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be greatly if not wholly amended. And, as it sometimes happens that they who have the weakest and most distempered frames, by means of an exact temperance and an unshaken perseverance in rule and method, outlive those of a robuster make and more luxuriant health ; fo there are abundant instances, where men of the most depraved turn of mind, by keeping a steady guard upon their weak parts, and gradually but continually correcting their defects, “ going on from

strength to strength, and from one degree of perfection to another, have at length arrived at a higher pitch of virtue than those for whom nature had done much more, and who would therefore do but little for themselves. It is said of the

great

Athenian philosopher, that he was by nature the very reverse of all those virtues, which afterwards fhone so conspicuous in his conducts that he was born one of the worst, and lived and died one of the best of men. This at least is certain, that, whatever

may tion of our nature, whatever the power of pain to stagger our virtue, or of pleasure to feduce it, it is impossible we can be fo

F

formed,

be the corrup

formed, or so situated by a just and good God, as to be under an absolute necessity of transgressing those laws which he has laid down for the regulation of our conduct. We may rest assured that he will give us powers,

,

either natural or supernatural, to balance our defects. In the common trials of our virtue, the common efforts of human nature, and the common influences of the Holy Spirit, will be able to support us : “ if any temp"! tation take us, more than is common to

man,” God will send us, provided we defire, and endeavour to deserve it, more than common assistance; for his strength is made perfect in our weakness, and we may in this sense, most truly say with the apostle, “ that “ when we are weak then in reality are we

strong.”

We are not, however, to conclude from hence, that God will deliver us out of temptation without

any

trouble on our part. As without him we can do nothing, so neither will he do any thing without us. is not intended to supersede, but to cooperate with, our own most earnest endeayours; and the most cffectual method of se6

curing

His grace

curing to ourselves the Divine assistance, is to make a speedy and vigorous use of all those means with which we are furnished, for working out our salvation. What these means are, and how we may apply them to the best advantage, will be considered in a separate discourse.

F 2

SERMON

S E R M O N IV.

JAMES

į. 13.

LET NO MAN SAY, WHEN HE IS TEMPTED,

I AM TEMPTED OF GOD; FOR GOD CANNOT BE TEMPTED OF EVIL, NEI

THER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN.

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N the preceding discourse I attempted to

show, that to throw all the blame of our vices on the infirmity of our natural constitution, is in fact to say that we are “ tempted “ of God;" that this indirect accusation of our Maker is as groundless as it is impious ; that the notion of ungovernable paffions and irresistible temptations, contradicts our clearest apprehensions of the Divine nature and perfections, the most express declarations of scripture, the testimony of past ages, and even

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