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PRACTICAL DISCOURSE

CONCERNING Å
Future Judgment

XVII. ACTS 31.
Because he hath appointed a day in the which be will,

judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom
be hath ordained; whereof be bath given assurance
into all men, in that be bath raised him from the
dead.

The I N TRÖD'aċTION.

neursd. largely a former Tree

AVING in a former Treatife dif-
cours'd largely concerning Death, the
next thing to be consider'd isJudgment;

for fo the Apostle tells us, After death the 9 be judgment. And a very grave and serious Thought it is, if ever men will be serious : For nothing can be of greater concernment to us than a Future

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Judgment, which will determine our Final State aud Condition to Eternity...

In treating on this Subje&, I shall observe this Method :

1. Enquire what Assurance we have of a Future Judgment. ...,

2. The Time when this Judgment shall be : God hath appointed a day for it.

3. Who shall be our Judge : God will judge the world, but not immediately by himself, but by that man whom he hath ordaind; that is, by Chrift Jesus, who is a Man, and the Son of Man, as well as the Eternal Son of God.

4. The Publick and Awful Solemnities of Judgment.

5. The Persons who shall be judged, the World, or all Mankind.

6. For what we shall be judged, whatever we have done in this body, whether it be good or bad.

7. The Rule whereby we shall be judged, and the Righteousness of the Judgment.

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CHAP. I. The Proof of a Future Judgment. IN treating of Death, there was no need to

I prove, That all men mụst die , for this is too vi: sible to be denied ; but Judgment is not seen, nor can it be seen, because it is not yet : Could men indeed look into the other world, they would, Toon be convinced, by the different state of good and bad men there, that God has appointed a Day for Judgment; but that is an invisible ftate to us, and the thoughts of Judgment are so uneasy to bad men now, that they are very unwilling to believe it ; and this makes it necessary to lay the Foundation of all in the Proof of a Future Judge ment.

Now there are two ways of proving this: First, By the Principles of Reason. Secondly, By Res velation. By Reason we can prove, that God will. judge the world, as that signifies that God will call all men to an account for their Actions, and that he will reward good men, and punish the wicked in the next world. This the Heathens themselves discovered by the light of Nature ; they talked very much of the Infernal Judges and of the Rewards and Punishments of good and bad men after Death ; and therefore in this sense, did believe a Future Judgment: But yet the Revelation of the Gospel has given us a more plain and undeniable assurance of this, and has discovered fomething more than the light of Nature could discover. The light of Nature and Reason may

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satisfy

satisfy us, as it did the Heathens, that God will reward good men, and punish the wicked, in the next world ; but it could not tell us, that God had appointed a general Day of Judgment, wherein all the dead shall rise again out of their Graves, and re-assume their Bodies, and be summoned to Judgment; it could not tell us who shall be our Judge, with whạt Glory and Majesty he shall appear, and with what Pomp, and awful and terrible Solemnities he shall judge us. The world knew nothing of this, before the Gofpel was preached; for it depends wholly upon the wilt and pleasure of God, and therefore can be known only by Revelation. ...

I shall begin with the Proofs from Reason,and Shew you what moral Evidence and Assurance we have, that God will judge the world, as that fignifies, that he will reward good men, and punish the wicked in the next world; and this Proof consists of several Branches; and though each particular considered apart by it self, may not be thought fufficient; yet if we unite them into one, and take them in their natural order, they add

such light and strength to each other, that I per· suade my self they will convince any man of a

Future Judgment, who is not obftinately resolved against this belief..

SECT. I.
That Man is by Nature an Accountable Creature.

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Dirt then, I observe, That the very make and

frame, and condition of Human Nature, proves that man is an accountable Creature, who

can

can give an account of his Adions, and therefore may be called to an account for them; and that is a strong presumption that he will be called to an account, that is, that he will be judged. There are four things necessary to make any Being accountable : 1. That he have a Principle of Reason to know what he does, and to judge for himself. 2. That he have a Rule to live by, to direct him : what to do, and what to avoid. 3. That he have i liberty of Choice, and the free government of his own Actions. 4. That he be an inferior and ·fubordinate Creature, who has some above him to call him to an account.

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.: I. As for the first, we know a Beast, which is governed by Instinct, not by Reason, can't be judged, because such brute Creature's know not what they do, and therefore can give no account what they do; which is the Case also of Infants, of Fools and Mad-men, who must be governed, that they may do no' hurt, but can't be judged : but a reasonable Creature, as Manis, who knows what he does, and can judge of his own Actions, may be judged for them too.

II. Where there is no Rule to live by, there is nothing to be judged far ; when nothing is commanded, and nothing forbid, all Actions are alike indifferent; and in this case there is no other Rule but for every man to please himself, and to do what he likes best; and he who does fo, gives a gnod account of himself, and cannot be blamed for it : If there were no Rule of Guod and Evil, there could be no place for Rewards and Punishments, and consequently no place for Judgment: But when we havea Rule to live by, as all Man.

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