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Tribunal in the world to come, where Rewards and Punishments shall be more equally dispensed.
But to discourse this more particularly ; I observe
that the externalAppearancesof Providence, prove that God does govern and judge the world at prefent, as much as is necessary to the ends of Government in this world : I confess, did it appear that God took no care of the Government of the world at present, I faould very much question whether he would judge the world hereafter; but when there are plain and evident proofs that a wife and just Providence does govern the world, that God makes such a difference at prefent between good and bad men , as the good Government of this world requires ; 'this is a fufficient reason to expect a more exact, impartial, universal Judgment of good and bad men in the next world. To state this matter plainly, and to make a very sensible Argument of it, I shall 1. Shew you what evidence we have of a Divine Justice and Providence which governs the world at present. 2. The Force of this Consequence, from the Providence of God in this world, to a Judgment in the next. 1. What evidence we have of a Divine
Justice and Providence which governs the world; and I shall begin,
1. With that Divine Justice which is interwoven in the nature of things : For if God have so contrived the nature of things, that wickedness is a punishment to it self
; and wicked men a Plague and Scourge to each other, it is a plain demonftration, that when God made man, he intended to govern him too, fince he has annexed such natural Rewards or Punishments to a virtu
ous or vịcious Life: I am sure this is as good an Argument for a Providence, asthe wise Contrivance of things is for God's making the World. We think it very absurd to say, that the World was made by chance, or withouta wise Creator, when there is such admirable Art and Curiosity in the Make of the meanest Creature,as the wiseft Philosophers are not able to underltand much less to imitate: And if all Human Art and Philosophy cannot make
a Fly, nor so much as understand the Make of it, how can we poslibly imagine; that such a world as this,
which consists of such infinite variety of Creatures, and every Creature made up of so many Natural Wonders, and all so admirably fitted to each other,as to make up an uniform, regular, and beautiful world, should own any o ther Author, but an Infinitely, Wise and Perfect Being, who has all Power, and all pollible Ideas of Usefulness and Beauty. That is to say, Since there are such apparent Characters and Imprestions of anexcellentand unsearchable wisdom in the Frame of the world , a wise Being must
be the Maker of it: And is it not as good an Argument, Thật:if Human Nature be so contrived. that Man who is a Free Agents shall be happy, or miserable, as he is good or bad, that God made him to be governed and therefore intended to govern him; nay, did more than intend it, for he contrived his Nature fo, as to govèrn it felf? for tho he has made him a Free Agent , yet he has :> left nothing at his liberty, but whether he will be happy or miserables the one he must be, and he may indeed chufe which he will; but there could i not be a greater natural Restraint upon a Free Agent, than to make Happiness or Misery the re
ward of his Choice ; especially since Nature teaches all Mankind to love themselves, and to be happy if they can.
That this is fo, is so evident to our very senses, that it is a good Subje&to declaim on, but needs no proof: What is there that can make any man miserable in this world, which is not the natural and necessary effe&t of some fome Sin or other?
Will irregular and furious Paffions make a man miserable ? a confounding shame,diftra&ing and terrifying Fears,raging Anger, Malice, Revenge, great Perplexity,Solicitude,
Anxiety of thoughts if the pain and torment of mind is misery, these Paffions must make men miserable: Now all these are the paffions of a sinful mind, Sin is the Parent and the Nurse of them • A virtuous man, who always takes care to do his Duty, and what becomes him, knows not what shame means ; if he be slander'd, reproach'd, and vilified, he may blush a little to be thought a bad man, but his own Conscience does not reproach him:Nothing is truly infamous, but what is wicked ; and therefore Shame can never disturb an innocent and virtuous mind. Good men may be afraid of some Temporal Evils and Calamities, but it is Sin which distracts men with guilty Fears, which are fo unsupportable to Human Nature. Nay, when our worldly fears are excessive and tor menting, they are raised and aggravated by some Vice or other, either by too great a passion and fondness for this world, or a diftruft of the Divine Providenceand Protection; which is the true Cause also of that Thoughtfulness, Anxiety, and Solicitude', which the love of Riches, and the fear of losing such uncertain Treasures create. A
raging Anger, Malice, Revenge, is owing to Self-love , Pride", Covetousness, Injustiće, and such other Vices, as make men Injurious to each other, and impatient of Injuries. Man had been a Stranger to all these troublesome tormenting Passions, had he continued Innocent: And whoever would enjoy Peace, and Contentment, and Satisfaction of Mind, quiet and easy,and chearful Pafsions, muft root out those Vices which make such a Ferment, and raife fuch unnatural Tempefts in our Breasts.
Is Pain and Sickness, Poverty and Disgrace, an Untimely or Infamous Death, a great punishment to men? These would be the punishments of some kinds and degrees of Sin,though neither God nor men should judge Sinners. Drunkenness, and Gluttony, and Luft, will destroy our Health, and afflict us with tormenting Diseases, and shorten our Lives, and waste our Estates, and make us infamous : If you want a proof of this, go visit the Hospitals and the Goals; see the miserable Spectacles of Rottennessand Poverty there, and enquire into the Causes of them
and how many Martyrs and Confessors there are to Intemperance and Luft, or some other destructive Vice: Enquire into the Decays of Noble and Flourishing Families ; how goodly Lordships and Mannors come so often to change their Masters; what makes Riches such uncertain and mutable things : Look into the Streets, and see what Crowds of miserable and distressed People, Sloth and Idleness,and other Vices, have sent thither. What loud Clamours should we have against the Justice of the Divine Providence, did men suffer half so much by Piety and Virtue, as they do in the service of their Lusts?
If mens own Vices be not a sufficient punishment to them, we may consider in the next place, how bad men punish one another. There are infinite instances of this even in well-governed Kingdoms, where the Vices of men are restrained by publick Laws, and the feverest Executions of Juftice; yet'how many Outrages do they commit, Rapes, Murders, Thefts, Oppression, Iujuftice, and all sorts of Violence! What work does Pride, and Covetousness, and Lust make ! especially when fuch Vices as these infect great men, and are armed with Power to do Mischief, witness all the bloody Wars of Aspiring and Ambitious Princes, attended with the Ruinsand Desolations of flourishing Countries, and allthe Miseries and Calamities which the moft frightful Fancy can conceive, or the most Poetick Wit defcribe.
But then on the other hand, Virtue has its natural Rewards ; it gives peace and satisfaction to the Mind, governs our Appetites and Passions, that they cause.no pain or disturbance to ús; it is the best means to preserve our Health, to encrease our Fortune,to procure Friends to reconcile Enemies, to give us Credit and Reputation, to escape the Injuries of bad men, to pass through the world with as little envy, and opposition, and justling, as it is possible; that is, it is not of it self sufficient to make a good man complearly happy in this world , for there is no such thing to be had here; but it is the only thing that can make him as happy as he can be here ; it will prevent a great many mischiefs which other men fall into and enable him to bear those patiently, which it cannot prevent. This is the first step of God's governing Man