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tageous to us than virtue, abstracting from the rewards and punishments of another world. It is ordinarily better for me to be an honest man than a knave; it is more for my reputation, yea, and usually for my profit too; and it is more for the public good, in which my own is involved: but yet pro hic et nunc it may be better for me, with respect only to this world, to be a knave than an honest man. For whensoever I can but cheat so secretly and securely, as not to fall under the public lash, nor to impair my reputation; and I can but gain more by the cheat, than I shall lose in the damage of the public; it will be doubtless more advantageous for me, as to my worldly interest, to cheat than to be honest. · And how often such fair opportunities of cozenage do occur, no man can be insensible, that hath: but the least insight into the affairs of the world. So that if God had not reserved rewards and punishments for us in another world, we should not have sufficient motives universally to observe that great law of righteousness which he hath given us : for whensoever we could cheat or steal securely, it would be highly reasonable: for us to do it; because thereby we might promote our own temporal happiness, which would be the only end we should have to pursue. And the same may be said of all other laws of nature, which, without the great motives of a future happiness and misery, could no longer induce any reasonable man to obey them, than it is for his temporal interest to do so. For suppose I can secretly stab or poison a man whom I hate or dread, or from whose death I may reap any considerable advantage, what should restrain me from such a barbarous fact? If you say, the law of nature; pray what reward doth the law of nature propose sufficient to compensate the dissatisfaction of my revenge, or the danger I run in suffering my enemy to live? or what punishment doth the law of nature denounce, that is sufficient to balance the advantage of a thousand or ten thousand pounds a year, that may accrue to me by his death? If you say, the law of nature proposes to me the reward of a quiet and satisfied mind, if I forbear; and denounces the punishment of a guilty and amazed conscience, if I commit the murder : I easily answer, that this peace or horror, which is consequent to the forbearance or commission of murder, arises from the hope and dread of future rewards and punishments; which being taken away, to murder or not murder will be indifferent, as to any peace or horror that will follow upon it: and this being removed, what consideration will there be left sufficient to restrain me from the bloody fact, when I have an opportunity to act it securely, and am furiously spurred on to it by my own revenge and covetousness? So that, if there be no rewards and punishments in another life, to enforce the commands of the law of nature, it is apparent, that no such rewards or punishments are annexed to it in this life as are universally sufficient to oblige men to observe it. And is it likely, that the all-wise Governor of the world would ever impose a law under an insufficient sanction ? that he would ever give out his commands to his creatures, and then leave it indifferent to them whether they will obey him, or no? as he must-needs have done, if in all circumstances it be not far better for us to obey him than to disobey him. And if our nature is so framed, as not to be effectually persuaded to obedience, without the motives of everlasting rewards and punishments, it is at least highly credible that there are such: because it would be unworthy of God so to frame the nature of one of his noblest creatures, as to render it incapable of being governed by him without falsehood and deceit.

2. That there is a future happiness reserved for good men in the other world is highly probable from those desires and expectations of it which do so generally and naturally arise in pure and virtuous minds. We rarely, if ever, read of any virtuous man, of whatsoever nation or religion, or sect of philosophers, whose mind hath not been winged with earnest hopes and desires of future happiness; and I know none that have ever denied or despaired of it, but only such as have first debauched and vitiated the principles of their own nature. Such were the Sadducees and Epicureans, sects that had drowned all that was human in them in sensuality and voluptuousness, and are branded upon record for their shameful indulgence to their own brutish genius: and such are no standards of human nature, but ought rather to be looked upon as monsters of men; and therefore, as we do not think it natural to men to be born with six fingers upon one hand, though there have been many such monstrous and unnatural births; so neither ought we to judge either of what is natural or unnatural to men, by those human brutes who by their perpetual wallowing in the pleasures of the body have monstrously disfigured their own natures, and dissolved all that reason, by which they are constituted men, into a mere sensual sagacity of catering for the appetites of the flesh. If we would know therefore what is human and natural to us, we must take our measures from those who are least depraved, and are most conformable to the laws of a rational nature; who have preserved the natural subordination of their faculties, and reduced their passions and appetites under the empire of their reason: and these are the men whom we call virtuous, and who, because they live in the exercise of those noble virtues which are proper to us men, are to be looked upon as the standards of human nature : by whom alone we can judge of what is natural and unnatural to us. Now virtue and the desires and hopes of immortality are so near allied, that, like Hippocrates's twins, they live and die together. For though while men live a brutish and sensual life, their future hopes are usually drowned in their present enjoyments; yet when once they recover out of this unnatural state, and begin to live virtuously, like reasonable beings, immediately they feel great desires and expectations of a future happiness springing up in their minds, and arising higher and higher, proportionably as their progress is in virtue and true goodness. Which is a plain evidence that these hopes and desires are natural to us, and that they are interwoven by the great Creator in the frame and constitution of our souls. Now how can it consist with the goodness of God to implant such desires and hopes in our natures, and then to withhold from them the only object that can suit and satisfy them! as if it were a recreation to him to sit above in the heavens, and behold the work of his hands spending itself in weary strugglings towards him, and gasping all the while it continues in being after an happiness it shall never enjoy! As for other beings, we see they have no natural desire in vain, the good God having so ordered things, that there are objects in nature ap

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portioned to all their natural'appetites : but if there be no state of happiness reserved for good men in the other world, we are by a natural principle most strongly inclined to that which we can never attain to. As if God had purposely framed us with such inclinations, that we might be perpetually tormented between those two passions desire and despair, an earnest propension after a future happiness, and an utter incapacity of ever enjoying it: as if nature itself, whereby all other beings are disposed to their perfection, did serve only in mankind to make them miserable; and, which is more considerable, as if virtue, which is the perfection of nature, did only contribute to our infelicity, by raising in us desires and expectations, which without a future happiness must be for ever baffled and disappointed. For if there be no future happiness, either we may know it, or we may not; if we may not know it, why should we think that which reflects so much dishonour upon God, viz, that he hath created in us desires and expectations, only to mock and tantalize them? But if we may know it, then do these desires and expectations seem to be created in us on purpose to torment us. For, for what other end can we desire to be eternally happy, who are only brought forth into the light to be ere long extinguished, and shut up in everlasting darkness? The consideration of which must needs be an exceeding torture and affliction to


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3. That there is a future happiness reserved for good men is evident from the justice and equity of the divine providence. That God is a most just and righteous governor is acknowledged by all that believe there is a God, and that he rules and governs

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