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For what is this intrinfic Valuableness, on which fome lay fo great Strefs? Are we not like thofe Things, which, to be greatly admired, must not be thoroughly underftood? It is Ignorance, which is the Mother of Admiration of our fellow Creatures: True Knowledge is the Mother of found and fubftantial Devotion. For the more we know of Men, the lefs we fhall be apt to admire them: But our Admiration of God rifes higher, in Proportion to the Knowledge we have gained of his Nature and Works: And our Devotion to him, who only is wonderful, and only doeth wondrous Things, must be heightened in the fame Measure, as our Admiration is; unless our Reason was given us, as one expreffeth it,
to wonder at our Maker, but not to ferve "him." There are few, but who would rather depart out of the World, than have their foolish, vain, and wicked Thoughts, and whatever was tranfacted behind the Scene, within our own Breafts, disclosed, without Reserve to the View of the whole World. Nature is very often rebelling against Principle, and fometimes getting the better of it. The Paffions hafty and impetuous, unless we have an habitual Guard upon
upon ourfelvés, hurry us into Action, and SERM. V•
When we confider the Number, Malignity, and particular Aggravations of our Sins, a modeft ingenuous Man will be fenfible he wants a Redeemer; and the PreSumptuous betrays his Want of one, even by his being fo. We have Vanities enow, and too many; but let us not add to the Catalogue of them this one Vanity, more grofs and flagrant than all the Reft, viz, to imagine, that our finite imperfect Services can, of themselves, infure to us, what is of infinite Value, perfect, endless, and unalterable Happiness.
He, who thinks he has Worth enough
SERM. V. that he has too little. For we then giv the best Proofs of our Worthinefs when we have a deep Sense, and make an humble Confeffion of our own Unworthinefs. Human Nature, confcious of it's numerous Frailties, fhrinks back at the Thoughts of an Interview with it's Creator; and Nothing can difarm Death of it's Terrors, but that Religion, which has made us the moft gracious Overtures; and in which the awful Majesty of the Judge is qualified by the lovely Mercies of the Saviour. None of us can merit: And after All we can do, (though none of us do all we can) we are but unprofitable Servants: But he makes the nearest Approaches to Merit, who, after his fincere Endeavours to please his Maker, humbly difclaims all Merit, but -the all-fufficient Merits of his bleffed Saviour.
If any Doubt remain with any one whether the divine Approbation, and the divine Favour, are equivalent and fynonymous Terms; let him, to put the Matter paft Difpute, reflect, what a Difference there is between these two Petitions: God approve of me, a Sinner: And, God be favourable or merciful to me, a Sinner.
The former is highly ridiculous and abfurd. SERM. V.
In short, we must fo far, or in fuch a
Which brings me, fecondly, to distinguish between a Capacity for a Thing, and a Title to a Thing. Nothing, but what internally alters the Sinner, can make him a Bb 2 Sub
SERM. V. Subject capable of God's Favour hereaf ter. A Capacity for everlasting Happiness, must be partly founded on our own good Habits and Difpofitions; fince heavenly Pleasures cannot fuit a Soul, that is deeply and habitually immersed in Vice. But the Title to Happiness must be founded on fomething extrinfic. We are told, that we shall be rayleλo, equal to the Angels hereafter. Now, though Man had never finned, he had no more Ground to expect, that he fhould be as the Angels of God hereafter; that he has Reason to complain, that he is not an Angel at present: Much lefs, when Man had finned, when he was become an obnoxious Creature, could Reafon fupport fuch extravagant Pretenfions.
Though therefore our Saviour's Sufferings, as not internally altering the Sinner, could not give him a Capacity or Relish for Happiness; yet, they might give him what he wanted, when a Subject capable, a Title to eternal Blifs. Repentance must remove the difqualifying Circumstances, those Circumstances, that are a Bar to endlefs Felicity. But, when the difqualifying Circumstances are removed, then eternal