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Serm. reason, but must be a Friend to it. And IX. it is no wonder that they, who renounce or
abuse their Reason, should be it's Enemies; because it is that alone that discovers the Beauty, Harmony; and Excellency of it. Were but our modern Infidels for once to take our Saviour's Advice, and judge of his Religion in the same manner as he desired the Pharisees to judge of his conduct, that is, to set aside Prejudices and false Appearances, and impartially use their Reason, in order to form a righteous Judgment, I am persuaded they would soon become it's Friends.
Let us not be afraid of Reason in Religion. Religion itself is not afraid of it. All that we have to fear is the abuse or misuse of our Reason. And that is all that it cautions us against. Which Caution from our Saviour's own Mouth hath now been urged upon us. Rational Piety is the Beauty and Perfection of Christianity. A regular Judgment, and serious Temper, make a finished Christian. Plainly to see the Ground we go upon, and keep it; rightly to know the Foundation of our Hope and Faith, and to retain them; to have a clear Head and a Serm.
IX. pious Heart, distinct Conceptions of what we believe and profess, plain Evidence of the Certainty and Importance thereof, with a steady and inflexible Adherence thereunto.
This is the Beauty, this the Perfection of the Christian Character. 3: We may
hence discern the probable Source of most of that Uncharitableness and Cenforiousness we see in the World. Superficial Judgment begets Error, and Error begets Bigotry, which always inclines Men to a bitter and persecuting Spirit. The Romich Church, which is the most erroneous, is by far the most persecuting Church in the Christian World. Passion and Perfecution are always a sign of a bad Cause. A good Cause wants neither of them : Religion and Truth disclaim them both. Let us only take care to judge righteous Judgment, and that will dispose us to a charitable Temper.
Lastly, When by divine Grace, and the Help of the forementioned Rules, we come to form a better Judgment of things, let us immediately form our Practice by it. For R4
SERM. Instance, If by this means we are more
than ever convinced of the Vanity and Un-
Thus shall our Improvements in Good.
ledge; thus shall we grow in Grace as SERM. we advance in Understanding; and by IX. both be more and more prepared and fitted for that State of Light, Felicity, and Bliss, which is the final Object of all our highest Wishes
SE R M O N X.
The PRAYER of the PHARIS E E
and the PUBLICAN.
Two Men went up into the Temple to
pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee food and prayed thus with bimself,—"God, I thank thee, that I
am not as other Men are, Extortioners, Unjus, Adulterers, or even as this Publican. I fajt twice in the Week, I give « Tithes of all that I possess.” And the Publican fanding afar