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person as I am! O! that he could be content to wink at me, when I am about the fulfilling of my ungodly desires! Alas! what harm is it to him, what inconvenience accrues to him by it, if I enjoy the sinful pleasures of this life? Or, if he will needs be angry, O that it were not in his power to revenge himself upon me! O that his power were not so unlimited as they say it is!
24. I know men will be apt to flatter themselves though they be never so vicious, and to think, that they are extremely wronged, to have such imputations laid upon them: they will be ready to answer me, in the words of Hazael to the prophet Elisha, when he told him what horrible massacres he should commit among the Israelites, when he should have the crown of Syria set on his head, "What! dost thou think us dogs, that we should do such things as these!", We are so far from robbing God of his justice, that we should be mortal enemies to any that dare proceed to that height of impiety; nay, we should be content to sacrifice our own lives, rather than be brought to deny that, or any other of his glorious attributes.
25. Truly, I am so charitably minded, as to think that there is none so wicked, but would confidently make this defence for himself, yea, and believes he is in earnest when he speaks so. But this will not serve the turn; for "God seeth not as man sees," he judgeth not as man judgeth, but he judgeth righteous judgment: for instance, in that great example which our Saviour gives of the fashion and course of judgment, according to which he purposes to proceed in the last day; he accuses the wicked, and condemns them for neglect of visiting, and feeding, and clothing him,
The apology which they make for themselves, as having never seen him in that exigence, would not be taken for though I am persuaded they there spake nothing but what they verily thought, namely, that if ever they had seen Christ himself in such want and necessity, they would not have been so hard-hearted to him as they were to his poor servants; yet Christ will not allow of that excuse, but accounts of their uncharitableness to afflicted Christians as directed to himself.
26. So likewise in the case in hand: though I believe it would be hard to persuade even the most licentious professed sinner, that he believes not indeed the justice and righteousness of God; yet he shall find at last, and that miserably to his cost, that God, who knows his heart much better than himself, for all his professions, will yet esteem him an atheist; and will prove evidently and convincingly unto him, that since that knowledge, which he pretended to have of God's righteousness, had been so fruitless and superficial, that, notwithstanding such a conceit, he proceeded still on in his ungodly courses, that therefore he did but delude himself all the while with fantastical ungrounded illusions; so that whatsoever imagination swims in his brain, yet, in the language of his heart, that is, in the propension and sway of his affections, he said, "There is no God."-Now, what hath been said of the omnipresence, infinite knowledge, and justice of God, may, by the same reason and proportion, be spoken of the rest of his glorious attributes. But the straitness of time will force me to leave the rest untouched: I will proceed therefore to make the like collections from one or two articles more of the Creed.
27. Thou believest, that, after this life, (which cannot last very long; it will, and that shortly, have an end) there remain but two ways for all men, of what state and condition soever, that ever were, to be disposed of; either into life and glory everlasting, or else into pains and torments infinite and insupportable; and, by consequence, that thy soul is an immortal substance, which shall for ever continue somewhere: and according to thy behaviour here, during that short measure of time which thou livest upon that earth, it must expect a reward proportionable thereto. If thou canst persuade thyself to walk worthy of that calling, whereunto thou art called in Jesus Christ; if thou wilt not forswear and renounce that glorious profession which thou madest in thy baptism; if thou canst be content to submit thyself to the easy yoke of Christ; propose to thyself what reward thou canst imagine, give thy thoughts scope and licence to be excessive and overflowing in their desires; if thou art not satisfied to the uttermost, infinitely above what thou art now able to comprehend, tell God he is a liar, and hath deceived thee. O! what unspeakable joys shall hereafter expect thee! O! with what a burden and weight of glory shalt thou even be oppressed!
28. But on the other side, if, notwithstanding such inestimable blessings as are now set before thine eyes, thou art yet resolved to content thyself with such vain trifling pleasures as thou canst meet with in this life, which yet thou canst not attain to but with as much pains, and anxiety, and care, as if rightly applied, would have been sufficient to have procured heaven for thee! what shall say unto thee? Only this-"Thou hast thy re
ward; remember that thou hast already received thy good things." What a terrible affrighting speech is this! it may be, thou hast fed and glutted thy lusts with some pleasures of this life; it may be, thou hast satisfied, in some small measure, thy ambition with honour and preferment; and yet it may be, for all thy cares and travails, thou hast not been able to attain to any of those things as thou didst desire: whether thou hast or not, it is all one, there is little to choose; but howsoever, "Remember that thou hast received thy good things;" remember, "Thou hast thy reward." Do not hereafter presume to offer to pretend to any the least good from God. It may be, hereafter thou mayst come to such want, as to stand in need of a cup of cold water; nay, it may be, thou wouldst think thyself happy, if any body would afford thee but one drop of water to refresh thy tongue: but in vain; for, "Son, remember thou hast already received thy good things." Thou never sawest a beggar so utterly wretched and destitute, but he might almost every where have filled himself with water, and have thanked nobody for it; and yet, though thou shouldst even consume thyself with entreating and crying for it, yet none should be found to give it thee; even thy liberal good father Abraham will deny it to thee.
29. Surely there cannot be found so impudent, so unreasonable a sinner, as to profess he is fully persuaded of these things, and that he hath a desire, and even some hope, that God will be so merciful to him, as to preserve him, that none of those things happen unto him, and yet resolve to follow the devices of his own heart; to say, he acknowledgeth that the joys, which are reserved for
penitent believers, are so excessively glorious, that the afflictions of this life are not worthy of them, much less the vain pleasures thereof; and yet withal, rather than not enjoy the "pleasures of sin for a season," to make himself incapable of those great blessings! such a generation of men I find in Holy Scripture, and God himself takes notice of them, who say, "We shall have peace, though we walk in the imaginations of our heart :" but withal I can scarcely meet with God so impatient through the whole Bible, as he is with people of such a temper as this; "Surely the Lord will be avenged of such a nation as this, and will make his wrath to smoke against them."
30. Therefore, whosoever thou art, that hast taken up thy resolution to walk in the imagination of thine own heart; at least, take so much pity of thyself, do not thou thyself add violence and heat to the wrath of God, which shall smoke against thee, by pretending to a belief of heaven or hell, or by seeming to profess, that all the while that thou art busy in the prosecutions of thine ungodly lusts, notwithstanding that, all that time, this opinion hath never left thee, "that God will bring thee to judgment;" that even that very. body of thine, which thou madest a mansion for the devil, an instrument for any wickedness that he would suggest unto thee, yet that that body would be raised up; that, to thy extreme horror and astonishment, God would take such particular care of that very body of thine, that wheresoever it were lost, he would recover it, though dispersed to the four winds of heaven, and build it up again, (thou sayest thou knowest for what use) even to be a mark, against which he will empty his quivers, and shoot