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found that good men,' notwithstanding all the. Disadvantages they labour under, are much the most prosperous part of Mankind.
When we consider how often the Power of the world, and the Administration of Justice is in corrupt and wicked hands, it is wonderful to see^ that as to thegeneral Concerns of Mankind, Justice is so equally administred, that Human Societies are not broken and dissolved by the furious Lusts and Paffions of men.
It is wonderful to observe what an unseest and fteadyHand holds the Balance of the World, and sets Bounds to the Ambition of Princes,and keeps the most threatning Torrents within their own Banks; nay,when the World seems to be in Confusion and inextricable Disorders, past the redress of all HumanWisdom and Counsel, restores Peace and Order again. Such Events as these can be ascribed only to some unseen Wisdom andPowet which governs the World.
Having shewn what Evidence we have that God does govern the World at present; let us nowconsider the Force of thisConsequence,Th!ft therefore God will judge the World hereafter. Now this seems to me to be a self-evident Consequence, that if God Govern the Word, he will judge it; that is, reward every man according to his Works; for the principal Act of Government is to Judge and it is impossible he should be a wife and just Governor who does not judge.
The difference between the Providence of God, or his present Government of the World, and a Final Judgment, is no more but this; That they have different ends, and therefore must have dir
£ 2 feren€ ferent Rules and Measures, but they are both God's judging the World ; and therefore if God begins his Judgment of Mankind in this world, there is no reason to doubt but he will finish and perfect his Judgment in the next: If he judges Mankind now as far as is proper to the state of this world, it is a sufficient reason to believe that in the next world he will exercise such Acts of Judgment as are proper for that state.
The great Ends of Providence in this world, are the Preservation of Human Societies, the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue, and the Discouragement of Vice; to keep men under Discipline, to lay Restraints upon their Lusts and Passions, to wean them from the love of this World, to exercise their Graces, their Faith,and Patience, and Charity; and by the different Methods of Kindness and Severity/as his ownWisdom judges best and fittest) to reclaim the wicked and the wandringProdigals,and to advance good men to greater degrees and perfections of Goodness: The end of God's judging Mankind in the next world, is to allot men such Rewards and Punishments as 9tt proportioned to their works and deserts; to bestow Eternal Life on good men, and to execute the threatning of Eternal Death upon bad men, which is the final Conclusion and Consummation of Judgment: And if God judges all men in this world as far as is necessary for this world, it is reasonable to think that he will perfect his Judgment in the World to come.
Now it is plain he does the first, as will appear from Particulars: He corrects the Miscarriages of Pubiick Government, Pubiick Injustice and Oppreslion, a Pubiick Contempt of God and of Religion, ligion, and os all things sacred, a general Corruption c• Manners, and an Inundation of Wickedness. Such Nations seldom escape long without a severe Scourge, unless God makes use of them to scourge otherNations as wicked asthemselves. But aRighteous and Religious Nation,which preserves Justice among men, and the Knowledge and Reverence, and Worship of God, is the Darling and Favourite of Providence, and is blessed with all prosperous Successes both at Home and Abroad; So the Wife Man tells us, that righteousness exalteth a neti'm, but fin is the reproach of any people. Thus it is apt to do of it self, but the Divine Justice ana Providence takes care that it shall do so: For tho every particular good man is not rewarded, nor every particular bad man punished in this World, yet God governs Kingdoms and Nations by a more equal and steady Justice: For indeed Publick Societies are the principal Objects of his Rewards and Punishments in this world, because the good government of Mankind depends so much upon it. The Virtues or Vices of private men have but a narrow influence, and can do but little good or hurt; but publick Government is a publick Good or Mischief, and the Disorders of it are like an Eclipse of the Sun, which brings Darkness upon the World ; and therefore such a very wicked Nation is seldom Tong unpunished, or a righteous Nation oppress'd. And this is a visible Exercise of God's Judgment in this world , in rewarding or punishing Kingdoms and Nations, which are the great Wheels of Providence whereon the regular Motion and good Government of the World depends ; as I observed to you before, E 3 that that God governs the World by erecting Human Governments, and therefore is more especially concerned to govern them.
Thus in order to discourage Wickedness, and to encourage true Piety and Virtue, which is another End of Providence , it is not necessary that God should reward every Good Man , or punish every Bad Man in this World; some few .great Examples of such Rewards and Punishments are sufficient to this purpose, especially if they are so many and so frequent that no Bad Man can promise himself Impunity even in this Life, nOr any Good Man have reason to despond , or distrust Providence. And as many Complaints as there are of the Prosperity of Bad Men, and the Sufferings of th$ Good, yet every Age and every Countrey, nay, almost every Village, will furnish us with so many Examples of Miserable Sinners, and of theVisible Rewards of Virtue, as are abundantly enough to make all considering Men reverence the Divine Justice and Providence; and therefore God exercises as great, as frequent, as visible Acts of Judgment as the State of this world requires. ',
Especially when we consider, That this World is a State of Discipline, a School of Virtue , where we must learn to govern our Passions and Appetites, to conquer Vicious Habits,'and to live abovathe Body and the Pleasures of it; to forgive Injuries, to love Enemies, to suffer patiently, to be contented with a little, to trust Providence, to live by Faith and Hope oi unseen things. Now such a state as this will k i...: . i.'; «•"' not not admit of an exact Distribution of Rewards and Punishments... Bad Men must not always be punished for their Sins, because sometimes External Prosperity, and a sense of the Divine Goodness, may work more kindly on them; or if they be punished, their Punishments must be rather Corrections than Acts of Justice; that is, they must not always bear proportion to their Deserts, but to theirCure, as a Father^corrects his Child, not so much to .punish his fault, as to reform it: And for the lame reason good men must not always be prosperous, for they may need Adversity to exercise, increase and brighten their Virtues, and to make them greater Examples to the World ; or if God sees.fit to reward them, it must be in such Instances, and such Proportions as they can bear; not always what they may deserve, but what will be'for their good.
Thus God governs theWorld with great Justice and Judgment, as far as the state of this World requires and admits; and what reason then is there to question whether God will judge Mankind in the World to come?
His Exercise of Justice and Judgment in this World proves that he is the Judge of the World, not an idle and unconcern'd Spectator of Human Actions; that he interests himself in the Affairs of Mankind, is solicitous to make all his Creatures happy; is an Enemy toWickedness and to wicked men; but the Friend, Protector, and Father of good men: And if Gpd be the Judge of theWorld, why should we think that he will not judge it? Nay, if he actually executes Justice and Judgment in this World, why should we think
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