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Serm. That Believing, which is the Duty of IV.
a Christian, is not, in the strict fenfe of the word, That bare Affent of the Understanding' which is not in our Power to with-hold; but it fignifies, in the moral sense, that good Difpofition of the Mind and Will, by which a Man is difposed to attend to, and exainine impartially, to confider and receive willingly, what 'upon due inquiry he shall find to be the Will of God; not careleflly and credulously, but upon from ber Reason, and proper Evidence. And fo likewise on the contrary ; Unbelief, in Scripture, does not fignify disbelieving what wants juft and fufficient proof; but it always means, either carelessly and negligently · rejecting without inquiry and without Reafon; or else rejecting wilfully and obftinately, 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 feri ously examined as they ought to do, they would find all possible reason to embrace.
:: Luk. xi. 356.. . Take beed therefore, that the Light
which is in Tbek be not Dark-
14; The Pharisees, who were
by Any Evidence whatsoever, because his Doctrine was a perpetual Rec proof of their Hypocrisy and Other Vices ; alleged, some of theme, ver. 15. that be caft out Devils through Beelzebub, the
Ser m.chief of the Devils. Others, tempting him, i, ver. 16, fought of bim .q. Sign, from Hea
ven: That is, Pretending to distrust the
Therefore when thine eye is single, thy SERM. wholė Body alfo is full of Light; But when V: : thine Eye' is Evil, tby Body also is full of m y Darkness. His meaning is : What the Eye is to the Body; That very same thing in proportion, the Moral Judgment and Understanding, the Directing Principle, is to a man's Mind. If this Mcial Judgment of the Understanding be unbiaffed and uncorrupt, 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 blinded or put out, his whole Body must of necessity move in Darkness : So, if the Moral
Judgment of the Mind, the Principle which ought to guide and direct meris Actions, be itself perverted by unreasonable Prejudices, and corrupted by vitious Appetites and Passions ; there is no hope, but such persons must continue in Error and Wickedness. Take heed therefore 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 things consider and take care, that
SER M.this Moral Judgment of his Mind and V. Understanding, be not corrupted with
blind Unreafonable Prejudices, and with vitious and wilfully indulged Affections, For in That cafe, his very Guide becomes his Seducer ; and his Light itself, is Darkness. - In the following Discourse upon these words, I shall is consider briefly the Nam turé of Humane Astions; and what Dependence. they have upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Understanding that is in the Mind of Man.' adly, I Thall thow what Power men have over their own Actions, with regard to the InAuence of That Light or Understanding, by which they are to be directed. And 3dly, 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 universal Guide and Director of their Actions. Take beed, that the Light which is in thee, be not Darkness.
1. I am to consider the Nature of Humane Actions ; and what Dependence they have upon the directing Principle, upon the Light or Understanding that is in