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different as DeJlru5lion and Life. They are not like two Ways which lead to the fame Place, which though they part, yet meet again either in some other Part of the Road, or at least at the End of the Journey; but they are like two Ways which part more and more from one another, and end in very distant Countries. As if two Ships should steer different Courses, the one a right Course, which would carry its Passengers slreight to their right Port and Harbour j the other a wrong Course, which carries them into the Enemy's Country, where they lose Ship and Cargo, and are made Prisoners, or Slaves, as long as they live. The steering this wrong Course is not always the effect of Ignorance, but often of Carelessness and Inconsideration; as if the Master and Seamen mould spend their Time in Drinking and Gaming, and never mind the steering the true Course to the right Harbour; but forgetting their Reckoning, should fall in with Rocks and Shoals, and be lost and cast away; while the other sober and diligent Men get safe into the Harbour.
This was a very proper Consideration for our Saviour to leave with his Disciples, that they might not neglect those excellent Precepts he had given them, even to put them in mind of the different Fates of those who led their Life in the broad Way of Sin; and of them who walked in the narrow Way of Duty, which he had shewed them. The broad Way, like that of a Ship, which cannot endure to bear up against the Wind, but always sails before it, never carries a Man to the right End of his Voyage; but either upon Rocks and Shelves, or into the Vol. IV. Q_ Enemy's Enemy's Country; or at least, to some very distant Place from what he desires to go to. On the other Hand, the narrow Way of Duty, like that of a Ship, which bears well up to the Wind, loses no Way, but holds on in a direct Course lo the tight Port and Harbour. There is a great deal more Pains and Trouble indeed in bearing up against the Wind, than in sailing before it; as there is a great deal more Trouble in the Way of Self-denial and Mortification of our carnal Appetites, than in indulging our selves in our sinful Inclinations; but if we consider the different Ends of the one and the other Way, we are not to take our Measures of the Goodness or Badness of the Passage, till we fee the End of it; for that is to bp reckoned a good Passage, which carries us sure and safe, and without loss of Time, to Heaven, though we should meet with some blustering Winds and Weather in it; and that is an unfortunate Passage, which carries us to the wrong Port, or splits the Ship against the Rocks, although, as to the sailing Part, it should be ever so pleasant before the Wind, and the Seamen and Passengers fhonld pass their Time ever so idly in drinking and gaming together.
The very Heathen, by the Light of Nature, were sensible os the different Ends of Virtue and Vice; and therefore they not only appointed Rewards for the one, and Punishments for the other, in this World; but give us Descriptions of the vastly different States which they apprehended would be allotted them in the World to come; the one very happy, the other very miserable. But the Christian Religion has mightily
improved improved what was but imperfectly delivered by those, who had no further Help than that of the Light of Nature. For it has given us very particular Accounts of the Immortality of the Soul, and the Resurrection of the Body; of the Day of Judgment, and the Proceedings of Christ, the righteous Judge, and of the various Sentences which mall be pronounced on both good and bad, adjudging the one to everlasting Happiness, and the other to everlasting Misery. And this leads me to the second Thing I proposed to consider on this Subject; namely,
II. The Nature of those different States, described here by the Words DeJiruSiion and Life. To begin with the Word DeJiruSiion. We are to understand it, not for Annihilation, but for the height of Misery. And this is no unusual Acceptation of the Word; as when we speak of an Enemy's destroying of a Country, we mean only that he makes it very miserable by all the Calamities of War. This is the Sense of DeJiruSiion when applied to damned Souls in a future State; for as far as we can gather from the holy Scriptures, (the only sure Guide in such Matters,) there is no such good News for wicked Men, as that there shall be an utter End of their Being, and consequently that they shall be'insensible of all the Pains of Hell; for as to the Soul, it is immortal, and never dies; and as to the Body, there is nothing plainer delivered than the Doctrine of the Resurrection, not only of the Just, but of the XJnjuJl. Now, to what Purpose should the Body be raised to Life, if it is immediately to die again ? It is true, some alledge that it seems to
Q_2 be be a very unnatural, and a very unphilosophical Thing, that the Body, without a continual Miracle, should be able to subsist long, much less to all Eternity, under those exquisite Torments which are in Hell. But this Objection rises from two very weak Foundations, which, if they are removed, this Difficulty will quickly vanish. The first is, that we apprehend no Difference between our present mortal Bodies, and the Bodies we shall have after the Resurrection; whereas, as the Resurrection-Body is not maintained by such corruptible Things as Meat and Drink, so neither is it corruptible as they are; it is true of all such Bodies, whether they belong to happy or unhappy Souls, that this Mortal must put on Immortality, and this Corruptible Jhall put on Incorruption, i Cor. xv. 53. and therefore the Frame of such a Body is not to be destroyed by outward Accidents, as the Frame of our mortal Bodies is. And the second wrong Foundation upon which the Objection is founded is, that we fancy Hell-fire is of the fame Nature with our Fires here upon Earth, and must make as great • an Impression upon Matter; Whereas all these Descriptions of Hell-Torments in holy Scripture, as of a Wirm that never dies, and a Fire that is never quenched, are only lively Metaphors to express the exquisite and endless Pain and Anguish of such Persons who shall be adjudged to Hell-Torments. So that there is no unphilosophical Notion in this, that God can and will sit the Resurrection-Body so properly to a State of Immortality, either of Happiness or Misery, that it shall be capable to accompany the Soul to all Eternity in either of those States; and likewise that he will fit the Rewards and Punishments of either State so, that both Soul and Body shall be capable of them. But against this Act of God's, some object that it is very disagreeable to the Justice, and much more to the Mercy of God, to inflict eternal Punishments for temporary Sins, for that the Punishment ought to bear a due Proportion to the Sin. This will be best answered by the last Thing I observed on this Subject, namely, that the different States of Men to all Eternity, result not from any arbitrary Sentence of God's, but from the different Courses of Life of the Wicked, and of those that fear God; because the several Ways, viz. the broad Way of Vice, and the narrow Way of Virtue, are said in my Text to lead to them. But before I come to that, we are to consider the Nature likewise of Happiness under the Notion of Life, by which it is represented in the Text. By this Word Life, is not meant here the natural Life, consisting in a Conjunction or Union of Soul and Body, which Sort of Life is common with the Reprobate, and is consistent with a great deal of Misery; but by Life, is meant the Union of the Soul with God, as our Saviour explains it, 1 "John v. 12. be that hath the Son, hath Life-, and he that hath not the Son, hath not Life. It is called Life by way of Excellency, as signifying a pleasant, happy Life. And in this Sense Living is used both in the holy Scriptures, and in other antient Authors. Thus 1 Sam. x. 24. these Words, which literally rendered signify only, Let the King live, are translated by the Chaldee Paraphrast, Let the King prosper. So 1 Sam. xxv. 6. part of Davids Message to Na