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fon, and be commensurate with the Hopes,

SERM. Fears and Desires of every Faculty of Man. ; XV. Accordingly, they always pretended to some Revelation, and whether their Pretensions were just or not, there was always a Foundation for them, as well from the Imperfection of human Reason, as from the Care and Superintendance which the Creator might be suppos’d to have over his Creatures, and from the Benevolence of his Nature, which the Excellency of their Nature might. give them Hopes to confide in, whatever they might fear from his Justice. 'Tis no Wonder that this should be the Case, because it is by no means an uncommon Thing among Christians to meet with Persons, who are for resolving all the Attributes of God into that of Goodness: And not only Sinners do this, who have nothing to hope from his Justice, but even good Men themselves, who have thought, tho' not aright, that the Goodness of God had the Predominancy over the other Attributes. Indeed from his Dealings with Men, 'tis natural enough to think so, but then there is no arguing from what happens in a small Part of Time in this Life, to what will be in Eternity, where it will be seen, that God is infinite every Way, and that Justice will be done Rr



Ser M, to every Man, and every Action of Man, XV. howeyer they may escape it here in this

Life, through the Chance that belongs to Time. But to proceed, There was always I say, a Foundation for a Revelation from God, to supply the Defect of human Reafon, and People always pretended to one, and accordingly have ever appointed an Order of Men to officiate in this divine Intercourse between God and Man, and to set aside their Time and Study to explain it to others, Now, 'tis monstrous to suppose, that the private Judgment of any one Man could be of so much Signification, where this Revelation has been pretended, whether that of the Jews, or this of the Chri. stians, either to himself or to others, as the united Judgment of a Body of Men, whofe whole Business it was (besides their being Men of equal Parts, for this muft be fuppos’d, where we talk of Bodies of Men, and also the superior Afliftance they are justly, especially in the Chriftian Religion luppos’d to have,) to look into thefe Matters, and stand in a better Situation for it than any others can poslibly do. If private Judgment is not sufficient to carry a Man any great Lengths in civil Affairs; if it will not help hina to attain any Art or Science



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without the Allistance of those that have SERM. made such a particular Art, their Study (and XV. he can only know his Proportion as he wr stands to it) much less can it do any great Matter in Religion; for we stand in no better a Situation in this case, than in the other, nor in so good a one, because those who are appointed for Guides in these Affairs, befides, that this is their Belief and Employment, are suppos'd by the Christian Scheme to have a double Portion of the Spirit to assist them. And indeed, whoever considers the Importance of the Christian Religion, together with the Difficulties that must of course attend the Study of its partly from the Language in which it was written, which has for many Years become a dead one, and partly from the Nature of the Writings themselves from particular Customs and Circumstances of those Times, so that a competent Skill in those Things is requisite, in order to the better understanding them, and explaining them to others, will see the

great Reason and Necessity that a Set of Men should be employ'd about these Things, and the Necessity likewise of their being assisted by the Spirit of God. 'Tis true, the Precepts of Christianity are plain and cafy, and for the most Part level to the meanest CapaciRI 2




Serm. ties, but then a good deal is not so, a XV. that which is, would have been a dead Let

ter still, had they not been translated from the original Language for the use of ordi· nary People. And besides, were they, as to

the whole, ever so plain and easy, yet the : wiseft are so subject to the Infirmities of human Nature that they want frequently to be reminded of them, or else they would have but little effect, which also shews the Necessity there is for an Order of Men to be set apart for that Purpose, which I conie now, 2dly to, consider.

It can be but of very little Signification, that there is this Provision made for Mankind, if they will not, like the Person in the Text, shew a teachable Disposition. What Use can a Guide be of to one, who thinks he wants none, who is in his own Opinion all. sufficient ? To say now-a-days, how can 1 understand except some Man teach me? would pass among some for nothing but Banter and Grimace: The Language now is, I will learn of none, I have a Right to act and think for myself; and no one has any Business to deprive me of it by any Authority whatsoever, and to set himself up for my Instructor: But however this may preyail among some few conceited Men, and


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upon us.



whatever ill Opinions they may entertain of Se RM. others, and good ones of themselves, yet it

certainly argues a very degenerate State of
Mind and Deprávity, as refusing to suffer
the Motives of Reason and Truth to have
: their due Influence

For if it be a
Truth that a Man may put Trust in his own

Understanding, is it not equally so to put
: some degree of Trust and Confidence in ano-

ther's ? And if it be, how can he be in a right State, when every Truth has not its : due Influence upon him. Indeed if a Man was conscious, that he was infinitely wise, and was really so, then it would be a Truth to give an absolute Credit to his own Understanding, because where no Knowledge is, by the Supposition, wanting, there no Degree of Trust should be with-held from it; i. e. if he were a God, he would have no Occasion to give any Understanding Credit but his own, for the Trust we put in others, is only to supply the Deficiency we find in our selves : But as he is but mortal Man with a limited Understanding like his fellow Cream tures, so much Room there will be for a proper draw-back to this Trust, and an equal Occafion for placing a proper Degree of it in others; for God has given abroad Truth to Mankind (and not confin'd it to


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