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to over-awe and reftrain bad men, or to encou→ rage the good; for tho the frequent Examples of God's Juftice and Severity against Sin, destroys mens fecurity in finning; for no bad man can be fure that God will not punish him, as he does a great many other bad men; yet we daily fee, they would venture this, did not the prefent execution of Juftice threaten them with the more terrible Judgment of the next world.

Thus if we confider the Providence of God as a method of Difcipline whereby he conquers mens love to Sin, and breaks the Habits of Vice, or exercises and improves their Virtues; this is a very unaccountable thing, without a Future Judgment: Why fhould God exercise so much Patience towards wicked men, and bear fo long with them, to conquer them by Methods of Kindness, were it not in great goodness to give them time for Repentance, that they may escape Eternal Miseries?

Why should God exercise men with fuch long and repeated Severities to conquer their love to this world, to teach them to govern their Appetites and Paffions, and to make them good men, if there be no reward for Virtue and Piety in the next World?

Why fhould he afflict good men all their Lives? whofe Virtue deferves a more profperous Fortune, only to exercise their Faith and Patience, and to advance them ftill to more Divine Perfeations, unless he intended to reward their prefent Sufferings, and their eminent Virtue with a brighter and more glorious Crown.


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There are many Paffages of Providence,which there can be no other account given of, but that they are Methods of Difcipline to conquer mens love to Sin, or to improve their Graces and Virtues; and Iam fure there can be no account given of this, why God fhould with fo much Patience and Forbearance expect the Repentance of fome Sinners, and exercife Good Men with so much Severity to make them better, unless the Providence of God in this world have a principal regard to the Rewards and Punishments of the next; that is, unlefs there be a Judgment to come, to reward good men, and to punifh the wicked. This I hope is fufficient to make good this Confequence, That if God govern the World at prefent, he will judge it hereaf



The Natural Prefages of Confcience prove a Future Judgment; and if there be a Future State, there must be a Future Judgment.


V. HE Natural Prefages of Confcience are another good Argument of a Future Judgment; that is, all men naturally expect to be judged, to be rewarded or punished for the Good or Evil they do; and this is a ftrong Natural Prefumption that God will judge the World. This is an Argument of great moment, and therefore deferves to be particularly explained; to which purpose I fhall, 1. fhew you, That it is fo. 2.That this is not an Artificial Impreffion, but the natural Senfe of our own Minds. And


3. That

3. That this does prove, that God will judge the world, and render to every man according to his Works.

I. That it is fo; that all men have a natural Prefage of Judgment: There is indeed a very formidable Objection against this, That very few men live as if they did expect to be judged. But this is as good an Argument against mens belief of the Gospel of Chrift, and the express Revelation of a Future Judgment, as it is against the Natural Senfe and Prefages of Confcience; for there are too many who profefs to believe the Gospel, but do not live as if they did believe a Judgment: But Ineed not trouble my felf about this, because it is an Objection only to Atheists and Infidels, if indeed it be an Objection to them: Other bad men, who live as if they did not believe a Judgment, yet feel in themselves that they do believe it, and when they think of it, they believe and tremble too, as the Devils do; tho at other times they are overpower'd by theWorld and the Flesh, to act contrary to the Convictions of Confcience, and the Fears of Judgment.

The Heathens themselves, who had only the Light of Nature to direct them, were very fenfible of the private Judgment of their own Consciences,which did either accufe them when they did ill, and fill them with remorfe and fear of Vengeance; or excufe, commend and applaud them when they did well, and give them great and chearful Hopes of a Reward; as St. Paul tells us, 2.Rom.14.15. and is frequently observed by the Heathen Philofophers, Poets, Orators and Hiftorians, as a thing univerfally acknowledged: And indeed I know no man at this day who denies it, and

and therefore I need not prove it. All men feel this in themselves,even Atheists and Infidels,whenever they are serious and thoughtful; when the Judgments of God overtake them, or they fee the near Approaches of Death, and another World: The greatest Power cannot defend men from these Fears; Princes and Politicians are equally expofed to them, with meaner Subjects: Those whom no Human Power can touch, are over-awed by an invisible Justice.

II. Since this is univerfally acknowledged, the only Question is, To what cause to attribute these Fears and Rebukes of Conscience? The Atheists will by no means allow these Fears to be natural, but only the effects of a Superftitious Education; as they say the belief of a God, and the differences of Good and Evil are. Men have been taught from their very Infancy, that there is an Invisible Power that governs the world,which will reward good men, and punish the wicked, and have been frighted with the Fairy Stories of Infernal Judges, and Styx and Acheron, or Hell-Fire; and this made fuch an Impreffion upon their Tender Fancies, as can never be wore out, at leaft not without great Industry and Refolution of Mind; and this, they fay, makes weak men conclude that they are Natural. But this is a very abfurd and ridiculous Account of the Matter, as wil appear, if you confider by what Rules we are to judge, what is Natural, and what not: For if these Prefages of Conscience have all the marks and figns of being natural, that we can have that any thing is natural, we must either fay, that nothing is natural, or that we cannot tell what is natural, and what not; or we must confefs it great Perverseness of F 2


Mind, to deny that to be natural, which has all the figns and marks of being natural, that any thing can have.

Now 1. That is Natural which is univerfal, or common to the whole kind; for we have no other way of knowing what the Nature of Things are, but by obferving what is common to all Creatures of the fame kind and Species; for nothing is common to all Individuals, but a common Nature And if what is univerfal, and common to all Mankind is Natural, thefe Cenfures and Rebukes of Confcience are Natural, for they are common to all Men: For tho we fhould grant that some few Atheists have wholly conquered thefe Fears, and never feel the Lafhes and Rebukes of their own Confciences, fuch few and rare Examples ought to be looked on as the Corruption of Human Nature, not as the Measure and Standard of it; for it is no news to fay, that Human Nature may be corrupted, that the very effential Principles of it may be depraved; and in fuch cafes we always judge, and that with very good reafon, that what is moft common and univerfal, is natural, not what is as rare and as ominous as a Monftrous Birth.

2dly. Efpecially when we confider, that that is mcft natural which is born and bred with us, and is the Original State of Human Nature; for Nature is before Art, and before the voluntary Corruptions and Degeneracy of Nature. This Atheists fee and confefs, and therefore attribute the Belief of a God, and the Checks of Confcience, and the Fears of Judgment, to Education; that thefe Principles were inftilled into us from the beginning, and grow up with us into confirmed and fetled


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