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Serm. then we are not free in doing this, but are VIII.

at the same time enslav'd to something or other, that hinders us from giving them a true Direction and their just Measures. And as to every

other Principle of Thought and Action Christianity fets us free, by directing all the Faculties of the mind to their proper Objects. In a word, and to describe the whole Power of Christianity at once. As the Devil is the great Enllaver of Mankind, and Sin the Chain that ties them down to Bondage, fo Christ by conquering this Tyrant has loos'd the Chain, and redeem'd us from the Slavery of it, and so is truly and properly the Saviour, and Redeemer of Mankind: So true is that Saying of St. John, If the Son makes us free, then are we free indeed: But to this Liberty we are entitled only by the Gospel. I come now to fhew,

Thirdly, That Pretences to it from the Side of Infidelity are false, and groundless. And here let us see what Liberty it is, that Infidelity pretends to promise. Is it a Liberty that will free us from


Incumbrance? Will it deliver us from the


Dominion of Sin, and make us free in all SERM.
our thoughts and Actions? ;. e. Will VIII.
it remove every thing, that can hinder us
from thinking, and doing right? For
this I have shewn to be the Nature of true
Liberty. If fo, we have nothing more
to do but to seek it out and embrace it:
But who ever met with this inestimable
Jewel in any earthly Treasure ? We have
often heard of Liberty indeed, and great
things have of late been said of it. A

ticular Set of Men, who have thrown off
the Ties of Religion and Nature, and fet
themselves loofe from their Dependance

God and the World about them; how, under Pretence of doing Honour to Reason, have fap'd the Foundation of it, and instead of rooting out, and destroying all Faith, which, if they know their own Principles, is what they are concern'd to do, have set up a monstrous and unnatural Credulity in the room of it; who have discarded Sense, and the Passions, and rob’d Human Nature of the kindeft Impressions ftamp'd upon it by the Divine Being; these have indeed talk'd

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Serm. of being free, i. l. free to do what is VIII. right in their own Eyes; to do right or

wrong, just as it happens ; free from all Laws and Obligations whatsoever. Now, if they could make it out, that they are then indeed free, when they do whatever they please, whatever Fancy, or Caprice leads them to; that when they dispense with the Obligations which the Wisdom of God and Man has laid upon them, they become then so free, as to be subject to no other Laws, or Obligations, there might be fofae Plausibility in it: But if, on the contrary, when they thus do what is therefore free, but tied down and enllav'd to some wrong Principle within : If when they shake off all Religious Obligations, they are at the same time bound faster with the strong Corde of Obstinacy, and Perverseness: If they, despise and depreciate the Common-Sense and Reason of all Men, and yet at the same time idolize, and deify their own, and Liberty is nothing else in fact but Licentiousness; then they, that pretend thus to promise


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Liberty, promise more than they can per- Serm.
form. Let us now see whether this be, VIII.
not the Case.

And here, the first Step, that is taken
in order to procure Liberty from the side
of Infidelity, is that which most effectu-
ally drives Men from it; and that is, to
shake off all Reveald Religion: For to set

this Principle is to set out upon à Principle of Slavery; it is to set out with a full Resolution not to give the Faculties within us their proper Scope, but to hinder the free Exercise of them by subjecting all to one, or by making one or two to govern the rest as for example, the making the Reason, which is but a fingle thing, and that too rather the Result of all the rest, than a leading Principle, predominant over every thing else. For if the Faculties had the Power to exercise themselves as they ought, Revelation must have a Weight with us in Proportion to its Truth; i. e. if we believe, and hope, and fear, &c. freely, Revelation must' carry a Weight with it in Proportion to the Reason there is in it for ra



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Serm. doing; but if we allow either of these too

great a Weight, it will of course bear
down the rest in exact Proportion;
and tho’a Man may do this, yet Obsti-
nacy, and not Liberty, must be the Princi-
ple by wich he does it.

But after all, let us examine a little more
particularly how the throwing off Revela-
tion sets a Manat Liberty. Does he by leav-
ing this go over to some better Scheme?
This is pretended, and in order to make it
out, it is said, that Reason alone is a suffi.
cient Guide, and in following that we fol-
low Nature, and consequently Christianity,
being by the Supposition unnecessary, be-
comes an Incumbrance, and must be ta-
ken off in order to be free, and at liberty.
If by Reason was meant right Reafon;
this might be true enough, if we could
but tell how to come at it: But this is not
the Meaning of it, nor do they mean the
Reason of Mankind, but only an infinitely
small Pittance of it, the Reason of an Indi-
dual, which comes as short of right Rea-
fon, as finite does of infinite; and not
only so, but is also as much below the


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