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The Eternity of Future Punishment Proved and Vindicated.
MATTH. XXV. 46.
And these shall go away into Everlafling Punishment.
Hough God hath revealed the Eternal duration of Future Punishment in thePlaineft and moft Pofitive terms; yet the Impious gloffes of fome, and the dictates of an Immoderate felf-love in others have represented this Important Article of our Faith as Abfurd and Incredible.
"Tis the Intereft of fome men, and therefore their Endeavour, to rafe out B of
of their Minds all the notions of a Future State. Senfual pleasures have fo intirely ingroffed their Affections, that they would not Willingly leave this present world, though in exchange for mansions of Blifs in the next: Or, if there be fome faint defires of Heaven still remaining, as doubtless they muft defire it upon this account, that this State of things, which is fo dear to them, muft Neceffarily have an End; yet when, upon reflection, they find no hopes of attaining what they thus wish for out of Neceffity, not of Choice, they then Wreft and Force their Reason in contriving Schemes of Imaginary Comfort: They then boldly play all the engines that can be invented against the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, or Industriously pervert the proper fense of them: They then labour to perfuade themselves and others, by Arguments which themselves can never Heartily believe, that though there be a fupreme Being, which made the earth and created man upon it, yet there is no reafon to doubt, that a Being of fuch wonderful Excellency and Perfection will
be fo favourable to them, the work of his own hands, let their behaviour be what it will, as not to plunge them into Endless and Intolerable Mifery; that therefore they seem to be under no very ftrict obligation to afflict themselves continually with severe and Vexatious restraints, but may reasonably enough venture to gratify all their Inclinations and Defires; that therefore they do not seem to have any other bufinefs in this world but that of the Leviathan in the deep, to take their pastime therein.
And there is too plain an occafion given to these Enemies of the Lord thus to Blafpheme, by others, who though they profess a Belief of the Scriptures, do yet, in a great measure, deftroy the expectation of eternal Punishment, by fome mistaken opinions concerning God and ourfélves. They cannot apprehend how any thing fo Terrible and Amazing as Everlasting misery, Terrible and Ama¬ zing beyond all expreffion, fhould be the portion of fuch a Noble and Excellent Being as Man, the Perfection and Excellency of whofe Nature God himself B 2 hath
hath fo remarkably fignalized his esteem of, in the death of his only begotten Son, for our benefit and advantage; how God's Infinite Goodnefs fhould be compatible with Man's Endless Mifery, or how that Difproportion, which there seems to be betwixt Momentary Transgreffions and Everlasting Punishment, should be Reconcileable with Infinite juftice.
Thus, out of an Immoderate Esteem and love of Themselves, they lay too much stress upon fome of the Divine Attributes, and too little upon others, and perfuade themselves into an Acquiefcence under so agreeable a delufion, from the very Principles of the Covenant of Grace, converting even the Revelations of God's Infinite Mercy and Love to mankind, into Inftruments of their own extreme Danger, making thofe very things that should have been for their wealth, become unto them an occafion of falling. And they take great Pains to confirm thefe Falfe reasonings, about the Divine Attributes and the Excellencies of Humane nature, by their Mistaken Interpretations of those
texts in Holy Scripture, wherein God hath revealed the Nature and Circumstances of Future punishment. I fhall therefore, in discourfing upon these words, endeavour
I. First, Directly to prove the Eternity of punishment in a Future State, and
II. Secondly, To answer the Principal objections, that have been made against it. And
I. First, The Direct proof of Eternal punishment in a Future ftate falls within a very small compass, depending upon the concurrent evidence of a few texts in Holy Scripture; as when our Blessed Saviour, having immediately before given an account of his Solemn and Glorious appearance to Judge the world, and of his approving and accepting the Faithful and Obedient, lays down the fentence of Condemnation to be pronounced upon the Wicked in these words, * Depart from me ye curfed, into Everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels. And the text affures us, that as the Form of the Sentence thus pronounced does e
Matth. xxv. 41,