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but Fools; and whilft he will needs be chought wifer than all Men for denying it; he vet contends with all earnestuess, that the thing which he denies, and others believe, is a thing which no Body can know, whilst he lives, whether it be so or no.
2. We are here taught very plainly, Thar the Souls of Men after Death are not all in one and the same state and/Condition; no, not in the interval between the Hour of Death, and the Day of Judgment. They do not seep all this while, neither are they insensible of good or evil; they are not all happy, nor all miserable ; but fime of them are comforted, and others tormented. * 3. We are taught as plainly, That such as we are in this Life, good or bad, fuch also shall our future state be immediately after Death, a state of Comfort or of Torment. Good Men shall be comfor. ted, and evil Men tormented.
These Things I say, our blelled Saviour, and his holy A postles afrer him, have very plainly commended to our Faith. And we are left, as long as we live, to consider wisely of cheni; and to choose whether we will believe them or no. Bus who sees not, that it is at our Peril? If we be resolved, because we think that we have not all the Evidence that might have been given us of them, to put all to the venture, we may do so. But before we be fo daring, I should think it our Wifdom impartially to weigh the Matier a little in our most serious Thoughts, and not to conclude too hastily. Let us therefore, as many as think our Selves worth our own care, think of these few Things...
1. If there be such a future state of Comfort or Torment; and if either the one, or the other, must K2
be the state of every one of us when we go out of this World; do we not really think it a matter of greatest concernment to us, that we should be in time foretold of it, and have some warning given us beforehand to provide as well as we can for our felves? Do not we think it very fit, we Should have some Dire&tions given us, what course to take whilft we live, that we may escape the tora ments, aud maks fare of the comfort which is to come? I hope no Man can be fo wholly regardless of himseli, as to deny this to be a Thing ve. ry desirable, onsupposition, that there be such a ftate as either of these remaining for us all after Death; or not to think it a very great kindness in our blessed Saviour so plainly and fully, to ina form and dire&t us as he hath done. If there be a future ftate of Comfort for good Men, and another of Torment for evil Men, and I know nothing of it, and through Ignorance live wickedly, I shall fall into the state of Torment for want of timely warning of it, or directions given me how to prevept it. And therefore I cannot but judge it a matter of great Concernment to me to be well in. form'd before-band. Por
2. Can we possibly come to any certain and diftin&t knowledge of these two States any other way, than by Divine Revelation. It is true, that by the Light of Nature we may be satisfied that there is a God, and that we, being rational Creatures, are bound to live in Obedience to him, and that he will Reward the Obedient, and punish the Disobedient ; and because it doth not appear, that he doth so always in this Life, that therefore he will do it after Death. But now how, or where, or how long he will thus Punish or Reward, no Man can do any more but Conje&ture and Guess. No
Art or Study can clearly discover thefe things unto us; the wife of the Heathens were herein at a great loss, and as much divided in their Opinions about these things, as they were United in their Opinion of a twofold future State in general. Which we need not here prove, because, more than this, and more than we can accept, is Confess'd and Granted by them who disbelieve the Holy Scriptures, to wit, That no Man can tell what the State of Dead Men is. No Man can fell it indeed but by the help of Divine Revelation, By the help of this Men have been enabled to give us good Assurance of it, and there is no need of what our Modern Infidels have learn'd of the Rich-man in the Parable to demand, That ons may be sent from the Dead to inform us.
3. Would we not be too apt to blaspheme the Goodness and Justice of God too, had he made us such as we are, and yet told us nothing of what we are to expect after Death. He hath made us of such a Nature, that we would rain know what's yet to come, as well as what's present ; what we shall be hereafter, as well as what we are pow. We are apt to Long and Defire, to Hope and fear, in relation to things to come; and finding that a!Men die, we are concern'd naturally to think, what we shall be when we are dead; and these thoughts, as they are natural, so are they very troublesome and tormenting to us, so long as we labour under this uncertainty. Would we nog therefore think, that God dealt very hardly with us, and noţ fuirably to the nature he had given us, if he had left us altogetheị in the dark, and given us no notice of what he had design'd for nis aftes this life? If he had not acquainted us with what we are so expee hereafțer, and if he
had nor told us his mind what he would have us to do here, we should have been apt to think he dealt not with us agreeably either to our nasure, or that motion which we have of his Gaodnels,
4. Why then, now that God hath told us by his Son; what remains for us after death, are we not willing to believe it? What should God do with a People of our Temper; who confess the things which we are told to be of the greatest concernment in the World for us to know; and think it highly reasonable that God should not leave us in ignorance of them ; yea, that it is inconoftcnc both with his nature, and our own, ibat he should do so ; and yet after all, when they are as fully and plainly as such things can be revealed unto us, and we have nothing to object with any strength of reason against the truth of the revelation, will we not believe what is told us ?
Who would willingly be in such a doubtful Condition when he comes to die, to think that he is leaving this World, to go he knows not whither? Good God! What a perplexity, and distraction of Mind muft one at that time be in, if he be nor some way or other stupified, and can think of nothing at all, to find himself step: ping out of this World never to see it any more, and not to know wherher he shall not immediately drop down into an unguenchable fiery Furnace; whether he shall be something or nothing i what he had hitherto been, or something else ; in cmfort, or in torment ; for a time only, or for eternity ? Into what a confusion must this put a thinking Man? If one will now, by disregarding all that he is told by so credible a Perlon as
the blessed fesus, whose very life on Earth seem'd nothing else but Miracle and Love, chose to be in this condition of uncertainty and doub: when he is going out of this world, and so if there prove to be a better, and a worse, after death, make the worse fure unto himself; such an one is to be given over as a mad-man, whose case, howsoever we may pity him, is too desperate to admit of any cure.
But now, if all this be true, which we are here taught by our graciouş Saviour, concerning the future State of Mcn, then these two things do neceffarily hence follow.
1. That wicked Men have all the comforts, that cver they must expect to have, now in this World whilst here they live ; there are none at all for 'em, not so much as the refreshment of one Drop of Water, to be hoped for after their Souls are once gone out of their bodies. Now (faith Abraham to the Rich-man ) thou art tormented. Whatever good things fell to thy share, thou hast already had them all in thy life-time. But now after that Life is ended, expect nothing at all but torments. O, what a dismal change is there here ! Had he only lost all his Comforts at once, it had been more tolerable. But that's noç all, as he must not expect ever to have any more Good things, so he must for ever suffer Evil things. He must be tormented, not only with the sense of his lofs, and with despair of ever recovering any part of what he had lost, or of enjoying any other good thing instead of what is lost, but also with a fenfe of pains, even the bitterest of Pains, like that of Frying in unquenchable flames. "
Here let che brutish Epicure fit down, and think a little of this. Let him całt up his Accounts;