Herein is the Bondage of the Will seen, That when it doth indeavour to overcome any sinne, it is by falling into another.
FOurthly, Herein is the bondage of the will seen also, That when it doth endea∣vour to overcome any sinne, it is by falling into another. So that the Argument usually brought to prove, that the will hath some freedome to what is good doth indeed more confirm the servitude of it to sinne; For it is often objected, That if the will be thus in absolute bondage to sinne, How cometh it about that even Hea∣thens have by their own strength reformed their lives, and have abounded in justice, fortitude and chastity even to admiration? Is not that instance of Polemon famous, who though a drunkard, yet coming to hear Xenocrates his Lecture about tempe∣rance, was so immediately perswaded thereby, that he presently forsook that beastly sinne? In this Argument Julian the Pelagian did often triumph; But Austin's answer was good, and justifiable by Scripture, That when they left one sinne, they fell into another, they did cure one lust by another lust, a carnal one by a spiritual one; for when they did abstain from such sinnes, it was not in re∣ference to God, and from faith in Christ, but it was either from vain glory, or to be sure a sinfull confidence, and resting upon themselves; and therefore even the Stoicks, who pretended the highest, viz. That we were to do virtuous actions for virtues sake, yet they came too short of the right mark; for virtue is not to be loved ultimately for virtues sake, but that thereby we might draw nearer to God, and be made happy in enjoying of him; Therefore the Stoicks opinion did teach a man nothing but self-confidence and self fulness, which sinnes are forbidden by the Word of God, as well as Epicurean and grosse sinnes: Oh then the unspeak∣able bondage of the will to sinne! That as the bird in a net, the more she stri∣veth to get out, the more she intangleth her self: Thus it is with the natural man, the more he striveth of himself to come out of this mire, the faster he stic∣keth in: Thou then who art a natural man, though such a sinne and such a sinne be left, yet see if when the Devil was cast out, a worse did not come in the room thereof; See if it be not with thee, as in that representation to the Prophet, Thou hast broken a woodden yoke, and an iron one is made in stead thereof; Thou hast cured a carnal sinne by a spiritual one; For you must know, That not onely grace doth expell sinne, but sometimes one lust may expel another, as the Phari∣sees spiritual pride, and self-righteousness did make them abhorre the Publicans sinnes; so that even then the natural man cannot but sinne, while he is casting Page 319 off sinne. Therefore though unregenerate persons may do that which is materi∣ally good, and for the substance of the act, yet they can never do that which is formally so; or as Austin expressed it of old, we must distinguish between the Officium, the Duty it self, and Finis, the end of the Duty: Now the end of all till regenerated, can never be right or pure, it never ascends high enough even to God himself, because they want faith; So that though Aristides was just, yet he was not the Scriptures just man, that liveth by faith; None of the renowned Hea∣thens were chaste by faith, charitable by faith, temperate by faith, and therefore their glorious actions were only splendid, glistering sinnes, they had a pompous appearance, but were indeed real vices, which were so farre from profiting them as to eternal happiness, that they were an hinderance to them, for hereby they trusted in themselves; The Epicurean he said, It is good for me frui carne, To enjoy the body; The Stoick he said, It was good for me frui mente; But David he said, It was good for him to draw nigh to God.