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been One Man that has been absolutely freed himself from it. It happening for the moft part, that they who would perfuade others, that these Notions are Vain and Imaginary without any Foundation in Nature, are themselves the most affaulted with them. This therefore being the Common and Universal, the First and Inartificial, the Inseparable and Unconquerable Apprehensions of - Mankind, must be concluded to be Natural.
Now this being obtain'd, namely that the Presage of Punishment for Sin in a Future State is Natural to the Soul of Man, I think it very reasonable to conclude that there is such a State; For how can there be a Natural Fear of what is not in Nature? we may as reasonably suspect the Truth of our Eternal Senses, of Hearing, Seeing, or Feeling, as the first genuine inborn Sentiments of our Mind; for if Man was made by God, who is Eternal Truth; the Natural Sense of our Minds muft be as true and certain as our Bodily Senses are; and to say that we are deceiv'd by That, that is by a Principle, not of our own forming to ourselves, but stampt.apon us and born within us, is dan gerously to reflect upon the very Author of our Being, the God of Nature himself, and to derogare very much both from his Wisdom and his Goodness.
For God having Created Man a Free Agent, has no other way of governing him, but by the Proposals of Reward and Punishment. Force and Compulfion can't be us'd without making him a different fort of Creature from what he was made, by destroying his Liberty. Therefore Hopes and Fears are the only means proper to work effectually upon Human Nature, and Therefore, they must be True, or else we must have a very unworthy Conceipt of the Infinitely Wise God; namely that he hath contriy'd the Nature of one of his best and noblest Creatures, after such a manner, as to make it uncapable of being govern'd without Falsehood and Deceit. We find that he has endu'd all other of his Creatures with such inward Principles, as are most fit to promote the perfection of their Kinds, and to preserve 'em from injuries from with out. The Beasts of the Field and the Birds of the Air trust that Instinct he has implanted in 'em, and are never deceiv'd by it; but by its direction fearing and shunning what is hurtful, and defireing and pursuing what is useful to 'em, follow a true and safe and an unerring Guide. And can it be credible that in the Nature of Man only, for whose fake most of those were made, he should have fix'd such kind of Principles as contain in 'em meer Cheats and Delusions?
Further, As there is no Man wholly free from these Fears of a Future State, so there is no other Creature besides Man, that has such kind of Fears; and if these are all imaginary and groundless, has not God Created Him in a much worse Condition than the Beasts that perila? Is it agreeable to that Goodness as well as Wisdom, by which he has fram'd all his other Works in such admirable Perfection, that he should Create one only Creature, and that Him who seems to be Lord of all the Reft, to be a perpetual and unnecessary Burden and Torment to himself, and to wear out a miserable Life in needless Anxiety and vain Fear of Dreams, Shadows and Impossibilities? This I judge sufficient to prove that from the very apprehenfions that Men generally have of Eternal Punishments after this Life, it is reasonable to infer that such shall be; and that This Fear of the Wicked Joall Come upon Him. But
: 2dly, If this be so highly probable from Reason, it is put out of all doubt by Revelation..
When we have advanc'd so far by the Light of Nature, as to see how, reasonable, even by these Principles only, the Expectation of just Judgements upon Sinners is; how can we have the least doubt of the Certainty of them, when in plain and express words reveald by God, whose Word alone, without the joint fuffrage of Reason and Nature, is of Authority abundantly fufficient to challenge our ready Allent and most iteady Belief in things the most difficult to Apprehend? And to prove that they are so plainly Reveald, there needs no more than to Open the Gospel and Read. There we shall find, a Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Blackness of Darkness, the Worm that never dieth, and the Fire that never goeth out, ordain'd for the Wicked for ever and ever. And however Bold some Men may have made with these repeaced, positive, peremptory declaracions of Scripture, in suggesting that God is not oblig'd to Execute what he Threatens, that these Menaces are only to secure the good Government of the World, and to scare Mankind and to keep them in awe, but may be remitted or relaxed at his Will and Pleasure; I think it the Duty of all those whose Errand it is knowing the Terrors of the Lord to persuade Men, to keep up a more awful and reverend Efteem of God's Veracity, Immutability, Justice and Honour in the Minds of Men, than to fuffer the least doubt, whether, when he, as a wise Lawgiver and a just Judge so folemnly enacted and decreed for impenitent Sinners the Everlasting Torments of Hell Fire, was in Earnest or no? Let us hear but a few Texts of Scripture
to this Point; God is not a Man that he should Lye, nor the Son of Man that be bould Rex pent, Hath be said and Asall not be do it, or hath he spoken and fall not be make it good? Numb. 23. 19. The Strength of Israel will not Lye nor Repent, for he is not a Man that he Jould Repent. 1 Sam. 15.19. I am the Lord, I change not. Mal. 3.6. In Him is no variableness nor shadow of Turning, James 1. 17. and he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim. 2. 13. And if so, then it is most infallibly true, that the Fear of the Wicked, Even the Eternal Torments of Hell, that his own guilty Mind presages, and the juft Judge of the World has denounc'd, Shall come upon him.
I should now proceed from this fearful and miserable Eftate of the Sinner to shew you the happy Condition of the Righteous, how full of ravishing Desires his Soul is, and how well grounded his Hopes of Immortality. This would raise our Spirits from the Damp that these melancholy, but important Considerations, may have brought upon 'em, and open a New and Bright Scene of Comfort and Joy and Glory. But time will not permit, i'muft therefore only make as short an Application as may be of what has been said.
Since then the Wicked is in this Life tortur:d with continual Trouble and Fear; what Care, what Caution can we think too.