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The first is, That notwithstanding some Wicked Men are very prosperous, and some Good Men very much Amicted ; yet God makes a very visible Distinction between them in this World ; enough to discover his Love and Care towards Good Men, and his Displeasure against the Wicked: Which sufficiently answers the Ends of his Providence here ; that though wicked Men prosper for a while here, yet the Divine Vengeance often overtakes them ; their Ends prove Miserable, or they are punilh'd in their Posterity, and their Names utterly rooted out: But the Divine. Providence watches over good Men, delivers them from many Evils, and many times visibly owns them in this World, and fets some peculiar Marks of Favour and Honour upon them, and blesses their Posterity for their fakes. This the Psalmist has some respect to in this place, 16, 17, 18. v. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I went into the Sanktuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in Nippery places, thou castedli them down into destru&tion. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment ? they are utterly consumed with terrors. This is the Portion of many wicked Men, notwithstanding their great Prosperity for a time. Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hast holden me by my right hand. My flesh and my beart faileth,
but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. The like we may see at large in the 371h Psalm. And this is a very good Answer, as far as it reaches; for it proves God's great Love and Regard to good Men, and his Abhorrence of the Wicked: That God judgeth the righteous ; and that God is angry with the wicked every day, 7th Pfal. 11, 12, 13. v. But this is not a full Answer. For there are so many wicked Men Prosperous, and so many Good Men Afflicted, that if God L 2
makes no other difference between good and bad Men, than what he does in this World, this can be no Vindication of the Wisdom and Justice of Providence, when there is such a visible Failure of Justice in so many thousand Instances.
And therefore 2. To make this Argument of any Force, we must extend it to future Rewards and Punishments, and then it is a very good Anfwer; for when that Distinction God makes between good and bad Men in this World, is not so equal and universal as to extend to all good and bad Men, it is a sufficient Proof and Earnest what their different Portions shall be in the next World. And this the Pfalmift intended in that Latitude of Expression, whereby he describes God's Vengeance on the Wicked, and his Care and Protection of the Good. In the 73d Pfalm he resolves this Difficulty into the End of wicked Men, which he could give no fatisfactory Account of, until he went into the Sanétuary of God, and then be understood their End. What End does he mean? Only their Death? But good Men must die as well as the wicked. Or is it the Manner and Circumstances of their Death, as it there follows ? Thou hast set them in slippery places ; thou castest them down into Destruction ; hores are they brought into Desolation, as in a moment? They are utterly consumed with Terrors. But all bad Men do not come to such a Tragical End; as he owns in this very Pfalm, That they have no Bands in their Death, but their Strength is firm. And the 491h Psalm supposes, that they may live and die in great Prosperity ; and yet that their End is that they fall perish in the Grave like Sheep: They are laid in the Gravé, Death fall feed on them ; (that is, the Worm that never dieth shall devour and consume them) and the righteous Mall bave Dominion over them in the Morning, and their Beauty Mall consume in the Grave from their Dwelling : But
Gad fall redeem my Soul from the Power of the Grave, for he shall receive me. This shews what that End is of good and bad Men, which answers this Difficulty of Providence ; not their mere dying, which is common to both, but their different States after Death, that visible difference which will be made between them in the Morning, when they shall all rise out of their Graves to receive the Recompence of their Works: Then the righteous Mall have Dominion over them in the Morning. This difference the Wise Man observes in the 14th of Proverbs 7: 32. The Wicked is driven away in bis Wickedness, but the Righteous bath Hope in bis Death. Wicked Men after all their Prosperity, are many times seiz'd with a Divine Vengeance. and hurried out of this World, distracted and consum’d with Terrors, as the Psalmist speaks: For what is the Hope of the Wicked, though he hath gain’d, when God taketh away his Soul? Will God hear his Cries when Trouble comes upon him? Tob 27. 8, 9. But good Men, whatever they suffer in this World, yet go out of it full of Hopes and joyful Expectations of a Reward : They have Hope in their Death. Thus in the 37th P/almı, ver. 37, 38. Mark the perfeet Man, and behold the upright; for the End of that Man is Peace: But the Trangreffors Mall be destroyed together, the End of the Wickked shall be cut off. What can this Peace signify, but the Joy and Triumph of a good Conscience, and great Hopes; that State of Peace and Rest, which good Men shall enter into after Death ? And therefore the Destruction of the Wicked, the End of the Wicked, which shall be cut off, must be referr'd to the other World also ; That the Wicked shall be turn’d into Hell, and all the Nations that forget God, Pfalım 9. 17. Which, if it be un-i derstood only of a Temporal Death and Destruction, is true of all other People and Nations, how Religious soever they be ; and therefore this, being L 3
the peculiar Punishment of the Wicked, must fig. nify something after Death.
Thus I have shewn you what Confirmation the Law of Moses gives to all the Natural and Moral Arguments for a future State : From whence it appears, that this was the Universal Belief of all the Old Testament Saints. Though the Law of Moses contained no express Promises of another Life, yet they had such collateral Evidence, that no good Man doubted of it: Which I shall explain more fully in some following Sections, by considering God's Covenant with Abraham, and the Nature of the Mofaical Dispensation.
S E C T. IV.
The Immortality of the Soul prov'd from God's
Covenant with Abrahan.
Aving shewn you what a new Confirmation
the History of Moses gives to all the Natural and Moral Arguments for a future State ; let us now consider that Covenant which God made with Abraham, which was the beginning and Foundation of the Mofaical Dispensation. For when the rest of the World had so soon after the Flood declin'd to Idolatry, it pleas'd God to call Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldecs, to go and sojourn in a strange Land, which he would shew him; and for his Encouragement he promises, I will make of thee a great Nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy Name great, and thou salt be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee Mall all Families of the Earth be blessed, Gen. 12. 1, 2, 3, When, in Obedience to God, Abraham
was come into Canaan, the Lord appear’d unto him again, and said, Unto thy Seed will I give this Land, v. 7. When Abraham and Lot were parted, God renews this Promise to him again ; Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, Northward, and Southward, and Eastward, and Westward'; for all the Land that thou seeft, to thee will I give it, and to thy Seed for ever ; and I will make thy Seed as the Dust of the Earth ; so that if a Man can number the Dust of the Earth, then shall thy Seed also be number'd. Gen. 13. 14, 15, 16. After this God made a more general Promise, Gen. 15. I. The Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a Vision, saying, Fear not, Abraham, I am thy Shield, and exceeding great Reward. And upon Abraham's Complaint, that God had yet given him no Seed, he renews the Promise of a Son to him ; He that all come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thy Heir; and that his Seed shall be as num. berless as the Stars in Heaven, v. 4, and 5. And tells him what shall happen to his Seed before they should possess that good Land : Thy Seed shall be à Stranger in the Land that is not theirs, and Mall serve them; and they fall afflict them four hundred Years. In the 17th of Gen. God renews this Covenant with Abraham ; I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect, and I will make a Covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And, in Testimony of this, he changes his. Name from Abram to Abraham ; For a Father of many Nations have I made thee; and will establish my Covenant betwixt me and thee, and thy Seed after thee, for an Everlasting Covenant ; to be a God to thee and to thy Seed after thee : And instituted Circumcision as a sign of this Covenant. And to name no more; When Abraham, in Obedience to God's Command, had offer'd up his Son Isaac to him, God renews this Covenant with an