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and destroyed in the sorrows, and the fury of revolutions: Our feelings are just now a little blunted from the long continuation of the danger; but no man can seriously turn his eyes to the position of the world, without being sensible, that till this great gulph be passed over, every hope of honest ambition, every wish for repose, every feeling which warms the heart, may be but a new cause of misery and despair: From. all these evils, may the solid understanding, and watchful courage of this country, guided, and blessed by the providence of God, protect, and defend us; and may he shelter, with his almighty power, a humane, a generous, and an ancient people, who may now, perhaps, be destined to preserve to the human race those indelible rights of our nature, of which they were the first to teach them the value, and the use.

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ON

SCEPTICISM.

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SERMON XIV.

PSALM XXXI. VERSE XX.

Let the lying lips be put to silence, which cruelly, disdainfully, and maliciously, speak against the righteous.

To neglect those floating imputations, and popular calumnies, which are in circulation against any system either moral, religious, or political, is rather magnanimous, than wise, and savours more of a generous contempt for danger, than of prudent precaution against it: Bold assertions, and specious invectives often repeated, begin at last to be credited; we hear the calumny so often united to its object, that the mention of the one, almost mechanically introduces the notion of the other; and we are

betrayed into dangerous prejudices, rather by a principle of association, than by any decision of the judgment.

There is too, besides, a fashion in thinking as in every thing else, and the giddy part of mankind must ever appear in the newest philosophy, and the most admired system of ethics, or depravity, which the day has to exhibit. In an age of devotion, they lead in hypocrisy, regulate the punctilios of supplication, and adjust all the modes, and minutiæ of piety: In an age of philosophy, they are the first to disbelieve in the immortality of the soul, to discredit the evidence of their senses, and to doubt of, discredit, and deride every thing else, which the rules of fashionable scepticism require.

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If there be any truth in this, and if the world be led to such unreasonable conclusions from such unreasonable causes, it is important to remark the modes of thinking of the times, and to select for animadversion, those trite, but prevailing opinions which endanger the well-being of society.

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