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that Peace and Joy, which fuch a Christian meets with even in the present Course of his Life? !
Let the Miser boast his Riches; the Ambitious Man his Honours; let the Voluptuary wallow in his Sensual and Beastly Satisfactions: But, O Lord ! What Vanity are all these, when compared with the solid Comfort and Satisfa&tion of a Good Conscience? That can reflect freely upon its A&tions; can search into the most fecret Parts of its Life with Joy and Assurance; and delight to compare its Duty and its Practice, and see how Gloriously the one illustrates and sets forth the other?
Who would not pursue the Happiness of such a State, tho' there were no such Thing as Heaven and Eternity to follow after ? Certainly, if Pleasure be that which is to govern our Pursuits, 'tis the good Christian that, when all is done, is the only Wife Man; and to consider, the most delightful Practice of any in the World.
Only let us consider seriously, and as we ought to do : Let us once in our Lives be persuaded heartily to experiment a Duty, which we have been so often told should be the great Business of them. Let us be willing to be convinced; and do our Religion and our Souls so much Justice, as to give these Things a fair and an equal Hearing.
So shall all those Blessings I have now been speaking of, descend upon us. We thall Exchange only, not lose or lessen our Enjoyments. Whatfoever Pleasure or Satisfaction we have heretofore met with in the ways of Sin, we shall find them all infinitely surmounted in the Practice of Religion. Till finally being fit for Heaven, ripe for Immortality, we Thall be Translated from these
Excellent, but yet still imperfect Joys here, to those absolute and Eternal Bleffings, which neither Eye has Seen, nor Ear heard, nor does ir enter into the Heart of Man to conceive.
To which God of his infinite Mercy vouchsafe
we may all arrive, through Jesus Christ our
Of the Devices of Satan.
Preached at White-Hall, April 26.
2 COR. II. 11.
For we are not ignorant of bis Devices.
Mong all the Parts of Christian Institution, which either the Gospel of Christ directs, or we as the Ministers of Christ,
and your Servants, for Jesus Sake, 1 Cor. iv. 5.
exhort you to; there is none after the
Knowledge of our Duty towards God, and what he requires of us, in order to our Eternal Şalvation, either more necessary to be well understood; or, would Men seriously apply themselves to it, more easy to be attain'd by us, than how to Arm and Fortify our selves against those Devices of Satan, whereby he continually Endeavours to Seduce US.
There are few 'fo ignorant in this Matter, but are able at least to trace out his most ordinary Temptations, and to discover what it is that the most usually exposes them to Sin. And though he has his Crooked and by-paths too, Devices both more subtily laid, and more difficult to be discern'd; yet a little more Vigilancy and Care would serve to discover even these also, 1 Cor. iv. 5. and to bring to light the most hidden Mysteries of Iniquity.
But though there be then nothing more obvious to a fincere and inquisitive Mind, than to find out these Artifices of the Devil; yet alas! A fad Experience Thews us, that there is scarce any Thing in the World, in which Men for the most part feem more to betray either their Ignorance or their Inadvertency; whilst they suffer every the most ordinary Temptation to overcome them, and scarce an Allault so weak can be made upon them, but what is sure to have its Effect, and find them altogether unprepared to resist it.
To correct, if it may be, this careless and supine Temper, fo 'dishonourable to God, and fo dangerous to our own Souls; I shall endeavour at this Time to lay before you some of those Methods whereby the Devil is most wont to lead Men into Sin; That so knowing our Danger, we may be the better able to Arm our Souls against it, lest Satan should get an Advantage of 15; For we are not ignorant of his Devices.
The Occasion of which Words was this.
St. Paul having in his former Epistle to the Co
Corinthians, commanded them to proSee 1 Cor..sa nounce a Sentence of Excommunica,
tion upon a certain incestuous Man amongst them, who had Married his Father's Wife; had fince received an Account of a very good Effect that this Infliction had wrought upon the offending Person; so as to bring him to a great Sense both of the Sin he had committed, and of the Scandal which thereby; he had given to the Church.
Upon this the Apostle in this his Second Epistle, cammands, them to take off the : Censure under which he lays and to receive him again into Communion with them, left being swallow d up of cuermuch Sorrows he flould be driven to Despair, and fo the Devil get an Advantage against them; and that not only in the Ruin of a single Brother, but yer much more, by turning that Discipline. which was designed for the Edification of the Church, into the Destruction of its : For, says he, we are 1.0t ignorunt of bis Devices - Were I not resolved against entring, on any Point, of Controversy in this place, I should not here want a very fair Occafion to do it. * It has been the great Endeavour of those of the other Communion, to Establish on this Procedure of St. Paul with this Corinthian, their new and dangerous Doctrine of Human Satisfactions to be made for Sin, and of the Power of the Church to grant Indulgences for the Remission of them. But I desire now to have no other Enemy but that of my Text to Encounter : And the half of whose Devices will be more than
* See the Rhemifts Annor. on this Chap. Catholick Scriptur. Point 26, of Indulgences. n. 6.