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acts so periodically returning, do unite and become a habit. He that resolves against a sin, and yet falls when he is tempted, is under the power of sin in some proportion, and his estate is very suspicious; though he always resolved against that sin, which he always commits. It is upon no other account that a single sin does not destroy a man, but because itself is speedily destroyed; if, therefore, it goes on upon its own strength, and returns in its proper period, it is not destroyed, but lives and endangers the man.

55. XIII. Be careful that you do not commit a single act of sin towards the latter end of your life; for it being uncertain what degrees of anger God will put on, and in what periods of time he will return to mercy, the nearer to our death such sins intervene, the more degrees of danger they have. For although the former discourse is agreeable to the analogy of the Gospel, and the economy of the divine mercy; yet there are sad words spoken against every single sin. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offends in one instance, he shall be guilty of all," saith St. James"; plainly affirming, that the admitting one sin, much more the abiding in any one sin, destroys all our present posses sion of God's favour. Concerning which, although it may seem strange that one prevarication in one instance should make a universal guilt, yet it will be certain and intelligible if we consider that it relates not to the formality, but to the event of things. He that commits an act of murder, is not therefore an adulterer, but yet, for being a murderer, he shall die. He is as if he were guilty of all; that is, his innocence in the other shall not procure him impunity in this. One crime is inconsistent with God's love and favour.

56. But there is something more in it than this. For every one that breaks a commandment, let the instance be what it will, is a transgressor of the same bond, by which he was bound to all. "Non quòd omnia legis præcepta violârit, sed quòd legis autorem contempserit, eóque præmio meritò careat, quod legis cultoribus propositum est," saith venerable Bede:" "He did not violate all the commandments, but he offended him who is the giver of all the commandments."-It is like letting one bead fall from a rosary or coronet of bugles. This, or that, or a third, makes no

• Jam. ii. 10.

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difference, the string is as much broken if he lets one to slide, as if he dropped twenty. It was not an ill conceit of Menedemus the Eretrian, that 'there was but one virtue, which had divers names.'-Ariston Chius expressed the same conceit with a little difference; affirming all virtues to be the same in reality and nature, but to have a certain diversification or rational difference by relation to their objects.' As if one should call the sight when it looks upon a crow, μɛλavoćav,—if upon a swan, Xɛvкolćav; so is virtue. When it moderates the affections, it is temperance; when it balances contracts, it is justice; when it considers what is, and what is not to be done, it is prudence. That which they call virtue, if we call it the grace of God, or obedience, it is very true which they say. For the same spirit, the same grace of obedience, is chastity, or temperance, or justice, according as is the subject-matter. The love of God, if it be in us, is productive of all worthiness: and this is it which St. John said; "This is love, that we keep his commandments; the love of God constraineth us; it worketh all the works of God in us; it is the fulfilling of the commandments." For this is a catholicon, a universal grace. Charity gives being to all virtues, it is the life and spirit of all holy actions. Abstinence from feasts and inordination, mingled with charity, is temperance. And justice is charity, and chastity is charity, and humility is still but an instance of charity. This is that transcendent that gives life and virtue to alms, to preaching, to faith, to miracles; it does all obedience to God, all good offices to our neighbours: which, in effect, is nothing but the sentence of Menedemus and Ariston, that 'there is a universal virtue;' that is, there is one soul and essence of all virtue:' they call it virtue,' St. Paul calls it charity; and this is that one thing which is necessary, that one thing which every man that sins, does violate: he that is guilty of all, is but guilty of that one, and therefore he that is guilty of that one, of the breach of charity, is guilty of all. And upon this account it is, that no one sin can stand with the state of grace; because he that sins in one instance, sins against all goodness: not against all instances of duty, but against that which is the life of all, against charity and obedience.

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A Prayer to be said in the Days of Repentance for the Commission of any great Crime.

O MOST glorious God, I tremble to come into thy presence, so polluted and dishonoured as I am by my foul stain of sin which I have contracted, but I must come, or I perish. O my God, I cannot help it now; miserable man that I am, to reduce myself to so sad a state of things, that I neither am worthy to come unto thee, nor dare I stay from thee: miserable man that I am, who lost that portion of innocence, which, if I should pay my life in price, I cannot now recover. O dear God, I have offended thee my gracious Father, my Lord, my Patron, my Judge, my Advocate, and my Redeemer. Shame and sorrow are upon me, for so offending thee, my gracious Saviour. But glory be to thee, O Lord, who art such to me who have offended thee. It aggravates my sin, that I have sinned against thee, who art so excellent in thyself, who art so good to me: but if thou wert not so good to me, though my sin would be less, yet my misery would be greater. The greatness of my crime brings me to my remedy; and now I humbly pray thee to be merciful to my sin, for it is very great.


O my God, pity me, and relieve my sad condition, which is so extremely evil, that I have no comfort but from that which is indeed my misery: my baseness is increased by my hopes; for it is thy grace and thy goodness which I have so provoked. Thou, O God, didst give me thy grace, and assist me by thy Holy Spirit, and call me by thy word, and instruct me by thy wisdom, and didst work in me to will and to do according to thy good pleasure. I knew my sin, and I saw my danger, and I was not ignorant, and I was not surprised: but wilfully, knowingly, basely, and sensually, I gave thee away for the pleasure of a minute, for the purchase of vanity; nay, I exchanged thee for shame and sorrow, and having justly forfeited thy love, am placed I know not where, nor in what degree of thy anger, nor in what neighbourhood of damnation.


O God my God, what have I done? whither am I fallen? I was well and blessed, circled with thy graces, conducted by

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thy Spirit, sealed up to the day of redemption, in a hopeful way towards thee; and now I have listened to the whispers of a tempting spirit; and for that which hath in it no good, no reason, no satisfaction, for that which is not, I have forfeited those excellences, for the recovery of which my life is too cheap a price. I am ashamed, O God, I am ashamed. I put my mouth in the dust, and my face in darkness; and hate myself for my sin, which I am sure thou hatest. But give thy servant leave to hope, that I shall feel the gracious effluxes of thy love: I know thou art angry with me, I have deserved it. But if thou hadst not loved me, and pitied me, thou mightest have stricken me in the act of my shame: I know the design of thy mercy and loving-kindness is to bring me to repentance and pardon, to life and grace. I obey thee, O God, I humbly obey thy gracious purposes. Receive, O Lord, a returning sinner, a poor wounded person, smitten by my enemies, broken by my sin, weary and heavy laden; ease me of my burden, and strengthen me by a mighty grace, that hereafter I may watch more carefully, resist more pertinaciously, walk more circumspectly, and serve thee without the interruptions of duty by the intervening of a sin, O let me rather die, than choose to sin against thee any more, Only try me this once, and bear me in thy arms, and fortify my holy purposes, and conduct me with thy grace, that thou mayest delight to pardon me, and to save me through Jesus Christ, my Lord and dearest Saviour. Amen.

I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost: O seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.





The State of the Question.

BOETHIUS the epicurean being asked, upon occasion of the fame of Strato's comedy, why, it being troublesome to us to

see a man furious, angry, timorous, or sad, we do yet with so great pleasure behold all these passions acted with the highest, nearest, and most natural significations,—in answer to the question discoursed wittily concerning the powers of art and reason, and how much ourselves can add to our own natures by art and study. Children choose bread efformed in the image of a bird or man, rather than a loaf plucked rudely from the baker's lump; and a golden fish rather than an artless ingot: because reason and art being mingled with it, it entertains more faculties and pleasures on more sides.

Thus we are delighted, when upon a table we see Cleopatra dying with her aspicks, or Lucretia piercing her chaste breast. We give great prices for a picture of St. Sebastian shot through with a shower of arrows, or St. Lawrence roasting upon his gridiron, when the things themselves would have pierced our eyes with horror, and rent our very hearts with pity and compassion: and the country-fellows were so taken with Parmeno imitating the noise of swine, that they preferred it before that of the Arcadian boar, being so deceived with fancy and prejudice, that they thought it more natural than that which indeed was so.

3. For, first, we are naturally pleased with imitation, and have secret desires to transcribe the copy of the creation, and then having weakly imitated the work of God in making some kind of production from our own perfections, such as it is, and such as they are, we are delighted in the imagery, as God is in the contemplation of the world. For we see a nature brought in upon us by art and imitation. But what in natural things we can but weakly imitate, in moral things we can really effect. We can efform our nature over anew, and create ourselves again, and make ourselves bad when God hath made us good: and what was innocent in nature, we make to be vicious by custom and evil habit; or on the contrary, what was crooked in nature, we can make straight by philosophy, and wise notices, and severe customs; and there is nothing in nature so imperfect or vicious, but it can be made useful and regular by reason and custom, and the grace of God; and even our brute parts are obedient to these. Homer observes it of the wise Ulysses, 2 E 2

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