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because 'tis so Commonly sound, both amongst the Ancients and Moderns, that a man hath been at One time fully persuaded, that those things are False, which at Another time he verily thought to be True; For, though the Owning and Retracting of Errors be Necestary, and highly Commendable also, when it proceeds from no Interested Views, but from a pure Ingenuous Temper, and regard to Truths yet when a man hath given This proof of his Ingenuous Temper, neither He himself, nor any Other Considerate person would for the suture Depend upon his Judgment in Difficult points, at least, in Opposition to the Church; because he can never be more firmly persuaded, that he is in the Right, than he hath been already, when he proved to be in the Wrong, and therefore may as well hereafter Deny what he now Affirms, as he now Denies what he Affirm'd before: That it will be Difficult for any Particular person, to reconcile that profound Humility which the Gospel requires, with the Opposition of his Own Judgment, to the Judgment of
tyie Christian Church, or, to prove, that he is so far guided and governd by the Holy Spirit, as * not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: That if Any Particular Person may take the liberty of Interpreting by his Own Judgment, in Opposition to the Christian Church; Every other particular person, in the like circumstances, may take the fame Liberty, for the fame Reason: That if All Particular persons may take that Liberty, they may Possibly fix the Objects of Faith in a Direct Contradiction to one another: That if it be Lawful and Sufficient to such Particular persons, to Assent to the Objects of Faith, so fixed by their several Judgments, it may become Lawful and Sufficient, to Assent unto Things which are False; for some of the Objects thus Assigned must be so, if they are Contradictory to one another: And, That if it can become Lawful and Sufficient to Any one to Believe a Falssiood, 'tis Necestary for None to believe the Truth.
* Rom. xii. 3.
It may also deserve our Consideration, That since the Doctrines of the Trinity, and of a General Resurrection, and all the Other Objects of our Faith Necessary unto Salvation, are in Some Texts of Scripture so Plainly Revealed, that every man of Common Understanding, with an Honest mind, may easily perceive the Certainty of them j 'tis therefore incumbent upon Every man, who would be Saved, to adhere to the Truth so Plainly Reveal'd, notwithstanding that he cannot so clearly apprehend the Full meaning of some Other Difficult Texts, and notwithstanding the most Plausible Fallacies which are built upon such Texts, by those who Pervert them. For Plain Texts are not to be Interpreted by those which are more Obscure: When theresore the Obscure ones do seem any way Repugnant to those which are Easy and Plain, 'tis highly Reasonable and Just, as well as Modest, in any man, to Imagine, that the Obscure ones are not Truely and Perfectly Understood by him. And when the Truth of the Gospel Plainly and Clearly appears, let all Glosses
and and Interpretations, which stand in Opposition to it, be at once Rejected and Despised. But,
2/y, and to Conclude; Since the Sole Belief of the Scriptures, notwithstanding the Necessity of it, is not of it Self Effectual to the Attainment of the Blessings proposed to us, let our Faith be fruitful of Fervent Charity', that the Fruits of our Charity may lead us to a Lively Hope. Though we had all Faith, so that we could remove Mountains, yet, without Charity, we should in vain call to the Mountains, to fall on us, and cover us from the ^Vrath of God; Or, though we should be, in our Hopes, Exalted as high as Heaven, yet, without Charity, we can never be Admitted There. And 'tis obvious, that as no Branch of Charity is more frequently and Earnestly inculcated in the Scriptures, than the Relief of the Indigent; so there cannot easily be sound more proper ObjeBs of it, than Those which now call for your Tender Concern; Nor can they hope that their Cries will ever be heard by Men, if not by Us, who are under Pe
culiar and most engaging Obligations to hear them.
Indeed the Arguments, which have been offer'd in favour of This Charity, are so Proper and so Enlarged, that they do not easily Admit of any Addition, and have been so Effectual, that they do not Want it. Therefore it may be expected, that I mould rather Acknowledge, than Excite Your Liberality. For Justice may seem to require the One, as well as Charity the Other. And yet even Justice > as well as Charity\ seems to plead for your Perseverance in your work and labour of love: If in Any case these words be Applicable to the supply of our Neighbour's Wants, it must be in that of Those, who now Implore your Assistance j Withhold not Good from them, to whom it is Due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Their Wants are very Affecting, and so are their Deservings too; Wants and Deservings, which may in a special manner, claim a Favourable and Affectionate Regard at your hands. For if every man, who hath a Just fense of God and Divine