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fill the mind with solid joy and comfort, and S ER M. overcome all anxiety and trouble; and fix all XIX. the passions of our souls upon the greatest and most substantial good fo firmly, that all the powers of hell and death cannot shake us. These things which they thus despise we acknowledge to be the depths of the wisdom of God; and therefore we bless his holy name, who, by the revelation of these truths to us, hath begotten to us a lively hope ; and may we all have grace to shew forth his praise who hath thus called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

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SERMON XX.

Sense of Religion more observable in

the middle and meaner rank of People.

MATT. xi, 25

I thank thee, O Father, Lord of beaven and

earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wife and prudent, and baft revealed them unto babes.

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SERM.

N D thus I hope it hath fufficiently XX.

appeared, that it is not any want of reasonableness in revealed religion, that is the true cause of its not being received so heartily and readily by the wife and prudent men of this world; since all the wisdom of the whole world besides, is not able to füpply us with any satisfactory account of those great queftions, upon which depends the welfare of mankind.

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This is such a clear and unconquerable evi-SE R M. dence for the divinity and excellency of chri- XX. ftianity, that one would think every confin dering person would embrace it greedily, and entertain it as the greatest blessing that ever was vouchsafed to human nature. So that the cause of infidelity is not in the religion, but in the men ; and this saying of our Saviour's in my text, is not to be understood as if the Gospel were not calculated for the purest and most refined reason of men and as if

parts and learning were in themselves enemies to it, and rendered men indisposed for the reception of it. The case is so much otherwise, that this very thing will one day be an argument of endless confusion to all the wife and prudent men of the world, that they rejected those truths which were infinitely more agreeable to the purest reason, than those errors which they are zealous for ; and which they would surely have entertained, if there were no temptation to the contrary; they are all the wisdom of God, and that must be agreeable to the truest wisdom of men.

And therefore now it is plain how God is said to hide these things from the wise and prudent, not as if he had ordained them

purposely for ignorance and error, with design to impose upon the credulity of men, as if the Gospel were in truth a net to catch none but unwary and unthinking men, and could gain upon none but such as will be cheated into falvation: But because he hath made the nature

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SERM.of this light of the Gospel such, that men can-
XX. not see it through their prejudices. He hath

ordered the matter so, that the plainest reason
and common understanding of men shall dif-
cern it easily, when the greatest sophistry and
most intricate methods of human art or science
shall miss it. So that the excellency of these
truths shall appear in their just proportion to
the naked eye, when all those elaborate op-
ticks which men of a longer reach and larger
prospect make use of, shall sadly misrepresent
and disfigure them: For which reason he de-
clares that he spoke to the Jews in parables,
that seeing they might not see, and that bearing
they might not understand : Not as if it were
the desire of God it should be so, pursuant to
any eternal decree or purpose of his to reject
them; for he would have all men be saved
and come to the knowledge of the truth: But
because he would deliver the truths of the
Gospel after such a manner that an honest un-
prejudiced mind should see them ; when un-
sincerity and perverseness should be as a thick
cloud over the eyes of men ; for to what pur-
pose should they see that light of the Gospel,
whose vicious inclinations are so strong that
they will surely lead their lives in contradic-
tion to it. So that the meaning of our Saviour
is this, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of beaven
and earth, because tbou hafi ordered these divina
revelations after suah a manner, that a plain,
bonest, well meaning person is better disposed for
ike reception of them, than the grect, and wife,

and

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and cunning men of the world : So that it is not Ser M. the imperfection, but the excellency of chrif- XX. tianity is the occasion of this; and it is not any want of power in men to see this, but their prejudices that will damn them.

And therefore now I shall proceed to theva what those prejudices are, and what are the true reasons of this saying of our Saviour's, And accordingly,

1. The first reason why the wife and predent men of this world are blind to the truths of revelation is, because of that haughtiness and vanity of spirit which goes along with all worldly knowledge; there is a pride that is almost inseparable from it, which makes people positive, and so to abound in their own sense of things, that they disdain every thing that is not agreeable to those principles they have once entertained; this we derived from the old Serpent, and had it in exchange for our innocence.

This is the very root and first cause of error in the minds of all those who are otherwise. of good sense and understanding;

men of such quick parts and sharpness, that there is no imposing upon them in a matter of their private worldly concerns ; yet when they think or speak any thing with relation to another world, and to those matters which are the great, and common, and eternal interest of mankind; they reafon so loosely and incoherently, and make such wide and foolish in

ferences,

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