ception will be sighted and transient, and the CHA P. Judgment cursory and precipitate ; it can suf- XVIII. pend, or wholly deny the Efforts of the Passions and Members, which are the Executioners of its Pleasure, its Courtiers and Servants in daily Waiting ; so that there shall be Eyes, and get they see not, and Ears, and yet they hear not : Or, if it has the Curiosity to be more exactly inform'd of the Matter through the other's Inspection and Discernment," it can fincerely continue the Search longer, or renew the Enquiry oftner: Still after Judgment given, and after it can't help joining in an affent of Approbation, it may nevertheless suspend or hinder all effe&tual assent of Application, or Determination of the executive Powers and Affections to proper Word, and Deed. It may be convinc'd perhaps for the present, and yet nothing suitable follow the Conviction, for want of Probity of Mind, callid in Scripture, an honest and good Heart (the Heart: being therein assign'd as the Faculty of effectuat: believing) for entertaining the Truth in the Love of its Design and Purpose, for renewing the Mind, and all the bad Actions proceeded from it, with the HEART Man believeth unto Righteousness! ;! according to Solomon, incline thine HEART to: understand. - I own therefore, there is no Virtuel in this sort of fpeculative Perceiving, Judging, or Inferring belonging to believing, no more than in doing the same ever so rightly with respect to any Object in Astronomy. This is but the opus operatum, the mere Carcass of Faith without any thing of the Spirit or Soul of pera ceiving judging, or inferring: Oudè, 4 Ápesy, και κακία εν πείσει, αλλά εν ενέργεία, M. Anton.


Rom. X. 10.



CHA P. Lib. IX. 16. Neilber Virtue nor Vice consist in XVIII. speculative Persuasion, but practical Efforts.

THE Virtue then, and then only commences, when the Will, knowing the Intention and Businefs fuch Truths and Doctrines have with it, receives them not with a simple Affent, or Approbation, as to Matter of Fact of the Truths, but with a chosen Inclination, cherishing Approbation or Persuasion, with a cordial Application corresponding, and effectual to the other Purpose ; not to doubtful Disputation, bụt in a pure Conscience ; perceiving who recommends, and commands, and for what Intention"; judging how reasonable the Obedience, how incomparably excellent to its true Interest; inferring the neceffary Duty, Salvation, Self-preservation, and eternal Happiness in it ; resolving to cleave stedfaftly to it, and hold it fast; and in that Resolution to profess it openly. And accordingly enter into publick Engagement and solemn Covenant so to do; plighting, renewing, and repeating Federal Faith and Personal Fidelity, to continue in that good Faith and do the good Works of it ; fo making that, which was obligatory before, ftill more uniformly obliging, and more constantly binding to the whole Behaviour; in order to be entitled to the inestimable Benefits and Promises of the New Covenant or Testament between God and sinful Man, founded in the Mediator of that Covenant, and Testator of that Testament, JeJus Christ our Lord and Sayiour.

:: BESIDES aš the great Archetype of Virtue, the Image of God in Man, confifts in his conformity more to the Will than the understanding

Faculty Faculty of God, it must be improved more here CHAP. from the Virtues of our Will, than the Enlarge. XVIII. ment of our Understanding; which is rather our pofthumous Privilege, than a necessary Duty in this imperfect State of Perception.

It is not the believing that the Nature of Virtue is so and so constituted, or consists in such or such Particulars, that ever makes a Man virtuous ; or that Proposition, that Jesus Christ is the Mesah, which makes an upright Believer ; unless it intentionally comprehends and is actually unfolded to his several Offices.' Burnet de Fid. & Off. pag. 151, acknowledges that to be but an imperfect, and no more than an inceptive Principle of Christianity, and that the Need of a Mediator, Intercessor, and Redeemer is founded in the Degeneracy of human Souls. Nor docs. an Historical believing his Presence in the World, teaching Doctrines, working Miracles, Dying, Rising, Ascending to Heaven, merely as a matter of Fact, constitute the requisite Faith ; for that is a mechanical Faith unavoidable in a Chriftian Country, more fully incident to the believing Devils, than to the Half-embracers and Half-rejecters of it upon Earth: Though they assent strongly and perceive so clearly, they perceive nothing in it, but the Inflammation of their own Doom, they judge and infer nothing but the eternal Despair of being the worse for the fame, Cause enough to make them tremble ; and is it not a devilish Folly for any, either by hating, or not using it, to make their Faith as fatal to themselves as it is to the other? Have they not Reason to tremble ?

CH A P, ...

It is therefore, noswithstanding it is the Gift of God as to the Object of it *, an active Persuafion of the Mind in a fruitful Application of that Means unto Virtue, that makes it Virtue or Chriftian Faith ; whether that Persuasion regards the different States of another: World, more especially the Recompençe of Reward, or Trust in God's Promises and Providences ; or respects the Forgiveness of Sins, Acceptance of our Prayers and sincere Endeavours thro' the Mediator. If the Persuasion of the Mind regards the Lawfulness of an Action-it is called Faith, and whatfoever religious Action is not of that. sort of Faith, is Sint; to bim that thinketh any Thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. When a Man does what his well-inform'd Conscience tells him is unlawful, he is self-condemn'd and self-divided, which is an internal Heresy, let him be of what particular Church he pleases.

Now the End and Design of the Christian Institute of the Knowledge of Christ, or Faith in him as Mediator, being to renew the Mind in a better knowledge of the Religion of the End, and an explicit Knowledge of the only true Religion of the Means, in order to regulate Man's whole Conversation in the Sight of God; and to effect that in the first Source of that Conversation, towards rectifying and governing the Will in its moral Choice and Election, and directing it in its Application of the Means to the End; the Treasures of the Wisdom of God in

Eph. ii. 8. i Cor. ii. and in many other places stands for the Object, Aets vi. 7. Rom. i. 5. xvi. 26. iii. 27, 31. x. 6. Gal. i. 23. iii. 2, 23, 25. Eph. iv. 5.

i Tim. iv. 6. + Rom. xiv. 23.

him are display'd to the Understanding as the CH A P. most important Truth ; and the Will is likewise XVIII. address’å to as the most important Interest. If the Proposal, in all its Necessaries, is very plain, and the Understanding can't help perceiving and judging, that the Meaning of the Truth is moral, and the Design saving, it is by so much the greater Commendation of its as it is not a Matter of Subtlecy, but Sincerity and Honesty to be a Christian, which depends chiefly upon the Will, tho' there is no Virtue in physically bea lieving the Truth as Truth, which upon due At tention and Inquiry can't but be believed and assented to ; yet to believe and affent to it moi rally, and embrace it with the Will, is Virtue and Duty, and the very first Principle of Virtue. « For this Reason, Virtue, which is the proper “ Happiness and Perfection, is call'd åpet), 1.

5 alpetů, a Name which hath great Affinity “ to a Word that fignifies eligible, not only be ♡ cause. Virtue is properly the Object, but also “ because it is the Effect of our own Choice." Simplica on Epict. c. i.

As the Truth is an enlightning Principle of Piety, Virtue, and all Morality, the Will can help, as it too commonly does, receiving it to that Use and Purpose, whilst the Understanding could not help receiving and acknowledging it as Truth: And therefore when the elective Power of the Mind entertains and applies it as such, it must be its Virtue and Commendation; and consequently not to do so, must be wicked and immoral: It is called Mark vii. 22. åợporúva Foolishness, destructive Imprudence ; when a Person knows better Things but follows them not, which proceeds from the Heart and defiles the Man.

« ElőzőTovább »