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SERM. That Believing, which is the Duty of IV. a Chriftian, is not, in the ftrict fenfe

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of the word, That bare Affent of the
Understanding which is not in our
Power to with-hold; but it fignifies, in
the moral fenfe, that good Difpofition
of the Mind and Will, by which a
Man is difpofed to attend to, and exa-
mine impartially, to confider and re-
ceive willingly, what upon due inquiry
he fhall find to be the Will of God; not
carelefly and credulously, but
creduloufly, but upon fo-
ber Reason, and proper Evidence. And
fo likewife on the contrary; Unbelief,
in Scripture, does not fignify difbeliev
ing what wants juft and fufficient
proof; but it always means, either care-
leffly and negligently rejecting without
inquiry and without Reafon; or else re-
jecting wilfully and obftinately, through
the Love of Sin and Vice. And this is
evidently the cafe of all profane, loofe,
and debauched Infidels; who, mere-
ly because they hate to be reformed,
pretend to difbelieve, what if they feri-
ously examined as they ought to do, they
would find all poffible reafon to embrace.



The Nature of Humane Actions.

LUK. xi. 35.

Take heed therefore, that the Light which is in Thee be not Dark


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PON our Lord's having work- SER M.
ed a remarkable Miracle, ver.
14; The Pharifees, who were
refolved not to be convinced

by Any Evidence whatsoever,

because his Doctrine was a perpetual Reproof of their Hypocrify and Other Vices; alleged, fome of them, ver. 15. that he caft out Devils through Beelzebub, the H 4


SER M.chief of the Devils. Others, tempting him, V. ver. 16, fought of him a Sign from Hea

ven: That is, Pretending to diftruft the Miracles which he worked on Earth, as if These might poffibly be the Effect of fome Magical Power or Artifice; they infifted that he fhould call for fome miraculous Sign directly from Heaven. Our Lord, knowing the Wickedness of their Hearts, ver. 17, and that they did not really defire to be convinced, but only fought for occafions of cavilling, tells the people, ver. 29, This is an evil generation; They feek a Sign, and there fhall no Sign be given it. And then he de

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fcribes the Incurableness of the Malice
and Hypocrify of these Pharifees; in that
their Notions even of Religion itself, the
very Principle from which alone there is
Hope of reformation of Manners; their
Notions even about This very thing, were
themselves the Great Spring and Fountain
of Corruption. Their Religion itself was
Pride and Party, Popularity and Exter-
nal Show.
And if the Guide of mens
Actions be itself thus vitious, how vitious
muft their Actions be! Ver.

34, The

Light (fays he) of the Body, is the Eye:


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Therefore when thine eye is fingle, thy SERM. whole Body alfo is full of Light; But when thine Eye is Evil, thy Body alfo is full of Darkness. His meaning is: What the Eye is to the Body; That very fame thing in proportion, the Moral Judgment and Understanding, the Directing Principle, is to a man's Mind. If this Moral Judgment of the Understanding be unbiaffed and uncorrupt, and hearkened to with Simplicity and Sincerity; it will either direct and preferve men in the Paths of Truth and Right, or be perpetually calling upon them to return into them. But as, when a man's Eyes are blinded or put out, his whole Body muft of neceffity move in Darkness: So, if the Moral Judgment of the Mind, the Principle which ought to guide and direct mens Actions, be itself perverted by unreafonable Prejudices, and corrupted by vitious Appetites and Paffions; there is no hope, but fuch perfons must continue in Error and Wickedness. Take heed therefore adds our Lord in the words of the Text; Take Heed, that the Light which is in thee, be not Darkness: Let every man above all things confider and take care, that

SERM.this 'Moral Judgment of his Mind and V Understanding, be not corrupted with V.

blind Unreafonable Prejudices, and with vitious and wilfully indulged Affections. For in That cafe, his very Guide becomes his Seducer; and his Light itself, is Darkness.

IN the following Difcourfe upon these words, I fhall ft confider briefly the Nature of Humane Actions; and what De

pendence they have upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Understanding that is in the Mind of Man. 2dly, I fhall fhow what Power men have over their own Actions, with regard to the Influence of That Light or Understanding, by which they are to be directed. And 3dly, I fhall confider of what Confequence it is in matters of Religion, that men fail not in this firft and grand Foundation of all in the Root, the Spring, the universal Guide and Director of their Actions. Take heed, that the Light which is in thee, be not Darkness.


I. I am to confider the Nature of Humane Actions; and what Dependence they have upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Understanding that is in


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