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and have been able in the Course of our Lives CH A P.
XV. to follow her true and uncorrupted Directions ; this alone might have been fufficient, and there would bave been little need of Teaching and Instru&tion. But now Nature has given us only fome small Sparks of right Reason, which we so quickly extinguish with corrupt Opinions, and evil PraEtices, that the true Light of Nature no where appears: As foon as we are brought into the World, immediately we dwell in the midst of all Wickedness, and are surrounded with a number of most perverse and foolish Opinions ; so that we seem to fuck in Error even with our Nurses Milk : Afterwards when we return to our Parents and are committed to Tutors; then we are further stocked with such variety of Errors, that Truth becomes perfeEtly overwhelm'd with Vanity; and the most natural Sentiments of our Minds are entirely stifled with confirm’d Follies. But when after all this we enter into the World, and make the Multitude, conspiring every where in Wickedness, our great Guide and Example; then our very Nature itself is wholly transform'd, as it were, into corrupt Opinions.
Now * this Divine Alistance is vouchsafed to
If ye, says our Saviour, being evil, know how to
more fall your heavenly Father give the Holy
* Pag. 280, 281.
CHAP." Effects of this Divine Affiftance evidenced
" itself in a very visible and remarkable manner
derful and total Reformation of far greater
I PRODUCE one Authority more, Mr. Locke. " I am far, says he, from denying, that God “ can or doth fometimes enlighten Mens Minds « in the apprehending of certain Truths; or “ excite them to good Actions, by the immediate “ Influence and Afiftance of the Holy Spirit.” And on Rom. viii. 8. “ 'Tis the Spirit of God " alone that enlivens Men, so as to enable them
to cast off the Dominion of their Lusts." And on v. 11. “ Here he (the Apostle] shews, « that Christians are deliverd from their carnal « finful Lusts, by the Spirit of God, that is “ given to them, and dwells in them as a new “ quickening Principle and Power, by which
they are put into a State of Spiritual Life,
wherein their Members are made capable of “ being made Instruments of Righteousness.”
" To thefe I must add one Advantage more " we have by Jesus Christ, and that is the Pro56 mife of Asistance. If we do what we can, “ he will give us his Spirit to help us to do ". what, and how we should. 'Twill be idle for
us, who know not how our own Spirits move " and act us, to ask in what manner the Spirit
* As appears by that of Orig. aduer. Cell. Lib. I. ITeed HÈ tois"Eaangwa tis, &c. And that of Lactant. Lib. III. Da mihi virum, qui fit iracundus, maledicus, effrenatus ; paucissimis Dei verbis' tam placidum, quam ovem reddam. Da libidinofum, &c.
" of God shall work upon us. The Wisdom CHAP. that accompanies that Spirit knows better than
XV. we how we are made, and how to work upon o us. If a wife Man knows how to prevail on « his Child, to bring him to what he desires ; 16
can we suspect that the Spirit and Wisdom of “ God should fail in it, though we perceive or
comprehend not the Ways of his Operations ? “ Christ has promised who is faithful and just, « and we cannot doubt of the Performance."
THAT Spirits act upon Spirits there can be as little doubt, as that Bodies act upon Bodies : And that there are certain ways of silent Communication, Insinuation, or Suggestion of Thoughts or Ideas, the Spring of Alteration, and proper Spheres of giving or receiving Impression, according to the Rank and Capacity of the Spirit giving, or receiving it ; as there are Laws of Motion with respect to Bodies, and their Sphere: And that the supreme Governor superintends them both. And, as in his Government of the natural World every thing depends upon his immediate Influence, and the constant Renewal of that Influence, for the Prefervation and Direction of their Motion, according to their Nature ; fo, in his Government of the moral World, it is consonant to natural Faith to believe, that moral Agents depend upon the Influence of his regular Concurrence, and ordinary Affistance in a way suitable to their Nature and Faculties, and the Liberty they are invested with. Consequently, that the HOLY SPIRIT may impress our Spirits with such Thoughts and Cogitations as are the Seeds of good Aaions; as certainly, as the evil Spirit
CHA P. insinuates and injects fuch Motions and Ideas, as
are the certain Beginning of Sin and Wickedness,
strongly darted into the Thoughts of Christians, CHAP: whilst they are exercised in Prayer and other XV. holy Things, such foreign improper Things, as are the too frequent Occasion of Wanderings and Coldness, as if designed to intercept prevailing Fervency, and suspend any Impression upon us for Good : Which can be resolv'd into no Cause, but the Efforts and Agency of the evil Spirit. And Experience attests further, that Thoughts which favour of Impurity, or Blasphemy, or other Iniquity, are irresistible as to their firlt Entrance and Beginning in the Mind, therefore not imputable to us as Sin, before they have gain'd a Continuance there by our Consent and Approbation.
AND we are as certain from Revelation, that the Devil is indefatigably vigilant * in laying Snares for our Ruin, and strangely subtle in his Devices t and Temptations, which we are charged to be aware of ; and to pray, as well as watch that we enter not into them, for this Reason, because the Spirit is willing, but the Flesh weakll; we should in Prayer apply to and attend upon constant Aid from above, that the willing Spirit may be made stronger to restrain the yielding Flesh. Though we delight in the Law of God after the inward Man, I which shews the Law to be spiritual in that Sense, ver. 14. and also that every Man has that Testimony within himself of the original Uprightness of his State and Nature, yet the Law of the Members, which wars against the Law of the Mind, would always bring it into Captivity to the Law of Sin, if supervening Asistance did not turn the Scale.
1 Pet. y. 8. 2 Tim. jii.
+ 2 Cor. ii. 11. | Mat. xxvi. 41. Rom. viij. 22, 23, &c.