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which the Pfalmift envies the very Birds upon another occafion) and made him unworthy to fit,much less to worship in the Congregation of Saints; it must needs be a very piercing Thought to a Mind not wholly Infenfate,to be debar'd the blessed Liberty of Gods House, and to be lop'd off, like a wither'd Limb, from the Fellowship of Chrifts Body: And fince this is fo affecting a kind of Punishment, I cannot but think, were this wholfome Piece of Church Difcipline but once reviv'd and duly practis'd, it might scare or fhame great numbers out of a vitious Courfe; but neither does the mischief and danger of indulg'd Sin ftop here, but it likewife fubmits us to a doubtful expectation of the worst Effects of Gods Wrath here, and a fearful looking for a moft dreadful Judgment hereafter; for be ill Men as fecure as they please, they are indebted to Divine Juftice, and all Arrears must be paid, perhaps in this Life, in fome part, but most certainly the total Sum in another; befides that vitious Habits are attended farther with these difmal Effects, that they make our Retreat difficult, and our Stay where we are dangerous and deftructive; for let Men have travel'd on never so far in the Paths of Sin, all


the way must be travel'd back again, or elfe the Journy ends at the very Gates of Hell. But alas! How fhall we learn the Art of conquering a stubborn Will, of fubduing a Nature made almost inflexible by bad Customs? Or should we find in our felves, after along rifque of Follies, fome faint Difpofitions to a wifer and better courfe of Life,'twill at least be extreamly difficult to fet about a Duty fo long unpractis'd, and put us to the very pains of pulling out a right Eye, or cutting off a right Hand. For all Habits do in time change the Liberty of a Man intoa kind of neceffity and place him in the Clafs of thofe, who in the Apoftles Words, Cannot ceafe from Sin, i. e. cannot do it without an abfolute change of Nature and Principle, which is very hardly, and very feldom acquir'd; and thefeConfide rations are enough furely to aggravate both the Guilt and the Mifery of Perfons thus intangl'd in the Yoke of Sin. Give me leave then to fubjoin this ufe of Caution to what has been faid, that you would carefully fhun the very appearance of Evil, and the firft approaches of Vice; for let Sin flatter us never so fairly in the beginning, and promise us pleafure and gratification from forbidden Actions, as the Devil promis'd our


unhappy Mother, Wisdom and Immortality from the forbidden Tree, yet fhall we find to our Coft, that the Progress of it is headlong and dangerous, and where it will end we cannot tell, or rather we are too well af fur'd where it will, I mean in the utter deftruction both of Soul and Body. 'Tis a dangerous Experiment Men make, when thep venture on fuch Sins as they are pleas'd with, in a vain confidence that they can go back when they please, and repent once for all, at their own leifure. This indeed is no better than playing with an Afp, or a Cockatrice, and even then too when we are commanded to flee from Sin, as from the face of a Serpent; for befides that vitious habits take a fafter hold of our Wills, than any other; the Devil will strive hard to preferve his Interest in such Men, and between an evil Nature, and an evil Spirit, the Sinner's Bondage is like to prove irrecoverable, at leaft without a wonderful measure of Grace and Mercy on God's part; which being an Attribute he chiefly delights. and abounds in, let me leave too this Direction to all who (though bad) are not pass'd Advice, That they ufe all poffible endeavours to recover


themselves out of the Snare of the Devil, and to that purpose, that they joyn Prayer and Faith to a vigorous and fpeedy refolution of amendment; for though a ftate of Sin be one of real hazard and danger, yet Religion has a Salve for the deepeft Wounds, and there can be no ground from thence, or from reafon, why a bad Man fhould grow worfe, and not rather repent and be faved: This we find to be the great burthen of all thofe paffionate Solicitations us'd by the Prophets in God's Name; and there is in this one paffage enough to encourage the return of all who are not abandon'd to a wicked course ; Turn ye, turn ye from the evil ways, for why will ye die, Ó House of Ifrael? Let not therefore the worst Of fender defpair of Mercy, till he finds (what I hope, upon tryal, none will do) that he cannot repent; but rather let him apply this beft and fitteft remedy, and then who knows but that in another fenfe, God alfo may turn and repent, and leave a Bleffing behind him? I shall conclude all with those pathetick Words of the Prophet Isaiah 55.7. Let the wicked for fake his way, &c.



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rice Atkins, at the

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HE Great Hiftorical, Geographical, Genealogical, and Poetical Dictionary: Be ing a curious Mifcellany of Sacred and Prophane Hiftory! Containing, in short, the Lives and moft Remarkable Actions of the Patriarchs, Judges, and Kings of the Jews: Of the Apoftles, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church: Of Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, &c. Of Herefiarchs and Schifmaticks, with an account of their Principal



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