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type, whether as objective, or subjective, active or passive, proceeding or returning, our Practice answerable to the doctrine as far as my text expresses it, and the second part that I proposed to notice is, to foresee evil in the way, and prevent it. And for our success herein we have the law of God to inform, and his grace to enable us : not having far to look beyond ourselves either for the enemy any more than we have for the way to master him: but as the leader of Israel said of the law, and very justly, considering its agreement with our better part, “The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it;" (Deut. xxx. 14;) so we may say with respect to the evil for which it bears a remedy, The temptation is not in heaven; neither is it beyond the sea—but in thy heart and all thy members. For, as our Saviour observes, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false-witness, blasphemies.” (Matt. xv. 19.) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” (Jer. xvii. 9,) says the prophet Jeremiah : and therefore it deserves to be well looked after, as the Wise man advises, “Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. iv. 23.)
Like the life-blood issuing from our heart for importance is its subjugation, and the subjugation of all our members to the law of God in Christ. For these are to be reclaimed as well as that, and perhaps long after itbefore order can be restored, or what we pray for in the beginning of our petition, the Kingdom of God to come among us. Yes, even after the heart has been recovered by God's word, will the stubborn members generally, if not always, continue their troublesome opposition; as St. Paul tells us he experienced to his sorrow, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (says he :) but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” (Rom. vii. 22, 23.)
Therefore supposing the enemy to be vanquished in the field, we shall still have a wearying contest to sustain in the scattered warfare that is kept up by his auxiliaries ; a contest with “itching ears ;” “ with the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," and many a turbulent spirit besides.
Let me not be thought fanciful in mentioning this spiritual warfare so distinctly; as it is not only referred to, and that frequently in Scripture, but attested also by-I will not say unfortunate always, but always-troublesome experience, and for some very unfortunate : who may have heard of such a thing as FORBIDDEN PLEASURES, that is forbidden to such as can possibly fancy them, (John I. iii. 9,)--but, being men of depraved affections and weak judgment, do not mind what they hear so much as what they like, and what their wisdom, which is "the wisdom of the Aesh ” approves. For the wise man tells us, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. xiv. 12.) And what he calls the End of such ways, another sage entitles their Wages; for example, "The wages of sin is death :” (Rom. vi. 23 :) though it may seem more consistent, to speak of death as of a natural, than as of a compensatory consequence, or mulctory either - of sin; as it is mentioned by the same authority, where he speaks of their “receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (lb. i. 27.) And we see by too frequent, if not by daily experience, how all the tender sympathies of the heart are destroyed, the harmony of the affections is interrupted, the crasis of the soul in short (if one might be allowed a physical term for a metaphysical accident) is disturbed by the use of forbidden pleasures, tending directly to its mortification and death.
It has been thought by many, rude and indelicate to speak of such matters,-that such matters ought not to be mentioned; and there is also a text that seems to warrant such an opinion,–“But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness—let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints.” (Eph. v. 3.) But there is a way of mentioning such things, and a way also in which they ought not to be mentioned. I have observed, with painful concern, such things (as far as they were at all mentionable) dwelt on before now too circumstantially, and that in the writings of some venerable fathers of the church: which may have given a currency to their works with evil minds, and with such as their works had otherwise been too good for ; but one should be loath to recommend one's observations by such an unworthy method, and it is to be hoped that those good men did not intend it.
No wonder, if some should think such practices as those alluded to unfit to be reproved, when they have no mind to leave them: no wonder, if, as I have already signified, they should pretend ignorance of God's word, when they have no mind to do it. For, as to knowing, when it may be God that tempts one or aught else, suppose some evil being; what can it signify with those who have no mind to resist temptation, but would rather do any thing that comes into their heads, be that what it may, than pause to consider its propriety, or the propriety of opposing their own inclination, as they conceive it? And in the same manner, if any should raise a doubt as to the propriety of resisting a temptation when it is certainly of God; I might answer, that such a certainty is more than any man can have. But could a man be certain of the fact, it would become his duty to deprecate this evil in the way, considering how he deserves the same, and by deprecating to resist the evil--not, God. For a deliberate resistance to him or his will otherwise than by deprecation, like that which our Lord directs us to use daily, is such an affront to the Divine Majesty as none but a madman or a fiend would ever think of. - “Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him," (Matt. v. 25,) says our blessed Sa
viour. If thou art conscious of offending God, as well thou mightest be daily, do what thou canst daily with the weapon of deprecation to avert his wrath, and by submitting to his will, as thy Master did (lb. xxvi. 42) rather than opposing it. For there is no one who has truly put on Christ, that is, no sincere Christian, but will find, if he honestly consult his own experience, that whatever bias may have been put on his inclination by the fault of his primogenitors, or by the influence of that evil principle which is still so rife in the world, and aided every where by its endless illusions-if every man around him be a principle of evil to him, and every object or pursuit, a medium for instilling the deadly poison into his soul, he is not bound to receive it: his mind is not now tied to evil as his body to the earth. Let Christians try, if they cannot soar, in mind or principle at least, above this humiliating scene of corruption : and if they cannot by their own strength, - as that they surely will not, let them address themselves humbly to God through Christ for help, “ that they may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless ;” (Pet. II. iii. 14;) and they shall find themselves, that God neither tempts, nor will suffer them to be tempted beyond the ability that he gives them for resistance; and that so far from being the author of our two greatest evils, sin and death, he is their plague and destruction; as he says of such, “ I will ransoin them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction ;” (Hos. xiii. 14;) and again, “ Therefore also now, saith the Lord ; turn ye even unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” (Joel ii. 12, 13.)
Praying to God, that he would not lead us into temptation, while it acknowledges his awful power and our dreadful liability, is no acknowledgment, that he delights in leading us into it: on the contrary; if this petition be according to bis will, we know that he will rather lead us out of it: and, that so it is, we cannot doubt; being directly taught and enjoined by God in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, first, to pray our heavenly Father, that he would not lead us into temptation; and next, to believe, “ that if we ask any thing according to his will (as this appears to be) he heareth us: and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (John I. v. 14, 15.) We have only therefore, to pray to God sincerely, that he would not lead us into temptation-taking care at the same time, not to throw ourselves in the way of it; and we may be sure, that “ God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (Cor. I. x. 13.)
For if we pray sincerely against temptation, we cannot of course be throwing ourselves in the way of it: if we would not be tempted by God, of course we should not be creating for ourselves temptations of any sort whatever; no, not even the temptation to drink by making free with our salt; much less, to every vice by making free with drink. We should remember the easy and natural progress of temptation from small beginnings anticipated by our heavenly Father in the code of nature formerly alluded to: where he mercifully prohibits not only the eating of the forbidden fruit, but even that which might lead to it; “ Ye shall not eat of it, (said he,) neither shall ye TOUCH it, lest ye die.” (Gen. iii. 3.) He did not say, Lest I kill you: but “ lest ye die," or draw destruction upon yourselves. Oh, that men should ever have been allowed so much as to look upon that tree with its forbidden pleasures, and lose the sight of God !--that they should have