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lead us into Temptation : But don't we often lead our Selves into as Bad as the Worst of those we can Pray against? We venture oftentimes causelesly and rashly within reach of the Devil's Chain, and are not afraid to stir up and awake that Roaring Lyon: We love to play with Danger, to handle Knives and Razors, to walk upon Slippery Ground, to stand upon Turrets and Battlements, and to hazard our Vertue and Innocence, by Needless, and sometimes Doubtful Trials, where if we should Overcome, the Victory would scarce attone for the Imprudence. So much do the Children of this World exceed the Children of Light in Wisdom.
Thus it is, and to our great shame we must Confess it: There is no Doubt or Dispute in the Victory, the Contention has been all along very unequal, and the Odds very apparent; we are utterly Distanc'd in the Race, and see the Prize of Wisdom born away before us. We have indeed. in our Eye a much Nobler Mark, but we want a steddy Hand. Our End is better than theirs, but our Management is not so good. And what a shame is it for us that have proposed a Greater and a better End, and are also more Instructed in the Choice of Means, (which are pointed out and described to us by God 'himself,) to be yet so far out-witted by those of Lower Aims, and who are fain to Study and Contrive their own Means, and whose Wisdom after all, is Foolishness with God! And yet thus it is, the Devil's Scholars are better Pro
ficients thani Christ's Disciples; the Ark falls before Dagon, and Light is outshone by Darkness.
WHAT therefore remains, but that since we will not Learn in Christ's, we should be sent to the Devil's School, and imitate the Politicks of the Dark Kingdom, and of the Children of this World ? Imitate them I say, not in the Choice of the End, (which indeed is very Poor and Low,) but in that Wisdom, Diligence and Care wherewith they prosecute it, and be as Wife at least unto Salvation, as they are to Destruction. Go to the Ant tbou Sluggard, says Solomon, consider her Ways, and be Wife, Prov. 6. 6. And may I not in like manner bespeak the greatest part even of Piously disposed Christians, Go to the Men of the World, and learn Wisdom?
Let us then be as Wise as these Serpents; and since we have Chosen the Better Part, and are so night to the Kingdom of God, let us not for the want of One thing, miss of being compleatly Wife and Happy. But as we have made a good Choice, let us prosecute it with equal Prudence. So will our Wisdom be Whole and Intire, Uniform and Consistent, Blameless and Irreprehensible ; in a Word, that Wisdom which shall be Justifiéd of all her Children.
Righteous and Unrighteous Judgment.
TYTT JOHN 7. 24. Judge not according to the Appearance, but Judge Righteous Judgment.
poti A HAT" which the great - Descartes T
makes necessary to a Philosopher, cis indeed no less lo to a Christian to
strip and deveft himself of all Prejudices and Partialities, to unravel all his former Sentiments, to unthink all his Pre-conceived Opinions, and so reduce his Soul to the natural Simplicity of a Blank Table, and to the Indifferency of an even and well poised Ballance. For as it matters much in reference to our Actions, what our Sentiments and Judgments of things are because we always act as at that present instant we think,) fo does it to the Regularity and Uprightness of our Judgments what the Temper and Disposition of our Mind is. The Wife Ben-Sirach has long since observed, that Wisdom will not enter into a Polluted. Spirit; and St. Paul, that the Animal Man perceives not the things of God, 1 Cor. 2. 14. There are it! seems some Moral as well as Natural Dispositions of the Man that make the Soul unfit for Knowledge, and till these Scales fall off from her Eyes, she cannot see. But the Pythagoreans went higher, and taught their Disciples, fueronòr årzo fš ozuelo teis te verãos pirocophy, that they must separate and unwind themselves even from their very Bodies, if they would be good Philosophers. This in a Qualified and Corrected Sense is true, for the Body is the great Impediment and Disadvantage of the Soul, and therefore all Bodily Paffions and Inclinations, as well as Intellectual Habits and Appetites must be put to Silence, in the still and Attentive Search and Inquiry after Truth. But to the present purpose, it will be enough to remark, that Prejudices and Prepossessions as well as vitious Habits; a cross Constitution, and a gross Texture of Blood and Spirits, dó Cloud and Pervert the Understanding, and take away the Key of Knowledge. This is that Veil which (as the Apostle complains) 2 Cor. 3. 4. remain'd untaken away upon the Jews, in the Reading of the Old Testament. And which hindered them from understanding it, and made them stand out in defiance against all the Divine Precepts and Convincing Works of the Son of God, whose Divinity through this Veil of Prejudice they could not discern. It was a greater hindrance to them in distinguishing the Character of his Person, than the Veil of his own Flesh was, or the My.
stery of the Incarnation. This therefore must be removed by the Christian as well as by the Philosoper, and the Soul must be Purged before it can be enlightened ; Freed from Prejudices and false Appearances before it can be from Errors and Misapprehensions. Without this Purity of Heart, there will be so little Clearness of Head, that let our Parts stand upon never fo great Advantages, either of Art or of Nature, we shall neither be right in our Determinations of things, nor just in our Cenfure of Persons; neither Wise in our Discourses, nor Righteous in our Sentences; we shall neither maintain Truth nor Charity. All which is briefly Intimated and summarily Contained in this Admonition of our Saviour to the prejudiced and partially affected Jews, Judge not according to the Appearance, but Judge Righteous Judgment.
In Discourfing upon which Words, I shall First of all Inquire, what it is in general to Judge according to Appearance?
SECONDLY, Whether all Judging according to Appearance, be opposed to Judging
Righteous Judgment, and consequently here į forbidden ?
THIRDLY, If all be not, which it is that is so? LASTLY, I shall shew the
Resonable ness and Neceffity of the Precept, and Conclude.
I begin with the first Inquiry, whaç it is in i general to Judge according to Appearance. Now