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lay aside all Mercy. And, if we are able to corrupt or destroy our own Nature, the divine Nature we are able neither to corrupt nor destroy. Men formerly beat Drums in the Valley of Hinnon, that the Cries of the Children, who were sacrific’d to the Fiery Idal, and who shriek’d most ruefully among the Flames, might not be heard by their Parents or the People. But though you could make all Heaven resound with perpetual Thunderings, yet you can never bring it to pafs, that in this Tophet, concerning which we speak, you can hinder the Lamentations, and the piercing Cries of so many Millions of tormented Wretches, from mounting up to the Ears of Jehova, the Father and the Fountain of all Mercy.

Now behold, if you please, o merciless Doctor, the Spectacle that you set before us; what Theatre of Providence! Behold by much the greater Part of the Race of Men, weltering amidst the Flames for everlasting Ages ! O Scene, deserving to have God and Angels for its Spectators! And then to charm your Ears, while you hear Heaven and Earth resounding with the Screams, the Shrieks, the Groans, the Roars of so many Millions of the tormented Damn'd, have you not a divine Harmony in your Ears, a truly celestial Consort. Besides, this gives me no small Displeasure, that I see so great a Part of reasonable Nature, in this Manner entirely lost and become the Outcast of Things;

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like Salt that has lost its Savour, or Wine that has lost its Spirit, thrown contemptibly out of Doors, too vile for any present Use, or any future Hope.

Every Creature, as far as it appears to us, is liable to fall, as well as the Wicked and the Damn'd. But if they who fall after the same Manner, are altogether irrecoverable, the whole intellectual Creation is then exposed, not only to Vanity, but to eternal Misery: And to have framed such a Nature of Things*, would not have require so much a divine Goodness, as the Cruelty of some evil Demon, or the hazardous Work of Chance. God formerly repented, that he had made Man, by reason of his abominable Wickedness: Miserable Man will in his

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* That which happens in this world may possibly happen in others; but here, as 'cis vulgarly believ'd, the greater Part of Humankind will perish eternally. Make but the fame Supposition of other Worlds, and then what a Havock, what Defolation will there be of the rational Nature, if you extend the Account throughout the Universe? This loft afeless Part of Nature will far exceed the remaining Part. I call it useless; for it will be, as it were, the Caput Mortuun of the Universe, or the cursed barren Dregs of Earth, from whence nothing good or valuable can be extracted. And not only fo; it is not only an unprofitable Burden upon Nature, but an intolerable Burden to itself; neither can it relinquish, nor bear itself. It curses the hateful Light, and the Day whereon it first saw the Sun and the Stars; curses the over-officious Hour that call'd it forth from its primitive Nothing, where it lay quiet in a happy State of Silence and Obscurity

Turn repent that ever God created him; since it had been much better for him never to have at all existed. *

Let thus much suffice concerning Hell, and the future Punishment of the Wicked, provided you subjoin that Admonition, which is always used by the forementioned Fathers, whenever they handle this Subject; that is to say, whatever your Opinion is within yourself, and in your own Breast concerning these Punishments, whether they are eternal or not; yet always with the People, and when you preach to the People, use the receiv'd Doctrine, and the received Words in the Sense, in which the People receive them: For they are apt to run headlong into Vice, and are to be terrify'd from offending by the Apprehension of Punishment only. Besides,

among the Good, there are the Children, and 1 Cor. iii. the Persons grown up, to be nourish'd with Milk, or more folid Food, according to the

Strength

2.

Heb. v. 12,

13.

* In fine, they who cannot approve of the Doctrine of absolure Reprobabation, because it seems repugnant to the divine Nature and Attributes, ought to be as much difpleased with the eternal Punishments of the Wicked, since they are equally repugnant to the same Attributes; as, on the other Hand, 'tis the Interest of those who receive that Doctrine of Reprobation, to reject this of eternal Punishment; because thereby they will much lessen the Force of the greatest Objection, that lies against them; since it will not be altogether fo shocking for a Man to be pre-ordain'd and condemn'd to Punishments that will have an End; but to Punishments erernal and intolerable, would be the most poignant and exquisite Severity,

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Strength of each of them. No less Regard is to be paid to these, nor is the Diet of the little Ones, or the weak Ones to be rashly chang’d, least an Intemperature in their Constitutions should arise, and throw them into Diseases. You ought to have always before your Eyes, and always in your Designs, the Progress of Providence in gradually promoting * Piety in the World, and in illuminatiug Humankind; and you ought in your Endeavours and your Designs, to proceed with an equal Pace till we arrive to that, that what has been whisper'd to us, we may proclaim upon the House Top. But Minds are gradually to be accustom’d to bear the more forcible Rays of Truth. Too much Light is hurtful to tender Eyes, or Light too suddenly pour'd upon

them. Few behold Things themselves as they are, but only their Innages as they appear when they are seen, as it were, in a Glass. But we shall at length, if it pleases God, see the Things themselves even Face to Face, as they say, the Vail being taken from them. This we shall do, partly towards the End of this World, but more fully in the next.

The

* And therefore, as this was written for the Perusal of the Learned only, whoever shall translate it into the vulgar Language, I can think no otherwise, but that he does it with an ill Intention and for wicked Purposes.

The CONCLUSION. W

HEN the Matter of this Book is of

: various kinds, and comprehends di, vers Heads of the Christian Doctrine, and those for the most Part beyond the Paths and the Light of Nature, it may easily happen, that in treating of these, I

may sometimes have err'd from the Mark. I am buț a Man, but a little Man, and am far from thinking myself above the Infirmities that are incident to human Nature.' But he who with a fincere Mind, and who without any Fear, or Averfion, or Affection whatever, seeks the naked Truth, has God for his Affiftant; God, I say, will open to him who knocks, will give to him who asks, provided we ask for that pure and pacifick Wisdom which descends from Heaven. Nor let

me,

because that, in treating of this Subject, I have found many Things obfçure in the sacred Writings ; many Things, if I may use the Expression, not adequately, or not absolutely reveal'd. I defire that this

may

be understood as spoke, with regard to my own Understanding and Capacity: And if any other Person shall clear

up

those Passages better, I shall be glad to embrace the Discovery, and to congratulate the Author:

But

any one blame

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