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being purified, even as he is pure, and Serm. raised almost to an Equality with those re- VIII. fined •angelic Natures, which do most nearly resemble the Fountain of all Excellency. Truth, Holiness, Justice, Goodness, and the like, are the glorious Robes, with which the Soul may adorn itlelt ; and by getting free from the Dominion of Sense and the Bondage of Corruption, by keeping a due Restraint on carnal Appetites and gradually weaning itself from the Pleasures of the Body, it may be trained up to lead a spiritual and divine Life, to relish here in this depraved State the heavenly Food of Wifdom and Purity, of Love and Contemplation: With which it shall for ever solace itself hereafter, if it is diligent to root out whatever may vitiate or corrupt its Taste, and relish of luch elevated Enjoyments.
Thus, to no contemptible Degrees of both natural and moral Perfection is the Soul even now able, by God's Grace, to attain ; and yet these, we are sure, shall be inconceivably heightened in the World to come, and the Joys resulting from them be as boundless in their Continuance, as in their Nature --fully as extensive as the Faculties of the Soul, and everlasting as its Effence.
ment of the. Value and Excellency of the
THESE Arguments, suggested by our Reafon, for the inestimable Value of the Soul, may be farther strengthened from considering, what Place it bears in its Maker's Esteem ; whofe unerring Knowledge will not permit him to judge amiss concerning the
intrinsic real Worth of Things. And if we Serm. find it to be exceeding precious in his Sight, VIII.. well may we allow it to be highly valuable. Let us then enquire and learn from the Divine Conduct towards Mankind, at what an advanced Price the whole Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are pleafed to estimate the Souls of Men.
God the Father, when he purposed to create thefe fpiritual Beings and unite them to Bodies of Clay, well-knowing the vast Hazards they would be exposed to and the infinite Risques they would run (though no other than were the Consequence of a free but peaceable Nature) was so deeply concerned for their Prefervation, that he thought nothing too much to fecure them in a Way. consistent with their effential Liberty and Possibility of Transgressing. As they were to be placed in a State of Tryal to be trained up by a Life of Holiness to a Capacity for higher Enjoyments, than what a terrestrial Paradise could afford, it was expedient to appoint fome Test of their Obe. dience, and what lefs Proof could there be expected, than the abstaining from the Fruit of one only Tree amidst that Profusion of Delighte, which he had spread around them?
they would neither hearken nor obey,-----
And that by this new System of Reconciliation God might the more effectually recover the lapsed Creatures from Sin and Misery, he determined to grant it in such a Manner and upon such wise and weighty Considerations, 23 should affect them at once with the deepest Sense of his Mercy and Compassion, and the most awful Dread of hiş Severity and Justice ; that so whilst by the former he gently drew them, by the
latter he might terrify them ment.
into Amend. Serm.
But Repentance without Punishment could not atone for their Disobedience ; and it has evidently appeared from the Event, that some more valuable Satisfaction was necessary, and therefore demanded by infinite Wisdom, Holiness, and Justice, in order to render a Reconciliation with Sin-polluted Souls consistent with the Authority of his Government over them, and the Purity of his own Divine Perfections.
To punish the Offenders themselves must have been utterly to destroy them, and to leave no Objects for unbounded Goodness to be exercised upon ----to pardon them without any Suffering must have encouraged them to offend ftill more presumptuously; God thought fit therefore to chalk out a middle Course, and avoiding entire Destruction on the one Hand, and absolute Forgiveness on the other, he as wisely as graciously appointed and accepted of, a vicarious Punishment.
But to manifest in the highest Degree both his Esteem of the Souls of Man and his