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to all who made their humble Claim to them,
by Repentance, Faith, and Love. Thus did
God mew himfelf/W/?, and the Juftifier of them
which believe in Jefus c : thus did Mercy and
T 1 ruth meet together > Righteoufnefs and Peace kifs
each other^.

AfTuredly fo extraordinary a Method would
never have been taken without extraordinary
Need of it. That we fhould fully difcern the
c Rom. iii. 26. d Pfal. Ixxxv. 10.

L 4 Need,


Need, is no Way neceffary: it fuffices that
God did. Our Concern is no more than to
accept Salvation, his own Gift, on his own
Terms : renouncing all Merit in ourfelves, lay-
jng hold, by a lively Faith, on the Merits of
our Redeemer's Obedience, thanking our hea-
venly Father from the Bottom of our Souls,
for fending his bleffed Son into the World,
and efceeming moil highly the Chriftian Creed,
the Chriftian Worfhip, the Chriftian Sacra^-
merits, Godfarbid, then, that we Jhould glory
in any Thing, Ja*ve m the Crofs of our Lord
Jefus Chrifl e : or ever be amamed of that, for
all the Scorn and Ridicule of a thoughtlefs and
profane World. But God forbid alfo, that
while we profefs to believe on him, we mould
crucify him to ourfelves afrejh, and put him and
his Religion to Shame*, by tranfgrefling and
neglecting any Obligation of Piety towards
our Maker, our Saviour, our Santiier ; of
Juftice or Goodnefs. towards our Fellow-
Creatures ; of Humility, Sobriety, Temperance,
Chaftity, in the Government of ourfelves. For
in vain do we call him Lord, unlefs we do the
which he commands us : in vain do WQ
Gjd. yj, 14, ^Jieb. vi. 6. S Luke 1.46.



trufl in his Sacrifice, unlefs we prefent our Souls
and Bodies, a Sacrifice acceptable unto God h j
in vain do we imagine our Peace is made
through him in Heaven, unlefs on Earth we
follow Peace with all Men, and that univerfal
Hollnefs of Life, without which no Manjhallfee
the Lord' 1 .

b Rom. xii. i. *Heb. xii, 14.

3 E R*


i COR. xv. 19.

If in this Life only we have Hope in Chrifl, we
are of all Men moft miferable.

IN the Words preceding thefe, the Apoftle,
after fetting forth, in feveral Particulars,
the Evidence of our bleffed Lord's Refurredlion,
goes on to prove from it the important Doctrine
of a general Refurrection to eternal Life.

It may feem to us now very flrange, that
any, who called themfelves Chriftians, could
make the leaft Doubt of fo known and efTential
an Article of the Chriftian Faith. But if we
confider the State, in which the World was
then, we fhall wonder no longer, that, of pro-
fefTed Believers, there mould be fome, who did
not believe the dead would be raifed again.
Among the Jews, the Pharifees indeed were
firmly perfuaded of this Truth. But the Sad-
4 ducees,

ducees, a considerable Sect, though not for the
Numbers, yet for the Rank of thofe who em-
braced it, rejected the Doctrine of a future
Life intirely : and looked on the Refurrection,
as a Thing peculiarly incredible. Notwith-
{landing which, as they held a prefent Provi-
dence that rules the World, they might many
of them, reading the Predictions of the Old
Teflament concerning the Meffiah, feeing the
AccompHfhment of them in the Perfon of
Je/us, and ilruck with the Miracles, which he
and his Followers performed, be perfuaded, on
the Whole, that he was fent from God ; and
yet be very backward to underfland what he
taught, when it contradi&ed their former Pre-
judices. But the Heathens were flill more
likely to aft thus. For amongft them, even
the iteadiefl Believers of a future State all
difbelieved the rifing again of the Body, as a
Thing both impoffible and unfit : for their
Men of Learning thought it only the Prifon of
the Soul ; which mufl always be an Impedi-
ment, inftead of a Help to it. Suppofe then
ChriiHanity preached, with proper Evidence,
to fuch Perfons as thefe : they would receive
very gladly what was faid of the Remiffion of
Sins, the Obligations to Virtue, the future


Life of the Soul, happy or miferable, accord-
ing to every one's Deeds. But when theRerur*
reclion of the Body was taught, there muft
evidently be great Danger, either that they
would reject the Whole of the Gofpel, becaufe
of this one feemingly incredible Part ; as the
Philofophers at Athens did, who are mentioned
in the Atfs ; or elfe, that they would fo inter-
pret this Part, as to reconcile it with their pre-
conceived Opinion. Accordingly, the Hiftory
of the Church informs us, that feveral, in the
firft Ages, thought our Saviour died and rofe
again, not in Reality but in miraculous Ap-
pearance only. And others had equally wild
Fancies in other Articles of Religion : as in-
deed it was very natural for them to entertain
furprifing Imaginations, about Matters fo in-
tirely new to them : efpecially when, in all
Likelihood, great Numbers were converted to
the Belief of Chriftianity in general, by feeing
or being informed of the Miracles wrought
in its Favour; who perhaps had no Oppor-
tunity, for fome Time, of hearing the par-
ticular Doctrines of it explained fo diflinctly,
by thofe who throughly understood them, as
to be fet right in every Point. And this may
poflibly have been one chief Reafon of the



many ftrange Notions, that we find fome of
the early Chriftians embraced.

Befides, they might the more eafily be mif-
taken, in the Cafe before us, on this Account :
that the Apoftles, imitating the Language, al-
ready in Ufe concerning the Jewijh Profelytes,
exprefled the Change, which ChrifUanity made
in the Tempers and Condition of Men, by the
Phrafes of dying to Sm, being buried 'with Cbrift
in Baptifm, and rifing again to Neivnefs of Life.
The ignorant or prejudiced might haftily con-
clude from hence, that no other rifing again
was intended to be taught : and that therefore
the Refurreftion was pa/I already, as we are told
by our Apoftle, fome affirmed a .

Now this Error, if it comprehended the
Denial of a future State, fub verted the main
Purpofe of Chriftianity : which was, influenc-
ing the World to Piety and Virtue, from the
Expectation of that State b . And where only
the future Life of the Body was denied - t even
that, by Confequence, made the Gofpel of no

* 2 Tim. ii. 1 8.

b Origen, Com. inMatth. xxii. 23. torn. 17. P. 811. infiftg,
that the Apoftle writes here againft Perfons difbelieving a future
Life ; and that his Arguments are not conclufive ngainft thofe,
who difbelieve a Refurreftion only. I have endeavoured to
fliew the contrary in what follows.


Effect. For if the Refurrection of it was a
Thing impoffible, which all, who rejected it,
feem to have held ; then the Refurrection of
Chrift was a Thing impoffible. Yet this was
the main Fact, to which the ApofHes were
appointed to bear Witnefs, and lay the Strefs
of their Caufe upon it. If therefore they erred
here, they deferved Belief in Nothing : their
Preaching 'was vain, and the Faith of their Fol-
lowers vain alfo r -. Or, fuppofing ChrifKanity had
frill fufficient Evidence left; yet, in another
Senfe, it would be vain, that is, ineffectual to
the Forgivenefs of our Sins ; the very Founda-
tion of which is, that be, who was delivered for
our Offences, rofe again for our J unification d . If
therefore he is not rifen, we are not juftified :
it appears not, that his Death was more than
that of a common Man ; he continues under
the Power of it, not able to help himfelf,
much lefs others ; and human Kind re-
mains, as it was before, liable to future Punim-
rnent, and uncertain of future Reward. This
is the Apoftle's Reafoning, juft before the Text :
If the dead rife not, then is not Chrift raifed:
and if Chrift be not raifed, your Faith is vain?
ye are yet in your Sins e . He goes on : 'Then.

c i Cor. xvi. 14. * Rom. iv. 25. e I Cor. xv. 16, 17.



they atfo, 'which are fallen ajleep in Cbrift, art
ferifhed*. Neither dying in the Chriftian Faith,
nor dying for it, can do them Good with Re^
fpecT: to a future Life, And if in this Life only
we have Hope in Chrtft, as very probably fome of
the Sadducee Converts might think, we are of all
Men moft miferable : or, as the original Word
ftricHy iignifies, mojl pitiable.

Now, of what Perfons this is faid, and on
what Account it is true of them, a great Doubt
hath been raifed.

Some have gone fo far, as to affirm, that, in
the prefent World, Brutes are happier than Men,
and bad Men than good. But of the former of
thefe Points, at leafr, plainly, the Apoftle faith
Nothing. Others underftand him to mean,
that the Condition of moral Heathens in this
Life is better than that of Chriftians, becaufe of
the difficult Duties^ and fevere Restraints, which
are peculiar to the latter. But evidently he doth
not fay at all, what trie Condition of any Perfons
actually is : but only what it would be,- if they
had not the Hope of hereafter to fupport them.
And therefore, with that Hope, good Men, and
good Chriftians, may, even at prefent, be hap-
pier than others : though it were true, that,
Without it, they would be more miferable. Not

f Verfe 18.


S E R M O N VIII. 177

that he meant to affirm, that they would be
more miferable, were the Profpeft of a better
State oat of the QuefHon. Far from it.

Read but the Defcription, which he gives cf
the vicious Part of the Heathen World, in the
Beginning; of his Epiftle to the Romans : where
he tells us, God had given them o r cer to -a repro~
bate Mind) to do tboje things, which are not cor:-
lenient -, being filled with allUnrighteoufncfs, For-
nication, Wickedncfs, Covet'oufhefs, Maliciovfntfs,
Envy, Murder, Strife, Deceit, Malignity -, with-
out \Jnderjhmding, without natural Affection, im-
placable, unmerciful*. Could he pcfTibly think
this a happy State ? He appeals to their own
Experience for the contrary : What Fruit had ye
then in thoje things, whereof -ye are new ajhcmsd* ?
Heathen Vices then he did not think at ail con-
ducive to the Enjoyment of Life : nor doth he
ever intimate, that Heathen Virtues were more
fo, than Chriflian Graces. So far .as they are
both the fame, they m'uft have the fame Effects :
and there arc few Cafes, -if any, in which the
Gofpcl, rightly underftocd, - is mere ftrifl: than
Realbn, aiiy cultivated": -befides thit thcfe
Pre'cepts of it, v/hich are the ftricteft of all,
perhaps contribute the inbft of all to our Kr.p-

f'Rom. i. 2S 51. h Rom. vi. 21.'

VOL. I. M pinefs


pinefs here; by ftriking at the Root, from
whence our Faults and UneaiineiTes fpring, and
requiring of us that inward Self-government,
which is the only Means of true Self-enjoyment.
There is alfo another exceeding great Advantage
of Chriftian Virtue -, that the Gofpel affords
fuch peculiar Evidences and Means of God's
Grace and Affiftance, in Proportion as we need
it, to do every Thing, to which he calls us ; that
though we were not to add the Confi deration
of his rewarding us hereafter, yet Believers
would undoubtedly be capable of going through
the fame Difficulties with much greater
Spirit, Comfort, and Succefs, than other Men.
And accordingly our Saviour allures us, that
bis Take is eafy> find bis Burthen light \ And St.
Paul yet more diftincTily afferts, that Godlinefs,
meaning certainly Chrillian Godlinefs, is profit-
able unto all things, having Prwnrfe of the Life
that now is, as well as that which is to come k .

But of whom can it be then, that he fpeaks,
when he faith fo exprefsly, If in this Life only
we have Hope in Chrlft, we are of all Men moji
miferable ? I anfwer, of the very fame, whom he
denoted, by the Word We, the laft Time he ufed
it, but a few Lines before : of the WitnefTes of

* Matth. xi. 30. k i Tiih. iv. 8.



ChrifVs Refurrection, and the Preachers of his
Gofpel ; who then fufFered many Afflictions on
Account of it in this Life ; and were wretched
indeed, if they had no Profpedt of being the
better for it in another : as were certainly in
Proportion alfo their firlt Followers. For in
that Age, all that lived godly in Ckrift Jsfusfuf-
fered Perfecution ' ; and knew, as the Apoftlc
elfe where reminds them, that they were appoint-
ed t hers unto m .

Not thofe Duties therefore, which always
belonged to the Chrifiian Profeffion, but thofe
Sufferings, which then attended it, were the
Reafon, that, had not the Hopes of a better
Life through Chrift fupported them, they had
been the mojl miferable of all Men. And this
appears more plainly yet from the Sequel of the
Difcourfe ; where, refuming this Part of the
Subject again, he doth not argue, If the dead
fife not, why do we live foberly and righteouily ;
as he doubtlefs ought to have done, if Sobriety
and Righteoufnefs were prejudicial in this
World ; but, If the dead rife not, why jt and <we
in Jeopardy every Hour " ? What advantageth it
me, that I have fought 'with Bcajh at Ephefus, if
the dead rife not ?

1 2 Tim. iii. 12. m i The J. iii, 3. n i Cor. rv. 30. ? Verfe 32.

M 2 He

i8o S :E R M O N- VI!!.

He doth indeed, after 'this, immediately fub-
join, Let us. cat and drink > for To-morrow we
die. But theie. Words,, in the Paffage of IJaiah p ,
from whence they are taken, {land in Oppo-
fition, not to Temperance, but to Mortification
and Falling. And here they do not mean, let
tis indulge Debauchery and Excefs : but, let us
not dep-dve ourfelves, if we can hope for no
future Advantage from it, of the innocent Sa-
tisfactions and Comforts of Life, .while it lails.
The Expreilion may indeed fometimes be uied
in a bad Senfe : but it is moil frequently ufed in
a goddonc; as, to mention no more, where our
Saviour faith of himfelf, that be came eat ing and
drinking (J ; and where St. Paul pleads, Hui-e
ive not Pw-jr to eat and to drink? <? His Inten-
tion therefore was only to lay : If there be no
Refurrection, if Chrift be not rifcn, if his R..-
ligion can be of no Service to us hereafter, let
us not make ourfelves miferable for the Silk-
it here : let us not fpend our Lives, as he d
where declares he did his, for the Service of the
Gofpel, in Wecrinsjs and Painfulnrjs, in Hiu:
and^hirjl, In Cold and Nxktdnefs * ; but renc>.
cing what only brings on us fruitieis Suifcrin; :.

q Matth.xi. : 3 .



enjoy our Eafe like other wife Men. Thefe
Confequences he knew would flattie thofe,
whom he prciied with them ; and mew them
the NeceiTity, cither of abandoning their Faith
entirely, which he was certain they would not,
or of admitting the Reiurreclion for one Article
of it.

Upon the Whole then it appears, that the
Perfecutions, not the Duties of Chrifliahity,
were what would have made the Believers in it
miferable, had the Kope, which it gave them,
been confined to this Life. And indeed, though
pombly God might have appointed, that doing
our Duty mould be attended of Neceflity with
greater Uneaiincis and lefs Pleafure here, than
tranfgreiling it : yet fuch a Confutation of
Things would have made his moral Perfections,
and his Providence, much more doubtful ; for
p relent Appearances would then have been alto-
gether againft them : and this would greatly
have difcouraged the Practice of Virtue; amongft
all Men indeed, but efpecially in thofe many
Ages- and Countries, which had no clear Know 1 -
ledge, whatever Glimmerings they might have,
of u future State,

It is true, fome excellent Perfons have ima-
gined, that the fewer Advantages they allowed
M 3 to

to Virtue here in their pious Difccurfes and
Writings, the more fully they fnould prove it
muffc be rewarded hereafter : and therefore have
ftrenucufly pleaded for the prefent Happinefs of
Vice. But we ought not to ftate Things other-
wife than they are, in order to draw ufeful
Conclufions : and no Good will come of it.
Being perfuaded, that Wickednefs is happier at
prefent, may incline as many to think God is
not difpleafed with it ; as any Reafonings from
his Attributes will incline to think he is. For,
if the State of Things be contrived by his Pro-
vidence to favour bad Men more than good now;
this may well raife a Doubt, whether the fame
Providence will fo certainly do juft the contrary
in the next World. And a very fmall Hope of
efcaping Punifhment there, will effectually de-
termine Men to live as they ought not, if it be
acknowledged their Intercft here. Or fuppo-
fing it ever fo plain, that if Virtue, on the Whole,
fufferin this Life, it muft be rewarded in another;
yet what we call Virtue in ourfelves will be far
from intitling us to fuch Reward. And fuppofing
any Creature faultleioly obedient, the Juftice of
God will be bound to beftow on it no greater
and no longer Reward, than will barely make
Amends for its Sufferings. And if we argue
4 from


from his Goodnefs ; his doing ever fo much for
it on Earth, will be no Manner of Objection
againft his doing ftill more in Heaven. For
that will be only carrying on a Scheme, which
he hath already begun, and therefore, we may
juftly prefume, he will cornpleat. If a moral
and religious Behaviour be, according to the
natural Courfe of Things in this World, bene-
ficial to Men, and a wicked and impious one
hurtful -, as I hope you have often heard them
proved to be : then we have clear Evidence of
Fa6t, that God, who hath made them fo, doth
actually reward the one and punifh the other.
And though at prefent his Recompences are
neither exactly proportioned, nor without Ex-
ception conilant : yet, as we fee many Reafons,
that may juftly occaiion this, and cannot but
acknowledge there may be many more ; there
arifes, from the Whole, great Foundation for
Hope, that the plain Diftindion, which he
hath made already, will be yet more perfectly
made in a proper Time. So that there is no
Need for us to apprehend we mufl necefiarily be
miferable here, in order to be happy hereafter ;
or to lie under the Imputation of depreciating
Virtue, and making it good for Nothing to its
Votaries, in this World, in Order to fecure it a
M 4 Retribution

1 84 S : E R M O N VIII.
Retribution in the next. Reafpn doth not di-
red to that Method : Revelation hath not taken
it : and the Teachers and ProfeiTors of Chriili-
anity fliould avoid expofmg thenifelves to a
Charge, from which Chriitianity itfelf is per-
fectly free. '

But (till, were we to fpeak of Virtue, as al-
ways its own Reward here, and attaining its
End fufficiently in the Compafs of this narrow
Life 5 that would be an Extreme on. the other
Hand, and a very pernicious one ; whatever
great Names have countenanced it, fome with
good Defigns, and fome with bad. Such ex^
travagant Praifes of moral Beauty and Excel-
lency will feldom have any other Effect, where
they have moft, than raifmg an Enthufiafm
for it, that will be little more than notional, or
an Affectation of it, that will be Nothing more
than Talk, And with the cooler Part pf Man-
kind, attempting to perfuade them of the corn
trary to what, in many Cafes, they fee and feel, is
lofing all Credit; and making every Thing that is
faid to the Advantageof right Conduct fufpicious,
by infifting on more, than can pollibly be true.

The real State of the Cafe is plainly this. A
Temper and Behaviour of Piety, Juftice, Be-^
ncvolcnce, and rational Self-government, is



fitted in its Nature to make our Lives here as
happy, as we can make them. And therefore,
though we had no farther Profpect, our prefent
Intereft would, generally fpeaking, confift in
thefe Things : and would always coniiil in them,
if no particular Circumflances happened, to
make Exceptions. But the Misfortune is, that
fuch Circumftanccs do frequently happen. Some
Men have, from their very Conilitution, pecu-
liarly ftrong Propenfities to Sin, which give
.them long and painful Exercife ; and, after all,
can barely be kept under, not rooted out, let
them do what they will. Is this a State of Enjoy-
ment, and its own Reward ? Or a State of War-
fare, that requires afuture Recompence, proporti-
onable to the Sufferings of it, to make it eligible?
But others are yet more unhappy. They have
added evil Habits to evil Inclinations: and, if they
will amend their Ways, muft feel deep Remorfe
for what they have done amiijs already; and go
through infinite Difficulties to do right for the
Time to come, in Contradiction to all their bad
Cuiloms, their inflamed Paffions, their vicious
Friends ; mufl bear great Reproach, perhaps
undergo much Lofs, in making Reparation for
the Injuries. they have committed; when the
Whole of this might poffibly have been avoided,



by perfifling in their former Courfe. And, it
may be, after all, they have a Profped at moft,
barely of living long enough to accomplifh the
Change, but not to enjoy it. Who is there now,
that can well be more miferable y than fuch a
Man's Refolution of Amendment makes hi 01,
if in this Life only he hath Hope? Here then
is a plain Cafe, in which the Belief of a future
State is able to defend the Caufe of Virtue, and
every Thing elfe unable. But that, already
mentioned, of Perfecution, is a plainer frill.
When Men are to fufFer Shame and Infamy, Pe-
nalties and Imprifonments, Pains and Tortures,
for the Sake of true Religion, as Multitudes
have done ; or of moral Honefty, as has been
the Cafe of too many: what is there in the ful-
Jelt Confcioufnefs of doing their Duty, fufficient
to compenfate for thefe Things, to Souls of any
common Make, if fuch Confcioufnefs alone be
dl the Comfort they are to have, and even that
very foon, perhaps inftaft%, to die with them ?
Undoubtedly the Senfe of acting as we ought is
a powerful Support. But, in Cafes of Extre-
mity, it is mocking the Miferies of the good,
to propofe that lingle Remedy, as enough for
them. And though it may happen but feldom,
that they fuffer a great deal for Right eoufnefs

Sake i

Sake' ; yet they very often fuffer more or lefs
for it. And whoever doth not fee, how happy
it is in every Inftance of this Sort, and how
neceffary in moft, that the Encouragements of
Futurity fhould come in to the Affiftance of the
prefent Motives to do well ; hath either very
little Attention to the Weaknefs of human
Minds ; or very little Concern to have Virtue
practifed, how vehemently foever he may plead
for its being applauded.

I will not enlarge on a farther Confideration,
though an exceedingly material one, that the
Sufferings, which Mankind in general have to
go through, are fo frequent and ib heavy, that
there is much Need of a better Profpedt to alle-
viate them ; and though the pious and virtuous
were never to be the moft miferable of all Men,
yet all Men, in one Part or another of their
Day?, would be miferable more than enough, if
they bad Hope in this Life only.

The Expectation of future Bleflednefs there-
fore, even when it was more doubtful, was *r
Light ftjining in a dark Place", to cheer the
fainting Hearts, and direct the wandering Steps
of the Children of Men. Yet ftill to have

1 i Pet. iii. 14. U 2pet. i. 19.


Happinefs in their View, with fuch Uncertain-
ty, as former Ar^es \vcrc in, whether it could
be attained or not, muil unqueflionably mix
, great Anxiety with tlicir Expectations -, and leave
their Circumitanccs, on the Whole, very piti-
able. But God, in his Mercy, hath removed
all Doubts from us ; not only by exprefs Pro-
rmics, but an experimental Proof alio, of a Re-
iurrection to Life everlafting, in the Perlbn of
our bleiTed Lord : that through him we might
the jlrongejl Confolation, 10 ben we fly for
to lay bold on the Hope jet bcjore us :
'which Hope we have as an Anchor of the Soul,
Jure and jlcdfajl y and which enter eih within the
Veil-, ^hrthjzr a/fo the^F ore-runner is already en-
tered for us, even Jefus w .

You cannot but fee then, of what great Con-
fequence it is for all wife Men to encourage
thh Faith, and ail good Men to have frequent
Recourfe to it. For the principal Reafon, why
\\ e . ' L of us, fo faulty and ib wretched
in this Life is, that we attend fo little to the Re-
?~-nnother. We curfelves perhaps do not
fufpccl, how little it is. Would God that every
one who hears me, would make a diligent Exa-
mination, what Share of his Defires, his Hopes,
" 1820.


S E R j\r O N; VIII. 189
and his Fears, the unfeen World take snip ; and
ferioufly aik himfelf, whether it can poflibly he
fit, that the infinitely ,moft important Part of

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