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that Peace and Joy, which such a Christian meets with 'even in the present Course of his Life? Line
Let the Miser boast his Riches; the Ambitious Man his Honours; let the Voluptuary wallow in his Sensual and Beastly Satisfa&tions: But, O Lord ! What Vanity are all these, when compared with the solid Comfort and Satisfaction of a Good ConJcience? That can reflect freely upon its Actions; can search into the most secret Parts of its Life with Joy and Assurance; and delight to compare its Duty and its Practice, and see how Gloriously the one illustrates and sers forth the other? !'' 1. Who would not pursue the Happiness of such a State, tho' there were no such Thing as Heaven and Eternity to follow after ? Certainly, if Pleasure be that which is to govern our Pursuits, 'tis the good Christian that, when all is done, is the only Wise Man; and to consider, the most delightful Practice of any in the World... *** Only let us.consider seriously, and as we ought to do : Let us once in our Lives be persuaded heartily to experiment a Duty, which we have been so often told should be the great Business of them. Let us be willing to be convinced ; and do our Religion and our Souls so much Justice, as to give these Things a fair and an equal Hearing. : ;
So shall all those Blessings I have now been speaking of, descend upon us. We thall Exchange only, not lose or lessen our Enjoyments. Whatfoever Pleasure or Satisfaction we have heretofore met with in the ways of Sin, we shall find them all infinitely : surmounted in the Practice of Religion. Till finally being fit for Heaven, ripe for Immortality, we shall be Translated from these
Excellent, but yet still imperfe£t Joys here, to those abfolute and Eternal Blessings, which neither Eye has feen, nor Ear beard, nor does ir enter into the Heart of Man to conceive.
To vhich God of his infinite Mercy vouchsafe we may all arrive, tirough Jesus Christ our Lord,
Preached at White-Hall, April 26.
2 COR. II. 11.
For we are not ignorant of bis Devices.
Mong all the Parts of Christian Institution, which either the Gospel of Christ directs, or we as the Ministers of Christ,
and your Servants, for Jesus Sake, I Cor. iv. s. exhort you to; there is none after the
Knowledge of our Duty towards God, and what he requires of us, in order to our Eternal Salvation, either more necessary to be well underItood; or, would Men seriously apply themselves to
it, more easy to be attain’d by us, than how to Arm and Fortify our felves against those Devices of Satan, whereby 'he continually Endeavours to Seduce us. ' '
There are few fo ignorant in this Matter, but are able at least to trace out his most ordinary Temptations, and to discover what it is that the most usually exposes them to Sin. And though he has his Crooked and by-paths too, Devices both more subtily laid, and more difficult to be discern'd; yet a little more Vigilancy and Care would serve to discover even these alfo, Cor. iv. 5. and to bring to light the most bidden ' Mysteries of Iniquity. .
But though there be then nothing more obvious to a fincere and inquisitive Mind, than to find out these Artifices of the Devil; yet alas! A fad Experience shews us, that there is scarce any Thing in the World, in which Men for the most part feem more to betray either their Ignorance or their Inadvertency; whilft they suffer every the most ordinary Temptation to overcome them, and scarce an Assault so weak can be made upon them, but what is sure to have its Effect, and find them altogether unprepared to resist it. .
To correct, if it may be, this careless and supine Temper, fo 'dishonourable to God, and fo dangerous to our own Souls; I shall endeavour at this Time to lay before you some of those Methods whereby the Devil is most wont to lead Men into · Sin; That so knowing our Danger, we may be the better able to Arm our Souls against it, left Satan should get an Advantage of us; For me are not ignopant of his Devices.'
The Occasion of which Words was this.
.. St. Paul having in his former Epistle to the Co.,
Carinthians, commanded them to proSee I Cor. Vita nounce a Sentence of Excommunica..
tion upon a certain incestuous Man amongst them, who had Married his Father's Wife; had fince received an Account of a very good Effect that this Infliction had wrought upon the offending Person; ' so as to bring him to a great Sense both of the Sin he had committed, and of the Scandal which thereby, he had given to the Church.' : :
Upon this the Apostle in this, his Second Epistle, cammands , them to take off the: Censure under which he lays and to receive him again into Com-: munion with them, left being swallow d up of cuermuch Sorrows he should be driven to Despair, and so the Devil get an Advantage against them; and that not only in the Ruin of a single Brother, but yer much more, by turning that Discipline. which was designed for the Edification of the Church, into the Destruction of it:: For, says he, we are lot igno, tunt of his Devices..' - Were I not resolved against entring on any Point, of Controversy in this place, I should not here want a very fair Occafion to do it. * It has been the great Endeavour of those of the other communion, to Establish on this Procedure of St. Paul with this Corinthian, their new and dangerous Doétrine of Human Satisfa&tions to be made for Sin, and of the Power of the Church to grant Indulgences for the Remission of them. But I defire now to have no other Enemy but that of my Text to Encounter : And the half of whose Devices will be more than
* See the Rhemists Annot, on this Chap. Catholick Scriptur. Point 26. of Indulgences. n.6.