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begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil, 3 John 17, 18, 19. This our Saviour frequently inculcates on the Jews, that unless they believe on him, they must die and perish in their Sins. And we know the Jews were rejected by God for their Infidelity; their Temple, and City, and Nation destroyed by the Romans, and they dispersed and scattered among all Nations to this day. And our Saviour after his Resurrection, when he gave Commission to his Apostles to go into all the World, and to Preach the Gospel to every Creature, universally pronounces, He that believeth and is tized, shall be saved; but be that believeth not, Shall be damned, 16 Mark 16. And therefore St. Peter tells the Jews, Neither is there Salvation in any other : for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, 4 Acts 12. And if there be no other Name whereby Men must be saved, Infidelity must damn us.
Would some Men in our days seriously consider this, they would not think themselves so secure in their Infidelity, nor take so much pains to make themselves Infidels: For if after all their pains to disbelieve the Gospel, it should prove true at last, they must be damned for difbelieving it.
If Christ came into the World to save Sin. ners, and there is no other Name under Heaven whereby Sinners can be saved ; those who will not believe on his Name must eternally perish: As if there were but one Physician in
the World, who could cure such a mortal Distemper, those who labour under this Diftemper, and will not go to this Physician for their Cure, must necessarily die by their neglect ; their Infidelity in that case would kill them [what reasons soever they could pretend for their Infidelity] by negle&ting the only means of their Recovery
But besides this, Infidelity is a very great Crime, when we have fufficient Reasons and Motives of Faith: For this destroys all Commerce and Intercourse (if I may lo speak) between GOD and Men. If Men may be allowed to disbelieve a Revelation which has all the Evidence and Proof that any Revelation can have, it makes it impossible for God to reveal his Will to the World; at least to give uş such a Faith to all
And besides this, Infidelity is not owing to want of Evidence, but to an evil Temper of Mind, which is preposseffed with such vicious Lusts and Pallions, as will not suffer Men to believe ; thus our Saviour tells us, That men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are cvil: And tells the Pharisees, How can ye believe, who receive honour one of another, and seek not that bonur which cometh of. God? So that Infidelity is more in Mens Wills than in their Understandings, and therefore is as punishable as any other Vice : And though such Infidels will pretend to Reason for their Infidelity, and despise and laugh at the easie Credulity of the seit of the World; they may have a great force and byafs upon their Understandings for
all that, and would they be honest and sincere, they themselves must be sensible of it: However, God who sees their hearts, sees that it is so; and it is reason enough to By-standers to suspect it is fo, when they observe, that the more vertuously. Men are inclin'd, the more readily they embrace the Gospel, and the more firmly they believe it; whereas Infidels commonly make little pretenceto Sobriety or Vertue, but are Men of this World, who design no more than to please themselves in the Enjoyment ofcit; and when Mens understandings in other Matters are equally good, it is very reasonably suspicious, that it is only their different Inclinations and Passions, which make them judge so differently of things.
If this be the Case, as our Saviour assures us it is, and as our own Reason, and our Observation of Mankind, may give us sufficient cause to suspect, all Men mult grant, that it is as fit Men should be judged for their Infidelity, as for any other Vice : And this is reason enough to make Men afraid of Infidelity : For if they may be damned for being Infidels, they have no reason to be fecure in their Infidelity.
Infidels themselves must confess, that if there be sufficient reason to believe the Gospel, they deserve to be punished for their Unbelief: And if it should prove true at last, it will be too late to dispute it in the other World, whether God had given them sufficient Evidence of it. The great Number of Believers, who were as wise and cautious Men as themselves, will convince them, that there was Evidence enough for wise thinking Men to believe the Gospel; And when they lhall be alhained to plead want
of Evidence for their Unbelief, what Excuse will they find for their Infidelity ?
This may convince Infidels themselves, that their Infidelity is no security to them, for whether they will believe Heaven and Hell or not, if there be an Heaven they shall lose it, and if there be an Hell they shall fall into it for their Infidelity; and deservedly too, if their Infidelity be caused by the fault of their Wills, not by a want of Evidence: And therefore no Man can be secure in his Infidelity, till he be fecure that his Infidelity is not wilful; that there is no corrupt nor vicious Affection which byafses and perverts his Judgment; and there is but one way of trying this, that I know of, and I am pretty confident it would cure all the Infidelity in the World: Let Men renounce all their sinful Lusts and Vices, which make them infamous to the World ; let them obey the Laws of the Gospel, which are for the good of Humane Societies, for the good of their Families, which arethe Ornament and Perfection of Humane Nature, whether the Gospel be true or not, and then if they can disbelieve the Gospel, it is not because their deeds are evil, not because they have come Luft or other to serve by their Infidelity, and this would make their Infidelity very excusable;. but I know not of such an Infidel as this in the World. It is apparent and visible, that the Infidels of our Days promise themselves security in their Vices from their Infidelity: They laugh at Heaven and Hell, because they will not be at the pains to go to Heaven, and are afraid of Hell; Whatever Wit and
Reafon they pretend to, all mankind see which
III. We shall be judged also for not improving those Talents we are entrusted with ; that is, for not doing Good in the World: This many Men are apt to forget. To squander away, and waste their Master's Goods, to do that which is evil, this they think they must give an account of, but if they do no hurt, they are not much concerned what good they do. But our Saviour in the Parable of the Talents, informs us better, that we must give an account of our Improvements : For he who received but one Talent, went and digged in the Earth and hid his Lord's Money, and when his Lord came to reckon with him, he said, Lord, I knew that thou art an bard man, reaping where thou hast not Sown, and
gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy Talent in the Earth : Lo, there, thou hast what is thine. But his Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked Servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my Money to the Exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the Talent from him, And caft ye the unprofitable Servant into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth, 25 Match.
Here we plainly fee, that this Servant was not punished for spending his Mafter's Money, for he returned him the Talent which he gave