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Doctrine (and holding Communication with theCH A P. Head, by duly commemorating bis Death, the XV. capital Doctrine of his Religion, in the Lord's Supper, that After-Explanation in Fact of eating his Flesh and drinking his Blood) according to his own immediate verbal Explication, The Words I speak unto you are Spirit and Life, * ;. e. when the Words Vine, Flesh, Blood, Bread or Wine are Emblems and figurative Expressions that cannot, nor were ever intended to signify literally, the moral, emblematical, not the literal, is the true Sense or Spirit of those Expressions : Just as Spirit is oppofed to Fles, and Letter, in the Types and Ceremonies of the Jews; one killeth, the other giveth Life, and Meaning,
As God is the Giver of our Faculties, and Exciter and Encourager to Good, whatever of that Nature is the free and wise Product of them, is, at the same time, the Gift of God; and the Praise and Glory is due to him : Mean time we shall not miss of our Reward for following his Counsel ; and consenting to be led by it to our own Happiness ; because that Good would not have been done, if God had not bestow'd the Faculty, the Opportunity, the Motive and Direction for it. Thus he is said to give a new Heart, and a new. Spirit, yet he requires us to cast away our Transgressions in order to make ourselves a new Heart and a new Spirit, + There are many Expressions of the like Import, resolvable into the like Interpretation.
AND as he governs free Agents according to their Nature, and hinders not the bad Effects that result from the Determination of their own Choice, he is said in a figurative and foreign
Job. vi. 63.
+ Ezek. xviii. 31:
CHA P. Sense to barden the Heart ; whilst he has no XV.
Hand in it, any farther, than permitting Sin to produce its own Effects, and operate upon the Heart, according to the hardening Deceivableness of its Nature. He never gives any Man up to a fatal Blindness and Hardness of Heart, till he is irrecoverable by Persuasion and rational Motives ; Deus non deserit nisi deferentem. Or, in other Words, Since you have forsaken me, I will forsake you also You have not forsaken me, but your own felvés, faith the Lord, 2 Erdr. i. 25.
The comfortable Truth therefore lies in the Middle between the two Extremes, which have both had their Run, and prevailed in their Turns ; the irrefiftable Grace of God, on the one hand; and the no Occasion of the internal Aids of his Spirit, on the other. We ought certainly to covet earnestly the best Gifts, and strive to regain, as much as we are able, that Degree of Perfection of human Liberty, wherein Man was first created. Every perfeet, as well as good Gift comes from God. He only enjoys Liberty in its abfolute Perfection ; by being immutably free from all Defects, and from all Inclination to Evil, which is a Defect. That Immutability is peculiar and essential to the supreme Good; nor is there any good in that Sense, but one, and that is God : He is only infallible in Understanding, and therefore impeccable in Will; and neither one nor the other are communicable to any Creature. Therefore the Degrees of Good, or Perfection of Liberty relative to their several Stations, communicated to the rational Creatures he has made, is temper'd with a natural Mutability, or Poffibility of inclining to Evil, and degenerating from what they are. Such are all the Angels. He chargeth even bis Angels with Folly. The Angels being placed in their Paradise or State of Proba-CHAP. tion, not as Man was by a primitive Pair and XV. Succeffion, extraduce, but altogether at once in their own produced Persons, fonie kept not their first Estate ; and they that stand being capable of falling, are chargeable with Folly, by being capable of the Folly of thinking themselves independent of God, or infallible like him. And therefore Fallibility and Frailty from Angel down to Man is continually propt up by various gradations of Dependency, Recourses, and Res ligion unto God.
Tho' Man, God's youngest Son, was endow'd with Liberty and Reason a little lower than the Angels, as much lower as discoursive Reason is to intuitive Dispatch, and choice of Will with a Tempter, is to one without one, by being station'd, for a time, in the midst of sensual Appetites and Objects, whence more and more Occasion and Inclination to Evil ; ftill the Liberty, suited to his Station, was perfect in its kind, having his primitive Inclinations caft and moulded upright and entire towards Good in dependence upon his Maker, the Author of all his Happiness ; that dependent, imitative Image of himself, wherein God had falhion'd his natural Liberty and moral Agency with a prevailing Biass and Inclination within towards Good, liable to be altered by nothing but yielding to Sin thro' outward Temptation ; but after yielding to it, the Biafs turn'd to the other side, and made the great Alteration and Disfigurement in the Image of God; what was unknown before, a Temptation from within ever after sprang up, to solicit the natural Liberty and moral Agency ; that Temptation from within join'd to Temptation from without stood therefore in
CHA P. the greater Need of the supervening, balancing XV: Assistance, and Advocation of the Holy Spirit.
Man had continued in his first Aptitude and Biass, it may be, for many Generations, had not the Tempter (the first Lyar and Hypocrite in the World, and the Father of all Lies and Hypocrify since) so soon deceiv'd and prevail'd with the false Pretence of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, before Lying or Hypocrisy, or the moral Evil of Disobedience were known in the sublunary World: And by deceiving, murderd the Perfection of his pristine Liberty, and inverted the prevailing Biass of his Constitution from Good to Evil. The corruptible Body with its corrupt Affections has press'd upon, and too often insulted, ever since, our Longing and Defire after conscious primitive Liberty, and Rectitude ; and a native Love of Truth, and a natural Abhorrence of Falshood and Hypocrisy as our greatest Enemy, still lives in us, as if every Man had been present with, and Partaker of that Transaction.
So far is Freedom to moral Evil from being the true Liberty of Man, that it is actually his Weakness, Degeneracy, and too frequently his Servitude and Captivity. He has deviated very much ever since from real Good; which is the true Object of true Liberty; and Auctuated greatly in Error both about Good, and about Liberty ; and, because of those Errors, there is a Necessity for Laws to curb and restrain the ill Effects of them : till the Religion of the Mediator Christ Jesus came to thew hiin his true Good, and recover him to his true Liberty, and strengthen and perfect him in it, as he grows up to that greater Perfection of it, at the Refurrection, to a new and better Body, called the
glorious glorious Liberty of the Sons of God; by its glorious CH A P. divine Means, Aids, Motives, and Helps ; to
XV. which all are entitled, who embrace it sincerely ; and all who reject, are excluded the Benefit of
any of them.
And what are the Restraints of the Gospel upon the temerity of Man's Choice of Evil, buc perfect Peace and Freedom to our rational Spirit, and the compleatest Liberty of Mind that can be desired in this Life ? And what better verifies the ancient Observation of Job ; * Behold the Fear of the Lord, that is Freedom, and to depart from Evil is true Liberty? The Truth of the Gospel, that perfect Law of Liberty, is that only which makes Men free indeed.
If therefore the Deists were indeed true in their pretended Respect, or consistent to the Obedience of the Law of Nature, they so much assume to glory in, they would gladly come into the Christian Measures in earnest ; which glory in nothing so much, as in improving Man's Liberty, and increasing his Inclination to perform tha. Law.
I PRESENT them with a Paffage from Bishop Taylor. “ The Case of moral Actions and spi“ ritual is all one ; for that Action is moral 66 which is done in Obedience to a Law; and a
spiritual Action is no more ; fave only it re“ lates to another Law, to the Evangelical, or
spiritual Law of Liberty : But in the Nature " of the Thing, it is the same ; and one may “ as well be chosen as the other, when they are “ equally taught and commanded, and pro
pounded under the same proportionable Ama.
* Chap. xxviii. 28.