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SERM.VI. hereafter, nor the Degree nor the Duration of it: Nor can it be determined by Reason, whether our future Happiness or Mifery would be finally decided by an irre vocable Sentence, according to our Deportment here; or whether, after the Clofe of this Life we might not pass through feveral intermediate States of Probation, be fore a decifive and irreverfible Judgment was paffed upon us. But Revelation affures us, that the Condition of our Existence here, however inconfiderable it. may feem in itself abstractedly from a future State, is infinitely confiderable in it's Confequencesthat he, that lives and dies righteous, will be righteous ftill; and He, that dies filthy, will be filthy fill, Rev. xxii. 11, 12. Death fetting as it were a kind of Seal upon the State of the Soul-that the Wicked must be finally fevered from the Goodthat in Heaven there is no Poffibility of falling away from Goodnefs, and in Hell no Room for Amendment. For then God's Grace will be withheld, and Virtue, when every Spark of it is extinct, is only, like the Vestal Fire, to be rekindled by a Beam from Heaven.
So far was Chriftianity from narrowing SERM. VI. our Views, that it alone has raised them, as high-as Heaven; and extended them as far as Eternity. A Man may look
into his Bible, and fee plainly there what will become of him, when the present Scene is fhifted, as to his most important, I had almost faid, his only Concern, a future State; who, if he were left to himfelf, the more he confidered the Point on every Side, the more he would find himself bewildered in Doubts, without coming to any Determination,
Happy are we, if we know our Happiness, who have a Revelation, like it's great Author, full of Grace and Truth.
The intrinfic Excellency of the
I PETER III. 15.
Be ready always to give an Answer to every
O affirm, as fome have done, that SER. VII. unenlightened Reason is abfolute
ly fufficient, and that a Revela
tion is needlefs, is neither better nor worfe; than to fay, that Men either are, or may be, fo wife of themselves, that it is not in the Power of God himself to make them wifer; that their natural Abilities are fo very confiderable, as to fuperfede the Ufe of any fupernatural Notices, even from the Father of Lights: A Po
SER. VII. fition fo shocking, that if it be not downright Blafphemy; it certainly maketh very near Approaches to it *.
But, you will fay, where was God's impartial Goodness in with-holding from others those Advantages, which he has afforded us? If a Revelation were wanted, why was not that, which was equally wanted by all, made equally known to all, at all Times?
If we trace this Objection to it's Original, we shall find it ftands on a wrong Foundation: It fuppofes the Deity to be determined by the Wants of Men, exclufively of all other Regards: Whereas what may be very fit, the Wants of Men fingly
I would not be thought to depreciate Reason in general, which, rightly understood, as taking in all Helps and Evidences, whether intrinfic or extrinfic, is the only Faculty we have to discern Truth from Falfhood. It is no more a Difparagement to Reafon to affert, it can do little in religious Affairs without the Help of Revelation; than to maintain, it would make a flender Figure without the Asfiftance of Education: For what is Revelation but Affiftances and Inftructions from Heaven; às Education is Inftruction communicated to us from our Fellow Creatures? Deduct thofe religious Truths that were discovered to us, and only place thofe down, that were discovered by us; and the remaining Sum of our Knowledge, at the Foot of the Account, will not be very confiderable.