Imágenes de páginas

in such a case, being like the eye of the body, 3. The third and last reason which I shall viewing a white thing through a red glass : it assign for proving that the will's not embracforms a judgment of the colour, not according ing the love of the truth, betrays the underto the thing it sees, but according to that by standing to error and delusion, is from the which it sees.

And upon the like account it peculiar malignity which is in every vice, or is, that the will and the affections never pitch corrupt affection, to darken and besot the upon any thing as odions, but that sooner or mind, the vows, the great guide and superinlater they bribe the judgment to represent it tendant of all the faculties of the soul; for so to thein as ugly too. We know the miracles, near a connection, or rather cognation is there the astonishing works, and excellent dis between the moral and intellectual perfection courses of our Saviour could not strike the of it, (as I have elsewhere observed *,) that a hearts of those whom he preached to, through great haw in the former never fails in the issue the mighty prejudice they had conceived against to affect the latter ; though possibly how this his person and country. But that they still is done is not so easily accounted for. Neveropposed all, even the most cogent and demon- theless, that irrefragable argument, experience, strative arguments he could bring for his doc- sufficiently proves many things to be so, which trine, with that silly exception, “ Is not this it is not able to explain, nor indeed pretends to. the carpenter's son ?” And that one ridiculous Aristotle has observed of the vices of the flesh, proverb, “that no good could come ont of (and his observation is in a great degree true Galilee,” (as slight as it was,) yet proved of all other,) that they do peculiarly cloud the strong enough to obstruct their assent, and intellect, and debase a man's notions, emascnarm their minds against that high conviction late his reason, and weaken his discourse; and, and mighty sway of evidence, which shined in a word, make him, upon all these accounts, forth in all his miraculous works ; so that much less a man than he was before. And this senseless saying alone fully answered, or for this cause, no doubt, has the same author (which was as effectual for their purpose) declared young men, in whom the foremenabsolutely overbore them all. In like man tioned sort of vices is commonly most predominer, we find it elsewhere observed by our nant, not competent auditors of moral philoSaviour himself, of that selfishi, rotten, and sophy, as having turned the force of their yet demure generation of men, the Pharisees, minus to things of a quite contrary nature. that “they could not believe, because they But this mischief reaches much farther; for received honour one of another,” (John, v. sure it is, that when wise men (be their years 44.). They had, it seems, bewitched the what they will) become vicious men, their people into an extravagant esteem and vene wisdom leaves them; and there appears not ration of their sauctity, and by that means that keenness and briskness in their apprehenhad got no small command over their purses, sive and judging faculties, which had been all their tables, and their families; nay, and more along observed in them, while attended with than ordinary footing and interest in the temperance, and guarded with sobriety. So Jewish court itself. So that they ruled with that, upon this fatal change, they do not argue out coutrol, getting the highest seats in syna with that strength, distinguish with that cleargogues, that is, in their chief assemblies or

ness, nor, in any matter brought into debate, consistories; and they loved also to feed as conclude with that happiness and firmness of high as they sat, still providing themselves result, which they were wont to do. with the best rooms, and not the worst dishes Shew me so much as one wise counsel or (we may be sure) at feasts. Nor would ever action of Marcus Antonius, a person otherwise such pretenders have fasted twice a-week, but both valiant and eloquent, after that he had that they knew it afforded them five days subdued his understanding to his affections, besides to feast in ; so that having thus found and his affections to Cleopatra. How great the sweets of a crafty, long-practised hypo was Lucullus in the field, and how great in crisy, from which they had reaped so many the academy! But, abandoning himself to ease luscious privileges, they could not but have and luxury, Plutarch tells us that he survived an horrible prejudice against the strictness the use of his reason, grew infatuated, and of that doctrine, which preached nothing but doted long before he died, though he died before self-denial, humility, and a contempt of the he was old. honours and emoluments of the world, which All which teuds to demonstrate, that such they themselves so passionately doted upon ; is the nature of vice, that the love thereof and therefore no wonder if they threw it off entering into the will, and thrusting out the as a fable and an imposture, though recom love of truth, it is no wonder, if the undermended with all the attestations of divine standing comes to sink into infatuation and power, which had in them a fitness to inform delusion; the ferment of a vicious inclination or convince the reason of man. So far did lodged in the affections, being like an intoxithe corruption of their will advance their cating liquor received into the stomach, from prejudice, and their prejudice destroy their

See Sermon XXVI, where this subject is more pro. judgment. But,

fessedly and largly treated of.

whence it will be continually sending thick that there was one universal soul belonging to clouds and noisome steams up to the brain. the whole species, or race of mankind, and Filth and foulness in the one will be sure to indeed to all things else according to their cacause darkness in the other. Was ever any pacity : which universal soul, by its respective one almost observed to come out of a tavern, existence in, and communication of itself to an alehouse, or a jolly meeting, fit for his each particular man, did exert in him those study, or indeed for any thing else, requiring noble acts of understanding and ratiocination stress or exactness of thought? The morning, proper to his nature; and those also in a we know, is commonly said to be a friend to different degree and measure of perfection, the muses, but a morning's draught was never according as the different crasis or disposition so. And thus having done with the third of the organs of the body made it more or less particular proposed from the text, come we fit to receive the communication of that uni. now to the

versal soul ; which soul only (by the way) Fourth ; namely, to shew, how God can be they held to be iinmortal ; and that every properly said to send men delusions. “God,” particular man, both in respect of body and says the apostle, 1 John i. 5, “is light, and in spirit, was mortal ; his spirit being nothing him there is no darkness at all.” And that else but a more refined disposition and elevawhich in no respect is in him, cannot, we may tion of matter. be sure, proceed from him. Upon which Others, detesting the impiety of this opinion, account, it must needs be very difficult to shew did allow to every individual person a distinct and demonstrate, how God can derive igno- immortal soul, and that also endued with the rance, darkness, and deception into the minds power and faculty of understanding and disof men. And the great difficulty of giving a course inherent in it. But then, as to the rational and good account of this and such like soul's use and actual exercise of this faculty, instances, drove Manes, an early heretic, with upon their observing the great difference his followers, (called all along the Manichees, between the same object, as it was seusible, or Manicheans,) to assert two first, eternal, in- and affected the sense, and as it was intellidependent beings, one the cause of all good, the gible, and moved the understanding, they held other the cause of all evil; as concluding, that also the necessity of another principle without the evil which is in the world must needs the soul, to advance the object, a gradu have some cause, and that a being infinitely sensibili ad gradum intelligibilem,” as they good could not be the cause of it; and conse speak, and so to make it actually fit to move quently, that there must be some other prin- and affect the inteilect. And this they called ciple from the malignity of whose influence an intellectus agens ; so that although the soul flowed all the ignorance, all the wickedness was naturally endued with an intellective and villainy, which either is or ever was in power, yet, by reason of the great distance of the world. "But the generally received opinion material corporeal things from the spiritual of the nature of evil, namely, that it is but a nature of it, it could never actually apprehend mere privation of good, and consequently needs them, till this intellectus agens did irradiate not an efficient, but only a deficient cause, as and shine upon them, and so prepare and owing its production and rise, not to the force, qualify them for an intellectual perception. but to the failure of the agent; this considera- And this intellectus agens, some, and those pone tion, I say, has rendered that notion of Manes, of the lowest form in the Peripatetic school, of a first independent principle of evil, as use have affirmed to be no other than God himless and impious in divinity, as it is absurd in self, that great light which enlightens not only philosophy

every man, but every thing (according to its This principle therefore being thus removed, proportion) in the world. let us see how it can comport with the good The result and application of which discourse ness and absolute purity of the divine nature, to my present purpose is this ; that certainly to have such effects ascribed to it, and how those great masters* of argument and knowwithout any derogation to the glorious attri- ledge could not but have seen some weighty bute of God's holiness, he can be said to send and cousiderable reasons thus to interest au exthe delusions, mentioned in the text, into the

* For it is ascribed to no less persons than to Plato, and minds of men. Now, I conceive, he may be Aristotle after him, (as borrowing it from him,) and that by said to do it these four ways.

several of the most eminent interpreters of the latter, both 1. First, by withdrawing his enlightening

ancient and modern ; all of them proceeding upon this ground, influence from the understanding. This, I

that in order to the actual intellection of any object, there is

A spiritual intellectual light necessary to enable the object to confess, may seem at first an obscure, enthu

move or affect the intellective faculty, which yet the object siastic notion to some; but give me leave to cannot give to itself, nor yet strike or move the said faculty shew, that there is sufficient ground for it in

And therefore they say, that there is required an And for this purpose, I shall observe intellectus agens, or being distinct both froin the object and the to you, that it was the opinion of some philo

faculty too, which may so advance and spiritualize the object,

by casting an higher light upon it, as to render it fit and sophers, particularly of Aristotle, and since

prepared thereby, for an intellectual perception. And foras. him of Averroes, Avicenna, and some others, much as every thing which is such or such secondarily, and

without it.


ternal principle in the intellectual operations which were wont to enliven his reason in all of man's mind. And so much of reason do I, his discourses ard argumentations. Certain it for my part, reckon to be at the bottom of is, that this frequently happens; and that the this opinion, that I have been often induced wit and parts of men, “who hold the truth in to think, that if we should but strip things of unrighteousness,” are often blasted, so that mere words and terms, and reduce notions to there is a visible decay of them, a strange realities, there would be found but little dif- unusual weakness and failure in them ; and ference (so far as it respects man's understand this not to be ascribed to any known cause in ing) between the intellectus agens asserted by the world, but to the just judgment of God some philosophers, and the universal grace, or stopping that eternal fountain from which common assistances of the Spirit, asserted by they had received their continual supplies. This some diviues, (and particularly by John Good to me seems very intelligible, and equally win, calling it, “the pagans' debt and dowry;") rational: and accordingly may pass for the and that the assertors of both of them seem to first way, by which God may be said to send found their several assertions upon much the delusion into the minds of men. But, same ground; namely, upon their apprehen 2. God may be said to do the same, by sion of the natural impotence of the soul of giving commission to the great deceiver, and man, immersed in matter, to raise itself to spirit of falsehood, to abuse and seduce the such spiritual and sublime operations, as we sinner. A signal and most remarkable exfind it does, without the assistance of sonie ample of which we have in 1 Kings xxii. 22. higher and divine principle. And according- When Ahab was grown full ripe for destrucly, this being admitted, that the soul is no tion, we find this expedient for his ruin otherwise able to exert its intellectual acts, pitched upon ; namely, that he was to be than by a light continually flowing in upou persuaded to go up to Ramoth-Gilead, to fall it, from the great fountain of light, (whether there. But how and by what means was this that light assists it by strengthening the faculty to be effected? Why, the text tells us, that itself, or brightening the object, or both, it “there came forth a spirit, and stood before the matters not, since the result of both, as to the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And main issue of the action, will be the same ;) I the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And say, this being admitted, that God beams this he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying light into man's understanding, and that, as a spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And free agent, by voluntary communications ; so God said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prethat he may withdraw or suspend what he vail also: go forth, and do so." We see here thus communicates, as he pleases; how natu- the evil spirit sent forth, and fully emral, how agreeable to reason is it to conceive, powered by Almighty God to accomplish that God, being provoked by gross sins, may bis delusions upon a bold, incorrigible sinner. deliver the sinner to delusion and infatuation, And what method God took then, we cannot by a suspension and substraction of this light? | deny, or prove it unreasonable, but that he For may not God blast the understanding of may take still, where the same sins prepare such an one, by shutting up those influences and fit men_for the same perdition.

How the Devil conveys his fallacies to the by participation from another, supposes some other to be so

minds of men, and by what ways and arts he primarily and originally by and from itself; and since God is

befools their understandings, I shall not here the primum intelligibile in the intellectual world ; as the sun is dispute ; nor, being sure of the thing itself, the primum visibile in the sensible and material world ; they from the word of God, that it is so, shall I be affirm the same necessity of a superior and intellectual light much solicitous about the manner how. But issuing from God, in order to move the intellect, and form in

thus much we may truly, and, by conseqnence, it an intellectual apprehension of things, which there is of a light beaming from the sun, for the causing an act of vision in

safely say, that since it is too evident that the the visive faculty. And this they insist upon, not only as a

devil can make false resemblances and represimilitude for illustration, but as a kind of parallel case, as to sentations of things pass before our bodily this particular instance, how widely soever the things compared

eyes, so that we shall be induced to believe may differ from one another upon many other accounts.

that we see that, which physically and indeed This, I say, was held by several of the most noted of the Peripatetic tribe ; though others, I know, who are professedly of

we do not see; why may he not also suggest the same, do yet in this matter go quite another way; allowing false images of things both to the imagination indeed that there is and must be an intellectus agens, but and to the intellectual eye of the mind, (as that it is no more than a different faculty of the same soul, or different as they are from one another,) and so a different function of the same faculty ; but by no means an agent, or intelligent being distinct from it. This, I confess, is

falsify our notions, and disorder our apprehenof very nice speculation, and made so by the arguments pro

sions? It is plainly asserted, (2 Cor. iv. 4,) ducible on both sides, and consequently not so proper to make that “the god of this world has blinded the a part in such a popular discourse as I am here engaged minds of them which believe not.” The great in ; nor should I have ever mentioned it barely as a philosophister and prince of darkness (God persophical point, but as I conceived it improvable into a theological use, as I have endeavoured to improve it in the dis

mitting him) can strangely blindfold our course itself; to which therefore I have chose rather to annex

reason and muffle our understanding; and, this by way of annctation, than to insert it in the body thereof. no doubt, the chiefest cause that most of the

obstinate besotted sinners of the world, are even the most minute and inconsiderable not sensible that the devil blinds and abuses passages in the world ; inconsiderable indeed them is, that he has indeed actually done so in themselves, but in their consequences by already.

no means so. For how dreadfully did God consign over And therefore, as we find it expressed of the heathen world to a perpetual slavery to him who kills a man unwillingly, and by his deceits! They worshipped him, they con some undesigned stroke or accident, that sulted with him, and so absolutely were they

“ God delivers that man into his hands," scaled up under the ruling cheat, that they (Exod. xxi. 13,) so when a man, by such took all his tricks and impostures for oracle odd, unforeseen ways and means as we have and instruction. And the truth is, when men before mentioned, comes to be drawn into any under the powerful preaching of the gospel, false, erroneous belief or persuasion, it may, (such as the Church of England has constantly with as true and solid consequence, be affirmed, afforded,) will grow heathens in the vicious that by all this God sends such a man a deluness of their practices, it is but just with God sion. As for instance, when, by the special to suffer them (by a very natural transition) disposal of God's providence, Hushai the to grow heathens too in the grossness of their Archite suggested that counsel to Absalom, delusions.

(2 Sam. xvii. 11, 12,) which he believed, and 3. A third way by which God may be said followed to his destruction, we may say, and to send men delusions is, by a providential that neither improperly nor untruly, that disposing of them into such circumstances of God sent him that deception ; for it is exlife, as, through a peculiar suitableness to their pressly added in the fourteenth verse, that corruption, have in them a strange efficacy to “God had appointed to defeat the counsel delude and impose upou them. God, by a of Ahithophel, to the intent that he might secret, unobserved trace of his providence, bring evil upon Absalom.” Likewise how may cast men under a heterodox, seducing empliatically full and pregnant to the same ministry, or he may order their business and purpose is that instance of a false prophet affairs so, that they shall light into atheistical accustomed to deceive himself and others, company, grow acquainted with heretics, or (Ezek. xiv. 9.) “ If the prophet,” says God, possibly meet with pestilent books, and with be deceived when he has spoken a thing, I argumentssubtilly and speciously urged against the Lord have deceived that prophet.” God the truth : all which falling in with an ill here names and appropriates the action to inclined judgment and worse-ordered morals, himself by a way of proceeding incomprchenwill wonderfully recommend and set off the sible indeed, but unquestionably just. very worst of errors to a mind thus prepared Let this therefore pass for a third way by for their admission ; no guard being sufficient which God delivers over a sinuer to error and to hinder their entering, and taking possession, circumvention. Which point I sliall conclude but where caution and virtue keep the door. with those exclamatory words of Saint Paul, The want of which quality has been the so full of wonder and astonishment, (Rom. grand, if not sole cause, which in all ages has xi. 33,) " How upsearchable are his judgbrought so many over to, and in the issue ments, and his ways past finding out!” Šo settled and confirmed them in some of the many windings and turnings, so many unfoulest sects and absurdest heresies that ever traceable meanders are there in the provi. infested the Christian church ; and so deeply dence of God, to carry on the delusion of have the wretches drank in the delusion, those sinners who have been first so sedulous that they have lived and died in it, and trans- and industrous to delude tliemselves. In all mitted the surviving poison of it to posterity. | which passages, nevertheless, (how unaccountAnd yet, as far and wide as such heresies have able soever they may be to us,) still the dereigned and raged in their time, aud as wofullusion is in him alone who embraces it a sin, a havock as they have made of souls, they but in God, who sends it, undoubtedly a have been often taken up at first by mere judginent only, and a very righteous one too. accident, or upon some slight, trivial, unpro- And now, in the jected occasion, no less unperceivable in their Fourth and last place; we are not to omit rise,' than afterward formidable in their another notable way of God's delivering sinprogress. But as what is said of affliction ners to delusion, which is mentioned in the (Job, v. 6,) may with equal truth and perti- ninth verse of the chapter from whence our nence be said of every notable event, bad as text is taken ; namely, his permitting lying well as good, namely, that it “comes not out wonders to be done before them. A miracle, of the dust,” so the direction of all such small in a large and general sense, is no more but and almost undiscernible causes to such“ effectus aliquis manifestus, enjus causa ignomighty effects as often follow from them, can ratur ;” a manifest effect, of which the cause proceed from nothing but that all-compre- is not understood: but, in a more restrained hending Providence which casts its superin- and proper sense, it is defined a work or effect tending eye and governing influence over all, evident to sense, and exceeding the force of

d against it, stave it off, and bolt it out of our


natural agents. Now, whether such an one great light and power held forth to us. But can be done to confirm and give credit to a if we shall now obstinately shut our eyes falsehood proposed to men's belief, God lending his power for the trial of men, to see, or consciences; and all this only from a secret rather to let the world see, whether they will love to some base minion lust or corruption, be drawn off from the truth or no, may well be which that truth would mortify, and root out disputed; though that place in Deut. xiii. 1,2, of our hearts ; let us remember, that this is seems shrewdly to make for the affirmative. the very height of divine vengeance, that

But as for that former sort of miracles, those who love a lie should be brought at which indeed are only strange things causing length to believe it, and, as a natural consewonder, and so may proceed from mere quent of both, to perish by it too. natural causes applying activa passivis, there Which God, the great Fountain of truth, is no question, but such as these may be done and Father of lights, of his infinite compasto confirm a false doctrine or assertion. Thus, sion prevent. To whom be rendered and aswhen Pharaoh hardened his heart against the cribed, as is most due, all praise, might, express command and declared will of God, majesty, and dominion, both now and for God permitted him to be confirmed in his

Amen. delusion by the enchantments and lying wonders of the magicians; all which were done only by the power of the devil. Forasmuch as angels, both good and bad, having a full insight into the activity and force of

SERMON XLV. natural causes, by new and strange conjunctions of the active qualities of some with the ILL DISPOSED AFFECTIONS BOTH NATU. passive capacities of others, can produce such 'RALLY AND PENALLY THE CAUSE OF wonderful effects as shall geverally amaze and

DARKNESS AND ERROR IN THE JUDGastonish poor mortals, whose shorter sight is not able to reach iuto the causes of them.

MENT. The Church of Rome has, in this respect,

PART II. sufficiently declared the little value she has for the old Christian truth, by the new, up

" And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that start articles she has superadded to it; and they should believe a lie." — 2 Thess. ii, 11. besides this, to confirm one error with another, she farther professes a power of doing miracles. WHEN I first made an entrance upon these So that, laying aside the writings of the words, I gathered the full sense and design of apostles, we must, it seems, resolve our faith them, as I judged, into this one proposition, into legends; and old wives' fables must take namely, place of the histories of the evangelists. And That the not entertaining a sincere love and the truth is, if nonsense may pass for iniracle, affection for the duties of religion, naturally, transubstantiation has carried her miracle- and by the just judgment of God also, disposes working gift far above all the miracles that men to error and deceptions about the great were ever yet wrought in the world. But as truths of religion. for the many other miraculous feats which Which to me seeming to take in and comshe and her sons pretend to and boast of, I prehend the full sense and drift of the words, shall only say thus much of them, that though I then cast what I had to say upon them into I doubt not but most of them are the impu- these following particulars. dent cheats of daring, designing persons, set 1. To shew, how the mind of man cau afoot and practised by them to defy God, as believe a lie. well as to delude men ; yet it is no ways im II. To shew, what it is to receive the love probable, but that God may suffer the devil of the truth. to do many of them above what a bare human III. To shew, how the not receiving the power is able to do, and that in a judicial and love of the truth comes to have such a malign penal way, thereby to fix and rivet both the influence upon the understanding, as to disdeceivers and deceived in a belief of those lies pose it to error and delusion. and fopperies, which, in opposition to the light IV. To shew, how God can be properly said of reason and conscience, they had so indus- to send men delusions. And, triously enslaved their understandings to. V. Since his sending them is here mentioned

And now, I think, it is of as high concern as a judgment, (and a very severe one too,) the ment to every man, as the salvation of his next thing I proposed was to shew wherein soul ought to be, to reflect with dread upon the extraordinary greatuess of it did consist. these severe and fearful methods of divine | And, justice. We, through an infinite and pecu Sixthly and lastly, to improve the point liar mercy, have yet the truth set before us; into some useful consequences and deductions the pure, unmixed truth of the gospel, with from the whole.

2 B


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