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nuous minds.: Let such learn from it to mistrust their passions, even the most refined and generous, when they would inquire into the evidences of their religion. Let them remember that reason, pure impartial reason, is to directlthend in this seatch; that the passion for honour is in all cases, but particularly in this (where it is so seducing) an unsafe and treacherous guide; and that, to escape the illusions of infidelity and a thousand other illusions, to which they will otherwise be exposed in common life, one certain method will be, To controul their love of fame, by the love of truth ; which is, in other words, to seek the honour, that cometh of God, only

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SERMON XVIII.

PREACHED APRIL 23, 1769.

John, ix. 41,

Jesus saith to them, If ye were blind, ye

should have no sin ; but now ye say we see,

therefore your sin remaineth. THESE words were spoken by our Lord on in restoring a man born blind to his sight. This wonderful display of power had its nahogy a , tural effect on the man himself, in converting him to the faith of Jesus ; while the Pharisees, who had the fullest evidence laid before them of the fact, persisted obstinately in their infidelity. Yet the blind man, on whom this miracle had been wrought, was one of those whom the Pharisees accounted blind in understanding, also; in other words, he was a plain unlettered man; whereas they themselves were guides to the blind, that is, they pretended to a more than ordinary knowledge of the law and the prophets, by which they were enabled to conduct and enlighten others.

Jesus, therefore, respecting at once his late restoration of the blind man's sight, and the different effects of that miracle on the minds of the two parties, applies, with singular elegance, to himself, the famous prediction of Isaiah For judgment, says he, am I come into this world, that they, which see not, might see ; and that they who see, might be made blind. The Pharisees were, indeed, sharp-sighted enough to perceive the drift of this application, and therefore said to him, in the same figurative language, Are we blind also ? To whom Jesus replied in the words of the text, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin ; but now ye say we see, therefore your sin remaineth. As if he had said, “ If ye were indeed ignorant of the law, and the prophets, as ye account this poor man to be, ye might have some excuse for ‘not believing in me, who appeal to that law and those prophets for the proof of my mission; but being so skilled in them, as ye are, and profess yourselves to be, ye are clearly convicted of a willful, and therefore criminal, infidelity.”

It is implied, we see; in this severe reproof of the Pharisees, that knowledge and faith very well consist together, or rather that, where knowledge is, there faith must needs be, unless a very perverse use be made of that knowledge.

But to this decision of our Lord, the unbelieving world is ready to oppose its own maxims. “ It sees so little connexion between faith and knowledge, that it rather concludes them to be incompatible: It allows the ignorant, indeed, who cannot walk by sight, to walk by faith ; but, as for the knowing and intelligent, the men of science and understanding, it presumes, that faith cannot be required of these ; and that, BECAUSE they see, it is too much to expect of them, to believe in Jesus.

It is true, the persons, who speak thus slightly of faith, are not the most distinguished in the world by their own parts, or knowledge. But a certain mediocrity of both, inflated by vanity. and countenanced by fashion, is forward to in

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dulge in this free language; and the mischief done by it to Religion, is so great, that it may not be amiss to expose, in few words, the indecency and folly of it.

FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE, then, it is said, are at variance with each other. Why? The answer, I

suppose,

will be, Because faith is in itself unreasonable ; in other words, it will be said, That the evidences of our religion are not convincing, and that the doctrines of it are not credible.

One word, then, on each of these bold insinuations.

I. The EVIDENCES of revealed religion are so many and various ; they lye so deep, or extend so wide ; and consequently the difficulty of collecting them into one view is so great, that few men have, perhaps, comprehended the full force and effect of them. At least, none but persons of very superior industry, as well as understanding, have a right to pronounce on the total amount of such evidence.

But the chief evidences of the Christian Religion are drawn from PROPHECIES, and

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