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Thus, it is sufficient to the Happiness and good Government of this World, that Men do no Injury to each other, and that they express mutual Civilities and Respects; that they take Care of those whom Nature has endeared to them; and that they be just, and in ordinary Cases helpful to others; and therefore this is all that the State of this World requires. But that divine and universal Charity, which teaches us to love all Men as ourselves, even our Enemies, and those who hate and persecute us; to forgive the Injuries we suffer, and not to revenge and retaliate them, not to render Evil for Evil, nor Railing for Railing, but contrariwise Blefing: I say, this wonderful Virtue does not only lie extremely cross to Self-love, but it is hardly reconcileable with the State of this world. For the Practice of it is very dangerous, when we live among bad Men who will take Advantage of such a bearing and forgiving
Virtue, to give great Occasions for the conItant Exercise of it; and nothing but a particular Providence, which watches over such good Men, can secure them from being an easy Prey to the Wicked and Unjuft. Nay, we see, this is not practicable in the Government of the World : Civil Magiftrates are forced to punish Evil-doers, or the World would be a Bedlam; and therefore those who have thought such publick Executions of Justice to be inconsistent with this Law of forgiving Injuries, and not revenging ourselves, have made it unlawful for Christians to be Magistrates, because hanging or whipping, or pillorying Malefactors, is not forgiving them, as certainly it is not. absurd Doctrine, which makes it necessary that there should always be Heathens in every Nation, to go vern even a Christian Kingdom, or that the Chriftian World should have no Government at all,
though nominal and professed Christians have as much Need of Government, as ever any Heathens had. But this forgiving Enemies is only a private Virtue, not the Rule of publick Government; which shews, that the State of this World is so far from requiring this Virtue, that it will admit only the private Exercise of it, and that too under the Protection of a particular Providence to defend those good Men who must not avenge themselves. Now fuch Virtues as the State of this World does not require, we must conclude, are only in order to the next ; and that though we do not so well discern the Reason and Use of this divine Charity here, yet this Temper of Mind is absolutely necessary to the Happiness of the other World ; and for that Reason it is, that Christ requires the Exercise of it now : For we cannot imagine any other Reason why our Saviour should make any Acts of Virtue, which the State of this world does not require the present Exercise of, the necessary Terms and Conditions of our future Happiness, but only that such Dispositions of Mind are as necessary to qualify us to relish those divine Pleasures, as our Bodily Senses are to perceive the Delights and Pleasures of this World. This is a mighty Obligation on us to obey jhe Laws of our Saviour, as the Methods of our Ad. vancement to eternal Glory; not to dispute his Commands, how uneasy or unreasonable soever they may now appear; for the Reasons of them are not to be fetched from this World, but from the next; and therefore are fuch, as we cannot so well understand now, because we know so little of the next World ; but we may fafely ccuclude, that Christ knows a Reason for it, and that we shall quickly understand the Reason of it, when we come into the other World: And therefore we should
e ndeavour to exercise all those Heights of Virtue, which the Gospel recommends to us ; for as much as we fall short of these, so will our Glory and Happiness abate in the other World.
3dly, Though the State we enter on at Death be in a great Measure unknown to us; yet this is no reasonable Discouragement to good Men, nor Encouragement to the Bad. 1. It is no reasonable Difcouragement to good Men; for though we do not know what it is, yet we know it is a great Happiness: So it is represented to us in Scripture, as a Kingdom, and a Crown, an eternal Kingdom, and a never fading Crown. Now would any Man be unwilling to leave a mean and homely Cottage, to go and take Poffeffion of a Kingdom, because he had never yet feen it, though he had heard very glorious Things of it from very faithful and credible Witnesses ? For let us a little consider, in what Sense the Happiness of the other World is unknown.
1. That it is not such a kind of Happiness as is in this World, that it is like nothing which we have seen or tasted yet: But a wife and good Man cannot think this any Difparagement to the other World, though it would have been a real Disparagement to it, had it been like this World: For here is nothing but Vanity and Vexation of Spirit, nothing but an empty Scene, which makes a fine Show, but has no real and folid Joys. Good Men have enough of this world, and are sufficiently fatisfied that none of these Things can make them happy, and therefore cannot think it any Difadvantage to change the Scene, and try some unknown and unexperienced Joys: For if there be such a Thing as Happiness to be found, it must be some
thing which they have not known yet, something that this World does not afford.
2. When we say that the State of the other World is unknown, the only Meaning of it is, That it is a State of such Happiness, so far beyond any Thing we ever experienced yet, that we can. not form any Notion or Idea of it: We know that there is such a Happiness; we know in some Measure wherein this Happiness consists; viz. in seeing God, and the blessed Jesus, who loved us, and gave himself for us; in praising our great Creator and Redeemer; in conversing with Saints and Angels. But how great, how ravishing and transporting a Pleasure this is, we cannot tell, because we never yet felt it: Our dull Devotions, our imperfect Conceptions of God in this World, cannot help us to guess what the Joys of Heaven are; we know not how the Sight of God, how the Thoughts of him, will pierce our Souls ; with what Extasies and Raptures we shall sing the Song of the Lamb; with what melting Affections perfect Souls shall embrace; what Glories and Wonders we shall there see and know; Such Things as neither Eye hatb seen, nor Ear beard, neither bath it entered into the Heart of Man to conceive. Now methinks this should not make the Thoughts of Death uneasy to us, should not make us unwilling to go to Heaven, that the Happiness of Heaven is too great for us to know, or to conceive in this world. For,
3. Men are naturally fond of unknown and untried Pleasures : which is so far from being a Disparagement to them, that it raises our Expectations of them, that they are unknown. In the Things of this World, Enjoyment usually lefsens our Efteem and Value for them, and we always value that most which we have never tried; and methinks
the Happiness of the other World should not be the only Thing we despise, before we try it. All present Things are mean, and appear to be so when they are enjoyed : But whatever Expectations we have of the unknown Happiness of the other World, the Enjoyment of it will as much exceed our biggest Expectations as other Things usually fall below them; that we shall be forced to confess with the Queen of Sheba, when she saw Solomon's Glory, that not the Half of it was told her. It is some Encouragement to us, that the Happiness of Heaven is too big to be known in this World; for did we perfectly know it now, it could not be very great and therefore we should entertain ourselves with the Hopes of this unknown Happiness, of those Joys which we now have such imperfect Conceptions of 2. Nor is it, on the other Hand, any Encouragement to bad Men, that the Miséries of the other World are unknown: For it is known that God has threatned very terrible Punishments against bad Men; and that what these Punishments are, is unknown, makes them a great deal more formidable. For who knows the Power of God's Wrath? Who knows how miserable God can make bad Men? This makes it a sensless Thing for Men to harden themselves against the Fears of the other World, because they know not what it is : and how then can they tell, though they could bear up under all known Miseries, but that there may be such Punishments as they cannot bear? That they are nuknown, argues that they are something more terrible than they are acquainted with in this world. They are represented indeed by the most dreadful and terrible Things; by Lakes of Fire and Brim, stone, Blackness of Darkness, the Worm that never dieth, and the Fire that never goeth out. But