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of Person is this, who requires so much at our Hands. If he is indeed the Son of God; if all Power in Heaven and Earth is given him by the Father; if he is constituted by God Judge on all Men, there is a clear Reason to justify his T emand, and our Obedience: But if he was only a mere Teacher of Morality and Religion, how is he to be justified in pretending to be the only Son of God, in pretending to have all Power given him in Heaven and Earth, and to be appointed Judge of all Men? You must either own him under these Characters, or you must condemn him as an Impostor for claiming them. How far those who are willing to admit Christ to be a good Teacher, but refuse to acknowledge him in any other Character, are chargeable with seeing this Consequence, I know not; nor can I see, if they consider it, how they can avoid it.
When therefore we read that our Lord requires of us to confess him before Men, the true Way to know what we are to confess, is to reflect what he confessed himself; for it cannot be supposed that he thought it reasonable for himself to make one Confeffion, and for his Disciples and Servants to make another. Look then into the Gospel,
and see his own Confession: He confessed himself to be the only Son of God; to come from the Bosom of the Father to die for the Sins of the World; to have all Power given to him in Heaven and Earth; to be the Judge of the World. When
When you have weighed these Things, read his Words, and judge what your Duty is: Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my Words, in this adulterous and finful Generation, of him also pall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father, with the holy Angels.
2 CORINTHIANS V. 10, II. We must all appear before the Judgment
feat of Christ, that every one may receive the Things done in his Body, according to that
be hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the Terrors of the Lord,
we persuade Men.
(*T is the Privilege and distin
guishing Character of a rational Being to be able to look forward into Futurity, and to consider
his Actions, not only with respect to the present Advantage or Disadvantage arising from them, but to view them in their Confequences through all the Parts of Time in which himself may possibly exist. If therefore we value the Privilege of being
reasonable Creatures, the only way to pres serve it, is to make use of it; and by extending our Views into all the Scenes of Futurity, in which we ourselves must bear a Part, to lay the Foundation of folid and durable Happiness.
By the Exercise of this Power of Reason, the Wisest among the Heathens discovered, that there was Ground for Men to have Expectations beyond this Life. They saw plainly that themselves, and all Things that fell under their Observation, were dependent Beings on the Will and Power of him who formed them ; and when they fought to find him, they were led by a necessary Chain of Reasoning to the Acknowledgment of a supreme,independent, intelligent Being. They faw in every part of the Creation evident Marks of his Power, Wisdom, and Goodness: They discerned that all the inanimate Parts of the World acted perpetually in Submission to the Law of their Creation; the Sun and all the Host of Heaven were constant to their Courses; and, in every
other Part, the Powers of Nature were duly and regularly exerted for the Preservation of the present System: Among Men only they found Disorder and Confusion. That they had
Reason, was plain ;, that they were intended to live according to Reason, could not be doubted ; and yet they saw Virtue often diftressed and abandoned to all the Evils of Life, Vice triumphant, and the World everywhere subject to the Violence of Pride and Ambition. How to account for this they knew not : This only they could observe, that Man was endowed with a Freedom in acting, which the other Beings of the lower World wanted ; and to this they rightly ascribed the Disorders to be found in this Part of the Creation. But though this accounted for the Growth of Evil, yet it rendered no Account of the Justice or Goodness of God in permitting Vice oftentimes to reign here in Glory, whilst Virtue suffered in Distress. Upon these Considerations they concluded, that there must be another State after this, in which all the present Inequalities in the Administration of Providence should be set right, and every Man receive according to his Works.
This was, this is the Ground of our natural Expectation of a Life after this. But
upon this Ground of Truth many Fables and Stories were raised, by Fear and Superstition, and by the Power of Imagination : So that VOL. III.