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he should contradi&t it all, what reason could we have to believe rather the one affirming, than the other denying all ? That both shou'd lo speak truth it cannot be ; and which to believe, whilst they say contrary things, we could not tell.
To me it seems .very plain, That whosoever is not befcrehand, some way or other reasonably well satisfied of this main point, That the Souls of Good men are in a comfortable State after Death, and feel so much the happiness of being good, that they will never become evil; cannot be convinc'd, that there is any such future State of happiness or misery, by the testimony of a Soul seno unto him from the dead. And if so, it is a very needless and impertinent Errand for such a Soul to be sent upon, to do what is already done to convince one of what he was before convinc'd.
If I believe there can be no such things as Spie rits, how shall a Spirit's appearing to me convince me of it ? He cannot appear visibly to me but in some kind of bodily form and shape; and whilst to me he looks like a body, how should his appearance convince me, that he is a Spirit? If I take it for a body, how shall I be convinc'd, that it is the very body of that dead Man, in whose likeness it appears to me, knowing that the body of that Man lies rotting in the Earth ? If I believe that there be Spirits, and that this is the Spirit of that good Man, I once knew, or if I believe it is he, whether Soul, or Body, or both; ic is not this appearance of him to me, and his testimony, of himself which brought me to this belief, unless I was before convinc'd, that good Men conti. nue always good, and will not deceive me by a. lie, or cheat me by a delusion
We We must therefore, to give some credit to the testimony of one thus fent from the dead, suppofe Fourthly, That these Bretbrew were before this satisfied, that good Men continue good Men after Death, and are happy in Goodness, and with well to all Men upon the Earth, and are ready to . do them good as they are permitted by God. And if it were fo, then what must Lazarus be sent to do? Moses and the Prophets had taught them this, and the Holy Scripture is enough to keep it fresh in their Memories. And the things then recorded as done to win and confirm their belief, were incomparably many and great, beyond what cou'd be expected from one coming from the Dead. The testimony of Lazarus is no more, but the testimony of one Man, and tho' he was sent from the dead to teltify, yet could they have no reason to believe him, if they did nor before-hand believe the main point, which he was sent to teftify. Such a testimony muf therefore be need. lefs and vain. It was needless to convince them, who were before convinc'd; and it was vain to endeavour thus to convince them, who could not thus be convinc'd.
And now supposing them before-hand convinc'd of this truth, That there is a twofold fue ture State of Men after Death, such as in Holy Scripture we read of, what work was there left for Lazarus to do? A great deal, indeed, and too much for him to do by his testifying unto them. Tho' they believ'd all the things recorded in the Holy Scripture, yet did they not repent, as in the holy Scripture they are commanded to do, and his great work was to persuade them to repent. Let us Then, in the next place fee, if the
thingsrecorded in Holy Scripture, when believ'd, be not as sufficient to persuade Men to repent ance, as such a testimony of one from the Dead.
1. Neither could Lazarus, nor any other tell us any more to persuade us by, than hath been told us in the Holy Scripture. All that such an one could do more, is to make known to us his own Experience of those Things, and to tell us, that he hath felt, what in the Scripture we are told such Men shall feel. Now if we did believe before, that such Things shall be felt after Death, his Teftimony of his own Experience serveth, ac most, but to confirm us in the belief of what we believed before. And if we did not believe them before, his Testimony could persuade us to nothing, till we were well assur'd of his being what he pretended to be; and of his honest Intentions to inform and not deceive us. : The Belief to be procured is the fame, the Things to be believ'd are the same, they are no new unheard of Things he is to convince us of, and therefore we had before he came the same motives to repense tance, which he now brings with him. - Nay, if we believe the Scripture, we have chere far stronger motives to repentance, than any one's coming from the Dead can offer to us. We have God's own word for it, his Promises to the Penitent, his Menaces against the Impenitent. We have one greater than Lazarus after his Death teftifying from Heaven unto us. The eternal Son of God, "who in our Nature bare our Sorrows; who felt in his own buman Soul and Body, the heavy boira den of our Sins, and of God's fierce Wrath kind. led against 'em; who was in the Sense hereof before his Deach, in an Agony, Giveating as it were
this in hind is nornice, dyine
great drops of Blood; who was so sorrowful even #ne to 'Death, with the dreadful apprehension of the port Torments, he was to undergo for our Sins, that he used strong Cries and Tears, praying again and again, and the third time more earnestly, that if it was possible, that Cup might pass from him; and ar last cried with a loud Vrice, dying on the Cross for our Sins. And is not his Testimony, who fuffer'd all this in his own person for us, of more power to persuade us to repentance, than the Teftimony of one such as Lazarus? He arose again from the dead, and appeared to Hundreds, and went up visibly into Heaven, and sent thence the Holy Ghost, and by Him, enabled the Apostles to restifie unto us in the demonstration of the Spirit and of Power, and to persuade us to believe and repent, and not to venture on a sinful course of Life, and thereby on eternal Torments. And is not this Testimony of Christ risen from the Dead, and of many who came out of their Graves, when he arose and appeared to many, and of others afterwards restored to Life again by his Apofties in his Name, of more force to move us to repentance than the Testimony of one Lazarus? Could Lazarus say, Repent, for I have shed my Blood on the Cross, and am at my Father's right Hand; by my powerful intercession, to obtain for you the benefit and grace of Repentance ? Repent, for I have suffer'd in my own Soul a great part of those Torments which are due to Sinners, and have Experience how intollerable they are; on purpose, that you repenting may never suffer the Torments of Hell? Repent, for I have procured the Holy Ghost to allist you, and to comfort you, and to prepare you for, and guide you to Heaven, where now I am interceding for you?
What could any one from the Dead plead with us comparable to this? What need then of one from the Dead to persuade; or how should such an one perfuade us to repent, if all this will not do it?"
3. After all, it is to be feared, that such a Repentance as this Testimony of one coming from the Dead might persuade one to, would do us little good, nor indeed deserve the Name of Repentance. It would but too much resemble the late repentance of a dying Man, the Sincerity whereof may well be suspected, and how it will be accepted of, no Man can cell. The Repentance whereby one may escape the Torments of Hell implies a Love to God and Holiness, and the Holy Scripture, furnisheth us with all sorts of Reasons proper to persuade us unto this. A new frame of Heart, a right Heavenly Temper of Mind, à change of our Affections, and taking them off from Things carnal and Eartbly, and setting them on God, and on both : the Service and Promises of God are implied in true and effe&tual Repentance, And if the astonish
ing Love of God, and of our Lord JESUS Chrift, : as offered in the Scripture to our Consideration; and if all the precious and glorious Promises sealed in the Blood of a dear and dying Saviour; and if the beauty of Holiness, and the intrinsick goodness of the Holy and Heavenly Religion caught us, will not all wean our Affe&tions from the World, and the Flesh, Sin and Vanity, and engage them to God and Goodness; how is it poffible to imagine that a Story cold us by one whom we supposed to come from the Dead should do it? Indeed I doubc nor, buc such a Thing as this would a little disturb us, and make us afraid, and it may be, for a