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or Soul, to the Day of Redemption, may be grieved, or vexed, with our corrupt Communications afterwards : And, there is Tuch a Thing as having even been Illuminated; having tasted of the Cæleftial Gift; having been made Partakers of the Holy Ghost; having tasted of the good Word of God, and of the Power of the World to come : And yet after all, there may be a falling away from all this; a drawing back to Perdition ; a quenching, grieving, doing despite to, the Spirit of Grace; a falling from Grace; a failing, or being destituted, of Grace, in such manner, that it shall not be possible to renew them any more again for ever: That is, in short, Men may be Renew'd by the Holy Ghost, and yet may afterwards fall from this Renewal in such fort, as that it shall not be pofsible to Renew them any more again for ever. It implies that Men may be renew'd to their primary and general Christian State of Renewal, by new Acts of Repentance, Faith, Devotion, and the use of the Holy Eucharist, several Times; and, that they may finally fall from the same, so that they never can be renew'd again,
For, we are moreover told, that a Man may even be the Temple of God, and yet defile his Temple, and be destroy'd; that he
make the Members of Christ the Members of an Harlot; may put off the old, and put on the new, Man, which is renew'd after the Image of him that created him; and, fo, may become
a new Creature; and, yet, forfeit the Benefit of this, if he do not continue to walk by this Rule; that he may live in, or by, the Spirit, and it shall not suffice, unless he walk, or persevere also, in the Spirit, that he may be called to the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free ; and, yet, forfeit this Liberty, by abusing it for an occasion to the Fle. Nay, the Apostle mentions some, who were Children of Godin Christ Jesus; who had put on Chrift; were Abraham's Seed, and Heirs according to the Pro
God having sent the Spirit of his Son into their Hearts, crying, Abba Father; and who notwithstanding all this, when even they knew God, or rather were known of God, were for turning back to the beggarly Elements, so that he was afraid of them, left he had bestow'd on them Labour in vain. We are moreover exhorted, to make our Calling and Election sure: And, are promised, that we fall reap, but conditionally, If we faint not, &c.
All which does but follow the Condition of Man's Free-Agency generally given him, as has been above describ'd: With this there can, I say, be nothing certain, but the Election and Oblignation in the Divine Prescience of a Man's perfevering to the End in the right use of that Agency.
I think our Modern Esprits Forts (who Reason as if either Nature were God, or, at least, did give Laws to God) have no Notion of any Liberty but to follow Nature, that is, the ever
varying Proteus of their own natural Instincts, and to live as they list. By which Means they have stoutly extricated themselves out of all Intanglements. They have neither Law, nor Traditions, nor Reason, nor Revelation, nor Philofophy, nor Religion, but to commit themfelves, at all Adventures, without Card or Compass, to the vast Ocean of Imagination ; to Think any thing, Talk every thing, and Beans lieve nothing. And tho'this splits them (as it necessarily must) into a Thousand fantastic Seats, making them give the most different, and even contradictory, Accounts of Virtue, Vice, Liberty, Servitude, every Thiag! As they are of different Complexions and Tempers amongst themselves; yet, are they still at Eafe! Such is the Advantage of an absolute State of Indifference and Inertitude to every thing but that one to which they always are sufficiently eager and strenuous, viz. Opposition to the Truth! The Truth, unknown, unfought! Not so,
Their Heathen Fathers, the Philosophers, but, these Men more inquisitive Scrupulous and Tender (betwixt the Study of Morality; the Nature, Number, and Residence, of their false Gods, and some Traditions which they had of the true, but were resolv'd to stifle and pervert; the fitness or unfitness of the vulgarly received Rites of Worship, Sc.) were at their Wit's End: But, among all their Perplexities no one distressed them more than that strange Tradition which they had receiv'd of some
sort of Liberty from some sort of Servitude, to be obtain'd (by what Means they either cou'd not tell, or wou'd not acknowledge) to the Spirit or Soul of Man. The Epicureans made Liberty to consist in a negative kind of Happiness, and indolent Freedom from Cares and Anxieties, by affe&ing an absolute indifference to Events. The Stoicks made their Wise Man FREE, and all the rest of the World SLAVES: But, their Charter of Immunities lay in their own Prudence and Fortitude only; the laft Resource of which (when they were pressed with any Difficulty or Distress beyond their Philosophical Bearing) was with a fullen, and desperate, Refentment to dispatch, and vindicate, themselves to Liberty with their Dage gers. Plato, and his Master Socrates (who had somewhere heard more than they wou'd tell, and often mutter'd more than they wou'd have understood) talk'd in Confusion of Viro tue, Wisdom, Purification, Liberty, and Reunion with their first Cause, or God: But, not confessing the true Spirit of God, but a certain (Supream) Spirit of Nature only; a Mind or Wisdom diffus'd thro' this System, pervading and comprehending the whole, and every part of it; with certain familiar Demons of their own, and making their faid Re-union to be with such Spirit or Mind or Damon, they ftill
laps'd into a Communion or Partaking with :: Devils and not with God, and so, in all their Searches inslayed themselves more and more,
without ever attaining to any Tafte or Feeling of what true' Liberty was. But, to
In the true State of Enfranchisement by Christ Jefus, there is still a Difficulty remaining; tho, from what has been said, the Reader sees already how it may be foly’d. Faith is said, as by our Homilifts above, to be Man's Part for Justification, and yet to be also the Gift of God. Both which Affirmations again (howsoever feemingly Contradictory) are true. For, it is Man's Part, for Apprehension, by Recognition and Confeffion; and God's Part for Effect in Operation. Both which the Father of the Demoniac Child did express in two Words - Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. Mar. ix. 24.
But whereby (may we ask) doth Faith peräte, as above? The Apostle hath told us, by Love. For
, in Christ Jesus, says he, neither Čircumcision availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcision, but Faith which WORKÈTH BY, LOVE, Gal. v. 6. But this is done intermediately by that Divine Virtue, which is the proximate Iffue or Product of Faith, that is, by Hope, as the Anchor of the Sout, entring into that within the Vail of the true Sanctum Sanctorum in Heaven, and bringing back, glad Asurance of the Divine Love, to our Souls, And, at the fame Time to teach us, that this is not orr Part; he fays again---the Love of God N