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his brows,which was t.ke necefiary and immediate Eflfect of God.'s cursiog the Ground; that whereas befote, the Earth Would have supply'd man with ali thy;gsfor his Necessity and Delight, without his care and labour, now it would not yield its Incffease of ks self, but brought forth Briars and Thorns. And as difficult a State as this is, it was v§ry fit for fallen maa.
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1. A laborious Life is of great iafe to &bdue the fleshly.Friacq>Ie> and to prereac trie Oppoftunir tie»a a;Kl Occasions, and Temp«atio«s to fin. The expedience of the World tells us, that nothing snore corrupts mens Manners than Idleness, the Fiefh growsrampamt with Sloth and Luxury; anH Time it self is so uneasy and troublesome when we have nothing to do, that men rather chase to be wicked, than to be idle; and therefore God who foresaw the Degeneracy of Mankind by the Fall, hath provided work for us , that with the sweat of our Brow we must eat our Bread.
2. This does »ot only employ the Bodies, but jrhe Minds of men: Puts them upon the study of Philosophy, and the invention of Arts and Sciences; upon observing the Works of Nature, and Dependance of Causes and Effects; to observe the Motions of the Heaven, the Sun and Moon, and Planets, thereby to know the Seasons of the Year, and to sis the time of their return; it is this < necessity to which we owe the most useful Discoveries in Nature, which is not only very beneficial totheWorld,buta very delightful Entertainments and the most natural Ornament and Perfecting of our Minds.
K % 3. The
j. The Necessities of Human Life are the foundation of Human Societies, and make men combine together for mutual Help and Comfort: For thoMan is a sociable Creature, and delighted with Human Conversation, yet in this degenerate State nothing is a greater endearment than our mutual Dependance upon each other, that we cannot live single and apart, because we want a great many things which the Skill and Labour of other men must supply us with.
Now this obliges us to the exercise of all friendly and sociable Virtues; brings us under Government , without which Human Societies cannot subsist ; and this lays great Restraints upon the lusts of Men, and by a strict Discipline trains them up to the practice of Moral Virtues, which is a good means to correct the Degeneracy of Human Nature; it inspires us with Principles of Love and Humanity, of Justice and Charity, and softens and polishes our Natures by the mutual Endearments of Conversation; it makes us Friends to Mankind; gives us a fense of Injuries, and an abhorrence of them; and which is more than this, it gives publick Countenance and Encouragement to Religion; for Publick Government must encourage Religion, because Religion is its greatestDefence and Support; and this makes some men sincerely religious and devout,and forces some external signs of Honour from those who have little sense or reverence of a Deity, which tho it does no good to them, is for the advantage of the World.
So that this Curse in the necessary Consequences of it, is the greatest Blessing to Mankind ; which is an abundant Justification of. the' Wisdom and Goodness of God in it. A more
easy easy state of Life did better become a state of Innocence; but since the Fall, such an easy, careless, unconcerned Life,would have funk man lower into Sensuality, and made his Recovery more desperate and hopeless.. 1:
It were easy to give many Instances of this nature, to f ustify the Divine Wisdom and Goodness in such Passages of Providence as seem very harsh and severe to us ; but this may suffice at present to make us modest in our Censures of Providence, and not to perplex our Minds with such Difficulties as we cannot .unriddle."
2. Especially if we add, That there is a plain and evident reason why we cannot and never shall be able to understand a great many Difficulties of Providence in this World, and therefore ought not to censure the Divine Providence, because we cannot in all cases comprehend the reasons of it. As for instance;
We are very ignorant of men, and therefore can never be able to give an account of GOD's Providence towards them: We can in general juftifie the Divine Providence both as to the Afflictions and Sufferings of good men^ and the Prosperity of the wicked; but when we descend to Particulars, we are at a loss, why such a good man is a great Sufferer, and another good man.prosperous; why such a bad man reaps the just Rewards of his Villanies in this World, while another man equally bad escapes, and prospers by his Wickednefst We cannot know this, because we do not sufficiently know men. We may mistake those for good men, who are secretHypocrites, and carry on wicked Designs under a K 3 Masque Masque of Religion; and then when we complain that such a goad mam suffers., iGodanaycbe very just in punishing an Hypocrite. 'We know not what the secret Distempers of good men,are, which may require a sevete vRonaedy; nor what gpod there may be even in bad asnea., which may niake their Recovery hopeful, and make.it reasonable for God to spare.
Thus we know not how particular mens .Interests are interwoven with each other, orwichrhe Fublick, which may make it reasonable,for God to spare or to punish them upon more accounts than.their own; for good men may sirfrBrSn sthe Sufterir^gs of the wicked, and be blessed imtheir Prosperity: The Suffe.i.ings df .good msn, and the Prosperi ty of the wicked, may .be æ£ pubKek life ttwthe.world j andjtis: wry just andwafopable in itbew^e Governor As theWocld, t& make the Interests of private(subordinate to ia PubUck Good. But when this is necessary., we know no£w .and. therefore arjejueryineompeient Judges of theDivine Providence: JSIay^we scebut \a very little, part of God's Providence towards'.particular men; but a Scene or two of their lives, or it may be but a little piece of a Scene, and therefore it is impossible we should make a true Judgment of God's Providence towards them, the Beauty, of which consist*: in .the proportion of Parts, and adapting every thing to the end it serives. The History of Jqstph taken all together, is a Demonstration of God's tender care.Of him, though there were some doleful Scenes ^f his Life; the hard Usage he met with from mVBretfiren, who ibid him for a Slaye into 'Egypt i
-; and and from a wicked Mistress there, whose false Accusations condemned him to a Gaol, from whence God raised him to Tbaroah's Throne. There are very few Men can make any Objection against the Divine Providence, with respect to themselves, because they know themselves, and the several Stages of their Lives, what Good and Evil they have done, and what they have deserved, and what they have received from God; which is a good Argument that we should find as little to except against the Providence of God to other Men also, did we know them as perfectly as we know our selves. '•'
III. As for what cannot be known in this World, it is time enough for us to know it in the World to come. 'r
Indeed this Knowledge is not fit for us in this World; it is not fit we mould know one another so perfectly, as is necessary to vindicate every Passage of God's Providence towards other Men; for this would be to have a Casement into each others Breasts, to understand all the Intrigues and Secrets of Families; and were it put to our own Choice, I am apt to think we should rather be contented to be ignorant of a great many things, than to be so well known our selves to all <*ie World.
N6r is it fitting in this State that we should so perfectly understand all the Secrets of the Divine Counsellor what reason he afflicts or prospers private Men, or publick Societies, as is necessary to make aJudgment of the Divine Providence: One great Mystery of Government is to conceal Counsels; and this is the Glory of the Divine Providence, by dark and mysterious Mechdds to bring ; K 4 about