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Different Tempers judge differently of Religion.
[Preached on Eafter-Day.]
I COR. i. 22, 23, 24. For the Jews require a Sign, and the Greeks feek after Wisdom: But we preach Chrift crucified, unto the Jews a Stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Chrift the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God.
N the following Discourse SER upon these Words, I fhall 1ft XIL explain distinctly the feveral r Expreffions contained in the
Text; and 2dly, I fhall deduce fome useful Inferences therefrom.
SER M. I. In order to Explain distinctly the XII. feveral Expreffions made ufe of in the Text, 'tis to be obferved that the Doctrine therein contained, confifts plainly of the three following Heads. ft, That the Great and general Difference, between the Humours or Tempers of the Nation of 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, was This; That the Jews, in Their examination into the Truth of any Doctrine proposed to them, were always apt to infift presently upon some Miracle, upon fome Token to be shown them, in proof of the Doctrine's coming from God; Whereas the Temper of the Gentiles was, to expect conviction by Difputation and Argument, according to the Philofophy of the Times they lived in, which was esteemed the Wisdom of the Age then prefent: The Jews require a Sign, and the Greeks feek after Wisdom. 2dly, That Perfons of Both these Tempers, and that pretended to make use of Each of these ways of judging, were
generally extremely prejudiced against the S ER M. Doctrine of the Gospel: Infomuch that the coming of Chrift into the World, in the manner he did, in a mean, humble and lowly appearance, teaching a Doctrine of Morality, Plainnefs, and Simplicity; was both a great Disappointment to the Jews, who expected one that should in a miraculous and pompous manner deliver them from their Enemies; and at the ह fame time was no lefs difagreeable to the 1 then prevailing fashion and method of the Gentiles, who judged of Doctrines by the Eloquence, and Oratory, and Artfulnefs in Difputing, of Those who taught and maintained them: We preach Chrift crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks Foolifhnefs. 3dly, That nevertheless, in Truth and Reality, fetting afide Prejudices and Corrupt Notions, the Doctrine of Chrift was accompanied with the highest and most complete Evidence, according to Both these Methods of judging: It was attended with the fulleft Demonftrations of Divine Power, in the Miracles God worked by him; And it had all real VOL. V. T 2
SER M. marks of Wisdom, in its perfect agreeXII. ablenefs to the Dictates of True and Im
partial Reafon: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Chrift the Power of God, and the Wifdom of God.
Ift, THE Great and general Difference, between the Humours or Tempers of the Nation of the Jews on one hand, and the Greeks (who were Then the principal and moft polite part of the Heathen World) on the other hand, the Apostle obferves, was This; That the Jews, in Their examination into the Truth of any Doctrine propofed to them, were always apt to infist presently upon fome Miracle, upon fome Token to be shown them, in proof of the Doctrine's coming from God; Whereas the Temper of the Gentiles was, to expect conviction by Difputation and Argument, in Methods answering to the Philofophy of the Times they lived in, which was the Standard of Wif dom of the Age then prefent: The Jews require a Sign, and the Greeks feek after Wisdom. As to the Temper of the Greeks in this matter; nothing is more
notorious in Hiftory, than that, about the S ER M. Times of our Saviour and his Apostles, XII. the things principally esteemed among them were Oratory and the Art of Dif puting: Oratory, by which Things were fet forth in a beautiful Light, adorned ŏ with proper figures, made pleafing and acceptable to the Hearers by a Variety of agreeable expreffions; And the Art of Difputing, by which every thing could be Supported with fome plaufible Arguments, every thing could be oppofed with Some feeming Difficulties, and every Difficulty could by men of Parts and Ingenuity have Something offered 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 expreffions, appeared with a Greater Luftre, and made more Advantageous Impreffions: And by Skill in arguing, Reafon was taught to exert itself in its full Strength, and Truth to shine forth in its peculiar and inimitable ClearT 3 nessa