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Judgment. If what some Learned Men teach be true, That the Letters St. John was commanded to write to the Seven Churches of Afia, were Prophetick of the Seven different States of the Christian Church, from the time of Chrift, till the end of the World, we find that the very laft State of the Church, when Christ will spew ber out of bis Moutb; that is, when he will put a final end to the Church on Earth, is represented by the Church of Laodicea; 3. Rev. 14, &c. And to the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, These things faith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God: I know thy Works, that thou art neither cold nor bot; I would thou wert cold or bot ; so tben, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold pior bot, I will spezy tbee out of my Mouth. When a true Zeal and Concernment for the Faith and Practice of Christianity fails in the Church, and Atheism, and Infidelity, and all manner of Wickedness prevails in the World, these are Presages of the near approach of a final Judgment. Now
if this be a fair and reasonable Account of the Destruction of the World, and a Future Judgment, we need not wonder that God has appointed fo late a Day for it: Seven or Eight Thousand Years is no long time for the duration of the World; especially when we have had such a terrible Example of God's Justice and Vengeance, in the Deftruction of the Old World already.
We have realon to belieyen that this World should never have been destroyed, bu
but for the incurable Wickednels of Mankind
for nothing else can justify, the Wisdom and Goodness of God in destroying what he had made: God could have judged, and rewarded or punishe cd particular Men, without deffroying the World, but when Mankind is grown unin, Versally, and incurably wicked it does not become God to suffer this Earth to be an eternal Nursery of Atheists and Rebels against the Majesty of Heaven; and this. makes it necessary for God to destroy it ; but then the Wisdom and Goodness of God requires that this should be done with great Patience and Long-suffering, and after the difappointment of all the wise. Methods of his Man can say that God has hitherto, too long delayed the Final Judgment; some Thousand Years is no long Trial to fave the World and Mankind whom he hath made from Final Des struction.
(1.) And therefore let no . Man laugh at a Future Judgment, and Final Destruction of this World, as if it. yould never be, because it is not yet; God is in no haste to destroy the World; but when he sees it ripe for De struction, that is the Day he has appointed for Judgment; such Scoffers as these are cerrain Fore-runners of that Day, and unless there be still a new Resurrection of true Faith and (which is hone for) it cannot be far
offs How long foever fuch men may think God delays, yet their Fudgment lingreth not, and their damnation flumbreth not, 2 Pet. 2. 3. Let us all remember what our Saviour tells us, If that evil fervant fball say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow-fervants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the Lord of tbar servant shall come in a day when he looketb not for bim, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and Shall cut him afunder, and fall
appoint him bis portion with the bypocrites; there hall be weeping and gnaflsing of teeth, 24. Matth. 48.
It is no Argument that Judgment is a great way off, because men are secure, and can laugh at the Thoughts of it, for the more fecure the World is.', the nearer it is to judgment : The very Day that Judgment shall overtake them, they thall least of all think of it, as it mult needs be when the World shall be fó over-run with Atheism and Infidelity; and there fore the Day of Judgment is faid to come like a thief in the night, that is, suddenly, and by surprize, when we are asleep and secure, and least füfpe& it', 1 Thef
. 5. 2; 4; 2 Peter
2 Peter. 3. 10. As Chrift threatens the Church of Sardis, 3. Reve! 3. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know. what bour I will come upon thee. Thus 24. Mattb. 37, &c. Christ tells us that the Day of Judgment or the coming of the Son of Man, is like the days of Noah. Fir as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking ,
marrying and giving in marriage until the day tbat Noah entred into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, fo fhall the coming of the Son of man be. The like we have, 17, Luke 26, 27. to which he adds the Destruction of Sodom, Likewise also it was in the days of Lot, they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built ; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and destroyed them all: even thous it shall be ir the day when the Son of man is revealed, 28, 29, 30.
(2.). This exa&ly agrees with what I have now discoursed, That God will not destroy the World till the Wickedness of Mankind is almost univerfal and incurable; for if this be true, God cannot destroy the World till men are secure and fearless of Judgment ; that is, till they are such Atheifts and Infidels, so immers'd in Sensual Plear sures, so given up to a Reprobate Sense, that they have no Thoughts of God and another world, nor any concernment for a Future Judge ment,
Till the generality of Mankind are come to this secure ftate, they are not so hopeless, nor so outragiously and irrecoverably wicked, as to provoke God to a final destruction of the world ; A Sense of God, and the Fear of Judgment will restrain the wickedness of Mankind, and make them more modest and cautious, give check to their Vices, alarm and awaken their Consciences whether they will or no ; while this sense and belief is preserved in the world,
there must be a great many Good Men, and a great many more who pretend to Piety and Virtue : And thò there may be here and there'an Atheist among them, this is not considerable ; this does not make the State of Mankind hopeless and desperate ; and does not come up to the description of those times when God will deAtroy and judge the World.
And to observe 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, surprize men when they are most secure, and think least of Judgment; when, as the Prophet iJeremy speaks,
They cry peace, peace, when there is no peace, 6. Jer. 14. I need not tell you, that this is not to takeus at an advantage, as a weak Enemy sometimes does, who wants strength and power to hurt us, but upon a surprize; for no finner, all the Sinners of theWorld cannot 'resist God's Power, tho’ they had never so much warning to make their defence. ob Nor is it that God takes so much pleasure in punishing us, and in executing his Judgments upon the world, that he will give us no warning of it, thatwe may not prevent it by a timely Repentance, and makeour Peace with him; for he is infinitely good and merciful; he delights to do good, and to shew Mercy, but Judgment is is Itrange work; and he has sufficiently denou ced his Judgments against incorrigible Sinnosti if they would believe him; and take warmg by it.