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For that which I do, I allow not : for what I

would, that do I not; but what I hate,
that do I.

WHETHER the holy Apostle says this SERM. of himself, as some have fancied, or only 111. by a figure of speech, as most others suppose, assumes the character he is representing, to soften the reproof, it would, I fear, be vain to look for such perfection among the sons of men at present, as should render the terms of the accusation inapplicable, even to the generality of Christians; and, therefore, to ourselves among the rest. Though there might seem to be much merit in such a confession, as arguing a just sense of one's own infirmities, yet no confession could more




any of

SERM. strongly set forth the alarming nature of

man's weakness. It is a confession, indeed,
which so far from pleading any excuse for
our transgressions, greatly aggravates our
failures. In exposing our weakness, we
acknowledge our strength; we do not pre.
tend to say we were compelled to submit,
but that we have yielded unnecessarily,
and even with great baseness and igno-
miny thrown down our arms. And yet it
is to be feared that no more suitable form
of confession could be devised for
us: we have none of us surely been so
compelled to yield to temptations, as to be
able to plead a perfect inability, to have
done, or to have judged better; as Chris-
tians undoubtedly, if we would presume to
call ourselves such, this never can have been
the case ; for in addition to the law written
in our hearts, and urged upon us by our
conscience, and besides the written laws of
God promulgated in the Holy Scripture,
we have a promise of the aid and co-ope.
ration of the spirit of God himself, to
strengthen and uphold us, if we do but
shew ourselves disposed to resist as we



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should do. It is not then to be doubted SERM. but that all our sins and wickednesses carry with them this heavy aggravation, that we are always sufficiently instructed not to approve them in our hearts. That what we do, in opposition to God's laws, we dare not pretend to justify; we dare not presume to say

that even our freedom as moral beings, or our condition as rational creatures, allows of it ; for while the flesh is rebellious, a will is nevertheless always present to us by the very laws of our nature, pointing to what is good; so that even the Gentiles had a law, and an internal monitor and witness in their own consciences, that tacitly served to accuse or excuse all the motions of their hearts.

But we Christians, as it has been already observed, have much more to depend on, and be governed by. We are fenced round and fortified by all that can give security against attack, or encouragement under resistance. We have no surprize to apprehend; for we are forewarned, and put sufficiently on our guard. The enemy is not hidden from our view'; we may see him at

may stand

SERM. à distance; snares and ambush will not 11. avail him, unless we voluntarily become

his prey. Even no advantage can be gained over us, by excess of strength or numbers; the faithful and steady Christian need not be afraid, though a host of enemies should encamp against him; with“ bis loins girt << with truth, and baving on the breast-plate of

righteousness, and his feet shod with the pre

paration of the gospel of peace;" with bis *** shield of faith, and bis belmet of salvation ;" and, above all, the sword of the spirit, wbich is the word of God;" he fast in the darkest day of trial and temptation, and resist all the attacks of this wicked world, his own sinful flesh, and the wiles of the devil. Such is the security provided by the eternal God for the soul of

The terms are figurative, but the fact is plain and intelligible ; if God be for us, who can be against us? or what temptation or stratagem can prevail against us ? Yet with all these means of defence at command, we give way at the first summons often, and go over to the enemy

for the rest of our lives ; but God is not to be



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