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inconceivable Happiness of another Life; and we must either put off our Reason, or employ it in pursuing those Interests which do so greatly and so nearly concern us.
Let us be so brave and generous as not to think that we die like the beasts that perish; that we were made for greater and more noble Ends, intended for the Favour of God, and Society of Angels; that we carry about with us spiritual Beings which cannot die, and will receive no Prejudice by the Dissolution of the Body; that these Souls were designed by God to receive a Participation of his own Glory, and will certainly do so, if they be not debarr’d from it by our fatal Stupidity and Neglect; and that in providing for this more excellent Part of us, we fecure likewise a Mana fion for the Body, which at the general Resurrection shall be received into the fame Station, and undergo the same Fate with the Soul.
If we were perfectly persuaded oftheTruth of all this, we could not consign our selves up to pursue the Vanities of the World, and heap up Riches, which are of no Service for the Interests of another Life, and promote not our real Happiness in this. Can you be supposed to believe all this, and at the same Time employ your Lives upon the Practice of the contrary; hope for the Perfection designed, and make no Step towards the Attainment of it? Rather
let us endeavour with our utmost Vigor to maintain that Degree which God hath assigned to us among created Beings; and not by our Degeneracy become the vilest and most miserable of all Creatures. Let us do nothing unworthy that noble Being which is seated within us, nor cloath the Body with the Spoils of it. Let us maintain the Dignity and Character of our Natures by a severe and unblemish'd Integrity, and procure to our felves an Assurance of those Perfections which are allotted to us.
Certainly in worldly Matters, we willingly oversee lesser and more trivial Gains, for obtaining of a greater and more substantial Profit; and should we not flight the impertinent Gayeties, and vile Allurements of the World, to secure to our felves a trea. sure which fadeth not, eternal in the Heavens?
Lastly, If the Benefits of the Soul be ever preferable to the Interests of the Body; if all the Glories and Riches of this World be of small Account, when opposed to the Happiness of the next; if the Favour of God, and Concerns of Religion, be the only true Perfections of Mankind: A firm Constancy in the Exercise and Profession of Religion, although attended in this Life with the greatest Inconveniences, Discouragements and Amictions, will not only be our Duty, but our highest Interest. This is the natural Consequence of the
Words of my Text, and the Conclusion which our Saviour himself drew from them in the following Verse, with which I shall conclude, Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him alSo shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father with the Holy Angels.
Preach'd on the 20th of November, 1689.
at Lambeth Chapel.
St. LUKE XVI, 31.
neither will they be persuaded, though
HESE Words are the Conclusion of a remarkable Parable of our Saviour,
and seem to be the Scope to which his whole Discourse was therein directed; to shew the Vanity of that Pretence; wherewith unreasonable Men have been wont to defend or excuse their Sins; the Uncertainty
of the Rewards and Punishments of ano. ther Life, arising from the defect of a visible Experience of them, or an undeniable Attestation of the Truth of them by conItant Miracles.
It was not for the peculiar Doctrines of Christ alone, that the Jews required a Sign to be given to them, to demonstrate the
Truth of them; but also in their ancient and received Doctrines they entertained Scruples, because not confirmed by a constant Continuation of the fame Miracles, which at first established them. An Incredulity, as it should seem, Hereditary to the Jews, and renewed as often as the Divine Miracles were interrupted. No sooner was Joshua dead, and that Generation which had seen all the great works of the Lord which he had done for Ifrael, as we are told in Judges ii. but the next Generation even lost the Knowledge of God, they knew not the Lord, as it is there expressed : And although Miracles were continued down among them by the Ministration of the Prophets and Holy Men; yet as these could be visible but to a certain Number, they produced no universal Influence, affected not the rest; and even in those who saw them, they seemed to have produced no other Effect than Wonder and Amusement. They still continued their Disbelief of those Promises and Threats, which they saw not yet effected, and of that future State which they did not yet perceive.
And it were to be wished that this Incre. dulity of the Jews had been so hereditary to them, as to be peculiar to them; but it hath found Place even among Christians alfo; many of whom have even renounced aud denied their Faith, because themselves could not see those Miracles, upon the Au.