« PreviousContinue »
coming projecting can hold anuld think, bar
the truth of all that which he taught, by the most wonderful works, that ever were wrought; we must proclaim our felves to be very Fools indeed, if we yet choose rather to be ruled by our own bold and blind Conjectures, than by so clear and convincing a Revelation. And truly, as unreaso. nable a thing we think it, to reject this Divine Revelation, as Tome Men do, only because it discovers to us some Mysteries in Religion, which no Reafan of Man, could ever by itself discover; and in the mean time hearken to those confident Men, who would without any thing but their own conje&ture to convince us, impose upon our Faitla as great Mysteries in Nature; for such we think A wisely contrived World without a wise Maker ; a constant Order fixed by chance ; and a thinking, reaSoning projecting Creature without a reasonable Soul. Such Men as can hold and teach such things as these, fhould not, one would think, be startled and frighted out of all Religion by the name of a Mystery. But indeed the Mystery of this is easily enough discernable, it is not the mysteriousness, but the purity of the Christian Religion, at which these Men boggle; no absurdity fo great, buc they can swallow and digest it, so that they may be allowed their Lusts, Let us therefore leave them to plead for themselves, by the great Wifdom they pretend to be Masters of, at the last great day; and hearken to what our Blessed JESUS here teacherh us. And so shall we learn these things.
1. That in these Mortal Bodies of ours, we have Souls indued with Understanding, Reason, and a Freedom of Cboice; and are hereby fiţted for Morgal Government, as capable of understanding Laws, and acting according to them, and re
fleeting on our own Aktions and Behaviours, and of taking and rendring an account of our selves; and that these Souls are the principal parts of us, and make us Men; and what our Bodies do without the notice and directions of these rational Souls, are not to be accounted Humane A&tions. Those Actions only are to be esteem'd Humane Actions, which the Soul doth in or by the Body. Hence, faith St Paul, 2 Cor. v.10. We must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that every awe may receive the things done in his Body, accorda ing to that be hath done, whether it be good or bad.
That is, that he may receive the punishment of the evil, or the reward of the good, which He, that is, bis Soul did whilft it was here in the Body; which the Apostle calls the Earthly Tabernacle of this House, which is to be by Death dissolved or taken down, to which the Soul is not so insepasa rably uniced, but that it may depart out of it, and be with Christ according to St Paul's wish, Phil.
Knowing; faith he T hat whilst we are at home, that is, dwell or are conversant in the Body, we are absent from the Lord; we are willing rather to be absent from the Body, and to be present with the Lord, 2 Cor. V. 6.8. We have then Souls in these Bodies, which can depart and be absent from them, and be where our Bodies are not. Let us therefore glorifie God with our Bodies, and wit bour Spirits which are his
2. When we die, we do not cease to be. By Death we mean not an annihilation, or turning any part of us into nothing, but a dissolution or Jeparation of our two parts asunder; the Souls leaving of the Body, and the Bodies returning to corruption. Our Souls, I lay only leave our
Bodies and die not, neither corrupt with them. Whilst our Bodies lie in the dust, our Souls are lodged elsewhere, becter or worse, according as they have in the Body behaved themselves. Tben, that is, when we die, the dust, that is, the Bedy which God made of the dust of the Earth, shall return to the Earth as it was; and the Spirit, or Soul, shall return to God that gave it, Eccl. xii. 17. Fain would they, who can delight in nothing but a beastial Life, believe that they shall die as they live; liketheBeasts which perish. How great a fatisfaction would it now be to such Men, seeing they know that they cannot avoid dying, to know also, that their Souls too (if they have any such things, as one would think by the little care they take of theinselves, they have not) shall die with their Bodies, and that Death will make an end of the whole Man ?. This would please them, who can be pleased with nothing but bodily things, a great deal better, than for the hope of enjoying a happiness, which they can yet have no sense of, to be abridg'd of their freedom of doing now as they lift, and not to be allowed to serve their Luits, without feeling now. and then the lashes of their own Consciences. Our Blessed Saviour, who came to make us happy, teacherh us that we may be fo, first to behave ourselves like Men, 10 understand what we are, what kind of things God hath made us, and what it is, wherein our happiness must confift. He hath assured us, that we have Souls which fhall survive these Bodies, and therefore bids us, not to fear them which can kill the Body, but after tbat bave no more that they can do; but rather to fear Him, who after be bath killed the Body, is
able to cast both Soul and Body into Hell. Matt. to. 28. ` And yet will not He so destroy either Soul or Bedy, as that they shall be no more at all, but so as that they shall never be happy, if they be nor well prepared for it before Death.
Let us mind well what our Saviour here faith, The Rich Man (faith he) died, and was buried, and in Hell lift up bis Eyes, being in for. ments. Immediately upon his Death he is found in Heland in torments. Where Hell is, is a thing not told us, and 'cis a foolish curiofity to enquire about it. Hell in Scripture signifies the invisible State of the dead, and where-ever the dead are in torments, there is the Hell of wicked inen. Into such an uncomfortable state of torments, the Souls of wicked men go immediately when ever they die. The Rich Man's Body was buried, it was laid up in the Earth, and yet then was the Rich Man, that is, his Soul in Hell. As Lazarus, that is, the Soul of Lazarus was carried as soon as he died by the Angels into Abraham's Bojom : So was che Soul of the Rich Man carried, it may well be supposed by Devils or Evil Spirits into Hell to be tormented. As Lazarus was immediately after Death at rest in Abraham's Bofom, Blefjed are the dead which die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours, Rev.
So the Rich Man was immediately after Death in torments, in forrow and pain, grief and an. guish; then begun his endlefs troubles in the Re gion of darkness, a most disconfolate condicion. All his purple and fine Linnen, all his fumptuous fares, all his feasting and jollities, all his vanity and glory are now at an end for ever; and there is nothing but a gnawing worm, and unguenchable fire, weaping and wailing and gnashing of Teesh. He chat would not go when he dies into this
to live a very fewna.
Daviour of Sinn upon Earth
Condition, must not do as the Rich Man did in this Life to fit himself for it, and make it una. voidable. He must resolve to live a very serious and Sober Life upon Earth ; for what saith the Saviour of Sinners, Luk. vi. 25. Wo unto you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
TheRich Man in Hell is in'torments. Torments are felt or they are no torments. The Rich Man's Soul was too much tormented to Sleep, it was not in a fenfeless state, I suppose, when it was in torments. His Body indeed was carried (in State very likely) to his grave and knew it not, it lay rocting there and perceived it not, it was eaten with Worms, and felt it not ; but his Soul was in tor. ments, yet was it not in the worst of Torments, such as shall follow the senčence of Condem. nation which Christ the righteous Judge of quick and dead, shall pronounce in the last great and terrible Day: However the torments he was in, were very grievous, even such as are likened to the scorching of Flames, for such dochthe Rich Man complain of, saying, I am scorched in this Flame, V.molt is nor easy to say, or conceive how grievous theferorments are ; we may hear more of them anon, God grant we may never feel them.
Let us therefore pas the time of our fojourning
bere in fear, 1 Pet. 1.- and be very careful not imitak to miftake the Rich Man in his way of living, left
we come into his fad condition so soon as we die. Stand in awe and Sin not. Pfal. Do not those things now with delight and pleasure, which will certainly bring us into these Torments, The readiest way to fall into the torments of Hell, is to think little of them, and never to fear them, but to pass our time in vain Mirth and Pleasure,