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marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entred into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, fo fhall the com ing of the Son of man be. The like we have, 17. Luke 26, 27. to which he adds the Deftruction of Sodom, Likewife also it was in the days of Lot, they did eat, they drank, they bought, they fold, they planted, they built; but the fame day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and destroyed them all: even thus it shall be in the day when the Son of man is revealed, 28, 29, ༡༠.

(2.) This exactly agrees with what I have now difcourfed, That God will not deftroy the World till the Wickedness of Mankind is almoft univerfal and incurable; for if this be true, God cannot destroy the World till men are fecure and fearlefs of Judgment; that is, till they are fuch Atheifts and Infidels, fo immers'd in Senfual Plear fures, fo given up to a Reprobate Senfe, that they have no Thoughts of God and another world, nor any concernment for a Future Judg


Till the generality of Mankind are come to this fecure ftate, they are not fo hopeless, nor fo outragiously and irrecoverably wicked, as to provoke God to a final deftruction of the world: A Senfe of God, and the Fear of Judgment will reftrain the wickedness of Mankind, and make them more modeft and cautious, give check to their Vices, alarm and awaken their Confciences whether they will or no; while this sense and belief is preserved in the world, there

there muft be a great many Good Men, and a great many more who pretend to Piety and Virtue: And tho there may be here and there an Atheist among them, this is not confiderable; this does not make the State of Mankind hopelefs and defperate; and does not come up to the description of those times when God will deftroy and judge the World.



And to obferve this by the by; this is the true Account why the Judgments of God in this World, either upon Private Perfons or Publick Societies, Kingdoms, and Nations, furprize men when they are moft fecure, and think leaft of Judgment; when, as the Prophet Jeremy fpeaks, They cry peace, peace, when there is no peace, 6 Jer. 14. I need not tell you, that this is not to take us at an advantage, as a weak Enemy fometimes does, who wants ftrength and power to hurt us, but upon a furprize; for no finner, all the Sinners of the World cannot refift God's Power, tho' they had never so much warning to make their defence.


Nor is it that God takes fo much pleasure in punishing us, and in executing his Judgments upon the world, that he will give us no warning of it, that we may not prevent it by a timely Repentance, and make our Peace with him; for he is infinitely good and merciful; he delights to do good, and to fhew Mercy, but Judgment is is ftrange work; and he has fufficiently denon ced his Judgments against incorrigible Sinner if they would believe him; and take warning by it.

But the Reason why the Judgments of God fo often furprize men in their Security, while they are asleep, and dreaming of nothing but what is profperous and happy, of the return of Aftrea and the Golden Age, is because their Sins, which make them ripe for Judgment, and will not fuffer God to ftay his hand any longer, have made them alfo fecure: Either they have finned away all Belief of God, and his Providence, and a Future Judgment; or have finned away the fenfe of thofe particular Sins which they are guilty of; or to make themselves fecure, they have by the help of Enthufiafm and Superftition, reconciled the hopes of Heaven, and the fenfe of God's love and favour, with the practice of the moft provoking Impieties: That is, their love to Sin has made them fecure, and then there is little hope that they will ever förfake their Sins; and this makes them very fit to be the Examples of God's Juftice and Displea fure.

And the fame Account is to be given of the Day of Judgment: It will furprize men as a Thief in the Night; not because they never heard that God would judge theWorld; for God has fufficiently declared this, and given us time ly notice to prepare for it; but men will at that time have finned away the belief of a God, and of a Judgment to come, or have laid this Belief alleep with fome intoxicating Superftitions and Formalities; and this is fo hopeless and irrecoverable a ftate, that it makes it time for God to judge the World.

And this may give fome probable Account both why the Day of Judgment is deferred fo long, as fome Men are apt to fpeak (though God knows they have little reason to think it long, confidering what Account they are able to give and what Sentence they are like to receive) and why the particular time of Judgment is concealed from us.

While the Senfe of Judgment continues in the World, it must make a great many good Men, and reftrain the Wickednefs and Impiety of bad Men, and as you have heard, God will not deffroy the World while it is in an hopeful and recoverable State; but the long delay of Judgment (as Men are apt to call it) wears off the Senfe and Belief of it, and then Men grow Wicked without fear and reftraint; and then it is time for God to judge the World.

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Thus if God fixes and determines the Day of Judgment, upon the forefight of fuch a General Impiety as will deferve a final excision, God cannot reveal this to the World: For one would think it impoffible, did the World know this beforehand, but the Age of Judgment fhould be the moft Devout and Religious Age that ever had been from the beginning of the World; and then that would not be a fit time to deftroy the World; and God could not forefee it the propereft time of Judg


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It is abundantly fufficient that God gives us all reafonable Evidence and Affurance that he will judge the World; but there is no reason to tell


us at what particular time he will judge the World; nay, it is not fitting that we should know it.

Had Men known fome Thoufand Years ago, how long the Day of Judgment fhould be deferred, it had fo much weakned the Argument of a Future Judgment, by removing it a great way off, that the World might much better have deferved to be deftroyed at any other time, than in likelihood it would do, if Men certainly knew the time when the Day of Judgment comes: And if the general Belief of Judgment will not make us good Men, it is not fit that we fhould certainly know the time of Judgment, no more than that we should know the time of our Death, or be converted by a fight of Heaven or Hell.

God referves this as a Secret in his own Breaft, which neither Men nor Angels fhall know; which is the beft way to make the Belief of a Future Judgment effectual upon all Ages of the World, efpecially fince that exprefs Revelation which the Gofpel has made of it. This Inftruction This Inftruction our Saviour himself gives us, That fince we know not the Day of Judgment, we fhould always watch, and be ready prepared for it. Watch therefore, for ye know not what Hour your Lord doth come: But know this, that if the good Man of the Houfe had known in what Watch the Thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have fuffered his Houfe to be broken up; therefore be ye alfo ready, for in fuch an Hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh,

24. Matth.

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