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fion may bring upon me; for some Men do as peremptorily Damn all the Heathen World, as if it were an Article of their Creed, and think all those Enemies to the Grace of Christ, who do not; but for my part, I dare neither Damn nor Save them, for I know nothing of the matter.
:. By what Rule God will judge the Heathen World, I cannot tell; St. Paul tells us, As many as have finned without Law, shall also perish without Law; and as many as have finned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law, 2. Rom. '12. And there is the same Reason as to the Gospel too, that those who never heard of the Gospel shall be judged without the Gospel; and who can tell what this fignifies; what mighty Allowances God may make for their invincible Ignorances, and the unhappy Circumstances of their Education? Who can tell how little God will accept from those to whom he has given little? I am sure our Saviour tells us, To whomsoever much is given, of him fhall be much required; and to whom Men have committed much, of him they will ask the more, 12. Luke 48. Which by a parity of Reason supposes, that where God has given little, he requires little. St. Paul seems to intimate a very favourable Judgment which such Men shall have, and a vast difference that God makes between the Times of Pagan Ignorance and the Light of the Gospel, The Times of this Igncrance God winked at, but now commandeth all Men every wkere to repent, because he hath appointed a day, &c. 17. Aes 30, 31. where God's winking at the Times of Ignorance, muft signify that he is not so severe and curious an Observer of their
Actions, nor so striet to mark what is amiss, nor so rigorous
in exacting Punishment, as he will be now. They are in the Hands of God, and there we ought to leave them, with this general Persuasion, That God will be very Just, and very Merciful in judging them; and this eases my Mind of a great many troublesome Thoughts. I know not what Pleasure other Men take in it, but it is terrible to me, when I consider what Eternal Damnation is, to think that so much the greatest part of the World, who never had the Means and Opportunities of Salvation, as we have, shall be eternally Damned: I dare judge nothing; but that great Love I have for Mankind inclines me to hope better for them, (as far as the Circumstances of their Condition will admit of a favourable Judgment); and that strong Per. suasion I have of the Justice and Goodness of God inclines me to believe better of him; for so I an apt to think, that the merciful side of the Question is most agreeable to the Divine Justice and . Goodness.
Such another curious Question is that about the Salvation of Infants, who die before they know Good or Evil; especially the Children of Heathen Parents: Now it is certain they have no Legal and Covenant Title to Salvation; nor have they any thing of their own to answer for, but that Original Guilt they contracted by their Birth: Now God has not cold us how he will judge these Infants, nor are we concerned to know.
The Infants of Christian Parents indeed have a Covenant Title to Salvation, for the Promise is made to us and to our Children; and to say that Such Children dying after Baptism, before they have
actual Sin, häll certainly be saved, is not an Act of Judgment, but only a declaring the Virtue and Efficacy of Baptismal Grace and Regeneration; that the Grace of Baptism will fave those who do not afterwards forfeit this Grace by wilful Sins; and therefore if the Children of Christian Parents have a Right to Baptism, they have a Right to the Salvation of Bap tism; and if they die before they have forfeited this Right by their own Act, they must be saved: And to deny this, is to deny the Virtue and Efficacy of Baptism to Salvation; and that I am sure is to deny, or to lessen the Gospel-Grace.
The Sum is, God is the Judge of the World, and we must leave Men to the Judgment of God, and judge nothing before the time, nor disturb our Thoughts with some curious Questions how God will judge the World, we certainly know how we shall be judged, even by the Gospel of our Saviour, and therefore ought to take care to prepare our Accounts : But how those shall be judged who never heard of the Gospel, we know not, and are not concerned to know; but if we will be judging, we ought to judge very charitably, because, as I observed before, with what Fudgment we judge, we shall be judged, and with what Measure we mete, it shall be measured unto 115 again.
But before I dismiss this Argument, I cannot but take notice of some great and visible Milchiefs of this judging Mens Final State, whether we Damn or Save them.
1. As first for damning, especially when we damn them by wholesale, as the Church of Rome damns all Heréticks, and as others with as much Charity damn all Papifts and Malignants, or whoever they are pleased to vote for Hereticks. Now what the effect of this is, is visible to all the World: It destroys not only Christian Love and Charity, but even common Humanity : when Men havevoted one another damned, and believe God will damn those whom they have adjudged to Damnation, then they are the Enemies of God, and they think they do God good service to deftroy them: God hates them, and therefore they think it a sin in them to love those whom God hates, or to have any pity or compassion for those whom God will damn. And thus they burn Hereticks, or cut their Throats, or confiscate their Eftates, and drive them out from among them, and treat them with all the Barbarity and Indignities which a damning Zeal and Fury can invent. All other Vilanies may meet with fome Pity and * Charity, but Charity is Lukewarmness and want of Zeal in God's Cause; there is no Fire burns so furiously, nor so outragiously consumes, as that which is kindled at God's Altar. And thus the Christian Church is turned into a great Shambles, and stained with the Blood of Human, nay of Christian Sacrifices : though were they in the right, that God would damn those Men whom they had damned, why should they think Patience and Forbearance a greater Fault in them than it is in God, who beareth with much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction? Why are they so unmerciful as to hurry away these poor wretches immediately into Hell,when
God is contented to let them live on; to let the Tares and the Wheat 'grow up together till the Harvest? Why do they envy them the short and
perishing Contentments of this Life, when they are to suffer an Eternity of Misery ? Methinks it should fatisfy the most implacableHatred to know, that they must be miserable for ever, though their Miseries should be adjourned for some few Years; but if this be the Effea of damning men, you may guess that the Cause is not very good; tho an uncharitable Judgment will hurt no body but themselves, yet it is of dangerous Consequence, when such rash Judges will be as hasty Executioners too.
2. Though the Effeas of saving men, and voting them to Heaven be not so tragical as those of damning them, yet this has its Mischiefs too; when any Party of men have voted themselves the only true Church, wherein Salvation is to be had, or the only Saints and Ele&People of God, then all who will be saved muft herd with them; and most men think it enough to secure their Salvation, to get into their Number : Thus the Church of Rome frightens men into her Communion, by threatning Damnation against all who are out of that Church; and this reconciles men to all their Superstitionsand Idolatries for fear of Damnation, and encourages them in all manner of Looseness and Debauchery, when they are got into a Church which can save them; and it has much the same effect, when men list themselves with any Party, where they hope to be saved for Company, while all the rest of Mankind, even those who profess the Faith of Christ,