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Serm. Thus it shall be when the Body is put off, VI.

and the Soul enlarged from it?s Prison. It shall find itself among Millions of Spirits to which it was a Stranger' whilst immersed in Flesh, itself a Kindred Spirit.

2dly, When any wicked Suggeftion, into which we are led by no Discourse, without any foregoing Clue of thinking, without any preceding Train of Ideas, arises in our Minds, we know not how, or from what Quarter, by a sudden Impulse ; let us reject it immediately with Abhorrence.

The Scripture never makes it an Excuse, or considers it as an alleviating Circumstance, that we were seduced by a powerful Tempter ; on the contrary, it makes it an Aggravation of the Crime, that we did not dismiss with Abhorrence a Suggestion, which we might reasonably conclude, from the Nature and Tendency of the Thing, proceeded from an evil Spirit. Thus St. Peter rebukes Ananias severely : Why hath Satan filled thine Heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost?

The Suggestion may indeed arise from the grand Author of Evil, and so far we are not culpable. But if we cherish and entertain it, we make it our own. The Offspring might be originally his; but if we adopt it, it becomes our own legitimate Child. And when any good Thought springs up, let us look upon it as a Beam of Light darting in upon our Minds from

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VI.

some good Angel, or even from the Father Serm.
of Lights. Let us improve, cultivate, and
ripen it, till it breaks forth into corres-
pondent Actions.

Lastly, Let us lay it to Heart what
a Misery it must be, to dwell for ever
and ever with those accursed Beings, our
Tempters here, our Tormentors hereafter;
in whom there reigns one genuine Blackness
of Malice, without the least Beam of Bene-
volence shed abroad in their Minds : as, on
the other Hand, what a Happiness it must
be, to have for ever our Conversation with
those glorified and ennobled Spirits, the
immediate Attendants on the Throne of
God; bright as the Sun, and numerous as
the Stars ; in a place where no Malice, no
Rancour, no Pain will find Admittance;
but Love unallayed, and the Fullness of
Bliss uninterrupted, will reign for ever

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and ever,

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SERMON VII.

Curiosity in unnecessary Matters

censured and condemned.

JOHN XXI. 22.

If I will, that He tarry till I come, what is that to Thee? Follow Thou me,

SER M.
VII.

TH

HESE Words contain, our Saviour's

significant Rebuke to St. Peter's curious Inquiry, what would become of that Disciple whom Jesus loved ? “ If I will that He “ live till my coming to the Destruction of

Jerusalem, that does not at all concern

you. Your great Concern is to follow “ Me; to obey my Precepts, and believe

my Doctrines ; all other Knowledge, “ but what relates to your Happiness, is “ impertinent and vain. That is enough, “ without launching out into foreign In“ quiries, to engross your Time, and demand

your whole Attention."

Indeed it was our Saviour's general Method when any curious and unconcerning Question was proposed, instead of answer

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VII.

Curiosity in unnecessary Matters, &c.

155 ing it directly, to strike off into fome Point ser m. of general Use and Importance that had a Connection with it. Thus when He was asked, “ Are there few that, be saved?" Instead of gratifying an idle Curiosity, He commands them to lay out their Endeavour, that they may be of that Number whatever it be : Strive to enter in at the strait Gate, &c. When the Question was put to Him :

“ Who was the greatest in “ the Kingdom of Heaven?” He, instead of answering them, set a Child before ihem, and told them, that except they had the Simplicity and Humility of Children, they faculd in no wise enter into it.' Instances of this Procedure are endless; therefore I shall mention only one more: “Lord, “ did this Man" (whose Soul we suppose præ-existed before it entered the Body). “ fin, or His Parents, that He was born “ blind?” Here a Philosopher, full of Himself, and of His unedifying Notions, would have been glad of an Opportunity to have expatiated upon a Speculative Point, and to have given a decisive Verdiet in Favour of, or against a Præ-existence of Souls: Our Saviour, who always looked upon such Speculations as foreign to the main Point in View, leaves the Question as He found it, undetermined; but gives them to understand, that whatever Evils God suffered to take Place upon particular Pessons, they

were

VII.

Serm. were always productive of some great and

general Good. Neither did this Man fin, nor his Parents; “ This Blindness was not

occasioned either by this Man's Vices,

or his Parent's, but was permitted, that " the Glory of God might be manifested " in Him."

Give me Leave therefore to shew,

Ist, The Folly, Absurdity, and dangerous Consequences of an over-curious Pursuit of Knowledge, any

farther than as it relates to Happiness.

IIdly, To consider the Goodness of God in bounding our Knowledge, and shortning our Prospect,

It, Our Understanding has it's Boundaries; and when it is arrived at it's full Growth and Height, we cannot, how much Thought soever we may take, add one Cubit to the Size and Stature of it. We may Morten the Line of our Knowledge, as we may do that of our Lives, by our own Default; but we cannot lengthen the Line of it, any more than we can that of our Lives, beyond the Period assigned by God. The greatest and the least Objects equally baffle our Inquiries. Too great and dispropora tioned an Object embarrasses and oversets the Understanding; too little a one eludes and

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