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words, to which themselves are not able to affix any certain and adequate ideas; such as virtue, the moral sense, and the eternal fitness of things.

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One would imagine, that they were conscious of the weakness of their cause, by their manner of maintaining it. What few arguments they have, have been retailed over and over again, and have been answered a thousand times: they seem indeed to be sensible of their weakness, and therefore have armed themselves with their favourite weapon, the air-drawn dagger, Ridicule, which they call“ the " test of truth.” The most ancient, sacred, and venerable truths are tried by this touchstone, and condemned as counterfeit. In short, that which


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which made Felix tremble, they laugh

righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.”


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It is not my intention to endeavour to confute their principles, after so many able hands; but by way of caution and preservative for you who are not fallen into their errors, to depict the dangerous nature of their crime, which is nothing less than “ denying the Lord that bought them :" and what less can they expect, than that He, when he cometh with his holy angels to judge the world, shall also " deny them before - his father which is in heaven;" and that he should sentence them to endure that eternal punishment, which they have so much derided ?


One great aggravation of their crime (which will also, doubtless, aggravate their punishment) is, that not content with quietly and privately enjoying their own opinions, they have by every artifice they could devise, endeavoured to seduce others; and have but too often prevailed, even over such as have been well difposed and instructed; who through an excess of weakness, have at once been laughed out of their religion, their morality, and their hopes of falvation,

These are the fatal effects of infidelity, whilst it is confined within the bounds of speculation; it' subverts all religion, rejects the light of the gospel, insures damnation to it's professors, and involves others in



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[ 22 ] their misery.-----Let us next see what dangers are to be apprehended, when thele pernicious principles come to be reduced to practice, and how destructive it is both to virtue and to the state, and contradictory to the laws of society.

One of their favourite opinions is that of the eternal fitness of things; by which they mean that whatsoever is fit to be done, was fit to be done from all eternity. So that if an infidel can but persuade himself, that it is fit for him to commit fornication; or to rob a person that is richer than himself; and if he resists even to murder him; he will not hesitate, in his vindication, to assert, that it is, and ever was, fit for him to indulge the call of nature; that it was unfit


for one man to possess more than another; and that it was both fit and necessary to defend himself; and all this under the sanction of reason. ----For what is reason, which is to be the sovereign judge of his actions? No certain and invariable rule; but as various and changeable as the different faces, constitutions, and tempers of mankind: biassed by our passions, and overborn by our wills !---- It is not at all strange therefore, that they have no certain definition of virtue; that in one age and country it is one thing, and another in a second, and quite contrary to both in a third ; or that

every man should define it as he pleaseth ; and, to make short of it, that whilft they are thus disagreeing about the name of virtue, they should entirely lose the substance.



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