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creatures from their acute pains and long imprisonment in hell, either with a design of the utter de struction of their beings by annihilation, or to put them into some unknown world, upon a new foot of trial, I think I ought cheerfully and joyfully to accept this appointment of God, for the good of millions of my fellow-creatures, and add my joys and praises to all the songs and triumphs of the heavenly world in the day of such a divine and glorious release of these prisoners.
But I feel myself under a necessity of confessing, that I am utterly unable to solve these difficulties according to the discoveries of the New Testament, which must be my constant rule of faith, and hope, and expectation, with regard to myself and others. I have read the strongest and best writers on the other side, yet after all my studies I have not been able to find any way how these difficulties may be removed, and how the divine perfections, and the conduct of God in his word, may be fairly vindicated without the establishment of this doctrine, as av. ful and formidable as it is.
• The ways' indeed of the great God and his thoughts are above our thoughts and our ways, as the heavens are above the earth ;' yet I must rest and acquiesce where our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father's chief Minister, both of his wrath and his love, has left me in the divine revelations of Scripture; and I am constrained therefore to leave these unhappy creatures under the chains of everlasting darkness, into which they have cast themselves by their wilful i
quities, till the blessed God shall see fit to release them.
This would be indeed such a new, such an astonishing and universal jubilee, both for devils and wicked men, as must fill heaven, earth, and hell, with hallelujahs and joy: In the mean time it is my ardent wish, that this awful sense of the terrors of the Al. mighty, and his everlasting anger, which the word of the great God denounces, may awaken some souls timely to bethink themselves of the dreadful danger into which they are running, before these terrors seize them at death, and begin to be executed upon them without release and without hope.
Note. Where these Discourses shall be used as a religious service in private families on Lord's-day evenings, each of them will afford a division near the middle, lest the service be made too long and tiresome.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
are made to it, and reasons against
TOWARD THE PROOF OF
A SEPARATE STATE OF SOULS
DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION.
SECTION I. The introduction or proposal of the question, with a distinction of the persons wbo oppose
it. IT is confessed that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead at the last day, and the everlasting joys, and the eternal sorrows, that shall succeed it, as they are described in the New Testament, are a very awful sanction to the gospel of Christ, and carry in them such principles of hope and terror as should effectually discourage vice and irreligion, and become a powerful attractive to the practice of faith and love, and universal holiness.
But so corrupt and perverse are the inclinations of men in this fallen and degenerate world, and their passions are so much impressed and moved by things that are present or just at hand, that the joys of heaven, and the sorrows of hell, when set far beyond death and the grave at some vast unknown distance of time, would have but too little influence on their