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ble Decree, I shall speak no more of it but this, That they who first broacht it, and therefore were most fond of it, found it clogg'd with so many ill consequences, lo refleeting upon the Deity, and of such ill influence upon Manners, that tho' they were accounted the most pertinacious Seet of Men in the World, they have left it honestly retracted. Cbryfippus disavows it in Cicero and Gel

and the more modern Stoicks build all their Morals upon a clear contrary foundation: for Tā to não 37 per takeSeege is their first Principle; that is, all mens internal Actions are naturally free.

As for the Malignity of Matter, ic was a Notion more tolerable among the Heathens, because their errours about the Eternity and original Qualities of Matter were perhaps Invincible: but for Christians to impute the same effects to the Corruption of our Nature by the Fall, as tho' we had thereby contracted such a Complexional Necessity of sinning, as


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neither Precept nor Caution, nor all the remedies that God has provided, could rescue us froin chat Necessity; this is a great Calumny to Nature, and affront to God's Goodness, and a meer crude Apo. logy of fuch as were first resolved for a lazy indulgence to Vice. And yet this pretence is not unusual, it is not unusual to hear men confess their Sins in such a subtle form, as cho' they were drawing Schemes of Sophistry against the Day of Judgment. “ I must not deny my Sins : “ (says the Man) The righteous man « falls seven times a day; We dwell « in a Body of Sin ; Our first Parent

eat of the forbidden fruit, and so de. « rived a Curse upon his unhappy Pofte.

rity ; Homo fum, I am a Son of Adam, “ I need say no more to speak my guilt. And now what means such a Confession as chis, but that the Man is willing to discharge the burchen of his Conscience upon something out of his own power ; and to insinyace that it is not will and





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choice, but force of constitution that makes us Sinners ; that we are born with such tainted Principles ; Aesh so stubborn, and appetites so impetuous, that neither Rule, nor Institution, nor Endeavour, nor Grace it self can regulate them; and that thereupon, as A. dam urged against God for the first sin committed, The Woman that thou gavest me beguiled me, and I did eat, so his Pofte.

fo rity might urge for all that have been committed since, The Nature that thou allotted us has betrayed us, and we are finners? Thus will men dawb with untempered mortar, (in the Prophet's Allegory ) though the wall shall be cast down, and they in the midst of it. For to assign the true measure of Nature in reference to Defect, I lay down this for che Fundamental Truth, That whatsoever there is ei. ther of impotence or positive malignity in our Natures, it is only such as is consistent both with the Purity and Mercy of God: aud therefore we may certain.


ly conclude, that it cannot be so much as shall either administer matter of excuse to those that will be bad, or argument of despair to those that desire to be good. We are born with propensions to Vice, and appetites prone to close with tempting Evils ; but these are so far from being actually evil themselves, that they are the very life of Vertue, and foundation of Reward. 'Tis true, they create difficulties in Vertue, and make the way rugged; but then God is pleased to consider these difficulties indulgently; and for that very reason he admits Man to terms of repentance and reconciliation: whereas the Angels, who were made of a purer Nature, and less obnoxious to temptation, were allowed no such remedy. But moreover these dif. ficulties which our infirmity creates, are far from being insuperable ; we know our armour, and we are commanded to fight, and we are assured of Victory : Whatsoever of strength we have not in


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our selves, we know where to have supa plied ; and whatsoever those Excellencies are which we deplore as lost in the Fall, the Gospel assures us, that supervening Grace makes a full repair of them. Grace is new light to the un. derstanding, and new power to the will, and new regularity to the faculties that ought to obey, and a new harmony to our whole discomposed frame. In a. word, Grace is more to us now in the state of corruption, than in the state of primitive perfection we could have been to our selves. Whosoever there. fore shall consider the defects and impotence of our present state, together with the rich promises of God in Christ, I know nothing that he ought reasonably to argue or infer thence but this, that we now lie under a stricter obligation to live in a perpetual dependence upon God; that we have now a double tye to be Religious, that is, both to serve God, and our selves; forasmuch as our


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