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Serm. I. verse easily and fluently every where with
the Persons, to whom they addressed themselves, in their several respective Tongues. If it be said that their knowledge of Greek alone might qualify them for this Undertak, ing, it being then an universal Language, and spoke, or at least understood every where; I answer, it is plain from a remarkable Place in Casar's Commentaries *, that it was. not: That great General writing to Quintus Cicero his Lieutenant in Greek, for Fear, if his Letter were intercepted, the Enemy should gain Intelligence of his Designs.
A Man must be either very careless of very laborious to be an Unbeliever. He must labour very hard and struggle against Conviction to darken and pervert the strongest Evidences, and to discolour his genuine Sense of Things : or he must have been só. careless as never to have spent any Thought at all upon the Matter, but have taken his Infidelity upon Trust and at second Hand. But to be a Believer, where there is such a Fulness of Evidence, is the most easy, natural State of the Mind. .
I have now dispatched the first and fear cond Heads of my Discourse, as far as the Time would permit, and hasten
* Lib. V.xlvii. Edit. Davis. Polyæni. Stratagemat. Lib. VIII. Cap. xxill.
'o conclude with a short Reflec- Serm. I. tion on the Importance of Christianity, and our Insensibility of it's just Value.
If there be no future State of Happiness, of what Avail is it to think, or pretend to think freely? Unlimited Range and Freedom of Thought may be the Cry; but the Aim of every wise Man should in that Case be Freedom from Thought; since every Thought, that he could send abroad, would bring Home this melancholy Truth; that he was a miserable Creature, ever im portunate in his Demands for Happiness, but never to have those Demands satisfied. But if there be a future State of Felicity, then Revelation must be of the utmost Importance to ascertain to us, what, when and where, and how long it is to be, and that the present State is our final State of Trial. Christianity, however important, has now been long a familiar and common Blessing, and has undergone the Misfortune of all other common Blessings, to be disregarded merely because it is so. To retrieve a just, or what is the same Thing, a great Esteem for it, as pure and unadulterated; it seems as if it were necessary that some gross Corruption of Religion should be substituted for a while in it's stead: as Sickness, or a Body full of Wounds and putrifying Sores, makes us know how to value, what we neglected before, the Blessings of Health and a vigo
Serm.I. rous Constitution. Christianity is like an
Object held too close and near to us to be viewed in the best Light; it must be removed to fome Distance from us, to be seen by us in the most advantageous Point of View. Then, however insensible we may be of it's absolute Value or Excellence, we shall at least discern it's comparative Worth; it's Worth compared with Mahometism, Enthusiasm and Paganism. It certainly is the most heavenly Religion that ever was, tending most of all to raise our Affections to Heaven, and therefore most worthy of the peculiar Interposition of Heaven, and most likely to have come down from Heaven, from that Being, from whom every good and perfect Gift defcendeth. To whom, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, be ascribed, &c,
Improbabilities not sufficient to in,
validate Moral Certainty.
Preached before the University of Oxford. And.
afterwards at the Visitation at Andover, Sept. · II, 1745.
HEBREWS X, 23,
without wavering : for he is faithful that promised, “T TOW a Man may qualify himself, SERM. II. - O so as to be able to settle his Prin- bams “ ciples and fix his Sentiments in Religious “ Matters; and then to enjoy Tranquillity of “ Mind, neither disturbing others, nor being “ greatly disturbed at what passes among " them?” is a very interesting Query; and it were to be wished that the Author*, from whom, with some little Variations of Expression, I have borrowed the Question, had given us his Thoughts upon it; which
See Wollaftox's Religion of Nature, page 1. Queft. 3; ;
Serm. II. would have carried him beyond the Bounds
of Natural Religion, to which he confines himself. For the Insufficiency of Natural Religion to this Purpose has been fully shewn; and Revelation (supposing a thorough Conviction of it's Truth) sets the Mind at Rest in several very concerning Points, as to which, in a State of Natural Religion, it would be ever seeking Rest and finding none. Shall we then, dissatisfied, as every thinking Man must be, without better Assistances than Natural Religion furnishes, embrace the Belief of Revelation, as necessary to beget in us a firm Compofure of Mind? This would do, if fome Pasfages not easily cleared up and foine seeming Improbabilities did not occur throughout the Records of it; if fpecious Objections both in Books and Conversation were not continually urged against it; which fill People’s Heads with Doubts and Scruples, and their Minds with Uneasiness.
How then can a Man order Matters so, as to be fixed in his Principles, and easy in his Mind (which he cannot well be without being fixed in his Principles, as far as they relate to Matters of Importance) amidst all the Altercations and Disputes, which are, and perhaps ever will be, in Agitation, ta the End of the World ? This is a Question which nearly concerns us; and to come to any Satisfaction about it, the only Expedient