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vinę Providence; I shall now instance in two Things with regard to the present Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, which deserve our Notice. The one is, that the Rewards of Mens good Actions, and the Punishments of their evil ones, often extend to their Children or Posterity. The other is, the punishing Men for their Sins even after they have sincerely repented of them.
It cannot be reasonably denied, that the Rewards of Mens good Actions, and the Punishments of their evil ones, frequently extend in their Effects to their Children or Posterity. How often may we observe, that Persons fare the better for the Piety and Virtue of their Parents and Ancestors, and enjoy. Advantages which were originally owing to the Goodness of those from whom they descended! And on the other Hand, the Effects of Mens Wickedness often fall heavy upon their Posterity. They frequently inherit distempered Bodies, Poverty, Disgrace, the Lots of Honours and worldly Substance, and other Evils, which were originally brought on by the bad Conduct of their Parents or Progenitors. This indeed never extendeth to the final Retributions of a future State, fince it could not be thought just or fit, that any Perfons should be made happy or miserable for ever, for the Virtues or Faults of their parents or Ancestors. But it is wisely ordered, that it should be frequently so with regard to temporal Evils or Blessings in this State of Trial and Discipline, in which alone these Relations of Fathers and Children do properly subfift. It tendeth greatly to recommend Piety and Virtue, and to make the Benefits and happy Effects of it more conspicuous, when the Advantage of a Man's Virtues and Services overflows to his Children after him, and contributes to derive a Blessing upon them. And on the other Hand, it rendereth Sin and Vice more odious, and furnisheth
powerful Dissuasives against it, to consider that the bad Effects of wicked Actions are not confined to those who commit them, but frequently extend to their Children too; so that a Concern for the Welfare of their Children and Families, as well as their own, should have a great Influence to engage Persons to the Practice of Religion and Virtue, and to deter them from vicious and ungodly Courses.
The other Thing I mentioned, and which deserves also to be considered, is, that God often seeth fit to punish Men for their Sins even after they have sincerely repented of them. Though he so far pardoneth them that they shall not be condemned, or made miserable on the Account of those Sins in a future State, yet he frequently ordereth it fo that they suffer under the Effects of them in this. A remarkable Instance of which we have in God's Dealing with David. Though when he was brought to a deep and ingenuous Repentance for his Sins, the Prophet Nathan was commissioned to declare to him in the Name of God, The Lord hath put away thy Sin, thou shalt not die. 2 Sam. xii. 13. yet many and grievous Penalties were inflicted upon him ; the most shocking Calamities were raised against him out of his own Family ; all which were to be regarded as the Judgments of God upon him on the Account of his Sins. And this is certainly a very wise Procedure well suited to this State of Discipline, the more effectually to impress Mens Minds with a deep Sense of the great Evil of Sin, and God's just Displeasure against it; in that he will not let it
absolutely unpunished, even in those who have turned to him with a true Contrition. Let no Man, therefore, presume to venture upon Sin in the Hope and Expectation of Pardon
upon Repentance; since even though his Repentance should be fincere, and of the right Kind, yet many bad Effects of his Sins may still continue. How often doth it happen that Persons, even af
ter Repentance and Reformation, are made to poless the Sins of their Youth! In consequence of their former Vices they suffer by grievous Pains and Diseases of Body, or by Breaches made upon their Fortunes, even after they have heartily repented, and forsaken those Sins which first brought those Evils
them. Seventhly, The Inequality of Mens outward Conditions and Circumstances, the Uncertainty and Inftability of human Affairs, and the many Viciffitudes to which they are subject, which have been often urged as Objections against Providence, do yet; if duly considered, furnish manifest Proofs of the divine Wisdom. It might easily be shewn that the remarkable Variety of Mens Conditions and Circumstances in this present State is much more wisely ordered, than if all Men were levelled to the fame Condition. It gives greater Scope for. Industry, and is better suited to the Variety of Mens Powers and Capacities. It would be as absurd to expect or require, that all Men in the Community or political Body Thould be in the same Station or Circumstances, as that all the Members of the natural Body should be exactly in the same Situation and Position. Different Abilities, Conditions, and Stations, are necessary to mutual Assistance and Dependence, and to
the Exercise of focial Virtues, and bind Men more strongly together in Society; all concurring in their several Ways to the Service and Advantage of one another, and of the whole. Those in an inferior Station are as useful and as necessary in their Place in Society, as those in a higher. And it is manifestly proper that most of Mankind should be in a low Condition, and have Tempers and Capacities fitted for it. So that it may be justly said, that the Difference of Genius's, Conditions, and Circumstances, tendeth to public Happiness, and to the greater Good of the whole ; and that without it much of the Beauty, Order, and Harmony of Society would be loft.
The Uncertainty of Events, and Instability of human Affairs, is also very suitable to the Nature of a State of Trial and Difcipline. It tendeth to humble our Vanity and Self-confidence, and to make us fensible of our Dependence upon a superior Power, as also to keep us from setting too high a Value on earthly Things, or seeking for Rest and Happiness in them. It should both prevent our being haughty and infolent when poffeffed of Riches and outward Advantages, and our being immoderately dejected when deprived of them. We are thereby farther instructed that the best Way