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Will not God, that sheds abroad bis love in our hearts by his Spirit here, fully fatisfy it bereafter? Will not God, who fills us here with the joy of his Spirit, by I know not what inconceivable ways, communicate himself in a more ravishing and ecstatick manner to us, when we hali behold bin as he is, and Live for ever incircled in the arms of his love and glory? Upon the whole then, I cannot but believe, that the beatifc Vifion will be the fupreme pleasure of beaven; yet I do not think that this is to exclude those of an inferior nature. God will be there, not only all, but in all. We pall see him as he is; and we shall see hiin reflected, in angels, and all the inhabitants of heaven; nay, in all the various treasures of that happy place : but in far more bright and lovely characters than in his works here below This is a state, now, that answers all ends, and fatisfies all appetites, let them be never fo various, never fo boundless. Temporal good, nay a state accumulated with all temporal goods, has still something defective, fomething empty in it: That which is crooked cannot be made ftraigbt, and that which is wanting cannot be numbred. And therefore the eye is not satisfied with feeing, nor the year with bearing : but all things are full of labeur; man cannot utter it. And if this were hat the fate of temporal things, yet that ore thought of Solomon that he must leave
them, them, makes good the charge of vanity and vexation: and the contrary is that which compleats heaven ; namely, that it is eternal. Were heaven to have an end, that end would make it none • That death would be as much more intolerable than this here, as the joys of heaven are above those of earth. For the terror, and the evil of it, would be to be estimated, by the perfection of that nature and happiness which it would put an end to. To dye in paradise, amidst a crowd of satisfactions, how much more intolerable were this, than to dye in those accursed regions that breed continually briars and brambles, cares and forrows? And now, I doubt not, but every one will readily acknowledge, that an heaven, were it believed, were such a fruit of Christian Liberty, such a motive to it, as none could reßft. Did I believe this, have I heard one say, I would quit my trade, and all cares and thoughts of this world, and wholly apply my self to get that other you talk of. There was no need of going thus far: but this shews what the natural influence of this doctrine of a life to come is; and that it is generally owing to infidelity, where 'tis frustrated and defeated. W hat is in this case to be done? What proof, what evidences, are sufficient to beget faith in him, who rejects Christianity and all divine revelation? He that bears not Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apo
Atles, neither will be believe though one rose. from the dead. This doctrine of a life to come was generally believed by the Gentile world. It was indeed very much obscured, but never extinguished, by the addition of many fabulous and superstitious fancies ; fo strong was the tradition or reason, or rather both, on which 'twas built. The Yews universally embraced it. The general promises of God to Abraham and his feed, and the several shadows and types of it in the Mosaic institution, did confirm them in the belief of a doctrine, which I do not doubt, had been transmitted to them even from Enoch, Noah, and all their pious ancestors. Nor must we look upon the Sadducees amongst the Jews, or the Epicureans amongst the Gentiles, tó be any objection against this argument of a life to come, founded in tradition and the universal sense of mankind : because they were not only inconhderable, compared to the body of the Jewish or Pagan world, but also deserters and apoftates from the philosophy and religion received. To what end should I proceed from the Gentile and few to the Christian ? Were Christianity entertained as it ought, the very supposal of any doubt concerning a life to come would be impertinent. Here we have numerous demonstrations of it. Not only the fortune of virtue in this life, which is often very calamitous, but even the origin and nature
of it, do plainly evince a life to come. For to what end can the mortification of the bo, dy, by abstractions and meditations, be enjoyned, if there be no life to come? What teed is there of renovation, or regeneration, by the Word and Spirit of God, were there to life to come? One would think, the common end of this natural life might be well enough secured upon the common foundation of reason and human laws. What should I here add, the love of God, and the merits of Jefus? from both which we may derive many unanswerable arguments of a life to come. For though, when we reflect upon it, it appears as much above our merit, as it is above our comprebengok; yet wlien we consider, that eternal life is the gift of God through Jefus Chrifti aur Lord; what less than an beaver can we expect from an infinite merit and almigbty dove? The love of God must be perfeät as bimself : and the merits of Yefus must be eftimated by the greatnefs of his person, and his fufferings. He that cannot be zorought zupon by these and the like gospel arguments, will be found, I doubt, impenetrable to all others. 'Tis in vain to argue with such a one from natural topicks : and therefore I will ftop here.
I fhould now pass on to the third thing, the attainment" of Christian Liberty : but this chapter is grown muck too big already :
and to the confideration of the fruit of this liberty, which I have so long inlifted on, nothing more needs to be added, but the observation of those rules, which I shall lay down in the following chapters. For whatever advice will fecure the several parts of our liberty, will consequently secure the whole. I will therefore close this chapter here; with a brief exhortation, to endeavour after deliverance from hin. How many and powerful motives have we to it? Would we free our felves from the evils of this life? let us dam up the fource of them, which is kn. Would we surmount the fear of death ? let us difarm it of its fing, and that is fin. Would we perfect and accomplish our natures with all excel. lent qualities? 'tis righteoufness wherein consists the image of God, and participation of the divine nature : 'tis the cleaning our felves from all filthiness of the Heps and spin ‘rit, and the perfecting holiness in the fear of God, that must transform us from glory to glory. Would we be masters of the most glorious fortunes ? 'tis righteousness that will make us heirs of God, and joint-beirs with Chrift: 'tis the conquest of our fins, and the abounding in good works, that will make us rich towards God, and lay up for us a good foundation for the life to come. Are we ambitious of honour ? let us free our selves from the fervitude of fin.