« הקודםהמשך »
leave to ask you fome few questions, or rather feriously ask your felves such questions as these:
Why do I hope that God will not judge me ? Am I not obnoxious to the Judgment of God? Am I not his Creature
and is he not my Sovereign Lord ? And is he not then my Judge? And why should I expect that my Natural Lord and Judge will not judge me? Do not Parents judge their Children, and Masters their Servants, and
Princes their Subjects, and all Superiors their Inferiors, and can I think that God alone, who is the Sovereign Lord of all, and from whom all inferior Power and Authority is derived, should not himself judge his Creatures? Has God renounced his Authority, or is the exercise of it too troublefome to him? Has he made us accountable Creatrues, but to give no account? Has he made us in Subjedion to himfelf, to exercise no Authority over us? We had better say, that God has made us all Sovereign, independent, unaccountable Creatures, which is less abfurd than to say, that God is our Sovereign Lord, but will not judge us, that is, will not exercise his Sovereign Authority
All this feems to be self-evident, and to carry its own proof and conviction with it; and there is but one Evasion that I know of, by the help of which men flatter themselves still into the Opinion, that God will not judge them, or at leait, that it is not evident from the Light of Nature, that he will; and that is, that all this proves indeed, that God may judge us, if he please, but not that he will: we are his Creatures and obnoxious to his Power and Justice, and this proves, that he
may judge us if he please, but he is under no force, and therefore if he please
also he may not judge us ; and while this is possible, Men who love their Sins, are apt to flatter themselves that God will not judge them.
Now this is no Objection to us Chriftians, who have a plain and expressRevelation of God's Will in this point, that he will judge the World, tho it is an additional satisfaction to see, that the nature and reason of Things do so well agree with Revelation ; but however, at present I shall sec aside Revelation, and consider whether what I have now discoursed, do not as well prove, that God will, as that he may judge the world.
Now to prove this, will only suppose one Principle, which I will thank.no man to grant me; That what the reason and nature of things proves ought to be done, that God will do ; for though God is under no force and necefficy, yet his own Nature is a Rule and Law to him, what ought to done, every wise and good and just Being will do, and therefore God will certainly do it, who is infinite Wisdom; and what the nature of Things require to be done, that is the prescription of his own Wisdom, for he made all things, and therefore by giving such natures to his Creatures, he has made a Law for himself, and sufficiently declared what he intends to do. Now let any man consider what I have already discoursed, and tell me, whether a reasonable Creature, who is a free Agent, and under the Power and Authority of a Superior, who prescribes him the Laws and Rules of Action, ought not to be called to an account for his Actions
j whether a wise Father, or a wise Prince would
not do this, and whether it be not a great negled and fault in the Superior, if it be not done? I'm sure all Mankind would think fo ; and then we must grant, that the ftate and condition of Human Nature proves, that God not only may, but will judge the World ; unless we can suppose, that he will be guilty of such a neglect, as would be thought a great fault among men.
There are fome things indeed, which we cannot know that God will do, without a Revelation; fuch free and arbitrary acts of Goodness,as he had no way obliged himself to , nor had given any natural notice of, such as is the whole Oeconomy of Man's Salvation by Jesus Christ : but what either his own nature, or the nature of Things, which he has made, exacts from him, that we may be sure a wise and just and good Being will do..
For though God is under no force and constraint, yet he must because he will act agreeably to his own Nature, and to the nature of things; and we may as well say, that we are not sure that God will do what is Good, and Just and Wise, because he is under no force to do it; as that he willnot judge Mankind : For to judge the World is as essential to the Sovereignty of God, as to do what is wife and good is to his Wisdom and Goodness : And it is as absurd to say, that God is the Sovereign Lord of the World, but need not exercise his Sovereign Authority in governing or judging Mankind, as to say, that God is infinite Wisdom and Goodness, but need never do what is wise or good: Such dormant and unactive Perfections are a contradiction to the very notion of a God, whose Nature is a pure and simple Ach,
all Life and Energy ; if he be good, he will do good; and if he be the Sovereign Lord and Judge of the World, he will Govern and Judge Mankind.
This is the firft natural Evidence of a Future Judgment, taken from the Frame and Condition of Human Nature, which I have infifted on much longer than I intended, for the more I think of it, the more plain and convincing it seems to be ; for what imaginable reason is there to question, whether God will judge Mankind, when he has made man just such a Creature, as he must have made him, if he had intended to judge him; endowed him with Reason and Understanding, and liberty of Choice, given him Laws and Rules of Action, and made him in subjection to Himself, obnoxious to his own Power and Justice ; which are plain natural Indications, that God does intend to call him to an account?
The essential Differences between Good and Evil, and
the Natural Netics we have of GOD, prove a Future Fudgment.
II. HE essential Differences between Good
and Evil, prove that Mankind ought to be judged; and this is somewhat more than that God has made Man such a Creature as is by nature accountable, and may be judged : Just as much more as the difference is between may be and must be; for though, as I obferved before, this may be does very strongly infer a will be ; that is, that God having made man an accountable
Creature, is a reasonable Presumption, that he will judge him, and call him to an account; yet this is not so direct and immediate a Proof that God will judge Mankind, as it is to Thew, that the essential difference of Good and Evil makes it necessary, that Man should be judged, that he should be rewarded and punished according to his works.
I premise this to fhew you, what a new advance this makes towards the proof of a future Judgment; and now come to explain the force of this Argument :
That there is an essential difference between Good and Evil, (as unwilling as some Men are to own it) is demonstrableto every Man's sense and experience, which is a more undeniable Proof, than fome nice and Metaphysical Speculations ; and that what is good ought to be rewarded, and what is evil ought to be punished, is acknowledged by the universal consent and practice of Mankind; and I think the necessary and unavoidable consequence of this is, that good Men shall be rewarded, and the wicked punished; that is, that Mankind shall be judged according to their works. This is in short the Argument; and if I can make good each part of it, I have no more to do, but to leave it to your serious consideration.
I. That there is an essential difference between Good and Evil ; that is, that there are some things in their own natures very good for men, and other things which are very hurtful to them: And will any Man deny this? This is the Good. and Evil, which is in the Nature of Things, and so immutably there, that all the Art and Power