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mented: Their Gain was Misery; their Re.. compence, Hatred from the World ; and their End, in the Eyes of Men, was Destruction. These are the Proofs of their worldly Cunning and Policy, and the Results of their deep-laid. Designs. But how will you support the suspected Credit of one from the Dead? He comes, and tells his Story, goes off, and there is an end of him: And unless you can prove there are no evil Spirits, or no evil Men dead, you cannot clear him from the Suspicion, nor fathom the Depth of his Design: He appears to you like the Wind, the Sound of which you hear; but whence it comes, or whither it goes, you know. not. If you will listen to the Evidences of the Gospel, we will shew you in whom we have believed; we will shew you Men like ourselves, armed with the Power of God, with Innocence of Life, with Patience in all manner of Affliction, and at last fealing with their Blood the Truth of their Mission. But, if you cannot digest this Evidence, in vain do you call out for Help from the other World; for neither would you be persuaded, though one rose from the Dead. And this will farther appear,
Thirdly, By considering the Temper of Infidelity: For where Unbelief proceeds, as generally it does, from a vitiated and cor. rupted Mind, which hates to be reformed; which rejects the Evidence, because it will not admit the Doctrine, not the Doctrine, because it cannot admit the Evidence; in this Case all Proofs will be alike, and it will be lost Labour to ply such a Man with Reafon or new Evidence, since it is not Want of Reason or Evidence that makes him an Unbeliever. And this Case chiefly our Saviour seems to have in his View; for the Request to Abraham to send one from the Dead was made in behalf of Men who lived wantonly and luxuriously; who, as the Psalmist expresses it, had not God in all their Thoughts. The rich Man in Torment could think of no better Expedient to rescue his Brethren from the Danger they were in of coming into the fame Condition with himself, than fending one from the Dead to admonish them, and to give them a faithful Account how Matters stood there, and how it fared with him. To which Abraham answers, that they had already sufficient Evidence of these Things; that they wanted no Means of Knowledge, if they would make use of those they had:
They have Moses, and the Prophets, let them bear them. But still he insists, Nay, Father Abraham, but if one went unto them from the Dead, they will repent. Then follows the Text, which is the last Resolution of this Case, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the Dead. And indeed where Infidelity is the Effect of such profligate Wickedness, it deserves not so much Regard from God, as that he should condescend to make particular Applications to it by new Lights and Evidences: And should he do it, there is Reason to suspect it would be ineffectual. We fee, in the ordinary Course of Providence, many Judgments bestowed upon Sinners to reclaim and amend them; but they harden themselves against them; so that their last State is worse than their first. I will not answer for the Courage of Sinners, how well they would bear the Sight of one from the Dead; nay, I am apt to imagine it would strangely terrify and amaze them. But to be frightened and to be persuaded are two things: Nature would recover the Fright, and Sin would recover Strength, and the great Fright might come to be matter of Ridicule. How cary would it be, when the Fright was over,
to compare this Event with the many ridicuious Stories we have of Apparitions, and to come at length, to mistrust our own Senses, and to conclude that we were milled, like a Man in a dark Night who follows an Ignis fatuus? And, what is worse, when the Infidel had once conquered his own Fears, and got loose again from the Thoughts of Religion, he would then conclude, that all Religion is made up of that Fear which he felt himself, which others cannot get rid of, though he so manfully and happily subdued it. You may think it perhaps imporfible, that a Man should not be convinced by such an Appearance: The same I believe you would think of the Judgments which befel Pharaoh, that it is hardly posible any Man should withstand thein; and yet you fee he did: Nay, did not the Guards, who were Eye-witne les of our Saviour's Resurrection ; who saw the Angel that rolled away the Stone from the Mouth of the Sepulchre; who shook and trembled with Fear, and became as dead Men ; did not they, after all this, receive Money to deny all they saw, and to give false Evidence against the Person they beheld coming from the Grave? So, you see, it is in the Nature of Man tu.with
stand such Evidences, where the Power of Sin is prevalent.
Besides, there are many Sinners, who are not Infidels: They inay believe Moses and the Prophets, though they will not hear them, that is, obey them. Now should one come from the Dead to these Men, the most they could do would be to believe him: But that does not imply their obeying him; for they believe Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, and yet obey not them; and why should Obedience be the Consequence of Belief in one Case more than another? There can be no greater Arguments for Obedience than the Gospel affords; and therefore he who believes the Gospel, and disobeys it, is out of hope to be reformed by any other Evidence. So that, confidering this Case with respect to all manner of Infidels or Sinners, there is Reason in our Saviour's Judgment; If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the Dead. ?
And hence perhaps we may leaện the Rea. son, why this sort of Intercourse between the other World and this is so very rare and uncommon, because it could serve no good End and Purpose ; for God having already