« PreviousContinue »
mere reafon could encourage to hope for: SERM. that creates no difficulty. The thing is received with ready affent. God does not appear worse, but better, more gracious, more bountiful, than the reafon of men, alone, prefumed to think. And the mind being enlarged by the difcoveries of revelation, it chearfully admits the noblest and most delightful idea of the future recompenfes.
3.) This argument may deferve the serious confideration of those, who reject revelation.
For whether there be any revelation from God, or not; there will be a reckoning, and fuitable retributions after this life. Reafon teaches as much beyond the poffibility of a fair confutation, or well-grounded doubt and question. You will come into judgement after death, and receive according to the things done in the body. Let not then any shyneffe of that awful proceeding, which the gofpel fpeaks of, in a general day of judgement, form any unhappy prejudice in the minds of any. For reason itself teaches, that the actions of men will pafs under a review, either in public, in one general judgement, or in particular: and that a retribution will be made accordingly.
Let all therefore attentively confider the evidences of the gospel-revelation. For if it be attefted by good evidence, and fhould be rejected by men, to whom it is propofed; this is one thing, of which they will give an account.
4.) Laftly, the argument from reason, in behalf of future recompenfes, may be made ufe of as a warning to fome weak and inconfiderate Christians and establish the persuafion, that without bolinese no man fhall fee God, or attain to happineffe in a future ftate.
The cogent argument for a future ftate, now propofed, is founded upon the divine perfections. God is not here, in this world, an avenger of evil, or a rewarder of good, fo fully as is reasonable to expect. Confequently there will be another state, and farther recompenfes for good and bad, according to their works here. No revelation therefore can propose an act of grace for obftinate and impenitent finners. Reafon and Revelation concur, and are entirely harmonious. Both fay: There is no peace to the wicked. And: It shall be well with the righteous. But revelation excells in the juftneffe of it's descriptions of the miferie of the one, and the happineffe of the other.
The Gospel the true Way of Sal
ACTS xvi. 31..
And they faid: Believe on the Lord Jefus Chrift, and thou shalt be faved, and thy house.
HESE words contain an anfwer to a very important queftion: What must I do to be Saved? And we have reason to think, that it is here rightly answered. It does therefore deferve our ferious and attentive obfervation.
St. Paul was now at Philippi, a Roman colonie, and large city in Macedonia: where he preached the gofpel, without any very great moleftation, that we know of, till he healed the indifpofition of the maiden, faid to have a spirit of divination: by whom fome artful men had made profit, pretending to answer the curious enquiries of people concerning divers matters. Thefe, now deprived of farther gain in that way, raised a clamour against the Apostle, and those with him, faying, that they troubled the city, and taught customs contrarie to their laws, as Romans. And they fo far incenfed both the people and the magiftrates, that Paul, and Silas, one of his fellow-laborers, were beaten, and thrust into prison. But there being in the night an earthquake, which was plainly miraculous: the prison being shaken, the doors opened, and the fetters of all the prisoners loofed, whilst yet no one efcaped: the keeper of the prifon, who before had heard fomewhat of Paul and Silas, and had fome general notion of their doctrine, now terrified, and perceiving this extraordinarie event to be a divine interpofition in their favour,
put to his prisoners, with folicitude, and SERM. with refpect and esteem, hoping for a full and fatisfactorie answer, that momentous queftion: Sirs, what must I do to be faved?
We need not, I think, hesitate to underftand this question in the most comprehenfive fenfe. This perfon could not be ignorant of the general principles of religion, fo far as usually known by Heathen people, living in the politer cities of Greece, and the Roman Empire, who all had some notions of a future ftate. Moreover, Paul and his fellowlaborers had been fome time at Philippi. And the young woman, beforementioned, had followed them in the streets of the city, many, that is, feveral days, crying aloud: These men are fervants of the most high God, which fhew unto us the way of falvation. When therefore the keeper of the prifon fays: Sirs, what must I do to be faved; the queftion cannot be reckoned lefs important for the meaning, than that put to our Saviour by the young man among the Jews, related in the Gofpels: What shall I do, that inberit eternal life. And it is put, may as it seems, with a better temper, than that