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heard no more of them to Eternity. The Wifdom of all Governments has taught them the necessity of Publick Executions; and when God would make himself known in the World, he executes some publick and visible Judgments, which may command our Notice and Observance : Thus he did when he spared Pharaob from the Destruction of those numerous Plagues he sent on Egypt, and reserved him for a more glorious Execution, when he overthrew him and all his Hoft in the Red Sea : Thus he did when he. sent Fire from Heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrab
i and in numerous other Instances : These terrible Executions indeed are intended by God as publick Warnings to the World, to teach men to fear God, and reverence his Power and Justice, and prevent their own Ruin by a timely Repentance : Now this end they cannot serve in the other World, when the Devil and hiş Angels, and all bad men are involved in the fame Ruin, and there are no Sinners left to take warning, and to learn Righteousness by it :. But Saints and Angels are Spectators and Witnesses of the Vengeance, and adore and praise the Righteous Judge of the world ; and Devils and all wicked men fee and feel it too, and tremble and fly before him, are forced to confess his Power and Glory , though with Anguish and Despair. This is a glorious and visible Triumph over all his Enemies, and all the Powers of Darkness.
And how glorious is God in his Saints, when he publickly rewards their Faith and Patience, their Obedience and Sufferings for his Name fake; when in the fight of all the World he cloaths them with pure Light, and receives them into his Eternal Kingdom ; the Glory of God is the Publick Manifestation of his Justice, and Goodness, and Power ; now there cannot be à more unquestionable Demonstration of the inflexible Justice of God, than the final Destruction of the Devil and his Angels, and all wicked men; there cannot be a more glorious Manifestation of the Goodness of God, than in the Final Rewards of Piety and Virtue; and nothing can be more publick and visible, than that which is done before all the world. And this makes it reasonable for God to summon all the world before his Tribunal, to make himself visibly glorious to all his Creatures.
God has been greatly dishonoured in the World ; some have denied his Being and Providence, others have set up Rival and Opposite Gods, and given his Worship to Devils, to Dead Men, to Wood and Stone, nay, to the vilest and most contemptible Creatures; others, have framed very unworthy Notions of God and cloathed him with their own Weaknesses, and Paffions, made him either a Tyrant and à Devil, or such a tame, easy, fond Being, as men may make bold with without danger; others prophane his Name, corrupt his Worship, or neglect and despise it : Some think themselves too big to serve God, others too little to be observed by him ; some ridicule his.
Laws, others take no notice of them; and there are very few who are sincere Worshippers of him, and acknowledge and submit to his Authority and Power; and when God has been so much dishonoured in the World, I think it is very fit, that when he judges the World, he should vindicate his own Glory, make it publick and visible, and force all his Creatures to own and confess it; and the most effectual way to do this, is by summoning all Mankind before him, and judging them according to their Works. Thus we see what Reason there is, with respect to God, why he should not judge Men singly, and send them privately and filently to Heaven or Hell, but appoint a general Day of Judgment.
II. There is great Reason for this too, with respect to Men, both to good and to bad Men; for this is part of the Reward of Virtue, and of the Punishment of Vice.
Many good Men have been used with the utmost Contempt and Scorn; if they cannot comply with their Company, and do as their Neighbours do ; if they boggle at popular and fashionable Vices, they are gazed on as so many Comets and Prodigies, and would be contented to be gazed on, were they as far out of the reach of danger too, as those Meteors are; some call them Fools, others Knaves and Hypocrites, and treat them accordingly: And is it not fit that GOD should vindicate these Men, who have suffered Infamy and Reproach for his fake? that he should publickly own them, applaud and reward their Virtue: And
what a Glorious Vindication is this, if we can but have Patience to expect it: What a little contemptible Scene is this World, nay, this little corner of the World where we live; for whether we be Praised or Reproached, it is likely we are never heard of out of the Parish and Neighbourhood, or Çity, or Kingdom, where we live ; and can't we be contented to let a whole Parish, or City, or Kingdom despise us, to be publickly owned by God in the General Assembly of Men and Angels?
Good Men do a great many good A'&ions privately, which few or none are conscious to, but God and themselves, and therefore they lose the Praise which is due to such fecret Virtues in this World; but our Saviour hath promised, that such Men shall have Praise of God; that if we Pray, and Fast, and give Alms in secret, Our Father which seeth in secret shall reward us openly, 6. Matth. And this is a great Encouragement to the Practice of the most fecret Virtues, that we shall be openly rewarded for them.
Good Men are many times great Sufferers in this World, are not only Reproached, but Persecuted, lofe their Eftates, their Liberties, their Lives, for Christ's sake: And though God has ftri&ly forbid them to avenge themselves; yet he will execute Vengeance on their Enemies, and do it publickly, and make them the Spectators and Witnesses of it.
On the other Hand, Wickedness is many times very Glorious and Triumphant in this
, Future IV DGMENT. World, is so far from suffering Shame, which is the juft Reward of it, that it is applauded and courted; and the greatest Prodigies of Wickedness are adored for their prosperous Villanies; but yet Shame is the juft Reward of Sin, and it must have it at one time or other; and nothing can more effectually cast Shame and Contempt upon Sinners, than a general Judgment, when they fhall be publickly Arraigned and Condemned in the great Assembly of Men and Angels: This will confound the most glorious Sinner, who never blushed before; for though while bad Men are supported with Power, or are the most numerous Party and can out-vote and outlaugh the rest of the World, they can secure themselves against the Sense of Shame: Yet have their Villanies exposed to all the World; when they are stript of their Riches, and Honours, and Power, and see all their Admirers and Companions past Laughing and Flattery, and themselves despised and scorned by God and his Holy Saints and Angels, and condemned to Everlasting Miseries, it will then be impossible for them any longer to glory in their Shame: Confusion will then cover their Faces; and it would be thought very Merciful to be Damned privately without seeing their Judge, and being exposed to publick Scorn and Censure.
Thus there are a great many wicked things done privately, and concealed from the Eyes of Men, and many times gilded over with a form and counterfeit appearance of Religion;