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unwilling to die, when he is unqualified, by the abuse of his reason, to do an act of intelligence. For all acts of grace and virtue, depend upon our letting all things be done with decency and comeliness : considering this always, that tho' our several faculties under God be our own, yet we have not power to use any of them fo as to indispose them to the ends and purposes, uses and employments, they were made and intended for in the moment of God's creation, We may no more do this, than we may destroy our own lives; and we do destroy them if we abuse them. For what are powers and faculties, but in order to use, in order to their acts and objects ? Fruftra eft por tentia
quce non reducitur in a&tum ; a power in nature is useless and to no purpose, except it be called forth to act.
Therefore fobriety, chastity, temperance, have their foundation in the nature of man ; for los briety and temperance are conservative of those faculties in us, which are to be employed in exercise of reason, practice of virtue, and in acts of observance of God.
Mind and understanding in man, hath God's fuperscription upon it, and it is money belonging to God. And we must give to God, that which is God's. It must not be so abused, as to be unqualifis ed for that which is its peculiar appropriate ; as, to receive from God, to be sensible of him, make açknowledgments to him and returns upon him. Let not a man allow himself so, as to be at any time difabled to these eminent acts of piety and devotion, We must not give ourselves up, brutum pafcere, ta feed the beast ; to pamper the body and neglect the
foul. As the apostle hath it ; living in pleasures, wantonness, nourished up for the day of Naughter. What a shameful fight is it, to see a man disguis’d out of the use of reason, and disabled to govern himself, by his own fault ? there is no such thing in the inferior creation : for the creatures below us, except they be deceived, (for they are not able, as we are, to distinguish) they so use themselves as that they are always found themselves; and you never find them worse than themselves. A person disguised by excess, is a horrid prodigious monster. We are wont to call drunkenness a beastly fin; but we bely the beasts, when we do so; for there is no such thing with them.
Every sin hath its own punishment sooner or later.' Sometimes malum paffionis, the evil of suffering, follows after malum actionis, the evil of action, at some distance : but always great inconvenience and mifchief accompanies this fin which is a home-evil. Its was a good saying of St. Auftin ; fecisti Domine, & fic eft, ut omnis inordinatus appetitus fit sibi ipsi pæna ; O God, thou wouldest so have it, and thou hast so appointed it, that every inordinate appetite, the misgovernment of ourselves, is a punishment to itself. But fudden evils do attend this fin ; dethroning of reason as to the interior man; and as to the exterior, what is more visible ? Prov. xxiii. 29, 30. IVho hath woe? who forrow ? whe, contention ? who babbling? who wounds? who redness of eyes? They who continue long at the wine. Whereupon he giveth good advice in verse 31. Look not upon wine when it is red, &c. The provocations of appetites, are instrumenta malo
verse 32. at last it liteth like a serpent and flinget) like an adder. verse 17. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day. verse 20. Be not among wine-bibbers, and rigtous eaters of flesh. verse 21. The drunkard and glutton fall come to poveriy. Ifa. v. 22. Woe to them that are mighty to drink wine.
To conclude. This I find, that not only the religion of God's creation, but also the gospel-religion doth require fobriety. That grace of God which bringeth salvation, teacheth us to live godly, righteously and soberly. Ephes. v. 18. Be not drunk with wine, where. in is excess. Let us therefore take warning by instances in fcripture, to avoid others miscarriages, and so to prevent the mischief they brought upon themselves .by running into excess. 1 Cor. x. 6. Not luft as they lufted, and were overthrown in the wilderness. Pfal. lxxviii. 30. while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of the Lord fell upon them, &c. Exod. xxxii. 6. They sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And what followed upon it ? three thousand men fell that day. Job xxi. 12. They take to themselves the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ ; spend their days in jollity and mirth, and in a moment they go down to the grave. On the contrary, for a certain preservative against excess and immoderation, I propose, and with that conclude ; Pfal. cxix. 148. My eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in tby word, to think of thee. Let us with David, be in the fear of God; let our minds be fixed upon him ; reserve mind and understanding for obfervance of God, and attendance upon him.
The great instances of wickedness.
PSALM V. 4, 5. Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, &c.
*Hese words give us to understand the terms that
are between God and his creatures. Some are very
bold to make complaint of God, as if he used his creatures hardly, or as if his goodness were not so great as some would wish, or as scripture did declare. It is not the creature that God doth hate ; he takes no offence at them, but only as they are wicked workers of iniquity ; thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, &c. Pfal. xlv. 7. God lov. eth righteousness, but he hateth wickedness ; God hath no offence, nor displeasure against us, as we are his creatures ; for Psal. cxlv. 9. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Do we believe what we ourselves do acknowledge of God in our publick worship? We tell God that he hateth nothing that he hath made, but inviteth all to repent, and rejoiceth when finners do return. It is an admirable place, Wifd. xi. 21. Thou lovest all things that are, and doft hate nothing that thou hast made ; for if thou hadft hated it, why wouldst thou have made it? So that we say, no man's application to God in any condition whatsoever, no man's faith in God meets with a
ny discouragement from any thing in respect of God. The Roman orator Cicero hath a saying to this purpose,
A fuperis nulli impendent metuis mortalibus ; from the supreme power above, there is no fear, no danger, no occasion of discouragement to us mortals here below; we are not at all in danger in respect of God's power, though it be irresistable ; but we have encouragement from it rather, because it is in conjunction with infinite goodness, and so may make acts of goods ness more effectual. I will add but two places of scripture, because I observe this only by way of intimation. Aits x. 35. God is no respecter of persons, receives no prejudice, is not disaffected towards any of his creatures ; but in every nation, whosoever he is that fears God and works righteousness, is accepted of him. And if we consider the circumstances of the text, the scripture is more remarkable; for Peter was forced into this sense and acknowledgment by a miracle, repeated again and again ; for this is contrary to the Jewish doctrine and opinion. The other place is, Rom. ii. 6. God will render to every man according to his deeds; glory, honour, and peace, to every one that worketh righteousness ; but to them who obey not the truth, tribulation and anguifs. Let us preserve ourselves from the abomination of desolation, and a just provocation of him : and we may have great confidence in our maker. This I account to be of natu, ral impreffion. Plata hath a brave discourse to this purpose ; that that which is divine, cannot be hurts ful: nothing of devilish there : but grace, mercy and compaffion.