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forbid the exercise of some of the most excellent Virtues of the Chriftian Life, and which are in themselves moft beneficial to the world; good men will exercise great Charity and Goodness, Forgiveness and Patience towards the wicked, will relieve their Wants, and pity their Sufferings, and be their Patrons and Advocates both with God and Men; that is, will do good to them, and procure Bleffings for them.
The Interceffions of good men very often divert Judgments, and obtain great Bleffings for a very wicked Nation. Sodom it felf had escaped upon the interceffion of Abraham, had there been Ten Righteous Perfons found in it: And God very often fpares a wicked Nation for the fake of good men who live among them, and muft fuffer by fuch publick Judgments; that is, he fpares bad men to fave the Righteous. Thus God beftows many TemporalBleffingsupon the Friends, Relations, and Pofterity of good men, tho they are wicked; and this is part of the Reward of Piety and Virtue in thisWorld; and therefore all good men cannot be rewarded, and all wicked men punished in this world; because many good men must be punished in the Punishments of the wicked, and many wicked men must escape, nay, muft profper in the world, as a Reward of the good; which is not confidered by those who make the Impunity and Profperity of fome bad men an Argument against Providence; when the very Profperity of thefe bad men is many times the Reward of Virtue, and a defign'd Favour and Indulgence. to the good. But what I have now faid, plainly proves that God's Judgment in this World is not final, becaufe
caufe good and bad men live together; and it is abfolutely neceffary that they fhould be parted, when God comes to render to every man according to his Works; as our Saviour declares that they fhall be at the Final Judgment, when the Sheep fhall be placed on his Right I land, and the Goats on the left.
2. That God's Judgment in this world is not Final, appears from this, that all good men are not rewarded, nor all wicked men punished in this World, as they ought to be, if God did not intend to judge men in the next world for what they have done in this..
That this is fo, I need not prove, because we every day fee it; and this is made a great Objection against Providence, that many bad men are profperous, and many good men afflicted. And a foolish Objection it is against Providence, but a very good Argument for a Future Judg
When we have fo many Arguments to prove that God does govern the World, that he does even in this Life reward good men, and punish the wicked, as much as is neceffary for the good Government of the world, it is very abfurd to confute all this only by faying that he does not govern the World as we think he ought to govern it; that is, that he does not punish every bad man, nor reward every good man in this Life. Whoever would make good this Argument, muft prove, that there is no other World after this, wherein God can reward those good men, and punish those wicked men, whom he has not fufficiently rewarded or punished in this life; or he muft prove that it is abfolutely
abfolutely neceffary to the ends of Government, to reward every good man, and to punish every wicked man in this World, and not to defer their final Rewards and Punishments to the next; for if it be granted that there is another World after this, and that God if he fees fit may defer the final Rewards and Punishments of good and bad men to the next World; then this is no Objection at all against Providence.
But then instead of being an Objection against Providence, it becomes a very ftrong Argument for a Future Judgment: For if God does govern and judge the World, and yet Juftice is not equally and impartially adminiftred to all men, but fome good men are greatly afflicted, and fome wicked men are greatly profperous, it is little less than a Demonftration, that there is fome other Judgment to come, besides what God exercifes in this World: For it is certain, if God judge the World at all, he will judge it righteously, and will render to every man according to his Works; for Juftice and Righteousness is effential to the Notion of a God; and therefore fince we fee this is not always done in this World, we muft conclude that God's Judgment of Mankind does not end with thisWorld,but extends to aFuture State; that is, that there is a Judgment to come after this Life, when we shall be rewarded according to our Works.
3. That the Judgment of God in this world is not Final, appears from this, that the Rewards and Punishments of this Life cannot be the final and proper Rewards and Punishments of good and bad men: External Profperity,and External Miferies and Sufferings, are the only Reward and Punishments
nishments we are capable of in this Life; and therefore. when God would vifibly exprefs his Kindness and Favour to good men, he makes them profperous; and when he would exprefs his Anger and Displeasure againft the wicked, he punifhes them with fome Temporal Evils: And this is all that can be done in this World, except the peace and fatisfaction, or the guilty remorfe of our own Confciences, which God can heighten as he fees fit. Bnt now it is certain, that external Profperity is not the proper and peculiar Reward of Virtue, nor external Sufferings the peculiar Punishment of Sin; for if they were,a juft and righteous Judge could never permit bad men to be profperous,nor good men to be afflicted, if Profperity were due only to Virtue, and Afflictions and Sufferings to Vice: The promifcuous Diftribution of the good and evil things of this world, both to good and to bad men, proves that Profperity is not always good, nor Adverfity always evil; that Profperity is rather a prefent Encouragement, than the proper Reward of Virtue; and External Calamities rather a Curb and Restraint, than the proper punishment of Vice; and therefore when God can serve the ends of his Providence by it, he may make bad men profperous,and afflict thegood, for this is not to transfer the neceffary and peculiar Rewards of Virtue upon bad men, nor to inflict the peculiar Punishments of Sin upon good men, which cannot be done by a juft and righteous Judge: Now if the Happiness and Miferies of this Life be not the proper and peculiar and infeperable Rewards and Punishments of Virtue and Vice, then there are fome other Rewards and Punishments referved for good and bad men in
in the next world; fuch Rewards as no bad man fhall fhare in, and fuch Punishments as fhall not be inflicted on any good man; that is, befides the Providence and Judgment of God in this world, God will judge good and bad men in the next, and render to every man according to his works.
· II. The Nature of the Divine Providence and Government, and the Manner and Circumftances of its Administration in this world, are a plain Indication of a Future Judgment.
The visible design of Providence is not to reward all good men, and to punish the wicked in this world, for this is not done; but to curb and reftrain wickedness, and to encourage Piety and Virtue; and therefore God gives us fuch Examples of his Juftice, as are fufficient to over-awe mankind, and make them fear his Power and Vengeance; and fuch Examples of his Favour, Kindnefs, and regard to good men, as may encourage them to be good, and virtuous, with the expectations of great Rewards: But what does all this fignifie, unless it proves that God will punish bad men, and reward the good? and if it proves this, it must prove that God will do it in, the next world, for it is plain that he does not do it here. And therefore if we will allow that God governs the world wifely, we must confefs that the Examples of God's Goodness and Justice in this world prove a Future Judgment; for they are not fo univerfal as to answer the ends of Juftice in rewarding good men, and punishing the wicked in this World; and unless they prove a Future Judgment, they are not fufficient either