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But fay, should the wicked, the flothful, the careless finner live to grow in years; what child reveres him? With how much contempt is he treated even by his wicked companions? Who covets his friendship? Who does not defpife his company? A foolish old man is certainly a most contemptible creature; but a wicked one is the shame of mankind.-How ill fuits all manner of intemperance with age? Such behaviour will stifle all kindness in friends, charity in neighbours, and duty in children: he falls into the grave; and, it is to be feared into eternal torment too, unpitied and defpi- . fed. The greatest happiness that could befal fuch a man, would be to perish like the brutes, and have his very name buried in oblivion.
How different is the fate of the wife and virtuous man? His children regard him as their dearest benefactor, their trueft friend; they are ready to affist him with all the chearfulness imaginable, and try every expedient in their power to prolong his life and render it comfortable and, if it may be, pleafant. His neighbours court his acquaintance; rejoice in the profperity of his family, and are ready to testify upon all occafions their approbation of his conduct. Virtue adds fuch an inexpreffible sweetness to old age, that no state of life, in the opinion of the wife and the virtuous ought so much to be envied :-But to proceed; when that life, which he has fo happily prolonged by his temperance and fobriety, is fo far weakened, as to warn him of his approaching diffolution: how calmly does he wait the Almighty's pleasure? His foul being secure in the gracious promises of the Gospel, the nearer the approaches the borders of death, is the more eager for immortality, and feels the greater longings after happiness-At the hour of death he refigns this transitory world with delight; and his foul, full of the aweful idea of God's juftice, with the strongest assurances of his inexpreffible mercy and goodness finks calmly into eternal bliss.
As nothing illuftrates truth better than example, we shall lay be-
of great parts and learning, who being upon his death-bed, and taking his folemn leave of his attendants, thus addreffed them"Oh my friends! Behold in me the end of this world and all its i vanities! Love my memory! Be kind to one another, govern your wills and affections by the will and word of your Creator.-Whenyour time shall come you will remember my last words!-You "will feel their force !-either with comfort or remorfe." Then feizing the hand of him that fat next him-" Ah! friend, ah! "brother,—continued he,-I repent of all my life, but that part of "it I spent in communion with my God, and in doing good.-My
fpirits fink within me.-Farewell!-Pray for me !-Pray earnest"ly!-Pray for yourselves!-Pray without ceafing!-Watch every "action of your life !-Be happy, as I hope to be, through Jefus "Chrift my Redeemer!-my Judge!-my God!-ever great!-"ever terrible!—but ever merciful and just.”
To conclude; let us all not only agree in the truth of these things; but seriously refolve to make a diligent enquiry after everlasting happiness, and pray inceffantly the Almighty to give success to our endeavours. Let us fhew that we believe by our works; and as a very little confideration will affure us, THERE IS A SUPREME BEING, let us act as thofe, who fear his displeasure, dread his wrath, and trust only in his mercy.
"Go in thy native innocence! rely
"On what thou haft of Virtue; fummon all
"For God tow'rds thee hath done his part, do thine.
A future State demonftrated from the Nature
of the Soul.
ACTS XXIII. 8.
THE SADDUCEES SAY THAT THERE IS NO RESURRECTION, NEITHER ANGEL NOR SPIRIT.
T has been often remarked that let an opinion be ever fo abfurd, there are always perfons credulous enough to espouse and defend it.
What damned error, but some fober brow
This is fo apparent a truth that it would be needless to produce arguments to prove it, fince the variety of nugatory notions that have found ample credit in the world will fufficiently justify the afsertion. With how much warmth are the groffeft fictions; the wildest flights of a distempered imagination maintained as realities; and how firmly are they credited by the bigotted Enthusiast? What strange and irregular principles are held as the facred mandates of heaven by the blind adorers of Mahomet? And what extravagant fancies in all ages have led the barbarous heathen aftray? -Nay
-Nay further, in this very nation, where the light of the Gospel shines fo clearly, in a church fo truly reformed as ours is, there have not been wanting even profeffors weak or wicked enough to teach for the doctrines of God the commandments of men. But of all the irrational opinions that mankind ever gave into no one is or can be of a more deftructive tendency than that of the Sadducees, who fay, that there is no refurrection, neither angel nor fpirit; or, in other words, that there is no life after this. Man has fuch an innate thirst after immortality that there can be no greater testimony of a fordid and groveling difpofition, than to give way to fuch an abject, mean fpirited idea, and to take pride in producing a few weak and fallacious arguments against the voice of nature, and the general consent of universal mankind. The bare fuppofition of our falling into nought, is a severe satire upon human nature—could the Sadducee perfuade the world into his opinion, what would the event be, but the diffolution of harmony, friendship, and every focial virtue? What would reftrain the murderer from his horrid purposes, the robber from his plunder, or the licentious from his brutal machinations? Would not every thing be right that conduced to our paffing this fhort life with as much feftivity as poffible? Would not human laws be evaded, and presently fall to nothing? For every one would then purfue his own private interest, without regard or concern for his neighbour: and should this be the cafe, would not the condition of mankind be deplorable indeed? But suppose we should allow that the world might be reftrained and kept in order by wholefome laws, and that a way could be found out to make those laws ftrictly obferved; yet fuch a tenet as that of the Sadducees would be destructive of all private felicity. Those who were poffeffed of the largest share of Fortune's favours, might juftly murmur, repine, and be uneasy at the thought of their approaching lofs; and what a poor confolation would it be to the unhappy and indigent to reflect, that from being miserable, they
are haftening to be nothing? In short, the Sadducee vilifies mankind, diffolves the strongest bands of fociety, gives a fevere check to private happiness; and should they be mistaken, as undoubtedly they are, will not their ill-judging followers be involved in mifery eternal? A woeful and irreparable error !-But I am perfuaded no one would entertain a thought of perishing like the brutes, but those only who delight to live as fuch: none therefore but the most profligate and inconfiderate will join with the Sadducee and fay, there is no life after this.
We are very fenfible that what has been hitherto advanced conveys no argument against their affertion; but we were willing, by way of preface, to fhew how deftructive fuch a doctrine would be, even though it were true, in order to engage your attention to the arguments, we shall produce in order to demonstrate that it is false.
To reduce what we have to fay into fome method, we shall endeavour to fhew, that many useful and powerful arguments for a Future State may be deduced.
FIRST, from the nature of the foul.
SECONDLY, from the miseries of this life; and the unequal dif
tribution of the good things thereof. And,
LASTLY, from the univerfal confent of mankind.
FIRST we are to fhew, that folid and comfortable arguments very for a future ftate may be collected from the nature of the foul. And here, if contrary to our inclination and defign, we should advance any thing above the comprehenfion of the unlearned part of our hearers, we have this to offer in our favour, that we must have been filent on one of the most convincing and fatisfactory evidences of`a future state, had we left the nature of the foul entirely unexamined. We shall, however, be as plain in this particular as our subject will permit; and we hope the greater part of our hearers will feel the force of our arguments which we are fatisfied will be convincing,