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Serm. Graves. One dies in an Amuerice of Wealth
III. and Prosperity ; and another, perhaps a

better Man than him, after a tedious Life
of Sorrow, expires in Anguish and Tortures
insupportable. Wherefore, says he, do the
Wicked live, become obd, yea, are mighty
in Power, and their Seed is established in
their Sight with them, and their Offspring
before their Eyes ? Their Houses are safe
from Fear, neither is the Rod of God upon
them; they take the Timbrel and Harp, and
rejoice at the Sound of the Organ; they spend
their Days in Wealth, and in a Moment
go down to the Grave. One dieth in his full
Strength, being wholly at Ease and Quiet ;
and another dieth in the Bitterness of his
Soul, and never eateth with Pleasure. They
mall lie down alike in the Dust, and the
Worms fall cover them.

When David saw the Prosperity of the Ungodly, that they were not in Trouble like other Men, it fo tenderly affected him, that he could not forbear breaking out into this passionate Complaint, Verily I have cleansed my Heart in vain, I have wasbd my Hands in Innocency ; for all the Day long have I been plagued, and chafined every Morning. And Jeremiah was so perplex'd with the Thoughts of this, that tho he

would

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would not accuse God of Injustice, whatever SËRM: happen'd, but says; Righteous art thou, o INI. Lord, when I plead with thee! Yet in the very same Verse he can't forbear enquiring in to the Reason of it. Yet let me talk with thee of thy Judgments, says he: Wherefore does the Way of the Vicked profper? Wherea fore are all they hapty that deal treaches rously : This indeed has troubled the Thoughts of many good Men in all the Ages of the World, and 'tis founded entirely upon this mistaken Principle, ThatAfilica tions are always Tokens of God's Displeafure, and that the Comforts of Life are always Marks of Favour: And this is so far from being always true, that the Reverse of it is very often fo; at least these Things are often fo promiscuously distributed, as to leave no Room for

any

such Conclusion: Hence fome have form’d an Objection, not against the Justice, but against the very being of a God. All Thingä сome alike to all; say they, there is one Event to the Righteous and to the Wicked; to the Good and to . the Clean, and to the Unclean ; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not : As is the Good, so is the Sinner ; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an Oath. Upon which Account they prefently conG

clude;

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SERM. clude, that 'tis to no Purpose for them to
III.

observe their Duty, or to take any manner
of Care about regulating their Life and
Manners, for that it all turns to one' Ac-
count, the Effect is just the same, do what
they will. But now, in Answer to this, let
it be observ'd that the Happiness or Mifery
of a Man does not always appear by his
outward State and Condition, there is no
true Judgment to be made of his being happy
by his being prosperous and rich in the
World, and enjoying his Heart's Desire
for when a Man, full of Ambition and Re-
venge, thrives in the World, and has it in
his power to follow the natural Bent of his
Inclinations, the Mischiefs that ensue plain-
ly shew that Prosperity was sent him as a
Curse: Nor can a Man be pronounc'd mise-
rable from the Troubles and Disappoint-
ments he meets with; these Things are most
commonly sent for the Trial of a Man's Vire
tue, or to subdue fome growing Vice, and
they will prove good or otherwise to a Man,
according to the Use he makes of them;
so that neither the one nor the other are
Marks of God's Favour or Displeasure
always.

But to proceed. The Afflictions which happen to us in this Life are no objections

against

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againft the Justice of God, because he made SERM. us, and confequently has a Right to deal II. with us as he pleases. God gave us Life of his own free Gift, without our Desire or Deserving ; for we could neither do the one for the other, when as yet we were not, when we had not a Being to desire or deserve it in: He therefore must certainly have a Right to allot us to what sort or kind of Life he shall think most proper and convenient; for the Act of creating us implies in it alfo a Right of governing us. And this is further evinc'd from the Gonfideration of our own State and Condition, which is a State of Dependance, weak and defective, which implies in it a Want of Help and Succour; fo that whatever happens to us in this Life can be no Objection against the Justice of God, because it comes from him who alone has a Right to dispofe of us.

Indeed, were we altogether free from Sin, we might have some Plea for desiring a Life of Eafe and Happiness, exempted from the common Casualties of which every Man living has his Share. But even then, could not God do what he pleas'd with his own? Shall the Thing form'd say to him that forni'd it, Why haft thou made me thus ? Shall we pretend to direct the Almighty in G 2

his

Serm. his Dispensations, or teach him what is proIII.

per for him to do? Is this the way we take in our own Affairs : Are we willing to be taught by our Inferiors ? Do we not on the contrary too often hate Counsel, and defpise Reproof, even from those whom we ourselves acknowledge to be wise ? Shall we then pretend to guide the Hand of Providence, and point out the way for him, whose Footsteps are not known ? 'Tis to confound our 'vain Curiosity, and to manifeft his own Glory, that God sometimes works an Effect beyond the Reach of all human Apprehension. So that, tho' he is a Being infinitely good and just, and therefore will not do any thing inconsistent with Goodness and Justice, yet he is infinitely wise too, and therefore is above any Rules we shall think fit to prescribe, and consequently will not be accountable to us for any of his Ways ; so that all our busy Enquiries about these Things must be resolv?d into the Will of God, which is sufficient to silence all the Disputers of thisWorld. When the Disciples saw the Man that was born blind, they immediately concluded that it was the Effect of some remarkable Sin of him or his Parents; and accordingly ask'd our Saviour, saying, Master, who did fini,

this

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