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Ser M. Doctrine of Jesus Christ by Arbitrariness,

II. Violence and Force. And the same may un

be faid, in proportion, of all other Vices.
Whosoever is engaged in Any vitious. ha-
bit, he is thereby made blind, and walk-
etb in Darknefs. Our Saviour represents
to us the same thing, by another the like
elegant fimilitude; comparing vitious men
to persons that are deaf and cannot bear : ;
St Joh. viii. 43. Wby do ye not understand
my Speech ? even because ye cannot hear
my Words; For Ye are of your Father the
Devil, and the Lufts of your Father ya
will do. The meaning of this difficult
Text, by comparing it with that now
cited from St John's First Epistle, appears
very evident. For here our Saviour in a
very expressive manner describes the un-
fitness of the malicious Pharisees to re-
ceive his Doctrine, by saying that they
were deaf and could not bear bis Words ;
just as St John in the other place repre-
sents the incapacity of uncharitable men
to understand the Gospel, by declaring
that they are blind and walk in Darkness.
And when This is the Cafe, (as 'tis too
plainly the Case of most Wicked men,)
'tis no wonder if they run into unaccount-

able

i. 21.

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able Extravagancies. Hence, among the SERM. Heathen, those who knew God, yet glo-, II. rified him not as God, but changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to, birds and beasts and creeping things, Rom.

Hence the Jews in the Wilderness, though they knew God, not only by the Light of Nature, but by clear Revelation also, yet even Tbey. likewise so far corrupted themselves, as to change their Glory, i. e. the True God, whom They alone of all Nations upon the Face of the Earth had the Privilege more immediately to serve ; even They changed this their Glory, into the fimilitude of a Calf that eateth Hay, Pl. cvi. 20. Hence the Jews in our Saviour's time, when they could not deny the Greatness of his Miracles, ascribed them to Beelzebub the Prince of Devils ; and, after they had said, Let bim now come down from the Cross and we will believe bim, 'yet, after his Resurrection, , which was a much greater Miracle, they ftill continued to disbelieve. Thus thro* Blindness it comes to pass, that none of the Wicked do understand.

BUT

Sei M. BUT further : A Wicked disposition II.

not only blinds men, and hinders them from considering, prevents their examining things, and causes them to overlook. even the strongest Evidence; but it moreover prejudices them Against the Truth, and causes them even to kate it, and become professed Enemies to it. They hate to be reformed; and therefore cast God's. words : behind them, Pf. 1. xvii. Their car-; nal mind is even enmity against God; and therefore is not fubje&t to the Law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. viii. 7. A person that gives them the best Advice in the World, may come to be looked upon as their Enemy, for that very reason because he tells them the Truth, Gal. iv. 16. They will knowingly chuse and love. Darkness rather than Light. : because their deeds are evil, St Joh. iii. : 19. and reject the Truth for 'no other cause, but only because they have pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Theff. ii. 12. And This is an effectual Reafon indeed, why none of such wicked perfons can understand. But where This is not the case, yet at least by any intervening worldly consideration, working upon their Ambition, Covetousness,

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or any other Paffion; they will certainly Ser. M. be hindred from apprehending the Truth.

II. To the Question proposed, St Joh. vii. 48. Have any of the Rulers, or Pharisees believed on bim? the Answer is given, ch. xii. ver. 43. They loved the praise of Men, more than the Praise of God.; and cb. v. ver. 44. : How can ye believe,' which receive

Honour one of anotber, and seek not the Ho-2 Cor. iii. nour' which cometh from God only ? The '4 Jews, to this day, have the Veil remaining - upon their Heart ,- principally through their expecting a temporal Meffiah, to exalt them in the splendor and glory of this mi World: And 'tis too fad a Truth, that one of the principal Hindrances of the ni's Reformation of erroneous. Doctrines and Practices among Christians ;, such as Tranfubftantiation, Purgatory, Indulgences, Prayers for the Dead, and the like ; is their being profitable to, and tending to promote unreasonable and unjust Power in those that maintain them. Where such Worldly Interests and Passions interpose, 'tis no wonder that men understand not the Force even of the strongest reasoning: They are like the deaf Adder that stoppeth ker Ear which refuseth to bear

the

;

Serń. the voice of the charmer, charm he never II. so wisely, Pf. Ivïïi. 4. There is One thing

further,' and not to commonly taken notice of, by which an Evil Dispoption hinders' right Understanding in matters of Religion ; and That is, that it promotes contentious Disputes about needless Intri

cacies, for the sake of Pride, Vainglory : 0 or Profit ; and in order to impose upon

other mens Belief uncertain 'Opinions ,

which confound and darken the plainest Tie iii. 9. Truths. These St Paul calls fools fa que

ftions and contentious-o -- which are una 2 Tim. ii profitable sind vain ; friving about words

to' no profit, but to the fubverting of the 2 Tim. vi. Hearers profane and vain bablings, and

oppositions of Science falfely so called, and which will incr.cafe unto more ungodliness.; profane and old-wives fables; Fables and

commandments of Men, that turn from the Tit. i. 14-Truth; foolish and unlearned questions, that 2 Tim. ii gender Arifes.; Fables and endless genea.

gies, which' minifter questions rather than 1 Tim.i.4.

godly edifying. And persons who by Heat and Dogmaticalness, and by Zeal for uncertain Opinions without due inquiry and *examination, cause or promote such Contentions; he calls proud, knowing nothing,

but

14.

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2 Tim. ii. 16. I Tim. iv. 2.

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