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SERMON VIII.

EN VIII.

159

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Saints, to execute fudgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly amongst them, of all their ungodly Deeds, which they have ungodly committed

And of all their bard Speeches, which ungodly Sinners have spoken against him. Again, Why should its being Future be such a mighty Prejudice againft the Belief of Judgment? None but Fools and Children look no further than their present Condition. A wise Man fets as real a Value upon what shall certainly be, as if he were already in the actual Possession of it. 'Tis true, our Religion teaches us, that we shall not be Judged for our Ađions till this Life be done, that the Prize shall not be bestowed upon us till we come to the End of our Race; but it teacheth us also, that the Ef fects of that Judgment, are so considerable either Way, that they are worth the Care and the Pains of our whole Lives, were they much longer than they are; But these Scoffers urge further.

« Admit what you say to be true, yet certainly it would have been a greater Encouragement to pious Care and Diligence; a stronger Restraint from Sin and Wickedness, had God either placed Judgment nearer us, or told us the Time when it " would be. By no means, for if the general Belief of Judgment will not make us good Men; neither would the Knowledge of the Precise Time. Nay, our Saviour Founds his

Argument

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Argument to constant Watchfulness, in this

very Thing, viz, in our Ignorance of the Mat. xxiv Time. Watch iberefore, for ye knowo not what 42. 43044 Hour your Lord doch corne. But know this,

chat if the good Man of the House bad known in what Watch the Thief would come, be would have watched and not suffered bis House to be broken up : Therefore be alJo ready ; for in such an Hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometb. And this was the, unreasonable Request, that the Richi Man (in the Parable of the Sixteenth of St. Luke) beg'd of Abrabam in Behalf of his five Brethren; that he would send Lazarus to testifie unto them the certainty of a Judgment to come, and the intollerable Scorchings of the damned in Hell. Why, La. zarus sure could have effectually convinced them of this, having seen their Brother frying, and tormented in that Flame. No; Abraham tells him such a Meffage, and Relation from the other World, would not Convince an Atheist: They have Evidence as good as that already, and they will not believe. They have Moses, and the Prophets ; and if they will not bear them, neither will they be perswaded thoone Rose from the dead, But these Scoffers go further, and say.

6 'That « it is not only Future, but Uncertain ; por

sibly it may never happen; for no Mari

ever look'd into the other World, or faw " these Things, you require us to believe, What Nonsence is this? Never saw them

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Tis true ; neither is it necessary, nay, 'tis in many Respects incovenient any should. This would take away all Faith ; for Faith is the Evidence of Thing's not seen; It would destroy

our Hope; for what à Man sees and enjoys is - present, why doth be get hope for it ? it would įrender the Patience, the Constancy, and the

Sufferings of good Men, needless, and not half so rewardable. Besides, is there no Certain

but what depends upon Sight? Is there nothing due to the Credit of History; to univerfal Tradition ; to the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures? Do we not receive many Things upon the Veracity of others, which we are as far from doubting of, as if we had seen them our felves? If this be not so, I am fure our Knowledge must be drawn into a very little Compass; and no Man must

pretend to more of that, than he has seen tranfacted in his own Time: And how abfurd' a. Position is that? Who is there that doubts of the Truth of those Transactions which have been done many hundred Years ago ?' I confefs, I never saw Julius Cæsar at the Head of his Armies ; nor heard Tully pleading at the Bar; but yet I am as well assured of the Valour and Conquests of the One; of the Learning and Eloquence of the other, as if I had.

I never had St, Austin's Wish; to see our | Blessed Saviour in the Pulpit, but I am as

well perswaded, that I have read his Sermon F and Exhortations to the People, as if I had been with him upon the Mount. To come

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something nearer the present Matter; I neve

had St. John's Vifion, and Representation of Rev. 20.'the Day of Judgment, to see the Dead, Sinall

and Great, standing before the Throne of God; yet I do as firmly believe this shall be, at the End of the World, as if I had already heard the Arch-Angel sounding his Trumpet, and calling Mankind to this Glorious and Univerfal Appearance. In short, our Christian Faith in this Article, is so well ascertain'd to us, as nothing can be more; we have all the Evidence of its Truth, and Certainty that the Nature of the Thing is capable of; and fuch as, fupposing it true, we could not possibly have greater: So that the first Prejudice in B this Matter, drawn from the pretended De la lay, or Distance, or-Uncertainty of a Judgment to come, is altogether vain, unreasonable, and impious.

Secondly, Another Prejudice and Objection they frame against the Belief of a Judgment to come, is ; " That it is a very uncomfor“ table Do&trine; that it ties Men up to such “ Severities and Restraints, as deprive them < of all the Pleasure and Felicity of HuC inan Life ; for he that believes he must

one Day give a strict and particular Account “ of every Thought, Word, and Action of “ his whole Life, must reeds be a very unfou ciable, and a very scrupulous Creature : " He cannot use that commendable Freedom " and Chearfulness, which is fo neceffary in

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** Human Conversation; but will ever, and

anon be curbed, and check'd by the

Thoughts of that dreadful Day. Now in Answer to this, it is fufficient to reply two

Things. First, That it is contradicted by the 1 daily Experience of the World. And, se

condly, That it is altogether a groundless Supposition.

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1. It is directly contrary to the daily Experience of the World. For who are more pleasant and sociable, and innocently facetious? Who maintain more pure, and real Friendships? Who enjoy the Delights, and use the Blessings of Providence, with a truer Taste and Satisfaction? Who are less concerned at the Calamities and Afflictions of this Life? Who are more ready, and prepared to submit to Death, and to leave this World than holy and religious Men; who live under the Sense of God, and the Awe of being called to an Account? 'Tis true indeed, this makes them serious, but not fullen and Pensive ; this checks the Extravagance of their Mirth and Pleafures; this lays a Restraint upon the Riotoufness of their Passions and Lusts; but it is so far from retrenching their just Pleasures, that it is the only way to qualify them for them. It preferves their Bodies, in their natural Temper and Health, without which all the Enjoyments of this Life are nauseous and cloy

ing. It fills the Mind with perpetual Light 3 and Vigour, and diffufeth a joyful and trans

porting

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