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belongs ; and not only but have Afsu- SERM. rance enough to expect, notwithstand- XI. ing their wicked Lives and Actions, which cut off all Ground of Expectation of any thing that is good, the same Favour of God, as those who are never so righteous.
Thus Balaam, who had liv'd the Life of the Wicked, had Confidence enough, notwithstanding that, to say, Let me die the Death of the Righteous, and let my las End be like his. However, Cain was so incensed at this, that his Offering was not accepted as well as his Brother's, that he took an Opportunity to slay him, thinking perhaps to ease bis troubled Mind, by venting his Wrath upon a Person, whom his Envy had mark'd out, as a proper Object of it: But, alas! the dreadful
the dreadful Experiment would by no means answer the End propos’d: It was so far from removing one Evil, that it created a thoufand more, which now began to sprout from it, and spread abroad thier fatal Influences. The Blood which he thought was spilt upon the Ground, and which the Earth had opened her Mouth to receive,
to receive, and would soon disappear for ever, now began to live, and call - to Heaven for Vengeance, And he said, What has thou done ? H h 2
SERM. The Voice of thy Brother's Blood crieth XI. unto me from the Ground.
Here we to observe, that God does not ask this Question with an Expectation of being inform’d, as if he was ignorant of what Cain had done, but only
make him sensible of the Heineousness of his Guilt. In discoursing upon
the Words of the Text I will shew,
First, That all Sin, especially Sins of a heinous Nature, such as Murder, calls to Heaven for Vengeance.
Secondly, I shall make some proper Observations upon it.
First then, I am to shew, that all Sin, especially Sins of a heinous Nature, such as Murder, calls to Heaven for Vengeance.
As God is the great Governor of the World, and a Being infinitely just, wise, and good, it is necessary to suppose, that he intends the Welfare and Happiness of the whole Creation ; and that he will put a sufficient Check upon whatever would destroy it. Accordingly he has impress’d upon all Beings in the Universe certain Propositions of Action, as they stand to each other; and whatever Being acts out of this Proportion feels of Course an Inconvenience attending it; which Inconvenience is likewise im
press’d upon all Nature, and a Sense of it Serm. upon every Being in exact Proportion, XI. as it stands in the Universe. For without this it were impossible the World to sublist: Evil, as it is in its own Nature opposite to Good, would, if it were not contrould, certainly destroy it; God has therefore sufficiently contrould it. In Beings that act necessarily, it is contrould by certain necessary Laws, by which they are
they are directed and govern'd for the Good of the whole. Thus the Sea ebbs and flows, and the Ground sends forth Herbs and Trees for the Delight and Use of Man; and all this according to certain Rules impress’d upon Nature: The heavenly Bodies too move on in their appointed Course, whereas were these subject to no Laws, the Disorder, i.e. the Evil that would ensue, would soon spread its destructive Influences over the Face of all Nature ; but God has fixed the Bounds of all Things, and therefore they, as the Psalmist says, fulfil his Word. To the Sea he has said, Hitherto Malt thou go, and no further ; and here pall thy proud Waves be played ; and to all things else be has fix'd their Bounds, which they cannot pass.
In Moral Agents it is contrould by the Vengeance that is due to it, and
SERM that infallibly attends it:
For to supXI. pofe Evil without this is to fuppose
God not infinitely wise and good.
Now if there are the same Proportions between 'every two Men in the World, as there is between a Man and himself, as there certainly are, for what are all the Men upon Earth, but the General Man, or Human Nature, split abroad into Individuals, fecondly, no one can offer any Injury to another without doing an Injury to himself; for Punishment, which is the natural Reaction to Evil, will of course
him. Thus Vengeance which is every injur'd Person's Right in a State of Nature, when Men are form'd into Societies, is lodg’d in other Hands, who deal it out as well as they can, in proportion to the Injuries or Evils committed. But because all human Knowledge is vastly imperfect, and therefore cannot allot to every Crime the specific Vengeance that is due to it; and because every Injury or Evil a Man does to another, not only operates back upon himself, but flies directly up to God, as hurting or wounding him in his Image, he has taken Care to supply the Defects of human Injustice by allotting to every Crime its due proportion'd
Punishment; and he, who knows the
SERM. true Springs and Movements of every XI. Action, who knows every minute Degree of Good or Evil that is in them, knows how to deal out his Rewards and Punishments in exact Proportion : And because every Evil, as it endeavours to poison Good, is an Attempt to pollute the very Fountain of Good, hence it is, that God looks upon cvery Evil a Man does himself, or another, or the Society, as done to him, and will certainly punish it accordingly: And of this every Sinner is sensible, and is sufficiently inform’d by the Remorse that attends his evil Action, which is the Beginning of the Vengeance that will follow them; and which is a gracious wise Provifion God has made to controul Evil, and at the same Time to make Reparation to Justice; for the Remorse that attends an evil Action is a Punishment of it, and from the Sense every one has, that there is a Punishment due to Sin, and will certainly one Time or other overtake him, if not in this Life, where he can have only his Proportion of Chance, yet in the next, where all Chance will be turn'd into Certainty, there arises a well-grounded Fear, which is a continual Check to the Evil, and keeps the moral World upon its true Basis. Thus you see the Con