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or corrupt Affection, to darken and befot the Mind, the Nes the great Guide, and Superintendent of all the Faculties of the Soul; for fo near a Connexion, or rather Cognation is there between the Moral and Intellectual Perfection of it, (as I have elsewhere obferv'd) that a great Fiaw in the former, never fails in the Iffue to affect the latter;
though poffibly how this is done, is not fo eafily accounted for. Nevertheless, that irrefragable Argument Experience fufficiently proves many things, which it is not able to explain, nor indeed pretends to be fo. Ariftotle has obferved of the Vices of the Flesh, (and his Obfervation is in a great Degree true of all other) that they do peculiarly cloud the Intellect, and debase a Man's Notions, emafculate his Reason, and weaken his Difcourfe; and in a word, make him, upon all these Accounts, much less a Man than he was before. And for this Cause, no doubt, has the fame Author declared young Men, in whom the forementioned Sort of Vices is commonly most predominant, not competent Auditors of Moral Philofophy, as having turned the Force of their
The Reader may please to caft his Eye upon the Second Sermon of the 3d Volume,where this Subject is more professedly and largely treated of.
Minds to things of a quite contrary Na ture. But this Mischief reaches much farther; for fure it is, that when wife Men (be their Years what they will) become vicious Men, their Wisdom leaves them; and there appears not that Keennefs and Brisknefs in their apprehenfive and judging Faculties, which had been all along obferved in them, while attended with Temperance, and guarded with Sobriety. So that, upon this fatal Change, they do not argue with that Strength, distinguish with that Clearnefs, nor in any Matter brought into Debate, conclude with that Happiness and Firmness of Result, which they were wont to do.
Shew me fo much as one wife Counsel, or Action of Marcus Antonius, a Perfon otherwife both Valiant and Eloquent; after that he had fubdued his Understanding to his Affections, and his Affections to Cleopatra. How great was Lucullus in the Field, and how Great in the Academy? But abandoning himself to Ease and Luxury; Plutarch tells us, that he furvived the Ufe of his Reason, grew infatuated, and doted long before he died, though he died before he was old.
All which tends to demonstrate, that fuch is the Nature of Vice, that the Love thereof A a 2
entring into the Will, and thrusting out the Love of Truth, it is no wonder, if the Understanding comes to fink into Infatuation and Delusion; the Ferment of a vicious Inclination lodged in the Affections, being like an intoxicating Liquor received into the Stomach, from whence it will be continually fending thick Clouds, and noisome Steams up to the Brain. Filth and Foulness in the one will be fure to cause Darkness in the other. Was ever any one almost observed to come out of a Tavern, an Alehouse, or a jolly Meeting, fit for his Study, or indeed for any thing elfe, requiring Strefs, or Exactnefs of Thought? The Morning, we know, is commonly faid to be a Friend to the Mufes, but a Morning's Draught was never fo. And thus having done with the third Particular proposed from the Text, come we now to the
IV. viz. To fhew, how God can be properly faid to fend Men Delusions. God (fays the Apostle, Joh. i. 5.) is Light, and in him there is no Darkness at all. And that which in no refpect is in him, cannot, we may be fure, proceed from him. Upon which Account, it must needs be very difficult to fhew and demonftrate, how God can
derive Ignorance, Darkness, and Deception into the Minds of Men. And the great Difficulty of giving a rational and good Account of this, and fuch-like Inftances, drove Manes, an early Heretick, with his Followers (called all along the Manichees, or Manicheans) to affert Two Firft, Eternal, Independent Beings, one the Cause of all Good, the other the Cause of all Evil; as concluding,that the Evil which is in the World muft needs have fome Caufe, and that a Being infinitely Good could not be the Cause of it, and confequently, that there must be fome other Principle from the Malignity of whose Influence flowed all the Ignorance, all the Wickedness and Villany, · which either is, or ever was in the World, But the generall received Opinion of the Nature of Evil, viz. That it is but a mere Privation of Good, and confequently needs not an efficient, but only a deficient Cause, as owing its Production and Rife not to the Force, but to the Failure of the Agent; this Confideration, I fay, has render'd that Notion of Manes of a First Independent Principle of Evil, as useless and impious in Divinity, as it is abfurd in Philofophy,
This Principle therefore being thus removed, let us fee how it can comport with A a 3 the
the Goodness, and abfolute Purity of the Divine Nature, to have fuch Effects afcribed to it, and how, without any Derogation to the glorious Attribute of God's Holiness, he can be faid to fend the Delusions, mentioned in the Text, into the Minds of Men. Now, I conceive, he may be faid to do it these four Ways. First by withdrawing his enlightning Influence from the Understanding. This, I confefs, may feem at firft an obfcure, enthufiaftick Notion to fome; but give me leave to fhew, that there is fufficient Ground for it in Reason. And for this Purpose, I shall obferve to you, that it was the Opinion of fome Philofophers,particularly of Aristotle and fince him of Averroes, Avicenna, and fome others, that there was one Universal Soul belonging to the whole Species, or Race of Mankind, and indeed to all things elfe according to their Capacity: Which Universal Soul, by its refpective Exiftence in, and Communication of itself to each particular Man, did exert in him thofe noble Acts of Understanding, and Ratiocination, proper to his Nature; and those alfo in a different Degree and Measure of Perfection, according as the dif ferent Crafis or Difpofition of the Organs of