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SERM.IV. habitual Sinner, and in that Respect the Creature of his own Hands, he has made himself eternally miferable, by those Habits, which are the Foundation of Hell.+

So far, perhaps, you may be willing to allow, there is no Colour of Injustice: But this, you will fay, does not account for the Perpetuity of pofitive Punishments for temporary Crimes. To which I anfwer, that even the Threats of eternal pofitive Penalties are not the rigorous Decrees of mere Will and Pleafure; they are fo many kindly Forewarnings of the neceffary Effects of a rooted Aversion to Goodnefs. For it may be necessary to fecure the Happiness of the Bleffed, that, though the Good and Bad, like the Wheat and Tares, are blended together here; they should, at the End of the World, be finally fevered the one from the other. It may be necessary, that if every Region of Joy and Comfort throughout the Creation be peopled with unoffending Beings; the desperately Wicked should be thrust down (which is a pofitive Punishment) into Places, where no Joy and Comfort dwells, and there for ever imprisoned; that their Rancour and Malice might prey upon themselves, or be discharged

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discharged upon their Fellow-Criminals, SERM.IV.
which, if let loofe, might difturb the in-
nocent Part of the World. The divine
Sanctions, you fee then, are not the arbi-
trary Impofitions of Sovereign Power; they
are the genuine Refult of infinite Wisdom
and Goodness, which, in Pity to the Uni-
verse, has enacted them, that the whole
may receive no Detriment. And whatever
other pofitive Punishments may be super-
added; they will be exactly adjusted to the
Demerits of each Offender. The Scripture
expressly declares, that the Wicked will be
beaten with fewer or more Stripes, in Pro-
portion to the different Degrees of their

2dly, Let thofe, who infift fo much upon it, that the Punishment is difproportioned to the Crime; reflect, whether they do not confider Sin in one View, either as to the Fact abftractedly, or as to the Time which the Perpetration of the Fact takes up; without confidering it in all Views, and in all it's Confequences; which yet is the only Way to form a true Judgment of the Malignity of it. For the Punishment is not difproportioned to Sin, habitual Sin, if confidered with all it's numerous Train of

SERM.IV. of ill Confequences; the Consequences, being fuch, that if unrestrained it would foon involve the whole World in one promifcuous Ruin and Defolation. It is true, one Man cannot do all this Mischief. But then one Man, who, for Inftance, acts unjustly, contributes his Part to the Introduction of univerfal Disorder and Mifery. If all fhould act as unjustly as himself, (and all have as much Right as any one Man) the Foundations of the moral World would be quite out of Courfe.

To explain this by a familiar Inftance, one Perfon robs another of a small Sum of Money; he is taken and fuffers Death for the Fact: Now what Proportion is there between the Punishment and the Crime; between depriving a Man of what he perhaps could very well pare, and depriving the Person that did it of his Life, of his all in this World? None at all, if we confider the Crime in this Light only: But if we view it in all it's Tendencies, then the Crime is adequate to the Punishment; fince it tends to render Property, and what is valuable in this Life, precarious, and to fubvert the Peace of Society.

We know not, we cannot know, how far

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far the Confequences of any one Sin may SERM.IV.
extend, how far the Influence of our Beha-
viour may affect all that lye within the
Sphere of our Activity, those beneath us,
and about us, our Domestics, Relations,
and Neighbours. And these again may
fpread the Contagion farther. Thofe that
are vicious in a lefs Degree, however they
may blame the Corruption of the World in
general, are acceffary to that very Corrup
tion. It is here as in a Battle: Every Per-
fon who fled, is apt to shift off the Blame
from himself, and to lay it upon his Fellow-
Soldiers: But if each Perfon, who gave Way,
had stood his Ground; what was a general
Rout, would have been a complete Victory.
Sin then deferves the greatest Evil, because
it is
is opponite to the greatest Good, the uni
verfal Intereft: and as a confirmed Habit
of Sin implies the Love of it, a continual
Love of what is oppofite to the greatest
Good, mult continually or for ever doserve
the greatest Evil.


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We may harangue as long as we pleafe upon God's Benevolence. But no iArguments can be drawn from it to often the feeming Rigour of the divine Sanctions. For univerfal Benevolence must confult the Good of




SERM. IV. of the whole; which can never be done by abating the Penalties threatned to Vice and much less by removing all Apprehenfions of fuffering hereafter, and confequently emboldening Wickedness; but by awakening careless Sinners, and ftriking a Terror into determined Offenders. Whatever Sanctions are most effectual to compass this End, must be most agreeable to the Goodness of the divine Legiflator, who cannot promote the Happiness of the whole, without fecuring the Obfervance of his Laws. If to annex fuch Penalties be for the Good of the whole; then what is for the Good of the whole, cannot be Injustice to any particular Perfon; fince the Good of each particular Perfon is naturally and originally wrapt up in, and connected with, that of the whole. And there is a previous obligation upon every one that comes into the World, either to do thofe Duties, or fubmit to those Penalties, which preserve or promote the general Happiness, with which bis own was primarily interwoven. God would have enforced our Obedience to Him with less Penalties, if lefs had been fufficient. But it is plain, that lefs Punishments would not have answered the End; fince even those

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