infidels and Apoftates, Phil. iii. 19. compared with 2 Tim. ii, 4. And fo inconfiftent is an inordinate Affection to the World with our perfeverance in the Christian Warfare, that S. James exprefly tells us, that the friendship of the World is enmity with God,Jam.iv.4. and 'tis to the Excefs of our friendship to it that the Scripture frequently attributes our Apoftafie, 2 Tim. iv. 10. and the Apostle tells us, that they that will be rich, that is, immoderately covet to be fo, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lufts,which drown men in perdition and deftruction; and that the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. From all which it's apparent, how neceffary it is, in the accounts of Christianity, in order to our perfeverance, that we fhould indeavour to mean and abstract our felves from the World.

For this World is the Magazine of all those Temptations by which our Vertue and Innocence is importuned and affaulted; and 'tis, either the Hope of fome worldly Pleafure, Profit or Honour that allures, or the Fear of fome of the contrary Evils which are incident to us in the Courfe of Religion that affrights us from our Duty. Whilft Z 3


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