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Serm.VI. hereafter, nor the Degree nor the Dura;
tion of it: Nor can it be determined by Reason, whether our future Happiness or Misery would be finally decided by an irrevocable Sentence, according to our Deportment here; or whether, after the Close of this Life we might not pass through several intermediate States of Probation, before a decisive and irreversible Judgment was passed upon us.
But Revelation assures us, that the Condition of our Existence here, however inconsiderable it may seem in itself abstractedly from a future State, is infinitely considerable in its Consequences that he, that lives and dies righteous, will be righteous fill; and He, that dies filtby, will be filthy still
, Rev. xxii, 11, 12. Death setting as it were a kind of Seal upon the State of the Soul--that the Wicked must be finally severed from the Good that in Heaven there is no Possibility of falling away from Goodness, and in Hell no Room for Amendment. For then God's Grace will be withheld, and Virtue, when every Spark of it is extinct, is only, like the Vestal Fire, to be rekindled by a Beam from Heaven.
So far was Christianity from narrowing Serm.VI. our Views, that it alone has raised them, as bigh-as Heaven ; and extended them as far-as Eternity. A Man may look into his Bible, and see plainly there what will become of him, when the present Scene is shifted, as to his most important, I had almost said, his only Concern, a future State; who, if he were left to himself, the more he considered the Point on every Side, the more he would find himself bewildered in Doubts, without coming ta any Determination,
Happy are we, if we know our Happiness, who have a Revelation, like its great Author, full of Grace and Trutb.
The intrinsic excellency of the Scrip
tures, a Proof of their Inspira-
PETER III. 15.
Man that asketh you a Reason of the
O affirm, as some have done, that Ser. VII.
unenlightened Reason is absolute
ly sufficient, and that a Revelation is needless, is neither better nor worse; than to say, that Men either are, or may be, so wise of themselves, that it is not in the Power of God himself to make them wiser; that their natural Abilities are so very considerable, as to supersede the Use of any supernatural Notices, even from the Father of Lights: A Po
Ser. VII. fition so shocking, that if it be not down
right. Blasphemy; it certainly maketh very near Approaches to it *.
But, you will say, where was God's impartial Goodness in with-holding from others those Advantages, which he has afforded us? If a Revelation were wanted, why was not that, which was equally wanted by all, made equally known to all, at all Times !
If we trace this Objection to its Original, we shall find it stands on a wrong Foundation: It supposes the Deity to be determined by the Wants of Men, exclufively of all other Regards: Whereas what may
very fit, the Wants of Men fingly
• I would not be thought to deprecate Reason in general, which rightly understood, as taking in aii Helps and Evidences, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, is the only Faculty we have to discern Truth fron. Falihood. It is no more a Disparagement to Reason to affort, it can do little in religious Affairs without the Help of Revelation; than to maintain, it would make a slender Figure without the Alfiftance of Education: For what is Revelation but Alliances and Instructions from Heaven; as Education is Instruction communicated to us from our Fellow-Creatures ? Deduct those religious Truths that were discovered to us, and only place those down, that were discovered by us ; ard the remaining Sum of our Knowledge, at the foot of the Account, will not be very considerable.