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all Life and Energy; if he be good, he will do good; and if he be the Sovereign Lord and Judge of the World, he will Govern and Judge Mankind.
This is the firft natural Evidence of a Future Judgment, taken from the Frame and Condition of Human Nature, which I have infifted on much longer than I intended, for the more I think of it, the more plain and convincing it feems to be; for what imaginable reafon is there to question, whether God will judge Mankind, when he has made man juft fuch a Creature, as he must have made him, if he had intended to judge him; endowed him with Reafon and Understanding, and liberty of Choice, given him Laws and Rules of Action, and made him in fubjection to Himself, obnoxious to his own Power and Juftice; which are plain natural Indications, that God does intend to call him to an account?
The effential Differences between Good and Evil, and the Natural Notions we have of GOD, prove a Future Judgment.
II. THE effential Differences between Good and Evil, prove that Mankind ought to be judged; and this is fomewhat more than that God has made Man fuch a Creature as is by nature accountable, and may be judged: Just as much more as the difference is between may be and must be; for though, as I obferved before, this may be does very ftrongly infer a will be; that is, that God having made nan an accountable
Creature, is a reasonable Prefumption, that he will judge him, and call him to an account; yet this is not fo direct and immediate a Proof that God will judge Mankind, as it is to fhew, that the effential difference of Good and Evil makes it neceffary, that Man fhould be judged, that he fhould be rewarded and punished according to his works.
I premise this to fhew you, what a new advance this makes towards the proof of a future Judgment; and now come to explain the force of this Argument:
That there is an effential difference between Good and Evil, (as unwilling as fome Men are to own it) is demonstrable to every Man's fenfe and experience, which is a more undeniable Proof, than fome nice and Metaphyfical Speculations; and that what is good ought to be rewarded, and what is evil ought to be punifhed, is acknowledged by the univerfal confent and practice of Mankind; and I think the neceffary and unavoidable confequence of this is, that good Men fhall be rewarded, and the wicked punished; that is, that Mankind fhall be judged according to their Works. This is in fhort the Argument; and if I can make good each part of it, I have no more to do, but to leave it to your ferious confideration.
I. That there is an effential difference between Good and Evil; that is, that there are fome things in their own natures very good for men, and other things which are very hurtful to them: And will any Man deny this? This is the Good, and Evil, which is in the Nature of Things, and fo immutably there, that all the Art and Power
of the World, can never alter them without altering the nature of things; cannot make that good which is hurtful, nor that hurtful which is good; which is all the Good and Evil which I know of: for whereas we diftinguish between Moral and Natural Good and Evil, the only dif ference between them is this, that Moral Good and Evil is in the Will and Choice, Natural Good and Evil is in the Nature of Things; that which is good or hurtful to our felves or others, is naturally good or evil; to love, to chufe, to do that which is good or hurtful to our felves or others, is morally good or evil, or is the good or evil of our Choice and Actions.
If you will but recollect your felves, you will all find, that you have no other Notion of Good or Evil but this. When you fay, fuch a Man has done a very good or a very evil action, what do you mean by it? Do you not mean, that he has done fomething very good or very hurtful to himfelf or others? When you hear that any man has done good or evil, is not the next queftion, What good, or what hurt has he done? And do you not by this mican Natural Good or Evil? Which is a plain evidence, that you judge of the Moral Good or Evil of Actions by the Natural Good or Evil which they do: And the effential difference between Moral good and evil, is founded on the effential difference between Natural good and evil; and therefore is as unalterable as the nature of things.
This is evident from that univerfal Rule of Juftice and Goodness, Whatsoever ye would that men fbould do unto you, do you that alfo unto them, which is an Appealto cur own fenfe and feeling for the
good and evil of our Actions; which must there-, fore fignify the natural good and evil of them: We feel what is for our good or hurt; and we defire men fhould do good to us, but that they fhould not hurt us; and therefore we muft do good and no injury to them; and this is the fum of the Law and the Prophets: The univerfal Rule of moral Juftice and Goodness, which is to do that which is for the natural good of mankind, whatever our fenfe and experience tells us, is naturally good and beneficial to our felves: which would be a very imperfect Rule, if there were not an infeparable connexion between Moral and Natural Good.
The not obferving this, is the true reason why fome men can form no Notion at all of moral Good or Evil, but think Virtue and Vice to be mere Arbitrary Notions, which have no Foundation in the Nature of Things; as indeed they can have none but only this, That Virtue is to love, and chufe, and do that which has a natural good in it, which is good to our felves or others; that Vice is to love, and chufe, and do that which has fome natural Evil in it, or which is hurtful to our felves or others: As for inftance; Charity which is one of the most excellent Virtues of the Chriftian Life, confifts in doing every thing which is for the good of men; in feeding the Hungry, cloathing the Naked, relieving the Injured and Oppreffed,the Fatherlefs and the Widow; in directing, advifing, affifting, comforting men in Difficulties and Diftrefs, in forgiving Injuries, concealing Faults, judging Charitably, and in all fuch other acts of Goodnefs as are greatly for the benefit of Mankind; whereas the contrar
Vice does all the contrary Evils and Mischiefs, to the great hurt and injury of men ; and whoever confiders this, muft confefs that moral Good and Evil is as real a thing as natural Good and Evil is; and I fuppofe no man who has his fenfes about him, will deny that there is fuch a thing as natural Good and Evil; as for inftance, Pain and Pleasure; and then his fame fenfes will in abundance of inftances tell him the effential difference between moral Good and Evil.
On the other hand, the true and only reafon why men fo vaftly differ in their Notions of moral Good and Evil, is because in many inftances they are not agreed what natural Good and Evil is: Some men call nothing Good or Evil, but what is Good or Evil to their Bodies, fuch as Pain and Pleasure, and the caufes and inftruments of them,Health and Sickness,Riches and Poverty,and the like. Others think,and with much greater reafon, that we fhould take our Souls into the account too; that whatever is for the eafe and pleasure of our minds, whatever adorns and perfects a reafonable Nature, is a natural Good to men; ás Wisdom and Knowledge, and regular and wellgovern'd Appetites and Paffions do; and therefore thefe are the foundation of moral Virtues too; but whatever debafes our Natures, and is a reproach to the Reason and Understanding of a man, whatever thrufts him down into the rank of brute Creatures, and either difturbs his ease, or changes the Pleafures of a Man for those of a Beaft are great natural Evils too,if the perfection and happiness of Humane Nature be a natural Good; and therefore to chuse and to act such things, is morally Evil.