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to Motion, and those of a modern One * SER M.

IV.. against the Reality of Matter : Arguments í however that would baffle a very wise “ Man, though they would not convince 6 even a very weak one.

Duft they are, a raised to obscure more important Truths, " and to Dust they must return; or, after “ having been troublesome for a while, " fall, unregarded, to the Ground. Moral “ Evidences, on the other Hand, are “ suited to my Capacity, and much better « fitted to ensure a lasting Conviction to " Creatures fo formed as Men are, than any

of those specious kinds of arguing, " which are set up in Opposition to them. “ They are a Lantern to my Feet; near at “ Hand, and portable to my Memory : “ whereas Metaphysical Proofs, be they “ never so good, are like the fixed Stars ; 16 which, though they may enlighten “ Beings, that move in an Orb much

superior, afford little or no Light to Persons in my low Situation.”

We are guilty of no Immorality in fupposing the Reason, why we cannot conquer an Objection, to be, not that the Objection is unanswerable in itself, but that we want sufficient Forces of Understanding to conquer it, or perhaps fufficient Skill to conduct and manage those Forces we have

* See Berkeley's Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous.

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to

IV.

S'ER M. to the best Advantage : Nay, in so doing

we shew our Modesty : And it were to be
wished, that some great Pretenders to
Knowledge were Masters of the most
valuable Part of it, that Part which teaches
them Humility; the Knowledge of their
total Ignorance in many Things; and their
partial Ignorance as to all the rest. But
we are guilty of an Immorality of a very
deep Dye in refusing to submit to Moral
Certainty; it being confessedly criminal for
any Man to do that in any Case, which, if
all Men were to do in every other Case,
would interfere with the general Happiness,
and subvert the

very
Pillar on

which Society rests.

Since the World began no one Instance can be given, that any Man was misled by trusting to such Proofs as Christianity is confirmed by. For whoever has been misled, it was not by yielding his Affent to Moral Evidence as fuch, but by yielding it when it was not perfect in it's Kind, when it wanted some of the Ingredients, which enter into that of Christianity. But Numbers have been deceived by trusting to fpeculative Reasonings of a finer Texture; and Men of superior and exalted Sense have fallen into Errors, from which common Senfe has secured the rest of Mankind.

The Proofs for Revelation have shone the brighter to every rational Enquirer, the

78

IV.

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more they have been of late canvassed, ex-Serm.
amined, and controverted. Controversy and
Opposition having been to them, what the
Wind is to the Plumage in Indian Crowns.
The Plumes, however beautiful, never ap-
pear to the best Advantage, while they con-
tinué unmoved and undisturbed : The rude
Disturbance and Agitation of the Wind fets
them in Variety of Lights, opens and
unfolds them, and calls forth into View the
whole Strength of their Lustre, and every
Beauty, which, during the Calm, escaped
the Observation.

I shall conclude with observing, that
what hath been so often said upon the
Works of Nature, holds as true in Regard
to the Scriptures, viz. A superficial and
flender Acquaintance with them may tempt
a Man to Infidelity ; but an accurate; in-
timate Knowledge of them, and a thorough
Insight into their contents, brings the Mind
back to a firm Belief, and makes us ac-
knowledge and adore the great Author of
them.

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To whom be ascribed, as is most due,

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::

SERMON V.

The Damnatory Clauses in the

ATHANASIAN Creed justified.

SER M.

V.

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MARK xvi. 16.
He that believeth not shall be damned.
HIS has been thought an hard Saying,

though it be our Blessed Saviour's, when he commisfioned his Apostles to preach the Gospel to every Creature. It will be necessary therefore,

I/, To consider with what Limitations the Proposition is to be understood; how far, and in what Points Unbelief is highly dangerous; and whether in some cases we may not charitably suppose, that favourable Abatements will be made.

IIdly, To fhew the Reasonableness of the Proposition properly qualified and explained, and the numerous ill Confequences of Unbelief. After which I shall,

IIIdly, Offer a few occasional Reflexions, which arise from the Subject Matter of my Discourse.

I begin

V.

ing any

I begin with my first Proposition. SER M.

Though Ignorance, in many Cafes, be absolutely unavoidable, there being several Truths quite out of the Reach of our Understanding ; yet a Man, generally speaking, in plain and important Points may stand clear of Error. Because Error implies a wrong Judgment; and Men are not under a ftriNecessity of judging, where they have not Evidence; or of judg

farther, than they have Evidence. Error therefore, material Error, is commonly owing to the Want of Care, and Attention proportionable to the Moment of the Subject; or to fome predominant Pasfion, which discolours the genuine Appearances of Things. It is the common Cafe of Men, that when they are not determined by that Sufficiency of Evidence, which is fully laid before them, they are actuated by something else than an ingenuous Love of Truth, And our Saviour takes here into Consideration the common Case of Unbelievers, leaving it to the general Apprehension of Mankind to except (which they are apt enough to do) fosne few extraordinary Cases.

In the fame Sense are to be understood the following Clauses in the Creed, commonly called the Athanasan ; “ which “ Faith, except every One do keep whole *** and undefiled, without Doubt he shall

perish

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