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bring every work into judgment, with every fecret thing, SERM. whether it be good, or whether it be evil. XXXII.
This judgment he expreffeth indefinitely, fo as not to determine the kind or time thereof; and as to the abfolute force of his words, it may fignify the decree of God, to reward or punish men here in this life, according to their deferts, the which in holy Scripture is commonly ftyled God's judgment; but the force of his arguments (or at least of some of them) plainly doth infer a future judgment after death; and fo therefore I fhall take his fense to be, grounding thereon this obfervation, That from a wife confideration of human affairs, and obvious events here, we may collect the reasonableness, the equity, the expediency, the moral or prudential neceffity of a future judgment, according to which men fhall receive due recompenfes, anfwerable to their demeanour in this life: this observation it fhall be my endeavour by God's help to declare, and prove by arguments deduced from the reafon and nature of things.
First then, I say, it is reasonable and equal, that there should be a future judgment: this will appear upon many
1. Seeing all men come hither without any knowledge or choice, having their life, as it were, obtruded on them; and seeing ordinarily (according to the general complaints of men) the pains of this life do overbalance its pleafures; so that it feemeth, in regard to what men find here, a punishment to be borna; it feemeth alfo thence Ecclef. iv. equal, that men fhould be put into a capacity, upon their 3, 4. ii. 17. good behaviour in this troublesome state, of a better state xv. 10. hereafter, in compensation for what they endure here; &c. otherwise God might seem not to have dealt fairly with his creatures; and we might have fome colour to expoftulate, with Job; Wherefore is light given to him that is in Job iii. 20, mifery, and life to the bitter in foul? Why died I not from
Job iii. 3.
Jer. xx. 14,
■ Vitam non mehercule quifquam accepiffet, nifi daretur infciis. Sen. ad Marc. 22.
Nemini contigit impune nasci. Ibid. 15.
SERM. the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came
2. Seeing man is endued with a free choice and power over his actions, and thence by a good or bad use thereof is capable of deferving well or ill, it is just that a respective difference be made, according to due estimation; and that men answerably should be proceeded with Job iv. 8. either here or hereafter, reaping the fruits of what they voluntarily did fow. There is a natural relation between Jer. xxxii. merits and rewards, which must come under taxation, and find effect, otherwife there would be no fuch thing as justice and injuftice in the world.
3. Seeing there is a natural fubordination of man to God, as of a creature to his maker, as of a subject or fervant to his lord, as of a client or dependent to his patron, protector, and benefactor, whence correfpondent obligations do refult; it is just that men should be accountable for the performance, and for the violation or neglect of them; fo as accordingly either to receive approbation, or to be obliged to render fatisfaction; refpectively, as they have done right, and payed refpect to God, or as they have offered to wrong and dishonour him; otherwise those relations would seem vain and idle.
4. Seeing also there are natural relations of men to one another, and frequent tranfactions between them, founding feveral duties of humanity and juftice; the which may be observed or tranfgreffed; fo that fome men shall do, and others fuffer much injury, without any poffible redress from otherwhere, it is fit that a reference of fuch cases should be made to the common Patron of right, and that by him they should be fo decided, that due amends should be made to one party, and fit correction inflicted 2 Theff. i. on the other; according to that of St. Paul; It is a
righteous thing with God to recompenfe tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled reft with us, in the revelation of our Lord Jefus.
5. Whereas also there are many fecret good actions, many inward good difpofitions, good wishes, and good purposes, unto which here no honour, no profit, no plea
fure, no fort of benefit is annexed, or indeed well can be, SERM. (they being indifcernible to men ;) there are likewise XXXII. many bad practices and defigns concealed, or disguised, fo as neceffarily to pafs away without any check, any difgrace, any damage or chaftifement here; it is moft equal that hereafter both these kinds should be disclosed, and obtain anfwerable recompenfe.
6. There are alfo perfons whom, although committing grievous wrong, oppreffion, and other heinous mifdemeanours, offenfive to God and man, yet, by reason of the inviolable facredness of their authority, or because of their uncontrollable power, no justice here can reach, nor punishment can touch; who therefore fhould be reserved to the impartial and irresistible judgment of God; and fit it is, that (for fatisfaction of justice, and diftinction of fuch, from those who contrariwife behave themselves well) a Tophet should be prepared for them.
7. Upon these and the like accounts, equity requireth 33. that a judgment fhould pass upon the deeds of men; and thereto the common opinions of men and the private dictates of each man's confcience do atteft: for all men seeing any person to demean himself brutishly and unworthily, committing heinous disorders and outrages, are apt to pronounce it unfit, that fuch an one should escape with impunity likewife when innocent and good perfons (who do no harm, and do what good they can) do suffer, or do enjoy no benefit thence, it is a pity, will any indifferent perfon be ready to fay, that fuch a man's cafe should not be confidered; that fome reparation or fome reward fhould not be allotted to him: the which apprehenfions of men are in effect the verdicts of common fense concerning the equity of a judgment to be.
8. Every man alfo having committed any notable mifdemeanour, (repugnant to piety, justice, or fobriety,) doth naturally accufe himself for it, doth in his heart fentence himself to deferve punishment, and doth stand poffeffed with a dread thereof; fo, even unwillingly, avouching the equity of a judgment, and by a forcible instinct presaging it to come. As likewife he that hath performed any vir
SERM. tuous or honest action, doth not only rest satisfied therein, XXXII. but hath raised in him a ftrong hope of benefit to come from heaven in recompenfe thereof; the which apprehenfions and hopes do involve an opinion, that it is reafonable a judgment fhould be. All which confiderations (seeing it is manifest that there is not generally or frequently any fuch exact judgment or dispensation of rewards in this life, nor perhaps, without changing the whole frame of things and courfe of Providence, can well be) do therefore infer the fitness and equity of a future judg
It is farther, upon divers accounts, requifite and needful, that men fhould have an apprehenfion concerning fuch a judgment appointed by God, and confequently that such an one should really be. It is requifite toward the good conduct of human affairs here, or to engage men to the practice of virtue; it is neceffary to the maintaining any belief concerning religion, or fenfe of piety: without it therefore no convenient fociety among men can be well upheld.
1. It is, I fay, needful to engage men upon the practice of any virtue, and to restrain them from any vice; for that indeed without it, no confideration of reason, no provifion of law here, can be much available to thofe purposes. He that will confider the nature of men, or observe their common practice, (marking what apprehenfions usually fteer them, what inclinations sway them, in their elections and pursuits of things,) fhall, I suppose, find, that from an invincible principle of self-love, or sensuality, deriving itself through all their motions of foul, and into all their actions of life, men generally do so strongly propend to the enjoyment of present fenfible goods, that nothing but a prefumption of some confiderable benefit to be obtained by abstinence from them, or of some grievous mischief confequent on the embracing them, can withhold them from pursuing fuch enjoyment. From hence (seeing fancy, reafon, and experience do all prompt men to a forefight of events, and force them to fome regard of the confequences of things) it followeth, that hope and fear are the main
fprings, which fet on work all the wheels of human SERM. action; so that any matter being propounded, if men can XXXII. hope that it will yield pleasant or profitable (that is, tending to pleasant) fruits, they will undertake it; if they do fear its confequences will be diftasteful or hurtful, they will decline it very rare it is to find, that the love or liking of a thing, as in itself amiable to the mind, or fuitable to reason, doth incline men thereto; that honeft things, bare of present advantages, and barren of hopeful fruits, are heartily pursued; that any thing otherwise averteth us from itself, than as immediately presenting some mischief, or dangerously threatening it. When goodnefs therefore doth clash with intereft or pleasure, human Rom. viii.6. wisdom (the póvnμa τñs σapxòs, natural sense of the flesh, which St. Paul speaketh of as oppofite to virtue) will difpose men to take part with thefe; and, except fome higher aid come in to fuccour goodness, it is odds that ever they will prevail over it. If it do appear, that virtue can pay men well for their pains, they perhaps may be her fervants; but they will hardly wait on her in pure courtesy, or work in her service for nothing; if the bringeth visibly a good dowry with her, fhe may be courted; but her mere beauty, or worth, will draw few fuitors to her who will forego fenfible pleasures, or wave substantial profit; who will reject the overtures of power, or honour, for her fake? And if vice, how ill foever it look or lear, do offer fairly, how many perfons will be fo nice or fqueamish, as merely out of fancy, or in despite to her, to refuse or renounce her? In fhort, as men are baited with pleasure or bribed with profit, so they pursue, as they are stung with pain or curbed with fear, fo they efchew things; it is a gift (or a specious appearance of fome good offered) which perpetually moveth the greatest part, which often blindeth the eyes and perverteth the heart of the wisest fort Deut. xvi. of men.
It is farther to common sense very obvious, that this 8. life cannot promife or afford to virtue any rewards apparently fo confiderable, as in the common judgment of men to overpoise the pains and difficulties required to the pro