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with each other, and counts his Brothers Happiness his own : If this Man then were there, he would see all those exalted, whom his Pride would make low; he would see them honoured, whom he would have despised; he would grieve and envy, fret and fume alone, and find them honour'd, and himself unpitied, and contemn’d to all Eternity.
Lastly, if a man is an Enemy of God, and an hater of Religion, if it has been his Practice to vilifie God's Saints, and to deride his Ordinances, to burlesque the Holy Scriptures, or to blaspheme the Deity ; what content of heart think you could it be to him, to see there is a God of utmost Majesty and Excellence, mighty and irresistible in power to reward his Saints, and as a flaming Fire to consume his Enemies ? To see, that Heaven and Hell, which he boldly and securely contemn'd as fabulous, are dreadful Realities : To see what being Religious comes to, which he derided; and all good men fixt in height of Glory whom he had despised, and thence expect the miserable state of those men, who had set themselves as he had done, to laugh God's Servants out of their Religion; or out-brave himself out of his
Being ? Surely to such a Person, this sight of Heaven could be nothing less than the first Horrors and Amazements, the beginning and foretaste of Hell.
And thus it appears, that all the fins of Impiety towards God, of Pride, and Intemperance, of Envy, Hatred, Uncharitableness, and Unpeaceableness which take up in a manner, the whole Compass of Transgressions, are all so many direct Hindrances, and utter Incapacities to our enjoying any Happiness in Heaven ; they make us dead to all the Enjoyments, and wholly unfit for
the Company of that place; For what Eccl. 13. Communication hath God with wickedness, 16,17, 18.
what fellowship, faith the Apostle, hath
i For it would fill us as I have shown with shame and discontent, with remorse of mind, and grife of heart, with eternal Torment and Vexation.
As for this Reformation of our Lives and Natures, and Deliverance from sin, here then, it is plainly requisite and indispensiblely necessary, to fit and capacitate us for any Enjoyments of Happiness in Heaven hereafter. And this the Scri. ptures plainly affirm concerning it. St. Paul tells us, That the Vessels of mercy,
must thro' that method of Faith and Repentance which God has prescribed, be prepared unto Glory, Rom. 9.23. And that God's delivering us from the power of darkness hath made us meet to be partaker's of the Inheritance of the Saints in light, Col. 1. 12, 13. And our Saviour saysexpresly, That except we put off the old man which is corrupted by finful Lufts, and be born again, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, Joh. 3. 3.
This then is clear both from the Declarations of the Scripture, and the evidence of the thing, thata Life of Vertue is plainly necessary to our future Happiness; and that our being saved from sin in this World; is indispensiblely requisite to our Salvation in the next. The eternal Life of Heaven is a Life, as I have shewn, that is after the likeness and fimilitude of God's; a Life of unspotted Vertue, and compleat Goodness, that im
plies an entire Exemption, and most ab folute Deliverance from all manner of fin.
This Perfection and Compleatness of it we must expect in Heaven, whereas St. Paul says, The Spirits of just men are made perfect, Heb. 12. 23. But as for the Life it self, we must enter upon it, and begin it here. Thật Life of Vertue and Reformation, which we engage upon at our becoming Christians is that very Life which never ends, but which is to grow up to full degrees, and to be eternal in the Heavens. And therefore, the Scriptures as in respect of the full Perfection and Fruition of it, which is to be had in the next World, they are wont to speak of it as a thing future; so in respect of that more imperfect Enjoyment, which we have of it in this world, they use sometimes to speak of it as a thing possess'd here. He that believes on me, faith our Saviour, hath eternal Life, Joh. 6.47. And again, Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood bath eiernal life, Verse 54. St. John bids them, Ikat believe on the name of the Son of God, know that they bave eternal life, i Joh.5.13. And that Grace or Goodness of Spirit, which our Saviour expressed by water, Joh.4. and which he bid the woman of Samaria to ask
of him, Verse 10. he tells her, Sball be a Well of water springing up to eternal life, Verse 14
A Life of Vertue and Obedience then, is not only a necessary Qualification for our Salvation, and eternal Life in Heaven; but in a degree it is that very Salvation and eternal Life it self; our Deliverance from our sins, is not only the way to Happiness, but in an imperfect measure it is that very Happiness, whose perfection and compleat Degrees we are bid to hope for in Heaven. TheMisery that befell us all in Adam, was our falling from God's image, wherein he and all his Holy Angels are infinitely Happy; and that Happiness and Salvation which is
promised to us in Chrift, is our Restoration to it. So that as for the Promises of God, 'tis clear from them, that the vation which they are designed for is this Deliverance from our sins; since all other promised Blessings are made to depend upon it, since it is not possible they Thould be had without it; nay, since this Deliverance is the chief promis a Mercy, and even Happiness, and eternal Life it self ; and as to the third part of the Gospel, I proposed to speak to viz.