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dation for Hope to every Man upon their M.
But this is not the Case; for they must allow that God is a wise and righteous, as well as a good Governor of the World, and consequently must be concerned to vin. dicate the Honour of his Laws, by punishing disobedient and obstinate Tranfgreffors. A Governor made up of meer Goodness and Mercy, could be no Governor at all; for it is absurd to call that a Government, where every Subject may do what he pleases with Impunity. The Laws of such a Government would cease to be Laws, and become meer Rules and Directions for living, which every one might observe or not, just according to his Inclination. To say that it became the Wisdom of God to threaten Offenders, but that his Goodness will interpose in the End, and hinder the Punishment, is to say that God is not wise, for if he were, he would certainly have taken care not to let these Men into the Secret. The greatest Confort therefore that a repenting Heathen, or a modern Infidel can have, being drawn from the meer Goodness of God, he is dealing deceitfully with himself if he does not put Wisdom and Justice into the other
Sur M. Scale, which will give as much Cause for
Fear. And surely that must be a comfortless Situation, that hangs betwixt Hope and Fear of what shall be a Man's Portion hereafter.
The latter Argument for Virtue, drawn from the Beauty and Excellency of it, which makes it a Reward to it self, was indeed finely displayed and painted by the heathen Philosophers, who for want of a better, made the most of this. And Tempers virtuously inclined it had some Effect, because to such, Virtue is more easy. But wicked Men always treated this as meer declaiming; and the Experience of all Ages has shewn that this Argument was weak and ineffectual to stop the Career of vicious Appetites and Propenfities.
But the Christian is a much happier Man, for his Hope is built upon a surer Foundation than the meer Goodness of the supreme Being. He rests his Hope upon the exceeding great and precious Promises of God, which give him the utmost Security of his future Reward. And as this is the only secure Ground of Hope and Comfort, so it
is the noblest Motive to a good Life. For 1 Joha 3. 3. every Man that hath this Hope in bim, pu
rifieth himself even as he is pure. And there Serm.
Let any Man produce me such Motives to
Allowing then that it will cost us some Trouble and Pains to govern our Passions, and sensual Appetites, and live soberly, temperately and chaftly; and that by rendring to all their Dues, by paying our just Debts, and doing Acts of Charity, we should reduce those Funds that support Luxury; and Equipage, and the Pride of Life, nay that by being strictly honest and just we should leave our selves a bare Support, or hardly that; which is to practise Righteousness; and that we should conquer our Idleness and Averseness to Devotion, and oblige our selves to be constant both in our private and publick Worship of God, without which we cannot live godly ; I say,
Sox m. allowing that all this will cost us much
Pains and Trouble, yet shall we not be great Gainers in the End, and will not the blessed Hope that is here set before us, abundantly make us amends for all this? Men will rise early and sit up late, and deny their Sleep, their Food, and their Recreations, in pursuit of their worldly Advantages, and think themselves well paid if they happen to succeed. And if they will take no Pains to please and serve God, and to deny their Lusts, and to live up to the Rules of the Gospel, and the holy Religion they profess, if they will cast
this blessed Hope, there is no Help for it; their Ruin, their eternal Ruin is their own Choice, and they run into it with their Eyes open.
LUKE 24. Part of the 5th and 6th
HE Occasion of these Words is SERM.
XI. briefly this: On the first Day of the Week, which was the third
from our Saviour's Crucifixion, Mary Magdalen with other devout Women came to his Sepulchre with sweet Spices and Odours which they had prepared for an nointing his Body. They had forgotten, or