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to secure his Welfare here. If a righteous Man must never suffer in this World, all the Wicked about him must be restrained from doing him Violence. If a wicked Man must be punished according to his Merit, all who would do him more Harm than he deserves to suffer, must be with-held; and if none designed him Harm enough, somebody must be employed to do the Work. Carry this Reflection abroad into the World, where the Fortunes and Interests of Men are mixed and complicated fo variously together, that one Man's temporal Prosperity depends upon the Actions of many besides himself, and it will be very

clear, that there must be an End of all Freedom, upon Supposition that Rewards and Punishments are to be equally dispensed in this World,

This Consideration leads to another of still greater Weight: For, if the Freedom of human Actions cannot be maintained upon this Supposition, neither can the Distinction of Virtue and Vice. There is no Morality or Immorality, where there is no Choice or Freedom ; Consequently were the Actions of Men under an absolute Controul, they would no more be answerable for their Doings, than a Clock is for its Motions: And there

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fore to call upon God to make all things work by immediate Interposition of his Power, for the present Reward of Virtue, and Punishment of Vice, is a Request not consistent with itself; it is desiring God to do that for the sake of Virtue, which would destroy Virtue, and leave no room for the Exercise of it, no Ground upon which to distinguish it from Vice and ļniquity.

But, to leave these Considerations, let us observe farther, That was Virtue to be constantly attended with Success in worldly Affairs, and Vice certainly pursued with Misery, there would be no room for that Trial of our Faith and Obedience, which is requisite to prepare us for the greater Blessings of another Life. Upon this Suppofition, Virtue would not be what it now is ; it would be a kind of sensual Thing, arising often from Ambition, Avarice, and an inordinate Love of worldly Enjoyments : Reason and Judgment, the Love of God, and a just Sense of our Duty to him, would have little Efficacy in the Business. Now, fince God has placed us here in order to our fitting ourselves for a better World, and has ordained this World for a State of Trial only, it is ablurd to expect from his Wildcon and Justice


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such a Procedure, as would contradict this great and main End of our Creation. The Pleasures and Afflictions of Life are ordained for Trials of our Virtue; and, according to the visible Course of Providence, they really are fo: But if you introduce a new Order, and, by another Dispensation of Good and Evil in this Life, convert these Trials into Rewards and Punishments, you invert the Order of Providence; this Life will no longer be a State of Trial, nor the 'next a State of Rewards and Punishments; for all future Expectations would be in great measure superseded by the immediate Recompence bestowed in this Life.

Upon this Consideration we may go farther, and say, That the Condition of good Men would be really worse than it is, were this. World a Place of Rewards and Punishments for Virtue and Vice. Were this to be the only Place of Rewards and Punishments, the Affertion would be too evident to be denied by any, but such mean wretched Spirits, as would be content to give up their Hopes of Immortality for the present Enjoyment of the World. But take the Case as it now stands with us, supposing only this Alteration, that Virtue and Vice received their due



Portions of Good and Evil here, would noe good Men be Şufferers by losing one great Support of their Hopes and Expectations in another World? The Notions we have of Good and Evil, the Conceptions we form of God by the Exercise of Reason, joined to the Experience we have of the unequal Distribution of Good and Evil in this Life, con spire to prove to us, that there is another and better State, in which the Sufferings of the Righteous shall be fully compensated. Now breaķ this Chain of Reasoning, by introdu; cing Rewards and Punishments into this Life, and you deface the

great Hopes of the Righteous, and present him with an empty Scene of worldly Pleasure, instead of that Weight of Glory which he, upon sure Grounds, ex pected. And what is it that you give him in lieu of his Hopes ? Honours, Riches, Power: But do you not know how little Value true Virtue has for such Poffeffions ? Together with these you give him new Fears of Death ; your Honours and Riches will not purchase Life, or Length of Days; and if he receives his good Things here, what Security can you give him, that he shall have any Thing due to him hereafter? Upon the whole, good Men are in a much better State, taking, aş



they do, their Chance in the World, and relying upon the Justice and Goodness of God for a just Recompence of their Labour; they have more true Comfort and Satisfaction in this Condition, than if they had the World at Command, and no Hopes, or but faint Hopes, of future Happiness.

These Reasons seem to me sufficient to induce us to think, that it is consonant to the Wisdom and Goodness of God to leave Men freely to use the Freedom he has given them: That having bestowed on them an Understanding to know him, and to distinguish between Good and Evil, and sent them into this World, as a Place proper for the Trial of their Virtue, he has left them in the main to the Conduct of their own Reason to improve the uncertain Events and Casualties of Life, and to glorify him either through Honour or Dishonour, through Riches or Poverty, or whatever other Condition of Life may

fall to their Share. Though these Reasons teach us not to expect from the Hand of God the good Things of this World in Reward of Virtue and Obedience; yet they ought not to be carried, nay they cannot be carried so far, as to exclude the Providence of God from the


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