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Blood, when the Defolations of flourishing Coun tries, the burning of Towns and Cities, the. lamentable Slaughter of Infinite Numbers of People, do fo loudly proclaim the Wrath and Difpleasure of God, thofe who ha'n't a great, and awful, and terrible Senfe of Judgment, will never be awakened, but by the founding of the laft Trumpet.
It is this that makes the Judgments of God fo effectual to Reform the World, not meerly the Fears of present Sufferings, of thofe Temporal Evils and Calamities, wherewith God punishes Sinners; but that by thefe vifible Tokens of God's Anger, by the present fenfible Effects of his Juftice and Power, Men are rouzed and alarmed into a Confideration of Future Vengeance.
We extreamly weaken the Argument from prefent and fenfible Judgments, when we urge it no further, than to perfuade Men to reform their Lives, to remove thofe Judgments which are upon them; this is an additional Argument, to reform our Sins to fave our Countrey from Ruin; but thofe who will not reform their Sins to fave their Souls, will never part with them to fave a Nation; and therefore the true force of the Argument refolves it felf into a Future Judg ment: God has begun to punish us already in this World for our Sins; and unless we repent, we must not hope to efcape fo; thefe Temporal Sufferings are but a Summons to Judgment, and it may be are intended to remove us prefently into the other World to receive our Reward: the Axe is L 3
now visibly laid to the Root of the Tree; and every Tree which bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewn down, and caft into the Fire.
And the visible Execution of GOD's Judgments upon the World, will certainly mind us of a Future Judgment, and give us a feeling Sense of it; as it gives us a prefent and fenfible View of God's Juftice and Power, and a nearer Profpect of it.
1. It gives us a prefent and fenfible View of God's Juftice and Power: And that though he be very Good and Merciful, he is very Righteous too, and very fevere in his Judgments; that though he be Gracious and Merciful, flow to Anger, and of great Kindness; yet he will not always fpare, but will awake to vifit the Heathen, and will not be Merciful to any wicked Tranfgreffors, $9. Pfal. 5.
When we see what Defolations God makes in the Earth, how his Judgments like a fudden and mighty Torrent overflow a fecure and happy Country, fweep away the Inhabitants of it, or tranfplant them into Foreign Nations to beg their Bread among Strangers; when we see how he founds an Alarm to War, and fers Kingdom against Kingdom, and every Man's Sword against his Brother; when we obferve with what an Impartial Hand he ftrikes, that there is no Country, no People, no Religion efcapes; that he makes Ambition and Covetoufnefs correct Superftition, and Superftition chaftife the Coldnefs and Formality, the Loofe and Licentious Lives of more Orthodox Chriftians; I say, when
when we fee fuch things as these in the World, fhall we not fear and tremble before that juft and righteous Judge? Can we forget that GOD will judge the World in Righteoufnefs, when we fee already fuch terrible Executions, which are only Preludiums to a Final Judgment?
2. These present and visible Judgments give us a nearer Profpect of a Future Judgment; and Judgment will more fenfibly affect us, the nearer we fee it: Not that fuch Judgments as thefe prove, that the Final Judgment is near at hand; for the Records and Hiftories of former Ages give us an Account of very terrible Judg ments which God then executed upon the World, and yet we fee the Final Judgment is deferred and we know not how long it may be deferred ftill: But though the General Judgment may be a great way off, yet our particular Judgment may be very near; God may quickly cut us off, and put an end to our Account; and when the Judgments of God are in the World, we have reafon to expect it, at least so far, as to be prepared for it: Proximus ardet Ucalegon; when we fee the Judgments of God fweep away fo many Thousands round about us, who not long fince lived as fecure and unconcerned for danger as we do; when we see the Clouds hover and rowl about the Heavens, charged with Thunder and Tempeft, who knows where the Storm will break next, and who fhall feel the Violence of it? And therefore the Judgments of G OD, which are in the Earth, will give all confidering L 4
Men fuch a prefent Senfe of a Future Judg ment, as a threatning Sickness will do: Prefent Judgments may fuddenly cut us off, and fend us into the other World unprepared for a Final Judgment; and there is no preparing for it there; and then thefe prefent Judgments may prove Final to us. So that those who live in fuch an Age as this, will be utterly inexcufable if they forget their Account, which they have fuch terrible Admonitions of. Let us make this use of prefent Judgments, to awaken a more lively and vigorous Sense of a Future Judgment in us; and that will make us good Men, and fecure our Eternal Happiness; and is the best way to prevent any publick Calamities of our Countrey, which we may fear or to preferve our felves from being involved in
CHA P. II.
Concerning the Time of Judgment.
Concerning a particular Fudgment at the Time of every Man's Death.
ET us now confider the Time Judgment; God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteoufefs. Now this plainly refers to that General Judgment, when all Mankind fhall
be fummoned before the Tribunal of Chrift to be judged according to their Works. But before I fpeak to this, it will be neceffary to take notice of what we commonly call a Particular Judgment, which is fuppofed to pafs upon all Men, as foon as they go out of these Bodies.
The received Opinion is, that when any Man dies, he is immediately called to Judg ment, and receives his Final Sentence, which is immediately executed on him; that a Bad Man is fentenced to Hell, and fent immediately thither; that a Good Man is received into Heaven, and enjoys the Beatifick Vifion from the time of his going out of this Body:
But I must confefs, this has always appeared a great difficulty to me; we live in fuch an Inquifitive Age, as will not allow us to affirm what we cannot prove, and indeed no honeft Man ought to do fo; for it forfeits any Man's Autho rity, and weakens the Credit of Religion, when that which has no proof, or at beft is very uncertain, is taught with as great affurance, as that which is moft certain and unqueftionable in Religion and yet no wife Man will oppofe and contradict a received Doctrine, though he were fatisfy'd it were a Mistake, when there are no evil Confequences attend it: For my part, I must honeftly profess, that I neither dare affirm nor deny this particular Judgment in the fenfe in which it is commonly understood; for there are fome Paffages in Scripture, which feem to look both ways, and fince I cannot decently