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But the Reason why the Judgments of God so often surprise men in their Security, while they are asleep, and dreaming of nothing but what is prosperous and happy, of she re*ur« of Astra* and the Golden Age, & because their Sins, which make them ripe for Judgment, and will not suffer God to stay his hand any longer, have made them also secure: Either they have finned away all Belief of God, and his Providence, and a Future Judgment; or have finned away the fense of those particular Sins which they are guilty of; or to make themselves secure, they have by the help of Enthusiasm and Superstition, reconciled the hopes of Heaven, and the sense of God's love and savour, with the practice of the most provoking Impieties: That is, their love to Sin has made them secure, and then there is little hope that they will ever forsake their Sins; and this makes them very fit to be the Examples of God's Justice and Displea? sure. • •;
And the seme Account is to be given of the Day of Judgment: It will surprize men as a, Thief in the Night; not because they never heard that God would judge theWorld; for God has sufficiently declared this, and given us timely notice to prepare for it; but men will at that time have sinned away die belief of a God, and of a Judgment to come, or have laid this Belief asleep with some intoxicating Superstitions and Formalities; and this is so hopeless and irrecoverable a state, that it makes it time for God to
2. And this may give some probable Account bom why', the Day of Judgment is deferred so long, as some Men are apt to speak (though God knows, they have little reason to think it long, considering what Account they are able to give^ and what Sentence they are like to receive) and why. the particular time of Judgment is conceal
e the Sense'of Judgment continues in brl'dj, it must make a great many good Men, and restrain the Wickedness and Impiety of bad Men, and as you have heard, God will not destroy the World while it is in an hopeful an$ recoverable States but the long delay of Judgment (as Men are apt to call it) wears off the Sense and Belief of it, and then Men grow Wicked without fear and reA 't$ and then it is time for God to judge"the
Thus if God fixes and determines the Day of judgment,, upon the foresight of such a General Impiety as will deserve a final excision, God cannot reveal this to the World: For one Would think it impossible,' did the World know this beforehand, but the Age of Judgment should be the most Devout and Religious Age that ever had been from the beginning of the World; and then that would not be a sit time to destroy the World; and God could not foresee it the properest time of Judgr mew.. i:;; , ,
...It is abundantly sufficient that God gives us all reasonable Evidence and Assurance that he will judge the World; but there is no reason.to tell
'. . . • ttt. •' vj :'.' us us at what particular time he will judge th« World; nay, it is not fitting that we should know it.
Had Men known some Thousand Years ago, Irw long the Day of Judgment should be deferred, it had so much weakned the Argument of a Future Judgment, by removing it a great way off, that the World might much better have deserved to be destroyed at any other time, than in likelihood it would do, if Men certainly knew the time when the Day of Judgment comes: And if the general Belief of Judgment will not make us good Men, it is not fit that we should certainly know the time of Judgment, no more than that we should know the time of our Death, or be converted by a sight , of Heaven or Hell. . '. ^
God reserves this as a Secret in his own Breast, which neither Men nor Angels shall . know,. which is the best way to make the Belief of a Future Judgment effectual upon ;,all Ages of the World, especially since that express Revelation which the Gospel has made of it. This Instruction our Saviour himself gives us, That since we know not the Day of Judgment, we should always watch, and be ready prepared for it. Watch therefore, for ye know not what Hour your Lord doth come: But know this, that if the good Man of the House had known in what Watch the Thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his House to he broken up; therefore he ye also ready, for in such an Hour as ye' think not, the Son of Man comet b,
214. Matth. 42, 43; 44. And if this was good Advice in our Saviour's days, it more nearly concerns us, on whom the End of the World is come.' . _: -i
^4.) There is one thing more I shall observe from this Discourse, Not to be offended, tho' you see Atheism and Infidelity prevail in the World, and the true Christian Faith begin to fail, and the Love of many wax cold: Thus it must be'towards the end of the World; and if we now fee the beginnings of it, it is no great Wonder.
This is indeed . a great Temptation to Men who are governed by Examples, to hear the first Principles of Religion called in question, and the great Fundamental Articles of our Faith made matter of Bifpute and Controversy; nay, the plainest Rules of Life ridiculed and exploded; but if. these things should not be, the World would never come to an end: God cannot destroy a Believing and Righteous Nation, much less a Righteous World, a World of Believers and Saints. And if it be our Portion to fall into the Dregs of Time, into these last days, when there shall be Scoffers walking after their own ungodly Lusts, let us consider that this is no more than was foretold; thus it must be towards the end of the World; and therefore this ought not to weaken the Credit of Religion, no more ;than the fulfilling of Prophecies does: Let us "remember how Sacred this Faith has been for Sixteen Hundred Years; how many Martyrs and Confessors it has had; how God has preserved
it against all the Powers and Oppositions of the World; how it has triumph'd over Pagan Idolatries , and which is more than that, triumph'd over the Lusts and Vices of the World, in the Exemplary Self-denial, Mortification, and Divine and Heavenly Conversations of its Professors: And this I think is such an Argument of its Divinity, as may defend us against the Wit, and Raillery, and Impudence of profesi'd Atheists and Debauchees, who till oflate have themselves been .the Scorn and Derision of •Mankind.
The Day God has appointed, is a General Day of Judgment. .''J
H.HPHIS Day God has appointed, is a GeX neral Day of Judgment, or a Day so judge the whole World: All Mankind shall bfc summoned before the Tribunal of Christ, .arid be Tried, and Condemned or Acquitted in the General Assembly of Men and Angels.
What an amazing Sight wilk this be? To see all Mankind start out of their Graves, and appear before their Judge! To have one View of the whole Race of Men, of £11 successive Generations from Adam to the end of the World! Such an Assembly as. never was before, never will be till that day, and never will be after it; Could we look on a» unconcerned Spectators at that day, what aa