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throughout ; 'or, if he does not, because Serm. he finds it reasonable to believe those that II. assure him they do, and know them to be convincing; or, lastly, (which is most common,) partly for one Reason, and partly for the other. Now every Way this is but private Judgment; for still, either the Things, or the Perfons, or both, are judged of by each Believer. And I think we must be content with the fame Judgment in particular Points of Religion, to which we are obliged to leave the Choice of the Whole i even as be, that made Man from the Bec, ginning, left him in the Hand of his own Counsel.
In the mean Time, when we say, a Man in thefe Things may and muft judge for himfelf; there is no Need he fhould also judge by himself ; much less, if he be able fo to do, is any Patronage intended for Temerity and Presumption in Determining. Reverence and Sincerity will engage a Man to a considerate Caution in assuming the Privileges we speak of. Nor can they subsist without feeking Advice where it is wanted; as we see a real Concern compels all People to do in the Case
SERM. of their Bodies, and their Estates : OtherII. wife, he will fin grievously against the Pub
lick and his own Soul, by the Breach of Positive, as well as any other Laws; and a like Vengeance ought to be feared. For though the Disciples were guiltless in breaking the Sabbath for a Necessity innocently contracted; yet we know the Man, that without any such Necessity gather'd Sticks upon the Sabbath-day, was condemn'd and stond to Death by the Sentence of God himself.
: But it remaineth, that we praise him for the Mercy, which we see is over his Laws, as well as all bis other Works : That we address our Endeavours chearfully to his Service, which recommends itself as entirely reasonable ; laying Weight on every Thing only according to its original Necessity and intrinsick Goodness, or Utility, worthy of his own Bounty, and exactly suited to the Benefit of our Nature, and Satisfaction of our Understanding. For we have the Comfort of inferring from this Argument, that the Divine Benignity neither requires nor accepts any, Thing 'at our Hands, meerly
because it is difficult, whether in Suffering SERM. Restraint. Many have dream'd of that
II. in all Ages and Religions almost; and still in the Monkish Rules one sees the fame Imagination of Severity for Severities Sake, recommending us to God; which employs and torments a blind Zeal, or serves an oftentatious Hypocrisy. For this Suggeftion must be rather from the Destroyer and Enemy of Mankind, than from him, who doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the Children of Men ; who proclaimed, but a few Lines before my Text, that his roke was easy, and bis Burtben was light. And to him therefore be all Honour and Glory, and Thanksgiving and Obedience, now and evermore.
The Sin, Folly, and Danger of De
I made Haffe, and delayed not to
keep thy Commandments. SERM.
HE Pfalmift declaring III.
sufficiently his own pious Practice in the former Part of these Words, I made Haste to keep thy
Commandments; we may well conclude, that in adding the latter, and delayed not, he would intimate a contrary Management that Men were ordinarily disposed to fall into. That Foolishness and Corruption of Heart, which now Serm. rebels against brighter Light and stronger III. Motives, no Doubt was in elder Times likewise an ample Subject for Complaint against the Grofs of Mankind. But the Commonness of the Fault cannot make it less ; only increases the Necessity of exposing it. Indeed it is so great and apparent, that if a Man could blot out of his Memory his own and others Guilt in this Matter, and then sit down and consider of the Thing in itself, it would seem almost impossible for any reasonable Creature to act so weak, perverse, and ruinous a Part, In worldly Affairs, such People, as convinced of the Necessity, and resolved on the Execution of a Thing to be done, yet without Cause delay it, are the just Subjects of our feyerest Ridicule. But the Aggravations of this Folly in spiritual Affairs, in our eternal Concern, are so numerous and heavy, that, as I have said, were it not for sad Experience, the Fact might appear incredible.