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he speaks as if we were to do all, we must suppose the concurrence of his own grace.
3. We may be assured from hence of the certainty of success, upon such a concurrence of our endeavours with the Spirit of God; which plainly implies the assistances of the Spirit to be within our power, as being in an inseparable conjunction with our sincere and faithful endeavours. And that they are so is apparent : for as for the outward assistances of the Spirit, which are the powerful arguments and motives of the gospel, we have them always at hand, and may make use of them when we please we have a free access to this divine armoury, and may at any time furnish ourselves with sufficient weapons to assoil the most formidable temptations : and as for the inward aids of the blessed Spirit, God by his own free promise hath inseparably entailed them upon our honest and pious endeavours. Thus he hath promised to give his grace to those who humble themselves, and to draw nigh unto them who submit themselves to him, James iv. 6, 7, 8. and unto every one that hath, that is, improves what he hath, he hath promised it shall be given, and that he shall have abundance, Matt. xxv. 29. and to every one that asks sincerely and honestly, he hath promised to give his holy Spirit, Luke xi. 13. And thus by his own free promise he hath tied. his Spirit to our endeavours, so that we may have his assistance when we please; he being confined by his own promise to be ready at our call, and to come in to the aid of our endeavours, whensoever we shall need and ask his assistance. And having such a powerful second engaged in our quarrel, what reason have we to doubt of success and victory ? For what lust is there so strong, that we may not subdue? what habit so inveterate, that we may not conquer? what temptation so powerful that we may not repulse, whose endeavours are thus seconded with almighty aids from above? For now whatsoever the divine Spirit can do in us, we can do; because we can do that which, being done, will infallibly oblige him to concur with us; and though we cannot conquer our lusts in our own single strength, yet we can by our endeavours engage him on our side, who is both able and willing to enable us to conquer them. So that if we will, we may be invincible; and there is no temptation can be too strong for us, if we do not by our own sloth and cowardice disengage the almighty Spirit from assisting us.
4. From hence we may perceive how much reason there is for our continual prayers and supplications to God; since it is so apparent that our victory over sin, and consequently our eternal welfare, doth so much depend upon the aids and assistances of the Spirit of God; and since God is so ready to give his holy Spirit to us, whensoever we sincerely ask and desire it. Now the great reason of prayer is want, and the greatest encouragement to it is assurance of supply; but there is nothing in the world that we have more need of, and (if we faithfully seek it) nothing that we can have more assurance of, than the gracious influence of the Holy Ghost. We have as much need of it as of our daily bread; because our souls will starve and famish without it: and we have as much assurance of it as the sacred word of the God of truth can give us ; because he hath promised it to us, who can as soon cease to be, as not to be faithful: and therefore if, after so much need and encouragement, we do neglect our prayers, and turn our backs upon the throne of grace; it is a plain argument, that either we are wretchedly insensible of our need of God's grace, or causelessly suspicious of the truth of his promise. And doubtless he that can pass day after day without putting up one prayer to heaven, that can venture himself among the infinite snares and temptations of this world without imploring the divine aid and protection, is a very bold and foolhardy sinner; one that declares he regards neither God nor his own soul, and that he cares not what becomes of him either here or hereafter. Methinks did we but soberly consider how much we want God's grace, and how ready he is to afford it us, we should as soon venture to rush naked into a battle among squadrons of swords and spears, as to go at any time into the world without God, to hazard our immortal souls in the midst of such a numberless battle of temptations, without arming ourselves by prayer with the divine grace and assistance. Wherefore since we have so much need, and (if we seek it) sb much assurance too of the Spirit of God, let us take that excellent counsel of the author to the Hebrews, Heb. iv. 16. Go boldly and importunately to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in the time of need.
5. From hence we may perceive the indispensable necessity of our faithful and sincere endeavours, in order to the mortifying our lusts. It is a strange principle which some' men have taken up, that if their names are recorded in the eternal roll of election, they shall in time be made good by an irresistible grace; and that if they are not, they shall
never be good at all, though they should endeavour it with their utmost power and diligence: and so they think their best way is to lie still in the harbour, and expect the event; concluding it in vain to begin their voyage towards heaven, without an irresistible gale from thence. A doctrine which I doubt too many men have improved to their own everlasting ruin; though it hath no foundation at all in reason, and hath nothing to support itself, but a few mistaken phrases of scripture. But he that shall impartially consult the whole current of God's word will find that the ordinary language and sense of it is this, that God desires not the death of a sinner, but would have all men to be saved ; but because he would save us in such a way as is congruous to free agents, and not by fatal and necessary means, therefore he indispensably exacts the concurrence of our endeavours; that we should run the race that is set before us, and strive to enter into the strait gate, and that by patient continuance in well-doing we should seek for honour and glory and immortality.' And from any thing that God hath said to us, we have as much reason to hope to be nourished without eating, as to be saved without endeavour. It is true, God hath promised by his grace to cooperate with us, to join in with our faculties, and bless our virtuous essays; but he is by no means obliged to work for us, while we sit idle; to mortify our lusts, while we feed and pamper them; or to purify our minds, while we go on to pollute them with all the filthiness of the flesh and spirit. No; if we would that God should assist us, we must do what we can for ourselves : we can attend upon the ordinary means and ministries of salvation, we can ponder and con
sider the great motives of our religion, and abstain at least from the outward acts of sin, and implore the divine aid to prosper and succeed our endeavours. And if we will do but this, and what else is in our power, let us then blame God, if we are not successful; and if we die in our sins, let us charge his decrees with our ruin. But if we will disregard the public ministries of religion, and wilfully excommunicate all good thoughts from our minds; if we will com ply with every temptation to sin, and refuse to crave assistance from Heaven against it, we have none to blame for our ruin but ourselves. For God hath told us beforehand that he will not save us without ourselves; and therefore he that is to go a long journey, hath as much reason to sit down in hope to be snatched up into the air by a whirlwind, and so to be carried on the wings of it to his appointed stage, as we have to neglect our endeavours for heaven, in expectation to be haled and snatched up thither by. the almighty pulleys of an irresistible grace. Let us not therefore, upon this vain presumption, sit still any longer with our hands in our bosoms, lest we perish in our sloth, and expose our own souls to everlasting ruin, by an idle expectation of being irresistibly saved.
VI. From hence we may discern the possibility of keeping the commands of God, in that God by his Spirit doth so powerfully aid and assist us. For supposing we cannot keep the divine law by our own single strength and power, yet it is apparent that we can do that which will oblige the divine Spirit to assist and enable us to keep it ; that is, we can do our endeavour, which being done, entitles us to the promise of divine grace and assistance. And