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taphysical difquifitions of identity, or any other though we cannot collect the entire nature of curious points, in which this deep subject a future state of happiness, yet we can easily might engage us, all which, as they are founded gather a few circumstances, which must of upon uncertainty, muft end in doubt, it is course attend it; as, that it will be very great better to draw this doctrine, as well as all that it will laft for ever-that it will be of others, into practical use: and the use we a nature entirely different from the happiness ought to inake of it is, to pay that regard to of this world that, as in this world, our pas. our bodies which is due to them-not vainly lions and appetites prevail; in the next, realon to adorn--not luxuriously to pamper them; and virtue will have the superiority "hunger but to keep them as much as pollible from the and thirst, tears and forrow," we read, “ will pollutions of the world; and to lay them be no more" -- that is, all uncaly paffions and down in the grave undefiled, there to be sealed appetites will then be annihilated--all vain up in cxpectation of a blessed refurrection. fears will then be removed-all anxious and
Lastly, we believe" in the life everlasting:” ineruding cares—and we lhall feel ourselves in which article we express our faith in the complete and perfect; and our happinefs, not eternity of a future state of rewards and pu- dependent, as here, upon a thousand precaricus nishments.
circumftances, both within and without ourThis article is nearly related to the laft, selves, but consistent, uniform, and stable. and is involved in the same obscurity. In On the other hand, we pretend not to en-, what the reward of the virtuous will consist
, quire in what the punishment of the wicked after death, our reason gives us no informa consists. In the Scripture we find many crtion. Conjecture indeed it will, in a matter pretlions, from which we gather, that it will be which so nearly concerns us; and it hath very great. It is there called, “ an everlasting conjectured in all ages: but information it fire, prepared for the devil and his angels hath none, excepe from the word of God; and where the worm dicth not, and thc fire is never even there, our limited capacitics can receive quenched-where shall be weeping and gnashit only in general and figurative expressions. ing of teeth-where the wicked thall drink of We are told, "there will then reign fulness the wrath of God, poured without mixture of joy and plcasures for evermore-that the into the cup of his indignation where they righteous shall have an inheritance incorrupti- shall have no rest, neither by day nor night. ble, undefiled, that fadeth not away-where Though it becomes us certainly to put our they shall thine forth, as the fun, in the pre- interpretations with the greatest caution and fence of their father, where error, and sin, and humility upon such passages as these; yet misery thall be no more where shall be af- “ the worm that never dicth," and “ the sembled an innumerable company of angels, fire that is never quenched,” a:c ftrong csthe general assembly of the church, the fpirits pressions, and hardly to be evaded by any re
& juft men made perfect--that they shall linements of verbal criticisin. Let 'the deißt neither hunger and thirst any more-that all bravely argue down his fears, by demonftratears shall be wiped from their eyes that there ting the absurdity of consuming a spirit in mahall be neither death, nor sorrow, nor pain.' terial fire. Let him fully explain the nature From theło, and such cxpreffions as thesc, of future punishment; and convince us, that
where it cannot reform, it must be unjust.-- as an addition to an everlasting account in the But let us, with inore modcfty, lav our hands next.
Gilpia. humbly upon our breatts, coufefs our ignorance; reperc the appointments of God,
§ 49. On the Ten Commandments. whatever they may be; and prepare to meet
Having considered the articles of our faith, thein with holy hope, and treinbling joy, and we proceed to the rules of our practice. airful fubmiilion to his righteous will. These, we know, are of such importance, that,
To the umcnlvirened heathen, the eternity let our faith be what it will, unless it influence of future punishments appeared no such un- our lives, it is of no value. At the same time, reasonable doctrine. Their state of the damn- if it be what it ought to be, it will certainly ed was of eternal duracion. A vulture for have this infuencc. ever tore those entrails, which were for ever On this head, the ten commandments are renewed .
first placed before us ; from which the cornOf one thing, however, we may be well posers of the catechism, as well as many other allured (which may fet us entirely at rett divines, have drawn a compleat system of in all our cnquiries : this dcep Tubicct), christian duties. But this is perhaps rather that every thing will, in the end, be right too much +: Both Mofes, in the law, and that a jult and merciful God mult act agreeably i Christ, in the gospel, scen to have enlarged to justice and mercy—and that the tirft of greatly, on morais : and each of them, cfpethcle attributes will most allurcdly be tempered | cially the latter, to have added many practical with the latter.
rules, which do not obvioully fall under any From the doctrine of future rewards and of the commandments. punishments, the great and most convincing But though we cannot call the decalogue practical truth which arilis, is, that we cannot a complete rule of duty, we accept it with the exert too much pains in qualifying ourselves utmost reverence, as the first grcat written for the happiness of a future worid. As this happiness will last for ever, how bencficial vill
In the fourth volume of Bishop Warburton's be the exchange this world, which is but Commentary on Pope's Works, in the second for a moment, for that everlasting weight of fatire on Di. Donne, are there lines : glory which fadeth not away.”.
Of whose strange crimes no canponist can tell Vice, on the other hand, receives the greatest
In which commandment's large contents discouragement from this doctrine, as cvery they dwell. Sn wc commit in this world may be considered
ss. The original,” says the bishop, “ is more humorous.
In which commandment's large receipt they Roftregue immanis vultur obunco
dwell; Immortalc jecur tunidens, fecundaquc pænis
's as if the ten commandments were fo wide, as Viscera.
" to ftand ready to receive every thing which
Æn. vi. 596. ' either the law of nature or the gospel com-Sedet, aternamqne fedebit
“ mands. A juft ridicule on those practical Infdix Tiucleus, mas po
“ commentators, as they are called, who include Ib. 616. “ moral and religious duties within them."
law that ever God communicated to man. the sabbath ; as one of the best means of preWe coalider it as an eternal monument, in- serving a fenic of God, and of religion in the fcribed by the finger of God himself, with a minds of men. few strong, indelible characters ; not defining The second table begins with injoining the minutiæ of morals, but in joining those obedience to parents ; a duty in a peculiar great duties only, which have the most par- manner adapted to the Jewith state, before ticular influence upon the happiness of society; any regular government was erected. The and prehibiting those enormous crimes, which temporal promife, which guards it, and which are the greatest sources of its distress. can only relate to the Jews, may either mean
The ten commandments are divided into a pronse of long life to each individual, who iwo parts, from their being originally written observed the precept : or, of ftability to the upon two tables. From hence onc table is whole nation upon the general observance supposed to contain our duty to God; the of it: which is perhaps a better interpretaother our duty to man. But this seems to be tion, an unauthorized division; and hath a tendency The five next commandments are prohibito a verbal inistake ; as if, fome duties were tions of the most capital crimes, which pollute owing to God; and others to man : whereas the heart of man, and injure the peace of soin fact we know that all duties are equally ciety. owing to God.-Howe er, if we avoid this The first of them forbids murder, which is misconception, the division into our duty to the greateft injury that one man can do anGod, and our duty to man, may be a con- other; as of all crimes the damage in this is yenicnt onc.-The four first commandments the most irreparable. are contained in the first table: the remaining The seventh commandment forbids adul. fix in the second.
tery. The black infidelity, and injury which At the head of them ftands a prohibition accompany this crime; the confusion in fato acknowledge more than one God. milies, which often succeeds ir; and the ge
The second commandment bears a near neral tendency it hath to destroy all the dorelation to the first. The former forbids po- mestic happinefs of society, stain it with a very lytheism; the latter idolatry : and with this high degree of guilt. belief, and practice, which generally accom- The security of our property is the object panied cach other, all the nations of the earth of the eighth commandment. were tainted, when these commandments were The security of our characters is the object given : especially those nations, by whom the of the ninth. Jews were surrounded.
The tenth restrains us not only from the The third commandment injoins reverence actual commission of fin; but from those bad to God's name. This is a strong religious inclinations, which give it birth. restraint in private life; and as a folemn oath After the commandments follows a comis the strictest obligation among men, nothing mentary upon them, intitled, “our duty to can be of greater service to fociety, than to God,” and “our duty to our neighbour ;" hold it in general refpect.
the latter of which might more properly be The fourth commands the observance of intitled, “ Our duty to our ncighbour and ourselves."--These fcem intended as an ex- But this is the language of fuperftition. planation of the commandments upon Chrif- Mirth, within the bounds of innocence, cantian principles; with the addition of other not be offentive to God. He is offended only duties, which do not properly fall under with vicc. Vice, in the lowest degree, is any of them. On these we shall be more hateful to him : but a formal set behaviour large.
can be necessary only to preserve human dir. The first part of our duty to God, is, “ to tinctions. “ believe in him;" which is the foundation The next duty to God is that of love, of all religion, and therefore offers itself first which is founded upon his goodness to his to our confideration. But this great point hath creatures. Even this world, mixed as it is been already considered.
with evil, exhibits various marks of the good. The next branch of our duty to God, is to ness of the Deity. Most men indeed place fear him. The fear of God is impressed their affc&tions too much upon it, and rate it equally upon the righteous man, and the fin- at too high a value : but in the opinion even ner. But the fear of the finner confifts only of wife men, it deserves fome estimation. in the dread of punithment. It is the neces. The acquisition of knowledge, in all its fary consequence of guilt ; and is not that branches; the intercourse of society; the confear, which we consider as a duty. The fear templation of the wonderful works of God, of God here meant, consists in that reverential and all the beauteous scenes of naturc;, nay, awe, that constant apprehension of his pre- even the low inclinations of animal life, fence, which fecures us from offending him. when indulged with fobricty and modera. -When we are before our fuperiors, we na- tion, furnith various modes of pleasure and rurally fcel a respect, which prevents our doing enjoyment. any thing indecent in their fight. Such (only Let this world however go for littlc. In in a higher degree) should be our reverence contemplating a future life, thc enjoyments of of God, in whose light, we know, we always this are loft. It is in the contemplation of stand. If a sense of the divine prefence hath futurity, that the christian views the goodness such an influence over us, as to check the bad of God in the fullest light. When he sees tendency of our thoughts, words, and ac- the Deity engaging himself by covenant to tions; we may properly be said to be imprcf- make our fhort abode here a preparation for sed with the fear of God.- If not, we neglect our cternal happiness hereafter—when he is one of the best means of checking vice, assured that this happiness is not only cternal, which the whole circle of religious restraint but of the purest and most perfect kind affords.
when he fees God, as a father, opening all his Some people go a step farther; and say, stores of love and kindness, to bring back to that as every degree of light behaviour, though himself a race of creatures fallen from their thort of an indecency, is improper before our original perfection, and totally lost through superiors ; fo is it likewise in the presence of their own folly, perversencfs, and wickedness; Almighty God, who is so much fuperior to then it is that the evils of life seem as atoms in Every thing that can be called great on the sun-beam ; the divine nature appears farth
overflowing with goodness to mankind, and
calls forth every excrtion of our gratitude and seem easily to set things to rights on this love.
hcad. That the enjoyments of a future state, in The mifery of the brute creation is indeed whatever those enjoyments consist, are the gift more unaccountable. But have we not the of God, is fufficiently obvious: but with re- modesty to suppose, that this difficulty may gard to the government of this world, there is be owing to our ignorance? And that on the often among men a fort of infidelity, which trength of what we know of the wisdom of ascribes all events to their own prudence and God, we may venture to trust him for those industry. Things appear to run in a stated parts which we cannot comprehend ? course; and the finger of God, which acts un- One truth, after all, is very apparent, that feen, is never supposed.
if we thould argue ourselves into atheism, And, no doube, our own industry and pru- by the untractableness of these fubjects, we dence bave a great share in procuring for us should be so far from getting rid of our the blellings of life. God hath annexed them difficulties, that, if we reason justly, ten thous as the reward of such exertions. But can we sand grcater would arise, either from confuppose, chat fuch exertions will be of any fer- lidering the world under no ruler, or under vice to us, unless the providence of God throw one of our own imagining, opportunities in our way? All the mcans of There remains one farther consideration worldly happincss are surely no other than the with regard to the love of God, and that means of his government. Moses faw among is, the measure of it. We are told we ought the Jews a kind of infidelity like this, when he to love him with all our heart,, with all our forbad the people to say to their hearts, " My soul, and with all our strength.” These are power, and the might of my hands hath got. Itrong expreflions, and seem to imply a greater len me this wealth," whereas, he adds, they warmth of affection, than many people may ought to remember, " That it is the Lord perhaps find they can exert. The affections who giveth power to get wealth.”
of some are naturally cool, and little excited Others again have ubjected to the goodness by any objects. The guilty person, is he, of God, his permiffion of cvil. A good God, whole'affections are warın in every thing but say they, would have prevented it; and have religion. The obvious meaning therefore of placed his crcatures in a fituation beyond the the expression is, that whether our affections diitreties of lifc.
arc cool or warm, we should make God our With regard to man, there seems to be no chief good that we should set our affections great difficulty in this matter. It is enough, more upon him, than upon any thing else surely, that God has pur the means of comfort -and that, for his fake, and for the sake in our power. In the natural world, he hath of his laws, we thould be ready to resign given us remedies against hunger, cold, and every thing we have, and even life itself. So disease; and in the moral world, against the that the words seem nearly of the fame import mischief of fin. Even death itself, the last with those of the apostle, “ Set your affcctions great evil, he hath thewn us how we may on things abore, and not on things on the change into the most consummate blessing. Á earth."
Gilpin, state of trial, therefore, and a future world,