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SERM IV Consideration ? Nay perhaps it would be
for the Advantage of thofe, who are pof-
Again, we were designed for an exact
Full Effect, without any Consideration to Serm.IV. break the Force of it. Many of us must, in fome Measore; deceive "ourselves to be tolerably happy : To disabuse the Mind of it's ill-grounded Esteem, and strip it of every agreeable but wrong Idea, would sink feveral of us into a Set of joyless, dull, spi. ritless Creatures. It would be to turn us out of a Fool's Paradise, where the Mind was delightfully lost and bewildered, among gay Delusons and fine vifonary, 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 nor many certain Truths, demonstrable from intrinsic Evidences, from the abstract Nature of the Thing; though Reason can prove feveral, by the Help of external Evidences. Setting Revelation aside, Mankind would have Reason to wish that they did not know so much as they do; or that they knew a great Deal move. : 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 they
would view Objects clearly and justly: But in a Twilight of Knowledge they imagine they see Things, that are not; and see Things, that are, otherwise than they really are. Youth, fanguine 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 Veffel, which had been in several Voyages, and first failed round the Globe, had scarce one Plank the fame, 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 inaccesible 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 and natural Evil are so closely con- Seru.IV: nected, that there could not be such a Quantity of natural Good, except there was just such a Quantity of natural Evil too ? That, for Instance, the World could not be so happy; except there were so mainy acute and painful Diseases, so many noxious Insects, Famines, Eruptions from burning Mountains, &c? Are these, what God, upon a Review of the Creation, pronounced very good ? No, there is no accoûnting for so much natural Evil; except it was fent as a standing Indication of God's Displeasure against those moral Disorders, which prevailed in the World, consequent to the Fall. : : .
i ***People may,' I know, start many Diffii culties upon this Head. But it is, I think,
not so reasonable to suppose, that God
created Man originally bad; as that, wheh E Man had corrupted his Nature, he let that
Corruption descend upon his Posterity, in a natural Way. Just as it would be more irreconcileable to the Sentiments,
which we have, of the Deity, to iinaE gine, he would immediately form a Crea
ture disordered in his Senses; than that,
when a Parent had brought this. Difternito VOL. II. A a
SERM. IV: per upon himself by Debauchery, he per
mitted the Madness to devolve upon his Children.
It is one Thing to say, that God was, or could be the Author of Evil; and another to say, 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 ; fo in Cbrist pall all be made alive. As by one Man Sin entered into the World, and Death by Sin; fo the Grace of God hath abounded unto all Men, through Jesus Chrift. This was the Labour of Love (if any Thing to Love can be a Labour) to countervail the ill Effects of the Fall, by an univerfal Remedy.
However great a Mystery the Transmisfion of Sin may be, which yet is not a greater Difficulty, than the Tranfmiffion