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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.
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.
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.
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
SERM.of this light of the Gospel such, that men can-
ordered the matter so, that the plainest reason
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