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Serm. of wicked Men and Hypocrites ? Certainly VI.
the reverse of what is here promised to the righteous will be the Lot of those who bear the reverse of their Character. And what is that but Darkness and Torment? The very Terms by which our Saviour expresses the Punishment of the Wicked in the other World, Mat. viii. 12. Luke xvi. 28.
2. From what hath been said on this Subject, we see how exactly the Felicity of the Saints in the other World corresponds with their Tempers and Characters in this.
God is a God of Righteousness and Truth, In these things he doth delight. And therefore none but the righteous and the upright can be the Objects of his Love. And it is his Love that opens all the Sources of Bliss in Heaven. Or thus; all the Happiness of Heaven consists in the Enjoyment of God. None can enjoy him but those that are like him. But he is a God of Righteousness and Truth; and therefore nothing but this can make us like him. Nothing less than this then can qualify us for Heaven, or fit us for the Happiness of it. A solid Reflection, and substantial Truth! As certain from the very nature of things, as it is from the
Word of God; and equally administering SERM.
3. We hence see how unreasonable it is for good Men to give themselves up to Difcontent and Melancholy, be their outward Circumstances in this World ever so afflicted.
When a good Man droops and grieves and mourns and bows down his Head like a Bull. rush, and refuses to be comforted, he does a mighty Dishonour to his Faith. It looks as if he neither trusted the Providence, nor believed the Word of God; and that he doubted the Truth (or, at least, that he seldom thought) of what he there reads, viz. that the Sufferings of the present Life are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed ; that these light Afflictions, which are but for a Moment, are designed to work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory; and if we are faithful unto Death, we shall receive a Crown of Life. - A melancholy Christian, with all the glorious Prospects of the Gospel before him, is a very inconsistent Character.
4. What reason have we to be thankful that God hath been pleased to throw so much Light and Gladness into this dark and miserable World, by the Discoveries which his Gospel makes of the Glory and Happiness of a better.
An impenetrable Cloud indeed intercepts our clear View of that heavenly Glory, yet such a Glimmering of it shines through that Cloud as chears our Hearts, and animates our Hopes, and gives us sufficient Light to guide us to it. Blessed be God, we are not left in total Darkness. The Gospel hath brought the Life of Immortality to Light, so far as it is necessary for us to know it in the
present State. And the more we study the Word and Perfections of God, and the nature of true Holiness, the better acquainted shall we be with that World of Light, and Life, and Glory we hope to be for ever in.
Lastly, We see how infinitely it is our Interest and Wisdom to cultivate that Righteousness and Integrity of Heart, which alone can fit us for the heavenly Happiness, and on which all the Promises of it are sul, pended
Religion was ultimately designed to make Serm. us happy; but it was primarily designed to VI. fit us for Happiness; to form in us that holy Temper which alone can qualify us for the heavenly Glory; to make us like God that we may be capable of enjoying Him. Whatever hath this Tendency and Effect, that is Religion ; whatever hath no such Effect or Tendency may be called Religion indeed, but it is falsely so called. This is plain. What remains then, but that we all fpend the future Part of our Lives in the Prosecution of that Holiness and Righteousness which alone will make us like to, and fit us for the everlasting Enjoyment of God? And what God hath thus joined together let no Man put afunder.
And now, Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant Mercy, hath begotten us again to this lively Hope, through the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. And may his Grace be more and more fitting us for that Inheritance which is incorruptible
, undefiled, and which fadeth not away ; reserved in Heaven for them who are kept by his mighty Power, through Faith, unto Salvation.
James i. 1. A Double minded Man is unstable in
all bis Ways.
AN is a variable Creature. Eve
ry Man is so; and does not M
differ from every Body else more
than he does, at some times, from himself.
This is a common Observation. But that which the Apostle takes notice of in the text is something more, viz. that there are some who are not only in different Tempers at different Times, but are governed by con