Sidor som bilder

ses of this, 1. That the Thoughts of Judgment are very uneasy and troublesome, and that makes men afraid and averse to think of it. And 2. That Judgment is out of sight, and they have nothing to mind them of it ; and their Thoughts are fa taken up with other Matters, that they forget it, unless they happen to hear a Sermon about

it, or some accidental mention of it; 'which when they return to their worldly Affairs and Business, they quickly forget again.

ift. Men are very apt to avoid all Thoughts of Judgment, because they are very uneasy and troublesome; they startle at the mention of it; at least do not love to talk too long, nor think too seriously of it; for it awakens their Consciences, and makes them think what a fad Account they have to give; how many things they have done, and daily do, which they can never answer to God, when he comes to Judgment ; and therefore they chuse to live quietly, without disturbing themselves with such terrifying Reflections, and the amazing Thoughts of what is to come. Now methinks it is no hard thing to convince thinking men of the Danger and Folly of this, and to reconcile them to the Thoughts of Judgment : For,

[ocr errors]

1., Todrive these Thoughts out of our Minds, though it may give us present ease, yet it will not mend our Accounts, nor prevent our being judged: God will judge us, whether we will think of being judged or not: Were no men to be judged bus those who think of it, there were as much reason to stupify our Conscien


ces, and never to think of Judgment, as there is for fick men to take Opiates to sleep away their Pain and their Distemper together ; but this would be thought a very ill Remedy for their present Pain, were they to deep away their Lives: And yet this is the Remedy these men chuse, to fleep away their Souls; to deep away the Fears of Judgment, till Judgment awaken them and their Fears, never to feep more.

[ocr errors]

2. How frightful foever the Thoughts of Judgment are, it will be infinitely more terrible to see and feel it: And there is no way to avoid that terrible Condemnation, but by thinking of it; the fear of Judgment, if once it through ly possesses our Souls, will conquer this World, disarm all its Terrors, discover its Cheats and Impostures, wash off its Paint and Varnish, pluck off its Vizor and Disguise; it will teach us to fear God, which is the beginning of Wisdom the Guide of Youth, and the Counsellor of Age; And would not any Wife Man rather chuse to preserve himself from Danger and Misery by fearing it, than to live without Fear, and co perish by his Security? In this World men love to know and see their Danger, that they may avoid it, how dismal soever the Prospect be and it is very unaccountable, that men should chuse rather to be damned, than to prevent it by a timely Foresight, and a prudent Fear and Caution.

[ocr errors]

For 3. That Fear of Judgment which is necessary to govern our Lives, and to prevent our

final Condemnation, is not so amazing and terrifying as these Men apprehend it; it is not the Fear of a Man who is going to Execution, but the Fear of Prudence, Caution, and Foresight, which makes Men wise and circumspect, but don't Distract them: We have as many DemonAtrations of this, as there are Men who govern their Lives under the Fear and Senfe of a Future Judgment; are there any Men in the World who live more chearfully than they, who converfe more pleasantly with their Friends, and enjoy the Comforts of Life with greater Innocence and Freedom? Do you find any Disturbance in their Looks, any Symptoms of an uneasie and frighted Imagination? And yet these Men all this while live under the constant Awe and Fear of Judgment: And therefore the Sense and Fear of Judgment is consistent with a constant Peace and Serenity of Mind.

That which distracts and terrifies Men, is not the constant Awe and Sense of Judgment, but the Condemnation of their own guilty

. Consciences, which threaten the Judgments of God against them; and when Men apprehend them selves a falling into Hell, and fear their Cafe is hopeless and irrecoverable, it is no wonder if the very Pains of Hell take hold of them; and not being able to bear these Horrors, they filence or stupify their

Consciences with the Noise, and Business, and Diversions, and Pleasures of this Life, and can never endure to entertain the least Thought of Judgment, and imagine that all who do, live a miserable Life, are as melancholly and disturbed as they are, when they think of Judg

[ocr errors]

ment: But this is a great Miftake; it is their Guilt which makes the Thoughts of Judgment so terrible, and their not thinking of Judgment betrayed them to that Guilt, and nothing but a constant Sense of Judgment can now expiate their Guilt, and conquer their Fears by Repentance and a new Life: And as terrible as this is for the present, it is more desirable than to be Damined. But would Men accustom themselves betimes to the Thoughts of Judgment, and govern their Lives under the Sense of it, Judgment would never be terrible to them, no more than the Affize is to Men who have an Awe and Reverence for the Justice of their Country, and obey its Laws.

Nay, 4. When we govern our Lives under the Awe of a Future Judgment, it is so far from being terrible, that it fills us with great and joyful Hopes; for when God judges the

World, he will reward good Men, as well as punish the wicked: And if the Fear of a Future Judgment makes us truly and sincerely good, we shall long for the Day of Judgment as the Husbandman does for the Harvest; this will be our great Support and Comfort under all the Calamities of Life, and be a perpetual Spring of the most Sincere and Divine Joys.

This may satisfy us that there is no Reason to be afraid to think of Judgment; that to live under the constant Sense of it, as it is the only way to make us truly good Men, so it will deliver us from all guilty Fears, support us under all present Troubles, and delight us with the Hopes and Expectation of Glorious Rewards.

[ocr errors]

2.dly. As


03:; 2dly, As for those who out of meer Carelesness and Inconsideration, never think seriously about a Future Judgment, who employ all their Thoughts about prefent r and sensible Objects, but do not concern themselves about whát is abfent and unseen, or think very feldom, and very coldlyi and transiently of it. It is a wonder to me, how mennced be put in mind of a matter of such vast cancernment and importance to them, as a Future Judgment is: Does not the happinefs of your Immortal Souls depend on it. Is it possible to conquer the Temptations of this world, to refift the Sollicitations of the Flesh, the Courtship of Richés and Honour, those gilded Vanities of this Life, without remembring, that for all these things God will call us to Judgment Methinks men should as soon venture themselves in: a Rocky and Tempestuous Sea, without Rudder or Pilot, or Compass, or Ballast, or Ancher, aš to think to pass safe through this World without a constant Awe and Sense of a Future Judga ment. Such Men are very careless of their Souls, and they must lose them; for, they will neveriget safe to Heaven; they can never give a good account to God when he comes to Judgment, who never think of any account they are to make.

But besides this as, one would link that a Future Judgment is of that great mos ment, that no man who is ac ail concerned for his Future Happiness, could fuffecit to go out of his Mind; fo there is liccle reason in

« FöregåendeFortsätt »