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the pursuits of human Science, where Reason can do most, all the efforts of the ablest under. standing penetrate but a little way. We know enough of the nature of things, to serve the purposes of common life; and enough of the nature of mạn, to discover our duty towards each other. And within this narrow circle all our knowledge, be we as proud of it as we please, is confined. Clouds and darkness cover the rest; and this the ablest men of all times have seen and confessed. If there be a man, whom Heaven has formed with greater powersand stronger faculties than are commonly met with in the species, he is the first to discover, and to lament, his own blindness and weakness: a Socrates and a Pascal have been considered as prodigies of parts and ingenuity : yet, while the meanest Sophister is puffed up with the conceit of his own knowledge, these divine men confess nothing so readily as their own ignorance.

And, if this be the case of human learning, what must we think of divine? where Reason teaches nothing, beyond the existence and attributes of God, and, as to every thing else, without the aid of Revelation, is stark-blind. The things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God - is an assertion, to which common sense and common experience must assent. Yet shall every idle Speculatist, who has but the confidence to call himself a Philosopher, treat the divine word, as freely as any ordinary subject; and pronounce as peremptorily of the revealed will of God, which the Angels themselves adore in silence, as if he knew for certain that his poor and scanty understanding was commensurate with the councils of the most High!

To these professors of Science, whether human or divine, who know so little of themselves as to presume they know every thing, may the Apostle's aphorism be most fitly addressed — If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth him- self ; — and, through all the simplicity of the expression, the good sense of the observation must be felt by the proudest understanding.

Not, that the proper remedy for this evil, of Self-conceit, is a vile subjection of the understanding, which our holy Religion disdains, and to which none but slaves will submitnor yet Scepticism, another vice, to which the less sanguine disputers of this world are much addicted_but a modest use of the faculties we possess, and above all, charity. It is but another species of pride, to pretend that we know nothing; Christian humility is best expressed in referring, what we know, to the good of others. Without this reference, all our claims of superior wisdom are vain and delusive: for it is with knowledge, as with faith, unless it work by charity, it is nothing.

To return to the text, then, and to conclude.

Let the ignominy of this Self-delusion deter us, if nothing else can, from the unseemly arrogance, it so well exposes and condemns, And let us learn to revere the wisdom of the great Apostle, who, by couching so momentous an admonition in so plain terms, has taught us, That, as conceit and vain-glory terminate in shame and disappointment; so the modesty of unpretending knowledge may be entitled to our highest esteem.

SERMON XIII.

PREACHED MAY 16, 1773.

2 COR. X. 12.

We dare not make ourselves of the number,

or compare ourselves, with some that commend themselves : But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

I SHALL not inquire, who the

persons were, to whom these words are applied. It is enough, for the use I intend to make of them, to observe, that they contain a censure of some persons, who, conscious of certain advan

tages, and too much taken up in the contemplation of them, came to think better of

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“ themselves, and, consequently, worse of “ others, than they had reason to do; demon

strating, by this, their partiality (as the

Apostle gently remonstrates), that they were e not wise."

But this censure admits a more extensive application. Measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, whole nations, and even ages, as well as individuals, are, sometimes, misled in the estimate they make of their own worth; and never more easily, or remarkably, than when the object of their partial fondness is their proficiency in knowledge, and, above all, in religious knowledge': for nothing flatters the pride of human nature so much, as an idea of superiority in the exercise of its best faculties, on the noblest subjects.

It would be easy to illustrate this observation by many examples, that have occurred in the history of mankind. But one, only, will sufficiently employ your thoughts at this time; and that one (to make it the more interesting and useful) shall be taken from OURSELVES.

The improvements, that have been made, for two or three centuries past, in almost every

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