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from Sense the Existence and Reality of Things temporal ; But this Afsent of the Mind to the Evidence of Sense never made any Man wicked or worldly-minded : For, if it did, no Man would ever be righteous ; for the best Man that ever was in the World had his Knowledge of external Things from the Evidence of Sense. But, when Sense stirs the Desires and Affections of the Heart, then it becomes a Principle of Action, and a fierce Combatant for the World against the Powers of Faith. If we remember what was said of the wicked Man with regard to his Faith and Perswasion about divine Truths, we shall find how exactly the righteous Man is in the same Case in respect to sensible Things : As the wicked Man has the Knowledge of Faith, but nothing religious, so has the righteous Man all the Knowledge of Sense, but nothing sensual : The Difference therefore between a sensual Man and a righteous Man does not consist in this, that one knows most of sensible Things, and the other most of divine Things, for this in both Cases may be, and often is false; but it lies in this, that one pursues the Objects of Sense, the other the Objects of Faith,
To trace this Parallel between Sense and Faith a little farther may give us perhaps a true Conception of the Nature of Faith, the Thing we seek after. Let us consider then how the Case stands between Senfe and Faith, Things present and Things to come, between Sensuality and Religion. The Desires which God has planted in our Nature are the Springs of Action; and we always propose the obtaining some End, which is the Object of some Desire, in every thing we do. It is evident then, that, where there is nothing to move and incite our Desires, we must be unconcerned and inactive. All Objects of our Desires are first Objects of the Understanding, according to the known Saying of the Poet, ignoti nulla Cupido. But there are many Objects of the Mind which are never Objects of the Passions; for the Mind muft not only apprehend the Thing, but likewise
apprehend it as a real Thing, and as having the Relation of Good or Evil to a Man, before it can have
upon our Inclinations, From this Account it is plain, that to make a Man perform the Actions either of Religion or of common Life, his Desires, which are the Springs of Action, must be moved : And since nothing can move the Defires,
which is not first the Object of the Understanding, he must have the Knowledge of the Things of this Life, and of Religion, and consider them under the Notion of Good or Evil with respect to himself.
Now the Enjoyment of the Things of this World is the Business and Employment of the sensual Man: The good Things of Futurity and another Life are the religious Man's Care and Concern.
As the Objects are of different kinds, so the Means of obtaining the Knowledge of the Objects are likewise different. Things present are represented to our Minds by every Sense ; the Things of Futurity by no Sense: And in this single Point lies the great Advantage which the World has over Religion. The World has as many Ways of making itself familiar to us, as we have Senses : Religion has only the dark Glimpse of Futurity, such as Reason, in its present feeble and low Condition, can discover. The only Thing then that is wanting to set Religion upon as good a Foot as the World, and to make it able to bear up against the Impressions of Sense, is a certain Principle of Knowledge with respect to the Objects of Religion : For, could we as evidently possess ourselves of the Reality of the Things of another
Life, as we are possessed of the Reality of the Things of this, there would be no more Competition between Sense and Religion, than there is Comparison between the Things of this Life and of Eternity. To supply this Darkness of our Knowledge in Religion is the very End and Design of Revelation : For, could we as plainly discern the good Things of Futurity, as we see and feel the good Things present, there would be no more Want of Revelation to make us acquainted with the other World, than there is to make us acquainted with this. Now, as Sense is evidently to be distinguished into a Principle of Knowledge, and a Principle of Action, fo is Faith likewise. We never esteem a Man to be sensual or worldly-minded, merely because Sense has furnished him with a comprehensive Knowledge of sensible Oba jects: So neither is a Man to be accounted a religious Man, because of that Faith which flows from Revelation, considered merely as a Principle of religious Knowledge. This Distinction between Sense as a Principle of Knowledge, and a Principle of Action, may be seen in any or in every Instance. An honest Man knows the Use and Value of Riches, as well as a Thief. 'Tis not therefore the Knowledge of the Object, but the immoderate Desire of it, that makes the Dif
ference: And one Man may be justly hanged for stealing five Pounds, and another be very innocent who had seen and examined the Value of the Mines of Peru. In Religion the Case is just the same; Faith, as long as it continues to be a mere Object of the Mind, is no Principle of Religion; and one is no more a religious Man, for knowing the Articles of Religion, than he is a sensual Man for walking with his Eyes open and seeing the World. An unbelieving Heart is the same Thing in Faith, that an Antipathy is in Sense, and supposes us rather to hate than not to know our Duty. Many Men are ruined by the Love of Wine and strong Liquors. Stop but the Passage to the Heart, and these Objects lose all their Force and Power, and a Man sees the Wine sparkle with less Concern than he sees the Moon shine. And this is the Case of all those who have a natural Ayerfion to strong Drinks, which is no uncommon Case. This Aversion affects Sense only as 'tis a Principle of Action, and leaves it free as 'tis the Principle of Knowledge: And in like Manner, the unbelieving Heart destroys that Faith which is the Life and Principle of Religion, though it may not, perhaps, disturb the Objects of Faith which have their Refidence in another place.