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Serm. Punishment, which is upon the whole due
XII. to Sin, will certainly overtake it, whatever

it does in this Life. 'Tis no wonder then
to find the Person in the Text fet a trem-
bling when St. Paul touch'd upon these
Points. The greater Wonder is still be-
hind, which is this ; that, when his Con-
science had represented these Things in fo
frightful a manner, he should notwithstand-
ing put off the Consideration of them to a-
nother Time. And yet so great a Wonder
as this is, it was not his Cafe alone, but the
Case of many Sinners ever since, who are apt
enough to be startled to hear of Virtues they
never practis'd, and tremble at the Mention
of a Judgment to come, which they hardly
ever thought of. But' then this is only a
fudden Fit, too violent to last long, and
therefore they foon get rid of it, as well as
of the Occasion of it; and a Messenger of
Tuch unwelcome Truths is sure to be dil-
miss'd like the Apostle, with a Go thy way
for this Time ; when I have a convenient
Season I will send for thee. In discoursing
upon the Words of the Text, I will shew

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T. That there is a Punishment due to Sin, and a Consciousness of it at one time or other in every Sinner.

II. The

II. The Folly and Danger of refusing to Serm. give a proper Attention to the Suggestions XII.. of a guilty and terrified Conscience.

The first appears from the Goodness of God, or, which is the same, his Goodness consider'd as exerting itself for the Good and Welfare of the whole Creation. For if God, as he is the great Creator, is also the Governor of the World, and intends the Happiness of it, 'tis necessary that something should be done for the Security of this Happiness; i.e. that a fufficient Controul or Check should be put upon whatever would destroy it. NowEvil is theonly Thing that can obstruct the Happiness of the World. SomeConstraint must therefore be put upon it to hinder it from doing so. Accordingly the great Governor of the Universe has thought fit to order that Punishment shall be the natural and certain Consequence of Sin or Evil; that every Degree of Evil should be attended with a Degree of Punishment proportionable ; and the everlasting Laws of Righteousness, which are the Security of the Good and Happiness of the Universe, are bound to see this done. Nor is this any Argument against the Goodness of God, but a very strong one for it; for should Evil go unpunished, it would soon destroy the Happiness of the Universe, which Kk 2


Serm. Goodness, by the Notions we have of it, XII. should prevent. To imagine therefore that

Goodriess should not punish Evil, is the same thing as to say that Goodness should not be what it is : For should Evil go unpunish'd, there would be a manifest Injury done the Whole, which Goodness is concern'd to prevent. To remit the Pain therea fore of Evil as such, must be inconsistent with all the Notions we have of Goodness. 'Tis to strike up a Friendship between two Opposites, whose Nature it is always to oppofe one another. So far as there is room for Pity, so far you conceive less Evil, and consequently there will be a proportionable A. batement of Punishment; but to suppose in Evil, as such, that the Punishment of it can be remitted by Goodness, is an impossible thing. We are now got so far as to know that Punishment is due to Sin: And it will be no Objection to this, that the Sinner is often feen to enjoy the good Things of this Life, to indulge like Felix in unlawful Pleafures, to revel in Bowls, and rejoice at the Sound of the Organ; for these Pleasures are what he has no Right to, they don't belong to him; he niuft therefore become Debtor for them, and pay them back with Interest; for Punishment is due to him, which, if it


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does not overtake him in this Life, because, Serm,
considering the many Accidents that hap- 'XII.
pen here, the Circle of Life is not large e-m
nough for it always to come round (tho'
fome he will alway meet with here) yet in
the next he will certainly meet with it in
its full Proportion; so that no Objection will
lie against this from the Slowness of its Pro- .
gress, as long as it is sure at last. Of a
Certainty of Punishment due to Sin here and
hereafter God has given every Sinner a Con-
sciousness, which, as it is on the one hand a
terrifying Remembrance of past Guilt, so it
is a moft gracious Provision God has ap-
pointed to prevent future. So that God has
not left himself without Witness in the
Hearts of Men, where he has set up a faith-
ful Monitor to enable us to distinguish be-
tween Good and Evil, and to chuse one and
avoid the other; that all the World may be
without Excuse, and that God may justify
and clear himself when he is judged. And
this Monitor which God has fet up in our
Hearts, is by no means an imaginary Thing;
nor is the Remembrance that it gives us up-
on the Commission of Evil an artificial Fear
and Sorrow, as Atheistical People think (if
they do think so) a preternatural Fear in-
fus'd into Men's Minds in their Infancy by


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Serm. Parents, Masters, Guardians, &c. tho this XII. is a great Addition to it, but a Thing which No God himself has planted in the Hearts of all

Men; for we find it universally. 'Tis to be seen in those who have had little or no Inftruction of any kind, as well as in those that have ; tho' not to so great a Degree, for want of such a proper Cultivation. And besides, from whence could these people, who are suppos'd to infuse this Fear into others, have it themselves ? Or where had they a Foundation for this ? ' A Thing fo universal must be instill’d by the Hand of Nature. Besides, if it were artificial it could never last long, the Impression would in time wear out, and the Mind would at last recover its former State. But we find this is not the Case: For these Fears always remain, as long as there remains a Sense of Good and Evil, and there will continue for the Uses before-mention'd. Indeed this natural Fear may, if neglected, in time wear out too; but then it is because 'tis suppressed, and not suffer'd to have its due InAuence upon us; whereas the other wears off of itself. Of this Remembrance we have many Instances in Scripture, a very Temarkable one in Belshazzar; I mean with respect to the Hand-writing on the

Wall ;


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