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Guilt of it can be removed; it being impossible for Vice änd Grace to Reign together, or that God and Belial should fit together in the fame Throne.
'Tis Repenfance that Prepares the way for Mercy, and makes room for that Pardon, which we beg for at the Altar ; and that we may be sure of Forgivenefs, we must so Condemn all our Impieties, as to frsake them, and so to grieve for them, as to detejt and abbor them. For Christ is not an Absolutę, but a Conditional Saviour': Nor doth he Ransom any by his Blood from Eternal Death, but whom he Redeems, first by the assistance of his Grace from those Iniquities, whereof Death is the Wages. All that Bliss and Happiness, which is reserved for us in Heaven, and whereof we have a foretast and earnest at this Sacrament, is the Portion of Holy Souls only, that Love the Lord Jesus in* Sincerity, and resolve to Obey him.
CH A P. VI. Of the Degrees and Measures
of Repentance: According as Mens Sins: are. Of Unwilful Sins. T HIS being enough to shew the Ne
cessity of Repentance in order to a due Communion; I proceed in the next place to shew, what Measures and Degrees of Repentance are necesiary. For the clearing of this too, we must of necessity consider the different Degrees and Mea. fures of Sin; because Repentance must bear fome Proportion to the Offence; and as a Man's Sins are of a greater or a lesser Nature, so must his Repentance be also.
NOW considering that the Act and Consent of a Man's Will, is that which renders' an Action formally Sinful, and the more wilful any. Sin is, the more it riseth and swelleth in greatness; we must first distinguish between Wilful and Unwilful Sins ; for so it will the more fully and evidently appear, what degree that Re
pentance must be of, which is to be proportionable and suitable to both.
WILFVL 'Sins then are such, as are committed with a Man's full Approbation and Choice ; when he deliberates upon it, or at least hath means and time to deliberate, and resolves with himself to do the thing; either for the gratifying of some Lult, or for the procuring of some worldly end, though he knows the Action to be contrary to God's Law, and might refrain from it, if he would make a due use of that strength which God hath either fixed in his Nature, or added by his Grace. Such an Action is rightly said to be wilful, because a Man's Will hath the greatest hand and stroak in it. For we suppose in this case, that the Understanding is or may be sufficiently informed, and that the Inclinations are not so strong, nor the Temptations so great, but that they might be Victoriously Relifted, if the Party would but give his mind to it, and set his Heart to employ his Power and Abilities. And therefore the Sin is called Wilful, because though some little fault may perchance lye both in his Understanding and Affections too, yet the main blame lyes upon the Will, for carrying the Action on with Resolution and Obstinacy; because he is set upon frowardness.
UNWILFUL Sins are such, as have not the Consent, or not the full Consent of the Will; but proceed rather from some Natural and Hereditary Imperfection ; either from a defect of Knowledge, by means whereof a Man either wants light in his Understanding, or looks upon things in a wrong light (and then’tis a Sin of Ignorance :) or else it proceeds from a defect of Strength, from rome Inability and Lameness of Humane Nature, by means whereof his own corrupt Inclinations within are too quick for him, or some Temptations from without are so sudden, so thick, fo violent against him, that he cannot hold out against himna felf, as the case stands, but doth that which he knoweth he should not, in a hurry and without due Confideration, his poor feeble Nature being over-born; and his Councels, which otherwise he would use, being prevented by a surprise (and this is that which is called, a Sin of Weakness and Infirmity.)
1. Of these Z'nwilful Sins I shall speak in the first place; and in the Process of this Discourse, I shall, 1.give some particular account of these Sins:And, 2.fhew how far,and to what degree we are to Repent of them, before we come to the Blessed Sacrament.
1. THE First kind of these Unwilful Sins, and that which is the ground and
Original of all the rest, is the Sinful Inclination in every Man's Nature, that Proneness, Propensity, and Aptness unto Evil, which cleaves to every Chid of Adam inseparably from the Womb ; so that his Nature through meer Impotency and Hereditary weakness, lies always bending and bowing towards Wickedness. Though good Men do not yield to this Inclination, and every Man hath sufficient assistance from .God to check it ; yet all Men have more or less their hare of it, so that they are still apt to flag and swerve from their Dury, though they be in a State of Grace and Regeneration. This Natural Inclination and crookedness is termed Sin, because materi. ally it is so, being a repugnancy to the Law of God, and a deviation from it. For all Sin is, avouia, as the Apostle defines it, 1 Joh. 3. 4. A Transgresion of, or a Contrariety unto, or a deflection and dissonancy from the Law; and because the Hereditary Propensity of our Nature is such, therefore is it truly said to be Sin and finful materially and in it self. But yet on the other side, it cannot by any means be reckoned among wilful or voluntary Şins ; because this inclination of Nature is not contracted by any Act of Man's own Will, by any consent, choice, or approbation of his own; nor indeed hath he any more