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Serm. marks of Wisdom, in its perfect agree

XII. ableness to the Dictates of True and Im

t^^0 partial Reason: But unto them which are

called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the

Power os God, and the Wisdom of God.

tstt The Great and general Difference, between the Humours or Tempers of the Nation 6f the Jews on one hand, and the Greeks (who were Then the principal and most polite part of the Heathen World) on the other hand, the Apostle observes, was This; That the Jews, in 'Their examination into the Truth of any Doctrine proposed to them, were always apt to insist presently upon some Miracle, upon some Token to be mown them, in proof of the Doctrine's coming from God; Whereas the Temper of the Gentiles was, to expect conviction by Disputation and Argument, in Methods answering to the Philosophy of the Times they lived in, which was the Standard of Wisdom of the Age then present: The Jews require a Sign, and the Greeks seek after Wisdom. As to the Temper of the Greeks in this matter; nothing is more

notonotorious in History, than that, about the S s R M. Times of our Saviour and his Apostles, XII. the things principally esteemed among [*SYSJ them were Oratory and the Art of Diffusing: Oratory, by which Things were (set forth in a beautiful Light, adorned with proper figures, made pleasing and acceptable to the Hearers by a Variety of agreeable expressions; And the Art of Disputing, by which every thing could be supported with some plausible Arguments, every thing could be opposed with Some seeming Difficulties, and every Difficulty could by men of Parts and Ingenuity have Something oifered in Reply to it. These Instances of Skill, in themselves, and when applied to good Purposes, were Both of them really useful and valuable. By Oratory, Truth and Right represented in a good View, and clothed in proper and agreeable expressions, appeared with a Greater Lustre, and made more Advantageous Impressions: And by Skill in ar-* guing, Reason was taught to exert itself in its full Strength, and Truth to shine forth in its peculiar and inimitable dear's 3 neA

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S E R M. ness. But more frequently, among vitious XH. anci corrupt Men, these Instruments and

*S*v Ornaments of Reason were perverted to very wrong and contrary Purposes. By Oratory, the Deformity of unrighteous PraStices was covered with the deceitful Appearance, and painted over with the beautiful Colours of Just and Right: And by Skill in disputing, the plainest Truths were perplexed with such Intricacies, and the grossest Errours concealed under such Forms of Arguing, as altogether confounded, to common Understandings, the Difference between Truth and Errour. This was what the corrupt part of the Greeks called Wisdom. As to the Temper of the Jews; They, having received their Law by Revelation from God, were never much accustomed either to Value in themselves, or to regard in Others, That nice and abstract: Reasoning, which was all that the Gentile Philosophers had to depend upon; The Jews, I fay, never much attended to This sort of Learning; But, whenever any Doctrine was proposed to them which appeared to be New, immediately niediately they insisted, that the Authors E R M. of it should, by working some Miracle, XII. give evidence of his being sent from God. ^"^ NJ Thus Job. iv. 48, Except ye see Signs and JVonders, ye will not believe: And Matt. xvi. 1. The Pharisees desired him, that he ,would show them a Sign from Heaven. Nor were they to blame in so doing, when the Doctrine to which their Assent was expected, was proposed to them as of Divine Revelation; and when their demanding such evidence, did not proceed from any unreasonableness or perverseness of Temper, but from a sincere Desire of having such Satisfac^ tion, without which a reasonable Person could not justify his Assent from being credulous and weak. But more frequently, under pretence of expecting Further Satisfaction, an obstinate and malitious Temper persisted continually in requiring more and more Signs, for no other reason but because they resolved not to be convinced, being like the Deaf Adder which Jloppeth her ears, which resuj'eth to hear the Voice of the Charmer, charm he never

S E Km./o wifely. Which fort of persons, our Sa'^*" viour reproves therefore with a very just and proper Severity, Matt. xii. 39. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a Sign, and there Jhall no Sign be given it, but the Sign of the Prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the Whale's belly, so Jhall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth: l"he men of Nineveh Jhall rife up in judgment with this generation, and Jhall condemn it; because They repented at the preaching of Jonas, and behold a greater than Jonas is here: ^he ^een of the South Jhall rife up in judgment with' this generation, and Jhall condemn it; for Jhe came from the uttermost parts of the Earth to hear fhf wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon is here. The Meaning is: God had given them Signs abundantly sufficient, to convince any reasonable and unprejudiced persons; wherewith if they would not be satisfied, he would leave them to themselves. And This may suffice for explication of xhefrjl part of the 2 Text,

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