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the evidence for or against any truth or fact. A philosopher may tell us, that the planets are inhabited; and exhibit such evidence as may create belief in some, and doubt in others. But if he should pretend to tell us the names and numbers of the planetary inhabitants, could he gain the belief of a single person? If men could believe and disbelieve at their pleasure, then they might as easily believe a history written in this world, concerning the inhabitants of the planets, as a history written in America, concerning the American revolution; or they might as easily disbelieve every thing, as believe any thing. But if doubting as well as believing depends upon evidence, then no man can doubt, any more than he can believe, without evidence. If he perceives no evidence against his own existence, he cannot doubt of his own existence. If he perceives no evidence against the existence of his fellow-men, he cannot doubt of their existence. If he perceives no evidence against the existence of virtue and vice, he cannot doubt of their existence. But who can perceive any evidence against his own, existence? Who can percieve any evidence against the existence of his fellow-men? Who can perceive any evidence against the existence of virtue and vice? And therefore who can be a thorough skeptic in matters of morality and religion? No man ever was, nor ever can be, a thorough skeptic, in respect to religion and morality, without being a thorough skeptic, in respect to all the objects of sense. Religious skepticism is religious hypocrisy; and the man who professes to be a skeptic in religion, professes to be a hypocrite.
4. If right and wrong, truth and falsehood, be founded in the nature of things, then it is not a matter of indifference what moral and religious sentiments niankind imbibe and maintain. They are obliged to
judge and believe according to evidence, and if they do otherwise, they are chargeable with guilt before God, and in the sight of their own consciences. God has given them evidence of truth and falsehood, in the nature of things, and given them powers and faculties to distinguish the one from the other; and if they choose darkness rather than light, and error rather than truth, they must answer for their folly and guilt. God has diffused moral light over the face of the creation, and left all his reasonable creatures without excuse, if they either doubt or disbelieve his existence. The heathens are criminal for disbelieving the being of their great and glorious Creator. They are capable of seeing the mighty evidences of his eternal power and godhead, and, therefore, they are highly criminal for shutting their eyes against the clear light of the divine existence. The Mahometans are capable of seeing the error, and superstition, and idolatry, which are contained in the Koran, and therefore, are inexcusable for disbelieving the great and glorious truths which are clearly revealed in the works of nature, and in the pure word of God, which their false teacher corrupted and perverted. The Papists are highly criminal for all their superstition and idolatry, which are forbidden in the Holy Scriptures. And the Deists, who deny the truth and divinity of the Bible, are guilty of still greater blindness of mind, and obstinacy of heart, in disbelieving the testimony, which God hath given of his Son. Nor are heretics, who corrupt, pervert, and deny particular doctrines of divine revelation, excusable in the sight of God, who has commanded them to understand, believe, and love the truth. However lightly some may think, or speak of errors in morality and religion, it is a matter of serious importance, for every i man to form his opinions according to the nature of
things, and the revealed will of God. Voluntary ig. norance and error, will meet with the divine displeasure, at the great and last day.
5. If right and wrong, truth and falsehood, be found. ed in the nature of things, then there appears to be a great propriety in God's appointing a day of judgment. Such a day appears proper and necessary on the account of the moral creation. God has no occasion for it on his own account. He always knows and does what is perfectly right in the nature of things. But it cannot appear to his reasonable creatures, that he treats them all right, without his laying before them the feelings and actions, upon which he regulates his conduct. A clear and full exhibition of facts, at the great day, will unfold right and wrong, with respect to every being in the universe. It will unfold the rectitude of God's conduct in every instance. When God tells the universe how he has treated every creature, and how every creature has treated him; every creature will be capable of seeing the wisdom, the goodness, or justice of God, in all his conduct towards men, angels, and devils. And when God lays open the hearts and lives of all his creatures, they will then be capable of judging who ought to go to heaven, and who ought to go to hell; or who ought to be happy, and who ought to be miserable, to all eternity. Such a clear and full exhibition of
facts, will clear the innocent, and condemn the guilty, in the minds of all intelligent beings. And from the day of judgment, to all eternity, every intelligent being will possess clear light respecting himself, his God, and his fellow-creatures. This will give an emphasis to the joys of heaven, and the miseries of hell, and serve as bars and bolts to sever the righteous and wicked, to interminable ages. This will shut fear out of heaven, and hope out of hell, forever and ever.
6. We learn from what has been said, that all who go to heaven, will go there by the unanimous voice of the whole universe. They will be judged to be fit for heaven, by God, by Christ, by angels, by deyils, by the finall.y miserable, and by themselves. It will be the real opinion of all, after attending the process of the great day, that every one, who shall have received the approbation of the final Judge, should be exalted to the honors, and distinctions, and enjoyments of the heavenly world, and there forever live under the smiles of their heavenly Father. And such a clear and decided opinion in the favor of the blessed, will add an inconceivable satisfaction to their minds forever.
7. We learn from what has been said, that all, who are excluded from heaven, will be excluded from it, by the unanimous voice of all moral beings. There will not be a dissenting voice in the dreadful sentence, "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." All who shall meet with the disapprobation of the final Judge, will equally meet with the disapprobation of all the inhabitants of heaven and hell, together with the condemnation of their own' enlightened consciences. It will appear clearly to the view of the universe, that all, who are condemned and punished, ought to be condemned and punished forever. Not one who is lost, will have one in heaven or in hell to take his part, or complain of his final and eternal destination. And what an intolerable weight will this add to that great and endless punishment, which shall fall upon the vessels of wrath, who are fitted for destruction!
This subject now admonishes all those, who trifle with moral things, and make a mock at sin, of their extreme guilt and danger. “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” The great day of light is coming, which will dissipate the mists and clouds, in which stupid sinners have concealed themselves, and which will expose their stupidity and guilt both to themselves, and to the universe. Then erroneous sinners, secret sinners, secure sinners, and skeptical sinners, will appear to themselves, and to all intelligent beings, in all their depravity, folly, and guilt, and become swift witnesses against themselves, that they have deserved the united, and eternal displeasure of the whole universe.
Then it will be beyond their power to trifle with right • and wrong, good and evil; or to despise the just and
awful serttence, which will fix them in endless darkness, guilt, and despair. “Wo unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” The universal contempt of God, of angels, and of men, will be more than your wounded, guilty souls can endure. “A man may sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear!"