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be restrained. For, we are mightily for liberty : and unless we be satisfied in the reason of the thing ; we have a great desire to look into that which we are prohibited. 'Tis hard to be subject to will ; as it is natural to yield to reason. Therefore, it is not a thing that we should affect, to come into bondage, or be determined more than God hath determined us--Let these things be weighed by those men who love to multiply positive inftitutions, and to determine the liberty of our minds, in circumstances and punctilio's ; in things where God hath not limited or determined us. For my part, I will not part with that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. And, this is one part of our liberty : I must confess the greatest of all is, to free us from the guilt and power of our fins : but, the next is this ; to put us out of danger, and free us from the obligation of conscience, where reason, and the matter itself, doth noť on blige us. The moral part of religion is indispensibly necessary ; because every piece of it doth fanctify by its presence : as for instance, humility, modesty, righteousness, temperance, reverence of deity, and the like : these things cannot be in any man's mind but they make him holy : whereas the instrumental part of religion doth not sanctify by presence. For, you may pray, and hear the word, and receive the facrament, and be wicked still : but every thing of the moral part of religion, doth fanctify by presence, just as a remedy, or cordial, or diet, doth do a man good, by receiving it.
But to speak, now, of the great benefits that accrue to us, by our Saviour's being in our nature. He doth
acquire acquire the right of redeeming us ; and makes fatisfaction in that nature that had transgressed : and, he doth repair the ruined nature of man, by dwelling in it, and by working righteousness in it: by which means he hath wrought out all malignity, and naugh, ty habits, by contrary acts ; the acts of fun and vice, by acts of virtue and goodness ; the acts of intemperance, by acts of fobriety and temperance.
Now, let us look for the explication of this, ir ourselves ; in our nativity from above ; in mental transformation, and dei fication. Do not stumble at the use of the word. For, we have authority for the use of it, in scripture, 2 Pet. i. 4. Being made partakers of the divine nature ; which is in effect our deification. Allo, let it appear in our reconciliation to God, to goodness, righteousness and truth ; in our being created after God, in righteousness, and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24. It was a signal evidence of a divine power in the disciples of Christ, at the first publication of the gospel, that it wrought so great an alteration in all those that did receive it. The envious, debauched, and disobedient, it made temperate, sober, and religious, humble, and good-natured. It converted the embracers of it, to a life more suitable to reason, and nature and all moral virtue.
We may observe from this, that nothing of the natural state is base, or vile. Whatsoever hath foundation in God's creation, or whatsoever the providence of God calls any man unto, it is not base. For our Saviour himself took flesh and blood : and that is. the meaner part of human nature. Whatsoever is natural, hath nothing of disparagement in it; no
thing that exposeth a man to contempt, and scorn. And this may satisfy those that are in the meanest offices and employments ; that there is nothing base, that hath place in God's creation. That which is vile, base, and filthy, is unnatural, and depends upon unnatural use, and degenerate practice.
Also, observe here, the great honour put upon hu• . man nature ; when the son of God came into it ; when divine goodness did take into consideration the rise and advance of created nature ; and to recover and raise it to all possible perfection : he did take to himself a peculiar relation to human nature. Then let us take consolation in this. For, it cannot be thought, that God did so great a thing, and of so deep a consideration, as to unite human nature to his own existence, and to set it at his own right hand, to the admiration of angels, (for he faith, let all the angels of God worship him, Heb. i. 6.) that he did such a thing as this is, to beget a notion, or to raise a talk, and make a wonder in the world, and put the creation into a gaze and astonishment. God doth nothing, for so light an end ; and especially not his great things, such as these, which call for fear and reverence on our part. This we may say, is one of the greatest works of God. This, if possible, dotlı transcend the very creation of God, at first : for, there was nothing there to resist him : but, in the restoration, there was malignity and fin. God did this, therefore, for the great and inconceivable good of that nature that he hath so highly honoured. Therefore, what confolation should we have from it! what declaration should we make of it! what thanksgiv
ing for it ! Having this knowledge ; how should we rejoice in God, and be above the world! how should we depress the immoderate motions of sense, and sayour spiritual things ! that so we may the better understand this great mystery, by which we are so highly honoured, And this is the proper use of this high and noble argument. Therefore, let this be explicated, verified, and fulfilled in us. For, this you must understand ; that religion is not satisfied in notions; but doth indeed, and in reality, come to nothing, unless it be in us not only matter of knowledge and speculation ; but doth establish in us a frame and temper of mind, and is productive of a holy and virtuous life. Therefore, let these things take effect in us ; in our spirituality, and heavenlymindedness; in our conformity to the divine nature, and nativity from above. For, whosoever professes that he believes the truth of these things : and wants the operation of them upon his spirit, and life ; he doth, in fact, make void, and frustrate what he doth declare as his belief: and so he doth receive the grace of God in vain, 2 Cor. vi. 1. unless this principle, and belief doth descend into his heart, and establish a good frame and temper of mind ; and govern in all the actions of his life and conversation.
Religion is not a particular good only; as meat against hunger ; or drink against thirst; or cloaths against cold ; but it is universally good ; a good, with out limitation or restraint. For holiness and purity of mind, is the self-fame thing to the mind, that health and strength is to the body. It is good also in point of satisfaction to the judgment. For, no man
It is good
that useth reason, can otherwise fit down contented,
Now, to shew it in particulars. Religion (which is,
of the pleasures of sense ; and that those men that live apart from the world, and are taken up in meditation, and contemplation, their pleasures are more intense and folid, than those of the licentious, and of fuch as please themselves in all the gratificati