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by ftanding rules and laws, and by the ordinary miniftry of second caufes. And thus he established the truth of his revelation, at the beginning, by miracle; but, that being once done, he suffers things now to go on in their regular course without offering every day motives of the fame kind to men, but appealing to those which he hath propofed already; which he knows to be fufficient, and knows alfo, that if they do not fuffice, no others will; according to that remarkable decifion of our Lord's, That fuch as "hear not "Mofes and the Prophets," (i. e reject a revelation already attefted by miracles) "would not "be perfuaded, though one arofe from the dead," Luke xvi. 31. Further,
6. Sixthly, from the general drift and tenor of the argument we have been handling, it may be justly collected, that the more any doctrine affects fecrecy, and declines trials of any fort, the more reason we have to fufpect, and to examine it: "Beloved, believe not every Spirit," (fays St. John) "but try the Spirits, whether they be of God;" John iv. 11. and moft particularly those spirits, which defire to be believed without being tried: For this looks, as if they were afraid of being brought to the test; and fear generally arifes from a conscioufnefs of guilt, as the fame apoftle, in this very cafe. argues: "Every one" (fays he) "that doth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh "to the light, left his deeds fhould be reproved; "but he that doth the truth, cometh to the light, "that his deeds may be made manifeft, that they "are wrought in God," John iii. 20. 21.
This reflexion cannot but once again put us in
mind of those articles of the Roman Catholic Faith, by which it ftands diftinguifhed from the faith of all other Chriftians. We are not allowed to doubt of them, or to reafon upon them. They are to be received implicitly, without any particular difcuffion and enquiry: From the great doctrine of infallibility they proceed, and into that they are finally refolved: “As the rivers run into the "fea, into the place from whence the rivers come, "thither do they return again." Ecclef, i, 7. And how can that which hath the stamp of unerring authority upon it, become the proper fubject of any man's private debates and reafonings? Now this is the greatest prejudice imaginable against the truth of the doctrines of any church, or the fincerity of its preptences: For if what it propofeth to us be true and reasonable, why fhould it decline the examination and judgment of reafon? If all be pure gold, without alloy, how comes it thus to fly the touchstone? 'Tis the property of error only to fculk and hide its head; but truth, we know, is open and barefaced; like our firft parents, in the ftate of innocence and happiness, "Naked, but not afham"ed." And therefore, though it be very unreafonable in the church of Rome to impofe her doctrines upon us, without allowing us to examine them; yet it is not unreasonable in us to reject thefe doctrines, thus propofed, even without examination.
The fame may be faid of those wild opinions fet up by fanaticks and enthufiafts, as dictates of the Spirit, and which they will fuffer to be tried by the Spirit only; not by the dead letter of
fcripture, or by carnal reafoning. There needs no more than this very confideration, to convince us of the abfurdity of their pretences; for if fcripture and reafon were for them, They would not be against fcripture and reafon : 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 fearch and caquire into them. She defires nothing more, than to be tried at the bar of unbiaffed reason, and to be concluded by its fentence: 'She knows,
that her teftimony is true,' and that the truth of it will appear the more, the more it is fifted. Even in thofe myfteries which the propofes as objects of faith, divinely revealed, the pretends not to shut out the ufe of reafon, but only cautions us to exercife it foberly and difcreetly, and to keep it within its due bounds: Not to reject a divine truth, becatife we are ignorant of the particular manner in which it may be made out; Not to reafon from the properties of finite to thofe of infinites beings; Not to pretend to find contradictions in points, the depth of which we cannot fathon or comprehend. Under thefe re ftraints, he encourages us to ufe our reafon, in the difcuffion of myfteries, as freely as we pleafe; and the questions not, but that the more freely we ufe it, the more reafon we shall find to believe thofe myfteries, 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 Ill tongues and pens, be traduced, as guilty VOL. III. C
of pious cheats and prieftcraft; Things, which fhe detefts utterly, and hath done more toward expofing them, where they they are practised, than any of those who make the loudeft noise with them. She would not then have thofe accufations of impofture and design, laid at her door, which the herfelf hath fo often and justly charged on the church of Rome; Accufations ftolen, by her adverfaries, from her matchlefs writings against that church, and applied to her, without ground or colour, without fenfe or reafon. But our comfort is, That our cafe, in this respect, is like that of good David, when he appealed to God, and faid,The reproaches of them that reproach❝ed Thee are fallen upon me," Pfal. Ixix. 9. 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, ftill the fame cry of holy frauds and priestcraft would be heard against that alfo from the mouths of profligate perfons, in licentious times. To cut off all occafion, as much as can be, from those who seek occafion, let us be fure, all of us, who are menbers of this excellent church; Let us be fure, I fay, which is
7. The last thing I have to recommend to you from the text, to make our practice of the gospel, like the first proofs of it. confpicuous and plain; andendeavour, 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 firft planters of it did, by their miraculous performances. So fhall we best put
to filence the ignorance of foolish men; and be able, in the moft convincing, and effectual manner, to make an answer to our blafphemers
The profeffion of the true and pure doctrine of Chrift, and a practice fuitable to that profeffion, are both often, in the New Teftatment, compared to light. Like that, they display their bright beams, and diffuse their quickening influence; enlightening and enlivening all that is near, and far off; diffipating the mifts of viceand ignorance, and difcovering the hidden things of darkness. As to our profeffion of the pure doctrine of the gospel, that it fufficiently resembles light, is manifeft and notorious: Let us refemble it alfo in as illuftrious and diftinguishing a practice, and by "walking worthy, every way, of
that vocation wherewith we are called," Eph. iv. 1. Let us refolve to be (as I trust we are) the pureft 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 Bufhel; a city fet upon an hill, that
cannot be hid," Matt. v 14, &c. In a word "Let our light fo fhine before men, that they, "feeing our good works, may glorify our father "which is in heaven."