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S £ R M. Ut/at Believing, which is the Duty of *V- a Christian, is not, in the strict fense

^^of the word, That bare Assent of the Understanding which is not in our Power to with-hold; but it signifies,- in the moral fense, that good Disposition of the Mind and Will, by which a Man is disposed to attend to, and examine impartially, to consider and receive willingly, what upon due inquiry he shall find to be the Will of God; not careleslly and credulously, but upon sober Reason, and proper Evidence. And so likewise on the contrary; Unbelief, in Scripture, does not signify disbelieving what wants just and sufficient proof; but it always means, either careleslly and negligendy rejecting without inquiry and without Reason; or else rejecting wilfully and obstinately, through the Love of Sin and Vice. And this is evidently the case of all profane, loose, and debauched Infidels; who, merely because they hate to be reformed, pretend to disbelieve, what if they seriously examined as they ought to do, they would find all possible reason to embrace.



The Nature of Humane Actions.

JLu&. sri. 35

Jake heed therefore^ that she Light which is in Hhee he Mat Dark

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ed a Remarkable Miracle, ver. 14 > The Pharisees, who were resolved not to be convinced J>y Any Evidence whatsoever, because his Boctrane was a perpetual Reproof of their Hypocrisy and Other Vices; Alleged, some of them, ver. .15. that be cast out Devils through Beehebuh, she

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S E R M. chief of the Devils. Others, tempting him, Iyl, ver- 16, sought of him a Sign from Heaven: That is, Pretending to distrust the - Miracles which he worked on Earth, as if These might possibly be the Effect of some Magical Povyer or Artifice ; they insisted that he should.:call for son^, miraculous Sign directly from Heaven. Our Lord, knowing., the, Wjckedness .-of their Hearts, ver. 17, and that they did not really desire to be convinced, but only sought for occasions of cavilling; telK the people, ver. 29, This is an evil generation; They seek a Sign, and there stall no Sign be given it. And then he describes the . Incur ablenefs of the.. Malice -arid. Hypocrisy of these Pharisees; in.that their Notions even of Religion itself, the very Principle from which alone there is Hope of reformation of Manners; their Notions' even about This very thing, were themselves the Great Spring and Fountain of Corruption. Their Religion itself was Pride and Party, Popularity and External Slow. And if the Guide of mens Actions be itself thus vitious, how vitious must their Actions be! Ver. 34, The Light ( fays he) of the Body, is the Eye:


therefore when thine eye is single, ^serm, -whole Body also is full of Light; But when thine Eye is Evil, thy Body also is full of -/*Y>>' Darkness. His meaning is: What the Eye is to the Body j That very fame thing in proportion, the Moral judgment and Under/landing, the Directing Principle, is to a man's Mind. i If. this Moral Judgment of the Understanding be pnbiassed and uncprrupt, and hearkened to with Simplicity and Sincerity; it will either direct and preserve men in the Paths of -Truth and Right, or be perpetually calling upon them to return into them. But as, when a man's . Eyes are bjinded or put out, his whole Body must of necessity move in Darkness: So, if the Moral Judgment of the Mind, the Principle which ought ?p guide and direct mer.s Actions, be itself perverted by unreasonable Prejudices, and corrupted by vitious Appetites and Passions; there is no hope, but such persons must continue in Erro'tf and Wickedness. Take heed thereforev adds our Lord in the words of the Text; Take Heed, that the Light which is in thee, be not Darkness: Let every man above all tilings consider and take care, that

E R M.this Moral Judgment of his Mind and ^' Understanding, be not corrupted with

r>/^ blind Unreasonable Prejudices, and with vitious and 'wilfully, indulged Affections. For in That case, his very Guide becomes his Seducer; and his Light itself, is Ddrbwfs,' '-' .T .'

.in the following Discourse upon these words, I (hall ist consider briefly the Nature of Humane Actions j and what Dependence they have ,upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Understanding that is in the Mind of Man. idly, I lhall {how what Power men have over their own Actions, with regard to the Influence of That Light or Understanding, by which they are to be directed. And idly, I shall consider of what Consequence it is in matters of Religion, that men fail not in this first and grand Foundation of all; in the Root , the Spring ,, the univerfal Guide and Director of their Actions. Take heed, that the Light which is m thee, he not Darkness.

I. I am to consider the Nature of Humane Actions; and what Dependence they have upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Under/landing that is in


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