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Ir. From which concession, which he thus openly makes, he would be understood (as I told you) to infer, though the inference be not exprefred, that there must; therefore, neceffarily be another state, to make up the inequalities of this, and to falve all irregular appearances. For if God be infinitely holy and pure, and just and good; he must needs take delight in those of his creatures that resemble hiin most in these perfections: He cannot but love virtue, where-ever it is, and reward it, and annex happiness always to the exercise of it. And yet this is so far from being the case, that the contrary often happenis in this life; where even the greatest saints are sometimes made the most remarkable instances of suffering. We may, therefore, surely conclude: that there must be a future state, wherein these rewards shall be bestowed, and this love of God to good men made to appear, and the eternal and Inseparable connexion between virtue and happi: nefs manifested, in the light of angels and men. It cannot consist with the divine attributes, that .. the impious man's joys should, upon the whole, exceed those of the upright ; or that the beasts of the field, which ferve him not, and know him not; should yet enjoy a more entire and perfect happiness, than the lord of this lower creation, man himfelf, made in God's own imäge to acknowledge and adore him and therefore, as certainly as God is, a time there will and must be, when all these unequal distributions of good and evil shall be set right, and the wisdom and reasonableness of all his transactions with all his creatures be made as clear as the noon-day. VOL. II.
And this, before that revelation had enlighten. ed the world, was the very best argument for a future estate, which mankind had to rest upon. Their philosophical reasonings, drawn from the nature of the soul, and from the instincts and presages of immortality implanted in it, were not fufficiently clear and conclusive. The only sure foundation of hope, which the wisest and most thoughtful men amongst the heathen pretended in this case to have, was, from the confideration suggested in the text : And from thence some of them reasoned without doubt and hesitancy; and lived and died in such a manner, as to thew, that they believed their own reasonings. . It may suffice, thus far to have enlarged on that great argument of a future state, which is urged by St. Paul in the words before us : “ If “ in this life only we had hope, men would real« ly be more miserable than beasts; and the best « of men oftentimes the most miserable. But it “ is impossible to imagine that a God of infinite « wisdom and goodness should distribute happi« ness and misery fo unequally and absurdly : It “ remains, therefore, that good men have a well« grounded hope in another life; and are certain 6 of a future recompence, as they are of the Being, and attributes of God."
III. The best ufe I can make of this comfortable truth, thus explained, is, To exhort you from thence to live like those who have their hope in another life ; like men who look upon them, felves as being upon their passage only thro’ this present world, but as belonging properly to that
which is to come. And thus we may be said to live, if we observe the following plain rules and directions; which are not the less useful, because they are plain ones. Several of them will give a natural occasion to those who knew the deceased person, of anticipating his character in their ihoughts: For he did really in good measure (and with due allowances made for human frailties) govern himself by them; and I may, for that reason, I hope, be suffered to insist the more freely upon them.
Now, to live like those that have their hope in another lice, implies,
Firft, That we indulge ourselves in the gratisi. catirgos of this present life very sparingly; that we keep under our appetites, and do not let them loose into the enjoyments of sense: But so use the good things of this world, as not abusing them; so take delight in them, as to remember that we are to part with them, and to exchange them for more excellent and durable enjoyments. Brethren (says St. Peter), I beleuch you, as pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts : 2 Pet. ii. 11.
They, who pass through a foreign country, towards their native home, do not usually give up themselves to an eager pursuit of the pleasures of the place ; ought not to dwell long upon them, and with greediness; but make use of them only for their refreshment on the way, and so, as not to be diverted from pursuing their journey. - A good Christian must partake of those gratefúl repasts of sense, which he meets with here below, in like manner as the Jews did of their paffover witb their loins girded, their fooes on their :: B2
feet, and their staff in their hand, eating it in hofte; Exod. xii. u. that is, he must always be in a tra, velling posture, and so taste sensual pleasures, as one that is about to leave them, and delires to be stopped as little as he can by them, in his way towards the end of his hopes, the salvation of his foul. And to this custom of the Jews St. Peier, in his exhortation to sobriety and temporance, may be supposed to allude; Wherefore (says he) gird up the loins of your min., and be ye lover, I Pet. i. 13.
Indeed, it is impoffible for a ran to have a lively hope in another life, and yet be deeply iinmersed in the enjoyments of this; ina 'much as the happiness of our future ftate so far exceeds all that wiran propose to ourselves at present, bech in degree and duration; that to one firmly per-: fuaded of the reality of that happiness, and earnestly desirous of obtaining it, all earthly satisface tions must needs look little, and grow flat and; unfavoury: especially, when by experience he: finds, that too free a participation of these, in, disposes him extremely for those; for all the duties that are necessary to be performed, and all the food qualities that are necessary to be attained, in order to arrive at them. He perceives plainly, zhat his appetite to spiritual things abates, in pro-, portion as his sensual appetite is indulged and en-Kouraged; and that carnal desires kill not only the desire, but even the power of tasting purer delights; and, on both these accounts, therefore, fies too deep a draught of all earthly enjoyments: Having this bope in him, he purrfieth himself, even
as He (i. e. even as the Author and Revealer of this hope). is pure. 1. John iii. 3. A
Second instance, wherein we may be faid to live like those who have their hope in another life, is, if we bear the uneasinesses that befal us here, with conftancy and patience; as knowing that, tho' oir passage through this world should be rough and iroublesome, yet the trouble will be but short, and the rest and contentment we shall find at the end, will bi an ample recompence for all the little inconvenicruces, we meet with, in our way towards it. We must not expect, that our, journey through the several stages of this life should be all smooth and even; or, tha: we should perform iti wholly without disasters, Ill accidents, and hind-, rances. While we live in this world, where good and bad men are blended together, and; where there is also a mixture of good and evil; wisely distributed by God, to serve the ends ofhis, providence; we are not to wonder, if we are mom Jested by the one, as well as benefited by the other,
This our present lot and condition, to be subject to fuh casualties; which, therefore, as theyought not to surprise, so much less should they deject us ; nor can they'; if we look forward, and entertain ourselves with the prospect of that happiness to which we are haftening; and at which when we arrive, even the remembrance of the difficulties, we now undergo, will contribute to enhance, qui pleasure.
Indeed, while we are in the flesh, we cannot be utterly, insensible of the afflictions that befal us: what is in itself harsh and ungrateful, must needs make harsh and ugrateful impressions upon us.