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fettle the absolute Nature of it, nor to SERM.
give it a proper Sanction : So that this VIII.
Religionof Nature, or Reason, is no one
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 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 deftroys no Advantage
to be had from Reason, but carries it on
to greater Perfection: It destroys Reason
indeed, when it becomes arrogant, and
exalts it felf into the Throne of God. In
this Sense it is, that it destroys the Wif
dom of the Wile, and brings to nothing the
Understanding of the Prudent: For, as the
* Apostle further observes, God bath made
foolisə 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,

knowing nothing of this, depend only upon that Wisdom, which the Greeks calld 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 universal Chain that is drawn over all Nature, and reaches up to the Infinity of God. How much wiser does he act, who, find

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 Apoftle 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 Inconsistency, it is unhinging the whole Human Frame, and rooting up the Foundations of Reason, Morality, Religion, and every thirg; and is as contrary to true Philofophy, as it is to Religion: For to discard the Senses and the Passions, when there is a Use for them in Nature, and to reject Faith, when ever thing offers that is proper to create it, is altogether as' unphilosophical, if Philofo

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SERM. phy had a fair Hearing, as it would be to VIII. 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 Falshood, but a happy Situation of the Mind to 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 Fews a Stumbling-Block, and to the Greeks Foolishness, and to every Unbe

liever

liever ever since, Nonsense and Absurdity, SERM.
triumph over all the Wisdom and Philo. VIII.
sophy of Man: And among the many great
and excellent Advantages that attend it,
this one is most remarkable, which is the
şedeeming 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 remem-
ber what I have already often observ'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 Slavery,

of

every thing that can lay an Incumbrance upon the Mind; and the more we 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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