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1. GOD Almighty hath fubftituted the foul of man as his deputy or vicegerent in that province which is committed to him, and expects an account from the foul at his return, or fooner, how he hath managed that province or petty dominion committed to him.
2. The province, or territory committed to the management of the foul, are his body, and thofe affections and inclinations incident to it; and the place, condition, relation, abilities and opportunities put into his hand by Providence and divine difpenfation, toge ther with that body in this world.
3. The end of this fubftitution of the foul in this province is, First, the improvement of the revenue of this principle, viz. The glory of his name. Secondly, the improvement of the perfection and advantage of the foul, the perfecting of the foul thereby in a conformity to his Mafter's will, and fitting of itself, and the body with it, for a more noble and divine condition and employment.
4. The breach of that truft committed to the foul, confifts either in the want of that due improvement of the province committed to the foul's vicegerency, according to the advantages that it hath; (which is the cafe of the unprofitable fervant, that did not mifemploy his talent, but did not improve it to his master's advantage:) or, which is worse, mifgovernment and
mifemployment of the province committed to its charge, to the disadvantage of the fovereign and itself.
5. The mifgovernment of our province confifts principally in one of these particulars: viz. Either in the original and primary defection of the foul itself in its commands and proceedings, whereby it studieth, practifeth and commands originally and primarily against its principle; and this is devilish; or, fecondly, in the want of exercife in a due fuperintendency over its province, whereby the fubjects which fhould be under its rule and fuperintendency, are not kept in their due fubjection neither to the vicegerent nor to the fovereign; but rebel, and by their rebellion either wholly caft off their vicegerent and fovereign together, or by degrees draw over the vicegerent or deputy to their defection.
6. The great engines of this defection are the corrupt inclinations of the fenfual appetite, lufts and passions of the body, and especially those which are the great favourites, and moft powerful in refpect of their congruity to the natural inclinations and temper, or rather diftemper of the body; or thofe temptations which the world offers, especially fuch as are most incident to the place, ftation, relation or condition wherein we ftand in the world. The former come under the name of the luft of the flesh; the latter under the name of the lufts of the eye, and pride of life.
7. Those lufts and temptations are the instruments in the hand of Satan, either by folicitation to corrupt, or by power to oppofe the vicegerency of the foul under God, and to bring it over, by allurements or force, to a defection from him, and in both ways fight against the fovereignty of God, and confequently his glory, and against the perfection of the foul, and confequently its happiness.
8. Those lufts are of greatest power that have the greatest dearness to the body, either in refpect of age, complexion, inclination, condition or ftation; and therefore of greatest danger to the foul, and fight
againft it with greatest advantage: In a young man, or a ftrong fanguine complexion, luxury, wantonnefs and uncleannefs are most ordinarily moft prevalent; in an old or melancholy man, covetoufnefs; in a middle-aged or choleric man, anger, ambition, violence; in a rich or powerful man, oppreffion, difdain, pride; in a poor man, difcontent, rapine. And there is fcarce any man but hath fome beloved luft or fin, that he will be content to fell all the reft of his lufts for the enjoyment of that tempt him to a luft not fuitable to his complexion, age or condition, he will eafily reject it; but if it be a luft suitable to his age, complexion or condition, he will hardly, or with difficulty enough refuse it.
9. As every luft fuitable to our age, complexion or condition, is of greateft power, and confequently of greatest danger; fo every fuch luft once entertained in practice, becomes of greater ftrength, and confequently of greater danger than before; and this upon a double reafon First, Because the foul is made the weaker, and more emafculated by the reception and entertainment of a luft: then it is like amiffa pudicitia1, which is the likelier to make a prostitute. Sense of reputation is a great matter to keep innocence, but a loft reputation makes way for a further degree of guilt. Again, the foul, by admittance and entertainment of luft, gains a kind of intimacy and dearness with the luft, and admits it with lefs difficulty a fecond time, because it is now become an acquaintance. And, laftly, every fin caufeth a withdrawing of Divine affiftance from the foul, and an eftranging of the foul from it, a kind of fhameful abfenting of the foul from God; and fo as it lofeth its strength, it loseth its confidence of address for it; which every man's experience will tell him. Secondly; On the part of luft, it is made more bold and confident and adventuring, than it was before it was entertained: it was then more modeft and bafhful, because it knew not how it fhould be entertained; but now it grows confident and imperious.
1 lost chastity.
10. When luft hath gotten the victory in the foul, it either makes the foul, which is God's vicegerent, his vaffal, or his prifoner; either the foul becomes fervant and vaffal to fin, or at the best it is led away captive by it and in both cafes, God is dethroned, the foul embased, and luft gets the empire and dominion; and the foul hath either broken his truft with God, or not performed it as it fhould; the province committed to his management loft, the government abused, the fovereign injured, and the vicegerent is either become a rebel, or at beft a prifoner, by his own default.
11. The means of prevention of this inverfion of the order fettled by the great Sovereign, is, First, that the deputy take due notice of bis inftructions; for he is not placed in that province without his rules of government which his Sovereign hath delivered him. Secondly, that he be very vigilant over the fecret confederacies, motions, and rifings of luft against thofe inftructions; for luft is bufy, troublesome and active, and studies and watcheth all opportunities of defection. Thirdly, that he keep his authority with refolution and courage; for luft, if it be worthy the name of a fubject, it is a petulant and faucy, but yet a flavifh bafe-minded fubject; a little countenance will make it infolent, and a fevere hand over it will make it fervile; and efpecially, that this severity be held over thofe lufts that have or pretend to the greatest interest in the age, complexion, difpofition, quality, ftation, or condition of the province; for as they have the greateft opportunities to do mifchief, fo they will fooneft grow infolent.
12. Though a flight and gentle fuperintendency over luft will teach it to command, yet under a fevere and rigid government the most it will adventure upon will be to afk admiflion; and upon fuch addreffes the duty of this deputy is to be fo far from giving admiffion to it, that it ought not to complement, or treat, or hold conference or debate with it, but flatly deny it: As a fevere deportment of the foul must keep luft from commanding, fo it must check and difcountenance it
in afking; the holding of conference and debate, and reafoning with any luft, is but a preparatory to its admiffion, and gives but the more confidence, boldness, importunity, and hope of fuccefs to it. Eve's reafoning with the ferpent was the firft breach of her innocency: Luft must not be mannerly treated withal, but flatly denied. This is that great doctrine of Self-Derial which the New Teftament fo folemnly enjoins: For though, in truth, our lufts are not ourselves, yet those that grow out of our natural conftitution or condition are next to ourselves, and by mistake we are apt tó efteem them, our eyes, our hands, ourselves.
13. This kind of dealing with lufts and temptations, will in a little time difacquaint the foul with them, and make the foul and them ftrangers one to another. It is eafily feen that thofe things which a man ufeth himfelf unto, so that they seem to become another nature, yet fome defuetude from them' do evidence to him, that they are not fo neceffary and infeparable as he once thought them: Afperam nobis, & infuavem virtutum viam nimia facit vitiorum confuetudo, quæ fi in partem alteram transferatur, invenietur (ficut fcriptura dicit) femita juftitiæ lenis. S. Hier. Ep. 14.2-A man that hath accustomed himself to vain swearing, fo that he can scarce speak a sentence without an oath, and when he is told of it, profeffeth he cannot help it; yet let him refolvedly break the custom of it, he will not find that he miffeth that unhappy rhetoric in his difcourfe: The like is eafily feen in drinking, gaming, wantonnefs, and thofe other fins that are precious and dear to a man in his cuftom and ufe of them; by a little refolute difufe of them, he will foon find he doth not mifs them; he can easily spare them, and be without them: Nay, he finds as great an inconvenience and burdenfomenefs to reaffume them, as before to leave them.
1 cessation from being accustomed to them.
A familiarity with vice renders the road of virtue rugged and unpleasant, whereas if we habituate ourselves to the practice of virtue, the path of righteousness will be found (as the Scripture expresses) smooth and easy.