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mere reason could encourage to hope for : SERM. that creates no difficulty. The thing is re
X. ceived with ready assent. God does not appear worse, but better, more gracious, more bountiful, than the reason of men, alone, presumed to think. And the mind being enlarged by the discoveries of revelation, it chearfully admits the noblest and most delightful idea of the future recompenses.
3.) This argument may deserve the serious consideration of those, who reject revelation.
For whether there be any revelation from God, or not ; there will be a reckoning, and suitable retributions after this life. Reason teaches as much beyond the possibility of a fair confutation, or well-grounded doubt and question. You will come into judgement after death, and receive according to the things done in the body. Let not then any shynesse of that awful proceeding, which the gospel speaks of, in a general day of judgement, form any unhappy prejudice in the minds of any. For reason itself teaches, that the actions of men will pass under a review, either in public, in one general judgement, or in particular : and that a retribution will be made accordingly.
Let all therefore attentively consider the evidences of the gospel-revelation. For if it be attested by good evidence, and should be rejected by men, to whom it is proposed; this is one thing, of which they will give an account.
4.) Lastly, the argument from reason, in behalf of future recompenses, may be made use of as a warning to some weak and inconsiderate Christians : and establish the persuafion, that without holinesse no man mall see God, or attain to happinesse in a future state.
The cogent argument for a future state, now proposed, is founded upon the divine perfections. God is not here, in this world, an avenger of evil, or a rewarder of good, so fully as is reasonable to expect. Contequently there will be another state, and farther recompenses for good and bad, according to their works here. No revelation therefore can propose an act of grace
for obstinate and impenitent finners. Reason and Revelation concur, and are entirely harmonious. Both say: There is no peace to the wicked. And: It shall be well with the righteous. But revelation excells in the juftnesse of it's descriptions of the miserie of the one, and the happinesse of the other.
And they said : Believe on the Lord
and thou malt be Saved, and thy house.
823HESE words contain an an- Sermon I.
swer to a very important ques- Text. T
tion : What must I do to be
faved? And we have reason to think, that it is here rightly answered. It does therefore deserve our serious and attentive observation.
St. Paul was now at Philippi, a Roman colonie, and large city in Macedonia : where he preached the gospel, without any very great molestation, that we know of, till he healed the indisposition of the maiden, said to have a spirit of divination : by whom some artful men had made profit, pretending to answer the curious enquiries of people concerning divers matters. These, now deprived of farther gain in that way, raised a clamour against the Apostle, and those with him, saying, that they troubled the city, and taught customs contrarie to their laws, as Ro
And they so far incensed both the people and the magistrates, that Paul, and Silas, one of his fellow-laborers, were beaten, and thrust into prison. But there being in the night an earthquake, which was plainly miraculous: the prison being shaken, the doors opened, and the fetters of all the prisoners loosed, whilst yet no one escaped : the keeper of the prison, who before had heard somewhat of Paul and Silas, and had some general notion of their doctrine, now terrified, and perceiving this extraordinarie event to be a divine interposition in their favour,
put to his prisoners, with solicitude, and SERM.
We need not, I think, hesitate to under-
inherit eternal life. And it is put, x. 17. as it seems, with a better temper, than that