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the age in which the wisdom of man has been admitted as an authority against the wisdom of God. How this has happened it may be difficult to say, though the fact cannot be denied. I question very much whether I can trace the evil from the beginning : but I will give my owo sense of it, submitting what I say to be corrected by those who see farther than I do.

We all know how Christianity was disgraced by the folly, hypocrisy, and cruelty of fanatical men in the last century; who surfeited the wise with their cantings and absurdities. To wipe away the reproach of which, it was thought good to produce a scheme of religion not capable of such abuses; more reasonable in itself, and more worthy of philosophers : a religion of human reason. This is the plan adopted by our Deists, who profess a rule of life independent of Revelation ; and so the facts of the Bible, with their consequences, on which our whole religion is founded, are all rejected as no longer necessary. Christianity is a scheme of facts; the other is a scheme of abstract reasoning. And, what is worst of all, the plan which thus answers the purposes of infidelity, was not ushered into the world by profligates and blasphemers (for in that case Christians would have stood upon their guard) but by persons of learning and religious character : who by once admitting that nature can furnish man with religion, have opened a door which will never be shut again. If nature is once allowed to be its own teacher, here is the finest opportunity in the world for throwing off all the obligations of Christianity, and setting religion upon a new bottom. This is the use the Deists have made of it; and thus a religion from reason soon turns a man into an Infidel. But there is a uniddle

But there is a middle generation of people, who would preserve some decency and

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solemnity of character, between believers and infidels : these are your rational Christians (as they call themselves) who allow in Christianity all that is agreeable to the religion of reason, but nothing more : and when they have divested Christianity of all that is Christian, they wonder why there should be any

infidels ; for that Christianity is the most reasonable thing in the world. To make it so, all the doctrines of faith are taken out of it: for nature knows not one of them. How can it reveal them to itself? It has no redemption from sin, no gift of divine grace, no danger from the tempter, no priesthood, no sacraments ; in a word, it has not one of those things to which salvation is promised. It was never adınitted into this country, till toward the latter end of the last century; since which the strides of infidelity have been gigantic. And what can be done? We have admitted a worm to the root of the tree of life; and the withering of its top should have convinced us long ago of our mistake. Happy would it be, if in these dangerous times, when many evils are come so near to maturity, men of learning and ability, whose designs are good, would be roused, before it be too late, to an impartial consideration of this case, as I have laid it before you.

There is another cause which has bad effects, besides this of a pretendedly-rational religion, which has operated with much inischief against the faith. When a man values himself upon his knowledge, he grows proud, and then he becomes weak. The knowledge of nature is a noble science, and deservedly holds a distinguished rank in this kingdom. The contemplation of nature should bring us nearer to God who framed it: but it seldom does; too often it has the contrary effect: and if we were to survey, with inore

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aecuracy than is proper for a serinon, the different classes of men, who have done most mischief to religion, we shall find them chiefly ainong those who take the name of philosophers. They make discoveries on matter, of think they do (for there is great contrar diction among them) till they see no such thing as spirit: and so fall into materialism. It was an old and true accusation, that the world by wisdom kueret not God: 1 Cor. i. 21. and the same is the


misfortune of man at this day. Thousands are spoileda. not by philosophy itself, but by the rain deceit of philosophy. Tell a person of this sort, inflated with his own importance, that in order to be wise he must become a fool: and what good can be expected ? His monitor will be set down for the fool; and the madman may probably be added. Some mathematicians, who sce no farther than their own science, can find certainty no where else : not distinguishing, that there is natural certainty and moral certainty; and that by far the greater part of what we know, and receive, is, and must be, founded upon the evidence of testimony; and he that disputes this kind of certainty hath as little reason in him as he that disputes the other. Now, if we receive the witness of men, as we do every day, and neñher knowledge nor business can go on without it, the witness of God is greater, 1 Jolin v. 9. We call dhe evidence of testimony moral evidence; but in the case of religion, we can trace it up to natural evidence ; that is, to the miraculous facts evident to the senses of men, which were publicly given in confirmation of the word of God. But it doth by no means follow, that because the evidence is natural and sensible, the doctrine proved thereby will be admitted. In multitudes of people it had not that effect: for instead of admitting the truth which they hated, they attempted

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to destroy the evidence; as in the case of the resurrection of Lazarus, and the resurrection of Christ himself. The wise men of Pharaoh's court were eyewitnesses to the miraculous deeds of Moses, but they were not convinced. And the apostle hath forewarned us, that men of like character, the wise men of the last days, should resist the truth, as Junnes and Jambres, the magicians of Egypt, withstood Moses. He calls them men of corrupt minds, in a state not fit for the reception of truth, and consequently reprobate concerning the faith.' The forinal rejection of Christianity by a nation of reprobates, who build every, thing upon their philosophy (materialismı), and are as busy in working natural wonders, and as conceited of what they do, as Jannes and Jambres were in the land of Egypt, is a melancholy deinonstration of what I have here said, and ought to serve as a warning ta' the philosophers of Britain. I come now to the use of all that hath

gone before; in which I must be brief.

The text gives us reason to expect, that at the coming of the Son of man, faith shall scarcely be found on earth. It is therefore obvious to conclude, that in proportion as the faith decays, the coming of Christ is drawing near. The scoffers of the last days may insolently demand of us, as it was foretold they should, where is the promise of his coming ? and object that there is no sign of it, for that all things continue as they were: but this cannot now be said with truth; all things do not continue as they were: there hath been a marvellous change of late in the affairs of this world, and in the state of religion, with which all serious meie are alarmed, justly apprehending that some still greater event is to follow. The signs of the time, to those who şan read thein, are many; and there is one which is

but little noticed. When it is mentioned, some will be ready to tear their garments with rage, as if they had heard blasphemy.

Before the first coming of Jesus Christ, the world had been harassed, plundered and destroyed for many years by a nation of Republicans ; enthusiasts for liberty at home, but subjecting all nations in their progress to robbery and slavery: who, like wolves, by nature quarrelsome and ravenous, were banded together to make a prey of mankind. This was the state of the world before the first advent of Christ, and with his appearance it ended. In the ways of Providence there is an uniformity of conduct; and though we must not presume, where we have no positive direction to guide us, yet it is a very strange incident, that when the second coming of Christ is expected, the most powerful nation in Europe (for such they are) and the most monarchical (for such they were) should turn into the most savage and ravenous republicans, and form a plan, as the Romans did, of invading, overturning and plundering all other nations; this nation, in particular, it it should ever be in their power, above all the rest. How this began, we can tell : how it will proceed, and by what farther steps, God only knows : but this we are sure of, that however long it may last, it must cease with the coming and kingdom of Christ. In the interval, they may rejoice and be as merry as Ahab was, when he had seized upon the property of the murdered Naboth: but the fearful question will come aủ last, hast thou killed, and also taken possession? 1 Kings xxi. 19. Then shall rebellion, and blood guiltiness, and blasphemy, call upon the mountains ta hide them from Him, who will then manifest himself in the two characters, at present the objects of their eculiar hatred and contempt-a Prięst and a King.

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