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of spirit. When, however, he feels the desire of this inestimable privilege kindled within him, he must labour to renounce all partial affections and interests, of whatever nature or degree ; and, above all enemies, guard against himself. When self is once overcome, the conquest
of every other evil will be easy. This is the true victory, this the glorious triumph of the new man! And he, whose sensual appetite is kept in continual subjection to his spirit, and his spirit in continual subjection to my will; he is this mighty conqueror of himself, and the lord of the whole world.
4. If, with holy ambition, thou desirest to ascend this height of perfection, thou must set out with a resolved will, and first lay the axe to the root, that the hidden life of self may be cut off, and all desire of personal gratification in the enjoyment of earthly good utterly extirpated. From self-love, as the corrupt stock, are derived the numerous branches of that evil, which forms the trials of man in his struggles for redemption ; and when this stock is plucked up by the roots, holiness and peace will be implanted in its room, and fleurish forever with unfading verdure. But how few labour at this extirpation ! hów.few seek to obtain that divine life, which can only rise from the death of self! And thus men lie bound in the complicated chains of animal passions, unwilling, and, therefore, unable to rise above the selfish enjoyments of flesh and blood. But he that desireth to “ follow me in the regeneration" with an enlarged heart, must endeavour to suppress and kill the evil appetites and passions of his fallen nature ; and not by a partial fondness, which hath its birth from self-love, adhere to any creature.
OF THE DIFFERENT CHARACTERS AND OPE.
RATIONS OF NATURE AND GRACE.
CHRIST. 1. MY son, observe, with watchful attention, the motions of nature and grace ; for though infinitely different, they are yet so subtle and intricate, as not always to be distinguished, but by an illuminated and sanctified spirit. Men invariably desire the possession of good ; and some good is always pretended, as the constant motive of their words and actions; and, therefore, inany are deluded by an appearance of good, when the reality is wholly wanting.
2. Nature is crafty : she allures, ensnares, and deceives ; and continually designs her own gratification, as her ultimate end. But grace walks in simplicity and truth; "abstains from all appearance of evil ;" pretends no fallacious views; but acteth from the pure love of God, in whom she rests as her supreme and final good.
3. Nature abhors the death of self: she will not be restrained, will not be conquered, will not be subordinate, but reluctantly obeys when obedience is unavoidable. Grace, on the contrary, is bent on selfmortification ; she continually resists the sensual appetite ; she seeks occasion of subjection : she longs to be subdued ; and even uses not the liberty she possesses : she loves to be restrained by the rules of strict discipline : and so far from desiring the exer. cise of authority and dominion, it is her continual wish, that in body, soul, and spirit, she may live in perfect submission to the will of God; and, for the sake of God, is always disposed to humble herself under the power of every human being.
4. Nature is always labouring for her own interest; and, in her intercourse with others, considers only what advantages she can secure for herself; but grace is wholly inattentive to personal profit and convenience; and regards that most, which is most subservient to the common good.
5. Nature, as her chief distinction, is fond of receiving honour and applause ; grace faithfully ascribes all honour and praise to God, as his unalienable right.
6. Nature dreads ignominy and contempt, and carnot bear them even in the cause of truth ; but grace rejoices to suffer reproach for the name of JESUS.
7. Nature courts idleness and rest ; grace shuns idleness as the nurse of sin, and embraces labour as the condition of life.
8. Nature delights in the splendour of dress; she hates and despises what is coarse and vulgar, and wearies imagination in the contrivance of ornament. But grace thinks not of decorating that body, which is the disgrace and punishment of man ; and therefore spontaneously puts on the most plain and humble garments, nor refuses 'even those that are disagreeable to the flesh, ill-fashioned, and decayed.
9. Nature regards only the good and evil of this temporal world; she is elated with success, and depressed by disappointment; and the least breath of reproach kindleth the fire of her wrath. But grace adheres not to the enjoyments of time and sensé ; she is unmoved either by loss or gain, and unincensed by the bitterest invectives ; and she lives only in the hope of eternal life.
10. Nature continually seeks after those treasures, which may not only be corrupted by moth and rust, and stolen by thieves, but which are in themselves,
perishing and evanescent. Grace lays up all her treasures in heaven, where nothing perisheth, nothing fadeth ; and “ where neither moth nor rust do corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.”
11. Nature is covetous ; she grasps at peculiarity of possession, and greedily takes what she hates to give away. Grace is benevolent and bountiful to all; assumes no propriety ; is contented with the necessary supports of life ; and esteems it " more blessed to give than to receive."
12. Nature is strongly disposed to the enjoyment of the creatures, to the gratification of sensual desire, and to incessant wandering from place to place in quest of new delight. Grace is continually drawn after God and goodness ; she renounces the influence of the creatures, relinquishes, the interesis of the world, abhors the indulgences of the flesh, restrains the desire of wandering, and even for shame declines being seen in places of public resort.
13. Nature, in the depths of distress, seeks all her comfort from that which produces animal delight : grace has no comfort but in God; and leaving below this visible world, seeks all her rest in the enjoyment of the Sovereign Good.
14. Nature always acts upon principles of self-interest : she does nothing good for its own sake ; but for every benefit she confers, expects either, a present recompense, or such an establishment in the favour and approbation of men as will secure a future return of some superior good ; and besides that which she hopes to receive back in kind, she desires to have her services and gifts highly esteemed and applauded. Grace, for the highest offices of charity and bounty, expects no recompense from mon; but continually looks up to God, as her exceeding great reward : she has no temporal interests to secure ; for she desires no greater share of the possessions of time, than is necessary to sustain her in her progress to eternity.
15. Nature exults in the extensive interest of numerous relations and friends ; glories in dignity of station and splendour of descent; fawns upon the powerful ; caresses the rich ; and, with partial commendation, applauds those most, that are most like herself. But grace loves her enemies, and, therefore, counts not the number of her friends ; she values not the splendour of station, and the nobility of birth, but as they are dignified by superior virtue ; she favours the poor, rather than the rich ; compassionates the innocent, more than the powerful ; rejoices with him that obeys the truth, not with the hypocrite ; and continually exhorts even the good, not only to “covet earnestly the best gifts,” but in a more excellent way,” by divine charity, to become like the Son of God.
16. Nature, when she feels her want and misery, quickly and bitterly complains ; grace bears, with meekness and patience, all the poverty and wretchedness of this fallen state.
17. Nature refers all excellence to herself; argues and contends for her own wisdom, and her own goodness : but grace, conscious of her divine original, refers all the excellence she has to Gov; she does not arrogantly presume upon her own wisdom, and her own goodness, for she ascribes neither goodness nor wisdom to herself; she contends not for a preference of her own opinion to the opinion of another, but in her searches after truth submits every thought and sentiment to the correction and guidance of infinite wisdom.