« הקודםהמשך »
far it is charged as new, and with how little reason. '' •''
My declared intention, in th;it part of my Sermon which displeases the Letter-Writer, is, to "explain that gieat argument for a future state, "which St Paul hath couched in the words" of my text. Is in this life only we have hope in Christ, •we are of all men most miserable. I suppose them to signify, That " if all the benesits we expect from. "the Christian institution were consined within *' the bounds of this \\fi, and we h.id no'hope* '" of a better state after this, of a great and lasting ** reward in a life to come; we Christians should "be the most abandoned and wretched of crea"tures; all other forts and sects of men would "evidently have the advantage of us, and a much "surer title to happiness than we. From whence "I say, the apostle would be understood to infer "(though the inferance be not expressed) that "therefore there must needs be another state, to "make up the inequalities of this, and to solve "all irregular appearances,'" p 2.
In the explication of this argument, I profess, to urge (what I call) the concession of the apostle somewhat further than the Letter of the text wilt carry us, by asserting, under two different heads, '* That were there no life after this, \fl, Men "would be more miserable than beasts; and 'idly, "The best men would be often the most miserable*. "I mean, as far as happiness or misery are to be *' measured from pleasing and painful senfations. "And, suposing the present to be the only life we «« are to lead, I see not but that this might be
Vol. IL b "esteemed "esteemed the tme measure of them." *Upon the sirst of these heads I shew, that " in this lise beasts "have, in many respects, the advantage of men; "in as much as they (1) enjoy greater sensual "pleasures, and (2) seel sewer corporal pains, "and (3) are utter strangers to .ill those anxious "and tormenting thoughts, which perpetually "haunt and disquiet mankind f. I enlarge on these particulars, and then proceed on the fame foot likewise to shew, That " the best men would "be often the most miserable j" since "their "principles (1) give them not leave to taste so "freely of the pleasures of lise, as other men's do, "and (2) expose them more to die troubles and "dangers of it," p. 6.
Both these points 1 illustrate by various instances; and, upon the whole, conclude, " That "therefore, as certainly as God is, a time there M will and must be, when all these unequal distrt"butions of good and evil shall be set right, and '* the wisdom and reasonableness of all his trant"actions, with all his creatures, be made as clear "as the noon-day," p. 10.
I was willing to represent to the reader, at one view, the whole course of my reasoning, according to the order in which it lies, and in the very words, which I have made use of to express it in my Sermon. If he compares this short A ccount of my Doctrine, with the larger explication given of its several branches in the Sermon itself, he will sind, That (whatever the Letter.Writer boldly
affirms 10 the contrary)
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and and is by me actually proposed, under the Restrictions following: advantages peculiar to men, that they "have the "present support of the belief of a Future State, "and the sirm expectation of Rewards *" in a life to comeand assures his Readers, with equal modesty and truth, that this is " agreeable to "what I supposed f»" whereas 1 suppose the quite contrary; and, on that supposition, all my reasonings and reflexions turn. Nor is there a word, throughout the whole argument, that can justly be construed to a disferent meaning.
i When 1 prefer beasts to men, and bad men to good, in point of happiness, it is upon a supposition, not only that there is no other life than this, but that mankind are persuaded that there is none. The men I speak of, are such as those Corinthians were against whom St. Paul argued; men, who " in this life only have hope in Christ5" esuch as " expect no benessits from the Christian. Institution, but what are consined within the bounds of this present life, and have no hopes of abetter state after this, of a great and lasting <c reward in a life to come This is the account which I exprefly give of them when I enter on the argument, and which I repeat several -times t in the course of it; and which must be -•Understood all along, even where it is not mentioned. And such a sort of Christians I may be allowed to suppose now, since such there mani•festly were in the days of the apostles. Nor does it any ways interfere with this supposition, to represent these very men, as having now and then *' the uneasy prefages of a future reckoning" and as scaring themselves sometimes with the fears of another life, even while they do not entertain the hopes of it. This, I doubt not is the case of all such who profess to disbelieve a future state; they are not always equally fatissied with their own Teasonings about it, but tremble sometimes at the thoughts of it. My Reprover, therefore, deals rery unfairly, when he reckons this among the
2. Proceeding on this supposition, I affirm, not that the best men would be always, but often the most miserable. And that I might be sure of not being mifapprehended. I repeat this (or some other equivalent) expression at least six times %, in the compass of a few pages. Nor doth the argument, which I am explaining, require a more extensive supposition; it being equally necesfary that there should be a future state to vindicate the justice of God, and silve the present irregularities of Providence, whether the best men be oftentimes only, or always the most miserable. The Letter-Writer dissembles his knowledge of this remarkar.'e restriction; and,having taken advantage from thence to argue and object as he pleased, contents himself slightly to mention it towards the close of his pamphlet; which was discreetly done, since an earlier acr knowledgment of it would have discovei ed at sirst light, even to the meanest of his readers, the impertinence of several of those objections and arguments. He would excuse this procedure, by
•L.J> II. s See I- pis »S. 3«- i P 3.4.« 8 9<t
faying, laying, at last, That though "I profess on!y to "shew that the best men ire often the most mi"serable," yet I argue, as if thry were ihuavs so *, viz. "from that ob'igation to so ne parti"cular practices, from which they are never ex"empt in any condition of this life \:" Which, is as great and groundless a misrepresentation as any of the former; Since,
3'i/y, My chief proof of this point is drawn from that state of persecution, to which good men above all others are subject; Be cause " their "principles expose them most to the troubles "nd "dangers of life 1;" because "sore evils and "temporal inconveniencies attend the discharge "of their duty ||they" become a reproach "and a bye-word, are injured and outraged, "susfer unjust and illegal encroachments § ; the "greatest saints being sometimes made the most "remarkable instances of sussering^:' for they are inflexible in their uprighmess-—" No prospect "of interest can allur them, no fear of danger "can dismay them *." Would one imagine, after all these expressions, and several others of the same kind that I have made use of, any man so lost to all sense of justice, and truth as to fay, That " I suppose no rase of persecution f?" that "I do not once suppose such a state of persecution "as the ap istle pointed at? but maintain mv po"sitions with referrence to the most quiet and "prosperous state of this life t?" Certainly the letter-writer doth not mean this as one instance
•I. p 41. s L. p. o ♦ Ser.p. 6 J p. t, 9. J p. ibid, f p. Io. * p. 8. s JLet. p. ly. f L. p. »i.