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from the Ancient Fathers, that they owned aMiddle State, which was neither Heaven nor Hell; and then presently conclude, That this must be Purgatory. Now it is very true, the Ancient Chriftians did own a Middle Ştate between Death and Judgment, which was neither Heaven nor Hell, but yet never dreamt of a Popish Purgatory: They believed bad men were in a State of Punishment as foon as they left these Bodies, but not in Hell; and that good men were in a state of Reft and Happiness, but not in Heaven; but they never thought of a Place of Torment to expiate the Temporal Punishment due to Sin,when the Eternal Punishment is remitted, which is the Popish Purgatory, and the moft Barbarous Reprefentation of the Chriftian Religion, though the moft Profitable too, to the Church of Rome, that ever was invented.
2. This utterly overthrows the Worship of Saints in the Church of Rome; at leaft, of all Saints who were not Martyrs; for Saint-Worship is founded on this Belief, That thefe Saints when they dye are received into Heaven, into the immediate Prefence of God, and therefore can there powerfully interceed for us; but if these Saints are not yet received into Heaven, nor fhall be till the Refurrection, which was the Faith of the Primitive Chriftians, and feems very agreeable to the Doctrine of the Gofpel, as I have now fhewn you; then there is an end of the Worship and Interceffion of Saints.
zdly. This Doctrine neither difcourages Virtue, nor encourages Vice: I cannot indeed fay, but that Heaven is a much happier Place than Paradise, and therefore it is more defirable for Good Men when they die, to go directly to Heaven than to Paradife; But yet it is a fufficient Encouragement to the exercife of the moft perfect Virtues, that as foon as we die, we fhall be carry'd by Angels into Abraham's Bofom, or into Paradife; a Place of perfect Eafe and Reft, and as perfect Happiness as can be enjoy'd out of Heaven. Such a Paradife where Holy Souls dwell, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apoftles, Martyrs, and Confeffors, with Heaven at the end of it, is a fufficient, an abundant Reward for all the most difficult and laborious Services of this Life: That Heaven is not yet, is no greater Difcouragment, than that we fhall not rife from the Dead till the Day of Judgment, that we fhall not have our Bodies again till they are awakened by the Laft Trumpet; Bodies which will be bright and glorious as the Sun, which will rife with Eternal Youth, and Strength, and Beauty: This is a much greater Happiness, than to live either in Paradife or in Heaven without our Bodies: But this we muft ftay for, and fo we may for Heaven; and we may be very well contented to wait for Heaven, and for the Refurrection of our Bodies in Paradife: When we are as happy as Paradife can make us, we may very patiently expect the full Completion of our Happiness in the Refurrection of our Bodies, and our Admission into the
the higheft Heavens, to the immediate Throne and Prefence of God.
Thus though Hell is a Place of the most perfect Torment and Mifery, for it is the Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels; and therefore it is much more formidable for Sinners to drop immediately into Hell when they dye, than to fuffer. any other State of Puniment between Death and Judgment; yet he is a very unreafonable man, who does not think the Day of Judgment time enough to be condemned to Hell, and who does not think it mifery enough to fall under the Power of Evil Spirits in the mean time: If God think this Punishment enough, methinks Sinners fhould; and thofe who cannot fear Hell at the distance of the Day of Judgment, will not fear Hell though it were no farther off than Death. Those who are not afraid of being tormented as Dives was, when they go out of thefe Bodies, will not fear Hell, though we allow Hell to be a ftate of more perfect Mifery. I am fure Dives thought those Torments fo great, that they were fufficient to have made his Brethren True Penitents, had they known what they muft fuffer for their Sins as foon as they dye: And those who will not allow that Bad Men are immediately condemned to Hell as foon as they dye, yet muft allow that they may be tormented as Dives was. In fhort, if Wicked Men do not drop into Hell as foon as they dye, yet they fhall be condemned to Hell at the Day of Judgment; and in the Intermediate State between Death and Judgment, fhall fuffer all those un
known Miseries which are prepared for wicked Souls till the Day of Judgment; and those who will not be perfuaded by this, will live and die in their Sins, tho you could convince them that they fhall drop into Hell as foon as they dye.
That the Day of Judgment is appointed.
AVING thus confidered the State between Death and Judgment, let us now more ftrictly confider the Time of Judgment: And here are feveral things to be observed and explain'd.
I. That the Day of Judgment is appointed:
II. That this is a General Day for the Judgment of the whole World.
III. That this Day of Judgment will be at the
I. That the Day of Judgment is appointed:
This is a Matter of pure Revelation, and can be known no other way; for though we have great Evidence from Reason, that God
God will judge the World, yet to appoint a Day is a free Act of God's Wisdom and Counsel; and this must be learnt from Revelation; and we cannot have a more exprefs Revelation for any thing, than we have for this; for St.Paul tells us in plain Words, That God hath appointed a Day to judge the World: And our Saviour in exprefs Words feveral times refers to this Day, as appointed and determined by God: In that day many fhall fay unto me, Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy name? which refers to fome certain Day, 7. Matth. 22. And the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves fhall hear his voice, 5 John 28. And of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the Angels of Heaven, but my Father only, 24.Matth. 36. which plainly fignifies that the Day is determined and fixed, because God knows when it fhall be; that is, he knows when he has appoint ed it: And if it were not appointed, it had been no great wonder that neither Men nor Angels know it.
Now this Confideration, that God hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the World, is not without its ufe: For,
1ft. This proves the certainty of a Future Judgment, that the Day of Judgment is appointed: For we cannot think that God would appoint a Day: to judge the World, unless he abfolutely refolved to judge it.