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and see what the gain of his trading for the Flesh. will amount unto; what all the present Comforts which now he hath in this Life, will yield him in the end. How little is it, that he now enjoys ? How imperfect are all his pleasures, and what a mixture of trouble and vexation doch he meet with in them all? How quickly will they all be gone? How do all his Joys end, before he has had the one half of what he would have had? How suddenly and unexpectedly come his Torments in their room? How sharp and intol, lerable prove they when they come? How durable will they be, and without any end? If this were but a little thought upon, it would spoil all our vain Mirth, and mad Frolicks; it would turn our Feasting into Fafting, and our Dancing into Mourning, if we were sure that within an hour, or how much less we know not, the House we Feast and Dance in, would be ali in Flames about us, and no way remaining for us to escape, but we must be Consumed to Ashes. Well then, eat, drink and be merry, as long as thou canst, it cannot be long; it cannot be many days, it may be but a few hours, yea, for ought thou knowst, not one, that thou haft to laugh and be merry in; and then, on a sudden, thou wilt find thy self in the midst of Flames, among Devils, and so must remain for evermore, Think seriously of this, and pride thy self now if thou canst in thy Wealth, Health and Profa perity.
2. It follows, that Good Men have all the evils they shall ever suffer, now, whilst they live in this World. There are none at all that they need fear to suffer hereafter ; but as soon as ever their Souls depart out of chefe eartbly Tabernacles, . . . . . . i : an ti ,
they: *. .:now
all his Sores him. He is ould have bembs which
they are in Comfort. Now (faith Abraham of poor Lazarus) be as comforted. He had all the Evils that fell to his share in his Life time. He that lay at thy Gate for Relief, and was in so: low a Condition, That the very crumbs which fell from thy Table, would have been a great Comfort to him. He is now perfectly cur’d of all his Sores, he shall never hunger or thirst any more, all Tears are wiped from his Eyes, all sor
rows banish'd from his Heart. He now enjoys , a perpetual Peast, and shall rejoyce in joy unspeakable and full of Glory, to all Eternity.
0! What a comfort have we here given to every pious Soul, how poor and wretched foever his present condition be! What an easy thing will the hope of all this unexpressible and endlets Joy and Glory make it unto such à one, to füffer any Grief, pain, or Hardship, now for a short while on this Earth! Is it evil with you now, remember, you shall be comforted. There is but a little while for you to wait, and thele wretched days of yours will be at an end. Death is coming on a pace, and will be sure to put an end to all your troubles in a moment. What troubles and pains do others willingly undergo to gain a little Honour, or Wealih, or Pleasure, which they know they can have but a few days in this LVorld ? And wilt not thou for a few days with patience endure a little Sickness, Pain, or Poverty, for all the Comforts and Joys of a blessed Eternity, no, not for the honour, wealth and pleasures of a most glorious and everlasting Kingdom? Remember, that nothing but impatience, and discontent, can lefen thy future Foys; live therefore pionsly, and patiently, in a comfortable expectation of those Comforts, which are
now unexpressible, and when once they begini, Thall never end; and do not so undervalue ihy : bope, as not to think it worth the patient suffering for, bur a very little while in this Life. If it go ill with thee now, it Mall not do so long; bur all will be well shortly, and all will be well for ever.
Should any one after this be so curious, as to ask, Where it is, these Souls departed, whether they be Good or Bad, must remain till the last day ; and what, in particular, are the torments of the one, and comforts of the other, immediately after Death ? To both these curious questions I think St. Augustine's Answer the best that can be given. It is better (faith he) to be ignorant, or to doubt of secret things, than to wrangle about things uncertain. What God hath not yet told me, cannot concern me yet to know, otherwise I doubt not, but he would have told me of it. And it is a very madness to fall out one with another in dispucing about things which are therefore uncertain to us, because unreveal'd; because for want of revelatinn, the controversy cannor be de. cided, and the dispute is vain. Let us endeavour to learn now, and be content to know fo much as may make us good, and always labour to be more good, than knowing : So shall we be sure after Death, to know all that is needful to make us happy, and happier we shall then be, than now we can know or understand..
From what hath been now said of the much differing States of these two Persons after Deach, we learn how to Answer that Question, which was before propounded, and hitherto referr'd, viz. How it can be consistent with the good Providence and righteous Government of God, to suffer
not, very madnes hings which id; becaule de
Good Men to be in much Ami&tion upon Earth, whilst the Wicked prosper?'. . That it is often fo, it cannot be denied; thơ it may be, it is not by far so common a thing, as we are apt to imagine it. Many, who seem to us very pious Men, are yet no better than cunning Hypocrites, and whilst these, whose false Hearts God seeth'into, are juftly plagu'd by him for their Hypocrisy; wę, who judge by Outward Appearances, are apt to think that in Afflicting them, he Afflicts Good Men. On the other side there may be many whom we esteem evil Men, who are not so in God's Account. Their special Calling or Station in the World is such, as necessarily engageth them to bestow most of their time, and study on secular Affairs, whether they be more publick or private. There is also a State to be taken upon themselves by some in regard to their Office, and a distance to be kept by them from other Men of an inferior order. And for this, we are too apt to look upon them with an evil and envious Eye, and they seem to us (only thro' our own earthly mindedness, Pride, and Impatience of seeing any either over uş, or above us to be Worldly, and Ambitious, and too much intent upon their own selfisha Interest : Some again are as Modest, as they are Good, and have more of the Heart, than Face of Religion; and know nor how to force their Humility into such an Qutside, and Oftentatious fhew of Piety and Zeal, as others, who have far less of it, can do. If such Men as these thrive and prosper, we are apt to say, that Evil Men are exalted, and Good Men neglected. And whilst upon these, or other such mistakes, we judge rashly of others, we cannot stop there ; but are apt also to fly in the Face of Providence, as tho?
God could have no hand in ordering things, if we cannot make all that comes to pass in the World to suit with our own Humours and Tempers, which we have persuaded our selves to believe very Good and Religioss.
Besides, it ought to be consider'd, that we are apt to judge too rafhly of Men's Condition in this World, as well as of their Piety and Goodness. That Condition is certainly Best and Happiest, which yields a Man most inward Peace, Quiet, and satisfaction of Mind. And Men of a moderate Fortune, and middle State, have commonly most of chese, and I think it is as easy to observe, that serious and fober Piety is more easy to be met with among this middle sort of people, than in either of the extreams. These are the men that are most properly said to thrive and prosper, and these are commonly the best Men, and have the least of any fort either of Sin, or of Trouble, being content with their moderate Portion; and jut, and kind to their Neighbours; and of a peaceable, and Loving Temper, having a most high Veneration for the Divine Majesty, and an earnest desire to do good in their Generation, to live chearfully on a Competence at Home, and peaceably among their Neighbours Abroad, obediently to good Laws, serviceable to their Country, and submisively to Divine Providence ; God usually blesseth them with their own defires, and upholds them in that indifferent State, wherein is the greatest Worldly Happiness.
And yet tho the Suppofition, whereon this ca. vil against Providence is grounded, be nat fo *miversally true, as it is commonly taken to be ; for it is not true, that it is either always, or of teneft thus with good and bad Men, as it is fup: