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position of those who deny any particular explications of the doctrine of immortality in the old testament.) What did Jesus Christ teach more than Moses and the prophets taught? He entered into a more particular detail, be told his hearers, there was weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, a worm that died not, and a fire that was not quenched. But the general thesis, that God would display his attributes in punishing the wicked, and in rewarding the good, this general thesis was as well known to the Jews as it is to christians; and this general thesis is a sufficient ground for the words of the text.
The most that can be concluded from this objection, is, not that the proposition of Jesus Christ was not verified in regard to the Jews, but that it is much more verified in regard to christians : not that the Jews, who resisted Moses and the prophets, were not very guilty, but that christians, who resist the gospel, are much more guilty. We are fully convinced of the truth of this assertion. We wish your minds were duly affected with it. To this purpose we proceed to the application.
First, We address ourselves to infidels. O that you would for once seriously enter into the reasonable disposition of desiring to know and to obey the truth. At least examine, and see. If after all your pains, you can find nothing credible in the christian religion, we own we are strangers to the the human heart, and we must give you up, as belonging to a species of beings different from ours. But what irritates us is to see, that among the many infidels, who are endeavoring to destroy the vitals of religion, there is scarcely one to be found, whose erroneous principles do not originate in a bad heart. It is the heart that disbelieves; it is the
heart which must be attacked; it is the heart that must be convinced.
People doubt because they will doubt. Dreadful disposition! Can nothing discover thine enormity? What is infidelity good for? By what charm doth it lull the soul into a willing ignorance of its origin and end ? If, during the short space
of a mortal life, the love of independence tempt us to please ourselves with joining this monstrous party: how dear will the union cost us, when we come to die!
O! were my tongue dipped in the gall nf celestial displeasure, I would describe to you the state of a man expiring in the cruel uncertainties of unbelief; who seeth, in spite of himself, yea, in spite of himself, the truth of that religion, which he hath endeavored to no purpose to eradicate from his heart. Ah! see! every thing contributes to trouble him now.
“ I am dying- I despair of recovering-Physicians have given me over—The sighs and tears of my friends are useless-yet they have nothing else to bestow~Medicines take no effect consultations come to nothing—alas ! not younot my little fortune-the world cannot cure meI must die-It is not a preacher-it is not a religious book-it is not a trifling declaimer-it is death itself that preacheth to me—I feel, I know not what, shivering cold in my blood—I am in a dying sweat -my feet, my hands, every part of my body is wasted—I am more like a corpse than a living body-I am rather dead than alive-I must die Whither am I going? What will become of me? What will become of my body? My God! what a frightful spectacle ! I see it! The horrid torches
-the dismal shroud-the coffin—the pall—the tolling bell—the subterranean abode-carcasesworms-putrefaction- What will become of my soul? I am ignorant of its destiny-I am tumbling headlong into eternal night-my infidelity tells me, my soul is nothing but a portion of subtile matter --another world a vision-immortality a fancyBut yet, I feel, I know not what, that troubles my infidelity--annihilation, terrible as it is, would appear tolerable to me, were not the ideas of heaven and hell to present themselves to me, in spite of myself—But I see that heaven, that immortal mansion of glory shut against me—I see it at an immense distance-I see it a place, which my crimes forbid me to enter-I see a hell-hell, which I have ridiculed—it opens under my feet— I hear the horrible groans of the damned the smoke of the bottomless pit choaks my words, and wraps my thoughts in suffocating darkness.”
Such is the infidel on a dying bed. This is not an imaginary flight: it is not an arbitrary invention, it is a description of what we see every day in the fatal visits, to which our ministry engageth us, and to which God seems to call us to be sorrowful witnesses of his displeasure and vengeance. This is what infidelity comes to. This is what infidelity is good for. Thus most sceptics die, although, while they live, they pretend to free themselves from vulgar errors. i ask again, what charms are there in a state, that hath such dreadful consequences ? How is it possible for men, rational men, to carry their madness to such an excess?
Without doubt it would excite many murmurs in this auditory; certainly we should be taxed with strangely exceeding the matter, were we to venture to say, that many of our hearers are capable of carrying their corruption to as great a length, as I have described. Well! we will not say so. We know your delicacy too well. But allow us to give you a task. We propose a problem to the examination of each of you.
Who, of two men, appears most odious to you? One resolves to refuse nothing to his senses, to gratify all his wishes without restraint, and to procure all the pleasures, that a worldly inte can afford. Only one thought disturbs him, the thought of religion. The idea of an oflended benefactor, of an angry supreme Judge, of eternal salvation neglected, of hell contemned ; each of these ideas poisons the pleasures, which he wishes to pursue:
In order to conciliate his desires with his remorse, he determines to try to get rid of the thought of religion. Thus he becomes an obstinate atheist for the sake of becoming a peaceable libertine, and he cannot sin quietly till he hath flattered himself into a belief, that religion is chimerical. This is the case of the first man.
The second man resolves to refuse nothing to his sensual appetites, to gratify all his wishes without restraint, and to procure all the pleasures, that a worldly life can afford. The same thought agitates him, the thought of religion. The idea of an offended benefactor, of an angry supreme Judge, of an eternal salvation neglected, of hell contemned, each of these ideas poisons the pleasures, which he wishes to pursue. He takes a different method of conciliating his desires with his remorse. He doth not persuade himself that there is no benefactor : but he rendereth himself insensible to his benefits. He doth not ftatter himself into the disbelief of a supreme Judge: but he dares his majestic authority. He doth not think salvation a chimera : but he hardens his heart against its attractive charms. He doth not question whether there be a hell : but be ridicules its torments. This is the case of the second man. The task, which we take the liberty to assign you, is to examine, but to examine coolly and deliberately, which of these two men is the most guilty.
Would to God, our hearers had no other interest in the examination of this question than what compassion for the misery of others gave them ! May the many false christians, who live in impenitence, and who felicitate themselves for not living in infidelity, be sincerely affected, dismayed and ashamed of giving occasion for the question, whether they be not more odious themselves than those, whom they account the most odious of mankind, I mean sceptics and atheists ! May each of us be enabled to improve the means, which God hath employed to save us ! May our faith and obedience be crowned ! and may we be admitted with Lazarus into the bosom of the Father of the faithful ! The Lord hear our prayers ! Tohim be honor and glory forever. Ainen.