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Serm. what contrary to it, is a strong Symptom
Weakness, as it would be to shake off
of the Human
other Principles in Man, that put in for SERM.
But it is said, that the Religion of Na-
SERM. want any Correction, or Amendment. VIII. As to the first part of the Objection,
, that Reason is a plain simple thing, calculated for the Benefit of all Mankind, I do not know any one, who denies the Benefit of it, as far as it goes; but that it is calculated for so universal a Benefit as Revelation, is false. For the Bulk of Mankind are not provided for in the
of Reason, whatever some particular People may be, or rather fancy themselves to be; whereas in the way of Faith, where People find Employment for their Eyes and Ears, and the Faculties together, they are all equally provided for ; all are capable of the Grounds of Faith, tho' they are not capable of abstracted Reason. As. to the Purity and Simplicity of it, I think I have said enough already, and I will only add further, that whenever they talk of this, they must mean not Human Reafon, but Right Reason, or the Reason of God, which is nothing at all to the Purpose.
Then as to the other part of the Objection, that Reason is always universally
Nature is very
the same, whereas Revelation is a change- SERM.
VIII. able thing, it is readily granted, that Right Reason is so, but the Reason of Man is not: For the Reason of one Age and
different from the Reason of another Age and Nature; nay, the Reason of one Man is not the same at different Times. Now where is this Difference in Revelation? How does that alter, or vary?
It is the same now, as it ever has been ; only there are different Manifestations of it at different Times. The Faith of a Christian is not a different thing from the Faith of a Jew, or any other Faith, only as it comprehends, and fwallows up all the rest ; i. e. just as different as the Whole is from its Parts; which Diffeernce is only this, that the Whole is not any one Part more than another, but all the Parts united : So that God did not mend his own Work by making Faith to shine out more at one time than another, for He perfected, and compleated it at once ; but the Alteration is in Ourselves, and in our way of apprehending Things : For, being only Creatures of Time in this present
SERM. State, we see every thing by Succession, VIII. and can fee no more of any thing, than the Portion of Time we take
will admit of.
The whole of the Matter in short is this: Liberty consists in a Power of thinking and acting right; and we are then most free, when nothing hinders us from it: But now Man, as he is an imperfect Creature, must of course, as far as he is imperfect, want so much Liberty ; i.e. he must be in Proportion a Slave; and the greater this Imperfection is, the be the Slavery of such a Being. The Scripture gives us an Account of the Original of this Imperfection, that it was brought into the World by Sin; which the Deist despises and ridicules: But then it is easier to laugh at Things than to difprove them; and this Account must be allow'd to stand good, till we have a better in the room of it. 'Tis plain, Man could not be made incapable of Error without being made a God at the fame Time; and if he was capable of Error, who can take upon him to prove that he