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lousy over us; which sets spies upon all our actions, and watches the circumstances, and tells the steps, and attends the business, the recreations, and the retirements of every man, and will not suffer a thought to wander, but he uses means to correct its error, and to reduce it to himself. For he that created us, and daily sustains us, he that intreats us to be happy, with an importunity fo vehement, as if not we, but himself were to receive the favour; he that would part with his only Son from his bofom and the embraces of eternity, and give him over to a shameful and cursed death for us, cannot but be supposed to love us with a great love, and to own us with an entire title, and therefore that he is desirous to secure us to himself with an undivided affection.
Hitherto all is mercy. But if we provoke this jealousy, and we continue ftill unreclaimed, he is implacable; that is, he will punish us eternally, unless we repent; and if we do, it may be he will not be appeased in all instances; and when he forgives us, he will make some reserves of his wrath; he will punish our persons, or our estate; he will chastise us at home or abroad, in our bodies or in our children; for he visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. That is the second great Itroke he strikes against sin, and comes next to be considered. :
That God doth fo is certain, because he faith he doth : And that this is just in him to do so, is also as certain, therefore because he doth it. For as his laws are our measures, fo his actions and his own will are his own measures. He that hath right over all things, and all persons, cannot do wrong to any thing. He that is justice itself, cannot be unjust. But since God is pleased to speak after the manner of men, it may well consist with our duty, to inquire into those manners of confideration, whereby we may understand the equity of God in this proceeding, and be instructed also in our own danger if we persevere in fin.
And; first, it is to be observed, that though a man may be made to suffer; yet no man is made a hrner, by the fault of another, without his own confent. For to every one God gives his choice, and fets good and evil before him; and therefore this evil is not a consequent to any fio but our own. By the sin of Adam, death came into the world; but this death is not an evil, but only to him who makes it so, by his own personal offence. And it is observable, that before any man died, Christ was promised; by whom death was to lose its sting; by whom death did cease to be an evil, and was, or might be, if we do belong to Christ, a state of advantage. If we follow Christ, death is our friend : If we imitate the fin of our first parents, then death becomes an evil. For although their fin brought death into the world, yet it is only our own sin that can make it evil to us. And it is still only of temporal evils that the scriptures speak, when they ex: press the consequences of the parents fin upon their children.
But although no man can be made a finner by the fault of another, yet for the fault of others many may become miserable; even all those, whose relation is such to the finner, that he in any sense may by such inflictions himself be punished. In such case, fin is infectious, not only in example, but also in punishment.
And as it is a punishment to the parents, so also it is not unjust as to the children ; not only when the children follow the example, and are partakers of their fathers' fins, but even although they themselves be innocent thereof. For all the calamities in this life are incident to the most godly persons in the world. And fince the King of heaven and earth was made a man of sorrows; it cannot be called unjust, or intolerable, that innocent persons should be pressed with temporal infeliçities: only, in such cases, we must distinguish the misery from the punishment. For that all the world dieth, is a punishment of Adam's fin; but it is no evil to those who die in the Lord, for they are blessed in their death. Our children (it may be) shall be VOL. IV.
fanctified by a forrow, and purified by the fire of affliction, and they shall receive the blessing of it; but it is to their fathers a curse, who shall wound their own hearts with sorrow, and cover their heads with a robe of shame, for bringing so great evil upon their house.
And God hath many ends of providence to serve, in this dispensation of his judgements. Hereby he expresses the higheft indignation against fin; and makes his examples lasting, communicative, and of great effect. It arrests the spirits of men, and surprises their loofenesses, and restrains their gaiety, when we observe, that the judgements of God find us out in all relations, and turn our comforts into fadness, and make our families the scene of forrows, and we can escape him no where; and by sin are made obnoxious not only to personal judgements, but instead of tranfmitting to them blessings, we leave them an entailed calamity, a mifery, and an evil name, the displeasure of God, and a treasure of wrath, for their portion and inheritance.