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quires a distance to be kept from all external Objects, that those things Human Nature loves most tenderly should be renounced ; nay, even that himself should be so; for each Man is his own worft Enemy, and the most threatning Dangers rise from within. He that hach gained an entire Conquest over himself, will find no mighty difficulty to subdue all other Opposition ; for this is a compleat Victory indeed. And when the Sensual Appetite submits readily to the Rational Powers, and those Powers again as readily submit to my Will, this Man is Master of himself and all the World. But they who would aspire to this Perfection, must set out with Resolution, and early lay the Ax to the Root of the Tree, that no darling Sin, no corrupt or inordinate Affection may be left standing. For all that Bitterness and Sin, which is necessary to be hewn down, in order to an entire Reformation and Hea-, venly Purity of Heart and Life, are but so many Branches of that corrupt Stock, the irregular Love of a. Man's own self. And when that Stock is killed and cut down, profound Peace, and uninterrupted Happiness are the Consequents of such Mortification.
The only Reason, why so many continue ftill en. tangled in sensual Affections, and find themselves unable to soar above themselves and the Incumbrances here below, is, that very few have attained to the Skill
of dying to their own Inclinations, and divesting them. selves of narrow and selfish Defigns. For he who af
fects to converse freely with God, must first abandon,
Cologji the Earth ; for no Man is sufficient for the Service of
two Masters ; nor canst thou love Me and Matth. vi. 24. Mammon both.
CHA P. XLIX.
Christ.] PE careful, my Son, to distinguish between
D Nature and Grace, and nicely to observe their different Tendencies and Prospects; for these are so very distant, so contrary to each other, and yet withal so intricate, that they require a Spiritual and enlightned Understanding, exac ly to discern them. In the general desire of Good all Mankind agree, this is the Spur and Spring of every Word and Adion ; but that which produces so very different Effects from the same Original Cause, is, that Men often mistake Shadows for Substance, and are imposed upon by false appearances of Good.
Nature acts craftily,allures,insnares, cheats those that attend to its Wiles, and proposes the gratifying her self for the end of all she does. Grace deals candidly and sincerely, complies with no Evil, puts no Cheat upon Men, does all with regard to God, and rests in him as its suprenie and only End. Nature declines Death and Sufferings, hates Trouble and Sorrow, Subjection and Obedience ; Grace is exercised in perpetual Mortification and Self-denial; chuses to be over-ruled, to submit ; nay, restrains even lawful and innocent Liberties; does not affect Dominion and Superiority, but chuses to live in a State of Humility and Subjection, and esteems no Hardship, no Compliance uneasie, for the sake of God and a good Conscience. Nature is selfish, and always computes what Profit every Action may bring to the Person that does it ; Grace overlooks
- all private Gain, and labours chiefly to promote the E publick Good. Nature delights in Honours and Prefer
ments, in a celebrated Name, and the Commendations of Men; Grace ascribes all the Honour and Praise to God, and thinks, that things done well are well rewarded by his Acceptance and Approbation. Nature dreads Ignominy and Contempt, but Grace accounts it Matter of great Joy to be exposed and vilified in a good Cause. Nature is pleased with Ease and Indulgence and bodi
ly Rest; Grace is ever active, and undertakes Business ; and Toil with chearfulness. Nature is charmed with
Beauty and Curiosity, and disdains things that are mean, and vulgar, and common ; Grace is delighted with such as are plain and low in the Esteem of the World, disdains not those that are unpalatable, nor
thinks her self the worse for the want of outward - Gaieties and Ornaments. Nature aims at transitory . Enjoy ments, is fond of Wealth and Increase, tenderly
affected with Losses and Disappointments, and provoked to the last degree with Insolence and Reproach : Grace keeps Eternal Advantages in view, neglects the fading and perishing, bears Losses with evenness of Temper,endures Contempt and Scandal patiently. For These, she considers, are things of no mighty concern, to one whose Heart and Treasure are in Heaven ; a Place, where they are safe, and no misfortune can reach them. Nature is niggardly and griping, and chusesrather to receive than give; Grace Bountiful and Kind, despising sordid Gain and Parsimony, content with a . : little, distributes liberally and chearfully, and esteems it more blessed to give than to receive.
Nature inclines to Creature-comforts, to.Fleshly, Delights, to Worldly Vanities and Pomps, to wandring and idle Diversions ; Grace fixes the Heart upon God and Goodness, concerns ie self with the World as little as may be, hates Fleshly Lusts, checks and confines roving Imaginations, and affects Privacy and
to give than to receive.
Delicature shore blele erally a
Solitude. Natu feels no Pleal Delights that.no
Solitude. Nature is much delighted with sensual Pleasures ; Grace feels no Pleasure but in God alone, and prefers that before all the Delights that the Objects of Sense can afford. Nature does nothing without fome Prospect of Interest, and for every Kindness expects as good or better Returns, either of things in kind, or at least of Favour and Applause for its pretended Generosity, and sets a very high Value upon all the Obligations it lays. Grace desires no Recompence in this World, but looks upon God as her Reward ; nor are the Supplies and Conveniencies of Life any farther of Consideration with her, than as a comfortable Subsistence in this World may be ferviceable in promoting and facilitating the Endeavours after another.
Nature values her self upon a diffusive Interest, and multitude of Relations and Friends, Quality and Noble Blood ; and therefore fawns upon, or favours Men in Power, courts and caresses the Rich, commends, and is partial to Persons of the same Condition or Opinion, or Party: Grace is Charitable and Kind, even to Enemies; is not Exalted by great or numerous Friendships ; and thinks the Descent and Family of a Man a very despicable thing, unless his Virtues be as much more eminent than those of his Inferiors, as his Birth and Rank is above theirs : Grace favours the Poor rather than the Rich, and is more concerned for the hard Fortune of an Innocent Person, than of a Great One ; pays its Respects to true intrinsick Worth, not to the meer Signs and Trappings of it, which of.. ten only shew where it ought to be, not where it really is; encourages the good in Virtue, instead of flattering and soothing up the Mighty in their Wickedness and Folly ; and labours indefatigably to conform those who profess themselves God's Children, to the likeness of their Heavenly Father's Excellencies, by propagating all manner of Piety and Goodness.
Nature is easily provoked to Disconteni by hard i Circumstances ; Grace bears Want and Poverty with
Meekness and much Patience. Nature's Ends and De.
figns constantly centre in her self; but Grace consiEr ders her Original, and thinks that all should return this
ther from whence at first it caine; arrogates nothing to it self, is not assuming, does not contend for Praise
or Preference; is not dogradical and peremp:ory in * her own Opinions, but, in all searches afcer Truth,
submits her own Reason and Judgment, to the Incom
prehensible Wisdom of God. Nacure affects to be u knowing, to understand and penetrate the profoundert
and darkest Mysteries, makes Ostentation of all her new Discoveries, and pretends to Experiment and Demonstration ; labours to distinguish her self, to be
thought wiser than the rest of the World, and would I be extolled and admired for all that is spoken or writ
ten, or done : Grace thinks it noc advisable to lay out
Time and Thought, upon new or unprofitable Curioo ficies; but considers , that the Ruin of Mankind iš
owing to that busie Desire of knowing what God thought fit to conceal from them; that thisinquilitive
pretending Temper is a Sprout from that old Root of he Bitterness; that Established Truths may be depended * upon, but new and fanciful Notions are almost no
sooner entertained, than they are disproved and exploded again. That Men should therefore check that vain Pleasure, which tickles their itching Minds upon
these Occasions ; abandon Vain-glory, labour rather it to conceal, than to publish their Advantages; and
make Usefulness, and Virtue, and God's Honour, the only End of all their knowledge and Studies. For to him alone all Thanks and Praise muft of ncceflity be due, who gives Men all they have, of his own meer Motion and free Mercy.
And such is Grace, a Light superior to Natute, which should direct and preside over it ; the peculiar