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SERM. true, that on the contrary Christianity VIII. can no more countenance, or admit of

Slavery, than any other Scheme can give Liberty ; nay, 'tis the only Scheme in the World, in which Liberty has any Place, · All within this Circle is Liberty and Free..

dom; all without is Bondage and Slavery: Accordingly, all good Christians are, and ever have been free, and all others are, and ever have been Slaves.

No doubt there will always be fome, who will be forward enough to promise Liberty upon another Footing: the most profligate and abandon'd Part of Mankind will not be wanting in Pretences of this kind; but then the Performance will never come up to the Promise: There may indeed .be a Shew of Liberty, something that may look like it at first Sight, but a good Eye will quickly see thro' the thin Disguise, perceive the Chain that is conceald under it, and discover that they, who thus promise Liberty, are themselves the Servants of Corruption. But for a further Illustration of this point, I purpose in my following Discourse to thew,


First, What Liberty is.

SERM. Secondly, That Christianity has the VIII.

only Claim to it.
Thirdly, That all Pretences to it from

the Side of Infidelity, are false and

groundless. · First then I am to New, What Liberty is. And there is the more necessity for having a right Notion of this, because no Word has been more mis-understood, or occasion'd greater Errors and Mistakes.

By Liberty then, consider'd as the Privilege of Human Nature, (in which Sense only we now consider it) we are not to understand a Power of doing as we please, exclusive of all possible Motives of Action; a Power of doing Right or wrong, Good or Evil: This is indeed an Opinion many have entertain’d of Liberty, who have accordingly represented Man, their Free-Agent, as a Being endued with a strange Sort of Freedom, a Freedom to do all this, or any thing else. But now to denominate a Man free, because he has Power to do Evil, is little else but an Abuse of Words : For the Question is not, whether

Serm. a Man can do Right or wrong, Good or VIII. Evil, but in doing which he may be acm counted free. Every Tendency to Evil is

à Tendency likewise in exact Proportion to
Slavery, because it is a Clog, and Incum-
berance upon the Mind, that hinders it
from exerting itself as it ought; and sure-
ly no Man would think himself the fréer
for being bound or confin'd; but a Man
would then think himself free, when he
had it in his Power to renounce all Ob-
stacles of that Kind. ::
· Liberty then is not the having it in our
Power to chuse Right or Wrong; for tho'
we may do either of these, yet we can't
be therefore said to be free, but when we
chuse what is Right : for to be able to
chule Wrong implies a Defect, and every
Defect is a want of so much Liberty.
God to be sure is free, and if Liberty is a
Privilege, he must have it to an infinite
Perfection; and yet no one, I suppose.
will say he has a Power to chuse Wrong,
or do Evil. No, His Liberty consists in an
infinite Remove from this, therefore Li-
berty in the abstract Nature of it consists

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in a Power of doing Right, and in a Re-SeẢM. - moval of every thing, that stands in the VIII.

way of it, either in thinking, believing,
acting, or exerting any Faculty within us.
Perfect Liberty is the Property of God
.only: But as we are his Image in this, as
well as other respects, we have a Ray of
it likewise in ourselves; : only, as we are
imperfect Creatures, and a want of Per-
tection being a proportionable Want of Li-
berty, we have it but in an imperfect Dec
gree ; such a Degree, as Human Nature

will admit of. Having thus shewn what
Hou Liberty is, I come now to shew, ..
abo. Secondly, That Christianity has the only

Claim to it., Liberty thus understood is
to be met with only in the Christian
Scheme, because there only, (supposing
Christianity to be a true Religion; and
whether it is or not must be determin’d by
other Arguments : However this is no una

reasonable Supposition, if we will but al& low, that People had the same Use of their

Reason and their Senses at the first Pro512 pagation of it, as they have now, and that Eu Talicion has at least the same Weight


SERM. with respect to the sacred Writings, as it VIII. has with respect to profane ;) I say, 'be

cause there only is a Provision made for the Imperfections of Human Nature ; which, by the way, is a corroborating Argument of the Truth of it, no other Scheme of Religion in the World befides having ever propos'd such advantages to Humankind.

If we fuppofe Defects and Imperfections in Man, we must suppose, at the same time, a Want of so much Liberty; and fo if we suppose a Remedy for these Defects, we of course fuppofe a proportionable Addition of Liberty. Now, I believe, it will be readily enough agreed on all Hands, that there are some defects in HumanNature. They who carry Human-Reafon ever so high will, I fuppose, acknowledge there are some Bounds to it; that it is defective in some things: But how shall these Defects be remedied? Let us turn over the various Systems of Man's Wildom, and see whether any Aflistance may be fetch'd from thence. Will any of the Gods of Human Imagination afford us any


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