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(say they) dwell in the South; the Hittites, Jebusttes, Amorites, in the mountains; and the Canaanites by the sea-coast: huge armies of tall invincible Lusts: we flail never be able to go against this people: we shall never be able to prevail against our Corruptions. Hearken not unto them, but hear what Caleb and Joshua, say, Let us go up at once, and pojfefs it, for .we are able to overcome them; not by our own strength, but by the power of the Lord of Hosts. There are indeed fens of Aitai there, there are mighty Giant-like Lusts that we are to grapple with; nay, there are principalities and powers too that we are to oppofe: but the great Michael, the Captain cf the Lord's Host is with us; he commands in chies for us, and we need not be dismayed. Understand therefore this day that the Lord thy God is he which goeth before thee as a consuming fire ; he shall destroy these enemies, and bring them down before thy face. If thou wilt be saithsul unto him, and put thy trust in him, as the fire consumeth the Jlubble, and as thi Jlame burneth up the chaff, so will he destroy thy lusts in thee: their root /hall be rottenness, and their blossom JJiall go up as the dust.
But lest there should yet haply remain any prejudice, against that which I have all this while heartily commended to you, true Holiness, and the keeping of Chrifss commandments, as is it were a legal and a servile thing, that would subject us to a state of bondage: I must needs here add a word or two, either for the prevention or removal of it. I do not theresore mean by holiness, the mere performance of the outward duties of Religion, coldly actedover as a task; norour habitual prayings, hearings, sastings, multiplied one upon another (though these are all good, as subservient to a higher end:) but I mean an inward soul, and principle of divine lise that spiriteth all these, that enliveneth and quickeneth the dead carcase of all outward performances whatsoever. I do not here urge the dead law of outward works, which indeed, is it be alone, subjects us to a state of Vol. V. 4 L bondage;
bondage; but the inward law of the gofpel, the Law os the spirit of life, than which nothing can be more free and ingenuous: for it doth not a£t us by principles without us, but is an inward, self-moving principle, living in our hearts.
They that are actuated only by an outward law, are but like thofe little puppets that skip nimbly up and down, and seem to be lull of quick and sprightly motion; whereas they are all the while moved artissicially by certain wires and strings from without.
But they that arc acted by the new law of the Gospel, by the law of the Spirit, they have an inward principle in them, that from the centre of itself, puts forth itself freely and constantly into all obedience to the will of Christ. This new law of the gospel is a kind of musical Soul, insorming the dead Organ of our hearts, that makes them of their own accord delight to act harmoniousty, according to the rule of God's word.
The law that I speak of is a law of Love which is the most powersul law in the world, and yet it freeth us in a manner from all law without us, because it maketh us become a law to ourselves. The more it prevaileth in us, the more it eateth up and devoureth all other laws without us; just as Aaron's living Rod did swallow up thofe Rods of the Magicians that were made only to counterseit a little lise. *
Love is at once a freedom from all law, a state of purest liberty, and yet a law too, of the most constraining and indispensable necessity. ,
The Law of the Letter without us sets us in a condition of little liberty, by restraining us from many outward acts of sin; but yet doth not disenthral us frorn the power of sin in our hearts.
But the Law of the Spirit of Life, the Gofpel Law of Love,h puts us into a condition of most pure and persect liberty: and whofoever really entertains this law, he hath thru/I out
Hagar quite, he hath cast out the Bond-woman and her children: from hencesorth Sarah the Free-woman shall live for ever with him, and site shall be to him a mother of many children: her seed shall be as the /and of the Sea-/lwre for number, and as the stars of heaven. Here is Evangelicalliberty, here is Gofpel-freedom, when the Spirit of lise in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death: when we have a liberty from sin, and not a liberty to sin; for our dear Lord and Master hath told us, that Whofoever committeth fin, is the servant of sin.
He that lies under the power and vassalage of his base lush, and yet talks of Gofpel-freedom, is but like a poor condemned prisoner that in his fleep dreams of being set at liberty, and of walking up and down wheresoever he pleaseth, whilst his legs are all the while locked sast in setters and irons. To please ourselves with a notion of Gofpelliberty, whilst we have not a Gospel-principle of holiness within us, to free usfromthe power of sin, is nothing else but to gild over our bonds and setters, and to sancy ourselves to be in a golden cage. There is a straitness, flavery, and narrowness in sin; sin crowds and crumples up our fouls, which is they were freely spread abroad, would be as wide and as large as the whole universe.
^No man is truly free but he that hath his will enlarged to the extent of God's will, by loving whatsoever God loves, and nothing else. Such a one doth not fondly hug this and that particular created good thing, and envasial himself unto it r but he loveth everything that is lovely, beginning at God, and descending down to all his creatures, according to the several degrees of persection in them. Pie enjoys a boundless liberty, and a boundless sweetnels, according to his boundless love. He enclaspeth the whole world in his outstretched arms; his foul is as wide as the whole universe, Ms big as yesterday, to-day and for ever. Whofoever is once acquainted with this dispofition of spirit, he never de.siIts any
4 L 2 tiiing thing else, and he loves the lise of God in himself dearer than his own lise. To conclude, is we love Christ and keep his commandments, his commandments will not be grievous unto us: his yoke will be easy, and his burthen light. For it is most true of Evangelical Obedience, what the wise man speaketh of Wisdom, Her ways are ways of pleasantness: and all her paths are peace : /lie is a tree of life to all that lay hold upon fur; and happy are all they that retain her.
Thoughts on the Characler and Writings of Mr. Prior. [Concluded from page 6o3.]
7- T)UT to descend from generals to particulars. His tales •*-* are certainly the best told of any in the English tongue. And it matters not, whether they were ever told besore or no. They never were in the English language. I instance only in two of them, "The Lady's Looking-glass, (mentioned before,) and the English Padlock. In both, the diction is pure, terse, easy and elegant in the highest degree. And the Moral both of one and the other, may be of excellent use: particularly that of the latter:
"Be to her virtues very kind:
8. But "his amorous effusions have neither gallantry, nor tenderness. They are the dull exercises of one trying to be amorous by dint of study. When he tries to act the Lover, his thoughts are unassecting and remote. In his armorous Pedantry he exhibits the College."
Surely never was any thing more distant from the truth! "Neither gallantry, nor tenderness! For gallantry, I know not well what it means. But never man wrote with more tenderness. Witness the preface to Henry and Emma, with the whole inimitable Poem: witness the flory of Abraham. Are these *' the dull exercises of one trying to be amorous by dint of study?" Are the thoughts in these "unassecting and remote?" Yea, "amorous Pedantry of a College?" O no! They are the genuine language oi the heart. "Unassecting?" So far from it, that I know not what man of sensibility can read them without tears.
9. But it is faid, " Henry and Emma is a dull and tedious dialogue, which excites neither esteem for the man, nor tenderness for the woman." Does it not? Then I know not with what eyes, or with what heart a man must read it! "dull and tedious!" See how Doctors disser! One who was no bad Poet himsell, and no bad judge of Poetry, describing Love, fays,
"The immortal glories of the nut-brown maid,
and always spoke of this very Poem as one os the sinest in the English language.
1o. However, "Alma never had apian, nor any drist or design." The drist and design of it is tolerably plain. It is a strong fatire on that self-conceited tribe of men, who pretend to philofophize upon every thing, natural or spiritual. It keenly expofes thofe who continually obtrude their own systems upon the world, and pretend to account for every thing. His design is, is possible to make these men less wise in their own conceit, by (hewing them how plausibly a man may desend, the oddest lystem that can be conceived: and lie intermixes many admirable reslexions, and clofes with a very striking conclusion; which points out, where one would least expect it, that all is vanity.