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fings, and consequently should keep us from setting too high a Value upon them, or priding ourselves on the account of them. It should teach us to esteem no Man merely for his external Circumstances, for his Wealth or the Splendor of his Appearance, and to despise no Man for being poor and afflicted. To which it may be added, that when we consider, that even Persons of the greatest Piety and Worth have no Security in the Revolutions of human Affairs, but that they may be deprived of the outward good Things they now enjoy, and may be exposed to great worldly Evils and Calamities; this hath a Tendency to keep our Hearts open to the Miferies and Necessities of our Fellow-creatures, and make us ready to pity and affist them. Whereas, if we had an Apprehension that worldly Prosperity and Affluence were to be regarded as a fure Mark of the divine Favour, and appropriated to the good and virtuous, this would very much check our Compassion and Benevolence, and straiten nur Hearts and Hands with regard to the indigent and distressed, as looking upon them to be Persons against whom God had declared in his Providence, and who were the Objects of his righteous Displeasure.
These Considerations may suffice to obviate that Part of the Objection which is brought against the Righteousness of Divine Providence from the seemingly promiscuous Distributions of Things here on Earth. As to what is more particularly urged with regard to the Sufferings of the righteous, and Prosperity of the wicked in this present State, it shall be distinctly considered in our next Difcourse.
Obje&tions against the Righteousness
of Providence considered.
PSALM cxlv. 17.
The Lord is righteous in all his Ways, and
boly in all his Works.
N our former Discourse on these Words,
after offering fome general Considerations to thew that God is perfectly holy and righteous in all his Ways, we proceeded to consider the principal Things in the divine Dispensations towards Mankind, that seem to have a contrary Appearance, and which are usually urged as Objections against the Righteousness of Providence.
And ist, We considered the seemingly promiscuous Distribution of Events in this present World, in which all Things come alike to all, and there is no visible Distinction made between the righteous and the wicked in the Course of God's outward Dispensations. And it was fhewn that no Argument can be drawn from thence against the Wisdom or Righteousness of Divine Providence.
But 2dly; It is farther urged, that good Men are not only liable to Troubles and Afflictions in common with the rest of Mankind, but that they have frequently a larger Share of them than other Men. Instead of receiving the Rewards of their Piety and Virtue, they are often in very mean and destitute Circumstances, and labour under a Variety of Evils and Sorrows. Some of the worthiest of Men have met with the most severe and injurious Treatment, and have been exposed to the bitterest Obloquy and Reproach, and to the most grievous Sufferings. And would this be permitted if this World were under the Administration of a righteous Providence ?
But several Considerations may be offered to take off the Force of this Objection.