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1. As firft for damning, efpecially when we damn them by wholefale, as the Church of Rome damns all Hereticks, and as others with as much Charity damn all Papifts and Malignants, or whoever they are pleafed to vote for Hereticks. Now what the effect of this is, is vifible to all the World: It deftroys not only Chriftian Love and Charity, but even common Humanity: when Men have voted one another damned, and believe God will damn thofe whom they have adjudged toDamnation, then they are the Enemies of God, and they think they do God good fervice to deftroy them: God hates them, and therefore they think it a fin in them to love those whom God hates, or to have any pity or compaffion for those whom God will damn. And thus they burn Hereticks, or cut their Throats, or confifcate their Eftates, and drive them out from among them, and treat them with all the Barbarity and Indignities which a damning Zeal and Fury can invent. All other Villanies may meet with fome Pity and Charity, but Charity is Lukewarmness and want of Zeal in God's Caufe; there is no Fire burns fo furiously, nor fo outragiously confumes, as that which is kindled at God's Altar. And thus the Chriftian Church is turned into a great Shambles, and ftained with the Blood of Human, nay of Chriftian Sacrifices: though were they in the right, that God would damn those Men whom they had damned, why fhould they think Patience and Forbearance a greater Fault in them than it is in God, who beareth with much long-fuffering, the veffels of wrath fitted for destruction? Why are they fo unmerciful as to hurry away thefe poor wretches immediately into Hell, when I 4 God
God is contented to let them live on; to let the Tares and the Wheat grow up together till the Harveft? Why do they envy them the short and perifhing Contentments of this Life, when they are to fuffer an Eternity of Mifery? Methinks it fhould fatisfy the moft implacableHatred to know, that they must be miferable for ever, though their Miferies fhould be adjourned for fome few Years: but if this be the Effect of damning men, you may guess that the Caufe is not very good; tho an uncharitable Judgment will hurt no body but. themselves, yet it is of dangerous Confequence, when fuch rafh Judges will be as hafty Executi
2. Though the Effects of faving men, and voting them to Heaven be not so tragical as those of damning them, yet this has its Mischiefs too; when any Party of men have voted themselves the only true Church, wherein Salvation is to be had, or the only Saints and Elect People of God, then all who will be faved muft herd with them;and moft men think it enough to fecure their Salvation, to get into their Number: Thus the Church of Rome frightens men into her Communion, by threatning Damnation against all who are out of that Church; and this reconciles men to all their Superftitions and Idolatries for fear of Damnation, and encourages them in all manner of Loofenefs and Debauchery, when they are got into a Church which can save them; and it has much the fame effect, when men list themfelves with any Party, where they hope to be faved for Company, while all the reft of Mankind, even thofe who profefs the Faith of Chrift,
are no better than the World, and the Ungodly and Reprobates, who tho they may have more Moral Virtues than fome others, yet have no Grace.
And the mischief of this increases, when men are fainted after death: Had it not been for this Trick, the Church of Rome had had very few Saints to worship, none but the Virgin Mary and the Apoftles, whom they might certainly conclude to be in Heaven; but as for their other Saints, who were the great Founders and Examples of their Superftition, they are Saints of their own making, just as the Heathens made their Gods; and it is the Stories and Legends of these Saints, which fupport the Superftition of the Church of Rome; for who dares queftion the Examples of those who are canonized Saints in Heaven? Hac arte Pollux, & vagus Hercules innixus, arces attigit igneas.
And there are another fort of men, who are not behind-hand with them in this, who have a great many more Saints than the Church of Rome, though they don't pray to them; who fend great fhoals to Heaven, especially if they have been zealous for promoting a Party, which hides all other Faults, and fanctifies very doubtful Actions; and how powerful muft the Example of fuch Saints be to excite others to an imitation of their Virtues ?
In a word, when we pretend to send men to Heaven, we make them our Rules and Examples; we hope to go to Heaven with all the Faults they had; and those who knew them, poffibly knew a great many; and what they were eminent for, we conclude were great Virtues, and fit for our imi
tation, tho otherwise of a doubtful and fufpici
There is not a more dangerous thing than to make any man our Rule and Example, and yet that we neceffarily do,when we fend him to Heaven? for who would not think himself fafe in imitating those whom he believes to be in Heaven? and if we confider, at what rate both the Church of Rome, and others make Saints, we muft needs be fenfible how infinitely dangerous this is to mens Souls.
To conclude this Head: Let us judge charitably of all men, and hope well according to the different reasons we have to hope; but let us, leave their final State to God, neither peremptorily damn or fave them. It is to be feared, that Human Judgment has fent many men to Heaven, who will never get thither; and to be hoped, that many men fhail meet with a more favourable Sentence in the next World, than they do in this. God is the Judge of the Worid, and he will certainly judge us, and there is no inconvenience in ftaying till the Day of Judgment, to fee what mens final Sentence fhall be, but very great Mischief in pronouncing a rafh and hafty Judgment our felves.
S E C T.
Fourth Inference: To refer all Difficulties to the Day of Judgment.
IV. F God will Judge the World, let us refer all Difficulties to the Day of Judgment. It must be confeffed, that there are very great Difficulties in Providence, fuch as the Wifeft Men cannot understand; and I can by no means fay it is a Fault for Men to search into Providence, and to be very inquisitive into the Reasons of it; for what can more become a reasonable Creature, than to ftudy the Works of God?. And what Works more worth our Study than the Divine Providence, and the wonderful Mysteries of God's governing the World?
But the Difficulty is to fet Bounds to the Curiofity of Mankind, to teach them to ftudy Providence with the Modefty of Creatures, and with the juft Reverence which we owe to God, whofe Wifdom is infinite and unfearchable; to be contented to discover what we can, to admire and adore the Wisdom, and Goodness, and Justice of Providence in what is plain; and there is enough plain to exercise our devout Meditations, to be matter of our Praise and Thanksgivings, and a fure Foundation of our Truft in God.
And this wife and good Menare contented with; but moft Men take leaft notice of what is plain, as if that were of no ufe, and not worth notice, but puzzle their Thoughts, and lose themselves in thofe vaft Depths and Abyffes which no Human Understanding can fathom: To correct this Mif