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I propositions, as they are called, from which SERM.
we cannot withhold our affent as soon as they VIII.
SERM. able to some risques, and they have not an
the husbandman forbear plowing his grounds,
This leads me more particularly to con-SERM. fider, what the evidence is upon which our VIII. boldness in the judgment rests ; and it has these two rational foundations, first, the truth of the principles of natural religion and of christianity, or an assurance that God will fulfil the promises made to his servants, that he will finally acquit from condemnation, and give eternal life to all them who have sincerely obeyed the gospel. And secondly, the christian's consciousness of his own sincerity in that obedience. The former I shall not now insist on, for I speak to christians, to them who believe the gospel, and I hope the foundation need not again be laid. The other, that is, the inward consciousness, the subject being what passes in the mind itself, is, in general, the greatest certainty we can attain to. We know our own existence, our own faculties, and the exercise of them, by an immediate institution; and this kind of knowledge admits of no reasoning; the mind can have no clearer views, nor greater certainty of such points than what arises from the first attentive self-reflection. 'Tis true, experience shows us that the human mind is capable of such disorders, whatever the cause be, as to Vol. I.
Serm.be confus'd, and even milled in judging of VIII. its own operations. A man under an indif
position of his thinking powers may imagine he sees or perceives what really he does not perceive; but this does not destroy the certainty of sense and consciousness, in which we must neceffarily rest, being able to proceed no farther; and the error is corrected only by reviewing the matter in a calmer and more compos'd state.
In like manner, though the heart, through inattention and prejudices, may judge amiss concerning its own moral state, which is a more complet subject of reflection and felf conscious knowledge than the mere exercise of our natural powers, yet in general is this evidence to a well disposed upright heart, calmly and deliberately examining itself, clear enough, and built upon a firm and stable foundation, fufficient to all the purposes of the felf-enjoyment which arises from integrity, and of assuring itself before God, and having confidence of his felicitating favour. I take this self knowledge of our perfection in love, which is here said to be the ground of boldness in the day of judgment, to be in effect the same with what St. Paul, 2 Tim. i. 12. expresses by bis 15
knowing whom he believed, and his perswafon SERM. of his ability to keep that which he committed VIII. to him against that day. For what is be
lieving? What is committing the soul to the Christ, which a man is conscious of as the
ground of his hope ? It is not a transient act,
We must not pass unobserved the reason