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may be what there was at first, viz. mankind upon earth. The wheels of God's chariot, after they have gone round a thousand times, do not remain just in the same place that they were in at first, without having carried the chariot nearer to a journey's end.
$ 14. This is a confirmation of a future state. For, if these revolutions have not something in another state that is to succeed this, then they are in vain. If any thing of this world is to remain, after its revolutions are at an end, doubtless it will be that part which is the head of all the rest ; or that creature for which all the rest is made; and that is man. For, if he wholly ceases, and is extinct, it is as if the whole were totally extinct: Because he is the end of all. He is that creature, to serve whom the labours and revolutions of this world are, and whom they affect; and therefore, if he does not remain after the revolutions have ceased, then no end is obtained by all these revolutions: Because nothing abides as the fruit of them after they are finished. But all comes to no more than just what was before this world itself began, viz. an universal non-existence; all is extinct; all is as if the world had never been; and therefore all has been in vain; for nothing remains as the fruit. He that is carried in the chariot, does pot remain atter be is brought with so much labour and vast ado to the end of his journey; but ceases to be, as the chariot itself does.
$15. This confirms the divinity of the Christian revelation; which gives this account of things, that this world is to come to an end ; it is to be dissolved; that the revolutions of the world have an appointed period ; and that man, the end of this lower world, is to remain in being afterwards; and gives a most rational account of the great period, design, and issue of all things, worthy of the infinite wisdom and majesty of God.
§ 16. Some part of the world, viz. that which is the highest, the head, and the end of the rest, must be of eternal duration, even the intelligent, reasonable creatures. For, if these creatures, the head and end of all the rest of the creation, come to an end, and be annibilated, it is the same thing as if the whole were annihilated. And if the world be of a temporary duration, and then drops into nothing, it is in vain, i. e. no end is obtained worthy of God. There is nobody but what will own, that if God had created the world, and then it had dropt into nothing the next minute, it would bave been in vain; no end could be obtained worthy of God. And the only reason is, that the end would bave been so smail, by
reason of the short continuance of the good obtained by it. And so it is still infinitely litile, if it stand a million of ages, and then drops into nothing. That is, as a moment in the sight of God. It is, in comparison of him, absolutely equivalent to nothing, and therefore an end not worthy of bim. No end is worthy of an infinite God, but an infinite end; and therefore the good obtained must be of infinite duration. If it be not so, who shall fix the bounds ? Who shall say a million of years is long enough? And if it be, who shall say a good of a thousand years' continuance does not become the wisdom of God? And if it dors, how can we say but that a good of still shorter continuance would not answer the ends of wisdom? If it would, who ca nsay that the sovereignty of God shall not fix on a good of a minute's continuance as sufficient : which is as great in comparison with him as a million of years? The only reason why a good of a minute's continuance is not great enough to become the Creator of the world, is, that it is a good so little, when compared with him. And the same reason stands in equal force against a good of any limited duration whatsoever.
$ 17. It is often declared in the Old Testament, that God will bring every work into judgment; that there is verily a God that judgeth in the earth; that his eyes are on the way of man; that he considers all bis goings : 'l'hat the sins of the wicked, and the good deeds of the righteous, are exactly observed, and written in a book of remembrance, and none of them forgotten; that they are sealed, and laid up among God's treasures; and that he will render to every man according to his works : That the Judge of all the earth will do right; and that therefore God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked: That as to the righteous, it shall be well with him, for he shall eat the fruit of his doings; that as to the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him; that it is impossible it should be otherwise; that there is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves from God the Judge; that God cannot forg' t his people; that a woman may sooner forget her sucking child; that God has graven them on the palms of bis hands; that God beholds and takes notice of all their afflictions, and pities tbem, as a father piti'th his children; but that he is the enemy of wicked men ; that their sios shall find them out; that though band join in band, the wicked shall not go unpunished; that the way of righteousness is a certain way to happiness, and the way of sin a sure way to misery. Solomon himself is more abundant than all other penmen of the Old Testament, in observing the difference between the righteous and the wicked in this respect, the greatness and the certainty of that
difference.* And, in Ecclesiastes xii. 13, 14. Solomon declares, « That to fear God and keep bis commandments, is the whole duty of man: because God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." And chap. y. 8. “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter ; for he that is higher than the highest regardeth, and there be bigher than they." Chap. viii. II. « Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” And therefore, there is some other time, brside the time of this life, for executing the sentence which he observes will so surely be executed. In Prov. x. 7. Solomon says, “the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot," And of this memory or good name of the just, he says, (Eccles, vii. 1.) that “it is better than pricious ointment, (meaning the precious ointment they were wont to anoint the children of great and rich men with, when first born ;) and that, upon this account, the day of a godly man's death (followed with a good name and so blessed a memory) is better than the day of one's birth.”
§ 18. If God has perfectly forgiven all the sins of the righteous, and they are so high in his favour; and if the great evidence of this favour be the durablen ss of the benefits that are the fruits of it, and the chief fruit of it is lite; then it is at least to be expected, that they will escape that mortality which is such a remarkable disgrace to those that have the human nature, and so wonderful to behold in those whom the Most High has made to differ so much from the beasts in capacity, dignity, end and design. We might surely expect, that these high favourites should, with regard to life and durableness of happiness, not be mere beasts, and have no pre-eminence above them; and that they should not be like the grass, and the flower of the field, which in the morning flourisheth and groweth up, but in the evening is cut down and withered; that all their happiness and all the benefits of God's favour should not be like a shadow, like a dream, like a tale that is told ; that it should not be as a span, and should not pass away as the swift ships, as the cagle that hasteth to the prey; to which things the life of man is compared in scripture.
+ See Prov. i. 31, 32; and ii. 11, 21, 22 ; and iii. 2, 4, 8, 13–18, 21-26, 32, 35; iv. 5-13, 22 ; viii. 17-21, 35, 36; ix. 5, 6, 11, 12; x. 16, 17, 27, 28, 29; xi. 7, 8, 18, 19, 21, 30, 31; xii. 2, 3, 14, 21, 28; xiii. 9, 13, 14, 15, 21; xiv. 19, 26, 27 ; xv. 3, 6, 24; xvi. 3—7; xix. 23 ; xxi. 15, 16, 18, 21 ; xxii. 4, 8; xxiii. 17, 18; xxiv. 1-5, 12, 15, 16, 19–22; Ixviii, 10, 13, 14, 18; xxix, 6; and in many other places ia the book of Proverbs.
The things of this world are spoken of as having no profit or value, because they are not lasting, but must be left at death, and therefore are mere vanity, and not worthy that any man should set his heart on them; Psalm xlix. 6. to the end ; Prov. xxiii. 4, 5; Prov. xi. 7; Ecclesiastes ii. 15, 16, 17; chap. iii. ten first verses; verse 19; chap. v. 14, 15, 16. But the rewards of righteousness are abundantly represented as exreed. ingly valuable and worthy that men should set their hearts upon them, because they are lasting; Prov. iii. 16; viii. 18; and x. 25, 27; Isaiah lv. 3; Psalm i. 3. to the end; Isaiab xvii. 7, 8; and innumerable other places. How can these things consist one with another, unless there be a future state ?
It is spoken of as a remarkable thing, and what one would not expect, that good men should dic as wicked men do, as it seems to be, by good men's dying a temporal death as wicked men do; Eccles. ii. 16; chap. ix. 3, 4, 5. And therefore, it may be argued, that it does but seem to be so; but that in reality it shall not be so, inasmuch as, though good men die a temporal death as wicked men do, yet, as to their happiness, they die not, but live for ever in a future state. It is an evidence of a future state, that in the Old Testament so many promises are made to the godly, of things that shall be after they are dead, which shall be testimonies of God's great favour to them, and blessed rewards of his favour; so many promises concerning their name, and concerning their posterity, and the future church of God in the world; and yet that we are so much taught in the Old Testament that men are never the better for what comes to pass after they are dead, concerning these things, (i e. if we look only at the present life, without taking any other state of existence into consideration,) Job xiv. 21; Eccles. i. ii. iii. 22; and ix. 5, 6. Yea, the wise man says expressly, that the dead have no more a reward, (Eccles. ix. 5.) i. e. in any thing in this world.—That man shall die as a beast, seems to be spoken of, Eccles. iii. 16. to the end; as a vanity, an evil, a kind of mischief and confusion, that appears in the world. Therefore this is an argument, that God, the wise orderer of all things, who brings order out of confusion, will rectify this disorder by appointing a future state.
§ 19. It is an argument that the Old Testament affords for the proof of a future life and immortality, that we are there taught, that mortality is brought in by sin, and comes as a punishment of sin. Therefore, it is natural to suppose, that when complete forgiveness is promised, and perfect restoration to favour, and deliverance from death, and the bestowment of life, as the fruit of this favour, eternal life and immortality is intended, -The better men are, the more terrible would it make death, if there were no future state. For the better they are, the more
they love God. Good men have found the fountain of good. Those men who have a high degree of love to God, greatly delight in God. They have experience of a much better bappi. ness in life than others; and therefore it must be more dreadful for them to have their beings eternally extinct by death. Hence we may strongly argue a future state: for it is not to be supposed, that God would make man such a creature as to be capable of looking forward beyond death, and capable of knowing and loving him, and delighting in him as the fountain of all good, which will necessarily increase in him a dread of annihilation, and an eager desire of immortality; and yet so order it, that such desire should be disappointed; so that his loving his Creator, should in some sense make him the more miserable.
§ 20. Nothing is more manifest, than that it is absolutely necessary, in order to a man's being thoroughly, universally, and steadfastly virtuous, that his mind and heart should be thoroughly weaned from this world; which is a great evidence, that God intends another world for virtuous men. He surely would not require them, in their thoughts, affections, and expectations, wholly to relinquish this world, if it were all the world they were to expect : if he had made them for this world wholly and only, and had created the world for them, to be their only country and home, all the resting place ever designed for them.-If all the crealures God has made are to come to an end, and the world itself is to come to an end, and so to be as though it had never been, then it will be with all God's glorious and magnificent works, agreeably to what is said of the temporal prosperity of the wicked, Job xx. 6, 7, 8. “ Though its excellency be never so great, yet it shall perish for ever; it shall all fly away as a dream; it shall be chased away as a vision of the night.” It shall vanish totally, and absolutely be as though it had not been.