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as itself is unprofitable. As we must restrain the inclinations of nature, so also of society and relation, when they become inconvenient, and let nothing of our family be so adopted, or naturalized into our affections, as to create within us a new concupiscence, and a second time spoil our nature : what God intended to us for a help, let not our fondnesses convert into a snare; and he that is not ready to deny the importunities, and to reject the interests, of a wife, or child, or friend, when the question is for God, deserves to miss the comforts of a good, and to feel the troubles of an imperious woman.
6. Thirdly: We also have ends and designs of our own, some great purpose, upon which the greatest part of our life turns ;
it may be, we are to raise a family, to recover a sunk estate; or else ambition, honour, or a great employment, is the great binge of all our greater actions; and some men are apt to make haste to be rich, or are to pass through a great many difficulties to be honourable : and here the devil will swell the hopes, and obstruct the passages; he will heighten the desire, and multiply the business of access, making the concupiscence more impatient, and yet the way to the purchase of our purposes so full of employment and variety, that both the implacable desire, and the multitude of changes and transactions, may increase the danger, and multiply the sin. When the enemy hath observed our ends, he makes his temptations to reflect from that angle which is direct upon them, provoking to malice and impatience against whomsoever we find standing in our way, whether willingly or by accident; then follow naturally all those sins, which are instrumental to removing the impediments, to facilitating the passage, to endearing our friends, to procuring more confidents, to securing our hopes, and entering upon possession. Simon Magus had a desire to be accounted some great one; and by that purpose he was tempted to sorcery and divination; and with a new object he brought a new sin into the world, adding Simony to his sorcery, and taught posterity that crime, which, till then, had neither name nor being. And those ecclesiastics, who violently affect rich or pompous prelacies, pollute themselves with worldly arts, growing covetous as Syrian merchants, ambitious as the Levantine princes, factious as the people, revengeful as jealousy, and proud as conquerors and usurpers; and, by this means, beasts are brought into the temple, and the temple itself is exposed to sale, and the holy rites, as well as the beasts of sacrifice, are made venal. To prevent the infinite inconveniences, that thrust themselves into the common and great roads of our life, the best course is to cut our great channel into little rivulets, making our ends the more, that we may be indifferent to any, proposing nothing great, that our desires may be little ; for so we shall be better able to digest the troubles of an enemy, the contradictions of an unhandsome accident, the crossing of our hopes; because our desires are even, and our ends are less considerable, and we can, with much readiness, divert upon another purpose, having another ready with the same proportion to our hopes and desires as the first. Thus, if we propound to ourselves an honest employment or a quiet retirement, a work of charity abroad or of devotion at home, if we miss in our first setting forth, we return to shore, where we can negotiate with content, it being alike to us either to traffic abroad with more gain, or trade at home with more safety. But when we once grow great in our desires, fixing too earnestly upon one object, we either grow impatient; as Rachel, “ Give me children, or I die :” or take ill courses and use unlawful means; as Th
choosing rather to lie with her father than to die without issue : or else are miserable in the loss and frustration of our hopes; like the women of Ramah, who “ would not be comforted.” Let, therefore, our life be moderate, our desires reasonable, our hopes little, our ends none in eminency and prelation above others @ : for as the rays of light, passing through the thin air, end in a small and undiscerned pyramis, but, reflected upon a wall, are doubled, and increase the warmth to a scorching and troublesome heat; so the desires of man, if they pass through an even and an indifferent life towards the issues of an ordinary and necessary course, they are little, and within command; but if they pass upon an end, or aim of difficulty or ambition, they duplicate, and grow to a disturbance : and we have seen the even and temperate lives of indifferent persons continue in many degrees of innocence; but the temptation of busy designs is too great, even for the best of dispositions. 7. But these temptations are crasse and material, and soon discernible; it will require some greater observation to arm against such, as are more spiritual and immaterial. For he hath apples to cozen children, and gold for men; the kingdoms of the world for the ambition of princes, and the vanities of the world for the intemperate; he hath discourses and fairspoken principles to abuse the pretenders to reason, and he hath common prejudices for the more vulgar understandings. Amongst these I choose to consider such, as are by way of principle or proposition.
e Vim temperatam dii quoque provehunt
In majus : ¡idem odere vires
8. The first great principle of temptation I shall note, is a general mistake, which excuses very many of our crimes upon pretence of infirmity, calling all those sins, to which by natural disposition we are inclined, (though, by carelessness and evil customs, they are heightened to a habit), by the name of sins of infirmity ; to which men suppose they have reason and title to pretend. If, when they have committed a crime, their conscience checks them, and they are troubled, and, during the interval and abatement of the heats of desire, resolve against it, and commit it readily at the next opportunity ; then they cry out against the weakness of their nature, and think, as long as this body of death is about them, it must be thus, and that this condition may stand with the state of grace : and then the sins shall return periodically, like the revolutions of a quartan ague, well and ill for ever, till death surprises the mistaker. This is a patron of sins, and makes the temptation prevalent by an authentic instrument; and they pretend the words of St. Paul, “ For the good that I would, that I do not; but the evil that I would not, that I do. For there is a law in my members rebelling against the law of my mind, bringing me into captivity to the law of sinf.” And thus the state of sin is mistaken for a state of grace, and the imperfections of the law are miscalled the affections and necessities of nature, that they might seem to be incurable, and the persons apt for an excuse, therefore, because for nature there is no absolute cure. But that these words of St. Paul
not become a savour of death, and instruments of a temptation to us, it is observable, that the apostle, by a fiction of person, (as is usual with him 5,) speaks of himself, not as in the state of regeneration under the Gospel, but under the difficulties, obscurities, insufficiencies, and imperfections of the law; which, indeed, he there contends to have been a rule good and holy, apt to remonstrate our misery, because by its prohibitions, and limits given to natural desires, it made actions before indifferent) now to be sins; it added many curses to the breakers of it, and, by an efficacy of contrariety, it made us more desirous of what was now unlawful : but it was a covenant, in which our nature was restrained, but not helped; it was provoked, but not sweetly assisted; our understandings were instructed, but our wills not sanctified, and there were no suppletories of repentance; every greater sin was like the fall of an angel, irreparable by any mystery, or express, recorded or enjoined. Now of a man under this covenant he describes the condition to be such, that he understands his duty, but by the infirmities of nature he is certain to fall, and by the helps of the law not strengthened against it, nor restored after it; and therefore he calls himself, under that notion, “A miserable man, sold under sin,” not doing according to the rules of the law, or the dictates of his reason, but by the unaltered misery of his nature certain to prevaricate. But the person described here is not St. Paul, is not any justified person, not so much as a Christian, but one who is under a state of direct opposition to the state of grace; as will manifestly appear, if we observe the antithesis from St. Paul's own characters. For the man here named is such, as in whom“ sin wrought all concupiscence, in whom sin lived, and slew him," so that he was dead in trespasses and sins ; and although he “ did delight in the law after his inward man,” that is, his understanding had intellectual complacencies and satisfactions, which afterwards he calls“ serving the law of God with his mind,” that is, in the first dispositions and preparations of his spirit, yet he could act nothing; for the law in his members did enslave him, “ and brought him into captivity to the law of sin ";" so that his person was full of actual and effective lusts, he was a slave to sin, and dead in trespasses : but the
i Rom. vii. 19, 23.
1 Cor. vi. 12; and x, 23, 29,
8 Ut videre est, Rom. iii. 7. Gal. ii. 18. 30; and xiii. 2.
1 Rom. vii, 8, 11, 22, 23, 25.
state of a regenerate person is such, as to have “crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts' ," in whom sin did not reign, not only in the mind, but even also not in the mortal body; over whom sin had no dominion; in whom the old man was crucified, and the body of sin was destroyed, and sin not at all served. And to make the antithesis yet clearer, in the very beginning of the next chapter the apostle saith, “ That the spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made him free from the law of sin and death k;” under which law, he complained immediately before, he was sold and killed, to show the person was not the same in these so different and contradictory representments. No man in the state of grace can say, “ The evil that I would not, that I do ;" if, by evil, he means any evil that is habitual, or in its own nature deadly
9. So that now let no man pretend an inevitable necessity to sin; for if ever it comes to a custom or to a great violation, though but in a single act, it is a condition of carnality, not of spiritual life; and those are not the infirmities of nature, but the weaknesses of grace, that make us sin so frequently, which the apostle truly affirms to the same purpose : “ The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other : so that ye cannot (or that ye do not !) do the things that ye would m.” This disability proceeds from the strength of the flesh, and weakness of the Spirit: for he. adds, “ But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law:” saying plainly, that the state of such a combat, and disability of doing good, is a state of man under the law, or in the flesh, which he accounts all one;
man that is sanctified under the Gospel is led by the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit, and brings forth the fruits of the Spirit. It is not our excuse, but the aggravation of our sin, that we fall again, in despite of so many resolutions to the contrary. And let us not flatter ourselves into a confidence of sin, by supposing the state of grace can stand with the custom of any siņ: for it is the state either of an animalis homo, (as the apostle calls nim",) that is, a man in pure naturals,
i Gal. v. 24. Rom. vi. 6, 12, 14.
m Gal. v. 17.
k Rom. viji. 2.