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Table. But yet the thing is in a very great measure applicable to those, whoi! having devoted themselves to God by this: Federal Mystery, take the confidence afterwards to let themselvesloose again to their Enormities, wherewith they chad? polluted their Souls and Consciences be-li fore. The laft State of those Men musti needs be worse than the first ; and that according to the Nature of the thing it self. For hereby Vice becomes familiar with them : It loreth that ugly and ghastly Aspect, which ac firft makes it appear very shameful and frightful; their Acquaintance with it makes it the more friendly and free, like ones conversingi with the Devil, that by degrees wears! off that Horror, which is ready to strikes another through at the very Thoughts of his Appearing. There is naturally such Turpitude in Wickedness, and ca contrary it is to our" Reason and true Interest, that an innocent Person, when solicited to it, is apt to be startled ar! the first Motion ; and if he be perswa ded to act it, he cannot but feel great Remorse and Anguish in his Mind after the Commission. But Custom and Fami liarity directly tends not only to remove that Fear and Shame, which was once fuch Guards to the Mind, but moreover
to make the Conscience hard and crusty; like Flesh feared with an hot Iron, so that
itzloteth the faculty of Sensation. And I when a Man is "come to such a wretch
ed pass, it is as impossible for him to Repent and come to himself again, without che mighty Assistance of God's Spirit, as it is to live, and move, and breathe in a Grave. And what Reason and Grounds are there to expect that extraordinary Asfiftance, after such monstrous Provocati-> ons given; notwithstanding the strictest Ties and Engagements to the contrary? We read in Scripture,' of Refifting, of Grieving, and of Quenching the Spirit. Nor is it possible for those, who were once enlightned at the other Sacrament, and afterwards at this have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the Powers of the World to come: 'Tis not possible, I say, for such to fall of to a vitious Course of Life, but by contumeliously intreating the Spirit of Grace, by offering great Violence against his strivings, by spoiling his holy Workmanship, and by bringing to nought those Virtues and Perfections of Nature, which were the Results and Effects of his Divine Operation. And what is all this, but the next way to
stifle and puť an end to all his Motions, and to force him utterly to depart? Be. cause these Hostilities thus acted against the clear Light of "Reason, and the loud Clamours of Conscience, cannot proceed from any other cause, but from Wills that are obstinately fet upon Evil, and from Affections that are desperately in love with that which neceffarily leadeth to Destruction For it is to be supposed, that whoever comes to this tremendous Mystery, must, if he comes with sincerity of Heart, carry with him these Con- . victions, That the Religion he professeth is of God; That Christ sealed it upon the Cross with that Blood, whereof there is a Representation in this Mystery ; That the Covenant between God and Mankind is immutable ; That eternal Life therein promised is to be chosen before the whole World ; That a Life of San&tity
is the certain way to it. That Virtue is Eligible of it self, and for the Peace and Satisfaction it rewards them (with in this "Life, beyond the gross and transient Pleasures of the Flesh; and that it is the extreameft Folly for a Man to chuse those Courses which bring a kind of Hell to him, before he arrives at that which burns with Fire and Brimestone. There is no understanding and serious
Person, but must grant all this and more: And therefore to Relapse into a State of Wickedness, after so many Vows, after fo many Convictions, and confequently after fo many Reluctancies and Struglings of Conscience, can proceed from no other Cause but the strong Malignity of a carnal
Mind, which is perfect enmity against God, utterly inconsistent with the things of the Spirit; Rom. 8.
THESE are the Reproaches and Dangers of Relapsing into a wicked State of Life, after the reception of this Sacrament; and should a Man die in such
wretched Condition, I tremble to consider what an endless State of Misery he must drop into next, because ( as I have already hew'd) nothing but entire Probity of Mind, and a vertuous Temper, can capacitate or dispose us for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light. I do not now speak of Sins of Ignorance, of Inadvertency, of Infirmity, and humane Weakness. For as there is no possible fufficient Fence against them, so there is no strict Obligations upon us to keep our selves free entirely from them ; nor are these the Sins which the Word of God cries out upon so, as to threaten them with eternal Death, or with the Derelictions of Christ's Spirit. No; it is finning
with an high hand, and against an Honest. Conscience; and against Stipulations and Promises which were in our Power to perform ; this is that presumptuous acting, which lays Men naked and destitute of the Grace of God in this Life, and leaves them exposed to God's everlasting Dilpleasure in the next.
YOU have therefore great need, as soon as this Solemnity is over, as to bow your Knees to the Father of Lights, from whom every good and perfect Gift cometh, that he would now hold
up your goings in his Paths, that your Foot steps may not slide ; fo to be very cir- . cumspect and diligent yourselves, to make streight Paths for your feet (as the Author to the Hebrews speaks ) lest any Man fhould fail of the Grace of God; left any Man should turn Fornicator or Prophane Person, as Efau, Who for one morsel of bread fold his birthright. know, how that afterward, when he would have inherited the Blessing, he was rejected; for be found no place of Repentance, (no way of changing his father's mind ) though he fought it earnestly with tears, Heb. 12.