Page images
PDF
EPUB

Pent. They only love çheir Sin, till they fee Reas Son enough to believe that there is something which bercer deferves their Love. And nothing can be Reason enough for this, buç the Testimony of one from the dead, who can tell them what he hath seen and felt. So soon as ever they can meet with such good Intelligence, you may be sure of it they will repent. Find

Leç us here a little consider what Realons might; move this wicked Gentleman in Hell to infift so čarnestly on this Requeft, so that he preferreth the sending one from the Dead, before all other means, of bringing his Brethren to Repentance. We must suppose he is here made to speak the Sense of himself, and of his Brethren, and of all such as they were, when alive. And therefore by confidering the Things that mov'd him to defire this so importunately, we may learn what it is that keeps such Perfons so long as they live from repenting.' ' "ori.

And here, First, from the whole Discourse we may observe, That one reason why fuch Men res pent not, is this, the confidence that they have in themselves, that they are Men of so much Sense and Reason, that they understand them. selves, and all their own Concerns, better than any other can do. That the only reason why thiey value nor Religion as others do, nor live so holy lives as they do, is, because they are wiler than they, and will not be govern'd by uncertainties. But knowing themselves ready always to be ruled by reason, and that if they meer with reason enough to change their present Course of Life, they are sure they will be ruled by it : Herein they know they Act like rational Crea

tures,

tures, and if there be a God who made them such, they make themselves sure he will never punih then for that. Of this mind the Richman had always been, and this he knew to be the sense of his Bretbren. They were, he knew, Menu of reason, and would be convinced by a sufficient Testimony. Only that they wanted to bring them. to repentance : Now, all that can be faid to Men Po wife in their own conceits, is but tliis; that there is more hope of a fool than of them, God will not, they' may be sure, condemn them for Acting according to-Reason, bur-for very unreasonably inagnitying their own wisdom, and opposing it to his Will, That he will condemn them for, is for refifting the light which he hath given them, and faying, they see when he tells them they are blind, ibere. fore their Sin remaineth. In vain "pretend Men to live according to Reason, whilst they live con-' trary to buman Nature, as it hath been shew'd that wicked Men do. And he is mad, and not rational, who knowing himself the Creature of an all wife God, as all rational Creatures know themselves to be, accounts it Wisdom to be govern'd rather by his own Imaginations than by Divine Revelation; or who thinks that a wife God made Men reasonable, and hath not given chem a fufficient revelation of his Will, whereby they may know how to behave themselves towards him. It is not (as is pretended ) want of sufficient Reafor few'd them to repent, but want of a just Consideration of the Reasons which are given them, that keeps them from repenting. And wharever these Witty Gentlemen are pleas'd to call chenifelves, they are nor Men of great Reafon too strong for Divine Revelations so attested as it is; but Men of prodigious

Luft

relations 10 affertu*0,

Luft and Folly, too strong for their Realon. And of this, if never before, they will be convinced in Hell.

Secondly, This Rich Gentleman now in Hell, and made fenable of his Folly by his Torments, might, by the Flames wherein he lay, be awakened, into some such thoughts as these.

1. He might well suppose, That a sudden and altogether unexpected Apparition of a Dead-man's Ghost, would put his Brethren into a great fright and astonishment; affer which, as they were aable to recover, and come to themselves, they would, in all probability, entertain some serious Thoughts, and begin to confider a little, and so discourse among themselves, what should be the meaning of what they saw and heard. And thus far I verily believe he was in the right. For tho' such i jovial fellows above all things hate thinking, as a very troublesome thing, and a mighty Enemy to good Company ; yet such a fight would be very apt in such a surprize as this, to daunt a little the ftonteft finner of them all, and to make the most unthinking Man a little tboughtful. I would cool his present Luft, and mar his Mirth for some time ; and put him into such a posture, as one should hardly be able by their pale looks to distinguish, which was the Ghost, be, or the thing that appeared to him, Rese son must have fomething to awake it in such Men, howsoever they boast themselves Mafters of it, they seldomn shew the Command they have of it any otherwise, than by Eating and Drinking, and playing it affaep; and serious consideration is the life of reason. The want of this the Rich Man knew well enough had kept him from Repentidg;

and

and therefore might be so earnest with Abraham so have this course taken with his Bretóren, as that which was most likely to put them on this use of their reason

2. He might well hope, that being thus awake, and beginning to think seriously of what had happened, they might be convinc'd, or at least be brought to sufpect, because of this Apparition of one, as they suppos'd, from the Dead, That there is a future state of Men after Death, and that something of them remains alive after their Bodies are laid up to corrupt; the thing which they had been told of in the Scripture, but would not believe. The Rich Man well knew how uneasy - to him he had ever found the thoughts of this, and what shifts he was wonc to make to prevent them from giving him too much trouble, and abacing the guft he had in his finful pleasures ; · and might very well think, that his Bret bren were yer as averse from such Thoughrs, as he had been. But thought he, if one be sent unto -them from the Dead, and begin to talk to them

about the future state of the Dead, and testify of it froin his own Experience, if this will not throughly convince them, that the Souls of them who die do live after Deach, yer will iç make them leß confident of the contrary, and more cau: tions how they live. And this, I think, it could not chufe but do, suppoling them fully satisfied, that what appeard to them was no delusion, but fomething that they knew was once alive, and had been Dead."

. feber 3. He might fuppofe, that one who had fome time talted of the Joys of Paradice, and had Tain féalting himself in Abraham's bofnme, would be

able

O4

able to give them a more lively and affe&ting Den scription, of that blessed State, wherein he then was; and make them more clearly understand the vast difference between the imperfeet and bruitif pleasures, which they were now so fond of, and those perfe&t Celestial Foys in another World, which they must certainly lose, if they repented nor. Words fit to express the excellency and glory of Pious Souls departed hence, are too great for the Mouths of Mortals, and all such as cannot speak from their own feeling. Those figures of Speech whereby, they are some way shadow'd forth unto us in Holy Scripture, to such as have not some Spiritual sense of them, and want a Spiritual Eye to see thro' the Metapbor, do but obscure or disguise them; and to such Men as we are now speaking of, make them seem fabulous and incredible. Lazarus would be able, he thought, . foʻplainly to set forth the greatness of that Heavenly Banquet, whereat he was continually entertain'd, and all those glories of the other World whereof he was a constant Spectator, that after they had once given him a full hearing, they could not but be ravish'd with the relation he had made, and they would never again have any Appetice to any of those low and earthly pleafures which this World afforded, but look on them as despicable things in comparison of

what he would commend to their choice. And : then,

4. He might fuppose, That one who had seen, as Lazarus inight be suppos'd by him to have

done, that' dismal fight of Souls tormented with the , Devils in Hell, and had seen the Rich Gentleman, • instead of his Purple and fine Linnen, wrapp'd

up

« PreviousContinue »