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Ser m.inferior man is stronger ; its appetites and pafXXII. fions oppose it with their utmost violence; Wand when they begin to fajl and give ground,

then the powers of hell are alarmed, and the wiles of the Devil are lent for succours; and then the mind doth not wrestle only against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and against the rulers of darkness : However, if it do persist, the grace of God is sufficient for it, and a fure and certain victory attends it in the end.

However, such is the corruption of the lower man, that it makes a strong resistance, and loses its ground but by inches; fometimes it gains upon the mind, and, then is beaten back again; but never ceases to oppose and contratradict all its fentiments and resolutions: And these two contradictory principles within us was what the Heathens were very sensible of, and bewailed even in the most obdurate state of impiety; and when they are about the greatest villanies, they had a sense of the guilt, and found something within which diffuaded them from it, but was always overpowered: Medea, in the tragedy, ready to murder her young

brother, and cut him into shreds, fays, I am fenfible of the villany I am about to commit, θυμός δε κρείσσων των εμών βολευμάτων, but my paffion overcomes my will. And Laius being dissuaded from his cruel purpose of making away his fon, answers, I am already sensible of all you say, it is all right, yvápeno έχoντα μ' ή φύσις βιάξηται, yet nature hurries

me

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me on contrary to the sense of my own SerM.
mind: And Ovid gives a short description XXII.
of this in that well known faying of his,
video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor. And
says Seneca, complaining of this contradiction
within him, quid eft quod nos aliò tenden-
tes aliò trabit ? Quid colluctatur cum animo nof-
tro? Fluctuamus inter varia consilia : And
therefore well might another say with indigna-
nation, odi artus, fragilemque hunc corporis
usum, defertorem animi. I loath these mem-
bers, this feeble body of mine renegado from
the soul.

But St. Paul gives a much more lively de-
scription of this opposition, and wherein the
corruption of our nature consists; for speaking
of a person yet in his fins, I delight, says he,
in the law of God after the inward man; but
there is another law in my members warring
against the law of my mind, and bringing me
into captivity to the law of fin, which is in my
members : And again, He finds a law, that
when he would do good evil is present with him :
And again, I know that in me, (i. e.) in my
flesta dwelleth na good thing, (i. e.) in the lower
man, as it is opposed to the purely fpiritual
part of us; which till it is stifled, and utterly
put to filence, never fails to contradict all
the motions of concupiscence in the body
and sensitive soul; and to dissuade us from
giving way to all their finful defires and af-
fections,

The

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SERM. The experience of every man's own conXXII. science, who looks into himself, will give him ma lively notion of this warfare ; he finds two

contradictory principles within him, drawing him two different ways at the fame time ; he finds himself often distracted with contrary resolutions; he feels warm disputes within him, arguments offered on both sides, and urged on both fides, with potent and prevailing motives; this minute he his bold, and fixt, and determined to take the counfel of the spirit ș the next perhaps he is shaken, and staggered, and bends quite another way:

And while we are deliberating we are carried down the stream of our flethly desires, at the fame time that we are listening to the dictates of the mind; and plunged into fin with the applauses of them in our mouth: So that the lower man often drags the spirit with it, to wallow in the mire of those fins, which it can never justify or approve. When the relish of the fin is over, then the spirit chides, and upbraids it with the guilt and the folly of the fin; this is remorse: Then the mind prevails to put the whole man again into a posture of defence, and he is prepared for another trial; and this is repeated, till, by frequent relapses, the power

and influence of the mind, over the inferior faculties, is much impaired. At last they grow rampant and ungovernable ; they run into open

rebel lion; cast off its yoke; disown its power ; bind it hand and foot in chains, till, as the fcripture expresses it, it is captivated to the law

of

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of fin: Then they take their swing without SER M.
controul; and then the man is spiritually dead; XXII.
because the condition of the mind is then fo
weak and feeble, that nothing less than a mi-
raculous degree of grace can restore it to a
mastery and dominion over the lower man.

But on the contrary, if at any time during
this engagement (though it be when the mind
is near dethroned) being rouzed by any potent
motive, or quickened and encouraged by the
secret operation of the spirit of God working
with our spirit, it lays in its claim; asserts its
right of dominion; then it brings over first
the weaker party ; by degrees it gains strength
enough to grapple with the strongest appetites;
it recovers its birth-right, sits in the throne
and

governs the rebellious passions with a rod of iron ; revenging itself upon

them with mor-
tifications and self-denials; and

upon
fions punishing them with severities according
to their deferts; and then the man is in a
happy and regenerate state.

Herein therefore, lies our disease and our mi-
fery, that the desires and inclinations of the
lower soul and body are, by nature, so much
stronger than the purely spiritual part of us :
But the grace of God helps this infirmity of
ours, and conveys secret assistance to the mind,
in proportion to the degrees and violence of
our corruption; which if it makes use of, it
will gather strength every day; but if it fails
to exert itself according to that power that is
afforded, it will lose ground cortinually; the

grace

all occa

14

Ser m. grace of God will be withdrawn from it by
XXII. degrees ; till it is left at last in a pure state of

nature, unable to overpower the least tenden-
cy

in us to fin.

III. I shall not here stay to shew how this opposition of two contrary principles within us, is a plain and evident proof of the immateriality of the soul ; nor how far this notion may be improved, to give a clear folation of most of those difficulties, both in the theory and practice of religion, which have run men into so many perplexities; which have been canvaffed with so much heat and uncharitableness on all sides; and have been the grounds of many objections made against the christian religion, by men who are glad of any pretence to be debauched; and since they are resolved to be fo, to catch at any thing that makes for the present ease and quiet of their consciences; such as the necessity of a supernatual assistance; the justice of eternal torments; the nature and propagation of original sin; the effential difference between moral good, and evil; together with the natural necessity of misery to the wicked in another world : Which are plain consequences from this text; but I leave these things for another place, and shall now only mention two of the most practicable inferences from this text. And accordingly,

ist. We may, from what hath been said, observe what a fatal error those people live in, who mistake this meer state of nature for a state of grace; and make use of this

to

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