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Serm. Graves. One dies in an Affluence of Wealth III., and Prosperity; and another, perhaps a

better Man than him, after a tedious Life of Sorrow, expires in Anguish and Tortures insupportable. Wherefore, says he, do the Wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in Power, and their Seed is established in their Sight with them, and their Offspring before their Eyes ? Their Houses are safe from Fear, neither is the Rod of God upon them; they take the Timbrel and Harp, and rejoice at the Sound of the Organ; they spend their Days in Wealth, and in a Moment go down to the Grave. One dieth in his full Strength, being wholly at Ease and Quiet ; and another dieth in the Bitterness of his Soul, and never eateth with Pleasure. They pall lie down alike in the Dust, and the Worms pall cover them.

When David saw the Profperity of the Ungodly, that they were not in Trouble like other Men, it fo tenderly affected him, that he could not forbear breaking out into this passionate Complaint, Verily I have cleansed my Heart in vain, I have wasd my Hands in Innocency ; for all the Day long have I been plagued, and chafined every Morning. And Jeremiah was so perplex’d with the Thoughts of this, that tho' he

would

o Would not accuse God of Injustice, whatever SËRM:

happen'd, but says; Righteous art thou, o 11: * Lord, when I plead with thee! Yet in the * Very fameVerse he can't forbear enquiring in"

to the Reason of it. Yet let me talk with Hi thee of thy Judgments, says he: Wherefore

does the Way of the Wicked prosper : Wherea føre are all they happy that deal treaches rously? This indeed has troubled the

Thoughts of many good Men in all the e Ages of the World, and 'tis founded entireily upon this mistaken Principle, That Afflica itions are always Tokens of God's Displeais sure; and that the Comforts of Life are alFl ways Marks of Favour: And this is so far Tha from being always true, that the Reverse It of it is very often so; at least these Things

are often fo promiscuously distributed, as t to leave no Room for any such Conclusion. E Hence fome have form’d an Objection, not ning against the Justice, but against the very Be

ing of a God. All Thingö come alike to all, - say they, there is one Event to the RighieBi ous and to the Wicked; to the Good and to .

the Clean, and to the Unclean ; to him that 1 Sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not : 1 As is the Good, so is the Sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an Oath. Upon which Account they prefently con

clude;

Ul.

SERM. clude, that 'tis to no Purpose for them to

observe their Duty, or to take any manner
of Care about regulating their Life and
Manners, for that it all turns to one' Ac-
count, the Effect is just the same, do what
they will. But now, in Answer to this, let :
it be observ'd that the Happiness or Mifery
of a Man does not always appear by his
outward State and Condition, there is no !
true Judgment to be made of his being happy
by his being prosperous and rich in the i
World, and enjoying his Heart's Defire;
for when a Man, full of Ambition and Rea i
venge, thrives in the World, and has it in
his power to follow the natural Bent of his
Inclinations, the Mischiefs that ensue plainas
ly shew that Prosperity was fent him as a si
Curse: Nor can a Man be pronounc'd mises :
rable from the Troubles and Disappoint-
ments he meets with; these Things are most
commonly sent for the Trial of a Man's Vire
tue, or to subdue fome growing Vice, and
they will prove good or otherwise to a Man,
according to the Use he makes of them;
so that neither the one nor the other are
Marks of God's Favour o
always.

But to proceed. The Afflictions which
happen to us in this Life are no Obje&tions

e

against

againft the Justice of God, because he made SERM.

us, and confequently has a Right to deal 11. I with us as he pleases. God gave us Life of E his own free Gift, without our Desire or

Deserving ; for we could neither do the one
nor the other, when as yet we were not.
when we had not a Being to desire or de-

serve it in: He therefore must certainly I have a Right to allot us to what sort or kind e of Life he shall think most proper and con

venient; for the Act of creating us implies i in it alfo a Right of governing us. And

this is further evinc'd from the Gonfideraįtion of our own State and Condition, which e is a State of Dependance, weak and defec- .

tive, which implies in it a Want of Help

and Succour; fo that whatever happens to i us in this Life can be no Objection against - the Justice of God, because it comes from

him who alone has a Right to dispose of us.
· Indeed, were we altogether free from Sin,
We might have some Plea for desiring a Life
of Eafe and Happiness, exempted from the
common Casualties of which every Man
living has his Share. But even then, could
not God do what he pleas'd with his own?
Shall the Thing form'd say to him that
forni'd it, Why haft thou made me thus ?
Shall we pretend to direct the Almighty in

G2

Serm. his Dispensations, or teach him what is pros
III. per for him to do? Is this the way we

take in our own Affairs ? Are we willing
to be taught by our Inferiors ? Do we not
on the contrary too often hate Counsel, and
despise Reproof, even from those whom we w
ourselves acknowledge to be wise ? Shall
we then pretend to guide the Hand of Provi-
dence, and point out the Way for him,
whose Footsteps are not known ? 'Tis to
confound our 'vain Curiosity, and to mani-
fest his own Glory, that God sometimes
works an Effect beyond the Reach of all
human Apprehension. So that, tho' he is a s
Being infinitely good and just, and there-
fore will not do any thing inconsistent with
Goodness and Justice, yet he is infinitely
wise too, and therefore is above any Rules
we shall think fit to prescribe, and conses
guently will not be accountable to us for
any of his Ways ; so that all our busy En-
quiries about these Things must be resolvid
into the Will of God, which is sufficient to
silence all the Disputers of this World. When
the Disciples saw the Man that was born
blind, they immediately concluded that it
was the Effect of some remarkable Sin of
him or his Parents; and accordingly ask'd
our Saviour, saying, Master, who did fiting

? this

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