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By holy conversation and godliness, we fhall be no fufferers in the univerfal calamity; but may with confidence look for, and even hafte to meet, the coming of the day of God; being diligent that we may be found of him in peace; as the fame apostle adviseth. For, as another infpired writer informs us, The Lord himself shall defcend from, heaven with a shout; with the voice of the arch-angel; and with the trump of God: And the dead in Chrift shall rise firft: Then we, fays he, which are alive, and remain, fhall be caught up together with them in the clouds; to meet the Lord in the air; and fo fhall we ever be with the Lord*.
Thus, by framing our lives as becomes those that wait for these things; whether we shall be of the number of the quick, or dead; we fhall be changed in a moment; and be removed into regions of fecurity; out of the reach of the deftroying element: Or if we shall not entirely efcape its fury;
1 Theff. iv. 16, 17.
it will affect us no otherwife, than in purging away our drofs; and refining us from our fins; as filver is tried and refined in a furnace of earth, purified feven times. For the prophet tells us, that the Lord, at the day of his coming, is like a refiner's fire; and like fuller's foap: And that he fhall fit as a refiner, and purifier of filver; and shall purify the fons of Levi; and purge them, as gold and filver *.
"And then, when by that fire, probably, the portion of matter, which was in the bodies of all who have lived upon earth, shall be so far refined and fixed, as to become both incorruptible, and immortal; then they fhall be made meet for the foul, that formerly animated them, to re-enter every one into its own body; which shall be then fo moulded, as to be a habitation, fit to give it everlasting joy, or everlasting torment +.'
* Bishop Burnet, Exp. of the Articles, Art. iv. p. 67. + Mal. iii. 2, 3.
On either of the foregoing fuppofitions, whether at this great day, we shall be found alive; or, as is most probable, dead in the Lord; we shall be qualified for the fucceeding happy state.
CHA P. XIII.
OF THE RENOVATION OF THE
T was in order to its melioration, that the earth was deftroyed by water: And it is for the fame gracious end, that it is to be destroyed again by fire; that by undergoing these two different kinds of purgation, it may at last be reduced to fuch an improved and happy ftate, as was sketched out in the primitive paradife; which was an emblem, and an earnest of it: And this is an end worthy of the great Creator, and wife Governor of the world; and juftifies his ways to men, in Hh3
the fevere judgments, which he hath, and will have, inflicted upon the world.
That the whole frame of nature, the whole system of the universe, is all to be reftored to this renovated ftate, is what the fcripture, which hath hitherto been our guide; and which, especially with regard to the view before us, must neceffarily be our guide unto the end-This is what the holy fcripture, I fay, which never misleads us, gives us repeated affurances of.
This important change will be fo great and univerfal, that it is expreffed by the infpired writers in the terms of a new creation. For behold, faith the Lord, by his prophet, I create new heavens, and a new earth: And, as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make, fhall remain before me, faith the Lord; fo fhall your feed, and your name remain *.
It is with reference to this promife, contained in the words of the prophet, that
* Ifai. lxv. 17—lxvi. 22.