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another ; that He will repay fury to his ad- Ifa.lix.18. versaries; and to eminent Idolaters will give Rev. xvi. to drink the cup of the fierceness of his wrath, not only full, but flowing over on those around them; here we are by no means so soon satisfied; we immediately become curious and inquisitive, desire to see the grounds and reasons of his proceedings, and have a multitude of objections against the wisdom and equity of the Divine Administration. 'Tis in vain to talk to us of general laws, or the welfare of the world; we find no plan of providence defensible, by which we ourselves are sufferers; nor allow that the good of the Universe ought to be purchased at so great a price as the affliction of persons so innocent and well-deserving.
Both innocent, and deserving ! alas ! who are they? or where to be found? Do we not boast of imaginary qualifications, and lay claim to titles, that may be valuable indeed, but are not our's? Does it
concern us what are the rights of such
persons, if we are not of the number? Matt. xix. There is none good but one, that is God. His Job iv. 18. angels he chargeth with folly: and the heavens
are not clean in his fight. How much less man, that is a worm! He knows our desert, that it is shame and punishment. We stand naked and open before his eyes ; proud, and poor; clamorous and ignorant; demanding recompence and praise, when we should deprecate his displeasure; and challenging justice, while ourselves are the criminals. Well may we submit to the divine wisdom, and patiently take our share of evil, according to his will, and for the good of his world ; when we reflect, that the least of his mercies is more than our merit; and the greatest of those sufferings, which for so many reafons he inflicts, are less than we have deserved by our own iniquities.
But children at least are innocent: They can be guilty of no crimes to cry
for vengeance, and call down that indignation which resteth upon finners. If they have no right to recompence for services, which they have not discharged; is it just to expose them to punishment for transgressions they were not able to commit?
The word children, in the language of Scripture, is not confined to infants. When it is written, I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the children, their age is not specified: There is nothing said to denote their infancy, or their innocence. Unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: The title of Haters of God was purchased indeed by their ancestors; it is inherited, and deserved too by themselves; who give proof of their legitimate descent, and fill up the measure of the iniquity of their fathers, by their own personal achievements.
Or were it otherwise; were they such as could not discern between the right hand
and the left: who is the giver of life? Is not God? If he had never given it, had he been to blame? If he takes it back, is not his will a reason?
he not withdraw from us the benefits, which he himself has lent; and whenever he fees fit, without any consent or demerit of ours, reduce us to insensibility, or to nothing? Be it, that he is bound by a law of justice, that will not bend even to save the Universe from ruin; he is surely not answerable for the resumption of his favours,
as he did not engage for the continuance Matth.xx. of them, but may do what he will with 15.
Nay, should he at any time proceed even further than this, oppressing with calamities thofe whom he had never loaded with his benefits, and rendering the life of the most innocent worse than death we may reflect, that he holds the reins of nature in his hand, that we see but a little of his ways; that it will always be in his
power, as it is in the power of no other to remember, restore, and rectify. That all souls are in his power and live before him. Even death removes us not out of his empire; He can still recompense the sufferings of his servants beyond the grave, and change the garments dipped in blood into robes of glory. His un. controlable power becomes the foundation of juft authority; and he has rights which can appertain only to the Ruler of the Universe, besides those that belong to him as the Author of it.
But after all, there is really no necessity, that, in order to vindicate the sanction in this commandment, we should trace with so much anxiety the rules of justice, and the foundation of morality: It is sufficient only to open our eyes, and have re. course in this case to experience.
Whether the Law of Mofes be the word of God, or no; the World, I presume, is Vor: II. с