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And though these mysteries be not of natural investigation; but of supernatural revelation ; yet reason is convinced, nothiog can be more reasonable, than that it takes its place at the feet of faith ; which is but to suffer itself to become pupil to an omniscieot and infallible loftructor. The resolution of our reafon iuto faith, and of faith into God's veracity, are acts highly becoming reasonable beings in such cases as these.
It may not pry too nicely into uorevealed mysteries, demand the reasons, or examine the causes of them as bold and daring Socioians do ; but it feels itself obliged to receive all thote things, both as possible and true, which God bath revealed, counting his revelation alone to be reason fufficient. For the veracity of God cakes out of reason's mouth all objections against the truth of them; and his almighty power silences alt its scruples aguioit the possibility of them.
But in all matters properly under the jurisdiction of reason, every man is obliged to account with himself, as well as oti:ers, for the reasonableness of his own actions; and that act which will not endore the test of sound reason, it judges not fit for the cotertainment of a man. If reason cannot justify it, it is beneath the rank and dignity of a man to do it.
§ 2. The light of reason was at first the bright lamp or candle of the Lord, till fia, like a thief, melted it dowa to fouff; whereby (comparatively speaking) it is becomes a poor glimmering light in the best of men, and almost quite extiaguilhed in some men. Fallen man is becume less than him. felf, and will never act like himfell, till he be fully reftored to himself.
Sapctification iodeed souffs and trims the lamp of reason ; but there being few faoctified persons among men, a double misery consequently befals a very great part of mankind; whose conversation speaks them not only destitute of religion, which bereaves them of the blessedness of the world to come; but men almost entirely despoiled of the benefits and blessings of their owo reason, which makes them unhappy and miserable in this world : beasts, rather than med, as the facred scripture files them : udreasonable men; men falleo out with tħeir own faa culties; who after many a sharp battle with their reason, are now dragging it like a conquered captive, at the chariot wheels of their victorious and triumphant lusts.
It is scarce imaginable, that ever sio should prevail so far as it doth, to the very uninanning of men, did they not firft delude and bribe their own reason, by close and cunning applications to their bewitched affections ; whereby, though
they cannot make it a party, yet they make it stand by as a filent fpectator, or peuter, whilft they act the beast, yea, the devil, rather than the map.
We little know how far upsanctified reason may (this way) be prevailed upon to quit its throne, and resign its sceptre into the haods of lust and appetite ; yea, to engage in the defeoce of their moft abfurd laws and dictates. It only serves in fome men, to inveat excoles, pleas, and specious pretences, to justify or extenuate their bead-like actions, the bafest fervitude it can be condemned to.
If this will not do, sensual lusts have another way to obtain their fatisfaction, in despite of reafon and confcience; even by stopping their ears te the voices of both, and pushing on with * brutish impetus, they suffer peither to enjoy the opportunity of a calm debate of these matters with them.
§ 4. But let men do what they will, it is next to an impor. fibility, they shall fo far fubduc aod deftroy thofe iobred prihociples of reafon and cooscience, but that they will, at one time or other, give them fome checks and oppofitions in their profane courses ; efpecially when they fhall get the advantage of fome eminent distress, or special daoger, which disposes them to lend ao' ear to their voices. And there be few men in the world, but are sometimes provideotially caft into such cases and conditions,
So that appeals to the reason of the most profligate wretches, are pot altogether vain aod useless : for if the cafe cannot be tried and decided at the bar of reason aod confcience at one time, it may with more advantage at another : and haply, apo peals to reason may produce a reformation in some men, sooner than appeals to the scriptures, or principles of faith ; especially when the world is so notoriously drenched in practical atheism, that serious religion becomes the common fubject of drollery amongft multitudes of men.
Yet it were hard and uncharitable, to imagine any man fuok so deep into the mire of beastiality and profanepels, as pot still to retain some value and veneration for his own reason, and as much as he abuses it, yet to refuse the whole world in exchange for it, and to account it a greater' misery to be utterly deprived of it, than to have the hoofs of an horse given him in exchange for his hands and feet.
5. The scriptures therefore do, in many cases, appeal to the reason of finners, and design their reformation by fuch appeals : for it being a most fameful thing, for a man to be convicted at the bar of his own reason, of actiog like a beaft rather than a man, every man is presumed to be afraid, and alhamed of such an indictment. Such miscreants are the shame and reproach of humanity itself; they are branded for brutes throughout the lober world ; their company declined and thos: ped by all wife and good men. He that hath no reason to ju: Nify his actioos, may yot be supposed to be owner of fome Itock of natural shame; which cannot bot afford a blosh, upon such a plain conviction. This therefore was the course which the prophet Isaiah took, by divine direction, to reform the idolatrous Ifraelites; Ifa. xlvi. 8. He states the cafe at the bar of their ową reafon, and calls for a verdict upon it. The case was this : Whether idols, having not pawer enough to foera themselves gods, those that worship them, must not want wisdom enough to Thew themselves men? " Remember this, and shew
yourselves men ; and bring it agaiq to mind, ge tranfgref. “ Tors !" q. d. For shame, let por peq act like brutes, which have no animadverfion.
06. When things therefore are brought to such an exigence, that ruin or reformation is the only choice men have to make, and all religious impressions so obliterated and worn out, that men pay no reverence to them; an appeal to the reasop of men, seems then to be ao hopeful method of prevailing with them, to suffer a reformation rather than a ruio. Not that I imagine the topics of reason able to afford more powerful arguments, than those of religion do; but that they, who by their igeo rance and strong prejudices against religion, have made them. felves more uncapable of conviction that way, may haply feel the force of reason prevailing so far at least, as to put their outrageous lusts under some restraints.
As for the scriptures, and serious religion begotten by them in the souls of men, they are perfect strangers to all, but the names of these thiogs: And even their very games are grown almost ridiculous with them too. But reason may convince and Aame them. What force the reason of man harh, even with out saving grace, to produce civility, fobriety, and other moral virtues, is abundantly evident in the very Heathens; who, by the only light of reason, discovered so much odioufäels in vice and immorality, aod such an amiable beauty in justice, temperance, and the other moral virtues, that their praises for them are founded throughout the world.
Now, whatever unthinking men dream, to me it is evident, that when kingdoms and commonwealths are overflowed with uoreftrained vice and immoralities; when cursing and swearing
becomes the common language, drunkenbess and adultery the common practices of the inhabitants ; God will either fweep away the filth of those nations, by the befom of a general re formation, or he will sweep away their inhabitants out of them, with the befom of destruction. For if we have not excussed the notion and belief of a God, and that he animadverts the wickedoels of men, (which the very Heathens, by the light of pature, faw and acknowledged), we may thereby easily be led to this conclufion, that fach overflowiogs of abomination do, and mult certainly prelage our defolation, except fpeedy and general reformation do prevent it.
$ 7. Now, the persons, whose reformation I particularly defign by this method, being men that exercise more reason than religion, might (methinks) be prevailed with to take up at latt, and reform their ucreasonable, as well as uogodly courses, could they be once prevailed with to debate these matters with cool, considerative minds, becoming men governed by reason, pot wholly swayed like brute-beasts, by luit and appetite.
And is it pot highly reasonable, that men should weigh their owo actions at the fame beam and standard where they weigh other men's actions; and renounce all that with shame and deteftation, which they themselves must cenfure as utterly beDeath, and unworthy of a man? Wherefore hath God plapred a principle of reafon aod conscience within us? Is it rational to think, it was planted there for no other end or use, but to scao aod cenfure other mens words or actions by, but not our own? Or to be wholly useful to other meos interests, without any benefit to ourselves ? Ask thine owo reason, filly man, why God placed it in thy fool ? and for what ule it was jotended? And it will tell thee, it was particularly designed and appointed, to regolate and order thine own life and actions ; and Dext, for the benefit and good of the community. It will jell thee, there is not a single act thou doft, of any weight or moment, but thou oughtest to coplult with it, and have its pass or licence before thou do it. But when thou epterest io to a les rious course of actions, thy consultations with it ought to be very frequent and solemn, because these things are of great importance to thee.
Thy reafon will tell thee, sidner, that it is a vile affront to it, to be thrust by thee from the council table, voworthily dirmissed from its office, and discharged from any
further atrendance upon thy life, and concerns thereof, and brutish lust and appetite consulted in its room ; and that it needed pot at all to have been implanted in thy foul, if the same principles that govern the beasts of the field, must also be thy governing prin ciples. It funds ready to offer its fervice to thee, to save thee from, or to receive thee out of those mischiefs thou halt, or mayest run thylelt iato; if thou wilt but hear, and obeys its advice, it tells thee, it is thy privy-counsellor, by God's appointment; and if thou wilt not find leisure among the heats and hurries of thy lusts, to coolult it, and hearken to its COURfels DOW
; if thou wilt not forsake the conduct of thise own reason and conscience, which have a right aod authority to govero thy words and actions, and follow thy blind and headstrong lusts and passions, thou shalt hear other language from them, when thy lusts have precipitated thee into thine own ruia and destruction; as they speedily and inevitably must, and will do, according to the course they now fteer for thee.
$ 8, And there is yet more groved to hope, that reason may prevail with men living noder the gospel, to return to fobriety and temperance, when we consider their reason is affilted by fome illuminations from the Chriftian religion. They live in a land of Bibles and mioisters, where they cannot avoid the light; an advantage far beyond whatever the heathens enjoyed; who yet by their single pallifted rearoa, arrived to an eminency in moral virtocs.
Oor reasons and consciences do not only convince us, (as theirs also did them) that there is a God, and a future life of retribution, wherein every man (hall be judged according to his works; but also, that the scriptures are the very word of God, and rule of faith and manners.
And if there be any among the debauched 'crew, that question or deny it; we may be confident, none of them are able, by plain aod found reafon, to overthrow those mighty arguments pleaded for the confirmation of that truth: At least, they find in themselves a ftrong fufpicion and fear, that they may prove to be true; which jealousy and fufpicion, working together with their own reason and consciences, are no contemptible helps toward their recovery.
For if what reason, confcience, and fcripture, with one mouth; pronounce, be true and cercain, (as undoubtedly it will be foirnd to be); then it must be plain and obvious to them afo, that their brutish losts have put them into the direct and ready way, both to ruin themselves, and also greatly to hazard the community to which they belong.
$ 9. As for themselves, if they will make a judgment upon their own condition, in the light of reason, cooscieoce, or scripture, and they very well know, they take their measures