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Even among apostates from Christianity most, The major is past doubt. Good and felicity or many, still acknowledge the soul's immortal- being necessarily desired by the will of man, that ity, and the felicity and reward of holy souls, to which is best and known so to be, must be most be of the common notices, known by nature to desired. mankind. Julian was so much persuaded of it, The minor should be as far past doubt to men that on that account he exhorts his priests and that use not their sense against their reason. In subjects to great strictness and holiness of life, this life there is nothing certain to be continued and to see that the Christians did not exceed one hour. It is certain that all will quickly end : them. Among us, many that seem not to believe and that the longest life is short. It is certain our supernatural revelations of Christianity, do that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly fully acknowledge it. As also those philosophers nothing ; and so no better to us than if they had who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, never been. It is certain that while we possess Maximus Tyrius, and such others.
them, they are poor unsatisfactory things, the We find that this notice hath so deep a root in pleasure of the flesh being no sweeter to a man nature, that few of those that study and labour than to a beast; and the trouble that accompanthemselves into sensuality or sadducism, are ies it much more. Beasts have not the cares, able to silence the fears of future misery, but fears, and sorrows upon foresight which man conscience overcomes or troubles them much at bath: they fear not death upon the fore-knowleast, when they have done the worst they can ledge of it, nor fear any misery after death, nor against it. Whence should all this be in man are put upon any labour, sufferings or trials, to and not in beasts, if man had no further reason obtain a future happiness, or avoid a future misof hopes and fears, than they? Are a few sad- ery: all which considered, he speaks not by readucees wiser by their forced or crude conceits, son, who saith this vain, vexatious life is better than all the world that are taught by nature it- than the possibility or probability of the everlastself.
ing glory. If the God of nature have made it every man's Now as to the consequence, or major, of the certain duty to make it his chief care and work first argument, it is evident of itself, from God's in this life, to seek for happiness hereafter, then perfection, and the nature of his works. God such a happiness there is for them that truly makes it not man's natural duty to lay out his seek it. But the antecedent is certain, as I have chief care and labour of all his life on that which elsewhere proved.
is not, or to seek that which man was never As to the antecedent, the world is made up made to attain : for then all his duty should reof three sorts of men, as to the belief of future sult from mere deceit and falsehood, and God retribution. Such as take it for a certain should govern all the world by a lie, which cantruth Christians, Mahometans, and most hea- not be his part who wants neither power, wisthens; such as take it for uncertain, but most dom, nor love, to rule them by truth and rightprobable or most likely to be true; such as eousness ; and who hath printed his image both take it for uncertain, but rather think it un on his laws and on his servants; in which laws true. For as none can be certain that it is false, lying is condemned: and the better any man is, which indeed is true, so I never yet met with the more he hates it; and liars are lothed by all one that would say he was certain it was false. mankind. Then the better any man is, and the So that I need not trouble you with the mention more he doth his duty, the more deluded, erronof any other party or opinion. But if any should eous and miserable should he be. For he should say so, it is easy to prove that he speaks falsely spend that care and labour of his life upon deof himself.
ceit, for that which he shall never have, and so That it is the duty of all these, but especially should lose his time and labour. He should of the two former sorts, to make it their chief deny his flesh those temporal pleasures which care and work to seek their happiness in the life bad men take and suffer persecutions and injuto come, is easily proved thus : Natural reason ries from the wicked, and all for nothing, and on requires every man to seek that which is best for mistake: the more wicked or more unbelievhimself, with the greatest diligence; but natural ing any man is, the wiser and happier should reason saith that a probability or possibility of he be, as being in the right when he denies the future, everlasting happiness is better and the life to come, and all duty and labour in more worthy to be sought, than any thing at- seeking it, or in avoiding future punishment; tainable in this present life, which doth not sup- and while he takes his utmost pleasure here, he
hath all that man was made for. But all this is
utterly unsuitable to God's perfection, and to have no proper duty, but only motion, as he his other works : for he makes nothing in vain, is moved ; and then how comes a government by nor can he lie; much less will he make holiness laws to be set up under God by men ? Then itself, and all that duty and work of life which there were no sin or fault in any; for if there reason itself obliges all men to, to be not only were no law and duty, but only necessitated vain, but hurtful to them. But of this argument motion, all would be moved as the mover pleased, I have enlarged elsewhere.
and there could be no sin ; and then there would Man differs so much from brutes in the know- be no moral good, but forced or necessary moledge of God, and of his future possibilities, that tion : but all this is most absurd : and experience it proves that he differs as much in his capacity tells us that God doth indeed morally govern and certain hopes. As to the antecedent, man the world ; and his right is unquestionable. knows that there is a God by his works : he If God were not the ruler of the world, by knows that this God is our absolute Lord, our law and judgment, the world would have no uniruler, and our end: he knows that naturally we versal laws; for there is no man that is the uniowe him all our love and obedience: he knows versal ruler. Then kings, and other supreme that good men use not to let their most faithful powers, would be utterly lawless and ungoverned, servants be losers by their fidelity, nor do they as having none above them to give them laws, use to set them to labour in vain ; he knows that and so they would be capable of no sin or faultman's soul is immortal, or at least that it is far and of no punishment ; which yet neither their more probable that it is so ; and therefore that it subjects' interest, nor their own consciences, will must accordingly be well or ill for ever; and grant or allow them thoroughly to believe. that this should be most cared for. Why should If God be a ruler, he is just; or else he were God give him all this knowledge more than to not perfect, nor so good, as he requires princes the brutes, if he were made for no more enjoy- and judges on earth to be. An unjust ruler or ment than the brutes, of what he knows: every judge is abominable to all mankind. Righteouswise man makes his work fit for the use that he ness is the great attribute of the universal king. intends it to, and will not God ? So that the But how were he a righteous ruler, if he consequence also is proved from the divine per- drew all men to obey him by deceit? If he fection ; and if God were not perfect, he were obliged them to seek and expect a felicity or not God : the denial of a God therefore, is the reward which he will never give them? If he make result of the denial of man's future hopes. man's duty his misery; if he require him to la
Indeed, though it be but an analogical reason bour in vain; if he suffer the wicked to prosethat brutes have, those men seem to be in the cute his servants to the death, and make duty right, who place the difference between man and costly, and give no after recompence; or if he let brutes, more in the objects, tendency, and work the most wicked on the earth pass unpunished, of our reason, than in our reason itself as such, or to escape as well hereafter as the best, and to and so make animal religiosum to be more of live in greater pleasure here? The objections his description than animal rationale. About brought from the intrinsical good of-duty, I their own low concerns, a fox, a dog, yea, an ass have elsewhere answered. and a goose, have such actions as we know not But God hath not left us to the light of mere well how to ascribe to any thing below some nature, as being too dark for men so blind as we: kind of reasoning, or a perception of the same the gospel revelation is the clear foundation of importance. But they think not of God, and our faith and hopes. Christ hath brought life his goverment and laws, nor of obeying, trusting and immortality to light : one from heaven that or loving him, nor of the hopes or fears of is greater than an angel was sent to tell us what another life, or of the joyful prospect of it: these is there, and which is the way to secure our are that work that man was made for, which is hopes. He hath risen and conquered death, and the chief difference from the brutes. Shall we entered before us as our captain and fore-runner unman ourselves ?
into the everlasting habitations. He hath all The justice of God, as governor of the world, power in heaven and earth, and all judgment is infers different rewards hereafter, as I have committed to him, that he might give eternal largely elsewhere proved. God is not only a life to his elect: he hath frequently and exmover of all that moves, but a moral ruler of pressly promised it them, that they shall live man by laws, judgment, and executions. Else because he lives, and shall not perish, but have there were no proper law of nature, which everlasting life. How fully he hath proved and few are so unnatural as to deny: and man should | sealed the truth of his word and office to us, I have so largely opened in my Reasons of the thereby assures his servants that he is their true Christian Religion, and Unreasonableness of Infi- and faithful Saviour. We are apt in our distress delity, and in my Life of Faith, &c. and since in to cry aloud for mercy and deliverances; and my Household Catechising, that I will not here when human help fails, to promise God, that if repeat it.
he now will save us, we will thankfully acknowAs all his word is full of promises of our fu- ledge it his work ; and yet when we are deliverture glory at the resurrection, so we are not ed, to return not only to security, but to ingrawithout assurance that at death the departing titude: and think that our deliverance came but soul doth enter upon a state of joy and bless- in the course of common providence, and not inedness. He expressly promised the penitent cru- deed as an answer to our prayers. Therefore cified thief, this day shalt thou be with me in God in mercy renews both our distresses, and paradise. He gave us the narrative or parable of our deliverances, that what once or twice will the condemned sensualist, and of Lazarus, to in- not convince us of, many and great deliverances struct us, and not to deceive us. He tells the may. This is my own case. O! how often have sadducees that God is not the God of the dead, I cried to him when men and means were noas his subjects and beneficiaries, but of the liv- thing, and when no help in second causes did ing. Enoch and Elias were taken up to heaven, appear, and how often, suddenly, and mercifully and Moses, who died, appeared with Elias on the hath he delivered me? What sudden ease, what mount. He tells us, that they that kill the body, removal of long afflictions have I had; such exare not able to kill the soul.* Christ's own soul traordinary changes, and beyond my own and was commended into his Father's hands, and was others' expectations, when many plain-hearted, in paradise, when his body was in the grave, to upright Christians have by fasting and prayer show us what shall become of ours. He hath sought God on my behalf, as have over and over promised, that where he is, there shall his ser convinced me of special providence, and that vant be also.' That the life here begun in us is God is indeed a hearer of prayer. Wonders eternal life, and that he that believes in him shall I have seen done for others also, upon such not die, but shall live by him, as he lives by the prayers, more than for myself: yea, and wonFather; for he dwells in God, and God in him, ders for the church and public societies. Though and in Christ, and Christ in him. Accordingly I and others are too like those Israelites who Stephen that saw heaven opened, prayed the cried to God in their troubles, and he often delivLord Jesus to receive his spirit. We are come ered them out of their distress, but they quickly to mount Sion, &c. to an innumerable company forgot his mercies, and their convictions, purpoof angels, and to the spirits of the just made ses, and promises, when they should have praised perfect. Paul desired to depart and be with the Lord for his goodness, and declared his Christ as far better : “to be absent from the body, works with thanksgiving to the sons of men. and be present with the Lord.' The dead that What were all these answers and mercies but die in the Lord are blessed, from henceforth, that the fruits of Christ's power, fidelity, and love, the they may rest from their labours, and their works fulfilling of his promises, and the earnest of the follow them. If the disobedient spirits be in pri- greater blessings of immortality, which the same son, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah suf- promises give me title to. fer the vengeance of eternal fire, then the just
I know that no promise of hearing prayer sets have eternal life. If the Jews had not thought up our wills in absoluteness, or above God's, as · the soul immortal, Saul had not desired the witch if every will of ours must be fulfilled if we do to call up Samuel to speak with him : the rest I but put it into a fervent or confident prayer : now pass by. We have many great and precious but if we ask any thing through Christ, accordpromises on which a departed soul may trust-ing to his will, expressed in his promise, he will Christ expressly says, that when we fail, that is, hear us. If a sinful love of this present life, or must leave this world, we shall be received into of ease, wealth, or honour, should cause me to the everlasting habitations.
pray to God against death, or against all sickIt is not nothing to encourage us to hope ness, want, reproach, or other trials, as if I must in him that hath made all these promises, when live here in prosperity for ever if I ask it ; this we find how he hears prayers in this life, and sinful desire and expectation is not the work of * Indeed if the soul were not immortal, the resurrection were im- abate me my last, or daily pains ? What if he
faith, but of presumption : What if God will not surrection of the same, if the same be annihilated. It is certain that will continue my life no longer, whoever pray the Jews believed the immortality of the soul, in that they believed for it, and how earnestly soever ? Shall I there
me; and how wonderfully he hath helped both me man, appears in that it is the renovation of bis and others ? My faith hath often been helped by mind, will, and life: it repairs his depraved such experiences, and shall I forget them, or faculties: it causes man to live as man, who is question them, without cause at last ?
degenerated to a life too like to brutes : by God's It is a subordinate help to my belief of im- permitting many to live in blindness, wickedness, mortality with Christ, to find so much evidence and confusion, and to be tormentors of themthat angels have friendly communion with us selves and one another, by temptations, injuries, here, and therefore we shall have communion wars, and cruelty, we the more fully see what it with them hereafter. They have charge of us, is that grace doth save men from, and what a and pitch their tents about us ; they bear us up ; difference it makes in the world. Those that they rejoice at our repentance, they are the re- have lived unholily in their youth, easily find gardful witnesses of our behaviour: they are the difference in themselves when they are reministering spirits for our good ; they are our newed: but to them that have been piously inangels, beholding the face of our heavenly Father. clined from their childhood, it is harder to discern They will come with Christ in glorious attendance the difference, unless they mark the case of at the great and joyful day: and as his execution others. If man be worth any thing, it is for the ers, they will separate the just from the unjust. use that his faculties were made : and if he be
It is not only the testimony of scripture, by not good for the knowledge, love, and service of which we know their communion with us, but also his Creator, what is he good for? Certainly the some degree of experience : not only of old did generality of ungodly worldlings are indisposed they appear to the faithful as messengers, from to all such works as this, till the Spirit of Christ God, but of late times there have been testimonies effectually change them. Men are slaves to sin of their ministration for us : of which see Zanchy, till Christ thus make them free. But where the On Angels, and Mr J. Ambrose, On our Commun- Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. If the ion with Angels. Many a mercy doth God give divine nature and image, and the love of God us by their ministry: and they that are now so shed abroad on the heart, be not our excellency, friendly to us, and suitable to our communion health, and beauty, what is ? And that which and help, and make up one society with us, do is born of the flesh, is flesh ; but that which is hereby greatly encourage us to hope that we born of the Spirit, is spirit.' Without Christ are made for the same religion, work and com- and his Spirit, we can do nothing: our dead pany, with these our blessed, loving friends. notions and reason, when we see the truth, have They were once in a life of trial, as we are now, not power to overcome temptations, nor to raise though not on earth. They that overcame and up man's soul to its original and end, nor to are confirmed, rejoice in our victory and con- possess us with the love and joyful hopes of fufirmation. It is not an uninhabited world which ture blessedness. It were better for us to have is above us ; nor such as is beyond our capacity no souls, than that those souls should be void of and hope: we are come to an innumerable com- the Spirit of God. pany of angels, and to the spirits of the per- That heaven is the sum and end of all the fected just.
Spirit's operations, appears in all that are truly But the great and sure prognostics of our conscious of them in themselves; and to them immortal happiness, is from the renewing opera- and others by all God's precepts, which the tions of the Spirit of holiness on the soul. That Spirit causes us to obey, and the doctrine which such a renewing work there is, all true believers it causes us to believe, and by the description of in some measure feel; and that it is the earnest all God's graces which he works in us. What is of heaven is proved thus.
our knowledge and faith, but our knowledge and If it be a change of greatest benefit to man ; if belief of heaven, as consisting in the glory and heaven be the very sum and end of it; if it love of God there manifested, and as purchased overcome all fleshly, worldly opposition ; if it can by Christ, and given by his covenant? What is be wrought by none but God; if it was before our hope, but the hope of glory ? • And through promised by Jesus Christ to all sound believers, the Spirit we wait for all this hope.' What is our and is universally wrought in them all, either love but a desire of communion with the blessed only, or eminently above all others; and was God here, and perfectly hereafter? As the sum promised them as a pledge and earnest of glory; of Christ's gospel was take up the cross, forsake then it can be no less than such a pledge and all here, and follow me, and thou shalt have a But the former are all true, &c. reward in heaven. The consolation of his gosrel is, 'rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great and design be the less discerned and honoured is your reward in heaven. So the same is the in the world, because their chief difference is out sum of his Spirit's operations : for what he of the sight of man, in the heart, and in their seteaches and commands that he works, for he cret actions, and because their imperfections works by that word ; and the impress must be blemish them, and because the malignant world like the signet, what arm soever set it on. He is by strangeness and enmity an incompetent sends not his Spirit to make men more crafty judge, yet it is discernable to others, that they than others for this world; but to make them live upon the hopes of a better life, and that wiser for salvation: and to make them more hea- their heavenly interest overrules all the adverse venly and holy : for the children of this world interests of this world, and that in order thereare wiser in their generation than the children unto they live under the conduct of divine of light. Heavenliness is the Spirit's special authority, and that God's will is highest and work.
most prevalent with them, and that to obey and In working this it conquers the inward averse- please him as far as they know it, is the greatest ness of a fleshly, worldly mind and will, and the business of their lives, though ignorance and adcustoms of a carnal life; and the outward temp. verse flesh make their holiness and obedience tations of Satan, and all the allurements of the imperfect. The universal noise and opposition world. Christ first overcame the world, and of the world against them, show that men disteaches and causes us to overcome it; even its cern a very great difference, which error, and flatteries and its frowns : our faith is our victory : cross interests, and carnal inclinations, render whether this victory be easy, and any hon- displeasing to those who find them condemned our to the Spirit of Christ, let our experience by their heavenly designs and conversations. of the wickedness of the ungodly world, and of But whether others discern it, or deny it, or our own weakness, and of our falls, when the detest it, the true believer is conscious of it in Spirit of God forsakes us, be our informer. himself:
: even when he groans to be better, to That none but God can do this work on the believe, trust, and love God more, and to have soul of man, both the knowledge of causes and more of the heavenly life and comforts, those experience prove. The most learned, wise, and very desires signify another appetite and mind, boly teachers cannot, as they confess and show; than worldlings have; and even when his frailthe wisest and most loving parents cannot ; and ties and weaknesses make him doubt of his own therefore must pray to him that can : the great- sincerity, he would not change his governor, rule, est princes cannot: evil angels neither can nor or hopes, for all that the world can offer him. will. What good angels can do on the heart | He hath the witness in himself, that there is in we know not; but we know that they do no-believers a sanctifying Spirit, calling up their thing, but as the obedient ministers of God. minds to God and glory, and warring victoriously Though we have some power on ourselves, yet against the flesh; so that to will is present with that we ourselves cannot do it; that we cannot them; and they love and delight in a holy conquicken, illuminate, or sanctify ourselves, and formity to their rule, and it is never so well and that we have nothing but what we have received, pleasant with them, as when they can trust and conscience and experience fully tell us.
love God most; and in their worst and weakest That Christ promised this Spirit in a special condition, they would wish to be perfect. This measure, to all true believers, that it should be spirit, and its renewing work, so greatly different in them his advocate, agent, seal, and mark, is from the temper and desires of worldly men, is yet visible in the gospel ; yea, and in the former given by Christ to all sound believers. prophets. Indeed the Spirit here, and heaven It is true, that some that know not of an hereafter, are the chief of all the promises of incarnate Saviour, have much in them that Christ.
is very laudable. Whether it be real saving That this Spirit is given, not to hypocrites holiness, and whether Abraham were that abuse Christ, and do not seriously believe eous in thinking that even the Sodoms of the him, nor to mere pretending nominal Christians, world were likely to have had fifty righteous but to all that sincerely believe the gospel, is persons in them, I am not now to inquire : evident not only to themselves in certainty, if but it is sure that the world had really a Sathey are in a condition to know themselves, but viour, about four thousand years before Christ's to others in part, by the effects: they have other incarnation, even the God of pardoning mercy, ends, other affections, other lives, than the rest who promised and undertook what after was of mankind have; though their heavenly nature I performed, and shall be to the end. The Spirit