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bad Men think this cannot be true in a literal Sense'; that there can be no Fire to burn Souls, and torment them eternally. Now suppose it were fo; yet if they believe these Threatnings, they must believe that some terrible Thing is fignified by everlasting Burnings; and if Fire and Brimftone serve only as Metaphors to describe those Torments by, what will the real Sufferings of the Damned be! For the Spirit of God does not use to describe Things by such Metaphors as are greater than the Things themselves. And therefore let no bad Man encourage himself in Sin, because he does not know what the Punishments of another World are. This should possess us with the greater Awe and Dread of them, since every Thing in the other World, not only the Happiness, but the Miseries of it, will prove greater, not less than we
****************************** CH A P. II.
Anity Concerning the Certainty of our Death. H Aving thus shewed you under what Notions
we are to confider Death, and what Wisdom we should learn from them, I proceed to the Second Thing, the Certainty of Death : It is appointed unto Men once to die ; á móneitan, it remains, it is reserved, and as it were laid up
for them. I believe no Man will desire a Proof of this, which he sees with his Eyes; one Generation succeeds another, and those who live longest, at last yield to the fatal Stroke. There were two Men indeed, Enoch and Elias, who did not die, as Death
fignifies a Separation of Soul and Body, but were translated to Heaven without dying ; but this is the general Law for Mankind, from which none are excepted, but those whom God by his sovereign Authority, and for wise Reasons, thinks fit to except; which have been but two since the Creation, and will be no more till Christ comes to judge the World: For then St. Paul tells us, those who are alive at Christ's second Coming, shall not die, buc shall be changed, i Cor. xv. 51, 52. Behold I shew you a Mystery, we shall not all feep, but we shall all be chenged, in a Monuent, in the twinkling of an Eye, at the last Trump; for the Trumpet Mall sound, and the Dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. This is such a Change as is equivalent to Death, it puts us in the fame State with those who are dead, and at the last Judgment rise again.
A Vindication of the Justice and Goodness of
GOD, in appointing Death for all Men, BUT before I thew you what Use to make of
this Consideration, That we must al! certainly die ; let us examine how Mankind comes to be Mortal : This was no Dispute among the Heathens for it was no great Wonder that an earthly Body should die, and dissolve again into Duft: It would be a much greater Wonder to see a Body of Flesh and Blood preserved in perpetual Youth and Vi. gour, without any Decays of Nature, without being fick or growing old. But this is a Question among us; or if it may not be called a Quetion, yet it is what deserves our Consideration, fince we learn from the History of Moses, that as frailand brittleas
these earthly Tabernacles are, yet if Man had not finned, he had not died.
When God created Man, and placed him in Pasadise, he forbad him to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil : Of every Tree of the Garden thou may'st freely eat, but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil thou Malt not eat of it ; for in the Day thou tatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, Gen. il. 16, 17. And when, notwithstanding this Threatning, our first Parents did eat of it, God confirms and
ratifies the Sentence, Dust thou art, and to Dust thou Malt return, Gen. iii. 19. What this Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was, is as great a Mystery to us, as what the Tree of Life was; for we understand neither of them ; which makes some Men, who would not be thought to be ignorant of any Thing, to Ay to allegorical Senses : But tho® I would be glad to know this, if I could, yet I must be contented to leave it a Mystery, as I find it. T'hat which we are concerned in is, That this Santence of Death and Mortality, which was pronounced on Adam fell on all his Posterity : As St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. That by Man came Death; and in Adam all die. And in this he does not only affert, but prove, Rom. v. 12, 13. 14. Wherefore by Man Sin entered into the World, and Death by Sin, and so Death passed upon all Men, for that all have finned : For until the Law, Sin was in the World; but Sin is not imputed where there is no Law; nevertheless Death reigned from Adam till Moses, even over them who had not finned after the Similitude of Adam's Transgression.
lam's Transgression. The Design of all which is to prove, that Men die, or are mortal, not for their own Sins, but for the Sin of Adam: Which the Apostle proves by this Argument; because though all Men, as well as Adam, have sin
ned, yet till the giving the Law of Moses, there was no Law which threatned Death against Sin, but only that Law given to Adam in Paradise, which no Man elfe ever
did, or ever could tranfgress, but he. Now: Sin is not imputed where there is no Law: That is, it is not imputed to any Man to Death, before there is any Law which threatens Death against it: That no Man can be reckoned to die for those Things, which no Law punishes with Death. Upon what Account then, says the Apostle, could those Men die, who lived between Adam and Mofes, before the Law was given, which threatens Death? And yet die they all did, even those who had not finned after the Similitude of Adam's Transgreffion"; who had neither eaten the forbidden Fruit, nor firned against any other express Law threatning Death: This could be for no other Sin but Adam's; he finned, and brought Death into the World, and thus Death paffed upon all Men for his Sin, notwithstanding they themselves were Sinners; for thos they were Sinners, yet that they died was not owing to their own Sins, because they had not finned against any Law which threatened Death, but to the Sin of Adam; and therefore in a proper Sense, in Adam all die.
Now this is thought very hard, that the Sin of Adam should bring Death upon all his Pofterity; that one Man finned, and all Men must die; and therefore I suppose no Man will think it improper to my present Argument, to give you such an Account of this Matter, as will evidently justify the Wisdom and Goodness, as well as the Justice of God in it.
I. In the first Place then I observe, That an immortal Life in this world is not the original Right of earthly Creatures, but was wholly owing to the Grace and Favour of God. I call that an original Right which is founded in the Nature of Things;
for otherwise, properly speaking, no Creatures have any Right either to Being, or to Subsistence, which is a Continuance in Being: It is the Goodness and the Power of God, which both made the World, and upholds and sustains all Things in Being. And therefore Plato confesses, That the inferior Gods, those immortal Spirits, which he thought worthy of Divine Honours, were both made by the Supreme God,and did sublift by his Will: For he who made all Things, can annihilate them again when he pleases; and therefore their Subsistence is as much owing to the Divine Goodness, as their Creation. there is a great Difference between the natural Gift and Bounty of God, and what is supernatural, or above the Nature of Things: What God makes by Nature immortal, so that it has no Principles of Mortality in its Constitution, Immortality may be faid to be its natural Right, because it is by Nature immortal, as Spirits and the Souls of Men are. And in this Case it would be thought very hard, that a whole Race of immortal Beings should be made mortal for the Sin of one; which would be to deprive them of their natural Right to Immortality, without their own Fault. But when
But when any Creature is immortal, not by Nature, but by supernatural Grace, God may bestow this fupernatural Immortality upon what Conditions he pleases, and take the Forfeiture of it when he fees fit. And this was the Case of Man in Innocence: His Body was not by Nature immortal; for a Body made of Duft will naturally resolve into Dust again; and therefore without a supernatural Power, an earthly Body must die ; for which Reason God provided a Remedy against Mortality, the Tree of Life, which he planted in Paradise, and without which Man could not be immortal : So that Mortality was a necessary