Imatges de pÓgina


doers; no his great design was to de-
stroy Sin, and to draw men on to Obec
dience and Repentance, by the gracious
Offers of pardon and acceptance. So that
as for all the Promises of the Gospel, the
Salvation which they encourage,is plain-
ly this Deliverance from our sins, that be-
ing the very thing which all the good
things of the Gospel are promised to.

Nay I add further, if God had not

that all the Promises of the next
Life run upon condition of Mens repen.
tance, and Reformation here in this; yet
the very Nature of the things them-
felves, would sufficiently suggest it to us.
For the Happiness of the next Life can-
not be enjoyed by wicked men ; there
is an impossibility in the thing ; eternal
Happiness, and an unholy Soul, are
things inconsistent; so that till men have
mortified their wicked Lusts, and are de-
livered from their sins, they are not ca-
pable to partake of it ; for the great
Happiness of the beatifick Vifion, St.John
tells us, is to change us into Gods 1-
mage, and to transform us into his like-
ness; When he appears, faith he, we shall
be like him; because we shall see him as
he is, 1 Joh. 3. 2. Now this Image of God
as St. Paul tells us, consists in righteous-



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ness and trae holiness, Ephel. 4. 24. God has made our Duty to be only a transcript of his own perfections ; he requires no more of us than to be such as he is himself, that we may be meet to live with him, and take delight in him for ever and ever. If then we would hope to enjoy God, in being like him in the next world, we must study to be vertuous here in this; we have no share of his likeness as long as we wallow in fini and wickedness : and fo far as we are unlike, we are uncapable, if he should be suppofed to give way to it never fo much ; of partaking in that Happiness, which consists in our likeness, and resemblance to him.

This Happiness of the beatifick Vifion then, which consists in a near resemblance to God himself, a wicked man Cannot receive, since all manner of wickedness renders us most utterly unlike to him, and as for any other Happiness, which we may promise our selves to find there ; men of sinful Lives and Inclinations are as åtterly uncapable of that too.' For so long as their Natures are corrupt, and sinful Lufts and Dispositions reign in them, they can take no delighr in the other world, nor would Heaven it self,


if they were admitted into ir, be a place of Pleasure to them. Thus for instance, if a man is wholly given up to Lust and Intemperance ; if his greatest Pleasure be in Revellings and Drunkenness, in Luxury and Wantonness, in Licentiousness, Mirth and Riotous, Entertainments, he would as soon be condemned to Abstinence and Fasting, and other Religious Severities, and Self-denials here on earth, as to undergo the very fame in Heaven. For there he must needs starve his eager desire, and languish in the pain of an unsatisfied Appetite, the place it self af. fording no such things, as would content them : In the Resurrection from the dead, says our Saviour, they neither Marry, nor are given in Marriage : That is a Fools wish, and a Mahometan's Paradise ; they neither eat nor drink to sustain them, since they cannot die any more ; being in these respects not like men on Earth, but equal to the Angels of God in Heaven, Luk. 20. 35, 36. Again, if a man is turbulent and factious, apt to set Friends at odds, and to enflame Enmities; if his whole delight is to ftir up strife, and to engage Parties; in Heaven he must live alone, for ke will find no Abettors, nor Encouragers, nor after all his Labour


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procure so much as one adherent in that molt peaceable and quier place.

Again, if a man is ill natur'd and envious;if he mourns because others rejoyce, and grieves at the prosperity of his Neighbours; to place him in Heaven, where even the meanest Souls, whom he most contemned on Earth, are Crown'd with immortal Happiness, would be the readiest way both infinitely to heighten,and to perpetuate his Torments.

Again, if a Man's heart is full of hatred and malice, if he delights in doing mischief, and is glad at his Soul when he can work his spite, and revenge an injury; what should he do in Heaven, where there is nothing else but Mercy, Forgiveness and Love.

There are none there, but who have loved, not only their Friends, but even their Enemies : they have fought the good of all the World, and have hazarded; yea, when it was needful,laid down their own Lives to confirm, or bring others to the truth and make them happy. This was the Gallantry of their Vertue then, and it is their immortal Honour and Delight now; they still reflect upon it, and always rejoyce in it; and then to make such a man as this a constant Witness of

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that joy, is to confute and reproach, to Ihame and torment him for evermore.

Again, if a man is proud and ambitious, if he give himself up to assume state, and expect attendance ; if his highest aim be to be above his Brethren, and to have them submit and pay a deference,to bow and cringe to him ; what delight should he take in Heaven, where he would find every Saint raised to Honour, whilft he stands off at a distance, only as a Looker on; for all the Saints in Heaven , yea, even the very meanest whom he accounted unworthy to come into his Presence here on Earth, are Christ's Brethren, and God's Heirs; they

upon a Throne, and Crown'd with an unspeakable and immortal weight of Glory. And this all the Saints about them, whether higher or lower in Happiness and Honour, according as the degrees of their Faith and Obedience in this World have been, are infinitely pleased with.For whilst they were here on Earth, they were wont to esteem others better than themselves, Phil. 2. 3. And to look every man not so much upon his own things, as the things of others, 1 Cor. 10. 24. And this temper they carried to Heaven with them, where every one rejoyces


are set

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