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· The life and immortality, which Christ hath brought to light, and which he hath promised to all his faithful disciples, is a translation from a state of dulness and anxiety, trouble, affliction, disappointments, vexations, real grief, folid cares, and at the best but of imaginary pleasures, to a state of true happiness and content, of manly and rational pleasures, pleasures not interrupted by sickness or any fad accidents, not dulled by being weary of them, nor cloyed with them, not disturbed either by the insults of our enemies, or the concernments for our miserable friends, or our own inequality of temper. In that state all the powers and faculties of our souls will be advanced to the highest perfection that they are capable of; and we shall live in perfect cafe and peace, in perfect freedom and liberty, in the perfectenjoyment of ourselves. Then our bodies, that slept in the dust, shall be raised again, ard united to our souls, to live in the city of the great King, the heavenly Jerusalein, a paradise of pleasure, a country of perpetual light and bliss, where the glory of the Lords fills the place, and where everyobject that presents itself adds a new beauty to it, and contributes to the increase of our delight. But, i * To complete the whole, we are assured that the inheritance we expect is incorruptible, and fadeth notaway; that our house in heaven is eternal; and that death shall have no more power over us. There is no dispute concerning the everlasting happiness of the righteous; it being evident, that God in his infinite bounty may reward the fincere obedience : of his creatures as much beyond the merit of their own weak and imperfect works as he fees proper : Yet the everlasting punishment threatened to the wicked has seemed to many a great difficulty; since it is certain, from our natural notion's God'sjustice of the attributes of God, that no'man shall be puvindicated nilhed beyond the just demeritof his transgression. the wicked
But those who consider the nature of human ac
D eternally. tions must confess that God is just, and that every one who wilfully offends him deserves eternal punishment: because a rational and moral man not only has in himself a power of acting, which is in common to him with theirrational crcatures; but he has moreover á still higher prir
cu Li ciple
ciple or power of directing his actions, with fome determinate views, and to some certain and constant end. He has a power of judging before-hand, concerning the Beranteman consequences of his actions, concerning the rea- lins wiful? fonableness or anreasonableness of the end he aims ly. ..in at; and he has a power of recollecting, after the action is done, whether he acted with a good or an evil view. He can either follow the irregular motions of all his appetites and passions, as do the beasts that perish; or he can restrain and over-rule their sollicitation, by attending to the guidance of a superior light of reason and religion. Nay, a man cannot indeed but have some view and design in everything he does: Even when he abandons himself most implicitly to the brutal guidance of mere appetite and passion, still he does it with some view ; and with a consciousness, which beasts have not, that he knowingly and deliberately chuses to aim at some mean and unworthy end. Hence arises that judge ment of reflection which we call conscience; by Againit bis which a man either approves or condemns his own conscience. past actions, and apprehends, that he shall accordingly be approved or condemned by him also to whom hemust give an account of himself. If a man, in the general course of his life, accustoms himself to considerthese things beforehand, that is, if he will behave himself as a rational creature; if he accustoms himself in all his actions to consider the reason and equity of things, to consider what is reasonable for himself to do, or for him to expect ihould be done .by another; to consider what is agreeable to thewill of God, and likely to be approved at the bar of an impartial and allseeing Judge: If this (I fay) be his main directing principle, and the point which he constantly keeps in view, his actions, generally speaking, will not fail to be virtuous and good.
On the contrary, if a man's principles be loose and athe. istical; if he has no sense of the reason and equity The cake of of things, nor apprehension of the righteous judg- atheists... ment of God; if his views be no other than the satisfying of his appetites, the gratification of his passions, the pursuing his present interest, and pleasing his own unreasonable selfwill; it cannot be but his actions will be generally immoral and vicious.
· And as there never was any person in any age or country All quicked upon earth, but judged himself injured by anyvio. men are self- lence or fraud put by another upon himself, the condemned. cafe is precisely the same, whenever any fraud or violence is used by him towards another; and therefore the judgment passed by him in that case upon other men is in fact a judgment passed by him upon himself. The same may be faid concerning any other known instance of wickedness, concerning every kind of impiety, unrighteousness, or debauchery. The person who commits the crime always con. demns himself, and is conscious that he deserves to be punished. Men may divert and turn away their thoughts from the unpleasing subject, by variety of amusements, and numberless vain imaginations : They may flatter themselves as they please with objections against the unalterable and essencial differences of virtue and vice, and resolve to say within themselves, though they can never really be persuaded of it, that they shall have peace, though they walk in the imagination of their own heart, to add one sin to another : they may confidently and presumptuously dispute and argue in general, that all actions are naturally and originally alike; that morality is but a fiction of speculative men; and the notion of vice and virtue only a creature of the laws or customs of nations: But the judgment in particular that every wicked man nécessarily and immediately makes concerning any unjuft action of another, by which he himself happens to suffer, will for ever convict him of knowing well that diffea rence of moral good or evil, which he is not willing to acknowledge, or which, however, he is not willing to make the rule of his own behaviour. This is what the Apostle calls the law written in men's hearts, by which they are a law unto themfelves, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or excusing one another; therefore it is certain men are naturally conscious of the difference of good and evil, and of the consequent desert of their own actions: It is natural for them to apprehend, that this judgment of their own consciences is the judgment that God also paffes upon them; and the scripture very clearly_affirms that it is fo.
The sense of guilt is foneceffarilyuneafyupon the mind of man, that even the most hardened sinners are per-,
Their excusa petually endeavouring to shift off the blame of Jes for fina their wickedness from themselves, and to throw 'ning are the fault upon whatever comes in their way. Some- vai. times the reafon of their wickedness is because God has not made them better than they are: And who has resifted his will? Sometimes it is the devil that tempts them: And how can frail man withstand so potent and so cunning a deceiver? Sometimes it is the original corruption of their nature: And who can alter the condition to which he was born? Sometimes it is the general fashion and cuftom of the world: And who can be singular in opposing so violent a torrent? The Apostle cuts off at once both these and all other excuses, by determining distinctly, that, whatever aggravations The nature or extenuations of lin may or may not arise from of fine ; external circumstances, yet fin in itself, the nature and efsence of fin, consists intirely in the free choice of a man's own will; and that his guilt is always just so much in proportion as his choice deviates from the dictates of his reason. For, though the sensibility of our conscience, whereby we become uneasy at the commission of any crime, may be deadened by a long perseverance in vice; yet the light of our confcience, whereby we discern the difference between good and evil, can perhaps be never totally put out. But this we may do, and this, if we are wise, we will do: We may by repeated endeavours, by degrees, subdue our vicious inclinations to our reason. Every man is then only tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lufts and enticed.
Let it therefore be observed, first, that no man can say it is unreasonable, that they, who by wilful and stub- Wly the born disobedience to their almighty Creator and wicked most merciful Benefactor, and by the habitual paculdfinal
by Juffer epractice of unrepented wickedness, have, during bernal puthe state of trial, made themselves unfit for the nifhment. enjoyment of that happiness, which God has prepared for them that love and obey him, should be intirely rejected and excluded therefrom. As to the continuance of the punishment, no man can presume, in our present state of ig
norance and darkness, to be able truly to judge, barely byste oth the strength of his own natural reason, what in this respect it. For ti is ofis not consistent with the wisdom, and justice, and good- dic ness of the supreme Governor of the world; since we neither know the place, nor kind, nor manner, nor circum- enou stances, nor degrees, nor all the ends and uses of the final pu- as mine nishment of wicked men. But we are certain that the justice of God will abundantly vindicate itself, and all mouths shall be stopped before him, and be forced to acknowledge the exact righteoufiess of all his judgments, and to condemn innan their own folly and wickedness; forasmuch as the degree of or severity of the punishment, which shall be inflicted on the the impenitent, shall be exactly proportionate to their sins, as a recompence of their crime; so that noman shall suffer more than he has deserved, by the evil of his ways. And for ar- Lychee gument fake, should it begranted that men are to live here for alle ever: Let us suppose, that some of them were become aban. Shitis doned and incorrigibly bad: Would it be any unjustifiable severity to confine them for ever in prison, that they might not seduce or annoy the rest of the creation; or even to inflict positive punishments upon them, in their confinement, adequate to their offences, in order to deter others? It is on
ly therefore to suppose, that the foul is in its own nature de• signed for an immortal duration : that those, who are con
signed to everlasting misery, are such as by a continued .course of linning have so disabled all the powers of the soul, ist that it is morally impossible for them, without the extraordinary grace of God, to cease from finning: And then, if it be no injustice, as undoubtedly it is not, that every finner should be a sufferer ; there can be no injustice, that every habitual, eternal finner should be an eternal sufferer. Supa pose again, that the outward acts of sin are temporary; yet the defilement and habit contracted by a repetition of these acts are, if we die in a state of impenitence, eternal. And as eternal ill habits are the source of eternal torments; it will follow that the impenitent have intailed upon themselves everlasting misery. And, finally, let those, who insist so much upon it, that the punishment is disproportioned to the crime, confiderfinin allv.ews, and in allits consequences,