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tinually engaged in contemplating the di- CHAP. vine perfections, his eye acquires a microscopic accuracy in difcerning his own frailties. He clearly perceives, that his very best actions are more or lefs tainted with fin; and bitter experience forces him to confefs with the excellent Beveridge, "Alas! "I can neither fet my head nor heart "about any thing, but I ftill fhew myself "to be the finful offspring of finful pa"rents, by being the finful parent of a "finful offspring. Nay, I do not only betray the in-bred venom of my heart, by poisoning my common actions, but even my most religious performances alfo, "with fin. I cannot pray, but I fin; I "cannot hear, or preach a fermon, but I "fin; I cannot give an alms, or receive "the Sacrament, but I fin; nay, I cannot "fo much as confefs my fins, but my very "confeffions are still aggravations of them; my repentance needs to be repented of, my tears want washing, and the very wafhing of my tears need ftill to be "washed over again with the blood of my "Redeemer. Thus, not only the worst of "my fins, but even the best of my duties, speak me a child of Adam: infomuch, "that whenfoever I reflect upon my past
"actions, methinks I cannot but look up"on my whole life, from the time of my co conception to this very moment, to be "but as one continued act of fin "."
Such is the deliberate confeffion of one of the brightest ornaments of the English Epifcopacy; and fimilar to it are the fentiments of the judicious Hooker. "There "is no man's cafe fo dangerous, as his, "whom Satan hath perfuaded, that his "own righteousness fhall present him pure "and blameless in the fight of God. If "we could fay, we were not guilty of any "thing at all in our confciences, (we "know ourselves far from this innocency;
we cannot say, we know nothing by "ourselves; but if we could,) fhould we "therefore plead not guilty before the "prefence of our Judge, that fees further into our hearts, than we ourselves can do? If our hands did never offer vio"lence to our brethren, a bloody thought doth prove us murderers before him: if we had never opened our mouth to ut"ter any fcandalous, offenfive, or hurtful "word, the cry of our fecret cogitations
Bp. Beveridge's Private Thoughts, p. 31.
is heard in the ears of God. If we did CHAP. "not commit the fins, which daily and III. hourly, either in deed, word, or thoughts, we do commit; yet in the good things "which we do, how many defects are "there intermingled! God, in that which " is done, refpecteth the mind and inten"tion of the doer. Cut off then all thofe things, wherein we have regarded our "own glory, those things which men do "to please men, and to fatisfy our own "liking, thofe things, which we do for "any by-respect, not fincerely and purely "for the love of God, and a small score
will ferve for the number of our righ"teous deeds. Let the holiest and best things, which we do, be confidered. We "are never better affected unto God, than "when we pray; yet, when we pray, "how are our affections many times dif"tracted! How little reverence' do we
shew unto the grand majesty of God, "unto whom we speak! How little re"morfe of our own miferies! How little
tafte of the fweet influence of his tender "mercies do we feel! Are we not as un
willing many times to begin, and as glad "to make an end; as if in saying, Call
upon me, he had fet us a very burthen
SECT. "fome task? It may feem fomewhat ex"treme, which I will fpeak; therefore let every one judge of it, even as his own "heart fhall tell him, and no otherwise "I will but only make a demand: If God "should yield unto us, not as unto Abra"ham, if fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, yea, "or if ten good perfons could be found in
a city, for their fakes this city should "not be destroyed; but, and if he should "make us an offer thus large; fearch all "the generations of men, fithence the fall "of our father Adam, find one man, that "hath done one action, which hath paffed
from him pure, without any stain or " blemish at all; and for that one man's "only action, neither man nor angel fhall "feel the torments which are prepared for "both. Do you think that this ransom, "to deliver men and angels, could be "found to be among the fons of men? "The best things, which we do, have "fomewhat in them to be pardoned. How "then can we do any thing meritorious, or worthy to be rewarded? Indeed, God "doth liberally promife whatfoever apper"taineth to a bleffed life to as many as
fincerely keep his law, though they be "not exactly able to keep it. Wherefore
we acknowledge a dutiful neceffity of CHAP. doing well; but the meritorious dignity 11. "of doing well we utterly renounce. We "fee how far we are from the perfect righteousness of the law; the little fruit "which we have in holinefs, it is, God knoweth, corrupt and unfound: we put no confidence at all in it, we challenge nothing in the world for it; we dare not "call God to reckoning, as if we had him "in our debt books: our continual fuit to "him is, and muft be, to bear with our "infirmities, and pardon our offences "."
From these citations it will fufficiently appear, how oppofite the genuine doctrine of the church of England, as maintained by fuch eminent characters, as Beveridge and Hooker, is to the complaifant and accommodating liberality of the present age. The dignity of human nature; its innate. tendency to virtue, and abhorrence from vice; its occafional lapfes; its venial errors; its trifling offences; and its accidental failings; are terms equally unknown to our venerable Reformers, and to the facred page of Scripture.
z Hooker's Difc. of Juftification.