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mands must be fetched wholly from the other World, and a Future Judgment; and therefore we should have had the fame Evidence for a Judgment to come, that we have for the Chriftian Religion, tho there had been no fuch express mention made of a Future Judgment.
I cannot but obferve here the true Reason of the Corruption of Chriftian Morals, which are as much corrupted as the Chriftian Faith is: That in expounding the Laws of our Saviour fome men have no other regard, but to fit them to the eafe and the conveniences of this Life; and therefore reject any Interpretation of them, which is fevere to Flesh and Blood, or will hazard their Eafe and Fortunes in this World. It is fufficient to Confute any Law of our Saviour, or to Interpret it away, to fhew that there are great Temporal Inconveniences in it; that to obferve fuch Laws in fuch a fenfe would, be very injurious to mens present intereft, and deprive them of many Pleasures and Advantages of Life.
It were eafy to give many Inftances of this, but it fhall fuffice at prefent to confefs, that confidering the state of this World; and the Propensities and Inclinations of Human Nature, fome Laws of our Saviour are very unreasonable, were there not a Future Judgment to reward the Severities and Sufferings which good men muft undergo in obferving of them: and therefore we must have a care of rejecting any plain and express Law of our Saviour, for any Temporal Inconvenience which attends it, or to think that the best fenfe of the Chriftian Law, which is most for the ease and comfort of this Life.
This may ferve for the Proof of a Future Judg ment, for if this will not prove it, nothing will There are indeed another fort of Arguments to prove it, but they principally relate to the Perfon of our Judge, or who fhall be our Judge, viz. The Son of Man, Chrift Jefus, who is God Incarnate, and to which St. Paul refers, 17. Acts 31. That God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteoufnefs, by that man whom he bath ordained; whereof be bath given alurance unto all men, in that he hath raifed him from the dead; but I fhall defer that, till I come to fpeak of the Perfon of our Judge.
The Improvement of this Doctrine in fome Practical Inferences; as, 1. Tolive as it becomes those who shall certainly be judged. 2. To keep our Eye upon a Future Judgment for the Government of our Lives.
Aving thus proved the Certainty of a Future Judgment, both from Reafon and Scripture; before I proceed, it is neceffary to confider, how we muft improve this Belief for the government of our Lives; for that is the only end of Faith and Knowledge; and if we be never the better men for our Faith, we may as well be Infidels; and this I fhall do in these following Particulars:
I. To live as it becomes those who fhall certainly be judged. I fuppofe I need not prove this Confequence, that thofe who must be judged, ought to live as those who must be judged; for
if Judgment be of any concernment to us, I am fure it is of great concernment to prepare our felves for Judgment: And if we must be judged for Eternity, Judgment is of as great concernment to us, as Eternal Life and Death. Nor is there any great difficulty to know how those men ought to live, who must be judged; every man knows this without a Teacher, who will give him felf leave to think: A Steward, a Factor, aLabourer, any perfon who is liable to the Cenfure and Judgment of a Superior, who will call him to an Account, knows what he is to do, to prepare his Accounts; and there is no greater Myftery in preparing our felves for God's Judgment, than for the Judgment of Men. But because all men will not confider things as they ought, tho they be never fo plain and obvious, I fhall briefly fuggeft fome Rules to you,which you must all acknowledge very reafonable at the first hearing, and which if well obferved, would make us lift up our Heads in the Day of Judgment, and expect it without Aftonishment and Terror:
1. If we must be judged, it becomes us to act with great Confideration and Advice: Rashness, Precipitancy, Inadvertency, to do we know not what, in a Heat, and Impetus, without confidering whether it be good or evil, right or wrong, does not become thofe who must be judged. To be judged is to be called to an account, to give a reafon for what we do, and therefore we ought to confider what reafon to give, before we do it.. We must be judged by a Rule, as you fhall hear more hereafter; and therefore we ought to live by Rule too, which no man can do,who does not confider well, what
he does, before he does it: it will be an ill Plea at the Day of Judgment to say, that we did not confider what we did; that we lived without Care, without Thought, without Obfervation; for this is not an allowable Plea for a Reasonable Creature,much lefs for one who knowshe must be judged: For why did you live withoutThought,without Confideration? Had you not the Power of Thinking, of Reasoning, of Confidering? and did not God give these Powers and Faculties to you, to direct and govern your Lives? did he not make you Reasonable Creatures, that you might confider, and live by Reason, and is it an Excufe then for a Reasonable Creature, that he lived and acted without Reason, and a wife Confideration of Things? This is the great Degeneracy of Human Nature the abuse and Corruption of thofe Natural Powers which God hath given us, the Source of all the Evils that are in thisWorld, and therefore can be no Excufe, much less,when we know that God will judge us, and require a reafon of our Actions: for not to confider our own Ways, when we know God confiders them, and will require an account of them, is a contempt of his Judgment; for did we reverence. our Judge, we muft confider; and yet how many mad , extravagant, wicked Actions are there daily committed,which thofe who do them, never think why they do them, nor what reafonable account they can give of them either to God or Man.
Some men are very fond of what they call a Frolick that is, to lay afide all Thought and Confideration, and to give themselves up to the government of every fudden and unaccountable Fancy,
Fancy, and the more wild and extravagant it is, the more entertaining, without any regard toVirtue or Vice, to Decency and Honour, the leaft thought of which is a Prophanation of thefe Bedlam Myfteries: they drink themselves drunk in a Frolick, Blafpheme GOD, and his Son J ESUS CHRIST, and his moft holy Religion, abufe Wives and Virgins, murther innocent People, and affront all they meet, in a Frolick: but it is ridiculous to imagine, if we must be judged, that fuch Frolicks as thefe fhall be allow'd in the Account, or pass for Cyphers and empty Scenes of Life, to fignifie no more than they were intended for ; that becaufe we chufe at fuch a time to act without Reason and Consideration, therefore GOD fhould demand no Reafon nor Account of fuch Actions.
And yet a very great part of the World, tho they do not run into fuch outragious Frolicks as thefe are, yet their Lives are little better than a train of incoherent and independent Fancies and Humours; they live without Thought, or any wife defign; any extempore Project has them which starts up in their Minds, or ftrikes their Fancies: they fcarce know what they have to do the next day, nor how they spent the laft: But is this a Life for men who are to be judged?
Others there are who give themselves up to the government of their Paffions, which are fo vehement and impetuous,and always in fo much hafte, that they will neither hear Reason, nor allow any time for it; and then no wonder if they do fuch things as they can give no good account of,when their Paffion is over.