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matter of this importance, I think one should scarce trust to a demonstration, unless it had passed the test of the most solid and impartial part of mankind, and- stood the shock and tryal of many ages. But, alas, after the utmost efforts of mat and lust, what has ever yet been, produced, that has been able to undergo the examination even^ of an. honest man. &, what ar~ gumcnts have yet been started against a judgment to come, that have been able to work upon 4«v who were truly serious irv the. point? and if a judgment to come, why not an Bells revelation is plain; and reason, can find no inconsistency in the. doctrine. Human laws punish a jingle offence spmetimes with death or banishment;, with loss- of estate: andiby this, and divers other ways, extend the punishment , of the criminal to his posterity: that is, make it as eternal'as they can. And shall it. be thought unjust m God to punish the - repeat-ed- provocations of an impenitent life; the negleEt of that great salvation wrought by the. blood, and published by the mouth oi his dearly beloved son; and all this •wilfully, in defame of the light, of the gospel, and solicitations of the ^ir/*; in defiance of mercies and .chastisements;. shall it, I say, be, thought unjust m God to punish rfto by a miserable eternity? when ..,infinitegoodness has in vain #v>^ all imaginable W«jmw to '-J" reclaim reclaim a.finner, what has he to complain of, if God leave him to the effeBs of his own choice ? fin, as it alienates our affections from God here, so must it Certainly exclude us from his presence and his favour hereafter. And what can be the case of that wretched creature, who is banished. for ever to those black and dismal regions, which no ray, no influence of divine good*ness can ever reach? where shall those unhappy creatures dwell, which shall be chased by the presence and glory of God out of the new heaven and the new earth, (or which rather cart never approach either) hut in that outward darkness, which is parted from the world of the bleffed by an unpayable gulph? Ah then! if this be so, what do Wretched men gain by growing impudentm wickedness? Alas 1 the more insenfible men are of the deformity and danger of fin, the more desperate their slats, the more incurable their disease; and the nearer they to death and deflnition: My spirit shall not alwaysfirive with man. This is indeed - a bleJJ'ed advantage, to stand upon the brink of damnation! 'tis a glorious victory, to have defeated all the means of grace and happiness I 'tis an heroick atchievement to be able to extinguish all tvuefinse and reason^ as well as religion, and become impregnable, impenetrable to all arguments^ to all titotityS)which either thetenderest love or the profoundest •wisdom of God and man can attack us by 1
2. I cannot but think that those very men, who for the most part are obdurate and insensible, do suffer some, though rare returns of anxiety and sear. Why else are they such avowed enemies to solitude and retirement? to all serious andl calm r*fleSlions; that they are ready to take up with a most trifling and contemptible bufiness or/ diverfion? nay, /*ra/ with a dull and tasteless repetition of a/o/Zy; they chuse to refeat it to their lives end, rather than be alone, and thoughtful? what is this, but to confess that there is something voitbin, which they are afraid to awaken? that there is such a brightness in divine truth, that they dare not open their eyes upon it, lest it should fill their souls with the terrors of God? this /&«#&/ of wickedness then at best is a state fit only for fortunatefinners, who can rowl and tumble from folly to folly, from one impertinence or extravagance to another, endlesty: and yet what becomes of those poor things, When a disaster, when a disease, nay, but a wakeful hour by night forces them to retire into themselves?
3. A finner does not soon arrive at this state of insenfibility. It costs him very </eslr to grow impudent in his lust. Many a .£#*£, many a torment has he suffered
first ; often has he felt the wounds of conscience; often has he trembled and shrunk at the menaces of God. The soul can no more be reconciled tofin, than the body to excess, but by faffing through many painful and yfcÆ/y fits, many uneaste pangs and qualms. And is it not worth the .while to endure so much in order to be </#/«««/ -? is it not an infallible mark of more than vulgar wisdom, to purchase misery at so dear a rate? to endure hardstnp as good soldiers of Chrisst Jesus, for a crown, z never-fading crown; this with them is an undertaking that deserves to be exposed, and lashed with the utmost severity of spight and confidence: but to suffer, as it were, repeated martyrdoms to gain an hell, this is what they think becomes men of their parts and gallantry. Blessed God 1 to what degree of madness and stupidity may men of the fnest natural parts sink, when abandoned by thee? or rather, when they themselves abandon thee, and that light which thou hast set up in the world.? our Lord and Master thought the profits and pleasures of the whole world z poor compensation for the lost of the soul: What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, &c. Matt. xvi. But these men, rather than it should not perish for ever, will charge through shame and pain, remorse and fickness, and all the obstacles that Ct 4 God
God has set between us and a desperate height of wickedness.
4. Though zstnner may come to that pass, as to suppress his conscience, and master his fears; yet he must ever be conscious to himself of the fruitlefnejs and the meanness of a course oi Jin. He must needs be inwardly sensible, that he has wearied himself to commit iniquity to no purpose; that his mind has been restless and tempestuous, like a troubled sea, casting up its own mire and dirt;. he must be conscious to himself, that he is false and unjust, unconstant and ingrateful, and in bondage to such lusts as are mean and /<?<?r, and injurious to his repose, and which he has often wished himself free from. And this, no doubt, must be a blefjed condition, when a man's own mind does to his face alsure him, that he is that very thing which all the world condemns and scorns-, and which he cannot endure to be charged with, without rej'enting it as the highest affront! certainly it were better that all ihe world should call me foolt and knave, and villain, than that i' should (all myself so, and know it to be true. My peace and happiness depends upon my own opinion of my/elf, not th&t of others: 'tis the inward sentiments that I have of myself, that raise or dejeci me j and my mind can no more be pleased with any sensation but its mn, than the body