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And therefore is not in haste to judge this World before the World is ripe for Judgment; and when that is, he himself knows best.
For to appoint a Day to judge the World, is a Work of greatWisdom and Counsel: Before God judges the World, it is fit for him to display all the various Scenes of Wisdom, and Goodnefs, and Power, and Justice in the Government of the World; to exercise great Patience towards Sinners, and to make the
utmost Experiments to reform them, as St. Peter tells us, The Lord is not flack concerning bis Promise, ( as some men count flackness) but is patient to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance",
4. When God finally judges the World, he deftroys this present Frame of Things, as it fol
. lows in the next Verse, The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the Night; in the which the Hea . vens shall pass away with a great noise, and the Élements
shall melt with fervent beat, and the Earth al So, and the Works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Now it does not become a Wife and a Good God to be hasty in deftroying a World that he has made:
And therefore to reconcilc God's , dextroying the World with his Essential Attributes of Wildom and Goodness, there are two Things' neceffary.
that it was great
ift. The incorrigible Wickedness of Mari: kind. A Wise Man will not immediately pull down à House he has built
till he dif covers some irreparable decays in it: Thus God justifies his Destruction of the Old World, from the Universal Corruption of Manners, and the incurable Wickedness of it: God faw the wickedness of man, upon
the Earth, and that every imagiñation of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the Earth, and it grieved bim at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the Earth , 6. Gen. 53 6,7. And this was the only Reason that could be given to justifie fo Universal a Destruction of Mankind, that they were universally wicked, excepting one Righteous Family, which God preserved : And if seems very probable, that the General State of the World will be very wicked and cors rupt before the Final Destruction of the World by Fire; for we can conceive no other redi son why God fhould finally destroy this World, but to put an end to the incurable Wickednefs of Men. And this is the account the Scripture gives us of it; we find every where a deplorable Defcription of the Wickedness of the Last Days; In 'The Last Day's perilous times shall come : For men (that is, the generality of Mankind) shall be lover's of theit own felves, covetous, boasters, proud, blaspbemers,
disobedient to parents , unthankful, unboly, without natural affection, tThce-breakers, false accusers, in continent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, trágtors, beady, bigh-mipded, lovers of pleasure's more than lovers of God; having a form of godlinefs, bet denying the power thereof; 2 Tim. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4, s. Thus St. Jude tells us, There shall be mockers in the last times, who should walk after their own ungodly Lufts, verse 18. And St. Peter, as you heard, that in the last Days there fhall be scoffers, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? And our Saviour himself plainly intimates what an Universal Decay there fhall be of Piety and Faith, when he comes to judge the World, Neverthelefs when the Son of Man cometh, shall be find faith on the earth ? 18. Luke 8. Atheism and Infidelity shall greatly prevail in the World be fore the Day of Judgment; and by this, as St. John faid long lince, We know that is the laft time. And this is one of the Signs both of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Day of Judgment; Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and fall bate one another : And many false Prophets fall rise, and fall deceive mas ny. And because Iniquity fhall abound, the love of mainly fall wax cold. But he that. Shall endure to the · end, the forme fall be saved, 24. Matth. 10, IT, 12, 13
And therefore the Destruction of this World by Fire, which is the Preparation to the Final Judgment, is represented as an imKediate Vengeance on the Wickedness of
that Seperagion of Men, who shall then be living on the Earth; though at the fame sime, the Dead shall be raised, and all ungodly Men involved in the Tame Ruin. The Lord Susupall ke revealed from Heaven with his Mighty Angels in Haming Fire, taking Vengeance on them that i keqqay not God, and that obey not the Gospel of Lord Jesus Chrift, a Thef
. 1. 8.
. So that one thing God has regard to in appointing the Day of Judgment, is, Not to destroy the World till the Wickedness of Mankind is grown incurable, and paft Remedy; and till this is the State of the World, how much Wickedness, soever there be in it, at is too soon , for a Wife and Good God to, destroy the World he made: But there seems z. To be something more than this, to justify the Final Destruction of the World; not only that the present Race of Mankind is, so universally corrupt, that they can serve to be universally destroyed, which was the Case of the Old World, wherein there was but one Righteous Family; but that Mankind is thus incurably wicked after all the wise Methods of God's Grace and Providence to reform the World; for then it is time to put a Final End to the State of this World, and to the farther Propagation of Mankind, on it, and to fummon all Men to Judgment, to receive according to their Works.
This seems to be the Reason why Noab's Flood did not put a final end to the World, and why God did not at that time call alt Mankind to Judgment; because though the Wickedness of that Generation of Men was so Universal and so incurable, that it juftified their Universal Deftruction; yet God had new Methods of Grace, and hidden Trea. fures of Wisdom, in reserve for the reforming the World: And therefore though he purged the Earth from its wicked Inhabitants, he did not think fit to put an end to the Race of Men, bat preserved Noab and his Sons in the Ark (which was the only Righteous Family then living) to propagate a new Generation of Men, whom he would try with new Methods of Grace; the last, and most admirable, and most effectual Method of Grace was reserved for the last Times; the Mysterious Incarnation of the Son of God, and the Power of Gofpel-Grace. And when this also shall have lost its effe&; when Atheism, and Infidelity, and all manner of Wickedness Thall prevail; whea the Church it self shall be over-run with Heresies, Schisms, and a mere external Form of Religion, without the Power of it; when Men fhall walk after their own Lusts; when Faith shall fail, Iniquity abound, and the Love of many wax cold, then the End is at hand; God has then tried what Mankind will prove, long enough, and it is time to put a Period to this World and to the Race of Mankind, and call them all tó