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was wroth, and fenë forth his Armies, and destroy'd those Murtherers, and burnt up their City, and sent and invited others to the Marriage; tho it primarily refer to the Destruction of the Jewish Nation, for their rejecting their Meflias, and calling the Gentiles into the Church, yet is founded on the same reafon, that God will punish our abuse of his Grace; and all the Invitations of the Gospel, as a gracious, but affronted Prince would punith his Subjects in such a case. But the Parable of the Wheat and Tares:
24, c. is very observable, because iç gives an account why God does not destroy all bad men in this world, and yet that he will punish the wicked, and reward the good , in the next world: A man Soweth good feed in the field, and while men flept, bis enemy came and lowed tạres; but when the blade Spring up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares
, also. This our Saviour expounds, V: 37,&c. Hethat soweth good seed, is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed.are the children of the kingdom, (that is, good Christiáns) but the tares are the children of the wicked one ; (that is, bad mėn.) The enemy that forved them is the Devil, ,(as our Saviour tells fuch men, re are of your father the devil, and his works gé do.). The Servants of the Housholder having informed their Master of what had happened, ask him, Whether they should go and gather up the Tares; Bút be said, Nay, left while he gather iep the tares, y, root up also the wheat with them: Let thein borb grow together till the burvest; and in the time of barvest I will say to the reapers, Gatber je togerber first the tures, and bind them into bundles to burn them; bar
gather the wheat into my barn. Which he thus expounds: The harvest is tbe end of the world; and the reapers are the angels; ( for so our Saviour tells us, he must come in the glory of bis Father, with bis angels, who are the Ministers and Executioners of his Justice.) As therefore
, the Tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, fo Jhall it be in the end of the world: The Son of man fhall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall caft them into a furnace of fire; thete.phall be wailing and fnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous fine fortb like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. This we must confefs was wisely confidered by the Householder, not to destroy the Wheat with the Tares, but rather suffer them both to grow up together till the Harvest, than to pluck up the Wheat before it be ripe, together with the Tares; and this is as good a reason why God does not de1troy all bad men in this World, becaufe good and bad men are intermixt, and all bad men cannot be destroy'd here, but good men muft fuffer with them, as I have already shew'd you at farge: And therefore bad men cannot be finally punished; Hor good men finally rewarded, till they are first parted ; for to root up the Tares here fignifies the final Extirpation and Deftruction of all bad men, nor the casting bad men out of the Communion of the Church, nay, not putting HeTeticks to death, to which some apply these Words; which were it reconcileable with the other Laws, and with theGenius and Spirit of Christianity zasitis not would be as reconcileable with this Parable, as the Execution of any otherMalefactorsis; this may
be done without destroying the Wheat, nay, in some cases the Wheat may be preserved by it; for the Punishment and Execution of some bad men, is necessary to preserve the Innocent: buc when the Tares are more than the Wheat, grow close together, and are entangled in each other, as the Interests of good and bad men are intermixt and interwoven in this World, there is great reason to spare the Tares for the sake of the Wheat.
But the Tares'must not expect to escape thus always; a wise Housholder in the time of Harvest will order the Reapers to separate between the Tares and the Wheat, and then the Tares shall be burnt, and the Wheat gathered into the Barn; and thus Christ will separate between good and bad men at the Last Judgment, and allot them very different Portions: All this is very reasonable; thus a Wife Man will do, and therefore this. we muft expe&t from the Wise and Just Judge of the World!
This Parable of the Wheat and Tares which grow together in the fame Field, represents the Mixture of Believers and Infidels, the Christian Church; and the Men of this World here: Butthe. following Parable of the Net, v. 47. which was caft into the Sea, and gathered of every kind, represents the mixture of good and bad men in the Commu nion of the Chriftian Church; for thus our Savi-, our tells his Apostles, that he would make them Fishers of Men; and gave them a Figure of the Success of their Minitry, in that miraculous Draught of Fishes, after they had toiled all the Night, and had taken nothing, S. Luke S, 6. which he repeated again after his Resurrection G 2
from the Dead, 21. Fobn 6, &c. So that the New fignifies the Communion of the Christian Church, which gathers both good and bad ; but when this Net is drawn to fhore, they gatber tbe good into VefSels, but cast the bad away; that is, at the end of the World, the Angels shall not only separate between the Church and the World, between Be. lievers and Infidels, but between good and bad Christians who live together in the same Communion in this World:The angels shall come fortband server the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire, there
shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Thus we see in these Parables our Saviour does not only prove that God will judge the World, but convinces us of the
Neceflity and Reasonablenefs of this, by appealing to the common Rules of Prudence and Justice among men: Thus all wife and just Princes and Houfholders will do, deftroy Traytors and Rebels, revenge the abuse of their Favours, call their Stewards to an account, reward the Labour and Improvements of faithful Servants, and punish the flothful and unprofitable, separate the Wheat and Tares at Harveft though they grow up together in the fame Field, and feparate between the good and bad Fish, the caught in the same Net; and therefore thus God will do, who is not less Wife, and Juft, and Holy, than Men are. And this gives Authority to all the Arguments for a Future Judgment, drawrt from the Reafun and Nature of things : Thus our Saviour Reasons, and thus he has taught us to reafon ; for the fundamental Principle on which all chefe Parables reft, is this, That whatover is manifestly just, and wife, and reasonable
for Men to do, that God will do. If this be not true, the Parables of our Saviour have his Authority, but have no Reason, tho the nature of such Parables is an Appeal to the Reason of Mankind; and if this be true, then we may argue thus in other cases, which are equally plain and obvious, and are founded upon the same Reason; which gives a kind of Divine Authority to the plain and necessary Dictates of Reafon in this matter; and then I'm sure I have furnished you with Reasons enough already for the Belief of a Future Judgment.
3. The whole Christian Religion is founded on, and adapted to the Belief of a Future Judgment, and is a very unintelligible Institution without it: And therefore this muft be a first Principle to all who call themselves Chriftians, if they understand the Religion they profess: As to Thew this particularly :
1. The chief Promises and Threatnings of the Gospel relate to the other World ; Godliness, indeed, bath the promise of the life that now is, as well as that which is to come; but the Temporal Promises made to a holy and virtuous Life, are such as worldly-minded men cannot much value; they extend no farther than Food and Raiment, to cur daily Bread, which is all our Saviour hath taught ụs to pray for ; and therefore it teaches us, Having food and raiment; therewith to be content :
Tim.6... But who could be contented with such a scarty Provision, while he sees the greater Prosperity of bad men, who dissolve in Ease and Luxury,were there not a happy State reserved for them in the nexe World ? Where is the man who would not comply with the Devil's Temptation to fall