Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

42 BAXTERS DYING TIIGUGHTS: Christianity, do fully acknowledge- it. Besides those philosophers who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, Maximus Tyrius, and such others. And we find that this notice bath so deep a root in nature, that few of those that study and labor themselves' into bestiality (or sadducism) are able to excuse the fears of future misery, but con- science overcometh, or troubleth them much, at least, when they have done the worst they can against it. And whence should all this be in .man and not in beast, if'man had no further reason of hopes and fears' than they? Are a few Sadducees wiser, by their forced or crude conceits, than all the world that are taught by na- túre itself? III. If the God of nature have made it every man's certain , duty to-. make it his chief care and work in this life to seek for happiness-hereafter, then Such a happiness there is for them that truly seek it. But the antecedent is certain, as I have 'elsewhere proved. Ergo, &c. As to the antecedent. The world is made up of three sorts of men, as to the belief of future retribution ; 1. Such as take it for a certain truth ; such are Chrisstians, Mahometana, and most hea- thens. 2. Such as take it for uncertain, but most probable or likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for uncertain, but 'rather think ituntrue. Fdr, as none can be certain that it is false, which indeed is true, so I never yet met with one that would say he was certain that it was false ; so that I need not trouble- you with- the mention 'of any other party, or opinion,; butif any should say so, it is easy to prove that he speaketh falsely of himself. And that it is the dutyof all these, but especially of the two firmer sorts, to make it -their chief care and work to seek, their happiness in. the -life to come, is easily proved thus : Natural reason requiréth every man to 'seek that which is best for himself, with the greatest diligence ; but natural reason saith that probabil- ity, or possibility, of the future everlasting happiness is better and more worthy tò be sought;, than any 'thing attainable in this present life, (which doth not suppose it.) Ergo, &c. The major is past doubt. Good,and felicity being necessarily desired by the will of man, that which, is best, and known so to be, must be most desired. And the, minor should be as far past doubt to men that use Cot theirsense against their reason. For, 1, In this life there is noth- ing certain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain that all will quickly end -, and that the longest life is short. 3. It is certain that time and pleasure past are nothing; properly nóthing ; and so no better to us than if they had never been. 4. And it is certain that, while we possess them, they are 'poor, unsatisfactory things,