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fettle the absolute Nature of it, nor to SHRM.
give it a proper Sanction : So that this VIII.
Religionof Nature, or Reason, is no one o
knows what, because it is to be found no
one knows where.

Now upon the Foot of Christianity
every thing is clear and easy; here every
thing goes on consistent with Nature.
This Scheme considers Man, as being
what he is, in a State of Corruption and
Slavery by Sin; for of whom a Man
is overcome, of the fame is he brought in
Bondage, and provides a Remedy for it
by directing every Faculty within us to its
proper Object. It destroys no Advantage
to be had from Reason, but carries it on
to greater Perfection: It destroys Reason
indeed, when it becomes arrogant, and
exalts itfelf into the Throne of God. In
this Sense it is, that it deftroys the Wif-
dom of the Wife, and brings to nothing the
Understanding of the Prudent : For, as the
* Apostle further observes, God bath made

foolisa the Wisdom of this world. And we
shall see a lively Instance of this, if we
compare two Sorts of people together ;

they

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SERM, they who rely entirely upon 'Philosophy,

VIII. and the Wisdom of Man; and they, who, w knowing nothing of this, depend only

upon that Wisdom, which the Greeks eall'd Foolishness. It is very remarkable, that a plain honest Man has a better Notion of things than the other with all his Learning and Philosophy:. For such a one acts more agreable to the Simplicity of Nature, gives his Faculties room to exert themselves in a kindly Manner, and suffers them to have their proper Influence: Whereas, on the contrary, the Man of Reason is for ever contradicting Nature; the Senses, the Paffions are nothing in his Scheme; he believes nothing unless he sees the Reason of it; accordingly Philosophy is bound to give it him, which it does : And what is it after all, but one Link of that grand univerfal Chain that is drawn over all Nature, and reaches up to the Infinity of God. How much wiser does he act, who, finding the Impossibility of discerning the whole of any one thing in Nature, i. e. the thing with all its Relations, rests fatisfied in the Faith of God, who from an absolute

Knowledge

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Knowledge of all Nature has furnish'd Serm.
· him with fuch Rules, as are the Result of VIII..
thé infinite Relations of Things, which
is of the fame Advantage to him, as if he
knew all Nature himself?

Here then lies the Difference between
the two Schemes: Philosophy refers all
things to the Wisdom of Man, and Faith
refers all things to the Divine Wisdom;
that it may not stand, as the Apo-
stle says, in the Power of Man, but in
the Wisdom of God. In one Scheme all
things are consistent, a Man acts agreable
to his Make, and does not labour under
the Absurdity of contradicting Nature :
In the other every thing is revers’d, it is
all Confusion and Incónfiftency, it is un-
hinging the whole Human Frame, and
rooting up thé Foundations of Reason,
Morality, Religion, and every thing; and
is as contrary to true Philofophy, as it is
to Religion: For to discard the Senfes and
the Passions, when there is a Use for them
in Nature, and to reje& Faith, when every
thing offers that is proper to create it, is
altogether as'unphilosophical, if Philofo.
. . Aa

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Serm.phy had a fair Hearing, as it would be të VIII. 1. refuse to exert any one Act of our Reason.

Now where after all is the Seat of Liberty? And who is the free Man? Does it consist in a Power of oppofing the Truth, fitting loose to every thing, and in cloging the Wheels of the grand Machine of Human Nature? Or, is a Man therefore free, because he can, or will do so ? No. Liberty is not a fluctuating thing, an Indifference to Truth or Fallhood, but'a happy Situation of the Mind 10 Truth only; and he is more or less free, whose Mind is more or less situated that Way. Philosophy cannot give us that Situation, because it cannot direct us to absolute Truth; but if we do not prevent it, it will lead us to that that can, which is to Faith, and this is all it can do.

Thus then it appears, that Faith alone can give us Liberty, and that they, who promise it upon any other Foundation, are themselves the Servants of Corruption, And thus does that Faith, which was to the Jews a Stumbling-Block, and to the Greeks Foolishness, and to every Unbes

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liever ever since, Nonsense and Absurdity, SERM. triumph over all the Wisdom and Philo- VIII. fophy of Man: And among the many great and excellent Advantages that attend it, this one is most remarkable, which is the çedeeming the captivated World from the Bondage of Corruption into the glorious Liberty of the Children of God.

It only remains for us, who are thus call’d to Liberty, to take care not to turn it into Licentiousness; and to remember what I have already often obsery'd, that this Liberty does not authorize us to do Right or wrong, Good or Evil: People may indeed call this Liberty, because they find in themselves a Power to do so, but the true Christian Liberty directs us only to what is Right and Good.

In short, Liberty is the Absence of Sla. very, of every thing that can lay an Incumbrance upon the Mind; and the more we i enjoy of it, so much the more shall we be ::: like that Divine Being, who is the Sum of Liberty, as he is the Sum of all things.

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