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Consideration? Nay perhaps it would be Jfor the Advantage of th<tfe,. who are possessed of uncommon Worth j to do, as Moses did/, when his Face shone with heavenly Glory, so that the Israelites could not Jledfajlly behold it; viz. to draw a Veil over it, and -to moderate that Lustre, which is painful to most Eyes, and insupportable to distempered ones. The Bulk of Mankind regard a Man in Proportion to what he is worth, the only Worth, that some seem to have any Notion of.
Again, we were designed for att exact Knowledge of ourselves. Yet, feeing every Thing else through a Glass darkly, we fee ourselves through a flattering Glass, in the fairest and brightest Light. But could we, several of us, view ourselves just as we are, without those false Colours, and gilded Lustre, which Self-Love sheds around it's Votaries; it might be a greater Misery to us, than any we ever felt. For in all other Cafes, an imaginary Worth affords a fantastic Pleasure, which buoys up our 'Spirits, and is a Kind of Counterpoise to those Sufferings, which we undergo, however solid and real: But in this Cafe, Misery, genuine Misery, would have it's
full Full Effect, without any Consideration to break the Force of it. Many of, us must, in some Measure, deceive ourselves to be tolerably happy: To disabuse the Mind of it's ill-grounded £/leem, and strip it of every agreeable but wrongs Idea, 'would fink several of us into a Set of joyless, dull, spiritless Creatures. - It would be to turn us out of a Fool's Paradise, where the Mind was delightfully lost and bewildered, among gay t)elusions and fine visionary Scenes, into a dreary Heath and barren Wilderness^ where there was little or nothing goodly, fair, and amiable.
"Lastly, we were formed for the Attainment of beneficial Truth. Yet there are nbr many certain Truths, demonstrable from intrinsic Evidences, from the abstract Nature of the Thing; though Reason can prove several, by the Help os external EVicrenees. Setting Revelation aside, Mankind would have Reason to wish that they did not know so much as they do j or that they knew a great Ttealmai-e. , At present they have just Knowledge enough to disquiet and perplex them, but not enough, without the Scriptures, to make .them easy. In a total Darkness they would view No
Serm.iv. thing at all, and in a full Day-Light they1 would view Objects clearly and justly: But in a Twilight of Knowledge they imagine they fee Things, that are not; and fee Things, that are, otherwise than they really are. Youth, sanguine Youth, may be positiveand peremptory, and fancy it knows every Thing, because as yet it knows Nothing fully. But Men, who have read, and studied, and thought much; towards the Close of Life, retain scarce one Sentiment unaltered and unimproved, which they had at their first Entrance upon their Studies: Just as that famed Vessel, which had been in several Voyages, and first sailed round the Globe, had scarce one Plank the same, upon it's last Arrival in Port, with which it was first launched. There are several considerable Truths, which, like the great Author of Truth, dwell in Light which no Man can approach to: Whatever Evidences they may be surrounded with, they are inaccessible to us.
I might proceed, to demonstrate the Truth of the Fall from those plain Monuments of it, those Miseries which, in Consequence of it, were introduced into the World. Can it be proved, that natural
Good Good and natural Evil are so closely con-S£rm.iV' ftectcd, that there could n<k be such a Quantity of natural Good, except' there Was just' sucK: a 'Quantity of natural Evil too ? 'That, for Instance, the World could not be so happy; except there were so ma•'ny acute and painful Diseases, so many noxious Insects, Famines, Eruptions from burning Mountains, &c? Are these, what <?od, -upon*a Review of the Creation, prtf
• Bounced very good?. No, there is no ao
. fcotintirtg sot! so: much natural Evil; except it Was seht as a standing Indication of God's Displeasure against those moral Disorders, Which prevailed in the World, consequent to the Fall,
'People may, I know, start many Difficulties upon this Head. But it is, I think, not so reasonable to suppose, that God created Man originally bad; as that, whejj Man had corrupted his Nature, he let that Corruption descend upon his Posterity, in 'a natural Way. Just as it would be more irfeconcileable to the Sentiments, which we have, of the Deity, to ima'gine, he would immediately form a Creature disordered in his Senses.;. than that, 'when a Parent had brought this Disterrjto Vol. II. A a per
Serm. iv.per Upon himself by Debauchery, he permitted the Madness to devolve upon his Children.
It is one Thing to fay, that God was, or could be the Author of Evilj and another to fay, that, when Evil was introduced by Man, he did not work a Miracle, to prevent the natural Consequences of it; but suffered it for the Sake of bringing a greater Good out of it; and that by the Redemption, he has advanced Man to much superior Happiness, than he could have had any Title to, if he had continued in a State of Innocence. This is the scriptural Solution of the Difficulty. Where Sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. As in Adam all die; so in Christ foall all be made alive. As by one Man .Sin entered into the World, and Death by Sin; so the Grace of God hath abounded unto all Men, through Jesus Christ. Thi9 was the Labour of Love (if any Thing to Love can be a Labour) to countervail the ill Effects of the Fall, by an universal Remedy.
However great a Mystery the Transmission of Sin may be, which yet is not & greater Difficulty, than the Transmission