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be taken into consideration,whenGod allots him a second; for tho his state of life is changed, the Person is the fame, and his Deserts are the fame; and if he deserved ill in this World, he cannot deserve well in the next; and if he deserved well in this World, he ought to be well used in the next.
Some Philosophers who believed that the Souls of men did pre-exist in a former state, before they came into these Bodies, thought this a very good account of the different Fortunes of Mens Birth, Education, Condition, and Circumstances of Life, that they were proportioned to their Merits and Deserts in that former State: And were this true, that the Souls of men did live in a former state before they came into these Bodies, this might be a very fair and reasonable account of it; for when men have deserved well or ill,whether they are continued in the same state, or translated into some other, the Justice of the Divine Providence in allotting their $tate and Condition of Life, must have respect to their former Desects; before Creatures have deserved well or ill, their Condition must be allotted by the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, with respect to the capacities of their Natures; when they have deserved well or ill, their Condition must be allotted by Justice with respect to their Deserts: This is so plain, that it will admit of no Dispute.
III. And then it necessarily follows, that God must judge Mankind in the next world, must reward or punish Men according to their works; that is, must put them into such a state of Happiness or Misery as they have deserved , and have made themselves fit for: Those who have obeyed God, and purified and refined their Natures by the Habits of Gjace and Virtue, are fit Objects of his Goodness, and have made themselves capable of a Divine Happiness, of seeing God, and dwelling in his pretence; but thole who have debased their Natures with the love of this world, and have defiled their Souls with impure Lusts, deserve to be banished from God's Presence, as Rebels and Apostate Creatures; and having made themselves uncapable of Divine Joys, must suffer the Miseries of Damned Spirits: So that if we will but allow that God allotsmen their Condition in the next world, as he does in this, and that in allotting their Condition in the next world, he has any regard to their Behaviour and Deserts in this, as Wisdom and Justice requires he should, and this proves a Future Judgment, or that God will reward or punish men according to their works. And this may suffice for the first thing proposed, What Natural Evidence we have of £ Judgment to come.
S E C T. V.
The Scripture Proof of a Future Judgment.
II.T TAving shewn what Evidence we have from Jlx the Light of Nature for a Future Judgment, let us now consider the Scripture Proofs of it: And this might be dispatched in a very few Words, by turning you to some plain Texts of Scripture which exprefly assert it; but I shall do something more than this, which if it be not necessary for the Proof of a Future Judgment, yet will be of use for the better understanding the Christian Religion, and to rivet this Belief fester in our Minds ; that is, I shall represent to you those Parabolical Reasonings whereby our Saviour insinuates this Belief into our Minds and shew you that the whole Christian Religion is founded on and adapted to the Belief of a Future Judgment, and is a very unintelligible Institution without it.
i. Let us consider those plain and express Proofs the Gospel of our Saviour contains of a Future Judgment; and some few Texts will be sufficient for this purpose: This is exprefly affirmed by St. Paul, i7. Acts 3i. That God hath appointed a day in the which he iviU judge the world in righteousness. The Apostle to theHebrews tellsus, It is appointed for men once to die, and after that the Judgment. 9. Heb. 27. Our Saviour tells us that we shall be judged, 7. Matth. I, 2. Judge not, that ye be not judged ; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall bemeasureduntoyou again. And ^.22, 23. He tells us, That in that day ( that is, the Day of Judgments many will say unto me, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesed in thy Name? and in thy Name have cast out Devils? and in thy Name done many Wonderful Works? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Thus he tells us, i6.Matth. 27. The Son rf Man shall come in the Glory of his Father with his Angels} and then he Jhall reward every man according to his Works. And 2J. Matth. 3i, &c. he gives a lively Description of the Future Judgment. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him, then Jhall he Jit upon the throne of his glory: And before him Jhall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a jhepherd divideth his Sheep fromthe goats', and he Jhall set the (keep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. And then he judges them, and pronounces their FinalDoomandSentenceaccordingtotheir works, as it follows in that place. It were easie to turn you to many Texts to this purpose, as everyone knows, who is acquainted with the Scripture; but there is no need of it; these few are so express, that if we believe the Gospel,we must believe that we shall be judged.
2. Our Saviour does not only exprefly declare this, that there shall be a Judgment, fcijut insinuates the Belief and Reasonableness or this by some proper Allusions and Comparisons; which is the true Scope and design of many of his Parables.
As to instance in some of them; i^.Lukei2,&c he tells us of a certain Nobleman who went into a far country, to receive for himself a Kingdom, and to return; where he describes his own leaving this World, and ascending into Heaven to take possession of his Kingdom; from whence he shall return again at the Last Day to judge the World: This Nobleman called his Servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his Citizens hated him, and sent a Message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. This describes our State in this World,which is a State of Labour and Industry , where we must improve our Master's Money, all the Advantages and Opportunities of doing good, to his Service and Glory. Now as it is reasonable to expect, when such a King returns,
that he will call his Servants to an account, reward the Diligent, and punish the Slothful, and destroy his Enemies the fame Usage we must expect from our Lord, when he returns again; he will judge us, will reward or punish us according to our Works. To tfee fame purpose is that Parable, 2j. Matth. i4, &c. of a Man travelling into a far Country, who called his Servants, and delivered to them his Goods, - and at his return rewarded them proportionably to the Increase and Improvement they had made, and punished that wicked Servant who hid his Talent in a Napkin. The Parable of the Unjust Steward, who had wasted his Master's Goods, and was turned out of his Stewardship for it, is founded on the fame reason, That we are but Stewards of God's Gifts in this World, and that God will as certainly call us to an account for our .Stewardship, as an Earthly Master will ,i6. Luke i. The Parable of the Housholder, who hired Labourers into his Vineyard , and gave them every man his Penny at Night, 20.- Matth. signifies to us, That in this Life we must work in'God's Vineyard, and finish the Work he has given us to do , and that at Evening, when this Life ends, God will reward us in the next; and this we may as certainly and reasonably expect from God, as an hired Labourer expects his Wages when he has done his Work.
The Parable of the King, 22. Matthwho made a Marriage for his Son, and sent forth his Servants to call them who were bidden to the Wedding, but they refused to come, and evil intreated his Servants, and flew them; upon which the King