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* They deny the Tor- the eternalTorments which ments and
this Reafon for it.Quòd it threatens. * And thereabfurdum fit, Deum irafci in æternum, & peccata creaturarum finita poenis infinitis muletare, præfertim cùm nulla hinc ipfius gloria illuftretur.. Compendiolum Doctrinæ Ecclefiarum in Polonia.Likewife Erneftus Sonnerus, a noted Socinian,has wrote a juft Treatise, with this Title prefix'd to it,Demonftratio Theologica & Philofophica, Quòd æterna impiorum fupplicia non arguant Dei juftitiam, fed injuftitiam. And if they be unjust, we may be sure, (as Dr. Tillotson in his Sermon on Matth. xxv. 46. learnedly obferves) that there shall be no fuch Thing. And to fhew farther, how induftrious thefe Factors for the Devil are, to rid Mens Minds of the Grand Reftraint of Sin, the Belief of eternal Torments, he fets down at the end of his Demonftration (as he cails it) feveral Places of Scripture, where the Words [Eternal] and [for ever] fignify not an infinite or everlasting, but only a finite, though indefinite Duration. Likewife Diodorus Camphuyfen, one of the fame Tribe, with a frontlefs Impudence, in a certain Epiftle of his,requires fuch as fhould read it, Negare & ridere damnatorum pœnas, & cruciatus æternos; That is, not only to deny, but alfo to laugh at the eternal Torments and Punishments of the Damned. And to make yet furer Work (if poffible) Socinus denies the Soul even a Capacity of being tormented after a Man's Death. Tantùm id mihi videtur ftatui poffe, post hanc vitam, animam, five animum hominis non ita per fe Tubfiftere, ut præmia ulla panáfve fentiat, vel etiam ifta fentiendi fit Capax, quæ mea firma Opinio, &c. Socinus in quintâ Epiftolâ ad Volketium. And elsewhere, Homo, five anima humana nihil cum immortalitate habet commune. In short, I am so far from accounting the Authors or Owners of fuch horrid Affertions to be really Chriftians, that 1 account them really the worst of Men,if Prophaneness, Blafphemy, and the letting loofe all Sorts of Wickedness upon the World, can make them fo. For, according to thefe Grand Agents, and Apostles of Satan, wicked Men, no less than the very Brutes themselves, (whofe Spirits alfo they affirm to return to God, as well as thofe of the other) being once dead, fhall rife no more. And if they can but perfuade Men, That they fhall die like Beafts, there is no Question to be made, but that most of them will be quickly brought to live like Beasts too.
fore, what a mighty Encouragement must the Denial of eternal Punishments needs be to all Sorts of Wickedness in the Lives of Men? And what fhall be able to restrain the Progrefs and Rage of it, in the Course of the World, when Sinners fhall be told, that after all the Villanies committed by them here, nothing is to be expected or feared by them, when they have quitted this Life, but a total Annihilation or Extinction of their Perfons, together with an endless Continuance under the faid Eftate? And is not this, think we, a fort of eternal Punishment according to the Sinners own Hearts Defire? For fince it fo utterly bereaves him of all Sense, that he can feel nothing hereafter, let him alone to fear as little here. And as for the Refurrection from the Dead,the fame Men generally deny, that the Wicked Shall have any at all; it being (as they affirm) intended by God for a peculiar Favour and Privilege to the Godly, who alone are to be the Sons of the Refurrection. But then, if these Men find themselves pinched by such Scriptures, as that of the 25th of St. Matthew, and this of my Text, fo expreffly declaring a Refurrection, both of the Juft and the Unjuft; in this Cafe, fome of them have anoT 2 ther
ther Affertion to fly to; namely, that the Wicked shall indeed be raised again at the laft Day, but immediately after such a Refufcitation, fhall be annihilated and destroyed for ever: An Affertion fo intolerably Abfurd, and fo manifeftly a Scoff upon Religion, that none but an Atheist or Socinian (another Word for the fame thing) could have been fo prophane, as even to think of it, or fo impudent, as to own or declare it. In fine, fuch is the diabolical Impiety, and the mifchievous Influence of the foregoing Opinions upon the Practices of Mankind, and confequently upon the Peace and Welfare of Societies and Governments, (all depending upon the faid Practices) that all fober and pious Minds do even groan under the very Thoughts of fuch foul Invasions upon Religion; and cannot but wonder, even to Amazement, that the Maintainers of fuch Tenets, were not long fince delivered over into the Hands of Civil Juftice, to receive. condign Punishment by the Sentence of the Judge; as likewife, that thofe who deny the Divinity and Satisfaction of our Saviour, explode Original Sin, and revive feveral of the old condemned Blafphemies, have not long before this been brought under the Cenfures of
of the Church in Convocation. But if, on the contrary, the Sheltering of fome fuch rotten Church-men, as well as feveral others, from the Dint of Ecclefiaftical Authority, was one great Cause of that fo long and unaccountable Omiffion of thofe facred and moft useful Affemblies, for many Years together, fince the Restauration, (as many wife and good Men threwdly fufpect it was) is it not just with God, and may it not (for ought we know) actually provoke him to deprive us. even of the Chriftian Religion itself? For af furedly, that lewd, fcandalous, and ungrateful Ufage, which it has (of late Years efpecially) found from fome of the highest Pretenders to it amongst us, has not only deferved, but upon two great Grounds of Reason, feems alfo to prognofticate and fore-bode, and even cry out for no less a Judgment upon the Nation. But howfoever God (whofe Ways are unfearchable) fhall think fit to dif pofe of, and deal with us, let us not vainly flatter ourselves; but as we have been hitherto proving the Certainty of a General Refurrection, fo let us ftill remember, that the Day of the Refurrection will be as certainly a Day of Retribution too. A Day, in which the proudest and most exaltedHypocrite shall be
brought low enough, and even the lowest Hypocrites much lower than they defire to be. A Day, in which the meanest and most abject (if fincere) Member of our Excellent (how much foever ftruck at and maligned) Church, fhall be raised to a most happy and glorious Condition. Though, whether or no the Church itself (God bless it) be, in the mean time, in fo flourishing an Estate, (as fome would perfuade us it is) I fhall not, I must not presume to determine.
Now to God, the great Judge and Rewarder of Men, according to the Vilenefs of their Principles, as well as the Wickedness of their Practices, be rendred and afcribed, as is most due, all Praife, Might, Majefty and Dominion, both now and for evermore.