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them ever ta a Reprobate Mind, brings 'em by steps in the end to the last degree of harden'd Infidelity and downright Atheism; So on the contrary, a Love to Virtue and Goodness first makes an Easy way for the Believing and Embraceing the Truths of the Gospel, and by a constant perseverance and practice of the plain indispensable Dutys, the Grace of God accompanying and rewarding Obedience with further degrees of Faith, even the moft abftruse and exalted Mysterys of Religion, are so heartily and firmly beliey'd at laft, as to admit of no doubt or wavering. Such a Chriftians Experience and Inward Perception of the Goodness, as well as the Truth, of Religion is more convincing than the most ftudy'd Arguments; he is too much taken up in its commands to have any leisure to Cavil at its Doctrines; he relys with full assurance on the gracious Promises reveal'd in Scripture, and finds too much comfort in the Word of God to raise any doubts concerning the Truch of it. No more than a Man that had given him a great Estate, and has the Deeds of it put in his own hands, would set himself on work to find out Flaws in them, and be himself the first that Should question the Goodness of his Own Title.
Haying thus shewn, that it is the Goodness or the Evilness of the Heart, by which we either believe unto Righteousness, or else depart from the Living God. I fhall proceed in the
II. Second place, To exhort that we take especial Care left there be in any of Us an Evil Heart of Unbelief, and that upon the Account of the Inexcusable Folly of Wilfull Infidelity, as well as the Inexpressible Dan
ger of it.
For first, because it is not for the Interest of the Wicked Man, that there should be any Truth in that Religion which pronounces so severe a Condemnation to his Practices, and because he can't help therefore wishing that there were no fuch thing; to conclude from hence that 'tis false, is not this the most unreasonable and moft absurd Folly in the World? What can be more against the common dictates of Reafon, than when a Judgment is to be made in matters that concern no less than Eternal Happyness and Eternal Misery, for Men not to give at least a fair unprejudic'd unbyafs’d hearing; but to suffer the Underftanding, that is the Judge, to be moft shamefully. Brib’d by the Affections, that are Partys; and instead of framing their Wills to follow what Reason teaches, to
find out how Reason may feem” to 'teach that which their Wills were feț and propos’d to Believe Let Men only Ad in this their Greatest, their Everlasting concern, with the same ordinary Prudence and Discretion that they use in other matters, things of common use and every Days Bufiness. They have a great mind this or that should not be true, they are undone if it is. But will this serve their Turn? or will their Wishes, be they never so strong, make that which they are so much concern'd for, either True or False in itself? No Man in his Senses ever thinks so, but immediately fets about providing againft all those Inconveniencys and Mischiefs which would certainly fall upon him, if what he has so dismal an Apprehenfion of should come to Pass. This I am sure 'ought much more to be the first Care of all those that cannot think of an Eternity of Rewards and Punishments without Horror and Dread; this ought certainly to be the very firft Thing they fet about, to remove all those Sins and to put away far from them all those Wickednesses that make the Thoughts and Belief of a future State so Terrible. This is a Juft and Wise Conduct, and sure nothing less than this can satisfy a Reasonable Man. The other Course, that the Wicked Wretch generally takes, becomes only such as, can
be guilty of that degree of Madness as to think Their Inclinations can alter the Nature of Things, and put God out of the World. Can any Man answer this Conduct to his own Reason, or be excus’d from the imputation of unexpressible Folly if he Eternally perish by it? There are indeed a sort of Men, that let their works be what they will, think themselves Saints and sure to be Sav'd, if they have but a strong Faith and inward Persuasion that they shall be so. This is a moft Absurd, as well as Dangerous and Destructive Opinion, to think to be Savd only by a Strong Belief: but certainly theirs is full as Dangerous and Foolish too, that can thus think, not indeed to attain Salvation, but to escape Damnation by as strong an Vnbelief.
But Secondly, The worst of it is, which further shews the lamentable Folly of these Wretches, they can never arrive even to this, to an Unbelief strong enough for their Purpose. The thing that they shun ftill follows 'em, Truth ever as it were obtruding itself upon their minds, and not permitting 'em to be so Ignorant as they would be. All their strugling to deface the Knowledge of a God, and Apprehensions of his Justice, and a Future Day of Recompence, by wilfully opposing the Belief of them, will not do their Business, will
not quite Ease or Quiet their Minds here, will not give any present Satisfaction or Repose. At least never so Effectual so Laft. ing a Quiet, but that by Fits and Turns, sometime or other, on a Sick Bed, or some amazing Accident, these Natural Impreffions will return with greater Force and stronger Conviction. God's Vice-gerent in their own Breast, Conscience, labour they never so much to ftiffle, it, will rouse up and assert the Being of Him that planted it in their Hearts : Will affert his Being with all the Terrors of his just Judgments, and represent Him in a much more Tremendous and Dreadful Figure for having been so long, and with so much contempt banilh'd from all their Thoughts. For Wickedneß condemn'd by ber Own Witness is very timorous, and being prest with Conscience always forecasteth grievous things, as the Wise Man tells us Wisdom 17.11. And of Epicurus himfelf, whom Lucretius magnifys to much and equals to a God for this very reason, for having got a Clear and Absolute Victory, as he speaks, over Religion and all its idle Fears; Even of this mighty Boafter, Cotta in Tully affares us that Never any Man in the whole world was known fo much afraid of those things, which he so ftiffly maintain d, no Man in his Senses ought ever to fear Mortem & Deos, Death and