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he must be defective; for if he is unjust in Serm.
permitting Afflictions to befal good Men III.
(for such the Argument intends them) he is
fo, either for want of knowing who these
good Men are, or else for want of Goodness
to give them their Due ; upon both which
Accounts his Wisdom also will be very
liable to be suspected and calld in Question.
But now God is infinite every Way, not
only in Power, Duration, Extension, c.
but in every thing elfe; for he is either No-
thing, or the Sum of all Things. The Idea
of God includes in it every thing that is
great and excellent, and that in an infinite
Degree, according to the Son of Syrach's
sublime Description of him. By his Word
åll Things consist ; we may speak much, and
get come port, wherefore in Sum he is all.
How shall we be able to magnify him, for
he is great above all his Works - The
Lord is terrible, and very great, and mar-
vellous in his Power. When you glorify
the Lord, exalt him as much as you can,
for even yet will he far exceed; and when
you exalt him, put forth all your Strength,
and be not weary, for you can never go
far enough. Who hath seen him, that he
might tell us ? and who can magnify him
as he is : There are yet hid greater Things
F 2

than

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SERM. than these be, for we have seen but a ferè

III. of bis Works. He therefore must be just W oo and righteous, and that in a moft eminent :: Manner, for this is a Part of those glorious

Perfections which make him be what he is : And if so, there must be a fufficient Reason for every thing he does, whether we are able to find out that Reason, or no.

Now, because the making those Amidions we fuffer in this Life an Argument against the Justice of God implies that Man is innocent, and therefore more just than God, because a righteous Man will not punish another withoạt a juft Caufe, this Supposition also proceeds from an Ignorance of ourselves as well as of God. Whatever Light a vain Fancy, and a bloated Imagination, may have plac'd us in, and how innocent and righteous soever we may appear in our own Glass, yet if we will look into ourselves with an exact Scrutiny, and diligently view this Body of Sin which we in, habit ; if we will but trace our natural De pravity to its Spring-Head, till we find that we were born in Sin, and shapen in Iniquity, and be at the Pains to observe the dismal Effects of it breaking out into rebellious Pallions, perverse Humours, and every evil Work, we shall foon find the

Mistake;

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Miftake ; an impartial Eye will discover all Serm.
thoseDeformities, which a too goodOpinion of III.
ourselyes has always plac'd in a wrong Light,
The Scripture and our own Consciences have
concluded all under Sin. Who, says the
wife Man, can say, I have made my Heart
clean, I am free from my sin ? And this
is the Case not only of Sinners, but of good
Men too ; and when Men are truly sensible
of this, it is a sign that they are good.
What is Man, says Eliphaz, that he should
be clean, and he which is born of a Woman,
that he poould be righteous ? Behold, he
putteth no Trust in his Saints, yea the Hean
vens are not clean in his Sight; how much

more abominable and filthy is Man, who $ drinketh Iniquity like Water ! And, fay's

Bildad, Behold even to the Moon and it fineth not, yea, the Stars are not pure in in his Sight ; how much less Man, that is a

Worm, and the Son of Man, which is a
Worm! So that hąd we right Notions of

God, and of ourselves, we should not make
Es the Aflictions which happen to us in this

Life an Argument againft the Juftice of
God; for then we should be convinc'd,
that as God is infinite in every Respect, in
Wisdom and Justice, as well as in every
thing else, and is therefore a Being of all

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SERM. possible Perfections, there must be a suffi111. , cient Reason for these Things; and a true

Knowledge of ourselves would give us the Reason, a Reason sufficient to justify God in his Proceedings, and convince us, that whatever we undergo in this Life is no more than we might expect as the Consequence of our Guilt : Why then pould a living Man complain, as the Prophet says, a Man for the Punisoment of his Sins ? Or, why shall the righteous Lord be accounted unjust for punishing us according to our Deserts ? or mortal Man be more just than God for deserving it?..

Tho' we can't trace out the Footsteps of the Divine Providence, and when we labour under any Afflictions, after our utmost Care and Endeavour to preserve our Integrity, may, with Job, want to know the Cause of such Proceedings, yet ’tis enough that we are guilty; 'tis sufficient to answer all Objections against the Justice of God, that we have desery'd them, tho' perhaps they are not sent as the immediate Consequence of Sin, but as Trials to exercise our Patience and Humility, or for some other Reason which we are not able to difcover. For if Afflictions were always the Consequence of Sin, wicked Men could then

expect

expect but little Content and Satisfaction, Serm. their Life would then be one continued Scene III. of Trouble ; whereas the contrary to this is very often true, good Men being fometimes niore afflicted than they; and tho' none are, ftrictly speaking, so good as not to deserve Punishment, yet, as there are better than others, they that are so would, by this Rule, have least of it. But this is not always the Case ; Job's Friends were therefore very much mistaken, when they asserted that good Men only were prosperous, and that the Wicked were the only afflicted Men in this Life, and consequently that. gocd and bad Men were always to be known by the Comforts or Troubles that happen’d to them ; for tho’ this may sometimes be true, yet that it is no constant Rule and Me. thod of God's Proceedings Job plainly shews from History and good Observation. If this Opinion be true, he wants to be inform’d why many wicked Men enjoy the good Things of this Life, and want neither Power nor Might, nor old Age to prolong or encrease their Enjoyment, their Children are provided for, and they are not disturb’d in their Habitations, they spend their Days in Pleasure, uninterrupted with Pain or Sickness, and go easily and quietly to their

Graves.

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