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SERM. as well believe a Man, labouring under a IV. Fever with Delirium, when he assures us of
his being in perfect Health and in his sober Senses. To such a vain self-opinionated Extoller of his own moral Sufficiency this Merfage of our Saviour Christ may be most appositely delivered ; Thou sayest, I am rich, and encreased with Goods, and have Need of Nothing; and knowejt not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (f). This is in Reality the true Picture of human Nature in its present Degeneracy; it is wretched and miserable through Ignorance and Impurity,---poor by the Forfeiture of heavenly Treasures ---blind through the Defect of spiritual Knowledge, ---and naked by the Loss of the Robes of Righteousness. But in a State of Grace all these. Wants are copiously supplied ;---our Ignorance is informed,---our Corruption. is purified, ---our Poverty is enriched ---our Blindness is enlightened, ---and our Nakedness is clothed; and, how deficient foever. we are in ourselves, we partake of the Fulness of him, that filleth all in all (g).
Shall we then despise, what we so greatly need ? Or disown, what we so plentifully
receive? (f) Rev. iii. 17. (8) Ephes. i. 23.
receive? Nay, what; it is reasonable to be- SERM. lieve, Mán bộth needed and received in his IV. Seafon of original Innocence, e'er he had dem filed and weakened himself by the most ungrateful Rebellion against God. For, as a Creature; he could not be made" allperfect, this being the incoinmunicable Property of the infinite Creator, and consequently must require some Support from a supe rior Power. He was forined, nor was it pof: sible for him to be formed otherwise than liable to Deflement and subject to Sin, though pure and finless ---well-provided for standing compleat in Holiness by the Help of God, yet' capable of falling" through the Abufe of his Liberty on the approach of Tempration, as“ the Event tco fatally
AND if Man Itood in no small Need of the Affiftance of his Maker, even during the Time of his unsullied Integrity, and in spite of it contracted Guilt and Pollution, muft it not' be much more necessary for us under“ our fad and degenerate Circumstances ? When an original Stain and universal Depravity appear to have spread over the whole Race of Adam, in whom we were
SERM. made Sinners (h). From whence it comes · IV. to pass, that we are conceived in Iniquity
and born in Sin,---that as soon almost as we come into the World, the fatal Propensity shews itself, for we quickly go astray and turn every one to his own Way,----that the whole World lieth in Wickedness (i),---That in our Flesh dwelleth no good Thing ; for to will is present with us, but how to perform that which is good, we find not,--but we see another Law in our Members, warring against the Law of our Mind and bringing us into Captivity to the Law of Sin (k).
· Who now, that reflects with any Degree of Seriousness on the Apostle's Description and his own Feeling, can have the Infolence to give the Scripture and his Heart the Lye --to assert and pretend to reason upon the Point, That there is no moral Defect in our Conftitution? It becomes us better to lie down in our Shame, and to acknowledge our Vileness, as we are not sufficient
of ourselves to think any thing that is good, · but our Sufficiency is of God (1): Nor should we have Power to do Good, were it not given us from above. Since our depraved
Affections (b) Rom. v. 19. (i) 1 St. John v. 19. (k) Rom. vii, 18, 23. (2) 2 Cor. iii. s.
Affections are continually drawing us into Serm. Sin and Vanity; and into these, should we IV. be much oftener and much farther, than we are, hurried, did not God's preventing and restraining Influence keep us back. For according to St. Paul, it is the Spirit, who giveth Life::(m): Through him it comes to pass, that we are enabled to rise to a spiritual Life at present, and to prepare for an eternal Life. to come i And according to out Blessed Lord, Except a Man be born of Water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into : the Kingdom of God (n); 'where, as the general Obligation to make Use of the visible Sign, and its being the ordinary Means of conveying the invisible Grace, are both asserted :. So does it appear, that without the inward cleansing of the Soul by the Spirit, the outward washing of the Body with Water can be of no Consequence ; and unless, by the real and effectual, though, secret and imperceptible Operation of the Holy Ghost within him, the polluted Sinner is, as it were, made a new Creaturė, --has his Nature changed from Evil to Good, and being so regenerated lives in due Con: formity to the Divine Will, like a faithful Subject of the Kingdom of Grace, he shall
get im) 2 Cor. iii. 6. (m} St. John iii. 5. .
Serm. get no Admittance into the Kingdom
From the foregoing and many other like Passages of holy Scripture may we learn, how necessary it is for the Renewal of our inner Man, that Almighty God should vouchsafe us the gracious Supports of his blessed Spirit ; so that this fundmental Article of his working in us to will and to do is built on the strongest Evidence, the Nature of the Dispensation will admit of: Nor need we to add for its fuller Confirmation any mote Proof than what is contained in the Words of St. Paul, from which the Necefsity of the Divine Succour towards mortifying the Deeds of the Body or subduing our natural Corruptions is molt 'undeniably difcovered. If ye live after the Flesh, says the Apoftlę, je Mall die'; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the Deeds of the Body, yè shall live re).
And that, what is thus necessary on God's Behalf, is wrought always by him within us, we may be infallibly certain from his Word by Revelation ---from his Attributes by Reason.
ro) Rom. viii. 13.