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of the other; and his very loss of liberty in an uncommanded instance, may tempt him to inconvenience. But then, for the single and transient actions of piety, although in them the danger is less, even though the imprudence be great, yet it were well, if new Beginners in religion would attempt a moderate and an even piety, rather than actions of eminence, lest they retire with shame, and be afflicted with scruple, when their first heats are spent, and expire in weariness and temptation. It is good to keep within the circuits of a man's affections, not stretching out all the degrees of fancy and desire, but leaving the appetites of religion rather unsatisfied, and still desiring more, than by stretching out the whole faculty, leave no desires but what are fulfilled and wearied.

23. Thirdly: I shall not need here to observe such temptations, which are direct invitations to sin, upon occasion of the piety of holy persons; such as are security, too much confidence, pride, and vanity : these are part of every man's danger, and are to be considered upon their several arguments. Here I was only to note the general instruments of mischief. It remains now, that I speak of such remedies and general antidotes, not which are proportioned to sins in special, but such as are preventions, or remedies, and good advices in general.

24. First : Let every man abstain from all occasions of sin, as much as his condition will permit. And it were better to do some violence to our secular affairs, than to procure apparent or probable danger to our souls. For if we see not a way open and ready prepared to our iniquity, our desires oftentimes are not willing to be troubled, but opportunity gives life and activeness to our appetites. If David had not from his towers beheld the private beauties of Bathsheba, Uriah had lived, and his wife been unattempted ; but sin was brought to him by that chance, and entering at the casements of his eyes, set his heart on fire, and despoiled him of his robes of honour and innocence. The riches of the wedge of gold, and the beauty of the Babylonish garment, made Achan sacrilegious upon the place, who was innocent enough in his preceding purposes : and therefore that soul, that makes itself an object to sin, and invites an enemy to view its possessions, and live in the vicinage, loves the sin itself; and he

that is pleased with the danger, would willingly be betrayed into the necessity and the pleasure of the sin : for he can have no other ends to entertain the hazards, but that he hath a farther purpose to serve upon them; he loves the pleasure of the sin, and therefore he would make the condition of sinning certain and unavoidable. And therefore holy Scripture, which is admirable and curious in the cautions and securities of virtue, does not determine its precepts in the precise commands of virtuous actions, but also binds up our senses, obstructs the passage of temptation, blocks up all the ways and avenues of vice, commanding us “ to make a covenant with our eyes; not to look upon a maid; not to sit with a woman that is a singer; not to consider the wine when it sparkles, and gives its colour rightly in the cup;" but“ to set a watch before our mouths, to keep the door of our lips;" and many more instances to this purpose, that sin

may

not come so near as to be repulsed; as knowing sin hath then prevailed too far, when we give the denial to its solicitations.

25. We read a story of a virtuous lady, that desired of St. Athanasius to procure for her, out of the number of the widows fed from the ecclesiastical corban, an old woman, morose, peevish, and impatient; that she might, by the society of so ungentle a person, have often occasion to exercise her patience, her forgiveness, and charity. I know not how well the counsel succeeded with her; I am sure it was not very safe : and to invite the trouble, to triumph over it, is to wage a war of an uncertain issue ; for no end but to get the pleasures of the victory, which oftentimes do not pay for the trouble, never for the danger. An Egyptian, who acknowledged fire for his god, one day doing his devotions, kissed his god after the manner of worshippers, and burnt his lips. It was not in the power of that false and imaginary deity to cure the real hurt he had done to his devoutest worshipper. Just such a fool is he, that kisses a danger, though with ą, design of virtue, and hugs an opportunity of sin for an advantage of piety; he burns himself in the neighbourhood of the flame, and twenty to one but he may perish in its embraces. And he that looks out a danger, that he may overcome it, does as did the Persian, who worshipping the sun, looked upon him, when he prayed him to cure his sore eyes. The sun may as well cure a weak eye, or a great burden knit a broken arm, as a danger can do him advantage, that seeks such a combat which may ruin him, and after which he rarely may have this reward, that it may be said of him, he had the good fortune not to perish in his folly. It is easier to prevent a mischief than to cure it; and besides the pain of the wound, it is infinitely more full of difficulty to cure a broken leg, which a little care and observation would have preserved whole. To recover from a sin is none of the easiest labours, that concern the sons of men; and therefore it concerns them rather not to enter into such a narrow strait, from which they can never draw back their head, without leaving their hair and skin and their ears behind. If God please to try us, he means us no hurt, and he does it with great reason and great mercy; but if we go to try ourselves, we may mean well, but not wisely: for as it is simply unlawful for weak persons to seek a temptation, so for the more perfect it is dangerous. We have enemies enough without, and one of our own withinz: but we become our own tempter, when we run out to meet the world, or invite the devil home, that we may throw holy water upon his flames, and call the danger nearer, that we may run from ita. And certainly men are more guilty of many of their temptations than the devil, through their incuriousness or rashness doing as much mischief to themselves as he can : for he can but offer; and so much we do, when we run into danger. Such were those stories of St. Antony provoking the devil to battle. If the stories had been as true as the actions were rash and ridiculous, the story had fastened a note of indiscretion upon that good man; though now I think, there is nothing but a mark of fiction and falsehood on the writer.

26. Secondly: Possibly without fault we may be engaged in a temptation, but then we must be diligent to resist the first beginnings : for when our strength is yet entire and unabated, if we suffer ourselves to be overcome, and consent to its first and weakest attempts, how shall we be able to resist, when it hath tired our contestation, and wearied our patience, when we are weaker and prevailed upon, and the temptation is stronger and triumphant in many degrees of victory? By how much a hectic fever is harder to be cured than a tertian, or a consumption of the lungs than a little distillation of rheum upon the throat; by so much is it harder to prevail upon a triumphing lust than upon its first insinuations. But the ways of resisting are of a different consideration, proportionably to the nature of the crimes.

z Sed quid ego omne malam mundique hominumque maligni

Hostis ad invidiam detorqueo ? quum mala nostra
Ex nostris concreta animis, genus, et caput, et vim,
Quid sint, quid valeant, sumunt de corde parente.

Prud. Hamartig. a Ecclus. xxi. 27. Quum exsecratur impius Satanan, suam ipsius animam exsecratur.

27. First: If the temptation be to crimes of pleasure and sensuality, let the resistance be by flightb: for, in case of lust, even to consider the arguments against it is half as great temptation, as to press the arguments for it; for all considerations of such allurements make the soul perceive something of its relish, and entertain the fancy. Even the pulling pitch from our clothes defiles the fingers; and some adherences of pleasant and carnal sins will be remanent even from those considerations, which stay within the circuit of the flames, though but with purpose to quench the fire, and preserve the house. Chastity cannot suffer the least thought of the reproaches of the spirit of impurity: and it is necessary to all, that will keep their purity and innocence against sensual temptations, to avoid every thing that may prejudice decorum. Libanius the sophist reports, that a painter being one day desirous to paint Apollo upon a laurel-board, the colours would not stick, but were rejected ; out of which his fancy found out this extraction : that the chaste Daphne (concerning whom the poets feign, that, flying from Apollo, who attempted to ravish her, she was turned into a laureltree) could not endure him even in painting , and rejected him after the loss of her sensitive powers. And indeed chaste souls do, even to death, resent the least image and offer of impurity : whatsoever is like a sin of uncleanness, he that means to preserve himself chaste, must avoid, as he would avoid the sin; in this case there being no difference but of degrees between the inward temptation and the crime.

b Time videre undè possis cadere; noli fieri perversâ simplicitate securus. - S. Aug.

« Και αρνείται τον έρωτα, κάν το δένδρον.

28. Secondly: If the temptation be to crimes of troublesome and preternatural desires, or intellectual nature, let the resistance be made consertâ manu, by a perfect fight, by the amassing of such arguments in general, and remedies in particular, which are apt to become deleteries to the sin, and to abate the temptation. But, in both these instances, the resistance must at least be as soon as the attempt is, lest the violence of the temptation ontrun our powers : for if, against our full strength, it hath prevailed to the first degrees, its progress to a complete victory is not so improbable, as were its successes at the first beginnings. But to serve this, and all other ends, in the resisting and subduing a temptation, these following considerations have the best and most universal influence.

29. First : “ Consideration of the presence of God," who is witness of all our actions, and a revenger of all impiety. This is so great an instrument of fear and religion, that whoever does actually consider God to be présent, and considers what the first consideration signifies, either must be restrained from the present temptation, or must have thrown off all the possibilities and aptnesses for virtue; such as are modesty, and reverence, and holy fear. For if the face of a man scatters all base machinations, and we dare not act our crimes in the theatre, unless we be impudent as well as criminal; much more does the sense of a present Deity fill the places of our heart with veneration and the awe of religion, when it is thoroughly apprehended and actually considered. We see not God," he is not in our thoughts,” when we run into darkness to act our impurities. For we dare not commit adultery, if a boy be present; behold, the boy is sent off with an excuse, and God abides there, but yet we commit the crime : it is because, as Jacob said at Bethel, “ God was in that place, and we knew not of it;" and yet we neither breathe, nor move an artery, but in him, and by his assistance ;

“ In him we live, and move, and have our being d.” And, “ All things are naked and open in his sight®.” iniquity of my people is very great; for they say, The Lord seeth notf.” “ Shall not he that made the eye, see ?"

66 The

" To

d Acts, xvii. 28.
f Ezek. ix. 9. Jer. xxiii. 94.

e Heb. iv. 13.
6 Psal. xciv. 9.

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