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scripture, or by carnal reasoning. There needs po more than this very consideration, to convince us of the absurdity of their pretences; for if fcripture and reason were for them, They would not be against scripture and reason: Men do not ufe to decline the arbitration of their friends.
Far different from this is the conduct of that excellent church, to which we belong. She deals openly and fairly, brings all her doctrines to the light, and invites all her members to search and caquire into them. She desires nothing more, than to be tried at the bar of unbiaffed reason, and to be concluded by its sentence: 'She knows,
that her testimony is true,' and that the truth of it will appear the more, the more it is fifted. Even in those mysteries which she proposes as objects of faith, divinely revealed, the pretends not to lhut out the use of reafon, but only cautions us to exercise it soberly and discreetly, and to keep it within its due bounds: Not to reject a divine truth, because we are ignorant of the particular manner in which it
may Not to reason from the properties of finite to those of infinites beings; Not to pretend to find contradictions in points, the depth of which we cannot faiho n or comprehend. Under these re. straints, lhe encourages us to use our reason, in the discussion of inysteries, as freely as we please ; and the questions not, but that the more freely we use it, the more reason we shall find to believe those mysteries, and to revere them.
Would to God, all men dealt as fairly with her, as fhe deals with all men ! She would not then, by Iil tongues and pens, be traduced, as guilty
be made out ;
of pious cheats and priestcraft; Things, which fhe detests utterly, and hath done more toward exposing them, where they they are practised, than any of those who make the loudest noise with them. She would not then have thofe accusations of imposture and design, laid at her door, which she herself hath fo often and justly charged on the church of Rone; Accusations stolen, by her adversaries, from her matchless writings against that church, and applied to her, without ground or colour, without sense or reason. But our comfort is, That our case, in this respect, is like that of good David, when he appealed to God, and said, " The reproaches of them that reproach“ ed Thee are fallen upon me," Psal. lxix. .. Thefe enemies of our church are equally enemies of all other churches and all religions; only ours happens to be the fairest mark, because it is uppermoft, for were any other fet up in the room of it, still the same cry of holy frauds and priestcraft would be heard against that also from the mouths of profligate persons, in licentious times. To cut off all occasion, as much as can be, from those who seek occafion, let u be sure, all of us, who are menbers of this excellent church; Let us be sure, I say, which is
7. The last thing I have to recommend to your from the text, to make our practice of the gospel, like the first proofs of it, confpicuous and plain; and endeavour, with all our power, to recommend the doctrine we embrace, to the hearts of men, as openly and powerfully by our good lives and actions, as the first planters of it did, by their miraculous performances. So fhall we belt put to filence the ignorance of foolish men; and be able, in the most convincing, and effectual manner, to make an answer to our blafphemers,
The profession of the true and pure doctrine of Christ, and a practice suitable to that profession, are both often, in the New Testutment, compared to light. Like that, they display their bright beams, and diffuse their quickening inAuence; enlightening and enlivening all that is near, and far off; diffipating the mists of vice and ignorance, and discovering the hidden things of darkness. As to our profession of the pure doctrine of the gospel, that it sufficiently resembles light, is manifest and notorious: Let us resemble it also in as illustrious and distinguishing a practice, and by “walking worthy, every way of " that vocation wherewith we are called,” Eph. iv. 1. Let us resolve to be (as I trust we are) the purest church upon earth, for our manners, as well as for our doctrine; in one respect as well as the other, “a light placed on a candlestick, and not “ under a Bushel ; a city set upon an hill, that
cannot be hid,” Matt. v. 14, &c. In a word “ Let our light so shine before men, that they, “ seeing our good works, may glorify our father & which is in heaven.”
The Baptist's message to Jefus, and
Jesus's answer explained.
Št. MATTH. xi. 3. Art shou he that foould come? or do we look for
T this time of advent, particularly dedicate
ed by the church to a devout commemoration of our Saviour's coming in the flesh, and set apart to prepare us for a worthy celebration of the approaching feast of his nativity; it may be no unsuitable entertainment to your thoughts, to fuggest to you some reflexions on this passage of fcripture, and those others which introduce, aca company, and explain it.
“ When John had heard in prison (says the evangelift) the works of Chrif he fent two of his