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ing them to play fast and loose with oaths. And it is a very fad lign of the decay of Christian religion among us, to see so many who call themselves Christians, to make so little conscience of so great a sin, as even the light of nature would blush and tremble at.
I will conclude all with those excellent sayings of the son of Sirach concerning these two sins I have been speaking of, profane swearing, and perjury: Ecclus xxiii. 9. 11. &c. Accustom not thy mouth to swearing : neither use thyself to the naming of the holy One. A man that useth much swearing Mall be filled with iniquity, and the plague Jhall never depart from his house: if he shall offend, his sin mall be upon him : and if he acknowledge not his sin, he maketh a double offence; and if he swear falfely, he shall not be innocent, but his house Mall be full of calamities. And to represent to us the dreadful nature of this sin of perjury: There is, faith he, a word that is clothed about with death, meaning a rash and false oath. There is a word that is clothed about with death: God grant it be not found in the heritage of Jacob, for all such things shall be far from the godly, and they will not wallow in these fins. From which God preserve all good men, and make them careful to preserve themselves; as they value the present peace of their own consciences, and the favour of almighty God in this world and the other, for his mercies fake in Jesus Christ. To whom, So.
S E R
Μ Ο Ν
Preached at the funeral of the Reverend
Mr. Thomas Gouge, the 4th of November 1681, at St. Anne's, Blackfriars. With a brief account of his life.
The EPIS ILE DEDICATOR Y.
To the Right Worshipful the President, the Treasurer,
and the rest of the worthy Governors of the hospital of CHRIST-CHURCH in London.
Hen, upon the request of some of the relations and to speak the truth, in compliance with mine own inclination to do right to the memory of so good a man, and to set fo great an example in the view of all men, I had determined to make this discourse publick; I knew not where more fitly to address it, than to yourselves, who are the living pattern of the
same virtue, and the faithful dispensers and managers of one of the best and greatest charities in the world : opecially since he had a particular relation to you, and was pleased
for some years last past, without any other consideration but that of charity, to employ his constant pains in catechising the poor children of your hospital; wisely considering of how great consequence it was to this city, to have the foundations of religion well laid in the tender years of So many perfons as were afterwards to be planted there in several professions ; and from a true humility of mind, being ready to stoop to the meanest office and service to do good.
I have heard from an intimate friend of his, that he would sometimes with great pleasure say, that he had two livings which he would
not exchange for two of the greatest in England, meaning Wales and Christ's hospital. Contrary to common account, he esteemed every advantage of being, useful and serviceable to God and men a rich benefice, and those his best patrons and benefactors, not who did him good,
but who gave him the opportunity and means of doing it. To you therefore, as his patrons, this
sermon doth of right belong, and to you I humbly dedicate it; heartily beseeching almighty God to raise up many, by his example, that may
, serve their generation according to the will of God, as he did. I am
Your faithful and humble servant,
SE R M O N.
LUK E XX. 37. 38. Now that the dead are raised, even Mofes shewed at the
bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living : for all live to him.
HE occasion of these words of our blessed Savi.
our was an objection which the Sadducees made
against the resurrection, grounded upon a case which had sometimes happened among them, of a woman that had had seven brethren successively to her husbands. Upon which case they put this question to our Saviour, Whose wife of the seven shall this woman be at the resurrection that is, If men live in another world, how shallthe controversy between these seven brethren be decided ? for they all seem to have an equal claim to this woman, each of them having had her to wife.
This captious question was not easy to be answered by the Pharisees, who fancied the enjoyments of the next life to be of the same kind with the sensual pleasures of this world, only greater and more durable. From which tradition of the Jews concerning a sensual paradise, Mahomet seems to have taken the pattern of his ; as he did likewise many other things from the Jewish traditions. Now, upon this supposition, that in the next life there will be marrying and giving in marriage, it was a que
stion not easily satisfied, Whose wife of the seven this woman should then be?
But our Saviour clearly avoids the whole force of it, by shewing the different state of men in this world, and in the other : The children of this world, says he, marry, and are given in marriage ; but they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. And he does not barely and magisterially affert this doctrine, but gives a plain and substantial reason for it; because they cannot die any more. After men have lived a while in this world, they are taken away by death, and therefore marriage is necessary to maintain a succession of mankind; but in the other world men shall become immortal, and live for ever; and then the reason of marriage will wholly cease: for when men can die no more, there will then be no need of any new supplies of mankind.
Our Saviour having thus cleared himfelf of this objection, by taking away the ground and foundation of it, he produceth an argument for the proof of the resurrection, in the words of my text: Now that the dead are raised, Mofes even shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob; that is, when in one of his books God is brought in speaking to him out of the bush, and calling himself by the title of the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. From whence our Saviour infers the resurrection ; because God is not the God of the dead, but of the living : for all live to him.
My design from these words is, to shew the force and strength of this argument which our Saviour urgeth for the proof of the resurrection. In order whereunto I shall
1. Consider it as an argument ad hominem ; and shew the fitness and force of it to convince those with whom our Saviour disputed.
2. I shall inquire, Whether it be more than an argument ad hominem ? And if it be, wherein the real and absolute force of it doth consist ?
And then I fall apply this doctrine of the resurrection to the present occasion. I. We will consider it as an argument ad hominem; and
thew the fitness and force of it to convince those with whom our Saviour disputed. And this will appear, if we carefully consider these four things.
1. What our Saviour intended directly and immediately to prove by this argument.
2. The extraordinary veneration which the Jews in general had for the writings of Moses above
other books of the Old Testament.
3. The peculiar notion which the Jews had concerning the use of this phrase or expression of God's being any one's God.
4. The great respect which the Jews had for these three fathers of their nation, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For each of these make our Saviour's argument more forcible against those with whom he disputed.
1. We will consider what our Saviour intended directly and immediately to prove by this argument; and that was this, that there is another state after this life, wherein men shall be happy or miserable according as they have lived in this world. And this doth not only fuppose the immortality of the soul, but, forasmuch as the body is an essential part of man, doth by confequence infer the resurrection of the body; because otherwise the man would not be happy or miserable in the other world. But I cannot see any sufficient ground to believe, that our Saviour intended by this argument directly and immediately to prove the resurrection of the body, but only by consequence, and as it follows from the admission of a future state wherein men shall be rewarded or punished. For that reason of our Saviour, that God is not a God of the dead, but of the living, if it did directly prove the re surrection of the body, it would prove that the bodies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were raised to life again, at or before that time when God spake to Moses, and called himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob : but we do not believe this; and therefore ought not to suppose, that it was the intention of our Saviour directly and immediately to prove the resurrection of the body, but only, as I said before, a future state. And that this was all our Saviour intended, will more plainly appear, if we consider what that error of the Sadıucces was which our Saviour here confutes. And Josephus,who VOL. II.