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fon, and be commensurate with the Hopes, SERM. Fears and Desires of every Faculty of Man. XV, Accordingly, they always pretended to some Revelation, and whether their Pretensions were just or not, there was always a Foundation for them, as well from the Imperfection of human Reason, as from the Care and Superintendance which the Creator might be suppos’d to have over his Creatures, and from the Benevolence of his Nature, which the Excellency of their Nature might. give them Hopes to confide in, whatever they might fear from his Justice. 'Tis no Wonder that this should be the Cafe, bem cause it is by no means an uncommon Thing among Christians to meet with Persons, who are for resolving all the Attributes of God into that of Goodness: And not only Sinners do this, who have nothing to hope from his Justice, but even good Men themselves, who have thought, tho' not aright, that the Goodness of God had the Predominancy over the other Attributes. Indeed from his Dealings with Men, 'tis natural enough to think so, but then there is no arguing from what happens in a small part of Time in this Life, to what will be in Eternity, where it will be seen, that God is infinite every Way, and that Justice will be done
SER M. to every Man, and every Adion of Man, XV: however they may escape it here in this
Life, through the Chance that belongs to Time. But to proceed, There was always I say, a Foundation for a Revelation from God, to supply the Defect of human Reason, and People always pretended to one, and accordingly have ever appointed an Order of Men to officiate in this divine Intercourse between God and Man, and to fet aside their Time and Study to explain it to others. Now, 'tis monstrous to suppose, that the private Judgment of any one Man could be of so much Signification, where this Revelation has been pretended, whether that of the Jews, or this of the Christians, either to himself or to others, as the united Judgment of a Body of Men, whofe whole Business it was (besides their being Men of equal Parts, for this muft be fuppos’d, where we talk of Bodies of Men, and also the superior Afliftance they are justly, especially in the Christian Religion luppos'd to have,) to look into thefe Matters, and stand in a better Situation for it than any others can possibly do. If private Judgment is not fufficient to carry a Man any great Lengths in civil Affairs; if it will not help him to attain any Art or Science " without the Allistance of those that have SERM.
made such a particular Art, their Study (and XV..
he can only know his Proportion as he no E ftands to it) much less can it do any great
Matter in Religion; for we stand in no bet-
the Importance of the Christian Religion,
course attend the Study of it, partly from El the Language in which it was written, which : has for many Years become a dead one, and
partly froin the Nature of the Writings themselves from particular Customs and Circumstances of thofe Times, so that a competent Skill in those Things is requisite, in order to the better understanding them, and explaining them to others, will see the great Reafon and Necessity tliat a Set of Men should be employ'd about these Things, and the Necessity likewise of their being assisted by the Spirit of God. 'Tis true, the Precepts of Christianity are plain and easy, and for the most Part level to the meanest CapaciRI 2
SERM. ties, but then a good deal is not so, a XV. that which is, would have been a dead Let
ter still, had they not been translated from the original Language for the use of ordi· nary People. And besides, were they, as to
the whole, ever so plain and eafy, yet the : wiseft are so subject to the Infirmities of hu
man Nature that they want frequently to be · reminded of them, or else they would have but little effect, which also shews the New cessity there is for an Order of Men to be set apart for that Purpose, which I conie now, 2dly to, consider.
It can be but of very little Signification, that there is this Provision made for Mankind, if they will not, like the Person in the Text, shew a teachable Disposition. What Use can a Guide be of to one, who thinks he wants none, who is in his own Opinion all· sufficient ? To say now-a-days, how can
1 understand except fome Man teach me? would pass among fome for nothing but Banter and Grimace: The Language now is, I will learn of none, I have a Right to act and think for myself; and no one has any Business to deprive me of it by any Authority whatsoever, and to set hiniself up for my Instructor: But however this may pre· yail among some few conceited Men, and
whatever ill Opinions they may entertain of SERM.
their due Influence upon us. For if it be a
some degree of Trust and Confidence in ang-
due Influence upon him. Indeed if a Man was