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of a like error, who wilfully separate the edifice of the church from its spiritual relation to God, and consider it merely as a pile of stone and mortar, that they might lightly regard all that belongs to it.

XXIV. We cannot secure ourselves more effectually against this sin, than by meditating on the text in which Christ replied to the Devil-Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, If we seek the protection and salvation of God, we must make no vain experiments, to turn his truth or his power out of their proper channel: if we hope to receive the benefit of his promises, we must be content to receive that benefit in his own way; by the ordinary means of grace, his word and sacraments; and in the church, that visible society, wherein alone those means are administered. To invent any other method of salvation, however it may seem to be favoured by perverted texts of scripture, is to tempt God; having first flattered ourselves, that because he hath promised to be with us while we are with his church, he must therefore send his angels to bear us up when we have quitted our station, and have ventured upon a flight through the air.

XXV. This was the prevailing sin of the last century; when a great part of this unhappy nation was intoxicated with spiritual pride. It was no unusual thing for the preachers and devotees of that time to reason with God Almighty with all the familiarity of Moses himself, but with none of his discretion and charity. Schism and sacrilege, treason, rebellion and murder, were promoted with an air of sanctity; and the promoters themselves were the agents of heaven, appointed to purge the church of superstition, and bring in a purer sort of religion by the methods aforesaid, copiously justified and recommended by impertinent applications of the scripture, which it would be endless to recount.

XXVI. It having pleased God to shew us the miserable effects of such pretensions, it will certainly be our greatest wisdom to recur to the primitive system of faith and practice. The method may seem low and slavish to the fanatic and the philosopher; but we are taught, that God humbles a man in the beginning of his course, that he may exalt him in the end of it: while the Devil, on the other hand, raises him aloft at the first step, that he may soon be gratified with his downfall. Instead of following Satan up to the heights of pride, and standing on the pinnacle, either of sanctity or speculation ; let us abide by the old exploded doctrines of submission and obedience for conscience sake. When a man in his own conceit is become higher, and wiser, and better than the church, charity hath forsaken him, and it will not be long before he forsakes the church: but whether he can humour his pride, and make such an experiment with safety to his person, it behoves him to con. sider very seriously before the experiment is made. If he hath made it in his heart, and his worldly interest restrains him from putting it in practice, the case is little better, and in some instances it may be worse; because we know not what allowances

may be made for the weakness which arises from the example of parents and the prejudices of education. Besides, the excluded dissenter quarrels with the church (or did so formerly) only on the score of its discipline: but the included dissenter hath an aversion to its doctrines.

XXVII. Much advice is held forth to us by the scripture upon this important subject; which, if col-lected together, will be something to this effect.

“ If thou art a child of God, adopted by him in bapa “ tism, and brought to a state of salvation, be not “ wise in thine own opinion; but, like a new-born babe, receive the sincere milk of the word*, that “ thou mayest grow thereby : hear thy mother the

church, which hath brought thee forth unto God: continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fel

lowship t, who themselves continued daily with one accord in the temple ; neither placing themselves “ above it, nor raising tumults within it: so shalt “ thou dwell under the defence of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty: thou shalt “ receive the benefit of his covenant, and have hope in the best of his promises. He shall then indeed

give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all " thy ways; who, after they have borne thee

up

in “ their hands from the dangers of sin and offence, “ shall carry thy peaceful spirit to the bosom of Abras ham; there to rest from its labours, till it shall be

perfected in the kingdom of heaven, where sin and sorrow cannot enter, and charity never faileth.

XXVIII. Having now reviewed the temptations to be expected from the flesh and the Devil; we are to examine the moral of the third and last; wherein the Devil offered to Christ all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, on this conditionif thou wilt fall down and worship me. It may be remarked by the way, that the Devil, who teaches men to depreciate all external forms of religion, and advises us to worship God with the pure adoration of the mind, omitting the ineffectual ceremony of bodily prostration, will not be worshipped so bimself; but requires his servants to fall down, with their knees bent, and

#

1 Pet. ii. 2.

f Acts ii. 42. Soe also, v. 47,

their faces directed to the earth, to signify the reverence and submission of the mind by the visible humiliation of the body.

To shew Christ the kingdoms of the world, he took him up to an exceeding high mountain. He will lead us also from the pinnacle of spiritual pride to the exceeding high mountain of earthly ambition. The Christian, after the example of Moses, may climb the mountain of Contemplation, there take a view of the promised land before he dies: but, with regard to the things of this world, he will be more secure in the lower regions of huinility and obscurity. Yet few stations in this world are so obscure as to be wholly removed from the solicitations of covetousness and ambition. Imagination is easily tempted to make excursions, and place itself where the world, with its wealth and its corruption, if not with its glory and empire, will be offered, to seduce it from its allegiance to the only true God.

• There needs not a kingdom to ruin a covetous soul; half

a one will be more than sufficient; and even thirty

pence would prevail on some to act as Judas did for “ the same poor reward.”

XXIX. If the good things of this world are really committed to Satan, as he hath said, it is certainly with this restriction, that he may bestow them on those who will fall down and worship him. And as the world is not to be obtained from him but condition; they who will move hell itself rather than go without it, will comply with the condition for the sake of the reward. Therefore the vice of covetousness is the same with that oi idolatry; although the Devil does not appear in a visible shape with a command to fall down and worship him. He hath many substitutes, besides the graven images of Jupiter,

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Mars, Thor, or Woden, to which the adoration that is paid will answer his purpose as well as if it were paid to himself in person.

Certainly it is not an evil thing in itself to be intrusted with the good things of this life. The evil consists in taking them on the terms of our adversary. They are often promised to the children of God, and come from the hand of God himself, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy ; adding this wholesome charge, that they who are rich in this world trust not in uncertain riches, but in the living God. The Devil's instructions are of another kind; he gives wealth that the heart may be with it; that the soul and the body may be given up for it; that our belief in God and our hope of heaven may be bartered away for it: God gives it to us, only to be held in trust for the highest purposes; that earthly treasure well applied, may purchase for us the treasures of immortality. This is the way to use the world without abusing it; and thus it is possible with God, that the rich man also may enter into the kingdom of heaven.

When this treasure is presented to us by the Devil, and we are to have the world as the reward of Sin, then we are to turn away with scorn, and reject both the offerer and the offering Our blessed Saviour bore the other temptations with mildness and patience; but this offer of the world in exchange for an act of treason against God, raises his indignation, And every designing wretch, who treats with any man for the purchase of his conscience, deserves to be dismissed with the same sharp rebuke-Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy Gull, and him only shalt thou serve. He who refuses the power and glory of the world from Satan,

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