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By holy conversation and godliness, w¢ shall be no sufferers in the universal calamity; but may with confidence look for, and even haste to meet, the coming of the day of God; being diligent that we may be found of him in peace; as the same apostle adviseth. For, as another inspired writer informs us, The Lord himself Mall descend from, heaven with a mout; with the voice of the arch-angel; and with the trump of God: And the dead in Christ hall rise firft: Then we, says he, which are alive, and remain, Mall be caught up together with them in the clouds; to meet the Lord in the air; and se fall we ever be with the Lord*.
Thus, by framing our lives as becomes those that wait for these things; whether we shall be of the number of the quick, or dead; we fhall be changed in a moment; and be removed into regions of security; out of the reach of the destroying element; Or if we shall not entirely escape its fury;
it will affect us no otherwise, than in purging away our dross; and refining us from our fins; as filver is tried and refined in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. For the prophet tells us, that the Lord, at the day of his coming, is like a refiner's fire; and like fuller's soap : And that he mall sit as a refiner, and purifier of filver; and Mall purify the sons of Levi; and purge them, as gold and silver *
“ And then, when by that fire, probably, the portion of matter, which was in the bodies of all who have lived upon earth, shall be so far refined and fixed, as to become both incorruptible, and immortal; then they shall be made meet for the soul, that formerly animated them, to re-enter every one into its own body; which shall be then fo moulded, as to be a habitation, fit to give it everlasting joy, or everlasting torment ft."
* Bishop Burnet, Exp. of the Articles, Art. iv. p.67. + Mal. iii. 2, 3.
Hh 2 : On
On either of the foregoing suppositions, whether at this great day, we shall be found alive; or, as is most probable, dead in the Lord; we shall be qualified for the succeeding happy state.
TT was in order to its melioration, that
the earth was destroyed by water : And it is for the same gracious end, that it is to be destroyed again by fire; that by undergoing these two different kinds of purgation, it may at last be reduced to such an improved and happy state, as : was sketched out in the primitive paradise ; which was an emblem, and an earnest of it: And this is an end worthy of the great Creator, and wise Governor of the world; and justifies his ways to men, in
Hh 3: the
the severe judgments, which he hath, and will have, inflicted upon the world.
That the whole frame of nature, the whole system of the universe, is all to be restored to this renovated state, is what the scripture, which hath hitherto been our guide; and which, especially with regard to the view before us, must necef
farily be our guide unto the end–This • is what the holy scripture, I say, which
never misleads us, gives us repeated af. surances of.
This important change will be so great and universal, that it is expressed by the inspired writers in the terms of a new creation. For behold, faith the Lord, by his prophet, I create new heavens, and a new earth: And, as the new heavens, and the nere earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, faith the Lord; so shall your feed, and your name remain *.
It is with reference to this promise, contained in the words of the prophet, that
* Ifai. Ixv. 17-ixvi. 22.