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a cleaner and a greater reward of peace of conscience and joy in God.

Let us all be humble, meek, and patient, as our Lord; modest in apparel and all civil conversation, as those that resolve to walk in Christ as they have received him, (Col. ii. 6,) and to wear him as they have put him on. (Rom. xiii. 14; 1 Tim. ii. 9.) This primitive simplicity would revive charity, which is frozen to pieces in this cold age, this being "the fulfilling of the law." (Rom. xiii. 10.) All the commands of God must needs be broken, by the very want of it. When all is done, live so accurately, (Eph. v. 15,) as if you were to be justified by your works; and then, as unprofitable servants, cast yourselves wholly on free grace in Christ, (Luke xvii. 10,) lest, by the conceit of any merit, when you have anointed our Saviour's feet, you fling the box at his head, and rob him of his priestly office and


As for disputing of controversies, let your discourses be rather in private, than before others; that you argue in love to the souls of your brethren, not for victory and triumphing over their infirmities. The Jewish rabbins say, "He deserveth hell-fire who putteth his brother to the blush." Therefore in meekness of wisdom argue with your weak brethren, that Christ was faithful in God's house or church, (Heb. iii. 2,) in commanding all things necessary for salvation, and the worshipping of God in spirit and truth; that Paul had declared to the Ephesians "all the counsel of God," and "kept back nothing that was profitable" to them; (Acts xx. 20, 27;) therefore we may safely venture in this bottom; and that those men who will venture to tender God a worship which he hath not commanded, they take upon them to be wiser than God, Jesus Christ, and his apostles, and can tell what will please God better than himself can. If, with Jeroboam, they will set up a worship of their own devising, to keep up his golden calves, (1 Kings xii. 33,) they must have very low thoughts of God; as if he was taken with our voluntary humility, in fancies and postures, rather than "the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor. xi. 3.) When he hath told us, the words his Father had given him he had given to his disciples, (John xvii. 8,) all other traditions may very safely be rejected.

Yet neither must we altogether abandon all disputations; (our Saviour indeed never called for a sword but to cut his way to a miracle;) but remit them to the schools or the press; (honest men may wear swords, and learn to use them, because robbers ride armed;) but let such take heed they dispute not with God, his providence or grace. I remember a disputation publicly in the schools, where the respondent in divinity defended this question, "That the term of a man's life was movable." He was presently seized with a fever and died. I say not, that providence determined the question. But if all times, much more ours, are in God's hands, (Acts i. 7,) not our own. (Eccles. viii. 8.) When Ames was invited to be professor at Franeker, Episcopius, then at Leyden, in his lectures in the schools, read against Ames; who, hearing of it, sent a bold


challenge,—that he would come to Leyden, and before the University answer Episcopius's arguments, and oppose his determinations, if he pleased. I know not why truth may not be as bold as error. Episcopius wisely refused and declined it, knowing that Ames had a scholastical head; and close arguments would rout loose harangues,— his fist would be too hard for his palm. Those doctrines are borne up in the world by looseness of manners. They who are so much for free will, are for free life too. Never more of that doctrine, and never more licentiousness; which argueth some kindred and relation to be betwixt them. But, as D. H. hath said of old, "If Arminians be not the most godly, holy, heavenly, every way the best of men, they are the very worst, since they assert they have so much power to be good." Sir William Temple observes, where this opinion was born, it was looked upon as a mid-way betwixt Papists and Protestants, the blue to that bow-dye. But I am sure God's word says, He "works in us to will and to do;" (Phil. ii. 13;) and the tenth Article is expressly against this doctrine of free-will.

When free-will and wit have got the ascendant over true reason and conscience, Satan will ride post his last stage; for they will convert men into foxes and wolves, to deceive and devour each other; yea, into devils, to torment and insult over one another's miseries. And whoever above ground will build upon these self-centred globes, shall find their foundation will soon roll and slide from under them. When the earth was corrupt, then came the flood of waters. (Gen. vi. 13.) Christendom is so corrupted from true Christianity, that these giants in wickedness and violence presage a deluge of blood. But if" when the Son of man cometh" he shall find no "faith on the earth," (Luke xviii. 8,) then his coming is near. Then, come Lord Jesus, and put an end to all violence, fraud, and wickedness; and shut up hell in hell, hypocrites and devils in the same cloisters; (Matt. xxiv. 51;) and gather thy saints together to worship thee "in the beauty of holiness." (1 Chron. xvi. 29; Psalm xxix. 2; xcvi. 9.) Be thou the desire" and delight "of all nations;" (Haggai ii. 7;) build thy own Jerusalem, (for men cannot or will not,) and appear in thy glory, (Psalm li. 18; cii. 16,) shine in it as "the perfection of beauty," (Psalm 1. 2,) make it a "habitation of justice," and a "mountain of holiness," (Jer. xxxi. 23,) and “a city of truth ;" (Zech. viii. 3;) that it may be said, Jehovah-shamma, "The Lord is there," and hath the third time whipped the traders out of his temple, and set it upon everlasting foundations; all administrations being according to his own measure, that golden rule, and "the pattern in the mount."




How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?-Genesis xxxix. 9.

THE text is the record of Joseph's innocence and victory, consecrated in scripture for the honour and imitation of that excellent saint in succeeding ages. He had been tried by sharp afflictions, the conspiring envy of his brethren, and the cruel effects of it, banishment and servitude; and "possessed his soul in patience :" (Luke xxi. 19 :) here he was encountered by a more dangerous temptation in another kind, and preserved his integrity. Adversity excites the spirit to serious recollection, arms it with resolution to endure the assaults, and stop the entrance, of what is afflicting to nature; pleasure by gentle insinuations relaxes the mind to a loose security, softens and melts the heart, and makes it easily receptive of corrupt impressions.

Now, to represent the grace of God that preserved Joseph in its radiance and efficacy, we must consider the several circumstances that increased the difficulty of the double victory, over the tempter and himself::

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1. The tempter. His mistress, who had divested the native modesty of the blushing sex, and by her caresses and blandishments sought to draw him to compliance with her desires. Her superior quality might seem to make her request have the force of a command over him.

2. The solicitation.-"Lie with me." (Verse 7.) There are no sins to which there is a stronger inclination in our corrupted nature, than to acts of sensuality. The temptation was heightened by the lure of profit and advancement, that he might obtain by her favour and interest in her husband, who was an eminent officer in the Egyptian court and the denial would be extremely provoking, both in respect it seemed to be a contempt injurious to her dignity, and was a disappointment of her ardent expectations. Hatred and revenge, upon refusal, are equal to the lust of "an imperious whorish woman."* (Ezek. xvi. 30.) We read the effects of it, in this chapter; for upon his rejecting her desires, rapt up with rage, and to purge herself, she

Regeramus ipsæ crimen, atque ultrò impiam

Venerem arguamus. Scelere velandum est scelus.-SENEC. Trag. Hippolytus, 720. "As we cannot succeed with Hippolytus, let us retort on him the solicitation to the offence with which we shall be charged; and let us accuse him to his father of having deliberately attempted to perpetrate the infamous crime of incest. One act of turpitude must always be concealed by committing another."—EDIT.

turned his accuser, wounded his reputation, deprived him of his liberty, and exposed his life to extreme peril. Joseph chose rather to lie in the dust than to rise by sin.

3. The opportunity was ready, and the object present. It is said, "There was none of the men of the house within." (Verse 11.) She had the advantage of secresy to fasten the temptation upon him. When a sin may be easily committed, and easily concealed, the restraints of fear and shame are taken off; and every breath of a temptation is strong enough to overthrow the carnally-minded. The purest and noblest chastity is from a principle of duty within, not constrained by the apprehension of discovery and severity.

4. The continuance of the temptation." She spake to him day by day." (Verse 10.) Her complexion was lust and impudence; and his repeated denials were ineffectual to quench her incensed desires, the black fire that darkened her mind. "She caught him by the garment, saying, Lie with me:" (verse 12:) she was ready to prostitute herself and ravish him.

5. The person tempted.-Joseph, in the flower of his age, the season of sensuality, when innumerable [persons], by the force and swing of their vicious appetites, are impelled to break the holy law of God.

6. His repulse of the temptation was strong and peremptory." How can I do this great wickedness?" He felt no sympathy, no sensual tenderness, but expressed an impossibility of consenting to her guilty desire. We have in Joseph exemplified that property of the regenerate, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; (1 John iii. 9) by a sacred potent instinct in his breast, he is preserved not only from the consummate acts, but recoils from the first offers to it.

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7. The reasons are specified of his rejecting her polluting motion.— "Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand: there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Verses 8, 9.) It was a complicated crime of injustice and uncleanness; a most injurious violation of the strongest ties of duty and gratitude to his master, and of the sacred marriage-covenant to her husband, and the foulest blot to their persons; therefore, "How can I commit a sin so contrary to natural conscience and supernatural grace, and provoke God?"

Thus I have briefly considered the narrative of Joseph's temptation; and that divine grace preserved him unspotted from that contagious fire, may be resembled to the miraculous preserving [of] the three Hebrew martyrs unsinged, in the midst of the flaming furnace. (Dan. iii. 24, 25.) The patience of Job, and the chastity of Joseph, are transmitted by the secretaries of the Holy Ghost in scripture, to be in perpetual remembrance and admiration.

From this singular instance of Joseph, who was neither seduced by the allurements of his mistress, nor terrified by the rage of her despised affection, to sin against God, I shall observe two general points :

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I. That temptations to sin, how alluring soever or terrifying, ought to be rejected with abhorrence.

II. That the fear of God is a sure defence and guard against the strongest temptation.

I will explain and prove the First, and only speak a little of the Second in a branch of the Application.

I. That temptations to sin, how alluring soever or terrifying, are to be rejected with abhorrence.

There will be convincing proof of this, by considering two things: (I.) That sin in its nature, prescinding from the train of woful effects, is the greatest evil.

(II.) That relatively to us, it is the most pernicious, destructive evil.

(I.) That sin, considered in itself, is the greatest evil.—This will be evident by considering the general nature of it, as directly opposite to God the Supreme Good. The definition of sin expresses its essential evil: it is "the transgression of the" divine "law;" (1 John iii. 4;) and consequently opposes the rights of God's throne, and obscures the glory of his attributes that are exercised in the moral government of the world. God as Creator is our King, our Lawgiver, and Judge. From his propriety in us arises his just title to sovereign power over us: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm c. 3.) The creatures of a lower order are uncapable of distinguishing between moral good and evil, and are determined by the weight of nature to what is merely sensible, and therefore are uncapable of a law to regulate their choice. But man, who is endowed with the powers of understanding and election, to conceive and choose what is good, and reject what is evil, is governed by a law, the declared will of his Maker; accordingly a law, the rule of his obedience, was written in his heart.

Now sin, the transgression of this law, contains many great evils : 1. Sin is a rebellion against the sovereign majesty of God, that gives the life of authority to the law.-Therefore divine precepts are enforced with the most proper and binding motives to obedience: "I am the Lord." (Isai. xlii. 8.) He that with purpose and pleasure commits sin, implicitly renounces his dependence upon God, as his Maker and Governor, overrules the law, and arrogates an irresponsible licence to do his own will. This is expressed by those atheistical designers, "who said, With our tongues will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is Lord over us?" (Psalm xii. 4.) The language of actions, that is more natural and convincing than [that] of words, declares that sinful men despise the commands of God, as if they were not his creatures and subjects. What a dishonour, what a displeasure is it to the God of glory, that proud dust should fly in his face, and control his authority! He has "ten thousand times ten thousand " angels that are high in dignity, and "excel in strength," waiting in a posture of reverence and observance about his throne, ready to do his will. (Dan. vii. 10; Psalm ciii. 20.)

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