« AnkstesnisTęsti »
und desertion: there, all tears shall be wiped from our eyes; and all sin, the cause of those tears, rooted out of our hearts : and there, finally, we shall neither want any thing that we would have, nor desire any thing but what we have. Add to this, the infinite happiness of our vision and fruition' of God: we shal! there see the Father of Lights, by his owu rays : we shall see the Sun of Righteousness, lying in the bosom of the Father of Lights: we sball feel the eternal warmth and influence of the Holy Ghost, springing from both these lights: there, you shall see God no longer darkly through a glass, but face to face; without interruption, without obscurity: and, if it now cause such joy, when God doth but sometimes beam in a half-glance of himself into the soul, oh! then, within what bounds can our joy contain itself, when we shall fix our eyes upon God's, and lie under the free and unchecked rays of the Deity beating full upon us, and be ourselves made strong enough to bear them? there, we shall corporeally approach nigh'unto Christ's glorious body, and put our fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust our hands into bis, side, and search and sound those blessed fountains, from whence flowed forth his blood and our salvation; there we shall for, ever converse with innumerable hosts of holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect'; and join with the assembly of the first-born Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles, and holy Martyrs of all ages, since the beginning of the world; and, with infinite delight, mutually rehearse the mercies of the Great God, and sing bis, praises : there, we shall perpetually exult in the smiles of God, and live in eternal ecstasies and raptures; such as we never knew what they meant, no not when we were here most spiritual. And, when God hath wound off time from its great bottom, when he shall sound the Resurrection, and summon to Judgment; then, shall our happy souls meet their expecting bodies, with unspeakable joy and vital embraces: these lumps of clay shall be refined and clarified: the glories of the soul shall shine through them; and they themselves shine with a lustre, clear as the sun in its brightness. And, then, both soul and body shall enter into the entire fruition of those joys, the greatness of which we cannot express, but only by saying, we know not what they are. This is the inconceivable Reward of the Godly. (2) As the reward of the godly shall be inconceivably gloFor the more distinct prosecution of this particular, there are two terms in the text, which require a more exact consideration: the one, is that proportioning term, according : the other, is that of receiving ; which, being here peculiarly spoken of the Day of Judgment, must necessarily imply the receiving, either of a blessed reward, or of a deserved punishment.
If we consider the former term, According to that he hath done : this may admit of a Twofold Distinction.
First Distinction. Men shall be judged according to their works : either quoad speciem operum ; or, else, quoad diversum graduin in eâdem specie: either
According to the different kind of their works; or else,
kind. Second Distinction. According to our Works, may denote, that the recompence of our works, shall be proportioned, either
According to their own merit; or else
According to God's Covenant and Agreement with us. Third Distinction. And, if we consider the Reward and Punishment, which we shall receive according to our works; this alsa is either
Partial and incomplete; or, else
Out of these distinctions thus premised, I intend to form my following discourse.
i. Therefore, the last definitive sentence shall pass upon all ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS; that is, either ACCORDING TO THE KINDS, or DEGREES of them.
1. Though, in a natural respect, there be various and numberless Kinds of works: yet in morality, there are but two especially; and they are, Good and Bad.
Concerning indifferent actions, the text takes no cognizance; nor shall I, at present, meddle with them: for, indeed, there shall no such actions be found at the Day of Judgment; but those, which are different in themselves, are determined, and made good or bad, by their circumstances; and, as such, shall be accounted for at the Last Day.
Now, in these two great kinds, of Good and Bad, which divide between them whatsoever is done in the world, there are
several degrees and advances. They are not all like Jeremiah's figs; the good, incomparably good; and the evil, excessively evil: but some good actions are better, and some bad are worse, than others. And this difference proceeds; in godly men, from the mixture of corruption with grace, whereby they cannot do the good they would; and, in ungodly men, from conscience or some more external restraint, whereby they dare not do the evil they would
Now, that a different sentence shall proceed upon men at the last, according to the different kinds of their works; that those, who have done good, shall receive good, and those, who have done evil, shall accordingly receive evil; is so clear, that he must be a very atheist, and destroy the foundation, not only of the Christian, but of all religion, (for all religion is built upon this belief) who shall go about to deny it. I need not quote. Scripture, though it be in nothing more abounding than in this. The very first springings of natural light, and the unpremeditated resolves of reason, dictate this to be an unquestioned truth. For, from whence proceed those pale fears and grim thoughts, those heart-smitings and stinging regrets, which sometimes pierce and rack the souls even of the most wicked wretches, but from a sad apprehension, that the Great God will recompense unto them evil for evil? which apprehension they are not disputed into, by any far-fetched arguments and long consequences; but it strongly masters their understandings and consciences, by its own downright and native evidence.
2. Leaving them, therefore, to the horror of that reflection, let us, in the second place, consider the proportioning of the last sentence, according to the several Degrees of good and evil that shall be found in men's works.
Herein, something is probable, and something demonstratively certain,
(1) It may very piously and profitably, and with great probability, be believed that there shall be a distribution of different degrees of glory, according to the different exercise of grace and holiness in this life.
Learned men are at some variance, in this particular. The most affirm it: and others do not indeed so much deny it, as they do, that there is any thing in Scripture upon which we may fix a firm and sure persuasion, that it shall be so; and among these, are Peter Martyr, and Spanhemius, and Cameron. Those,
rious ; so the Doom, that shall pass upon all the Wicked and Ungodly of the world, shall be unspeakably full of terror.
And this doom contains in it a Twofold Punishment: the one, privative; the Pena Damni, or Punishment of Loss: the other, positive; or Pæna Sensűs, the Punishment of Sense. The inficting of these two will be the full execution of the last sen
them.  As for the Punishment of Loss, we may consider it, either in respect of those things, which once they had; or in respect of those things, which they might have bad, had it not been through their own wilful default.
1st. If we cousider their loss in regard of the things which once they had, so it is Twofold: for they have lost that, which they counted their happiness; and they have lost that, which might have made them truly happy.
(Ist) They lose that, which they accounted their happiness: that is, the world; the pleasures, profits, and honours of the world.
These are the things, which send many to hell; but do not descend with them thither, to relieve and comfort them there. Dives riots, on earth; but, in hell, cannot obtain one poor trem:bling drop of water, to cool his flaming tongue. - Tell me, what will it avail you, that you have lived in all affluence and voluptuousness ? The time is coming, when these things shall be no more, or no more yours. And, oh, then! tell me,
what -sad losers will those men be, who have lost their souls to gain the world; and y'et must, at last, lose the world together with their souls !
(2dly) They shall be punished with the loss of that, which might have made them truly and eternally happy, had they been wise to improve it.
Here, God strives with them by his Word, by his Spirit, by his Patience, by his Providence: he follows them from day to day, from ordinance to ordinance; with threatenings, with exhortations, with promises, with expostulations: Why will ye die? Turn
and live : for, as I live, saith the Lord, I delight not in the death of him that dieth: yea, God sends his Spirit to strive with them; sets on conscience to fright them; and all to reduce them: and this might have proved their salvation, had they wisely managed it. But, in hell, all this too is lost: there, no day of mercy riseth upon them; no patience, nor long-suffer_
ing; no awakening providences, nor converting ordinances ; nor any possibility of a better estate. And, certainly, if there be any reflection in hell, that will cut the souk to the quick, it will be this: that once it enjoyed such fair opportunities and overtures for heaven, but neglected them; and now hath lost them for ever, for ever, without hope. Thus they shall lose what they once enjoyed.
2dly. Their greatest loss is of those things, which they might have enjoyed: and that is, in a word, whatsoever happiness and glory the saints stand possessed of in heaven.
(1st) They lose the presence and enjoyment of God, which is the very heaven of heaven itself.
Indeed, heaven is not heaven, without him; and hell could not be hell, were God there. It is true, God is present with the damned in his essence, for, if I descend into hell, saith the Psalmist, thou art there; and he is present, by his power, to torment them : but the comfortable presence of God they are for ever cut off from. And, oh! for the soul to be cut off from God, is as great a loss, as for the stream to be cut off from the fountain, or a beam to be cut off from the sun. · And, yet, this is the sentence of that Great Judgment, Depart from me, ye cursed. Depart from thee, Lord, who art every where! oh! whither shall we flee? happy were it for us, could we depart from thee, where thou art not; but most wretched and accursed, that we must depart from thee, and yet be where thou thyself art: withdraw the presence of thy wrath and power, or vouchsafe the presence of thy love and favour, and it will be no hell whither thou sendest us. It is not so much the exquisite torments, as the loss of God's gracious presence, that makes hell unsufferable: were but God's gracious presence with them, the damned could lie down in everlasting flames, as comfortably, as in beds of roses : but, to be deprived of those glorious communications of God which the saints enjoy, when they see him face to face, without obscurity; when they enjoy him continually, without interruption; when they delight in him eternally, with., out satięty; this is a loss, as the joys themselves are, altogether inconceivable.
(2dly) They lose all that additional glory, which the saints possess : a glorious habitation, the palace of the Great King: glorious society, saints and angels, yea and Christ himself: glorified bodies, sparkling with the radiancy of spiritual qualities,