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bers ; carnal, sold under sin; doing wut these
not, what they hate ; doing not the good nic
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these be our wretched estate, for sbobesser.
nounces it to be, the grace ai ai Gus
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them who walk not after the flesh, but arese
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XXXII.

PRESERVATION AND RECOVERY FROM SIN.

Titus 11. 11, 12.

For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath

appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

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THERE are certain particular texts of Scripture which are of inestimable use ; for that in a few, short, clear words, they show us the sum of our duty. Such texts ought to be deeply infixed and imprinted upon our memories; to be written, indeed, upon our hearts. The text, which I have read to you, is entitled to this distinction. No single sentence that ever was written down for the direction of mankind comprises more important truth in less room. The text gives us a rule of life and conduct; and tells us, that to lay down for mankind this rule, and enforce it by the promise of salvation, was a great object of the Gospel being published in the world. The Gospel might include other objects, and answer other purposes ; but as far as related to the regulation of life and conduct, this was its object and its purpose. The rule, you hear, is, that, “ denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. We must begin“ by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts :” which means, that we must resist or break off all sins of licentiousness, debauchery, and intemperance ; for these are what are specifically meant by worldly lusts. And these must be denied ; that is, they must either be withstood in the first instance, or the evil courses into which they have drawn us must be broken off.

When a rule of morals is plain and positive, it is seldom that there is any advantage in enlarging upon the rule itself. We only weaken it by dilating it. I shall employ, therefore, my present discourse in offering such heads of advice as may be likely, by God's blessing, to assist us in rendering obedience to the rule laid down for us; an obedience upon which salvation depends.

First, then, I observe concerning licentious practices, that it is most practicable to be entirely innocent; that it is a more easy thing to withstand them altogether, than it is to set bounds to their indulgence. This is a point not sufficiently understood ; though true, it is not believed. Men know not what they are doing when they enter upon vicious courses: what a struggle, what a contest, what misery, what torment they are preparing for themselves. I trust that there is hardly a man or woman living who enters into a course of sin with the design of remaining in it to the end; who can brave the punishment of hell ; who intends to die in that state of sure perdition, to which a course of unrepented sin must bring him or her. No, that is not the plan even of the worst, much less of the generality, of mankind. Their plan is to allow themselves to a certain length, and there stop; for a certain time, and then reform ; in such and such opportunities and temptations, but in no more. Now, to such persons and to such plans, I say this, that it would not have cost them one-tenth of the mortification, pain, and

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