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Thoughts and wholsom Counsels to our Souls, it must be a provoking Ingratitude to be deaf to this inward Charmer, and not produce Fruits worthy of that Spirit we are a&ted by ?
Let us listen to the Apostle, and he will tell us the Fate of such as are guilty of such a Profanation ; If any man, says he, defile the Temple of God, him Shall God destroy. And the Reason he subjoyns in the next Clause; for the Temple of God is holy, Cor. 3. 17. whose Temple ye are. If then we are acted, supported, and influenc'd by a Spirit better than our own, it highly concerns us not to grieve or quench, but rather to cherish and improve this Principle by all the methods we can. And would we nourish and situate all the Graces of the Divine Life, so as to become perfect Men in Chrift Jesus, let us consult the Scriptures, those Oracles of God, and Treasūries of the Spirit; let us always attend upon Religious Duties, and wait upon God in the Ordinances of his Church, and then he will not fail to be present with us, and inspire our Minds with Zeal and Love, with Repentance and Humility, and every Grace he delights in, especially if we are careful to make frequent and Tolema
Approaches to the Holy Table; for there he has appointed to meet us, and to entertain an heavenly and spiritual Intercourse with our Minds. Here'tis, that by the Exercise of our Graces, we renew and confirm them, and, like good Stewards, receive our Talents doubled to us : For who, that duly attends the Holy Sacrament, does not perceive, besides the lecret Tide of Joy and Comfort springing ụp within, that his Faith is strengthned, his Hope enlivened, and his Charity inflam'd? So that 'tis not more true, that the Professors of a Spiritual Religion, ought to act up to the Laws of it, than 'tis likewise, that the Spiritual Life is best sustain'd by an holy Communion with God, in all the Parts and Offices of his Worship. To conclude, since God has dealt out the gifts of his Spirit without measure, and is always ready to supply a Spirit of comfort to the afflicted, as well as wif. dom and counsel to the ignorant or misguided; should we not, in the Sense of this Priviledge, endeavour to poffefs our Souls in patience, and bear every Cross and Cala. mity,as becomes those who have the Spirit of God to support and befriend them. Since we carry so mighty a Power within
us, let not every accident, every little weight of Trouble, bend or break us; but rather let us afpire after that Measure of the Spirit, that Joy in the Holy Ghost, which will help us to despise the World, and rejoyce even in Tribulation; still remembring what the Apostle St. John says, That greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the World. So shall we make our Lives easie, our Deaths comfortable, and our Accounts joyful, at the last Day; for having thus fought a good fight, and finished our course in piety and patience, and 'had our fruit unto holiness, we shall possess the End of all, everlasting Life.
SERMON XIII. . 10
1 JOHN Chap. 5. v. 16. T here is a Şin unto Death: I do not
say that he shall pray for it. STA Ince all Mankind must be judg'd
for their Aations, and not only receive a different Doom, for the Good or Evil they have done here, but enjoy degrees of Bliss, or suffer various measures of Punishment, as they have done, more or less good, or hurt in the World; it does not only very much concern us, to be able rightly to distinguish between Virtue and Vice, in or. der to the good government of our Lives, but likewise to learn the Extent and Bounds of Duty on the one hand, and the different Qualities and Degrees of Sin on the other; that so by know. ing where the one ends, and the other begins, we may proceed, with due caution, in shunning the Evil, and pursų. ing the Good, and by that means secure the Peace of our Consciences in this
World, and the happiness of our Beings in the next.
For as'tis impossible to enjoy any other than a false Hope or Security, where we cannot affure our felves that we have not indulg’d any wilful Sin, or frequently committed some Sins, tho' perhaps without any actual deliberation, yet with out an actual Repentance for, and forsaking of them afterwards.
? For how is it possible we should discern the true State of our Souls, unless we have taken a juft Account of the moral Defects it is subject to, and what is the Demerit of every Sin, and every degree of it, and how far we have complied in any instance with the Terms of the Gospel,and how far swerv'd and deviated from it? Most certainly, as the Word of God shal (together with our own Hearts and Lives) judge us at the last Day ; fo from the search of these only, can we probably collect, whether we are in a State of Grace or not; that is, by bringing every Action to its proper Rule, and then pronouncing upon the issue of it,as it has well or ill corresponded there. with. But tho' this be the true way of