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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 way 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 Reason, but Right Reafon, or the Reason of God, which is nothing at all to the Pur
· Then as to the other part of the Objection, that Reason is always universally
the same, whereas Revelation is a change- SERM. able thing, it is readily granted, that V I. Right Reason is so, but the Reason of Man is not: For the Reason of one Age and Nature is very 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 fame 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 swallows 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 oựr way of apprehending Things: For, being only Creatures of Time in this present
SERM. State, we see every thing by Succession, VIII. and can see no more of any thing, than
the Portion of Time we take up 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 greater will 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
did not err? But however, be that as it SERM. will, Defects there are, and consequently VIII. a Want of Liberty: The Introduction of Evil, come which way it will into the World, being an Introduction of Slavery, the next Question then is, where shall we find a Remedy for it? What says Human Reason to this? Why, nothing at all; but, conscious of her own Weakness, sends us to seek a Remedy from Faith: Accordingly, in all Ages and Countries of the World, Faith, of one kind or other, has ever sublisted, there being always a Ground and Foundation for it, arising from the Defects of Reason, excepting only among a few Advocates for Human Reason, who, carrying the Matter too far, would needs make it every thing, infinitely perfect, an absolute Guide in all things, &c. But in the mean time it is not so, it is not an absolute Guide in Philosophy, any more than in Religion. This Reasoning of theirs goes all along upon the Suppofition that Men are otherwise than they are, like the Stoic Philosopby, which, mistaking the Nature of Man, was leveld against
SERM. more than one half of the Human ComVIII. position, and calculated to perswade Men r out of their Senfes, by directing them to
regard nothing but Reason: But yet, notwithstanding this, we find that this was only thwarting Nature all the while ; for the Stoics wenton believing, hoping, fearing, loving, &c. as these Gentlemen, and all the rest of the World do: Thus, at the same time that they pretend to have disbanded all the Forces that come from any other Quarter but Reason, they are forc'd to call the Passions to their Affistance Atill; therefore it matters not how it apo pears in Speculation, since the fact is otherwise.
They talk great things indeed of Uniformity, and Immutability of Reason, but the Fact wants to be prov'd, since it has not yet been able with all these Advantages to produce any one consistent Scheme. Morality and Virtue too are much talk'd of, as if they were to be found no where but in Deism, but they have there no folid Foundation to rest upon : For no Man has ever had Authority enough to