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Help? Will the Idols we fet up in our SERM.
own Hearts relieve us ? No. Could we
indeed fuppofe the Reason of Man length-
en’d out to Infinity, we must then fup-
pose him perfect, and consequently free:
But the Possibility of this is not to be fup-
posed of any Creature whatsoever ; much
less that it actually is the Case of Man,
who we find is compass'd about with In-
firmities of every kind.
· But now the Christian Religion supplies
the Want of this ; not, as fome think, by
setting aside Reason, but, leaving to Rea-
fon all its Advantages, by afsifting it with
the Reason of God. For if we believe
Christianity to be a true Religion, we
have by virtue of that Faith, besides the
Advantage of our own Reason, the Bene-
fit also of the Reason of. God. Thus a
Christian, tho' of himself in no respect.
more excellent than another Man, yet by
means of the Divine Reason, which is now
by Faith become his own, is exalted to a
fuperior Class of Beings, and shines with
the Divine Splendor of this Heavenly
Light, while the rest of Mankind are sunk

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Serm. down an amazing Depth below, groping VIII. in the thick Darkness and Obscurity of

their own Inventions. This Faith then is not any thing besides, or opposite to Reafon, but is itself a Principle, that procures us the Benefit of the highest, and most

perfect Reason. ** It also improves every Spring and Move-.

ment of Action within us to its utmost Perfection. The two great Springs of all Human Actions are generally thought to be Hopes and Fears. Now let us confider Christianity with respect to both these, as directing them to their proper Objects, to which they must operate in exact Proportion. Now as every thing in this Life is casual and uncertain, and consequently Good and Evil, Happiness and Misery are so too, the Hopes and Fears that belong to thelè must ånd ought to be proportio nably small, languid, and feeble: For if they rise to any great Height, we lay out more upon these things than they deserve; but if we suppose Good and Evil, Happi

refs and Misery to be no longer casual bụt .: çertain, which we must suppofe in the

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Christian Scheme; if we suppose them to SERM.
be no longer temporal things, but car- VIII..
ried out into all Futurity, our Hopes !
and Fears must and ought then to rise in
Proportion, to receive new Life and Vi-
gour, and be strong enough to influence
a Set of good and virtuous Actions; and
in a mind rightly dispos’d by Religion
they will do so.

In short, as eternal Happiness and Mic
sery is the Sum of all Happiness and Mi-
fery, so the Hope of the one, and Fear of
the other is, or ought to be, the Sum
of all Hopes and Fears. So that these
Hopes and Fears, thus regulated by Reli-
gion, tho’ they will still be employ'd about
things in this Life, because Religion no
way interferes in this matter, being not de-
figned to destroy and root them out, but
to direct and perfect them; yet still, if
a Man acts right, they will be in exact
Proportion, as the Good and Evil, Hap-
piness and Misery, of this Life stands to
the Good and Evil, Happiness and Misery
of the next. We may indeed lay them
out too much upon temporal things, but

then

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SERM. then we are not free in doing this, but are VIII. at the fame time enslav'd to something or

other, that hinders us from giving them a true Direction and their juft Measures. And as to every other Principle of Thought and A&tion 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 fo 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 shew,

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 every Incumbrance? Will it deliver us from the

Dominion

Dominion of Sin, and make us free in all SERM. our thoughts and Actions? i. 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 particular Set of Men, who have thrown off the Ties of Religion and Nature, and set themselves loofe from their Dependance upon God and the World about them; how, under Pretence of doing Honour to Reason, have sap'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 robid Human Nature of the kindest Impressions stamp'd upon it by the Divine Being; these have indeed talk'd

of

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