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world ; but sinners feel checks and reproofs from God, which unless they themselves tell, others are not aware of. An internal stroke ; for these rekukes are secret ; though they are certainly felt by those that are under them, by-standers take no cognizance of them. The torments of a man's own breast are beyond any evil that befalls the body : trouble in a man's mind, is beyond the pain of the stone or gout, For if a man's mind be whole, he can bear up against bodily infirmity. But a wounded spirit who can bear ? Prov. xviii. 14
III. Take notice what is proposed; that thefe rebukes of God blast men: when thou with rebukes correctest man for sin, thou makest bis beauty to confume. His beauty, that is, that which is most desire able, that which is most valuable; his health, his wealth, his friends, his internal peace, the parts of his mind : for these are a man's excellency, and all these are meant by his beauty. And if God blast a man, all these wither away, and come to nothing : thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth : a moth is always fretting, not apt to be found out, not apt to be resisted, but brings all to confusion. These rebukes of God blast men.
IV. Take notice what is here inferred : surely every man is vanity. And no conclusion doth more plainly follow from any thing premised. For every man is vanity upon a double account. ist, Because he is fallible, and so subject to mil
else he would never be found in the ways of iniquity, and * Si dii deæque omnes, &c. Tacitus in Tiberio.
carry ; elle
2dly, Because he is so controulable and accounts able ; and under a power that he cannot refift.
Thus I have given you an account in these four particulars, of the matter that lies in the wordsa And really, the text offers to you things of great moment, and weighty consideration. I will speak short-' ly to all four : and because I will be brief, I will put the two first together, and they will do well so, viz.
I. That iniquity is the foundation of punishment, and II. That it is regular, usual and ordinary for God to controul and punish finners. This is ex-' pected, and it becomes him, as he is the governor, and maintainer of righteousness, and truth. And if you speak properly of punishment, God doth only chastise finners, fo, and no otherwise, finners, and none elfe. And then it is a great note, and will teach us to speak more accurately when we fpeak of punishment, for if we speak properly Goddoth not punish but in the case of sin. But because use and practice hath amplified thisword and in a more large sense of the word, we say a man is punished, when any evil thing befals him, though he hath done nothing that may procure it; I will therefore in a preparatory way offer four cases, which we are not to call punishment.
1. The effects of God's absolute Sovereignty, and power. We acknowledge, that God in the use of hiš sovereignty, may deal differently with several of his creatures : and yet, where he deals better, he doth not reward, and where he deals worse, he doth not punish. And if this were well understood, those paffages in Rom. ix. would be better understood : such as these, Jacob have I loved, and Efau have I
hated : it imports no more than that it was the pleasure of God, to take the younger brother Jacob, and make him the progenitor of the promised Messias, and not Efau : and this is the meaning of that fcripture. Hating there, is less loving; and our Saviour so useth the word, Luke xiv. 26. when he bids us hate our own life, and hate father and mother ; whereas we are enjoined to honour father and mother, and to preserve our lives ; and it is our duty ; for if we may not kill another we may not kill ourselves; and this is expounded in Matt. x. 37, 38. by defending our life, that is, with denying Chrift, &c So again, hath not the potter power over his clay, &li that is, he may make one, a vessel of higher use ; another of inferior use : and this belongs to God's undoubted priviledge, power and sovereignty ; to raife one to a higher condition in the world, and place another in an inferior condition; to make one high, another low ; one rich, another poor ; one a mafter, another a fervant. Now we are not to say that God doth punish him that is in the worst condition ; here is no notion of punishment'; this is neither the reward of any man's virtue, nor the punishment of any man's fault; for punishment properly is where there is pæna rationé vindiétæ ; but these things are as God pleareth. Now this I make further appear, by interpreting St. Paul by himfelf, where he speaks of vessels of honour, and veffels of dishonour, 2 Tim. ii. 20. His own words are, In a great house, there are not only' vessels of gold and filver, but also some of wood and of earth, and forme to bonour, and some to dishonour. The vesel to honour,
as the cup he drinks in ; the vefiel to dishonour, as other utensils. Now, who hath any ill design upon his necessary utensils ? so that all these differences are within the latitude of God's sovereignty, and speak nothing, either of love or hatred.
2. That that is natural evil, sometimes comes from God, barely for trial, and for exercise : and God doth not intend punishment at all, neither doth he look at any provocation, nor hath displeasure at the person ; and this was plainly good Job's case. For in the beginning of the first chapter, Job hath God's recommendation to the full, and yet the devil hath Job in his power, and is only restrained as to his life. Therefore, Job was not punished, but he was put upon the use and exercise, and trial of his patience, and several other virtues and graces ; and therefore, Job did well to dispute against his friends ; for they run upon this notion, that if any man suffered evil, it must be punishment; and that Job, notwithstanding his outward appear ance, was either a hypocrite, or some way obnoxiqus : but he stands to it, and will maintain his
uprightness. And in the xlii chap. there God justifies him, challenges his friends, and sends them to Job, and he must sacrifice for them. So that, notwithstanding Job suffered so much evil, he was not an offender, nor punished, but exercised : and God may tempt us in this kind, to try our affections to him, and whether we will stand to him, or no.
3. There are chastisements, or harder conditions for the increase of virtue, the contempt of the world, the increase of modesty and humility, We might,
over-value the world, and value ourselves too much, if we were not sometimes taught, that these things are not to be taken into the account of our happiness.
4. There is sometimes also evils for an evil neighbour's fake : a very good man, at whom God takes no offence, he may suffer some evil for his neighbour’s fake ; as good Josiah was overborn by the evil that was done in the days of Manasseh; and in this sense, is to be understood that in Ezek. xxi. 3. I will cut off from thee the righteous with the wicked. And here is no punishment neither ; for they that are not in the fault, may suffer because of the unhappiness that comes upon their neighbours. And God knows how to make up this their loss in time, and in eternity. In neither of these cases, is God said to punish. Neither of these cases come within the case of the text.
these cases being taken out, I come to give you an account of the truth of the proposition, that sin is the cause of punishment, and that in five par ticulars.
1. Many sins are the natural causes of the evils that are consequent upon them : as intemperance of certain diseases, distempers, and dying before mens time. · Some men drink themselves into fevers, and some into dropsies. Here sin is the natural cause of evil. Men of intemperate and diffolute lives destroy their bodily health ; dull and ftupify their reason and understanding; and waste their estates. It is most apparent that some men have overthrown strong and healthy constitutions; and stupified quick Vol. I,